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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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  • Kitty B October 01, 2018

    Brandy wishing you a quick recovery from your surgery. Thank you for your inspiring blog.

    This week I earned $122.75 from selling my items and various friends items on local buy/sell;
    Loaded up my vehicle with donations as I continue to declutter and organized;
    I worked 9 hours at my occasional office job;
    I combined errands this week, staying home 5 days and not spending 4 days this week;
    Made batch of banana bread;
    Batch cooked some meals for the week;
    Used loyalty points from credit card to pay for a movie night out with friends;
    My husband was able to fix the rear defrost mechanism in our teen daughters car.

    I always enjoy everyone's comments, have a lovely week!

  • Lisa from Maine October 01, 2018

    Hi everyone!
    Sending continued prayers your way, Brandy, for your continued recovery. Take it easy as much as you can.
    My mom often used confectionery sugar as a cake topping. Especially on chocolate cake. Can also use a paper doily as a stencil for a design.
    This week I:
    Cut both boys hair.
    Fall cleaned my youngest son's bedroom & closet. Filled another trash bag of donations for our local thrift store. I also set aside some dress shirts my son outgrew that were barely, if ever, worn. I will try to sell these on ebay at a later date.
    Once I made room in his closet, i put a laundry basket that holds 1 load of clothes. I began to teach him to wash his own clothes. Thus teaching him a new skill, teaching him responsibility and allowing me to delegate this chore to him while creating more time/less work for me. His room has been much cleaner since he took on this chore. Yeah!
    Emptied the final items from the chest freezer into my freezer space above the refrigerator. Had to take my bread heels and make bread crumbs to fit everything in. Defrosted the chest freezer and washed it out. Now it's ready for the meat delivery which is coming soon. This week I plan to chop my garden onions and freeze them in the chest freezer now that I have room and while there is nothing in there to absorb the onion smell.
    I am lucky to live on a border town. Turkey sales are here to attract Canadian sales for their Thanksgiving on our Columbus Day. My local store is selling Shady Brook Farm Turkeys for 89 cents a lb if you spend $25 (my usual in that store). I plan to buy 2 this week for the newly emptied freezer.
    Went to the thrift store last week. Did not find any clothes that were on my shopping list but I did find a brand new Christmas primitive needlework framed decor and 4 books: 2 inspirational romances plus a hardcovered Tightwad Gazette II and a catholic book on Padre Pio. The Catholic book was brand new and retails for $14 on Amazon. This is where I usually buy my catholic books since they are just so expensive.
    I was also able to stretch my proteins into several meals and did not have any wasted food.
    Have a great week!

  • Nancy in Eastern Washington October 01, 2018

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    We are just about to get out first frost. While I was at work, my DH, who is retired, picked basil, parsley, tomatoes - sun sugar, Juliet, roma, and beefsteaks, lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, chard, corn, zucchini, and peppers. I made 4 loaves of zucchini bread. Took one to a neighbor recovering from knee surgery, and another to neighbors who just moved into our neighborhood last week. Froze the other two. Made two dozen zucchini cheese muffins. they are a savory muffin rather than sweet, and go great with soup. made 4 more jars of pickles. Made these extra hot, with cherry peppers, and half a red jalapeno in each one.

    My DH surprised me and washed all of our bedding, hung it on the clothesline, and then re-made the bed. It was lovely.

    I froze corn. This is the best corn crop we have ever had. I have an entire shelf in the freezer filled with bags of corn that I have cut off the cob. We also gave some to my sons and to my SIL.

    Shopped very little. Did get a couple of small beef roasts, that were 1/2 price. I will cut them up and use for stew meat.

    Made sausage and cheese biscuits for breakfasts. This helps with portion control too, as I make 8 of them and they are for breakfast Monday - Thursday. If they are gone, I do not make any more until the following Sunday.

    I know there was more - but I will quit for now.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  • I love the tommy toe tomatoes -they are great for a salad. Yours might be small but they are a perfect bite. I'm glad the surgery is over for you! Such a relief and I hope your face swelling goes down quickly.
    I have been gathering bean or other seeds in use for next years growing season. It's almost over for this year. You can view my frugal accomplishments here:

  • Kim in Florida October 01, 2018

    Last week I got paid to buy a lot of boxes of quorn meat replacement items (fake chicken). They were bogo at my store and I was getting $3 back per box from ibotta. Using paypal funds I already I had, I bought the first 12 on my account and then got the money back and went and then dh got 15. I used ibotta often last week. At one point it wouldnt let us cash out to paypal so we each redeemed for walmart giftcards. I have them put aside for either emergencies or we need something from Sams that I dont want to use the grocery budget money for. I had bought a bag of apples from Sams as one of my fruit purchases. None of us are particularly fond of apples so the bag lasts a lot longer than a 20lb watermelon or a bunch of bananas will. Its gone, I think I'll get another this week. I switched over to weight watchers meetings. It costs $20 more a month. That wasnt frugal, but I have about 15 more pounds to lose and then I will become lifetime and as long as I stay within 2 lbs or under of my goal, I will no longer have to pay for WW. My insurance doesnt doesnt help with that. We were supposed to do dinner out with another family, but my friend never called me to confirm. I didnt hunt her down. So we didnt go out to eat. That saved us alot of money!!! We've been out of aluminum foil and I was refusing to pay $4+ for a 75ft box. I ordered a 500ft box from staples and used my $40 in rewards. I had to pay $13 out of pocket, but the box should last over a year. DH takes hot sandwiches to work so its an expense that I had to allow. We ate a few meals with beans. Sure is gassy here!! Other than that, we did the usual.

  • Margie from Toronto October 04, 2018

    What do you think of the quorn products Kim? I'm always curious as it's not sold here in Canada. It's made from a fungus (not mushrooms) and isn't recognized as a food product here. I hear the UK folks talking about it a lot so just wondered what it was like....

  • Laurie in central NC October 07, 2018

    What a great deal on the Quorn products! We love the chik patties here.

  • kerry October 01, 2018

    I got my husband on board with a budget!! I woke up Saturday morning to his newly created monthly budget. Thirty seven years and he finally listened, lol.

    I woke up early and was able to catch a couple of markdowns at Smith's/Kroger to use in our meals the next 2 weeks. I cooked 1.5 lbs of pinto beans in my instant pot (bought online at Walmart Black Friday last December and paid for with Savings Catcher funds...so "free"). I will take these to work for lunch a couple of days this week and my husband had some for lunch on Saturday. I take my lunch every day of the week. I think in 9 years I have eaten out twice...both times with my son who was visiting.

    My husband was out of the blue offered a position with a new company. The HSA he had with his old firm ended our ability to use the funds in the account on his last day of employment and not the last day of the month. This really stinks and I have had some unkind thoughts towards them ;)

    I used my fuel points to get 70 cents off per gallon of gas. My car uses very little and I work 4 miles from home so a tank goes a long way.

    As I have lost and am still in the process of losing weight, I have had to replace some wardrobe items. I found a Ralph Lauren navy blazer on sale for $8. I entered the style number into Google and it was originally $350. It's a nice classic piece so it will work for many years to come...hopefully I will outgrow it and if I do, I could sell it at a profit...One of the cuffs was lacking 2 buttons. There were none inside so I just moved one button from the other cuff so now both cuffs have 3 buttons. Problem solved. I was also able to find a beautiful Kelly green wool sweater from Talbots for $4. Both of these pieces fit my aesthetic and into the plan for my wardrobe. I did not buy anything else as there was nothing else that was on my list.

    I organized my pantry using plastic bins and containers already on hand that were purchased at a local thrift.

    I washed my 33 cent knee highs ( I sound like an old lady! but I work in a professional office...) and hung them to dry. It is amazing how long you can make them last!

    I worked out every morning to some exercise videos that I watch on YouTube. I bought 2 2lb weights at WalMart for $1.98 each and a box of resistance bands at our local thrift for $2. For less than $5 I have a "home gym". No driving, no clothes and no excuses.

    I am in the middle of taking a Self Reliance Personal Finance class and am loving what I am learning. I've always tried to be frugal but I have learned that there are still skills to be learned, habits to be formed and self control to be increased. I'm striving for balance.

    Brandy: wishes for a quick recovery and to remain skin cancer free. So curable if caught early, so deadly if it is not. Thank you for years of good blogs and practical tips!

  • Kim October 02, 2018


    I’m not an expert but it is my understanding that money in an HSA is yours to use under IRS guidelines - you can withdraw money for medical expenses but can only add to it if you have a high deductible plan in place. Also, any money in a FSA can be used for any purpose after retirement.

    Money in a pre-tax medical savings account would probably be lost at end of employment. I would double check what kind of account this really was.

  • Heidi Louise October 02, 2018

    I non-expertly agree with Kerry, that an HSA is your money forever. You might check with the bank that holds the account, rather than the employer; I'm guessing that is where the money is held.

  • Athanasia October 03, 2018

    Kerry, I was talking with a woman I know yesterday who had a similar situation and she said all that changed was her debit card was deactivated by the company but the funds were still there and she just had to manually contact them for the payments. Maybe this is your case also?

  • momsav October 01, 2018

    Greetings, Brandy!
    I’m so happy to hear that your surgery went well. I’ve not heard of cancer in the part of your hair. With all the prayers and good vibes, i’m sure you’ll receive only good news when you see your Dr. again.
    I’m still in Florida with my daughter. Her son came into the world at 7 lbs. even. She absolutely adores him!
    For frugalness, i’ve been putting most expenses on a credit card for the points. I used the points from last month to buy several gift cards that I gifted to my daughter. She can use them while she’s running errands when she feels like a small treat.
    There’s an awesome used bookstore in Jacksonville. (Chamblins) We’ve gone and bought a few books there. (And May go again before I leave!) My daughter has almost 100.00 in credit. We also went to a Barnes and Noble. I used gift cards from credit card points.
    Before the birth, we had a nice late lunch that was paid for with a gift card.
    My husband has paid several bills by calling them in and putting them on the credit card which saves time and stamps. (Paid in full each month.)
    My daughter and I went to Joann’s and used coupons for our purchases. She had a 50% off one item while I used a 40% off total purchase. I got a crop-a-dile for a great price! I’m so excited to learn how to use it. It was a better deal to use the coupon then order on-line.
    Most meals were made at home. My son-in-law loves to cook so we’re okay with that! Plus, he’s also vegetarian so I know I can eat what he cooks.
    That’s all I can think of from here. My husband is home alone, running the heat, taking showers without catching the water and paying full price for oreo’s. And, i’m okay with that. We do what we can with where we are, right?
    Wishing you all a fabulous week ahead!

  • Jennifer O. October 02, 2018

    Chambliss Book mine rocks! I go anytime I have to go to NAS JAX.

  • Sheila October 03, 2018

    Momsav, your comment about your husband and his full priced Oreos made me chuckle. Thanks for the laugh;
    I needed it!

  • Athanasia October 03, 2018

    Momsav, congratulations on the new grandson. How nice you have been able to spend this time with your daughter and her family and be there for the baby's birth. I love spending time at bookstores and finding a new one is always a treat.

  • Marybeth October 01, 2018

    So glad that the surgery is over for you. I hope you aren't too uncomfortable. You did great on you accomplishments even with the procedure.

    My oldest daughter and her boyfriend came home for 4 days . She was a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding. Hubby and I were invited too. It was a beautiful day and the bride was gorgeous. They have been friends since we moved to our house so we have know her since she was 6. I have been sick but still trying to get things done. Now my son got it. Hoping it stops with him. It is too early in the season to be sick already. My full week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-frugal-list-week-of-september-24-2018.html

  • Susan October 01, 2018

    Hello Brandy,
    I would like to share another way to use cucumbers: I peel, slice, and dehydrate them. Once dried, I grind this into a powder.

    The cucumber powder can be added to cream cheese and herbs as a sandwich spread, or spread on crackers. It can be added to sour cream to use on a baked potato. It can also be added to buttermilk and herbs to make homemade cucumber dressing.

    I also keep a jar of dried cucumber powder blended with celery powder and dill - and use it creatively on salads, sauces, veggie dips, chicken salad, etc.

  • momsav October 01, 2018

    Susan, What an awesome way to use up cucumbers! I hope to remember this the next time I have a glut!

  • So interesting! I never thought of that! I love that idea.

  • Karen October 02, 2018

    I love that idea! Thank you!

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