Poppy png
Header Typography

April Flowers The Prudent Homemaker Blog

Follow Me on Instagram

The Prudent Homemaker Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
Posted by on
  • Font size: Larger Smaller

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?

Last modified on


  • Rhonda A. October 02, 2018

    First of all, I am so glad your surgery went well. What an awful place to have surgery. I hope the facial swelling comes down quickly and the surgical site heals up nicely. In the mean time, I hope you are getting plenty of rest as you heal.

    Brandy, I know I have said this before, but I really enjoy reading how you put together meals for your family. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I was wondering if you used the pasta salad for your children's lunches this week? Also, is it possible to bake the potatoes in your solar oven? If you can, it would also save money and wouldn't heat up the house. I'm so glad your son was able to find a pair of boots at such a great price! Good thing he asked.

    I'm a bit later commenting, as I had a very busy weekend that rolled over into Monday. But it was a good week overall. This week, our frugal accomplishments included the following for our family:
    *Meals made at home included breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges and corn, crock-pot meatballs in gravy with broccoli topped with homemade cheese sauce and white rice, homemade macaroni and cheese casserole with coleslaw, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with cauliflower topped with homemade cheese sauce (DD is on a cheese sauce kick), steak with baked potatoes topped with cheese and coleslaw, and chicken breasts baked smothered with cheddar cheese soup with mashed potatoes and green/yellow beans. Cheese apparently was the theme this week! LOL
    *My mom and I finally processed the 20lbs of carrots I bought for $4 a couple weeks ago. We peeled, sliced, blanched and froze all 20lbs in 2 hours! We now have a nice supply of green beans/yellow beans, broccoli, carrots, and some corn (not enough for our needs but a start) in our freezer. Looking good for our winter stock!
    *When I bought groceries last week, I thought about getting cabbage, but opted not to. Well, at almost every meal afterwards, I regretted it. We were all craving coleslaw. So mid-week, I went and bought one for $0.49/lb. While at the store, I happened to notice that the cheap bacon I had picked up a few days earlier for the amazing price of $2/375g pk (x 4 pk), were now further reduced to $1.29/375g pack! Well, couldn't turn up that offer. I grabbed 12 more, stuck 2 in the fridge and the rest went into freezer for future meals. Needless to say, I'm now very well stocked with bacon!
    *Other grocery deals I stocked up on were butter for $2.88 x 6, canned pasta sauce $0.99 x 12, 10lb bag of carrots $1.88 x 1 (this is in addition to the 20lbs of carrots I had previously purchased), blocks of cheese for $3.77 x 6 (regular price of cheapest cheese is over $5 a block, so when it drops to this price, I buy lots and freeze it) and Shopsy's hotdogs $0.68 x 8 packs (on sale, these are normally $2 - $2.50/pack...they went right into the freezer for later use).
    *I made oatmeal chocolate chip rice crispy cookies for DDs lunches this week at her request (recipe link: https://happyhooligans.ca/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-rice-krispy-cookies/). DD's friend has decided to switch schools, so I will no longer be sending lunches for her. I don't fully understand the reason for the switch, but it's not my call.
    *DD and friend attended a Zoo scavenger hunt (our city boasts a free zoo) through the PHIT program. The scavenger hunt was designed to get families out and exercising together in a fun way. The children were given sheets with questions and had to look at the various signs posted throughout the zoo to find the answers. All children who participated were entered into a random draw. DD won a prize bag and shared her winnings with her friend. The friend went home with an adult colouring book, a pack of fine tip markers and a water bottle. DD kept the origami paper and pack of modeling clay.
    *We used a bunch of scene points, 1 movie pass and DD's "Access to Entertainment" (allows 1 support person to get in for free, for Autistic daughter), to get 6 people into the movie theatre for just under $12. Our entire family, plus 2 of DDs friends went to see "The House with a Clock in its Walls". Since we ate dinner before we went, we only bought some drinks to sip on during the movie (the friends bought their own treats). Everyone really enjoyed the movie!
    Frugal fail: We had planned ahead of time that we would go out for dinner before the movie at a family favourite sit down restaurant. We ended up paying for 2 extra kids to eat as well. DD doesn't fully understand how much things cost and begged us to let her friends come, which made the situation complicated. One friend was the girl we have been sending lunches for and the other boy had a cancer diagnosis a few years ago...hard to say no. The final bill was not cheap! We sucked up the cost, but it won't be happening again any time soon.
    *Worked on Sunday at the Applefest event at the pioneer village, which means I will get a tiny paycheck (it all adds up). I also came home with free stuff: 5 individual containers of nacho cheese, enough nacho chips to almost fill a large freezer bag, and a whole bunch of small bags of potato chips of various flavours. The food would expire before the next event, so they were giving it away. Hubby and DD were extremely happy!

    I will work my way through all the comments, as I get time. I so enjoy reading everything people post here. Wishing you all a lovely, frugal week!

  • Potatoes could be baked in the solar oven, but it only takes small pans. I can get a whole chicken in there or a smaller pork roast, but I can't get 15 pounds of potatoes in there. 10 pounds fill my whole 36" wide oven (6 inches wider than the standard oven) and with 15 pounds, we stack a few of them on top of each other in the oven. We eat about 7 pounds in a meal if we have baked potatoes as the main course, which we do often.

  • We didn't have pasta salad in lunches but they could take it. I didn't have many leftovers, though.

  • Athanasia October 02, 2018

    Rhonda, and anyone else that is interested, THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS is based on a book series by John Bellairs. They are older books and the author has since died. But they are fun. They do deal with paranormal themes in each one. My boys especially liked them and read them in grade school though they are aimed a bit higher in age. They are Gothic in style and the illustrations were done by Edward Gorey, if you recognize that name. He does the opening sequence animation for the mystery series on PBS. Years ago it was narrated by Vincent Price...I think maybe it is now Alan Cummings. So, back to the books. I would recommend them, though with the warning of age and the paranormal content. We don't carry them in our church/school library, same as Harry Potter, but I would not ban others from reading them.

  • Lillianna October 02, 2018

    Thank you for the info, sugar cookie has a free movie ticket and we will be near the theater tomorrow. She is a huge Harry Potter fan and may love this.

  • Karen October 02, 2018

    Brandy, I'm glad your surgery was successful and I hope you are recovering well and able to get some rest!

    Last week was one of the busiest of the year at work (I work in fundraising and it was auction week). Still I managed to pack a lunch every day and we only ate out when we planned to (I always grab a burger on my way home from the auction because I don't have time to eat dinner and I planned for take and bake pizza the next night when my parents were coming over for dinner and I wouldn't have the energy or time to cook). I also planned for my husband and daughter to eat out the night of my event but my daughter made dinner instead (she's working on a cooking badge for Girl Scouts).

    I got to go to a conference for free on Friday because I volunteered to be on the planning committee. I got a ride with a friend who got reimbursed for gas and parking so the day cost me nothing. The day counted as CEUs for my grant writing certification, which is up for renewal in December and I am short credits toward it, so it was a win, win, win kind of day!

    I ended the month over budget in a few spending categories but I was also under budget in a few, so it all mostly balanced itself out. I stopped tracking my spending for a few days because I was so busy with work basically (working from wake up to bed time) but I'm caught up now and back on track for early October!

  • KathrynH October 02, 2018

    Hope your recovery goes well - thinking of you. Last week I took a trip to London (about 80 minutes away by train). I downloaded (for free) a magazine and audiobook to keep me entertained on the journey. I got to see the amazing new Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A Museum for half price with my Art Fund Pass. What an inspirational woman - such a sad life yet she filled it with amazing art and colour. Looking at some of her clothing was such a joy!

  • Amanda October 02, 2018

    Brandi, I really enjoy your blog and I hope you’re doing well after your surgery. I really don’t want this to come across as mean or offensive, but I really wonder about your portion sizes. How does a 10 x 13 pan of enchiladas serve 10 people three meals? That’s basically a 2x2 inch square each. Do you serve sides with it? I find this question over and over when I read your posts. I have growing kids and they just wouldn’t get by on what you serve, especially without snacks. I really don’t mean this as judgement, I’m genuinely curious. Thanks for understanding.

  • Fair question! Normally I make a 10 x 15 pan (sorry if I said 13 in the post) and a 9 x13 pan of enchiladas for the same meal and there are next to no leftovers if any.

    This time I did something different. I mentioned three layers but I think I actually did four now that I think about it. Regular bean enchiladas go over better than these (the beans were blended/mashed) so these lasted longer--haha! They were to the top of the pan, not halfway height, like when I make regular meat or bean enchiladas where they are rolled. These had thick layers of beans and corn (I used one can) in between the tortillas. I then served a huge homemade fruit salsa over the top. I served it with a big salad each time and some additional fruit. So half the plate veggies, 1/4 fruit and 1/4 enchiladas. Actual quantities depended on the age of the person (little people eating on little plates, with the other half of us eating on big plates).

    I don't share plate photos a lot but maybe that would help you? I have three teenagers. We eat a LOT of food at my house. I cook two pounds of pasta for a meal when pasta is the main course and only have a bit leftover (that is technically 16 servings, so we eat a bit over at that meal). I use an entire #10 can of tomato sauce at one meal. When I do pasta salad I do a LOT of vegetables so I can make it with one pound of pasta. Most people have pasta salad be mostly pasta but that is not as filling nor does it give as many vegetables. I make pasta salad in a GIANT bowl. I put in between 6-8 cups of vegetables. When I cook potatoes as a side dish it's a 10 x 15 pan and a 9 x 13 pan and those are gone in a meal. When it's baked potatoes I always cook at least 10 pounds for a meal and there might be 3 potatoes leftover, which is why I am now cooking 15 pounds at a time. We eat those with eggs at breakfast. I'm not sure why you think all of my servings are tiny (on this one with my typo and no other sides explained, yes, but normally I don't know why you would think that as I don't talk a lot about serving sizes except possibly in stretching a chicken) so hopefully my comment gives you a better idea. I make HUGE amounts of food, and that takes a long time in the kitchen--hours cutting up stuff, washing pots and pans, etc. For breakfast, if I make pancakes, I make 5 times what one batch would be and there are rarely leftovers. I cook 4 to 5 cups of beans (dried) every time. We have an afternoon snack but not a morning snack. I do follow serving size guidelines when it comes to serving sizes of meat, but when I buy a whole chicken, it's 5-6 pounds, so I can make it go a long way if I give actual servings sizes of meat (as big as your palm and as thick as a deck of cards according to the USDA: 3-5 ounces of meat per day). A breast is not a serving size of chicken; that's at least double, depending on the size of the bird. So a 5-pound bird is 80 ounces. Divided by 3 that would give you 26.7 servings, but of course, some of that is bone. So you should be able to get around 20 servings of meat from a 5-pound chicken, and more if you make soup with it at the end. Portion sizes and serving sizes are not the same; any restaurant meal will show that, especially with calorie counts now being posted on menus. Here are the current U.S. guidelines: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/

    I hope that helps give you a better idea! It's a TON of food. My mom thought she could fill my children with cold cereal the morning after my baby was born. They went through 5 boxes of cereal and a gallon plus of milk at breakfast and she quickly saw why I don't buy cold cereal! When we eat eggs it's usually 15- 18 for one meal. I cook 3 cups of rolled oats for oatmeal. I make huge pots of soup. It's a lot.

  • I October 02, 2018

    Brandy, I am sure you do cook a ton of food-there are only two of us here and we can barely get through a 10 lb bag of potatoes before they go soft. And I love potatoes. So I can imagine the staggering amount of food you purchase, grow and cook to feed a large family-especially with teens. And of course to cook a double batch of a meal would be like restaurant portions. Your children eat a very varied diet with little to no processed food and will be healthier for it. Keep up the great work.

  • Kiki October 03, 2018

    Yes, you must have to cook large quantities of food. Even with four children, my family seemed to inhale food, especially in the teen years. I do think that your readers have sometimes wondered if your kids get enough to eat based on your comments such as the pasta sld, stretching a chicken, the bean enchiladas etc. Your children look very healthy though.

  • Reader October 04, 2018

    Never thought they do not get enough. Nutritionally they eat much better than most and luckily no overweight. My kids have eaten much more poorly even when i did not check my spending. Brandy is outstanding by feeding her family more responsibly on a tight budget than majority of those on loose budget. I am sure it will pay off multiple ways.

  • Rhonda A. October 04, 2018

    I've never thought that Brandy's kids were not getting enough to eat. I did, however, enjoy reading her answer. I found it very interesting to read how much she actually has to make for just 1 meal! I now understand why a crock pot would be useless for her. She would have to have at minimum 2-3 large pots going all at once just to make enough for everyone. Also, leftovers appear to be almost non-existant, so she doesn't have much food waste either. I do wonder if Brandy's children will have a hard time cooking for themselves when they leave home. They will be so used to huge pots of everything that it won't feel right to cook such small quantities for just themselves!:D Thank you for sharing this info with us, Brandy!

  • Cindi October 03, 2018

    Brandy, I often think of you when I am cooking -- how much time you must spend in the kitchen, all those dishes. Every meal for you must be like Thanksgiving for me. I really am in awe! I have a friend who was one of 13 children and she always talks about what a production meals were in her household. It takes real organization and a lot of plain old hard work to feed that many people every day!

  • Juls Owings October 06, 2018

    My Amish neighbor was just talking about how much it takes to feed his family of 9 until we mentioned we usually had 12 at our table. My girls and myself out ate the boys and Hubby. Snack was in afternoon. Lots of bread, butter and a bit of sugar for snacks.
    Daughter 4 still doesn't eat cold cereal or serve it.
    Blessed Be

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 02, 2018

    Brandy, I'm so glad to hear your surgery is behind you. I'm continuing to pray for your recovery.

    Awesome scores at the thrift store and yard sale! Your mini tomatoes look like they should be served at some chi-chi bistro. :D

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate all home-prepped meals.

    * Harvested two ears of sweet corn, acorn squash, bell peppers, lettuce, zucchini, and yellow squash. The lettuce was bolting, but I just soaked it in water for about an hour and used it anyway. No one complained (although we don't have very sensitive palates around here).

    * Bought deli meat and cheese again to avoid eating out. Again, more expensive than cooking up meat at home (which I'll do when the weather cools back down), but still much cheaper than eating out.

    * Used the backs of shopping lists (which are free notepads from local Realtors) and cut up school flyers for scratch paper.

    * Made bread three times.

    * Made sun tea, salad dressing, and chocolate zucchini cake.

    * Paid bills online.

    * Saved warm-up and rinse water. (Our water usage for Sept. '18 was 2% lower than Sept. '17--not a lot, but every little bit helps.)

    * Enjoyed watching a scrub jay in the backyard.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Mary in AZ October 02, 2018

    Hello all -

    I love reading all posts - some funny, some educational and so sad. But learning from others is the best.

    My frugal attempts for the last week -
    - washing full loads and hanging drying all but FIL clothes and all towels and bedding
    - finding dairy free yogurt clearance
    - buying only what we need
    - staying in most of the week
    - eating in all week except for Friday night and it was only for a great $5 meal at a football game
    - picking up books from the library to read this week
    - cooking from scratch and eating up leftovers

    Frugal fails - still problems in the garden .... we are still.... working on the watering problem and added plants instead of from seed, as that was not going well. It is looking good now after getting rain from Hurricane Rosa.

    I hope all has a great week. I look forward to reading all posts.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba October 02, 2018

    This weekend was packed. Thanks to your recommendation of the thermal cooker, Brandy, we still ate all our meals at home. We had lots of soups, and they were all delicious!

    In addition, I did the following:
    * Combined errands and appointments to save gas, time, and money
    * Used what I had on hand to make meals for a potluck
    * Unplugged the computer when it was not in use
    * Cooked whole chickens and used them for soups and other meals
    * Exercised by cleaning the house very thoroughly before company came
    * Used a multi-purpose cleaner to clean everything
    * Accepted a family member's generosity

  • Jenny October 02, 2018

    Last month, to save money, I started planning our meals based on what our local grocery store has on sale. I've been able to feed my family 3+ meals a day + snacks for an average of $120 for 2 weeks. There's only 3 of us, so that's only $20 per person per week. Not too bad for us, considering my husband is a bodybuilder and is a strict eater and our teenage son is an athlete and eats quite a bit. Last week our grocery store had a huge meat sale and I managed to buy 61lbs of meat (chicken, pork, and beef) for $60. I spent $157 for the next 2 weeks and that includes groceries + all of our toiletries, laundry soap, animal feed, etc., literally everything.

  • Tammy October 03, 2018

    Made all meals at home except yesterday we bought two hamburgers at McDonalds after visiting a family member that was at the hospital for several hours.
    Being careful about how much I drive places as to conserve gas.
    Made Pizza, homemade. Made a pork roast for 99 Cents a pound. Froze half for later. Made bbq sandwiches. Made a pork soup with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and cream of mushroom soup. Bought a ham for 1.19 a lb. Will freeze half and use half in various casseroles. made several meals with eggs and potatoes.
    Had a birthday meal at home. Husband cooked and it was lovely.
    Baby sat grandkids. Brought food to cook rather than ordering out.
    Family has helped by giving us food and son paid me to babysit. I didn't want to accept money but he wouldn't take no for an answer. My son also gave me a gift card and lotion.
    My husband started a job on Monday. it doesn't pay well, but he will eventually get a bit of a raise. I am happy he got a job. He actually enjoys it. It is nice to have him come home happy and he will be off his feet. Hoping we will be able to make ends meet.

Leave your comment

Guest October 22, 2018

Spring Gardening



 Introduction Sidebar 2017

Start HereMy Story

                           FOLLOW ME

               FACEBOOK              PINTEREST

The Kitchen Garden Sidebar
Sewing Project Sidebar
Grow Your Own Herbal Tea Sidebar
Grocery Shopping Sidebar
Learn to Can Sidebar
Grow Flowers for Less Sidebar

Spring Gardening



White Garden Sidebar

Birthdays Sidebar

Frugal Accomplishments Sidebar

72 hour kit sidebar
How To Eat Beans Every Night
Writing a Garage Sale List