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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Fall Harvest 2018 The Prudent Homemaker

With beautiful weather this week, it was perfect to plant a fall garden.

I planted the bulbs I ordered back in July from Van Engelen, a wholesale supplier of bulbs. As long as you make the minimum order requirement, you can purchase bulbs from them for personal use at great prices. I planted peonies (of the earliest blooming type, planted at soil level here in zone 9), lilies, calla lilies, and anemones from them.

I sowed seeds in the garden for green onions, beets, lettuce, parsley, spinach, and arugula. 

Patty Pan Squash The Prudent Homemaker

From the garden, I harvested Swiss chard, basil, pears, patty pan squash, a zucchini, an Armenian cucumber, and a few pomegranates that split early.

I used produce from the garden and the store to decorate a table runner for our table for fall.

I read an e-book from the library on my phone.

I've had a cell phone for a year and a half now, since the local phone company raised taxes to equal the lowest cell phone rate I can find with service in our area. I got a "free" android phone (I had to pay the sales tax on it of $79; it's a ZTE) and I have a month to month deal with Metro PCS that is $30 a month--but actually we pay $25 a month, as my husband also has his phone (which is his work phone) there and they give you a $5 discount on each line for additional lines.

When I got a cell phone, we cancelled our home phone. My husband also no longer has an office phone, and all calls to his office come straight to his cell phone.

Our children do not have cell phones, but my eldest son chose to get a free Google phone number, and he makes and receives calls through our home wifi using a headset and his computer (he also texts with this number, using the wifi at home and free wifi when he is elsewhere and takes his computer with him). His computer is an old laptop that my brother gifted to him. As my son is on the phone a lot, helping people with their genealogy, he enjoys having his own number.

While running errands this week, I charged my phone in the car and listened to music using on Pandora. My eldest showed me how to turn on the Bluetooth in the car (seriously so easy but I had never done it) so that I can listen to my music stations on Pandora through the car's speakers. My husband was so excited about it that he did the same--and then just switched to directly plugging in the phone with a cord to the radio, so I did the same the next time I used the car. We don't have a data usage problem as we are usually on wifi at home (my husband works from home some part of every day and often the entire day several days a week) and our data for the month is 4 GB, but then it just slows down; we are not charged for going over.

I downloaded a free music flashcard app on my phone to help my daughters cement their knowledge of music notes while I brush their hair. 

We continued to use free sites for school, including typing.com, duolingo.com, tonictutor.com (a music note site)  and xtramath.org.

I took 8 of our 9 children to a free orchestra concert at the high school.

While I wait for the shower to warm up (collecting water in a 3-gallon recycled icing bucket in the meantime) I have time to do 25 -35 repetitions of arm-toning exercises using hand weights I purchased at a garage sale for $3 several years ago. I had gotten out of the habit of doing this while I was pregnant and I am trying to make it a regular habit now. It's not much time, but I think every little bit that I can work into my day is a good thing and will add up, just as the tiny things I do to save money add up to thousands of dollars saved each year. I use exercises from this video.

While doing early-morning laundry, putting on makeup and curling my hair, I listened to The Book of Mormon in French using the free Gospel Library app.

I did more French study using free online sources and looking up some words using the free Word Reference dictionary. You can use their site or download their free app. I use the app a lot while messaging friends in France.

I made a batch of spray leave-in conditioner/detangler using a tiny squirt of regular conditioner in a large spray bottle of water. This saves me $8 a month over buying the large bottle of Infusium leave-in conditioner. 

I have been thinking it was time to spray the house again for bugs. It is very common to have a bug service here come to spray for bugs every month for between $30-$55 a month. We don't do that; instead, I purchased three 1-gallon containers of spray at Walmart about 4 years ago for $15 total and I spray the outside perimeter of the house on occasion. When my 8-year-old was sweeping under the table after dinner and found a large scorpion Tuesday night, I killed it (I had to stomp on it 6 times to kill it!) and then I decided that there was no time like the present and immediately went outside to spray for bugs, finding (and stepping on) a huge wolf spider right outside my front door when I started to spray. 

I am so glad it is cooler and soup is welcome on the menu again! This week I made Tuscan tomato bread soup, roast chicken, squash soup, mashed potatoes, paninis, bean and rice burritos (with pinto beans purchased in bulk and cooked outside in my solar oven), granola, yogurt, and crepes. I made large batches of most of these so that I didn't need to cook every day; lunches were leftovers almost every day this past week.

My husband and I had a date night at home. We had ice cream and played several games of Sequence.

Careful watching of my electricity usage (and nice weather!) brought in the amount $27 less than the week's projected amount from the electric company. 

Fall Harvest 2 The Prudent Homemaker 

What did you do to save money last week?




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  • Susan M. October 22, 2018

    We had a frugal but very fun vacation.

    I made home made baked French fries, and we ate them for a meal—that’s it! One huge pile of French fries was the entire meal! Since they are baked, they are healthy enough to eat as a meal, and my family loves it when I make these, and they are so economical as well!

    I found a great book at a Free Little Library, and tucked it away for a gift.

    I found a second hand made wool skirt at the same thrift store that I found one last week! It was made from the identical pattern as the skirt I bought last week, so must have been made by the same person and both donated. They fit my daughter perfectly, and are such a blessing!

    I live near Chattanooga, Tennessee, for those who like to read about different parts of the country!

  • Susan M. October 22, 2018

    I must have forgotten to leave a link for my blog post this week! My frugal adventures are at:

  • Rebecca October 23, 2018

    I live near Knoxville, but FIL works in Athens, merely minutes from you. How neat to see where everyone else lives!!

  • KathyinTN October 23, 2018

    Susan, I live in Cleveland, TN! :D

  • Denise W. October 23, 2018

    I love in Old Fort, TN!!!!

  • E Tallent October 26, 2018

    Susan, I live right above you in Rhea County.

  • mrs.p October 22, 2018

    I ended up losing my job. Which is bitter sweet. Have decided to take the time between jobs to declutter my house and reduce spending any way we can. My hubby got the electronics on timer. Turns off at night when we are sleeping. Our electricity went from almost 200 to little over 100. We will be making all meals at home and last weekend we stayed home except for my daughter senior pictures that a relative took and charge us 40.

  • Susan M. October 22, 2018

    I am so sorry about your job loss, but love your positive attitude about making the time between jobs a blessing!

  • Liz October 22, 2018

    I'm sorry you lost your job! However, I'm impressed that you are making the best of it. Perhaps you can sell a few things that you clean out on Facebook Marketplace or something. Also, if you have read The Tightwad Gazette you can sure spend a lot of your time saving so much money. God bless you

  • PJGT October 22, 2018

    I have suddenly lost a needed job before and it is difficult. Hang in there! I'm sure I am not the only one praying for you and your family. Trish

  • http://Robbie October 22, 2018

    I am so sorry to hear you lost your job. Brandy always posts such wonderful inspiration that I hope helps during this time of transition!

  • Cindy in the South October 23, 2018

    I lost my job during the Great Recession. I know how hard and scary it is, and I sent you my thoughts and prayers.

  • Rhonda A. October 23, 2018

    I'm sorry you lost your job. You are in a far better position that I was when I lost mine about 10 years ago. I hope your next position turns into the most perfect place for you!

  • Athanasia October 24, 2018

    Mrs.p, I am sorry to hear about your job loss. You and your husband sound very resourceful.

  • Lisa October 27, 2018

    I am wondering if I will lose my job. If so, I have plans to do as you are doing. I am impressed that you are making the best of the situation. Enjoy your time off and getting your home in order.

  • Hilogene in Az October 22, 2018

    Brandy, glad to see the fall planting is started, for us in the desert, it means summer is hopefully over ;)

    I do quite a bit of shopping at Frys (part of the Kroger chain) and noticed a deal to entice us to use their online order/pick up at the store service. A $20 and $10 coupon off the first order, minimum spend on the order $50. So I went on line, figured out how to do it, spent $53 online, then when I picked up the groceries, the revised total was $23! I don’t buy a lot of prepared foods so I am not focused on coupons...but this got my attention. :). The lady delivering groceries also showed me a cash back part of the site, so have now looked into that. While it is a one time savings, it still was my week’s frugal accomplishment. Otherwise, I continue to chisel through all the frozen foods in hopes to clean out the freezer in the next few weeks

  • momsav October 22, 2018

    Hilogene, My son is a meat manager for Kroger so I sometimes look up deals even though we don’t have one. I saw that deal and understood right away how great it was. I was even wondering if I could have used it while visiting down state. I didn’t use it but I was so tempted. Good for you, though! That was some wonderful savings!

  • Christie October 22, 2018

    Beautiful picture! And, William Bradford (I noticed your book) is one of my ancestors

  • Holly October 22, 2018

    And William Bradford's niece is one of mine.... Hello distant, very distant, cousin.

    I cleaned the metal lint filter for our washer because I ran out of my stash of replacement filters and I did not want to run out.to the store just for that. It was easier to do than I expected.
    My $25 Goodwill Eastlake sidechair's underside of the seat started hanging down because some of the jute straps frayed. An upholstery fabric store offers six weeks of lessons for $180. But attending that class would mean a 40-mile roundtrip drive.
    This week, I took a short break from momcare to run a couple of errands and got to browse in the local Goodwill for the first time in months. An extremely comprehensive book on upholstery was 68 or 69 cents. It was written in the mid-seventies and in its hundreds of pages and pictures included the traditional way a chair that looks like mine was done. I hope to be able to repair the bottom without having to take the chair down to its frame.

  • S. CO Mary October 22, 2018

    I'm a Mayflower descendent as well - from Mary Brown who married Z. Tinkcom!

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