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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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  • Shelley October 08, 2018

    Brandy, you are like the Energizer Bunny! Last week was not very frugal. I have many doctors appointments which are not frugal. Also my kids had a fall break. Which I was able to take them to movie and Jumpstreet on gift cards. My mini van is 12 years old and needing to be replaced...everyday I get to use it is a blessing. My husband got a 2nd job. My husband went back to school and became a nurse last December... however he did not work for 2 years while in nursing school...so as you can imagine we have debt. The 2nd job will help get out of debt faster. Thank God for cooler days! Good luck this week frugal friends.

  • Lorna October 08, 2018

    Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia :) .

    You did so well with the small prices you paid for the girl's uniform tops :) . I am glad you were able to turn off your air conditioner and get some diapers so cheaply. Another congratulations on succeeding on growing your zucchini too.

    Our savings added up to $152 last week.

    - Listed 32 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $99.50 on usual listing fees.
    - Saved more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 28.99% of the way there for a new build or 42.17 % of the way there for an established home.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked 1 kg of broad beans, 500 g of snow peas and 23 bunches of silver beet from the gardens saving $99.50 over purchasing them in the shops.
    - Planted 75 heirloom sweet corn seeds in the gardens and then it rained to water them in :).

    Other frugal things -
    - Replaced 2 old falling apart wardrobes in the garage with 2 x 4 shelf stainless steel ones we purchased. I also saved the vintage handles off the wardrobes to sell.
    - Saved dish rinsing & blanching & cooling water to water fruit tree pot plants and newly planted vegetable seeds in the gardens.
    - Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the house paddock lawns with.
    - Washed out and dried plastic zip lock freezer bags to reuse for other items.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


  • signerjack October 09, 2018

    Hi Lorna, fellow reader from Oz here. I grow rainbow chard, a bit similar in use to silver beet. Please tell me what you did with 23 bunches!!!!!!

  • Lorna October 09, 2018

    Hi signerjack and we blanch and freeze our silver beet leaves and put them in meal sized portions in the freezer that way we can just pull out meal sized portions each time we cook. Our weather can get really hot here in summer and our silver beet bolts so we tend to put a supply away so we have some silver beet all year round.

    Here is a link to how to blanch and freeze silver beet or Swiss chard and a lot of other vegetables too, just scroll down 3/4's of the way down the page for freezing instructions and click on the vegetable you want to blanch or freeze -


    This is a good way also if you find cheap vegetables in the shops on sale you can freeze them to last all year round.

    Hope this helps.

  • Holly October 08, 2018

    Mom is now strong enough to visit the doctor using just her walker. We were able to leave her transport chair in the back of the car.

    Since I know she can get out of her chair and out the front door without help from me, I was able to leave and do extensive grocery shopping. But my brain is still scattered. I had a 40% off coupon and $10 in award dollars from CVS that I used to purchase a pulse oximeter, for which I received a coupon for another $10 in award dollars. But I effectively threw out $2.50 of that coupon by not noticing that my second order (buy 1, get 1 half off) of some adult rehydration totalled way short of $10. As a minimum, I should have added some candy to that order. At my next stop, I selected frozen groceries that would have satisfied the requirements of the $3 off coupon in the week's circular. I had the circular in my hand when I checked out. But did I tear out the coupon and hand it to the cashier? Nope.

    The local, been in business since around the time of the civil war (and recently passed down to the next generation in the same family), furniture store is advertising lift chairs in their window starting at $699. That's a good price, but I am not feeling too guilty while waiting for mom's petite-sized traditional-styled lift chair to be delivered this week which we are getting for just over $300 from overstock.com.

    Brandy, I hope your head is healing up nicely.

  • Juls Owings October 08, 2018

    Holly October 08, 2018
    I don't know if this well help but I always have my Hubby put the coupons in his wallet with the card he is going to pay with.

  • Marybeth October 10, 2018

    If you are near the store with the $3 coupon, go back with the receipt. Most store will honor it.

  • Mary in AZ October 08, 2018

    Hi to all! I love the picture of the yellow roses! We are finally getting cooler weather here in Southern AZ. Last week was not a frugal week with buying expensive new towels but we did use 2 coupons and love these towels! Our extra refrigerator died that is less than 2 years old, repair will be on Wed. Also our drinking water system is not working so we are drinking bottled water for now. College daughter’s rent went up!! So we will do some refiguring money wise....

    My frugal ways for last week -
    - buying from Gardenpat - her ‘softies’ to repack buying tissues! I was able to get to get free shipping buying 2 sets
    - our grocery bills are less as I repeatedly stress to all eat what we have!
    - reading library books
    - I earned several gift cards and requested Amazon cards that I will add to my account.
    - my husband added more plants to our garden and also got 2 Gardenias and a rose plants
    - using cloth napkins
    - ate homemade meals/leftovers all week
    - husband took lunch everyday

    That’s is all I can think of for now.

  • Gardenpat October 08, 2018

    Mary- so glad you like your “Softies”! I started making them last Fall when I had a lingering cold and regular Kleenex just felt like sandpaper on my sore nose! I kept using them and increasing my supply when I realized that by using them, I could stop buying all those boxes of tissues at the store! Frugal win, happier nose!!!
    Thanks for supporting our HandmadeinOldeTowne.com
    Funny that your weather is getting cooler out in AZ because we just turned a/c on yesterday since our central Ohio temps went up to 86 degrees yesterday! On Thursday, it will get cooler but I think we may end up going from Summer straight into Winter!! We did have 1 day a couple weeks ago that was a typical Autumn day so that may be it! Only in Ohio!!!

  • Mary in AZ October 09, 2018

    Hi Pat -

    Yes, I do like the softies - no more tissues found stuck to clothes or ripped by our dogs! I have allergies so these are great to keep in my purse or pocket.
    My FIL did say yesterday about Ohio weather being warmer than here - he moved here from there. I hope since it is so cooler earlier here that we do not have a very cold winter.

  • FrugalStrong October 09, 2018

    Gardenpat, I just checked out your website. Very cute! I love the idea of "Softies." I saw a pattern my daughter would like. But, if you ever find any fabric in either space/planet or Transformers motif, my son would go gaga. That way, they could each have their own design and there is no risk of using someone else's.

  • Gardenpat October 10, 2018

    FrugalStrong- no Transformers in flannel, but here are some links to 4 fabrics I do have.
    Message me and I’ll check further into my flannel.


  • Elizabeth M. October 08, 2018

    It took visits to four grocery stores to start stocking up my pantry and freezer again. My main shop included 10% off on everything, but also great sales for the week before Canadian Thanksgiving. The best deals were on a ham, eggs, frozen Green Giant vegetables. I found a cauliflower and a broccoflower for $1 each on the ready to turn shelf at one store. I bought coffee and sugar in larger than usual packages to last several months. I received a package of chicken paprika pyrogies free. I have my staples now, and a good supply of meat. I'll add a little more depth in next month's shop.

    I was able to buy the food to make a donation to the college students' food bank at 10% off as well, which I took to a community supper the college held as a fundraiser for the food bank. I got my meal as take-out, since people are friendly if we are at meetings together, but stick with their friends and families at social events like this. This way, I got to exchange greetings with everyone, and show my support.

    I was able to join with some others to help a coworker who was a little short of funds for part of his house payment because his wife had suddenly not been able to work. They were both so moved that people would help, but it was not so much for any one of us, for those of us who could contribute.

    I made a turkey dinner for Canadian Thanksgiving. (Technically today, but I made it yesterday. We used to always have it Sunday, because people had to travel home on Monday.) The meal came almost entirely from the pantry and freezer. I bought the turkey on sale at Easter, and found a winter squash for free at the library's extra produce table. The turkey will provide cubed turkey for many lunch salads and some turkey chunks for turkey divan and some other rice and pasta dishes. The carcass will be used to make broth. I'll cut up and package the turkey today. I'll also have leftover upside down peach cake, made with peach slices frozen when peaches were in season.

    Finished paying off an income tax payment arrangement a few months early, so the budget will not be so very tight for a while.

    Took the car in to find out what the noise is that it is making. Although I spent several hours with them, we couldn't get the car to make the noise in front of a mechanic. Of course, it made the noise on the way to the mechanic, but not there or on the way home. I'm going to change brands of gas and see if that makes a difference. It hasn't made the noise since I've done that, though it is early days yet.

    I had an appointment at the next town over at 11 am and then a book club meeting there at 7 pm. It was a lovely sunny day, so I parked the car at a pretty spot on the riverfront in between, and calculated my income for the year and any taxes owing. I also figured out my income for next year, when I turn 65, to help me decide whether to continue with my part-time work. Then I went to the library, and used a computer there to double-check my income figures and the tax rates. A very productive afternoon, and I saved $15 worth of gas and wear and tear on the car.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 09, 2018

    Elizabeth M.

    Happy belated Thanksgiving (Canadian). Your bargains sound great! If I might, I suggest you keep your part-time job because inflation about to hit the States will affect us too. Everything is becoming rapidly more expensive. Are you in Ontario? I can't remember. What stores had such great bargains? Gas and oil will be going up, in the short run because of the explosion at the Irving Oil refinery in the Maritimes. But the world wide price of crude is going up drastically. All of this will affect us. West Texas Crude is verging on $80.00 per barrel. Our crude only gets about $35 as it is heavy crude. Anyway, so much for my unsolicited advice (but it's free!).

  • Elizabeth M. October 09, 2018

    Hi, Ann,

    I am north of Edmonton, somewhere between Athabasca and Lac La Biche. Two stores I went to were Buy-Low, a Jimmy Pattison chain, but my main shop was at the local Co-op and the ham and eggs were on sale at an Independent. I just watch the flyers each week, and buy what I can of things that I have the money for. I recently started to buy a monthly shop at the Coop which has at least 10% off on the first Tuesday of the month, as well as their sales.

    I don't mind the advice at all. It is very nice to hear from someone who is giving these things some thought.

  • Carla October 11, 2018

    If your car makes the noise again, you could try to record it with your phone (if you have one). It would be better than trying to explain a sound to the mechanic!

  • Cindi October 08, 2018

    For Margaret near Sydney, I live on the western side of Colorado, in the mountains in the Southwest corner of the state, about 45 minutes from Telluride.

    This week I accepted a bag of apples from a woman at church and made a pie. I set the peels to ferment for apple cider vinegar.
    I finished knitting an infinity scarf from yarn I already owned.
    I harvested tomatoes, raspberries, onions, mint, and chard from the garden.
    We received some much-needed rain, so I was able to turn off the water to the garden for a few days.
    My husband and I got free flu shots.
    I washed all the cushion covers from our RV. They are made of upholstery fabric and vinyl and don’t look washable, but I wash them in cold water on the delicate cycle and dry on low heat in the dryer and they come out looking brand new. I’m sharing this in case anyone else wants to try this.
    It has been cold enough to have a fire in the woodstove most mornings. My husband cut four cords of firewood this summer, but so far we haven’t burned any of it. Instead, my husband cleaned up around the woodpile and his shop and collected half a dozen large boxes full of scrap wood (non-treated) and we have been burning that. Our place looks much neater and this is truly free heat.
    My husband changed the oil and filters in both our vehicles, using materials he purchased on sale.

  • S. CO Mary October 08, 2018

    Hi Cindi! I live on the plains just east of the Wet Mountains in S. Colorado - 15 miles east of Pueblo. People are regulatory surprised at how different the weather can be in Colorado - east or west of the Mountains and north or south of Denver. We have a micro climate here along the Arkansas River - we will be warmer and not get a drop of moisture while just 15-20 miles around us is colder and getting moisture.

  • Cindi October 09, 2018

    People are always surprised when I tell them I live much closer to Utah than to Denver, and as you point out, the weather can be very different! We are at 8000 ft, so we tend to get cold and snow, but also lots of sunshine and less moisture than Denver.

  • Maxine October 08, 2018

    Brandy, it sounds like things are returning to normal (or a new normal) at your house, and I'm glad for you. It was a hard week for us, and it looks like this one will be, too. My 42 y-o DD is developmentally disabled and has had major depression for about 25 years. She has been going downhill for a couple of months and we have been trying new meds...which haven't kicked in yet. Last week she refused to go to work at the DD center or to stay with the other family where she lives for half the week. All she has wanted to do is sleep or be entertained by me. This is actually an improvement over past episodes, when all she wanted to do was sleep. We ate out twice last week, partially to entertain her and partially due to my DH having surgery and not being home at mealtime. Not a frugal week, for sure.

    As a result of DD's illness, we canceled our trip to the Oregon coast next week with DH's cousins. It will save us about $1,000...but we can afford it, and I'd really rather go to the beach! (I need a break).

    I went into the Rx "donut hole" and had to pay $475 for the hiatal hernia/GERD drug that I have to take. (DH has been in the donut hole since June and has to pay full price for his insulin). He had a medical procedure called an ablation to relieve back pain. It seems to be working. He had two tests before the procedure, and has two procedures left to go. Our co-pays total $200 each time, so it will cost $1,000 OOP. his is when I'm really glad that we have mostly lived below our means and been able to $ave. Getting old is definitely not for sissies!

    I completely winged it for dinners last week. They weren't necessarily the greatest combinations, but we didn't go out those days and ate food that was already in the house. We were out of bread and milk Saturday and I made blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs and grape juice for breakfast. (Not all of my meals were anywhere near that good!).

    As I write this, I realize it was the first week in a very long time when I did not have any frugal accomplishments to report. Arrrrrgh! Here's hoping for a better and less expensive week!

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