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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Hamish 4 months The Prudent Homemaker

Hamish sat up a couple of weeks ago at 4 1/2 months old. Now he wants to sit up all the time.


I sewed 5 toddler bibs that I cut out from an old fitted sheet of my mom's.

I turned a pair of my son's pants with a torn knee into shorts.

I turned a pair of my daughter's jeans with a torn knee into shorts, and I turned a pair of boot cut jeans into shorts. Since I buy the girls' jeans for $0.50 to $2 a pair at garage sales, I'm not out a lot to start when they quickly wear out the knees in their jeans. Shorts are more practical here for most of the year, so they wear the shorts until the fabric wears out.

I opened the windows in the early mornings when it was below 79 to air out the house and keep from running the air conditioner for a couple of hours each morning. We need air conditioning here during the day through October, so it was nice to be able to open the windows just for a short while before we reached triple digits this past week.

Some of my agapanthus plants died over the summer (they burnt in the heat, a common problem here for many plants). The local nursery was having a sale on them, so I purchased some new ones while they were on sale. 

My husband gave our eldest son a haircut.

My husband and his brother fixed our back door, which has not been closing properly for some time.

I read several e-books from the library. I paid $62.32 a year in taxes for the library this year, and I have gotten more than my money's worth (One likes to think of the library as being "free," but it isn't really free.) The library recently purchased several e-books that I requested, so I've been able to read books that I really wanted without having to purchase them.

I enjoyed two magazines that I have a free subscription to, thanks to Recyclebank.

I cut red noodle beans and Armenian cucumbers from the garden. We used the beans in a dinner of fried rice (along with eggs, onions, and carrots) and the cucumbers with white bean dip (along with purchased carrots, cut into sticks) for a lunch. I also cut chives from the garden.

I cooked a large batch of pinto beans in the solar oven, which I used to make bean burritos.

I saved some old raisins that were becoming rather dry by using them to make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. The recipe calls for soaking and slightly cooking the raisins with water to make them plumper, so even if your raisins are super old, they will still work well in this recipe.

I made a bottle of anti-static spray using store-brand witch hazel and water in a $1 travel spray bottle. A reader suggested this in the comments a couple of months ago and my eldest said it works great. She used about 60% witch hazel to 40% water (the original comment said 50/50, I believe).

I repurposed a beautiful blue and white gravy boat that a reader sent to me to hold flashcards that we are using every day.


What did you do to save money this past week?








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  • Tami Lewis September 24, 2018

    A few things I did this week to save money...
    I used some smartphone apps and saved $10 on my groceries.
    I used my Mcdonalds smartphone app and got a free coffee.
    I used a gift card I earned to buy a comforter and chose ship to store to save shipping fees. I picked it up on the day I took my daughter to the orthodontist so I saved gas.
    I filled my dishwashing liquid half way with water...still suds just fine and doubles it.
    I started some green onions with scraps.
    I used a website that I complete surveys on to "buy" some free magazine subscriptions.
    I downloaded several free kindle books.
    I sold eggs for extra cash.

  • Reader September 25, 2018

    Please suggest a gift for baby shower! we dont have these where i live and ive never been to any. Its their 1st baby and i am sure they are well stocked up already with all the baby stuff. Thanks!
    I spent money a bit less carefully than usual and am in creative mode again. I like running out of money occasionally, then i put some stuff on sale i usually would not bother to and by that declutter. Also do other stuff i do not when i am in spend mode like planting stuff ive bought, organizing etc.

  • Margie from Toronto September 25, 2018

    Well if they have a lot of baby "stuff" already - what about giving a few "Gift Certificates" - i.e. A promise to provide dinner once a week for the first month after baby arrives? Perhaps baby sitting - no just for na evening out but perhaps for an afternoon so that mom can nap and have some time to herself? If they have a dog you could be the dog walker for a few weeks? Just some practical things that might really come in handy when exhaustion hits.

  • LynnDinKY September 25, 2018

    We are having another grandbaby soon. The mother's shower is this weekend. I made a quilt, burpcloths and washcloths. Can you sew? If so, you could also make baby bibs, diaper covers, tag blankets/snuggles, and clothes. If you knit, little bitty booties, hats and blankets are so cute. Wooden blocks would be a smash when they are a little older. Can you scrapbook? Make a baby album with pages already done and ready for the pictures.

  • Heidi Louise September 25, 2018

    Reader: My go-to present for babies, new houses, and even hostess presents, is Trash Stickers. I know different communities sell these differently. My town uses stickers on each trash can to pay for pick-up. Others have specially required trash bags.
    It always gets a laugh, and they will certainly get used. They can be combined with a smaller baby- or family- specific present, or with some household products you know they use, especially if the new parents don't have a lot of time for shopping. I gave my boss a package of the expensive soft Charmin toilet paper when she announced her first upcoming baby, and she loved it.
    You can even decorate the stickers with holiday stickers, wrap them or put them in a card, etc.
    Otherwise, books are ALWAYS appropriate for children and they can be room decorations until the child can enjoy them.

  • Athanasia September 25, 2018

    Reader, many folks register for baby shower presents just as they do weddings at the local Target, for example, or on line like at Amazon. That could give you some ideas even if you don't choose off the list. I personally like to give a little item or two off list and then diapers and wipes. Babies sometimes get more clothes than they need so that is why I go with the diaper and wipes. I usually go in on present with my mother.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 25, 2018

    It is on the expensive side but I love the "Scottish Lace" blankets handwoven in Scotland from Land's End and that can be monographed with baby's name. They were not so expensive previously and over the years, I've given several of them. If you can go in with someone else and get a 40% discount, then it wouldn't be so bad. Also, perhaps a gift for later because they may not know baby's name before the shower. But I love Margie's suggestion about making dinner for them, or other things you can do for low cost but which would really help. Even weeding their garden, if they have one.

  • Jennifer O. September 26, 2018

    I usually get some clothes and diapers that are 6 months. People get lots of newborn and 3 - 6 months, but few 6 - 9. I keep a stash( particularly of " holiday" items) if I can find them on clearance or I think they are cute.

  • Precious September 25, 2018

    I will be praying for you while you have surgery on Friday. My 18 year old niece is having a large mass removed from her left lung the same day. So i will be praying for both of you and for a speedy recovery too.

  • Gail C. September 26, 2018

    I've said prayers that the medical staff uses their God given talents and skills for Brandy's surgery as well as your niece's.
    I hope that everyone affected, family & friends as well as patients, can find a vent for the inevitable stress.

  • Nancy in Eastern Washington September 25, 2018

    Brandy - good luck with the surgery this week. You will be in my prayers.

    We are expecting our first frost soon. We harvested our onions, potatoes, dry beans (pinto this year) and carrots over the weekend. Each year we grow dry beans. We alternate between 3 varieties, pinto, black, and calico (an Italian heirloom bean that my DH's grandmother brought back from Italy years ago). The potatoes and carrots are in their appropriate places. The beans still need to be shelled, but they are on a tarp in our shop to avoid getting any moisture, and the onions are ready to put up for the winter. It was a great year for onions.

    We also harvested the balance of our peppers and many tomatoes and made another batch of salsa. We use a lot of salsa during the year, and make enough every summer so we don't have to buy any. We freeze our salsa rather than can it. Picked cucumbers both for eating, and also made two more jars of dill pickles. That is 15 quarts for the year. Used our garlic, dill and hot peppers in the pickles, as well as our cucumbers, of course.

    Shredded a large zucchini and made 8 loaves of zucchini bread. It is also in the freezer.

    Made 8 sausage and cheese biscuits for breakfasts for the week.

    Fred Meyer had 80/20 ground beef in the 3 pound chubs for $1.88 a pound - limit 5. got 5 and used one for BBQ'd hamburgers. The other four are in the freezer.

    Using rewards from both Safeway, and a coupon for $10 off a minimum $10 purchase from Staples, was able to get 30 rolls of TP for only $2.17.

    Picked lettuce and corn and gave some to my former neighbors, who have moved, along with some garlic, onions and carrots. Her DH came over the next day with 3 dozen eggs from their chickens. It was great timing, since I was down to 6 eggs after all my baking.

    I know there was more, but that is enough for now. Hope everyone has a great week.

  • Marybeth September 28, 2018

    I keep getting the staples coupons. I have been stocking up on cleaning products

  • April September 25, 2018

    We just aren't having much luck with vehicles...mine went out 3 weeks ago (we've been saving to replace it anyways), the teens transmission went out on his truck over a week ago, and then the clutch went out on hubby's truck this weekend. We'll have to dip into my down payment fund to fix hubby's truck first, the teen will pay us back for repairs on his eventually (it just got to the shop today). We thankfully borrowed a vehicle and being down to one is awful and stressing.(3 of us work, then one in middle school).

    Hubby's boss sent over a ton of eggs...84 with in a few days.

    Banked some more Ibotta rebates. I now have $68 to use towards Christmas

    Used $5 ace rewards to buy batteries

    Temps finally cooled off so the ac has been off and doors open

    Listed some items on a local free site. Pick up was on my porch so I wasn't out gas or time

    Eating leftovers for lunch

    My mom sent over some frozen chicken nuggets. We don't eat a lot of processed food so they taste funny to us. I'll use them as treats for the dogs.

    I found a bunch of gift cards from decluttering and I've been using them up, even if there is just a few pennies on them

  • Laurie in AZ September 25, 2018

    What an adorable baby!

    It is still hot here in Phoenix, but it still feels like Fall emotionally! Fall is my favorite season!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 7 times, including pintos & jalapenos; chicken shish kebabs with baked beans; Hamburger Helper with cottage cheese and green beans (twice); dutch oven chicken with carrots, onions and potatoes; hamburgers, salad and ranch beans; and steak, baked potato and zucchini. Continued to eat items from the freezer and pantry.
    • Worked 10 contract hours. Only had to go into the office one of the days. The rest of the hours I worked from home.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • Read a book my sister loaned to me and 2 library books.
    • Hubby changed the oil in my car. There was a promotion to receive an NBA sports bag with the purchase of the oil. Sent away for that.
    • Went camping this weekend. All it cost us was the gas to get up to the cool country and that took less than a tank to get there and back. Hubby even caught 2 fish that he fried up and had for lunch.
    • My daughter’s birthday was this week. We go on a mother-daughter trip every year and I pay for the hotel. I already paid for it and our trip is in October. Not frugal but easy! I did make her cupcakes with ingredients I already had on hand.
    • We came in 1st at trivia this week and I won the $30 gift certificate. Our team does a tie breaker question and whoever gets it, gets the certificate and the $1 each of us puts in. So I also got $5 in cash.
    • Had lunch out one day with Hubby at Chick-Fil-A, but his entrée was free as I had a gift card for free chicken strips.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Athanasia September 25, 2018

    Raisin oatmeal cookies are my favorite so I make those often.

    Brandy, we're praying for a good outcome to your surgery and hopefully some peaceful days to rest up and heal.

    Fall is fully here. The color reports are showing up on the local news reports now. We've cleaned out a good portion of the gardens. Looks like we'll be having thunderstorms shortly. My oldest daughter and her husband put up the hoop houses over the crops she wants to extend. We have been in low 40's at night so no frost yet. I like Fall and all the pumpkins and mums. My uncles and their wives decorate our house and shop for fall with cornstalks and gourds and all the things they sell at the family farm stand which is in front of our house. They think it is good advertising and they sell more when people see what they have done and get ideas.

    We finished picking the last of the peaches. We have 2 dwarf trees, both self pollinating. One was ready to pick end of July, this last one started mid August. Apples are ready now. We have 5 old trees and 3 young trees. We cleaned out bell peppers and came up with about 7 last gallons worth. Hot peppers about one last pound. Still picking sweet corn daily. Brought in last of eggplant, 14. Pulled out all the cucumber vines and found many hiding of all sizes. Brought them all in.

    To be continued.

  • Athanasia September 26, 2018

    to continue, we are basically getting ready for winter here. The days seem so much shorter already. Still doing some canning over the last few weeks. Made corn relish and more pickle relish. Made another jar of refrigerator pickles, made peach jam, pre made 5 peach pies unbaked and put in freezer, canned 7 quarts of peaches for cobbler use. Sadly no grapes this year. Our 150 year old arbor was starting to look bad last year and the county extension agent recommended removing and destroying and moving to a whole new location. We have done that removal but not started over. So no jelly or juice this year. We will increase the amount of apple jelly and juice to make up. Also my daughter wants to try making cranberry juice this year. We go to a cranberry festival in about 2 weeks so we will get berries in the area, very cheap.

    My husband and son in law took Theo's pick up that he uses for farm visits and came back with 800 pounds of russet potatoes. Sounds like a lot buy son Markus wanted 200 pounds for his family and Eliana and Theo want 300 so we get the last 300. We bought 100 pounds of red potatoes earlier. It is best to buy unwashed if you can. Lay them out and let them dry, brush off excess dirt. They will last much longer. We buy the seconds from the road side stands around here. Lots of potatoes. We are going to visit the 2 other girls and will probably take them each 50 lbs and I would like another 100 lbs for us. Son Andreas and family do not use as much potatoes as a lot of their cooking is rice based.

    Some of the things cooked and baked over the last few weeks...white bread, Brandy's French bread, rye bread, banana nut bread, zucchini bread, banana chocolate chip muffins, plum kuchen, peach kuchen, apple crisp, butterscotch pudding. Made multiple batches of spaghetti sauce, cooked up mix of onions, peppers, eggplant and zucchini and froze in 2 cup containers. I like this to add to lasagna filling or to chili. Also cooked up containers of just onions and spicy peppers for putting into Spanish rice or curry into 1 cup containers. Took about 45 of the bell peppers and stuffed them all some with an Italian style mix of ground beef, onions, seasoned tomato sauce and cheese. Others stuffed with Mexican style filling of corn, beans, rice and seasoned tomato sauce and pepper cheese. Some of the peppers pretty small so maybe 2 or 3 to a serving. Froze them in batches enough for the 2 of us. Made salmon puff, macaroni and cheese, blueberry waffles, maple baked squash, kale soup, vegetable soup, cauliflower corn chowder. Grilled out things like fish, hamburgers and shish kabab. That's all I can remember.

    I am so unused to having just 2 of us at home. Well we did for a few months last year, but now this will be the whole school year. So we let church know that we can house any over night speakers or missionaries that they would like. Send them our way. The dogs miss the constant attention they had from youngest so they go next door and hang around oldest girls 3 dogs.

    Did all the usual of using up leftovers...I have to cook in smaller batches! Packed lunch for my work and for husband to eat at home at noon. Washed out and reused ziplocs. Hung some laundry to dry inside on racks. Mended. Got out the winter clothes and hung them up to air out. Husband hung all the winter blankets out on the line to air out. Washed windows inside and out to get rid of bugs and summer dirt. Husband did fall pruning that needed done. Mulching fallen leaves when mowing and adding to compost piles. Cleaned out some of the fading annuals and added in some 1.00 mums from the farm store for a little fall color.

    to be continued...

  • Mable September 27, 2018

    Did you blanch the peppers before stuffing and freezing them? I have thought of doing that but could not seem to find instructions that explained the blanch/not blanch step. Thanks for any help.

  • Athanasia September 28, 2018

    Mable, I do not blanch them first.

  • dawnelle September 25, 2018

    He is so cute, I love his little smile!

  • Lillianna September 25, 2018

    Being persistent seems to be my greatest frugal achievement this week. Our internet bill went up by 20 dollars. That wasn't acceptable to me. First agent refused to do anything. Second agent refused to sell me anything unless I purchased everything at 200 a month .Absolutely refused to provide me with any other options. Poor child, I terminated our call. Third agent quickly provided me a 2 yr contract for 40.00 a month. I am happy and sugar cookie will be happy to stream tv again. I have collected 200.00 in swagbucks for our upcoming trip to son's army graduation. Sugar cookie requested new speakers to connect to her tablet. After grocery shopping, I took her to the thrift store. She searched and located a pair for two dollars. She checked that they had all the wires and that the light turned on, when she plugged them in. She did this all by herself with no help from me. I was busy looking at books! Her purchase works and sounds great. We are still spending very little money. I imagine 5.00 a week covers our one little outing each week. We are having lots of rain this week. I have taught sugar cookie how to check the weather forecast and find pockets of warm temperature s where she can hang out laundry. I think she understands. The worse thing that will happen is that the clothes get rained on. While the internet is waiting to be reconnected, I have downloaded several books and movies to the kindle. I am determined to not get off budget .

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