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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Yellow Roses The Prudent Homemaker

It cooled down this week to 85°F/30°C. I gladly turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house for as many hours as I could each day, only running it for a few hours each afternoon. By Saturday, it was 77°F and cool enough to turn off the air conditioner for the entire day. We will still need it a few afternoons next week, but we're now coming to the time when the weather becomes nice enough to have the windows open all day.

I harvested rosemary, garlic chives, Armenian cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard, a large zucchini (my first of the year) and red noodle beans from the garden.

My husband and I cut my husband's hair.

I signed up for a free account for two of my children to practice math skills at xtramath.org. Doing math on the computer seems to be more fun for them than flashcards, so I am hoping this will help them want to give even more time on mastering multiplication tables. 

My eldest boys had some free fencing fun at a church activity.

Octavius had some fun with his grandparents watching the airplanes take off at the airport.

I purchased Target's store-brand diapers when they had a spend $100 get a $20 gift card deal. While there, I checked out the clearance and was able to get several uniform polo shirts for two of my girls for $2.10 each! I like that they have some solid-colored shirts without sayings that are a bit more dressy than a t-shirt. 

With all the busyness in my life right now, I have been reevaluating how I use every minute of my time so that I am better able to accomplish what needs to be done. One thing that I am doing is working to become better organized. Drawers and other things become unorganized after a couple of months and then it takes longer to find things in those spaces, wasting precious time and causing frustration. To that end, I reorganized three drawers in the kitchen this week. I needed a new silverware organizer, as the one that we got when we were married 18 years ago is wearing out and doesn't properly fit the large forks that I purchased a few years ago when we needed more silverware (which were getting jammed and bent in the drawer because of not fitting). I purchased a few new organizers at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, using a bunch of 20% off coupons. As they take expired coupons, I took several with me. The drawer functions so much better now. Since I was reorganizing that drawer, I decided to do two others as well, just moving things around that I already had.

I had a couple of children help me reorganize the bottom shelf and below the bottom shelf in a kitchen closet for another time saver and frustration eliminator.

I had been thinking of replacing my diaper bag with a small tote bag. A close-by reader offered me some spray starch, to which I said yes. She then offered me a leather tote bag, to which I also said yes. When I looked at it, it turned out to be the perfect thing that I was wanting to replace a bag of mine that is 23 years old.

I canned 20 quarts of giardiniera.

Now that temperatures have dropped, I can start planting cool-season seeds in the garden. I planted seeds for parsley, lettuce, and beets.


What did you do to save money last week?




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  • Laurie in AZ October 08, 2018

    Beautiful flowers, Brandy!

    I didn't post last week, so this is 2 weeks worth.

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed Ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in most of the evenings. Continued to eat from the freezer and pantry.
    • Worked 19.5 contract hours. Worked all my hours at home, so saved on gas.
    • My birthday as last week, but Hubby won’t be here for it, so he took me wine tasting as my gift. I was able to purchase a groupon for 2 of the stops.
    • Got 2 new shirts on sale for 2.99 each. Badly needed as I have been losing weight and my summer shirts and capris are getting too big for me. Weather has finally cooled off to under 90 degrees here, so have been able to wear some jeans that I had in the closet. And the AC can work less!
    • Got a great deal on sirloin steaks last week. $2.97/lb. We eat steak once a week, so this was great for us.
    • Cut the bottom off the toothpaste tube to get the last bit.
    • Got a free yogurt and a package of tuna for the Friday Freebies. Also got 5 cans of peanuts for 99c each. I’m saving a couple of the cans for the holidays when I make Chex Mix.
    • Got a truck for my grandson at Goodwill for 69c. Also got some nice décor for my walls at reasonable prices.
    • Used a gift certificate for dinner on our trivia night.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates.
    • Used a coupon for BOGO entrée when I took my Dad out for our weekly lunch.
    • Bought fruit off the reduced bin. Mostly apples but it ends up being about 50c / lb. and the fruit is still good, just not pretty.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Holly October 08, 2018

    Oh, I forgot about the incredible bargain I got at the grocery store-a bag of three pounds of Granny Smith apples for 99 cents total. It was such a good price that I feared they were very old or brown at the core and only bought one of the several bags for sale at that price. I ate one last night. Yum.
    I am from Michigan, the state whose lower penninsula looks like a mitten on the globe. I grew up close enough to Canada to watch a TV station broadcast from Windsor, Ontario. Look closely at the map and you'll see you have to head south from Detroit to get to Windsor.

  • Heidi Louise October 08, 2018

    Granny Smiths are the best! (An Australian import).
    I have a Granny Smith tree I bought at WalMart for 9.95 a few years ago, the spring I saw organic Granny Smith apples for sale at the grocery store for $5 each. If I ever get two from it, I will have made my money back. So far, it is just growing taller, though it had a few blossoms this year.

  • Mary in AZ October 09, 2018

    I love Granny Smith Apples! I buy them whenever they are .99 lb I love them in pie or just to eat as a snack.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher October 08, 2018

    Isn't it funny how something as simple as a reorganized drawer can make you feel so much better??

    A few weeks ago I started a "Get Off Your Butt" Challenge with my husband. Instead of spending our workday evenings lounging around, we took care of one nagging task. We got so much done! Plus, our home was a little nicer and it meant one less thing we had to do during the weekend.

    This week:

    1. I started a batch of homemade peach wine. It's made with peaches I bought when they were .68/pound--the lowest they go in our area. It takes about two months to make the wine, but it's well worth the wait. I haven't had to buy wine in ages.

    2. I made more homemade laundry soap this weekend. I used Castile soap that my sister made, so my only cost was for the washing soda and Borax.

    3. I reorganized my office. I've been wanting a change but didn't want to spend a huge gob of money on new furniture. Sometimes all you need is to rearrange a space to make it feel new again.

    4. I ate my homemade yogurt for breakfast today, topped with my homemade granola. Yum!

    5. Hubs has a coupon for a free treat at McDonald's. I might persuade him to go tonight for a fun, free date. :)

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 08, 2018

    Wow. Your surgery certainly didn't slow you down any. ;) Hope you're healing well.

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate out only one time. Home-prepped meals included quesadillas, Quinoa Black Bean Tacos, tortellini vegetable soup, Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry, and lots of leftovers. I also made a chocolate zucchini cake. I'm so glad the weather has cooled down again. Soups and baked goods are once again on the menu.

    * Crocheted some more dish cloths.

    * Harvested cucumbers, three pumpkins, some Indian popcorn, butternut squash, and cabbage. We're using the popcorn to decorate for now; later we'll scrape the kernels from the cobs for popping/snacking. The pumpkins are also being used as decor at the moment, but we'll cook them up later.

    * Made two loaves of bread.

    * Roasted and sliced a turkey roast (from the freezer) for sandwiches.

    * Made more peanut butter.

    * Saved yellow honeydew seeds. This year's melons were from seeds that were saved from a purchased melon.

    * We actually had a little bit of rain (woo-hoo!), so we were able to turn off the sprinklers one day.

    * Continued to save rinse and warm-up water.

    * I had canned some grape jelly that failed to jell, so we've been using it instead of maple syrup on pancakes and waffles.

    * We had to get new tires for my car (not inexpensive, but necessary). We used a cash-back credit card for the initial purchase, and I will use money from our "future car expenses" line item in our savings account to pay off the purchase in full when the card bill arrives.

    * We made our yearly trek to Oak Glen to buy apples from our friends (two bushels of seconds, plus a few other things from their store/gift shop). I'm not sure this is especially frugal, especially once the fuel costs are factored in, but it's a fun outing each fall and we like to support our friends. Plus, we can get apple varieties that are not available in stores. Yum!

    That's all I wrote down this time.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  • Marybeth October 08, 2018

    I am finally well again. My garden is coming to an end. I made chili with some of my tomatoes and peppers. I froze 3 containers for future meals. I made more hot sauce with hot peppers from the garden. I went to a bridal shower. The gift was $49.99. I used a $10 off $30 purchase. I used a $25 gc I got from Swagbucks which brought my OOP to $18. The store had a wrapping station so I wrapped the gift there. I used a card from a box of cards I got last year at a garage sale for $1. Brought my leftovers home from the shower too. I only saw 2 other people ask to take home their leftovers. I ate mine today for lunch. The rest of my week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-frugal-list-week-of-october-1-2018.html

  • April October 08, 2018

    I thought September was the awful month for vehicle issues but October isn't off to a very good start. Hubby replaced his clutch, only have his back brakes go out. Another $600 gone.

    I'm currently trying to declutter and organize the entire house before the holidays and before I have to find a job with more hours. An organized drawer makes the world of difference!

    16 free toothbrushes from my mom

    free hair mask sample in the mail

    free k cup sample in the mail

    free nut butter sample in the mail

    A friend sent over a bag of jeans for my 11yo, 4 pair fit, 2 didn't . I passed the pairs that didn't fit onto someone with a daughter smaller than mine

    A couple weeks ago, I got a sandwich from Mcalister's deli. It was awful(awful in the fact the bread wasn't toasted so it was soggy by the time I got home and falling apart because it wasn't put together very carefully). And I didn't get the pickle. I usually don't complain, but when you pay $8 for a sandwich, you expect it to be a little better than what your 11yo can throw together, lol. So the manager sent me coupons for 2 free lunches(sandwich, drink, and cookie included). I used one coupon, then picked up the other for my teen who had a 12 hour shift one day.

  • Colleen Marble October 08, 2018

    It was a good week to save money here! I have been contemplating new furniture for quite some time - years in fact. The sofa in our tv room was a craigslist find 9 years ago, and it is completely worn out now, which is okay as we have boys and pets. But it's beyond bad now and needs to be replaced. I've been eyeballing some furniture at Ikea, but then I found a sale at World Market saved 30% and cut shipping fees. So while we are spending money, we're also saving a lot on our furniture purchase, and we sure got a lot of use out of a $75 used couch purchased 9 years ago! We are also blessing a young couple with the old coffee tables, which still have a lot of life left in them.

    Our church is beginning its annual Operation Christmas Child drive this week, and I was able to 'shop' the box in the basement where I've been stashing clearance items all year to fill our four boxes without having to make a trip to the store.

    My son was able to find everything he needed for a science experiment in our house without having to go to the store.

    I scheduled a surgery for December to take advantage of the fact that we have met our deductible for the year. This will save us $2500.

  • Colleen Marble October 08, 2018

    I forgot to add that I used the World Market sale to also buy several Christmas gifts that were on clearance and had the additional savings on top of that. I now have more than half of my Christmas shopping done! My goal is to always have it done by Thanksgiving so we can focus on the stuff that truly matters.

  • D in Moneta October 08, 2018

    Hi everyone and Margaret in Sydney, I live in southwest Virginia! I also enjoy reading posts from different parts of the world! Thanks, Brandy for your repeated posts about lowering your electric bill. It finally prompted me to contact our electric company to figure out how we are charged for our usage. I found out that during peak hours we are charged triple the normal rate! My husband also found a way online to track our usage. We now time things like laundry, cooking, and (as much as possible) air conditioning for off-peak times. In winter we supplement our heat with a wood stove in our basement and we have access to free wood. In other efforts to spend wisely, I restocked our freezer with marked-down beef and chicken, and stacked digital coupons with paper ones on other grocery items. Since retiring, I'm finding that the once-a-month paycheck is taking me some time to get used to. I already have some bills automatically deducted from my checking and will eventually have most of our expenses paid that way. No complaints - we are blessed to have a good income but it is definitely different than a weekly paycheck! And I (finally) have time to declutter and organize our home - something that is badly needed! But like Marivene's one-bucket-of-weeds-at-a-time method, I'm trying to tackle a little every day! Thanks to everyone for your great ideas and support of each other!

  • Bethany October 08, 2018

    I mended 2 Halloween costumes for the grandsons to wear. One just had a couple of places on the seams that had come undone, and one needed a tail sewn back on. They were both purchased either on clearance or from a thrift store to star, and this is the 3rd chuild they've been through now, so we certainly got good use out of them! I stacked coupons with a 5 of 25 store coupon to purchase candy for an annual Halloween party we attend; and made a black bean and corn salad for the carry in from things I had on hand. My husband brought home a LARGE bag of apples from one his Lodge brothers trees. My goal this week is to turn them into applesauce, and use the peelings and cores to make "fruit scrap juice" and then compost them. (Fruit scrap juice is simply covering cores, peels, etc that would otherwise be unused with water, and simmering. It turns into a weak juice, a nice change from plain water.)

  • Tabitha October 08, 2018

    1. Accepted a bottle of seasoning from my boss. It's a brand I have used before but am excited to try on fried potatoes!
    2. Agreed to work an extra 8 hour shift this week which will put me at a few hours over time on my next paycheck.
    3. Got my flu shot last week for free since it was covered by my insurance.
    4. After a phone call to my insurance company and our old chiropractor (we moved) a bill was decreased by $30. We still owed a portion for deductible, but it was still worth a 10 minute phone call.
    5. Making the pioneer woman's rustic apple pie using a leftover pie crust and two bruised apples. It a not enough for an entire pie. But I am the only one who eats pie, so it's just enough for me to have a few slices.
    6. Will be babysitting this Friday for a family which will provide some extra cash towards my jeep loan.
    7. Picked up some jeans for my husband at Kohls. Regular price 45 a piece. Walked out paying just $40 for 2 pair. They were on Sale for 24 each and if you used your Kohls card to pay, you saved an extra $10. He was down to just 1 pair of jeans so this was very helpful. I needed some new jeans but didn't find any good deals.

  • Mable October 08, 2018

    Brandy, I thought I misread when you wrote that you are trying to figure out how to make better use of your time. I already think of you are super-organized!

    I wrote once about my sister, who is much better off financially due to her husband's occupation, and how I try not to tell her I want or need anything because she will buy it and more for me. Never in a superior way, always almost humbly, saying she is blessed and wants to share it with me. Well, she flew in for a visit and while she was here our furnace decided to die. We have used the same furnace place for over 20 years (they deliver our oil, too, for heating) and they agreed to let me pay $1000 down and $500 every month until it was paid off (the total price was slightly under $6,000). New furnace installed, sister goes home, three weeks late I send in the next installment for the furnace and they call and tell me that the bill has already been paid in full. By my sister. Of course it is a relief but I am left with no way to repay her. She already has pretty much the best of everything. I also worry that my husband thinks this means she believes he is not successful or can't afford to take care of his family. He is in a profession that pays much less than being a surgeon does and he loves his work but when we visit them he says he feels like we are the Beverly Hillbillies stopping by (I am younger than he is and also did not grow up with a television, so I actually had to look up this reference!) Amazing how generosity can lead to problems! I did at least get her to agree that this was this year's birthday and Christmas gift.

    Meanwhile, we had a very thrifty month, as I was looking at every penny to make sure we had to spend it rather than being able to put it toward the $500 that was coming due. Bought only milk and some flour so I could make bread. Otherwise we ate from the freezer and cupboard, which were stocked full from this summer's garden harvest. We drove only when we absolutely had to, cut each other's hair, put the lights on only when we had to (here in Northern Alaska, we are losing seven minutes of daylight every day, so it is getting dark early and the sun is rising later and later), evaluated whether the outer clothes we were wearing that day could be re-worn without washing so that we had less laundry and so a smaller water bill. We are pretty thrifty anyway, but this month we approached Brandy's year of no money in terms of spending!

  • Margie from Toronto October 08, 2018

    It's funny how we react to money isn't it - even an act of generosity such as this can cause issues - even though I'm sure your sister meant no offence.
    What about sending a lovely bouquet of flowers now and again as your little gift to her. Even if you put a wee bit of the money you would have spent on the furnace aside and send the flowers every now and again I'm sure they would be greatly appreciated - who doesn't like to receive flowers - especially when it's not for any particular occasion but just to say "thank you" or "we are thinking of you".

  • Becky October 09, 2018

    I love that idea! I may borrow it for myself, though I may have to grow and pick flowers this year, as we are on a pretty low budget until my husband gets through his health issues and is able to work more hours again. He's making progress, but is not there, yet.

    I have 2 very generous sisters, who are both financially better off than I am. They are always giving me gifts, even today, one gave me a bag of Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour worth at least $10, plus sent dinner home for us. She says she ordered too many bags. She is being gracious. She clearly ordered one for me, too. I'm not that silly as to think that she did not know what she was ordering:) Not long ago, the other one sent over lots of apples. Those are just the 2 latest gifts, in a constant stream, from those two. They have certainly shared money with us, too, if they think we need it. We have never, ever asked either of them for money, but there have been occasions that they simply gave us some and called it a birthday present, or whatever. For whatever reason, it's harder for us to accept money graciously than is it to accept things that cost money. Like Margie said, it's funny how we react to money. I'm getting better at thinking of it as God's provision--we need something, He lays it on someone's heart to provide it to us--and, there it is!

    Over the years, I have learned that it gives them pleasure to be able to give, just as it does me. I've also learned that sometimes God uses them, or others, to meet a need we have by prompting them to give us some money when we have not even asked any for money, in any way. I have learned that I give them many, many things that mean a great deal to them, but they are not expensive in terms of money. I may give them some time working together on a project with them, a listening ear, a hand-made gift, hours of my time to their various children over the years, meals when needed, etc.

    If you can bring yourself to do it, don't rob your sister of her joy in giving or her sense that she is helping you out. I'm sure it would trouble her greatly to think that you were cold this winter, or had to go without basic needs to pay for the furnace. Thank her (which I'm sure you do) and then let her know how much the gift meant to you, how helpful it was, how it met a specific need, how much you appreciate her generous spirit, and so on. Then, if you can, enjoy the peace and comfort that knowing you don't have that big bill looming over you brings. But, I've got to repeat--I love that flower idea!

  • Maxine October 09, 2018

    Mable, read Becky's last paragraph again and commit it to memory! Gifts, freely given, are not meant to be reciprocated. Don't worry that you have no way to repay her. Don't you see she is trying to repay you for saving her as a child?

  • Margie from Toronto October 09, 2018

    Thank you Becky - and I loved the way you put this dilemma- very well said.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 09, 2018

    Hi Mable,

    Did you buy a ten year parts and labour warranty from the manufacturer on the furnace? No matter which reputable company makes the furnace, modern furnaces just don't last the same as the really old ones. Since I got my two new furnaces (a year apart from each other which was a brutal financial blow at the time), I have had to have a new motor on one, (an $800 expense without the warranty which I fortunately had), and a defective part replaced on the other (another $500 without the warranty). You will also need to have the furnace inspected and serviced annually so that the warranty remains valid (keep the receipts as proof). If you don't have such a warranty, I suggest you phone the furnace installers and ask them. From some of the money saved because of your sister, you can buy the warranty if you don't already have it. Modern furnaces seem to last only about ten years not 20 or 30 years like the old ones so if you have extra you could save for a furnace fund. I think your husband should realize that some people just get paid more than others, some win the lottery, etc. It is not a reflection on his abilities. It is okay to take pleasure in the bounties other people have without feeling it's a reflection on you yourself. Just bless your sister that she realizes how lucky she is to have extra and that she shares. The cost of a gift is not important –– it is truly the kindness behind it. You could see someone in need, who just needs some food or some clothing or is ill and needs a chore done, and you could pass your sister's generosity forward at no or little cost to someone who would greatly appreciate it. Perhaps if you mention that paying your sister's kindness forward with what you can afford to someone else would make your husband feel better. We all share the same destiny in the end and the day may come when you can repay your sister in non-monetary ways you cannot now imagine. Ann

    P.S. Without generalizing, I know several doctors' wives who would never think of helping the way your sister gives to you. Rejoice that she has kept her kind heart! I have a friend who is married to a doctor and every once in awhile she sees a certain stressed look on my face and comes to my aid. She has a certain ultimately fatal illness and before she was so stricken she was a bit oblivious to others. I never ask I always pay her back and once that's done I always pay her kindness forward, for example by interviewing deserving and needy women for scholarships. I like Margie from Toronto's suggestion. You might think of making her something –– a box of homemade candy at Christmas, etc. etc., something that she could use.

  • Elizabeth M. October 10, 2018

    You really and truly don't need to re-pay your sister with anything other than a simple and genuine thank you. She just wants to make sure that you have what you need without any unnecessary pain. I am sure that your husband just needs to hear that you believe it is important that he is doing work that he loves, and that you know the two of you will have what you need. Maybe you and your husband can set some money aside that would have going to the furnace for future expenses.

    A friend of mine always felt badly that her brother would take her someplace expensive at Christmas using airline points he earned through his work, but I know that he loved going someplace that was a real treat for her. He also genuinely loved the homemade presents she sewed for him. It made him know someone important to him cared about him.

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