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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Octavius Summer The Prudent Homemaker

I turned a pair of jeans into jean shorts and mended two dresses. 

I harvested Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, and cherry tomatoes from the garden.

I took seeds from one of my Armenian cucumbers and planted them in the garden.

I made Ranch, Italian, and Balsamic Orange Vinaigrette dressings to go on our salads. This time of year I have to buy lettuce as it won't grow in our heat, but including homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers on top is great!

I purchased some items using coupon codes at two different websites (30% off on one site and 20% off on the other), going through Ebates first to earn cash back. I had free shipping with both of these codes as well, saving me time going to the store as well as gas to get there and back.

I used a free shipping code to order two math books for homeschooling, one of which was on sale for 28% off.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

The early morning temperatures cooled down to 72 for a short while, enabling me to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows between 5 and 7 a.m. It's still over 100 here during the day, but the nights were 85 last week and I am grateful for some fresh air in the early mornings to open up the house. I always feel like a fresh burst of oxygen is helpful to get going in the morning (plus it makes the house smell nice!)

My 15-year-old son attended the free first workshop of a three-week ACT workshop taught by an ACT tutor.

I read three e-books from the library.

I redeemed 2200 points on Swagbucks for a $25 Lowe's gift card on the thirty-first. You can only get one $25 gift card a month for the discounted rate of 2200 points, so I redeemed for another one on the first of September for $25. 

My husband and I used a buy one get one free coupon to have a date out for $9.

What did you do to save money last week?




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  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 05, 2018

    I do look at those things. Lettuce, herbs, and fruits are more expensive at the store, so definitely worth growing. Potatoes and carrots are cheaper to buy so I buy those, though I do try carrots again from time to time. I would grow flowers in the whole garden if not, so at least I get some water back in hundreds of pounds of fruit every year. Most of my garden is watered by drip; it's the grass that takes more water, but my children run and play on it every day, and that is important in keeping them healthy, too. I don't buy organic vegetables but I grow more than half of the things on the dirty dozen list, and I garden organically (organic fertilizers and dormant oil sprays). I also grow open-pollinated varities and I keep seeds to grow each year, which keeps my seed costs down (in addition to buying from lower-priced sources).

  • Amanda September 05, 2018

    Thanks, Brandy! That makes sense. I need to learn to save seeds (I do for flowers but haven’t for fruits or veg). I bet that would help me a lot too.

  • Marybeth September 06, 2018

    I find that my herbs are the best savings to grow. Herbs are not cheap and I can grow and dry so much for so little. I have used Dollar Tree seeds that are 4 for $1 and get tons of parsley and basil. My thyme regrows every year. I grow a lot of San Marzano tomatoes, which are hard to find fresh in my area but are our favorite for sauce. Lettuce is so easy to grow. I have had over 50 heads of lettuce this year from a pack of seeds I bought last year for $2. Well worth the cost. I do not grow potatoes, onions or corn as I can get them locally for fairly cheap and they take up a lot of room to grow. If I had an actual farm, then I would grow them but I have a small property so I have to condense. I planted blueberry bushes last year and I am hoping that next year I get a lot.

  • AK Gram September 05, 2018

    I am feeling badly that I haven't posted for a long time, in spite of having some major savings. 2 years ago we purchased a box truck in WI to transport some of our belongings from storage in WI to AK. We finally sold that and made a profit of about $2,000. Our house really needs windows replaced so we were going to start that this fall. Last week we found out that my SIL has advanced cancer so instead we plan to go to MN to spend time with her. We would so appreciate prayers for Sandy,

    Here in Fairbanks, we are harvesting gardens. My husband and I froze 26 quarts of celery for winter soups, stews, and pilafs. It is so nice to have that available when we want! Celery is one of the vegetables that can be hard to find here. We have many potatoes in our gardens so we hope they are a successful crop! Some we plan to give to a food shelf along with sharing with a neighbor. We also will have some carrots which are wonderful in Alaska where they are extra sweet. Last year we froze some for use with the celery. Soups and stews are then so easy in winter! I also dug out a packaged soup mix I had for a long time and tried it. It was potato cheddar and was OK, so we are thankful to have additional meals for the future. I added kielbasa and dehydrated vegetables.

    Our children attended a combination of public and religious schools depending on where we were living. Some were better than others based on the teachers, but they learned from each. My thought about school lunches is to be thankful for the calories children can get there. A friend once told me about her parents telling them to eat everything, and go back for more because the only food at home may be oatmeal. This was a farm family and they had some difficult years. Brandy, your children eat well, but many families struggle and do not know how to provide healthy meals. I also want to add my gratitude for this post. I have learned so much from reading it!

  • Alaska Gram September 06, 2018

    I forgot to include the savings at Fred Meyers. We went on Senior Day and could not get some things at the first store as they were out. The second one had chicken legs and thighs for $.69/lb. When we paid for it, the BOGO kicked in so that we only paid the equivalent of $.35/lb. Unbelievable for Fairbanks where we normally pay $.99/lb for the best price. wish I could have stocked up but we need some space for garden produce.

  • Lea September 06, 2018

    Praying for Sandy!


  • Nancy in Eastern Washington September 05, 2018

    What a cute picture of your son. He is adorable, and creative based on the Instagram video.

    We picked tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, chard, zucchini, broccoli, lettuce, green beans, corn, potatoes and carrots. Also picked cilantro, thyme, chives, oregano, rosemary, basil and parsley as needed. Dried chives, cilantro, basil, and thyme. Froze corn and broccoli from the garden in meal sized packages.

    Made the salsa base from our tomatoes and peppers. Have three big bowls. Need to add the onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, etc., and then we will freeze it. We go through salsa quickly, so we still need to make another batch.

    Made zucchini bread with my MIL's recipe. She has dementia, and doesn't remember how to cook. I am glad I got some of the family heirloom recipes from her years ago.

    Made zucchini muffins. These are a savory muffin with bacon and cheese. They are great with soup. Put these in the freezer.

    Made another batch of refrigerator pickles. They are good. Just like a little bit spicy bread and butter pickle.

    Made 7 pints of zucchini relish. This is my mother's recipe. She normally makes it for my DH as a Christmas gift, but can't this year due to her health.

    Used a Kohl's $10 off $25 and was able to get two tops and 2 pairs of pants for work. I had enough to cover the balance on a gift card. There was less than $5 left on the card, so they gave me the balance back in cash.

    All the usual things, washed full loads of clothes and dishes only. We don't have air conditioning, but do use fans to circulate the air. Was able to turn these off for a few days with cooler weather. Taking lunches to work.

  • Debby in Kansas, USA September 05, 2018

    I'm playing catch up in my house right now. Last week, I fell backwards off a kitchen bar stool and landed square on my back on the wood floor! Amazingly, aside from a few days of aching & some bruises, I'm fine. Hallelujah! I took a few days to rest everything and am feeling much better, aside from the mess! Lots of laundry. So, this is my week to get back in the swing of real meal prep (as opposed to scrambled eggs every day lol). In winter, the freezer would've been stuffed with meals, but I don't do much freezer cooking in summer.

    I'm wrapping up my final bedtime Summer read. It's Nancy Drew! The Message in the Hollow Oak, I believe. I love crime novels and can read some pretty dark stuff. So, several summers ago, I started changing up for summer, "coming out from the dark side", if you will. I read books from my childhood/youth. This summer I did the whole LI Wilder series & went thru' The Rose Years. Then I started on my shelves of Nancy Drew. Since Labor Day is my official end date, I will begin a new series that someone here recommended...."The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree." I can't remember the author. Thanks for the tip!
    My daytime read is the John Jakes series, "The Kent Family Chronicles". I'm on book 3, The Seekers. As part of my bible study, I'm reading Beautiful in God's Eyes by Elizabeth George about the Proverbs 31 wife. I swear I don't read as much as it sounds like, but I do have bits of time during the day that I always squeeze it in!!

    I saw that someone asked Brandy if she was going to do her September shopping list. I always look forward to that, as well! No pressure tho'!

  • Heidi Louise September 05, 2018

    Susan Wittig Albert writes The Darling Dahlias series. She has also written the mysteries of China Bayles, Beatrix Potter, Robin Paige, various non-fiction works including a biography of Rose Wilder, and she ghost wrote some Nancy Drew's as Carolyn Keene in the 1980's! I have only read some of these books, enough to know that she manages very different styles for her books.
    The garden club of the Darling Dahlias is one of my favorite escape series reads.

  • Maxine September 05, 2018

    Debby, The Hidden Staircase still gives me the creeps!

  • Debby in Kansas, USA September 06, 2018

    When I confessed to a quilting friend that I was reading my old Nancy Drews, she said, "Oooh, The Hidden Staircase" was my favorite! I'm going to try and find her an old copy for Christmas. Our thrift store is usually a gold mine for books. I might get lucky.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 05, 2018

    I had to go collect a cheque for the park society so went by handibus then walked crossed the street to go the main grocery store, co-op. Fortunately, there were several benches along the way so I could walk. There, I bought 10 ears of Taber (from Southern Alberta not too far from the Mormon Temple) corn (the very best) –– 10 ears for $4.00. I also bought 4 packages of cheese on sale. I bought a "buy one get one free package" of Schneider's sausages at the Shoppers drugstore. It is cool outside today. It was so pleasant waiting on a bench in the shade for a handibus to go home. I am trying to stock up my freezer with food in case I have surgery. Am freezing a bunch of bananas for later eating. Tonight I am using up a chicken carcass in my freezer to make soup. I have okra that was in the freezer for a while so am going to throw that into the soup. chicken pasta with okra. Am ready sad that summer is gone. Everyone is wondering if the forest fire smoke will become the new normal. I hope not! In the meantime, I cannot be too sad about summer's passing as the smoke is gone, the sky is blue and the Ohio buckeye tree has turned a flaming orange.

  • Margie from Toronto September 05, 2018

    So glad to hear that the smoke has finally cleared. I got frozen strawberries & raspberries on sale at Shopper's Last week - I usually wait until the No Frills has the Schneider's sausages on for $2 a pkg. and then stock up. I'm hoping this special shows up soon.
    Do you know when the doctors' will make a decision about your arm?

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 06, 2018

    Hi Margie,

    It was the most beautiful day here today. Cool but not too cool. Big blue skies. The leaves on the Ohio Buckeye are stunning. Having said the smoke has cleared, the forecast is for smoke tomorrow! I too got some of the frozen strawberries at Shopper's. A friend took 5 boxes outside for me to sort. I felt very slow in sorting but ended up with 5 lighter boxes but with the recycling bin about 1/3 full of papers so I made some progress. My arm is really hurting because I tried to take a bird photo up high. Not the thing to do. my ct scan is next week and the week after it is the cast clinic so I'll have a better idea re arm then. There will be a pre-op assessment if surgery is proposed. So probably I'll know within two weeks from the ct scan.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 06, 2018

    Good tip on No frills and the sausage! thanks, Ann

  • Athanasia September 05, 2018

    What darling pictures of Octavius and Hamish. Oh, they grow so fast.

    I enjoyed all the comments re' the different school systems and how things vary from state to state. I think the main point is to be content with the choice you make and then make it work. My siblings and I all attended our church school until 8th grade graduation. Then on to the public school. My children followed the same path.

    We have been busy with harvest and of course I am back at school. So that makes for later nights and longer weekends now. We packed up the younger daughter and she is off to a year of teaching in a 2 room school. Last year for the 2nd semester when she was filling in they roomed her with a family; this year she will be living with an older couple who have a separate apartment on their house. She has her own suite of bedroom, bath and sitting room. They also provide her meals. She will teach the lower grades and she will also teach German. We will miss her but she will be near the community where her middle sister lives and works and they have always been close. She also has a place there for her rabbit that was given to her by last year's class. So we are an empty nest again. Over Labor day weekend my husband's brother Paul was picked up by sister Debbie and will live with them until Christmas.

    Most of our garden crops are done. We have tomatoes and corn from the summer crops still going. Cabbage and broccoli is winding down. We have had a very good crop of pumpkins and various winter squash, with many to sell at the stand. Still picking some broccoli, enough for a meal and a last bag here and there for freezer. Finished up beets finally. My fingers are still pink around the cuticles. I don't think I mentioned our peaches. We planted two semi dwarf hardy peach trees the year after we moved over to this house and they are good producers. They just smell so good and they taste better. Nothing like the grocery store peaches. Kale is good, herbs are winding down. Watermelon has been good. We planted the smaller variety, they are about the size of a soccer ball and all have been good. Just enough for us to eat one in 2 days. There are still a few of those and a few cantaloupe. Bell peppers are done. We still have hot and banana peppers which we are pickling and also grilling in various ways...shish kabob, jalapeno poppers etc. Our late raspberries are just finishing, not a big crop, just for our own use.

    Did all the usual of cooking and baking at home, using up leftovers, washing out ziplocs, packing lunches. I will not be hanging out as much laundry as daughter not here and I have the limited movement overhead of shoulders. So more goes on racks in utility room and into dryer. We used air conditioning more this summer with our heat wave but we are now into 50's overnight and high 60's, 70'sF during the days. We have had back up to an occasional 80's. Gas suddenly jumped 15 cents/gallon.

    to be continued...

  • Athanasia September 06, 2018

    I have decided to switch grocery stores. I have not been pleased with our local grocer since it was bought by the Kroger. It still has the same name but nothing the same. All the local products are being replaced by Kroger brand. These are not local. It is sad. Every time you ask them a question they refer to corporate. I am not interested in corporate. They raised all the prices, now have some big lower prices campaign. I'm not a big shopper but I buy certain things. Their coupons are never for anything I need...it is too much prepared stuff and way too many alcoholic products. The manager left as he was replaced by someone the new owner brought in. He is now at another store. So we will patronize a different locally owned store north of us in the town where our church/school is. I'm there every day so can just add shopping to my schedule. It's a little over 5 miles but I am not an impulse shopper. I will not be stopping at store daily. They also have a much better natural foods section. And our old store manager now works here too, along with some of our church folks.

    Some of the items cooked over the last weeks were falafel, stuffed grape leaves, rice pilaf and Greek salads all good for several meals and leftovers. I did not make the hummus as had a large tub from store that had been discounted. Made spaghetti sauce from the fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions, made eggplant Parmesan 2 times, spaghetti carbonara, various impossible biskwik pies using whatever was handy or leftover. Cooked up 5 old layer chickens and took the meat off and made broth. Put broth in the freezer. Made chicken salad and chicken salad sandwich filling. Also chicken/onion/pepper enchiladas and Spanish rice. Served with refried beans from freezer and salad. Put the rest of chicken in freezer for other uses. We've had plenty of salads...coleslaw, 4 bean, tossed. Lots of vegetables to use, just depends on what greens are doing anything right now. Have bought several heads of iceberg and romaine as needed. Made 2 banana cream pies, peach kuchen 3 times, white bread, rye bread, banana nut bread, zucchini choc chip muffins, zucchini bread. Husband has grilled out often...fish he catches and hamburgers and hot dogs. We grill vegetables then too on skewers. Corn on cob most every evening meal. Zucchini pancakes with plain yogurt and applesauce.

    For the Labor day weekend made potato salad (American cold), deviled eggs, peach pie and lemon bars, calico beans, watermelon and cantaloupe. My husband's sister and her family came the night before and they brought their big gas grill along in a trailer. We use charcoal normally. The men took care of the meat dishes and we had ribs and chicken and Asian pork chops, and sausage and pepper kabobs and hot dogs. Everybody brought other dishes of salads and desserts and sides too. Some folks were here all weekend, some just for the day. The weather was still warm enough for swimming in the pond. There was also volleyball set up and croquet.

    Received 50.00 rebate from tires. Sent in rebate for furnace filters. Been watching the Great British Baking show on PBS and the older reruns also. Have them all taped. I could watch them over and over. Received several gift cards for my birthday for Starbucks and for Amazon. Had joint birthday party as usual with my sister (month ago already) and as usual she gave me gallon of popcorn seed from her farm. I found her a cute piece of yard art the farm store end of summer sale to add to her very many she already has. I used my free birthday treat at Starbucks to get a coffee drink and at Culver's to get a free sundae. My reading goal for this year is 150 books. Finished #115 last night. Almost all have been library books, some lent by others and I reread a few that I owned.

    I did pick up the first book from the library in the Hamish series you are reading. I have read a series that you, Brandy, might like. It is by Donis Casey and it is her Alafair Tucker series. They take place in early 1900's Oklahoma, they are a farm/ranch family and she is the mother of 10 children. They are mysteries, not exactly cozies, but clean and very full of the history of the time and the culture of the area. There are 10 so far in the series.

    Happy Fall everyone. It is fast approaching here.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada September 07, 2018

    Happy belated birthday. Thanks for the reading suggestion!

  • Athanasia September 08, 2018

    Thank you, S.J.

  • Jeannie September 08, 2018

    I hate that your grocery store is no longer what you need. That is not pleasant. Since I live out in the country, I don't have many choices and when any of them changes, it throws me for a loop. Take your time and shop carefully. Choosing the right place makes a huge difference in money.

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