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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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  • Jerri September 24, 2018

    I had a pantry moth invasion 3 years ago. I went through every cupboard and threw out a lot of food. Going forward, everything is in glass or plastic containers. If I happen to get a bug in new food it's limited to the container it's in. That was a costly and time-consuming project, but I'm happy to say it worked.

  • Marcia R. September 24, 2018

    Almost everyone who has been keeping house for a while has had this problem at one time or another. We had it several years ago and VERY badly. I used a product from DO IT YOURSELF PEST CONTROL (see Google) that was a spray. You spray it into every small crack and crevice after you do the big clean out and scrub up of the cupboard. I have a 110 year old house, with old wooden cupboards. I did the whole process at LEAST twice. It was expensive, time consuming, and exhausting. The spray worked very well and I still have it handy if it's ever needed again. It wasn't terribly expensive either. I scrubbed those cupboards to within an inch of their lives!! I now use mostly canning jars for storing dry goods. If I see a moth in the house, I hunt it down before it has time to lay eggs! That doesn't happen much now. I send my sympathy--it's a disgusting and expensive problem to have.

  • Lillianna September 25, 2018

    My invasion was an extremely expensive mistake. I didn't know what they were and they destroyed the majority of my food supply. I actually was forced to clean the worm sacs out of every crevice in my kitchen. I used a fondue fork and several gallons of Apple cider vinegar. Literally pulled each drawer out and scraped all books and cranies.

  • Jennifer O. September 26, 2018

    I think that's where I am. I cleared out the offending food (anything in a bag or box). Placed moth traps all over the house. Removed everything and wiped the whole space down with bleach and then with vinegar and a 3rd time with Dr Bonner's peppermint oil soap and 2 weeks later I saw moths again. Sigh.

  • Stephanie September 24, 2018

    What a sweet little guy, and I love his name!!!

    I bought a cast iron skillet at Aldi this week for $12.99. I'm pretty excited about this, as I've never owned anything cast iron before, but I've heard plenty of people rave about it. They also had canning jars on sale for $5.99, which I didn't realize until I got home. I'm hoping they're still that price when I go back. I also bought pink beans, which I've never had before, for 80 cents a pound, and I bought what will be several years' worth of garam masala for $4.39. I also used a coupon to buy a pretty shade of lipstick for 58 cents. Since it's getting cooler, I'll keep this one in my purse.

    I used up all the applesauce I had accidentally pulled out of the freezer a few weeks ago (instead of pasta sauce, which really confused my husband when he opened the container to dump it over spaghetti!). I picked up several books from interlibrary loan at my library (such a fantastic service!!! The library is worth every cent we pay in tax dollars. I read hundreds of books from there every year, I check out a HUGE stack of books for my daughter every week, we watch DVDs from there, they 3D print things for my husband for work, we attend story time and other programs...), and I bought a small stack of books for my daughter at a thrift store for $3. Some of them have been put away for Christmas, and the others will be read when she gets around to it. She's learning to read, and they're easy readers. Some days she's more amenable to reading herself than others, so we'll see when she feels like reading to me! :)

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Tanja Brattinga September 24, 2018

    Wauw looking good that little boy of yours.
    My frugal accomplishments last 2 weeks:
    -Got some free items through an app.
    -harvested the last cucumbers.
    -harvested new zealandspinach.
    -had to work at a funeral in the village house. I coocked soup as they ordered and buns with ham and cheese. There was a lot of soup left so I took that home as I live nearby the villagehouse. The other women who worked, took home the left over buns as they had to cicle a few km.
    -my husband repared an old (boys)bike for my daughter. She now goes to school in a nearby city, she goes there by bus but still has to walk 20 minutes, so now she has a bike there. She stalls(?) the bike at my husbands work (aldi supermarket), the busstop is opposite the shop. Now the bike is behind a fence when the shop is closed. At the station (one stop further is the bus/train station) a lot of bikes get stolen and it is always very busy at the bicycle storage, so this is a good idea.
    -I phoned an onlinestore, as my daughter bought two sportinglegging there and made herself an special account (whitout her realising it). She made me look at her bankaccount as there was debited 49,95 euro's every month and she did not buy anything. So I called and said that she was underage, the lady on the phone said she would make it in order to close the account and put the money back at my daughters bankaccount. the money was not gone but it was a credit for further puchases. Well she does not need 50,- of sportswear to buy every month ofcourse. I find these things very diffecult for childeren now a days, they need to deal with it, al this interned buying and temptations from shops. We did not have to deal with al of this when we where young, if you had no money you could not buy anything....simple as that. And you had to withdraw real money from the bank, now a days they have no idea about money it's al virtual. My 19 year old son applied for a creditcard last summer as he had no money for his planned holiday!!!!!!!!! NO WAY I said you can borrow money from me for free, borrowing money with a creditcard is very expensive. But how can the banks approve .....he had no income.....just a student grands. I know in the USA a lot of people have a creditcard or multiple, and also the debt that goes with it. If you have no money you can not buy anything, how simple can it be......thats how I see it!
    Have a nice week everyone.
    Greetings Tanja (Netherlands)

  • Jo September 24, 2018

    I love that photo, too. All of your children seem so photogenic!

    I shopped a yard sale and finally found some drawer organizers. I was about to go ahead and buy some new, as I'd been searching for so long.

    I bought a fresh chicken from a local organic farm. They are more expensive than stores, so I don't waste anything. I cut off a breast portion to make chicken tenders (the chickens are a large breed), spatchcocked the rest (cut out the backbone and flatten it before roasting, which cuts a lot of time off the roasting time and gives lots of crispy skin) to have one night and a few lunches just as roast chicken, I'll make chicken pot pie of the roast leftovers, and lastly, will make bone broth from the bones, tail, backbone, and neck. If there is too much leftover meat to make pot pie, I'll make a small batch of chicken salad. There's just two of us here, so I can stretch a chicken pretty far.

    While roasting the chicken, I slid in two pans of cut up sweet potatoes and winter squash. They are now in the refrigerator, waiting to be added to meals later this week.

    I picked wild beauty berries in our yard. I use them to make jelly, or I might try wine this year.

    We had bananas getting a little too ripe, so I peeled, sliced and froze them. My husband likes to add them to his protein shake (he's low on protein) and I like to use them with fresh cream to make "ice cream" in the blender.

    I put more Swagbucks on an Amazon card.

    Medical bills are still coming in, but I'm using savings to help us pay them. We had two unexpected medical emergencies this year, and insurance deductibles and co-pays are high, plus we have the usual expenses since my husband and I both have chronic health conditions. It's good to have the savings there, but I hate watching the balance go down, knowing how long it took me to build it up. That's when I have to have faith!

  • Margie from Toronto September 24, 2018

    What a beautiful baby Hamish is - and how upright he sits too - great posture!
    The weather has finally cooled off here - in fact it was quite a drastic change from one day to the next with a huge windstorm here in Toronto - but thankfully not a tornado like the ones that hit Ottawa and Gatineau - what a mess!
    Life is returning to frugal ways after the company left for home and various other things have settled down. Since I now have a bit more energy I have been cooking - roasted a chicken and then made broth and soup from the carcass. I had not intended to buy any meat but found such a good deal on beef strips that I had to buy a couple of packs. One is in the freezer and with the other I made a beef and broccoli stir fry. Some of the stir fry and a couple of containers of soup will go to my elderly neighbour and I'm going to ask a friend to come for a light lunch tomorrow featuring the soup with some good bread and pate. It will be a frugal way to entertain.
    I also became a senior citizen last week - YIKES - how did that happen! But at least I can now take advantage of a few offers. The main one was to have my transit pass switched over which saves me over a dollar per fare. Combining that with the 2 hour travel time available per fare and I have already saved a good bit on transit alone.
    I have almost reached the $20 level on my grocery store loyalty points - I have a few sale items to buy this afternoon and that should push me over. I also emptied a lot of loose change from various sources into my coin jar so between these two sources I'm hoping to really limit grocery shopping over the next few weeks - there simply isn't much room in the freezer!
    I attended a friend's 60th birthday party and in lieu of gifts she asked us to donate to a charity for ALS in her name which I was happy to do. The party was at a large hotel with all food and drinks provided so it was a lovely evening with a chance to catch up with a lot of old friends.
    I helped to organize our annual Church BBQ yesterday and even though it was hard work everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there was lots of food. I had a hamburger and a hotdog for lunch! But I did stay away from the potato chips and desserts. I also came away with a bag of parsley which I will add to a few things this week.
    I continue to make good use of my library - in fact I have a number of books to take back this afternoon as I've been reading almost a book a day! The run computer classes, book clubs, movie screenings, authors talks, tutoring for teens and all sorts of programs for kids and for moms & tots. We certainly get our money's worth out of it so I am happy to put my share of tax monies towards it.
    I hope that everything goes well with your surgery this week Brandy - please at least try to rest up beforehand.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada September 24, 2018

    Happy belated birthday, Margie! There are some advantages to becoming a senior. I went to the dentist today and the total bill was $480. Yikes!!!! Between my seniors dental benefit and my private insurance, I did not have to pay anything. Whew!
    A friend brought me pesticide free B.C. apples from the farmers market and 6 or 7 small delicata squash. I am giving away about 7 boxes of books to charity.

  • Margie from Toronto September 24, 2018

    I've also been giving away a lot of books - each Sunday I take a couple into church - we do a huge 3 day sale each May which is very popular so they collect books all year. I also take a few in each month for the book exchange table at my Probus club meeting. I have so many books that it doesn't look like much of a dent but it's progress.
    I am enjoying the new apples finally reaching the stores - my Fall favourite is a tart, crisp MacIntosh!

  • Darcy September 29, 2018

    McIntosh apples are our favorite too!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. September 24, 2018

    Oh, my! Hamish is growing so fast! (And I love your toile pillows. So classy.)

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals, including chicken fajitas, grilled chicken w/ Italian pasta salad, grilled chicken quesadillas, and ratatouille. On Sunday I bought some sliced deli turkey, Swiss cheese, and sourdough bread to make sandwiches instead of eating out after church. It was more expensive than if I had made something from scratch, but it was still much less expensive than eating out. Plus we had bread and cheese left over to use later in the week.

    * Made peanut butter, a large batch of garbanzo beans (used some in the pasta salad and froze the rest in 2 C portions), three loaves of bread (we go through a lot of bread), and sun tea.

    * Harvested turnips, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, acorn squash, yellow honeydew, and basil.

    * Took my own tote bags when I went shopping to avoid having to pay for bags. I found champagne vinegar at a closeout price (50% off), so I bought a bottle. I have a recipe that I'd like to try that specifically calls for this type of vinegar. Normally it would be out of my price range (and I'd probably just substitute white wine vinegar), but at the closeout price it was ok. I also found salsa for 50 cents per jar by combining coupons and a BOGO sale.

    * Hubs washed our vehicles.

    * Hubs rode his bike to work one day and worked from home one day.

    * Hubs repaired our chicken coop.

    * We used the AC only when absolutely needed, and our electricity usage was down by 23% compared to the same time period last year. (We're very thankful for cooler weather.)

    * Hubs and I walked the dog for exercise (and used produce and bulk-bin plastic bags for doggy duty).

    * Used old socks, white vinegar, and castille soap for cleaning.

    * Watched a DVD from the library and am reading books from the library. (Thanks for the Hamish Macbeth and Darling Dahlias recommendations! :D)

    * Am very thankful for good medical and vision insurance. Hubs and I both had our eyes checked (no changes in our prescriptions), and I had a biopsy (which came back benign, praise God!).

    I'm continuing to keep you in my prayers, Brandy.

    Have a great week, everyone.

  • Mia September 24, 2018

    Hi Roberta,
    I'm just curious. Where is So Cal are you? I live in the Inland Empire.

  • Anne September 24, 2018

    Hi Mia. I live in Menifee.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. September 24, 2018

    We're in the San Gabriel Valley.

  • Mia September 24, 2018

    I live in Ontario, CA now. Grew up in Rosemead, and graduated from Rosemead High, then lived in Covina for 15 years before moving to Ontario.

  • Cindy in the South September 24, 2018

    Such a cute baby! Prayers for you with your surgery.

  • kim September 24, 2018

    That baby is so cute, but then all of yours are so cute. I love how you re purpose things. I also love to do that. It saves mney and makes me feel creative.

  • Mary September 24, 2018

    Hello to all from AZ -

    We had several non frugal things last week. We were so grateful to receive money to pain for daughters car repairs. The rest of money will go to our mortgage. We had several large grocery bills and our sprinkler system is still giving us problems, after three weeks of working on it ourselves and spent lots of money, we are having our landscaper come this week to help us out.

    Our frugal things -
    Husband took lunch every day.
    Cooked from scratch all week except for Friday night
    Washed baggies and re used
    stayed in most of the week

    Brandy - good luck with your surgery.

    Have a good week everyone!

  • Rhonda A. September 24, 2018

    You've been a busy lady, Brandy! Sounds like you are working out some of the kinks with the new schedule. Thank you for sharing some of the meals and snacks you had this week. I always find it interesting and inspiring when people share what they've made. Sometimes I get some really good ideas of meals to try with my family! Good luck with your surgery this week!

    As for me, well it's been a busy week. Thankful the cool weather is slowly moving in, even though the heat and humidity keeps insisting on coming back. This week, our frugal accomplishments for our family included:
    *Meals made at home included homemade cream of potato carrot & corn soup (used homemade/home canned turkey broth), breaded chicken burgers/strips with potato wedges and mixed veggies, lasagna, ham steaks with sidekicks noodle side dish and green beans, French beef dip sandwiches, and chicken low mien stir-fry.
    *Grocery shopping was done at a modge podge of stores this week, to get the best deals. Last week I was able to buy a 1kg package of cooked, seasoned roast beef luncheon meat ends for $6. This week, the same packages were $4. The family is currently loving French dip sandwiches (recipe link: https://cincyshopper.com/easy-french-dip-sandwiches/) and 1kg of this meat divides up perfectly for 4 family sized meals. Definitely a score for restocking the freezer! We also bought 2 Butterball turkeys this week, on sale for $1.44/lb, in preparation for our upcoming Canadian Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas. My mom insisted on the Butterball, otherwise I might have found an even better price per pound. As for other items, I am noticing prices increasing a bit. For example, I need to stock up on pasta sauce, which normally I can easily find for $1 or less/can, but currently the best sale price is $1.25. Not sure if this is going to be the new normal or just high at the moment. Will watch this closely.
    *DD's friend was again given $20 for the week and told to make it stretch for buying lunches in the cafeteria. Her friend has commented that she will just have to go hungry some days. We used this opportunity to have a discussion with DD about how that $20 could be better spent on healthy options at the grocery store. I listed off prices for eggs ($2/dozen), bread ($2 x2, but may be able to get for less), mayo ($3), yogurt ($3 for 12 pk), apples ($5 for 3lb bag), and cucumber ($1 each), which was enough to make healthy and filling lunches for 12 days (almost 2 weeks). My mom and I used our fingers to show how it added up. We had about $2 left over that she could have bought 2 bags of potato chips to divide up for her lunches as well, for a treat. I reinforced that this is why I send her lunches to school and why I am trying to teach her how to cook, so she will know how to use her money wisely. Thankfully, she seemed to really understand. I continued sending lunches for her friend, when she is at school (her friend missed 3 days this week).
    *Made a box cake mix into 24 cupcakes on Sunday. Half were used as dessert that night (DD had 2 friends over for dinner), and the other half will be used as treats in school lunches this week. I needed to use up the cake mix anyways.
    *Harvested a really small watermelon from the garden (1st one to survive the wildlife). DD and her visiting friends enjoyed it as part of their afternoon snack.
    *Last Easter we bought 2 Butterball boneless turkey breast rolls to try instead of getting a full sized turkey. It was a bit cheaper to buy and had less leftover. We cooked 1 for Easter dinner, but DD and I were not fans, as it had a "processed" flavour to the meat. This left us with the second turkey roll left in the freezer. Instead of letting it go to waste, we decided to roast it up on Sunday (we had cool temps that day) and today (Monday)I slice it into luncheon meat (which typically has a bit of processed taste anyways). It turned out to be the most AMAZING shaved turkey luncheon meat I've ever tasted!!! I think I will be watching for more of these to buy on cheap sale from now on. If you'd like to try this yourself (since turkey sales are starting or will be soon), here is the link that I found helpful: http://www.myecoventure.com/2011/09/08/homemade-deli-meat-tutorial/. Note: I used my electric meat slicer, but you can use a sharp knife to do this, too. Brandy states on her blog that she also does this, which is where I got the idea. Thank-you, Brandy!!!
    *Attended our 1st Weavers & Spinners Guild meeting this week. I'm helping with programming this year, along with another member. Our guest speaker cancel last minute, so we developed a Jeopardy game using spinning, weaving and fibre terms. I bought a bunch of inexpensive, but nice prizes for the winning team to choose from and Halloween chocolates for everyone else (all of which I was reimbursed for), because everyone was a winner! Those who stayed had a blast playing and we enjoyed watching them struggle on the really hard "questions" (everyone learned some new terms). A fun night out for sure.
    *Attended 2 meetings at my work as a volunteer this week. One was for our Jacquard loom team, where I learned more about how the punch cards are produced (so interesting!). My mom and I also helped make a massive amount of apple crisp one day, which will be sold at our upcoming Applefest event (one of our most heavily attended events). Both were enjoyable outings for only the cost of gas.
    *Hubby has lost weight and his size 36 pants were hanging off of him. I made him go pants shopping at Old Navy. He found 3 pairs of size 32 jeans that fit perfectly and I found a pretty blouse for myself, all from the clearance section. For 4 items of clothing, it came to just under $69! We will tuck away his larger sized pants, just in case he gains back the weight.
    *Took DD and friend to a ComiCon convention here in our city. It cost $5 each to get in and the girls both spent some money on stuff. I picked up a Christmas gift for DD while I was there. Although not very frugal, this was much cheaper than attending the big convention in Toronto and they really enjoyed going.
    *My husband and I have been watching a "reality" show called Castaways. The participants were basically dumped in the ocean near a cluster of tropical islands and have to survive until rescued or they choose to quit. It is not a "game" like reality show, just a bunch of diverse people trying to survive until being rescued. They show back stories as well, so you get a real sense of why each individual is reacting to situations the way they are. I found it a very interesting view of the human spirit! If anyone is interested in watching, it can be viewed on-line for free at this link: https://abc.go.com/shows/castaways/episode-guide. We watched the last show this week, which provided info on what happened to the remaining survivors once they go home...very touching!

    Although I am not working at the moment, I'm still finding it hard to read through all the comments and often it takes the whole week to do it. Regardless, I do eventually get through them, because I love reading everything posted here. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

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