Blackberries 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested 3 colanders full of blackberries and 6 baskets full of Mission figs from the garden.

Mission Figs in basketThe Prudent Homemaker

I canned fig jam with figs from the garden. I froze blackberries and figs to use late in the year.

I harvested New Zealand Spinach, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, garlic chives, oregano, lemon verbena, and a couple of tiny bell peppers from the garden.  We had several salads from the garden.

I planted seeds for Thai basil, Armenian cucumbers, Hubbard squash, acorn squash, miniature white pumpkins, red noodle beans (this is a try yet again as the bugs have eaten almost every one of my previous seedlings), and zinnias in the garden.

I ordered some dress patterns online that were on a Memorial Day sale for my eldest and myself. I hope to make myself a few new dresses in my new size using fabric I already have on hand. My daughter will be able to use the same patterns to make some dresses for herself.

My daughter repurposed a long pillowcase to make a nightgown for herself.

I redeemed some grocery store Monopoly coupons for two free 8-ounce sour creams, a free salt, and a free pound of pasta. While there, I purchased 2 dozen eggs for $0.88 a dozen (there was a limit of 2).

My husband and I cut his hair.

I gave the baby a quick haircut. 

I shortened the sleeves on a long-sleeved dress shirt that my mom picked up for $0.50 at a garage sale for the baby.  He’ll wear this shirt every Sunday and it will be nice for him to have a short-sleeved one.

We needed to replace a ceiling fan in one of our children’s rooms. In our climate, a ceiling fan is essential to keeping cool, unless you’re willing to spend $200 or more a month to keep the air conditioning lower (a difference of 2ºF/1ºC on my programmable thermostat is $200 more; I keep my thermostat set at 79ºF). My husband and I found a low-priced fan that came with a light kit on sale that only uses 3 lights (the previous fixture had 4). Rather than buying a new rod that matched, he spray-painted the old rod to match.

I cooked a large pot of pinto beans in the crockpot and used them to make bean and rice burritos.

I made a batch of laundry soap.


What did you do to save money this past week?






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  1. What a nice surprise to log on and see this posted already. We are leaving early Monday to go camping and I thought I would miss the frugal accomplishments post — I get so inspired reading everyone’s posts.
    I had to have new walking shoes. We walk 3-5 miles every day and I have plantar fasciitis, so if my shoes start breaking down, I really feel it. I found a pair I wanted at Penney’s on sale, but when I took them to the register, they rang up for the regular price. I stopped the cashier and asked about the sale price. She sent someone back to check the display and I was right. So, speaking up saved me $10. I washed my car myself instead of taking it to the car wash. Doing this saved $9. Usually I am lazy and don’t like to do this, so it is a big accomplishment for me. My washing machine quit working. My husband diagnosed the problem as the pump motor. He ordered a new motor and installed it. The motor was $90, but a service call would have been much more. I am so thankful to be married to a man who is handy! Last night we attended a free program on raptors at the local state park. We got to see a great horned owl, peregrine falcon, Harris hawk and a bald eagle up close – great presentation.
    I made a Father’s Day card for my FIL from supplies I had on hand.
    I baked whole wheat bread and French bread. Hung laundry to dry. Ate all meals at home and didn’t waste food.

  2. I’ve bought online patterns before from several sites, but this time I bought McCall’s and Vogue patterns from their joint site. I know Joann’s has good sales on them–but they never seem to have the patterns in stock that I am looking for, so I bought them online when they went down really low instead.

  3. On Memorial Day we attended a program at the church where my son’s Boy Scout troop is based. They did the flag ceremony, and lunch was provided. We were invited to my in-laws’ house for dinner and brought home a lot of leftover food, which have contributed to several meals this week.

    We stopped by the library one day this week and my children checked out a lot of books to read, now that they are on summer break.

    We participated in a garage sale and cleared out a lot of clothing and other children’s items which have been outgrown. I made about $90; my children sold some of their things, too.

    Since we had leftovers, and because we spent a large part of the week preparing for the garage sale, I did not go to the grocery store at all this week.

  4. I recently found your blog and love your posts! I hope that you will help keep me accountable as we try to cut expenses so we can pay off our mortgage. Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I went to the library to check out a few landscaping books as I am trying to landscape my new yard on my own rather than paying someone.
    -We still have not turned on our air conditioning. It’s 90 degrees here today, but our house is 77 right now with the ceiling fans on. I’ll open the windows at night when it cools off a bit. I also avoid cooking in the day to keep the house cool.
    – I was in a wedding this weekend. I wore a dress to the rehearsal dinner that I already had. I also wore shoes and took a clutch that I already had to the wedding.
    – I fixed a broken broom.
    -I accepted some leftover food from a pizza party. I also made my own bread and some soft pretzels for a snack. I picked another 1.25 pounds of strawberries. Then I made some strawberry jam with some strawberries I had already picked. I accepted some apple bars and jam from my grandma.
    -I’ve been tending to my garden, hoping for a big harvest.
    -I stayed under my weekly budget for groceries and even picked up a few extras. I’ve made a meal plan for the next 2 weeks that uses pantry and freezer items we already have.

  5. Hello Brandy and others. I used to post semi-regularly when I was living in western NC but then I moved back to my hometown nearly 2 years ago and it feels like my life has been in a perpetual state of disarray since then! I bought a house nearly a year ago and spent the first 6-8 months trying to get it updated, and I’d planned on renting my 2 guest rooms to travel nurses as I’m only 2 blocks from a hospital. Life had other plans, and I met a nice guy several months ago and things have progressed to the point where we’re talking marriage. All that to say, he will be moving in shortly. Him, and for the summer months, his 3 small children. Not how we’d planned things, but his lease ends this month and his landlord is refusing to do a month to month lease, so it was either move in sooner than we’d anticipated or continue to waste many hundreds of dollars a month on a house he’s barely at.

    In anticipation of the changes, I’ve saved money by:

    *Finding a nearly new crib, with extra parts, paperwork, mattress, and bed rail for converting to toddler bed, at a thrift store for $40. It was red, but 3 cans of dark gray spray paint later, and it looks much better. Total cost: $52. The mattress alone sells for $49!

    * Reusing twin bed frames, headboards, mattress I’ve had in various guest rooms of my house(s) for years. I had to splurge on some new box springs ($74 each) and I will need some fresh, little girl linens but I will shop around for the best prices

    * Reused curtains that I took from one bedroom (for the baby boy) and was able to hang them in the girls room. Bought a $5 flat sheet from Walmart that I will make into a curtain for the boy’s room.

    * Borrowed an extra dresser from my parents to put in my room

    * Shopped Aldi for the usual staples: half and half, dairy, chicken pieces, paper products, fruit and veggies

    * Shopped at Sam’s while with my mom, using her membership to purchase 3-pack of the body wash I prefer, some socks, and a 22 pound bag of cat food

    * Kept fans running to help keep a/c higher. Heat index the last two days was 98° so it’s already pretty miserable here

    * Continued to list and sell on eBay

    * Used homemade laundry detergent as frequently as possible. Used homemade cleaners to clean shower, sinks, counters, and dust furniture

    * Shopped clearance and/or thrift stores first while looking for any items needed to go from a 1 person home to 5 person home

    I am sure there’s more but I’ve been going nonstop since before 6 this morning and I am exhausted!! I can’t wait to read everyone else’s thrifty comments. Have a great weekend, friends.

  6. 93/7 hamburger was on sale for $1.99 a pound. I bought 32 pounds, which will last us through the summer grilling season. We bought eggs for $.39 a dozen and cheese for $.99 per 8 ounces. My husband and son went on the shopping trip to purchase limits as well.

    I am due with baby number 3 today, so I cooked up and froze 10 pounds of chicken to use for the baptism party in a few weeks.

    We only turned on the AC this week when temps reached 90 degrees. We keep the house at 79 in the summer.

    I bought used cloth diapers from a friend at a garage sale, saving 75 percent off of retail.

  7. 1. My most frugal accomplishment is cumulative, in that I raised all my seedlings in the garage and then husband and I spent a total of six hours a day planting them for seven days straight. Last year I spent $230 on seedlings, this year only $26 on seeds and used my own compost for the starting soil. Last year, after expenses, the garden yielded over $2,000 of vegetables and herbs. This year it should be even more, not only because of fewer expenses but because we built a few more raised beds (from scrap lumber scavenged from a friend who does construction and offered it to us free for the hauling) so have more space devoted to food. There were days when I didn’t want to keep working in the garden, but I kept reminding myself that soon the worst would be over and I would be happy when we could start eating out of our backyard. (We live in Alaska, so the growing season is very short and only a few edible things come back year after year, like rhubarb and honey berries and raspberries. Also mint)
    2. I joined a foraging group and for the last three weeks we have been eating lamb’s quarters, young fireweed shoots and chickweed for salad greens and in things like soup. I looked it up and these have more nutrients than commercial lettuce, so until my own chard and other greens come in, we are eating “weeds” and are thankful for them.
    3. Had a yard sale, netting over $770. SOme of the stuff was from a neighbor who moved and the day before they left the husband dropped off a dozen boxes of kitchen items, telling me we could sell or donate or keep as we saw fit but they didn’t have time to “mess” with the stuff. I only wanted an immersion blender (there were 4 in the boxes!) and sold all but one box worth’s of the rest of the items. The Kitchen Aide mixer alone sold for $100. Took those to Goodwill—they were actually nice things but I don’t have the stomach for a garage sale more than once a year and this gave us a tax donation. What a blessing!
    4. Traded bread I baked for eggs from a neighbor.
    5. A friend’s dog died and she is quite elderly and does not plan to get another pet. I thankfully accepted three 40 pound bags of dog food.
    6. There was a sale on whole chickens—five dollars each, which is the lowest I have ever seen here. There were only five left so I took them and as I was checking out the cashier asked if I wanted a rain check for a few more (I had told her they were out and I was sorry to get only five). She gave me a rain check for 15 more!! It is good for three months, which is wonderful since we have no room in our freezer for any more—had I bought more, I have a friend who was willing to hold them for me until our weather turns cold again and we have our outdoor freezer (a large rubber container) working again. Meanwhile, we will work on eating down non-essentials so there will be room when I cash the rain check in on September 1!

    The rest of my frugal stuff is the usual of reusing bags, drinking water instead of expensive pop and so on that most of us already do.

  8. Frugality has reached new levels of excellence here as with my husband’s new rate of pay (which once he switches to his regular shift instead of his “probationary period” his pay will increase by 7%) I have like no money to live on around here. So, it’s been time to just get by any way necessary until things start to look up.

    My garden is starting to come together. I’m overly excited about it, but I love growing food, especially right now as the seeds are here and hopefully will pay off when they grow and produce. I can use everything I can get from the garden this year to use this winter as I need to save money somewhere and the more I get from the garden the less I have to buy later.

    I LOVE the pictures of your fruit by the way. We’re still a ways off from seeing fruit around here :).

    My list for the week (and garden update) can be found here…

    Frugal Friday: Money Saving Weekly Recap and Garden Update

  9. This is my first time posting, but I love reading your posts! I have recently quit my job and am a stay at home wife.

    I bought peaches on sale for 87c/lb that I will cut up and freeze. I have smoothies every morning and always mix and match the fruits. Whatever I can get cheap or free, I put in the freezer. Also bought a large container of plain yogurt on clearance (50% off – only paid $1.50). Since it was 2 days to expiration, I froze it in ice cube trays and then put in a bag. I’ll use these in my smoothies also.

    I did an inventory of my deep freezer and refrigerator freezer and made up a spreadsheet listing everything with their purchase dates. Knowing the purchase dates is helping me to plan my meals based on the oldest items first. I have a full freezer and pantry right now, so my goal is to spend as little as possible at the grocery store. I tend to buy items on clearance even if I don’t need them right now. Good practice, but I need to back off for now.

    Husband has been out of town all week, so we didn’t pay anything for his work lunches or for entertainment. I have just made do with what I have and watched TV. There was a going away party for a former work associate and they paid for the lunch, so I got out of the house and saw some old friends.

    I had bought some sugar free koolaid packets on clearance for 5 cents each a while back. I have a ton of sugar free sweetener packets I got for free from work. Figured out that 24 of them equals 1 c. of sugar, so basically I made a mock version of Crystal Lite for 5 cents. Also I have lots and lots of tea that I also got for free from work and drank that all week.

  10. My husband cut his and our son’s hair.
    In preparation for our upcoming mini vacation, I made individual packages of oatmeal (just add hot water), fruit for smoothies, homemade pancakes, and seasoning packets for guacamole (bringing the avocados) and a turkey breast (frozen, bringing in the cooler).
    I printed coupons for free/discounted meals at our favorite salad bar restaurant, where we eat only when on vacation.
    I filled the car with gas at 70 cents off per gallon by using grocery points from Kroger.

  11. Jessica, we are going to be moving this fall. I have been dividing my perennial flowers so I will have some for the new house. Some of them are heeled in and others are in pots. I’ve dug up and potted a couple of lilac starts and I’ve tried my hand at starting shrubs from cuttings. I also dug up a couple of flowering shrubs and sawed them in half! My goal is to have ALL FREE FLOWERS (I plan to buy a couple of dwarf fruit trees). Since you seem to have already moved, I’d ask my friends and relatives for divisions and cuttings. I can’t imagine anyone turning you down, especially if you offer to come and dig them up. My irises are in full bloom at the moment and you can dig up and divide irises from the time they finish blooming until about Labor Day. Labor Day is also a good time to divide peonies.

  12. I harvested a large bowl of lettuce and spinach from our garden. We planted basil, cilantro, tomatoes, and mint. My daughter gave me some extra petunia plants that she didn’t have any room for in her garden. I planted them next to the marigolds I planted the week before.

    I made Hungarian mushroom soup using mushrooms that were on sale for 67 cents for 8 oz., homemade chicken broth, and substituting homemade Greek yogurt for the sour cream. It was the best thing I have made in a long time. My husband really loved it even though he isn’t real fond of mushrooms. I got it from the All Recipes website.

    I cut my husband’s hair.

    My daughter cut my hair.

    I went to a thrift store and they had all of their framed prints 75% off the regular price. I found one I especially liked for $1.50.

  13. Sounds like a great week! I love your blackberry picture! Home-grown blackberries must taste extra-delicious!

    My accomplishments for the week:
    – Ordered some shoes from Amazon, through Ebates. I tried them on at the mall and then looked online for the best deal. I saved about $40 by buying them online!
    – Turned some homemade yoghurt into yoghurt cheese. I kept the whey to drink (high in protein) or to flavour future baking.
    – A bakery near my work was having a fundraiser for homeless youth: bring in canned goods, get a free cupcake! I pulled some canned goods from my pantry and got two free cupcakes!
    -I came across a sale at the same bakery, and was able to buy two packages of Wilton cake pop boxes (really nice and sturdy packaging for the cake pops that I make) in two-packs, for only $1/pkg; a package of baby show cupcake decorations (cupcake liners and picks — really nice ones, not flimsy ones) for $5; and 8 reindeer ornaments for 25 cents each. I plan to use the cake pop packages in December, and send packages of cake pops in to work with my husband, to be auctioned off to raise funds for whichever family or shelter his company is supporting this year. I plan to use the reindeer ornaments in December as well, to decorate Christmas gifts with. A nice touch for very little! (Would also fancy up a bottle of wine for a hostess gift!)
    – I bought some plastic planters at the dollar store to replace the tiny pots I had been using on my balcony, and replanted my rosemary, thyme, and radish plants. I also replanted my tomato plant and sweet potato plants into larger containers (with radishes around them to get more food for the space – I’ll be harvesting the radishes before the roots of the plants get big enough to need the space). I’m hoping that the replanting wasn’t too traumatic and that the plants still thrive!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks card.
    – I baked some muesli date squares for my husband to take to work, using dates that I’ve had sitting around the kitchen for a long time. All the recipes that I wanted to made needed ingredients that I didn’t have, so finally I settled on baking date squares. I was going to double the recipe but didn’t have enough dates, so I just planned to have a thin date layer. While making the filling, I realized I didn’t have enough oats for the crust and topping. So I made a pie crust bottom using my vodka pie crust recipe (, a regular date filling, and jazzed up the regular oat-based topping with coconut, sunflower seeds, and psyllium powder (all of which I had in small quantities, but not enough to make a full recipe around). The squares were DELICIOUS!
    -I made diet cheesecake! Aka mock cheesecake. ( Diet cheesecake because it’s very low in fat, and mock cheesecake because there is no cream cheese in it. And technically, it could be a pantry meal, as the crust was my vegan gingersnap cookies, the cheesecake filling is made from homemade yoghurt cheese (from homemade yoghurt), topped with jam! Assuming you make your own yoghurt from milk powder, this dessert could be made from food storage! I’ve never lived off food storage, but I imagine that a cheesecake dessert would be welcome (although to be realistic, when ever ISN’T a cheesecake welcome?!)

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  14. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .
    We are in the depths of winter here and the temperatures have been dropping to around – 2 oc – – 4 oc so it has been really chilly with frosts here. Our joy is to sit in front of the slow combustion fireplace and not start our days out in the vegetable gardens until around midday.

    We are working on at the moment replacing and or purchasing all needed or broken down kitchen saucepans and accessories while they are on midday sale before we have our home built next year when we will have a mortgage and more limited funds available.

    Here is ways we have saved this week –

    Household items replaced and needed items purchased –

    – Purchased 2 garden tipper wagons/carts on sale saving $183.60 on usual prices we pay in our country town. DH’s injuries are now getting so he is finding it hard to manage heavy loads in a wheelbarrow now and a cart each will be much more stable for both of us.
    – Purchased 2 double oven mitts on special to replace worn out ones saving $6.
    – Bought a large 32cm frypan on special saving $90 on usual prices.

    Dental –

    – DH went for his scheduled appointment through the free hospital dental clinic and had 3 fillings, saving around $479+ over going to a private dentist. He also put himself on the waiting list to have his teeth cleaned next year too for free.

    General frugalities –

    – Combining multiple errands when going out in the car to save on fuel costs.
    – Had most of our hot chocolates in the mornings using hot water heated on the slow combustion fireplace rather than turning on the kettle and also used the hot water for washing up the dishes and cleaning the benches in the kitchen.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch using items in our pantries, freezers and preserved and or fresh vegetables grown in our gardens.
    – Blanched and froze green and butter beans making 15 more meals for the freezer and did the same with green peas making another 2 bags for the freezer.
    – Did all of our washing on a cold cycle after using our homemade stain remover to remove any stains and hung them on the clothes line to dry.
    – Went through my clothing and listed clothing I had grown out of on the internet to hopefully recoup some money into our saving for our home with cash bank account.
    – Took advantage of a free listing promotion on Ebay to list items saving $16.50.
    – This week we saved more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us from 20.23% to 20.60% of the way there.

    In the garden –

    – Picked green and butter beans, Massey shelling peas, cherry tomatoes and strawberries from the gardens.
    – Mulching one of the large strawberry gardens with composted grass clippings rather than purchasing hay.

  15. Your garden yield is impressive and inspiring! That’s an impressive savings realized by starting your own seeds, too. It’s been so cold and rainy here that I’m beginning to wish I had started a few things indoors.

  16. Jenny also from Australia…Melbourne. Frugal doings this week included picking kale and rocket from the garden for pizza, toasted wraps, and snacks. I love rocket, or arugula as its also known. I also picked lemons from my garden for hot drinks (its very cold weather), lemon slice and roast chicken stuffing.
    Planted some more kale seeds to eat, because I can also use kale for chips, which are very warming.

    Bought 5 packets of chicken necks for the dog that were on sale. They were $4.00 for over a kilo, a pretty good price considering I can pay $4.50 for a kilo.

    Put a bucket in the shower to pick up the water before it heats up. Then I pour the cold shower water onto the vegie garden.

  17. This week, I gathered 10 more eggs from our 2 hens and supplemented their commercial feed with greens/veggies free from our local grocery! This saves a lot and gives us healthier chickens!
    I froze 24 quarts of whole strawberries (on sale for 98 cents/pound)!

    We were invited to a housewarming and made a monogrammed serving tray (with our free reclaimed wood) and homemade 9 grain bread, homemade strawberry butter and homemade sweet chili sauce. We added a small rectangle of marble that we got free a long time ago as a perfectly sized cutting board! Total OOP cost- $0.00!!!

    We started building the addition to our chicken coop. We are quadrupling the size and using our free 6x6s, 2x4s and leftover package of shingles (the roofers last summer gifted them to us when they replaced a section of our roof). The only thing we needed to buy was the hardware cloth. We figure that the savings was easily $300!

    We decluttered and sold a mini-fridge, sold another outdoor bench and have current orders that will be picked up this week for a large planter box, 2 more benches and an outdoor end table, a wedding tray and 3 pallet Christmas trees! The custom bench storage was picked up and we received final payment for that as well! So our actual profit for our business this week (not including orders that will be paid in a few days) was still over $200. Added to the past two weeks, our business has given us about $750 so far with more orders coming in! Not bad for a side gig, IMO!

    Made strawberry banana muffins, banana chocolate chip muffins and 4 loaves of our 1 hour 9 grain wheat bread, using up leftover bananas and strawberries.

    I took dinner to a couple who were just back from hospital for a week with heart attacks, emergency heart surgeries. Made Texas style chili (all pantry ingredients, homemade corn bread from my homemade version of Jiffy mix, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting- no need to run to grocery- everything used came from my pantry!

    Harvested greens from garden all week- several lettuce varieties, spinach and Swiss chard for salads, tacos, etc! Oh, I love this time of the year! Started picking peas too and raspberries and blueberries are setting on!
    I’ve almost finished putting down our new brick walkway- 4-1/2 foot wide x 25 foot long using our free recycled bricks and I’m must say that although hubby would have leveled it more than I did, it still looks pretty amazing and our only OOP was for sand to level it!
    Meals at home using freezer meals and pre cooked meats from freezer (ground beef, chicken chunks).
    All in all, a very good week!

  18. Those blackberries look delicious! This past week was just about survival. I am still working full time hours (not complaining) at my new job. I’ve been there three weeks :). I will be taking advantage of the extra hours to pay off some debts and rebuild my savings. I put a priority on laundry this past week and to keep the house from looking like it imploded lol.
    I took my meal and snack to work with me every day. My employer bought us lunch one day.
    My job is only 6 minutes from my house vs. 30 minutes like my previous jobs. My mom babysits my daughter while my husband and I work and she only lives 10 minutes away. This is saving me LOTS of gas in my vehicle.
    We harvested a handful of strawberries. We covered the plants with some fencing we had this year because last something ate all the strawberries. Something still got to two strawberries but I don’t know what it is. I think it’s some kind of bug, my husband thinks it’s birds (it’s not birds). I also harvested green onions and parsley that over wintered 🙂 I am drying the parsley and I cut up and froze the green onions. I have lots of sprouts in the garden: peas, turnips, yellow onions, zucchini, dill, more parsley. Hopefully I will have more sprouts in the coming week or two.
    I turned on the central air to see if it works and it does not. We had this issue last year and know what the problem is, unfortunately we don’t have $500 to get it fixed right now. So we will drag out the AC units when it gets really hot, which will be soon. We only turn the air on when it gets 85 or warmer in the house, and that will be happening soon.
    My husband got some more free mulch to finish mulching our decorative plant beds outside.
    I hung as much laundry as I could on my indoor racks rather than use the dryer.
    I went grocery shopping and got some really great deals: I purchased three packs of flour tortillas for .29 each (after coupons), found packs of grass fed organic ground beef with 1.50 off coupons attached so I purchased 2, I found a package of hummus marked down to .99, 2 containers of cottage cheese for .99 each, cucumbers for .50 each, salad greens for .99 for a large clam shell pkg.
    I went to the public library and checked out books and movies.
    I went to Goodwill and purchased my daughter a few items of summer clothing, myself a pair of knee length shorts, 3 cereal bowls (these were needed) and a water bottle (also needed and I lost my old one). I also donated a plastic tub full of stuff before we went shopping.
    I took my employers offer of free Hep B vaccine to employees.
    My husband brought home free food from work so that was dinner two nights last week.
    Have a great week everyone!

  19. I love the idea of using a long pillowcase for a nightgown. I’d never thought of it, but being under 5′ tall, that would work for me. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for them now. We’ve got small squash, cucumbers and tomatoes in the garden. This week, I hope to pick the first of the squash and cucumbers. One of our hens is sitting on 8 eggs, with another week or so to go. I gathered basil, oregano, mulberries, raspberries and the first blackberries last week. Joining in here:

  20. One of my great joys this week was planting the coleus plant babies that I had propagated from cuttings. It was so easy to do and only took 7 days for nice roots to come in,

    We had a busy week with ballet rehearsals and recital but I managed to cook all of our meals at home even with tight schedules.

    My daughter and I enjoyed many free bike rides and even saw some wild turkeys!

  21. Brandy, would you be willing to share the pillow case nightgown on your blog? I am always so inspired by the sewing projects you and your daughter make. I’d like to see how she sewed it as it might be a great gift idea for someone in the future. So jealous of the blackberries you were able to harvest. They are so expensive to buy at the store and are so tasteless to boot. Really wish I had some berry bushes planted in our garden!

    It’s been a cold and rainy week here. Had some interesting thunderstorms roll through, with a bit of hail mixed into at least one. The wind was really cold one day. Thankfully we didn’t have many visitors that day, so my co-worker and I went visiting with other co-workers who had warm fires going. The weather this comming week doesn’t look much better! This week our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home this week included chicken fingers with rice and mixed veggies, crock pot meatballs in Diana’s sauce with carrots and mashed potatoes, chicken breasts baked smothered in cheddar cheese soup with scalloped potatoes and mixed veggies, fish with homemade tartar sauce, salad and choice of sweet potato fries, re-warmed restaurant fries or potato wedges, pasta with choice of meat, red or white sauce and homemade garlic bread (using up some random hamburger buns in the freezer), and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans.
    *Pulled cold meat from the freezer to use in lunches this week. All meat was purchased on discount and frozen so we can use it as needed. It saves us quite a bit doing this!
    *Went grocery shopping after missing 1 week. Filled the cart, but now we should be stocked for another couple weeks with the exception of milk and maybe some fresh produce as needed.
    *Pulled our first prank of the season at work. Lets just say you shouldn’t work in a pioneer village if you’re afraid of ghosts. An old cylinder record player (that malfunctioned at the perfect time) and someone hiding upstairs was involved. We laughed so hard our sides hurt (including the girl we pranked, so all is good). I LOVE my job!
    *One of the young blacksmiths made me a steel striker. Now all I need now is a flint rock, some charcloth and a bit of dry wood shavings to start a fire without matches!
    *Attended a volunteer meet and greet at my work (I both volunteer and work at the pioneer village). DH and I enjoyed a free lunch and both of us won door prizes. I picked up a free pass for 2 for an Escape Maze (I think this is one of those places that locks you into a room and you have to solve riddles to unlock the door before the time runs out), which I will give to DD and her respite worker as a fun adventure to do this summer together. DH picked up a small gift basket with coffee and a mug, which I’m planning on useing as an end of year gift for DD’s teacher or principal.
    *Used a $10 off coupon I received last week to purchase 2 more shorts for DD. She should be good for summer clothes now…at least I hope she is!
    *After talking with a co-worker who spent the last 2 summers interpreting at Vimmy Ridge, France, my husband and I are starting to plan our next vacation to Europe! Although travel is not frugal, she gave me lots of info on traveling in Europe on the cheap. There is an airline based out of Iceland that offer very reasonable prices and allows you to overlay for a few days in Iceland to encourage tourism there. DH looked into it and tickets are cheaper to fly to Amsterdam, the Netherlands from Toronto than to Calgary, Alberta. The train system over there is extremely fast and you can jump from country to country within hours (from Paris, France to Ireland is 1 1/2 hours!), plus you can buy passes that makes train travel cheaper. She even told us that some hostels have private rooms with ensuite bathrooms that are cheaper than hotels. We are not planning to go until April 2019, so everything will be budgeted for before we go. We are both so excited to check off a few more places to visit on our bucket list, plus a few extras!

    Love all the comments and sharing of ideas as usual. Hope you all have a pleasant week!

  22. Those blackberries look fantastic!!

    I purchased reduced for quick sale ground beef and chicken drumsticks, as well as 2 frozen turkeys. I used some of the ground beef to make Baked BBQ Meatballs to take on a trip with us over Memorial Day Weekend, and the rest went in the freezer for use later this month. The chicken drumsticks are currently cooking in the oven for lunch.

    I used coupons and priced matched at the grocery store. I got an Ebates cheque and used half of it to purchase my groceries last week, and the other half for my contribution to the retirement gift for a colleague.

    I have put together a box of pants for mending, now I just have to find someone who can help me do it because I cannot sew to save my life.

    Despite having a strong urge to order some food into the house this week, I made some quick meals with food on hand.

    Other things I did to save money rounding out the end of May can be found here:

    Have a good week ladies.

  23. Last week was so much fun for me, as my mother came to visit. We do not get to visit enough so I enjoy when we can (I’m in Az and she is in PA). We had enjoyed a couple of lunches out and also some dinners. Some was her treat and some mine.
    We took apart our waterbed yesterday – very time consuming! I’m glad it’s done.
    We had whipping cream and strawberries so I made pound cake for the first time!
    I’m hoping this week will be very frugal!

  24. We had a few surprises this week. My daughter’s roommate moved out while my daughter was out of town. We took the opportunity to move my daughter in with a former sorority sister. Her expenses will be a third of what they were. I am overjoyed and the new roommate is a much better influence. The former roommate left a ton of stuff behind. Silly little spoiled girl left a Ralph Lauren comforter, 4 pillows in covers, 3 sets of sheets and a brand new mattress cover. There was a huge rubber maid container overflowing with clothes. I will keep all the bedding items and the clothes will be given to a needy individual in my home town. Amazingly there is a Coach bag in this pile of trash. I bought a gray dust ruffle for $2.00 to go with the comforter and will be on the hunt for sheets to match it.I will redo my son’s bedroom this summer. I spent 60.00 on the U Haul but my found goodies made up for it. I was amazed at all the stuff that had been discarded by the dumpsters. I guess all these kids just don’t know the value of a dollar. Meanwhile, was over budget last month, but my daughter’s new savings have caught me up.



  25. This past week hasn’t been a week of ‘huge’ savings, but rather staying faithful with the little things. This past week:
    *I mended a small hole in a cardigan sweater
    *went to JoAnn’s on Memorial Day and bought my daughter’s supplies for her 4-H sewing project this year. Simplicity patterns were only $1.00, so we made sure she picked one of those patterns
    *downloaded and used Free-Friday Kroger coupons
    *used $0.10 off/gallon of gas
    *harvested cilantro, parsley and mint
    *went swimming at our friend’s house (we have wonderful friends/neighbors who allow us to use their pools all summer, so we never pay to go swimming)
    *my husband got a free bag of coffee from a local coffee shop
    *paid bills online
    *my husband and I completed June’s budget – not always ‘fun’, but so important to know where our money needs to go
    *while on a bike ride with one of my daughters, I picked up a small patio table on the side of the road for free. I will spray paint it a different color, but it’s collapsible and really cute!
    *continued with all our normals- library, turning light off, AC still not turned on yet this year…we are getting by with ceiling fans and open windows at this point, weeded the garden and added compost and rabbit dropping (from our breed rabbits) to our garden to fertilize, staying out of stores and saying ‘no’.
    *tomorrow we close on our rental house and then we will be totally debt-free! It’s been quite a journey and hard work, but I am thankful to be at this stage in our lives.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  26. We made crackers in our dehydrator from nut pulp left over from making almond and hazelnut milks. We added herbs from the garden and some of the last of the tomatoes (we’re in south Florida and the season is ending).

  27. Hello Brandy and all,
    Summer has arrived in Phoenix so the air conditioning and ceiling fans are working overtime…I pay a fixed amount each month for electricity so don’t have to face unexpected bills in the summer. I have been diligent the last few months at making sure not to use major appliances during the high cost part of the day, but it requires self control 😉

    Frugal items:
    -went to the semi annual scratch and dent store special 50% off sale, scored lots of canned goods and some chocolate….got five bags of groceries for $16! Even my husband was startled, and he isn’t too interested in the average cost of canned tomatoes ;). He did comment I should have bought all their bags of pistachios at $1/lb…I only bought two.
    -made whole wheat bread in the bread machine
    -ate one meal out, the rest at home, continuing to work down the freezer. Freezer now less than half full!
    -cooked extra at most dinners so that I could freeze extra portions for later meals.
    -at age 61, I oven-roasted my first whole chicken ever, also made gravy from scratch, and it was wonderful except the mess left behind in the oven. Also put the carcass in the crockpot and made a lovely big batch of chicken noodle soup. So you can teach an old dog new tricks

  28. We went to a Zen Center’s plant sale and spent $22 – 4 tomato plants (.50/each), 3 packs of snap dragons (reminds me of my grandma), 10 coleus, 2 rudabechia, some begonias and others … lovely plants most of which are grown from seeds by volunteers. I have a $30 gift card for a garden center that I received several months ago but was saving for the rest of what I want for the garden.
    My sister and I had a garage sale and I made just over $425 – lots to donate but I take it to my thrift store that gives you “points” toward earning a $10 gift card.
    I’m taking care of 2 nephews this weekend (ages 15 and 11) and am planning activities that will take them away from their phones/video games – my garden needs some weeding, mulch needs spreading – last year their sister joined us and she worked very hard and the boys wanted to know why I didn’t give them some $$ when they left – ummm cause she helped?
    Going to help a friend at her son’s graduation party – she was my big help at my daughter’s wedding last year.

  29. The figs are mouthwatering! Oh how I love fig quarters wrapped with proscuito. Figs go on “sale” at our local grocery store 6 for $5.00.

    • Our office lease is up and we are downsizing. I accepted several items that the company no longer needs and donated a small bag of stuff to Goodwill after itemizing for tax deductions.
    • While at Goodwill I found two work blouses
    • Made Swagbucks goal x 2
    • Helped my son build a new fence around garden and planted tomato starts
    • Traveled for business three days so no food expenses
    • Packed lunch for work the one day I was in the office
    • Updated monthly net worth spreadsheet
    • Donated books to local library after itemizing for tax deduction. Checked out movies and a book while I was there.
    • Made risotto with gorgonzola & arugula, chicken pot pie to use up small bits of veggies & leftover chicken – topped it with homemade biscuits. Tried new recipe for chicken enchiladas from Our Best Bites – delicious.
    • Made a list of where I hope to vacation in 2018. Applied for a rewards credit card in order to earn rewards to pay for some of my 2018 vacation plans.
    • The weather is still cold here – in the 40’s at night. I took advantage of the damp cold to bake items for the freezer. It is so nice in summer to enjoy homemade baked goods without turning on the oven. Baked zucchini bread with chocolate chips and oatmeal/cranberry/pecan/chocolate chip cookies.
    • Listened to inspirational speakers on YouTube while I cooked and baked.
    • Researched prescription discounts through AAA membership as the co-pay for one standing prescription has increased to $100 through my health insurance. Unfortunately AAA’s price is higher for this particular script. However, their site allows you to compare a script price at several different pharmacies at the same time. Walgreens was less expensive then CVS.

  30. Your blog is so inspiring, Brandy 🙂

    This week I-

    *bought strawberries for $1.25/lb (this is the lowest they will get in my area)
    *purchased secondhand a dress, a skirt, and a top for myself, as well as two books, all for $2.00
    *came under budget on my grocery shopping and bought a few things for the pantry
    *used fuel points at my local grocery chain to get $0.40 off per gallon of gas. I still have some to use.
    *made lunches for school and ate all other meals at home
    *purchased cherries for $1.88/lb
    I know there are a few more things, but it’s late and my brain is tired. lol!

  31. We had a great week. After returning from camping Monday, we plunged right in to dance recital rehearsals. We managed to stay quite frugal during the week by relying on dinners such as p.b.j. sandwiches, hot dogs, beans, etc. Not glamorous, but the dance show was!

    I am SO in the mood for sewing. I’m glad you (Brandy) get to sew some dresses. Hopefully, I can get that machine out soon and get some projects done. I just have to finish a few things and homeschool will be over for the year! Except math…..but that’s another story.

    I’ve got pictures of the costumes on my blog, and the other ways I saved money:

  32. I have had friends who flew to Europe via Iceland on Air Iceland and had the layover in Iceland for a couple of days. They really enjoyed Iceland. Neighbours on our street have stayed at convents/monasteries in certain European countries. There is a book about such convents, how to contact them, how to reserve, where they are, etc. etc. I think there is probably now a website, too. They said it was really inexpensive and superb. Others have stayed at bed and breakfasts. Others saved money by buying food at the markets and have not eaten in expensive restaurants all the time. Not only are there train passes from country to country but within a country and also within a city. Some major cities have train, bus and/or admission passes that are good for a few days and save a lot of money. To save time, you can figure out if you wish to go to any museums and reserve a time ahead so you skip hours waiting in line-ups. I haven’t done these things but my friends are seasoned travellers and have done so. Make sure you have good travel health insurance. I cannot fly so won’t be going anywhere. I have health issues that prevent it. If I could go, my pre-existing health problems mean that I could not get valid health insurance. Also make sure you have trip cancellation insurance. have a great time planning and then going on your trip.

  33. Oh, also go to Europe when it’s not high season. Say in September or October. It saves on airfare and there aren’t as many tourists.

  34. I hired my single-mother-gardener to weed. She charges twice as much as everyone else but does twice as much work in the same time as others AND she knows what’s a weed and what’s a cherished perennial. She brought me some kale she had grown, took me to a garden store where she used her contractor’s card for a discount for a few plants I still needed, (plus I got a ride there and back as I don’t drive), and gave me free some tufa rocks (about $100 worth) that were left over from another project. Savings outweighed the cost of hiring her. Plus my body just was not up to the heavy chores or the light weeding. Plus almost all of the flowerbeds have been weeded (I did the first round, this was the second round). I planted Swiss chard (it’s up!!!), spinach (it’s up). Where are the carrots? Yesterday I planted scarlet runner beans (the hummingbirds will like the flowers and I will love the beans), and garden peas. It rained last night. Every day, instead of a holiday which I cannot afford, and due to health problems I cannot travel, I go outside and take a photo of the flower of the day. It is not a showy garden, nor well-staged, but every day there is some treasure for me to discover. I send the photos to my friends worldwide. Cost is nothing, enjoyment is priceless. I noticed that I have a young patch of chokecherries blooming prolifically so I will make chokecherry jelly.
    I bought sugar on sale.

  35. I would love to know what your homemade stain remover recipe is! I just ran out of Spray & Wash over the weekend, and it is something we use often. I have been trying to find a DIY version that doesn’t include peroxide.

  36. Libby, look up the drug name on web and see if they offer a discount – I’ve had success with epi-pen and travatan z.

  37. We are doubling up on our mortgage to have it fully paid off in 3 years, so we are heading into what we are calling the “lean times.” We already have 1 of our vehicles paid off, and my car will be paid off in 2 months (we bought it in March 2016). No credit card or other debts, so while this is tough, we know it is going to be worth it to live debt free.

    All of our necessity shopping was done at Aldi. All meals/snacks were brought to work with us, so no money spent on eating out. The rest of our meals were cooked at home out of our freezers & pantry. I harvested dill & basil from my garden, and preserved them both. My garden isn’t doing so well this year, because of a variety of factors. I planted too late in the season, we’ve had a ridiculous amount of rain lately, and someone (not sure if the yard guy or birds) ate all of my lettuce just after it started coming up. 🙁 My husband mended 17 of his dress shirts that needed minor repairs such as button replacement. For entertainment, we watched several recent release movies we got from the local library.

  38. I’ve been checking Goodwill regularly and have found about four shirts to take on my mission trip to Central America with me. I earlier found two pairs of shoes: a water-resistant walking pair and a water/land pair of sturdy sandals.
    I bought raw organic pumpkin seeds on sale and soaked them in salt water then dehydrated them. They are crispy and slightly salty like the more expensive roasted pumpkin seeds, and they are a healthy snack, to boot.
    My sister is sending me her recipe for homemade energy bars, to take with me on the trip. It was suggested we bring some snacks with us for air travel and layovers.
    I have some herbs ready to start drying; thyme, peppermint, dill, lemon balm, lemon grass and anise hyssop.
    I harvested, cured and stored our onions.
    My homemade mead has reached a year old, and the taste is pretty good! It’s the first time I ever tried to make mead.
    The usual — homemade laundry soap, looking for change on the ground, turning off lights, running fans to keep the air conditioning at 79, combining errands.

  39. I have sold a few more things on our Facebook garage sale site, though I have been disappointed by several no-shows. I used our Wahl color-coded clippers to cut my husband’s and son’s hair. I found a $3 salon cape at Sally’s Beauty Supply to cover them, since my son complained about the hair getting on his neck and itching. I don’t have your gardening skills and all of my seeds we planed did not survive, but I bought a basil, cilantro, rosemary,and thyme plant at Lowe’sand planted them in a large terra cotta pot and am thrilled that they are all thriving. Do you treat your seeds in any special manner? I have tried to grow them in those cardboard grow pots.

  40. I just tallied my grocery expenditures for May and I am pleased to report that we spent $100 less in May than we did in April! We focused on consuming items we had in the pantry or freezer versus buying new. Since we also reduced our meals out, this is really an even bigger accomplishment.

    I will continue to do this into June and look for other ways to save/make money while I look for a job. My goal is to get our stockpile/pantry in our basement pruned down to just the items we routinely use by the end of June. (All the shelves need to be pulled out and the walls painted in July.)

    We continue to rebuild the wooden fence around our house doing all the demo, labor and painting ourselves. Our long term goal is to put our house up for sale in 4-5 years and downsize into a property a little further from town and with a nice backyard that will allow a garden. We’re tackling projects on the house now (fence, painting, etc.) to be ready for later. I love our house but we have absolutely no backyard and no area to grow anything!

  41. My husband originally suggested September but I suggested April. He liked that time better, so he’s thinking of April 1 – 24th, 2019 (or something like that). We would definitely get travel insurance and are looking at all the ways we can save through travel passes, hostels, etc. We’re also becoming seasoned travelers. We like to find accommodations that offer breakfast if possible (if not we buy simple breakfast foods to have in a.m.), buy food at grocery stores or markets for simple lunches and only eat out for dinner. I’m reading about all the specialty foods in for different countries, like Gouda cheese in the Netherlands and perogies in Poland…can’t wait to try them all!

  42. I completely agree with what Maxine said. I have flowers everywhere and the vast majority were given to me. I call it my friendship garden! I think, “The irises are from Rosemary, the yellow day lilies are from Karen, the orange and brown day lilies are from the elderly lady down the street who offered me the bulbs if I went over and helped her divide them, and so on. I have 4 Hydrangeas that I got for $3 at the end of year clearance- now they’re huge and beautiful. I have Asiatic lilies that I got for a quarter apiece at an end of season sale. I have mums that were all gifts. I have Bachelor Buttons from a friend’s seeds from hers. And the big ones? I have 4 trees that are now taller than our house that were totally free. How? They sprouted up randomly in our yard. When we were sure they were trees,we moved them to where we wanted them (After calling 811!). Only one died. The others are spectacular. At $150 each to have good trees put in, that was our best deal yet! I thank the birds and squirrels for leaving us the seeds for such nice trees!!

  43. Mice, voles, chipmunks and gophers as well as alot of songbirds all LOVE to take a couple bites out of EVERY darn strawberry :/ I can’t think of any bugs that will eat them other than ants getting to the over-ripe ones.

  44. Hi Pam B and not a problem at all to give you the stain remover recipe 🙂 .

    I advise that you mix and use this outdoors or in a well ventilated room as it kind of smells, but however it works brilliantly.

    In a bottle with lid mix this and shake before each use –
    1 litre of ammonia.
    1 litre of dishwashing liquid.
    18 tablespoons of bicarb soda ( in the States I think it is known as baking soda)

    For spot stain removal –
    – Put a little on the stain and use a toothbrush and brush in a circular motion and do the same with the other side of the garment stain and leave for an hour or so and then rinse and wash as usual.

    For soaking –
    – Lay one layer of clothing in your bath with plug in, put stain remover over the top, lay another layer of clothing over the top and more stain remover until you have gone through all of your clothing and fill the bath with warm water until it covers your clothing.
    – Leave overnight and rinse and wash as usual.

    I hope this helps.

  45. Thank you Holly for the suggestion! I had never thought to do that. The best I can find is $20 off six refills, which translates into $20 off $600. I’ll use this tip for other scripts in the future.

  46. I spent 16 days in France the end of April and first week of May this year. I paid $606 for RT airfare on Delta – flying into one city and out from a different city. I used reward points on my Capital One Visa card and “erased” the expenditures for my airfare and the six nights I spent in hotels – this included staying in a castle! The other nights I stayed with friends.

    Food is typically more expensive then it is in the US. I second the idea of buying picnics at outdoor markets. Lunches in restaurants are less expensive than dinners. Creperies are inexpensive. Bakeries will often have mini quiches and some will heat them up for you. I brought a lunchbox size, soft sided cooler with me and used it to keep yogurts, cheese, and strawberries cool while I traveled. I also brought a spork with me. In the past when I’ve checked luggage, I’ve brought a Swiss army knife.

    April can be cool in Europe with cold rain. It was mostly in the 50-60’s while I was there and I was in southern France.

    Have fun researching, dreaming, and making this trip a reality!:)

  47. Contacting the drug company or a rep is the best way. My son’s monthly medication (One medication) is nearly $400 each month. Our insurance refuses to cover it bc it’s new and they’d prefer he try an alternative (did no work the same…anyway, the drug company gave us a card and we only pay $25 month!! It’s cheaper than my insurance co-pay would have been.

  48. Thank you Melissa and Brandy! We do have rolie polie bugs and mice that I’ve seen. How on earth do we keep those out of the garden??

  49. Going in April or early May would be good, too, for reasonably-priced airplane tickets. It would be good to travel light but smart and it greatly simplifies things to just have carry-on luggage and not checked but it depends on how long you’re staying from. Trains in Europe often have very short stops and it is hard to get heavy luggage off quickly enough. A friend also told me to mention to you that sometimes your passport is needed to be shown even for internal trips within the same country.

    Pickpockets abound in Europe and have many different techniques. For example, in Italy, a friend’s husband was burned on the arm with a lit cigarette. Most people would reach for their arm while the thief reached and got a wallet from a back pocket. My friend’s husband reached for his wallet (thus saving it) instead of his arm. Or a friend’s daughter was asleep in a rain compartment when someone walked past and got her purse. Be alert! Split your cash up so if your purse gets stolen you still have some elsewhere. Similarly, carry a photocopy of your id and your passport apart from your id and your passport so if you need to replace a passport you can show your consulate your photocopy. If you are going in 2019, watch for good currency exchange rates in the meantime and when it’s good, pick up some of the foreign currencies. Get a wallet that is protected against the credit cards being scanned by someone close by. A good investment for here and abroad. Wear your purse in such a way that it cannot be quickly slipped off your shoulder or grabbed.

    It also helps if you don’t look like a tourist. As a woman, I’d wear a nice blouse, perhaps a jacket, and not-too-short skirt and walking shoes. Maybe things have changed but it was better to dress conservatively than to hallmark one as a tourist. Libby is right that it can be cool in April. In fact, you might even have snow. Or you might get an unprecedented stretch of sunshine. Many years ago I had people being very friendly to me because I travelled with my white-haired mother and no-one thought I was a tourist. If you know where you are going to go, take a language course (or learn by dvd) so you know some basic expressions. Even if English is commonly spoken, you will be warmly received if you try to speak some of the local language. Also, learn how to read a menu in the language. Years ago, I met a forlorn American tourist who informed me that the food in the country was not good at all. We sat him down and gave him some basic tips in German as to what the food was and what he could order that was delicious so it is good you’re considering what food is served locally. We had taught ourselves what is on a menu. We actually only knew the most basic German.

    I agree with Libby about buying food from bakeries or delis. Pubs or wine bars can have reasonably priced food and lunch is more affordable. I lived in Montreal for awhile and we would eat our main meal at lunch for very little money. The same meal at dinner would be a lot more expensive.

    If you go with your cellphone, research how not to get stuck with high roaming fees.

    If you stay in a bed and breakfast, you may sometimes find one that gives you the choice of having dinner, too. Take them up on it even if only once because the food’s quality may surpass any restaurant.
    Ask your friends and neighbours about whether they have stayed in b and bs and which ones if they were really good.

    You probably need to ask if there are areas of a city that are not safe to go.

    You mention going to Holland (or at least you mention Gouda cheese). It has always been a dream of mine which will be unfulfilled to go to Holland during tulip time and ride bicycles along their great pathway system. Rent bikes or electric bikes. It would be so much fun if you are up to it. Also, there are small group tours of the tulips and botanical gardens for not much money. It would also be worthwhile to pay for a walking tour of various cities you might visit.

    Be cautious, be adventurous, have a wonderful time.

    P.S. My friends say that the convents they stayed at served a continental breakfast, – i.e., coffee and a roll (sometimes a crescent roll) or a slice of a bread like banana bread included in the price. Don’t feel strange about not being Catholic and staying at one. My friends say there are some fabulous ones in the historic centres of some cities. About 5 families on my street have stayed at them. Sometimes their prices compare to hostels but more refined accommodation. Before the millenium, the Catholic church
    spent millions of dollars on renovations to their convents/monasteries so my friend said it was really nice. In one convent, they had freshly laundered and ironed linen sheets that were divine.

    good luck!

  50. We have had a busy and productive week:
    -I received $80 cash for a 1 hour market research session plus tea, juice & snacks
    -I had a morning tea at work today and bought home some leftover biscuits
    -basil is plentiful so we are eating lots of tomato based meals
    -spent $89 for the week on groceries. We have sustained this for several weeks now (between $80-$90). Our previous budget was $120 for four people
    -keeping on track financially by keeping all outings to a $0 cost (just fuel cost, if we are not walking)
    -items I need are being written in a list and given to relatives at Christmas time if they ask what they can purchase (& they always ask!)
    -I am now at over 1.5 years of no clothes, shoes, bags & accessories purchases. My children however get clothes and shoes as needed & I purchase high quality so it lasts (particularly shoes, I only get leather). They only have the minimum required for each season and hand me downs from family members are very much appreciated

  51. Thanks for the info Libby. I was wondering what their weather would be like in April. Sounds like typical spring weather, so we’ll go prepared for rain!

  52. We rented out first house. So, unfortunately, I could not take any of the landscaping with me. I do have some hostas already that were transplanted. The Facebook garage sale sites will usually have people giving away free ones soon. A friend has already offered day lilies, creeping Jenny, pompous grass, and more hostas. I already purchased a clematis on sale and I have Asiatic lilies that I had in a pot at our old house. I am waiting for end of year sales on some hydrangeas and lilacs. I’d also like to incorporate ferns, which I already know where I can get some for free. Beyond that, I plan on adding some boxwood bushes and some blueberry bushes (edible and they look great in the fall). Right now, I’m more focused on building the walk and making sure we are doing all the proper prep work. I found rock to build the wall for free and I think I may have found some free fill dirt. My husband and I set a $500 budget for the project and I’ve only spent $15 so far. We added some fruit trees prior to that, but we don’t need any other trees.

  53. Continue to fill at least one tree tub with weeds per day. Worked on moving some of the compost from the old compost bed over to top dress the strawberry plants. They were a lime green, & now they are an appropriate, darker color of green. Used some homemade “pins” to secure the runner where I wanted them to grow, then covered the stem with compost, so it won’t “burn” from the wire pin getting hot in the sun.

    Stripped more of the dry needles from the fir trees I rescued from curbside, & spread them around the blueberries, strawberries & red raspberry plants. They are a simple, free way to acidity the soil.

    Harvesting strawberries, a bit more rhubarb, the last of the lettuce & some pea pods.

    Planted more to the heirloom corn to rejuvenate the seed. Finished planting the rest of the garden.

    My oldest granddaughter helped me place a net over the cherry tree to keep the birds out of it. Our oldest daughter gave it to me for Christmas, & we were all surprised at how large it was – it would cover a full size tree. Ours is a semi dwarf.

    Mixed up some borax/sugar paste & set it out under the small glass cloches, near the ant hills in the garden & by the grapevine. The ants are worse than usual this year, but I don’t want to use spray by the edibles. The cloches should keep the sprinklers from washing it away when I water.

    Continued to knit on the baby blanket.

  54. Some of my frugal accomplishments include:

    – Hubby fixed our shower handle.
    – I purchased two shirts for my son at the thrift store. He needed some dressy ones. One was for his senior graduation. New with tags (retailed $58) that I purchased for 5.99.
    – A couple of months ago I purchased some old navy black jeggings. I loved how they looked with outfits on pinterest. They fit and looked nice…I took the tags off and never wore them. Everytime I looked at them and thought of wearing them, I changed my mind (they are just to snug on the legs and I don’t like the feel of that). So after keeping them for 2 months, decided to return them. Since it was over 45 days, they said they would give me store credit at whatever sale price they were currently at. Luckily, they were only $2 less than what I paid for them. Better than sitting in my drawer never being worn. Got back $34.
    – Renewed our library membership at $194. Our membership ended last September and we held off as long as we could. We are huge audiobook listeners and went through all of the free audible audiobooks through amazon prime. $194 may seem like a lot, but we go through at least 2 audiobooks a week and we get magazines and movies, online magazines, etc. It’s well worth the money.
    – planted dahlia tubers that I grew from seed and sewed poppy seeds that I saved from my flower garden last year.
    – planted heirloom tomato seeds that I saved from some grocery store tomatoes and also some seeds that I had purchased last year.
    – Took food from home with us on a short 2 day trip so we only ate out 1 time.

  55. I love all your pictures!
    We continued to eat all meals at home with my husband taking his lunch each day.
    With school being out I went 10 days before filling my gas tank instead of every 5 days
    I have been harvesting 5 to 10 strawberries a day. They have also been $.99lb so we have been buying them as well.
    Stuck to my list at the grocery store and didn’t purchase any extras.
    Finally got all the garden planted. I can’t wait to start harvesting.
    I continue to roast a mixture of veggies once a week for dinner and my husbands lunches, hard boil eggs and make meat salads for sandwiches and snacking as well as huge salads. All the prep work plus using leftover meats is saving us time and money.
    Have a great week everyone!

  56. Libby ,

    If you look at the manufacturer of the drug . All drugs have patient assistance if you truly can’t afford and truly need the med.
    We used if for four years and we saved $6,000 at least each year.

  57. I drove up to the northern part of the state ( a four hour drive), met my cousins for lunch, (my female cousin treated since I drove four hours) and then went with my female cousin to decorate our maternal grandparent’s and great grandparent’s grave ( our granddaddy’s side of the family)….beautiful drive, lovely company. We then visited the family farm. I then drove home. It was a long, but spectacular day, as I was able to drive through two national forests. I bought a blouse for work at the Salvation Army for $3.00, to replace one that was too stained to wear anymore. I did get my oil changed and my tires checked out before my trip. Other than that, I have just done my usual, eating at home, keeping power bill down to under $60 dollars despite it already being hot and humid. I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  58. Made $100 doing a very very very long survey but hey it’s 100 dollars. Did a rebate for $8.51 odd amount but it was a portion of what I spent. Accepted a free cake and free popcorn from a friend. Used the $5.00 off Target meat deal four times last week total savings $20.00 used two $10 off coupons and saved an additional $20 that way as well. Did a curb pick up at CVS got some two big bottles of soap for $2.90 savings according to CVS $8.00 (I don’t really think it was that much more like $3.00 savings or four at the most but I take what I can get.) Saved $3.00 in other coupons at the grocery and used up leftovers in our house. Used old graham crackers to make a pie crust for a pudding pie I will serve to night. Used up a ton of leftovers to do taco night . Leftover steak, leftover chicken, leftover ground beef and leftover veggies and some lettuce and tomatoes that were about to go off. Did the Amazon apply for the credit card get $40 .00 gift card just for trying. Did not want the credit card and pretty much knew I would not qualify but got free toilet paper out of that deal. Used up a $30.00 gift card I had for household supplies and wrote about a bad experience we had to get a large gift card for our family to use in the next few weeks gotta love free food! Total savings so far for June $215.00 and going strong! Looking for ways to cut cost at home. Also looking for work, but will have to be a good job or I will not leave home. I save too much being home.

  59. We do that with trees also. My husband puts a tomato cage around them to keep them from being mowed down. Depending on where it has decided to grow he will either leave or move.

  60. Jessica, ferns can be very invasive, aggressive growers. If you don’t want them moving throughout your entire garden be prepared to pull or dig them out as needed. They will spread and crowd out other plantings.

  61. Lillianna, I don’t know how it works by you, but I know somewhat of how it works at our main University which has about 40.000 students. All leases end on same day so everyone moves on the same day. Everything you don’t want or can’t move is left on the curb, not for the garbage but for the taking. My son and his wife did their Master degrees there and my oldest daughter and her husband lived there for his veterinary school. I saw this in action and it was pretty’s like a massive Freecycle…we picked up a couple items ourselves that we could use. Both of them were nicer pieces of furniture but broken and my husband knew he could fix them. However, your daughter’s roommate does sound spoiled and wasteful, so nice that you benefited from it.

  62. If no seeds germinated, than you probably planted them too deep, let them get too dry or have too cold of soil temperature. Just a thought to look into. Seeds cannot be sold legally unless they have at least an 85% germination rate. Although I’m a Master Gardener, I often will buy plants. Buying one plant that you grow and use far outweighs an expensive pack of seeds (and planting supplies) that don’t grow! At least that’s my philosophy

  63. Hi Margaret, Does it cost to be a library member? Or does the library have some kind of paying membership deal over and above a free membership?
    I thought libraries were always free.

  64. Forgot to add did all of the usual stuff too. Wash clothing in cold water, take very short showers, turn off all electric not using look for other ways to cut the electric (got a free propane tank so cooking with the grill more) Cut hubby’s hair. We save a lot of money too in our household just using our own labor (we have 3 generations in one home) Babysitting is always free (plenty of people home) Car needs to go into the shop (free ride home always someone to help) Free labor makes for great savings.

  65. Wow! Look at those blackberries. I’m amazed you get such a harvest where you live. Our poor blackberry bramble has suffered ever since we had to take down the tree that shaded it, but even when it was doing its best we were only able to harvest a handful or so at a time. (We popped them into the freezer until we had enough to make jam or whatever.)

    Frugal Efforts

    * Checked out books, CDs, and DVDs from the library.

    * Celebrated Hubby’s birthday with just the three of us (we went to a favorite Mexican food place).

    * Hubs and son made a Dutch oven feast for Memorial Day.

    * Walked the dog for exercise.

    * Used warm-up and rinse water to water potted plants and new rose bushes.

    * Paid bills online.

    * Paid a tiny bit extra on the principal on our mortgage.

    * Shredded old school papers to use in the chicken coop.

    * Kept the AC off; opened the windows and used ceiling fans instead.

    * Continued to keep grocery spending down to about $300 per month.

    * Harvested lettuce, green onions, and two Anna apples. Collected eggs.

    * A new Sprouts opened up near us, so I was able to get lots of produce and even some grass-fed beef at really good prices (at least for here).

    * Son signed up for the library’s summer reading program and a reading competition sponsored by the library. He received two free books.

    * Made cheesecake (the first time ever!) for son’s birthday. By combining a sale and coupons, I was able to get the cream cheese for $1.39 per package.

    * Had a pretty simple birthday celebration for son (just some friends over for a BBQ; no decorations this year).

    We have one more celebration this month (Father’s Day), and then things slow down a bit. Whew! I’ve already spent about 3/4 of this month’s grocery budget (mostly for unusual bday celebration purchases), but we’ve got tons of leftovers, full freezers, a garden, and a well-stocked pantry, so I think we’ll still be ok.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  66. Carrots can take 14-21 days to germinate, so do not give up. On the other hand, since the seeds are so small they can dry up and die if they do not stay moist, or can wash away if they get too much water. I am the only one in my family allowed to water the carrots, as one year the seeds all “moved” to one end of the raised bed, and we just had five big bunches of carrots instead of five rows.

  67. I didn’t know that. Thanks for the heads up! See this is why I needed those landscaping books! Haha! 😉

  68. Time has flown so fast again. This is for 3 weeks. Summer is getting close. We actually had an 80 F day on this past Saturday and Sunday. It really moved the plant growth along and our peonies are now starting to open. The iris are still blooming, the lily of the valley too and they both smell wonderful. Our lilac trees are done but we still have the bushes blooming. Everything planted from seed is up and our transplanted seedlings are doing well.

    The newest addition to the family is little Henry Bernard named after his paternal grandfather and his dad. This is the son of my husband’s youngest sister Susie and her husband. He was a bit late and was born on their one year anniversary. My husband refinished the family (their side) cradle for them to use and the men finished the addition to their house in plenty of time. We (me, daughters, mother, daughter in law) gave her a rocking chair as the shower present at the church shower.

    We have done all the usual of cooking and baking, composting, recycling, hanging out laundry. My mother and I still watch baby Dora one day a week…she is 7 months today. We had baby Anna Joy last Thursday also as my daughter in law was called to come in to help at the public junior high school for the day. School is out now for the year so I will not be doing as much driving as I work shorter hours (less days a week)

    We’ve harvested chives, asparagus, rhubarb, parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, radishes, spinach, arugula, leaf lettuce. Our strawberries should be ready in another 2 weeks. We put in more seeds for a second planting. Bought 10 of the 1.00 geraniums at the garden store. Planted all our flower pots and annual flower beds on Memorial weekend Saturday and added mulch to the flower beds. Most were grown from seed. We bought a flat of impatiens at the garden store for 8.00 for the shadier spots.

    Over the last 3 weeks we’ve baked white bread, rye bread, soft pretzels for snacks, banana nut bread x 2, baked doughnuts with maple frosting, lemon bars, rhubarb crumb coffeecake, rhubarb upside down cake, rhubarb muffins with struesel topping, rhubarb sauce 7 pints, rhubarb jam 4 pints, 7 12 oz jars, 3 half pints. Also so far froze 11 quarts of slices. Made pizza x 2, baked fish my husband caught, made baked
    spicy sweet potato slices, brats and sauerkraut, American (cold) potato salad, coleslaw x 3, mixed green salad multiple times, 4 bean salad, macaroni and cheese, tuna macaroni salad made with extra macaroni cooked for the mac n cheese. Vegetable stir fry with rice and spicy baked tofu. Husband grilled burgers, hot dogs, veggie dogs and veggie patties several times. “made” smores a couple times. Made a vegetable tray with dill dip for a Church gathering. Took a frozen meat loaf out and cooked it with baked potatoes, scalloped corn and apple crisp. This was on one of our colder days.

    Ate out a number of times due to going to graduation open houses for relatives and Church youth. They always include picnic type meals. We always give a check or gift card as our present. Also end of year school picnic (took the lemon bars). Had game night at church where I brought the vegetable tray to the potluck so ate there and attended 2 funerals with meals.

    At the grocer (over 3 weeks) bought milk, tortilla chips, fresh tomatoes, lemons, 99 cent iceberg lettuce heads to fill out the salad bowls, cucumbers 2/1.00. 5 lb bag of carrots x 2, cauliflower head, celery x 3, 10 lb of vidalia onions, mayonnaise 3 jars, cider vinegar, olive oil. Suave shampoos, deodorants and body washes…they are always the cheapest here and have a nice selection of scents. Combined mfgr coupon with store coupon and sale and double coupon day whenever possible. Picked up the Friday free items. Not real impressed with them and would not pay real money for them. Always seems to be something weird and pretty unnatural.

  69. Most welcome Pam B and I hope like us you will never buy a commercial one again after you see the results 🙂 .

  70. Brandy,
    Love the pic of your blackberries-they look delicious.

    I was thinking of purchasing a new sofa because the seat cushion covers were very worn. Instead, I found some great fabric at the Goodwill. I found three different pieces of fabric in similar colors and got creative in sewing new cushion covers and I also made new pillows for a total cost of $20 and my time. The seat covers are made with a heavy duty fabric and heavy duty thread so I am hoping they will last a long time. It looks like a new sofa!

    I bought a few Christmas gifts that were on sale- my son likes things with the pineapple symbol on them and I found a very large white platter with a small pineapple symbol on clearance for him (he is just setting up his own home). I found a good pair of kitchen shears and two bottles of very high-end dish soap all for a total of $12. I will put a couple of my knitted dish clothes with the dish soaps- one set for each of my adult children for Christmas.

    My son is gutting his bathroom due to some floor rotting issues. My husband and son have done all the demo themselves saving lots of money- the only money spent will be the cost of getting rid of the demo trash. My son plans to do all the work of putting the new bathroom back together himself. He will end up with a brand-new and most importantly, solid bathroom with new shower, new toilet, new sink and new flooring for about $2000. It takes a lot of time and patience as he can only work on it in the evenings after work and on the weekends but he has more patience than money so this will work out well for him.

    I have a graduation party to attend this weekend-that will be the last one for the season and then it will be on to the summer weddings. I have my wedding gifts already purchased and waiting-I started looking for the gifts months ago and found very nice gifts for clearance prices so each gift costs less than $15. I find good deals at Home Goods.

    I have been inspired by Brandy and all of you to save in every little way every day. It all adds up to significant savings.
    Thanks for the motivation!

  71. Thanks so much, Nancy, for the information. I will make sure to water the carrots tomorrow. We’re supposed to have rain on Saturday and for about 4 or 5 days. I have some plastic screen that I will put over the planter box to keep the hares and deer from munching. Today, I saw wild Yellow Lady Slipper Orchids and other beautiful wildflowers. Free, and thrilling. I watched a mother merganser call to her ducklings who promptly climbed on her back to hitch a ride then jumped off and sped across the surface of the water until called back by the mother to climb aboard. Lovely, and free!

  72. It could be slugs if you have a damp garden. If you need to water it is best to do in the am so ground dries throughout day. Slugs like it wet. Also keep your garden clean and keep what you can off the dirt. Slugs overwinter so best to clean out all debris in fall and then reclean again in spring if needed. But do one of those cleanings at least if you have a slug problem.

  73. The blackberries and mission figs look wonderful…I happen to love both. I am glad you discovered my blog so I can see all your are growing in your garden! Happy Weekend, Brandy!!

  74. Another quick update: I found a coupon for a free three month membership to BJs (Wholesale Club). It expired today so I went and signed up for that free membership. I will likely stock up on the items that we like from BJs – especially some of their meat for the freezer – during the three months.

    I also got a good tip while I was there … They’re hiring for cashiers. Not exactly my dream job but it might work for a while or it could evolve into something better long term. I’m open to the possibility and I’ve already applied.

  75. Hi, Athanasia,
    I just had a “doh” moment reading all the things you do with rhubarb. For some reason, I’ve never considered making jam with it! I don’t know where my brain’s been! I always wonder what to do with it besides adding it to crisps. Now I know!

  76. There could be other bonuses to working there too, Kim. You might be able to get a free membership because you work there, there may be discounts for employees, and, since you work there, you can keep an eye out for discounted products to purchase (like short dated items, clearance merchandise, damaged packages, etc.). Might be a great way to pad out your food and gift pantry! Good luck getting a job there.

  77. How wonderful to have so many new babies to love! Congratulations on the newest one:)

    It sounds like you have been doing lots of great cooking, like usual. Yum!

    You got a great deal on the flowers. I’ll bet they look lovely. Have a great week.

  78. Any sock or stocking purchases for yourself? Congratulations on your restraint on personal clothing purchases.

  79. I do have a recipe, and it comes from this link:

    We put all sorts of additional yummy things in as well, including sun-dried tomato pieces, herbs, sesame or other seeds, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, BBQ sauce…because the crackers are fairly bland without them, but there are other recipes online if you do a search. I just need to find a new one!

    This link has other ideas for using nut pulp.

  80. Momsav, I make just plain rhubarb jam. I never add strawberries like many recipes call for. I do make one batch of my mother in law’s recipe every year for my husband…it adds strawberry jello.

  81. Thank you Becky. It’s nice the children will grow up so close to each other.

    Well the geraniums were pretty small, but there were 4 different colors so just added them to various pots. They’re blooming nicely.

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