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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Fall Harvest 2018 The Prudent Homemaker

With beautiful weather this week, it was perfect to plant a fall garden.

I planted the bulbs I ordered back in July from Van Engelen, a wholesale supplier of bulbs. As long as you make the minimum order requirement, you can purchase bulbs from them for personal use at great prices. I planted peonies (of the earliest blooming type, planted at soil level here in zone 9), lilies, calla lilies, and anemones from them.

I sowed seeds in the garden for green onions, beets, lettuce, parsley, spinach, and arugula. 

Patty Pan Squash The Prudent Homemaker

From the garden, I harvested Swiss chard, basil, pears, patty pan squash, a zucchini, an Armenian cucumber, and a few pomegranates that split early.

I used produce from the garden and the store to decorate a table runner for our table for fall.

I read an e-book from the library on my phone.

I've had a cell phone for a year and a half now, since the local phone company raised taxes to equal the lowest cell phone rate I can find with service in our area. I got a "free" android phone (I had to pay the sales tax on it of $79; it's a ZTE) and I have a month to month deal with Metro PCS that is $30 a month--but actually we pay $25 a month, as my husband also has his phone (which is his work phone) there and they give you a $5 discount on each line for additional lines.

When I got a cell phone, we cancelled our home phone. My husband also no longer has an office phone, and all calls to his office come straight to his cell phone.

Our children do not have cell phones, but my eldest son chose to get a free Google phone number, and he makes and receives calls through our home wifi using a headset and his computer (he also texts with this number, using the wifi at home and free wifi when he is elsewhere and takes his computer with him). His computer is an old laptop that my brother gifted to him. As my son is on the phone a lot, helping people with their genealogy, he enjoys having his own number.

While running errands this week, I charged my phone in the car and listened to music using on Pandora. My eldest showed me how to turn on the Bluetooth in the car (seriously so easy but I had never done it) so that I can listen to my music stations on Pandora through the car's speakers. My husband was so excited about it that he did the same--and then just switched to directly plugging in the phone with a cord to the radio, so I did the same the next time I used the car. We don't have a data usage problem as we are usually on wifi at home (my husband works from home some part of every day and often the entire day several days a week) and our data for the month is 4 GB, but then it just slows down; we are not charged for going over.

I downloaded a free music flashcard app on my phone to help my daughters cement their knowledge of music notes while I brush their hair. 

We continued to use free sites for school, including typing.com, duolingo.com, tonictutor.com (a music note site)  and xtramath.org.

I took 8 of our 9 children to a free orchestra concert at the high school.

While I wait for the shower to warm up (collecting water in a 3-gallon recycled icing bucket in the meantime) I have time to do 25 -35 repetitions of arm-toning exercises using hand weights I purchased at a garage sale for $3 several years ago. I had gotten out of the habit of doing this while I was pregnant and I am trying to make it a regular habit now. It's not much time, but I think every little bit that I can work into my day is a good thing and will add up, just as the tiny things I do to save money add up to thousands of dollars saved each year. I use exercises from this video.

While doing early-morning laundry, putting on makeup and curling my hair, I listened to The Book of Mormon in French using the free Gospel Library app.

I did more French study using free online sources and looking up some words using the free Word Reference dictionary. You can use their site or download their free app. I use the app a lot while messaging friends in France.

I made a batch of spray leave-in conditioner/detangler using a tiny squirt of regular conditioner in a large spray bottle of water. This saves me $8 a month over buying the large bottle of Infusium leave-in conditioner. 

I have been thinking it was time to spray the house again for bugs. It is very common to have a bug service here come to spray for bugs every month for between $30-$55 a month. We don't do that; instead, I purchased three 1-gallon containers of spray at Walmart about 4 years ago for $15 total and I spray the outside perimeter of the house on occasion. When my 8-year-old was sweeping under the table after dinner and found a large scorpion Tuesday night, I killed it (I had to stomp on it 6 times to kill it!) and then I decided that there was no time like the present and immediately went outside to spray for bugs, finding (and stepping on) a huge wolf spider right outside my front door when I started to spray. 

I am so glad it is cooler and soup is welcome on the menu again! This week I made Tuscan tomato bread soup, roast chicken, squash soup, mashed potatoes, paninis, bean and rice burritos (with pinto beans purchased in bulk and cooked outside in my solar oven), granola, yogurt, and crepes. I made large batches of most of these so that I didn't need to cook every day; lunches were leftovers almost every day this past week.

My husband and I had a date night at home. We had ice cream and played several games of Sequence.

Careful watching of my electricity usage (and nice weather!) brought in the amount $27 less than the week's projected amount from the electric company. 

Fall Harvest 2 The Prudent Homemaker 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Athanasia October 25, 2018

    Jennifer, isn't the help you can get from FFA students just wonderful? We have someone all the time checking to see if they can get some SAE (supervised agricultural experience) hours in some area on the farm. Course my children did so many projects growing up also. Right now my daughter has a girl working with her dairy goats and another girl is doing a report on her free range egg farm. Son in law Theo who is a large animal vet often gets a student that helps as a vet assistant. Animal sitters is a popular area of interest here.

  • Cindy in the South October 23, 2018

    Love the pics! I made a vegetarian breakfast strata, using spinach, leftover potato, leftover carrots, the last of an onion, ends of cheese etc. It is delicious and has been my breakfast for the past couple of days.! I made tomato soup again (my fav) using the Tightwad Gazette recipe. I made jalapeno pinto bean hummus (which tastes suspiciously like a kicked up refried beans recipe....lol) and regular hummus with chickpeas. They are ok, and were cheap to make. I am doing my usual of wearing thrifted clothes, doing my own nails, etc. My electric bill came in and was $44 dollars, so I was pleased, since I had used no air nor heat in my 912 sq ft all electric house. I broke a pair of reading glasses but since I am fortunate enough to be able to wear reading glasses from Dollar General, I was able to easily replace them. I am the pianist at church. The piano I have is at my son's place. When I visit him once a week, I practice there. That is called killing two birds with one stone, as my momma always said. I Y'all have a blessed week!

  • Jenifer October 23, 2018

    Beautiful arrangement! I admire that you can listen in another language during your morning, I listen to the Golden Girls on the tv, but mostly just as a way to keep track of my time.

    Last minute birthday invite (2 days) for a relative we adore but realized we don't know much about to pick out a gift. With 36 hours left to until the party, I had my husband help me come up with personal wording (that would reflect the giftee) and I embroidered that saying with some flowers using a variety of stitches. Thread, linen, and hoop were all in my stash (previously purchased from thrift stores). It was well received.

    I added another gift to my Christmas stash on the cheap thanks to Ebay.

    I canned a small batch of hot pepper jelly using the peppers from my garden.

    I've turned off the heating/cooling unit during the day and had windows open when it was warm enough. This saves electric not having just the uncooled/unheated air being circulated with the units fan. The electric bill has dropped $25.

    Stay positive!

  • Stephanie October 23, 2018

    A friend works for a tech company doing car stuff. In exchange for recording us driving for 30 minutes each, my husband and l earned $200. Months ago, we filled out a rebate form and l realized we never received the refund. I went through my husband's email (with permission) and found the $200 gift card in his spam folder. This is an enormous help since we just paid a large plumbing bill.
    We have eaten all meals at home and l mended several pieces of clothing this week.

  • Diana in Indiana October 23, 2018

    - I attended an out of town business meeting and won 2 Starbucks cards and 1 iTunes card which I will save for Christmas gifts
    - Meal planned and cut out all the junk food which saves both our wallet and our waists.
    - Will take leftovers for lunches all week.
    - Husband was able to find a new way to fill an expensive prescription at a significant savings by talking with a physician on chat instead of in person.
    - We had a pot luck at church on Sunday and I took home some leftover ham which I will put in today's ham and bean soup.
    - A friend at work lent me a book by a new to me author.
    - My car needed oil and I was able to scrounge for enough in the garage so as not to buy some until next time.
    - My son came over to do his laundry and I repaired a pair of his torn pants.
    - My husband and I converted an unused 2x4 that was taking up space in our garage into a set of blocks for my Granddaughter's Christmas present.
    - My work had a free lunch for employees one day last week.
    - The weather here can't decided if it wants heat or air conditioning. So we keep opening and shutting the windows and that has been enough to keep it comfortable in the house.
    - I tried on my winter coat from last year and it is still in good condition and still fits so I will use it again this year.
    - Someone at work gave away coffee beans they didn't like and I like them fine so gladly said yes.

  • Megan Z. October 23, 2018

    Beautiful pictures. I have started growing flowers but I typically only have enough for a small vase. I am trying to bring in as many as I can before frost kills them all.

    I hurt my ankle so have not gone many places which means not spending much money. I did go to Kroger and found a lot of deals. They were all items I was wanting or hadn’t been able to get from another store. All were marked down so I saved a lot of money.

    We went camping in the Great Smoky Mountains. Aside from gas we didn’t spend much. Unfortunately we couldn’t do any hiking and the leaves were still green but overall it was a nice relaxing weekend.

  • Megan, if you look, there aren't a lot of flowers in this arrangement. I didn't have a lot ready in the garden. I used a lot of greenery instead to fill out the vase--tree branches, basil, and sweet potato vine. I think I will be doing this a lot in the future as I often don't have enough flowers ready at one time. I am hoping to have more success next year with a larger number of flowers. This year's plantings were very unsuccessful for some reason (failure to germinate) but hopefully, next year will be better. Still, I will plant more basil for greenery as it also flowers (the tiny purple flowers) and it grows beautifully for me!

  • Megan Z. October 24, 2018

    Whatever it consists of it is beautiful. I think that the basil leaves and other purple colors make it look like more flowers than you have. Floral arranging is not a skill I possess. I tend to plunk a flower in a vase or have my much more artistically talented husband arrange something. For now I’ll live vicariously through yours and maybe one day gain the skill set. Am I correct in that you have taken classes on floral arrangements?

  • Bobbie October 24, 2018

    I'm in SW Virginia and the leaves sure are taking their time this year! I'm enjoying it though....I always hate to see bare trees. Husband and I are thinking of taking a trip to TN in December for a short weekend getaway- Any recommendations on hiking we just shouldn't miss??? I'd love to hear!

  • Jo October 23, 2018

    I had a huge frugal fail in that the pressure gauge on my pressure cooker broke! Since I'm still in need of a new stove, this was not good news. I'm now cooking only with the two-burner drop in cook top and in my microwave, which has a convection oven option. Now if those will just hold up, I can wait to shop for a good deal on a stove after getting the okay on my electrical issues after the hurricane. I've contacted the manufacturer of the pressure cooker and asked for a free replacement, since the cooker is only 15-16 months old.
    However, we have not eaten out or ordered in, so that's a win. I do have a crock pot, but since my outlets in my kitchen don't work either, I have to plug it in another room, and my husband is not a big fan of too many crock pot meals. He likes very few casseroles and one pot dishes.

    I have another bag of bones with which to make bone broth -- it makes the house smell so good. Since it finally cooled off a little, I don't mind cooking as much.

    I found two very nice thick, 100% cotton hand towels in great condition at the thrift store for $1.99. They are very nearly the exact shade of lavender to go with my bath towels for the master bath. A spin in the washer and they are good to go.

    I hope to plant onions and cabbages soon -- November is the time in north Florida for onions to be planted. I did a last fertilization on my Meyer lemon tree and was happy to see the lemons hung on through the storm.

    I hope to find really good deals on supplies needed for hurricane relief so I can send as much as possible with our limited funds. So much is needed west of me for so many and there are babies, children, the elderly, and pets who need specific items as well. Please think about donating to reputable charities if you can. Imagine having your home, belongings, job site, schools, day cares, grocery stores, and gas stations wiped out or rendered un-reparable. My husband is insulin dependent -- imagine if refrigeration for his insulin, and his insulin pump supplies were gone and the pharmacies gone,too - it's awful to think about. Thank you everyone who has or will help the hard-hit people in West Florida.

  • Rhonda A. October 23, 2018

    This may be a really stupid suggestion, but have you tried making pulled meat (pork, chicken, beef) in your crock pot? The meat is then put on buns, so it's not a casserole like, "one pot" meal. Pair the meal with a salad and your good to go! You could also look up recipes for French dip sandwiches. I make one on the stove top, but I have seen others that use a crock pot. Just a couple ideas, if you haven't already tried them!

  • Bobbie October 24, 2018

    I love pulled pork in the crockpot- so easy! I also make dips in there too....spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip, bean dip- you can do a lot, and most men don't complain with a big bag of chips and hot dip! :p

  • Jo October 24, 2018

    Actually I have, and although he ate it, he much prefers pulled pork from the pressure cooker. He doesn't like hardly any sandwiches, in fact, and will often eat the pulled pork without bread. Of course, as a Type I diabetic, eating much bread or potatoes is not good for him anyway. He's picky -- so picky he will simply not eat if he doesn't like it. I've never seen anyone who can simply skip a meal at will like he does.
    Thanks for the suggestions, though. I've been trying to find some good crock pot recipes; I appreciate the encouragement!

  • Jennifer O. October 26, 2018

    Crockput chicken and artichokes https://www.thekitchn.com/slow-cooker-chicken-spinach-artichoke-recipe-256184
    My husband does low/no carbs and he loves this over cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower (or pasta if he's splurging). Doesnt' eat like a "crockpot" dish especially if you leave the chicken breasts whole.

  • Cindi October 23, 2018

    Your fall table arrangement is so beautiful! I love how you made use of those split pomegranites. Reading your frugal accomplishments (and those of your readers) inspires me every week.
    Temperatures plunged into the teens at night here, finishing off the tomatoes. I stripped all the green ones and brought them inside.
    I knitted two more scarves for Christmas gifts.
    I managed to stay out of the grocery store for two weeks – always a good way to save money, but had to do a little shopping this week. I was able to find stew meat and chicken breasts in the mark-down bin, and pork loin chops on sale, as well as ice cream for 99 cents for a quart and a half.
    I made a batch of hot cocoa mix.
    I donated a bag of items to the Humane Society Thrift store and got a receipt for my taxes. On the same trip to the thrift store we found new salt and pepper shakers (which I have been looking for for two years!), a puzzle, a couple of heavy drinking glasses, and a bag of Christmas ornaments.
    I harvested parsnips, lettuce, and collard greens from the garden. Some of the green tomatoes I picked last week have started to ripen, so we’ve enjoyed those.
    We went hiking and I picked rose hips and made three pints of rose hip syrup.

  • Liz October 23, 2018

    Hello Frugal Friends,

    I am always amazed at the ways you all save!

    - We are moving so I am trying to do as many repairs to our current home ourselves. I painted my son's room. We found a light to replace a broken one at a place called Habitat Restore. They take old items from homes and resell for Habitat for Humanity. The light worked perfectly and cost $15 instead of $30-40. I have found paint at Lowes in the "oops" section for the rooms I need to do for $9.00 each. That is instead of $30 or so. We are making our way through our list.
    - We had the in laws over on Sunday. I made a big pot of chili, corn muffins from the box, salad and rice and we all enjoyed it.
    - We need new carpet before we leave this home. The Lowe's worker told me of a deal where in 2 days, we can purchase and carpet and pad and get free installation. This will save a bunch. He said that they go between sales of certain brands with free installation and then all brands. I never knew this and will watch for it in the future.
    - I shopped at the commissary for meats and items that are cheaper there.
    - I signed up for freebies which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/10/22/10-freebies-today-10-22-18/
    - Well, I am off to paint another room.
    Have a great week,
    Liz

  • Jan Siler October 23, 2018

    Hi Brandy,
    I have not previously taken the time to let you know how very much I love and appreciate your photography. And I appreciate that you realize that one or two pictures are worth a thousand words and views.......... I find other blogs seem to have the attitude that if one photo is good, then a dozen more of the same thing will be even better! I just wonder if they are so infatuated with their photos that they can't let go and allow just one to speak for itself.

    At any rate, I use your photos as a screen saver and enjoy them so much!
    Jan in Salt Lake City

  • Tammy October 23, 2018

    Your arrangement is beautiful Brandy! I took my kids to an outdoor concert when they were little. It inspired my youngest son to play the violin. He traveled Europe playing his violin as a Senior in High school. I was a proud mama. It is so worth the effort to take kids to things like that. I admire you taking 8 of your 9.
    As for frugalness this week. Made bone broth. Cooked half sausage for breakfast and used other half to make cheesy cabbage and sausage and made black-eyed peas and cornbread to go with it. Made an oriental soup using nappa cabbage and my bone broth with two pork chops that I cut up myself and veggies, made hot dogs and beans, egg salad, ham salad. Hubby took lunches to work. We bought snacks from Sam's so he would not be tempted to buy snacks from the vending machine at work. Made potato soup and grilled cheese and sliced tomatoes with food on hand at my parent's house instead of my dad taking us out to eat. I could see that my dad appreciated my cooking. Felt good to save him money too.
    Looked up food pantry stuff and told my son about it so he could help friends that really needed help. Bought cheap lotion instead of expensive lotion. It still works, actually works quite well. Haven't been wearing makeup every day to save money and give my skin a break from the makeup. Been waiting to get my hair dyed. it needs it. My hair is very long and last time I tried to dye it myself I had a streak of a different color around my head in the middle of my hair where I must not have covered it with color. Considering getting my husband to color it for me. He offered. I might take him up on it. Or maybe I can find room in the budget to dye it at salon. I'd rather pinch pennies everywhere and get my hair done if I can. i want my husband to like looking at me. I'm only 48 and not ready to go gray yet. Not really sure how gray I am, I 've colored it for so long. I hope when I do go gray it is the color my grandmas was, it was a really pretty white. Just not ready yet.
    Bought 3 pairs of jeans for a dollar a piece. I needed them for winter.
    Listened to Pandora.
    Read books from library. Even went there one day to relax. Blood pressure is down today and I am glad.
    Will probably move son in to help him and us.
    Enjoyed sunsets this week in Kansas. They are beautiful. One day they were pink and blue. Sometimes orange and red. Just lovely to see.

  • Ellie October 24, 2018

    Hi Tammy,
    Do you live near a beauty college? I have had things done at one in Wichita whole I visited family on Kansas.
    The students that are just about ready to graduate work on you under the instructors supervision.
    It is less expensive than a regular salon. I bet they would love to practice on super long hair. Just look up beauty schools to find one near you.

  • Tammy October 24, 2018

    Thank-you Ellie for the advice.

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