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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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May Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker 

This post contains affiliate links.

I have been behind in my work in the garden, but now that the baby is here, I am working to get caught up.

Consequently, most of my money saving activities this week involved the garden.

Two weeks ago, I was speaking with the irrigation person at the local nursery. He gave me a watering suggestion for my grass. Rather than watering three times in the early morning before sunrise for 5 minutes each time, as the water district suggests, he said to water for 10 minutes at 7 a.m. and again at 7 p.m., as our heat here (116° in summer and right now in the 90°s) makes it hard for the grass to go so long without water. (We are not permitted to water here between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. here.) I tried switching my water to once at 7 a.m. and once at 7 p.m., but just for the regular length of 5 minutes each time.  I'm watering 1/3 less, and after two weeks, my grass is much greener and not burning (which it was doing recently). As our water bill is tiered here and lawn watering is my largest usage of water, I am thrilled to use less. I will be keeping to this plan as the heat comes on, only adding to the length of time if the grass needs it. I am hoping the lawn will still be happy with this amount of water, at a different time of day, when it's 116° and above (June through September, it only cools to 113° at 8 p.m. each night).

I mended a leak in the drip irrigation.

I collected shower warm-up water in a bucket and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

I planted seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, and butternut squash. I had planted seeds for all of these previously, but all but two plants either didn't come up, came up and burned, or came up and were eaten by bugs.

I planted seeds for basil, red noodle beans, garlic chives, and morning glories in the garden.

I got some good, free exercise by weeding, pulling bolted plants, cutting back dead leaves from flowering bulbs, and pruning hedges in the garden.

Apricots The Prudent Homemaker 

I harvested apricots, spinach, lettuce, lemons, green onions, and garlic chives from the garden.

I cut flowers from the garden.

I cooked a whole chicken in the solar oven.

I turned five pairs of jeans that were torn at the knees into jean shorts for my daughters.

I turned one pair of jeans into a pair of capris for a daughter.

My husband mended my son's tent before he took it on a fathers' and sons' campout that my two older boys went on with my husband.

My husband gave my eldest son a haircut.

My eldest son carpooled with friends to and from a free dance.

We went through the clothing boxes and found 4 pairs of shorts, several pairs of pants, and two dress shirts for my second son. The clothing boxes for my teenaged boys had had the clothing a bit muddled, and we hadn't been able to find anything for my second son in the boxes, even though I was sure than just a year or two ago, my eldest son had worn clothes that could be passed down. I was happy when we found these, as it saved us from a trip to the thrift store for new items of clothing.

Four of my daughters and I watched the first episode of the Little Women television show on PBS.org for free. I cast it to the television so that everyone could see it. I looked online to see what money was worth in 1850, so that I could tell my daughters that when Jo sells her hair for $25, that would be $753.40 today.

I opened the dryer after drying a load to find the lint screen broken and twisted in the slot. I have never seen such a thing before! I went to the Kenmore website to order a new part. They offered me 10% off my order if I signed up my email with them, which I took--and made sure to unclick all promotional emails.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

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I've had a few questions readers recently that I'd like to answer here (rather than in the comments) to make sure that everyone who has asked will see the responses.

I have had several readers asking me which laptop I purchased to replace mine, as they are looking at laptops for their university-bound students. I purchased this laptop.

I have been asked about how I have so much energy after having a baby. I made sure to have a high hemoglobin level before the baby was born (it was 13.6 a few days before I gave birth).  In addition to eating a good amount of iron in my diet (lots of leafy greens, including Swiss chard from the garden, and lots of beans), I took a multi-vitamin, an additional folic acid supplement, an additional b-12 supplement, liquid chlorophyll, and Floridex liquid iron with vitamin C. I also drank red raspberry leaf tea (I purchased the leaves in bulk from SF Herb.)

The wrap I purchased at a garage sale for $1 to wear after the baby was born looks like this one. It's definitely been helpful in supporting my stomach muscles and my back. It's also been helpful in healing my diastasis. My midwife said my diastasis is almost completely gone at my appointment this past week, which is amazing to me, as I did not heal like this after my last baby (I had a three-finger width diastasis this time and a four finger-width one last time). I've been careful to not lift anything heavier than the baby, having my family help me lift my two-year-old for diaper changes and washing up after meals, and taking care not to get up from bed in a way that will cause more separation (like a sit up). I wore a girdle after my last baby and did not have any luck with it, so I am very surprised and delighted to have such positive results this time with this wrap and being careful. 

I have not done many exercises for diastasis yet, but a reader asked me if I knew of any free ones, as several places online ask for a hefty fee to share them with you. I've found several free ones via Pinterest, including here, here, and here.

 

 

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Lettuce and Spinach The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested lemons, lettuce, garlic chives, oregano, spinach, and a couple of apricots from the garden.

I cooked chicken in my solar oven, which not only didn't use gas, but it also kept the house cooler.

Peppa Pig Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

We celebrated a birthday at home for my 2-year-old with homemade cupcakes.

My son picked more mulberries from our neighbor's tree (with permission). The birds planted this tree in her yard, and while she likes the tree, she doesn't like mulberries. Most of the berries were too high to reach even with our extension ladder, but we had enough to put over pancakes for breakfast.

We renewed library books online when it became obvious that we weren't going to get the books back on time.

My 13-year-old sold a few camp cards to earn money for his Scout camp this summer.

I got some free exercise at home while I pulled weeds and bolted chard plants from the garden.

Elsa Baptism The Prudent Homemaker

My daughter was baptized on Saturday. She wore the dress that I made for my eldest daughter, which each sister before her has worn.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

 

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May Day Roses The Prudent Homemaker

For those who missed the announcement on Instagram, I had a baby boy on Friday, April 27th. I'll be sharing photos and details in an upcoming post. We're still deciding on a name for this baby.

We enjoyed some rain on May first and second, which is rather unusual here--especially in May! I turned off the drip irrigation systems for three days and put out buckets to collect rainwater on the two days we received a little rain.

The rain brought cooler weather and we were able to turn off the air conditioning for four days.

My husband gave two sons a haircut.

I said yes to some formula samples that someone I know offered for free on Facebook. We used them to feed the baby until I had milk, which took 5 days.

My largest frugal accomplishment was making sure to pump to help me to have enough breastmilk for my baby. I've written about this before, but I have to pump in order to have any milk for my babies. I've tried all the supplements, but they made no difference in my supply. I hired a lactation consultant with my third baby. Pumping and drinking lots (and lots) of water are what I need to do to make sure I can feed my babies. I don't have letdown (I can count the number of times I've had letdown with 9 children on two hands) and the day my milk came in, I was able to pump only 3/4 of an ounce. Still, I persevered, and now my body is producing enough milk for my baby. Pumping made it so that I was able to nurse my last baby for 16 months (with my first baby, I had no milk by 9 months, and with my second, I ran out of milk at 5 months; since hiring the consultant, who instructed me to pump and for how long, I have been able to nurse each of my subsequent babies over a year).

I wore a support wrap for after birth that I had purchased at a garage sale for $1 last October. I have seen these for sale for $35. This gave me back support and will hopefully help with healing my diastasis.

The baby surprised me by being a boy! Since we had only planned on having 8 children, I had given away most of my baby things. I had been given some hand-me-down girl clothes, but needed something for a son. I used the 15% off registry coupon from Target to purchase a 4-pack of onesies for him. I also went to a community garage sale on Saturday morning, where I found a few things for him for $0.25 cents each.

At the garage sales, I also found a Christmas wreath and some more ornament hooks ($3), a couple of fancy hair combs that I'll use as a gift for a daughter ($0.50 each), and a 5-strand pearl necklace for $1, which I purchased with a laugh after the old woman who was selling it said to me as I picked it up, "You too can look like Barbara Bush."

While at Target, I used two $1 off coupons towards my purchase of shampoo and also used Target cartwheel for an additional 5% off. I brought my own bags to save $0.05 off per bag.

I picked up 5 containers of sour cream on sale for $0.89 each. These were on my list for the month, but I purchased them elsewhere than I had planned since these were a better price. They also had more shampoo on sale in the kinds that my children like, so I picked up a few bottles of shampoo there also.

I went to the local nursery to purchase two herb plants for my garden. One of the regular employees let me know they had one lilac left; someone has returned a plant, and all but one branch had died. They had been watering it and keeping it alive, and it was recovering. I was offered the lilac for $2. Originally the bushes were $40 each (when they were large and healthy). I bought the lilac and will find a place for it.

My husband picked up a free, new-to-us small fridge that we are using to replace our second fridge. The fridge that we have been using (also given to us) works really well, but it is almost as old as I am. This newer refrigerator was made in 2007, so it should be much more energy efficient. We've been looking for someone in need of a second fridge who would like it for free, but if we don't find someone, I will list the fridge for sale online (if any local readers are interested, send me an email, and the first person to contact me is welcome to it).

I watched a couple of hours of a free class online.

My eldest tried a reader's suggestion from last week to use witch hazel as an anti-static spray. She said it worked great! We will use witch hazel from now on.

My son picked a few mulberries (with permission) from a neighbor's tree. We ate them over homemade pancakes.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside. We also harvested lemons, lettuce, parsley, and spinach from the garden.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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Iceberg Roses and Honeysuckle The Prudent Homemaker

Iceberg Roses, German Chamomile, and Hall's Honeysuckle

The weather was warm this week, in the low 90's. For some, this is a summer temperature, but here, we're just getting started with the heat, as we have over 5 months of temperatures above 90°. I opened windows and doors at night and in the morning to cool the house, ran fans only when needed during the day, and only turned on the air conditioner in the afternoons when we needed it most.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy in the house.

I mended two holes in a pair of shorts.

I harvested parsley, oregano, Swiss chard, lettuce, Meyer lemons, spinach, garlic chives, hibiscus flowers, snow peas, and green onions from the garden.

I dried lemon zest and parsley from the garden.

I froze lemon juice from our lemons to use throughout the year.

I watched an episode of "Call the Midwife" for free on Pbs.org.

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

I used Zelle to pay my midwife. Zelle is a free way to pay other people through your bank. You just have to have their email address and their bank has to also use Zelle (and most do). You don't have to write a check or mail it. If your bank offers this service, you can see it on their website when you log in to your account; it should have a "Pay someone with Zelle" option. Unlike Paypal, the recipient is not charged anything to receive the money.

I studied French using free online sources.

David Austin Roses The Prudent Homemaker

Graham Thomas, Queen of Sweden, Claire Austin, and Earth Angel Roses 

What did you do to save money this past week?

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April arrangement 2 closeup The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains referral links.

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy in the house several times during the week.

I harvested hibiscus flowers, Meyer lemons, snow peas, lettuce, spinach, parsley, Swiss chard, green onions, and garlic chives from my garden.

I dried a large batch of parsley to use throughout the year. After picking it, I simply wash it and leave it out to dry on a cooling rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet. Once it's done drying, I crumble the leaves, remove the stems, and put the leaves in a container.

I dried lemon zests and froze lemon juice to use throughout the year.

Peonies and Rose The Prudent Homemaker

I watched an episode of "Call the Midwife" for free on Pbs.org.

I watched a free webinar, learning what I could from it. I didn't purchase the product after watching the class.

We went to the library.

Picnic in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I mended a hole in a pair of shorts.

We enjoyed having the windows open during the week to cool the house and air it out.

My son needed a new pair of glasses. I purchased them from Zenni Optical, going through Ebates first to earn cash back. Since I was logging in through my new computer, the site didn't recognize me as an existing customer and offered me a 10% off coupon. I wrote down the code and logged in to my account. When I went to place my order, I decided to see if the code would still work. It did. I chose the slowest shipping ($4.95) and still received his new glasses on Saturday (after ordering on Monday).  Total cost for a new pair of prescription glasses, including shipping, was $13.91. I'll also get a small percentage back from Ebates as well! I just checked, and Zenni has a refer a friend program; if you're new to the site you can use this link to get $5 off your order. Plus, you can refer a friend and they will give you $5 as well! 

My husband gave himself a haircut.

I stocked up on strawberries for $0.99 a pound and bone-in chicken at $0.77 a pound. These are rock-bottom prices here and were part of my grocery plans for the month. I froze the chicken and cut and froze strawberries to use throughout the year.

 April Arrangement Closeup The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

April 22nd is a special day for me as it is the day my husband (officially) proposed. I wrote about it in a post 6 years ago entitled: My Husband is So Frugal He Proposed With a Coupon

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I harvested parsley, rosemary, a bay leaf,  garlic chives, spinach, Meyer lemons, and lettuce from the garden.

I gave two daughters each a haircut.

I unsubscribed from several promotional email lists. I don't have any plans to buy anything from these companies any time soon, and deleting the constant emails (one sent three a week!) takes time that I could be using to do something productive.

I studied French using free online sources.

Peppa Pig Cupcake Cake The Prudent Homemaker

We had a simple and frugal Peppa Pig birthday party for my youngest daughter at home. I made a cupcake cake for her.

Saturday was the day for the semi-annual community garage sale for several communities in my area. I went with my list, looking for items we need and want. There were fewer sales than usual this year, but I still managed to find a few items on my list, including a dress for me ($3), some white onesies for the new baby ($0.25 each), some shorts and pants for my youngest son (7 for $5, plus she threw in a brand-new undershirt and some random diapers and pull-ups in his size), a basket that I'll use for organizing in a closet ($2), two shirts and two pairs of jeans for a daughter ($0.50 each), a lade for my eldest's college box ($0.50), a hand-chopper for the kitchen ($1), 6 ice-cube trays ($1), a skirt for my eldest ($2; I'm saving it to give her as a birthday gift), and some wooden cooking toys ($2) that I used as a gift for my daughter's birthday). 

I also found this vintage loveliness for $6.50; The lacquered tray was $0.50, and the other items were $1 each:

Vintage jewelry The Prudent Homemaker

The weather was extremely windy last week, but the strong winds brought some cooler temperatures. We had the windows open as often as possible to keep the house cool.

Our neighbor must have been cleaning out her freezer; she brought over several random items from her freezer and gave them to us, which we will definitely enjoy.

I watched an episode of "Call the Midwife" for free on Pbs.org.

My husband and I had a date night at home playing a game of Sequence I purchased at a garage sale last year for $2 (we had worn our old one out).

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

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