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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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  • Suzan September 23, 2018

    I think your son is a darling baby. I find babyhood such a delight and so precious.

    I try to be frugal but my main frugal fail occurs with food. So this week I have made a menu plan and do not have to buy meat at all. I will need to top up milk, bread and fresh fruit and vegetables. I have been working on my charity knitting and managed one trip to the craft shop without spending anything. I have been out in my garden doing a post winter clean up. I am not looking forward to our southern summer. For now I am happy that I am comfortable and do not need the air conditioning or the fans.

  • Becky September 23, 2018

    The baby is just so cute! It's great you are able to record his baby days on the blog to look at easily when he's older.

    This week was a week of projects around the house. We were not working at our paid job with the kids as they were on vacation, so we took the opportunity to do as much as we could around the place. As usual, there are pictures on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-september-23-2018/

    We cut boards that we had scavenged into kindling. We finished stacking the wood friends gave us and my husband trimmed off the ends of the ones that were too long.

    My husband replaced the plastic on the greenhouse roof. He took back bottles and cans and got $16 more onto our Bottle Drop card. The best part is that most of those bottles and cans were a gift from someone who doesn't like to go to the recycle center.

    I am still in the midst of my pantry re-stocking project. After several weeks of buying the bare minimum and eating garden produce instead, there were some pretty noticeable bare spots on my shelves. I got several items again this week for free, and shopped the sales. We cashed out a bunch of money from Ibotta and paid for an order from Azure Standard. I was glad the money could be used for basic things I needed. I got bulk spices, oatmeal, cleaning supplies, salt, pepper--things like that.

    I worked on a few canning projects, continuing to focus on tomato products and finishing up odds and ends like the last few pears, etc.

    I was given a large box of apples.

    I spent quite a bit of time organizing myself to homeschool my niece, who will start school tomorrow. She's been on vacation with the rest of her family, and the entire trip focused on American History. They went to New York, Boston and Virginia and focused on historical sites. She will be given 1/2 credit of history for all they did on the trip, which was the plan. I will fill in the parts they didn't cover and do the rest of the subjects she needs. She only needs 3 credits to graduate, so it should be quite a fun year. I am using the library for most of my books, which saved quite a bit since I remembered to sign up for the email service that informs me when books are in onto the "hold' shelf. It also tells me when they are going to be overdue. It saves me quite a bit in overdue fines.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore September 24, 2018

    Hi Brandy. Love the b & w photo of precious Hamish. He looks such a happy baby. Hope your surgery goes well this week. Praying for you and your family. And thank you for this wonderful blog. I'm way behind in reading the posts but hope to catch up soon.

    Haven't posted in a while since summer at the Jersey Shore is a whirlwind for us. Too many activities & guests. It was a very hot & rainy summer. Not a frugal summer. Looked at our last credit card statement - we spent over $1,000 in August for just food (at home & out) and treats for the 2 of us and guests! Time to get "frugal" again. The past 2 weeks it has turned cooler and the central air has been off. Love our low 70s during the day and 60s at night. I was able to grow bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and herbs. Still picking cherry tomatoes, basil, oregano. Enjoying bouquets from my roses, stonecrop sedum (autumn joy), hydrangeas, Montauk daisies, gaura (beeblossom), butterfly bush (buddleia) rose balsam and the last of the crepe myrtle and coneflowers (echinacea purpurea). Goldfinches love the dried cones of the coneflowers on the plants so I hardly ever cut any to enjoy indoors. I grow many of these plants to help the monarch butterflies as they travel South but this year have seen only a few. I have saved seeds for next yr for the rose balsam and coneflowers. They also self seed. Have made many cuttings from the stonecrop sedum for additional plants for my garden and to gift to friends & neighbors. Went blueberry & blackberry picking at local organic farms. It was fun for our young grandkids - their first time- and made preserves.

    Last week our local grocery store had fresh scallops for 2 lbs for $12.98. Was able to purchase 4 lbs. We enjoyed some & froze the rest. It may not look frugal but this was a great price for fresh scallops. Had to make several trips (combined with other errands to save gas) as the store ran out of their daily supply of 100 lbs by late morning. Fresh shrimp will be on sale for the same price this week. Have started to stock up on non-perishables as according to some forecasters it may be a snowier, stormier winter than last and since our street does not get ploughed out right away & our closest grocery store is 20 min in each direction away, want to have a plentiful supply on hand.

    I hope all your posters/readers - a special prayer for poster Lynn from the Outer Banks whose posts I have enjoyed reading - who live in the Carolinas made it thru ok with Hurricane Florence. As a survivor of Superstorm Sandy that hit us so hard here at the Jersey Shore and my family in NY, I have been offering up prayers for all your safety.

  • Lynn from NC Outer Banks September 24, 2018

    Oh Mari, thank you so much for the prayers for me and others here in the Carolinas. Because of the turn Hurricane Florence made, we were minimally affected here in the OBX. But in other areas of the state, including where I grew up (Wilmington) and nearby counties, the damage is overwhelming. Having gone through Sandy, you know how devastating the combination of wind and flood waters can be. With such high flood waters many areas have been completely inaccessible. The rivers have finally crested (some for the second time) and the waters are starting to recede. The highways that were inundated with water are beginning to re-open so that aid can begin to make it to the hard hit areas. It will definitely be a long term recovery for the area. I shudder to think of the damage and additional loss of life had it come ashore as a category 4 hurricane.

  • Laurie in central NC September 29, 2018

    Thank you so much for your prayers, Mari. We were blessed to be minimally affected by the storm. I think the worst part is a huge amount of a new to us mosquitoes now, very large and aggressive, from all the wetness. First frost can't come soon enough this year.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 08, 2018

    So glad Lynn and Laurie that you made it safely thru the storm. Saw on the news the devastation in New Bern & Wilmington and brought back horrible memories of Sandy's destruction here at the Jersey Shore. Laurie I've clicked on your link for your blog - really nice. My grandmother made elderberry extract also as a cold remedy.

  • Char September 24, 2018

    Habitual lurker here. Thank you for mentioning the library isn’t free, so we should doubly use it! In the UK our libraries offer an app where we have free online access to lots of magazines and audio books too; I wonder if yours are the same?
    Really I popped in today to see how you’re doing. You’re in the prayers of many, including me. X

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 30, 2018

    Hi Char,

    In Canada, some city libraries offer free online access to a great variety of magazines, books (and audio books), language courses, films and music. I have been discovering what my library offers online and am overwhelmed by how wonderful it is!
    We have a new state of the art central library being built and i can hardly wait for a tour! No charge for library card either.
    I think it varies widely between city and town as to what is available.

  • Fiona Chain September 24, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    Love the photo of Hamish, oh my goodness such a beautiful boy, I love his plump little feet❤️. This week to save money we- dried the washing on the line, packed my lunch for work everyday, bought loose leaf herb tea from the market,I find it cheaper and much better quality than supermarket brands, cleaned the house with homemade cleaners, checked out the supermarket a couple of times a week for marked down produce, sewed some cutlery wraps as gifts for coworkers from fabric in my stash, made scones to take to work as a treat for morning tea, from frozen cream I didn’t want to waste, kept to the 2 light rule at night, potted out some perennial coriander to give away, used the warm up water from the showers to water potted plants, menu planned and shopped only to that, claimed our phone and health insurance through salary sacrifice, finally did my tax return. And that all I can think of for the mo. Have a lovely day,

  • Shelley September 24, 2018

    Dear Brandy,
    Hope your surgery went well. My husband's birthday was this week and I made him at cake for around $3 which is much less than a bakery bought one.
    I was able to use $16 less in gas this week. Also I got 2 free tubes of toothpaste and M&M's plus $5 off coupon I was able to get $68 of groceries for $17! I was excited.
    My husband and I plus another couple went out of town for one night to celebrate my husband's birthday. We split the cost of the hotel.
    Take care

  • Darcy September 24, 2018

    Hamish is such a sweet little guy!

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    My husband made a large pot of spaghetti sauce. I froze a large bag for a future meal and two smaller ones for pizzas. He loves making our spaghetti sauce and it always saves us money.

    I made chicken broth from bones I have been collecting in the freezer. I will be making some chicken soup this week.

    I harvested basil and cherry tomatoes.

    I mended a pair of pants.

    Last weekend we had a birthday party for two family members. I used coupons for three of the gifts. We had a taco bar and used our home-grown tomatoes, ground beef we had gotten for 99 cents per pound about a month ago, homemade refried beans, cheese that we had gotten at a deep discount, and other items from our pantry.

    This weekend we did very little grocery shopping. We bought pork chops for 99 cents per pound, bananas for 19 cents per pound, peanut butter for $1.59, canned tuna for 59 cents, butternut and spaghetti squash for 59 cents per pound, all of which are fantastic prices in our area.

    My company provided lunch for me one day. All other lunches were brought from home.

    We washed baggies, used homemade laundry soap and fabric softener, and kept the lights off when not using the room.

    I am learning to ask for discounts. I am scheduled for some extensive dental work next month. I asked if there was a discount for paying cash and they are giving me 15% off the total.

  • Cindi September 26, 2018

    How smart to ask for that discount!

  • Laurie in AZ September 26, 2018

    I need to get some expensive dental work done soon. I'm going to try to ask for a cash discount! Thanks for the idea!

  • AndreaG September 24, 2018

    Hamish is so adorable, Brandy! With eight older siblings he has lots to keep up with! We had another quiet week here. All meals were made at home and my husband took his lunch to work every day. I am really trying to make sure our pantry and freezer are full these days as there is a chance my husband will be laid off if the faculty at the university where he works go on strike. We’re hoping not but best to be prepared. We are extensive library users here as well and know that we get more than our money’s worth every year. I will be thinking and praying for you this week, Brandy as you prepare for your surgery.

  • Kim in Florida September 24, 2018

    Wow.....4 hard to believe the baby is almost 5 months old already. He's a cutie!! Sorry to hear about the skin cancer, Brandy. I hope its all taken care of now and behind you. Last week, even though it we spent a lot of money, in the long run it was could be considered frugal. My biggest announcement is we evicted the tenants and closed on the house the next day. We were losing money each month untill they stopped paying and then we were losing a lot more. Lesson learned, wont be doing that again. We left for PA and took a more inland, longer route to avoid hurricane Florence. I had packed a cooler for the way up, so we saved money on that and had enough left for sandwiches on a few days. I didnt take any grocery money out for the week, so when we returned, I actually had money leftover from the week before that I used. We stayed at the cheaper hotel in town for 4 nights and they had continental breakfast. They also had coffee brewing all the time, so when I wanted coffee, I just went back to the hotel instead of dunkin donuts. We did take my vehicle this time so gas was a lot cheaper than when we took dh's truck in August. In PA, when a tenant is evicted, you have to store it for 10 days and then if they say they want it, you have to store it for 30 days, and if they havent gotten it, then you can throw it out. Saturday night we realized just how expensive it was going to be for us to do that. For one we'd have to go back to get rid of it and it wasnt worth bringing it all back to Florida. We came up with a plan that the rental agent facilitated and it was a winwin for everyone. We still werent realizing how much expense or work involved. The tenants rented a room in the back of an old store to store their stuff. My husband and I were to remove all of their belongings from the house and bring it to the facility. This happened before they were evicted so it wasnt abandoned yet. We also have their written permission to do this. My original plan was to rent a truck, but Sunday morning, my brother in law borrowed a 26foot ryder truck from work and brought it up. The three of us worked all day and filled it up. We gave him $100 for the gas. The second day we rented a 10 foot uhaul truck. DH and I continued working on the basement all day. Had we not had that big truck and help the first day, or had we waited till after they were evicted,, we would have still been working on emptying the house as I write this. We were able to get them all out and the house cleaned, and sold the house the next day. That nightmare is over. We are so relieved. No more saving money to spend on someone else!!! Everything I can save goes into our new home fund.

  • Laurie in central NC September 24, 2018

    Oh, what a dear sweet Hamish is! The cookies sound like a great use for old raisins. I'll have to try the recipe. Though Florence did a number on our garden, I was still able to harvest okra, a few tomatoes, pawpaws, basil, oregano and a few pears. I borrowed two books from the library. Now you've got me curious as to the portion of our property tax that goes to the library. I'll have to see if I can find that out. As taxes go, that's one I'm happy to support. You remain in my prayers for the best possible outcome on your upcoming surgery. Joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/09/welcome-fall-frugal-accomplishments.html

  • Megan Z. September 24, 2018

    I love my library. I use it almost every week. Recently I saw a sign that my local branch will be closed for a month. Thankfully there is another branch that they’ll be operating from during this time. It is roughly the same distance but more lights so takes longer.

    I was fairly frugal while on vacation. I spent very little until the last day when I splurged in some food items. I also bought a sweatshirt that was on sale. I was able to fit in kids which was half the price of the adult sizes.

    Since returning I’ve tried to use items from the pantry and garden. I’m still producing eggplant and green beans. I’ve been using a recipe where you cut the eggplant in half, score and sprinkle salt on it and let sit for 30 minutes. Then wipe off moisture, add garlic, oil and thyme and bake for 30 minutes. So good and easy. I found a bag of frozen seafood so made a seafood pot pie this weekend. It was delicious and a bit fancier than our normal meals.

    I went to a few shops looking to purchase some fall decorations. I didn’t like anything and decided to save money instead. We’re finally cooling off from our abnormal 90s temps so I’m ready for fall. Once the leaves start changing I may see if can use some for my decorating.

  • Jennifer O. September 24, 2018

    I wish I could use the local library, but the hours for ours are terrible for people who work days.
    I stayed home most nights. Ate leftovers from fridge and freezer. Took my breakfast and lunch to school each day. Continued using powdered milk (I only use about a cup a week at home, unless I’m making a casserole, so powdered is perfect). Read my kindle every day since I’m on the free trial. Attended a dinner party and brought requested baked beans (from the pantry) and a bottle of wine from our cellar. Attended free Zumba classes on base and a free musical at the highs school (faculty privilege). Groceries cost less than $30 for the week and that included some stocking up.

    Volunteered at the VFW one night making dinner, so they fed me for free. Tutored a VFW member’s granddaughter. I refused money, but he insisted on paying my bar bill. Paid a local man $60 (and a meal) to dig out and to fix part of the foundation of my house. He will come back next week to fix another section, spray for mold, and survey what we think might be a cracked beam. A professional company would have cost me hundreds just to do the job so far and I would have had to take off work.

    Finished the laundry marathon and bleach wiped all of the upstairs closets (there was mold due to the broken AC).
    I am currently reading and editing for 4 PhD students at my school. Usually I only have 1, maybe 2 a semester. My brain is swimming with all of the close reading. Plus I have an article of my own I am preparing for publication.

    Fails – My husband came home for the weekend and we went out for a dinner on Friday lunch on Sunday. Used my Open Table app for both to get points. They were expensive, but lovely date time that we don’t get enough of. Had to buy another round of pantry moth traps. Anyone know a homemade way until I manage to completely purge them?

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker September 24, 2018

    Pantry moth traps are very expensive. I used fly paper instead and it worked really well. I have a walk-in pantry, though, so if you just have a cupboard, that might not work well. I noticed this past week that our local Walmart had the pantry moth traps on clearance, so that could be another option. Of course, if they are in your kitchen, flying about, try some fly paper. If the infestation is really bad, you will need several rolls, as mine filled up quickly with moths.

    I agree about the hours at the library. Ours does have a couple of evenings. We are able to request books online and then go in to pick them up when they come in (from whatever branch has them ready; they send the books I want to my local branch). I can then pop in and pick up the books I want from the hold shelf, check them out, and leave right away.

    I am using the library a lot without going in at all. I am checking out e-books online and reading them on my phone. My daughter just downloaded the Hoopla ap; going through the library, she can watch 10 movies a month for free with it. The library has several other video-watching app choices as well, which we were busy checking out and downloading last week. We are going to try each of them out to see what they have to offer. One has more magazines that our library's reading app, so it might have the magazine I was looking for the other day that our library's regular app didn't. I saw an interesting cover article on a magazine at the checkout the other day, so I am looking to see if I can get a digital copy of that magazine.

  • Kim in Florida September 24, 2018

    The easiest way to get rid of pantry moths is to just get rid of all your grains & rice items. I had an infestation about 15 years ago and tried tape and traps.....finally got rid of them when I got rid of the food.

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