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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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  • Jeannie December 04, 2017

    This week has been successful because I haven't gone anywhere to spend money.

    *I originally planned on going to a thrift store to shop for more sweatpants and shirts to wear around the house. However, when I put my sons' clean clothes back in their closets after they left following Thanksgiving, I FOUND ALL MY MISSING CLOTHES! When they did the laundry, they no longer knew whose clothes were whose so they put all my clothes in the wrong closets. I also dug through the back of the closets and found extra sweatshirts which I confiscated. If they haven't worn it in a year, they don't need it. Just to be clear, they did recognize my underwear and none of it disappeared.

    *We have eaten out of the pantry, freezer, and garden all week.

    *The weather has turned unseasonably warm, up to 70 degrees, so I took advantage and have put up the hoop houses in the garden. Wait, I did spend money, I ordered more wire to make more hoop houses from Amazon. It was cheaper than driving to the hardware store.

    *My time has been spent getting the house ready for Dustin and Reese to move back in. I have been cleaning the basement making storage room and tomorrow I will begin painting upstairs. Their bathroom is still bright yellow with ducks and their bedroom is a bright cobalt blue. They chose the colors when they were young. It is time for those colors to go!

    I like weeks that are quiet and uneventful. They are so rare.

    Jeannie @ GetMetoTheCountry

  • Hilogene in Az December 04, 2017

    Brandy, you have such a great eye for photography, the tomatoes look impressive...and a bit overwhelming ;)

    For frugal activities: I found a special deal for 40 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breasts at $0.75 pound...sold as a frozen block that I thaw, split up and refreeze into smaller portions. Will last us more than a year! But yikes it takes up half the fridge while it defrosts. Update as of Dec 4, chicken finally all defrosted, split up and refrozen but of course the bag leaked and thawed raw chicken water leaked through the fridge...good news is that now the fridge is super clean and spotless, everything is reorganized and so starts the new year with a clean fridge.
    -used up all thanksgiving leftovers, including making lots of turkey noodle soup and freezing for future meals.
    -bought an extra turkey at $0.79 per pound and froze for future meals
    -made a large batch of spaghetti sauce and meatballs and split into two freezer portions. Am being very careful to avoid products with added sugar so was not happy to see that all my cans of tomato sauce had added sugar :(. But tomato paste is fine. So I gave all the tomato sauce to food banks, and will just water down the paste when I need sauce. Also gave away the canned fruit in syrup and a few other sugar intensive items.
    -did a first look at our 2018 budget, didn’t like the answer so will start looking at what we can change to spend less and free up money for unexpected expenses. That is what I did this year, and the money we set aside covered the unexpected need to buy a new air conditioner.

  • momsav December 04, 2017

    That is a lot of tomatoes, Brandy! I didn’t plant any this year. I may rethink it. It was hard to buy good tomatoes, here.
    It seemed like a lackluster week. But, I got to hang clothes on the line in Dec.! That made my day! The clothes weren’t completely dry, but dry enough. I hung them around the basket rim, etc. So happy about that!
    Our electric bill came. It was estimated so I checked numbers to see how close it was to reality. It wasn’t off by much so excited by that! I had to work really hard to figure out the rates so I feel i’ve Finally cracked the code.
    I purchased a small, white, vintage Christmas tree from the thrift store for 2.50! It’s perfect for our tiny home. I found the perfect vintage decorations at another thrift store for 1.99 for a small bag full. With some decorations I had from a garage sale, this tree is looking fabulous! I’ll be looking for a white skirt to go around it.
    I sold a few things on ebay.
    A friend and I took a walk up a huge hill and down Stink Hill, which is appropriately named, for free exercise. It took us a bit over one hour so not too bad. I thought I might be sore but I wasn’t. I’m ready to go again! I like a physical challenge.
    We talked to all of our children this week. We’re trying to decide when we’ll head down state to see two of them.
    I think that’s about it for me. Wishing you all a great week!

  • K December 04, 2017

    It's been quite a while since I commented here! Here are the frugal accomplishments we've had over the past few weeks:

    * Got a bunch of spices, herbs, and tea ingredients from sfherb.com for my SO's Christmas gift for me. I had very few seasonings that I kept on hand prior, because we don't have access to a lot of good ethnic markets around here, so I got to purchase a ton of items I can't normally get.

    * Ate up all of the pre-cooked leftovers from the freezer, and added in a few servings of Curry Rice (made with spices from SF Herb Co!). This made some room in the freezer for Thanksgiving leftovers.

    * I baked up a double batch of Budget Byte's cranberry orange muffins for Thanksgiving, using cranberries I had stashed in the freezer.

    * I got to take home both the turkey carcass and the ham bone from our Thanksgiving celebration. I used half of the turkey bones to make a big pot of turkey, bean, and rice soupfor dinner, and save the remaining bones and ham bones for future soups.

    *I froze leftover sweet potatoes (the only leftovers we had left!) for an easy future side dish.

    * Made one big shopping trip for December. We'll have to fill in with milk and bread, but otherwise we should have everything we need for the month. Total spent at Aldi was only $70, which leave room for milk, bread, and some produce towards the end of the month. (We're challenging ourselves to use only $100 this month, which is half our usual amount).

    I think that's most everything! I did also bake some cornbread for gifts and bought a birthday card from the dollar store, but otherwise that's all we did for frugal accomplishments over the last few weeks. We're in the home strech of the school year, so I'm just trying to keep my head afloat for a bit longer!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. December 04, 2017

    Our garden isn't producing much right now. Hubs pulled out the summer plants, and the winter ones (the ones that didn't get eaten by slugs) aren't ready yet. :( I can't complain too much though; our climate is so mild we can garden pretty much all year round.

    I haven't posted in a while (just busy and haven't been good at writing things down), so this covers about a month. In addition to our usual things we were able to do the following.

    Frugal Efforts

    * Hosted friends for Halloween and served tortellini soup and focaccia. The kids went trick-or-treating and then played Clue when they got home.

    * Canned 16 half-pints of apple butter (the apples were so sweet I cut the sugar in half), 5 quarts of apple sauce, and 4 quarts of sliced apples.

    * A local hardware store was giving away free LED lightbulbs, so we took a pack. There was no limit, and we probably should have picked up another pack or two, but when we went back they were all gone.

    * Went online to compare per-ounce prices prior to shopping. In several cases Sprouts was the best deal (even compared to Sam's).

    * Picked up several free items from Vons (two packages of pasta, a can of tomato sauce, and a bottle of apple juice).

    * Used a $10 off $30 at Big 5 to get a pair of shoes for son.

    * Harvested cabbage and made home-made sauerkraut for the first time. Turned out pretty good.

    * We were guests of our neighbors for Thanksgiving. We brought a veggie tray w/ ranch dip and pita chips w/ homemade hummus.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  • Melonie K. December 04, 2017

    Our biggest "deals" this week were the completion of CERT training through our county emergency management office - they got a grant for the training and when we graduated, both my daughter and I received starter response kits and hard hats at no cost to us! There are things we'll want to add to them, but the basics are there: a flashlight, eye protection, medical and work gloves, Mylar emergency blanket, and some other items.

    Stayed home most of the week other than our classes - CERT and her weekly free art class at a local college.

    Took lunches/drinks to the classes.

    Ordered carryout pizza with online coupon and a free one for my husband to take to work with points.

    Bought diesel on base - didn't realize it was a savings until I drove by the next day (payday, oddly enough...) and the price had gone up 7 cents/gallon.

    Read books from the library in print and on Overdrive app

    Completed a free FEMA Independent Study class online

    Drank herbal tea that I had on hand most of the week, instead of going to the store for sodas

    Refilled my foaming shower gel container with water & Dr. Bronner's to make more shower gel

    Researched prices on steam mops - we have a fiber mop with reusable covers but the trigger mechanism is really hard on my joints, and our entire house here has vinyl tiles. I can now only mop high traffic areas periodically to control pain and it just looks gross. ;)

    Saw a book series listed on a Facebook page - 4 books for 99cents. Got the series and devoured all four books (and found out while looking at them that there are similar series at the same price point - I don't know if it's a holiday special or what, but had not seen this before!) The series I got was Terri Blackstock's Restoration series.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  • Tammy December 04, 2017

    Bought a nice purse at a thrift store.
    Made meals at home.
    Husband took meals to work.
    Still using peppers from our summer garden that we had froze.
    Went to library for entertainment.
    Eating less and losing weight! Feeling much better.
    Got invited to eat at parents one day for lunch.
    Enjoyed some sunny days outside.
    Glad to have warm clothes from my aunt for winter since It is getting cold this week. I am enjoying wearing them. I have lost 14 lbs in less than 3 full weeks. So I am glad that I saved my skinnier clothes to get back into. I hope to shrink into them soon.

  • Susan December 05, 2017

    What kind of diet are you on that you lost the 14 lbs so quickly?

  • Becky December 04, 2017

    I love the green tomatoes. You got so many!! There have been other years when I was able to save green ones until about Thanksgiving, but not this year. My vines died off quicker than usual. That is the great thing about gardening...next year is such a promise! I'm grateful for all the good vegetables I did get:)

    This past week rushed by. We had dental appointments for the girls, and I'm thankful to report that there were no cavities. That is a real money saver--both that we got to use insurance for the check=ups and didn't need to drive back for follow-up appointments. The dentist is around 1 hour away. He is the same dentist I've had since high school, and has been very, very good to us in the past, and is so gentle and kind, I'd drive further than that to get a good experience for my kids. (It wasn't my turn this time, but I still see him, too.). When I was a girl, I was traumatized by a gruff, impatient, harsh dentist and am so happy to have the girls have a better experience.

    We worked extra hours last month, due to the school holidays. I bill at the end of each month, and get paid mid-month, so I have something nice to look forward to--a little extra in the pay envelope.

    I made some nice taco rice bowls from all the odds and ends left over from the week and they turned out really good. I put rice down in the bowl, put a tiny bit of salsa on it, then put things in piles on top of the rice--bits of chicken and taco meat that were left over, cheese, kidney beans from a can, and then some avocado and tomato pieces on top. I had sour cream and additional salsa for people to use. Yum! I don't usually have any avocados, but got a bag at Grocery Outlet very inexpensively and snatched them happily. It felt good to use up the bits of food in a way that seemed new to everyone, but still got rid of many little odds and ends.

    My husband BBQ'd chicken at the beginning of the week, and we ate it a few times, along with chicken strips. Yesterday, I made refried beans, and chili. We will eat those items for a couple of days, but the batches were large and I froze some of each for quick meals later.

    My sister had a work party for her employees, and there was lots of food leftover. We had it for Family Sunday Dinner. She's a great cook, so of course it was delicious. It made for an easy Sunday for all of us.

    I got what groceries from my list that I could at Grocery Outlet, and then finished up shopping at Fred Meyers. The prices are great at GO, but they didn't have everything I needed.

    The rest is on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/saving-money-and-weekly-update-december-2-2017/, including pictures. After a computer crash, having it in the shop for days, and then having to re-load everything since my hard drive was gone, I am happy to say that I think it's up and running well now. I will be happy to just blog and read blogs now--working out kinks on a computer is not my favorite pastime:). What a blessing that it was fixable, and that I have more computer knowledge than I had a year ago! I'm still learning.

  • piggykr December 04, 2017

    We moved over the weekend so it seems everything has been a frugal fail. However, it has felt good to declutter and toss, donate, or give away things I'm not using anymore. On the bright side I've realized I don't need to buy any new curtains for the new place as I can use the ones I've had in storage for the past 6 years.
    *I've traded some unwanted bedding for some bath products I can use.
    *I crocheted a couple dishrags with yarn I got for free at a swap.
    *I printed a sheet off wrapping paper instead of buying a new roll I won't use up.
    *I bought ham and string cheese for 30% off.
    *I'm gathering school supplies as school starts in March here. I've managed to acquire numerous pencils, crayons, oil pastels, erasers, *scissors, and coloring pencils for free or very low cost to get started in first grade.
    *I found a box of books buried in the back of the closet that will work well as gifts for some upcoming first birthday presents.

  • Regine Franck December 04, 2017

    Hi Brandy

    thought you might like this receipe to deal with your green-tomato glut: https://gujaratigirl.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/green-tomato-and-onion-curry/

  • ellie's friend from Canada December 04, 2017

    I am thankful for my friend who let me put my Christmas cards on her credit card and I'll pay her back. I used 6 of my photos from the summer for the cards. They were ordered on Saturday and have already been shipped to me.

    I saved a lot of money at the recent supermarket sale.

    A friend in Germany sent me (last year) a scarf which I just opened up today. It is not a scarf but a lovely shawl, much bigger than I thought and gorgeous. It feels like cashmere but is cotton. It is reversible and goes well with 2 of my coats. I will wear it when I go to hear Yo-Yo Ma on Friday. It is an extravagance (I was committed to it before I had money shortage now) but I feel it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • Heidi Louise December 05, 2017

    Yes, you must treat yourself and enjoy! And be pleased with how you look! That is honoring your friend as well as yourself, and worth taking a picture for next Christmas.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada December 05, 2017

    Thanks, Heidi. I would never have committed to the concert had I known how tight money is now. Great idea about the photo. I will do that and send it to my friend. I hope to get a photo of Yo-Yo Ma from my seat. We are sitting in the choir.

  • momsav December 05, 2017

    Yo-Yo Ma sounds like fun! I just saw him on youtube; fabulous!

  • Terry calkins December 05, 2017

    Stayed home all week other than a quick trip to the grocery store. Found a close out on cranberries for 48 cents so I bought 10 bags. Otherwise I only bought spices, some canned peas and 2 packages of pork ribs.
    Ate all meals at home, and caught up on my mending. Did my widowed brothers mending. He gave me a quart of frozen raspberries. I will make those into jelly as it is hubby's favorite.
    The Christmas tree is up in the living room. Makes me happy to see it lit.
    I've been baking most every day with things from my pantry. The little bit of leftovers will go to the chickens today. They continue to bless us with all the eggs we need plus a few to share. I will start using lots to make homemade noodles this week. I use my grandmother's recipe. Always think of her when I make them

  • Jennifer O December 05, 2017

    Because I will get paid mid-December and then not again until the 1st of February, I have stocked up on all of the animal feeds and cat litter to get me to mid-February. I continue to meal plan, scheduling at least 2 vegetarian (or nearly vegetarian) meals per week, and planning to use up older items in the freezer. I continue turning off lights, keeping windows open and the ac/heat off, washing only full loads, and air-drying clothes and towels when possible.
    I have been mainly living off the freezers and pantry for the last year due to overstock and my husband’s deployment. I have now drained some areas and must restock. So this week, I picked up 50 lbs. of pasta at $.50 lbs., 10 lbs. flour, 4 bogo peanut butter (stacked with coupons), and a few condiments that were on sale. My grocery store had a Star Wars promo that gave me some sort of trading cards. I gave them to a child in line.
    I need to make a Costco run for white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, flour, basmati rice, wine, and paper towels, but it is about an hour away. I am going to wait until right before Christmas, so I can renew my card so it will be good for next Christmas season too and do any Christmas food shopping at the same time.
    I had to replace a headlight in my car, so I bought the part and took it to the VFW where a kind person put it in for me. I bought him a drink during happy hour - much cheaper than taking the car to the shop. Got my car washed at a church fundraiser for a modest donation. Got my oil changed and asked for (and received) the 25% military discount. Attended a cheap movie on base. Bought my own water and snack.
    I am decorating with old items as usual. Not putting up outside lights or yard décor this year.
    I am in the market for a new phone unless I can figure out how to add an sd/memory card to mine. As my husband is away, a working phone is critical.

  • Elizabeth December 05, 2017

    1.Spent $2 on a Christmas gift
    2.Made my own rotel when I realized I had none in my pantry(turned out surprisingly well)
    3.Paid my auto insurance premium for the next 6 months all at once and saved $20(installment fees make no sense!)
    4.Suggested some useful gifts that my children would love/need when asked by their grandparents as to what my kids would like for Christmas
    5.Bartered with my wonderful mother for much needed food items(everyone wins)

    Also, one of my goals this year was to have a simple Christmas, with less toys and more meaningful gifts. I had a great idea that I would make a “my favorite things” box for each of my kids and fill it with things they love but rarely get. So far I have added things like microwave popcorn(we usually air pop), 4 jars of Nutella(which I got on sale for 49cents!) and scored a free Venus razor with a coupon I received in the mail(we usually use disposable ones that I get free with coupons). I really think my kids will love this idea and the best part is….it’s soooo cheap and fun to fill:)

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher December 05, 2017

    I love this! Our summer growing season is far too hot and dry, so we let our garden stay un-growing from July to October. It's crazy to see yours is producing this much! I'm sure we're just lacking the discipline to really get a decent harvest. :P

    This week:

    1. I'm trying to transition over to washing myself exclusively with Castile soap. It's been a bit of a challenge washing my hair and keeping it from being greasy, but I'll get the hang of it with some practice. :) The best part? I get Castile soap for free from my sister.

    2. We cooked a dinner last night that just didn't work out. Instead of going out to eat, I promptly whipped a frozen pizza out for dinner. Yay for not eating out. :)

    3. I bought apples on fire sale for 87 cents a pound and started fermenting them to make homemade apple wine. Just in time for the holidays!

    4. We're using our credit card cashback points to buy Christmas presents this year. I'm excited because that means we'll have zero budget impact for Christmas. I'm also getting a bonus, which means more money towards debt!

    5. We decorated for Christmas using the Christmas tree we bought last year. We plan to use it year after year until the thing just won't stand up straight any more. We decorated it with ornaments I inherited, too.

  • Cindy in the South December 05, 2017

    I had criminal jury trials all last week and wore thrifted outfits every day. I made meatloaf the weekend before jury week, and took meatloaf sandwiches to wolf down during our bathroom break, because we had motion hearings outside the presence of the jury during lunch break (for them).... I could not spend money because I was tied up in trial, so I guess that counts as frugal? After spending 12 to 14 hours at work, every day, I hope my electric bill stays low, since I was not home much...lol. I was very tired this weekend so, I slept a lot, so that was also frugal. I did make chicken spaghetti with ingredients I already had, and also homemade tomato soup for this week. I tossed the chicken bones in the soup to give it extra flavor. I did not have Thanksgiving Dinner, for the first time ever, because we were interviewing witnesses from out of state on Thanksgiving Day (that was when they were in town).... However, my daughter and son-in-law are driving 2,000 miles to come home for Christmas, so I will use the Thanksgiving turkey I purchased, for Christmas Dinner, and try to make up to my sons who live here, the fact that we did not have Thanksgiving Dinner. They were actually very good spots about it, and said many folks cannot afford Thanksgiving Dinner, and that we ware blessed to be able to have it every year. Truth.

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