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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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  • Debby in Kansas, USA September 06, 2018

    Penny, do you regularly clean your filter? THAT is an eye-opening (and gag inducing) experience. Look up how to do it on YouTube, which is how I learned. It immediately made a big difference.

  • Penny S. September 07, 2018

    Thanks Debby, I will check this out on YouTube.

  • Maxine September 04, 2018

    What an adorable boy! ! And you were a very busy girl, Brandy. Isn't the cooler weather wonderful?

    At last! It was a week in which we did not bleed (much) money. We did the usual frugal stuff, plus the following—

    A friend offered to service our boat and store it over the winter...for FREE. (We do nice things for him, too, but this is huge and totally unexpected).

    Deals’n’steals--I got Ace Hardware deals totaling $8 in my pocket, a $10 Target GC for my gift stash, and bought two 16-packs of batteries that will be free after rebate (Christmas stocking stuffers).

    A friend and I painted our shed using leftover paint. We were wiping the sides of the can with the brush when we finished! I had to buy a quart of trim for $13, but that was all. I’m going to lay some leftover sheet vinyl on the shed floor. We stained the fascia boards of the deck with mis-tinted Cabot stain that I got at Lowe’s for $9 gallon instead of $45. I’m stoked!

    I got a set-in stain out of a favorite top by pre-treating with a paste of laundry detergent and water.

    No food waste last week, either!

    My vacuum was making a terrible racket. It needed a new roller for $25, plus $15 for labor and a tuneup. A bleed that could’ve been a whole lot worse!

  • Debra September 05, 2018

    I had to smile about your mis-tinted stain. when I purchased my house, I bought 3 cans of mis-tinted or unwanted paint. I took all 3 cans and emptied them into a large plastic bucket. I then used this to paint my living room walls. I call it "chameleon" paint as when the light is on it, you either see a beige color or a misty yellow-green color. I love it. I would do it again in a heart-beat.

  • Amber September 06, 2018

    This made me smile as well. 10 years ago during the recession when my husband was "under-employed" with too much time on his hands, he decided to renovate our living room :o Friends of ours were moving and in their garage were a handful of cans of high end paint, some not even opened, all in various shades of soft beige. We mixed together everything of the same finish & painted our living room. That was just the tip of the iceberg. I call the entire project the "trash pick renovation."

  • Lorna September 04, 2018

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    Brandy it is wonderful you were able to have a low priced date with your husband, got items with free shipping and on good discounts and was able to pick lovely produce from your gardens for your family.

    Our savings added up to $153.90 in savings last week :).

    Here's what we did to get organised, build our pantry and save money

    Salvaging -
    - Saved 10 bakelite drawer pulls from an old wardrobe that fell apart literally in our garage. I will resell them on the internet as they are now collectable and worth a lot to those restoring old furniture. They are running out for sale on the internet for 8.50 - $12.00 ea :).

    Finances -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit bank account 28.07% of the way there.
    - Listed 18 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $29.70 in listing fees.

    Purchases -
    - Purchased 10 strong memo note magnets with bull dog clips for the fridge for $4.20 saving $16.79 over buying them locally. We use these for important messages, lists and our perpetual shopping list on the fridges and freezers.
    - Purchased a used "tightwad gazette" on eBay saving $27.81 over purchasing it new.
    - Purchased another 10 punnets of strawberries for 0.95c per punnet saving $15.50 on usual prices.

    Trades -
    - A friend gave us 50 x 4 lt mylar bags to say thank you for giving his family some vegetables previously saving $20.35 over purchasing them.

    Hair cuts -
    - DH and I cut his hair at home with the clippers saving $30 over getting it cut elsewhere.

    House organisation -
    - Deep cleaned the vegetable freezer and rearranged the frozen garden vegetables oldest to the top newest to the bottom.
    - Sorted through the rest of the power tools and bits and pieces in the shed and damp dusted them and the tools and bits and pieces and the plastic storage containers. We then sorted out all the tools and bits and pieces into tool boxes and storage containers and put them on the shelves. There is so much more room in there after we broke down the cardboard moving boxes and stacked them behind the shelves in there.

    In the kitchen -
    - Washed, diced and froze the 10 punnets of strawberries in the freezer for desserts and jam making.
    - Blanched and froze the broccoli picked from the gardens making 10 more meals for the freezer.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked 1.3 kg of organically grown broccoli and a bunch of silver beet from the gardens saving $13.75 over purchasing it in the shops.

    Hope everyone has had a wonderful week :).


  • Samantha September 06, 2018

    I always enjoy reading your posts, and hearing about your life all the way in Australia! I love the Tightwad Gazette, and I feel like buying it used is exactly what the author would want ! :D

  • Lorna September 07, 2018

    Hi Samantha and thank you for your encouragement and glad you like hearing about our life here in Australia :) .

    I think you are right that Amy would be happy that her books are being purchased used or secondhand too promoting her thrifty lifestyle. I had read a lot about her books and really wanted one and was excited about it but couldn't justify the $40 new book price tag whilst saving for our home but did think that $12.49 with postage was a great price so jumped at the opportunity when I saw it. We are hoping it gives us more ideas than we currently have for being thrifty with our money to help us save more for our home. Looking forward to also getting the complete tightwad gazette when I can find one at a similarly low price.

  • I September 04, 2018

    We got back from an 11 hour drive on Sunday night after dropping our daughter at uni. Yesterday I was quite tired after a busy couple of weeks of travel-although I needed to go to the grocery store I took a page out of Brandy's book to see what I could make from the pantry. I made a large pot of white bean soup with double smoked sausage and veggies. I also made a large loaf of Irish soda bread to go with it. Therefore putting off grocery shopping until today-one of our chains has 15% off on the first Tues of the month if you spend a min of $50. Usually when we are away I turn the water heater way down-we keep it as low as possible anyway. This time I apparently dialed it the wrong way( it was pretty dark down there) so that was a frugal fail but a lesson learned. We heat our water with natural gas which is fairly cheap but...
    My DH goes back to his PT job today-he works as a noon hour supervisor at a private school. Meantime I think there is lots of housework/yard work for me to start on. Our garden is still producing tomatoes, yellow beans and beets. The season is almost over here as it is getting close to freezing at night-we had to turn on the heat yesterday for awhile but the week is going to warm up. Before we left for uni I phoned our insurance company to cancel my daughter on our car insurance policy for the next 8 months as she won't be here to drive the car.

  • Cari September 04, 2018

    Hi, Brandy!

    Last week I:

    Signed up for a free 6-month magazine subscription.
    Fixed our vacuum cleaner to avoid purchasing a new one.
    Changed electric company suppliers for a locked in, lower rate and used a friend's referral code to get $50 back for me and for her.
    Used the washer/dryer/dishwasher at off-peak hours and used the "Eco" setting on the washer and dishwasher.
    Set thermostat to a higher temp as the central AC is running all day due to high heat and humidity.
    Read your blog and other frugal living blogs for more tips to try.

  • Tina S. September 04, 2018

    What a sweet picture of your son! The nights are cooling off here too - it feels like fall is on its way.

    My week was busy so it was nice to have a relaxed three day weekend. I spent the entire summer painting in our condo, and I am so thankful to be done with that so I can do other things I enjoy on the weekends and days off.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    - My husband has an audio system (speakers and various pieces of equipment) set up with our TV/stereo. He bought this years ago before I entered the picture. The receiver has been slowly dying over the past year. He did a bunch of research on what kind of receiver would work with the system, as the technology has changed significantly in the past 15 years. And one day, the perfect receiver was available as the Amazon deal of the day at a very good price. So he ordered that and set it all up. Thankfully he didn't have to change the remotes and how everything worked, which would have been extremely confusing. ;)
    - I made my own face scrub from sugar and coconut oil. I reused containers I have been using for years.
    - I read ebooks from the library. I bought two clearance books at a local bookstore, and I started one of those.
    - I sewed a top I had cut out. The pattern was traced from a library book. It fits well, and will be a great fall top for work.
    - The weather has cooled off, but one day was warm enough so I swam in our condo pool. Our onsite manager added a bunch of nice plants to the pool area early this summer. I asked him about this, and he said his son, who works in landscaping, had gotten them all for free. The plants really make the pool area look nice.
    - I had some tomatoes that were getting too soft, so I made a small batch of tomato soup (my favorite).
    - I had $25 in Eddie Bauer rewards, so I bought my husband two long sleeve t-shirts that were on sale. My total was $12, with free shipping.

    Otherwise, I just did all the normal stuff I do: cooked from the freezer, made meals from scratch, washed out ziplocs, walked to work and took my lunch, and made water kefir.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  • Mia September 09, 2018

    What is water kefir? Thanks.

  • Liz September 04, 2018

    Hello Friends!
    This was a great, frugal week!
    - Yesterday, I spent the day preserving some things that I have grown from the garden. I made 8 zucchini breads and dehydrated herbs. I have a lot more zucchini shreds to use up this week.
    - Yesterday, I also made a batch of refried beans. I love to have bean burritos. I put pinto beans in my pressure cooker and cooked them with some water, onions, garlic and spices. I cooked them for an hour. Then, I blended them with an immersion blender. They turned out so good.
    - I also baked 2 loaves of white bread. I like to start by mixing them in my bread machine. Then, I shape them and put them in the oven to bake.
    - I found some corn on the cob at Walmart yesterday for 5 cents a piece. I bought 20 of them to share and to maybe can.
    - I cashed out all my money making apps from August. I was able to make $314.32 in side income from websites, apps, a cleaning job and selling crafts. This is in addition to my regular part time job. If you would like to read the details, it is on my blog here: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/09/02/how-i-made-314-32-in-august-from-websites-apps-scrubbing-bathrooms-and-selling-crafts/
    - I was able to get a free 8 piece chicken nugget box from Chick Fil A by signing up for their app.
    - The kids and I have been walking/ biking more for exercise and to enjoy the outdoors. The weather is finally turning a little cooler!
    - My 12 year old is riding the bus to school for the first time ever, this year. It has saved me a lot of time and gasoline. He is enjoying the independence.
    - That's about all the things I can think of!

  • Joanne in Birmingham UK September 04, 2018

    Hi Brandy lovely photo as always! Last week I spotted some pretty magnetic shopping lists with an attached pen in the clearance section at Lidl for 50pence each so I bought 6. I then went to a card shop and found fragrances sachets (the kind you put in a drawer) on sale for 99pence, again I brought 6. I will package these together for my colleagues at school for Christmas gifts, at a grand total of £1.49 each ($1.91)! I’m so pleased as I know they’ll be appreciated. I also visited with a good friend and we went into the woods near her home and picked damsons and blackberries, lots of scratches and stained fingers but great fun and good company. My friend gave me half the damsons (approx 4lb), they are in the freezer waiting for when I have time to make damson cheese, a family favourite. School starts for me tomorrow and my boys on Thursday, we are all set thankfully. I may be getting a new role at work which will mean an increase in my wages (more work and responsibility), fingers crossed it all works out as we need the extra income.
    I wonder if there is anyone on this blog who can give me some advice regarding my eldest son. Unusually for the U.K. he plays American Football - he’s very good we’re told - but he’s been told he needs to gain weight. He’s tall and eats like a horse but I wondered if and frugal football mommas out there have any advice - thank you!! Xx

  • Juls Owings September 04, 2018

    Joanne in Birmingham UK September 04, 2018
    when my brother was playing and underweight they told mom protein with carbs at every meal . My daughter said her 4 boys all underweight were to eat every 2-3 hrs even if it was just a snack bar... also no sodas/pop , coaches said it negatively affects the breathing.
    His coach might have a diet sample for you to use,
    Blessed Be

  • Marybeth September 04, 2018

    Talk to your doctor first but have you tried protein shakes or protein powder added to his food.

  • Lillianna pickles September 04, 2018

    We had one that didn't gain weight well. Doctor suggested excess calories. Cream, ice cream, butter, lots of cream cheese. Protein shakes.

  • Joanne in Birmingham UK September 05, 2018

    Hello Juls, Marybeth and Lilliana, thank you for this advice, we are going down the route of protein powders, which aren’t cheap and he has gained a bit of weight. He’s also intolerant to milk, cream and some cheese, sigh. Vegan food is sooo expensive that I’m just encouraging lots of healthy food and a bowl of cereal at bedtime - with oat milk which is £1.50 per litre as opposed to 48pence per litre for cows milk!! Fingers crossed he makes it to the NFL one day and can keep me in the manner in which I’d like to become accustomed

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 05, 2018

    What about beans? Can you serve more of those?

    I know there are not a lot of bulk options for you, but a friend of mine in Hull mentioned driving a few hours south a few years back to buy some food in bulk with several other families. If you want, I can contact her and ask her where and if the place still exists.

  • Joanne in Birmingham UK September 06, 2018

    Hi Brandy that would be fabulous if you could find out for me. He’s not a big fan of beans to be fair but a friend whose recently gone vegan has mentioned some good recipes and your bean burritos do sound tasty. Birmingham is south of Hull so it might be close to me! I always feel jealous of the Amish and Mennonite stores some contributors talk about, I know I’d find these useful! Thanks again Brandy.

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