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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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  • Jennifer O. October 25, 2018

    Second this. I use a massage and esthetician school as well to get low cost massages and facials.

  • Ellie October 24, 2018

    I hope it is ok to post this. The frugal girl blog has a review of her beauty school experience, posted this week. Tami, you may want to read it.
    Best of luck with your hair adventures. :)

  • Lillianna October 23, 2018

    Sugar cookie, the princess puppy and I are in Missouri with my proud Army son. This trip took a lot of planning to pay for. I used Swagbucks to cover my hotel rental. I turned my car in to the body shop to have a repair made and scheduled it so I could utilize my insurance paid for rental car for the trip. I requested a smaller car ahead of time to get better gas mileage for the trip. We have gotten much better than expected. We packed snacks and drinks to bring with us. By bringing my daughter and puppy, I had no extra expenses to have anyone take care of them. We were offered a two month trial of Hulu and Spotify for 99 cents. Sugar cookie has enjoyed this all the way here. We purchased a few small grocery items to heat up in the hotel microwave.

  • PJGT October 23, 2018

    So smart, Lillianna!

  • Debora October 24, 2018

    So nice that you are able to spend time with your son. I know you have missed him. You have gone thru so much and worried about how to pay for this trip but you never regret spending this time with him. Enjoy yourself!

  • Rhonda A. October 24, 2018

    I hope you have lots of fun on this little vacation, Lillianna. I'm sure your son appreciates the efforts you made to come see him. Sugar cookie is probably thrilled to go on an adventure too. Great idea to co-ordinate the fixing of your car with going on the trip, so you could really benefit from that rental car. So smart! We always buy food from grocery stores when on vacation as well. Definitely lowers those food costs while away! I look forward to hearing all about your trip.

  • Mary in AZ October 24, 2018

    I hope you are all enjoying your trip!

  • Lynn from the NC Outer Banks October 26, 2018

    Enjoy your trip and family time, Lillianna. You are so clever in your money saving ways!

  • mcc-ny October 27, 2018

    You are really resourceful. I'm sure your son was happy to see you. Hope you enjoyed your visit with your son.

  • Juls Owings October 23, 2018

    Brandy, I have thought about growing patty pan squash, I know a few that do around here but don't ever hear how they fix them. How do you fix yours?
    I am planning on a 3 sister's garden next spring, thinking of doing 2 of them. I just got out of hospital due to Crohn's when Hubby shared his crud he had caught before I went in the hospital on Sat. I was hoping he would be over the worse of it. Pretty much wiped out the "sick/crud" food. I made chicken broth with veggies that I pureed after simmer and now have 8 qrts of broth or veggie soup along with 3 meals of chicken, one which we used Nacho soup on and served with rice I cooked with the broth. Wrote a grocery list tied to sales and coupons to go tomorrow. Need meds mostly but don't want to make another trip later.

  • Marybeth October 23, 2018

    I got the prettiest purple winter coat at Goodwill for 50% off. It came to $14.99. Everything was 50% off. I also got a very heavy long brown coat for the same price. The kids each got some shirts for $3 that will be Christmas gifts. Hubby and I went to the farms and got over 100 pounds of potatoes with some veggies too. We had a nice day just the 2 of us. The rest of my week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-frugal-list-week-of-october-15-2018.html

  • Lynne October 23, 2018

    Just love the photos Brandi.
    Last weekend a neighbour and I joined together to host a garage sale as part of the annual Garage Sale Trail. As well as getting rid of lots of stuff I made $140 which is in a special purse and will be my op shop slush fund. I now have lots of bags to be dropped off at various charity shops and hospital markets.
    I now have 3 people leaving me their compost scraps each week which means I’m looking after my compost bins much better.
    I am about to talk to my husband and kids and suggest we only buy each other Christmas presents we have either made or bought second hand. Not sure how this will go down with the teenage son!

  • Riley October 24, 2018

    Right now frugal for me is trying to keep this baby in for another week to get a paid maternity leave! To that end, I’ve been drinking tons of water and trying my best not to over extend myself. Because my husband travels for work, that’s not always easy to do! Straightening the house, grocery shopping, and caring for our 3.5 yo and 21 mo old as well as working is challenging, but I only have a few more days to go I hope! Otherwise:
    - collected stamps for our grocery store glass storage container redemption
    - ate meals at home except for one this eeekend when we got 2 takeout meals and split it for the 4 of us
    - stopped at the local thrift store and bought some 3T long sleeve shirts for my son as he has so few. I wish I had been able to get them at yard sales, but this was still cheaper than new
    - I’ve avoided buying any maternity clothes. Amazingly, my pants are low enough rise that I can wear them under the maternity tops I have and have borrowed
    - borrowed a second Spectra breast pump for when I go back to work so I don’t have to cart mine to and from
    - did buy a few nursing tanks. Not frugal but make me much more comfortable being covered while I breastfeed!
    - tried to sign up for formula samples again for this baby. It’s hard to tell from the websites if I’ll actually get any this time??

  • Douai October 24, 2018

    My frugal savings for last week were not as much as I hoped. It is never ending with something going wrong with health or home. This past week it was the toilet main getting clogged which cost $400. We are going to get the clean out installed which will cost $800-1200. This week we are down with the flu which meant extra money for flu food such as applesauce and sprite.

    I was offered a free 30 oz of popcorn from our local store as well as a pound of free pears. I made a mish mash of beans, vegetables and meat that fed us for 2 full dinners and half a dinner (only 2 of us ate it). Due to threat of snow, My family pulled up my tomato plants even though they were green. I washed them, let them dry overnight and then put them into brown paper bags to ripen. I did this last year and it worked on the majority of the tomatoes I had. Ive been trying hard to not waste but still am failing a lot in that area. We having nice weather so no ac or heater running. Our yearly big expenses are coming up so it is even more important to hunker down. Best wishes to all in their frugal savings!

  • Florrie October 24, 2018

    Besides the usual frugal doings, I bought 8 English muffins for 1.50. I split them, toasted them and thinly spread cream cheese. I piled on sliced garlic and assorted, chopped left over meats. I then added lots of sliced home grown basil and sprinkled grated cheese remnants over the top. I microwaved them until cheese was melted. When cool, I stuffed them bsck in the original bag and froze for quick, tasty lunches. I have also used pesto instead of cream cheese. All super delish, inexpensive and satisfy our cravings for pizza.

    I cut up my daughter's tattered government uniform for rags. The shirt pockets with buttons were not worn out. I cut it out along with enough material attached and larger than the pocket. I folded the edges in and hemmed. I will give to daughter to store her telescope and camera lenses. I hemmed her sleeve badge on pocket, as she is very sentimental.

    We are enjoying a free audio performance by a lady who walks on a trail behind our house. She sings so beautifully everyday! Our neighbors have also commented how she brightens up their day.

    Thank you, Brandy, and Happy Fall to you and everyone here!

  • Lisa from Maine October 24, 2018

    Last week was spent doing a lot of errands. I usually try to limit my trips to town to 1 or 2 times/week but was not happening last week. a lot of different things had to be done on specific days. I did not accomplish as much at home due to all the traveling. Had some unplanned routine brake maintenance on the car. Did receive a free sample in the mail. I took out some library books (2 of which I had donated 15-20 years ago) for saving money, time management and cook books for "new" recipes that appealed to me. While there I searched the free pile and found a brand new book about a female homesteader from the late 1800's to early 1900's. The book had never been read and included the price tag of $12.95. Watched Youtube videos for tips on being frugal and menu planning. Still trying to adapt to the best system for my family. Church offered free lightbulbs (LED) so I took 2 boxes (a total of 8 bulbs). Discussed Christmas budget with husband and also when we will start using wood heat (Nov 1st).

  • Laurie in central NC October 25, 2018

    I'm curious about the book about the female homesteader, Lisa. I love reading things like this, and would love to know the name. That sounds like a great find.

  • Bobbie October 24, 2018

    Beautiful flowers.

    I washed my hair with homemade shampoo and conditioner. Made a batch of Lara bar type snacks for packing in lunches. Made yogurt for the first time using this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUR52elXxBw Which I chose because it uses all supplies I have on hand and no electricity. I got a gallon of milk for the price of a 1/2 gallon because the 1/2 gallon vendor went out of business (I prepaid).

    Cleaned out closets and found many unneeded items that I will sell in an upcoming consignment sale.

  • Tabitha October 24, 2018

    This week has not felt very frugal. However, I find that if I participate in this post each week, it challenges me to keep trying to do more and more each week. You are all so inspiring in all that you manage to do. It's truly amazing and provides me with some encouragement.
    1. Created a delicious chili in the crockpot using 2 cans of beans, a can of tomatoes, some frozen corn, some diced onion and carrots along with spices that were all items I already had.
    2. Our grocery store has been including free coupons on their app lately so I have been sure to check it prior to going to store. So far I have gotten a bottle of dish soap, a box of cereal, and a box of dryer sheets. My husband questioned the cereal as we don't typically but it, I just smiled and said fees is free. It's a quick go to if I run out of eggs in the morning.
    3. Used ibotta this week for an additional 5.75 in rebates between our regular store and Wal-Mart.

  • Susan October 24, 2018

    Loved the flower arrangement Brandy. It inspired me to go outside and see what I have left in my yard in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just finished making a gorgeous bouquet with orange marigolds, purple salvia, and the dusty green leaves of my daisy plants. For lunch today I made this, https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/crispy-baked-chicken-leg-quarters-very-easy-one-dish-449452, with 89cents a pound chicken thigh and drumstick quarters. Served it with mashed potatoes, salad, and roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese and capers. Had a date lunch with my husband to enjoy this yummy meal because for once we were home alone at lunch time.
    Ordered vitamins and fennel seeds from Amazon and found a $10 Amazon gift cart in my drawer to use for the order. Altered Halloween costumes using scissors and pins since I don't have a sewing machine. Found 4 pairs of pants at the consignment shop for my adult son who is only 5"2"(he has Down syndrome hence the short stature) that didn't need to be hemmed! One pair is from L.L.Bean and are lined with flannel. Perfect for this winter as he is walking around the University of Cincinnati with his job training program.
    Made a huge amount of cabbage, carrots, and smoked sausage that I baked. Enough for dinner and lunches. Made a gluten free apple dump cake. Shopped at Aldi's and got amazing buys on grapes, chicken, eggs (68cents a dozen) and many other items. Made a chocolate mug cake in the microwave from everything I already had here and split it with my daughter. Read 2 books on my phone.
    Happy frugaling everyone!

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