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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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  • momsav October 10, 2018

    Greetings, Margaret!
    I live in a small town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. (Munising) We have about 2200 full time residents which expands with tourist season. We’re home to the Pictured Rocks, cliffs along Lake Superior. It’s very beautiful here! We average about 200 inches of snow. We had our first snowfall of the season last week. Lake Superior is about three blocks from my home.
    I’m not a fan of flying either. Although, if money were no object, I would gladly hop on a plane and travel the world!

  • Darcy October 12, 2018

    I live in Indiana about 20 miles south of Chicago at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. We are officially experiencing fall temperatures. Today it is in the 40's Fahrenheit.

  • PJGT October 12, 2018

    Hello! I live in western Wyoming but I spend the school year in upstate (central) NY teaching (three more school years) while my son goes to college. I've put a small cabin on some land I grew up on that my parents have given me. We do what we must. I spend summers and winter break back in Wyoming where my husband is.

  • PJGT October 12, 2018

    Hello! I live in western Wyoming but I spend the school year in upstate (central) NY teaching (three more school years) while my son goes to college. I've put a small cabin on some land I grew up on that my parents have given me. We do what we must. I spend summers and winter break back in Wyoming where my husband is.

  • Angela October 12, 2018

    Hi Margaret- I live in Delaware. We are about 30 miles from Philadelphia and 60 miles from Baltimore. New York City is about 90 minutes north and Washington D.C. is about 2 hours south. Delaware is a small state but there are many places to go in many different directions. It's nice to have a short drive to so many places but the traffic can be quite congested in this region with people commuting in every direction.

  • Athanasia October 13, 2018

    Margaret, have you ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? We live straight east of where LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS took place. We're lots of farms, forests, small towns, hills, lakes and rivers. There are many Amish communities so horses and buggies are common. We get a lot of snow. We live on my family farm and it's now 151 years old. I have sooo many relatives all in the area.

  • Tina October 17, 2018

    I live in Minnesota. It is in the Midwest and borders Canada to the north. I live just outside Minneapolis. We are the land of 10,000 lakes and what many call "God's country" because of the beautiful scenery. My son is dating a girl he met at summer camp in California who is from Austrailia! They were both camp counselors out there.

  • tanja brattinga October 08, 2018

    I am glad for you and your family that the temperatures are getting little more pleasant. Our temperatures are high for the time of year, 20/22 celcius next week. But in the evenings it's getting cooler, so we do use the woodburner in the evenings. We just reorganized our living space. We bought a corner sofa at the thriftstore last summer and just put it in the house without thinking, that in the wintertime it was blocking the central heating. Although we do use the woodburner a lot, sometimes we also use the CH (if I don't have enough time in the morning, and if my husband and I are not at home. We do not want the childeren to use the woodburner).
    * I finished a quilt last week. My mother in law started this quilt, but could not finish it because she got ill and passed away 2 1/2 years ago. I got all of her quilting stuff and thought maybe I can finish it one day and give it to charity. It is the story of Goldilocks and the 3 bears (don't know if you heart from this childerenstory). It is hanging on our landing for now. I already spoke with someone, who knows someone that is doing a lot for a childerens home in Romenie. I think I donate it to that home after some time, and buy a book with the story to go with it. (if possible in Romenian language). My mother in law would have liked it that way.
    *I made an applepie from apples that I picked and the piemix was a freebee through an app.
    *I got a bouquet of flowers and a gift card for my volunteerwork in the sports canteen.
    * I started a course swedish language this week. Not frugal....but just for my general development. My childeren do not need me that much anymore so it's time to do something for myself now. And I like to meet new people.
    Al going well here in the Netherlands, wish the same to you all.
    Greetings Tanja

  • Ellie October 08, 2018

    It is a wonderful idea to give the quilt to the children's home. Consider taking a photo of it before you give it away, so you have a memory of the last handiwork your mother in law did.

  • Margie from Toronto October 08, 2018

    That's a great idea - just think what a blessing it will be to some child who may have little else. It is a lovely way to honour your MIL.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 09, 2018

    Have you tried duo lingo? It is free and Swedish is one of the languages available. I first learned of it through Brandy. duolingo.com. You may find it a great tool just for practice in conjunction with your course. I decided not to take Italian again as getting to and from the course at night is just difficult and expensive for me.

  • Susan M. October 08, 2018

    *I called and asked when short by one cent the amount needed for free shipping, and th company gave me free shipping anyway. This saved me $11.99!

    *I made home made granola bars. The recipe was not less expensive to make—because of all the nuts and seeds in it—but it contains no oil and no refined sugar—two ingredients that I cannot eat, so I was happy to find it! Most other similar recipes I have tried do not hold together very well, but this recipe did.

    *I packed lunches from home to attend a free health talk at my husbands work, instead of purchasing lunch there on the college campus. I was happy to have the home made granola bars all made up and in my freezer so I could add those to our lunches.

    *I attended a Bible lands movie at our church. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of what these parts of the world really looks like, and how the people live on a day by day basis.

    More details on my blog at http://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2018/10/frugal-friday-week-of-september-30.html#comments. I enjoy reading everyone’s comments from their weeks!

  • Mandy October 08, 2018

    Would you be willing to post a link to the recipe for the granola bars? :) I have had the same problem with them falling apart.

  • Susan M. October 08, 2018

    Happy to! I will try and get it posted in the next week! If that doesn’t happen, I will put it in next weeks Frugal Friday for sure!

  • Fiona Chain October 08, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    I simply love to read your frugal achievements for the past week, it always makes me smile. We all do similar things to stretch our dollars and it heartens me to think that no matter where we are in in this world there are similar people living similar lives to us. This week to save money we-
    Planted out seeds for our new raised gardens, most of these seeds I have saved from letting plants go to seed
    Feed the compost bin and worm farm our fruit and veggie scraps
    Packed my morning tea and lunch each day to take to work
    Made sure any the left overs were used up in a timely manner
    Hung all the washing on the line to dry
    Claimed our utility bills through my salary sacrifice scheme
    Paid off the credit card on time, we use it for small purchases through the month and always pay it off in full every month
    Menu planned and shopped only to the list
    I always take tea leaves and a plunger to work to make tea, there is no way I will pay $4 for a cup of herbal tea (I have 2 a day) just doing this alone saves me $1920.00 a year.
    Asked for a discount when our cat needed some dental surgery, it never hurts to ask, we ended up with a $50 discount

  • Karen w. October 08, 2018

    What do you mean salary sacrifice scheme?

  • Jenny October 09, 2018

    I suspect Fiona's utility bill's can be paid using pretax dollars, thus reducing her reportable income for tax purposes.

    It's something that is available in Australia for certain professions.

  • Karen w October 09, 2018

    Thank you

  • S. CO Mary October 08, 2018

    Fiona - wow that is a significant saving on your tea! I have one cup of coffee in the a.m. and when I worked (retired now) I'd take it with me for the drive - hot in winter, iced in warmer months. I do like vanilla creamer in it so it feels like a nice treat. I still have the one cup. I then switch to water or tea. It just galls me to see coffee or tea being sold for $3-4 US. Both are really cheap drinks to make. I love almost all kinds of tea and prefer to go to decaf, green or herb in the afternoon. I can buy really gourmet teas for $3-4.00 US for a box and there are usually at least 24 bags per box. I've also found that when I order tea out somewhere it is usually Lipton black tea or if they have herbal it is only chamomile or peppermint - I'm not a fan of either unless I am sick.

  • Darcy October 08, 2018

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    I, too, did some reorganizing. For some time I have been wanting to declutter my cupboard in the kitchen where I keep some of my dishes. There was just too much stuff in there and I wasn’t using it all of it which made it harder to get to the things that I needed. I removed the things that I rarely used and put them either in the give-away/sell box or in another place in the house. It has been so much easier to get the dishes I need.

    I had a half-day off work on Wednesday so I used that time to go to the thrift store. I found a couple pairs of pants for work, a long-sleeved shirt, and two sweaters. One pair of pants still had the tags on them and the rest were better quality items than I would ever buy brand new. I also found some cloth napkins that we needed and some books for the grandchildren.

    We ate all our meals at home except for one. We had a buy one get one at Culver’s. I made muffins and lentil spinach soup for our lunches. For our dinner one night I made meatloaf, baked potatoes, and baked beans, a one-hour dinner all in the oven. I also made lasagna, half of which is in the freezer for a future meal. Since it is only the two of us I am really watching that we don’t waste any food. I am learning either not to make so much, be creative with leftovers, or freeze what is left.

    I took advantage of Joann’s sale on blizzard fleece for a blanket I am making for my grandson for his birthday. The last one I made was when he was 3 years old and is a little babyish for him now that he will be 8 years old. The new one will be bigger and more “big boy.”

    I had some of my dental work done. The dentist gave me a 15% discount because I asked for it and I am paying with cash. The best part is that the total for the work being done is less than what they quoted so I have some money left that I can put towards some dental work that my husband needs. Frugal win!

    I drank some mint tea that I grew and dried myself. It was more satisfying than if I had bought it at the store :)

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