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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I spent the first part of the week organizing things to run as smoothly as possible for the end of the week, as I had surgery on Thursday to remove cancer from my head. It was growing in my hair next to my part, a place where I don't usually put sunscreen. I'll have stitches for the next three weeks and I imagine I'll have a swollen face for at least this week. One way I'll save this week is by not wearing any makeup, because it's a bit impossible right now! 

To save money this past week, I did the following:

I baked a carrot cake in a 9 x 13 pan. I didn't have cream cheese on hand to make icing, so I lightly dusted it with powdered sugar instead.

Red Noodle Beans The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut red noodle beans, Armenian cucumbers, rosemary, Genovese basil, chives, and green onions from the garden. I picked some teeny-tiny cherry tomatoes from the garden as well to use in a pasta salad. They are so tiny that I put a slice of olive in with them so you can see how little they are; they are the size of blueberries! The heat we have here in summer makes them stop flowering, or if they do flower (these are in afternoon shade and just started flowering recently) they are still super tiny because of the heat.

Sun Gold Tomatoes The Prudent Homemaker

The Armenian cucumbers do well in our heat, growing huge. I still don't get a lot of them when it's really hot, so I am happy to have them grow to great lengths, as they don't get bitter like other cucumbers and can grow as long as my arm. This means I have a lot of cucumbers to eat but not always enough to make pickles (as sometimes just one or two are ripe). This week we ate them sliced thin in vinegar, cut into sticks and dipped in ranch dip made with Greek yogurt, put in green salads, and chopped in pasta salad.

I went to the library and checked out a large number of books with my three youngest daughters and my 2-year-old son.

I opened the windows and doors in the early mornings to cool down the house for a couple of hours each morning.

I used my solar oven to cook three meals. One of the things I cooked was a large batch of pinto beans. I made bean burritos one day with them. I made a huge pan of bean enchiladas with them another day, which we ate over three days. My corn tortillas were a little old (so they would break rather than roll), so I made the enchiladas lasagna-style, layering the tortillas flat instead and layering the filling between with three layers of tortillas. I also find this is a great way to make enchiladas when you don't have enough tortillas, as it uses just 18 corn tortillas in a 10 x 13 pan. You'll need more filling, but if you're using beans for all or part of it, it is still quite frugal.

When I cooked baked potatoes, I cooked enough to have leftovers for the next day. I usually cook 10 pounds for our family, but recently we have upped it to 15 pounds at a time, saving gas for the oven (and not heating up the house) and giving us more leftovers. Leftover baked potatoes cook really quickly as cubed potatoes on the stovetop with onions for breakfast, a great side dish to a fried egg or two. It also means use you can use less oil (I only use a couple of tablespoons for a 5-quart pan full of potatoes) which means less money and fewer calories.

My son went to a thrift store with his uncle. He found a pair of cowboy boots there that he liked. One boot was priced at $35 and the other at $15. He tok them up to the register and asked how much. They told him $5, so he bought himself a pair of boots.

My mom went to a couple of community garage sales and picked up a few items for me, including a polo shirt for my eldest son ($2) and ten brand-new wide mouth quart-sized canning jars for $0.40 each.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  • Madelyn October 02, 2018

    What a lovely, uplifting post. And what lovely scrappy bags arrived on my doorstep! The birthday and Halloween ones will be gifts, but the star-spangled one is ALL MINE! :D

  • Shelley October 01, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    Hope you are healing well and not in too much pain.
    Well I went 2 days without spending money which is my goal every week. Was able to stay close to my goal with spending. Everytime I turn around it's picture day or my kids need new shoes and so on. I was able to return a backpack my daughter picked out for school... it broke...so she back using the backpack she has had for 4 years.
    Happy savings this week!

  • Reader October 01, 2018

    Great that surgery is over!
    After reading last week's comments i went to kitchen and took a big zucchini out of the garbage bin where i just had thrown it and made my 1st ever zucchini bread. It was great. I have 2 more given to me. Never knew how to make them eatable.

  • Mable October 01, 2018

    I shred large zukes and freeze them in two cup sizes. I throw them in soups and stews all winter long. In fact, sometimes I have left a zucchini to get larger just so I have more to freeze.

  • Lisa from Maine October 02, 2018

    Look online for recipes --there are tons out there. Besides bread I also make muffins, whoopie pies, "zuke"-slaw and grilled them sliced with a bit of pizza sauce and cheese. All yummy!

  • Libby October 02, 2018

    The Polan Family Cookbook has a great recipe for zucchini chips with parmesan cheese. Delicious!

  • Rhonda A. October 02, 2018

    Not to mention putting it in brownies for a bit of nutritional boost!

  • Athanasia October 02, 2018

    Reader, the great thing about zucchini is that it is high in fiber and low in calories and carbohydrates. Nutrition wise it does not offer a lot in the way of protein, iron, calcium, vitamins. Except for potassium. It is great as a filler in adding volume and fiber and for substituting for higher calorie items. Such as making baked zucchini chips rather than potato chips or zucchini pasta rather than wheat pasta. It is also rather bland and good at soaking up whatever seasonings you choose.

  • Stephanie October 01, 2018

    Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery!

    I stopped by a church yard sale this week and got a bag of clothes for my daughter for $5, and an apron for $1. I made garlic bread from a loaf of homemade bread (instead of buying the garlic bread special at the store), hung a load of laundry, stayed home with an under-the-weather-but-very-snuggly child, cooked dry beans and hung laundry to dry. I prepared a favorite meal for my daughter with things I already had on hand, made an apple pie from scratch, enjoyed a concert at the local high school (my son had a solo and was mentioned in the program) for only $3. I also managed to pick up the free Friday download from Mariano's (that's our Kroger affiliate); I'm usually not over on that side of town in time, so that was nice. :) I used up leftovers to make two quiches (one went in the freezer for my son's breakfasts), and my son received a free t-shirt as part of a college visit.

    Have a great week, everyone! :)

  • Ellen October 01, 2018

    Baked potatoes in the crockpot/turkey roaster are a great energy saver. Just wash and fill your crockpot. I put them on low for 8-10 hours and they are perfect. I agree they make the best home fries!

  • Jo October 01, 2018

    Good luck on your recovery, Brandy. I had a friend with one on her scalp, right at the hairline. Her hairdresser discovered it. Whoever cuts your hair, be sure he or she inspects your scalp, I guess is the moral here. I always had to remember to put sunscreen on my oldest's part and the tops of her ears -- she's very pale-skinned, and burns very easily.
    I was able to hang out some laundry this weekend, but not all of it. Two loads had to go in the dryer.
    I finally got in the 21st century and had my paint matched, so I can now do small repairs on some walls for which I had no more leftover paint, rather than having to repaint the whole room.
    I cooked a ton of veggies in the oven, for yummy oven-roasted veggies to have this week. I try to do 2 or 3 things in the oven at once, to keep down on heating the house up too much.
    We gave up our land-line finally, and the credit came on this month's bill (we still pay for internet to the same company). We're looking forward to a smaller bill now that we only pay for internet, and not the phone. Our land-line had gone from about $15 to almost $30 a month -- way too much to keep it. Sometimes (rarely), in hurricanes, only a land-line will work, but we are taking our chances.
    I went to a thrift store looking for a new dog dish for our new puppy, who needs a larger bowl. I didn't find one, but found two Nylabones and several rope toys, all still in their packages, and all of which our puppy loves. The price was great, too.
    I chopped up some rather limp celery and used it in soup. I cut the bruises out of some apples and made applesauce.
    I have enough Swagbucks to get another gift card. I lucked out and got into another home-trial survey (for some veggie chips) and scored $10 for doing it, so my bucks added up quickly. I have no idea how I got this lucky, so I can't share the "secret," because I don't know what it is.

  • Tabitha October 01, 2018

    Hubby cleaned the grill this weekend as it was in desperate need of some TLC.
    Rested a lot Saturday and Sunday. Coming down with something so rest is best. This also meant we declined 2 invitations to get together with friends to eat out which saved money there.
    I again split one package of turkey between two meals. I made turkey tacos and stretched them by adding lentils. I also made pasties, and stretched those by adding extra veggies and potatoes which I like more than meat anyways.
    I continue to look for a new job. I am struggling to make things work with my current boss. Only been here a month but have been treated so poorly and don't feel as though this is a good fit for me. It's only a part time job at minimum wage. I don't deserve to be treated so badly by a boss. Just trying to hold on long enough to find something else. My husband tells me to just quit, but I don't want to be without work. Hoping I can make it until I find something.

  • Cindi October 02, 2018

    I hiope you find a new job soon -- you definitely don't deserve to be treated badly!

  • Athanasia October 02, 2018

    Tabitha, I am sorry you have such an unpleasant working situation. I hope things make a change for the better soon.

  • Jeannie October 01, 2018

    Brandy, I am happy to hear your surgery went well and it is over. I would suggest you take it easy, but that is hard to do.

    As for my savings, well, there is not much to brag about. This past week we were hit with MASSIVE medical bills which insurance will not cover. My husband will be getting stem cell replacement treatments in hopes it will help repair the cartilage in his hip along with other treatments for other things. It was a choice between that and a wheelchair. I too received a diagnosis which insurance won’t cover the expensive treatments. We used the money we had saved to buy a second car. We decided we can continue to get by with just one. Our health is more important.

    After the diagnosis, we stopped and had dinner at an expensive (expensive to us restaurant). Something we haven’t done in a very long time. We decided to blow some money before it was all gone...and then it was.:D

    Then we returned home and I worked getting the Fall/Winter garden seeds planted. I have decided to make it larger so we can eat more from it to save money.

    I look forward to hearing everyone’s savings. I need new ideas.



  • Libby October 02, 2018

    Jeannie I am so sorry to hear about all the medical problems. I love reading (and often laughing) your blog and The Adventures of Scooter. Sending you hugs for fast and inexpensive healing.

  • Jeannie October 02, 2018

    Libby, thank you for the kind words. I do need them now. At least we have answers as to what is wrong since conventional doctors can't help us and have given up. What we are doing is a crap shoot...an expensive crap shoot. If they can help, it will be worth everything, if not...oh well. I need to focus on cutting back more on expenses, no plan yet but that will come.

    As for Scooter, he had the last laugh this week when he watched me tumble into the mud while standing on a cheap plastic chair while trying to reach the Lima bean in the tip-top of the bean arch. All that was hurt was my pride and my sadness at the loss of a spilled cup of morning coffee.


  • Athanasia October 02, 2018

    Jeannie, I am sorry to hear of your and your husband's medical issues. I hope between the insurance and doctors that everything will work out for the best. Of course I have heard laughter is the best medicine, so keep Scooter on duty.

  • Lillianna October 02, 2018

    Jeannie, I also am so sorry to hear about the medical problems. They are the worse kind. I want you to know that sugar cookie has earmarked your blog and saved it to her tablet. She reads very little but loves your photos. I had to read her the old stories about the armadillo s. She laughed and laughed. She keeps asking me when we head to Missouri if we are going to stop and visit the Amish lady. I keep explaining to her that you buy goods there but she is convinced you sell rag dolls there. If I can manage it, we may come back that way.

  • Jeannie October 03, 2018

    Lillianna, did I read you are coming by my house or were you going by the Amish in Missouri? PLEASE COME BY IF YOU ARE CLOSE. I will make a rag doll for Sugar Cookie if you do. Scooter would love to meet her and I will take you on a tour of the garden.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry (In lower middle Tennessee)

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