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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Octavius Playing in the Mud The Prudent Homemaker

At the case-lot sale, I purchased two cases of canned tuna fish, a case of green beans, and a case of corn. The next time I stock up on corn and green beans will be during the Thanksgiving sales. 

I also bought a package of mini-marshmallows on sale at the same store. I checked my receipt as I was leaving and noticed that they had rung up as the regular price. I had the store refund me the overcharge.

We celebrated my daughter's birthday with homemade brownies from scratch and ice cream purchased on sale for $3.99 a gallon. 

I used the solar oven to cook a batch of beans one day and to roast a chicken another day. I used the chicken broth and leftover bits of chicken with the beans to make a soup. Cooking the chicken in the solar oven with a lid on it (you can get the same effect in the oven) with the breast-side down have juicy meat that was falling off the bones and the chicken made its own broth, saving me time and energy making broth another day.

My son attended his third week of a free ACT prep class.

I gave two sons a haircut.

One of my orchids rebloomed. I moved it from my bathroom (where I keep my unblooming orchids) near my desk to enjoy it.

I used items we had on hand to stage a home for sale that I was photographing for my husband.

The house was near Smart and Final. I'm rarely in that part of town, so we went there afterward and I purchased 4 gallons of rice vinegar ($8.88 a gallon when you purchase 4 or more gallons) and 2 large bottles of molasses.

What did you do to save money this past week?


A little note: I found out that I do have skin cancer. I'll be having surgery next week.

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  • Brandy C September 17, 2018

    Prayers to you in your surgery next week and a complete recovery from this.

  • Becky September 17, 2018

    I'm also praying for your quick recovery from this surgery and no re-occurrence of the skin cancer afterwards. The best part of being as busy as you are right now is that you don't have much time to dwell on this! At least it would be for me:). Still, I'm sure you are ready for it to be over with as soon as possible.

    I love the great deal you got on tuna--that's an amazing price and lots of sandwiches or casseroles or patty melts or salads for very little money! I'm sure your crew can go through several cans of green beans at once--I know we sure have no trouble polishing off a quart and there are only a few of us eating around here anymore.

    The biggest frugal thing this week was an entire trailer of split and dried and chopped firewood that friends dropped off for us, absolutely free, out of the kindness of their hearts. They know my husband is struggling physically right now, and they wanted to help us out, so they've been chopping wood for us from the forest. How kind. It's hard to express how thankful I am. I got a lot of free exercise this week stacking it in the back shed. There's a picture of the wood on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/09/16/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-sept-15-2018/

    My canning project continues. I did more tomatoes (with more to go as they ripen or I can scrounge them), plum sauce, salsa, and chicken-rice soup.

    I made more raspberry-pear popsicles. There has been a small handful of raspberries every few days, so one day I combined them with some canned pears that really, really are not getting any younger and need to be used. I didn't can more this year, and won't until these are all gone.

    We cooked and ate at home as usual, with one exception. We went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant to celebrate our 36th anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been so long, but it has. I feel so blessed that it's been so long and we are still as much in love as we were so long ago.

    I'm very thankful for health insurance, as we had several doctor's appointments this week.

    I haven't shopped much for groceries for several weeks. I made up for it this week. I loaded coupons onto my phone from the 2 stores I wanted to go to on Friday for the bulk of the shopping. I checked Ibotta and made sure I was pairing coupons with the Ibotta rebates. I used the Bottle Drop kiosk at one store and cashed out $50 in bottle refunds I had been saving. The program on those kiosks give you an extra 20% so I got $10 in absolutely free groceries. I used a $5/50 at Safeway. I picked up several free items, mostly from Safeway, but one from Fred Meyers. In the end, that day, I spent around $140 cash for over $300 worth of groceries, according to the receipts.

  • Athanasia September 21, 2018

    Becky, what good friends you have to take care of getting you all that firewood. I enjoyed your canning adventures, as usual.

  • Rhonda A. September 17, 2018

    Oh Brandy, I'm so sorry it wasn't the outcome you were praying for. I certainly hope your surgery goes well, and they are able to get all the cancer removed. Are you able to call upon your family and church community to help you and your family as you recoup after surgery? There are a lot of moving parts in your household that require your attention on a daily basis. They will need covering as you recover. I sincerely wish you all the best for the most positive outcome with your health. This entire community will be rooting from you from all over the world.

    Frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home included cheese tortellini Alfredo with homemade garlic bread (used up various buns from the freezer), taco bake with salad, homemade fried rice with spring rolls (also made chicken fingers for DD), BBQ cheddar sausages or hot dogs on a bun with potato chips, "make your own" pizza, eggs Florentine (eggs scrambles with chopped spinach [and sauteed onion if desired] on toasted English muffin with slices of provolone [or Swiss] cheese and all topped with Hollandaise sauce...yum!) with broccoli salad, and BBQ chicken breasts on a bun (2 Costco chicken breasts split in half fed 4 "adults") with corn and baked apple crisp (from the freezer).
    *Sliced up the 6 smoked hams I bought on sale last week. Added to the freezer 7 meal sized packages of ham steaks, 3 packages of diced ham to use in casserole dishes and 3 small packages of shaved ham for sandwiches. So 6 hams gave me enough meat for at least 13 meals.
    *Did a Costco run, as my hubby needed an oil change on his car. I noticed a sign that sirlion tip roasts would be discounted $5.50/package (2 roasts per pack). It is rare to see beef with discounts like this at Costco, so we picked up 2 packages and my mom bought a 3rd package. We now have 6 beef roasts in the freezer, which should last most of the winter.
    *Grocery shopping highlights included 20 lbs of carrots for $1.97/10lb bag (will be blanching and freezing these for winter meals), 10lb bag of yellow potatoes for $1.97/10lb bag, a package of seasoned roast beef cold meat "ends" for $6/1kg package (repackaged and froze in 4 family sized meals for making French beef dip sandwiches), grapes for $0.99lb, 2 bunches of fresh broccoli for $0.97/bunch, 6 packs of chicken bacon for $3/pack (froze 5 for future use) and 4 boxes of bacon dipper crackers on 50% off clearance making them $0.99/box. Unfortunately noticed that milk prices have increased from $4.27 to $4.55/4L (1 gallon). Good thing I keep a well stocked pantry. It will help with the food price increases that we will be seeing over the next few months!
    *Sent extra lunches for DD's friend 3 times this week. Also sent some extra food from our pantry on Friday for her friend to eat over the weekend.
    *At DD's request, made banana chocolate chip muffins for lunches this upcoming week (recipe link: https://www.interweave.com/article/spinning/inspiration-everywhere-handspun-yarn-tapestry-weaving/?utm_source=pinterest.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wt-alo-pt-161205-BoxWeavingHandspun). I had some ripe bananas that needed using up and this recipe called for 4 bananas, which means more healthy fruit per muffin!
    *DD attended a free cooking class through Autism Ontario potentials program on Friday evening. They cooked Greek inspired cuisine. DD enjoyed the hummus and the lemon herb chicken they made. We brought home the recipes they used.
    *On Saturday, DD was not feeling well. We weren't sure if it was a migraine or the flu. I made some white rice for her to eat, as it is gentle on the stomach. She only ate a little. Eventually the headache went away, thus proving it was a migraine. The next day, I decided to make up a batch of fried rice from the leftover white rice (heavy on the veggies) for DD's and friends lunch on Monday. Put it directly into the containers, so DD wouldn't eat it before Monday. Cheap and healthy!
    *Trimmed my bangs myself, to extend time between having a professional haircut.
    *Went for a walk around our neighbourhood for some free exercise.
    *Cleaned up some of the garden. Collected anything from the heritage plants that went to seed (beans, peas and cucumbers) to save for another year.
    *My mom had a tree cut down in our front yard that had been there since before they bought the house 42 years ago. We sat outside and watched them take it down. Felt sad after it was gone. It was like loosing a part of my childhood.
    *Frugal things I do all the time that I don't think about: water potted flowers with water leftover in drinking bottles, wash out and reuse Ziploc freezer bags (they are heavier and work better for reuse), dry clothes on the line when weather co-operates, stock up on seasonal and sale items to maintain our pantry stock, use Pinterest to research new recipes and new ideas for being frugal, watch for sale items that would make great gifts and maintain a "gift stash" to pull from as needed, and buy candy/chocolate on sale/clearance to maintain a "candy stash" (I utilize this at Christmas, Easter, when we travel/go on day trips or occasionally when we just need a little treat).

    All the best to everyone, for a wonderful week ahead.

  • Lori@MyVintageWhimsy September 17, 2018

    Brandy, I'm adding my prayers to all of those above that your surgery goes well and that your recovery time is minimal. Skin cancer runs in my family full of Scotch Irish blood and my mom, aunts, grandparents all have had spots removed. I slather on spf 100 when I'm in the sun, but still will burn which is easy to do in eastern SC where summer lasts from March through October.

    Last week was possibly the least frugal week in some time as we were hardcore prepping for Hurricane Florence. Thankfully for my area it didn't come in as strong as they predicted, but I feel for those in other areas. I had to buy a lot of water, shelf stable foods, pet foods, etc etc. When Hurricane Matthew came through in Oct 2016, I was without electricity or water for a week, so I was not having a repeat of that experience. All of the stuff I purchased can be used though so it wasn't a waste, just wasn't frugal or even the kinds of products I would normally buy.

    I guess my biggest frugal accomplishment for the week were picking a handful of cherry tomatoes off my plants. Also, my dad brought over 2 frozen turkeys he's been holding for me in his freezer. I used them to take up space in my chest freezer in case of a power outage. I figured a full freezer would stay colder longer than a half filled freezer. I also filled up 10 plastic storage bins with water (I'm on a well) to use for toilet flushing and washing, and then filled up every stockpot and Tupperware container I had with tap water, in case the 3 cases (24 bottles each) of water and 10 gallon size jugs ran out. I'm glad the storm has moved out of the area and I can get back to a normal schedule.

  • Chris M September 17, 2018


    I am so sorry to hear that it's skin cancer ... I hope everything goes smoothly and you're able to recover quickly. Sending virtual brownies for you and your family :)

    Blessings and peace,

  • Jo September 17, 2018

    Brandy, I have added you to my prayer list.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba September 17, 2018


    I will pray for you and your family. May you have a quick and complete recovery from surgery and cancer.

    Here are our frugal accomplishments
    ~ Unplugging the computer each night
    ~ Intentionally sending homemade lunch with my husband every work day
    ~ Gratefully signing up for a webinar at the introductory price
    ~ Joyfully keeping the A/C off and running the fan instead when it got too warm
    ~ Gladly using paper and sticky notes gifted to me
    ~ Using gift cards for some necessary purchases
    ~ Thoughtfully ending invitations for an event through Evite.com; it's a definite upgrade from Facebook invitations without the cost of mailing printed invitations.
    ~ Joyfully sharing a meal with my parents on Saturday; we were soberly reminded how blessed we were to be all together.
    ~ Strategically running errands in conjunction with appointments
    ~ Prudently using what food we had on hand to make meals
    ~ Wisely doing our best to eat produce before it went bad
    ~ Boldly asking for my brother's help with a vendor event. Instead of saying he'll show up, he offered to make a video of different testimonials to play on his tablet AND come to help me out!

  • Tammy September 17, 2018

    I'm sorry that you have skin cancer. I pray that it heals. You have been in my thoughts. I do love your blog.

    Hubby made homemade pickles. Utilized the library. Cooked soups. Trying to use everything we have instead of buying, including groceries. Cooked chicken black bean chili with everything I had on hand. Made Indian dishes with beans and potatoes and wonderful spices that I already have. Made Dosas with chickpea flour. Made soups and froze half for later.
    Utilized food pantry as the little bit of money i am making is all that we have coming in. Hopefully unemployment money comes in and Hubby can get something worked out.
    Turned off lights except above us. Turned up air conditioning to a higher temp so as not to use as much energy. Electric bill was higher than we had hoped this month with all the added fees. Glad we have propane already for cooking.
    Glad that we have insurance this month. Will be going to the dentist tomorrow. Hubby needs to also.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 18, 2018

    I've been thinking of you a lot. Sorry to hear that your husband isn't working (at the moment) and hope his health issues are sorted out. The pickles and soups sound lovely. Courage, something will come your way. Ann

  • Tammy September 18, 2018

    Thank-you. My husband already had an interview today and I think he has landed a job! I am so happy! He was only out of work for a week. He will be able to be off his feet in his new job. He is going to training today. Just hours after the interview. They really liked him. I am thrilled!
    The pickles were good! And I just love soup.
    Ann Thanks for thinking of me. Tammy

  • Tammy September 21, 2018

    I thought my husband had a job. But they haven't called back for some reason. They were supposed to call and tell him when he would start.

  • Mary September 17, 2018

    Praying for you. This is not what you need when you are so busy, but God is good all the time. Praying you are sustained in this busy season and stressful medical time.

  • Stephanie September 17, 2018

    Oh no. I'm so sorry to hear that your biopsy came up with cancer. You'll definitely be in my thoughts; please let us know how you're doing.

    I finished knitting another Christmas gift today out of what was basically scrap yarn. It turned out so nice and my husband's going to love it. I tucked it away into my gift stash and began another gift, this time for my daughter, out of yarn from my yarn boxes. I used leftovers to make my son lunches, which went into the freezer and will be pulled out and packed every night so I don't have to stress about what to make him for lunch. I also made him a batch of cinnamon baked oatmeal for his breakfasts; I just toss a square into the microwave in the morning, which makes mornings so much easier. I also cooked my family a chicken that another family member gave us for free, so they all enjoyed that.

    I received two skeins of free yarn in the mail after complaining to a company about issues I had with their yarn. They were extremely attentive and responsive, and the replacement yarn they sent me was beautiful. I was extremely happy with their customer service. I tossed a large batch of cherry tomatoes from our garden into the dehydrator; they're really tasty when they're dehydrated! I also came in under budget again this week for groceries, so that made me pretty happy.

    Wishing you all the best, Brandy. Please take care of yourself, and give yourself time to heal after surgery.

  • Marcia R. September 17, 2018

    While a positive diagnosis is not the best possible outcome, the skin cancers today are extremely controllable. My husband has had three or four removed by the Mohs procedure. His biggest problem was being allergic to the antibiotic ointment he was putting on it! We found a different one that worked. Since then, once a year visits include spraying any suspicious spots with liquid nitrogen, and no further problems. Since I am very fair, I also went to be checked and have only had a few pre-cancerous spots taken care of. I hope your treatment is as easy!
    Last week I got a boneless pork loin for $1.49 a lb, cut it myself and froze it. This coming week butt portion hams are $1.09 a lb, so I will be adding one of those to the freezer as well. Also got some canned goods which are normally $1.99 each for 88 cents each. I bought as many as I thought I could fit in the cupboard--space is limited. Sept-Dec are the best time for pantry stocking in this area and I'm taking advantage as much as possible. We don't go out to eat much after the weather turns cold here--just too much trouble. The last peaches I bought were dead ripe so I was forced to make my husband a peach pie (which he loves)--it was so good it didn't last long. The rest of the basket are being eaten on cereal daily. Also bought some new crop apples to make applesauce. The weather has been really hot here but sunset comes early anyhow, so it does feel a bit fall like. Hoping your sleep is improving---I am a night owl who keeps myself awake when I should be sleeping. Sleep comes more easily when your children are small and keep you exhausted!

  • Elisabeth September 17, 2018

    Prayer from a mother to another mother for your skin cancer

  • Lillianna September 17, 2018

    On my, I have had you on my mind all day. I am so happy that you had this checked out early and I will also pray that it is simple, uncomplicated and will cause you no more stress. My life is a constant state of frugalness. At this point we continue to do any and everything we can to spend no money. I bought a gallon of Clorox bleach that was 4.50 and I almost fell over backwards. I rarely use it and was flabbergasted at the price. While on the clothes line my very expensive Ralph Lauren comforter mildewed. ( a purchase from my former life) I am going to soak it in the bathtub in an attempt to salvage it. The laundry mat machine is 7.00 so I will try this first. If it works, great and if not, that's fine too. I noticed a bag of zip lock baggies is missing some zippers and others have 2 or 3 zippers. I will call the company tomorrow to see if they will replace them. I steadily work on swagbucks to increase my rewards. So far I have enough to cover our hotel room to see my son graduate Army basic training. I also booked an Airbnb to stay Thanksgiving with him at his next army base for his next schooling. With a 40.00 coupon, I rented a small cottage for 140.00 for three nights. Booking early was the key. I send two cards and a letter a week to him. I am grateful for my random stockpile of cards I have picked up at the thrift store. Right now my priority is his graduation, thanksgiving and Xmas with him. Thankfully his school is only three hours away so once he returns from basic training, a visit will be doable as a tank of gas round trip will be 30.00. Once he leaves school , there is no telling where he will be. Probably South Korea. He is happy, loves the Army and I can only hope he makes it through basic training with no problems. Sugar cookie has been looking at your photos Jeannie, and wants to visit the Amish. I will send blessings to everyone who is struggling. I hope tomorrow is better for you.

  • Becky September 19, 2018

    It sounds like there was an explosion in a Ziplock zipper factory:). I've never seen bags with too many zippers/no zippers etc. Hopefully, they will replace them.

    It sounds like you have found some amazing deals for when you visit your son. I'm glad he is liking the army now that he has finally made it there! $140 for 3 nights sounds like a wonderful deal.

    Hopefully, you can save the comforter. I don't use bleach much, either, but was able to save some towels and a sweatshirt that had picked up the most awful odor on our recent crabbing trip down at the coast. I washed those things 3 times, trying to get them to smell better with everything else, then resorted to bleach. Sadly, I ruined a pair of pants in the process, but everything else was saved.

    I love Jeannie's photos, too. Right now she has some amazing ones of hummingbirds on her blog.

    We are having to think really hard about every penny right now, as well, just as many are. I understand how it is to really weigh each and every purchase. The Lord is providing. We have everything we need and lots of things we just want. I'm sensing it's the same for you. When my husband met with our pastor the other day, he was sharing some of the ways God is providing for our daily needs. The pastor exclaimed, "You should be writing these things down." He's right. I should. I love reading your accounts, and am encouraged by them. It's wonderful that there are so many of us on this blog that can share, and we can all encourage each other. You are not alone. Hang in there.

  • Megan B September 17, 2018

    Brandy, if anyone can pull through all of this with a positive outlook it will be you. I continue to be amazed by everything you do and the beauty you bring into your family’s (and ours) lives! You will continue to be in my thoughts.

    My frugal accomplishments this week:

    Picked 1.5 gallon freezer bags full of blackberries!

    Facebook & eBay sales profit this week = $60.50

    Found two needed items (in like new condition) at yard sales, saving me from buying them new (an estimated savings of $40)! Also found 16 jelly jars for $.10 each at a sale, and the owner gave me a deal on the total sale price (I also found a FireKing dish to resell and my mom found two things at this sale) without being asked! In all (I went to a town wide yard sale) I purchased approx 15 things to resell and a few to keep. It was a great garage sale weekend!

  • Nicole September 17, 2018

    Brandy, I pray that your skin cancer is removed easily and without further issues. Blessings.

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