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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Green tomatoes detail The Prudent Homemaker

We picked the green tomatoes from the garden and began pulling the plants. There's a possibility of a light frost in the day (which now looks like it may not happen! And it will warm up again after that) but they can ripen in baskets and colanders and we can of course fry some up.

Under the tomato plants, I found two small butternut squash in the garden, so I brought those in.

I picked a few Meyer lemons from the garden.

I picked basil from the garden.

I used a free sample of shampoo.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I continued to decorate for Christmas using decorations we already have.

Green Tomatoes in December The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?



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  • Cindi December 04, 2017

    A friend stopped by on her way to the local thrift store and invited me to look through her donations. I picked out a lovely leather jacket to replace the old, ripped one I have been wearing. This same friend, who has worked as a professional photographer, kindly took pictures of me and my husband and our dogs which we will use on our Christmas cards.
    The man we hired to paint our house last spring gifted us with a poinsettia plant and a box of chocolates.
    I brought home 3 oranges from a women’s breakfast at church.
    I made sandwich bread, French bread, brown sugar, pancake syrup, brownies, a big batch of waffles and cooked all meals from scratch.
    Some books I ordered as gifts were two days late arriving from Amazon. I have Amazon Prime and emailed to complain and they extended my Prime membership by one month.
    I contacted my internet provider about a new rate I had seen advertised and was able to save $5 a month on my internet charges.
    We got a free load of horse manure from a neighbor and used half of it in a new raised bed in the greenhouse. The bed runs the length of the greenhouse (10 feet) and is 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep. We put the manure on the bottom, then emptied our compost bin into it, then added a layer of rotting mulch from the yard, then all the dirt from the pots I’ve been planting in the greenhouse. We used the other half of the manure to start a new compost pile, mixing in a bunch of the rotting mulch. By spring this should be ready for planting.
    My husband checked the heating system for a new neighbor in exchange for 3 pounds of elk meat. We were thrilled!
    We have started Christmas decorating – all with things we already have, except two strands of rice lights I bought from JoAnn’s on Black Friday, which I used in the kitchen. One of my favorite decorations are paper star garlands I made several years ago, following Brandy’s directions. Carefully folded, they have lasted really well.

  • Rhonda A. December 04, 2017

    I bet your family will be happy to help eat up all those tomatoes as they ripen! Always nice when you find some surprise produce when cleaning up the garden, too. I'm glad you are still enjoying fresh, homegrown produce, Brandy. That luxury stopped for our area a couple months ago.

    Well, yet another very busy week for me. I worked a lot this week, including our last special event. Plus we had some appointments to attend, just to keep it interesting. Overall, I think we did well on the frugal front, all things considered. This week, we were able to frugally accomplish:
    *Meals made at home included chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, mashed potatoes and corn, crockpot BBQ meatballs with mashed potatoes and leftover mixed veggies, homemade beef barley soup (using 2 slices of leftover beef from previous weekend and a few potatoes that are going soft/sprouting) with homemade garlic bread (using frozen hamburger buns that really needed to be eaten) and mini cherry strudels for dessert, and baked chicken smothered in broccoli cheese soup with rice and broccoli. Family was on their own for 2 nights this weekend as I was working. They did make meals at home, which I'm happy about. I took a "bagged lunch" for my dinner both evenings I worked.
    *Cooked the last can of chickpeas that needed to be used from the pantry with BBQ sauce to use in wraps again for lunch on the weekend. They are very good and frugal too! We will use the rest of the leftovers this week for more lunch wraps.
    *On Monday I had my last (5yr) bariatric recheck appointment in Toronto. I was able to maintain my exact weight from last year and was told I did very well in the years after my surgery! For those who may be wondering, the surgery cost was covered under our health care, but there were additional expenses we paid OOP. I am very happy I had bariatric surgery, but even more happy I don't have to travel to toronto any more for rechecks.
    *Since we traveled to Toronto, my hubby and I used the trip as an opportunity to shop at some stores not available in our area. I was able to buy 3 shirts for DD on sale, buy 1 clearance item get 2 free.
    *DD had a dentist appointment on Wednesday. The cost was thankfully covered under her disability medical coverage. She had x-rays and cleaning, with no cavities found. Since the appointment was close to dinner, we used the crockpot to make meatballs, my hubby was asked to pop part of the dinner into the oven at a certain time, and the rest was quickly made when we got home. We will be doing a lot of eating out in December, due to Christmas get togethers, etc., so I'm glad the family is finally getting on board with less take out!
    *I cooked too much barley for the soup on Thursday, but wasn't concerned. DD loves barley. She was looking for a snack when she came home from school and I offered her some of the extra. She mixed in some margarine and grated cheese, then happily devoured it! The remaining barley was taken in her lunch the next day. At least it's cheap and healthy.
    *Worked my normal scheduled Christmas program days during the week, then worked both Saturday and Sunday evening this weekend at the Christmas by Candlelight event. Stayed late on Friday as well, to help with event set up. This will be a good paycheck! Both evenings I received a free cookie and cups of hot mulled apple cider.
    *One of the volunteers was roasting chestnuts over an open fire for visitors to sample at the event. I mentioned to him I had never tried them before, as I am always working during this event and can't get over to get a sample. The volunteer graciously sent me over some roasted chestnut to try, which I shared with the co-worker I was paired with, who also had never tried them. They're pretty good! I feel like I can now check that off of my Christmas experience wish list.

    That's it for me this week. Looking forward to working my way through everyone's comments, as I get time. Took me all week to do it, last week, but, by golly, I was finally able to get through them all! I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with the magic of the Christmas season.

  • Margie from Toronto December 04, 2017

    I miss the Chestnut vendors here in Toronto. They were the men who sold fresh popcorn during the summer - come the Fall they switched to chestnuts - my favourite stand was just outside the museum. Not sure what happened to them - guess it was hard to make living, or perhaps licenses were no longer issued.

  • patsy December 07, 2017

    oh I miss those chestnut vendors too. We always got hot chestnuts after viewing the Xmas windows at Eatons. My oldest son does chestnuts himself now on his BBQ.

  • Jamie | Medium Sized Family December 04, 2017

    I've been using the same Christmas decorations for years, and this year I'm trying to get a little creative while I add some new ideas. I'm only using what I have on hand, which is a challenge because I'm no DIYer! But it's been fun, and I'm happy with what I've come up with so far.

    Here are the ways we saved last week: https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-week-102/

  • Katy in Africa December 04, 2017

    - fixed a pair of dress sandals instead of buying a new pair.
    - Using cards I already had for Christmas cards.
    - Using up partially used notebooks instead of purchasing a new one.
    - Putting off buying a box of hair dye and considering just not dying my hair for awhile.

  • Kai Jones December 04, 2017

    I turned some leftovers into a really good pasta salad (quick-pickled a chopped carrot and the rings from an onion slice, tossed with leftover spaghetti noodles from Thursday's spaghetti and a couple of spoonfuls of tuna salad left from Friday night's tuna melts). A friend brought over Chinese take-out and we watched a movie on Plex; he left us the extra Chinese food and I scrambled some eggs into it for Sunday's lunch. I packed my lunch from leftovers every day of work last week . I gave my son two 15-minute driving lessons over the weekend in an empty parking lot. I used the ends of several loaves of bread that had been keeping in the freezer to make a big batch of bread pudding for this week's dessert/treat.

  • Myra Simmons December 04, 2017

    1. Accepted a bag of lettuce and a bag of fried chicken left over from a rehearsal dinner for a wedding that I helped serve at. Made good lunches the next day.
    2. Decided not to order a beautiful dress jacket for church that was on sale. I am in the process of dieting and decided not to spend money on an article of clothing I won't be able to wear in a little bit anyway.
    3. Laughed as I walked through the grocery store and realized all I needed this week was meat, milk, and bread. So, I used my grocery budget money to buy over 10 pounds of ground beef that was on sale and divided it up into portions of about a pound and a half to use for dinner ideas.
    4. Brought lunch from home each day.
    5. Stayed home!

  • Faith from Indiana December 04, 2017

    Took Bed Bath and Beyond coupons back to the store with an receipt from this Fall -(thicker curtains for bay windows) and got back $30.

    Made homemade whipped cream for hot chocolate from extra heavy cream from Thanksgiving.

    Used Ebates for all online shopping. Plan on putting it straight towards debt when I receive it in Feb.

    Bought Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University this weekend on sale. My husband and I think we need the extra motivation from the workbook and videos provided.

    Stuck to menu plan and grocery plans and still have grocery money left.

    Thanks to my (early) Christmas present: Instant Pot - we haven't went out to eat in 2 weeks! \

  • Lilli December 04, 2017

    My sweet college daughter showed up for five days after Thanksgiving. I had forgotten what a little tornado she is. She has been at college for seven years and I rarely spend this much time at once with her. She ate and slept a great deal. She did help me move some large pieces of furniture around and I have managed to get a lot done. We stopped by the thrift store on my way to take her back home. I was touched to see she bought winter clothes for a homeless man in the parking lot. He thanked her repeatedly. ( she was safe at all times, as I was with her). I am concentrating on learning new things. I have all the needed ingredients to bake breads. Biscuits, pie crust and tomato sauce for pasta. I don't know how, but am reading and watching videos and hope to use no more store prepared products again. I didn't see really much of anything on sale to buy this week with my remaining snap so I will continue to save and look for deals. Well, we are at the end of the year and I am gathering my paperwork for my taxes. I was devastated to see somewhere along the year, I made a horrible financial mistake. I don't know if it was a mathematical error, unclear thinking due to meds from four surgeries or what. At this point it does not matter. I will correct it and continue on. The penalty is severe. About 1200.00 I will have to squeeze out of my limited budget . It will take three months to fix my oop's. On the bright side, my 4 months of SNAP of 800 total bought 2400.00 worth of food. We have everything we need. I spent less than a hundred for Christmas over the year and am so grateful for swagbucks. I have several Carhart coats and other things I am going to try to sell on the local Facebook page. My days of being on a construction site are over and I hope to find new owners for my work clothes. So happy now that I always bought men's stuff. So it looks like we have a no spend three month holiday coming up but I have plenty of materials to finish up many much needed projects in the house. I look forward to reading everyone's posts and trying new ideas.. Sugar cookie will be leaving soon for a month of Christmas holidays with her up North Grandma and I can save my ignore this month.

  • Elizabeth December 04, 2017

    I'm making Christmas wreaths for our neighbors! We are so lucky to live in the NW where there is plenty of greenery. A walk in the woods with our dogs and with my scissors and bucket allow me to forage lovely wreath makings. It's a great savings on gifts for our sweet neighbors!

  • Wyoming Gal December 04, 2017

    Our early Christmas present was an air fryer - and so far it is encouraging my husband to use less fat for his French fries, tater tots, etc.

    We put up our smaller artificial tree and used a blue, silver and gold color scheme for the decorations we already had. (We are going to be out of town visiting our DD and her family for a week at Christmas - so I didn't go all out for decorating.) We'll be flying so gifts are either pretty easily packable and small or we will buy them when we arrive. I am going to use a vinyl shopping bag as my carry on and put in some of the food goodies (but not the jam and jelly, which must go in the checked luggage.)

    My slow weight loss continues, with me wearing a wool glen plaid pantsuit to church that I haven't been able to wear for 10 years. One advantage of being older is that no one bats an eye at a suit that age because the styles for older folks don't change as much as for the young ones. The clothes I am now able to wear are so old that they were all made in the U.S.A.

    I fulfilled all my cookie obligations - 7 dozen for the open house at the Museum and 5 dozen for the Community Choir concert. My husband has been baking a few cookies at a time for himself - using a roll of cookie dough and individuals toppings such as a whole pecan, a Hershey's kiss, a peanut M & M. I am successfully avoiding most cookies.

  • Lorna December 04, 2017

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia :) . What a wonderful blessing all of those lovely tomatoes Brandy, we are waiting for ours to get bigger as we speak.

    Blessings for the week is that we have had lots of lovely rain that are making our pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and all of our other vegetables grow like wildfire and fill our rain water tanks and the first lavender blossoms have now appeared on our newly planted plants :) .

    Here is how we saved money and accomplished things around the house this week -

    Financial -
    - Saved an additional $89 over our targeted budget this month for our saving for our home deposit and saved 47.66% of our combined after tax income for house savings too last month.

    Groceries specials -
    - Found some wonderful specials at 10 - mostly 50% off this week which were welcomed. We purchased 10 tins of long life vegetables and meat, 3 tins of corn kernels, 4 x 2lt BBQ sauce to bring us to a years supply, 6 Philadelphia cream cheese and 3 pkts of nice biscuits and coupled this with a $10 off purchase supermarket rewards voucher to save a total of $57.12 off normal retail prices.

    Other purchases -
    - Purchased 2 pairs of leather and canvas high ankle hiking boots, one pair for DH and one pair for myself, on special on eBay saving $71.90 over what we can buy them for here. My husband and I can now go bushwalking in more safety due to snakes and things now.

    In the gardens -
    - Picked and of course ate the first of our new strawberries for the year whilst we were weeding the garden beds.
    - Thinned out basil and beetroot seedlings growing to close together and transplanted them near drippers to not waste any.
    - Used composted grass clippings and leaves raked from under trees to mulch 2 x 2mt strawberry and herb gardens and another 4.5 x 2mt stretch of the garlic and beetroot bed.
    - Pulled out spent broad bean plants and put them on the veranda to dry and save seeds off to plant next season.
    - Missed two scheduled garden watering sessions with town water due to lovely rain saving 166lts of town water.
    - Took advantage of the lovely rain to water in urea put around the silver beet, spinach and sweet corn without using town water.

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

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone :) .

  • Amy December 04, 2017

    I saw your post on instagram and thought at first they were baskets of limes! Darn eyesight. But the green tomatoes are lovely as well. How wonderful to be able to use them as they ripen. Beautiful pics as usual :)

    *Made all meals at home except for our date night which we had a coupon for a free meal.
    *Combined errands
    *Shopped around for my dogs medical procedure and got a better price and better option. The vet cleaned the teeth instead of pulling them.
    *Shopped sales and used coupons to save $200 on my grocery shopping list. But re-stocked quite a few items I was was running low on or was out of. Took advantage of a Kroger sale to get 5# flour and canola oil for 99c/each. Also found body wash and shampoo on their clearance end cap and used coupons to further lower the cost. They were items we normally use and ended up paying quite a bit less. Worth stocking up.
    *We inventoried our freezers last month and this month I went and re-organized my pantry room. There were a few things that I need to get more of for our shelves, but overall we are quite well stocked.
    *I use a paper planner calendar for keeping track of what I want to accomplish each day, appts and our menus for dinner. It has been so helpful to look back over the year as I am planning my menu to see what I have been making and to keep implementing into our meals. A lot of times my meals change based on what I need to use up in the fridge, but I can also keep track of what meals I had planned and purchased things to make. I put those meals into the next week.
    *I read As the Queen Rides By for free off another website. Loved the sweet message!
    *I made cranberry muffins to use up my last cup of cranberry sauce. Very yummy! Thanks to someone on this site for the idea! My mom has some leftover sauce too and wants to use hers to make muffins as well.
    *Watched a movie at home instead of going out to one on the weekend. My husband and I did see one movie in the theater last week but it was on their discount day.
    *I started our church's #LighttheWorld activity and have been using things that I already have to hopefully bless others during this Christmas season.
    *I continue to use our local library to request books to read.

    I hope everyone has wonderful week! Looking forward to reading everyone's posts and wonderful ideas :)

  • Laurie in central NC December 04, 2017

    I have a couple baskets of tomatoes as well. Nice to have them in December! I worked hard getting ready for a handmade show last week, which I was glad to be a part of, and pleased with my sales. It was the first year I brought the natural deodorant I've been making for myself. I sold all but two, have an order for three, so I'll be making more. Also, yesterday I got a message from a customer who'd bought one of my recycled wool dusters at the show. She loved it, and wanted to buy the two remaining ones I had made. Definitely one of my best shows.

    With the show, I didn't gather much except eggs last week, but there are beautiful cabbage, collards and lettuce I need to be harvesting. I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. Thank you for creating this wonderful community, Brandy. I'm happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/12/supporting-handmade-frugal.html

  • Bethany December 04, 2017

    Although I wasn't planning on buying much in the way of groceries, the local Krogers had ground beef on special for 1.79/lb, so I added 20 canned pints to the pantry. I cooked a ham from the freezer bought last year on sale, and used the bone for bean soup. I made a large stock pot, and canned 6 quarts of soup in addition to having it for 2 meals. I made pajama pants for several family members for Christmas, using fleece bought at 70% off on Black Friday, along with no sew fleece blankets for the grandbabies. I redeemed swagbucks for an amazon gift card. I ordered glasses online in my new prescription- for $130.00 less than they would have been even with insurance. We put up the (artificial) Christmas- purchased a few years ago at 75% off, and decorated using ornaments we already had. I bought a small pine scented candle at Dollar Tree to add the "fresh cut" christmas scent.

  • Kim Heller December 04, 2017

    I am amazed at all the tomatoes you harvested.

    I attended a family potluck Christmas party this weekend. I purchased spinach flour tortillas and made some cranberry sauce with the cranberries left over from Thanksgiving. I used that as a spread and put in sliced ham and lettuce and rolled them up and then sliced like making cinnamon rolls. They looked very festive and tasted really good and I made up an entire tray of them for less than $5 for all ingredients.
    We put up our fake Christmas tree last night. We used the mercury glass ornaments I have been collecting for the last several years along with paper snowflakes we made ourselves. It looks very nice. I used a ruffled tablecloth for the tree skirt- no money spent and we are really enjoying it.
    Other than that just trying to stay healthy and not get the flu or the head cold/sore throat thing that is really going around here. Staying healthy is very frugal.

  • PJGT December 04, 2017

    I do miss the daily thankful posts as they really helped me to focus on the good. Thank you for doing that each year, Brandy.

    This week has been difficult as hubby and I adjust to being apart. I just take comfort in knowing that he is super busy for the next few months and I have a job and can support us here. I'm also so happy that my DS is successful again. It's been a long uphill climb to this point and we've a bit of a ways to go. Moving forward!

    My son and I were able to attend a Christmas party that I have been wanting to attend for a couple years. It was a drive and a toll, but we had the needed festive dress, a good bottle of wine for a hostess present (I'd been saving it!), and we were fed. A good experience for him and a good rememberance for me that we are going to be OK.
    My son did want a Christmas bow tie and I was able to make him one from supplies on hand. I have never made one before and do see what I would fo different next time, but it looked great and matched his other one that I used as a pattern well enough.

    I signed up for the soup club at work where I'll get a months worth of Wednesday lunches for bringing in one crackpot of soup one Wednesday. That will be very nice!

    Still am shopping as little as possible. I did take advantage of a sale to buy my children each a book...although one is really a daily calendar. At a nice discount. For Christmas...something to open.

    I can get overwhelmed by the thought of all the medical and school balances I need to pay off. And I have been receiving exam bills that I expected were going to be covered by our insurance. I need to check that out. It seems like so much!

    I wanted to give the couple that allow my son to sleep over each week for his Air Force ROTC exercises a present, but just wasn't sure how that was going to happen when my MIL said that she wanted to get them a gift. She is going to get a gift from all of us! So blessed!

    Staying home as much as possible (except that one party!), eating less and thankfully downsizing again, watching Christmas movies we own and using what we have...another frugal week.

  • Jessica Strang December 04, 2017

    This week has been okay on the saving/budget front. Some frugal accomplishments were:
    - paying all the bills online - saving a check, envelope, and stamp. The only bill we still have to write a check for is our water bill because that's our only option.
    - I only had to buy milk, bread, and eggs this week. I haven't spent any of our December food/household budget yet.
    - I got some books for my classroom for free due to book fair rewards. My mom also hosted an USbourne book party to help my sister and I earn free books for our classroom. I haven't picked mine out yet, but I shouldn't have to buy any books for my classroom this year.
    - We hunted this weekend, but weren't able to add any meat to our freezer. I will go back to deer hunting with my bow, which is harder than a shotgun. But hopefully I can get one more deer for the freezer. It is also still squirrel season here, so I might try to shoot a few squirrels to add to the freezer. I have one turkey tag left, so I'll try to get a turkey with my bow, too.
    - We went out to eat with my parents and they bought our supper.
    - We were also able to turn off the heat for a few days, which saved us from LP.

    Other than that, it's been same old same old stuff. I decorated for Christmas using only stuff I already had on hand. I used boxes that items were shipped to me in so I didn't buy any gift boxes. I wrapped presents with paper that I bought on 75-90% off clearance after Christmas last year. I just had to buy a few gift bags. I will be out of school soon for Christmas break. That will mean less on gas money.

    My online store earned an extra $840 for our house this month. My husband also picked up a little furniture building job that should add a little bit to our income. We paid our December mortgage payment, bringing us to 21% paid off.

    That looks like quite a bit of tomatoes. I was so tired of tomatoes by the end of the growing season here that I didn't even try to save the green ones. Maybe next year I will. Right now I am trying to eat as much squash as I can - we have a ton of acorn and butternut squash to eat up. We ate all the apples already. I still have some pumpkin to can. We also have sweet potatoes put back, but we ate all the regular potatoes already.

  • Libby December 04, 2017

    Impressive tomato haul!
    • I went through swagbucks and placed an online order while the store was having 50% off everything.
    • made swag goal x 2
    • hung laundry up to dry inside the house
    • I needed to pick up a script at Walgreens and also had balance reward points expiring on 12/1. I was a couple thousand points short of a $35 reward so I checked out deal websites prior to shopping in order to plan out coupon matches for needed items. After picking up everything and putting it in the car, I went back in and used my just-earned $35 to buy replacement electric toothbrush heads and hair color.
    • I had dental work done on Thursday. I didn’t know that starting in November 2016 my company was providing free dental insurance for all employees (I had been on a medical LOA). I gave the dental office manager my insurance info and asked her to run through insurance all appointments going back to Nov 2016. Hopefully I will be getting money back from paying cash for the prior appointments.
    • I tried a new recipe for French vegetable soup from “A Lady in France” blog. It is delicious and I love eating some of my “daily 5” this way :)
    • Updated my monthly net worth spreadsheet.
    • On Saturday while running errands, I passed a house with a pile of “stuff” at the end of the driveway with a FREE sign on it. I turned around and picked up 22 items, which I documented and promptly took to Goodwill for the tax deduction. The house is for sale so I’m planning to drive by once a week and see if they put out more stuff.
    • Finally finished getting up all the leaves in my yard. They are chopped up and on the garden for the winter.

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