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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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  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 08, 2018

    Susan I agree with you - keeping DH's back from further pain is a must. He did want to try to do the work but I was able to talk him out of it. We used a local semi-retired plumber who lives in our development who only does small jobs now. His fee was actually a bargain - another plumber would have charged over $200 for the same work.

  • Tiffany E. October 07, 2018

    I absolutely love that we’ve finally started to cool off! Vegas sure does like to take its time changing over to autumn. I’ve had our house opened up and the a/c turned off for four days.... heaven for me.

    My zucchini plant has come back from the dead and is flowering. This will be the first time I’ve had anything from it! I’m hoping to get lettuce seeds in the ground by the end of the week.

    I’ve been trying to get our home more organized too. The girls have to go through their fall and winter clothes to see what still fits and what needs to be replaced.

    It’s been a very emotional week for our family, as my uncle is in his final days after a long battle with cancer. Yesterday my grandfather broke his foot, and won’t be able to drive for several weeks - that are full of doctor appointments. My gas budget will be blown to pieces with all of the driving back and forth across town. With all of the stress, we ate out quite a bit this past week. To help keep costs under control, I’m meal planning and sticking to a “no eating out” rule for the next two weeks. We’re stocked up on everything we’ll need. Hopefully no last minute shopping will come up.

    My girls and I have started making lists of Christmas gifts we want to make for family and friends.

  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 08, 2018

    Tiffany E., sending prayers for your uncle and grandfather.

  • Athanasia October 13, 2018

    Tiffany, I am sorry to hear about your uncle and grandfather. What a blessing you are able to be there for them.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood October 08, 2018

    Beautiful rose picture! Is it blooming in your garden now with the lower temperatures? You must be so happy to have the windows open most of the time, not only for the fresh air, but also for the electricity savings. And, I wanted to say, I thought it was very nice that you wrote a post for Marivene. A lovely tribute to a member of the community that you created.

    My week was pretty quiet, as my body is letting me know I need to slow down as I reach the end of my pregnancy (still a few weeks to go, but I suspect baby will arrive sooner), but I still managed to get a few things done:
    - Potatoes and other root veggies have been quite cheap lately, here in Southern Ontario, so I made a batch of my Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes (http://approachingfood.com/greek-style-lemony-potatoes/). If I can find some green beans on sale, I plan to make my Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans (http://approachingfood.com/lemony-pan-fried-green-beans/).
    - I haven’t been using my local trading app (BUNZ) lately, as I just don’t have the energy to meet up to do trades but this week I updated the app, and I’ve been answering questions each day to earn BTZ, which is the digital currency that the app uses. It adds up pretty quickly, and more and more stores in Toronto are accepting it as a form of currency, so I’m saving it to use for groceries or coffees to get myself out of the house when I’m on mat leave.
    - I saved the bags and ribbons from gifts given to me.
    - For inexpensive nursery decorations, I hung some of the cards given to us at my baby shower, on one of the walls. It’s nice to be reminded of the community of family and friends who wish us well and will surround our baby with love.
    - I purchased a baby hat, three sleepers, a layette set, and a pair of fleece pants for baby for less than $10 OOP by combining a sale, a gift card, and a coupon emailed to me.
    - I bought my closest friend a birthday gift of a set of books from Indigo, using a $10 gift card from Swagbucks (I had been saving it for Christmas, but I forgot my friend’s birthday was prior to that) along with $5 worth of loyalty points. I pulled a birthday card from my stash of birthday cards that I buy when on sale (whether from the dollar store, or when Indigo offers a free $5 credit every now and then – I usually buy a card as that’s one of the cheapest things, and end up only paying pennies).
    - My mum gave me a bag of bread crusts, which I stuck in the freezer and will turn into fresh bread crumbs as needed. She also gave me two fancy soaps that she couldn’t use. I’ll either use them myself or give them as gifts. I gave her a book that I didn’t want, and borrowed a book from her. We also borrowed a stud-finder from my parents so my husband could hang some shelves in the nursery. So handy having family around!
    - My parents sent us home from Thanksgiving dinner with enough for another meal for the two (and half!) of us, so that will save me some energy, and is much appreciated, not to mention delicious.

    All in all, I feel I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am very grateful. Looking forward to learning from this community, as always!

  • Margaret (near Sydney, Australia) October 08, 2018

    Hi everyone, can I request that people put their approximate location eg city or state, as I've never been to the USA and I would love to find out more about different places in the USA.

    The weather is warming here and the clocks have gone forward.
    Washing is hung out on the line and aired in front of the heater which is on low in the still cool evenings.

    I'm using up what I have in the freezer and cupboard.
    I vacuumed the car with the home vacuum rather than taking to the car wash in the next town and using the vacuum there.
    I've limited my car use as petrol is currently very expensive here.
    I'm using up cleaning supplies I have.
    I've redeemed some shopper reward points and gifted them to a struggling friend so she could buy some groceries.

  • Ellie October 08, 2018

    Hi Margaret,
    I live in the U.S.A. in the Delta part of Arkansas. We are 10 miles over the Mississippi River bridge from Memphis, Tenessee. Elvis Presley drive truck for the ice manufacturing company that is the town next to mine. In fact, when we have company stay in our home, they want to visit Graceland,which is about 30 miles away I have been 2 times 5 years. Now I drive them and read a book in the parking lot while they take the 3 hour tour.
    We are heading into Fall and my garden is done. It is still 90 degrees in the afternoons! I can hardly wait for some real Fall temps.
    I enjoy reading posts from around the world too.

  • Maxine October 08, 2018

    I live in Idaho, which is the big L shaped state in the Northwest. I live in the Panhandle in the northern part of the state...about 100 miles south of Canada.

  • Mandy October 08, 2018

    Hello! I live in Northern Illinois about 1.5 hours north of Chicago.

  • Anne October 08, 2018

    I also live in Illinois , but probably 3 hours south of Mandy. I live out amongst the corn and soybean fields.

  • Amy D October 09, 2018

    I also live in Illinois in Bloomington, about 2 1/2 hours south of Chicago. We also have lots of corn and soybeans. It's fall here and the temperatures go from the high 80s to the 40s (coming up this week)

  • Laura Skokowski October 09, 2018

    I also live in Illinois, north central, in Sycamore...where life offers more as the slogan says. I was busy harvesting bell peppers, chopping and freezing them today. I also cut m y parsley and filled a HIGE bag with it, which I will clean, chop and freeze tomorrow. Pulled the last of the tomatoes toss y as well. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, but on Thursday I will be harvesting all the hot peppers for canning, and clip all the herbs. It is going to be 29 degrees F Thursday night, so all will freeze. That is the last of the garden. I am putting extras up for my newlywed daughter who lives in Kelowna, Canada, and now has four children to feed on a very tight budget.

  • S. CO Mary October 08, 2018

    Hi Margaret! That is the name of two of my great-grandmothers and my middle sister. I love that name. I live in Southern Colorado - about 2 hours drive south of Denver. Our home is on a small farm holding. I can see Pikes Peak from my backyard - it is the mountain that was written about as "Purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain". So I guess you could say I live on the fruited plain - although not much fruit grown out here - mainly corn and hay for cattle and market vegetables. The nearest true town/city is 15 miles away but we do have places to buy milk, bread and gas and of course - every soft drink known in the US.

  • Ruth October 12, 2018

    I live in Colorado also and can see Pikes Peak from my front window!

  • Angela in Kentucky October 08, 2018

    I live in Lexington, Kentucky. We are in the central part of the state known as the bluegrass. A certain type of grass that grows here has a hint of blue tint in the early morning dew. We are famous for our race horses and bourbon whiskey. It is still very warm right now but expected to get more fall temps later this week. I can't wait. The humidity has still been very bad even though it is the middle of October. Australia is one place I would love to visit. I can't stand to fly so it would be difficult to get there however. I can dream about it.

  • Becky October 08, 2018

    I live in Oregon. It is a state that borders the Pacific Ocean. There are 2 parts--the western half is the mild part that is affected by the maritime climate, and a drier, hotter interior and eastern side. I live about an hour and a half from the beach, so it's easy for us to go over there frequently. We camp, hike, walk on the beach, fish, crab, and clam over there. The water is very cold so we don't swim in the ocean here, but may dip our toes in during the hot summer. We see surfers in their wet suits, though, at times. We have a camper, which you may refer to as a caravan, and pull it with our van. The weather is quite mild, so we can even go camping in the winter at times, but it will likely rain, so we are glad for a roof over our heads.

    Our state is very beautiful, with many evergreen trees, some mountains, many rivers, lakes and streams, and it rains a lot on the western side of the Cascade Mountain Range, so it is very green much of the year. We also live close enough to the eastern side that we venture over there at times. That part is drier, and we have camped, fished, hiked, and hunted for rocks such as obsidian and thunder eggs over there, as the mountains there were formed from volcanoes, which also left volcanic rocks.

    The timber industry is important to Oregon, as is tourism, and agriculture of many kinds. During the history of the United States, a large migration took place from the eastern side of the United States to the west, and the pioneers travelled in covered wagons over 2,000 miles. One of the main destinations was Oregon country, so it was know as the Oregon Trail. There are a lot of historical museums and sights I have visited over the years, including some areas where the ruts from the trail are still cut into the earth, all these years later. I love history, so am fascinated by such things!

  • Bethany October 09, 2018

    Margaret, I'm in SW Ohio. We are bordered by Indiana to the west, and Kentucky to the south. The area is often called the "greater tri cities", a large triangle formed by Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus ( all of which are between 60-90 miles apart). There is a mixture of the cities, medium and small towns, suburbs, and rural areas. One of our biggest "claims to fame" is that Dayton is home to the National Air Force Museum, which has replicas of the Spirit of St. Louis, the restored original "Memphis Belle" from WWII, and a discontinued Air Force 1. The home towns of both Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, 2 of the astronauts from the first moon landing, are in the area.

  • Amber October 09, 2018

    I live in San Jose, California on the west coast of the USA. Our area is often called Silicon Valley, which is a good thing because my husband is an engineer in the Biotech Industry. Living in the here means we are less than an hour from the beach, an hour from the beautiful redwoods, an hour from the mountains, and an hour from San Francisco. The downside is the most expensive cost of living in the US, hence the need for extreme frugality when living on one income. I am a California Girl for generations and love it here, but sometimes the cost & the politics are a little nutty. :p

  • Rhonda A. October 10, 2018

    Hi Margaret. I've decided to chime in on this question, as I've quite enjoyed reading everybody's comments so far. I live in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, which is about 2 hours North East of Toronto and about 4 hours West of Ottawa. Our area is the Kawartha region, also refered to as "Cottage Country". There are numerous lakes and rivers in this area...we even have a lake in the middle of our downtown city core! Our biggest claim to fame? Peterborough boasts the largest liftlock in the world, which is part of the Trent Severn Waterway (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trent%E2%80%93Severn_Waterway). Here is a video link for you to watch it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxPOEpydycc. Hope you enjoy the armchair tour. Would you be willing to post some info about where you live? I'm sure everyone would enjoy an armchair visit to Australia too!

  • A from Ohio October 10, 2018

    Hi, Margaret
    I live in rural northeast Ohio. Our home is in the midst of a large Amish community, for which I’m thankful. There are many children running around the neighborhood, and all of the folks near us are hard-working, productive, and industrious - many with an entrepreneurial spirit, which is inspiring to me. One other characteristic of our area is lake effect snow (Lake Erie). We average 100 inches of snow annually, so we keep our 4-wheeler with plow in good shape.

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