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Fall Piano Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested Swiss chard, a few tiny cherry tomatoes, 2 tiny butternut squash, a small bell pepper, a small lemon, a small parsnip, and 2 beets from the garden.

I planted seeds in the garden for lettuce and snow peas.

I combined errands to save gas.

I needed an item of clothing and went to two thrift stores in search of it. The first had nothing, but the second had some options. I tried on 12 of that item (in 2 sizes, in case of shrinkage) and only one garment fit. That one had no price tag. All of the others had a price of $5-$6. At the register, the cashier called the manager for a price, and I was able to buy the item for only $3!

My husband cut my hair.

We were diligent about our electricity usage and were able to use $5 less of electricity over the week before. I had made saving $5 our goal for the week. I have challenged the children to help me save another $5 next week, which should be more difficult (but hopefully doable!)

I found a place to perform a much-need service for $45, which is much less than the $250 we had been quoted elsewhere. I also found a place that will do it for free, so I'll be going for the free option. It's not as detailed as the $45 option, but it will do and keep me in budget.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted fruit trees in the garden.

I made some homemade leave-in conditioner using a teaspoon of regular conditioner in a squirt bottle with water (just shake to combine).

I was invited to a dinner (a catered event). The next day I was texted to ask if I would like some of the leftovers for my family. I picked them up and we ate them for the next day's lunch.

I figured out two gifts I can make for my eldest son for Christmas using fabric I have on hand.

I also figured out something I can make (using fabric I have on hand) as a wedding gift for my nephew and his bride, who will be married next month.  I looked through all of their registries as well to have a good idea of the style and color preferences of the bride. They will be married a week before Christmas. I will make them two Christmas stockings.


What did you do to save money last week?


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Dahlias in the Sewing Room The Prudent Homemaker

I took a free online photography posing class.

I studied French using free online sources.

I spoke to friends in France by a free video call.

I harvested a small amount of Swiss chard, a small number of cherry tomatoes, rosemary, and a bay leaf from the garden.

I used my solar oven to cook most days.

I used shower warm-up water to water potted plants in the garden.

I sewed two new Christmas stockings using drop cloth I had on hand (and took photos for an upcoming tutorial!).

I mended a pillow cover.

I started sewing Christmas gifts for my children using fabric I had on hand.

I found out how to fix something myself. 

I said yes to some hand-me-down t-shirts, which fit two of my girls (both of whom were wanting some new shirts).

I purchased some schoolbooks for my eldest's college classes used on Amazon.

My eldest downloaded some free piano music from musescore.

I made some adjustments to my shopping plans for the month to take advantage of some deals. I dropped my plans to buy pork and chicken this month (the store was out of chicken, so I got a raincheck, which I hope to make work next month instead). Instead, I bought a good deal of  pasta on sale (thank you to everyone who said it was $0.49 a pound, even though it wasn't in the ad) and even used a coupon to make the price better on some of it. I bought a 42-ounce bag of M&M's for Christmas stockings (from my grocery budget) for $4.99 at Albertson's (I downloaded the Just 4 U app to get a digital coupon for this deal). I bought 10 pounds of sour cream at $1 a pound (a rock bottom price, and I can use it as part of a creamy sauce on pasta as well as on rice and beans). I also picked up the Friday freebie, which was a free seasoned rice (I chose a bag of Spanish rice, so that I can use it with beans).

I combined my shopping trips. None of the stores are further than 2 miles, but I did three stores at once so that I only had to travel that way once.

I opened the house and enjoyed the fresh, cool air!


What did you do to save money this past week?


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October Arrrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside. 

I harvested Swiss chard and pomegranates from the garden.

My husband got a new prescription for his glasses (after wearing the same glasses for years). He needs progressives. We tried them out at the store, but he was hesitant to spend so much money. We decided to come home and see if we could find something online from Zenni Optical. We ordered online instead for a savings of $184.35! In addition, I went through Ebates first to earn 2% back.

I used a $5 off coupon at the nursery to buy some violas for the garden. Violas do well from October through April/May in our climate. I bought tiny plants, which will fill in during the cool weather months. I shared photos of them over on my Instagram page.

I cooked two large batches of pinto beans in my solar oven. We had bean burritos a few times this past week.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used it to water potted fruit trees in the garden.

I enjoyed reading one of the books, Suite Française, that I picked up at a garage sale the week before last for $0.25.

My husband repaired a broken sprinkler head with a part that we already had.


What did you do save money last week?

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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October Bicycle and Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

I cut flowers from the garden for arrangements in the house.

I mended a hole in a shirt.

I studied French online using free sources.

We had a free video call with our former exchange student from France to wish him a Happy Birthday.

Blue and White Vase with Iceberg Roses The Prudent Homemaker

I have had blue and white vases on my garage sale list. I didn't find any the last couple of Saturdays, but I was on a local Facebook garage sale page and I noticed someone had posted photos of her garage sale from last Saturday. I saw a blue and white vase in her photo and asked if she had sold it, and if not, how much. She said she was selling it with two blue vases for $20. I only wanted the blue and white one, so I sent her a message telling her so. Then, instead of asking how much for just that one vase, I tried the question my mom and I often have success with at actual garage sales. I asked, "Would you take $5?" Most of the sales we go to don't have prices, and when we ask that question, we often get a yes, and end up paying what we consider a reasonable amount for the item.  She said yes, and I picked up a great vase!

I planted seeds in the garden for arugula and alpine strawberries.

I harvested Swiss chard from the garden.

My husband and I attended the free Henderson Symphony concert together as a date (thanks to a reader in Henderson who told me about this!).

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to a restaurant, which I will use for a lunch date for my husband and me.

I used 7 of my remaining free 100 prints at Sam's Club to print photos for the refugee family to whom I am teaching English. I gave them the two brand-new frames I had picked up at garage sales the previous week for $1 each, filled with free pictures. They were delighted with them!  (I shared a picture of the frames with the photos in them over on Instagram).

My mom found a few more neighborhoods having community garage sales this past Saturday using the website (October and April are the most abundant garage sale months here, as the weather is perfect, so most homeowner's associations allow their residents to hold sales on two weekends a year in October and April). I found a few more items to give to my family for Christmas gifts, including Legos ($20, and I will divide them between 4 daughters), 3 origami books and origami paper ($2), and blank Harry Potter journals ($2 for 2); a game ($2) that my children have been wanting, a pad of watercolor paper ($0.25), and a few books for $0.25 each. I found a king-sized bedskirt ($1) that looks like it could be a little girl's skirt (it's white eyelet and is rather long). I'm going to cut it up and make some skirts and/or slips with it for my younger girls. I found a warm pink scarf at the same sale that I liked but noticed a hole in it. The seller said I could have it for free. I'll mend the hole.

October Chair The Prudent Homemaker

The best find of the day was a chair. I have been wanting a chair for the above spot in the house, and there was a chair that would fit in this narrow spot for $30. I said, "Would you take $20?" expecting her to come up to $25 or possibly insist on the $30, but to my surprise, she said yes! 

I still hadn't found any clothes for myself in my new size in three Saturdays of shopping garage sales, so I headed to the thrift store. I was able to find one long-sleeved t-shirt ($3) that fits that will work for the in-between cooler days of fall. I still need to find some more things for the current temperature, so I'll need to do more shopping at the thrift stores than I had anticipated. I plan to return to the same store later as well as try another thrift store nearby. I don't want to spend much, and the thrift store charges $3 to $5 for shirts (versus $1 to $2 each at garage sales) so I will try to find just 4 to 5 shirts for our shorter period of nice weather where it's too hot for a light sweater but a little chilly for short-sleeves.


What did you do to save money last week?



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October Christmas Gifts Vintage The Prudent Homemaker

I cut and dried basil from the garden.

We picked pears from the garden.

My husband gave my two elder boys and himself a haircut.

I gave two daughters a haircut.

I found one of my daughter's college texts used on Amazon for $30 less than buying it from the university bookstore. 

I received a survey in the mail from Neilsen Ratings. I almost threw the envelope away. I opened it, and there was $2 cash inside! The survey took me less than 2 minutes to fill out and they said they will pay $5 cash for surveys received by the second of November.

My twelve-year-old old son attended a free teen lock-in/escape room challenge at the public library.

October Garage Sale Christmas Gifts 1 The Prudent Homemaker

My mom and I went to the community garage sales. We both found Christmas gifts for people (my mom even found a beautiful hat for me that she is going to give me for Christmas!) I found the above items that I will give as Christmas gifts to my family: small globe, $1; framed picture, $1; Lego ideas book, $0.50; a vintage necklace, $1; a wool-blend skirt ($1); a book ($0.25); Lego Friends Advent calendar ($0.50 for the whole thing; the pieces are already put together and I will divide them up as stocking stuffers in the younger girls' stockings); a vintage brooch ($1); a brand-new coloring book ($2) and colored pencils ($1). (Also pictured are the brand-new hat ($2) and the board book ($0.75) that I bought last week at garage sales as Christmas gifts for my youngest).

I found a few more things for my eldest daughter to put aside for her future college apartment, including drawer dividers ($1), a Cuisinart immersion blender ($2), and a free aloe plant.

I picked up some other great items as well: books for $0.25 each, a free package of streamers, a brand-new first aid kit ($4), drawer dividers ($4), a blue quart canning jar ($0.10), a vase ($0.25), a shirt for my oldest ($1), a set of three blue canning jars with glass lids and rubber rings ($3), a picture of a whimsical, vintage-looking racecar I hung above the baby's crib ($1), a new (probably only used once) Sequence game to replace our worn-out one ($1), a small jar with a flower frog lid ($1) and a Christmas wreath ($2).

I bought a few gifts for other people at the sales, including some books ($0.25 and $0.50 each), two brand-new picture frames ($1 each), and a like new baby toy ($0.25). The picture frames and some of the books are for the refugee family that I visit each week. I used a free print code from Walgreen's (thanks to a reader who emailed me about the offer) to print a free 8 x 10 to go in one of the frames for this family. (I took pictures of them a couple of weeks ago.) The other frame has 6 openings for smaller pictures that I will print at Sam's Club for them. I printed some coupons for Command hooks from the company's website so that I can pick up something for them to hang them with that won't leave holes in the walls, as they live in an apartment.

I planted some seeds in my garden. 

What did you do to save money last week?

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October Garage Sale Finds 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Saturday's garage sale finds: Vase $1, lidded basket $0.50, bust $1, silver-plated knife $0.50

I updated my garage sale list in preparation for going to the community garage sales on Saturday. There will be even more this upcoming Saturday and I hope to find lots of items on my list.

October Garage Sale Finds 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I found several things for my eldest to put aside for her future college apartment, including a brand-new stainless steel teapot that was just the right size for one person (and included a brand-new tea ball!) for $2, a pastry blender for $0.10, a small fancy bowl (just for fun) for $0.50, a soap dish for $0.50, and a 2-cup glass measuring cup for $0.50.

I found several pairs of jeans for $0.50 and $1 for my two eldest girls and myself.

I found a couple of items for my youngest that I will give him for Christmas: a board book and a brand-new hat with the tags still on.

My mom and I went to the sales together, and she found a couple of items to give as Christmas gifts to two of my children. Last year she made a goal to purchase all of her Christmas gifts at yard sales. She said that as the year draws to a close, she always has to watch to make sure she doesn't take too much out of her IRA and receive a penalty. Buying gifts at yard sales not only saves her money but helps her to stay under her maximum withdrawal amount.

I found a brand-new watch for myself for $5. I was going to get a new band for my existing watch, but this was less money.

I sowed seeds in my garden for Swiss chard, artichokes, nasturtiums, and arugula.

I cut garlic chives from the garden to top our baked potatoes.

I paid off our hospital bill and emergency room bills from earlier this year over the phone, saving myself the cost of 2 stamps.

My eldest accepted a regular twice a month babysitting job. 

My eldest and I attended a free presentation from a local university 's (UNLV) financial aid counselor on the FAFSA, which was very helpful.

We were able to turn off the air conditioner for several days and most of the day for the other days last week.

I downloaded the Target app to my phone so that I could use two coupons that were only in the ad or available on the app. With these, I was able to get a $20 gift card and a $5 gift card for buying things that I had planned to buy anyway (diapers and hairspray). 

I was taking photos of a house for sale and remarked about the owner's pomegranate tree looking ripe. She offered me a bag and said I could fill it full of pomegranates! Then after I filled it, she handed me another bag and told me I could fill it too! As most of the flowers on my pomegranate trees were blown off in our high winds, I was delighted!

A fun note about the bust above: I bought it from a French couple who has lived in town for 27 years. My mom bought a bicycle from them. While my mom was working out how to fit the bicycle in her car, I had a lovely conversation with them in French. I came home elated because I noted that I was able to speak without hesitation and that I had no problems at all with comprehension! I can see where my French study has really paid off and it gave me a confirmation that I need to now concentrate on the little grammatical errors that are easy to miss and so important in being fluent versus speaking well. I'll also continue to work on learning more French expressions to use in my conversations with French friends.


What did you do to save money last week?



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