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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Roses in Enamel Buckets The Prudent Homemaker

It's been a very busy week here, and on top of everything we've had our foreign exchange student here. I wasn't sure ahead of time how much English he spoke, and so while we help him to learn new words in English, we've also needed to converse quite a bit in French. I've had a lot of French study this week! I especially used Word Reference to look up words for both of us, and I've pinned a good number of French language pins on my Pinterest board. My French comprehension skills have really increased this week; there were only a couple of times I didn't understand, and that was usually because something was said too fast or too quietly.

I enjoyed a couple of video chats with friends in France. It continues to amaze me every time that video calling exists, and I love that it is free!

I cut peonies and roses from the garden.

I harvested lettuce, spinach, snow peas and Swiss chard from the garden.

Several of my children (and our houseguest) enjoyed climbing and rappeling on my nephew's climbing wall. It's pretty amazing that he has a climbing wall in his backyard, and it was great fun for everyone.

I downloaded a free Photoshop app to my phone to use to edit pictures on my phone.

My husband cut his own hair and a son's hair this week.

I turned a pair of torn jeans into jean shorts by cutting them off and hemming them.

I had a number of teens over for dinner. I made a large pot of minestrone soup and some French bread for a frugal meal.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

Note: I misplaced my camera battery charger recently, which is why there was no post last week and no additional posts this past week. Now that I can use my camera again and we've worked out a "new normal" with an additional teen in the house, I should (hopefully!) be able to get back to projects and more posting this week! If you want to see more photos, check out my Instagram account, where I have been sharing photos from my phone during the week.

 

 

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Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker

Most weeks I save by making do at home and not shopping. This week involved a lot of saving on items I needed and wanted while shopping:

I love the symphony. Starting from the time I was 13, I used to save all of my babysitting money (and most people paid me $2 an hour) to be able to buy season tickets for myself and a parent to purchase season tickets to the symphony every year. I did this for years as a teenager and I loved going. 

My husband and I went to the symphony once--on our first date. It's been over 17 years since I've been. The Las Vegas Philharmonic has been sending out coupons in the local ValPak for individual performances for several months. I looked online, saw what pieces they would be performing, and decided that the one I really wanted to see the most was their last performance for the season in May. I waited until the coupon deal came: 25% off tickets--and I bought two of the least expensive seats they have. I am very excited to get to see the symphony again!

I even have a dress to wear! The week before last, I decided to check out the Dillard's clearance center after three people told me about it. I found a formal dress there (and dresses were on additional markdown that week) and paid $54.06 with tax (the original price was $238!) I'll be able to wear it on other occasions as well--and hopefully to the symphony again next season! (Apparently, the sales were even better at the clearance center this week: on top of the clearance prices, dresses were buy 1 get 2 free! For Las Vegas readers, it's the Dillard's in the Meadows Mall that has been turned into a clearance center. It's one floor only, and they are open Tuesday through Sunday, 12-7 Monday-Saturday and 12-6 on Sunday, and you can get their app to see what additional markdowns they have each week.)

My husband dropped off our clothing donations while out running an errand in the same part of town. We always try to combine errands (even close ones) and by so doing are able to use under 10,000 miles a year (and often under 6,000 a year) on our vehicle.

I started another group of bags to take to thrift store to donate. As the children are outgrowing clothing and I now need a smaller size, I continue to make up bags of clothing and other items to donate. 

I planted three tomato plants that I started from cuttings from another tomato plant. I had broken off the lower branches to plant the plant deeply. I've had them in a cup of water on the kitchen counter for a few weeks and they have rooted. Hopefully they will all take.

I planted seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, and Hubbard squash.

I cut Swiss chard, lemon verbena, lettuce, green onions, and arugula from the garden. I also pulled radishes and picked snow peas from the garden.

I accepted some free Dutch iris bulbs from someone who was dividing them. I shared Swiss chard and nasturtium seeds with her.

I am making a diligent effort to use up food from the freezer to make room for this year's harvest and some great sales that I can find. As part of this, I made some fig tarts using frozen figs. I've never used the figs this way before and almost everyone in the family liked them this way. I have a number of frozen figs to use up, so I'll try measuring the next few times I make these so I can share a recipe.

I took in a dress that was too big to make it fit me. 

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Sam's Club gift card, that I will use towards our groceries this month.

My boys continued to sell camp cards for Boy Scouts. This is the first year our troop has opted to have boys sell camp cards to earn money for camp. As Boy Scout camp is fairly pricey (around $400 per boy, depending on the camp), it can take a lot of odd jobs to earn the money for camp. (This was a great deal for the buyers: the cards cost $5 and the buyer gets a $5 off coupon for a grocery store, plus many other discounts at other businesses (including a free oil change--user just pays tax and the disposal fee).  Half of the money from each card goes to the boys to pay for their camp. If boys sell a certain number of cards, they can even earn a free week of camp at a local camp and a free day at a water slide park!)

Swinging The Prudent Homemaker

I went garage sale shopping with my parents at the semi-annual community garage sales in my area (there were at least 6 community, i.e. neighborhood, sales in my area and we went to 5 of them). I found several items on my list, including jeans, pants, and shirts for several family members for $1 each. I found a tie for my husband for $0.50. I bought a dress for a daughter for $2. I bought several history and science books for the children for $0.25 and $0.50 each. 

My dad always find it amazing that my mom and I make a garage sale list and actually find items on our list! Eventually, I usually do find items on the list, and this time I found a few items that had been on my list for a while: some wooden children's hangers (several for $1) and some 5-pound hand weights ($1). I found a small glass bowl that matches another I found at a garage sale a couple of years ago ($1).

I bought a couple of mirrors; one was $3, and the other, a long, beveled mirror, was $20. I found a small bulletin board with a fancy frame for $3 and a large picture in a nice frame for $7. As much I liked the framed bulletin board as-is, it was just about the right size for a picture that I needed framed, so my dad took the bulletin board out and added a piece of glass and a mat that he had (one of his scraps, as they closed down their framing business last year) and framed the picture in it for me. 

One of the sales we went to was an estate sale (where we bought several items). The family had 3 large #10 cans of tomato puree out with the other items in the house. We asked if they were selling them and they said we could have the canned tomatoes if we could use them. As these were items on my grocery shopping list this month, I was delighted! They also gave use some other pantry food items that were in the house, including two containers of juice, a box of cake mix, a container of icing, two boxes of pudding mix, 4 bags of pasta/rice mixes, and a bottle of tabasco sauce.

What did you do this past week to save money?

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Meyer Lemons and Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

I picked more lemons from the garden.

I gave the baby a haircut. 

I used Recyclebank points to get a free two-year magazine subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.

Our bank decided to start charging $5 per paper statement. We changed to get online statements, for which they do not charge.

I have been trying on a few different items of clothing each day to see what will fit and what will not. Most everything no longer fits, and so I have been putting it aside to donate. I am keeping some things that are too large to either try taking in or to just keep wearing until I can find something to replace them. Some things still fit, but fit better. Those will stay.

I studied French using free online sources.

I made a decision to not purchase two things that appeared to be needs. I realized I could make do with what I have and save myself a few dollars.

From the garden, I harvested lettuce, arugula, and radishes, which we used in a couple of salads.

My Swiss chard plants are huge and starting to bolt. I offered Swiss chard to several people. I was able to give huge amounts away to a couple of friends, who told me they like to saute it with garlic and also use it in homemade ravioli. I plan on trying cooking some both ways!

I harvested Swiss chard for us and used it in two frittatas, steamed it as a side dish, and in a stir fry. 

I cooked a large batch of black beans in the crockpot and made taco soup one day and bean burritos another day. 

Snow Peas The Prudent Homemaker

I made museum pasta salad using green onions and snow peas from the garden. 

I mended a hole in a sweater. I mended a dress.

Eagle Scout Project The Prudent Homemaker

My son was able to get almost all of the supplies (save for $4 worth) donated for his Eagle Scout project, which happened this past week.

My mom went to a few garage sales and came back with 4 large boxes of books for $15! They are for grades K through 2 from a retired teacher. My girls have been enjoying having several new books to read.

My mom bought a skirt for me at a garage sale for $0.50. The skirt isn't quite my style, but it has shell buttons. These buttons would cost more than that, so I will keep the buttons and use them on a blouse.

My parents were given a large lot of men's shirts, several of which were my husband's size. He chose the ones he liked and we will donate the rest. They are long-sleeved shirts, and I will turn most of them into short-sleeved shirts, as that is what he needs for most of the year in our climate.

After 17 years of not having a cell phone (I had a work one paid for by work company 17 years ago) I switched our home phone for a cell phone. Our home phone had gone up and I wanted to change it before the next month's billing. I went with Metro PCS, which is who my husband uses for his work cell. Their lowest plan is $30 a month for unlimited everything (that includes taxes) and there is no contract (you pay each month and can leave at any time). Since we combined our plans together, they have a discount of $5 per line, so my husband's bill went down $5 to $25 and I now have a cell phone for $25--just under what my home phone had gone up to--plus I have the ability to call long distance (which was becoming needful as many people I need to call for church have moved in and kept their out-of-state cell numbers). They had a phone deal where you can get a free phone (though you still have to pay sales tax on the price of the phone).  

I downloaded several free apps, and I'm on Instagram now; you can find me under "theprudenthomemaker".

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

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This Past Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Anenome The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut daffodils from the garden for our table. 

I dug dandelions from the lawn. Usually, we only have a few dandelions and I dig them out, but this year we have quite a large number. I still dug them out with a trowel.

My dad bought a Dragon Toes agave plant that had 8 baby plants in the pot. He offered me the two largest, which I accepted and potted in pots I already had and using some of the potting soil I got for free using a free soil with purchase coupon last week at the nursery.

I harvested lettuce, arugula, spinach, Swiss chard, snow peas, green onions, thyme, parsley, and radishes from the garden.

In need of some clothing that will fit me, I went to the thrift store and found a few things that will work for me.

This time of year is the prime time for garage sales where I live. I went to a few sales and found a couple of items of clothing for the family and a few other small things that my family can use. Some items were simple things that I know we'll use and that will save me money on basic supplies: I bought some staples for $0.25 a box, pads of paper that we'll use for spelling tests for $0.25 each, and paper clips for $0.25.

I turned two pairs of a daughter's worn through at the knees jeans into jean shorts.

I mended a dress for a daughter.

 

The thing that brought me the most joy this week was working on a service project for Days for Girls. I was so excited that this was one of the many service project options at a women's service project activity through church that I was able to go to. I have wanted to be involved in Days for Girls for many years. I feel like this is such a life-changing service project and I cannot help but get choked up and teary-eyed every time I talk about Days for Girls and what they are doing.

 

What did you do to save money this past week? What simple things did you do to find joy this week?

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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I planted seeds for Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, pumpkins, lettuce, basil and sunflowers in the garden.

I made lemonade from our lemons.

 

Salad Produce The Prudent Homemaker

I cut arugula and picked lettuce, nasturtium flowers, and radishes from the garden.

I found eggs for $0.79 a dozen at Sam's Club (in the 5-dozen package). I bought 10 dozen.

The children played in the sprinklers several days when they came on.

I wasn't planning on buying Easter candy until next month, but the sales were good, so I did the following:

I went to Target and bought Easter rabbits this year (I was unable to get any melting chocolate at after Christmas clearance to make my own this year) at 25% off. The coupon (Target cartwheel) was a limit of 4 rabbits a day, so I needed to go twice. I also combined coupons and sales for money off jelly beans and peanut M&M's. I will still make some tiny chocolate rabbits as part of our dessert that night (I'm thinking to make either a cheesecake or a carrot cake and I will use the tiny rabbits to decorate the edges).

I went to Winco to pick up some potatoes. The former produce manager is now the butcher, and he saw my cart (with 40 pounds of potatoes,  pounds of carrots, a head of cabbage and 7 cucumbers) and asked if I ever buy any meat! He then told me about some chicken legs her had marked down to $0.44 a pound. I bought several packages; we had some for dinner and I froze the rest. I am glad we have been eating down the freezer to make room for new deals. 

I took in a blouse that is now too big on me along the side seams to make it smaller. I really like this blouse and am glad that I will still be able to wear it.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

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Open Door in Spring The Prudent Homemaker

It was so incredibly beautiful this week.

I cut daffodils from the garden for the table.

We celebrated a simple birthday celebration for a child at home.

Snow Peas and Radishes The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested radishes, cilantro, snow peas, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden.

We went through clothing, packing up cold weather clothes and taking out summer clothes, including doing what I call "The Big Swap" where we hand down clothing to younger sibling as well as pack up outgrown clothing to be passed down at some point. I also went through several items in my closet, and found that several of my blouses are now too large, but that several other items I own still fit just fine--only better! We put aside several large bags of outgrown clothing to donate.

Naptime The Prudent Homemaker

My husband cut two sons' hair.

I turned some old broken jewelry that I've had for many years into some new jewelry for myself.

I mended a few leaks in the drip irrigation.

We said yes to offers of a hand-me-down bicycle and a scooter from two different people.

The children hopped around on a couple of pogo sticks that my mom picked up at a garage sale for $3 each.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

Octavius walking The Prudent Homemaker

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