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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Fall Zinnia Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

This post contains affiliate links.

I cut and dried lots of basil from the garden.

I printed free school worksheets from Education.com (they have a limit of 10 free worksheets each month).

I planted seeds in the garden for artichokes, Swiss chard, and parsley.

I covered my artichoke seedlings from a previous week that had come up with small canning jars, to keep the bugs from eating them and to create a mini-greenhouse, allowing them to grow faster larger.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I experimented making a few loaves of pear bread, using quarts of home-canned pears that have been on the shelves for a few years. I ground whole wheat into flour in our grinder and used that in the recipes. The first two loaves were fine, but lacked excitement (we ate them anyway). I'll keep trying some variations until we find something we really enjoy, as we have a number of older jars of home-canned pears that need to be used up.

My brother-in-law was offered a number of free tickets to a show downtown on Tuesday. My husband and I were able to attend. We were even told to park in a certain lot downtown. We saw a parking garage on the way, but our vehicle was too tall to park there. We found the lot that we had been told to park in; it was a small lot and the entrance wasn't even clear. To our surprise, the lot stated that it was free to Nevada residents for 24 hours, provided the driver had a valid id! We did have to walk a distance, but the weather was pleasant and gave us a chance to talk. (For those who live in Las Vegas, this lot is east of Planet Hollywood, and you enter it from Harmon Ave. There is no noticeable entrance; just a fence with a small entrance and a drive behind it. As you drive to the lot, you will see Bally's employee parking lot is connected to this lot.) We ended our evening by going out to eat using a gift card that we had.

(I know some of you are wondering about the shooting in Las Vegas. We don't live close to downtown and are very rarely there, though as I mentioned we were earlier this past week. You can read about the shooting here--warning about the photos.) 

My husband used barge cement to repair two pairs of children's shoes.

I gave our youngest a haircut. He thinks the trimmers tickle, which makes it a bit tricky, but he was very good about having his hair cut!

My son brought home leftover cookies from a Scout Court of Honor that no one else wanted to take home.

My mom went to a garage sale and blessed us with several items she found: 3 pint jars, brand-new girls' hair elastics (I was just about to go buy some at the dollar store, where they sell them 100 for $1, but this saved me a dollar!), sidewalk chalk, and sewing machine oil.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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White Garden in Late September The Prudent Homemaker

I mended an item of clothing.

I harvested pears, a handful of tiny tomatoes, garlic chives, chocolate mint, and basil from the garden. I dried some basil for us to use throughout the year.

My mom and I went through her kitchen drawers for duplicates and unused items, and found several things that Winter can take with her to college, so we packed those away in the box I have started for her.

I used warm-up water from the shower to water potted fruit trees on the patio.

I try to make sure that all of my garden purchases are made at the lowest prices. Our local nursery has lower prices to start with on items than the big box stores (typically $1 to $2 lower per 1-gallon plants and $10-$15 lower on 5-gallon plants) and then they have sales on top of that. I watch their ads online (their sales run Fridays through Wednesdays) and I also know when things are generally on sale by month as well. I purchased some fruit trees on sale to replace those that have died in the garden. I purchased grass seed on sale to fill in the bare spots in the yard, which I can do when it cools down some more. I also purchased manure on sale to add to the garden and to use on the grass.  When I was there, the manager told me they would be having a Saturday in October where they will be giving a free viola plant to anyone who comes in! I typically don't shop there on Saturdays (I like to go during a weekday when it's quieter), but I will watch the ads online and make sure to stop by for my free plant (update: It's a buy any item get one free viola on October 7th).

I wear sandals here more than half of the year. I purchased two pairs of sandals on clearance; they should last me two years. I signed up for their app in the store to save an additional $10 off my purchase.

The aerator in our kitchen faucet completely disintegrated. My husband called the company to order a replacement. They said they would send him one for free!

My son changed out the air filters in the house so that the air conditioner run more efficiently.

Another son attended a free robotics class at the local library.

Fall gave us a beautiful preview by showing up on the first official day of fall! Temperatures will go back up starting on Monday, but for two days we were able to turn off the air conditioning completely and even turn off the fans those two days. On the other days, I opened the windows at 5 am and was able to keep them open until 10 a.m. each day before it reached above 79º in the house (we keep our air conditioner set at 79ºF).

I read the expected weather forecast for the next three months for the U.S. (you can read it here).  I'm planning my garden planting a little differently as it should be warmer here than usual (we normally don't even see a frost until December, so I'm not sure what this means for us this year). I'll plant more chard first and wait a bit longer for lettuce if I have to (I read the weather online each day and also check soil temperatures so that I can plant). I typically plant my fall garden the first two weeks of October, so I will watch and see what soil temperatures are to make sure it's not too hot to plant so that I don't waste seeds.

I resisted buying items I don't need that weren't part of my planned purchases. With one of the items that I was tempted to purchase (it was $2), I stopped to think about what I really wanted to buy that cost the same amount of money. This made it easier to walk away.

My husband and I enjoyed a date night at home, playing a card game together after the children were in bed.

I studied French online for free.

 

It's been a while since I've shared what I did to find joy during the week. This past week, my greatest joy was serving a refugee family in my city (I am SO glad that I have been studying French, as one member of the family speaks French--as a fourth language--and it has been invaluable to be able to communicate with this family.)  If you're looking for a way to serve others in your area, check out justserve.org.

 

What did you do to save money and find joy last week?

 

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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 Yellow Rose Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

We celebrated a daughter's birthday at home with a simple party at home and a homemade cake. I have pictures that I hope to share soon in a birthday post.

I used the leftover icing to decorate cupcakes as a snack one afternoon. I had some rather old quarts of canned pears that, while still fine to eat, weren't as tasty had they been newer. I blended them and used those in the cupcakes in place of the liquid and oil. I think this is how I will be using the rest of those canned pears in the next little while (in baked goods, but not necessarily cupcakes with icing).

I harvested two Armenian cucumbers, some Swiss chard, a few cherry tomatoes, and basil from the garden.

September Arrrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I spent some time tidying the garden to get it ready for fall. I had a large dusty miller plant die. It was so large, that I have decided that in its place I can plant 2 artichoke plants, 2 Swiss chard plants, and a zucchini plant (all of which I have seeds for already). This is a plant in the front yard in my white garden. After removing the plant, I fertilized the apricot tree it was growing under with fertilizer I had received for free with a coupon earlier this year.

I took every opportunity to open the windows in the mornings to cool the house. It is still rather warm here (we had days above 100º) but in the mornings it was 79ºF and even a little lower a few days. We kept the windows open as many hours as possible each morning before closing up the house and turning the air conditioning units back on.

My eldest started her first online college class this week. Her first class is one that has the book available to download online for free, which made for a less expensive start to school. 

She will take 24 credits of BYU Independent Study online classes (which we researched to make sure that they all transfer to her school of choice for her major) before going off to school. We'll save money by having her stay at home for the next 16 months while she takes online classes.

I started a list of everything she'll need for her first apartment. The apartments are furnished (and generally have 6-8 women in each), but she'll need kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom supplies, laundry supplies, warmer clothing, and food. We started researching prices and I will look for some items at garage sales over the next 16 months (Garage sale season is beginning again in earnest now here). We'll also purchase many items new, looking for sales and coupons to keep costs low. I noted that Walmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond have the same costs for several of the basic supplies on our kitchen list, but Bed, Bath, and Beyond regularly has 20% off coupons (you can use their expired coupons and use one per item with as many per transaction as you have items). I have a stack of these coupons that have come in different things, including with the free magazines that I get; one even came this week with one of my free magazine subscriptions--and I will put them aside to purchase some items for my daughter's apartment. I also researched prices at Target and Ikea; at some point, we'll definitely be making the drive to Ikea in town when we're ready to purchase a large number of items. I'll also look at Sam's and Costco for their holiday sales for pots and pans. Basically, we'll compare prices to make our money go as far as possible while getting her some good quality items to fulfill her needs.

We learned that there are two grocery shopping options in the city where she hopes to attend school: a grocery store and a Walmart. She has cousins that attend the same school and they all said that the grocery store is pricey and that Walmart is where everyone shops. We found that there is even a free shuttle that goes to Walmart! So, I took her to Walmart near us, and we talked about shopping and prices. We talked about her favorite meals, and I also typed up a basic pantry list of items as well as fresh items she'll need to start cooking once she is on her own. 

We noted that there is a stop near the thrift store in town near one of the free shuttle stops, too!

Dishes and Napkins The Prudent Homemaker

After we made this list, I bought Winter's choice of 4 plates, 4 bowls, 2 mugs, and 4 glasses at Walmart. The plates, bowls, and mugs were all $0.88 each, and the glasses were on clearance for $0.75 each. Winter will take silverware from our old set. She sewed herself 6 matching napkins from an old pinafore that used to belong to her grandmother.

We went to the thrift store, where I dropped off our donations (and received a receipt for taxes). We compared prices there on kitchen items, and noted that the thrift store prices were high on most kitchen items (plates were $1 each), though I did pick up a tiny whisk for Winter for $0.50.

I found 2 pairs of jeans for myself there ($4 each) and a sweater ($5), plus $1 for a shirt for another child. 

My eldest son attended a free ACT prep class again, and practiced taking the English section of the test this past week.

I picked up two pamphlets on Federal Student Financial Aid that were free at the local library.

Thanks to a reader letting me know that the city of Henderson has free symphony performances, we were able to attend an outdoor symphony performance with our children for free about 40 minutes from home.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

 

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Thai Basil Seedlings The Prudent Homemaker 

I pulled the Thai basil plants (above) from the grass that had grown on their own. I'll replant them in the garden this week.

I harvested colander of tiny tomatoes, 4 1/2 butternut squash (2 decent-sized ones, 2 tiny ones, and half a tiny one; the other half was bug eaten), green onions, garlic chives, basil, and Swiss chard from the garden.

My eldest daughter applied for four scholarships.

My eldest son took a free ACT prep class.

I mended a sandal.

I added water to my lotion bottle to get out the remaining lotion. It yielded me a week's worth of lotion.

We had a surprisingly humid week. I was able to collect several gallons of water each day from the air conditioner drip, which I used to water potted plants in the garden.  On Thursday night we got a few minutes of rain, during which I went out and moved buckets to catch the rain. It rained a bit on Friday morning as well, so I was able to collect more rainwater in buckets and turn off the sprinklers and drip irrigation for the day (it's always nice when it rains on my assigned watering day!)

My husband and I enjoyed a date out using a gift card that we were given.

 

What did you do to save money last week? Did you try something new?

 

 

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My Goals for the Month of September

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Octavius September The Prudent Homemaker 

 

Garden Goals:

Weather.com is predicting hotter than usual weather for the southwest U.S. for September and October (and predicting an early fall for the Northeast and South). The heat makes it hard to want to work in the garden (just a couple of days ago it was 113ºF/45ºC), but work still needs to be done.  It's still too hot in September to plant most things for my fall garden (soil temperatures are 80-85ºF and air temperatures are over 100º, cooling down into the upper 90's by the end of the month) but I need to have the garden ready to plant in October.

 

1. Weed the garden

2. Fertilize fruit trees

3. Pull out dead vines

4. Deadhead zinnias

5. Start cutting down the dead peach tree. (My large Early Elberta tree died this year and I want to get it out so that I can replace it this fall).

6. Trim hedges

7. Fertilize roses

8. Pull out plants that died (several bushes and a tree) that are within the one-year warranty and return them to the nursery for credit. I will also take the pots back for credit, as they give a few cents credit for each of the larger black pots. 

9. Pull out large bushes that fried in June. June had 117º temperatures (something we don't usually see until July) and a lot of my plants completely burned. 

 

 

Sewing Goals:

1. Mend 10 items of clothing

2. Hem three pairs of pants for my husband

3. Continue to work on whitework embroidery project

4. Sew a gift (or two) for my daughter for her birthday

 

Organization:

1. Donate items to the thrift store

2. Tidy the garden shed

3. Organize school supplies

4. Organize toiletry cabinet 

 

What are your goals for September?

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Sunflower The Prudent Homemaker

My husband gave our two older boys' haircuts.

We gladly accepted a gift of a package of turkey bacon and a package of beef from our neighbor. She said she hadn't liked the turkey bacon (we don't mind it at all!) and had bought too many packages of the beef and didn't think she could eat them all. Later in the week, she brought me 4 very ripe bananas.

I picked red noodle beans, a few tomatoes, two Armenian cucumbers, and I cut Swiss chard, garlic chives, and basil from the garden.

Eagle Scout Cookies The Prudent Homemaker

My son had his Eagle Scout Court of Honor this week. I made cookies and cupcakes for refreshments. (I was able to cut out a shortening-based cookie instead of a butter-based cookie and had better luck. I still had to use a lot of flour not just while rolling, but also a floured stockinged rolling pin (even though I am using a marble one and cutting out on granite counters, which are cold), and flour the spatula between each cookie before lifting it off the counter to ensure it didn't stick and collapse while lifting it to move it to the cookie sheet. It was 113ºF (45ºC) the day I made the cookies. I also turned the air conditioner down a few more degrees while baking to try to keep the dough from completely melting/sticking.) My parents contributed some money to help me purchase some things I didn't have and needed to finish these, which was a great blessing.

Campfire Cupcakes The Prudent Homemaker

The water company sent me a bill; my water bills are highest in summer. Our water bill will be $100 less for August's water over July's water, thanks to the rain we had, my turning off the sprinklers and drip irrigation when we had rain, and the water I collected in buckets from the rains and used in the garden. 

It was humid this week again, so I was able to collect water from the air conditioning drip as well as from the shower to use to water pots in the garden.

My eldest applied for two scholarships. She also was able to download a free book for a class.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

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