Pavlova The Prudent Homemaker

Pavlova with peaches and blackberries from the garden (that I froze) and the strawberries I bought on sale and froze earlier this year. Recipe here.

I picked more apples from our tree and canned applesauce, using resuable canning lids. (I shared a few photos on Instagram).

I harvested Swiss chard, basil, garlic chives, chocolate mint, two colanders of tomatoes, three red noodle beans,  a single red pepper and a single green pepper, and a single zucchini from the garden.

I cut seedless Red Flame grapes and Thompson’s Seedless green grapes from our grape vines.

I harvested Early Elberta peaches from our trees.

June Arrangment 3 The Prudent Homemaker

I keep looking for places to sow more seeds in the garden so as to harvest more from the space that we have. I really want more cucumbers, and I realize that in order to have the amount we’re wanting, I need to plant even more seeds. I want to eat more fresh vegetables from the garden. I also want more flowers to harvest from the garden to make bouquets; right now it’s so hot that most of the flowers have stopped blooming and those that do bloom burn to a crisp by noon. So, this past week, after evaluating my garden space, I sowed seeds for more zinnias (which like the heat and sun, even here!), Armenian cucumbers, parsley, basil, spaghetti squash, cosmos (a test; though these should be easy to grow I’ve never had them germinate in the past), Bells of Ireland (which seem to like a little shade in our climate and are growing 1/3 the height they should be but are not burning), miniature white pumpkins, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. (I purchased a seed packet from Burpee for the Bells of Ireland, zinnias, and cosmos for $3.97 at Walmart; it’s a nice combination for summer flowers in the same color range that should make for nice bouquets in purple, white, green and lavender. I shared a photo of the packet on Instagram.)

I collected warm-up water in the shower in a bucket each day and used it to water plants in the garden.

I took my eldest to the thrift store. (This is kind of tricky now that she and I are the same size and her style has become quite similar to mine! It kind of feels like a race to find things first in the racks!) She was needing a couple of new shirts. What she really wants is Peter-Pan collared shirts. She decided the least-expensive way to do that would be to start at the thrift store, so we went there. Using some fabric I had on hand, she drafted collars for an existing t-shirt. We then bought her two more t-shirts at the thrift store (for $2 each) and she drafted collars for both of those as well. One was a long-sleeved t-shirt, so she shortened the sleeves.

We also found her a beautiful cardigan for $3 (that I actually picked for myself, but it was too tight in the lower arms–but it fit Winter perfectly) and a dressy black dress ($6) while we were there.

I picked up three t-shirts for myself while there. I’m not really a t-shirt person, but I do need something in my new size to wear while working in the garden. These will work well in fall when I can wear them with jeans. One of them was a t-shirt for my alma mater, which was fun to find, as I haven’t had a university t-shirt for 20 years! At $2, it was a much better buy than purchasing it new from the university bookstore!

Winter and I also collaborated on ideas for her to make some things for her secret sister for camp. Each of the young women was assigned a secret sister at camp. I put together a Pinterest board for her with ideas that she could make and things that she could print for this particular young woman. (The other girl likes chrysanthemums and bunnies and her favorite colors are maroon and plum). There was a spending limit assigned to each girl (no more than $10) but rather than buying anything, we used what we had on hand. We got really lucky on one thing as well; there were several questions about favorite candies, and one of them was one that my daughter also likes and had already bought for herself to take to camp (wintergreen Life Savers). My daughter just used some of the package that she had already bought (they are each individually wrapped) and gave some to the other girl. The other candies she listed were all chocolate, and as it’s expected to be 105º at camp, chocolate would not be practical to bring anyway. Winter and her friends said their favorite things to receive were the notes from the secret sister, and one of her friends said she has kept all the notes from her secret sisters over the years. Their other friends agreed. 

Winter had met this particular girl last week when the girls were all together on a kayaking trip (the other girl, Victoria, is from another congregation). She found out that Victoria had just recently visited London.

With this knowledge, Winter made the following items for her with things we had on hand:

Secret Sister Gifts The Prudent Homemaker


A bookmark with a hand-drawn and painted chrysanthemum (using watercolor pencils)

A notecard (that she’ll write a note in, of course) with a hand-painted chrysanthemum

A maroon felt chrysanthemum pin (using this tutorial)

A necklace using a Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower) charm that I already had and a camera charm

A tiny change purse from the London fabric I had leftover from making this apron, a zipper from my grandmother, and lined with fabric from a red sheet (that my mom gave me some time ago). Winter chose to pick the part that said “Victoria” right in the center, since the girl is named Victoria.

Wintergreen Life Savers in a paper bag that she cut down and cut with a fancy edger punch


My husband decided to cut his office phone at work. All of his agents use their cell phones and so does he, so there really isn’t a need for an office phone. This saves us $50 a month in business expenses.

It got down to 77º in the mornings. Since I keep my air conditioners at 79º, I was able to open the house up from 5 to 7 each morning and turn off the air conditioning and air out the house.

I listened to free music on Pandora while I was sewing.

I listened to classical music on You Tube while I was cleaning the kitchen and canning.

I printed online coupons for some things I will buy in July.



What did you do to save money this past week?



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  1. Love your photos Brandy. We are in the middle of Winter in Australia. It’s cold, but not as cod as it gets in your Winter.
    Here’s what I’ve been up to this week
    * Made pita chips for savoury snacks and nachos.

    * Made pizzas from wholemeal pita breads. We used bits and pieces from the freezer and fridge. This is one of our budget friendly versions of takeaway.

    * Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next load.

    * Made another container of dried seasoned bread crumbs. After making all those salmon patties, my container was almost empty. Thankfully I had a container of dried bread crumbs I’d made a few weeks ago. I just had to add the seasoning and shake.

    * Made a bottle of double strength Miracle Spray.

    * Froze four single serves of leftovers.

    * Picked more lemons from our tree. I juiced and froze it into ice cube trays.

    * Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

    * Let our chickens out to free range for a while. They had a lovely feed of grass and insects.

    * Dried most of the washing on clothes horses over the ducted heating vents.

    * Used storage containers to store lots of bits and pieces in the fridge. I’m trying to avoid plastic cling wrap as much as possible.

    * Gave a jar of homemade jam and some lemons from our tree as a hostess gift.

    * Used old school notices as shopping lists and ” to do ‘ lists.

    * Reused lots of plastic bags over and over again around our home.

    * Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

    I have some photos on my blog

  2. I don’t like using paper towels as I feel that there are more environmentally friendly ways to clean that are also easier on the budget. A pair of pants of mine and a shirt ripped (they’re not fixable) so I ripped them up to use as cleaning rags.

  3. –Made yogurt from some expiring milk.
    –Even though I didn’t feel like it, I picked a gallon of honeyberries to freeze for winter smoothies. (I’d rather have been reading)
    –Put on a shirt to go out to a meeting and as I was walking by him my husband said, “Do you know that your shirt is ripped open from the underarm to the bottom seam?” How on earth I could have put it on, looked in the mirror and not have noticed the two sides flapping about is beyond me, but boy am I glad he was home to see it! Changed and fixed the shirt that night.
    –Made poppy seed muffins and rhubarb muffins, so we didn’t satisfy sweet tooths by purchasing expensive treats.
    –Remembered to use two rain checks I’d gotten 2 months and 29 days ago—they would have expired in 2 days and the chicken and grapes had been on an extraordinary sale that is not likely to come around again. Was able to freezer 10 whole chickens.
    –Did six mystery shops in a week. Usually I only do one or two a month, but these were easy ones and close to home; made $120 and got a free bottle of vitamins and a free fancy coffee drink. My husband was happy, since I gave him the coffee because I love the smell of coffee and bacon but dislike the taste of both.
    –Picked, processed and froze what ended up being three gallon bags of pak choi, for cold weather soups.
    –Picked and made five ice cube trays of pesto that I froze and then popped out into freezer bags for future meals.
    –Shredded and froze 13 pounds of zucchini for future latkes.
    –Ate pea pod, carrot, scallion and cucumber salads two nights, even though that is an odd combination, to use up maturing vegetables. Our last freeze was Memorial Day weekend here in Fairbanks, so I can hardly believe how productive my garden already is. I covered the entire garden with sheets the night of the frost forecast and everything survived. I am pretty pleased because this year I really struggled to fill every bit of space with edibles, even to the point of planting Thumbelina carrots in shallower areas where regular carrots would not have made it. We have had a financial set-back because insurance didn’t cover a major expense (still arguing, but I am losing hope after two appeals), and food is one place I can cut back because my garden is supplying all of our vegetables right now and, I hope, through most of the winter if I can and freeze and dehydrate. And even though I am fiercely gardening from necessity, I am deriving a lot of pleasure from slowly filling the freezer with things from my own backyard. (I know you do that all the time, Brandy, and you and others here are the ones who inspired me to think that even in interior Alaska I can grow enough in 3 months to provide our vegetables and fruits for much of the year, so thanks to all)

  4. Wow, your garden is really producing right now! So impressive and inspiring. And I love the gifts that Winter made for her secret sister, especially the pin!

    My frugal accomplishments (and a frugal fail) for the week:
    – Picked some basil from my balcony garden, added it to some frozen pesto I had made a few months ago (made using almonds instead of pine nuts because that was what I had in my cupboard), tossed it with some pasta I bought on sale, added in some leftover mushrooms from a camping trip the past weekend, topped it with homemade breadcrumbs from the freezer and the last bit of some cheese I had frozen, and voila, a lovely casserole! So good I blogged about it (, because it’s worth making again and again! There was a bit of a frugal fail involved though, because the DH went shopping at Whole Foods for the mushrooms. Whole Foods has incredible produce but is not known for being budget friendly. When I saw the bill my jaw dropped. Needless to say, we’re back to shopping at our favourite no frills supermarket.
    – Carpooled with a friend to a camping trip.
    – Saved the bacon grease from the first camping breakfast to use to fry up the next day’s sausage and egg breakfast. The sausages we cooked the night before over our campfire, and reheated for breakfast the next day. Used leftover hamburger buns and tortillas to make breakfast wraps and breakfast sandwiches. So, I saved a product (bacon grease) that would have been wasted, used less propane to cook the sausage by using campfire heat, and used up buns and tortillas that were going to go stale otherwise. Camping win!
    – Used homemade fire-starters to start the fires. (I re-used wax from wax melts that I dipped dollar store cotton pads into. The cotton pads are then used as firestarters). This way the wax is used once more before being tossed out after losing its scent.
    – Used our Canada 150 Parks pass to get free entrance into the national park where we camped.
    – I bought a “Made in Canada” cookie/cake stencil for Canada Day celebrations on Etsy, and went through Ebates for a 2% cash back rebate. Not much (literally 15 cents), but every bit adds up, right? I didn’t get one that is specific to this year’s 150th birthday celebration, so that I can use the stencil for decades to come, or for relevant themed gifts (i.e. baby shower bonbonierre) or cookies for my husband’s workplace.
    – For any Canadians reading this (and possibly Americans), if you’re on pre-natal vitamins because you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant and therefore loading up on folic acid, have your dr prescribe PregVit vitamins for you, as they’ll be covered by your insurance, since they’re a prescription product. Also, they’re good quality vitamins, as they separate the calcium and iron into two different pills (as one cancels out the other if taken at the same time). Paying for pre-natal vitamins can add up, so if you can get them free (or almost free, depending on your insurance benefits), why not?
    – Picked basil, thyme, and oregano from my balcony garden, and slow-roasted it for two hours with olive oil, garlic, a pinch of salt, and 1/3 of a no.10 can of tomatoes, and served it over the last of some farro I had in my pantry (but pasta works too), and topped it with parmesan, for an inexpensive dinner. I froze leftovers for future lunches.
    – With the rest of the no. 10 can of tomatoes, I made pizza sauce (I added in some fresh basil from my balcony garden in addition to herbs from my pantry). Then I took half of the sauce, and froze it in four servings, enough to each make a large pizza. With the other half of the sauce, I added in some wizened baby tomatoes I had in the freezer that I had sauteed along with some frozen chopped onions, some more fresh basil, and some more dried herbs. Voila, pasta sauce! I froze 3 baggies of pasta sauce, and put a pint container in the fridge for use within the next week. I figured out that that #10 cans of tomatoes (along with the herbs and onions I added), made for 25 meal servings. Not bad for a can that cost about $4! Once the pasta, cheese, homemade pizza dough, and farro are added in, I think the total cost for 25 meals will only be about $10. *currently doing a stretching-my-pennies happy dance*
    – I washed and dried some eggshells, ground them, and added them around my tomato plant.
    – I bought a silicone baked doughnut tray online for $5, using money earned from doing a survey online. I actually emailed the survey company to get payment, as my payment didn’t automatically show up, and once I received it, I used it to buy the tray on sale! Luckily, it was still on sale once I received payment. I can’t wait until it arrives and I can experiment with recipes!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks gift card
    – Picked mint from my balcony garden to add to some iced tea I made (using tea gifted to me)
    – Redeemed a coupon for a free bag of dog food (I don’t have a dog so I’ll donate it), and then use the receipt to claim money back on an app – so I made $3, AND got to donate food! Made my day!
    – I gave my dad some tea that had been given to me, and accepted some dental care samples from my mom to send to my mother-in-law.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  5. – It was my first week without having a car to drive during the day. We just had our third child and the necessary car seats don’t fit in my small car. We aren’t sure if we want to buy a van yet because we will be moving this year and we think we could get a van for cheaper where we are moving too (we currently live in HI). We are definitely going to be spending a lot less on gas.

    – I had eating out on the menu tonight because I have been craving Mexican but decided just to eat at home since we had an unexpected expense.

    – We did an activity today we didn’t need to pay for.

    – I bought some used kids clothes from someone on Facebook because we are having to build a winter wardrobe from scratch and I want to find as much used as possible.

    – Bought some store brand diapers because they were a good deal compared to what we normally buy. We have also started cloth diapering more. Thanks to a new wash machine in our rental that isn’t amazing and a few other changes, we had gotten away from it but now that we have 3 in diapers I want to cut back on disposables.

    – I am trying to make due with my wardrobe right now even though it isn’t the best for postpartum/breastfeeding. I want to save the money for a necessary wardrobe upgrade when we move. This means I wear about the same handful of outfits over and over.

    – We unexpectedly had a meal dropped off which was a blessing and we will be eating it tomorrow. We ate a lot of leftovers this week as well.

    – Even though it’s getting hot here we haven’t turned on our air conditioning. We almost never do because of it’s cost. Thankfully fans help a lot.

  6. I love the gifts for the secret sister! You guys did a great job choosing things that I’m sure the young lady will like. Camp is always such a fun time and it’s great that they are trying to get the girls to bond with each other.

    We went camping this week. I was very tired and hot from the previous weeks, where I overdid a bit, so welcomed the cooler ocean breezes and the extra rest. My husband is off for the summer, as he works for the school district now. He also needed a break, as his job is very demanding. We both got the rest we needed, which was great! As always, we kept it frugal and fun. We fished several times, hiked, went down to the sand, watched boats, fed seagulls leftover pancakes, and went crabbing. We have the equipment for those activities, gathered over the years, and bought a bit of bait to use.

    We returned yesterday, and spent the afternoon and today getting things at home back to normal. I worked in the garden quite a while, cleaned house, and did some grocery shopping. I took Patsy to the library so she could turn in her summer reading form she has been working on, and get more books. On our trip, we listened to library c.d.’s (audio books). I grabbed a few more while I was there, and ordered in a couple more. We listened to “On the Banks of Plum Creek” and enjoyed it once again. Now, we’ve moved on to one called “Hattie Big Sky” that I have never heard before. So far, it’s very good. We haven’t gotten very far, as we stayed home a lot today doing house chores. No worries there–we will be back in the car soon enough:)

  7. Beautiful! I would have been thrilled to get those gifts from a secret sister when I attended girls camp!

    My frugal week from urban Seattle:

    *My kids finally finished the school year. I think we go later than anyone else in the country…perhaps because summer doesn’t really start until July here. Anyways, they brought home all of their school supplies and I found that many were barely used. I went through and salvaged as much as I could for next school year, including ripping out used paper in notebooks. I don’t think I’ll need to buy any supplies for them when school starts back up in September. Luckily they aren’t picky.

    *My husband is a sports editor for the local newspaper and receives lots of swag and promotional items from local teams. I finally sorted through that huge box and I’m beginning the process of selling high demand items on ebay and giving away other items to friends and to our neighborhood ‘Buy Nothing’ group.

    *We couldn’t get through our on-sale strawberries, so I sliced and froze the remaining berries for smoothies.

    *Once again, we did not use our car this week and instead rode our bikes for transportation, at least until Friday, when we drove down to Portland to spend the 4th of July weekend with my family.

    *I attended free neighborhood yoga and exercise bootcamps. They start at 6am, so ‘free’ is definitely a big motivator to get me out of bed!

    *On Friday evening, we attended a free piano concert at the Portland Art Museum, launching their summer pianos in the park (restored “artsy” pianos available in city parks for the public to play). We were also handed free light rail train tickets as we approached the platform to purchase tickets for the ride downtown to the art museum- Score! One of my sons is an avid piano player and we will enjoy visiting parks with pianos during our time in Portland this summer. Fun free activity!

    *I raided my pantry and fridge leftovers, and also made some zuchini bread for our trip to avoid excessive food shopping and so that my mom, who is taking care of her ailing mom, would not stress about trying to feed us.

    *My mom gave us giant water storage containers for Christmas last year (important when you live in an earthquake prone area). I took all of my previous water-filled juice containers out to my tiny garden and I’m using those to water in order to rotate them out and avoid waste.

    *I have a list of needed non-food items (toiletries, some supplies for our bikes) to buy in Portland while we are here. Oregon has no sales tax, while Seattle has a 10% sales tax. I try very hard to save all of my non-food purchases (except for thrift store purchases) for our trips to visit family in Portland.

    Happy 4th of July!

  8. Congratulations on your weight loss! We are having a baby in September and you frugal weight loss advice will be very helpful for after she is born. This week we joined a community garden and the CSA associated with that garden. We get a box of organic veggies for about 15 dollars a week. We didn’t do a garden this year, so this is the alternative. We had been going to the farmer’s market 45 minutes away and this saves time and money. We also recieve part of the harvest free when we help out for the day. We were blessed with a free box of veggies and some extra cabbage and carrots. We bought baby clothes on clearance at a consignment store. I am embroidering the decorations for her nursery with thread my mom gave me. A friend gave us a baby bullet to make baby food later. Thanks for your inspiration Brandy!

  9. We are on vacation this week. To save money and get more visit time in, we are staying with family the whole week. We packed snacks from home for the car and checked out library books and kids’ tablet for entertainment on the way. We plan to eat out once and will try to find a coupon.

    We packed a cooler to take veggies from the CSA, bread gleaned from the pantry, homemade granola and pesto, and a pound of coffee. There will be lots of cousins around, so we wanted to pitch in on the food. By bringing from home, we’re saving money and making sure things don’t go to waste while we’re gone.

    We got a super early start, which saved on gas since we didn’t get stuck in traffic. Our dog is staying with in-laws while we’re gone, so no boarding or pet sitting expenses for her.

    How do you save money on vacation?

  10. The pavlova looks delicious. Winter is a very smart and resourceful young lady.

    This week we were able to save money by not using the air conditioner. Temperatures were mild, and I only needed to turn the AC for an hour here and there to take some of the humidity out of the air.

    We have been enjoying a new local park which has provided countless hours of free entertainment. It has a large splash pad which is fantastic. There is a shaded area where my youngest can sleep in his stroller on early morning trips.

    We made popsicles and tried a few new recipes.

    Other things we did to save money this month can be found here:

    Have a wonderful week and happy 4th of July to American readers!!

  11. Picked up Kroger freebie: Chef’s Cut Real Steak Jerky Original Recipe. $3.99 value. This was okay. Huny liked it but I’m not going to buy it for this price. There were very few large pieces and most of it was crumbs. Not worth it to me to pay full price. Last Friday’s freebie was gummy bears that I still need to pick up.

    Harvested compost tomatoes. I purposely didn’t buy any tomato plants because I planned to start from seeds. But, my compost gave me several tomato plants so I transplanted 4 out to my plot in the community garden and I have several here at home. I have no clue what tomatoes they are but they have been good sized and flavorful. I do have one yellow pear compost tomato in my home garden and I am going to snip off a piece of that to start for my fall garden. I was able to give some tomatoes to my stepson. With what I have now, I plan to make Brandy’s caprese salad (which I did and was wonderful). I will have to buy the cheese and basil (it didn’t come up this year) unless I can find some basil at the plot, but that’s okay. I harvested the last of the green tomatoes on one compost tomato here at home. I’m digging out that plant and the monarda planted there for prep for the fall garden.

    Harvested garlic and have it drying in the house. I’m trying to figure out how to make a garlic string. Not as easy as it looks – at least for me anyway. But, I’ve got a string going and I know with practice it will get better. I gave some of this to my stepson as well. I have enough to last for the rest of they year including giving some to family. But I will plant double this fall to have extra.

    Peppers are doing well and harvested. I have jalapenos, cayenne, and hot Hungarian peppers. I made some chile (salsa) with compost tomatoes, jalapenos and some cayenne – two 1/2 pints.
    I pickled some jalapeno and hot Hungarian peppers and I got four 1/2 pints. Gave one of these to Ryan as well and I’ll give one to my BFF and keep a couple for myself. This is a new to me recipe. I hope they come out ok. With the heat coming on they are slowing down but when it starts to cool down again they’ll give me another good harvest before the frost. I do plan to get some serranos planted for the fall harvest.

    For supper tonight (Mon 6/26) I made a Leek and Potato soup with leeks, parsley (dried), and thyme (fresh) from my garden. The potatoes were store bought as my potato harvest (first time) wasn’t what I hoped for. But I did get enough for a mashed potato supper with enough leftovers to make mashed potato pancakes – I have one pancake left. Anyway, this soup was an excellent supper! Huny is not a soup guy but he said he’d try it but asked me to make it a chunky soup vs. a creamy soup. He loved it and made suggestions for “the next time”. He made a happy plate :-). I’m taking this for lunch to work and am bringing a bowl of it for a work friend – we bring left over lunches to share occasionally. I cut and froze the rest of the leek harvest and bagged them in 1 cup measurements.

    I used chicken bones, onions and leeks from the garden to make stock and will make chicken soup from that today for this week’s lunches for me.

    I repurposed the dirt from my potatoes and planted mammoth sunflower seeds to attract those darned flat leaf footed bugs. – argh, they are everywhere! However, they love sunflowers (in my garden at least) so I hope to get them away from my tomatoes and peppers.

    I planted some old Martha Stewart cucumber seeds and two came up. With the heat they are starting to produce. We’ve had several meals with them and I plant to make some pickles once they really come on. I did buy some Armenian cucumber seeds to plant as well for a fall harvest to make more pickles.

    For the fall garden I am going to start from seed: spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, radish. I hope to find some potatoes. I’ve heard that we can do a fall harvest and I’d like to try these again. I also plan to grow more garlic and onions. Several people on my FB group said they started onions in the fall and kept them overwintered for the spring harvest. I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

    Through a FB group I had the chance to harvest some native mustang grapes to make jelly. I was able to get 20 lbs. of grapes. I’ve been given permission to get some more as I’d like to try to make some wine. I have several trays in the freezer because I don’t have time right now to make the juice for the jelly. I still have 2 colanders full of grapes to freeze. The jelly will be used as Christmas gifts.

    Starting Mon (7/3) I will be working from home so this will save on gas and car maintenance and my commute time (45 min – 1 hour one way). This will also stop me from that occasional stop for breakfast and the occasional lunch date.  While working from home previously I had a good pattern set for my breakfast and lunch so I’m looking forward to doing that again. I’m also looking forward to using my time I would have spent driving to do early morning walks again for exercise and a way to manage my anxiety/depression.

    I sold one item on Ebay. yoohoo! I’m looking towards retirement but I will still need some income coming in so this is a way to use my love of thrifting as a way to do this. I have a lot to learn. And I have a lot to list. lol.

    I plan to spend my day getting my home office set up, cleaning out my car and getting a fill up to see how long a tank of gas will last me. I need to get my room organized and I need to get out to the plot and I need to work on my large garden bed here at home. Not enough time in the day for it all. So, of these 3, I’ll go to the plot as that one needs me to leave the house so it takes some extra time. I have a lemon cucumber that needs to be tied up there and I need to take out the tomato plants and clean up that area for fall prep. I won’t grow fall tomatoes there. We are fortunate that the garden provides wood chip and I have that down as a weed suppressor which helps a lot in plot maintenance. I still need to put some wood chip down for the pathways, but that is for another day. I have a small wagon I found in the trash on my home from work one day – it was missing one wheel. I bought a new wheel and Huny fixed it up and I used that to transport the 5-gallon buckets with wood chip from the pile to my plot. I have a larger wagon I found for $10 at a junk shop that is missing one wheel too – ??? I need to get a wheel for that and would rather use this wagon as it will hold 3 5-gallon buckets.

  12. My husband and I were both on vacation this week and have tried to use our time productively and still have some fun.

    We have been going through all of our expenses with a fine tooth comb. The most recent one we have been able to cut is our cell phone bill. We switched providers and will be able to save about 50 dollars each month. That’s a big frugal win 🙂 In the future we will be looking at other insurance companies for our auto and home insurance. The premiums keep going up.

    We were able to go away for one night to the lake. This was the first time in 15 years that we have done this and we enjoyed it so much. I made a large french bread sandwich, drinks and chips to take with us. We went out to dinner once, went swimming, and watched the sun set.

    We found the best thrift store I have ever been to while we were away. The selection was so great that if I needed to I could use that store to furnish my whole house. The posted prices were great and they gave us a discount too! We bought a couple of coffee mugs, a basket, and a retro Pyrex bowl. Another great thing about the store is that they use their profits to support 20 disabled people.

    We harvested lettuce, cilantro, mint, and basil.

    I bought 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters that were 47 cents per pound. I cut the legs from the thighs and used the legs for chicken and dumplings. The thighs are in the freezer. Other food I made for the freezer was salmon patties, bean and quinoa patties, pizza dough, spaghetti sauce, muffins, English muffin bread, chicken stock, and lentil soup.

    I made a lemon cloud pie and chocolate pudding for our desserts.

    I made yogurt in the slow cooker.

    We went swimming one afternoon at our daughter and son-in-law’s house with one of our grandsons.

    I am so thankful for this community of frugal and like-minded people. Even after 35 years of frugal living, I find new ways to reuse things and save money.

  13. The gifts that your daughter made for Victoria at camp are just precious, Brandy. My daughter and I also went to the thrift store this week as Goodwill here had their first Saturday of the month 50% off sale. We found several things even though it was very crowded and people were buying like mad. I wrote about my frugal week on my blog. If you’re interested, you can read about my frugal week here:

  14. Hello Brandy and all from Australia 🙂 . I am glad both Winter and yourself were able to find clothing at such good prices and I love the items that Winter’s has made for her secret Sister.

    We are in winter here and the temperatures are getting down to around -2 oc so we have been enjoying lighting the slow combustion fireplace and sitting in front of it to warm ourselves in our lounge chairs 😀 .

    Here is our frugal accomplishments –

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into and earned interest in our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 19.67% of the way there.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Baked another double batch of queen drop coconut biscuits saving $16.50 over purchasing them in the shops.
    – Was blessed and said yes to a gift of 2.1kg of potatoes saving us $5.77 over purchasing the same amount in the supermarket.

    In the garden –
    – Picked 500g of cherry tomatoes, 900g of shelling peas and 781g of green and butter beans saving $33.44 over purchasing them.
    – Was able to pick spinach, 2 capsicum, a bunch of parsley, 2 turnips from the gardens and take a pumpkin from our storage also picked from the gardens to give a friend who is struggling financially.
    – Used vegetable steaming water to water in newly sprouted vegetable seedlings in the garden.
    – Used our saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water all the house paddock lawns without using any town water.

    Firewood savings –
    – We cut 1.86 cubic metres more hardwood ironbark firewood from a friends farm free of charge saving us $372.40 over purchasing it.

    Electricity savings –
    – Boiled our kettle, steamed vegetables and used our solar lanterns saving $14.17 in electricity this week alone.

    Craft and seed saving internet hobby shops –
    – Sold some more garden seeds making around another $10 this week.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead one and all 🙂 .

  15. With starting a new job in a office setting instead of retail I needed more dress clothes than I have now so I have been shopping at the thrift store the past 2 weeks and have bought 16 new tops 1 pair of dress pants and 2 pairs of dress shoes spent about $40 for all of it. I am set now til winter. Working a 40 to 44 hour week we work Saturdays every other week its been a challenge with meal planning but have managed to cook all but 2 meals at home.

  16. Allyson,

    A vacation is not really in the budget for us. Any trips we have taken I have written about on the blog.

    When my brother was remarried several years ago we left early the day and visited a museum, had one hotel night, and spent the next day at the beach, and then drove home that afternoon (it’s about a 5-hour drive each way). We brought food from home. You can see that here:

    Then we went to visit our alma mater (lots of free museums) and stayed at our nehew’s house. We brought food with us. Part four is here with links to the three other parts in the post:

    Those were both in 2014.

    This year we drove to the Grand Canyon and back with our foreign exchange student and made it a day trip to save money on a place to stay. It’s a 5 1/2 hour drive each way and that was very difficult to do in one day–we just stayed there a couple of hours. So we made it a day trip (which was very difficult with all that driving, but it saved us money). I wouldn’t really call that a vacation, but I don’t imagine that we’ll do anything else this year.

    There aren’t a lot of options for day trips here as we are 4 to 5 hours from most places in any direction with just the desert in between. Otherwise, we would take more day trips.

    That’s all we’ve ever really done as a family, and I’ve been married 17 years this week. The recession and recovery has been long with many difficult years for us.

  17. “Fiercely gardening from necessity”–love that! I definitely feel like that! The summer is such a challenge here for vegetables. Fruit is good if I can keep it from burning and keep it from the birds, but vegetables are a real challenge in our heat!

    It is amazing that you are getting cucumbers already. I planted months ago and I have some long vines but not a single cucumber yet. I planted several more and hopefully come October they will start to produce some female flowers; I just wish they could give us some now! Oddly enough though, butternut squash always seem to flower and produce in the heat, so I have several of those growing in the garden right now that we can harvest later in the year.

    And I have only harvested three zucchini this year, though I planted in March. Three is a win for me from one plant; I have had five plants before and only harvested four zucchini the whole year-. The last one I picked I had to peel as the peels get hard like winter squash in our heat. Our humidity has been at 5% and it’s been over 108 so growing squash is a real challenge. I don’t know why they don’t set fruit earlier in May when it’s cooler.

    I think it’s wonderful that you are growing so much where you are; every area has its challenges! I hope you can grow all that you need for the year!

  18. Hi there

    Not a good week money wise. I mentioned my freezer failing last week- well it died this week. I’m a bit upset as I bought it and the fridge only 4 years ago…humph! Of course it was out of guarantee. My mother in law mentioned that one of our stores had a very good sale on – that had ended (urgh) but I looked on the website anyway ( as well as a few others of course). I found a combined fridge freezer (larder) bundle with £82 off if you bought both ( the fridge was dying too- I had to have an engineer out last year and it was still frosting up- a lot).

    Anyway- made myself feel better by getting free next day delivery, another £30 off using a code found online, cancelling appliance cover I had bought when the fridge played up last year ( you see why I am miffed- my mother’s fridge lasted 20 years and 2 continents) and going through an avios site which means I earned extra points towards a ( slightly mythical but hopefully achievable) holiday I would love to go on with the 3 children in a few years ( I am a widow and holidays are a luxury but I can earn avois and cut costs that way- a very old friend has offered accommodation).

    I made the dog (rescue angel) a lot of food from what we did not eat in the freezer- googling frantically to make sure it is all safe for him. Luckily this is the freezer in the kitchen that I tend to keep all leftovers in. I saved money by feeding him this ( he loved it). I have another tiny freezer that I tend to throw reduced meat/ joints/ etc into so the loss is not as bad as it could be. I gave my mother in law who has the children on a Sunday (as I am typing ) a lot of food from the freezer – she later texted me to thank me for a delicious dinner. I also gave her food for the children as she gives them dinner before bringing them back. This always gives me a much needed break.

    As such- not really very frugal. Did not buy anything extra but the whole appliance issue has left a hole. Tried to make it the best I can with the different savings above but would have been better not to deal with it.

    All from me for now- hope no one else has a freezer breakdown.

  19. We have three in the back of our small Toyota Camry. It’s tight but works and we figured it was cheaper to buy new car seats than a new car. We’re hoping to buy a van in the next couple years when our three boys get bigger and need more leg room! I can imagine that cats would be pricey in Hawaii!!

  20. We were able to cut down our monthly household budget enough to pay $1000 on student loans!! Very excited about that! We still have a long ways to go, but your blog and tips have helped our family in so many ways. Thank you!

  21. Elizabeth,

    We became a one-car family after our third was born. We sold both our cars and bought one with rear a/c, a necessity in our heat as the children would be bright red in the 5-minute ride to and from church in my small car. My third child is now 12. We’ve found lots of ways to make it work, and it certainly saves money on gas, insurance, and registration! If you are moving from Hawaii I would definitely wait to buy a new car too!

    I have done the same thing with my wardrobe for many years. It is nice to finally be able to change it and I imagine you’ll find lots of cold-weather clothing at garage sales and thrift stores in your new location.

    I know how it is to have three in diapers; I did it for a long time (with different children along the way) and I wish you the best of luck! I felt like my whole day was diapering, feeding, and laundry for a long time.

  22. Sheena, my mom had a problem like this before and it turned out to be because she had not been cleaning our her fridge coils often enough. My mom keeps an immaculate house, but behind the fridge it was dusty and it melted the coils! We have learned from her experience and we make sure to clean out the coils on ours every 6 months. I don’t know if this could have caused you problems but it is something to think about with the new unit that you purchase.

    That is nice that your mother-in-law takes the children. What a blessing for you.

  23. Hi Brandy. I love the gifts your daughter made–so thoughtful and pretty.

    I read recently that everyone should review their monthly services yearly, canceling or requesting discounts where possible. I brought my monthly expenses down $60 by canceling two subscriptions I don’t need, receiving a $10 a month discount for our internet service just by asking, and increasing our medical deductible (we haven’t ever reached the current deductible in 20 years, though I realize it is possible). The insurance company also sent me paperwork to have our premiums reevaluated since current rates are based on a very old diagnosis that never actually became a problem (uterine fibroids, which shrink naturally after midlife).

  24. Everyone’s comments are so impressive in their money-saving strategies! I just have one small, new thing: I switched the cat litter to a more expensive (and more eco-friendly) brand that lasts one extra week. Doing the math I found that it’s less expensive in the long run.

  25. What a great blessing to have camp secret sisters. Loved all the thoughtful gifts that Winter made.
    Had to chuckle about thrift store shopping with your daughter. I have the same challenge when I shop with one of my friends. Not only do we like the same clothes but we’re usually looking for the same deals in housewares, books and dvds.

    So appreciate this post every week and the comments. It really does help me to keep a frugal mindset. To that end:
    – Made a quick bread last night from a mix I had bought at the store. Usually I don’t even look, let alone buy, these mixes. But this one had a $1.50 off coupon on the box that caught my attention. It was on sale for $2 on a day where I was going to get another 10% off. It definitely pays to be alert in the grocery store. Instead of making it in a bread pan, I made it in an 8X8 pan and it came out like a cake. Cut it up and froze 6 pieces, had one piecs last night and saved one for today.
    – At the same store, found Kleenex boxes with a $0.75 off coupon on the box and they were on sale for $1 plus 10%off.
    – Continue to harvest from my community gardens. Strawberries are just ending. Have eaten some every day and frozen 2 gallons. The raspberries in the community patch are coming in. Also harvested radish, lettuce, kale, chard, snow peas, shelling peas and cabbage (a first for me). My winter and summer squash have flowers as do the tomatoes.
    – Picked up 3 tomato plants that were being offered free in the garden by another gardener. We have a shelf to share what’s not needed. Other years I’ve been able to get partial packets of seed. This was a first to get actual plants.
    – Helped clean out the shed in that garden and took home two sections of hose to repair. The water pressure is so high at this garden that hoses with fittings/repairs can’t be used. But I can use the hose at my apartment and plan to set up a drip system. I had been waiting to find hoses. It pays to wait! I’m still waiting for used/discarded rain gutter to make some planters.
    – Cooked from scratch and ate all my meals at home as well as all my snacks/coffee. Stayed out of the thrift store this week and did not shop for anything but food. The only driving I did was to go water at the community gardens or go grocery shopping. Started a grocery list for next week’s 10%off days at the two grocery stores.
    In writing this list, I realized that being frugal is about all the little things I do, or don’t do. They add up over time if I just keep working at it and have the right attitude.

  26. I love reading Brandy’s blog and all the wonderful comments. This week, I mainly “saved” by un-shopping. I had ordered two covered clothing racks as step one in getting our overstuffed closets under control. I thought about it some more and decided that mom and I don’t need more closet space in the basement. We do need to donate a lot of clothing items to Goodwill and organize, alter, and repair the keepers. So I cancelled the purchase. I also ordered a manual treadmill online. It was even delivered and sits in a banged up unopened box by the front door. But there isn’t a good place for a treadmill in this house. The sunroom is too warm or too cold, depending upon the season, the bedrooms too small, and the basement is too dungeon-y. Given the lonely fate of my 35-year-old exercise bike, I won’t be heading downstairs to exercise. So I will be returning the treadmill to the store too. I think I mentioned a couple of months ago that I was going to keep clothing and shoe purchases within the guidelines of World War 2 rationing in England. Now mom and I have three months of points sitting untouched. Despite the overstuffed closets, we will eventually have to “cash” them in on necessities. I got two cookbooks this week. Dollar Tree had the book Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn and has the free Kindle book, Better Meals for Less Money, by Mary Green. I gained a few money-saving ideas from both books.

  27. Winter’s gifts are wonderful! She is so talented 🙂
    -I harvested green onions, green onion seeds, parsley, strawberries, black raspberries. I weeded the garden and have been putting the weeds in a pile/row in the unused part of the garden. I would like to try lasagna gardening next year I this spot. I let my kale plant bolt (it overwintered from last year) and the seed pods should be ready over the next week or two :D.

    -I continue to take navy showers, save water from cups, boiling veggies, making yogurt ( I put hot water in my water bath canner, wrap in blankets, and let sit overnight; my crockpot gets to hot to use for yogurt making) to water my plants. It rained several days last week so I only needed to water using the hose once. I reduced the amount of water in the bathtub for my daughter. I made sure the loads of laundry were as full as I could make them (I have a minimalist wardrobe and wear scrubs to work. I only have two sets of scrubs) but my washer also has a load size sensor to only use the minimum amount of water.

    -I kept everything turned off when not in use and unplugged what I could. I decided to unplug my coffee pot when not in use rather than keep it plugged in and using the timer. I will just plug it in and turn it on when I get up in the morning.

    -I made yogurt, white bread, pork roast with rice and veggies, pork stroganoff using leftover roast served over egg noodles, chicken breast with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. I took leftovers to work with me for lunch and also took my snack (usually yogurt with homemade granola and a piece of fruit). I drank free coffee at work. I made strawberry popsicles using strawberries from our garden and chocolate pudding pops using a batch of chocolate pudding that did not set up well.

    -I hung the laundry on the outside lines when my work schedule and weather permitted.

    Have a great week everyone!

  28. I try to avoid plastic cling wrap, too (and most plastic 🙂 ). When I need a storage container for a leftover i’m going to use up soon I just put a small plate over a bowl. It works great for something we will eat up soon.

  29. I do the same thing. I use a large hinged mason jar with homemade cleaning solution as a substitute for the disposable cleaning wipes. I use rags to clean the house, blow noses (instead of tissues and they are much softer). 🙂

  30. Hi all. I love reading all the posts. We are now all moved in to our new house, which is more energy efficient than our previous home.
    I have done our regular frugal things – hanging clothes, washing plastic bags and making homemade meals and shopping only for necessary items. I also do not like buying paper towels, paper napkins or plastic wrap. I have plastic covers for microwave that I bought thru a school fundraiser. Instead of paper towels, I use rags. Napkins, I use cloth ones.
    Have a good week!

  31. “Even thought I didn’t feel like it, I picked honeyberries…”
    So much of making wise, frugal choices is doing things anyway, even when we don’t feel like it. For me that is often cooking instead of getting take-out, but I am always glad when I forge ahead and ‘do it anyway.’

  32. After two terrifying weeks, I have found out that my special needs daughter does not have cancer. Several of the tests done on her has damaged her kidneys and we have many specialist appointments to go to. I am not sure how we will manage any co payments but my emotional relief is priceless. Due to the many complications from her illness, we are going to need a new life plan. This illness forced me out of work and school. The only important thing is that sugar cookie is well. Starting over is as easy as making a new plan and working it. Being frugal is a continued blessing. We have everything we need and can weather any storm. I was driving my newly licensed son back and forth to work each day. To save has money, I am allowing him to drive to work on his own. That saved 50% on our gas budget. I bought 49 cent eggs and 1.69 gal milk at Aldis. The only other thing I bought were 1 dollar Oscar Meyer hotdogs to put in the freezer. I am getting creative with my Swagbucks. I bought a 10.00 game fly subscription for my son and got enough points to get a 30.00 Wal-Mart giftcards. He will enjoy the video games and my 10.00 just got me 30.00 to buy groceries with. I stopped in the grocery store to buy one box of brilliant pads. The Catalina machine was spitting out coupons for a free pint of Halo icecream. There were coupons on the floor, counter and hanging from the machine. I walked by and picked them all up. I have 12 pints of free ice cream. .I call this trash cash. I love Catalinas. I have started doing some much needed yard work. It actually makes me feel like I have accomplished something. Each day when I look for new posts to read it is so uplifting to find happy people making do with what they have. I am stressed but not unhappy. My way of life is so uncomplicated. Each of you makes a difference when I needed it the most. Thank you.

  33. Brandy, how do you use your garlic chives? I have a large plant and I enjoy the purple flowers, but I don’t know what to do with the chives themselves.
    Winter’s gifts are wonderful — the kinds of things I’m sure her secret sister will treasure.
    We started the week by cutting another cord of firewood in the national forest. It took all day in the heat and we were pretty wiped out by the time we got home, but the wood will keep us nice and warm this winter. My husband has already split some of the wood we got two weeks ago. Only one more cord and we will have the four we burn each winter.
    My really big frugal this week is that I finally heard back on my protest of the tax appraiser’s valuation of our home. I filed a formal protest weeks ago and the appraiser came out shortly after that to look at the property. Friday I received a letter letting me know they had lowered the appraisal by $75,000! Even though gathering the information I needed and filing the protest was a lot of work, I’m so glad I did so. I don’t know yet how much this will save us, because they haven’t set the mill levy for this year, but I know it will save some.
    We are keeping our neighbor’s dog for the week while she is out of town. She was going to put him in the kennel, but we were happy to keep him. He gets along well with our dogs and is really no trouble. She is the kind of next-door neighbor I have always dreamed of having – the kind you can pop over to borrow something if you’re in the middle of making dinner and run out of an ingredient. She always waters my plants when I’m out of town, and we do the same for her. She is moving out-of-state next month and I am going to miss her so much. The people who bought her home bought it as a vacation property, so will be here only occasionally.
    I discovered voles are eating my black-eyed peas almost as soon as they are out of the ground. My dogs caught one of the little rascals and my husband set a trap and caught another, but they are very hard to get rid of. They are also well on their way to destroying the carrots and parsnips.
    I harvested the rest of the broccoli, pulled up the plants and planted lima beans. They are in a different part of the yard, so I hope the voles won’t eat them. In the greenhouse, my green beans are blooming and should start producing soon. We’re eating strawberries, lettuce, chard, green onions and broccoli from the garden. I made strawberry shortcake and strawberry scones with the strawberries, which are almost done producing for the year. My zucchini plants are blooming, but producing no zucchini. I hope that changes soon.
    My husband bought a jig that enables him to sharpen his own saw chains. The jig cost $35, but sending the chains out to be sharpened is $12 each, so after he had sharpened three chains, he was ahead. Plus, he doesn’t have to drive to town and wait three days to get the chains back.
    Most of the sweet potato slips I planted died, so I requested and received a refund from the nursery. A number of LED bulbs we purchased burned out in less than a year. My husband called the manufacturer to complain and they sent us 12 new bulbs. My husband complained when an Amazon delivery was two days late and they credited him $10.
    We attended a free wilderness first aid class. We also attended a free summer concert and packed a picnic dinner to take with us.
    I turned an old pair of flared jeans into a pair of shorts.

  34. Winter’s creative gifts are just beautiful! I bet her secret sister will be delighted to receive such thoughtful gifts. Last week, I gathered cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow & tromboncino squash, apples, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, basil, and oregano from the garden, as well as flowers for bouquets and eggs from the chickens. The first batch of apple cider vinegar is smelling fermented, which I’m taking as a good sign. I’ll have to revisit your Pavlova recipe, as I forget exactly what it is. I served homemade whipped cream over blueberries to our guests last night. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s comments! Joining in here:

  35. We picked up our 3 new hens on Wednesday and they have been adjusting to life with our original 2! We get 2 eggs/day six days a week and look forward to the 3 new girls starting to lay in the next couple weeks !
    I made a baby quilt using only materials I had on hand to give at a baby shower! That saved the cost of buying a gift and the mom-to-be was really pleased!
    We were given a large bag of leftover pieces of panini bread and used sauce and topping on hand to make up 60 individual serve pizzas that I flash froze and then bagged into individual sandwich baggies and then portioned out several into gallon size freezer bags! Very easy to go lunch/snack!
    In organizing the wood shop, we found several supplies/materials we had forgotten we had! We built some organizing caddies on casters for wood storage that is now labeled for easy use. We found enough beautiful hardwoods to make some projects without any money spent!!
    I only need to paint the 2 twin headboards we built this weekend and those will be ready for client pick up and we will be depositing $200 !
    We will switch gears tomorrow and build and put up the trusses for the chicken coop annex roof! Then we will add plywood, shingles and gutters and it will be complete! No cost on the whole roofing project for this as we are using materials that we have been storing for a long time! Declutter plus Use it up plus make it for free= winner!!!
    Gave away to a friend a nice large crockpot and am pleased to have more space cleared!
    We are halfway through our service project of making sleeping mats for the homeless and it looks like we may get 20 completed by the end of August! That means we will have recycled/repurposed 14000 grocery bags! Everyone is pitching in and I am thrilled with the response!
    Orders keep coming in for our side business and we are excited to see our wood furniture/decor selling so well! The extra side income is being used to pay off medical bills and add to savings!! All good!!
    Great week! I look forward to this coming week!!

  36. I just wanted to tell you Wendy that I really enjoy your blog and I read it every week. The Miracle Spray is great too.

  37. This week in Australia has been very cold. (Not snow cold where I live but we’re had frosts every night which means I have to fill the kettle with cold water to pour over the window screens each morning that I drive.

    I save the warming up shower water and laundry water for the week and put it on the garden. I get coffee grounds from work coffee machines and put them on the garden. A women at work, who has sons and goes through A LOT of eggs (3 dozen a week), kindly gave me the egg shells also for the garden. Maybe this isn’t a lot of eggs for others, but it seems like a lot for me.

    Accepted two smelly bones from my mum for the dog. Although the bones are in the fridge, we are all enjoying/enduring the smell every time I open the fridge door. :p The dog will get both bones today.

    I am looking at covering the windows with plastic film to conserve heat. The windows aleady have thick curtains covering them, but I’m wondering if this will take the heat conservation up a notch. I am also thinking about putting temporary curtains over the doors so that when I go in and out of cold zones in the house, this will help keep the heated rooms warm.
    Loving the discipline and the follow through that everyone on the blog displays. Its great that there are steadfast people in the world.

  38. Thank you for sharing your life with us Brandy! Your posts are an encouragement to me.

    We had some serious financial setbacks in the month of June. We own two ice vending machines, and one of them gave us a ton of (expensive) trouble. Then our family vehicle needed a repair that would have cost double the vehicle’s worth. We decided to purchase a vehicle with 88k miles for about the same cost as the repair estimate, replacing the vehicle with 190k miles. Then only a week later our other vehicle needed a repair that set us back over $1,000. We thought we had weathered the worst of it when our air conditioner died and needed an expensive repair. All of these expenses came in the same month! We burned through almost all of our savings within a few weeks. It feels devastating. However, I am thankful that we had the savings to use instead of having to go into debt. I am also thankful that we have food storage to get us through the next months as we rebuild and recover.
    I have harvested green beans and zucchini from the garden this week. Peaches should be ready soon, and grapes are looking wonderful!
    I checked on the ripeness of pears from a large pear tree that is on our church’s property. They are not ready to pick yet, but will be within a week or two.
    I discovered a large apple tree on public property that I plan to revisit when they are ripe in a few weeks.
    I visited a local blueberry farm with my four children. You could either pick your own for $3/lb, or you could participate in the pick-share program, in which you get 1/3 of your pickings for free, and they sell the other 2/3. We opted for the latter and went home with 2 quarts of free blackberries, plus a few carrots they were giving away to children.
    My children and I all enjoyed books, movies, and audiobooks from the library.
    I continued my commitment to bake all of our baked goods from scratch for the entire summer. This week I baked bread, cinnamon swirl bread, muffins, cookies, cake, and hot dog buns.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful, frugal week!

  39. Wow! Such nice gifts! I bet Winter’s secret sister will love them!

    My garden is finally producing loads of lettuce! I was hoping the quick growing peas you shared earlier on the blog would grow quicker than other peas up here in Alaska, but it has been so cold and rainy this year the peas took forever to germinate, so I think they are going to grow about the same as other peas at this rate. Oh well, at least they are growing :).

    My list for the week can be found here…

  40. Brandy, do houses in Las Vegas usually have whole house fans or since it is so hot even at night they aren’t practical? In the Central Valley of California we cool down so much more at night so I am able to use it every morning to get the house as cool as possible before shutting it up from the day.

  41. I guess I’m not sure what you mean. We have central a/c and those have fans, and you can run them separately, but I’m not sure why you would–then you would still be using electricity. It isn’t always cooler outside even in the early morning. This week our lows were 77 so I opened the windows and doors in the morning for a cross breeze. But the week before it was 83-86º at 5 a.m. We’ve had years where at 4 a.m. the low for the day is 103º. And at 8 p.m. it’s often 113º out, plus the asphalt and concrete retain heat for hours.

    We have ceiling fans in every room except the bathrooms, and they are needed in order to feel cooler, especially as I keep the house at 79º. They’re pretty common in most homes here.

  42. My husband rescued a bike from the curb from neighbor that is moving away. The bike needs repairs to the seat and brakes, new tubes, and a good cleaning but my husband can do that. He is enlisting the help of our children so that they can learn how to repair bikes. This will give each member of our family a bike now! My husband is also changing fluids in his vehicle, saving us $140 if we took car to the shop. I accepted a gift of 2 loaves of bread, purchased 2 toothbrushes at CVS (free after using an ECB coupon received in the mail), and turned a too-ripe canteloupe into a delicious drink using some other fruit from our freezer/fridge. We were also able to take a vacation with our children by camping instead of staying in hotels, using food we have on hand.

  43. Hello everyone!

    I missed last week’s post, so I’ll try to list all our frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks.

    * I purchased 4 bottles of bbq sauce and 6 lbs of ground beef for 99c each and $1.88/lb, respectively. I’ll be going back to get more of both, since the bbq sauce is my SO’s favorite and the ground beef is a good sale for 80%.

    * I cut up some strawberries and peaches for the freezer, as they were getting a bit too soft for eating out of hand. I’ve been making faux ice cream by blending up lots of frozen fruit and a bit of milk in the food processor.

    * I made a batch of chicken alfredo pasta from things I had in my freezer (except for the pasta), and I made a big batch of red beans and rice yesterday. I try to make beans and rice on the first of the month 😀

    * I put together our meal plan for July based on the contents of our freezer, and I put together rough shopping lists for Aldi and Sam’s Club. Even though most groceries are more expensive here, produce continues to be cheaper and fresher (the joy of living in a larger and warmer city). I’m hoping these forces balance each other out so that our budget won’t have to increase.

    * I ordered a foam pad for our bed from Amazon, using a credit I had gotten for selling back a textbook of mine.

    * In less money-related but more health-related news, my SO talked to a manager about stepping down from their current position. They have not been getting the support they need to do their job, despite spending the whole month offering suggestions and solutions. The final straw came when my SO’s manager changed their schedule with less than 24 hours notice, changing a day off into a shift (which my SO missed, because they checked their schedule the previous day before the changes had been made). It is frustrating to have this happen, but the position my SO is going towards now should only be a $1.50/hour difference for a job that’s way less stressful. Our budget can easily handle this change, and I’m glad to have my SO in a better position.

  44. Hi Jenny and also from Australia here and very cold here as well 🙂 .

    We have a slow combustion fireplace and we section off the house to keep the warmth in. Your idea of putting temporary curtains across the doorways does help to keep the warmth in. Our lounge room where the slow combustion fireplace is leads to one side to our sewing room and on the other down a hallway. By shutting the sewing room door and putting a temporary thick cotton curtain at the top and bottom of the hallway we find it stays far warmer. The smaller area you have to heat the more energy efficient it is.

    Not tried the plastic film over the windows as yet so let us know how you go and how it works, we do however have timber venetian blinds over our windows.

  45. Well, I guess here’s what I can remember from last week’s savings (and please forgive the abundance of typos – my delete button died) 🙁 First time posting!

    *Cooked all meals at home – grilled a large batch of marinaded chicken breasts (Zaycon – with discounts they ended up about $1.37 a pound) which lasted a few meals, with homemade sides, and used in a huge chef’s salad for another lunch and dinner; tuna salad for lunch for my husband using tuna from the pantry, with freebie crackers from Kroger a few weeks back. Grilled burgers from the freezer last night, and added freezer bacon for a treat. Lettuce for the salads and burgers from my husband’s aquaponics system. Lettuce is all that’s growing there now, but we have a LOT of it.

    *picked sour cherries twice (once just me, the second time with the tall husband who could reach higher branches), at a local doctor’s office (with permission). I pitted them using the pitter that my mom found for me last year, and dried the cherries myself using my Excaliber 9 tray. Before drying, I simmered the cherries with a little sugar water, which I then simmered down into two pints of simple syrup, which we’re using in sparkling water for a healthy-ish soda. The yield of dried cherries was about 3 quarts.

    *Promptly used 2 cups of cherries in a batch of decadent double chocolate chip dried cherry cookies – recipe from the Food Network. Shared the cookies with my son and daughter in law, guests in our Air BnB, and our neighbors and received rave reviews. They are really rich and decadent!

    *Dried what ended up to be 3/4 cup of oregano from the garden. Whirred it around in the food processor and it’s ready for recipes!

    *Took advantage of a deal at Aldi’s and bought 3 pints of heavy cream. Used it in a batch of chocolate ice cream (with more dried cherries!) and last night, a batch of the best peanut butter ice cream we’ve ever eaten. Used Reese cups chopped in the ice cream, from the freezer stash – I’m a teacher and the kids know how much I love Reese’s, so that’s a common “gift” for me. I try to not eat them all in one sitting so we can use them for treats like this.

    *Speaking of Aldi’s, the town where my daughter has music therapy has the nicest one I’ve every shopped. I used the 45 minutes of her therapy session to replenish our supply of incredibly cheap fruits, veggies, and breakfast items we needed to stock the fridge of the Air BnB for upcoming guests. Also picked up butter and cheese. I spent about $40 and came out with 3 giant cloth bags of groceries that would have cost triple that if I’d shopped my hometown grocery, which is hugely overpriced.

    *Baked homemade buns for our grilled burgers last night.

    *Baked applesauce muffins using a cup of homemade sauce canned last year. The muffins will be used for the goodie basket we keep stocked as we receive new guests in our Air BnB apartment, which is above our garage. We’ve had four different sets of guests in a week, so my supply of baked goods in the freezer was dwindling. Started to run out of flour, so I used a cup of wheat flour I had in the freezer. It was a nice change of texture in these muffins. Eggs from our chickens also ended up in these muffins.

    *I have shopped my canning shelves as much as possible, to make room for FULL jars. This week we used salsa, balsamic cherries (and the juice for salad dressing), peaches, watermelon pickles, and barbeque sauce, in addition to the aforementioned applesauce.

    *We all eat eggs every morning from our chickens – they produce 14-15 a day. We do A LOT of egg sharing – I will be picking blueberries at a friends’ house this week; she will get “farm”-fresh eggs in return. We live in a rural area, but in town, so they aren’t EXACTLY from the farm. 😉

    *Fed the chickens lots of kitchen scraps. Also weeded the raised beds and gave the chickens quite a treat.

    *Harvested a ton of basil and used it in a strawberry-basil infused tea for a gathering I hosted Friday night. I found the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website and spent .99 on a quart of strawberries at Aldi and sugar – the only out of pocket cost for a delicious and elegant iced tea (already had a huge box of black tea bags). Everyone brought a snack to share, so it was a fun, and very inexpensive night with friends. The laughter was completely free. 🙂

    *Coordinated trips to the store, library, pharmacy, etc. to save gas.

    *Found out that though my daughter will miss Music Therapy two weeks in a row (July 4th, and her therapist going on vacation the next week), we will save the gas those two weeks – it’s about 100 miles round trip.

    *Saved a small fortune at CVS with coupons loaded to my Extra Care card. I spent about $9 OOP for two bottles of contact solution, two bottles of expensive vitamins my husband prefers, 2 boxes of gallon sized Ziplock bags, and…something else. It’s slipping my mind now. Before she ran my coupons, the subtotal was over $50, so I consider that a huge win.

    *With part of my Zaycon order I dried a batch of thinly sliced chicken and turned it into jerky in the dehydrator for our two dogs. It ends up cheapter – and healthier – than the high quality treats I usually buy for. Yep, they’re more than a little spoiled.

    *Went with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for SIL’s senior pictures; treated them to Starbucks with a gift card earned through Swagbucks and had a free drink already loaded to my card that I used. MIL bought dinner that night at a pasta restaurant, which was a fantastic treat.

    *Made coffee at home every morning for husband and me – we like French pressed coffee, which somehow tastes more luxurious to me than brewed.

    *Not exactly a frugal thing – had Stanley Steemer come to clean my biggest area rug. We’ve attempted to save money and do this ourselves, but they do such an amazing job in what seems like a fraction of the time and with zero frustration on my part. I decided at the last minute to see if they could do the next room’s area rug, and they did have time – for just a wash it would be an additional $20. Seemed reasonable to me. After he finished spraying the sanitizer on the large rug, he did the smaller one at no additional charge, so he could empty the sprayer of sanitizer. That was a $20 savings! The rugs look and smell like new; totally worth it.

    *We’ve started replacing a few worthless storm windows (I think they’re 100 years old – same as the house!) a few at a time and they need to be custom made. Husband shopped around and ordered the first two; he picked them up and installed them yesterday. They look great, and will hopefully save energy costs in the long run.

    That’s all I can think of right now. I so appreciate this website for the encouragment and the ideas I glean each week. Thank you, Brandy, for your helpful, inspiring posts – I realize in my day to day life how much I do that reflects what I’ve learned from your blog. 🙂

  46. I would like to say how much I appreciate the community of friends I have made through this forum. It has kept me sane and from feeling alone in my money saving adventures. The knowledge I have learned from everyone’s comments has been valuable. Recently I have come to realize something important. There are two different types of money managing personalities and they clash.

    Type 1, ME, careful, thoughtful, thrifty. I look for ways to get as much for my money as possible. I value my time as precious and want to spend it with my family, not working long hours.
    Type 2, Impulsive and willing to spend whatever they earn to get what they want when they want it. These people choose to work hard and the more they want, the harder they work.
    Type 3, won’t work, won’t economize, but I am ignoring them here.

    The past few years I have shared the knowledge I have learned from this website with friends, it has fallen on deaf ears. I haven’t been able to understand why they would want to work long hours at hard jobs only to blow everything they earned on something (in my opinion) trivial. It has been hard for me to comprehend. I would say, if you would (insert simple money saving idea here) you could save so much money. They would nod politely then proceed to order the most expensive item on the menu, a “to-go” container, no thanks.

    My oldest son, Joshua shared his understanding of this situation because he hates to be frugal. He would rather work long hours, take evening classes to advance his career than to bother trying to save money. He really, really hates economizing. If he wants something and he has money in is wallet, he will buy it. He did stop and thank me for teaching him good money managing skills. All of his friends are broke, VERY broke; yet, they say, “Josh always has money.” He realized they are right. He does have money because he has learned to control his impulses. He chooses to work harder, not cut back and save.

    The epiphany I had this past week was due to some deep soul searching. I was in a situation, surrounded by type 2 friends and felt peer pressured into spending WAY more money than I had planned. I am an old woman! It has been 30 years since I felt any peer pressure at all and I ended up going along with the crowd! I was caught off guard. I felt as if I was being stingy; but, after deep thought I realized, I was not. They were being wasteful.

    My soul searching involved first looking within and asking myself two questions: First, am I hurting others with my frugal ways? Years ago I had a budding relationship with new friend. We decided to ride to church together and so she picked me up in her car. It was 100 degrees outside and 120 degrees inside her car. I offered to drive my car since her air conditioner must be broken. She said it worked fine but she had it off to save gas. I was gasping for air as my makeup was dripping down my face. I said I would be glad to give her $1.00 to cover the extra cost. She declined since church was only about five miles away and we would be there soon. Needless to say, I hitched a ride home with someone else and our friendship ended.

    Second question, when is storing and saving too much? There is a wonderful parable told by Jesus of a farmer who was blessed with a huge harvest. Rather than sharing his abundance with others, he choose to build bigger barns. If you change the word “barn” to “closet”, it hits me hard.

    Third question, how do I handle the situation of the different attitudes of my friends?

    First, no more feeling sorry for them when they cry about difficult jobs, long hours, body pains from hard work and a horrible boss. They have chosen a wasteful lifestyle and it is the consequences of their choices. No more quoting my AWESOME frugal friends from this website. I will nod politely, order something reasonably priced on the menu and ask for a “to go” container.

    Second, I will no longer open myself up to ridicule about my money saving successes. They do not see the importance of wise money management any more than I can see any fun in working yourself to death for an impulse buy.

    I will continue to be friends with these ladies. I love them too much to do otherwise, but I will ask myself one last question, “Why haven’t I figured this out before?”


  47. Hello Brandy…i certainly enjoyed your post. I want to try your beautiful dessert for the 4th. I love your daughters wonderful gift she made. The change purse was adorable. Loved your apron you made a while back.
    Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week:
    *harvested basil mayo and basil pasta.
    *made meals from scratch ..enjoy many recipe ideas from this blog
    *colored my own hair
    *paint my own nails
    *took a magic eraser and cleaned walls. Looks fresh
    *cleaned out own carpets
    *library…checked out summer reading
    * spend time enjoying our garden n pond.
    * pressed flowers with my grands
    * cut lavender n rosemary and hung on new drying rack my husband made.
    *cut flowers to bring in house
    Thank you again Brandy for all your ideas.

  48. My husband and I have been encouraging each other to save money. We ate all meals at home, except for a couple of tacos one day for dinner. I have avoided all stores including the thrift store. I have been going through my clothes and wearing what I have. Entertainment has been at the library or from the library. We took a look at our spending and were so happy this week to see that we have saved money. Decided that time spent with grandkids is more important than buying them things. Borrowed books, movies and cd’s for them from the library. I have been reading “The Tightwad Gazette”, also borrowed from the library. It is an excellent book full of money saving ideas.
    I cooked lentil soup as a meat alternative. Made a quick tuna sandwich for breakfast when I was contemplating going out for breakfast. This satisfied my hunger and made me happier than if we had eaten out. Made pumpkin pancakes another day for breakfast. Barbecue ribs, boiled potatoes with butter and green peas for dinner. Husband took all meals to work from home. He is happy to eat leftovers. Makes it easy for me.
    Enjoyed time at home tidying up the house, listening to music on pandora for free and reading library books and my Bible. Looking forward to spending time with my grandkids and showing them everything we got from the library.
    Looking at advertisement online to find the best grocery deals. Will be shopping when I can get the best deals.

  49. I forgot, another book I read this week was ” When Children Love to Learn.” It was an excellent book about Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching. There were wonderful ideas in the book. I like to teach my grandkids when they come over. I plan on implementing some of these ideas. I also got this book from the library, free.

  50. Brandy, please tell Winter she did a wonderful job creating gifts for her secret sister, Victoria. I’m sure she will never guess many of those gifts were hand made. So beautiful and such a great job!

    It’s been a week of emotions for me. Life sure likes throwing curve balls. This week our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home this week included fish with noodles & sauce side dish and leftover mixed veggies, chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, mashed potatoes and corn, hamburger helper, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with baked herb potato chunks,
    *DD entered a bookmark design contest at her school and won a prize. She received a professional sketch book with high quality drawing paper, an artist quality graphite drawing pencil, a laminated copy of her bookmark to keep and several more non-laminated copies to give away. We are putting the art supplies away as she will be taking an art class both semesters when she starts high school this September.
    *DD also won a drama award at graduation. Sadly it was undermined by her extreme anxiety behaviours which hit crisis levels during the ceremony. I cry every time I think about that night…not happy tears either. We are desperate to get her help from a child psychiatrist which are sadly lacking in our area. Down side to our health care…even though we don’t have to pay to see doctors, the type of help we need might not be available close by or so booked up that it takes a long time to get in to see them.
    *Sent my mom with money to purchase 8 pineapples (on sale for $1.50 each), a can of pineapple juice, 4 heads of romaine lettuce (on sale for $1 each), and some milk since I had to work all weekend. I will be canning the fruit on Monday when I have a day off. By avoiding the grocery store myself, I did not pick up any “extras”, saving me money.
    *Brought home 2 free stalks of rhubarb from work. I helped someone make rhubarb cake and pulled a couple stalks too many. I cut them up and added them to the bag in the freezer.
    *Sent my mom to the farmers market on Canada Day (I had to work) to pick up strawberries. She bought 3 flats @ $30/flat (up from $25 last year, but the heavy rains might have something to do with the increase). She processed most of them for the freezer with some left for fresh eating. I will make jam as I have time. I’m looking for a low sugar strawberry syrup recipe but having a hard time finding one that is specifically for canning and low in sugar. If anyone knows of a recipe, please let me know the link!
    *My husband decided to come to the “Dominion Day” event at my work on Canada Day by himself, since DD didn’t want to go. He received free entrance, watched a battle reenactment, enjoyed taffy tarts with lemonade (kindly bought me a tart too) and purchased a whole strawberry rhubarb pie for home to share with everyone.

    So glad to finally have a day off on Monday. I will sleep in, then canning pineapple for most of the day, and after I will take some time to relax. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  51. What pretty gifts! I, too, am trying to figure out where I can plant a few more seeds for a fall garden. I think I can get another round of lettuce, spinach, and radishes if I can just figure out where to put them. Anyway, here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    -Used air conditioner minimally. Temperatures were relatively mild so I didn’t really use it much when I was home alone during the day (I am a speech pathologist with a school district, so I only work one day a week in the summer). We did turn the one on in our bedroom (we have window units) at night so we could be more comfortable. My husband and I both sleep best when it’s a little cool. I can’t believe how little we’ve had to use the AC this summer.
    -I got a pedicure with a friend. I NEVER get my nails done. But my in-laws had given me a gift card to a nail salon 2 Christmases ago. I had to pay a bit out of pocket, but not much. It was nice to be pampered and just be able to relax with my friend.
    -Made an extra $150.
    -paid a couple bills online – saving an envelope, check, and stamp
    -combined 2 time sheets to send in to work, saving an envelope and stamp
    -caught shower water a few times. It rained here three days last week, so I didn’t water the garden at all. I did water the new strawberry plants when I finally got around to planting them. And I watered our trees early last week since they looked like they needed it.
    – Picked lettuce and hot peppers from the garden
    – I had some crescent rolls in the fridge that I needed to use, so I made taco ring instead of using tortillas.
    – We went over our gas budget for the month. But gas prices hit an incredibly low price for the summer around here. So my husband borrowed my dad’s fuel transfer tank to get enough gas to fill up our lawn mower, all our vehicles, our tractors, our 4-wheeler, and our empty gas cans. We should need lawn mower gas for the rest of the summer. And I was working extra, so we had the money to cover it. I was glad we did because gas went up 20 cents a gallon 2 days later.
    -picked up some free zip loc bags off the free table at work
    -Made creamy pasta salad with some mayo that was about to expire. I had all ingredients on hand.
    -Made strawberry white chocolate chip cookies using the strawberry fruit leather I made a few weeks ago. Neither my husband nor I liked the fruit leather, but it was fine in the cookies!
    -Made Kentucky Butter Cake
    -Bought a skirt I liked for 50% off. I need some new clothes for work next fall, so I am trying to pick up a few pieces here and there.
    -Dropped my car off to get an oil change (I have a loyalty card with the dealer that I bought my car from. They change the oil for a price that is so cheap, we wouldn’t even be able to buy the supplies to do it ourselves – which we do with our other cars. We only get the discount on the one we purchased from them). My husband did it on his way to work and had one of his employees pick him up and drive him to the job site, which was only a few blocks away.
    -Got zucchini bread out of the freezer to eat for breakfasts last week. My husband isn’t a huge breakfast eater, so one loaf usually lasts us the whole week.
    -Ate a lot of salads this week since we have a ton of lettuce in our garden right now
    -found wild blackberries growing in the treeline on the back of our property, so we’ve been keeping an eye on them. They are almost ready. My dad found a few more wild blackberries on his property, which joins ours. So we are keeping an eye on them, too. Hopefully, we’ll get lots of blackberries!
    -We had to renew our vehicle stickers this month. My husband has several vehicles and trailers that are necessary for his construction business. So it was over $400 to get all the registrations renewed. I was glad we had saved a bit back for this each month.
    -Got a free toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, and floss from the dentist. Although I’m sure they won’t seem so “free” when I get my bill. I have dental insurance through work, which definitely helps!
    -made a headphones case out of a travel size q-tip container. I had the qtips for a long time. I just took them out and put them in the regular q-tip box. That should keep my headphones from getting all tangled up in my purse and help them last longer.
    -saved 2 envelopes
    -made a double payment on the mortgage
    -washed only full loads of laundry – except a load of delicates
    -trimmed up loose threads on my hand towels to make them look a little nicer
    -stayed diligent about light usage
    -cooked meals from items in our freezer/pantry – I have now emptied and entire shelf in the freezer to make room for veggies from this year’s garden and meat from hunting this fall.
    -used the little bit of extra grocery money we had to buy canning lids, which I’ll need soon.
    -only used electricity to exercise once
    -made Brandy’s zucchini potato cakes using up a few potatoes that were starting to get a little soft and zucchini that we had frozen from last year.
    -accepting cinnamon rolls and two hand towels from my parents. My mom saw the hand towels at Kohls when she was shopping and thought they reminded her of me since they had dogs on them. They are so cute!
    -went to a 4th of July party where dinner was served
    -will make pasta salad to take to a 4th of July party at our neighbor’s house tomorrow night using all things I already had on hand.
    -renewed library items by emailing
    -I collect Fiestaware dishes and I was able to order the new color place setting online for a great price – over half off.
    -Got $10 off a dress I really liked – I’ll be able to wear it to work in the fall
    -dried basil, parsley, and chives
    -put another bucket of ice in the freezer for blanching veggies

    I’ve been watching Downton Abbey DVDs from the library. I had made it through seasons 1&2, but the library did not have season 3. I ordered it, but when it came it was missing 2 of the discs. So I found a copy on Amazon that I could get shipped to my house for $5. I will watch it and then donate it to my library so they have all the seasons again. They used to have season 3, but someone checked it out over a year ago and has not returned it. 🙁

    Looking at this next month, I think we will need to stock up on toothpaste and butter. I also saw that there will be several good sales on toilet paper that I can combine manufacturer coupons with. So I will probably buy that as well even though we have a bit of a supply built up already. I also want to visit the Amish bulk foods store near us for some herbs I know I will need while canning. A local grocery store is currently running some good deals on pasta, baby carrots, and crescent rolls.

    My garden is doing wonderful. I have TONS of tomatoes coming on my 36 plants. I can A TON of pasta sauce, pizza sauce, salsa, and tomatoes every year. I also have green beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, zucchini, and watermelon coming. A deer ate some leaves off some of my sweet potato plants, but I think they should be okay. I sprayed some liquid fence around the area, hoping to deter them.

    In not-so-frugal news, our state congress just voted to raise income taxes another 1.2%. The governor will veto it, but it passed so easily that they will probably override his veto. I live in Illinois, which is going into it’s 3rd year without a balanced budget. It is a serious concern for me, as I work in the schools. If they don’t get a budget passed, money does not get to our schools. So far, they have given schools a little money every year – even without a budget. But it hasn’t been anywhere near what it should be. I know my school district is hurting, as are many others. It is also upsetting, as the pension fund is very underfunded and my dad (who has worked for the state for over 30 years) is getting ready to retire. I fear for him and his retirement. I also contribute to the teacher retirement system in Illinois, although I know I will never see that money even though I am forced to contribute by law. I guess it’s just another reason to be frugal and continue to push myself to find other ways to save money. It also reminds me of the importance of diversifying my income sources – which I have been working on for a few years.

    Anyway, not that I have been a Debbie Downer (haha!), I hope that everyone has a great week and finds some awesome ways to save some money. Thank you all again for posting every week. And thank you, Brandy, for hosting all of us. This blog truly keeps me going and inspired to keep plugging away!

  52. Oh we have a huge fan in the ceiling that sucks the hot air up into the attic and pulls the cooler air into the house. I can close all the windows except at the back of the house and the fan is in the front and it will pull a huge wind through the house and cool it down. It uses electricity but way less than the a/c. But if it only gets down to 77 that wouldn’t help. I use it for about an hour each morning. Thanks!

  53. Rhonda A. — I’m so sorry about your daughter’s graduation ceremony. I know there’s nothing that can undo the events … I just wanted to give you a virtual hug ((())). I hope future events will be less anxiety-producing and that with time, DD will learn to manage.

  54. Thanks for the information, its good to know it works. And you found that thick cotton works. I was wondering if I would need to purchase wool or felt materials which would make the curtains very expensive.

    I’ll keep you up to date on the film window coverings.

    Hasn’t it been freezing? And we haven’t had a lot of rain, just cold clear skies. So hard to get out of bed.

  55. I love frugal foraging. There’s a number of lemon trees that go over fence lines in my area. I already have a lemon tree in my back yard, but I pick from the publically encroaching lemon trees as well. Kumquats are another delicious item I love to forage for.

  56. Hi Brandy and Friends! This was a good week.

    *I loved your photo of the flags in the white pitcher the other week. I had the pitcher already, and found little flags 3 for $1 at Target. Now I have “Brandy’s centerpiece” on my dining room table, too. ☺

    *Found strawberries for $1.29/lb. I lost weight several years ago, and my daily breakfast is always strawberries (usually frozen) with greek yogurt. I usually pay $2.29 for frozen berries, so I went ahead and bough 48 lbs of strawberries at this lower price. They are also better quality than the bagged frozen. It took several happy hours in the kitchen to get them all washed, hulled, and bagged for the freezer. This should last me about 6 months! I may go back for more, our basement freezer is not very stocked and we have the room.

    *packed food to take with us to share and enjoy at my in-laws beach rental. We are here 48 hours, and will treat for dinner tomorrow night out as well. I looked into moderately priced restaurants so we don’t walk into something very expensive because we haven’t planned well.

    * Went to the Thrift Shop last week. They close for July and August, and every year, the last week of June, everything is $1. I put it in my Google Calendar as a recurring event so I don’t miss it. I made it in on Tuesday, and although it was picked over, I scored 3 pairs of shoes for $3! 1 pair for me, leather LL Bean boat shoes, and 2 pairs for my husband, both dressier work shoes. I got out the shoe polish when I got home, and presented him with his new shoes at dinner. He was pleased!

    *took my three year old with me to the thrift shop, as usual. She understands that most of her books and toys have come from the thrift shop, and so she loves going and picking things out. I always bring a few snacks from home, so she can sit in her stroller, look at a “new” book, and have a snack while mommy shops. Train them young! ☺

    *did “Budget Committee” with my husband on the last day of the month. We have been tracking now for 28 months. We keep track of our account balances together and know where all the money goes. It’s good because it gives a monthly forum for any financial discussions, and it’s great to see progress each month.

    *I found a like-new Dutailier glider and ottoman at the end of the driveway of a very nice house on trash day. These retail over $500. I took it home, wiped it down, photographed it, and put it on a Facebook yardsale site. I sold it for $150 the next morning.

    *I cleaned out our game closet and sold 25 board games (mostly from my teaching days 5+ years ago) for $20. The young dad who picked them up was happy!

    *We still haven’t installed the window AC units yet. It gets into the 60’s-70’s at night (New England) so as long as I have the window fans on intake over night, the house gets chilly by morning. There have been a few days where it was humid and hot, especially in the afternoon, but we just took it easy or left the house in the afternoon. Our house is pretty from the outside, but the window ACs have to be in the front windows for air flow, and I HATE the way they mar the look of the front of the house, so I hold out every year as long as possible. They are usually in about 6 weeks a year.

    *ate all meals at home and packed drinks, snacks, etc. for when we are out.

    *sorted my daughter’s clothing (in the upcoming sizes). Since I buy most of her clothes at thrift shops and yard sales, I buy a few sizes ahead. I had to sort it out, donate a few things that I have accidently amassed too many of, and take stock of what I still need.

  57. I love the idea of adapting thrift store clothes! Will have to try with my daughter.
    Had a cheap road trip this weekend. Met my parents in Louisville and went to the science center. Because we have memberships to a reciprocal museum, we got in free!! I Really encourage you to check it out if you are traveling.
    A grocery store is closing so we shopped the clearance. Got a lot of good deals and made a gift basket for a Christmas gift for my parents. They are hard to shop for but they really appreciated last year’s gift of seasonings that were heart healthy.
    Bought sugar cookie mix to make and freeze cookies for school bake sale with my daughter’s leftover birthday cake frosting.
    Stocked up on whipping cream. Making my garlic chive butter to freeze when I get home from work today.
    Have a safe and happy 4th everyone!

  58. I read a tip once (on another frugal board) about insulating for cold weather that I thought was pretty interesting and worth a try when we go into fall/winter this year. The person said that they used bubble wrap laid directly onto the glass so that those little pillows of air helped trap heat inside and blocked cold from pouring in. I don’t know if it’s a legit way, but worth trying. They also suggested using foil or those mylar blankets to do the opposite in hot weather.

  59. I’ve definitely never seen one of those!

    I open the windows and doors and the house will cool down without using any electricity, provided it is cool enough to do so. The house smells fresh and the a/c doesn’t have to run for a couple of hours (otherwise it just keeps going). But that only works if it is below 79 in the early morning; otherwise, (like last week when it was 83 to 86) I just keep the windows closed.

  60. An interesting perspective Jeannie. I shared your comment with my husband. I find that I am surrounded by people who are like your friends. When I say how much I spend on groceries, I get comments like, “Oh, but then I’d have to _______” (garden, bake, etc.) and they do not want to do those things.

    It is so nice to have readers who are sharing money-saving ideas. I never realized what a boost that would give me to know I’m not the only one!

  61. Cindi,

    I grow two types of chives–regular “onion” chives that have purple flowers and garlic chives, which have white flowers. It sounds like you have the regular type. They are thinner and round. The garlic chives look more like blades of grass (and are flat).

    I use both the same ways, which are primaily chopped up and added to pasta salad, omlettes, and on top of baked potatoes.

  62. I know what you mean about the window units! We had one in the living room last year, which made watching tv or having a conversation nearly impossible. It was so loud! But the one that really drives me nuts is the bedroom one, as it is on the front of the house. So ugly.

  63. Allyson,

    If you go online and register for some of the restaurant email news letters you get things just for signing up. That free food might help.
    I also purchase before I leave from home from a list I have items from our grocery store that will last us up to a week when we go away.
    It sounds like you have most of the bases covered. Free entertainment while gone is the other thing we do. We always check out all state and national parks before we go away to see what will be close or on a route home etc. Have a wonderful trip! The main thing is to Bloom where you are planted even on vacation!

  64. I loooove the creative gifts you guys did for Winter’s secret sister! I’m sure she loved them. 🙂

    This week we spent a lot of money on necessary repairs/maintenance, so I’ve been trying to find new ways to save.

    1. We whipped out our unused espresso machine and started using it again. It’s just nice to feel that small luxury every morning. 🙂 I might make a homemade caramel syrup so we can make caramel macchiatos!

    2. I bought 3 giant sheets for $10 at the thrift store. I cut these into squares and turned them into beeswax clings to replace Ziploc bags and Saran Wrap.

    3. This week I plan to declutter our home. Hopefully I can sell some of the items, but if not, it’ll go to Goodwill.

    4. I bought a $4 photo album at the thrift store and will use it to organize photos given to me by my dad. They were in these giant frames that I have no use or room for, so the album will save a lot of space.

    5. I baked eclairs, macarons, and Rice Krispy treats for us to snack on.

  65. I love the gifts! They turned out so well!

    This week my husband took some vacation days for the holiday and we are trying to do some things around town that don’t cost a lot. We live in PA and took the kids to a beach at a local state park for free. We also went to a fireworks display in a local township last night for free last night and that was fun. And my oldest two children are participating in a program called Tennis For Kids that is offered in our Area. (York) For 26 years our area has been running this program where children ages 7-16 can participate in free tennis lessons on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings in the summer at many of our local parks and schools. It’s fabulous. We also have a local theater that plays free screenings of older movies a few days a week at 10 am in the summer. This week they are playing The Wizard of Oz, so we may go see that.

    I also bought corn while it was on sale for 10 ears for $2, which is a good price for our area, cooked it, and cut some off the cob to freeze for soups or to serve later in the year. The rest we just ate with dinner. 🙂

  66. HI
    I’m a long time reader and lurker, but Brandy’s comment in another post about how many readers she had vs posters got to me. I guess I never feel up to par with all of you pro savers so I just learn, but never post. I got to thinking about the the past week and here is my list.
    *Last week was my birthday and I had to get my licensed renewed in person so rather than using a lot of gas to get to the closest DMV and paying for parking, I learned that you can renew your licenses at AAA if you have a membership. In Massachusetts, we have to go every other time in in person to renew and last time I renewed online. This AAA is 5 mins from my house and I had less than a 5 minute turn around time rather than 20 plus minute drive and who knows how long of a wait time.
    *Used a coupon on my Dunkin Donuts app for a free birthday coffee
    *My friends had a Bday BBQ for me and I took home leftover strawberries and some Bday cake. In the past, I would say no to taking things home and finally I had the lightbulb moment to take things home
    *Unplugged things after I used them (Toaster, microwave, fan, and paper shredder)
    *Not completely frugal, but I have an AC turned on in my bedroom. I have the door cracked so the cold air stays in the room and doesn’t drain out into the house. It’s very refreshing when I go to sleep at night
    *A few weeks ago, I was in a car accident (I’m okay) with damage to my car. I feared the car was totaled, but it is able to be fixed and I will be picking it up today. Frugal because- I feared I would need to be buying a new car. Also frugal because my car insurance is paying for the fix.
    *I got a save the date for a friend’s wedding next September with the hotel information. A few of us friends started talking about splitting a room (would be between 50-100 per person). Then one friend asked the bride the time of the wedding. We all realized that it gets over early enough that we don’t need to stay over and can come home that night. The location is about an hour from me.
    *I reran my budget and decided I should cut out my daily newspaper deliveries. This will save me about $200 for 10 weeks I think. It will be weird to not have daily delivery, but I realize I don’t read them as much as I used to. I am just going to get the Sunday papers. As I was typing this, I realized another way I can save going forward. Our town does a Friday paper and it is $1. I often pick it up every Friday. I also go to a friend’s house every Friday for a “family dinner.” Often my friend’s Dad has the paper laying around on the table when we are there. I am sure he wouldn’t mind if I take 5 minutes to read the paper. This will save me $4 over the month.
    *I hit a good sale on cases of Diet Coke so I stocked up. Soda is my vice
    *I put some curtains in the washing machine and it occurred to me that I could just hang them back up on the curtain rods to dry rather than putting them in the dryer.

    *I’m returning soda cans for $.
    *I’m going to see if I can get the free weekend items from my Star Market app. Usually they are gone by now, but I wasn’t going to make a special trip just for them
    *I’ll be using a 15% coupon at Barnes and Noble to buy a book. I always buy a few of my favorite author’s new novels and she has a new one out. I have just been waiting on a coupon to be emailed.

    This week:
    *A friend and her family are coming to Boston for vacation from Florida. I have been invited on all of the sightseeing adventures. While I love Boston and playing tourist, all of their activities are not in my budget. It’s their vacation, not mine. I have bowed out of the sightseeing, but I will still be seeing the family for a few meals out as well as a BBQ at the friend who is hosting them. I do feel semi bad about this, but I just can’t spend all the $. (I know I can get library discounts, but it’s still $$). The former me would have just gone along and spend the money, but I am learning to say no.

  67. This is a great post, Jeannie. I, too, have friends who say they would rather work than bake, hang out laundry, shop sales, etc. etc. The truth is, I derive great pleasure from almost all of the things I do to save money. There is great satisfaction for me in doing something myself and seeing the results. And truthfully, for many people working harder does not result in more money in their hands — they must economize by necessity. I think one thing this blog does is show the joy in being frugal, even if you are doing it because that is the only way to make ends meet.

  68. We took a 3 day road trip to the Nez Perce Trail in western Montana and eastern Idaho. We camped in a national forest near the Lolo Pass. We used our Golden Age pass to reserve our half price camp site. It was so hot one day in Idaho! We were glad to be at a high elevation to sleep. We ate our meals either at the campsite or picnicking along the way. Gosh, dinner at the nearby lodge was expensive! More than we spent for camping and food for 3 days!

    We sold our teardrop trailer about one hour after posting photos on a Facebook site. 🙁 It needed to have the axel replaced and the manufacturer is out of business. We and our local R.V. place couldn’t find a replacement axel. Someone more mechanical could probably figure out a replacement. We used the proceeds to pay down our mortgage. I plan to pay it off this month 😀

    At work I had a free lunch, took home 3 servings of veggie lasagna and tossed salad, and received 2 free tickets to an Extreme Bulls rodeo event.

    Happy 4th everyone!

  69. I love history and work in a pioneer village. I find great pleasure in doing things “the old fashioned way” as it gives me a feeling of connecting with my ancestors. They didn’t have a choice, but to garden and preserve food for winter, dry their clothes on a line, sew and find ways to stretch every penny they earned. I’m lucky that there are several co-workers who also enjoy these things for the same reason. I don’t believe they are as frugal as I am, but it is so nice to be able to learn new skills from them or ask them questions about how to do something I want to try. I find that many people may not have an interest in doing gardening, home canning, sew or various other hand crafts, but they do appreciate the work that goes into it, especially when given as a gift.

  70. I love the idea of zucchini latkes! I never thought of that before. I have some shredded zucchini in the freezer and will be trying those this week. Thank you for the idea!

  71. Yes! Being frugal is fun for me! 😀 I love looking at my closet and seeing half the items are from the thrift store, and the other half from the clearance rack. My linen closet is stocked with beauty/personal care product bought using coupons/Extra Bucks/clearance deals..and my gift tote that I store Christmas presents in is the same. I can’t imagine paying full price for anything, and it pains me when I have to. I get such a kick out of a good deal! And I love reading this blog for more ideas and inspiration.

  72. I’ll do that. It makes better sense to me that bubble wrap would work, more than thin film. 😀

  73. I, too, share your relief that your daughter is cancer free.

    I understand about not being able to work. For me, it was because of my own health issues. It’s a scary place to be but living frugally helps relieve the stress.

    One thing I wanted to mention that has helped me in the past is volunteering for the food bank. If you’re able to get away even for a few hours, you might find that helpful. For our food bank, volunteers who put in a certain number of hours a week are allowed to pack their own banana box (i.e a very large cardboard box) with canned goods they personally select. It’s quite a bit of food and personalized to what I want. Volunteering also made it seem less like a handout and more like I was ‘working’ for the food, if that makes sense. It was also less of a regular time commitment. I could just show up at the warehouse when I was able.

  74. I had something similar that was a setting on my furnace. The ‘summer’ setting when turned on would bring in air from outside and blow it through the duct work into the house. It only operated when it was manually switched on. Yes, it did use electricity so there was some cost to it. I’d turn it on when I went to bed. It meant we could run cool air into the house and not have to leave the windows open all night. At least here in our city, I wouldn’t want to leave the windows unlocked and open as I slept.

  75. Years ago, I was unemployed for almost a year. After I went back to work, my SO told me that we actually had more money available to us when I wasn’t working. During unemployment, I cooked everything from scratch including crackers, bread, and yogurt. I learned to garden and can and dehydrate. We watched every penny.
    When we had a second income, we stopped doing a lot of those things for awhile. So, yes, I became a type2 person almost overnight. It was short lived however and I came back to my frugal ways.

  76. I love this Jeannie. I work full time and we are very careful with our money because we have goals. I am very aware of how much I need to make for it to be worth me working vs staying home. I am fortunate to have a great job, and it shocks me to hear how some people just throw away money. A colleague mentioned to me on passing once what she spends on groceries. She literally spends on one week what I often spend on an entire month. Now, this would be totally fine and would receive no judgement from me if the same colleague didn’t often complain that they wished they could work part time instead of full time. It is very hard to not say “but you could switch to part time if you made a few simple changes to your spending habits”. Sure, I would love to eat lamb and fresh seafood weekly, but then we would be paying off our mortgage in 50 years. I try to be as frugal as I can but I also try to be careful that it does not become an obsession. The great thing about this community is that we all learn and support each other. It makes me feel like I am not a weirdo!

  77. Rhonda, I am sorry to hear about the crisis at the graduation ceremony. As a mom and a teacher I sympathize. I hope that you are able to get into a psych soon. The waits can be long. I hope that your daughter gets lots of love and support from staff as she enters high school.
    On another note, I also paid 30/flat in Barrie this year. Last year I paid 27. I write down the prices every year. My mom said she paid 32/flat this weekend in London

  78. I spent the last week in Washington with our middle daughter. She is expecting, & her husband was sent to Texas by his work for the week. She is having some complications with this pregnancy, & is not supposed to lift Little Stuff. While I was there, Little Stuff & I made banana bread twice, & breadsticks twice. Most of them went into the freezer for Little Stuff to have for breakfast or lunch. I primed the back of two bifold closet doors. They are separating the doors, to function independently, & altho one never sees that back of the bifold door, when they both open out, that is a different matter. After they were primed, Little Stuff helped me paint one of them, & I did the other one. We put up a new blind in the room that will be for the baby, & helped sort out the tubs holding the clothes Little Stuff wore, to take out all the boy or gender neutral things, & put them in the baby’s closet. We picked strawberries from a small patch under one of my daughter’s trees, & we bottle blueberries from her freezer that were picked last year, to make room for the coming crop.

    I drove back home on Friday, & after I arrived home, I picked what was left of the apricots. The birds had shredded most of them, but I saved a few. Between the late frost & several windstorms, there weren’t that many to start with. Picked 2 cups of ripe blackberries & a couple of cups of red raspberries, rinsed them & threw them in the freezer. Picked a bowl of red currants, stemmed them & threw them in the freezer. I have been picking red currants & pie cherries since.

    Our youngest daughter gave me a large tree net for my birthday a while back, & we had put it over the pie cherry tree. That thing is fabulous. I had picked a few cherries before I went, and really, I expected the rest to have rotted while I was gone, given that temps were in the high 90’s all week. The cherries were fine! Very ripe, but fine. I picked as many as I could process on Saturday, & the measure thus far after pitting is 50 cups. That is more than twice the yield from last year. There are still more on the tree, too. I pitted the first ones on Saturday into a 2:1 sugar syrup, & let them sit over the weekend. Those ones are now in the dehydrator & I have refilled the jars with those I picked today. I love this net! There is NO bore damage, & it keeps the tree cooler, like a shade cloth, so I just untie the piece of clothesline that holds it around the trunk, lift up the net, step inside the tree shade, & drop the net behind me. It does have to be tied, otherwise it blows in the wind.

    When I drove back, I brought a large pot of chives & one of lavender for our oldest daughter, from our middle daughter. I was spending the gas money anyway, so we got a bit more value from it. Middle daughter als sent me home with a light fixture they had replaced with a fan, since I liked it & it will replace one of mine.

  79. Thank you Brandy. I have felt alone at times and did not realize how important my frugal ways were. Often times I was looked down upon, laughed at and made fun of, no one was cruel, they just did not see the value in saving money. They think their way is right, I think my way is right also.
    I like this website because everyone here is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!
    Thanks everybody.

  80. Thank you Cindi. I think you are right when you said, “…for many people working harder does not result in more money in their hands…” Years ago I read a great book, [i]The Millionaire Next Door[/i] by T. Stanley which changed the way I looked at people who appeared to be rich. The book proved, those that look rich, usually are not because they are spending so much trying to maintain their lifestyles. I required each son to read it as part of their home school studies. Two sons followed the advice of the book, Joshua, did not. (Oh well, I will love him anyway.)

    I enjoy being frugal, it is often like a game to see how much I can save. They would never understand…but you do!


  81. It is fun and just when you think you know it all, someone adds a new comment and I think, “Hey, I can do that!”

  82. I think being a type2 person is more fun in the short-term, play, spend, don’t think about the future, repeat.
    For me, knowing I can (if necessary) live on almost nothing and have a comfortable lifestyle is comforting. I don’t stress about the future. I have learned different skills which will help me if anything goes wrong, if not, hopefully my husband can retire earlier due to our money savings.

  83. Yes! We have the smallest house on the block, but it’s clean and pretty and ours. The way the rooms and windows are laid out, there is one window AC just above the front door and one right next to the front door, and they make the front of the house look so junky. Ah, vanity. We are lucky to have AC units at all of course! It doesn’t hurt that this preference for waiting as long as possible also saves a lot on the amount we pay for electricity, either 😉

  84. I shared on the blog I was going to try and make your
    Mini Pavol. So I did today first time. They turned out so pretty for a 4th dessert. Thank you❤
    My merange went abit flat after slowly adding sugar but turned out anyway.

  85. I like to make vegetable latkes with whatever I lying around. Squash, carrots, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. It’s a great way to use up bits and bobs.

  86. Wow the week went fast!!! I have some news to share. My sister sent a pair of crocs, and my daughter is wearing them a little bit. She’ll put them on to go in and out of the car, and depending on where we are going, we may be able to get her to wear them a bit more. Its a start. Hours after I posted last week about the house being vacant, an application was submitted. I went over it with a fine tooth comb. I couldnt dig up any dirt on the people. We accepted it. They signed the lease and paid the rent & security the next day. We didnt lose any rental income, and the mortgage payments are still ahead. I will take what is in savings and put it ahead even more. The flea market, ebay, and amazon was good to us this week. I went to Sams this morning and bought a 7lb pack of ground beef and some other supplies. I also bought a box of members mark donut shop k cups…..they are pretty good. Not bad compared to the maxwell house grounds I’ve been making do with. I portioned the ground beef into 8 packages so that should last us awhile. I only got 3 meals out of the #10 can of sauce, so I think its cheaper to use the 99¢ jars from sav a lot. This morning we went to the outlet at the foodservice trucking company, and I got 6lbs of fresh mozzerella pearls for $3. It wasnt as good of a deal as the 30lb mozerella curd that I had gotten in April, but it was better than paying at least $2 a lb for cheese anywhere else. I just cant believe how the price of food has gone up! I hope everyone else has as great of a week as we have!

  87. I love the gifts that Winter is giving her secret sister! They seem ideal. I’m sure she’ll be just tickled!!

    We’re still adjusting to my husband’s new job and lower pay so it’s been challenging and scary to figure out how to make things work.
    I’m soooo grateful that he found a job so quickly though.

    We had a cheap date on Saturday. The zoo in Wichita (less than an hour away) was sponsoring a blood drive. So, we went & donated. The Red Cross fed us pizza and Girl Scout cookies, we got free admission into the zoo, snacks & water, & a free tshirt each. It was a bit warm so we spent more time on the tram than normal, but it was a lovely day. We did buy some drinks (with our refillable zoo cups from another trip!) so the total cost for the day was $2.17. We might have to make that a yearly date!!

  88. • Opened windows at night and used fans rather than A/C. Closed up the house during the day and pulled curtains to keep out the sun. When the inside of the house hit 78 degrees with 80% humidity, I cracked and turned on the A/C.
    • Made daily swag goal x 3.
    • Colored my hair at home
    • This past week was the official office moving day. I accepted gifts of: XL wastepaper basket – will use this in the basement, a 2’ x 4’ table on wheels – I’ll use this as a crafting table, a cork bulletin board, and a heavy-duty metal footstool.
    • Made a new batch of “stinky shoe” spray from – tea tree oil & vodka. This really works to kill the bacteria in our shoes and boots. Before I found this, I would gag when my son took off his boots.
    • Spoke with the pharmacist about the new $100 co-pay for my prescription. She said it is because a generic just became available. She switched my script to the generic and my copay dropped to $6.50. So far the generic seems to perform the same as the branded version.
    • I was too tired & hot to cook one night so had cantaloupe and prosciutto for dinner with a separate green salad.
    • After a very expensive May, I came in under budget for June!
    • Found blueberries on sale for $1.48 per pint so I bought six more pints and froze four.
    • Updated my monthly net worth spreadsheet.
    • Ordered a new winter coat on clearance and went through Swagbucks.
    • Didn’t buy an ice cream machine even though I really want one! I’m saving my Swagbucks $25 Amazon cards until I have enough to buy one for free.

  89. I love this post, Jeannie. I too am surrounded by Type 2 people. I don’t give the money saving advice anymore. They will never understand the thrill and joy I get from doing something like getting a tube of toothpaste for free!

    I recently quit my job, but know we will be ok, since I know how to economize. I am loving the flexibility and security that frugality offers.

  90. J, anyone who has the energy to work a fulltime job is amazing to me. And yes, this community has helped me feel like I am not a weirdo, well, maybe I am a weirdo, but now I have many friends and I belong!

  91. – Started using 2 apps on my phone for saving money, Price Book and Savings Wallet, to track prices and spending
    – Received money back using Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Walmart Savings Catcher
    – Borrowed book from library
    – Reread the Tightwad Gazette books
    – My husband changed the oil in both our cars
    – Bought a 10 pound bag of chicken quarters for .59 a pound. Usually I would throw the whole bag in the freezer, but I repackaged them into family serving sizes.
    – My husband made solar screens for our west facing windows. It makes these rooms a lot cooler

  92. Brandy, I loved your post! And I love this blog. I keep a list in my kitchen of all of my frugal accomplishments now and it makes me want to keep adding to it!

    On Thursday, I took flew to Iowa with my Dad to see my sister, who moved there last year. He grew up in Iowa, so he wanted to drive around his hometown and show my sister and I all his old haunts. Not frugal from my standpoint, as I had to pay for my own plane ticket and since we were driving around, most of our meals were eaten out and I had to pay for a hotel room on the day we drove there, but I feel like that is why I am frugal. To help cover for things like this. He is unable to travel alone and it makes me feel good to know what I did for him. Since the hotel we stayed at had a casino, we did some gambling. Not frugal, but again, as I am frugal most of the time, I don’t feel guilty for being that way. And this time it paid off! I won $180!

    My accomplishments last week:

    * Refilled my dish soap dispenser. I dilute it 1:1 as it lasts much longer that way, as I tend to wash 1 pan at a time and don’t make up a big sink of soapy water very often.
    * Used free hotel toiletries.
    * Kept the AC at higher temps and used ceiling fans.
    * Made soup from leftover scraps I had accumulated in the freezer soup container.
    * Ate leftovers for lunch.
    * Ate cinnamon toast for my afternoon snack 2 days. I always forget about this cheap treat.
    * Hubby ate his lunch at work all week.
    * Kept TV off most of the day.
    * Continued to eat up from my full freezer and kept up my freezer inventory spreadsheet so I knew I was eating the oldest items first.
    * Washed used ziplocs.
    * Bought a shirt and dress at 50% off.
    * Hubby made toast but forgot to eat it, so I grated it up and put it in my breadcrumbs jar.
    * Had some Hershey Kisses for a sweet treat after dinner. Had gotten those free from work and froze them.
    * Drank coffee and tea I had gotten free from work.
    * Found my clothesline and hung out 4 loads of laundry.
    * Turned lights off whenever possible.
    * Received a free calendar in the mail.
    * We had a pipe leak in our wall this week. Plumber came out and had to turn off the water to repair. Hubby went to McDonald’s to get our lunch. We got 2 Big Macs for the price of 1 as I had a coupon.
    * I made a big pan of lasagna for my husband for while I was gone. We had it for dinner the night before I left and then he ate that for 4 more meals. He froze the rest. He left for Taiwan for a week for business, so while he is gone, I will eat the rest of it.
    * I am very proud of my Hubby’s frugal achievement. He did not eat out while I was gone. He ate food out of the freezer. He wanted to grill some Italian Sausage and have a pasta side dish. Usually I have packets or boxes of that on hand, but didn’t this time, so he took it upon himself to create a cream sauce for some vermicelli I had. He even substituted whole milk, since that is what we had, for the cream. He was really proud of himself and I am proud of him too!
    * Last week I had hung a sheet over a window in the kitchen that gets the afternoon sun. It worked, but not the best. Hubby hung up a foam type blanket instead. It works much better.
    * Brought my sister a jar of home canned fig jam as my hostess gift to her. I had gotten the figs free from a friend’s tree. Also, I reused a cloth circle to put on top that my mother-in-law had saved from a gift jar I had given her that she had returned.

  93. I grew up in a house with one and my last house also had one. They are called “attic fans”. The idea is to turn it on, close all windows except for one window as far from the fan as possible. It will suck all the hot air out of the house and draw cooler air in. Awesome for the right kind of climate like New England.

  94. During the 1970’s energy crises, my grandparents hung curtains between the front hallway and the LR and another set between the LR and the stairway to the upstairs. It helped keep the heat in the area where they spent the most time.

    Not sure where my grandmother got the fabric or whether it was something that she repurposed, but both sets of curtains were wool.

  95. I love Winter’s gift. I’m in Ontario, Canada and we have received 6 inches of rain in the last ten days.
    I harvested and dryer basil, oregano, parsley, basil, sage and rosemary.
    I washed and hung clothes to dry on the clothes line and racks.
    We cleaned the basement and sold a few items
    I canceled net flicks as we don’t have enough data to be watching it anyway.

    This week I need to try and find lower car and house insurance rates.

  96. Friends are always saying how “lucky” I am that I only work part time(I didn’t work when the kids were little). I only work outside my home part time because I work inside my home full time. I cook every day. I grow a large garden. I can. I use coupons and thrift shop. To have put my kids in day care would have been crazy expensive. It would not have been worth it for me to work full time because my check would have gone to day care. We do not go away often. When we do we usually drive and stay with family or friends or we turn a business trip for my husband into a mini vacation. I have said this over and over through the years to my friends but they do not listen. They would never “waste” their time reading blogs like this. Most of their joint incomes are more then my husband’s and mine. Yet they never have any money and are always broke. The only difference is we only have a mortgage payment. We live below are means. We do things ourselves. We are very happy with the way we live. All of you are my frugal friends.

  97. Here we go, a bit late:

    Good shopping deals this week: We eat a lot of produce, and I don’t garden
    snap peas $1 / bag
    brussels sprouts $1 / bag
    blueberries: $1/ 5 oz
    Cantaloupe: 97 cents each
    Strawberries: 97 cents/ lb
    mini peppers: 2.50/ lb (often can find for less, not this week)
    large head cauliflower: $1

    I also found an off brand of pasta at the 99 cent store, that is actually $1 for 2 lb. I hadn’t noticed the 2 lb bags before. I bought a few.

    I made more pizza shells. Kid #2 is turning 5 this week, and we are having 2 families over for dinner. We are going to have “make your own pizza”, so I’ve made 4 large pizza shells in the last 2 weekends. We also bought a 12-pack of soft pita breads, just the right size for the 9 kids in the 3 families. Will round it out with veggies and homemade hummus, and cupcakes. I found cake mixes for $1.

    Kid #2 got free lunch all week. The preschool was testing it out. Alas, they are not continuing. This was offset a bit by husband forgetting to bring home his lunch box. It’s going to be pretty gross on Weds. And I know he didn’t eat his veggies.

    Husband and kid #1 got a free lunch out after camp this week. I’d earned a free sail and lunch from some volunteer work I did last year. Neither my husband nor I wanted to sail, so we just used the lunch. I checked the menu, and didn’t see anything I wanted, so I sent them. It was only enough for 2 anyway.

    Got free parking every day for camp drop off and pick up. Today, packed a lunch for kid #1 because he has morning camp and a different after noon camp. We ate in a park.

    Made homemade bread when we ran out of sandwich bread.

    Drank water all week.

    Watched TV on hulu and you tube.

    Went for a family walk

    Read a book from the little free library up the street.

    Stopped at a park to play after the family walk.

    Ate a lot of leftovers for lunch all week.

    Ate from the freezer /pantry. We are going on vacation at the end of the month, so I’m trying to “eat down” what we have instead of just buying more. I’ve finished a lot of stuff! You can tell I’m doing a lot of baking. We ran out of flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter all in the same week.

    Our budget is $133/ week. It is very rare for the people I know to actually have a budget at all. Some do, but don’t talk about it. Anyway, at the end of the school year, I talked to a friend whose twins are in class with my older son. She mentioned her $150/week budget. It was awesome for us to be able to talk tips and tricks! She has a husband, two boys who are taller than me, and a brother who lives with them half time. Her kids take lunch to school too, so I am very impressed. We both waxed on about how awesome Sprouts is for good priced sale produce.

    My last 6 weeks have been on or under budget, which is great (and needed, as we are over for the year). But today’s Costco run was $73. Some of the food will last a long time, but I hadn’t really counted on how much extra it costs to feed my 11 year old over the summer, since he gets school lunch during the year.

  98. I really enjoyed all of your vacation posts though. Very helpful.

    It’s funny because I have many friends who LOVE to vacation in Las Vegas. Of course, they aren’t being very frugal.

    We don’t do very many day trips either. Of course, we live at the beach. But many interesting places are a 4+ hour drive, and that is just too much for us.

    You do have a wonderful home and garden, which makes it nice to stay at home. When i was growing up, my family took *one* vacation, where we drove from PA to NC to stay with my uncle’s family. We did stay in a hotel one night on the way down, but I think we drove straight back. I was 7. Other than that, I think we probably “camped” at Erie beach twice, for one night. It was a 2-hour drive. My parents would borrow a tent (we didn’t have one). They would sleep in the car in the parking lot, and the kids would sleep in the borrowed tent in a grassy area. It wasn’t even a real campground I don’t think. We had a Fiat at one time, but I think we probably had a bigger car when my parents were sleeping in it.

    Mostly my fun summer stuff was getting together with family on the weekends.

  99. This was great. It’s rare for me to find friends that live on a budget, especially in my area.

    On one hand, many of my friends and coworkers can relate to the fact that I have had *one* raise in 6 years. One (new) coworker said “but costs keep going up!” yes, but, in the last few years I have
    – refinanced the house ($700/ mo savings)
    – changed from child care to preschool ($2000/ year savings, and we are headed to kindergarten, so that will be another big savings)
    – cut my grocery bill in half (it’s drifted up again, but at least it’s at 70% of where it was in 2014)

    So I’ve managed my bills, I guess.

    I do have a few good friends and neighbors on a budget. I have found that it’s easier to find people who HAVE to be on a budget. People who have only one income or are self-employed are much easier to relate too. And we trade tips on where to find the best produce!

  100. Jenny,
    At one point I lived in a very old, drafty house. The kitchen window was a very tall double hung window!! I took a piece of solid styrofoam, cut it slightly smaller to fit the lower half of the window, wrapped it in batting, and then covered it with fabric to match the curtains. Once finished, I “pushed” it into the window frame. That really helped, but still allowed light in the top half and looked nice.

  101. Laurie, the hardest thing for me, and I mean the HARDEST, is learning to keep my mouth shut, especially when they start whining. I want to help them solve their problems, offer suggestions, make their lives better. It does not work. It is like telling a two year old not to stretch a rubber band all the way out because it will snap back and hurt. They do it anyway. Saying “I told you so,” never makes anything better.

  102. Marcia, you are doing great! Don’t give up and don’t discount yourself, [i]”So I’ve managed my bills, I guess.”[/i] What you have done is amazing and it is only the beginning. Continue to build on your success; you will see more and more ways to make your life better.

  103. My husband tried to offer money saving suggestions to a coworker and friend of 35 yrs who was having lots of financial problems, at which time that friend said, “who are you , my financial advisor?” We decided to stop offering that kind of advise. Type 2 people don’t see it our way.

  104. Hi Cheryl, how did your husband make the screens? What did he use to block the sun? I would love to cut some of the sun for our west facing windows.

  105. I loved your post. My best friend and I are polar opposites when it comes to spending. Although we are only two years apart in several we were raised so differently.

    I grew up on a farm and if money was tight we sold another animal to slaughter. My mom gardened and canned and budgeted and saved for something she wanted. She couponed and sewed and mended, etc. These are all things I learned and do. My parents never had a credit card their entire lives.

    My friend doesn’t blink twice at spend $70 for groceries for one meal when she finds a receipe she thinks she might like. We and her husband have lots of credit card debt and are one long illness away from going under.

    Their kids love to spend time with me because we go on picnics, to parks, the free zoo etc. which they find adventurous because it is so far from their normal.

    I don’t say anything, just thank God and my parents for learning frugal ways, saving for a rainy day and knowing wants versus needs.

  106. Winter has a very lucky secret sister. Those gifts are so very thoughtful. I love how she paid special attention to the detail of having Victoria’s name in a prominent location on the coin purse.

    Since you and Winter are both so talented in creating high quality gifts for very low cost to you, have you ever thought of opening an Etsy shop? I am not at all entrepreneurial, but it seems as if the wonderful things you both create would sell. Of course, there is the time involved, and I know you are very, very busy as it is.

    We continue to plug along. 🙂

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Hubs and I did NOT stop to get something to drink after dropping son off at church to leave for summer camp. (The check-in process took much longer than we’d been led to expect, the weather was unusually hot, and we were standing in a parking lot without shade. By the time the busses finally pulled out, we were sunburned and parched. It was soooo tempting to run through a drive through for something cold to drink, but we just came home and drank ice water instead. :p)

    * Made bread, yogurt, and veggie stock (used carrots that were past their prime and some veggie scraps from the freezer).

    * Harvested grapes, apples, cabbage, broccoli, purple pole beans, and a couple of little strawberries.

    * Mended a shirt.

    * Sewed a Scout patch on son’s shirt. (There was a time when I would pay someone else to do this, but now I just do it.)

    * Paid bills online to save on postage (plus this gives me more control in terms of when the money leaves our interest-earning account; it’s only a few pennies a month, but every little bit helps and we can avoid service fees as well).

    * It cooled down quite a bit towards the end of the week, so we were able to NOT run the AC for three (!) days. On days we do have to run it, we keep the thermostat set for 80F and run the ceiling fans.

    * We received a $5 check from our gas company for participating in a trial conservation program. We didn’t lower our consumption enough to earn any additional money ($2.50 per therm reduced), but I didn’t really expect to. Our usage is pretty low as it is, so it would be quite a challenge to lower it much more.

    * Our magnolia tree drops tons of leaves this time of year, so Hubs raked them up, ran the lawnmower over them, and used the mulch on the veggie garden beds.

    * Our local library was selling a bunch of DVDs and CDs for $1 each, so we bought a few (plus I had a coupon for $1 off, so one of them was free. It was a splurge, but a frugal-ish one.

    * Continue to use warm-up and rinse water on potted plants and the new roses (they’re booming!).

    Happy 4th of July to all in the U.S. Have a great week, everyone.

  107. I fell for the same trap thinking the whining was a cry for help. NOT! It was just whining and all they wanted was a person to listen. Now that I understand it, I will do that.

  108. Yes, that has been hard for me too. Especially when it is someone you care about. But I now just keep my mouth shut and think about the money in our savings account and think to myself, “Time will tell….”

  109. Greetings!
    Brandy, I have to apologize for spelling your name wrong in recent posts. I seem to have decided that your name ends in i. Sorry about that! I have no idea why my brain does that.
    Winter did a fabulous job of picking out gifts for her secret sister. Her Mother has taught her well! Your whole family is so talented!
    My frugal tasks this week include talking my husband into trimming my hair. This may be only the second time I’ve been able to do that. He did a great job! I have shoulder length, curly hair so there’s really no danger of messing it up.
    I washed in cold and hung most loads on the outdoors line. We had rain one wash day so that was put in the dryer. I even waited two extra days before washing.
    I exercised at home, walked the dog and walked with friends around the neighborhood. I love walking for my health!
    I saw my Dr. and had my teeth cleaned. I’m good to go for awhile.
    I planted more spinach and kale seeds. Our CSA covers these but I like a lot of spinach and discovered I kind of like kale. Plus, it’s easy to grow and actually does grow here. Our nights are still in the 50’s most days.
    I’ve listed and sold several things on eBay. I let everything lapse for a month so I’ve been trying to get back into a selling rhythm. It’s so helpful for savings!
    Since I was driving to Marquette anyway, I picked up supplies for the store where I work. I used my credit card, got cash back and they pay me immediately. I love this cash back deal! I always ask if the store needs anything when I go that way. While there, I also hit up many garage sales, the real reason I was headed that way. I found some great stuff to sell on ebay.
    After I dried several medicinal herbs, I dropped a glass that shattered into a million pieces. Of. Course, the shards landed in the herbs that I’d left on the counter. So, I started over. I’ve got them steeping in oils, now.
    I blended garlic scapes, a bit of basil and butter and froze it all. It’s so good!
    I made enough frosting to use on three batches of brownies. I’m so happy it’s all gone! My husband is the brownie addict. I can walk away from them unless there’s frosting involved. (I prefer cakes)
    We walked uptown for an ice cream treat at DQ. We used the last of a GC I bought months ago at a discount.
    I watered down the laundry soap, hand soap, (which is actually shampoo), and shampoo. The laundry soap didn’t work for me; I like it full strength. I use less than recommended, though.
    That’s it for me. I hope everyone has a fabulous week ahead!

  110. I usually go thrift store shopping on the weekend of the 4th of July because most folks are out of town. I also go right after Christmas. I found one dress with a jacket that I can wear to church for $3.00, and a Sag Habor skirt suit ($8.00) I can wear to work, as well as another gray skirt suit ($4.00) that is appropriate for court. I have a like new pair of shoes for $6.00 and a purse for when my current one wears out for $3.00. I have already worn the dress and jacket twice! I made a chicken fried rice recipe and brought some to work for lunch, as well as having enough left over for supper for the rest of the week. I walked and stayed at a family member’s cabin for free. I brought my own food and read books. It was delightful.

  111. I am not sure how it works where you are, but as someone going to school to be a school psychologist. Does your school district have any resources? Normally a school psy. can not see someone for the long term but they may be willing to see her a few times till she can get in elsewhere. It also looks like your daughter is into art? I would encourage you to look up Peacelove studios as well 🙂

  112. Hi

    Have you thought of using an ecoegg? I’ve used one for the last 5-6 years ( at least). I would never go back to detergent. It estimates a cost of £19.99 for 720 washes and from personal experience I’d say that is corrrect- it just never runs out.

  113. A vacation is seldom in my budget either, Brandy. I go to a work required seminar at the beach every year and my hotel, and my food and gas is paid for, but I would never go if I did not have it paid for, and it I were not required to attend. I enjoy walking on the beach after the seminar, and swimming in the hotel pool. I did go to Utah by train to my daughter’s wedding reception in 2012, and to visit her, once in 2013, and I think those are my only true vacation trips I have taken since our camping vacations in the 1990’s. Years ago (again, I am talking about the mid 1990’s), when I was married and the children were young, we had a popup camper and would go camping on the weekends at the local state park. I have not recovered financially from the 2007-2011 recession yet. I am just so grateful I now have a house, after losing my job and my house in the recession in 2011.

  114. What a very nice collection of items you and Winter devised for the friendship exchange gift. Brandy, do you trellis your cucumbers to get more into a small space?

    Staying at home today. Watching nephew Henry for 2 hours while Susie has an appointment. He is 1 month old yesterday. He came asleep in his little car seat and he is still asleep. So cute. Daughter Olivia and missionary Patti are still gone but they return on Friday night so house will be back to normal.

    We did the usual of composting, recycling, washed out ziplocs, hung laundry to dry…well some, as we had multiple rains storms. Cooked from scratch. Mended torn sheet, put new elastic in a waistband, sewed a loose spot in a braided rug (originally made by my maternal grandma), washed/dried and sorted up the fabric I bought at the rummage sales. Pulled out the box of doll clothes saved, washed them up. Starting to set up a play area in the basement for the babies who are growing so fast.
    Husband took the FisherPrice kitchen outside and scrubbed it all and let sit in the sun. I washed up the foodstuffs and dishes and all the accessory stuff. Also brought up the Lego Duplos and rinsed and dried those. Looked through my patterns to see what I might want to sew.

    Finished harvesting the strawberries except for the everbearing section. Those were a newer addition to the plot so we will see how that goes this year. They promised to be cold hardy and produce throughout the summer. Picked the first of the zucchini and of the kohlrabi. Picked lots of greens. Spinach done. Picked various herbs and mint. We’ve picked savoy cabbages new to us this year. They are delicious and nice to have cabbage a bit earlier than the greens and reds. Corn has tripled in height over the last week…still so long to wait though! Raspberries will be ready by next week. All our new cold hardy blueberry plants made it through the winter. Picked more rhubarb.

    Over the last week made bread, pretzel rolls, snickerdoodles, rhubarb pie, angel food cake. With just the two of us we had mostly sandwiches, some chili from the freezer, refried beans from freezer for burritos, salad, coleslaw. We made waffles one day for breakfast then toasted two that night for dessert and put strawberries and vanilla icecream on them.

    Saturday was our extended family gathering on my mother’s side, kind of a reunion. Our house is used for the food location etc as we are located closest to the pond. We did not have to do much but clear out the garage, set up our tables and chairs. Others brought tables chairs, food. Some of the guys came early and cooked up the brats, hot dogs and hamburgers then put them in the Nesco to stay hot. One of my aunts picked up the bun order and dropped that off. Every one brings dishes to pass. I made baked beans which is what I usually do, 2 large crockpots full, one just plain baked beans, the other the calico bean mix. Lots of swimming, games, food and more food then fireworks display from cousins and uncles.

  115. Cathi, he bought a roll of solar screen (it has a purple label) and spline from Home Depot, it’s in the screen replacement section. He could have replaced the screen on the lower part of the window but he decided to make screens that covered the whole window. So he also bought the frame pieces and connectors to make the large ones. He then attached the frames to the outside of the window frame with heavy duty velcro. You can really tell the difference quite quickly. You can purchase ready made ones to fit your window, but they were expensive. He says each screen costs around $40-$50 to make. Thank you for asking.

  116. I am trellising my cucumbers. I undid several rolls of concrete mesh that I had previously used as cages and my eldest son and I put them flat in the garden this year so that I can trellis more to get more from my space. I have cucumbers and beans on the trellis and I am trying to get squash to trellis (if it will grow!) I grew several rows of peas that way this past year and I’ll do that again this next year. It’s nice to get more out of the same space by growing vertically.

  117. Thanks Cheryl. I will have to look for that. I’m going to pass the info on to a friend too. His trailer gets really hot and this could help.

  118. 1. My last day of summer school my class had a potluck. My teacher had so much leftover food she sent me home with a bowl of pineapple, a bowl of mixed fruit, and 4 croissants. So yay for delicious food!

    2. I need a textbook my school didn’t have through the library. I was able to rent it from Amazon for $22.00 with fress shipping both ways compared to $80 from the school!

    3. Had fourth of july at my parents and was sent home with half a watermelon, a big pie dish full of macaroni salad, leftover cake as it was my son’s birthday. I am happy and so is my food budget!

    4. Was able to score free toothpaste from CVS as I rolled my extrabucks and then earned more!

    5. Was able to score a computer from my works surplus for a little over $100. It has a thin tower and large monitor. Not super cheap but I also was able to get windows 10 for free.

    *Bonus* Because I am a student I am able to get free counseling sessions and free gym membership. I have been using both. Strong body and strong mind=happy mom/student/employee.

  119. This blog so much encourages me. I talk about it to anyone who listens! We are in IA and drove here instead of flying. My FIL is sending us home with a large container of potato salad, 4 gallon size bags of grilled chicken, pork and brats, 5 boxes of cereal, some spaghetti sauce, 2 hot dog bun packs and then my brother-in-law gave us 10 large cucumbers from his garden. I am more than happy to accept since we ate out twice and that balances the travel budget and grocery budget out. We also gratefully received 6 packets of smoked sausage. Staying with family here also saved us money and I am so grateful they insist on that. Our oldest is finishing up his last semester at college and his financial aid finally came through. Even though it would have been nice to get it all through college instead of paying ourselves, I am grateful that we don’t have to fork over $5000 for the last semester. All in all, our vacation has been rather inexpensive as we budgeted for gas and brought along the snacks for this 19 hour drive!!

  120. Thanks for the recipe Mable. I printed it. We make pakoras with grated zucchini and carrots and using the Indian spices. You need to have some garbanzo flour but I wonder if white or whole wheat would work. The garbanzo flour keeps in the refrigerator and I use it for other recipes too. The tip I got from internet was to bake them in mini muffin pans rather than deep frying and that works well, probably for tots too.

  121. Margaret, is your growing space the balcony? No yard? You’re in a large city, I think. Is it big enough to sit out on, eat out at etc? Grow flowers too? When travelling I have noticed productive balconies in various cities and they look so pleasant.

    For a firestarter I keep a cardboard egg carton on the top of the dryer and just add the bits of lint from the screen till it is full. Also bit ends of candles. Nice to have along for a campfire or out in the firepit. If you shell nuts those are nice to add too.

  122. Elizabeth, my daughter in law was born in Hawaii and lived there until she left to go to University in California. Her parents moved with her, then they moved again to our north midwest for her graduate school. She says she is finally acclimated to the non tropical temperatures. I have seen many pictures from their life there and it is a beautiful state, though I have heard, expensive to live in. You are wise to make do for now, I agree.

  123. Becky, I am glad you daughter is reading the Little House books. They are wonderful. In fact this year is the 150th anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth. I am using the books and pioneer life as the theme for my summer reading program. A book I just picked up at the public library sale shelf (for .25) was called THIMBLE SUMMER by Elizabeth Enright pub 1966. I already added it (used paperback) into our collection It is a Newberry Award Winner and it looks like it comes in audio book form also.

    Another book she might like then is CADDIE WOODLAWN by Carol Ryrie Brink a Newberry winner from 1936. This one was made into a movie and is also an audiobook. Along with THE CABIN FACED WEST by Jean Fritz 1958.

    The pioneer life is fascinating and many families on this blog may not be actually moving out into wild territory but they are living the self sufficient, make it or break it life. Pioneers were frugal to the nth degree.

  124. Oh my Jen, that is very interesting about the pianos! I just google “portland pianos in parks” and came up with an article from the paper with many photos. Are they waterproofed? Looks like a great idea for rescued pianos and lots of fun for children. If someone can play well you could enjoy some impromptu free concerts.

  125. We managed several big vacations when the children were younger, cross country trips. But with my husband self employed there is no paid vacation time and time away from the business is potential lost business, lost income. We are lucky to be able to go minutes from here for wonderful city and county parks, and hour or 2 to state parks and 3-4 to national parks.

  126. I didn’t know nut shells could be burnt — how interesting!

    My growing space is indeed my balcony. It’s not very big, and I’ve only eaten out there before I started growing things. I originally bought an inexpensive cafe set (table and two chairs) and made custom burlap covers (using an old coffee sack and some quilt batting from my stash) for a bit of a French feel. I brought those indoors though, as they weren’t waterproof. I plan to sell them soon, actually. There isn’t a balcony above mine, as those above us are recessed, so unfortunately smokers drop cigarette ash onto our balcony, and my newly refurbished waterproofed bench was burnt (it was my mom’s old hall bench which I had recovered in oilcloth). I plan to redo the seat (the rest is wrought-iron) using beach stones in cement for a Provencal look. Then I’ll be able to sit out on the balcony and enjoy looking at my leafy green growing things! I have a trellis on one wall that I’m training pea vines up, and it should make for a nice design element as well. I’m still waiting for my nasturtiums to bloom and when they do, hopefully they will spill out everywhere and make it prettier. I’ve tried to design my little balcony garden to be attractive while still providing as much food as possible. Aside from my inability to grow lettuce, I’m pretty happy with it! I love hearing about your farm, btw!!!

  127. Hello Frugal friends,
    I shopped the thrift stores 50% off sale and picked up an old fashioned canner with a rack for $7.49. I haven’t canned anything since I was a kid! I want to teach my nieces how to make jelly and jam. They live on a 10 acre hobby farm with tons of berries growing wild.
    What is a good price for pint jars? I picked up 6 including rings & lids for $.50 each. Is that a good deal? Also does anyone have a beginner s recipe? Thanks.

  128. Hi, Sheens,
    I’ll check into that the next time I need laundry soap. I have a year or two supply so it may be awhile. I have not heard of that particular name. We must have something similar. Thanks!

  129. Oh that is too bad about the smokers 🙁 The refurbishment sounds nice though. My daughter did that to an old table with a box of mini tiles that she picked up at a rummage sale. I think they are 1″ square. Holding up nicely to the weather, so I wish you the same luck.

  130. Cindy, me too! And they appeal nicely to boy readers as well as girls, which is always a plus. They reissued the books with full color illustrations a few years ago and I have been picking those up as I see them. They are the original illustrator, Garth Williams, just “colorized”. There is a new series based off the original books for young readers and the illustrations are done by someone else but she studied the originals so well that they mirror Garth Williams illustrations perfectly.

  131. Theresa, the potato soup sounds good. I put rosemary in it, but I’d say thyme would be tasty also. You must be much warmer there, zone 8a ( we are 4b). Do you have a problem with rain, as in not enough? I always seem to think of Texas as being a drier state.

  132. I am happy to hear of the cancer free diagnosis for your daughter and pray the new complications will heal speedily. Does your state offer a secondary plan for your daughter’s insurance that will pick up the copays? Pretty much all special needs folks here have that back up plan that will cover things like the deductible, copay or co insurance.

  133. Many houses here have attic fans. They are very useful. Windows are also double hung, especially in older houses, and you can open from the top and the bottom creating an air circulation. Our old farm house has no air conditioning, but high ceilings, cross ventilation and an attic for heat to rise all work together, along with mature shade trees. In our ranch we live in now, most of the time the air conditioning is used to help with the humidity, not so much the heat.

  134. I enjoyed your post, Susie. 3 quarts of dried cherries is a lovely amount to have on hand.

    Are you in Amish country there in NW Indiana? Or are you closer to Chicago that you have so many Band B guests?

  135. There are also the Canadian books by L.M. Montgomery. I’d bet your daughter would enjoy reading the Anne of Gables series, about a young red haired orphaned girl with a fiery temper that gets into all sorts of trouble. The books are set in Prince Edward Island, Canada and were made into movies as well. L.M Montgomery wrote many other wonderful books set in the 1800s including the Road to Avonlea series which was made into a T.V. series.

  136. If you’re going to make jam using pectin, there are usually recipes included inside the box of pectin.

    Although not essential, I’d recommend looking for a jar lifter made for lifting canning jars out of the water. Also, there’s a tool ‘lid lifter’ that has a magnet on the end.

  137. We’re about 90 minutes south of Chicago, and probably about half are either city or beach-bound when they visit us. We also have the random relatives visiting local folks for a holiday, or sadly, a funeral. We are also about 40 minutes from Purdue University, and I’ve had many guests who were visiting their children. It’s been a lot of fun meeting so many new people. :). And my love languages happen to be hospitality and nurturing, so this works out great for me! Lol!

  138. We had good news Saturday morning…My husband’s job is safe for a bit longer. I’ve been working to get some things accomplished about the house and yard. Mostly trying to make do with what I have, of course. I spent the afternoon canning cranberry sauce, using berries I’d frozen. I haven’t heard but one ping thus far. If it doesn’t seal I’ll freeze it all. It sure did taste good!

  139. Yes, she might like the L.M. Montgomery books. They would all be on audio. The reading level is teen to adult though many children read much earlier, as of course they are clean books. I think there are 8 in the series. However most of the story that folks are familiar with are based on the first 2.

    The Road to Avonlea TV series is based on the King Family series. There are only two books in that one. The Emily series has 3 books.

    You might want to look for the prequel published for the 100th anniversary on Anne of Green Gables called Before Green Gables.

  140. The school does have psychologists, but we have to be referred through the school, which is on summer break. At this point, I don’t think a psychologist will be much good, as they are not able to prescribe medications. We know that she needs her medications adjusted or added to, but even the pediatrician we have seen for another issue stated he would be hesitant to make adjustments considering the medications she is already on. It’s kind of like dealing with someone with bipolar disorder. They know what they are doing is not right, but can’t help themselves until medications help them level out so they can think more logically. We really need a child psychiatrist.

    I looked up the Peacelove studios. It looks really interesting, but only available in some areas of the U.S. Nothing here in Canada like that as far as I know. Thanks for the info, though!

  141. You can also check out Pinterest for some amazing canning recipes, as well as great reference material and tutorials. Easy to find recipes designed for the beginner plus loads of ideas to branch out and try once you get going! The best way to tell if you’ve gotten a deal on canning jars is to look at the cost for brand new ones. If the used ones are less, than it’s a great deal! Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends if they have canning jars you could have if they are not using, too. It can be expensive when you first start canning and need to buy all the supplies. However, since much of it is reusable, the more you use it, the cheaper the investment becomes!

    Canning lids (not the screw rings) are not reusable, unless you buy tattler lids. I watch for discounted lids, boxes of pectin and other necessary canning supplies at the end of the canning season (late summer/early fall), when the stores are trying to get rid of their left over canning supplies. The pectin will have an expiration date on it, but it is usually good until the next year, when you will be canning again. I recommend storing it in a plastic zip-lock bag to keep moisture out (speaking from experience!).

  142. Darcy, the pie was delicious. I made it Saturday night, for our Sunday lunch dessert, as I had all the ingredients on hand. We had 7 adults at lunch and it was gone! Thank you, a very nice cool summer pie.

  143. Susie, I just noticed you make watermelon pickles. Those are popular around here. Everytime we have a watermelon had to see if it’s the perfect rind or not.

    We have a garage apartment also, though we usually rent it out long term. Maybe we should think about doing the guest house thing.

  144. How fun to go to the old movies in the theater. We have an old theater here that does that too on Friday and Saturday nights. They alternate appealing to families and the college students, so there can be a lot or horror movies, foreign movies, indie films, alternating with movies like Willy Wonka, Watership Down, Milo and Otis. A couple times they had a silent movie with a piano accompanist. The family movies are free ones as they are sponsored by local businesses.

  145. Liquid pectin has a short shelf life so check the date before you buy. There are usually 2 packs in a box. Store the unused in the refrigerator.

  146. Warning: This is a very politically incorrect post that the USDA says is hazardous to your health!

    I noticed that you were buying reusable canning lids. Last year I began experimenting with reusing regular canning lids. The USDA, bless their hearts, advise against it, but IT WORKS. I started with jam. I figured if any didn’t seal, I could either refrigerate it and use it first, or process with a new lid. Every single jar sealed. Then I did it with applesauce which, like jam, I can with the open kettle method (hot product in hot jars with hot lids–no processing). I had planned to use new lids when I canned pears–which I process–but by this time, with a 100% success rate, I reused lids and, once again, they all sealed.

    Last week I was feeling foxy when I made cooked blueberry jam. I not only reused regular canning lids–all for the third time–but I reused several twist-off lids from jars I’d saved. They also sealed 100% (I counted the pops, LOL).

    Some caveats: I only use lids in good condition. The rubber or plastic seal needs to be perfect. (Last year I used some new, 40-year-old Bernardin lids that left a lot of seal on the top of the jar; I didn’t save any of those lids). I usually open my jars with the flat end of a church key beer opener and sometimes it leaves a tiny dent in the metal part of the lid. As long as the ring is undamaged, I use them. Also, note that I only reuse lids on fruits, which are high in acid. If I were canning vegetables, I would use new lids and process them in the pressure canner. A friend of mine has lots of old-fashioned glass peanut butter jars that she has used and reused numerous times for pickles. The vinegar adds acidity to the low-acid cukes. The ring, which is part of the screw-on lid, is plastic and not easily damaged.

    Reusing lids is common in many countries that do not have the USDA to tell them not to.

    Speaking of cukes, if you’ve run out of space, you need to grow them on trellises. They don’t have to be fancy–you can knock them together with scrap lumber. If you hinge two of them, you can grow on two sides and they fold for storage in the off-season.

    I am not gardening much anymore, therefore I am not canning much. I have my own strawberries, raspberries, apples and pears. We have just put our house up for sale and having a new one built. I plan to plant one each dwarf apple (Jonagold or Golden Delicious), dwarf Bartlett pear and dwarf Italian prune-plum. I have 3 full-size apple trees and two dwarf Bartletts, and I am overrun with fruit each year. Whatever possessed me?? I also plan to have a raised bed for strawberries and to plant my raspberries in the back of the flower border. Going to try asparagus in a raised bed. If anyone knows how much asparagus to plant, I’d love having the info.

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