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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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Comments

  • Rhonda A. October 11, 2018

    I know that expenses are tight for you, but I have a suggestion of how to thank your sister for her kind gesture. If you put aside some money, perhaps you could plan a special "sister weekend" somewhere (maybe as a Christmas or birthday gift). You could rent an inexpensive cottage with a kitchen for a weekend. This way, you could bring food with you, which is not only cheaper, but making the meals together can be part of the experience. She may have lots of money and everything she may ever need. However, I think spending some special one on one time with her sister is someting money just can't buy. If a weekend is just too much, perhaps buying inexpensive tickets to see a show and spent an evening together would be a great alternative. Either way, the point is to carve out special time for just the two of you as a way of saying thank you.

  • Sandy October 08, 2018

    I just did the numbers for 75% through the year and I averaged$186.31/month. There are only two of us, so it could have been better, but I am working on that. My freezer and refrigerator/ freezer, as well as my cupboards are full. I intend to live off them for the next couple of months.

  • S. CO Mary October 08, 2018

    I haven't posted my frugal-ness lately. So here goes for the last few weeks:

    My SOs cousin's husband (got that?) raises a large garden every year. We all barter/trade equipment, garden produce and general stuff. He does all organic and uses some seeds that came from Italy (he still has family and land there). Like many gardeners this year has had its ups and downs. Little zucchini, eggplant or tomatoes. LOTS of various kinds of peppers and chili peppers. He raised Shishisto peppers fro me - similar to the Spanish Padron pepper. Its a small pepper that is pan roasted with a little olive oil and flaked salt. They are delicious as an appetizer. I can't seem to seem to get my pan hot enough - in tapas pars they roast them on the super hot grill so they are blistered but not over cooked. I have some left that I am going to make a ristra from - a string of pepper that can dried and be used all season. These are mild. So we've had some veggies from him and some from local farmer's markets.

    We had an invasion of mice earlier this year. I thought I had cleaned everything but when I was going to put up some tomato sauce that I bought on case lot sale for 25c per can I found I'd forgotten the 'tomato' corner. Oh boy. It really needed cleaned as the mice had chewed labels. While I was washing and cleaning I started looking at the use by dates - well over a year ago! There were 8 or so cans of diced tomatoes with sweet onions - we really didn't like them so maybe that is why I forgot them. There were about 7 cans with basil/oregano/garlic, 2 plain diced and 2 whole tomatoes. I decided to make two big batches of sauce - one for pizza (thicker with sliced olives and canned mushrooms that needed to be used) and one for pasta - thinner with nothing added. As I was doing these big batches I got down my big canister of basil that I bought from Sam's. Frugal fail - it had lost its color and flavor but guess to be expected as it was over two years past its last best date. Lesson learned - I don't use enough basil to warrant that big a size. I have 8 2C servings of pizza sauce and 7 2C servings of pasta sauce frozen. Have more freezer space than shelf space right now.

    Went to Walmart to return some stuff and as I wandered through the clothing aisle found some great deals. Almost all of my casual pants, leggings and yoga pants that I wear during the cooler months were ruined doing projects - paint, rips, stains, etc. I found some great comfy leggings that can be for home or even as pj bottoms for $3.00, a long sweater to wear in the house (that is fully washable - I have lovely sweaters but most are wool and need more TLC than I want to give my house wear clothes) and undies - 12 pair for $12.00!

    We are going through all of our inventory to see what we need and don't. We plan on being on the road with our 5th wheel for several months and I don't want to stock anything unless it is good for long term storage at home. Found a lot of stuff that we can just take with us, stuff to donate and we have a much better understanding of where we are.

    One amusing note. I don't really bake. I am not a sweets person and it isn't a skill that I learned growing up. So one concession is that I normally buy cookies, muffins or a cake for SO. I haven't been doing this as I've been doing a lot of long dental appointments. I came home from the last one to find a humongous bag of candy bars and cookies bought at Family Dollar. SO had stopped for something and well... So today as it is cooler I found a box of lemon cake mix (99c), a can of lemon icing (89c on deep discount) and a box of orange supreme cookie mix (90c) - all bought at some point, put into storage and promptly forgotten about. The two mixes were outdated. I decided to just go for it - made 2 dozen cupcakes and 2 dozen cookies - all turned out fine. Used the big container of icing to frost the cupcakes and (thank you Margaret!) made sandwich cookies with the rest. So, SOs set for awhile. The cousin in law brought some apples that are more for cooking so I am going to make my mom's apple cake, which freezes beautifully. I read this blog while I was waiting for things to bake! Thanks to everyone for ideas and inspiration.

  • Hilogene in Az October 08, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    For Margaret in Sydney, we live in Phoenix, Arizona, which is Arizona’s biggest city, in the middle of the state, climate is desert! Quite similar to where Brandy lives, climate wise. Las Vegas and Phoenix are about 300 miles apart.

    Brandy, congratulations on the food from the garden last week, that was quite a bit more harvested than I expected...it still is so hot (well except this past week).

    Last week I did get one of the new Apple Watches. My first one. Over the last few years, I have sold clothes and jewelry through a consignment store here in Arizona, and last week I cashed out the credit. That cash, plus $4, got me the Apple Watch! Who knew old clothes could turn into something new :). When I retired, I took all my work clothes, as well as other items cleaned out in the closets...but once retired, I don’t need clothes as much. So the watch will be more useful. Today I went to the local Apple store and went to a free class on how to use it.

    Otherwise, I have been slowly working down the freezer, and will make batches of three different soups this week for portions into the freezer. My usual batch of soup makes four meals for the two of us. I still have one turkey...so that is next on the to do list!

    Happy beginning of fall everyone.

  • Kara October 08, 2018

    I live in the center of California, but am a transplant from Europe.
    I rode my bike to do errands.
    I worked at a temp job 7 days, my first work outside of the home since I’ve had significant health issues. It felt good.
    I joined to narrow curtain panels (passed down from my mother) to make one panel big enough to cover sliding door. I used the old curtain (made from a painters drop cloth) to make curtains for my daughter’s dorm room.
    I have been diligent about no food waste.
    I have been painting a stool, and repairing and painting baseboards. It’s not fun at all, but it looks so good.
    Biggest triumph-we are downsizing and we sold our piano! I had heard pianos were notoriously hard to sell and some people ended up giving theirs away. But we sold it for the exact same price we paid for it over 10 years ago. It was a blessing to us, and the man buying it for his wife was so glad to get it.

  • Liz October 08, 2018

    Hello,

    I too have been trying to organize all of our spaces and get rid of clutter. It is a continual battle!
    Here are the ways we saved this week:
    - I picked up our limit of free items from the on base pharmacy. They allow 4 free over the counter items, per person, per month. This helps us save on cold medicines, vaseline, tylenol, chapstick and much more. It also prevents late night runs to the store when someone is sick.
    - I spent a lot of time last week reorganizing and going through items and areas. It is much nicer to know where items are and it saves money in the long run.
    - We hosted my inlaws for dinner. I hadn't went to the store for our major shop yet. I used items from the freezer and got a couple of things to go with from the Dollar Tree.
    - Speaking of Dollar Tree, I used coupons to get some free frozen pretzels, bandaids and regular pretzels. I like using coupons at the Dollar Tree!
    - I loaded my Freebie Friday for Kroger to my account to redeem when I am over that way.
    - I used a free Ibotta Shutterfly code... well I saved it to my profile so I can use it. It does not expire until the end of the month.
    - I cooked meals at home including: meatballs, beans and rice, homemade chicken nuggets (with sauce saved from Chick Fil A!) and more.
    - We got our free tree from our utilities company and the Arbor Day Foundation. We got it planted in the yard!
    - I scored some freebies which I listed on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/10/08/11-freebies-today-10-8-18/
    - I also cashed out from Earning Station, Swagbucks, and a few other sites, which I also have listed on my blog.
    That's about it!
    Blessings,
    Liz

  • Jennifer O. October 10, 2018

    How do you sign up for/ get the free OTC items at the base? Is there a program name I need to know or sign up for?

  • Jenny October 09, 2018

    On the growing side I am growing mushrooms in a box in my front room (the room faces south, so is cooler and darker). And the kale continues to grow in the garden. I don't think that plant ever stops. Because we are approaching summer I am looking at purchasing tomato and squash plants to grow.
    I received a heap of free green beans that I blanched and froze in the freezer. And on Saturday I will be getting free ground cardamom, free peppermint essence, and free gelatine leaves. I think I will make choc peppermint cupcakes for work lunches, and a spice cake for church.
    The free items come from a freegan Facebook group that is anti-waste.
    And I live in Melbourne, Australia, the bottom part of mainland Australia.

  • AndreaG October 09, 2018

    I hope that you are recovering well from your surgery, Brandy. We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and now have lots of turkey leftovers for various meals this week. In addition to the turkey leftovers I brought home from Mom’s she also gave us a brick of cheese and some turkey burgers. My husband is off work this week, with only a few hours of pay so we will be keeping it quiet and spending little. Last week we ate all meals at home and my husband took his lunch to work every day. I am hoping in the next week or two that there is a good deal on apples and pears as I would like to make a large batch of applesauce and some pear sauce this month. I’m also hoping to get bedspreads and blankets washed and hung outside to dry this month before the weather turns nasty here in Canada.

  • LynnDinKY October 09, 2018

    Greetings from Central Kentucky. The weather here is beautiful. We have four seasons and the landscape here looks like rural England. I wish we have the same architecture as them but we don't. ( I'm in love with the Cotwolds)

  • I don't feel like I've had a frugal week or two. I helped to host a baby shower, The church had two funerals and I did more running than what I wanted. Some of it was just completely unavoidable.
  • Baby shower frugals are: Used as much as possible from my own stash to make banners, table decor,goody bags and food. I had ribbons, paper, glue, and my handy dandy ancient cricut cutter. Any scrap paper was stored away for another project. I still had to buy quite a bit but we also saved as much a possible afterwards for another baby shower. Food leftovers were brought home. I had cookies leftover and I shared them with my girls class.
  • For the funeral meals I made broccoli casserole and a Peach clafoutis. It was delicious. I help to serve at the first funeral, and they insisted that I take some leftovers for dinner that night. I was extremely thankful for the gesture as the baby shower was the next day. The rest of the leftovers were sent to the second family that had a death. The young man was 19 years old. It was so heartbreaking. The meal after the funeral was a week later so I sent broccoli casserole and brownies for that one. I had made both casseroles at the same time knowing that I would need another one soon.
  • I had stopped bringing snacks for my girls on Wed. nights. They haven't seems to miss them at all. So I shall continue not bringing anything unless it's leftover like the baby shower cookies.
  • Project Linus is a group that I have become involved in. For two weeks I had my girls rework some blankets for the group for craft time instead of a craft project. No cost to me and they loved it. I also made a quilt for the group from my own scraps of fabric.
  • I too have been cleaning.
  • The basement is being decluttered a little at a time. I can't wait til it's completely finished. My kids are wanting the treadmill down there to use, my dh wants an office area and I'm over here saying forget y'all! I need more crafting space. LOL. We'll see what actually happens.
  • [*] My dh is seriously thinking of retiring. In preparations for that, I have started keeping a record of expenses. I should have done that from the beginning of time.:( Although we consider ourselves to be frugal, it has been eye-opening:o for me to see it on record. I think that I will be doing this for a long time.

  • Jennifer O. October 09, 2018

    I live in Georgia (US) on the coast.

    I always keep a bag of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons in my car. I have been able to bless others from the abundance in my bag.

    Busy week here.

    Left work early Monday, I just didn’t feel well. Went home and took a 4 hour nap! Then I went back to bed at bedtime and slept through. Felt better in the morning. 3 other colleagues did the same thing this week – we think it’s a virus.

    Treated myself to a badly needed massage and facial at the school. After 10 services you get a free service. So even with the seriously discounted services, I’m still building to a free service. Picked up a sub for dinner and am building points toward free dinner there too.

    I attended a wine tasting Event and dinner Wednesday with friends and my wine club met Thursday night. Bought the cutest Mexican ceramic pumpkin from a fundraiser for a Mexican orphanage/ mission. My husband took me to afternoon tea at the Jekyll Club on Jekyll Island and then we walked on the beach and had happy hour drinks overlooking the ocean. Attended the Cherokee Pow Wow (we are not Cherokee - we saw it advertised on Facebook).

    Husband had a colonoscopy. Looked ok, but will have to wait until Thursday for the official results.

    Started picking up small Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers as I see them. This year I got smart and bought a big Rubbermaid tote to put the stocking and accumulating items in, this way I can fill stockings as I go and know WHEN TO STOP! I usually end up with a stocking and a “stocking box” for everyone.

  • Libby October 09, 2018

    Brandy,
    I too have to stay organized to save time. It also helps my mind to stay clear when my home is clear. I also love getting rid of things because it makes me feel lighter.

    We had two terrible events this week, my grandmother passed away and another family tradegy. Through the chaos we have come together as a family and I feel stronger and more loved now than we have in years. We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this week and I'm counting my blessings. Most of all I'm grateful for the health of my children and husband because without them I couldn't survive.

    My accomplishments;
    Fixed my shower handle myself costing me $36 instead of $216 that the plumber wanted to charge
    Fixed my garage fridge and managed to save and cook all the defrosted food before it went bad except 2 gallons of milk that I didn't want to take a chance on, not worth it! This also saved me the cost of buying a new fridge.
    I accepted two large bags of children's clothes from a neighbor saving me from buying clothes to get us through winter. I took the time to put away things that didn't fit or were not in good condition.
    I found a great sale on ground turkey and bought 22lbs. It was $2 a pound which is rare for this area.
    I cooked up butternut squash from my garden for a side
    I accepted food from my father and other grandma when they went to travel and the food would have gone bad.
    I cleaned out the garage with my husband so we can find things easier and I found lots of treasures I forgot about

    I hope things are calming down in your house and you can find peace and happiness among the chaos. After this week I know that you don't know what you really have until you face losing it so I am counting every blessing I have.

    One more thing I lost 20lbs! After fasting for one of our recent holidays I realized that for me not eating until the afternoon helps me have more energy and I lose weight quickly. That combined with cutting most carbs and sugar has helped me to drop a lot of weight very quickly which I am grateful for since I have gained 40 lbs since my wedding 10 years ago. Yay!

  • Heidi Louise October 09, 2018

    Happy Anniversary, Libby! Thank you for sharing your blessings wisdom with us.
    Wishing you many more, (both blessings and anniversaries!).

  • FrugalStrong October 09, 2018

    Hello from Fort Worth, Texas. We are known as "Cowtown" and also "Panther City." Even though we are only ~35 miles west of Dallas, we have our own personality.

    I rarely post, but since I'm actually reading today on my laptop, rather than my tablet, it makes it easier to comment. So, here are some of my frugal happenings from this past week:

    1) Switched from Verizon to Tmobile last week to take advantage of their awesome military plan that we'd spent a lot of time researching (my husband is retired military). Even with the add-ons my husband added (he's an airline pilot so wanted the extra hotspot, inflight wifi perks, to use when traveling etc), we're still saving AT LEAST $25 a month over Verizon's base cost, but really more like $50 a month because TMobile is unlimited everything and we almost always went over our data limit with Verizon (a lot of hotels my husband stays in have spotty wifi which means he ends up using data). Also, we'll be able to help his Dad and his Dad's girlfriend. We can add both of them to our plan for $20 more a month so we plan to absorb that cost as a gift to them and it'll save his Dad almost $300/month! (Don't ask me why he's been willingly spending that much when he can't afford it - ugh). Also, this military plan provides free Netflix (2-screen option). We already had Netflix so now we're saving on that monthly cost as well!

    2) Thanks to my amazing local discount grocery store, will only spend just over $200 this month for groceries for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids). I only do a "big shop" once a month - I hit the discount grocery for produce and whatever dairy/other items they. Then the bakery outlet for bread and other related items. Finally, the military commissary to fill in the gaps and get our usual staples. This, combined with Ibotta and using coupons when possible, has really whittled our bill. We're lucky that we only live about 15 minutes from a base. I then hit Albertsons and Kroger throughout the month as needed to take advantage of freebies and clearance dairy (I pretty much only buy marked down milk from Albertsons). Also, sometimes they have awesome cereal deals.

    3) October is my birthday month and some of my freebies became available as of Oct 1 (the others typically are only good the week of or day of my birthday). I used my AMC birthday freebie of a free large popcorn and drink to treat my family to the movies this weekend. We ordered a 2nd large drink but they chose not to charge us (I asked). Plus, we get unlimited free refills and since my husband and kids can put away some popcorn, this came in handy. I paid for the tickets ($5 each anytime because we're military) online using my AMC gift card I earned redeeming points, so the entire outing was free (I save up all my points from all outlets all year and then redeem them at the end of the year for gift cards for fun things like AMC, Dominoes, etc, so we can enjoy some free splurges throughout the year0. We don't go to the theater very often, so it's a treat. I also redeemed my CVS bday freebie for a free bottle of nail polish, and my Dairy Queen BOGO Blizzard bday coupon. I ordered 2 mini sizes (1 for each kid), so it was under $3 out of pocket and the perfect amount, so none was wasted.

    4) I follow our base MWR on Facebook so I learn about fun, free family events and take advantage when possible. This past weekend, I signed both kids up for a free basketball clinic given by a nearby university's basketball team. They had over an hour of basketball and received free t-shirts, autographs, and tickets to the university's military appreciation game in January. This upcoming weekend I'm taking them to a free "Alice in Wonderland" tea party on base.

    5) My husband volunteered with the Knights of Columbus at church this past Sunday and they invited the kids and I to join them for a free fajitas lunch they had for the volunteers after Mass. We were hungry and the food was delicious!

    6) My son got invited to a last minute birthday party. I keep a large stash of age-appropriate gifts purchased at major clearance on hand, so I grabbed a gift from the stash and wrapped it using items from my gift bag/tissue paper stash.

    7) I continue to read books from the library and listen to free podcasts.

    8) This post is getting long...sorry! Last one....my husband and I are going overseas next week for an amazing trip to celebrate our 10 yr wedding anniversary. While this trip is decidedly NOT frugal, it has already been paid in cash and is totally worth it. My Mom is coming from out of state to watch the kids for us for 10 days. Obviously way cheaper than a sitter! Also, saw a notice from USAA that their credit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee, so we'll be sure to use that card rather than the one we usually use to save in that area.

    Thanks for your patience in reading my novel! :)

  • Florrie October 09, 2018

    From equinox to equinox, I heat up a cup of water for free every night. I use a small stainless steel pot on stovetop. When hubby's cup is heated, I turn off stove, pour into mug, add another cup of water into pot and use residual heat of pot and electrical coils. In three minutes, I get to enjoy my cup. I don't microwave my water anymore after seeing pictures of sickly looking molecules of water after nuking.

    I made Christmas cards using last year's received cards. I made a list of each card, describing each so I don't return cards to original owner. I saved large pieces of paper to make customized envelopes for each card As a bonus, I also cut out pretty border patterns to make some recipe cards. With the money saved each year, I buy a bag of groceries for hungry folks to enjoy a holiday meal.

    I used muted,floral- printed scrapbook paper to make memorial contributuin envelopes. I write condolence messages on the envelopes, and seal the back with a "thinking of you" sticker, and also an address label in case they feel the need to acknowledge.

    My neighbor one street away gave me a brand new pack of queen sized flannel sheets because she was moving and was decluttering. I will think of her as I keep warm in them this winter!

    Safety and good health to everyone here!

  • Jilly October 09, 2018

    Brandy thankyou for your inspiring ideas & insight & compassion. Wishing your recovery from skin cancer is speedy. Rhonda from Down to Earth blog introduced me to your wonderful blog. I'm from the Sunshine Coast Qeensland Australia & love hearing comnents from your global community. We've had crazy storms here & more to come. However my thoughts & prayers are with people in the areas about to be impacted by Hurricanes in US.
    My family have just left Orlando after a wonderful. Holiday & are in Nevado now I believe. Look forward to catching up when they return to Brisbane ( Australia ).
    Thankyou for a wobderful blog community.

  • Lillianna October 09, 2018

    I have thought for a few days now that I would leave a post and just cannot find the words. The season is heavy in my life right now and the losses are many. My emotional burden is extreme and honestly it feels like more than I can carry. The many posts that share encouragement amongst yourself touches my heart so deeply. Marivene always had kind words. 4 losses in one week is just too much. The hurricane rains beat down on me but in a few days the sun will shine. Meanwhile, I will snuggle with Kitty, puppy and maybe college girl. Have a good week dear friends. My only frugalness is saving my sanity this week.

  • Anne October 10, 2018

    Lillianna my heart goes out to you. Your trials seem so overwhelming at times. Do the best that you can to take care of yourself and then “let go and let God”.

  • Patricia Koernig October 10, 2018

    Prayers for you, Lilliana. I understand a heavy heart. May the sun shine on you soon.

  • Heidi Louise October 10, 2018

    Wholeness and peace to you, Lillianna!

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