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This Week's Frugal Accomplishments

The not everyday things I did this week to save some money and enjoy life!

I decorated our kitchen table with a bowl of pears from our garden. Since pears ripen best off the tree, they last a few days as a display before they needed to be eaten. Pears are starting to ripen this month, with some varieties ripening in the months to come. Even if you can't afford flowers, let fruit be your centerpiece, and you'll smile when you look at your table.

I harvested grapes, tomatoes, rosemary, pears,tomatoes,  green onions, lemongrass, and basil from the garden. I also got 4 figs and 2 Armenian cucumbers from the garden.

My husband cut my son's hair.

I had an at-home date with my husband. We played the card game Hand and Foot, and had fun laughing at how badly I lost. I've never played so poorly. We had a great time!

I sold used children's clothing to a children's resale shop. I didn't make much, but since the shop is right next to my husband's office, he was able to take the clothing in for me, so I didn't lose anything in gas to get it to the shop.

I watched a YouTube video to learn how to do something in Photoshop.

I made homemade Greek yogurt. It cost me $3.57 for over 64 oz, or $0.06 an ounce. I also made homemade granola.

I used the whey leftover from making yogurt in smoothies.

I took a free photography class online from Creative Live.

I printed coloring pages for the children from some of the many Dover free samples that I have downloaded over the years. My oldest painted several of the pictures with watercolors.

We went to the library this week and checked out several books as well as several movies and tv shows for the children to watch. This was great for them while I was watching the live photography class.

I made a birthday gift for my daughter to take to a friend's birthday party. Using one of the headbands I got earlier at Kohl's (18 headbands for .54 after combining a $10 off $10 coupon and sales), some satin, some embroidery thread, and some E-6000 glue, I made her this flowered headband for about $0.10. My own daughters were asking if it was for them, and when I said no, they all asked if I would make one for them! This present took me only about 10 minutes to make, since I already had a ton of flower petals leftover that I had made last year for Christmas.

I learned how to honeycomb smock! I learned from a magazine article. Loads of fun and quick results, and I don't have to use my pleater like I do for English smocking (and if you don't own a pleater, you can do this, which is very cool). I've wanted to learn how to do this for years. It's in the current issue of Sew Beautiful Magazine (Issue #143, July/August 2012), if you want to pick up a copy. Joann's always has their magazines 10% off. I smocked the little bit at the waistband on the dress that you see above. I'm almost done with that dress; I've been sewing on it all week. Total cost for the dress will be $0.50, since I'm using fabric that my grandmother had. If I had bought the fabric, the dress would have been $3.50.

I used gift certificates, combined with a sale, to order some new science equipment for free from Home Science Tools. The gift certificates were part of a deal that they offered at Christmas. For every so much spent, they offered a $10 gift certificate. My grandmother had me order the children's gift from her, which was a microscope. Not only did I get a great sale price and a bonus set of microscope slides, but there were these gift certificates on top of that. I waited to use them until this week and I combined them with a 10% off sitewide sale. Now we'll have a couple of science experiments to do that didn't cost me anything.

I opened a box of baby girls clothes in the next size up that I had stored from before. It also contained a few new-to me hand-me downs from friends (including the onesie in the picture below).

I resmocked a dress to be what I wanted. A separate post with photos is coming for that one.

I took some baby pictures this week, so no need to pay for studio shots.

What have you done this week to save money? Last modified on


  • The Prudent Homemaker August 17, 2012

    It's natural light. The baby is facing the win...

    It's natural light. The baby is facing the window. I set my f stop at 2.2 for this photo.

  • Jeannette August 17, 2012

    HOw do you get such great lighting for the baby ph...

    HOw do you get such great lighting for the baby photo? One of the reasons I end up paying for studio shots is my lighting

  • The Prudent Homemaker August 15, 2012

    I keep buttons in a mason jar. I hope to one day ...

    I keep buttons in a mason jar.I hope to one day grow so many beans! That is wonderful!

  • Anonymous August 15, 2012

    Try putting your soda over ice in a glass half ful...

    Try putting your soda over ice in a glass half full of cold water. You will drink a lot less, & it works to "wean" yourself off the soda. In the meantime, you get used to drinking COLD water, which is so much healthier for you. - Marivene

  • emersonfamily August 15, 2012

    I love your frugal list so much I decided to start...

    I love your frugal list so much I decided to start my own on my blog. Here's mine for the week:1.Cut flowers from my garden and arranged in a vase to add beauty to our bedroom. 2.Harvested zucchini from our garden and made killer zucchini bread. 3.Made a cute summer shirt for my upcoming getaway with Brandon. I spent $3.50 on the pattern, thread, and fabric. I absolutely love it (pictures coming soon). 4.I harvested cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, and banana peppers from my garden. 5.I picked green beans for almost 3 hours with Eli and canned 28 quarts of green beans from my Uncle’s garden. A huge thanks to my mom who helped me and finished up canning them for me (I had to take Eli home and put him to bed). 6.We went to the library 3 times this week. 7.I purchased close-to-date yogurt and cottage cheese at the grocery. 8.I froze 6 pounds of clearance rack bananas for use in smoothies/banana bread. 9. I darned a hole in a sweater in preparation for fall weather. I’m so NOT ready for fall yet! 10.Replaced the adjustable elastic in a pair of Elijah’s pants with the elastic from another pair of pants that were worn out and headed for the garbage. I also saved 3 buttons from the old pants to use in future sewing projects. Now I just need a good way to keep track of buttons. Any suggestions? 11.Sold 2 books on amazon. 12.I stopped at Staples and spent $5.18 on 2 bags of school supplies. We use lots of school/office supplies for my tutoring business and for general organization. 13.I ordered some undergarments online saving at least 50% and the hassle of taking Eli to the store. They arrived today and fit wonderful! 14.I received a few samples in the mail and signed up to receive a couple more in the upcoming weeks. 15.I downloaded and printed free piano sheet music (legally) from The Piano Student for a piano student, friend, and myself.

  • The Prudent Homemaker August 15, 2012

    May I suggest changing to water? Keep it cold and ...

    May I suggest changing to water? Keep it cold and it is so much more refreshing! A lot of magazine have tons of articles online, so keep looking that way. Good for you for finding your weaknesses and turning them into strengths!

  • mdoe37 August 15, 2012

    I'm on a roll!! I again this week bought no m...

    I'm on a roll!! I again this week bought no magazines. I think I'm close to breaking the compulsive habit. I don't have a problem buying the occasional, but I need to assess what I'm interested in and if I can (most likely find it online for free). Signed up for Joann text messages and emails for additional coupons. The text sign up was an immediate 20% off my order. Ok, not a frugal purchase, but one of new cloth for a charity project. Being I need flannel in "girl colors" I've not seen alot in my local Goodwill that would work.Using my new dishwasher "detergent" - a tiny scoop of oxiclean and a tiny squirt of Dawn unconcentrated. With a white vinegar chaser for rinse aid. My dishes have NEVER looked cleaner. Getting used to my Roku for TV watching in hopes that eventually I can pry the Dish away from the husbands clutches. :)My defeat this week was cutting back on soda--dual heath and frugal challenge. Ugg. Better but not great. I don't drink coffee and can't get used to iced tea. I don't think its the caffeine, but the corn syrup that's doing me in.

  • Anonymous August 14, 2012

    This is my favorite topic, too, as I often discove...

    This is my favorite topic, too, as I often discover some great frugal tips. Even when I don't, I find myself encouraged to get off my rear and can or hang the laundry or something...

  • Laura August 14, 2012

    These are my favorite entries!! I love hearing ev...

    These are my favorite entries!! I love hearing everyone's good ideas! Brandy, your baby is so precious! Also, the smocked dress you are making is beautiful...looks very Elizabethan! You are so talented...I think you should contact country living magazine about writing a column...your photographs and writing are simply wonderful. Thank you for taking time to share with us....you make everything beautiful!P.s...I love your recipes as well! Xoxolaura

  • Anonymous August 13, 2012

    I used a coupon to get a free pound of grapes at t...

    I used a coupon to get a free pound of grapes at the grocery store.I received a free sample of cereal in the mail.I used a coupon to get a free roll of Scotch tape at Target.For the first time in five or six weeks, the A/C was off more days than it was on!My husband only used about half as much gas as he usually does to get to and from work due to driving to business meetings instead of his office.My husband got a couple of free breakfasts, lunches and dinners at the business meetings.My husband attended a vendor fair and got several free items. We were able to share two items with relatives. Jill

  • Jess August 13, 2012

    I have made my own beans before (we have ~3 cans w...

    I have made my own beans before (we have ~3 cans worth in the freezer). But, dried beans at the grocery store here are about $1.80/lb, which is really expensive. Buying the cans at .59 made it cheaper for us than the dried ones. We don't have a Sam's club here in VT, but we do have a costco. But, since the three of us (you guessed right on my family size!) already are squeezed into a small condo, we do not pay for the Costo membership since we have no place to store the large portions of items we would purchase. We are hoping to buy a new house soon, with a garage and more storage, so I think I will be able to save a lot of money then! Once we have more room, I will definitely be going to Costco and buying the beans in bulk to make myself. We are actually putting the canned goods we just bought under our bed...it is the only space we have left!

  • Anonymous August 13, 2012

    The first time I shortened the sleeves on a shirt,...

    The first time I shortened the sleeves on a shirt, they came out "really" short, because when I cut the sleeve, I forgot about the extra needed to turn under the edge on the hem. Remember to leave enough for the hem. - Marivene

  • The Prudent Homemaker August 13, 2012

    Penelope, I can't reply to your reply above, s...

    Penelope,I can't reply to your reply above, so hopefully you'll see a reply this way.I have found that it's easier to find long-sleeved dress shirts at garage sales than short-sleeved ones. I usually cut off the sleeves and sew them the right length. You may find the same thing with clearance shirts.I would also look at buying a dress shirt from French Toast for future sizes. Go through Ebates to get a small amount of cash back. If you buy it during Black Friday weekend, Ebates gives double cash back to everywhere. They are a uniform company, but I have bought shirts from them before, and they are holding up really well. They also have some inexpensive ties (if you can't fins any used ones) and dress pants. I find French Toast's prices to be about the same as I found as other stores clearance prices. You may want to look for uniforms elsewhere as well for some church clothes for him. I know I'm having trouble finding those sizes at garage sales.

  • The Prudent Homemaker August 13, 2012

    Excellent tutorial; I will add it to my list on my...

    Excellent tutorial; I will add it to my list on my Smocking page! Thanks!A pattern really helps in getting it all right. There are several places that sell patterns for smocked dresses. You'll find more choices online.

  • Anonymous August 13, 2012

    When my daughter had a bent fender and a small den...

    When my daughter had a bent fender and a small dent in the hood of her van the body shop man told us to replace the hood with another used hood because it could fly open when driven. Please have it checked very carefully.

  • Anonymous August 13, 2012

    Thank you for sharing about shortening the sleeves...

    Thank you for sharing about shortening the sleeves of the shirt for your grandson! I have been so worried about my son's white shirt and never thought of this. I haven't been able to afford a new one for him, as everything fits but the sleeve length. I will shorten his sleeves this week. He will be 12 in a few weeks and must have a good looking white shirt for church. I am so excited! Penelope

  • Anonymous August 13, 2012

    This past week I noticed our rutabaga greens are g...

    This past week I noticed our rutabaga greens are gorgeous. Usually our root veggies end up covered with aphids and what looks like powdery mildew. I've never eaten the greens before, but this week I cooked some up to try them out. Pretty good, especially when one of my super picky kids really like them too. So we have another food we can eat!There were good prices for a couple of meats at the case lot sale ($1.50/lb or less) so we picked some up and repackaged them for freezer storage. I might borrow my neighbor's pressure canner to bottle some of the meat if it looks like the garden produces enough to freeze.Participating in a carpool for a child's activity. I plan to use the wait time on my day to read classics or sew. I'm setting up crockpot meals for that day as well.We were gifted more garden produce. Yay! I'm going to help in return by sharing recipes and helping preserve since she doesn't have experience. The week before I had been able to combine a sale with a gift card offer. The card had to be used last week, so I was able to get bars of laundry soap for free. I will make detergent today cause I am out again.We canned a neighbor's peaches into jam for her (something like 48 pints). Her family cleaned the tree instead of just picking the ripe ones and she had to go to girl's camp the next morning. This was perfect because my son is working on the Family Life merit badge and needed a service project to do with his family. I was very grateful for this.I made bias tape from a fat quarter.I rescued my daughters ruined nylons from the trash. I always try to garden vertically with some things so I need these to tie up the heavier squash.I really love that I could go out to my herb garden and find almost everything for the pesto for lunch last week. I am hoping to successfully grow garlic and will plant it in the fall. I've never had much luck with it.Penelope

  • The Prudent Homemaker August 13, 2012

    Jess, At .99, those seasoning packets are awfull...

    Jess, At .99, those seasoning packets are awfully high-priced. If you buy spices in bulk (Sam's Club or Costco, or if you order them online through somewhere like San Francisco Herb Co.) and keep mixing your own chili seasoning, you will save a LOT of money.Have you tried cooking dried beans? That can cut your beans expense in half. If you buy the beans in bulk, that will cut the cost in half again. I pay around .65 a pound for beans in a 25 pound bag. For the three (?) of you, it will take a long time to get through 25 pounds of beans (especially if you buy 25 pounds each of 3 different kinds) but beans can store for 30 years, so you'll get them now at a lower price than you'll pay for years, which will also save you over the rising cost of food. It's an inexpensive way to stock up on a lot of food. You can cook a batch of beans and then freeze them to have ready for quick meals, just as you would use canned beans.

  • Jess August 13, 2012

    Not such a frugal week for me, but I accomplished ...

    Not such a frugal week for me, but I accomplished a few good things.Accepted free broccoli, garlic, and an onion from my mother who got too much from her farm share.Made homemade chili seasoning from spices I already had in my pantry rather than going out and paying for a packet. I'm sure it was cheaper, even though the seasoning packets are often about .99.Went to CVS twice this week and purchased the Dove products that were on sale, with coupons. My son has a skin condition that requires us to use the moisturizing bodywash on him. It is very expensive, so I always look for good sales. With the sale CVS was having, I was able to get $5 in extra bucks. So, I went back there later in the week (I work very nearby, no extra gas cost!) and got 6 bottles of spices for .28! It was a great deal.We went to Aldi's this week and stocked up on some canned beans and other vegetables since my boyfriend made some extra money this week. We wanted to stock up before the drought made prices rise. Now we have 24 cans of beans in storage, in addition to everything else we got.I finally have a tomato ripening! We will be able to start harvesting soon, so I am hoping to find some good tomato recipes. I have a feeling we will be inundated with them soon!

  • Miriam August 12, 2012

    Thanks for the wonderful Dover link!

    Thanks for the wonderful Dover link!

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