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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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  • Mable October 03, 2018

    Thank you so, so much for posting this way to use extra cukes! I always have more than I can turn into pickles, eat or give away, so this will be a definite help to me next summer.

  • AndreaG October 01, 2018

    I am glad you are on the mend, Brandy. Fall has set in here in S. Ontario and after a hot, humid summer I am glad! We had a pretty usual week here. All meals at home and my husband took his lunch to work everyday. My mom generously sent home leftovers from Sunday dinner and some pork tenderloins, a ham steak and some chicken breasts that she had picked up on sale for us. Since meat is expensive it will make a huge difference to us. We have been using the library extensively and it is such a wonderful resource. I watch shows on the tablet, we get a large amount of books, magazines and videos from the library every week and I also find resources to use while homeschooling. It is a wonderful resource!

  • Juls Owings October 01, 2018

    Brandy I have a friend in Alabama that has had cancer on his head. His doctor suggested he spray his head with sunscreen every day and wear a hat BUT make sure you are not dressed or have anything you don't want stained close by because spray sunscreen can stain fabric. He also will use cream and use his finger to put it on the part. He said about a good month to not feel the pull any more, but I think that was a month AFTER stitches came out as he had 6 places on his head.

    I have grown both red noodle and green yardlong. I really like to use them in 3 bean salad instead of green beans and yellow wax beans. I lightly blanch the red noodle as Hubby prefers a crunch/stir fry type of beans. Works well especially at Christmas with a white bean as the 3rd bean.

    I've opened the house almost daily, open blinds when it's cooler to let the sunshine warm the house. Our furnace man came today to change the orifices to larger ones so the house would heat up faster. A bit more fuel to do so but this house holds the temp pretty steady once you get it there and the furnace doesn't kick on much. Especially since we have windows to the east, west and south.Even on a cloudy day we don't usually even need a light on.

    The rest is here

    Blessed be every one

  • Lorna October 01, 2018

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Thank you Brandy for taking us with you on your experience with skin cancer and the part on our hair is somewhere I hadn't thought of as being exposed to the sun but it makes sense. I have to be particularly vigilant being a redhead with very fair skin and an English parent to always stay covered when outside. Through your experience I will keep my hat on or put sunscreen on in my hair part as well as the rest of me. Hope you heal well and the pain subsides for you shortly it is not a nice experience to go through :( .

    Happy you were able to pick up new canning jars so cheaply and got some wonderful produce from your gardens to supply lots of meal for your family. Your son must have been thrilled to buy his cowboy boots so cheaply that is a really good buy on his behalf.

    Been a busy week for us here as we have seen 4 houses for sale from old churches on acreage to residential to rural. The old church sadly had seen better days with both extensive wood rot and termite damage but oh what a magnificent 15 square home with vaulted ceilings. Probably suitable for a builder or tradie to repair and restore (you would need deep pockets to fix it properly). We went back and saw the home on half an acre in town here but it too has issues with the house sinking and needing restumping. The favourite so far is a house on 2.4 acres that is good and sturdy with lovely wooden floorboards and 3 bedrooms but the soil is rather rocky for gardens but could be amended. We shall keep you updated on our continuing buying our home adventure :).

    Our time at home has been limited this week but we have achieved a little.

    Our savings last week added up to $234.72.

    Finances & listings -
    - Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 28.58 % of the way there for a new home build or 41.57% of the way there for buying an existing home on land.
    - Listed 18 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $29.70 on usual listing costs.

    Earnings -
    - Made $21.51 from the sale of a homemade 5 layer cotton eye mask in my eBay store.

    Grocery savings -
    - Used another $240 for $200 grocery e-voucher and with weekly specials on items we use regularly saved an additional $53.40 on usual prices.
    - We stocked up above our usual stocking levels on 10 x cocoa powder, 8 tins of spam, 24 tins of smoked oysters and 1 x 32 pk of toilet paper.

    In the gardens -
    - Took 18 cuttings of English lavender we potted up and 10 cuttings of rosemary we have sitting in water until they develop roots saving $151.62 over buying the plants in the local plant nurseries.

    Usual frugalities -
    - Watered the house lawns with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine, watered fruit tree pot plants and vegetables with dish rinsing and shower warm up water, hung washing on the clothes line to dry, stain removed our clothing with homemade stain remover and washed all laundry on a cold water cycle.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


  • Jenifer October 01, 2018

    Sorry you are dealing with discomfort, that can be wearing on ones energy.
    The tomatoes look scrumptious!

    I remembered at just the perfect time, that I CAN make a loaf Italian bread to go with dinner that night instead of running a needless errand to go buy some. Some mornings don’t click, thankfully they do by lunch :)

    Going over the monies coming in the next 90 days, gave pause to really look around and use talents instead of cash.
    As a “pep talk” for myself, I made myself some padded hangers. Added a little sparkle to my closet to start the day. From there for a family member across the country (need to keep shipping low) made a pair of hedgehog potholders and a tea towel with matching hedge hog appliqués for her birthday. My mom, who collects Japanese pin cushions recently passed on one she thought was really unique. In my home library, I found my Japanese small gift pattern book, found said pin cushion and made one in similar colors to the one she saw (future birthday gift). All of this kept me entertained, all supplies I had on hand, stuffing for the pin cushion came from an old pillow. I am so grateful it came together like this and lifted my spirits.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  • Elizabeth M. October 02, 2018

    What a great approach you have for dealing with a difficult income. I love the expression, "Use talents instead of cash." The items you've made sound lovely.

  • Sheila October 03, 2018

    Jenifer, what thoughtful gifts to brighten your family members lives. I need to give myself a “pep talk” as well.
    Thanks for the reminder that’s it’s really up to us how we approach our problems!

  • Samantha October 01, 2018

    I hope you heal very quickly, and get as much rest as you can- you have earned it!

    Last week was a frugal week, and I am very grateful that my supervisor gave me an unprompted and significant raise! It is a huge blessing, and comes on the heels of finding out my senior dog is very sick, and needs to see an internal medicine specialist. We will have to weigh treatment with quality of life and frugal budget discussions.

    *I found a couple of items at our local university surplus store. It’s not very well publicized but it offers surplus property from the university to the public. I know about it from my days as a student, and we find great deals on furniture, household goods from dorm moves, and technology.
    *We enjoyed a mountain vacation thanks to my supervisor who offered us her condo to stay. We orphan a couple of nice meals out and enjoyed a needed reprieve while my mother-in-law stayed at our home to pet sit for us.
    *Our garden is slowing down for winter, but I harvested catnip, mint, lemon balm, tomatoes, and kale.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  • Liz October 01, 2018

    Hello Frugal Friends,

    Brandy, I hope you are feeling well soon!
    Here are my frugal accomplishments for last week:
    - I have been working with propagating plants from my garden and bringing them indoors. So far I have been able to propagate several basil plants and some spider plants from a friend. It is a fun, cheap hobby. I also gave a friend some of my rosemary so she can try to propagate it.
    - I picked almost 30 pounds of free apples off of a apple tree on our work property. This also included some crabapples to make jelly with.
    - I have been thinking about ways to use my herbs before the winter comes. I am looking into how to make lotion bars with the rosemary by adding oil to it and cooking it down. Then, combining with oils to make a lotion bar. I am trying to use up everything from the garden that I can.
    - I asked my father in law to help my husband fix a railing that my daughter had pulled too hard on. They were able to fix it together.
    - I cooked zucchini and squash from the garden with oil and onions.
    - I cooked a lot of swiss chard from the garden.
    - I made meals at home including oven baked chicken, split pea soup, tacos, and chili.
    - I have been working on a fall quilt for fun with fabric I got at this cool craft materials resale store. They had a 50 percent sale so I picked up a lot of pieces of fabric that would look nice together for fall. Many of the pieces were just 50 cents.
    - I volunteered at the consignment store that I sell my crochet items at. If you volunteer, you don't have to pay a fee to put your items in it.
    - I signed up for some free magazines and other freebies which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/10/01/freebies-today-10-1-18/
    - I also have been running Earning Station, Perk, Swagbucks, scanning receipts, and lots of apps to earn money and cash back. These are also on my blog.
    - That is all I can think of!
    I hope you have a great, frugal week.

  • Sigrid October 01, 2018

    Hi Brandy...hate to be a nag, but I never go out without a camo hat on. I have about ten of these, and have lost all claims to glamour in the summer. You must feel good to know that many who do not even know you are sending you good thoughts. Also, what a cutie your last child is. I bet he was happy to come to your home! This week I hit my shopping mall--the goodwill bins which is absolutely super cheap. I picked up some black pants for 50 cents weight--as new condition and a beautiful shirt (also around 50 cents). I love reading all the blog replies that everyone posts.

  • I have several hats I wear in the garden but I don't wear them always while running errands. However, in our heat, I try to run most of my errands in the early morning or late at night after the children have gone to bed.

    Sigrid, I love what you said about my baby. That really touched my heart and I think I will remember it forever.

  • Anne October 03, 2018

    What a lovely comment to make about the newest joy in a family and Brandy your response is heartwarming

  • Tracey October 02, 2018

    Yes, I agree Sigrid.
    Brandy, so many good thoughts and prayers are sent your way (including my own) for perfect health and healing.

    You do a wonderful job offering a lovely, frugal way to live (materially and intangibly).
    Thank you for the inspiration and for offering this community.
    It is much appreciated.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 02, 2018

    I have been following Brandy's lead and using duolingo to brush up on my Italian. Lots of fun, free. I have to cut back as the typing hurts my broken arm. I love how it teaches you! So non-judgmental when you make a mistake. There is a lot of snow tonight. Not all of the leaves are off of the trees yet so no chance to rake them.

  • Evelyn Edgett October 02, 2018

    I stopped at a yard sale a few month ago. The people said that if I saw any clothes I liked I could just take them, since they were going to close up soon and the clothes would just go to a thrift store. I saw a pair of ostrich cowboy boots in excellent condition. I asked what size they were, and if they were part of the free clothing. Turns out they were my size, and I desperately needed a new pair. I took them home and looked them up online. Tony Lama brand, worth over $300! I always say, if you don't ask--you don't get! Your son was smart!

  • Elizabeth October 02, 2018

    1. My son found some action figures he was missing from his collection at the thrift store this week, so he said "We hit the jackpot!"
    2. Picked up ribs and pork loin for $1.39/lb at Kroger
    3. Mended pants and a shirt this week that have been on my "to do list" for way too long...
    4. Renewed library books and took back a DVD the day before it was due (apparently our library does not allow DVD renewals?!)
    5. Used home canned pumpkin to bake pumpkin bread for a bake sale. **I always use the Downeast Maine Pumpkin bread recipe on Allrecipes...it is incredibly moist and gets a lot of compliments

  • Cindi October 02, 2018

    That is my favorite pumpkin bread recipe also!

  • Elizabeth October 04, 2018

    It's a keeper!

  • Jennifer O. October 02, 2018

    Glad to hear all went well with your surgery.

    Stayed home most nights. Bought lunch at school one day – mine just wasn’t appetizing. Bought lunch another as it was a fundraiser for the culinary classes. The school budget covers the classes, but not any food for them to cook..?

    Starting to look for paint for the outside of the house (it’s been over 12 years and its starting to peel). We will paint in November (finally cool enough here to paint then). I’m thinking about changing the color.

    Borrowed house jacks to work on the foundation. Eventually we will need our own, but it can wait. Fixing the one corner seems to have fixed multiple issues. It will need to come up 1 – 2 more inches but we will wait for next month to do that shift so we don’t crack anything. Local man did some weeding in exchange for a meal. Attended an RV show to get ideas about what is available. Probably two years until we replace ours, but it was a fun free outing. Declined to sign in so we won’t be bombarded with calls.

    Waited an extra week to dye my hair. Used headbands or a color spray to keep my hair presentable. Invited friends for dinner and cooked out of my freezer. Attended a dinner at a friend's took wine from our cellar and baked eclairs with items on hand. Picked up a discounted ground lamb, pork and beef mixture at the commissary for $2 a lb. I will use this from gyros in a later week.

    Fail (ish) – Bought a cake for my College Algebra class (HS juniors taking course for college credit) because the class average broke 90%. I thought their hard work was worth celebrating, even if my wallet and grocery budget ouched.

  • Jenifer October 04, 2018

    Jennifer, thanks for the headband tip! That would definitely buy me some time. I’ll gladly admit my age, just not with grays!

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