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Frugal Accomplishments For The First Week of October

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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  • Ellie's friend from Canada October 08, 2017

    A friend took me for a 380 km drive through the mountains to see the larch trees that had turned golden. I offered to pay her gas but she said no that it was a gift. We were blessed with sunshine just as we reached the larches
    and so I took photos of the larches backlit by the sun. The parks department had plowed the road and the sun had dried them so the roads were marvellous. There was snow in the ditches but the snowfall had not knocked off the larch needles so some of them were still at their prime. It was a God-given day.

    On our way, we stopped at a greenhouse. I had won a gift certificate at a raffle draw for plants from this greenhouse.
    I purchased 6 perennials with the gift certificate. I divided some of them. I found low-cost perennials grown by an individual and he sent them to me by special post. He put in several free plants as well as one primula that needed to be divided and that I got 4 divided plants from for the price of one. Those are the last perennials I wanted to buy for my upgrading of the flowerbeds. Now it will just be weeding and maintenance. It will be lovely to see what comes up next spring.

    Another friend gave me 2 bags of pears that are just now ripe. I can't quite decide what to do with them. I think pear butter is on the agenda for some of them but I may slice them and simply freeze some of them.

    It is Canadian Thanksgiving here. It is a beautiful sunny but chilly day. Despite the lack of money, I am thankful for so many things; first and foremost the friends who have come to my rescue, the wonderful days we have stolen away from busy schedules to go to see migratory swans on their stopover, to go to the farmers' market, to go on my favourite short hike to see wild orchids, to find a patch of wild orchids of a different species, for the sun that shone at just the right moment for good photos, for the friends who let me visit their garden every year to take hummingbird photos. To my occasional gardener who lets me pay slightly later for her services. Above all I am grateful for all of the things that I can still do in spite of health problems. With a little help from my friends...and that I can still do to make a difference in others' lives...

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Ann

  • T October 08, 2017

    Your Mountain drive sounds beautiful!

  • Mari in Maryland October 09, 2017

    What a wonderful list of the items for which you are grateful and thankful. Thanks for the inspiration. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Roberta in So. Cal. October 09, 2017

    What lovely things to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • ellie's friend from Canada October 10, 2017

    Thanks for all of the thanksgiving wishes! It was a cold, windy but beautiful day here! More snow is forecast for Wednesday, then nice weather again. I will be scrambling to get leaves raked tomorrow. Sometimes the best things in life are free!

  • TerriC October 13, 2017

    I think this post is just lovely. I have a saying on my blog of living frugally and well and this post is the very epitome of that!

  • Jenifer October 08, 2017

    What great yard sale finds. I don't usually find anything practical like those items to be in good condition, if found at all at sales around here.
    I've been listening to the "inner Brandy" and thankfully have been able to stretch the meakest of unemployment checks to cover the ultilities, and tuck a tiny bit into savings. It's been hard. There are so many times I had myself convinced I needed to go out and purchase something, but instead, taking my time to get ready and working around the house, I was able to convince myself that I really had what was needed. The "inner Brandy".
    Funny thing, no one has suffered, been miserable or even realized what little money has been worked with and created so much.

    A few friends have been facing financial hardship, so I told them about this site.

    I was able to find a PT job which will be doubling what unemployment was offering. This is such a blessing. It also allows me to be home plenty to keep the chores done on time, so we can actually relax on the weekends.

    My nephews bday (twins) is approaching. They get plenty of money from the grandparents, and overloaded with gifts. I saw 2 like new and same sized tack boards being tossed in my neighborhood. I scooped them up and painted one with super hero on one, and miilitary plane on the other (those are their interests right now). I figure they can use them in their bedrooms to hold memories, schedules and such. Cost was just my time.

    We don't use dairy milk in the house, and miss it in baking (almond milk just leaves baked goods too dry for me). I found powdered buttermilk in the bulk section of the grocery. $2 for 2 cups dry. Made muffins with it, and they are more moist than just using almond milk. Yay!

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Jeannie October 08, 2017

    I will remember that statement "inner Brandy".

  • Juls Owings October 09, 2017

    me too.:D

  • Marisa October 13, 2017

    'Inner Brandy' I love it.

  • Jennifer Y October 09, 2017

    If baking calls for milk you can use a variety of different things in place of the milk that will leave it more moist. I sometimes use apple or pear sauce, yogurt, mashed bananas, pureed lentils or beans (especially if you are making muffins or quick bread), or switching out the white sugar for brown sugar.

  • Jenifer October 09, 2017

    Thank you. I knew of apple sauce, but not the others.

  • TerriC October 13, 2017

    In a cake mix I've often subbed full water for all the oil and water required and in homemade cakes I have sometimes used fruit juice in place of the milk. I recently read in one of my vintage magazines that one might use water in cornbread or biscuit batters as well instead of milk. I'm always amazed at how we don't have to have specific things to make a reasonable substitute for items.

  • Mary October 14, 2017

    Thanks for posting! I never thought of using water instead of oil. I will definitely be doing this!

  • Cindi October 08, 2017

    What great garage sale finds -- and yum on the pomegranites. What will you do with so many? I have only ever eaten them fresh.
    We put the camper away for the winter. I emptied out the cabinets and cleaned everything and my husband drained it and filled it with RV antifreeze. He only had to buy one gallon – the rest he purchased earlier in the year at a garage sale, and some a neighbor gave us.
    I made sandwich bread, French bread, brown sugar, and chai tea mix, and cooked a big pot of dried beans, then froze the beans in meal-sized portions.
    From the garden, I harvested lettuce, chard, collards, parsnips, okra, bok choy, a few tomatoes, onions, and a few raspberries and strawberries. The green tomatoes I harvested two weeks ago are starting to ripen also. I fertilized all the garden beds with chicken manure from the local organic nursery. They sell large bags of pelletized chicken manure for $8. One bag is enough for my whole garden. I planted green peas in the greenhouse. I don’t know if they will have enough time to make, but this was the last of two-year-old seed, so I thought I would give it a try.
    My husband donated blood. The blood bank awards points for donating, and he has earned enough points for a $10 Amazon GC. It’s not the reason he donates, but it’s a nice perk.
    Our local electric co-op had a Customer Appreciation day in which they hosted a free lunch and gave out gift bags with locally-made toffee, hot cocoa mix, and a jar opener (which I needed, as I have misplaced my old one.)
    We stopped by the local humane society thrift store and my husband found a pair of new-looking Wrangler jeans in his size for $8. He wears jeans almost every day and most of his were looking worn, so this was a great find. I bought a crocheted shawl off the $1 rack and unraveled it for the yarn, which is a nice medium blue sport weight. I ended up with four large balls of yarn.
    I had a $10 off $10 coupon from JC Penney. I used it to purchase a package of 8 washcloths that were marked exactly $10 – so zero out of pocket for me. We were down to only two washcloths in our bathroom, so this was a welcome freebie.
    My husband changed the oil and air filter in my car and checked the air in my tires.
    I always look forward to being inspired by every else's frugal activities -- it keeps me going.

  • Amber Fast October 09, 2017

    Could you share your chai tea mix please?

  • Cindi October 10, 2017

    Amber, this is the one I used: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/homemade-chai-tea-mix
    You add it to brewed black tea.

  • Amber October 10, 2017

    thank you :)

  • Tammy Littlejohn October 08, 2017

    Cooked at home. Son gave me a couple squash. Been eating tomatoes and peppers from the garden. Will be working the next couple of days at farm building our house ourselves. Hope to be in there before too long. Borrowed books from library to read. Walked outside for exercise. Going to plan meals to cook at home this week. Will look on internet for inspiration.

  • K October 08, 2017

    I was super busy last week, which meant I didn't really have time to spend money!

    I've been meal prepping lately, because its a relaxing activity for a Sunday and I'm not usually home in time to make dinner anymore. Last week, I made a mushroom bolognese to go with pasta for lunch and jambalaya and chicken cornbread casserole for dinners. I also bought apples on sale for 66c a lb (I got 4 bags!!) so we've been eating those are part of lunches and snacks. This week's meal prep looked like: potato, bacon, and onion mini frittatas for breakfast (potatoes were on sale last week as well), chicken, bean, and potato soup (I made a 5 qt batch, which should last us all week) and a black bean taco skillet for dinners. Lunches are going to be simple- I pulled some sliced ham from the freezer and we'll have sandwiches and apples for lunches. This way, I at least have my basic meals covered!

    It was my birthday yesterday, and we saved money by not doing anything. XD It's kinda sad, but I had lots of homework and grading to do, plus the weather was too crappy for a walk in the park like we had planned, so we just stayed home. My mom got me an immersion blender and a steam mop as gifts, which I've wanted for a while now, as our floors are no longer carpeted and I am sick of trying to use a Swiffer mop to clean, plus the blender will allow me to more easily blend soups as we move into soup season. Instead of a cake, I baked myself a loaf of banana bread with chocolate chips. Delicious :)

    I wrote out a meal plan for the next few weeks and made a trip to Aldi last week- I only spent about $70 and got most of the groceries we'll need for the month, though I did forget to grab canned tuna... I'll also need to decide what to do about Halloween, as I'm very certain that the kids in the apartment complex are going to come around trick or treating.

    I also got my flu shot this week, which should help me avoid the worst of the flu this year. Because I work in education, I get exposed to a lot of germs every day, so I try to take as many preventative measures as I can! Being sick tends to be a money sink for me, because I usually have to make a special trip to purchase medicine if it's really bad, plus I don't usually feel like eating, so I resort to more expensive, snacky food. So, I'm trying my best to not get sick (or, at least not terribly so!)

    I think that's all for this last week. I hope everyone's had a good first week of October :D

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