Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the First Week in July

July Garden Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

It was really wonderful to hear from so many readers this past week in the comments! So many of you have been reading for years and I didn’t know who you were. I loved reading your frugal accomplishments and was very, very touched to hear how much my site has helped so many of you over many years. I hope that you will consider commenting again in the future. I learned several things this past week in your comments. The most surprising idea I learned in the comments was one I had definitely never thought to do before: it was a reader’s idea to sell four pieces of her vacuum cleaner on ebay since the motor on her vacuum had died. She said she sold two pieces within 48 hours! 

One of the most meaningful commenters from a first-time commenter was the following comment: “I have been reading here for a year and love the gentle joys found here! I love the fact that everyone is so supportive of each other in the pursuit of making do with little. In real life, if I talk about my frugality, the response is pity and offers to help! What I want to be met with congratulations for hard work and ingenuity is met, instead, with sympathy. Here, I love that we can celebrate each others’ efforts. . . “

I love the excitement that comes from learning a new frugal living skill, saving money on something I need and/or want, finding a great deal or a new low-priced recipe, and making what I have work. I agree that when we share that excitement, people often respond with pity. I enjoy reading everyone’s comments here, celebrating with you and learning from all of you. Having more people comment certainly makes frugal living feel less lonely, and I came away from reading your comments feeling more encouraged and having learned new ideas to save money.

Here are my own frugal accomplishments for this past week:

 

I hemmed two pairs of pants for a friend of ours who is leaving soon to serve a mission.

I checked out an e-book from the library.

The children watched several shows on our free trial of Amazon Prime.

I tried a couple of new recipes. No one loved them and I won’t make them again, but we went ahead and ate the dishes anyway.

I took advantage of a Fourth of July sale to purchase some replacement plates to replace some of our broken plates. The company has started making the same pattern in melamine. I bought a few of the salad plates (which is what we use for the children) in porcelain and a few in melamine. The melamine ones can’t go in the microwave, but they may be a solution for most of the time to keep so many from being broken. I got 20% off the plates on sale, plus free shipping–and my items arrived in a day and a half!

I harvested New Zealand spinach, chives, and green onions from my garden.

My second son and I will be taking care of a friend’s chickens and gardens while they are out of town. We’ll get to collect eggs and pick tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans while they are gone (and anything else that is ripe). This is the friend who has the cooled greenhouse who shared produce with us last week. Several of you asked if she would share photos of her greenhouse. She agreed to let me share, so I will take some photos of it to share in a post! The photo above is taken in her greenhouse.

Before she left, she gave us two plastic grocery bags of tomatoes and two of cucumbers. 

We then picked more tomatoes, cucumbers, and some lettuce from her garden after she left (lettuce in July–the wonder of a cooled greenhouse!) and collected two dozen eggs.

What did you do to save money last week? Please share in the comments!  Keep encouraging one another in your celebrations of frugal living; I love the support you give to one another!

 

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162 Comments

  1. I also love reading the comments. They are educational and inspiring! Everyone is here to encourage each other, which is so nice. So many frugal sites are negative – not this one.

    I continue to shop sales, use coupons, and keep a full stockpile. This week, I got free mouthwash, free toothbrushes, $0.75 dish soap, $0.29 nail polish, and free dog food worth $23.00. All of my transactions can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-7-7-18/

  2. I love the speed of deliveries from many companies on the internet. This week I ordered (from two different companies) a part for my sewing machine and blades for my Cricut machine. Both arrived within two days. Makes life much easier!

  3. * Made jelly from apple peels that I froze after holiday pie making.
    * Bought strawberries at $.99/lb to make popsicles and jam with.
    * Let the kids watch some shows on Amazon, hubby and I had an at home date night and watched a movie.
    * Accepted a bag of free broccoli, I couldn’t use it right away so I blanched it and froze it for later.
    * Picked up free candy at the grocery store. This will be tucked into a nephew’s birthday gift.
    * Had an expensive Dr visit for my son but arranged for physical therapy to be done much closer to home and at a clinic that comes highly recommended.
    * Packed snacks and drinks for the time we were on the road to the appt.
    * hubby figured the cheapest route to the children’s hospital, we avoided the tolls and saw some really pretty countryside
    * Hubby took leftovers to work for lunches. Ended up doing a lunch swap with a friend one day. This made me laugh!
    * Hubby worked extra hours Mon and Tue to take time off to go to son’s appt. We didn’t lose any pay for the time he was off!!
    * Checked out books, dvds and magazines from the library. We continue to participate in the summer programs. Several kids went to fun activities this past week, oldest daughter is volunteering there. The youngest 3 kids have enjoyed winning prizes. I’m doing so much more reading rhis summer because of the adult program!
    * Spent $0 on fireworks
    * Whipped heavy cream for half the price of the stuff in the can and got to hear from several women how “fancy” it was to have REAL whipped cream on pie.
    * Rearranged some furniture to change up the house without spending any money

  4. It was really heart warming to read the comments last week. Your blog goes way beyond ways of finding frugality. I think many other readers appreciated that there is a camaraderie and spiritual dimension to it too.

    I saved $27 by buying groceries on the Buy One Get One free. I have been busy writing a talk I’m supposed to give. It is amazing how much historical research one can do on-line. I hope to be finished tonight so I can call my insurance broker and negotiate the renewal of the policy.

  5. During the seven years I lived in a teeny-tiny studio of 180 square feet within earshot of the Pacific Ocean on the stormiest of nights, my oven was a toaster oven. It was very short, so I couldn’t bake regular bread in it, and it was very small, so no whole chickens either. However, I only borrowed my landlady’s oven once, when I was making sheets of baklava for a friend’s wedding reception. I wanted to bake during our recent prolonged heat wave. But in a house with only one small window air conditioner, still sitting in the hall closet, I did not want to turn on the regular oven. So I went looking for a toaster oven. I first ordered the cheapest that was supposedly available for pickup later the same day at our nearest Walmart. But they miscalculated and said it wouldn’t be available for several days. So I cancelled the order and ordered the one on clearance in white, for less than $14, or almost $5 less than the black one and had it delivered Saturday. When the weather heats up again, the toaster oven will be moved to the sun room and the heat will stay out of the house. It isn’t very tall, but given the configuration of mom’s kitchen cabinets, that’s a feature, not a bug. I will be able to bake 9″ pies in it and even small loaves of bread. For just a two -person household, it will be very useful.

    I try to postpone our trips to Dollar General to the days when they have a 20% off coupon and stack their electronic product coupons on top of that. This week, we saved about 33% on groceries and personal care items by being patient.

    I wish I had thought of selling off the vacuum parts when my mother’s Rainbow died after fifty years of service, needing only the cord shortened a bit once during all those years. We gave it to the local used vacuum dealer and repair man. We figured he would be able to get a new motor or fix the burned out one so the vacuum wouldn’t need to go to the dump.

    We started feeding the birds again on the deck. It is a joy to see them enjoy the suet cakes and seeds so much. But one blue jay decided to check out and even taste my green onions and Swiss chard plants growing in deck boxes. Fortunately, he hasn’t appeared to make nibbling the greenery a habit. I will be filling the hummingbird feeder with homemade sugar syrup tomorrow because mom has spied a hummingbird or two, probably drawn to the deck by the petunias.

    I have started to read excerpts from Catharine Parr Traills’ The Female Emigrant’s Guide aloud to my mom. I first read her the description of July in Upper Canada as we were sitting in a county park high above a lake while eating our dinner from Taco Bell. The edition I bought, which includes a great deal of background material for modern readers, is a good introduction to fireside cookery and many of the skills women needed to master to make a success of their new lives in Upper Canada. But Mrs. Traills’ original guidebook is available for free on books.google.com. I love that website for access to pre-1923 books on cooking and needlework.

    That’s all for now. I look forward to reading the other readers’ comments.

  6. Hi Brandy and I so agree with when I talk frugal living and lifestyle with other friends and acquaintances they also are under the impression they should help us and many think and said we are poor :). Being “good stewards” of what we have and living within and preferably under our means to allow for savings is one of the most important things. I fail and still struggle to understand the pity and poor comments personally as by living frugally we are able to do far more with whatever money we have as a community here than many others.

    What a blessing to have all of those fresh vegetables from a friend for taking care of her gardens and home and picking so much produce from your own gardens too Brandy.

    Our savings added up to $1294.73 last week.

    Here is how we feathered our nest and saved this week.

    House organisation –
    – Deep cleaned, vacuumed and washed the car and pulled out all the equipment from 3/4’s of it and swept it. Still the other 1/4 to go through and organise.

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our home deposit bank account bringing us to 26.38% of the way there.
    – Listed 23 handmade items and dried herbs picked from the gardens on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $37.95.

    Grocery purchases –
    – On 50% off plus another 5% off using our roadside assist club discount we purchased 24 tins of harvest long life tins of meat and vegetables, 13 tins of spam in various flavours and 1.5 kg of strawberries on special for making jam and received 5 free reusable bags saving $82.80 on usual prices.

    Other purchases –
    – At Rivers we purchased for DH 1 pair of ugg boots, 1 pair of leather ankle boots, 3 long sleeved cotton shirts, 2 l/s white cotton dress shirts and 1 l/s t-shirt for me saving $201.06 or 61% off usual prices.
    – On eBay I purchased 8 pairs total (4 pairs ea) of leather and canvas high ankle work boots for $25.98 a pair delivered saving $912.16 on usual prices. Here in our country town we pay $140 a pair :O.
    – Purchased 6 led light bulbs on 50% off special saving $27 on usual prices. This will allow us to use our solar lanterns less and when we are only briefly going into rooms.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked and dried from the gardens we separated 46 g of French lavender, 28 g of English lavender and 21 g of marigold or calendula flowers saving $15.50.
    – Picked 1.215 kg of cherry tomatoes, 1.214 kg of beetroot and 500 g of carrots saving $21.83 on usual prices.

    All in all a good week of savings.

    Sewingcreations15.

  7. First time commenter here too
    All the way from Australia 🙂
    I truly enjoy reading your blog brandy and get so much inspiration. So thankyou 🙂

  8. Picking blueberries in the woods is last week’s best frugal accomplishment. We freeze the berries in portions of 1 dl, perfect to pick out of the freezer and add to the morning porridge through the year.
    I’m very excited about the upcoming pictures from the green house. I must admit that though I started following this blog looking for frugal advice, it’s the beautiful photos I love the most.

  9. Hi Brandy: I, too, had fun reading all the comments last week! Lots of great advice and encouragement. We had a quiet week last week and ate all meals at home. My mom very generously shared a piece of cantaloupe and some yellow beans and a neighbour gave us a dish of blackberries so we will enjoy those this week. The lettuce in our garden is ready so we will be eating that this upcoming week. I also amassed $15 in Amazon codes from Swagbucks and surveys so I will buy a few baking supplies with that. We took out several books and a magazine from the library. Combined trips out to save on gas. Laundry was washed in cold and hung on the clothesline to dry. Since it cooled down here in Southern Ontario, we haven’t needed to use the air conditioner for the last three days. Hopefully we can keep air conditioning use to a minimum this week. Hope everyone has a lovely week!

  10. We’ve been away at my in laws for the week so it’s been quite frugal in some ways!
    – since were both starting new jobs in early August, we cut expenses where we could (canceled cable, reduced our kids days in daycare- wish we could have canceled for the summer but we would lose our spots!)
    – did our monthly budget
    – used cloth diapers
    – had a couple of date nights after our kids went to bed
    – thankfully are with my in laws many many meals so didn’t spend much on food
    – will be increasing our car insurance deductible to reduce our monthly outflow
    – by not being home, haven’t had to put in our ACs!
    – hearing back to the house today with anticipation that our blueberries may be ripe! Also have plans to paint our bathroom and do some minor fixes to make our house more beautiful!
    – will be going to target to stock up on diapers for baby #3 due in Oct. this week it’s a 30 dollar gift card when you spend 100 on diapers and wipes
    – speaking of…my job offers paid mat leave IF you’ve been an employee for 90 days. My due date is around 93 days after I start. Asked for the full policy to read through to make sure I understand it all!

  11. I’m delighted to be a part of this amazing community. What a blessing to be able to pick from your friend’s greenhouse and collect eggs from her chickens. I expect she’s just as pleased to have someone who will keep up with the picking and egg collecting. From our experience, though many may accept garden produce, not many are willing to do the work of picking and gathering. I helped friends clear out their kitchen in preparation for a move yesterday, and came home with organic butter & maple syrup, frozen meat and seafood, oils and vinegars, & lots more, including a TV. We harvested around half of our potatoes, and have enjoyed them on the grill, in potato salad and soup so far. We’re picking lots of cucumbers, some if which were made into sweet pickle relish. I tried a new soup recipe, to make use of a large zucchini that had been gifted to us. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/07/crunchy-from-way-back-frugal.html

  12. Good morning! I am a long time reader and I don’t comment every week but I do comment from time to time and I do read every comment to glean ideas from all of you. I don’t feel I have been frugal the past couple of weeks because we are in the process of purchasing a house and that doesn’t seem very frugal to most people. However, even in that aspect, I’m trying to save as much money as I can. Even though we were approved for a good sized loan,we looked at what the payments would be and decided on what would be affordable for us. We are in a position where we need to move quickly but we were determined not to just take the first thing we could find. My husband prayed about it, set an amount that we felt was reasonable for us, and started searching. We found a home that is big enough for us and when we sat down to discuss an offer, it was exactly what my husband had prayed about! This will be my first home to own and I am very excited. However, everyone is already asking if we plan to buy new furniture, am I redecorating, etc. My desire is to totally redecorate of course, but I know in my head that I can’t afford that so I started making a list of needs and wants and I will turn that into a garage sale list. The ladies in my church have a group text we call “The Swap Shop” where people will post gently used items for free or for just a few dollars. I was able to get a queen size bed frame for my bed which is currently sitting on the floor because we didn’t have a bed frame. I got it for free. Not really a frugal accomplishment, but as I have started packing up nonessential items, I have been decluttering as well. We ate at home all weekend, eating from the freezer and pantry so that I won’t have a lot of food stuff to move. Oh, and got a free bag of ice. We have an ice machine in town that dispenses 16 pound bags of ice for two dollars a bag. If the ” blue light” is flashing you can get two bags of free ice. I had to go to the store and came by as it was flashing. I got a free bag. That’s all this week. Can’t wait to read everyone else’s accomplishments!

  13. Hi All!
    I was able to find strawberries for $.99 a pound, green apples $.77 a pound and ears of corn for $.19 a ear. Butter was also only $1.99 a pound.
    One of my friends from college flew in from CA. We live in GA. We went thrift store shopping I was able to get a suitcase (vintage) 3 dresses and 2 tops for $11.13
    My van is not working well….so today I must take it in to get looked at.
    Looking forward to other comments

  14. I love the cooled greenhouse. What a neat concept for your area. I love your blog and frugality. There was a time when I had to be frugal because of necessity and having over $130k of consumer debt. We’re now out of debt and in a much better place financially, but we are still pretty frugal because we want to be. I love your blog as much now as I did before!

  15. I’ve been on vacation so didn’t have a chance to post last week. I was blown away by how much of a community that has been assembled around this blog. There are so many more than I imagined who are trying to live prudent frugal lives for one reason or another. How wonderful to be able to glean so many great ideas!

    My husband was in Boston for business. We had to pay for my plane ticket but hotel was paid for. We went to JFK house- it was free and because it was Sunday parking was free. We went out to eat for free compliments of his employer. We walked around the city and didn’t buy any souvenirs.

    I then went to my parents where aside from some food purchases everything else has been taken care of. I found 2 tops at the thrift store for $6. One was a lululemon which appeared to have retailed for $58. It’s a comfy top but I can’t imagine spending that much.

    My days have been spent walking, going to the beach and relaxing. All in all a fairly frugal trip although I did have to pay transportation costs to get to my parents.

    My husband is back home- he’s been checking on my garden. He harvested 8 fairytale eggplant, 6 cucumbers and a handful of beans.

    When I get back aside from some house repairs we want to do and grocery shopping I want to make rest of the month no spend. I’ve been following the Frugalwoods no spend July but didn’t choose to partake right now because of being gone.

  16. Thank you, Brandy, for all you do on your site. It has encouraged me so many times to keep going on our frugal journey. I am also consistently inspired by the comments of your readers. I read every one!

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    I harvested our first pepper, some lettuce, basil, and chamomile.

    Our oldest daughter and son-in-law hosted the 4th at their house. It was a potluck meal, as it usually is. My husband and I brought bratwurst, hot dogs, and pasta salad. Knowing that we would be bringing food, all items were bought at really good discounts whenever they were on sale (Johnsonville brats for $1.99 per one pound package, Oscar Mayer all-beef hot dogs for $1.50 per pack, and pasta for 50 cents per box).

    Our biggest frugal finds this week were eggs for 68 cents per dozen at our local Food 4 Less and kale for 39 cents per pound at Jewel.

    We were able to turn off the air and open the windows a couple of times this week after our intense heat. The temperature is going up again this week but every day we can turn off the air is a win.

    Have a good week!

  17. I’ve enjoyed your writings for a few months now and I love the calmness reflected in your work. Your writing reflects the love you obviously have for your family and faith and in today’s world of gadgetry and agendas, time slows for me the reader. I love your floral arrangements. A full life includes the beauty of flowers!

  18. Last week, I was on vacation. We were treated to an early birthday dinner this past Saturday to celebrate my husband’s upcoming birthday at a local BBQ joint! My parents had come to my town for our annual Sock-Hop. Car cruise-ins are a big thing around here. My father owns a 1953 Chevy Pick-up that he restored. It’s a bright orange. It’s his pride and joy! I have a picture of my son at 4 months old..holding onto the steering wheel with his eyes wide open. I plan to use that truck to take his Senior pics in 4 years. The woman who organizes the Sock-Hop picks a charity to donate the monies raised. This year she chose our local school district and plans to use the money to buy more security cameras for each school in the district, starting with the high school and middle Schools. My son will be a freshman in the fall.

    ~~Accepted a t-shirt from my Mom she bought for me at the Sock-Hop, proceeds to go to the school cameras.

    ~~got 3 free magazines in the mail via Recyclebank

    ~~stayed home quite a bit, enjoyed local Fireworks on Sunday night

    Thank you Brandy for providing us with this outlet to share and rejoice with one another.

    I’m curious…how is Ms Winter doing with her college classes? I miss hearing about her stories and projects she’s worked on. Maybe she should start a blog too 😉

  19. I bought a ton of chicken for .79 cents per pound and made schmaltz with all of the skin. My fiancé built a set of pantry shelves for me and I packed a ton of things away. I also made laundry detergent. We are working on building our savings and putting away for our small wedding in October. I’ll be wearing a beautiful blue dress I already own.

  20. I have been making do quite a bit instead of running to the grocery store. Surprisingly, we are not suffering one bit!
    We are opening windows and running fans instead of running the A/C.
    I set up two appointments back to back last Friday. The second canceled on me, but it was a good way to potentially save time, money, and gas.
    This week I have more appointments back-to-back in the same or very close locations and on the same day. It beats driving around so much and allows me to be home more.
    We made our own bread using the bread machine.
    I cooked quite a bit of food on Saturday to avoid using the stove/oven later. Some of the food I will freeze.
    We continued to line dry our clothes.

  21. Brandy, thank you for asking your friend if you can take pictures of her greenhouse. I will be sharing the information with my son Reese. His dream is to someday have an aquaponics business growing vegetables in a greenhouse. At present, he works fulltime in a greenhouse that is huge, 350 acres in size. It is not cooled. He longs for the day he can own his own business and is saving every penny.

    This was his setup when he lived at home. [i]Aquaponics Dream[/i]
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/03/aquaponics.html

    This was the day he had to take it down right before he left home. [i]Aquaponics Dream, Delayed[/i]
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/04/aquaponics-dreams-delayed-part-2.html

    Now on to my money saving accomplishments:
    *This week I have worked in the garden and harvested: cucumbers, onions, peppers, garlic, blueberries, Swiss chard, beet greens, sweet potato greens, parsley, thyme, nasturtiums, oregano, mint and all types of weird named Chinese greens. I sauteed daylilly blooms in butter and chopped some as salad garnishes.

    *All meals were cooked from scratch except for one. We were running errands, realized the time, stopped and rushed to our favorite restaurant so we would be charged the lunch, not the evening price.

    *We save garbage fees by taking our trash to the dump. We are outside the city limits so are not eligible for any curbside trash pickup services. A private company would charge $25 per month for one large trashcan per week. We compost and recycle and do not have that much garbage. We also could not possibly roll the trash can up the hill, then down the other side of our ¼ mile long gravel driveway. Of course, for the right price, the trash company might be willing to come down the drive and pick up the can. If we put the trashcan in the car trunk (yuk) and take it to the curbside for pickup, we might as well drive a few more miles to the dump site. Our solution over the years has been to make a “dump run” every few months. When all the boys lived here, we filled up more trashcans but also used a truck. Since we have lived here 14 years, I guess we have saved (12 months x 14 years x $25 =) $4,200. I didn’t deduct the cost of gasoline or wear and tear on the car for the few miles driven, but WOW, what a savings!

    Scooter is learning to ride in the car and shared his the story of his first “dump run” this week. He was impressed by the smells.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2018/07/scooter-gets-dumped.html

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  22. What a blessing to have the opportunity to care for your friends chickens and gardens in exchange for fresh eggs and produce for your family, Brandy! I’m sure all of you are enjoying the wonderful harvest. If you find a new recipe you like, please share with us! I’m always looking for new recipe ideas, especially ones that are frugal.

    We’ve struggled through a heat wave here, but have finally had a break in the humidity at the moment. It’s coming back this week, however. Not looking forward to it! Our frugal accomplishments for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home included tacos/nachos (made black bean and ground beef fillings), BBQ hamburger and hotdogs with potato chips, “make your own” dinner (was supposed to be make your own pizza, but everyone decided they didn’t want pizza and made their own dinner), breaded chicken fingers with rice and mixed veggies, lasagna (from freezer – made it when the heat wave finally broke!), and BBQ grilled steak (hubby offered to make them for my mom in honour of her birthday) with loaded baked potatoes and broccoli.
    *After reading about “sun tea” from others who have commented, I decided to give it a try one day as a “summer experiment” during our heat wave. DD likes hot tea and iced tea, but I don’t. So I had her help me make it. Since the concept is very easy, I figured if she liked it, she can do it again by herself throughout the summer. DD seemed to really enjoy it, and it’s pretty cheap to make, especially since I recently bought 100 tea bags for $1!
    *I made a peanut butter banana smoothie to use up some very ripe bananas and poured it into the empty popsicle moulds for DD. I used what I had to make it…2 very ripe bananas, a generous scoop of crunchy peanut butter (approx. 1/4 cup), some canned plums in juice that turned to mush during processing and a bit of milk. She enjoyed the leftover bit of unfrozen smoothie. DD has been eating the frozen smoothies as a simple breakfast and for a snack in afternoon. I like that they are filled with healthy food and they hit the spot when it’s hot outside!
    *Harvested 2 types of lettuce and peas from the garden. Noticed that I actually have a few beans forming, despite the absence of leaves due to the deer eating them all off. Oh, and we discovered that we are actually feeding a mama deer and her twin fawns with our garden. No wonder the garden is being devastated!
    *Requested a points inquiry again for my PC store loyalty points when I checked and found 2 different items did not register that I had purchased.
    *Made this, https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/349732727308194805/ , and gave it to DD just to make her laugh…because sometimes we need some silliness in our lives!
    *Things received free from work this week: Popcorn (leftover from food booth at end of day), 2 bags of cheese curds (sell by date was that day, but it’s cheese, so it’s not an expiration date), cake (leftover from Canada Day), a freezie (when temps with humidity reached over 40C), baked treats (the youth interpreters insisted on baking despite the heat wave, plus more made when heat wave broke), Timbits and lemonade. It was a good week for free stuff at work!
    *Took DD and her friend to an indoor pool during the heat wave. Cost $15 for all three of us to swim for 1 hour. The girls really enjoyed themselves and want to do it again soon. I am happy to pay the money every once in a while if it means DD gets some much needed exercise! While I was there, I picked up info on memberships. I am planning on getting a membership for 3 months during the winter, to help prepare me for our April backpacking trip in Europe. Might get a family membership, so DD can also come with me for some winter fitness.
    *Attended a free Musicfest concert and listened to the Toronto band, Magic!. They have several big hits (like this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIh2xe4jnpk_) and were amazing live. We all really enjoyed this concert! We took drinks and snacks with us from home. DD won a free chocolate bar and DD’s friend won a free ice cream cone from McDonald’s from a “spin the wheel” game offered through a local radio station.
    *Took my mom out for dinner to celebrate her 70th birthday on Sunday night. We also gave her a $100 gift card to her favourite clothing store. I do not consider this a frugal fail at all, as my mom has supported us a great deal in so many ways over the past several years. She deserves all of this and so much more!

  23. I think I mentioned last week that I bought 30 lbs of chicken leg quarters for $10. I took a bag of the chicken to my youngest son. I went thrift store shopping for things I need. I got two dresses, and a t shirt that I have searched for years in vain. The t shirt was 99 cents! I was so happy! I got several of my favorite magazines for 10 cents and a paperback novel for 25 cents. I am also reading all the free paperbacks for the bookshelf at the free little bookstore at my laundry mat. I read them then put them back. I bought a watermelon for $3.00 (I love watermelon, but have always been unsuccessful in growing it). I have enjoyed going swimming at the local Army Engineer parks, state parks, and national parks. They range in admission fees from $1 to $4. That is how I spend any free time I have on weekends in the summer. I cleaned my house. I know that sounds funny, but it always makes me feel good to have a tidy house. I was called to play the piano at my little branch church, but I do not have my piano at my house, it is in my son’s apt. I made arrangements to practice the piano at my son’s basement apt (which happens to be in my ex-husband’s house…lol). I cleared it with both of them, so that no one was surprised when I showed up at the door with my hymnal. I do not know why I think this is funny, but I just do! This is frugal because I do not want to have to pay to move it, plus, I have an excuse to see my grown kid, who is really busy with his own life.

  24. Brandy, Corelle dishes bounce when dropped. They take up minimal space in the cupboard too. I love ours in plain white.

  25. The Bush Doughnut recipe in Catherine Parr Traills book, as well as many other recipes she provides, is what we use in our Pioneer Village. I highly recommend the doughnut recipe (it is sooo good!). However, it does make a lot, so if there is only 2 of you, best to save it for when you are feeding a large crowd (extremely frugal and definitely a crowd pleaser)! Catherine Parr Traill settled in Lakefield, which is just north of Peterborough, where I live. Her books are our bible as the info provided actually pertains to our area.

  26. Well, I didn’t do a darn thing to save money last week… We’re visiting my husband’s parents to show off our newest member of our family, and also to help them redo the bathroom for his dad. With 9 children’s mouths to feed, I resorted to quick, easy foods… I don’t know how you do it frugally on a daily basis! I’m even more in awe of your talents than I was when I started reading your blog about 5 years ago…
    Thankfully, I only have 5 boys myself, so maybe I’ll be able to manage a few of your impressive weekly accomplishments!

  27. Good morning,
    I too am a long time reader. I did write you a letter years ago, but have not commented since. I love the peaceful calm of your blog. While I know having 9 children, that your home may not always be particularly quiet, your posts radiate a peaceful oasis In the midst of it all. I thank you for adding a tranquil respite to my own chaotic weeks, with your words. I also thank you for the hope you instill. Kathy

  28. I grew up with Corelle plates and so did my husband. We really like a thicker plate that doesn’t burn your hands when there is hot food on it. We dish up plates at the counter and take them to the table. When we got married, neither of us wanted Corelle 😉

    Our children help with the dishes as there are so many dishes to do in our house, and as well fill the dishwasher 2 -3 times a day (besides washing around 20 pots and pans a day by hand) and because we think it’s important that everyone helps (and I can’t do it all) there is more opportunity for plates to get broken. Cooking from scratch and serving 10 people four times a day (3 meals plus a snack) makes for a lot of dishes!

    I’ve seen our glasses and plates bounce and not break on the wood floor before, but on the granite counters, marble kitchen floor, and in the sink, they are quicker to break and chip.

  29. Hi Brandy – second week in a row commenting!

    1) I don’t often think of it as frugal, but I use the library A LOT. I currently have three books and two audiobooks checked out, and my nephew has a book.

    2) Making plans to repaint a magazine holder I picked from my neighbor’s trash last fall. I am going to use paint we already have. Now I just need to clean it up a little first, and do the job on a sunny day.

    3)Thanks to you, I have started saving shower warm up water for my small garden. I never thought it was necessary, because my garden is small, and we do not live in a dry climate, so water is plentiful and cheap! (We get an average of 110″ of snow per season) But I reconsidered; just because it is plentiful and cheap doesn’t mean I don’t need to conserve where I can.

    4) I was surprised to find that I only collect 2-3 gallons per shower! We have had a low flow shower head since about 2005, and I’m glad to see how little we are using. I bet we use more in the winter when it takes longer to warm up. Cold climate problems!

    5) I have been trying to rethink my wardrobe, and trying to mix n match more things for more outfit possibilities. I WOTH, and get bored with my clothes sometimes. I certainly don’t need MORE clothes, I am just trying to use what I have more creatively.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that I find your remarks about your climate fascinating, since I live in such a different climate. For example, some time ago, your family was traveling, and your children got to play in a stream for the first time. That just blew my mind, since I did that all the time as a kid!

  30. Have you tried Corelle brand of dishes? I can’t break them even if I try :p We’ve had two sets since 2005, and I think we’ve maybe broken one dish over that time period, and I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old. The funny thing is both sets were gifts (they match and were gifts from the same person) and I don’t even care for the pattern, but I’ll never buy a new set I love unless we end up NEEDING it. And at this rate, that’ll never happen!

  31. I love that you are able to share in your friend’s produce and eggs in exchange for looking after her home while she is away. I have a similar arrangement with a neighbor who lives here in Florida during the winter and in the North during the summer. In exchange for looking after my neighbor’s home during the summer, I am able to pick mangoes and avocado’s from her trees. There is also a huge banana tree that produces a small banana called Manzano. The Manzanos are good to use in baking bread or muffins as well as baked on there own with a little brown sugar. Most of the time, the Manzanos come in while my neighbor is still in Florida. She never forgets to share some with me 🙂

  32. I may not comment very often Brandi, but I love keeping up with you and your little family and all your frugal doings! I also read everyone’s comments and learn something new almost every single time 🙂 I’m glad you’re able to keep up with your blog as it is one of the very few I actually keep up with.

  33. Hello,
    I love your picture for this post, it could be in a magazine. I loved reading everyone’s comments last week.
    My frugal activities last week were:
    my mil gave us 1 1/2 bottles of foaming body wash. She also gave us 1/2 of a watermelon.
    gave 2 sons haircuts.
    shut off air exchanger during day due to the hot & humid temps–but offset that by putting on the air conditioner and putting the small fans in the kids bedrooms. Also had to use the dehumidifier in the basement since the humidity was 70% in the house. Won’t love the next electricity bill, but this is an expected & planned for expense.
    Friday the temperatures dropped 30 degrees so did not the the a/c and opened all windows to let the cool air circulate.
    My husband wanted my pantry shelf in the basement so he could store more wood for our wood boiler. I spent the week cleaning out my remaining 4 shelves that contain my household storage needs. I donated a lot, set aside some items to sell, & moved some kitchen items that do not fit in my small kitchen (stock pots/bean pot etc) to the coat closet shelf, I took out clothes that are the next size up for my youngest daughter. She will be able to wear the shirts, skirts and dresses now and I will store the pants in her closet until she grows into them. All she will need for school will be socks, underwear, shoes and folders.
    I made scoops out of milk gallons & filled water balloons from a stash I found when cleaning for my kids to play with & cool down with.
    My husband picked a bouquet of daisies and some type of purple wildflower for me from our lawn.
    My husband’s expensive cereal was B1G1 free at Riteaid. I got him 8 boxes which is a month’s worth for him. He has eaten this cereal for over 10 years and has refused to eat anything else but last week (now that I stocked up) he tells me he no longer wants to eat this cereal and wants me to buy plain cheereos(really!?!).
    I finished compiling the chicken recipes I wanted for my menu planning project. I chose recipes that use ingredients that I normally have in my pantry. I wrote them down on index cards that I have in my school supply closet.
    my garden grew by leaps & bounds once it finally got some heat and rain. I was able to cut some looseleaf lettuce. Local tradition is to mix it with cut up green onions and add sour cream and salt. It was great!

  34. Laurie, that has been my experience, as well. When you leave, you need someone to pick the produce and it’s hard to find someone willing to do that. Over the years, countless people have wanted my excess produce IF if would pick it, wash it and deliver it. Otherwise, they were too busy.

    There was more than once at our old house where we even hired people to come take care of the chickens and garden, instructing them to pick things, and came home to chickens that were not laying any more (we think lack of water and/or food part of the time), cucumbers that didn’t produce any more for me because the ripe ones had not been picked, and so forth.

    At our old house, I finally found a friend who would come and get it, use it, can it, freeze it, etc. and we were both delighted. We live over 8 hours apart now, but are still very close. She grows her own veggies now.

    It’s such a win-win, for you, Brandy—you will truly put that produce to good use and she will be able to leave, knowing that her crops won’t quit producing for when she gets back.

  35. On the 4th of July, an online frugal friend mentioned that Home Depot was having a one day sale on their perennials, shrubs, roses and trees – 50% off! Well, even though it was 6:30 pm on the 4th when I read that, we drove the 15 minutes to our closest HD and bought a 5 gallon spirea (to replace one that died last year), a 5 gallon hosta, 2 one gallon hostas and a 2 gallon foxglove! It would have been $116 but it was $58!
    But wait, that’s not all! I had joined our county’s “Green backyards “ program (free to anyone in our county) that encourages recycling, composting, rain water collection and growing long term plants that are not on their non-native, invasive list! You attend a class in person or online (I opted for online) . It took about 15 minutes with a multiple choice quiz at the end. When you pass the quiz with 80% or higher (you can take the test multiple times until you do!) , they send you a reimbursement voucher for $50 off your purchase of a rain barrel, a composter OR plants (no annuals, veggies or aquatics and not on the specific exclusion list)!
    So my $116 worth of plantings which filled in gaps in my landscape, only cost me $8 OOP!! I am over the moon!!

    9 more cucumbers over the 4th from my garden= 10 more pints of sweet pickle relish on my shelves! It will be used as a condiment in BBQ burgers and dogs, in potato salad, deviled eggs, ground meat sandwich spread, etc! We do love it and some years our cucumbers don’t produce well at all so we’ll preserve these now!

    When I zero-ed out our previous paycheck as our direct deposited new one came in, I was able to add 1/2- $233 to our savings and reduce our debt by the other $233! This has almost become a game to see how much we can have leftover at the end of a pay period after all our bills/expenses have been paid! Since April, we have paid down hubbie’s hospital bill from $7000 to $5000, so we are quite pleased!
    We went up north to my sister’s home for a party for my brother (about 350 miles each way) and I packed ham/turkey pinwheel wraps, nuts, cheese, water, chips, cookies , meat cubes for trip and we didn’t have to stop either way for fast food/snacks/water! That saved us quite a bit!! Plus, coming home on Sunday, we didn’t have to stop for food or gas (we filled up Saturday up there)!
    My daughter in CA that flew me there to teach them how to grocery shop/ meal plan in May sent me a photo yesterday of a tray of breakfast burritos and another one of egg cups that she made in bulk for breakfast options for their family! I’m so excited to see her really loving this new way of doing things! It’s like a whole new world to her!!!
    Just made a big batch of sloppy joe meat for dinner tonight and also for several meals later on! Now, I’m flash freezing another 2 dozen quarter pound Hamburg patties using my little $3 hamburger maker I got on clearance 4 years ago at Kroger’s! Lol! That has given me savings and convenience!!
    Well, I still have 13 things on today’s to-do list and it’s already 9:30 this morning so I better get busy!!
    Happy “frugalling “ everyone!!!

  36. *Continued to pick blackberries, pie cherries, red currants & white currants.
    *Used the dehydrator to preserve cherries, & put some in the freezer for cobblers.
    *Thinned the apples on one of the trees.
    *Mended a tear in a comforter.
    *Like another commentor, we also spent $0 on fireworks. With so many fires already burning in our tinder dry, drought-ridden state, it seemed irresponsible to set off fireworks this year.
    *We enjoyed the blessing of several hours of steady, light rain one day.

  37. I was amazed by the idea of a cooled greenhouse. What a good idea for your climate. Greenhouses are definitely used a lot here to extend the growing season, but I had never heard about it in hot climates.

    I also love that you and your son have a project to work on together looking after the greenhouse and chickens. Productive but not an overwhelming ongoing commitment. Great for your neighbor too, to know she will have such reliable caretakers while she is away.

    The container of herbs I planted is thriving, with very little effort from me. Just the right rotation of rain and sunshine, so I have only had to water the container twice, and pick some flowers off so the plants don’t go to seed.

    I’ve been staying at home, working on transcription and in the yard. This week I have a book club meeting, which we’ll have overlooking someone’s lovely woodland yard.

  38. Kids go through a stage where, while learning to keep the kitchen clean, break a lot of dishes until they develop the hand-eye cordination required and become a bit more careful. Fortunately for your dinnerware, the number of broken dishes eventually will drop. Enjoy your non-Corelle dishes. It is good you and your husband are on the same page.

  39. Corelle will shatter into tiny shards on either a granite counter top, a cement floor with linoleum, or a tile floor. I have seen all three happen when we were renting before we bought our first home. It is one reason why my husband never wants granite counter tops. We have used Corelle for years, but it does break under some circumstances.

  40. It’s been an expensive summer so far, with camp expenses for my daughter and some household items in need of repair. I feel like every day there’s a new Amazon box in front of my door and I need to reign it in! I have had a few frugal successes lately, though.

    I exercised using videos I found on YouTube. Our garbage disposal broke and my husband replaced it himself (our old one was at least 15 years old – it was here when we moved in – so it had a good life!). I took advantage of the Friday Freebies at Fred Meyer (our Kroger affiliated store). I had to drive my daughter to camp, two hours away. My husband didn’t want to go so I invited a dear friend to join us (my daughter adores her and we don’t see her often enough). Normally we go out for a meal together, but because we were in the car we had four hours of great conversation (and a lot of fun) and just stopped for drinks at one point (I hadn’t planned ahead).

    We’ve stayed on top of weeding and watering our small garden. We got it in late so most things are still coming up, but last week we harvested about 20 beautiful radishes. Now I need to replant those seeds! Two types of seeds didn’t come up so I contacted the company (Territorial Seed) over the weekend to ask about a refund or credit. I’m waiting for a response.

    My husband has started selling a few things on eBay that have been sitting around the house for years. A couple of things have sold so we’re starting to see a benefit from that.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  41. I agree with the reader who doesn’t like to be pitied when she tries to save money. I’m so thankful for an extended family who doesn’t pity us, but instead admires us for living the way we do. They seem to know when a lovingly-given helping hand is a good idea, but mainly just keep encouraging us in our efforts.

    If we lived in many places on earth, other than the USA where we do live, we would be considered absolutely rich.

    It’s so awesome that you get to take care of that greenhouse and those chickens. It will be fun to be able to “go crazy” with all the eggs and produce, and it really helps her out to not worry about her animals and veggies.

    We are really honing our money-saving skills around here. It’s very important to be smart with the money we have, as my husband has work this summer, but not in the fall, yet.

    I’m working in the garden most days, and picking blueberries, raspberries, Marion berries (blackberries) and a few strawberries. I’m freezing most of those. We ate broccoli from the garden, as well as a very few snow peas from the first planting which is almost done, a small zucchini, lots of lettuce, green onions, and some herbs. I pulled all the beets that were ready, thinking I would make a lot of picked beets and got…..2 jars! Sometimes it works out that way. The rest will grow, hopefully, and it was nice to get the 2 pints anyway.

    I processed a lot of cherries in various ways. (40-50 lbs.). They were free from my sister’s orchard. I got there really early last Tuesday, as they were letting a gleaner’s group in later that morning and my sister helped me fill my containers.I took a ladder in my van so I could reach more.

    We had a simple 4th of July celebration. My niece and my aunt came over, along with my niece’s dog so we could take turns keeping her calm, and we had a BBQ’d dinner, and the kids lit off a few fireworks. We bought very few fireworks, as we are trying to keep expenses low, but my niece brought a bunch, so the kids had fun together. As her parents are on vacation, she talked her dad into letting her take back their substantial supply of empty pop cans, and used that money for fireworks! She stayed home to work, and then to go to camp, and chose to hang out here a couple of evenings, which made me happy.

    I hadn’t been grocery shopping for a couple of weeks, so went to 3 stores during the course of this week, gathering bargains from each one. Some of the best bargains were: eggs for 59c/dozen, butter for $1.99/lb., ice cream for $1.99/carton, milk for 99c/half gallon, chicken breast for 3 lb for $5 (best price ever around here), and a bunch of other items I just needed. Now I am good for the next couple of weeks. We’ve agreed to try to stay out of the stores and do substitutions if something runs out.

    I put my post here: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/07/08/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-july-8-2018/

    I embroidered a dish towel for my mother’s birthday. I gathered up a few kitchen items to put with it, such as dishwasher pods, hand soap, etc. I also grabbed a small bag of gluten-free flour from the reduced rack for her to try. She knows it was reduced, and will like trying it even better because I only paid $3.49 for it instead of $7. She’s like that. It would distress her if I spent a lot right now.

    I was given a gift of a bag of jar lids. The given knows I like to can, and knows money is tight for us right now. I thanked them and accepted, knowing the loving heart that prompted the gift.

  42. I never really thought of picking garden produce as a frugal accomplishment until I started reading your blog 🙂 Yesterday I picked 5 LARGE heads of broccoli from our garden before they flower. I bought a “6 pack” of starts this spring but each had 2-3 plants per plug. I planted them as they were and thinned them to 2 plants each after a few weeks. My raised bed was super crowded but I got 11 heads total from the broccoli! We’ve eaten some and shared some with friends and coworkers as I knew there isn’t enough freezer space for all of it. I blanched what I picked yesterday and need to package it up and freeze it today.
    I’ve also been picking cucumbers as they ripen and some snow peas. Although the weather is getting too hot for the peas and I will be pulling them out soon. But the strawberries are starting to ripen and after transplanting them this spring they are huge compared to the last few years. I can’t wait to start eating them!
    Our neighbor also brought us a big container (probably 10 or 12 lbs) of cherries. He works in an orchard and this has become a yearly thing. It always strikes me as a little funny because we don’t/can’t speak to each other because of a language difference but he shows up with cherries in the summer and apples in the fall! I sent him home with some broccoli 😉

  43. I am thankful for this blog, Brandy’s inspiration, and the kind and helpful commenters here. I live in a high cost of living area (Seattle), with many affluent people, yet there are lots of others struggling to make ends meet. Any frugal tips I would try to share were met by weird looks (from people all over the income spectrum). So I just stopped talking about it. I’m so glad for this blog, it makes me feel not so alone in my frugality.

    This year I ended up giving up my community garden plot due to time and energy constraints. I am making do with my small condo patio garden. I planted four jalapeno plants, along with some herbs. We have rabbits here so I have to choose things they won’t eat (or put the plants out of their reach). I have a horse trough planter with some self-seeded green onions (going on several years now), and I added oregano and peppermint. It is such a joy to be able to pick a bunch of peppermint and make myself a cup of herbal tea. I will have to keep an eye on the peppermint so it doesn’t take over the entire planter.

    I never meal plan more than a day or two in advance, but this week I made a list of meals to use up all the produce in my fridge. It’s also going to be busy at work, and I didn’t want to expend mental energy each day trying to figure out dinner.

    In the last few weeks, I have been using up the small portions of leftover mystery meals I had in the freezer. I take these as my work lunch and add a few other items as needed. Many of these lunches have been unexciting, and one was barely edible (someone else had given me a portion of stew they had made, and there was nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t like the taste). Oh well, it didn’t kill me. Only one more mystery portion in the freezer! Yay!

    We belong to a CSA where I get a weekly share of vegetables. They also have a self-pick area where you can cut various greens: several kinds of kale, Swiss chard, collards, and a few others. You can pick a certain amount each week (like 7 to 10 leaves of each). I have been picking a few every time and freezing them or making soup. They encourage the members to pick the greens and freeze them for later use after the CSA season.

    My big summer project is painting our master bedroom and its popcorn ceiling. I can only do one wall at a time and part of the ceiling, as there is too much stuff in there to move and no where else to put it. This is a lot of work, and the only frugal thing about it is that I’m doing it myself. But it’s slowly getting done. I have a deadline of mid-August when our new interior and closet doors will be installed. The new door project was a long wished for and saved for improvement. Our condo has the original 40-year-old dark fake woodgrain hollow-panel doors that I have hated since day one. Words cannot convey my excitement about being rid of these ugly (yet perfectly functional) eyesores.

    And in other frugal things, I also did all the things I always do: washed out baggies, cooked from home except for one meal, took my lunch with me to work and also one day when I was out, enjoyed free entertainment watching hummingbirds come to our feeder, watched two baby rabbits that visited our patio area, walked to work, batched errands, and did the quarterly home tasks (flipped the mattress and cleaned the vacuum filters).

    I look forward to reading about what everyone else has done this week.

  44. Hi all! I enjoyed reading all the comments last week.

    My frugal accomplishments are –

    – cooked from scratch for all meals
    – eating leftovers
    – washing out ziplock bags
    – did grocery shopping on Friday getting
    9 lb watermelon for $1.82,
    2 1/2 lbs of bananas for $1.23,
    1lb of peaches for .54
    Refried beans for .50 a can,
    18 ct of eggs free with just4u rewards
    Blackberries & Bueberries each for .97

    I shopped online thru ThredUp.com for clothes using gardner25 for 25 % off (not sure if code still works). I was able to find a high end top and brand new pants for myself for just under $25. I have received them already and love them!

    I have been reading books from the library.

    Something I learned in the last week, bounce dryer sheets help to keep gnats away. FIL likes to sit outside and uses a bounce sheet to keep the gnats away! I ll have to see if it helps when I walk the dogs!

    Have a great week all!

  45. This is awesome! I love cookbooks prior to the 1940’s because they are usually frugal! Thank you!

  46. *On Wednesday, the 4th, my 17 yo daughter and I went to the 50% off sale at Savers thrift store. I spent $19, which included a new-in-box wall sconce set (I’m really trying to beautify my home without spending a lot of money, so this fit the bill), two pairs of uniform pants for one of my sons (exactly the same brand and everything, one was $1.99, one was $6.99??), and two beautiful dressy tops for me (one was NTW). I sing in the choir every week and so need to dress very nicely. I was happy with my purchases. My daughter spent $23 and purchased several beautiful outfits for herself.
    *later that night, we went to a neighboring city’s Celebration of Freedom and firework show. This is the third year that we have attended and are quite pleased with the program. First, it doesn’t start until 6, so there is no pressure to spend the whole day there. Besides the shopping trip, we enjoyed a lazy day and ate dinner at home before venturing out. Once there, we enjoyed watching an American Revolution battle reenactment, and looked at several patriotic displays indoors, including a fallen soldier memorial, which was very eye-opening to my 8 & 10 yo sons. The event also had water slides, but the lines are super long, so we avoided that. And food trucks, but we took snacks, so no need to spend money. The night ended with a jazz band and fireworks. It was all free and family friendly. Took 30 minutes to get out of the parking garage, but we just listened to Adventures in Odyssey and didn’t stress over it.
    *I am working at a new job this year and, for the first time, have to pay someone to watch my 8 & 10 yo sons a few days a week. The boys have loved it, though, as its at a friend of their’s home, and they have a pool (we don’t)! The parents are super interactive with the kids and they are having a blast; my youngest has learned to swim, no expensive lessons required. If I do have to pay someone to watch my kids, I’m thankful that they are having a good experience.
    *With that, they offered to have the boys spend the night on Thursday night. Free date night!! AND, I signed us up for the Summer Reading program at the library, was good about entering our minutes read, and earned both my husband and I coupons for free meals at Rubio’s. So, that’s where we went for dinner! I love Rubio’s, so this was a special treat for me. We then went back to Savers and my husband picked up some jeans for himself and our oldest son (they’re the same size.) It was a wonderful evening.
    *Friday I picked up my groceries (I do Fry’s Clicklist-love it!). I’m burned out on menu planning and grocery shopping, so I am going to a two week cycle for awhile. I made up four two-week menus and I will rotate them. In grocery shopping, it seemed like I actually spent less than I do shopping weekly, but we’ll have to see what happens when we start realizing all the things I forgot or we ran out of, lol. I intentionally put away half of the snacks so that we wouldn’t blow through them too soon.
    *One last thing, our kids attend the Christian school associated with our church. We have been very blessed that the laws in Arizona allow for Scholarship Tuition Organizations (STOs) to accept corporate and individual donations, and distribute these funds to qualifying children to help pay for their private school tuition. The application process is a lot of work, but the tuition help is so worth it. In the past, the scholarship funds did not cover the Registration fee, but the rules changed this year, and the scholarship can cover the registration fee, so, provided we are awarded enough funds, that’s an additional $600 savings for us! My daughter is already fully funded and my boys are 50% covered with lots of awards still to be made. I am very thankful for this tuition help!

    That’s all I have today. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  47. A cold front has finally moved in and it is a little bit cooler here in central NC. Here are my few frugal things from last week:
    -Got quite a lot of cucumbers from garden. Made some Claussen copycat kosher dill pickles.
    -Picked a few cherry tomatoes and a couple of medium sized ones. Hopefully more are coming…
    -Canned some Amaretto Cherries- I’m thinking a couple could be for Christmas gifts.
    -Worked a lot= got holiday pay for July 4th, some PTO and my regular time. It made me tired but happy for the incoming funds.
    -Had free pizza, cookies and drinks on July 4th at work. Brought the extras home.
    -Bought 2 more Basil plants on sale.
    -Made Butternut squash soup starter and divided it up for 2 future meals in freezer. all ingredients are what I had here at home.
    -Snail mail freebie= samples of a shampoo I have been wanting to try plus a high value coupon I am going to use at a store that with double it, making the bottle free.
    -Made some infused liquors with fruits and herbs from garden.
    -Made 2 pizzas from scratch and all ingredients were from freezer and pantry. Made extra for leftovers and DH to take to work for lunch.
    -Went out to eat 2x and brought home leftovers.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!

  48. I follow the Frugalwoods too. I am trying their approach to paying for everything with a credit card (which is paid in full each month). So far so good. The card I use sends me a text alert for each purchase, and I can immediately see how much my balance is. It really makes me think about purchases and if I can afford them. The only downside WINCO doesn’t accept credit cards and that is where I do most of my grocery shopping.

  49. It was such a lot of fun to read everyone’s comments last week! And what a wonderful opportunity for you and your son to access the greenhouse and to collect eggs. I will look forward to seeing the photos of the Cooled Greenhouse – I’d never heard of such a thing.
    It was a pretty quiet week around here with it being so hot.
    Monday: Too hot to go anywhere (110F) so no money spent
    Tuesday: Had to see an opthamologist downtown so decided to get in a bit of a walk, save some transit fares & make a few stops along the way. I ran into someone I used to work for and she treated me to a coffee while we had a good catch up. I got in some exercise in A/C while walking through THE PATH (it’s a very extensive underground walkway through much of downtown Toronto) and came up to street level just across the street from my church. I had some paperwork to take care of there and had to pick up a couple of things so one more errand off the list. Left my apt. at 9am and got back at 3pm – and didn’t buy anything to eat or drink along the way.
    Wednesday: Stayed home to do laundry, ironing and housework – no spending
    Thursday: Did the weekly grocery shopping at my No Frills supermarket -just produce & dairy – but stuck to my list and accumulated a lot of loyalty points by shopping strategically. Noticed that they had missed 800 points so emailed and got it corrected.
    Friday: Met a friend and we went to the Outdoor Art Exhibit at City Hall for free – the weather had cooled down and it was a beautiful morning. We had our annual hotdog meal from a street vendor for $3/bottle of water included – and ate it on a bench in the courtyard. Then we walked to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the new Inuit Art Exhibit – I have a yearly membership with guest privileges so it didn’t cost us anything. However we did treat ourselves to a coffee and dessert in the members’ lounge – but I didn’t feel too guilty as this was my only spend day.
    Saturday: Stayed home, read and watched the World Cup for free
    Sunday: Attended church, organized Fellowship hour afterwards but enjoyed a free cup of tea and a HM molasses cookie that was delicious!
    Otherwise, cooked from scratch, using my pantry and freezer stock (although things are starting to get low) – washed ziplock bags, drank lots of water, watched Netflix and read my library books.

  50. I have to be honest I’ve given up on our yard. Every year I put money, time and sweat into it for it to be burned up during our hot summers. I just think it looks terrible no matter how much time I put into it. So I decided no more, it’s low maintenance. I’ll have beautiful flower’s in pot’s on my patio that I can manage. I think part of being frugal for me is knowing when to let go of some things. I love reading what you and other’s are doing to save money and to make our houses a home.

  51. Your photo today is gorgeous, Brandy. I love the arrangement you and your friend have made. It sounds like a win-win for both of you. Her greenhouse sounds fascinating and I look forward to learning more about it.

    Frugal accomplishments here this past week are as follows:

    – Our neighborhood puts on a fabulous fireworks display right at the end of the street. It was wonderful to walk down there and not have to fight traffic.
    – We will be moving later this year after 19 years in this house. I have been donating and taking unwanted items to consignment shops. I received a check for $40 from one shop and $170 from another. I also sold two items on Ebay for $50 each. It is such a good feeling to edit our possessions. It’s amazing what can collect behind closed closet and attic doors through the years. I look forward to living with much less. Retirement is just around the corner for my husband and I so I am looking forward to new experiences, friendships and travel.
    – Soon we will be putting our house on the market. The stager for the realty company didn’t want any potted plants on porches and patios. I have transplanted a few of the perennials that I had in a porch pot into smaller pots and have tucked them into the landscape hoping to take them with me when I move. Our new yard will be super tiny. Currently we are on 3/4 acre. I am hoping to still be able to grow some edibles in my smaller yard. I have been reading Brandy’s gardening tips and love the idea of tucking them in amongst the flowers and shrubs.
    – I picked lettuce and parsley from my small raised bed.
    – This season I didn’t purchase any annuals for my garden. Instead I am taking good care of the plants that are already in my gardens. Trimming, weeding and watering to keep everything looking it’s best for marketing the house.
    – I love the idea of hanging laundry on an outdoor clothesline. It is prohibited by our HOA. Instead I hang my gentle load from every available towel bar, door knob and hook in my bathroom :). Most other loads are still damp when I take them out and hang them on hangers to finish drying.
    – Yesterday I was able to open the windows for the morning to let in fresh, cooler air. Here in NC the heat and humidity in the summer are generally much too high to make open windows desirable.
    – We have been watching Planet Earth on a streaming device that my son recommended to us. It is so interesting.

    Wishing everybody a good and frugal week!

  52. Frugal Living from Urban Seattle –
    I also appreciate this community and agree that frugal living can feel isolating, especially living in a big city! I haven’t shared lately – it has been an intensely busy time for our family. We sold our Seattle townhome and we’re preparing to move down to Portland later this month.

    We had some bumps in the sale of our home. We had an immediate offer, but the buyer pulled out his offer due to a personal issue. It took almost three more weeks to sell the house after that, as a number of homes went up for sale on our street at the same time. I realize that really isn’t a long time to sell a house, but we had been told over and over that it would sell within a week…so we had to adjust our expectations. Some things we did to continue to live frugally during this time:
    – I premade meals in one sitting for most of the week in an effort to keep the kitchen clean.
    – We ate lots of picnic dinners at nearby parks because we had to be out of the house for showings in the evenings (so much cheaper and more fun than going to restaurants and luckily the weather cooperated for us!)
    – I work remotely from home – so when I had to leave the house for a showing during the day, I rode my bike to the library rather than a coffee shop to continue working.
    – I got tips from my interior designer sister and read online how to “stage” a house, rather than hiring a professional stager, saving at least a thousand dollars. Staging homes for sale seems to be standard here. I did buy new towels, a new shower curtain and a few other items that were recommended, but I’ll be able to use all of those things in our new home. Our realtor said that feedback from buyers was the house looked great. Those who initially passed on the house had issues with things we couldn’t control (like the noise from our street). I also learned a lot about decorating a house that I hope to use in our future homes.
    -We rented a small storage unit to store things during the sale of our home. When the introductory free month ended and we still needed a storage unit, we spent part of a Saturday moving our things to a nearby storage unit with another cheap introductory offer.
    -We did all minor repairs, painting and cleaning ourselves in anticipation of the sale. This may seem obvious but our realtor thought we were crazy.
    – I am meal planning from our pantry – trying to eat everything up before we move to save money and avoid waste. Anyone have any suggestions for a ton of canned applesauce my mom gifted us that we are not eating very quickly?

    Sadly, we haven’t been able to find a house in Portland to buy – at least in an area that we like at a price that is reasonable to us, but we found a great rental house with everything we were looking for and a nice backyard with a beautiful garden. The house is owned by a neighbor and beautifully cared for. I noticed it had been sitting for awhile so I negotiated the rent down another $150/month for us. Another frugal bonus is that there is an ADU on the property so all utilities plus Internet are shared costs, rather than all on us.

  53. Hi Susan, our library offers Cricut “stuff” for check-out, as well as other crafting items. Not sure if yours does, but just wanted to put that out there. (and YES…I do love speedy delivery too) 🙂

  54. I thought I had enough for a down payment on a home. Then I went looking at what homes cost around the country. A junk home in a lot of areas is about $150K I will never be able to afford a house . I am 60 years old and hubby is 70 . I just don’t have the years left to save. I always wanted a place to call home. Looks like I won’t get one in my lifetime.
    When I was born my Mom died and I went from relative to relative until I was 12 then I went to live with a friend and her folks but she was older than I was so when she was married I was 18 so I didn’t feel right living at her folks anymore so I moved out and moved in with an older sister then I got married at 19 not a smart move. He was in the air force never a place to call home a life out of a suit case and never a dollar in my pocket. Then I go divorced and lived out of an old car. Now I am remarried but hubby got sick and I live with my son as health cost meant we could not afford our place that we were renting. So never a place to call home. Sick of suit cases.
    Would love a home of my own. Don’t know how anyone ever gets one the cost are outrageous!

  55. Hi Brandy,
    I was out of town last week and not able to comment. I have followed your website for several years-even before you began the new platform. Your blog/website/accomplishments are amazing- you have done so well! It is hard to find such encouragement from so many people in one spot 🙂 Thank you for putting it together to touch so many of us!

    I do have a question… I’ve noticed that you often plant seeds at various times (whether they are the Armenian cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes, etc). We, too, are in a hot zone (8b or 9 depending on map you look at); however, my seeds often will grow to a seedling and almost immediately bolt as it gets large enough to harvest. I would have thought it was the heat, or I planted out of season… Is there a trick that I’m missing? I’ve just got my garden up this year for the first time (we’ve moved a lot) in So Cal desert mountains. I’ve had some success with lettuce, radishes, and snow peas, but I tell you gardening in the Midwest was much easier! However, if you got it down in Las Vegas (similar zone), I know I can eventually get it too!

  56. I also received some freebies from Fry’s – a big bottle of Juicy Juice and Kellogg’s Special K Cereal. In the same trip, I found Natural cereal for 1.49 4 different pasta (macaroni, shells & spaghetti for .50, butter for 1.49 and 4 packs of Italian sweet sausage for 1.99 each.

  57. I agree drip irrigation is so helpful. I can grow flowers now with it! My last house I had to water and things died. Since we moved here last year, the drip irrigation has been great.

  58. I, too, love reading the comments of others and learning from them. Everyone is so encouraging.
    My big frugal project this week was refinishing my dining table and chairs. My dad made the table and I inherited it when he died 12 years ago — but the finish was a light blond that has never matched anything in my house. The chairs he paired with the table – and which we have been using — were also light blond, and felt too big for the table. I have four chairs that belonged to my grandmother that are smaller and plainer and more comfortable – so I decided to refinish them. I stripped and sanded everything and painted each piece with milk paint, then applied two coats of finishing wax. It was a huge, messy job that took all week. I spent about $75 on supplies (including 4 cushions for the chairs), but the results is a set that looks great in my house and has deep meaning for me. We kept two of the old chairs we had been using with the table and donated the other two.
    I made cherry jam from cherries bought on sale (but my sale price was $1.66 a pound.)
    I’ve been on the lookout for sale meat to restock the freezer and this week hit the grocery store just as my friend’s husband, the butcher, was filling up the half-price case. I snagged some grass-fed beef and organic chicken, as well as B1G1 London broil and a package of salmon fillets. This will last us for a while.
    We attended two free concerts and packed picnic dinners for both.
    My husband went with a friend and cut about a cord of firewood from downed trees on a neighboring ranch.
    I harvested lettuce, chard, onion, sage, parsley, mint, some raspberries, and my first carrots from the garden.
    My generous friend (the wife of the man my husband cut wood with) is still cleaning out her closet and brought over a bag with a number of very nice fall tops for me. Before I put them in my closet, I went through my clothes and pulled out a bag full to donate.

  59. My week started off great but became quirky as each day passsed. My son was sent home from the Army after 1 day to a lab glitch. 600 others as well. Today these young people should have left but once again we are being told there are issues and maybe tomorrow ? I would have thought the process would have been smoother. I have used up way more gasoline driving into the big city for all these pickups and drop offs . I hope tomorrow will be a smooth day for him. I have discovered my two year old car does not want to accelerate. Apparently this model has a huge issue with this problem. Worse case scenario is it stays parked and I find a junker until it can be resolved. There is a recall and it may be covered under warranty. I will have to explore the options and it seems there is even a class action lawsuit. I just took it this week and had the tires checked , rotated and balanced. Got that super duper fancy oil changed too. Sometimes there just is no winning. The bright spot is that I have an old ranger my dad owned and people ask to buy it all the time. I will easily pick up a quick 1000 that will end up in savings or spent on a put put car. I told my son a 1971 yellow Volvo would suit me fine.
    I redeemed 110 Coke caps this week.
    Ordered a parenting magazine for a soon to be mom that doesn’t have much sense. Hope she gleans something useful from it. Two years of Parents courtesy of rewards.
    Used Visa gift cards bought with Swagbucks to pay this month’s bills.
    Bought college daughter 30.00 worth of birthday gifts using Swagbucks and will receive 75.00 back. She will be delighted and it is a money maker for me.
    Found a brand new still wrapped Dave Ramsey financial peace series at thrift store for $1.00. Guess I will be learning how to sell online now.
    Princess puppy and I spend most of the time in our bedroom. House is shut down and I am looking forward to seeing next month’s bills. Friends, send me a good thought. The harder I try, the more I have to carry. Thankfully I have plans A, B ,C ,D and a few more to fall back on if needed. In a weak moment, I can read Brandys post on encouragement and it uplifted me. Meanwhile sugar cookie calls frequently and is having a wonderful time seeing all her extended family. Love is a beautiful thing.

  60. Hi Brandy,
    I have been reading your blog for many years. I love your blog and all the frugal ideas everyone has. Everyone is so understanding and helpful. When I first found the blog we really needed all the tips, we are doing better now but I take after my grandmothers and I will always be frugal. You have a beautiful family and a wonderful attitude. This week I found a new dress at JCP for 14.00 on sale with coupons. My daughter had a swim party to go to and after years of shopping with me went to the bakery clearance section of Walmart on her own and found a cookie cake to bring that was marked down. It would have been cheaper to make our own – and she bakes a lot of cakes for these weekly parties but teenagers sometimes like to bring “store bought” instead of home made. I found a loaf of french bread for .50 and was able to make 3 sandwiches for those of us who stayed home and still have enough slices to freeze for a french toast breakfast.

  61. We have sprinklers for the grass area and the flower beds are on drip. It may be a combination of a lot of things…..I simply don’t know what I’m doing, we’re not watering long enough, not enough tree coverage, or the type of flowers I’m planting.

  62. Yvette,

    The planting schedule is different in zone 9 versus zone 5 🙂 It sounds like you are planting things when you are used to planting them in zone 5, so it’s too hot and they will bolt.

    In a hot climate, you really need to look at cool season vegetables and warm season vegetables. Broccoli, for example, is a cool season vegetable, so it won’t grow in summer here. Same with peas, radishes, and lettuce. Cool season vegetables are planted fall and winter here. Snow peas, for example, can be planted in October for a March-April harvest.

    I have a garden calendar that you can read up under the Garden tab that can help you with when to plant.

    I’ve also been replanting my cucumbers because they were all eaten 😉 It’s still warm enough to do so and they can go until first frost, which for us is in December. I sometimes plant squash mid-summer so that when October comes, it is cool enough for the plants to start flowering and for me to get a harvest. It also helps avoid squash bugs, planting later in the season. It’s too hot for zucchini to flower right now anyway, but if I plant some this month (direct seeded in the garden), I may get some in October/November.

  63. I’m sure you will get a lot of nice side shoots from that broccoli, as well. That sounds like a great bargain to get so many from one pack:)

  64. @jewishlady,

    Because I “met” you here, I began following and appreciating your blog as well. In fact, I would have missed the dog food coupon if not for you – $23 savings on a quality product! Thank you!

    And by the way, your post about the family trip to Cape Cod really rang true…on all levels. 😉

  65. Lilli,
    Hang in there. Sometimes, no matter how positive a person you are (which you are), it is normal to feel the stress of trying to figure out everything when life is hard.

    If there is a recall, they should fix the issue in your car for free. Can you drive that Ranger while they fix the car? Or ask for a loaner or rental from the mechanic’s shop? That’s the hardest part of my car being really broken and in the shop for the past few weeks–not having it!!! Seems obvious, doesn’t it, but I have a car because I need to go places:), and so do you. My husband drove up to see his friend, the mechanic, who is finally back from his vacation (can’t grudge him that–he works all the time), so hopefully, some news on that later today. I’ve been lurching around in my nephew’s old Mazda–quite funny, and I choose to stay home more often than I go anywhere because my other option is our 15-passenger van. Can you say “gas money” 10 times fast, because that’s how long it takes to use a tank up in that beast!

    It will be so fun to see your lowered bills. Your daughter is having a good time with her extended family. Your son will get himself into the Army:). You have a lot of very positive thoughts and things going on. It sounds like you have a lot of good plans and are amazing at Swagbucks. Keep us all posted!

  66. Jenna, don’t give up! Junk homes in cosmopolitan areas may be that price — but you can often get a condo for much cheaper. And small towns definitely have homes way better-priced than that. You may have to look a while…but you CAN find something.
    Even in Colorado, where I live, you could get a nice place for less than the price you’re quoting…definitely a condo, at the very least. Some of the small mountains towns, or those out on the plains, also have much more reasonably-priced housing.

    No one ever said finding an affordable house will be easy. We looked at least 100 homes (visited probably 10) before we got this one. We’re in the process of cleaning out our home, and will be moving into a 30-foot fifth wheel trailer for a while. Can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it.

  67. Jen, applesauce can be used as a substitute for oil in baking. As a bonus, it makes the baked goods lower in fat.

  68. Several years ago I pressed some flowers and then purchased tiles which I glued the flowers to and then put several coats of sealer and felt on the back for coaster sets as gifts. I gave a set to my best girlfriend all those years ago and I guess she still has them on her coffee table. Her daughter in law came to visit recently and was commenting on how much she admired the coasters.

    My girlfriend asked if I would make a set for her daughter in law as a Christmas gift. I went to the Habitat for Humanity store and purchased 4 tiles for $1. I saw some interesting slightly larger tiles so I bought 4 of those for another $1. I had a $5 credit coupon for Ace Hardware so I used that to purchase my sealer. I already have some felt I purchased at the thrift store some time ago.

    I pressed daisies and placed them on a very light grey/blue tile. They turned out really bright and cheery looking. They look very professional and a set of 4 coasters cost me $1. I picked the daisies out of my garden.

    Then as an experiment I took the other tiles and used a stencil on them. These tiles were a matte brown color and looked aged so I used a french inspired stencil design in white and when dried, I sanded it a little so the stencil design looked aged as well. Finally, I sealed it with 3 coats of sealer. These turned out awesome! They look like a french antique. Cost again was only a $1 as I have had the stencil for ages and have used it a million times.

    I am now inspired to make up several sets of these as Christmas gifts. I am going to press some Queen Anne’s lace flowers because I have used those in the past successfully. I also pressed some dog wood flowers and will experiment with those. I will be going back to the Habitat store for more tiles-they have a huge supply.

    I am so very thankful to my girlfriend for reminding me of this great gift idea. They look really nice, are useful and very frugal gifts. Who knows, I might even keep a set for myself. This will really help out my Christmas gift budget!!

    I have another batch of parsley ready to harvest and dry. Unfortunately, my basil crop was a total failure this year so I have asked my husband to ask around his office and see if anyone has an abundance of basil in their garden that perhaps we could purchase. I like knowing it is organically and locally grown. I wanted to make more pesto to freeze for pizzas throughout the year. It is too pricey to purchase that much quantity in my grocery store. They charge $3 for one stem! I have to buy two of those to have enough pesto for one pizza.

    My husband picked enough wild blackberries (foraging with permission) for two pies.

    We enjoyed a wonderful, free concert in the park yesterday- the only cost to me was purchasing a snow cone for my grandson to enjoy while listening to the concert. He is 5 years old and greatly enjoyed every bite of that snow cone. Perfect summer day!

  69. Hello Everyone,

    This past week was a frugal, fun one. Here are some ways we saved.

    * We were able to go on an all expenses retreat for military vetrans and their families. On this trip we did whitewater rafting, rock climbing, zip lining and a ropes course. This was in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. There are many programs for veterans I am finding out, that we never knew about all of these years.
    * My husband went to pick up inhalers and medicines on post for our son, since there is no out of pocket cost.
    * We avoided the drive thru line and packed snacks for an appointment that we had in another city.
    * My daughter was able to get a free book and Bible from the summer reading program from Lifeway books. She was excited to get a Bible to donate to others.
    * I was able to cash in on $156.78 worth app rewards, website rewards, credit card rewards and mystery shopping in June. I totaled it up on my blog if you are interested: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/07/how-i-made-156-78-on-the-side-in-june-from-websites-apps-rewards-and-mystery-shopping/
    * I also sent away for a few freebies which I also wrote about on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/09/freebies-today-7-10-18/
    * We are getting produce from our garden now! After the hail and replanting and free plants from a local nursery, I am getting swiss chard, radishes, and lots of spinach!
    * We have been getting some eggs from the chickens but it is hot so I think it is making them produce less.
    * We are attending a free Vacation Bible School this week and I am helping at it. So, that will keep us busy!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful, blessed week.
    Liz

  70. It took us awhile to figure out… we researched what is best in our area and asked a lot of ?s. Re the soil, zone, how much water and also direction of sun, etc and finally got it right.
    Our nursery has been a big help. Good luck!

  71. Years ago my husband worked with a guy who loved to bake but hated to cook or bring lunches to work. After seeing my husband’s lunches, which were usually leftovers, he offered me a deal of a loaf of regular bread and a loaf of sweet bread (that really was like a cake in taste and texture!) every week if I would send my husband to work with two lunches, one for him. We did this until my husband left that job, so for about 18 months. I actually found it fun to think of things I could cook that would yield enough leftovers for the two of them. Plus, back then I didn’t bake bread so it was a win for me, too.

  72. I also enjoyed reading all the comments from last week’s post. I always learn so much and get new ideas or am reminded of something to do again. It’s a wonderful community of people. Also Brandy – the pictures are just gorgeous of the basket and produce.

    *Several books I wanted were available at the library so I requested those books instead of thinking of ordering. Nice to also notice that if they didn’t have the book I wanted there were options available that could help.

    *My husband worked the weekend and my kids were all away. I ate meals at home and read books. I did see a movie with a family member but we split the cost.

    *Picked green beans, cucumber and my first sun gold tomato from the garden.

    *Used Ebates for a few things that needed to be ordered.

    *Signed up for a free trial of Prime Pantry. Because of all the coupons and promotions, my $50 purchase was brought down to $13.65.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  73. I love schmaltz! Hardly anyone I know makes it anymore, so I always feel odd telling people that something they ate was cooked in schmaltz.

  74. This week I picked blueberries from our bushes, made laundry soap, I despise grating soap so I just microwave ivory soap.. it grows huge and after it cools I just crumble it in, perfect soap flakes. I broke down a #10 bag of leg quarters, they were on sale for .59 a pound, not a bad price, although I am usually able to get them cheaper when I buy them by the case. I separate the legs from the thighs and freeze separately. I include marinade with the legs so when they thaw they are all ready to go. I treat legs like wings, buffalo chicken, lemon pepper and bbq. The thighs I place in the crockpot with bay and some veggie scraps which results in a wonderful broth and I shred the meat for the week. I came across ham on sale which I will cook one day in the crockpot also. I also came across milk for $1.85 a gallon marked down.. so I purchased several and frozen them. I cut my husband and one sons hair, my youngest is is growing his to donate to wigs for kids. I harvested Armenian cucumbers, herbs, tomatoes and flowers. We celebrated the fourth and my husbands birthday with a hot dog roast. Not frugal but we rescued a lab with hip dysplasia. Her owner did not want her because he could not use her for duck hunting. But she is sweet and brings my family joy so we will care for her as long as possible.

    We purchased a fixer upper that had a gunnite pool. We remodeled some of it ourselves and contracted some of it out. It is an investment but we were able to keep the cost reasonable.

    We found out my oldest will be able to receive the tuition scholarship program from our state at 100% again. When combined with the university scholarship she receives she will again make money to attend college.

    Have a great week everyone!!!

  75. I didn’t post last week. I was exhausted after reading everyone’s comments, and didn’t have the energy to post my own. 😉 Anyway, we picked lettuce, chives, snow peas, cauliflower, green onions and the first two Juliet tomatoes from the garden. Pretty soon we will also have broccoli and chard. YUM! Stir-fries. My DH has retired, and is taking care of most of the garden. All I have to do is help harvest, and then cook. Our first planting of lettuce is almost done. We will soon be picking from those we transplanted to other beds. Then I will plant more in the first space.

    We have wonderful tasting water – so we drink a lot of it. I even bring bottles to work each day.

    Washed sheets on all the beds (we had company the weekend before the 4th of July) and hung them on the line to dry.

    No AC for us. It is supposed to be in the 90’s for most of the week, but if it is just too hot, we will live in our basement (other than cooking.)

    Not frugal for me, but my BIL was going through town on his way to meet up with his daughter (She teaches overseas and was having a class in Seattle) and spent the night with us, saving on a hotel bill and meals. I believe in frugality for all, and try to help when I can.

    Ate all meals at home, except lunches, which I brought to work with me.

    We also had a quiet 4th of July, working in the garden. We live about 10 miles out outside Spokane, but could see the Spokane fireworks from our back property.

    I am sure there was more, but that is all I can think of for now.

  76. Jenna I will say something to you here which is never ever give up hope on having your own home and I will be praying for you and your husband :).

    Just some ideas for you is that have you thought of buying land and a cheaper removal home to go on it, apartments, shipping container homes. These are all things to investigate as there are cheaper alternatives to buying ready built homes out there it just takes some planning and investigation to get there. With a removal home most of them are in fairly good condition and then you just do it up gradually with your own touch of colour and decor. Paint and second hand furniture done up look wonderful along with a few colourful cushions thrown into the mix that you can sew yourself with fabrics picked up also from secondhand shops.

    I will say this to you is that we lost our last home to my family taking legal action against me in a sneaky manouvre and we are quite literally as you are starting again (don’t keep in contact with my family needless to say). I have a husband who is in ill health due to injuries sustained in the military so our medical expenses are a big cost in our family too. We are also not a young couple but middle aged.

    It takes discipline and a lot of sacrifices to save enough for a home but if you are willing to take the step you will get there. We live in Australia so our home costs here for a ready built home in the country are anywhere from $220 000 – $350 000 but we can build a lot cheaper than buying a ready built home. We will be borrowing a little more than half of what we need to build our home from the banks.

    I hope this gives you some more ideas to look into.

  77. Hi Amanda and welcome from another fellow Australian in Qld.

    I love Brandy’s blog too and her wonderful way of living frugally and the blessings she gives us all through sharing her knowledge with us all.

  78. Made make-ahead bean and rice burritos, some for the freezer, some for the kids to have at lunches. Also made a big crockpot full of veggie soup. Sold more random little items on a local FB page. Ate dinner at my mom’s for my birthday and got sent home with the leftovers. She also bought me some clothes for my birthday, so appreciated. Cleaned the family room (moved the couch, vacuumed under and through, then mopped everywhere). Super fresh now. Cut up veggies for snacks. Stuck to my grocery budget (under by $10 actually), shopped with a detailed list at Winco. Read library books, returned cans for $ refund which goes in my daughter’s (the one leaving in fall) college account. Took advantage of one of the Target promotions, getting the $5 gift card when purchasing 3 items. I was getting those items anyway, and the gift card(s) that I sometimes get like this I save for my teenager’s stocking stuffers. Walked multiple mornings with a friend.

  79. I’m sorry things are so difficult, Jenna. I know that where I live, in Toronto, Canada, there is a program called Options for Homes. It helps people who normally may not be able to afford a home, purchase their first home by arranging for a second mortgage. I don’t remember all the details but it is a legit and highly thought of program. Usually the home is a condo, at least in Toronto. Are you able to research to see if there are similar programs in the U.S.? And I agree with Cindy, condos are a great option!

  80. Hi brandy! First time commenter here, I’ve read your blog for 3 years and it’s changed so much of my day to day life! Mostly little things that add up like cooking dry beans instead of buying canned. I’m not always super frugal but I try! Thanks for all your great ideas!

  81. Kim, when I make basil pesto, I use 50% basil and 50% of either chickweed or young dandelion leaves or spinach. The basil taste is strong enough to mask the fillers and it makes pesto much cheaper. I also don’t use pine nuts, but the cheapest nuts available. Really, try it with greens substituting and you may find you like it. It sure saves me a lot of money.

  82. Heather, we had a dog with hip problems who needed meds and pain pills. We got the generic versions, plus free shipping, from 800PetMeds. We have found them the cheapest and if you need a refill, they will contact your vet for you. You may already know of that source and, if you do, I apologize.

  83. Jenna, don’t give up! Keep saving, keep looking, keep dreaming and something will suddenly pop up. It might be a repossession or a lease to own, or even an auction but don’t stop planning. We stumbled across a land auction, just stopped the car to see what the crowd was looking at and ended up buying the land for almost nothing! The people in the crowd were the neighbors who were nosey like us – no one there wanted the property. Since we had some money in savings, we were able to buy it. I was shaking my head [b]”NO”[/b] and begging my husband to stop bidding. He ignored me since he realized it was a steal. We will someday sell the land for our retirement.

    Keep dreaming, Jenna.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    PS: The land had a real moonshine still on the back of the property! Really! The auctioneer had to tell us before he could sell it to us. It took us forever to find it because it was so well hidden; however, the revenuers had already smashed it to pieces.

  84. Without knowing any of your circumstances: Do you have a local Habitat for Humanity chapter?
    You and your family have to provide “sweat equity,” yet that should be adapted your physical capabilities. Houses are particularly directed to people with limited finances, who at the same time will be able to make mortgage payments into the future. If you investigate this, be sure to speak to someone locally to get a clear explanation of what is available and required. It isn’t a handout; it is an opportunity for you to have a home that you have worked for and paid for, and an opportunity for others to share through volunteering.

  85. Yes, a condo can be a good option, but it can also be a bad one. Anyone considering buying a condo should do their research (including reading the bylaws, examining the amount of the reserves and any reserve studies done, checking the physical state of the buildings, finding out about planned maintenance, etc.) and also talk to people that live there. We have lived in a 40 year old complex for nearly 15 years now, and about 8 years ago some major issues were discovered (building and window leaks, siding problems, rotting walkways, and issues with the roof). The board’s initial plan was to level a $40,000 assessment on each homeowner. This is not unusual in our area. However, many of the residents would not have been able to pay for this (or get a loan for this amount), and they would have walked away and let the bank foreclose. This would have resulted in an untenable situation for the complex. Thankfully, the condo board decided to hike the dues 40% (now close to $600 a month) and do the repairs piecemeal.
    So, if you are thinking of buying a condo, do your homework, so you hopefully don’t get stuck with major financial headache later.

  86. Consider the small towns and cities in Michigan, outside of Holland, Traverse City, Ann Arbor, Marquette, and the more expensive suburbs of Detroit. You will have plenty of choices, including some on an acre or more.

  87. Keep hoping and planning for the future and future home, Jenna!

    Our neighbors bought their home for under $100,000 – in a neighborhood where the homes sell for over $200,000! The reason? A short sale – our former neighbors got taken to the cleaners by a dishonest contractor and they had the choice of fixing the house so it was livable and selling or not being able to live in the house. Our current neighbors got a steal and a lovely house. Condos or a townhome or twin–home (where you can rent the other half) are a wonderful option too! My in-laws live in half of twin-home and the owners (not my in-laws) use their rent to pay the mortgage.

    As someone else stated, there may be programs to help you purchase depending on your situation as well. I know there are several programs for first time home buyers, military veterans, and a variety of other situations. A member of our church congregation just received a home through Habitat for Humanity – our congregation donated work hours to cover her portion of the “sweat equity” in the home since she is currently caring for two severely disabled children and would not have the time. We were more than willing to do this because having a home of her own that is handicapped accessible and safe (their current living situation is neither) will improve their health and make their lives so much better! Please don’t give up and keep looking for options. There are so many out there!

    Hopefully the medical bills will abate and you will be able to start saving money toward a down-payment again.

    Prayers and I’ll be thinking of you,
    Lea

  88. Hi Brandy and all,

    I was reading through the comments, and debating whether to comment since I couldn’t think of anything interesting :). Then read Jordan’s comment about cooking dry beans rather than buying canned beans, and that comment inspired me to start typing. I learned that trick here too. I remember Brandy saying she was cooking batches of beans to freeze before the birth of a child (maybe Ivory?), and so since then, I cook beans and split them into freezer portions. What a great simple thing that saves money.

    This past week, quite a few of our meals came from the freezer. I am really devoted to cooking soups, splitting up into two person meal portions, and freezing. So last week, from the freezer, we had pinto beans and ham, black eyed peas and ham, and chicken noodle soups.

    Our goodwill bread machine is giving trouble so I used United flight miles to buy my very first new bread machine :). It should arrive in two weeks. After four years of using used bread machines from thrift stores, I sure hope the new machine does something better :). The used machines worked fine, they are just not designed to work very long before the pan bearing wears out…but for $4 each at Goodwill, I was content to buy one machine a year. I tried baking in the oven but it requires too much attention from me.

    Brandy, I was so glad to see two of your posts this week. It felt like a holiday for sure! How is your new baby? I was thinking of the photo you shared of Octavius in the baby outfit with airplanes on it, and wondered about your newest little one.

  89. Found a collapsible drying rack at a yard sale for $4. Am now experimenting with how much it will hold, how to combine it with my clothesline, and whether I can now even take down some ropes. I mentioned to the seller that I could probably hang it on the laundry room wall to store it, and she said she hangs everything with Command-brand hooks; might try that. I like draping clothing quickly on the rack rather than having to use clothespins, though inside the folds doesn’t dry as quickly as on pinned items.

    Used the almost-expiring yogurt to make lemon loaf cake, chocolate loaf cake, and banana bread with some bananas I had bought on super-clearance and frozen for this use. Banana bread recipes are so forgiving! I had part of a box of crushed graham crackers bought on clearance (what luxury! pre-crushed smooth sized crackers for crusts!) and I used that for part of the flour.

    Had attempted to plant seeds this spring with mixed results. Only about a tenth of the nasturtiums came up, and the few plants are tiny and keep disappearing. Perhaps the squirrels ate them? Morning glories are trailing and climbing an old tomato cage. The best success was pots of basil and flat leaf parsley, much more parsley than we would ever use. This morning, I saw something had stripped one of my dill plants of all leaves and seeds, and found four caterpillars moving methodically up them. Turns out the caterpillars are for black swallowtail butterflies, (look similar to those of monarchs, but monarchs only eat milkweed, which I purposely let grow as a volunteer plant). They eat dill and plants in the carrot family, and parsley! So I moved a pot of it next to the dill plants and plopped them in to hopefully eat my excess. We have many of what I researched to find are ebony jewelwing damselflies in our yard this year. I had never noticed these flocking around before, and figure the temperature and moisture have been just right. I love how poetic the names sound.

    Friends took us out for breakfast, parent bought supper, and another friend sent us a surprise check of $30 for our 30th wedding anniversary today. Enjoying thinking about longer modern lifespans, that we may have 30 more years! And best wishes to Brandy and husband this week!

  90. That silly ole truck is so sentimental I may never get rid of it. We actually have 2 brand new bikes in the boxes that need to be put together. Grocery store is a mile away and the roads are safe to walk or bicycle. I am more annoyed that I not only have to deal with it but that I anticipate the dealership giving me a hard time. The truck needs a tag and insurance but 50 dollars will put it on the road. I am blessed to have a commercial diesel road side service mechanic living next door and I imagine MR.R will get me going. Battery probably is dead but the little things really aren’t a problem . I get real insecure thinking about not having reliable transportation with sugar cookies cancers. I made sure I bought the newest car I could buy with the settlement check from my insurance replacement check. 2016 was just a random bad car for Nissan.

  91. My daughter lives less than 2 miles away and was always happy to pick tomatoes and green peppers while I was on vacation. Green beans were less attractive—I find them annoying to pick myself after the first flush of beans are finished, but by picking them every 2-3 days all summer, I can get quite a few more beans from the plants. Local commercial growers just pull up the plants after they pick the first beans. If you like yellow beans, it is easier to find them on the plants as you pick. Then you don’t come back later and find a few extra large ones that you missed first time around. I have only about 100 square foot of garden (in my prime, not any more) and was able to can enough beans to give my parents 12 quarts of them already canned for Christmas plus supply my own family. This year it looks like no veggie garden for the first time, as my husband has been sick for a couple months and has been diagnosed with dementia. He doesn’t garden that much but he did help me some. Also, he didn’t need my attention and assistance quite as frequently as he does now. He’s back to healthy, except for the dementia. We are still working on regular maintenance for the yard but now are on the verge of drought! The flower beds are pretty messy but he doesn’t see it!

  92. Well, that’s to the haboob we just had, we’ve lost power and won’t have it restored until tomorrow they are saying. We’ve keep the doors shut but it looks like I’veoat all of that food and will have to repurchase. And it’s hot in here,
    Whine whine

  93. Hi Brandy,
    I, too, am a long-time reader. Although I don’t comment very often, I look forward to reading your posts and the comments. It’s wonderful having a community that celebrates frugal living along with creativity, beauty and joy.
    Congratulations on ten years of blogging and Happy Belated Anniversary!
    Some frugal accomplishments this week:
    Bought cherries and nectarines for 97 cents a pound.
    Exercised in the pool, including exercises learned in physical therapy, for both pleasure and to keep up range of motion and strength.
    Made homemade salsa from ingredients in pantry.
    Accepted a bowl of cantaloupe from a neighbor and learned that it could be flash frozen. It tastes great when eaten partially defrosted…kind of like a Popsicle.
    Bought a few groceries on senior day for 10% off. Used coupons for discounts and free items.
    Husband made some repairs and upkeep to our car which saved quite a bit.
    Used a discounted rotisserie chicken for several meals and then to make bone broth.
    Continued organizing family photos into albums using partly supplies gifted to me, some I had on hand, as well as some paper and stickers someone was giving away that my daughter thought I would like.
    Wishing everyone a good week!

  94. Before going on vacation I cleaned out the fruit & vegetable crisper. Using leftover strawberries, apples, citrus and mint from garden I infused ice cubes. We have returned home to the most delicious frozen cubes. Now I’m wondering why I haven’t used bits of fruits & herbs in the past this way.
    No waste and simply the easiest thing to assemble.

  95. 1. Received a surprise tax return from the US Government…apparently even I can make mistakes…thankfully it was in my favor.
    2. Used rubbing alcohol to remove ink stains from my son’s pants
    3. Stocked up on Doritos and butter while they were on sale
    4. Found a free math site that I will use to catch my son up on his math skills
    5. Enjoyed a bucketful of banana peppers and cucumbers from my father’s garden

  96. My kids are traveling in Italy with my sister. They are having an amazing time. Thanks to modern technology,
    I can FaceTime with them everyday. They are sending home some beautiful pictures and videos. Everyday they are learning something new, meeting new people and seeing some amazing sights. I am so grateful to my sister that she took them.

    I have picked up a few extra shifts since the kids are gone. I am cooking extra so that I don’t have to cook every meal. Thank goodness Hubby and I like leftovers. We did get Olive Garden one night with a GC that I had. I picked it up and we ate it in our yard as it was a beautiful evening. It cost less then a $1.

    The rest of my list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/07/my-frugal-list-week-of-july-2-2018.html

  97. Thanks for the dog food coupon. They let me use my sister’s card too since she is away with my kids. That is some expensive dog food. I would never pay that normally. It is a great size bag for when we are traveling though.

  98. The $350 20,000 mile service on my “new to me” car was covered by the warranty. Completely free! And they had tea, coffee, and pastries for me while I waited (even better since I had skipped breakfast to get there so early). Glad I chose this car and paid for the warranty.

    Went out to lunch and the waitress steered me to a special, it was perfect, and I got out of lunch with a nice tip for $9. Went back to school shopping and found dresses on mark down and I found a 25% off coupon online. 4 new work dresses and 4 t shirts for $90. Bought 5 more online, on sale, with a coupon and free shipping. Given that one of the dresses was originally $75, I think I did pretty well. Other than new under things and possibly a few new pairs of leggings, I am at less than $200 for a whole new school year wardrobe.

    Attended 2 free movie advance screenings at the base and 1 $4 movie on base. Volunteered at the VFW one night, so they gave me dinner for free. Used a free drink chip another night at the VFW.

    Otherwise, I stayed home. Painted the loft. Ate leftovers. Mended some clothes. Purged the guest room and loft. Reorganized the laundry room and did a purge. Continued collecting eggs and trading them for fresh produce.
    Entertained a friend for dinner with items already in my freezer. She bought pre-packaged desserts given to her by her flight attendant daughter for us to enjoy.

  99. Hi Susan, our library offers Cricut “stuff” for check-out, as well as other crafting items. Not sure if yours does, but just wanted to put that out there. (and YES…I do love speedy delivery too) 🙂

  100. Mable,
    I am familiar with the website and thank you for sharing though. You never know when information is helpful for someone else who is reading also.

  101. Hi Amanda, Jenny from Victoria here, and there is another Aussie from South Australia who comments occasionally.

  102. You might find Theviviennefiles.com a useful website for wardrobe ideas. She has a ton of stuff (all wonderfully archived) and lots of great ideas for mixing & matching etc.

  103. Jenna: long story short, I lost my home (and job) in the Great Recession. I moved over two hours away to a new job (seven yrs ago), and I have since purchased another home for, get this, $25,000! It was built in 1950, and in relatively good shape. I would suggest you look in cheaper state (Mid West, deep South), and in very rural, small towns. A house almost identical to mine sold for over $100,000 in a college town an hour away from me. Best of luck to you!

  104. Well, I think I had a pretty frugal week:

    Was able to receive additional life insurance at work for free because I do not need their health insurance.

    Took lunches to work all week.

    We were able to purchase patio furniture at half the cost using my husband’s military discount and gift cards earned from credit card points. Our friend welded the back of our glider in place for a couple of beers, so we did not need to purchase a new one. I then scotch guarded all the cushions with a can we’ve had for a few years.

    I’ve been trying to change my shopping habits so that I’m replenishing supplies and creating meals based on what I have in the freezer and pantry.

    The best frugal accomplishment I have is my son’s phone purchase. We had decided that he was going to start paying for his own phone plan and he had started looking at phones and plans. He had dropped his phone recently and it was pretty cracked and distorted, so he went looking to purchase a phone outright and use a prepaid plan. We use Straight Talk and suggested he look at that. After looking at the price of the phones he went to AT&T because we had purchased insurance for the plan he was on. Imagine our surprise when he found out he could get an upgraded phone for $112 based on the insurance! He was able to get a Samsung S8 and was completely satisfied. So now that his contract is ending at the end of the month he will be switching to a cheaper phone plan with a newer model.

  105. Hello! Started commenting last week and want to keep contributing.

    Coloured my own hair
    Enjoyed some free Corporate dinners/lunches
    Wanted to paint an accent wall in Spare bedroom, combined paint I had on hand to use up what I had; it turned out better than I anticipated!
    Continued to declutter/organize/ downsize; sold $159.50 last week on local FB group; one of my customers approached me to sell her items for a commission and I accepted.
    Laughed at a co-worker as I caught her rolling her eyes at my “make up bag”…I just use a ziploc baggie
    Happy Frugalling to all, I read and enjoy everyone’s comments here.

  106. I continue to be inspired by your frugal accomplishments Brandy! Thank you so much for taking the time to share and to encourage others so that we can all benefit .

    This week I…
    – Redeemed the Kroger Free Friday Download for a package of candy that I used as a nice treat for me and my husband after the kids were in bed (so I didn’t have to share :))
    – Purchased 12 packages of gluten free chicken nuggets on markdown for $1.79 each (normally $5.99 each!)
    – Took advantage of the free lunch program for kids at our local library several times last week.
    – Spent A LOT of time at the local library – using their free air conditioner when the temps went up to 115 degrees here (yuck!).
    – Found a book at the library that I was contemplating buying as a reference book, so it was nice to give it a test drive first.
    – Spent 4th of July at a local park flying kites and playing soccer with kids and enjoying free concert music.

    And that’s all I can think of for now!

  107. 1. Turned in my ibotta cash for an Amazon gift card to purchase our oldest dogs joint supplements. It is the least expensive place to purchase it from and we get free shipping. I was able to get 2 months supply for only 60 cents OOP!! That is a real win for us.
    2. I continue to submit purchases into ibotta and am getting a great amount back each shopping trip on items I am already planning on purchasing. I am sometimes even lucky enough to be able to stack store coupons with ibotta rebates for even more savings. Some of my best savings this week were a package of turkey kielbasa for 50 cents a package, 3 yogurts for 15 cents a piece, a free drinkable yogurt, 1.50 for a 5 pack of fudge pops, 1.50 for waffles.
    3. Gave my vehicle a good detailed cleaning at home instead of going to the car wash. We took it to the beach over the weekend and had brought the dogs so it was covered with dog hair and sand. I just used the vacuum from home and cleaned it really well instead of paying for the machines at the car wash.

  108. My word how you get a garden to grow there is a true miracle……my son and family live in Henderson Nevada I was there through the 4th til this past Sunday …..god bless you who choose to live there oh my word that heat…..I’m from Ohio and was so blessed to be home…..95 degreesxat 5 am is nuts

  109. Hi, all! Another long-time reader here. This is literally the only blog I come to week after week no matter how busy I am 🙂 I think this is maybe my 3rd time commenting, but I do love to read everyone else’s comments!

    My husband started installing the backslash in our kitchen with free-from-scraps gorgeous slate tile. It’s the leftover bits and pieces from a remodeling job he’s doing so he’s turning trash into our treasure.

    Spent $100 on materials for my husband to make a set of sliding shower doors. He reused glass from old, broken patio doors (also from a previous remodel job saved from the trash). We had been shopping for some but found the prices really high and out of our budget at $500+ so he found a way to make a beautiful set for a fraction of that price.

    We accepted free produce and eggs from my husband’s parents who live next door.

    I made a meal plan using my “backwards meal planning method” where I check what needs used up in fridge and pantry and then check the small and big freezers before finally checking the sale ads — I use anything jotted down on this list to put together a meal plan for the week.

    We had several no-drive days — trying to batch errands and fun stuff since we live 20 miles from the nearest “shopping” town. My husband only went to the job site 3 days last week so his driving was less also.

    I switched 2 of my business subscription expenses to annual billing to get a reduced rate over the monthly billing option.

    DD and I have been reading a lot of library books in the coolness out of the heat, and I’ve been using up old puzzle books I found while clearing clutter.

    I’m ready for another frugal week around here!

  110. Liz,
    I enjoyed your site. I was pretty intrigued by how you were able to make over $150 using the apps. I tried downloaded Field Agent but was a bit intimidated by it so I haven’t done any of the jobs yet. You made it sound pretty simple so I might try it. Thanks for the tip about the ebook A Year Without the Grocery store, that sounds like a good read.
    Cheryl

  111. It’s been a cool spring here in Nova Scotia. So things have ripened slowly. Thank goodness hubby made me a greenhouse! We’ve been harvesting cucumbers and selling the excess. Our strawberries are ripening. We harvested around 20 quarts! In a small 5’x12′ raised bed! We’ve eaten more than we can handle so tonight I made 6 500ml jars of freezer jam. I drehydrated chamoline and thyme for this winter. We harvested the garlic scapes and gave lots away but froze and salted some. Our son caught mackerel for supper one day. I actually borrowed books from the library instead of buying them. We’ve been eating and eating and eating Swiss chard from the beds.
    I think that’s it for this week. Follow me on Facebook
    Spring Peeper Farm

  112. The heat and humidity have both been very high so I have been in the gardens early in the morning and late in the evening. With all the rain we had most of my plant are taller than our 48″ fence. Vertical gardening for the win. We are harvesting zucchini, yellow squash and green beans right now.
    I have continued to do errands while out for other commitments, do full loads of laundry and dishes, and cook from scratch for most meals.
    I really do enjoy this blog and all the comments. Have a good week everyone

  113. Another great frugal week!
    I bought mark-downs and loss-leaders at the nearby grocery stores.
    I sold a few items on a local facebook group.
    We checked out books and movies from the library.
    Made a homemade treat for our beloved children’s librarian, who has taken another job elsewhere. We will miss her, but wish her the best.
    I took advantage of a deal at HEB (grocery store) for a free $10 HEB giftcard when you buy $50 in giftcards to Home Depot. I did this 6 times. We will use the Home Depot giftcards eventually, and I spent two of the $10 HEB giftcards on stamps, leaving $40 for gas or groceries.
    I moved some items around in the freezer to help me be more organized. I found some chicken I’d forgotten about.
    My brother invited us to dinner. I suggested a restaurant where kids eat free that day, so at least it was only $15 instead of much more.
    I took out some old toys I’d put away, and the kids are really enjoying them.
    Shopped at Goodwill after 3:00 pm to get the teacher discount.
    Printed the Half Price Books summer reading log for my kids to complete; they will each get a $5 “shopping spree.”
    Saved the free magazines I get in the mail to sell to Half Price Books. It’s only a few dollars a month, but every little bit helps!
    I closed the blinds on the west-facing side of the house in the afternoon heat.
    We picked up a neighbor’s mail while they were on vacation.
    Used up most leftovers to avoid food waste.

  114. Have you guys tried The Worst Witch? It is a book series that Netflix has made into a tv show. If I remember correctly you don’t have Netflix, but the book series might be something they like (who knows if the library might have the dvds also)? 🙂

    They reminded me of Harry Potter, but this series was actually written in the 70s & 80s! I haven’t read them all yet, so I would recommend pre-reading before the kiddos (but they’re short so they should go fast).

  115. My brother still owned his 2 bedroom bachelor home for a few years after he got married. They primarily lived in wife’s home. They got an opportunity to buy my grandmother’s home and he wanted to pay cash. Sold his perfectly lovely, in great shape home for $25,000. Great for couple starting out or seniors downsizing. Of course this is in town in MS so small we have no traffic lights. I guess what I am saying is if you can there are tons of affordable houses in small towns. 20 miles from us that house would have been $75-100K

  116. Well, of course, he got a special treat. He got to snuggle with Pack Leader on the couch! There is nothing better than that…and then he got fed. We had taken his food away early in the morning so his tummy would be empty. Sounds mean, but it is horrible cleaning up dog throw-up in the backseat of a car and I have done it too many times!

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

  117. You are right we went the condo route first did our homework and our board turned crooked and we lost our condo to theft by the board. So yes condos can be nice but they are also a money drain that we just don’t have.

    I have checked about three thousand homes .

    I just don’t see the answer but thanks for the boost I will keep looking.

  118. Not sure what the cereal is, but I like to make “rice krispie squares” using different types of cereal. It might be a way of using it up. There could be some other recipes you can make with the cereal, too, if you do some research. My daughter and sometimes my husband do this to me. We find something that everyone enjoys eating, then when I stock up on it, someone decides they are sick of it and refuses to eat it. Always happens after I just stocked up during a sale, too! So annoying!!!

  119. Brandy, I just love your blog! I have been reading for years. You have a great way of conveying your plans and frugality in a way anyone can understand and work into their own life. You should write a book!!
    This week I made my daughters birthday cake from scratch. I used the Ibotta app to redeem for a 20 dollar pay pal pay out. I just buy what I usually would and then if it comes up in the app I scan my receipt. viola! after a few weeks I usually have 20 bucks to cash out.
    I have started gardening this year and have two tomato plants that are going nuts. I can’t wait to harvest. I am watching them every day! We also have bunching onions, carrots, peppers and cucumber. Its been a joy and i am going to expand next year.
    My family and I played lots of board games together for entertainment.
    July is always the Leanest month for us financially but we have committed to not spending unless it was necessary and we are ending this pay period with an extra 100 dollars to save!

  120. Hi Jen. Here are some recipes we’ve enjoyed that uses applesauce in them:
    https://www.chef-in-training.com/applesauce-snack-cake/
    https://www.momontimeout.com/chocolate-banana-applesauce-cake/
    http://homegrownandhealthy.com/applesauce-bran-muffins/
    http://www.keeleymcguire.com/2011/11/food-for-thought-applesauce-bread.html
    Also, you can add applesauce to smoothies (I have been making smoothies and freezing them in popcicle moulds for a healthy summer snack), or blend with other fruit to make fruit leather (if you do not have a dehydrator, you can look up instructions on-line to do it in your oven). Hope this helps!

  121. My teenage daughter always thinks store bought is better, too. When I was a kid, I had a friend who always brought homemade baked goods to school. Her family didn’t have a lot of money, so her mom always baked things to put in her lunch (for the record, it never occurred to us kids that she was poor…nor would we have cared). I remember being so envious of all her home baked treats. My mom only baked occasionally and her homemade treats looked so good! Sometimes I have to remind DD that even though I bake frequently, not all kids have parents that do…and they are even more envious of all her homemade goodies than she is of their store bought stuff!

  122. Ok, Lilli, here is my pep talk. Recently, I started a weaving project at work. I am making a tea towel on a 4 harness table loom, similar to the loom I have at home. This was my first solo project on a 4 harness loom and it felt very overwhelming with all the steps I had to do. One of my co-workers helped me get the project going. What I learned was that even though it was overwhelming when I looked at the big picture, it was much easier to work through getting it started if I did everything one step at a time. I know you are feeling overwhelmed by the car issue and your panicing by making multiple plans in preparation. However, it might be easier and less stressful if you tackle the problem one step at a time. Contact the dealership and find out what you need to do to fix the recall. Be ready to ask questions, such as how long it will take to fix it, will they allow you to have a rental at no cost while it is being fixed, etc. Since it is a recall, there should be little to no cost to fix this problem. If they quote you a lot of costs, and the manager is insistant that is the price, call around to other dealerships and/or ask for a number to call the company directly and discuss the issue with them. Once you get the info and know where you sit, you can better decide what your next move will be.

    In the intrim, putting together that bike might be a good way to spend your time while the kids are away. Using it is good for environment, excellent exercise for your health and saves you gas money regardless of the car issue! You are very confident in making hard choices in life, Lilli, as you have already demonstrated many times over. So remember, you’ve got this…and we believe in you!!!!

  123. It is interesting how different areas cost of living is so varied. Oscar Meyer beef hot dogs in my area on deap sale are $3.00 per package. Gas is $3.05 per gallon and Milk is $$3.00 per gallon even at the Aldi.

  124. We burned a batch of beans and I put bowls of vinegar out to absorb some of the smell. That vinegar was then used the next day with water to mop our floors. I love getting 2 uses out of something!

    We bought a small evaporative cooler. It’s dry here and hot (105) and this little cooler helps maintain the coolness in the house and decreases the running time of A/C. We use it in our bedroom at night too, since we turn the AC off when we go to bed (still 85+ outside at 11pm).

    Visiting kids left, and I cooked a pot of rice and beans. It will make for some cheap and easy meals.

    Bought a swimsuit at Costco. I have a ‘nice’ suit that I wear when I’m with other people. We have a pool at home and I wear the cheap suit when I’m alone. It prolongs the life of the expensive suit. Cheap suits are a bit skimpy since I’m 6 feet tall. But when I’m on my own, it doesn’t matter.

    Found out there is a video streaming service that some libraries subscribe to. It’s free with your library card. Mine does, so I signed up. It’s called Kanopy.com. It’s an eclectic mix of offerings, but there’s a few things I’ll enjoy. It offers some of the Great Courses.

    AARP bulletin said that they offer a Safe Drivers course and some insurances provide discounts to participants. My husband called our insurance to see if they give the discount. They do, but only for drivers over 55. He’s not there yet, so we’ll do that when the time comes.

  125. I am so looking forward to greenhouse photos. I taugh a couple classes in a greenhouse one year and loved it! I would like to have one here in the cold north.

    My husband went off to Ace hardware to buy a rake and came back to let me know that they were giving away the remainder of their plants. I went and brought home some plants to fill out the planters. I also was able to find some herbs for my herb planter. I brought home chives and two kinds of basil. I also doubled up on the trip to return an item we didn’t need.

    We are very careful when going to work to have the person traveling the furthest take the vehicle with the best gas mileage. For summer entertainment, we have been choosing free things to do. We went to Shakespeare on the Lawn with a picnic dinner and saw Macbeth, we have taken our kayaks out, gone hiking and biking, and played games as a family. We have two events we are paying for this summer. One is a fundraiser for the pregnancy center and the other is a music event that we attend every year that I was able to save up for. I paid for the tickets quite a while ago.

    Otherwise, I have found some change, been ruthless about clearing out stuff that once was useful but is no longer, have been wearing some old scruffy outfits while sorting and gardening so as to keep my nicer pieces nice for the summer, making sure there isn’t any food waste, dehydrating leftover veggies, packing everyone lunches, having dinner planned and ready when the hungry family returns, washing out bags, and I bought a refillable oil spritzer when the last spray can was empty. I am staying out of the stores and sending the family in for what few things we need as much as possible.

    We are really working at being healthy and continue to downsize. We are all looking better /healthier (including the dogs who swim alongside the kayaks in their life vests and love it!)

    Happy frugal-ing y’all.

  126. Kim, do you think you could use the painted tile as a trivet? Or would the heat from the pot damage the paint and sealer?

  127. Thanks for the tip! I took a quick look at her site and it looks like she has some great information. I’ll have to get into it more when I have a bit of time.

  128. I have Corelle now and yes, I have shattered quiet a few of them. And those shattered pieces are so hard to get up. I’ve had to replace and add to the set. Right now they have rust spots on the edges because of the dishwasher rack. I have sort of a love/dislike relationship with them. LOL

  129. Regarding the large cans of applesauce:

    I have sliced a few apples and then added applesauce to pies, I add applesauce to pancakes , waffles and any cake in exchange for the oil. I serve applesauce for a side dish all of fall skipping chips . I have saved some of my large cans for pot lucks . I would put the applesauce in a pretty dish add some sliced apples and a small piece of mint to the top. This would be my side dish to a pot luck.
    I hope this helps

  130. Lilli, we have a used bookstore called Half Price Books, and they buy used books, magazines, DVDs, etc. I probably get a lot of the same free ones you do, many of which I don’t read. However, I took in one month’s worth of magazines yesterday and got $4 cash. Not huge, but every little bit helps!

  131. Jenna, I don’t know what part of the country you live in or are considering, but homes are much cheaper than you mention in areas of N. Carolina. Last year we purchased a rental home (2 BR, 1B) for less than $60K. It needed very little done to it, which we did ourselves. This was a 40’s era stick built home within walking distance of downtown in central NC. I grew up in NY, lived a few years in CA, but love it here. Might be worth a look.

  132. Becky, I’ve had the same experience with a hired pet sitter, as far as the garden. She does thankfully take good care of the animals, but seems to have little interest in the garden. And yes, I have lots of takers if I pick, wash, and bring the vegis to them!

  133. Marcia, I’ve kept up with your comments, and know it must be a challenging time for you. I actually grow purple beans for the same reason you grow yellow beans. They are so much easier to see to harvest, and the blooms are lovely. We are dry again here too. I hope you will find a way to navigate these times with ease and grace. My Dad had dementia for a time before he passed, and I know it’s not easy.

  134. I microwave Ivory soap for my homemade laundry detergent too! So much easier than grating — and it’s fun to watch it ‘balloon.’

  135. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration and the motivation to move forward. Here is how the week went –
    -Enjoyed a social party with neighbors and everyone brought an appetizer-it was a wonderful evening and my home baked goodies were fun to share.
    -Used the library to get the next book for a book club I am in with friends.
    -Hemmed a pair of jeans for a friend. Repaired a straight line rip in my husbands shorts, he was so appreciative that I fixed them.
    -Hosted friends for a visit and they spent the evening. They treated us out to a breakfast. We really enjoyed the kindness and how special it was with them.
    -Don’t have an ice-maker, which is fine with me, have been making ice cubes and keeping them in a plastic bag in the freezer. It works great.
    -Saved an office visit for my husband ($185-225) to the Doctor, needed to get his blood pressure checked. I am so glad I called the billing department, I learned to keep asking questions.
    -Cleaned some drawers and cupboards in the kitchen-it feels so good to have them fresh, clean, and organized.
    -Keep turning off lights. I tell myself everytime I turn off a light I save a nickel.
    -Had a few pictures made using a mobile app and sent to my mom. She enjoys the mail. Rather send pictures/letter than crazy expensive card.
    -Picked some pine boughs and put in a vase-brought the outside inside.
    -Got some stains out of a pair of shorts that I can now wear.
    -Drinking water and making coffee at home.
    -Reorganized my basement pantry and put the older items in the front so I use them first.
    Have a great week.

  136. Thanks, we have one in the city but after googling their location it isn’t worth the gas or travel time in that traffic. On the other hand it is close to a restaurant we eat at when I’m the city, so I will have to check out their book deals. Thank you for sharing.

  137. Heather, we are in ‘Lab Country” in MS and tons of hunters do the same thing. We have had so many labs, let out in our tiny small town especially for hip problems. Anyway we have taken in so many not even funny, but I wanted to let you know that our “good ole country vet” gave us some tips to keep the meds away and the dogs get better. We give them generic fish oil pills and vitamin E tablets. I get these with coupons and everyone I know who has some gives me there left overs (when a family members passes and has some). Also we don’t feed them dog food, we make our own and they are heavy on the veggies (think kind of like chicken feed, they get all the parts we don’t eat). And surprisingly we haven’t had one yet that hasn’t improved and we haven’t had to put them on meds. There is a limit to the amount of fish oil and vitamin E you can give them daily based on their weight but seriously we have “taken in” 7 and our neighbor who is 83 has taken in 5 over the past 5 years and we both do the same thing. You may want to talk to your vet or do some research on your own. It is well worth the $ savings and health to the dog. Hope this helps.

  138. For the week of July 2nd, I have noted:
    $ Didn’t buy snacks at work one day. Even one day is an accomplishment for me!
    $ Only bought lunch out at work one day out of four. (Again, for me, that’s an accomplishment.)
    $ Adjusted the thermostat to prevent the AC or heat from coming on.
    $ Used the space heater instead of turning on the heat in the entire house.
    $ Waited until it was senior discount day to do our grocery shopping.
    $ Got eggs for $0.39 with a coupon…then they took an additional 10% off because of it being Senior Tuesday.
    $ Used a coupon for $10 off our groceries purchase. Between the two coupons and the senior savings, we saved $14.29.
    $ Went to a different grocery store on the way home and got a free jar of peanut butter. Didn’t buy anything else while there.
    $ Free entertainment: cheered on the children at our neighborhood 4th of July kiddie parade; my parents came and we looked for the
    house where the inventor of the ViewMaster lived (my parents are friends with the inventor’s son, so he’ll be able to confirm if we
    found the right house).
    $ While I was working, my husband took public transportation to an outdoor music festival rather than paying for parking. That saved
    at least $10. I had told him that all day tickets cost $5 forgetting that he qualifies for a senior fare, so he only paid $2.50. Plus, since
    I didn’t go with him this year, that saved on my entrance fee and any money I would have spent there on food.
    $ My parents bought us lunch while they were here.
    $ Watched a movie that was free with Amazon Prime.
    $ My mother brought us several items from her garden: tomatoes; basil; a pepper; parsley; greens; and cherries from a local orchard.

  139. While I really did little frugally this past week food-wise, my husband and I built our own deck and saved around $2500 by doing it ourselves. We did this earlier this late spring/summer by building our own fence. It took us longer to build both than it would have professionals, but we are retired and had the time, rather than the money. I love this website, Brandy. I read your blog, Rhonda Hetzel’s (Down to Earth) and Grandma Donna’s (g.Donna.com). You are all frugal and I love all three differently. Thank you so much for sharing weekly and allowing others to share so much, also.

  140. Jenna, was your husband in the military? We got a VA loan in December with no money down. We also did not have to pay closing costs due to a program in our state (South Dakota) that covers first-time home buyers. We are not first time home buyers, but somehow we qualified because of the VA. I am 63 and my husband is 66. See if your state offers any help. It is usually called something like Rural Development, Neighbor Works, Your State’s name Housing (i.e., ours is South Dakota Housing), etc. I will pray for you, darling. May God help you through this.

  141. My hubby and I bought a home that was built in 1970 and was a fixer upper. We paid $50,000 total. No down payment… we worked with a bank to help us get qualified for whatever type of loan we could get. They helped us clear up inaccurate info on our credit report. We started fixing it up a little at time with friends and family helping… and we are still working on it. Our home was probably considered a junk home, but now it is one of the shining stars of the neighborhood. We now help our neighbors out when we see them working on their fixer uppers…. paying it forward…. don’t give up… look at what you can get, work with a lender and a real estate agent, and plan on getting a fixer upper and making it your home. Best of luck and keep thinking positive!

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