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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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  • Athanasia October 25, 2018

    Lorna, chipmunks are very cute, but are real pests and their chewing can do damage.

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 24, 2018

    Kangaroos. Moose. Polar bears! I'll stick with skunks, possums, squirrels, and the occasional coyote. ;)

  • momsav October 27, 2018

    Congratulations, Lorna! It’s always so exciting to move into a new home especially one you saved so hard to acquire! I have no doubt it will be magnificent when you’re done!

  • Lorna October 28, 2018

    Thank you Momsav and we are excited about spending this Christmas in our new home too :) .


  • Cindy in the South October 23, 2018

    I am so, so happy for you! I have followed your house saving adventure, prayed for y'all, and hoped it would happen! I am so excited to hear all about it as you move into your new home!

  • Lorna October 23, 2018

    Thank you Cindy and we have been truly blessed and felt the spirit of other people praying for us from all around the world :D .

    We are excited too.


  • PJGT October 23, 2018

    Fantastic news!!! I'm so excited to feel like I've been a part of your savings and house buying process. Thanks for sharing faithfully each week! Way to go frugal long distance friend.

    We have friends who own a ranch in Australia and my bestest friend was born there, so I might get to visit your amazing country one day.


  • Lorna October 23, 2018

    Thank you Trish and we are happy to share our experience with others because hopefully it will spur someone else on that is going through the same process.

    By the way cheering on everyone who is saving for their forever home or paying off a mortgage, and pray like us that you will get there sooner than you thought.

    Lovely you have friends here and you would love it here if you came to visit as the country is so beautiful.


  • Hilogene in Az October 23, 2018

    As many others have said, many congratulations! I too have followed your savings effort, what a great accomplishment to have saved so much! And I read about your setting aside cuttings and seeds from your current garden so that will help as well. I have always loved moving to a new home, even with all the work to get settled! I am a bit envious.

    From the comments you made about kangaroo fencing....how far outside a town will you be living? Or are kangaroos also found in suburbs? We don’t see any where I live here in Phoenix :D

    Once again, I am so happy for you!

  • Lorna October 23, 2018

    Thank you for your encouragement Hilogene and we are truly blessed to have wonderful international friends such as you all :) . Our deposit was larger than we expected as we found a property far cheaper than we though we would. I always love it when our budget can go further :) .

    We will be living in a small country town around 30 - 45 minutes away from lots of other larger towns but most of the area we will live in is open country acreage where kangaroos are quite common. In the cities you don't find them as much as they prefer to be near open country and near water sources such as creeks and dams. Kangaroos are not friendly and prefer to stay away from humans mostly but you do have to be careful if you go near them, which I wouldn't advise.


  • Kim in Florida October 24, 2018

    What about Koala bears Lorna?? they are so adorable when they're displayed on a television program.

  • Lorna October 25, 2018

    Hi Kim I imagine there will be some koalas at the new property too as we have eucalypt trees on our property too.

    I will say they are not friendly out in the wild though as they are a bundle of fur and fight like veritable thrashing machines. The ones you see in the zoos are brought up from babies so are used to humans but in the wild they are very different.


  • Mari at the Jersey Shore October 23, 2018

    Congratulations Lorna on the purchase of your for ever home. I too have enjoyed seeing your savings add up each week to make this purchase possible. Best wishes to you & your husband as you enter this new stage of your lives :)

  • Lorna October 23, 2018

    Thank you Mari for your encouragement :) , very much appreciated.


  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 24, 2018

    Congratulations on your new home. How exciting!

  • Lorna October 25, 2018

    Thank you Roberta for your encouragement and we are really excited too :) .


  • Lynn from the NC Outer Banks October 26, 2018

    Lorna, let me join the chorus of "Congratulations" you are receiving for obtaining the loan on your forever home. I thought of you all week (and said a prayer!) and hoped that everything had gone well. Thrilled that it all was finalized! When I think of your backstory, I'm struck even more by your resilience and determination to move forward when others might not have. So very proud of you and your husband and thank you for letting us all come along on your journey to this house. Rejoicing here in your accomplishments, along with many across the world! I can't wait to read your future posts and to hear about your first Christmas there! Continuing to send you all the best and many blessings.

  • Lorna October 28, 2018

    Thank you Lynn, very much appreciated :) .

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba October 22, 2018

    * I gave the craft fair door prize winner the option of delivering her prize to her at home or meeting her halfway, and she agreed to meet halfway.
    * I did laundry while house sitting for family.
    * I took walks outside for free and got some sunshine and exercise.
    * I scheduled two meetings back-to-back to save time, money, gas, and stress. :)
    * I used what we had at home to make chicken, rice, corn, and green bean soup for a potluck.
    * Saturday I cooked several meals at once to save time and electricity. :)
    * Friday I went grocery shopping and purchased whole chickens, canned pumpkin, my husband's favorite juice, and much more on sale. In addition, I used a coupon given to me by my thoughtful aunt. Overall, I saved over $30!
    * I gladly made my husband's lunches and breakfasts for him every morning.

  • Colleen Marble October 22, 2018

    Lately my frugal accomplishments have also included spending as we are embarking on several home improvements after years of planning and saving, but whenever I spend I try to find the most economical solution to whatever it is that I need. I recently purchased two end tables at a store I don't usually shop at, and I asked at the register if there were any discounts available. I figured it wouldn't hurt to at least ask. They had a coupon that they scanned for me to save $30 off my purchase! Then, I returned an item I had purchased at a discount at another store, and the cashier had a problem processing the return. It kept coming up at full price. I kept saying, that's more than I paid, it's not right. And she kept trying to fix it but it wouldn't fix, so the manager came over and finally opted to return it at the full price for my inconvenience. I told them it wasn't necessary but I was grateful. I 'made money' on the return, which brought down the price on the rest items in my original purchase. I redeemed $70 in cash rewards from another store to 'buy' some replacement kitchen items and a few decorations at no cost to me. I found a rug I loved at Target, but couldn't fit it in my car, so I ordered it online and ended up saving $20 and getting free shipping. The item was cheaper online than in the store! So yes, I spent money, but I saved and planned for quite some time to get what I needed at the best possible prices, and I was replacing items that we purchased used on Craigslist many years ago. And I love my new room! Aside from those savings, I cut my son's hair, did my own nails, dyed my own hair, waxed my own legs and shopped our pantry for this week's meals.

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