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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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  • Tina S. October 22, 2018

    I meant to say that Canada is 150 miles north of Seattle...typed it out wrong.

  • Annaliese October 22, 2018

    Love the table scape! Nothing like free foliage to make the house look festive. I tried to save money last week but unexpected issues came up. On the way to dentist, a big, black, heavy metal "something" came flying off of a flat bed truck I was at least 1 car length behind and hit the windshield-shattering the lower driver's side. If it hit any higher, there might have been other problems-like a hospital bill for me-or worse. Gifted half of the bill from MIL. Here is my frugal list:
    -Ate spaghetti dinner with chocolate pound cake at inlaws for BIL"s birthday and brought leftovers home.
    -Shared some of my coop box with inlaws of the fruits and veggies we don't eat or already have enough of.
    -Made 4 pints of pear butter to give as Christmas gifts-thinking of baking some pumpkin bread to accompany it.
    -Made pots of chili and hamb/veggie soup- eating on them this week since DH is out of town on a business trip.
    -Stayed home this year instead of going with DH on his yearly business trip to San Francisco. Saving money for our trip to Disney World in March for Herbie's 50th anniversary.
    - Made some mixes from stock in pantry: pancake/waffle mix, cream of chicken and beef mixes
    -Dehydrated some green peppers.
    -Prepared some okra for frying and put it in freezer.
    -Didn't turn on the heater when temps got down into the night. We sleep better when it is cooler.
    -Took back some items to get refund due to I really didn't need them after all.
    -Received a $200 bonus for working thru the blackout days with out any absences and a $40.74 profit sharing check.
    - Used Swagbuck points to get another WalMart gift card for Christmas shopping.
    -Won a $10 gift card for a costume contest for Octoberfest.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!!

  • Marybeth October 23, 2018

    I am glad you were OK. That had to be very scary.

  • Annaliese October 24, 2018

    Thank you, Marybeth! The windshield company came to the house to replace Monday morning. Of course the bill was under $500 so insurance didn't come into play but we found out that if we start paying $3.00 extra a month, they will cover bills over $100. I figure that is a good thing since driving around here and into the big cities have become a bit scary. Before the metal hunk hit the windshield, 5 miles back, while sitting at a light, the car in front of me hit another car that was trying to barge his way in front of her to get around a truck. Now why would he do that? We were all stopped at the time. No blinker and I guess he thought he could beat her...IDK.

  • http://Robbie October 22, 2018

    Hi everyone,
    Counting the days until my daughter's surgery. Spent a lot of time getting details together for that including carpools.
    Cleaned out two freezer. Made 4 freezer meals that we can heat and eat.
    Trying to figure out what to do with 4 gallons of frozen peaches that didn't involve a lot of sugar.
    Using scrip to buy gas and groceries. School gets a % and I get % for tuition. Even just with those small expenses it adds up. However it makes more sense to use target red card on debit card than % we get back.
    Sent in Nielsen thing for $10. We will see.
    Gifted green onions, pjs, soon to expire otc meds, and uniforms to others who could use.
    Carpooling for play practice.
    Wrote a long overdue post for blog. Hoping to convert to affiliate links.
    Comparing insurance plans for next fiscal year due to all the physical therapy we'll need.
    Have a blessed week!

  • Rhonda A. October 23, 2018

    Robbie, why don't you make a peach pie or two and freeze unbaked to use for Christmas or Thanksgiving? I know pies have sugar in them, but they will be handy and frugal thing to take if you are invited to a get together or pot luck. Just thaw, bake and serve! With all that you are dealing with at the moment, I would think any preps for the holiday season would be welcome.

  • Athanasia October 24, 2018

    Robbie, that's a really nice amount of peaches! Are they frozen in slices? I would divide them up into quart freezer bags, without thawing and put right back in freezer. Most of them at least. Quart is perfect for an 8 in pie or a cobbler. You can always cut back on sugar in your recipes. I do. You can make low sugar freezer jam. I would, and do, use them as is by adding to plain yogurt or adding to cooked oatmeal. I also would make into pie as Rhonda suggested, keeping the slices frozen. Don't thaw and then refreeze.

  • Marybeth October 24, 2018

    We make a fruit compote for our pancakes and waffles. We put very little sugar in it. I have used peaches many times for it. Whatever fruit I have I use.

  • Three bears October 26, 2018

    I make fruit crisp with no or low sugar frozen fruit. The topping is oats, a little brown sugar and margarine or butter. Bake at 350 F until bubbly. Perfect on cold days!

  • PJGT October 22, 2018

    I just love your photos, Brandy! Thank you for sharing.

    The most frugal thing I did this week was to hire one of my high school students to help me for the day. He lives on a farm and is a hard worker. With my shoulder hurt and winter sneaking up, I needed help. Now I have a clear yard ( wood, brush and such), a garden spot laid out for the blueberry and blackberries next year, fencing put away, rocks hauled down so I can expand my gardens on a hillside ( I'm making stone wall terraces...we "grow" stone here!), a stone path laid, gutter cleaned, more kindling cut, and a bit more of the field is cut! I don't often meet youngsters (other than my own children) who can keep pace with me. It was delightful and a bargain. I think I'll have him back in the spring if I need to. There is just more than my son and I can do - especially with my son's schedule. Besides, he has a list of his own he is trying accomplish around school and AFROTC...splitting wood and building fence being the major items on his list.

    I have started back with insane abs DVD workout. I bought the same DVD for my daughter now that she has moved, so we keep each other going. It's too easy to get busy and off schedule.

    One of my goals is to he more productive with my time. Last year I worked at being home (where I want to be) more. Now that I'm thankfully working, I really do hate to be gone for times other than work. There are only a very few reasons I will venture out and about. Online shopping is a real blessing for the few items we buy. Since my workplace is having conflict (not involving me, but tense enough to be uncomfortable), I'm not staying around any longer than necessary. More time at home.

    I found 3 more pennies for the change container. Continue to have a lower electric bill, brought organic blue chips and some salsa to a potluck work lunch that had too much food and was able to take my chips and salsa home for dinner. I found yet another bin of clothing to sort. I was hoping that my clothing was around somewhere as I'm just one tight size from my goal and I'd like to wear my clothes again. I also organized a container of food and am able to send some back with my husband to eat up and have lots to eat myself. It was all bought on extreme discount /sale, but I need to get it out to eat!

    My other best frugal savings was to put a book in the "save-for-later" spot on amazon that I really want to read and own a few (yes, probably three) years ago. It dropped to less than 5.00 and I snatched it up for my present under the tree. We each get a book for Christmas ; however, I usually buy them throughout the year for very little or find for free. I met the author of this maritime historical account and am delighted to finally get to read it!

    Happy frugal-ing friends!

  • Gardenpat October 22, 2018

    Brandy- how terrific to still have your garden producing! Ours is finishing up for the season, still some kale and onions to harvest but we have already had two big frosts!
    This has been another good week! More Scrappy Bags and flannel Softies sold this week through our http://handmadeinoldetowne.com/ Owebsite! Each sale means my sewing room is getting decluttered from the overabundance of fabric stash I have which helps my sewing room get more organized! Definitely going to enjoy the additional space (although I still haven’t noticed a decrease in my fabric stash!! I may need to keep sewing these for the next 10 years to decrease my stash!! Lol!
    I dehydrated 5 pounds of chopped celery I bought for $1 and vacuum sealed it in a half gallon mason jar! That will be used when celery is out of season and expensive! I love the convenience that doing this gives me!

    I just made another batch of cookie mix, ranch dressing mix, Italian dressing mix and brown sugar! I use those so often and am thrilled not to have them on my grocery list any more!
    We have been eating from our pantry, fridge and freezer rather than going to the grocery store and it’s amazing how many tasty things we can make! Not same-old, same-old at all!! It’s been like a game to see how long we can go without buying anything but milk and a bit of fresh fruit! All meals made at home this week, thanks to my crockpot and also my Instant Pot!!!
    The weather here in Ohio if definitely cooler and fall/winter is here! I’ve been making lots of soups/stews and baking more! That’s one of the things I love about this time of the year- all the baking and wonderful smells that come from the garden!!
    Our chickens are still blessing us with eggs every day and we haven’t had to buy any for over 18 months now!!!
    I’m ready for the clocks to be turned back though! I find that I sleep in later when it’s dark out in the morning!
    Added to our savings and paid down a hospital bill when I zero-ed out our bank balance as our new paycheck direct deposit came in! It’s surprising how those little extra amounts add up!!!
    All in all, a very blessed week! Hope all of you have also found blessings around you as you continue on the frugal path!! You all inspire me!!

  • Lorna October 22, 2018

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Brandy your flower gardens are going to look divine and well done on saving so much on your electricity prices as it all certainly adds up over the year.

    Fantastic news here is that we got our home loan from the bank and we will put down a 36.85% deposit on it from money we had saved. The owners had the home on the market for some time and then reduced the price by $50 000 as they had no lookers on it at all. Of course we jumped on it and organised an inspection straight away since similar properties in the area on slightly smaller 1 acre blocks of land were selling for $230 000. We paid under $200 000 for it and our home is on 1.21 acres of land so I have to say that it was a true steal at the price we purchased it for :). Our settlement is on the 10th of December and we will be moving soon afterwards into our forever home.

    As would be expected not a lot got done again this week with running backwards and forwards to solicitor's office, buying a new to us second car, organising surveyors and pest and building inspections.

    Our Vicky challenge last week added up to $7829.75 in savings :).

    General house buying madness -
    - Went happily crackers filling out lots of forms for the house, new car and getting quotes on house, contents and car insurance.

    Finances/ listings/car purchase/land surveying -
    - Listed 15 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $24.75 on usual listing fees.
    - Negotiated an offer to buy our home and saved $7000 on the listed purchase price.
    - DH did his negotiating and managed to save another $255 on land surveying and pest and building inspection previously quoted prices.
    - We purchased a new to us Ford Territory as we are going to be out of town on roads with kangaroos and for towing firewood and manures with. I negotiated the price down by $550 on the listed price in the car yard.

    Home organisation for moving -
    - Broke down the old falling apart wardrobes and took 3 shelving units and some heart swags I made to the Endeavour shop for a donation and took the broken down wardrobes to the tip for disposal. We had replaced the old shelves with new shelves a couple of weeks ago and this will give us less to move.

    In the gardens -
    - Weeded all the front garden beds, pruned grape vines and mulched all garden beds with saved dried grass clippings and dried leaves from the yard to save on Lucerne prices and to use up the lawn clippings here.
    - Picked lots of English lavender from the gardens to dry for sale on the internet and some for the home.

    In the kitchen -
    - Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  • Rhonda A. October 23, 2018

    Congrats on the new home, Lorna! How nice it will be for you to celebrate Christmas there this year. I look forward to hearing all about how you set up the new property for gardening, and organizing the house to make it work for you and your husband!

  • Lorna October 23, 2018

    Hi Rhonda A and thank you for your encouragement :).

    You are right we will be spending Christmas in our new home and also will be in there for DH's birthday which is on the 14th as well. There certainly will be lots of things to do once we get there but this time it will be ours and we won't have to ask permission to do anything and can really personalise it to suit us.


  • Melissa V October 23, 2018

    Lorna, congratulations on the new home :) All that saving finally paid off! I am curious - what will you be doing with all the plants/gardens you already have established at your current home? Can you take things with or do you have to start over from scratch?

  • Lorna October 23, 2018

    Hi Melissa V and thank you for your encouragement and yes you are right all the saving has certainly paid off although it was a long road and still a longer road to pay off the mortgage too.

    Re gardens I have taken cuttings from herbs and other plants I have here and am growing them in pots, have fruit trees in pots ready to go in the ground, we also saved seeds from all the vegetables we grew here to take to our new home, I have some vegetables growing in pots we will take to our new home and we will take all of our drip irrigation system we have set up here with us to water the gardens in our new home too.

    It will be fairly much starting again from scratch apart from the cuttings, seeds and fruit trees we purchased but we will thoroughly enjoy setting up the new gardens. The house comes with 2 large garden beds fully enclosed with kangaroo and wire fencing so we have somewhere to start the gardens in.


  • Mable October 23, 2018

    Your remark about kangaroo fencing made me think about how often what seems natural to you is tied to where you live and may be totally alien to others. You keep out kangaroos. Where I live now we have an 8 foot fence around our garden to keep moose out. When I lived in Barrow, Alaska, at the very top of the state, we worried about keeping polar bears (who don't hibernate) out of our yards.

  • Lorna October 23, 2018

    Hi Mable I am chuckling but yes you are so right about things being natural to where you live.

    I think you win on the moose though as they are considerably bigger than our kangaroos and from what I understand moose are not friendly either. We also get a lot of rabbits out in the country too but the councils are on an eradication program with them at the moment so they are slowly getting less in numbers.


  • Susan M. October 24, 2018

    I guess I have it easy—we only need to keep deer out of our gardens, and a six foot wire fence will do for that job! Nothing keeps the chipmunks out however, and they do dig up things sometimes. We also have bunny wire to keep the rabbits out, but the little chipmunks go right through that!

  • Lorna October 25, 2018

    Susan we also have deer here too so might see a few on the new property too. I am afraid we are chipmunk free though although that sounds like we are lucky we don't have them here :D .


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