It was a simple week and I felt like I didn’t do much to save money, but simple weeks with consistent ways of saving add up!

I used a 30% off the first year of hosting coupon for my new photography website hosting fees. I continued building the site myself using a free template option rather than a paid one, and I am customizing it extensively. I was really tempted to buy a template, but of course, the ones I liked were $495! Instead, I found ways to make huge changes to one of the free ones to get what I really want. I’m still making changes and adding new things to the site, and I’ll share when it’s done.

My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this past week. My parents gifted us some gift cards to a restaurant, so we went there for a meal. My husband has wanted to see the movie, “Yesterday” so much that he has watched the trailer almost every day for months. We went to the movies on the one day a week that our local theater offers discounted tickets (they are less than matinee tickets). We go to the movies less than once a year most years, so when we do go, we try to make sure we’re going to really love the movie. We either go on the discounted day or when we have been gifted passes or gift cards. (A few years ago, we were given both and we got to enjoy a number of dates out to the movies those years. We used the gift card on the discount day to make our gift card go further.)

We combined our trip out with an errand nearby to save both time and gas. We always try to group our errands into as few days as possible. The gas savings is nice, but the time savings is even bigger.

I got exercise in the garden pulling weeds, deadheading roses, and pruning. Keeping the roses deadheaded should help result in more blooms and better shaped bushes that will give me even more blooms next year.

I harvested parsley, lemons, and tomatoes from the garden.

I decorated for the holiday using flags I had purchased in previous years on clearance. I put a red and white table runner on the table ($3 Target purchase in a prior year), topped it with large blue and white garage sale vase ($2 garage sale purchase in a previous year) on the table with the large flags in it (bought 90% off a few years ago), and two mason jars with small flags on either side of that. I also put a few flags in an urn in the front yard.

We went to a friend’s house to watch fireworks. We got to see not just theirs but all of the neighbors’ fireworks. This neighborhood has a number of people who light off fireworks and there were quite a few to see.

I did not buy anything extra for the holiday meals. We ate well from what we already had without the extra expenses of fancy meats for the grill, chips, desserts, and sodas which make up the normal holiday purchases (we also don’t drink, so there was no alcohol expense, but we don’t normally have that expense). I made homemade barbeque sauce using ingredients I had on hand. We put that on the chicken that I had previously bought on a great sale and froze. I love stocking up on meat when it is at its lowest prices. I saw sales on meat for the holiday, but none were as low per pound as I had paid earlier this year, so I didn’t buy anything new.

We enjoyed playing games together at home all week. The Catan game that I bought on sale last year on Black Friday has been a big favorite at my house and was played quite often.

I used the turkey that I cooked at the end of last week for several meals, including turkey sandwiches with garden tomatoes (we had fruit on the side) and turkey enchiladas. We had several salads with homemade dressings. I also cooked a large boneless pork roast from the freezer, which we had for several meals.

We went to the library and the children turned in their reading logs for more free books to keep. We picked up some free bookmarks at the librarian’s desk.

We combined that trip with an errand to a Target store across the street from the library to save both gas and time. At Target, I purchased new sandals for the girls who needed them, taking advantage of a 20% off sale as well as clearance prices. I found a pair of sandals for myself for 20% off, too. I also found a pair of flats in the next size up for my youngest daughter, on clearance for $5. I will gift them to her for Christmas or next year’s birthday, depending on how fast she grows into that size.

My husband and I had a date night at home.

What did you do this past week to save money?

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  1. Wow, it sounds like you had a very fun week, Brandy! Always nice to read about, since you are such a hard worker all of the time. How was the movie? By the way, the pictures of your youngest is absolutely adorable! Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Well, let me just say it has been one HOT week here. Working in a living history museum may have many perks, but not when it’s hot and humid! Sooo thankful for air conditioning when I get home. Frugal accomplishments for our home this week included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken low mien stir-fry, choice of meat balls in gravy or popcorn chicken with mashed potato and corn, BBQ grilled steak (the cost of buying enough steaks for 5 people was equivalent to 1 steak dinner at a restaurant!) with baked potatoes (made on the BBQ) and carrots, breaded chicken fingers with flavoured rice and broccoli, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with corn chips, and pasta with choice of meat or red sauce.
    *The batch of fried rice I made up the previous weekend stretched over 4 work lunches this week! Still getting lots of free baked goods made in the various historic houses each day.
    *Made another batch of iced tea as per request by DD. For anyone who is interested, here is the extremely easy instructions I use to make the iced tea: You could probably used these same instructions to make herbal iced tea, if desired! Since I don’t buy lemons very often (too expensive in our area most of the time, so I don’t bother), I use bottled lemon juice instead (I use about 3 tbsp which is equal to the juice of 1 lemon). Dehydrated lemon slices might work for this as well, if you happen to have some on hand.
    *By Saturday, the heat wave had done us in. I needed to eat early, as I had to work an evening event. So to avoid heating up the house, and make things easy for everyone, we bought pizza. I normally fight take out. But considering the heat, was definitely OK with that night.
    *Hubby and I checked out the discount place on the weekend, which has become hubby’s favourite place to shop. They have new things every week, while other things that haven’t sold are discounted further to clear them for new stock. We found an unopened 8lb bag of dried chick peas for $4 that “expire” in 2021. Happily added that to our pantry stock! Also found a nice brand new long sleeve tunic blouse that would fit either my MIL or my mom for only $6, and picked it up for one of them for Christmas (I’ll decide who gets it later). The gift stash is definitely doing well this year!
    *Harvested romaine & leaf lettuce, a ton of Swiss chard, a few leaves of spinach (it’s going to seed, so I will collect them when they are ready to use next year), a few shelling peas (more pods will be ready in a day or two), and some chives. I dehydrated the chives to use in winter. The dill is flourishing, but I’m waiting until the dill heads go to seed before harvesting. Lots of flowers on the peas and beans, so more to come! Best of all, the deer fencing is working! The squirrels can get in, but they are not doing as much damage, so I can live with that.
    *Picked up an extra hour at work this week. I was asked to come in early to clean bathrooms, which I happily accepted. Also worked a special event on Saturday evening, for 4 more extra hours. This was a new “adult only” event this year called “Bedrooms and Backwoods”, where we presented some Victorian taboo subject matter not normally discussed with children around. Just so you know, Victorians weren’t as sweet and innocent as one might believe! The event went well, with a perfect night to be out. The best part of the night, however, was viewing the amazing light show performed by a group of fireflies in my garden. Absolutely magical to watch!
    *The temperatures with extreme humidity soared to over 40C this week. Since I work at a pioneer village, there was no way of getting out of the heat (while wearing pioneer clothing, no less). We were all given a free Freezie by our supervisor, on the worse day (Friday) which was wonderful! Then, as we were going home, one of my co-worker’s mother (who is also a volunteer and understands what we go through with the heat), was offering another free Freezie that she kindly brought for us all! She’s now my favourite volunteer!!!!
    *We bought my mother a new mattress and box spring for her birthday. Not frugal, but we don’t mind doing things like this for her, in gratitude for all the help she has given us over the years.

    I hope everyone had a lovely week!

      1. I also saw “Yesterday” last week and heartily recommend it. It takes a lot to get me out to a movie these days but this one was worth it. Funny, sweet, and great music of course.

    1. imagine living as a Pioneer Day in and day out in this heat! It always puts things in perspective for me! Though, I do like the history part of all you do!

      1. We get asked by children all the time if we live in the village. My answer is always “Nope. I get to come to work every day and talk to people about history all day, which I love. But I also get to go home to air conditioning, central heating, TV, computers, internet, and all that fun stuff every night, which I also love!” I’m not shy about hiking up my skirt and showing them all my clothing layers either, when I have people whine about how hot it is while standing in front of me wearing next to nothing. I wear shorts under my costume, in place of bloomers, so I’m very covered. Let’s just say, I question my sanity for returning every year whenever the heat waves hit.

  2. Such a beautiful boy…

    A few frugal efforts from recent weeks-

    – Took advantage of Independence Day paint sale and purchased at 30% off paint for a future room update
    – Purchased fruit/veggies on sale for family reunion/holiday potlucks. Noshed all week on leftovers
    – Purchased several high-quality preschool activity workbooks at a preschool yard sale (10 cents each) for our 3 year old grandson. He was entranced
    – Gifted 9 month old granddaughter 3 new/like-new yard sale outfits for maybe $5.00. Mom likes them, too!
    – Stocked up on requested items at our salvage stores prior to a holiday visit with the daughter and family
    – Prepping for an upcoming “Christmas in July” craft show, reminisced about how distractingly enjoyable it had been to do much of the work back in the cold, snowy days of winter. I love purposeful activity. So much better than shopping!
    – Family/friends- learned from word and example new creative and frugal ideas and strategies
    – Family/friends- (mostly) patient with those to whom frugality seems to be like a foreign language in which they are not fluent
    – Husband and I received pay increases, and we both increased retirement account withholding accordingly

    Have a terrific week!

  3. Lovely pictures and I cannot wait to see the photography website. What did you think of the movie? I don’t even know when I last went to the movie theater! It’s just not my thing.

    My frugal accomplishments this past week were:
    • Ate all meals at home except for Saturday dinner out with my sister. We had separate checks and she has a lot of dietary issues right now so it was easier to eat out and not much more expensive than cooking for two at my house.
    • Cut up bell peppers and cucumbers for snacking and salads. Pitted 8 pounds of sweet cherries to eat, make more flavored cream cheese, and freeze for use this winter in things like milkshakes. The cherries were bought at a grocery store near me which held a two day sale. I also received a 5% senior citizen discount because I made my purchase on Wednesday and I’m 65 years old. The sale and discount brought them down to the same price per pound as Aldi’s, which is a lot further away, so I saved 45 minutes of round trip driving and the expense of gas for that trip. I also got 5 cents back for bringing my own bag.
    • Tracked all expenses to make sure I am on track to retire in 29 more weeks (29 long, long weeks) and can pay for needed dental work as it is performed without financing it. My boss announced that he is retiring on July 25 and while I don’t begrudge him leaving half a year before me, it is giving me even more incentive. He is a GREAT boss and I can only hope that his replacement is as hands off as he is. I did not purchase the dining room chairs and bench that I was planning to buy because that is an optional expense that can be delayed, no matter how much I really want them.
    • Fixed kitchen drawers that needed to have the backs glued on because when the house was flipped, the work on these was shoddy and several of them just collapse if they are not pulled out in a certain manner. I organized all the drawers when I put the contents back in.
    • Kept AC off as much as possible, usually from 6 a.m. to Noon and again from 6 p.m. to bedtime. My cats are on the screened porch in the mornings and evenings. I also run AC overnight for comfortable sleeping. With the temp set between 82 and 84 and the ceiling fans on, the house is surprisingly comfortable. I spend a lot of time on the screened porch as well and it really contributes to my life and enjoying this house.
    • Watered my vegetables and some drooping flowers on Wednesday morning. We then had typical summer thunderstorms on both Wednesday and Thursday and got about 4-5 inches of rain. Friday basically said “Really? Here, hold my beer” and we got another 6 inches of rain in about 6 hours. It rained again on Sunday. In between all that, I picked flowers for both my office and my bedroom. I picked weeds and transplanted two citronella geraniums to the flower pots on my porch. The petunias in the pots and in the gardens have proven to me that petunias are not something I should bother growing here. I also made notes on which plants are doing well in our heat and both dry and rainy periods so those are the flowers I plant next year.
    • Watched fireworks from my house on the 4th of July and Saturday night. These were all set off by various neighbors who apparently have large fireworks budgets and rivaled any show put on for the public. South Carolina allows most any fireworks and these people take advantage of that.

    Following up on the discussion in the comments last week on which photography items I would buy from you, Brandy, I would definitely love note cards with any number of items on them – your food and flower photos, old-fashioned kitchen implements, the desert scene from last week’s frugal accomplishments, etc. I would also buy some smaller prints (4×6 or 5×7) for my kitchen and maybe a larger one or two for my house, although most of the items I use here have more of a beach/summer theme. I hope that helps.

    1. We enjoyed the movie. Maybe you can get it from the library when it comes out! My husband and I went to a lot of movies when we were dating. He used to work in the movie industry then. He still loves movies, but we watch most movies at home now.

      Thank you for the feedback on photos! I appreciate it!

        1. He made silicone moquettes that were digitized for animated movies and also worked as a puppeteer and an extra. In “Jingle All the Way” his name is in the first 15 or so names, and in “Shrek” you’ll see him at almost the end under “Los Angeles Pre-Production.”

  4. Even your not-that-much-I-did-to-save weeks have tons of savings! And your meals sound delicious!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made Deceptively Simple Stewed Rhubarb ( using the rhubarb I’ve grown on my balcony (I harvest and freeze a stalk at a time as it grows).
    – I also picked lettuce, chives, basil, and green onion from my balcony garden, and planted more nasturtium seeds.
    – The basil I grow on my balcony is actually lemon basil, and I muddled it with sugar and added it to some sun tea made with tea saved from a hotel stay, for a delicious lemon basil iced tea.
    – I hosted the family BBQ for Canada Day, using items previously gotten for free during a grocery promo. I added in a grated broccoli stem to the Caesar salad, just for added nutrition and to avoid waste, and no one noticed a thing. I also made an avocado and scape dip using items from my discounted organic grocery box and pantry items. For entertainment, we took the baby to the local splash pad for the first time, and my family enjoyed seeing her enjoy herself. Simple pleasures are sometimes the best!
    – I was able to order 10 coasters with my blog logo for $2 (CAD) including shipping, due to a promotion from Stickermule. I do love a good deal!
    – By the way, not a frugal accomplishment, but I was looking through Victoria magazine this month, and saw an article on The Tangled Garden in Nova Scotia. I used to live in N.S. and visited that place somewhere around 15 years ago! It was just as out of the way and charming as it looks in the magazine (and had delicious jams!). I just had to share as I know some of you would get my excitement at having visited a place spotlighted in Victoria mag.
    – I baked a cherry crumb coffee cake using pantry ingredients and brought a container of it to my workplace. Inexpensive networking on mat leave! I froze the remainder for last minute hosting.
    – I bought 10 lbs of cherries at $1.66/lb. I ate some fresh and borrowed my mother’s cherry pitter to pit and freeze the rest. When I have a chance, I’ll turn them into jam or cherry pie filling, both of which I use as a yoghurt stir-in.
    – My mom and sister came over one day, and I ordered a pizza for free using a coupon I had. I normally make my own pizza, but given that I had a coupon, it was the perfect dinner on a busy day. We picked it up on our way home from running errands so there wasn’t any delivery fee.
    – As usual, I pack a re-useable water bottle whenever I go anywhere. I need lots of water as I’m still nursing, plus it helps me stay cool, continue to lose weight, and avoid buying drinks when out.
    – I made curried cream of squash soup out of an acorn squash.
    – I went with my daughter, sister, and husband to a pizza-in-the-park fundraiser. The pizza was sold out but there was free bbq’d corn and live music. We sat on a picnic blanket and enjoyed the summer evening. I packed water for us and used frozen expressed milk to keep my daughter cool and then put it in a bottle for her to drink when it melted.
    – I went to a white (!) mulberry pick in my city, through a great organization called Not Far From The Tree. It arranges for people to pick fruit that would otherwise go to waste. One third of the fruit goes to the owner (say, a senior homeowner who can’t pick it herself), one third goes to the pickers, and one third goes to a charity that serves food insecure clients. I packed my daughter in her front-wearing baby carrier and picked away!
    – Additionally, I realized that my condo building has several service berry bushes that are dripping with fruit (also known as Saskatoon berries). The bushes are used ornamentally, so I went out with the baby in a baby carrier and picked some free fruit! Why waste it? Apparently it’s super healthy ( I boiled the mulberries with the Saskatoon berries plus a couple of stalks of rhubarb from the berry pick as well, and ended up with a pint of mixed berry jam, enough to mix into my yoghurt for several weeks.
    – I made garlic scape pesto using scapes that came in my organic food basket two weeks ago, plus some basil from my balcony garden. I used sunflower seeds instead of any other nuts, simply because that was what I have in my pantry right now. I spread some on hot dog buns leftover from my Canada Day BBQ, and topped it with grated cheese for a light dinner. I froze the remainder. I also gave some scapes to my sister.
    – I went for ice cream, and paid using the digital currency from my online trading app. I think this will be my new favourite summertime treat!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

    1. Margaret, I discovered Saskatoon berries a few years ago in a local park. As my daughters and I were deliberately looking for “free” food (foraging), I snipped a branch from the tree and brought it home to see if it was listed in my Foraging book as an edible fruit. It was so we went back and picked as much as we could reach. I froze the berries that year and then picked the next year’s supply until I had enough to make a batch of delicious Saskatoon berry jam. By the way, the first year of foraging, I was amazed that the city parks grew mulberry trees, apples, crabapples, wild red raspberries, wild black raspberries, and of course things like nettle that I dehydrated for tea leaves, and other “weed herbs” that I made into pestos or froze. I just wasn’t aware of all these free foods until I bothered to educate myself and “open my eyes” to see all that was there. It was a rather good learning experience for my girls and I and wonderful summer excursions that we’ve repeated since then.

      1. What a great activity to do with your daughters — fun AND educational (not to mention, delicious)! I’m collecting ideas of inexpensive things to do with my daughter during the summers as she grows up and I’m going to add this to the list! I always learn something from your comments, so thanks, Pat!

      2. I love foraging — it’s free food for you, and makes use of food that might otherwise go to waste. I have been keeping an eye on local wild apricot trees and the plum trees planted in the state park. When the fruit is ripe, I’ll make jam. In September and October I make applesauce from apples foraged from several areas around here, and this year a friend says I can have all the crabapples from the tree in her front yard. I’ve also foraged dandelions, cress, and mushrooms.

        1. Margaret, if you would like to forage for mushrooms, I do know of a safe one that grows in Ontario which is easy to identify. Its called a puffball mushroom, which looks like a huge, white basketball when ripe. Very distinct, so there is no way you’d mistake it for a poisonous mushroom. I don’t like mushrooms, but volunteers have brought them in to my work in the fall (I think early September), so I’ve seen and heard all about them. They apparently are quite strong in flavour, so you really need to love mushroom to try them. We were told the best way to eat them is to fry them up in butter/margarine. Someone tried it in the kitchen at work, and the whole place had a very strong smell afterwards. I suggest opening windows while cooking! You can google more info on how to find and cook puffball mushrooms if you are interested.

          1. That’s great to know, thanks, Rhonda! I’ve heard the name before but will have to google it to picture it. I’ve had morel mushrooms when camping once, when I went with an experienced forager, but generally I’m cautious when it comes to foraging. It’s a skill I’d love to develop. Nature is so amazing!

    2. Margaret,
      Service berries are also fantastic in pies and as a syrup for pancakes or waffles. We call them June berries in North Dakota and my parents grew them on their acreage before moving to town. Our entire family misses them a lot!

  5. I didn’t leave the house again this week so no car expenditures.
    I watched free movies on Netflix.
    I read 2 free books.
    The only groceries I bought this week were milk, bread and some homemade peach jam. Jake was going to the next city and picked them up for me.
    The window on the surbuban quit working. Jake took the door apart and fixed the door. Saving who knows how much money.
    I am eating out of the freezer and pantry. I need to make room in them for this winter.
    My husband is going to teach the kids and grandkids how to butcher beef and how to cut up chicken for frying. Jake was a butcher in England and the kids (except for my son) don’t know how to do this.
    I am hoping to pass some of the “old ways” on to the kids so they can better do for themselves.
    I am still purging things I no longer want from my house. Most of the items are being donated, but a few of the things are going to be sold.
    I mending a few items of clothing. What a lost art (almost) mending is becoming.
    I cut mint and dried it.
    I accepted blackberries (already frozen), cantaloup, watermelon, blackberry jam and ice cream this week.
    Jake brought ribs for the 4th. I made the rest of the food. We had a lovely, quiet 4th of July. I didn’t go to the fireworks this year. Somehow it seemed too much trouble.
    I listened to music on my Echo Dot.
    I believe that is all for this week…although I always remember more a few hours after I am done.
    Oh I am starting to save my change. Anything I have left over at the end of the week/month goes into a jar. If I get change in the car it goes into the ashtray drawer in the front. That way I always have a few dollars in the car if the grandbabies “need” something.
    I bought 4 blue mason jars with a coupon saving a dollar. We are making sun tea in them. I can no longer pick up the 2 gallon jars we used to make the tea in. This saves using the stove.
    Thank you for all you do Brandy. You are amazing.

    1. Becky, that is a good skill for your husband to pass on to the children and grandchildren. My husband is handy at butchering but he deals mainly with hogs, once a year in early winter when his extended family does hogs. Everyone shows up, everyone helps in some way and shares in the outcome. Some of my cousins have a butcher shop and we order our beef from them which we divide with our daughter’s family next door. Because of the egg farm we have unlimited supply of hens. It is nice to not have to depend on the grocery store meat supply.

  6. Hi Brandy,

    Sometimes the simple weeks are the better ones!

    Here’s how our week went:

    * Got more produce from my CSA box and prepped it all so that it would get eaten or froze it. I used more of the greens (I got collards and radishes with their greens in the box this week) to make more black eyed peas and greens, since I loved it when I made it last week.

    * I cooked a ham my mother had gifted me for the Fourth of July. I made mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans and garlic scapes, roasted radishes, and gravy to go with it, and we’ve been eating leftovers from it since. I froze the ham bone and the excess ham for a future soup and other meals.

    * I read more ebooks from the library.

    * I made black bean burgers for my SO’s lunches this week, with cut up carrots and watermelon as sides.

    * I made two loaves of honey wheat bread for about $1 a loaf (compared to $5 for the good bakery bread that’s comparable).

    * I ate a few servings of leftovers from the freezer when I didn’t feel like cooking.

    * I peeled and froze several ripe bananas- I bought a lot of them at Aldi for 44c a lb with the intent to freeze them for smoothies.

    * I used tahini from my fridge, chickpeas from my pantry, and a few frozen lemons to make hummus for dipping and sandwiches this week.

    * I found joy by organizing my pantry- it has been in chaos for quite a while, but organizing it helped me to figure out what I had in there and fit more food in it.

    I hope you all have a great week ?

    1. K, in the summer I like hummus and radish open face sandwiches. On rye. That was my lunch today. I have never roasted radishes.

      1. Wow, hummus and radishes, on rye, that sounds perfect, thank you! Never would have thought of that in a million years but it sounds wonderful.

      2. Don’t take this the wrong way but the only things I see wrong with that meal are the hummus, the radishes, and rye bread. Other than that, it sounds great. LOL!

        1. Hahaha Mari, that is funny. But actually around here when I make rye bread it goes faster than the white.

        2. Hope this doesn’t gross you out but my favourite is – rye toast, mashed avocado, sliced tomato and sardines!

  7. That picture at the top of the post is so adorable! It sounds like you had a really fun week — and Happy Anniversary!
    This week I harvested lettuce, chard, rhubarb, onion, cabbage, carrots, strawberries, mint, thyme, and sage from the garden and greenhouse. I made extract from some of the mint, and dried the sage and thyme. I transplanted more chard plants into the garden and used diatomaceous earth to keep bugs off my green bean plants. Some of the lettuce turned a little bitter in the heat, but we ate it anyway. I added dried cranberries to the salad and the combination of sweet and bitter was very tasty.
    I took inventory from my freezer and made a list of dishes I can make with ingredients I have on hand.
    My husband and I cleaned out our closets and donated two big bags of items to the thrift store. I made cleaning rags from a pile of old T-shirts.
    We both checked out and read a lot of library books.
    My husband did some work for a neighbor and we put the money he was paid aside for our vacation in September. I am also saving credit cards points to use to pay for gas for that trip.
    We attended two free concerts, took a picnic supper as usual and had a great time. It’s one of our favorite summer activities.
    Frugal fail: We paid $30 each for tickets to a comedy show we had been looking forward to seeing, and ended up leaving at intermission. We just didn’t think it was funny. Our local group of amateurs does a much better job, we think.

    1. Cindy I think it is certainly OK to eat the lettuce even though it is bitter. People pay extra money to buy lettuces that are naturally bitter after all.

  8. We had a simple 4th of July. On the 4th, we went to a friend’s house for a cookout. I brought a dish that I already had everything for. We were able to watch the city’s fireworks from their yard. Then we went to another cookout on the 6th of July. I brought a cobbler that I already had everything for. I enjoyed swimming in their pool.

    We added money to our HSA. This will be a tax deduction later.

    I am participating in a walking group. It’s good exercise and conversation. It only costs the gas to drive 6 mi round trip to the meeting point.

    I made my own facial scrub.

    We just put the other AC unit in our house yesterday, only to find that the compressor is not working. Hopefully, it can be fixed inexpensively. I was bummed since we had saved so much by waiting to use it until now. Only to have the savings more than offset by a potential repair. My husband is calling the repairman to look at it today. We shall see what he says.

    We are eating lettuce, cilantro, radishes, a few blackberries, green beans, and a zucchini from the garden in our meals this week and last week. I hope to have a cucumber for salads soon. There is one little one on the vine.

    I worked 2 extra hours last week.

    I paid 4 bills online, saving a stamp, envelope, and check.

    I used an envelope from a billing statement for one of my cash envelopes.

    I added water to juice to make it stretch further.

    I used the Walmart pick up app. I had a $10 off $50 purchase. I needed some things that I know are cheapest at Walmart. So I bought those. It saved $10, my time, and kept me from making any impulse buys. Here is a referral link if someone wants to try it. I think it gets you $10 off.

    My peach trees are looking terrible. They got some kind of fungal infection. We are spraying them weekly, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Apparently, excess rain causes this fungal infection. I’ve been happy about the rain, because I’ve only had to water the garden 3x this year. But now it’s killing my trees. 🙁 I feel so defeated. They were looking wonderful and flourishing. And now I’m not sure they are going to make it.

    1. Jessica, I am sorry to hear about your peach trees. Have you removed all the infected foliage (and either burned or put in garbage)? Is there a way to improve the drainage around the trees so the water is directed away? Are you using hydrogen peroxide for treatment or something else? We recently lost our over 100 year old grape arbor and that was very depressing to see such a productive source of food be no more.

      1. We are using neem oil and copper fungicide – rotating between the two each week. This was recommended by the nursery we got them from years ago. I started removing some of it, but it quickly took over the trees and I realized that I would be cutting almost ALL the branches off! I noticed that some new leaves are growing where the old ones have been falling off. So that gives me some hope! I have been picking up the fallen leaves around the trees. I’m not sure about the drainage. But that definitely something to think about!

  9. What a doll baby you have!! Sounds like you had a great 4th of July!!

    I made a huge breakfast casserole using sausage I bought from the local HS band’s Blue and Gold fundraiser. This is a treat for us as I normally do not keep sausage on hand all the time, and the casserole will last us for a few days’ breakfasts. We celebrated the 4th by going to a local parade and then to friends’ house for a cookout, swimming, and fireworks with church family. I made bug spray from witch hazel, distilled water, lemongrass, eucalyptus, and citronella oils instead of buying Deep Woods Off. I also made room spray with distilled water and lavender oil. to use in place of Febreeze. I replaced the toilet seats on both bathroom toilets with new ones found on sale. All the ironing instead of sending it to the cleaners!! *insert eye-roll here* Harvested my first crop of green beans and left many which needed to grow a bit more for a crop which will probably be ready tomorrow. Deadheaded roses for more blooms later. Deadheaded irises, lilies, and glads for more and better blooms next year. Ordered my fall bulbs on the first day they were available to get an additional savings on top of the sale they were having. Sprayed down my patio with stuff I had on hand to get rid of wasps. I had some front end work done on my care which ended up being about $100 less than previously quoted. Put a picture collage together for my office using a frame I found on sale at TJMaxx and pictures I had on hand from when we still had cameras with film. I was able to repair my front screen door doing away with the need to buy a new one.

    Hope you have a wonderful week!!! Also, how is your daughter doing in school. I know you all are so proud of her.

  10. I’m excited to see your website. I know it’s going to be beautiful! Last week, I harvested blueberries, figs, cucumbers, purple “green” beans, lettuce, a yellow squash, basil, rosemary, and a few cherry tomatoes. I made homemade salad dressing. Laundry was dried on the line. The usual composting, reusing ziploc bags, saving egg shells, and using scrap paper for lists and notes. A pan of egg shells was crushed and added to the compost. My husband watered all but a couple of things in the gardens with Neptune’s Harvest. Japanese beetles were hand picked multiple times a day, and fed to the chickens. We ran twine for the tromboncino squash and loofahs. Lots of squash bugs were squished. Too bad the chickens don’t eat those too. Happy Anniversary!

    1. I was quite angry when I first saw major infestations of Japanese beetles years ago. They would clump together in big groups on the leaves of my fruit trees. I found a fast and effective way to kill them was to take off my sandals or flip-flips, take one shoe in each hand, and smash them together with the bugs in the middle. They aren’t particularly fast-moving bugs when they are eating. I am glad your chickens enjoy them!

      An old-time-like recipe I saw once for insect spray was to put all sorts of dead bugs in a bucket of water, let it ferment in the sun, and then spray it on plants where needed. Don’t know if it works, but it would be cheap, in a morbid kind of way.

      1. Well, that’s a creative way to kill them! I’m afraid I’m too squeamish to try the bugs in a bucket method. The times I tried the Japanese beetle traps, I learned a bunch of dead ones stink to high heaven. Truly gross!

  11. Thanks for your post. My husband and I went to a matinee showing of Yesterday this week as well and really enjoyed it!
    I found blueberries on sale for .88 a clamshell. I bought ten of them and froze them. We use blueberries most often in our oatmeal during the winter. I also harvested some strawberries and raspberries from my garden and froze them.
    I cooked items for meals and parties using items on hand: brownies, pasta salad (I also used a partial jar of tapenade for the dressing, cleaning out another container in my fridge, one of my goals), shrimp salad, oatmeal date bars.
    I was able to go on two hikes this week.
    This week, two different people gave me yarn. One friend cleaned out her knitting supplies and gave me books, some knitting needles, and different kinds of wool blend yarns. Another friend gave me a huge bag of acrylic yarn. I sorted through both of the gifts, keeping what I will use. Later this week I will offer it to other knitters/crocheters, then take what is not claimed to a resale craft non-profit store.
    I finished crocheting another baby afghan to donate to the Linus Project.
    Frugal fail–the #10 can of Jasmine rice I had had gotten infested, so I had to throw the rice away.
    I got $50 in credit card rebates for the last quarter and will use it to pay off my current balance.
    The weather has been cooler here, so we have run the air conditioning very little.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  12. What a cute little boy!

    I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July (or Canada Day). I rode in a yellow Model A, dressed as a suffragette, and had a wonderful time. The A’s carburetor doesn’t like to run at a sustained low speed. About 100 feet from the end of the parade, it sputtered, coughed and let out a very loud backfire (usually I call it something else, but we are in polite company here!). The crowd went wild–thought we’d done it for them! (No……..)

    Here were my frugal accomplishments for the week–
    *We took the Westies to the dog park last Sunday and stopped for ice cream on the way home. The weather was perfect and it was a great afternoon for us and the dogs!

    *I was given 6 jars for jam that I plan to give as gifts (one will go to the friend that gave me the jars). Same friend also gave me a 2-1/2 quart pickle jar for dry food storage. I love being able to reuse glass–which is hard to recycle where I live–plus I gave away a lot of canning jars when we moved, so I don’t have a lot of jars to spare for giveaway jams.

    *In the latest effort to upgrade my bag lady wardrobe, I bought a top and two pairs of shoes at Goodwill. It was “red week”–everything with a red price tag was 50% off, plus I got an additional 20% off the entire order for being an OLD bag lady. (Most of what I bought had red tags–one of the pairs of shoes cost me $2.80). So glad I’m doing this now because I have a funeral to attend this week and I had nothing appropriate to wear.

    *I made a batch of blueberry low-sugar freezer jam with sale-priced blueberries. I plan to save 2 jars for gifts and the rest is for us. I am hoping to buy more blueberries today (Monday), before the sale goes off.

    *I signed up for a 7-day free trial of Acorn TV to watch British shows. I will probably keep the membership ($5 month) for a couple of months and then cancel, which I’ve done twice before. I started a series last night that will keep me busy all week!

    Best wishes to everyone here.

    1. Maxine, I have been watching MIDSOMER MURDERS on Amazon. They have 10 seasons. But I checked and in real life there are 17 seasons. Do they have that on Acorn? How did you get the notice of Acorn Brit Box free offer?

      1. Our library allows a free Acorn subscription. You have to sign up through the library for it to work.

      2. Athanasia, we were looking for a show (Foyle’s War) on Amazon Prime and several ways to see it were shown. One was to subscribe to Acorn TV, which we did. A 7-day trial was offered, and we clicked on it. We ended up on the Roku site, which already has our payment info (Acorn will be billed through Roku). We saw Foyle’s War several years ago and decided to watch it again (usually we can remember whodunit, but now how). When we tuned in tonight, we checked Midsomer Murders, and it appears that Acorn only has 10 episodes. I Googled how to watch Midsomer Murders and got a number of hits–didn’t pursue any of them, but it might give you ideas. All I can say is don’t move to Midsomer–too many people there end up dead! Also, I highly recommend Foyle’s War…lots of good, convoluted murder mysteries against the backdrop of WW2 in Britain. Episode 1 series 1 starts at the beginning of the war and the war episodes end at the end of the war. (There are a couple of post-war series).

        1. My library has Midsomer Murders on dvds. I’m currently watching Season14 and loving it.
          The series I watched before that was called Republic of Doyle and was set in Newfoundland Canada. Not a period piece but a fun detective series with great photography.

  13. Good morning . It has been hot here in South Mississippi but I’ve kept the air off until at least three in the evening by running ceiling fans and keeping all lights off. My light bill was a little higher than I was expecting but we did not go over budget so I am thankful for that. The holiday was spent at a nearby lake with food I had purchased on sale. We did buy two insulated totes for five dollars each to use but these can be used for grocery purchases to keep things cold on the way home so we will use these more than once. We are trying to get our bathroom finished but keep having issues with the drain pipes. Last Wednesday I had the washing machine overflow, the kitchen sink backed up, and one toilet started backing up! Talk about frustrating! After three hours we finally got the drain pipes completely cleared and last night my husband turned the water on to our new tub! He has never installed plumbing or a tub, but he has watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube. He has done all the work himself which has saved us a lot of money. Other than normal frugal things we do, that’s it. Have a great week!

  14. Aww he is so cute! Happy Anniversary to both of you. I haven’t heard about the movie Yesterday so I’ll look that up. Sounds good.
    We went for a bike ride and found some lawn chairs by the curb. Very dirty but they cleaned up so nice. I took have been getting exercise in the garden. I weed later in the evening when the shade comes over the garden. Feels so good!
    Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

  15. Love the pictures of your son. So glad you and your husband had a special anniversary date.

    This week, I started writing down my frugal accomplishments again (haven’t done this for a while).
    – Went to a 4th of July party at a friend’s house in another county where fireworks are allowed. Brought a bean and corn salad made from pantry ingredients. Looked in the freezer and saw I had a bunch of cherries that needed to be used, so made a cherry cobbler as well. Had an enjoyable evening.
    – Found a beautiful flip top bottle in the recycling bin. It was apparently a liqueur bottle from Ireland, and has “County Cork” imprinted on the bottle. Not sure what I will use it for yet, but right now I am just admiring it.
    – Got my weekly vegetable CSA share from a local farm. They had an “extra” box so I took extra green onions, zucchini and carrots. They have a fields of various greens (different types of kale, mustard greens, chard, etc.) of which you can pick a certain amount each week. I picked chard and collards this week. Ate the collards and blanched and froze the chard as well as turnip and radish tops, to be used in future meals. I am also going to shred and freeze some of the zucchini too.
    – Had purchased a pair of shoes at a local store in April. Something in the inner upper of one shoe had become unglued, and it was sharp and hurt my foot. Took the shoes back to the store, and they said they’d get them repaired. Later they called and said it was a manufacturer defect, and they were going to order me a whole new pair. So I should be able to pick them up this week. I figure, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
    – On a similar note, I bought two tank tops from Lands End a couple months ago. I tend to spill things on myself, and I couldn’t get the stains out. This was odd, because I have a few older Lands End tanks, and I can easily get any stains out of those. So I called their customer service, and they told me to return the stained tops (they gave me a free shipping label to do this), and they would replace them. So this week I got the new tops, and they even issued me a small credit because the tank tops were now less than I had originally paid.
    – Visited the Eddie Bauer outlet. Found a $180 winter coat on sale for $40. Had a $10 rewards voucher, so I got the coat for $30 + tax OOP. It’s a really nice coat.
    – Refilled a pen with a refill I had on hand.
    – Met my sister for lunch. She recently started a new job, and suggested we go out to lunch. It was nice weather, so I suggested we each bring our own lunch and sit outside. So that’s what we did. It was way more relaxed and we had more time to talk.
    – Cleaned out my car trunk. It was a mess and now it’s all organized and clean. Less clutter = more peace of mind.
    – Did all the things I normally do: cooked at home, made water kefir and kombucha, cooked at home, used pantry and freezer ingredients, read books I already have, and watched videos and read blogs on the internet.

    Have a good week, everyone.

  16. Oh, Brandy, I pray that your photography business and website do very well. You take excellent photographs! And you live in a wonderful place for such a business! I’m still working on increasing sales on eBay. I don’t have a lot of marketable skills especially with a house full of small children. Our very rural location doesn’t help with a lot of home-based businesses…but I can shop at thrift stores and resell those items. Figuring out how to price items has been a challenge. My husband gave me some time on 2 different days to go to thrift stores (if you’re interested, I blogged about what I bought for $20).

    We are looking at an increase in our financial obligations of $300/month. A family member gave us money when my husband’s business was failing, with the understanding that we would pay it back when we had finished paying off our other debt. Well, the other debt isn’t yet paid off, but this family member herself has fallen on hard times and we can’t continue to delay paying her back in good conscience. She needs $300/month to bring her budget back into the black, so that’s our goal. I feel good about the decision even if it means tightening our own belt even more.

    Our 3 day camping trip turned into a 1 day camping trip full of drama (there’s a post about this on the blog, as well)! Oh well, such is life!

    My washing machine stopped working, but my super handy hubby figured out the problem and fixed it. I’m so thankful for him!

    I’m also thankful for all of the fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. I haven’t yet been successful at growing my own food, but I was able to get a LOT of groceries this week for $75 because of cheaper produce and grocery mark-downs.

    I think that’s all…at least that I can remember. Have a fantastic week, everyone!

    1. Hi

      On eBay you can check what items have previously sold for- just do a search and tick the completed items button. I’ve used it when I sell things.

    2. There is a Facebook group called The Thrifting Board and they offer lots of videos and advice on reselling thrift purchases.

    3. I frequently resell items that I find at thrift stores and garage sales. I will often try listing them for sale on Facebook or Craigslist before listing on eBay. I’d rather sell for a few dollars less than what I could get on eBay and pay no fees/not have to ship/have the customer see it in person. Just a suggestion! ? Between eBay and PayPal I loss about 20% of my selling price in fees. Best of luck with your sales!

  17. Spent a few days at a hotel about a hour from us near the beach to celebrate the holiday. The town is where my husband works. So staying saved three days of gas and wear and tear on our car. We had quite the surprise when we checked into the hotel. One of hubby’s former co-worker’s is the night manager. Gave us the room at 50% off for the entire stay…..woo hoo! The room also included breakfast. So we were able to save on breakfast and basically skip lunch, plus we enjoyed a piece of fruit later from the breakfast buffet for snack to tie us over till dinner. My mother in law (who lives nearby) was also able to join us. My husband used breakfast buffet goodies to supplement his lunch, which was leftover from my son’s dinner the night before that he didn’t want. I also enjoyed reading the San Francisco newspaper and the local paper, as the hotel provided free issues to guests. So all in all, even though it cost us to go, we more than got our monies worth! We took home the in-room shampoo, conditioner and lotion for future use, and also the coffee packets which I have enjoyed the last few days. We went to a local thrift store on our last day. They were having a 50% off sale. I found a wool coat from The Gap in like new condition for my son for the winter for $3! I also picked up three shirts in like new condition (star wars and toy story themed) for him in the next size up for $2.50 each. I also found a new pair of Build A Bear Workshop bear boots with tags for $1.50 (these retail for $7.50) as well as a set of Brainquest cards for $1.50 in like new condition (retails for $10 new). Both of these items will be birthday gifts for my son. He also found a miniature skate board toy set for $4.00. While part of it was missing, it came with four finger boards; new on Amazon would be $25.00. This was quite the find as I had been looking at purchasing this toy for him for Christmas. A trip to target earlier in the week provided me the opportunity to purchase back to school socks and underwear for my son. While not on sale, I was able to get the sizes he needed, as opposed to waiting until a sale where the inventory is limited. A quick look down the toy aisle revealed some action figures to a popular movie at 50% off. As my son gets invited to a lot of birthday parties, this was the perfect addition to the gift closet…..cost $10 per gift, savings of $10 per gift. A big box party store near our house is closing. My son and I went to see what they had left as it was a 90% off. We were able to get two halloween costumes for $5 total. I purchased some NYE themed plates and napkins for 50 cents each; these will be a Christmas present for my mom. My son purchased a package of dog themed pencils for my mother in law for Christmas for 50 cents. I also got a few other inexpensive holiday items. When we went to the cashier, they forgot to charge us for a roll of wrapping paper. I brought it to their attention so I could pay and the manager told me I could have it for free! It is heavy duty disney themed paper. Received vouchers from a large airline for tickets for a vacation we had to cancel due to son’s medical issue. The airline gave us vouchers for the full amount! This was unexpected, as we were sure they’d charge us some type of fee. We have six months to use them. My husband and I also had a conversation about money budgeting and saving. While we both try, we have not been great in this department. We decided to really buckle down (being able to pay case for our son’s upcoming $2K dental procedure was a huge inspiration). So we signed up for a financial planning class at a local church that starts in September that we have been wanting to take. The Church will also provide child care (for a small fee), which is much appreciated & needed, otherwise we would not be able to take this class. As it is right after work, we can also purchase dinner at the church for $3 each if we need to. I enjoyed several lemon cucumbers from our garden.

  18. Love that picture of your little boy and the flag, I hope you frame it and put it out every 4th of July ! Love your blog.

  19. It sounds like your family had a fantastic (and frugal!) holiday weekend, Brandy. You really can enjoy a nice holiday without going out to spend a lot. Glad you enjoyed the movie! We don’t go to them often, either, as there is rarely something we really want to pay to see.

    *Our weather is heating up here. We are going to be around 100 this week and humid (ugh), so heat indexes will be 105-110. Not excited about that, but it’s to be expected this time of year. It doesn’t cool down enough at night for us to open windows, so our air conditioning runs 24/7 now through probably October. We have been keeping the blinds closed, curtains drawn, fans & portable a/c units going, so the house stays comfortable. We keep our main central unit set on 80 most of the time.

    *One of our local museums with an imax dome theater does a “mid week movie night” where they show Hollywood movies for $5/person on Wednesday nights. Normally this is a work night for us so difficult to go, but we decided to spend $10 and go to the July 3 showing, since we had the 4th off. We took our own candy and drinks, and ate dinner at home beforehand, to save some money. It was a fun date night! For July 4 we made a big meal of fried chicken with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob (purchased 8/$1 on sale), coleslaw, macaroni & cheese (made in my Instant Pot), and apple pie with vanilla ice cream. We watched Stranger Things on Netflix and then Capital Fourth on PBS. Our neighborhood does fireworks, but they were the Saturday prior. On Saturday morning I cleaned up the house – dusted, vacuumed & ran my steam mop – and then we packed a cooler with drinks & snacks and took a small road trip. We drove to a very small (basically ghost town) about 80 miles away to try a “world famous” hole-in-the-wall restaurant that we’ve heard about for years. The food was disappointing, but it was a nice drive and we had fun. Took lots of photos around the town’s old main street. Also stopped to visit an old one-room schoolhouse from the 1930s & historical marker, and drove to a nearby river for some wading. A large thunderstorm was rolling in and it started raining on us, so we headed back home. Late Sunday afternoon we did some grocery shopping to restock the pantry, put gas in our cars, and I caught up on laundry.

    *Other random frugal things: We brought lunches & snacks to work, and cooked most meals at home. Took home a carton of blueberries left from an event. Stopped at a garage sale and bought a work blouse for $2.

    * I hope everyone has a nice week!

  20. I was gifted a lot of oranges over the past week.. today I took out my electric juicer it is for oranges, lemons and limes.. and squeezed out half a gallon of orange juice. We will drink some and freeze some to make orange jelly with later. I was given 2 bags of lemons last week which I squeezed the juice out of and made lemonade.

  21. What a handsome young one! I look forward to the debut of your new photography site. Your photos are beautiful, I hope your new business really thrives.

    Last week was a slow, quiet week for us. My middle son caught a stomach bug and that kept us close to home for the Holiday. I was grateful for the quiet time at home without a lot of distraction. My middle son is the type that prefers to curl up in bed and be left alone when he isn’t feeling well, so with the exception of checking on him and bringing him water and medicine it wasn’t particularly limiting on my day. My other two are completely the opposite, if they aren’t feeling well they are very needy and can monopolize every minute! We were able to sit on our front steps and watch fireworks from several local public displays. We didn’t buy any fireworks this year to set off.

    My husband and I enjoyed several evening walks around our neighborhood.

    I had been saving some money over the last year hoping to buy a bit of a splurge gift for myself. Instead I used that money towards a new vacuum when I saw that Costco had an $80 off coupon on a vacuum that I liked very much. Our old one was on its last legs and needed replacing several months ago but I was hoping to find something that was on sale and was of good quality that would last. I would have felt guilty using that money on something frivolous for myself and I’m the type that really enjoys a good household appliance.

    I sorted through clothing and came up with a box full to donate. A local non profit put out a request for volunteers to speak at local high schools about breast cancer survivorship and women’s health and I offered them my time.

    I worked on using up a lot of ingredients in the fridge and pantry. Last week we ate home made chicken pad thai, chicken salad, hamburgers, breakfast for dinner, soup, and leftovers. I used strawberries bought on sale to make strawberry shortcake.

  22. I love how you practice using what you have (decorations & holiday food) and also taking care of what you have (pruning rose bushes).

    • Hung laundry out to dry x 4
    • Downloaded Hoopla onto my phone and listened to audiobooks while doing housework. I am absolutely LOVING this! Another fabulous library perk. Our library subscription has a limit of five Hoopla books per month.
    • Made cucumber, couscous, and feta salad with lemon vinaigrette, ate cantaloupe with prosciutto, made nam sod with brown rice from Budget Bytes, also ate mixed green salad with chicken, feta, and dried cranberries with balsamic vinaigrette
    • Joined a “buy nothing” Facebook group for my area, where people list things they are giving away. I picked up two outside lights that are in better condition than the ones currently on my house
    • Used to find lowest gas price in an area I was visiting
    • Scraped, washed, and repainted the outside portion of my basement bulkhead doors
    • Mixed up a bucket of dishwashing liquid, bleach, and hot water and scrubbed the green mildew off the outside of the garden shed.
    • Closed up windows and drew curtains in the morning to keep heat out of the house. Held off turning on the A/C until about 3:00 each afternoon once the inside hit 80 degrees with 70+% humidity. Opened up windows for the night with the exception of my BR where I do sleep with the A/C on.

      1. I LOVE the cuke salad! I buy the Israeli couscous (aka pearl couscous) from Amazon using swagbucks gift certificate. The recipe for the salad is from Budget Bytes.

  23. What adorable pictures of Little Mr. Personality. Just too cute.

    And for a “simple week” you managed to save a lot. 😉

    I, too, am looking forward to the unveiling of your new website.

    Have a great week!

  24. Your little one is such a cutie!

    I had a frugal, but non-eventful week, but I was able to:

    – Transform free books into coffee beans by selling other people’s garage sale leftover to Powell’s Books.
    – Cooked up a big batch of black beans in my Instant Pot to keep in the fridge.
    – Accepted an armload of free bubble wrap from my husband’s workplace. I use this for eBay sales.
    – Read a couple of different library books.
    – Walked many of my errands instead of driving.

    Of course, I blogged about it here:

    1. I am a native Portlander and lived in the area for 40 years. After we moved to Idaho, every time we went back to Portland, I would take a box of books to sell at Powell’s, and usually came away with $75-$90 in cash. If you are driving, it’s a great way to pay for your gas!

  25. Aw, what a cutie! I love the picture of your little one.
    Frugal things last week.
    Filling the car using a .30 off a gallon at Fry’s. Continuing to use what we have in freezer and refrig. I did buy ground meat on sale. Some went into freezer and rest was used to make hamburgers for the 4th. Continuing to wash full loads and hang what I can. I have gotten bit by fire ants last week after being in garden. I got swollen fingers and feet… So my husband has removed most of the garden do get rid of the ants. This was the first year to garden at this house. So will do research before we garden again.
    That’s all I can think of . Have a good week all.

  26. We are having horrible heat here or maybe I am super sensitive to it . No matter what, I just hate it . I packed up sugar cookie to send to her Northern family members for 7 weeks. I insisted we search her belongings for all the items she needs for her many summer adventures. Sadly to say her cowboy boots have disappeared as well as her water shoes. I have the opportunity to clean her room well while she is gone. We have emptied everything out of her room to paint and clean her carpets. As I move stuff back, I will toss out , donate and pack away items to safely keep for next year if I locate them. I realized when parking at the airport that I was going to need to rent a cart to haul her very heavy suitcases to the check in counter . Potentially paying that $7.00 made me creative. I drove around to the end of the parking lot where there were several carts were parked and we got one of those. That sweet child loves to travel and I’m grateful she can maneuver through the smaller airport at her destination on her own. It gives her a great sense of joy since she cant read a lick. I took that $7.00 I didn’t spend on the cart and bought myself a lovely lunch. The Atlanta airport has several lovely restaurants. My favorite is a little bistro where they have french onion soup . I have a weakness for fresh baked bread and real butter. I used a free Fandango movie ticket to go see a movie. I had to pay a $1.50 processing fee but it was worth it. There was a free popcorn on my Regal app so I had that as well. I am all about free, cheap, reduced and marked down. Amazon has especially been kind to me this week. I wont go into detail about all my deals but their 10 and 15 dollar coupons they offer are quite fruitful. I bought baby Henry $70.00 worth of baby food and diapers and spent $6.oo out of pocket after the coupons. I see today, that I have received another 15.00 voucher for signing up for the photo app. I got another 10.00 to use on prime day for using the Amazon now service. They refunded me 6.00 on the diapers where the price changed. When I called in to check on another order, they gave me another 10.00 credit. I love As long as I am paying for my service, I will happily use every deal they have. I love me some baby Henry love. I took Henry’s mom and grandmother out to eat at Cracker Barrel . I used a giftcard from swagbucks. Henry and I had so quality cuddle time and it gives me the opportunity to make sure he has what he needs. Now that sweet college girl of mine is having a birthday next week. I used a Groupon , a coupon code and a swagbucks deal to get her presents. Im out of pocket 24.00 which is pretty good since her gifts are higher priced items. I found a giftbag and birthday card for her at T J maxx on clearance. Now, Im off to look for baby Henry some more deals. Amazon credits will buy him some more food and puffs. Poor mom just has no money to buy him anything. Im going to try to get her to enroll in the technical school. Her life may very well change for the worse in the next two years. Her very elderly parents are likely to pass and Henry needs her to have some training. It devastates me to see the children in this area have no future. I am afraid she is a product of her environment. while scavaging for coke caps, I brought home a brand new never opened pack of size 5 Pampers. We wont need that for a while but I am dumbfounded at what people throw away. Have a good week friends , I can be found under the AC stalking Amazon.

  27. Hello!
    Frugal accomplishments this week included making cupcakes for a co-worker’s birthday at home> I was tired and tempted to stop and just buy a treat, but I had all the supplies at home and they turned out nice.
    I redeemed some swagbucks for an Amazon giftcard that I used to purchase a birthday gift for my Dad and 3 Christmas stocking stuffers.
    I coloured my own hair and gave myself a pedicure.
    “And all the usual frugal stuff”
    Have a lovely week everyone.

  28. My frugal accomplishments:

    -Claimed my refund from my Visa card. I paid for my husbands dental work so we were eligible for a refund.
    -Used the Electric car for errands over the long weekend. Saving us lots of money in gas.
    -Making a picnic lunch for my in-laws and family. My FIL was disgnosed with terminal brain cancer, we are so lucky he is alive but have been spending too much money on eating out to spend time with him.
    -Colored my own hair.

  29. Fresh garden tomatoes! Yum:). I’m looking forward to the day all my little green ones ripen. Your pictures are so cute!

    This past week was very busy for us, spending time with family and friends. I had promised to watch a little friend on Monday while here mother worked, since her regular day care provider was taking the week off. ( I only took care of one day and she found other friends to cover the other times) I took her to the zoo, using my zoo membership. My niece and nephew happened to be going that day, too, so we all enjoyed the day together. We took food with us. I had a great time. Pictures are on my blog:

    We worked on days that were not our normal ones because the kids we work with were going to be elsewhere on our normally scheduled day. That way we didn’t lose the hours.

    I did a lot of grocery stocking up–Costco, Azure Standard, and Grocery Outlet, and got the best deals at each place as far as I could. I’ve kept myself on a pretty strict grocery budget for the past 3 months, and a lot of things ran out. I needed food, but also quite a few non-food items like cleaners. One thing I bought was 25 lbs of rice. I had my husband hold the bag up and took his picture to encourage him with the information that he’s lost more than 4 of those bags of weight! Now I’m all set again for the next few months. With the garden starting to produce, all these groceries, and odds and ends to fill in with, I am in great shape for a while.

    The 4th was spent at my sister’s house. She and her husband bought lots of fireworks, and all the kids that attended enjoyed them very much. They bought the meat and grilled it, and everyone brought something. I took a big potato salad and a watermelon. My nephew and daughter made some cupcakes because we also celebrated my Mom’s birthday. Since there were a lot of people there (almost 30), I made a lot of salad. It was very inexpensive to make, and I got the watermelon for only $5 at Costco. My husband didn’t feel well, and stayed home with our new dog, which turned out to be a good idea, as the dog was shaking and trembling from the fireworks. In fact, someone down the street just now set off a bunch more of firecrackers, and I’ve just got the dog calmed down from that. Poor girl!

    I’ve worked in the garden when I could. I’ve picked lots of raspberries, some blueberries and snow peas. Lettuce has also been growing like crazy and we are eating it as fast as I can pick and wash it! I’ve been weeding a little every day or two to keep on top of the situation. I’ve got my garden area planted closely, like one giant raised bed. It’s the only way I can get enough veggies planted, and I still have a couple of flowerbeds that have been pressed into service. I have to hand hoe and weed the entire thing after the first tilling, but I found last year, when I tried it this way for the first time, that the plants grow together enough that they keep the weeds mostly shaded out as long as I keep on top of it.

    My daughter that lives in Hawaii flew home for a week, and we’ve been enjoying her company. I’ve been cooking a lot, since there have been extras at meals almost every meal. I love to cook, and I’ve been getting a little help with the dishes at times, so win-win! (We don’t have a dishwasher)

    I’m hoping to have a quieter week like yours, Brandy, this coming week! Although I’ve had a really fun week, a quiet week sounds heavenly as well.


  30. This week we found out my hubby is again not getting his bonus, so that means another month of buckling down and keeping a strict no spend budget except gas this month. This week my baby had a birthday, my grandma passed away, my second oldest got braces put on, and two kids went to the dentist. So our frugal accomplishments this past week are:
    *went to a neighborhood 4th of July show where they provided the fireworks, jump house and glow in the dark necklaces. We brought a watermelon we had on hand to share. Then we baked some ribs we had frozen from a sale for our family.
    *made bruschetta from the basil in our garden
    *made pancakes and waffles with homemade almond milk
    *celebrated my baby turning one by making homemade cupcakes and frosting. We also cleaned up a push toy that my older daughter has barely used and tied a bow on it to give to her as a present. She loved it.
    *I made a birthday banner using old church dress shirts. Now that the birthday is passed I plan on hanging the banner in her room above her bed.
    *I used my cargo bike to take kids back and forth to friends houses instead of using the car.
    *we walked more to conserve gas.
    *we used leftover metal grid fencing to make homemade tomato cages so we didn’t have to spend anything.
    *I did laundry in large loads and at night to save on the energy bill.
    * I kept the air off till lunch time and then off again after dinner. I open the windows when the air cools to trap it inside and cool things down.
    *I made another batch of vinegar cleaner with my leftover orange peels and vinegar.
    *we ate all meals at home and most were meatless except on the 4th of July.
    *we made sure to not waste any of the fresh produce growing in the garden and purchased at the store last week.
    *I used an old empty picture frame to put my grandmas handkerchief and picture in to give to my sister. My grandma passed and her funeral is 8 hours away and finances don’t permit us to go. So I hope the picture frame of mementos I made for my sister helps her feel close to grandma and not be so sad. I used another picture frame I had on hand and another handkerchief to make me one and hung it in my room.
    *we used a free trial of Netflix to watch a series my kids wanted to.
    *my husband traded tae kwon do lessons to our neighbor who is a chiropractor in exchange for some adjustments for me (I have a bad neck from an accident several years ago).
    *I had my hubby take the donation pile we gathered from cleaning the garage to the local DI since it was on the way to his job and saved me a trip and gas.
    *I purchased two $0.77 lipglosses for my little girls to play with from Winco (their friends like to play makeover and they wanted to join in).
    *I used a 25% off coupon and reward bucks from our local nursery to get a tree for the backyard.
    *we switched our medical plan to pay less now that we are done getting pregnant. It makes our dr copays and prescriptions much more affordable.
    *we sold a tall rolling baking rack we had in storage in the garage and used the money for groceries and sparklers for the 4th of July. The sparklers were on sale since it was the day before the 4th and we got 120 sparklers for $10…so we had plenty to share and use and even leftovers for Pioneer Day on the 24th here in Utah.
    *I washed and reused some empty jam jars and lids to store leftovers in the fridge.
    *I used reusable bags at the grocery store and saved $0.05 a bag.
    *My baby is moving from formula to milk so I gave my leftover formula and baby food to my sister. She has a smaller baby and one on the way.
    *our dentist visit gave each of the kids a new free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

    That’s it for this week. I love reading this blog and seeing the combination of beauty and frugal tips from everyone. It makes me so grateful for the trials we are having learning to be less wasteful and really aware of what we have, how we spend it and take care of our family. It is amazing to see so many striving to be mindful of their expenses and yet enjoying and thriving in life. Sometimes I get discouraged and impatient and just want to have a project finished or my food storage completely built up or my garden/yard all the way done. I am learning patience and to enjoy the journey and that I can accomplish things in little bits at a time and still have progress. It is humbling and yet rewarding. Thanks for all the inspiration!!!

    1. Jenny P – What a lovely way to remember your Grandmother. A good-bye ritual like that is very important to keep her in your memories.
      Do you know: Was she a frugal woman as well, by choice or necessity?

    2. I am sorry for you and your family on the death of your grandma. All of my grandparents died decades ago, my father in 2006, and my mom in 2015. It takes a bit of time but what you’ll remember are the good times and funny stories. You and your sister can keep them alive and pass them down to your children. I do love the mementoes you made.

    3. Jenny, I’m very sorry to hear of your grandma passing. Grandparents are so very special! I also wanted to let you know I really enjoy reading your posts. You are so inspirational with your productivity and positive attitude 🙂

    4. I’m sorry to hear of your Grandma’s passing away. I like your idea with her handkerchiefs.

  31. Well, it has been a bit of a surreal week. For those of you who live in Toronto, that was my little apt. building featured on the morning news last Tuesday when the sewer line from the city got blocked and flooded the bottom two floors of the building – 12 units had to be evacuated. I’m on the top floor so my only inconvenience was the water being turned off for about 6 hours. Cleaning crews have been in all week after the city got the line cleared so now the building has a strong anti-septic smell! Then on Friday afternoon my neighbour two doors over was found dead – we think it was her heart. She was rather a sad case, about 20 years younger than me but a binge drinker who suffered from depression. People kept an eye on her but the poor super had been so busy with the clean up that she missed checking on her for a few days. Another friend called because she couldn’t get her on the phone so the super went up to check and found her – she had been dead for a couple of days. Cue the police and ambulance.

    I felt so sorry for the super that I broke out a thank you card from my stash and cashed in some Dept. Store Loyalty points to buy her a gift card. It didn’t cost me anything OOP but hopefully it lifts her spirits a wee bit.

    Since our laundry room was out of service for the week I did a bit of hand laundry – saved some money and it wasn’t a hardship as the sheets and towels and kitchen linens were all done so just a few odds and ends – hung them up to dry.

    Used up all my veggies – so no waste – took food and teabags to work as needed.

    Got the rotisserie chicken that I wanted and collected Loyalty points at the same time. Did use $20 worth of Loyalty points for butter, milk, cheese and some salad greens for the week. I still have over $40 to use.

    I did buy 3 new Summer tops but got them all at 50% off and two of them will easily transition to the Fall. We’ve barely had two weeks of hot weather and Summer clothes are on sale already and Fall clothes are arriving – crazy!

    I did go out twice last week but still have allowance money in hand so I’m happy. As mentioned above, I really enjoyed the movie “Yesterday” and highly recommend it. I did treat my friend but we went to a matinee and got our discounts so it was much more reasonable than it would normally have been.

    All the bills are now paid for the month – utilities were actually lower than usual, covered both the CC tonight and I have money to put away this month so I am pleased. Really trying to get a grip on things. Still have to submit my OOPE for June so that money will also be put aside.

    Your littlest one is adorable Brandy and so pleased to hear that you not only had a lovely family 4th of July but that you and your husband were able to have a lovely date night for your anniversary. Congratulations to you both.

    I was thinking of you when the earthquakes struck as the news did say that they were felt as far away as Las Vegas. I hope that any of the California readers are all well and weren’t affected.

    Have a great week everyone.

    1. We felt the earthquakes here!

      It was an interesting lesson for my children. My husband and I both grew up in Southern California. He was there for the 1971 Sylmar quake, and I was there for the 1994 Northridge quake. We grew up with earthquake drills in school. My elementary and middle schools were below an earthen dam, so our drills included lining up for the bus outside so that we could be evacuated in case the dam broke. (Amazingly, it did not break in the 1994 quake, but there were concerns about it at the time). We talked to our children about earthquake preparedness and explained to them that we have water barrels with water storage specifically in case of an earthquake. (A week after the 1994 earthquake, we went back to school, but many people still did not have water at home a week later; one of my teachers was one of those without water). We have ways to cook without electric and gas just in case it is needed. We had everyone go outside during the earthquakes and explained to them why we do that. It was a good chance to teach them.

  32. Happy Anniversary! I’m glad you were able to celebrate. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were grilled pork loin with macaroni and green beans, leftover smorgasbord, burgers and hot dogs with corn on the cob and baked beans, steak strips with kale, grilled chicken with macaroni and green beans.
    *Accepted a gallon of 1% milk from my mom. It’s not our favorite, but we will use it.
    *Walked with two friends on different nights for free fellowship and exercise.
    *My husband changed a rotor on his car himself.
    *Accepted a squash and a zucchini from a friend. Also accepted cucumbers from my parents. Passed along a few that I knew we wouldn’t eat before going bad.
    *Bought a shirt, sweater, pair of capris and pair of silver Converse at the thrift store.
    *Cleaned out the fridge and put everything that needed to be used quickly at eye level. Also washed all fruit and put it in bowls so it is easy to access.
    *Accepted some fireworks from my dad.
    *Used my day off to take down all the curtains in the house and wash them. Also wiped out windowsills and washed interior windows and shades while the curtains were down. Washed shower curtains and liners and bath rugs. Sometimes I would like to buy new ones, but a good wash is enough to refresh them and make me feel happy.
    *Washed mine and my husband’s tennis shoes to make them look new again.
    *Googled how to soften hard sugar and found that I needed to put it in a bowl, sprinkle with water, and microwave. This worked, but did leave some sugar stuck to the bowl. I added water and microwaved to the boiling point and used this to fill my hummingbird feeder.
    *Attended a local church’s fireworks display with friends. Our expectations were not high, but it was excellent! We also had our friends over beforehand and fixed a meal with food on hand.
    *Rearranged furniture in our living room and family room/dining room. Both rooms look larger and make me happy whenever I go in them.
    *My husband pressure washed our house and I had him wash our area rugs at the same time. They came so clean!!!

    1. Alethea, is this your six-month-anniversary of posting? Your name is of course distinctive, (rather elegant to me), and I think I remember commenting when you first wrote in January?
      I’m with you on cleaning curtains and rugs making the house feel cleaner! I have my down comforters in the washing machine as I write, and will put them out on the clothesline on this amazingly low-humidity day in a moment.

      1. Heidi Louise,
        I’m not sure how long it’s been since I first commented. I do know it has helped motivate me to continue my frugal ways as well as helping me be grateful for all of the blessings God gives us. My name is actually Greek (just the name, not me ?) and means truth.

      1. Jenny,
        My husband was super nervous to do it…he thought the rugs might fall apart. I assured him I would not blame him if they did (I had read about it online so I felt pretty confident that it would work) and it turned out great!

    2. Hi Althea,

      I read your comment about softening sugar. Just to clarify to other readers, only use white sugar for hummingbird feeders. Brown sugar, honey, or other items are dangerous to hummingbirds. I have not used a bag of white sugar in ages for myself but have it it for the hummingbirds.

  33. You may have had a simple week but it was still very productive! I am always floored by the amount you can get done in a mere seven days. I had a pretty good week – I always appreciate a short work week, even if the day off comes in the middle!

    – Sent a dress back to ThredUp that didn’t fit right. Ordered another dress and a top with a coupon code that essentially gave me free shipping.
    – Canceled my Stitch Fix account.
    – Filled a bag with items to send to ThredUp. I’ll probably get a few dollars credit to spend on other clothes when I need something.
    – Submitted three bills for medical reimbursement.
    – Sent my daughter to a half-day camp that offered an optional free swim all afternoon. She stayed after three of the four days and so was entertained for the whole day for the price of a half day camp.
    – Cooked food from scratch for our family 3rd of July celebration (we always celebrate the 4th on the 3rd since we all get up early on the 5th) and a friend’s 4th of July gathering. Spent more than I thought I would on groceries so I made a list of 27 dinners I can make mainly with what’s in the house (will need to fill in some produce) to keep the food budget down for the rest of the month.
    – My sister-in-law gave me a bag of garlic from her garden (I planted mine late and the heads are REALLY tiny. Hers are beautiful). Also harvested my (very small) garlic.
    – Made applesauce out of a couple of wilted apples that I knew no one was going to eat fresh. The apples were HUGE – two made about three cups of sauce!
    – Used my Amazon prime no-rush shipping credits to spend $20 on ebooks to get a $5 ebook credit. Checked the library first to make sure they weren’t available free there.
    – Picked green coriander seeds and started them fermenting. All the plants were volunteers this year so it only cost a bit of salt and some water.
    – Downloaded a Firefox extension that will tell me if a book I’m looking at on Amazon is available through my local library system.
    – Froze some buttermilk before it went bad.
    – Started a new batch of kombucha. I make that and water kefir – saves so much money over buying it at the store!
    – Found and deposited two checks that we had received as Christmas gifts (I was sick at the time and put them in a weird place – the giver was nice enough to send me a gentle reminder that we hadn’t cashed them yet).
    – Watched Til Debt do Us Part on Youtube. I like her approach to finance. Now I discovered I can also watch it ad-free on Amazon Prime!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. It’s important to me to use both my time and my money wisely so that I can make the most of both of them!

    2. Curious – What do you do with the fermented coriander seeds?

      An idea for an inexpensive meal when you have fresh garlic – as long as you can eat pasta – My DH’s Italian family would make spaghetti aioli. Just boil some pasta – I actually prefer linguine for this, and while it is cooking, fry some garlic in olive oil. I also add green onions and a little crushed red pepper. You can add other veggies too, if you wish bell peppers, zucchini, I once got fancy and added artichoke hearts. When you drain the pasta, save a couple cups of the pasta water, then mix the pasta with the olive oil mixture. If it is too dry, add some of the pasta water. Serve with a salad – and there you go.

      1. Nancy – the website I found said they get a little sour and you can sprinkle them on Mexican dishes, curries, etc. Spaghetti aioli sounds wonderful! We’re big pasta eaters here. Thank you!

  34. Lovely week. On the morning of 4th of July we woke to a gentle rain. I looked out the window and decided to step outside. To my delight there was the most beautiful sunrise with orange red and yellow colors and in the west there was a brilliant rainbow and the beginning of another rainbow. I grabbed my husband and we enjoyed ourselves under the blue sky in a gentle rain as the rainbows and sunrise illuminated our the trees and hay bales in the fields surrounding our little farm. It was lovely.
    Busy working most of the week. We splurged and put a pizza on a credit card that we ate with my husbands family. Not wise financially but we were happy to spend time with his family. More of his family gave us some food for our house.
    My parents have been helping build my son’s apartment in our little house.
    My husband is going to sing “God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood at a county fair talent contest on Friday. It will be fun and there could be a prize. I’m just looking forward to watching him sing on stage. I’d really like him to sing some of his original music. But I think he sings the song he chose beautifully. If he wins we will use the money to pay off some bills.

    1. My husband didn’t win the talent contest but he did get 25 dollars. It was a wonderful time and we met a lot of talented people. It was good practice for him as well as entertaining.

      1. Hey, even an extra $25 can be helpful, when you are struggling to pay the bills. Good for your hubby for trying anyways! I’m glad you had fun, even though he didn’t win.

  35. Though we aren’t as frugal as you, Brandy, here are some things we did that saved some dough—
    *we harvested our first zucchini and cucumbers from the gardens this week.
    *we had a plan to see the Biggest Little Farm documentary movie this week and chose a matinee. It inspired my husband towards my thinking about sustainable farming (invaluable ?, as we just lived to a house with 3 acres).
    *we put up a bean trellis of redwood 2x2s (a wise investment in redwood) and used strings we had in the garage to finish the vertical segments.
    *we used mint from our garden for drinks, and used limes on sale.
    *i made a large dinner with my college-aged son so he could take leftovers with him to his apartment at college this week, in order to save money on groceries or convenience foods
    *we finished building several garden beds to expand the garden this fall.
    *we prepped some very long beaches we trimmed from some trees to use as trellis beaches next year
    *we’re considering buying a used truck for farm hauling, so we can save in hauling fees over time.
    *we added a blanket to our bed during this week’s cooler weather instead to clicking on the heater in the mornings
    *i won the battle to go out less often and make dates less costly
    *i made numerous pillow covers from old curtains, and adjusted some holiday decorations, and planned some skirts from spare fabrics.

  36. We also did the “normal” everyday savings things during the past week. Just having nicer weather has been such a relief after all the cool and rainy times we’ve had this season. The stores have had no coupons the past couple weeks (grocery stores, the only ones I go to frequently) so I simply haven’t bought much. Have hit the farm stand twice this week instead and gotten really fresh, local produce instead. Tried to get my husband to eat zucchini to broaden our horizons, but it didn’t work. I sauteed it in a little butter till lightly brown and offered a sprinkle of Parm on top but two slices was as far as he would go. I quite enjoyed it, however. I don’t like making two different vegetables every day, for only two people.
    On the 4th, we were invited for fireworks to DD’s apartment building. One of her neighbors loves them, apparently and put on a show to rival most others in the area–except they were right overhead. About an hour’s worth of them, and the weather was the warmest night we’ve had. We sat on DD’s patio (it has a roof) just in case any hot sparks came too close but had a good time. Cost to us: nothing at all except gas for the 2 mile drive to their place! It did rain on Saturday but I did some cooking inside and the day was not lost. On Sunday we went to see the Tall Ships in the Buffalo harbor. Drove to the Park and Ride and took the subway downtown–a $4 round trip for 2, and no parking worries. No charge for the park and ride lot. It let us out a short block from the destination. It was crowded but interesting. It was a bit confusing for my husband to be in the crowd which I will remember for the future. Smaller groups for him from now on. Part of the subway ride is underground and part above ground–for the first time he expressed some concern about being underground. We don’t do that often either, but it is handy to avoid parking downtown for big events. We have used it to go to the theatre, but we have driven also. Parking is more expensive than the subway, but at our ages, a bit more convenient, too. Living with someone with dementia is learning something new every day, after 57 years of marriage!
    After all that walking yesterday, I was the one barely moving today, and took a Tylenol to settle my arthritis down, while still managing to get too little done. I will try to make up for that tomorrow, as his friend is taking him out for a drive and lunch, giving me a break of 3-4 hours. I much appreciate that, which he does about once a week if weather permits.
    I love the photo of Hamish and his flag! You could sell that one without much trouble, I think!

    1. My husband likes zucchini in potato pancakes, where both are grated together. He also likes it breaded and fried with ranch dressing.

    2. You can shred zucchini and freeze it. Then use it in muffins, loaves, chocolate zucchini muffins. Put it in a stirfry, or in soup with other things.
      My mother used to do all of those things as we were always being guven zucchinis. I used to joke “beware of friends bearing zucchinis”. Ann

  37. Brandy, your son is adorable!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 6 times, including steak, baked potato and zucchini (twice); grilled chicken with spaghetti and sauce; hamburger and rice casserole with carrots, celery and bean sprouts; hamburgers, hot dogs and pasta salad made with garden produce; frozen pizza (bought on sale and with Ibotta rebate). Ate out once but used a gift certificate we had won.
    • Hung 4 of 6 loads.
    • Worked 14.5 contract hours.
    • Hubby brought his lunch all 3 days he worked. I also worked in the office 2 days this week and brought my lunch both times. I also ate free snacks at work.
    • Went to a funeral for my Dad’s best friend (they had been best friends for 84 years!) It was a couple of hours away and there was a reception after the funeral Mass. We were going to stay the night down there, but Dad decided he was going to want to come home but didn’t tell us until that day. Luckily, my brother was staying and was able cancel his room and use ours. I got the room via and used Ibotta, so I will get a rebate on that. Plus we have now earned enough points on to qualify for a free night.
    • Had Dad over for lunch instead of going out. My daughter brought over her new baby. I served frozen mini quiches I’ve had in the freezer along with a green salad with tomatoes from our garden and some individual microwavable mug cakes I had gotten free from a conference.
    • Got a bag of cherries for 87c/lb, 2 lbs. of butter for $1.32 each and 6 lbs. of ground beef for $1.97/lb.
    • My son-in-law brought over fireworks for the 4th of July. Just a few small ones that he lit up in our backyard. Since it is so hot here, we hate going out to the public fireworks shows. This was perfect and my grandson loved it!

    Have a great week, everyone!

  38. First Week in July, 2019

    Maybe not frugal per se, but very necessary: My husband and I retained an attorney and began the process of establishing our trust. If anything unexpected were to happen, we wanted our wishes clearly stated and we did not want each other, or our children, having to deal with probate on top of everything else.

    Our July 4th celebration was simple as well. Between work, plans with friends, and living out of state, none of our adult children could make it, so it was just us two and my mother. I made potato salad, apple/pecan salad, and a green salad using what I had on hand, but I did invest in a pack of hot dogs and some buns. We grilled hot dogs, drank ice water with frozen raspberries (pretty and refreshing!), relaxed on the back patio, and picked Mom’s brain about some business stuff. (Mom was a BOSS in her heyday and though retired, she’s sharp and she Knows A Thing Or Two.) I was able to send her home with leftover salad (in glass jars, as she’s the one who taught me to save and reuse them :} ).

    I decorated – mostly for my own enjoyment, since we had a quiet holiday (see above) – using only what I already had, most of which came from thrift stores over the years. This includes my red/white/blue tablecloth and blue glasses, as well as a set of blue glass candlesticks that have never been used for candles: I pop small flags in them and they make nice centerpieces. I have a plethora of red/white/blue kitchen towels, which I rolled up and set on the table in a basket, for use as napkins. My everyday dishes are Fiestaware, in all colors, so I used plates and salad bowls in red, white, and different shades of blue.

    After a pleasant al fresco dinner, we made sure the dogs were safely inside and enjoyed the music and fireworks shows from New York and Washington DC on television.

    My mother routinely gives movie passes as gifts to her children and grandchildren, and we used part of ours to see “Yesterday”. It sounds as if your husband and mine have some things in common, as my husband, too, was so very excited to see it. I’m not the Beatles enthusiast he has been since age 12 (50 years ago!), but I loved the movie and walked out saying, “What a sweet story!”

    We also used our passes to see the new Spiderman, which was okay but nothing to rave about. I find I’m getting pretty old for all the crashing and exploding.

    I harvested mint, lavender, oregano, and dill from the herb garden. I used them in cooking, and in bouquets around the house. I used water from cooking (potatoes, pasta, etc.) and from rinsing produce to water the herb garden and potted plants.

    We’ve been using up soaps and shampoos, etc., from various hotel stays. I’ve also given some (still in wrappers) to a local shelter.

    We continued decluttering, and donated many bags of long-unused clothing, housewares, and media (CDs, DVDs, books) to my favorite local thrift store (Assistance League). I got a receipt for tax purposes.

    We combined a number of tedious errands, saving gas and aggravation and keeping each other company, thereby reducing some of the tedium. I walked the dogs (good for me and them).

  39. I have lost track of days of the week with this whole “retirement” thing! LOL!! I looked for your post on Sunday, but on Monday, I totally forgot to check! Yikes! I need my Frugal Homemaker time to read and learn from you and your followers!

    Last week as we were sitting down to a late dinner (about 6:30) after working in the yard most of the day, I happened to look at Craigslist under FREE classification just for fun. I saw a curbside pick up that had been posted 4 hours before and was about a 15-20 minute drive from us. The photo showed several plastic deck chairs ( I thought I counted 10 from the photo) I leaned over to hubby and showed him the photo and said, “Look!” He looked and said, “I’ll get my shoes!” We had only eaten 2 bites of dinner! This is one of the things I love about him- he’s willing to go on “adventures” with me and no matter how successful they are, we have a fun time! I hoped that they were still there. The ad said that trash pickup was the following morning. We jumped in our 14 year old van (with no working AC). The outside temp was about 91 degrees! I promised him we would stop on the way back for a McD slushee to cool us off no matter what as the culmination of our “Date night”! Lol! Well, the chairs WERE there- none were broken but they were badly stained and grimy No matter. We loaded them in (10) and also loaded in 3 metal framed tubular outside chairs, 3 camp chairs in bags and an all metal 5 foot tall shelving unit. They were all grimy, full of cobwebs,etc, but we were hopeful! Got our slushees on the way home and arrived there with beet red faces from the heat, but laughing and excited! Hubby cleaned off metal shelving unit and put it into the perfect spot in our outside tool shed! I put dishwashing liquid into a bucket of water and brought new sponges and scrubbing brushes. This is how they looked after sweeping them off. By nightfall, about an hour later, this is what we had: We just needed to clean the 3 metal chairs. So after we went back into the house at 9:15 pm, we sat down at the table to eat the rest of our dinner! Lol!
    I got a “Flash Sale” email from Meijers for that day for a 50” 4K (have no idea what that means) tv on sale after mPerks for $199. We had the money in our budget, so I bought it to replace the analog tv with vcr and DVD player in the Play room. That one takes up too much space and is down low enough that kids are touching the buttons and I’m always expecting it to tip over! Took the flat screen from our family room and mounted that above the fireplace in play room, put the new one in family room and gave the analog one to our daughter who just moved here to put in their kids’ playroom or basement. I even sent over some Disney VHS tapes that still work great! Not as frugal as not spending but it was a little splurge that we had room in the budget for and we don’t do that often!
    My brother-in-law invited us to a surprise 75th birthday party at their home up in Michigan (about 6-1/2 hours away) and we quickly accepted. My 79 year old brother would be coming too and he is almost blind and he has Alzheimer’s. We got gas using gas buddy app for $2.53/gallon (most places were over $2.79!) and it was right at the Meijers when we bought the tv, so no extra trip out! We packed snacks (remember my warehouse sale on snacks?) and water in thermos. Had a wonderful visit for 2 days, staying in their home on the lake and then drove home. As presents for my brother and sister, I brought vacuum sealed mason jars of Pecan Pie Mix and Praline Nut Mix that hubby made cute computer lid labels for! Those were from the big Warehouse sale as was the big bowl of red,white and blue yogurt covered pretzels that I brought as a snack with the big BBQ that he hosted for the guests! So, two gifts and a pot luck bowl without having to go out and spend time or money on!
    Former co-worker of hubby’s bought 4 dozen eggs again and our chickens keep producing! So handy to have available in our fridge all the time!!
    We rented a 2 person gas powered post hole digger to dig the post holes for back wooden fence we are putting in. We already have the wood from materials here at home we want to use up! Hired our 15 year old grandson to help and it was well worth it and we loved the individual time we had with him to visit as we worked! And now the posts are all set and waiting for us to start adding cross pieces and upright fence boards (which again are coming from our wood stash!)
    So life is busy but wonderful and we are trying to stay frugal while not feeling deprived! Brandy- your attitude has been contagious in that way! Thank you!

    1. That is such a great story about the chairs! And a great haul too! I hope when my Hubby retires he will be as willing to get up and go to grab a good thing as your husband was!

    2. My dad used to say – the problem with retiring you mess up the days. Every day is Saturday, except for Sunday, when you go to church. 🙂

  40. Hello all! Last week was vacation which in itself is not necessarily frugal but I did what I could: brought linens & towels to the condo instead of paying for rental, brought food & shopped the sales at the grocery store there in town, cooked all meals at condo except for 2 dinners, did laundry there prior to leaving using their water & electricity instead of mine & purchased no souvenirs.

  41. It sounds like a lovely week for Brandy and her family. I loved the pictures.

    I’m being the opposite of frugal this month, but it is what it is. Still:

    I paid my property taxes by mail, although I usually do so in person to make sure they received the quarterly payment on time. They sent me a refund of $21 and some change, saying I overpaid by that amount. I paid the amount given on the bill, so I’m confused, but I’ll take it.
    One of my lovely children donated to me from her “generosity fund,” and refuses to let me pay her back as a loan. She knows I need it because:

    Medical bills and rehab bills for my husband are getting quite large, and I don’t even have most of them, yet.
    I’ve had to hire someone to stay with him for several hours a day. The lady is wonderful and half the price of a home health care employee, but this is still quite a drain on our income. I’m hoping we can discontinue this pretty soon.
    I will be spending $350 – to start with – to consult with an elder lawyer to see how to best protect our assets and to discover the implications of staying in our paid-for home or attempting to sell it. There are a lot of issues in play here, and I just don’t know enough to wade through them without some expert advice.
    It’s hard to imagine I’m having to do all this now, when we are both just in our early to mid-sixties. We never know what life will throw at us, so folks, save up while you can.

  42. I love those sweet pictures you posted! We had a brunch on the 4th with my daughter and her family. I had fruit , juice and made muffins. In the venting we went to a cookout at a friends, we brought watermelon and chips, both which I had. They are very generous and were heading out of town, so they sent us home with some delicious hot dogs and chili. We finished those up last night.

    I found some turkey patties that were on sale and marked down, they came to 50 cents a pound. I bought 7 pounds worth, came home and cooked it all up with taco spices for Mexican meals.

    We went out of town for a funeral visitation and came home late, I knocked a bottle of eye class cleaner in the toilet as it was being flushed. It got stuck and my husband took it off and we flushed it out in our front yard. We hosed down the toilet really well and I scrubbed the floor around it and painted behind it, then we put it back! Hallelujah for husbands who will repair things!!

    The garden is producing zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and is now starting with cukes and green beans. The blackberries are done and I got about 4 gallons from my wild patch. I am hoping to dry more oregano, blackberry leaves, lemon balm and pick more basil.

    We have been getting in nightly walks and stretching before bed, despite it being in the 90’s when we walk.

    I am on a sugar fast, I have been doing this at least twice a year for 2-3 months. I struggle with not being able to stop at one sweet treat, and this helps me reboot. I am on week 3 now. I made a sugar free dessert for the 4th.

    I hope everyone has a great week and bless you Brandy for all the work you do on this site. It is my favorite and I am getting notifications now when you post!!

  43. Hello to everyone! Brandy, so glad you were able to go out to celebrate your Anniversary. We were also able to see a movie this week using 2 free tickets, so we just had to pay for 1 ticket. We saw Spiderman: Far From Home because my son is a huge Marvel Fan.
    -We had a low key 4th of July, grilling brats from the freezer. I made cupcakes for dessert, can’t believe the cost difference between making them at home and buying them at grocery store. On July 3 we attended our local Major League Baseball Farm Team’s baseball game that included a fireworks show. It’s still pricey, but nothing like the cost of going to see the Mariners…and it’s lots more fun! We appreciated the free parking at the event as it used to be pay parking.
    -Just finished an order of 14 napkin sets for a local store. That’s a big accomplishement, as it’s hard for me to fit in sewing time with my family obligations.
    -We are making a point this summer to explore free local places that we have never been. This week we checked out a park at a Marina, it was way too crowded for my liking. We also visited a lovely heritage site. When the Interstate 5 highway was built, a local downtown was literally torn down. A few of the buildings were moved to preserve them. I am a history geek, so loved to see the old buildings and street car.
    -Enjoyed many books from the library and a DVD that we have been wanting to see for a while.
    -Finished reading “Waking Up in Paris”, a memoir about a woman who moves to Paris after her divorce to overcome her grief. I was fascinated by her discriptions of the differences between everyday life in Paris and in the US, from the size of the refrigerators to the differences in shopping and doing wash.
    -Cooked all meals at home! Working hard to menu plan around our summer activities, it’s a challenge to cook when I’m not home to cook, if you know what I mean?
    -Prepped Bento Box styke low calorie and high protien lunches for my husband to take to work, used divided plastic containers purchased last year with a gift card. Lunches at his company’s cafeteria start at $10 and go up. Yikes!
    Hoping everyone has a great week and great weather. It has been so cloudy and mostly cool here in the Seattle area. It’s starting to get depressing , waiting for some summer weather.

    1. The city of Monroe WA used to have a nice little park along the river. Free access and free street parking. Near the bridge over the river near the downtown core.
      Also, you used to be able to find on-line the undeveloped WA State parks that had access but no services.
      Also the water tower at Volunteer park in Seattle used to be accessible, though a lot of stairs, free and a great view of both lakes.
      But all of these were years ago when I lived in the Seattle area.

      1. SJ, Thanks for the ideas. Monroe is a place I need to add to my list. There is still a great little downtown area to walk around, although the town is getting much more development and traffic. It’ a nice scenic drive from our town. The second earthquake last night here , the 3.0 aftershock, was centered in Monroe. I slept through both the 4.6 and 3.0, and so did my dog. Glad I don’t have to worry about stocking up for a larger earthquake emergency, as I keep a stocked pantry, water and emergency supplies….although I am always getting great reminders here of additional things to stock pile.

  44. I haven’t commented in a couple of months, but I try to read every week. I still learn so many tips and tricks from you all!!

    Recently moved 3 hours upstate from my last house, and as everyone knows, moving itself is a major expense. My significant other just bought a house and it has been a bit of a nightmare with expensive frugal fails, through no fault of our own. We had 2 inspections, and 2 appraisals, so we did our due diligence as far as we were concerned, but within hours of being handed the keys to the new house, we realized the A/C was not working. It was blowing 85°+ air in the house. We’re in SC, so we definitely need A/C during the summer — our heat index can easily be over 100 every day. Our home warranty is giving us the run around regarding the fix, despite the technician *they* sent out saying that our HVAC unit was in “total system failure” and that he was marking it “condemned” and that we needed an entire new unit. Expense #1 est cost to repair $5,000-5,500!!!

    Expense #2 – within a week of living in the new house, all of the plumbing started to fail — toilets were not flushing, tubs were backing up w/ sewage. Had to call a plumber who snaked the line with a camera ($450) only to tell us there was no clog in the lines all the way out to the septic tank. The septic tank we didn’t even know we had because we’d been told we were on city sewer!! Had to call a septic company to come and empty the tank and blast some roots out of the line near the tank. ($300).

    Expense #3 – walked into my new kitchen a week and a half ago to find the floor completely flooded and the entire undermount kitchen sink lying in the cabinet floor! It completely fell down from the granite. ($60)

    Same day discovered a leak in the front yard, from the water main to our house. It was on our side of the meter, so our problem, not the city’s. Thankfully our new next door neighbor is a very handy person and was able to help my SO dig up the yard, find the leak, and with $20 of supplies from Home Depot, we managed to fix it.

    There’s been other random expenses too, but those are the ones that stick out in my mind the most. I’m praying we get the a/c fixed soon. I am furious w/ the worthless home warranty people, though I knew this was how they operated since I’ve had the misfortune of using their services in the past.

    Frugal wins:

    I’m staying home with SO’s 3 small kids this summer, thereby saving over $3000 in child care costs.

    I’ve found 2 discount grocers nearby, in addition to my usual Lidl and Aldi stores. I found Smithfield pork loins, the ones that usually retail for $8+ at the regular market, for $2.99 so we stocked the freezer with those. Also, Italian sweet sausages for $1.49/pack, ground turkey for $1.29/lb, Icelandic yogurts 50 cents for 24 oz, and all the Pepperidge Farm bread products that are $3+ at other stores for $1. I try to stay in the house, and cook all meals, and I’m mostly successful, but some days when the house heats up to over 100 degrees, we’ve had to get take-out.

    We went to a church sponsored event for fireworks on 3 July. Our neighbors invited us that afternoon so we decided we’d take the kids that night, instead of having to go out and battle crowds on the 4th. The church had bouncy houses for the kids, a playground, free hot dogs and homemade ice cream, and a great fireworks show. It was close to the house, and we didn’t have to spend a dime!

    We live nearby the mountains so we decided we’d take a day trip there on Saturday. I made deviled eggs, potato salad, banana pudding, kettle corn, and rice krispy treats, a gallon of iced tea and we took along sandwich fixings, lemonade, and slider buns. Outside of the cost of the few ingredients I had to purchase for the meal, the only other expense was the gas to get there/back, and I’ve still got a half a tank leftover! Kids had a blast playing in the shallow mountain stream, and it was nice to get out of our sweltering house for a day.

    I’m not sure whether to file this as a frugal win or fail, but I dropped $70 on sandals for myself last week which I’ve never in my life done. I hate to spend money, especially on things for myself, but I have been having a lot of back and hip problems, and since moving, I have had to discontinue my chiropractic care for now. I splurged on a pair of Chacos sandals, after reading about how durable they were. I have worn them every day since last Wednesday and I’m in love with these shoes! It used to be if I wore flip flops or any flats or whatever, by the end of the day, my middle back would be killing me (old car accident injury) but now I can walk the stores or stand on my feet in the kitchen for hours and I don’t have that usual back pain.

    I also bought Chacos for the kids since I know they have a decent resale value. I didn’t have time to order pre-owned pairs online, as I specifically wanted them to have sturdy, durable shoes for the mountain streams, but I know when they outgrow these pairs, I can sell them and recoup some of my money, and I’ll keep an eye out on Ebay and Poshmark for pairs in their next size up. I raved so much about these shoes to my SO that he went out on Friday and bought a pair for himself, so now the whole family is wearing Chacos! Expensive but several people I’ve talked to have said they have had their same pair for 7+ years, so I think I can justify it at $10/year for comfortable shoes!

    That’s all I can think about — my days seem to run together with trying to unpack and settle into a new house, keep 3 kids occupied, make sure nothing else is breaking or falling apart in this place. I should try to keep better notes of my frugal wins, because I feel like I’m always forgetting some things. Have a great week everyone.

    1. I asked my husband. He said that you have definite cause for a lawsuit against the homeowner and the listing agent for the septic tank, as it was listed as having a sewer.

      The inspector should have caught the broken a/c as well.

      1. Brandy, my inspector, recommended by my real estate agent, was worthless. He did not know or at least did not list that the heat portion of my hest oump/AC was not hooked up, that the attic portion of the system was not set up properly and would have ended up draining into my ceiling, that the duct work was crushed in multiple places and needed to be redone, that the dryer outlet was live but had no cover on it, and many other things. This all cost me over $2,000 to get corrected. I didn’t buy a home warranty due to bad experiences in the past for myself and some friends.

        1. All of that he should have checked. I have taken photos of houses when the inspector was there. He gets up in the attic, even when it’s 140 degrees up there, and he checks things, turns on the heat even in summer and makes sure it works, etc. I’m glad my husband can recommend a good inspector.

          1. Absolutely. He was in the attic. I don’t know what he was looking at but he missed all that and a lot more. I am happy your husband has a good one.

    2. Oh my goodness, what you have gone thru in your “new” home! That is awful and agree with Brandy on the septic.

    3. contact Better business bureau also. AND if the mortgage company referred the inspector notify them also. You definitely have grounds for a lawsuit according to my mortgage co, my inspector and my lawyer.

    4. We are in the Upstate of SC and you definitely need that A/C..I’m so sorry you’ve had so much to deal with.

  45. We took some extra time off for the Fourth! In addition, we took advantage of that time off by taking a mini-vacation.

    * We took all our food along in a cooler.
    * By using our more fuel efficient vehicle, we drove there and back on less than one tank of gas.
    * We took advantage of antique shops to purchase 3 books for $14 or so.
    * It was great not to eat out once. 🙂
    * We mostly took walks (free) and read (almost free).
    * To pay for the trip, we used money we received for our anniversary several months ago.
    * To make our return more pleasant, I cleaned the house thoroughly before we left.
    * I had food ready for our return so that I did not need to cook or go grocery shopping. 🙂
    * I read several books from the library and a few on my Kindle app.

  46. Brandy,
    Love the photo of your son with the precious.
    I went to a garage sale and was able to purchase a like new beginner guitar for $5. This will be my grandson’s Christmas gift this year. I think he will love it. I also got a pair of black converse tennis shoes for him that were like new for $3.
    The young girls of the person having the garage sale were selling their homemade snow cones for .50. I had to purchase one to make them smile and it was actually really good.
    I was able to purchase 1/8 of a beef due to someone else backing out so I got a good and it feels awesome to have a freezer full of meat! This is the first time we have been in a position to make a bulk meat purchase in years.
    I am hosting a baby shower later this month for my niece and at our July 4th family gathering I handed out invitations saving the cost of stamps.
    I have been doing lots of yard work getting plenty of exercise and catching up with long overdue chores.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

  47. Great photo of your young one! Your photos of your children always being a smile to my face, thank you!

    Last week was a fairly frugal week, I have been making soups again, so our freezer is full again of soup choices. We ate normally July 4th but I made a big batch of chili the next day so even more food in the freezer. I haven’t felt like cooking real dinners each night so having soup makes it easy on me…and there is only the two of us to feed, so soup works well. Safeway had ground beef on sale for $0.99/lb last month so I stocked up and it is slowly emerging from the freezer.

    We have amazon prime and have found that much of what we want to buy is now cheaper on line than in the stores. Amazing. Philosophically we would like to keep the local stores in business but have found the prices and product availability to be dreadful. We went into ace hardware to buy two screws and washers, they wanted $0.50 each! My husband said, you used to charge $0.08 each. The kid agreed the prices had been marked up recently. Crazy…so my husband said, you do realize that at those prices, I won’t be buying here anymore. And the kid just shrugged. It was pretty sad actually.

    We also have watched a lot of free movies and tv shows on amazon prime, so for us, it has been worth the annual fee. Right now I joke that we are living in 1958 since we are watching the old Perry mason tv series, which started in 1958 ;). There are probably 125 of those tv shows for free, we are only part way through the first season. It is lots of fun to see the old cars and clothes. We do not have cable tv so this gives us many more options in addition to over the air antennae tv shows. Our next step is to disconnect from Netflix now that amazon prime has a really good library of shows.

  48. Brandy I am glad you were able to get sandals for the girls and yourself and had a wonderful date with your husband at the movies. I too am always on the look out for discount meat for our food storage too as it is very expensive here in Australia to buy and is a large chunk of our grocery expenditure when we do a big stock up.

    Our savings last week added up to $124.50 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.

    Ebay listings –
    – Listed 20 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $33 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Saved $8.20 on usual prices by presenting our RACQ membership card whilst purchasing 10 lts of hydraulic oil from Repco.
    – At woolworths on half price special I purchased 9 x mouthwash and 4 containers of moisturiser to top us up for a year saving $47 on usual prices.
    – From IGA on 58% or $13.08 off normal price sale we purchased 3 x 6 pk of hotdog rolls @.80c ea, a loaf of wholemeal bread @ $1.20, 2 x 4 pk cheese and bacon rolls @ $1.20 ea, 1 x 2 pk of cheese and bacon stix @ $1.40 and 1 x 6 pk of cream buns.
    – Also from IGA purchased clearance 1.954 kg capsicums for $2 kg saving $3.83 on usual prices. These were chopped up and added 12 meal sized portions to the freezer.
    – Ordered gift cards from RACQ for fuel and groceries saving 5% or $19.39 on usual prices. More money to spend on both fuel and groceries with no outlay.

    In the gardens –
    – We finished our 10 x 2.2 mt garden enclosure for a total of $39.26 in cost including the 50% shade cloth and netting clips we purchased. We still have more shade cloth and netting clips to use for our larger garden beds we are going to construct.

    Hope everyone else had a wonderful week too 🙂 .


  49. We spent the 4th at home and rested. Hubby used to work security at the fireworks before we moved here. Said he was glad to not be doing that any more. We watched fireworks from 2 different towns within miles of us, one from behind our garden shed, sat on the old trailer with the Amish family that came over to watch them also. The other from our front room, just happened to notice them when we glanced out to see what was causing the “boom” .
    We got the results of the energy audit. Wished we could have had that before we moved in as we would have had those issues done under the loan. Watching the sales at home improvement stores and lumber yards as part of it is the 4 attics needing air barrier installed.

    The rest is here.

  50. I am a new reader. I have enjoyed going through all the past posts and have taken notes. I am learning a lot. Occasionally you would share a grocery shopping plan. Those changed the way I look and think about grocery shopping. Thank you. I have a stash of laundry detergent to use up but I made your laundry soap recipe minus the soap and substituting a powdered water softener for the oxiclean. It will help me stretch my laundry soap. I dye my own hair doing roots only.I have stayed close to my own color so no one knows I dye my hair. I can get several dye sessions out of one box. My sister gets my dye for me using coupons/discounts. Saves a LOT of money! I buy meat on sale (the lowest price), batch it out to our family size and freeze it. My sister and her granddaughter came to visit my parents for the 4th. I bought a boxed angel food cake mix ($2.24) and baked it in 2 9×5 loaf pans. We then sliced and cubed the cake. We got 3 dessert meals for 5 adults and one child out of those two loaf pans. We served it with thawed blueberries and raspberries from the garden.
    Again I would like to thank you for sharing and thank you to everyone who comments. I continue to learn a lot.

  51. The picture of your son is just adorable!! As the mother of a U.S. soldier, it brought a huge grin to my face.
    Only worked 2 days last week. It was almost like a mini vacation. I brought breakfast and lunch to work the two days I did work.
    We picked lettuce snow peas and strawberries from the garden.
    I had dinner with my mother at her facility on the 4th of July. My DH was leaving for Seattle the next day. He and our 2 sons go to a baseball game together every year, and this was the weekend. I stayed home. I think Fathers and sons need “guy time” even when they are older.
    We watched fireworks from our yard. Our trees are getting so big they were more difficult to see than in past years.
    Made a small batch of taco meat to have for the 3 days DH was gone. Used lettuce from the garden, and took some homemade salsa from the freezer. Had hard shell tacos, nachos and burritos.
    Organized all my printed out recipes into binders. Still need to do some sorting within the binders, but they are now divided into categories so I don’t have to look through a 2 inch stack of recipes to find a soup one. I just have to go to the soup and appetizer binder.
    Planted more snow peas. We will see if we get anything before the first frost. Replanted cucumber seeds in areas where some did not come up. I planted fast producing ones hoping to get them before frost. Our summer has barely started, and here I am worrying about frost. But that’s Eastern Washington for you.
    I weeded the lettuce, onions and garlic. the garlic will be ready to pick in about 3 weeks. But I am picking some now, if I need it, as I have rund out from the prior year.
    Made soup and muffins for work lunches for the following week.
    Cleaned the fridge.
    Enjoyed the time outside and the quiet on my own.
    Took my 96 year old mother to the eye doctor. she is doing well, and had no changes to her prescription.
    Had some free item coupons from Fred Meyer – a 16 oz. package of Jimmy Dean sausage, a bottle of salad dressing, a bottle of BBQ sauce and a pint of ice cream. Some were paper coupons sent to me, and some were ones that I was able to load digitally. Kind of fun to do a free little bit of shopping.
    Hope you all have a lovely week.

  52. I am going to read a book called The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables. Their system is “Kaizen”, a Japanese philosophy developed to improve manufacturing. “Kaizen is used on the farm for continuous improvement, cutting out more waste—of time, labor, space, money, and more….” I immediately thought of Brandy.

  53. Your son is just too cute for words! So, as many of your longtime readers will remember, we had a huge financial setback (and issues with our children’s health) that resulted in me working away from home for a few years. In addition, I was blessed by my parents who gave me land on which I built a small (think like a tiny house, but not quite) cabin to live while teaching and for my son to live in while finishing college and heading into the military. I am finally able to return home and resigned my job in June. Just a week before leaving, I ended up in the hospital with acute abdominal pains. I flew home thanks to Delta changing my flight for free and have been diagnosed with Non-hodgkkns lymphoma. The good news is that I am the super healthy one in the family and come at this as prepared as possible. Cancer, especially cancer of the blood, is not something that is genetic to my family. So, background finished, I have been feeling rather blessed that I have been using my time and money wisely as I will not be working anytime soon. I do have fantastic insurance that we will have to COBRA; however, we are blessed to have it at all. I also am working with the doctors at Huntsman Cancer Institute in SLC and they are excellent. In the best place with a lot of support. My sister is flying in for about 2 weeks of caregiving at which point my daughter is moving back to take over. This will relieve my husband and son so they can work as this is definitely expensive – even with outstanding insurance.

    Frugally, we are eating food we have. At this point in our lives, we need very little in the way of more things, so we can focus on not getting behind. Keeping with our frugal ways and being encouraged by everyone here is such a blessing. Here are my frugal accomplishments from this past week. Keep in mind that I’ve been on bed rest for much of the time at home because of intense pain.

    Went to the doctor and to a free food drop off in the same trip. We were able to get veggies, bread, bakery scones and muffins that I can nibble on, corn on the cob and apples. We replaced my warrantied glass piece on my phone. Found frozen berries for a dollar a bag. Used the libraries free online program to watch a documentary.

    Happy frugal-ing friends

    1. Hi PJGT and I am sorry you have received that diagnosis and it sounds like you are in the right medical hands and have a close family to help you.

      Eat well and you will be in our prayers.


    2. Sending you my love, as you begin your treatment. Your continued optimism through out the challenges you and your family have faced continue to be an inspiration. Much grace to you PJGT.

    3. PJGT, I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. My dad had Non- Hodgkins. Thank you for letting us know, and will be praying for you as you undergo treatment. You certainly have a great outlook!

    4. PJGT – All the best to you in this hard time!
      I mention, because I hadn’t heard of it until recently, there is a program our employer called Retirement COBRA. It depends on the employer’s plan if it is available. Instead of 18 months, the COBRA can last until age 65 when Medicare starts.

    5. I am glad that you got a diagnosis but so sorry that you are now having to deal with this setback. My stepmom was also just diagnosed with the same disease but with her it has manifested itself with what appeared to be a skin cancer on her lip and forehead – such an odd disease. She is getting set up for treatments and luckily my stepsisters are both now retired so will be able to do chauffeur duty as the hospital she will attend is about an hour from home.
      I wish you all the best – please look after yourself and let others take care of you now as you have done for them all these years. Good luck.

    6. PJGT, I wish you all the best as you start your battle with cancer. As I read your post, it really struck me the timing of your diagnosis. Just as you resigned from you teaching job, leaving your son (who is now doing much better) to head home, you fell ill. I can’t help thinking that your life could have been so much more complicated by other factor, but it happened just as you were in a life transition. Wow, what timing!

    7. Praying for you, and for God to grant wisdom for your doctors so that they may aide n your speedy recovery to good health!

  54. Brandy,

    I wish I lived closer to you…..I have budgeted for new family photos this year but I don’t have a photographer yet. You truly are a talented photographer!

    Living frugally in Portland:

    – I came home from our vacation to tons of sweet peas and ripe zucchini in my garden! Tomatoes and cucumbers aren’t far behind. It has rained for the past two weeks so no need to water. Great for our water bill, not great for our summer fun. But we’re thankful for the cooler summer. The summers have grown more intense in the PNW over the last decade or so and most places are still without central AC (including our home). Smoke from wildfires have made the past three summers pretty miserable, so hopefully the cooler weather this summer will be a reprieve.

    -We took our vacation down to the Bay Area and San Francisco. Not a cheap place to vacation, so we did all of the usual things to save money: stayed with friends and in airbnbs, cooked breakfast and dinner at our place and brought along snacks for our adventures. Our favorite frugal San Francisco activities include: walking through Chinatown and the Fortune Cookie factory (you get to write your own fortune!), Golden Gate Park, the Golden Gate bridge walking tour – put on by SF city library. Honestly, just walking the city is fascinating and frugal. I also rented a yurt on the Rogue River (near Grants Pass, OR) for our drive home. Cheaper and way more fun that a hotel.

    -I froze milk and bread for our return home – saving me an urgent trip to the grocery store. When I’m in a hurry and tired, I tend to impulse purchase.

    -I’m getting my kids ready for Trek and spent part of an evening with the packing list, trying to figure out what, if anything, needed to be purchased. We are only missing a couple of items, which I will try to borrow or buy used.

    -We attended a free movie-in-the-park (Solo) and rode our bikes to the park showing the movie with prepared snacks.

    -Toward my goal of beautifying my new home on a near zero budget, I randomly found an awesome mirror with a beautiful wood frame in the back of our garage – left by the previous owner. I consulted with my designer sister and she gave me an awesome idea how to make it look modern and attractive using about $2 worth of paint. I also printed stencils and painted a large canvas (paint and canvas I had on-hand) to create word art for my oldest son’s room and it turned out fantastic! Way above my talent grade! Still a long ways to go, but it’s a start!

    1. Jen, if you want someone in your area, let me know. There are several people in my online groups in your area and I can share their websites with you!

  55. It was another good, frugal week. I took the kids to a parade and festival in a community not far from us. What a treat! The parade was very enjoyable: participants and cars threw out beads, candy, and little balls and whistles. We enjoyed seeing some of the classic cars. At the festival, there was live music, free snow cones, pizza, and hot dogs, carnival rides, pony rides, inflatable bounce houses and games, etc. They had a lot of wonderful sponsors who made it a great day. My kids had so much fun. The highlight of the day was when the kids all went out into the middle of the parking lot, and the fire department sprayed the water cannons up in the air. My kids got soaked. I’m sure it felt perfect on a hot day. We were so exhausted at the end; I made everyone take a nap when we got home.
    We got a free meal at Chickfila for the cow day. I usually put together costumes, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I printed some free black and white cow masks, which the kids cut out. Not fancy but it did the trick. It looks like the kids meals had a free movie code in them, so I’ll need to login to fandango to redeem those. Maybe it will give them something to do on our upcoming rainy weekend.
    I really wanted to eat out a different day, but we took a picnic lunch to a nearby park instead. The change of scenery was nice, and the crumbs that fell under the picnic table weren’t crumbs I had to sweep off the kitchen floor.
    I stayed up late getting ready for my online course, instead of paying a babysitter to watch the kids.
    We continue to attend the tennis lessons offered through the city parks and rec dept.
    I bought loss leaders at the grocery store.
    I found a few things to resell when shopping at Goodwill. It is hard to shop there, dragging the kids along. Most of the Goodwill stores around here are dirty and disorganized. I would love to be able to hop on Amazon Prime and just order what we want/need, but all of our needs are met. It is surprising to me how we are often blessed with finding things we need, shortly before or right after the need is recognized. This happens often with coats, shoes, etc. I even find diapers there sometimes.
    Hope you all are having a lovely week!

  56. Oh my, I am sorry you are going through this. Take care of yourself. Your upbeat attitude is one thing that will really help you.

  57. Reorganized and cleaned out the pantry this week, taking stock of what we had and what we need. Overall I was pleased about our stockpile and how nice and neat it looks now. I added two additional meals from the pantry that I didn’t realize we had, which saves me money for two dinners 🙂
    Ordered my son’s 4th birthday present, along with cupcake liners, from Amazon using free shipping and also a small credit which cut down on the overall cost. I will use the cupcake liners to make cupcakes from scratch for his birthday. My mom, who lives across the country, always orders a large assortment of snacks for my sons for their birthday. We all benefit from that- the boys get yummy treats and my grocery bill gets a little reprieve for a month. We filled up our propane tank for our gas fireplace, using a summer special that gives us 9 cents off a gallon. This will last us three + years (we have mild winters, and only for about 3 months). We use the gas fireplace for power outages and to help keep our heat bill down in the winter. Purchased a huge watermelon for 1.99, which I thought was a great deal. It was delicious and the kids loved it. My garden continues to produce lots of sauce tomatoes. I froze 6 quart bags of pizza sauce and used the remainder to serve over homemade pasta for an inexpensive dinner. As cucumbers come in, they get cut up and put into salad, marinated in Italian dressing, or put into pickle brine in the fridge for refrigerator pickles. My MIL asked if she could take my upcoming kindergartener on a spcial trip before he starts
    School. We said yes, and she is taking him to Hershey park for 4 days at the end of this month. We are so excited for him. When she emailed us a copy of the reservation, we saw that she spend $2000 on the trip with hotel and activities! Yikes! Whenever a family member wants to give our kids an experience like that, we always say yes- we are not in a financial place to travel now, but want our kids to see and experience as much as they can. We could never afford that trip….but we are blessed to have family that loves to do this on occasion, even if it’s just to a local fair or other activity. And they build close relationships too. 🙂 have a happy, frugal week!

  58. I have finished the research for the book. And most of the writing, too. I am now embarking on sorting through the fifty boxes of items from my storage locker that are sitting
    in the living room etc. I cannot lift the boxes so am emptying out the contents into garbage bags which I then take outside to reduce the dust in the house. We are having three days of hot sunny weather so I hope to maximize that time.

    I am sorting at the patio table where I am next to the peonies. I will not have the maximum number of 80 blooms per plant this year but as of this morning many of the blossoms are open. The plants grew much taller than expected but this type of peony has stalks above the main part of the plant to hold the blossoms higher. I feel like I am surrounded by a jungle of peonies!

    I am distressed by the lack of birds here although I do have one hummingbird. There are lots of butterflies which is nice!

    Margaret from Toronto, so sorry to hear about your condo buildings problems. I hope the City of Toronto picks up the clean up bills and not the condo board.

    1. Hi there – I think your name is actually Anne – is that correct? My building is a rental and the owners have cleaning and repair crews in working away – I’m sure they’ll be passing along the costs to their Insurance company! The tenants who are affected need to claim content replacements through their own Insurance companies – but I’ve already heard that some don’t have any – not quite sure what they will do.
      Your “jungle of peonies” sounds amazing – they are such exuberant flowers! How many different colours do you have?

  59. HI! I was finally able to take a bit of time off from work starting with the Fourth of July, continuing through the following Monday. I had 5 days while using only two days of vacation time–vacation and sick time are worth gold to me right now, as good as money in the bank, so I try to stretch it out and fully optimize it. Since I was on staycation, my week wasn’t terribly frugal, but still much cheaper than a traditional vacation. Even so, I did some planning in advance to squeeze some extra blood from those pennies. 🙂

    Starting in Mid June, I started buying goodies in my usual grocery shopping so I wouldn’t be paying for treats out of pocket. This way, my husband and I were able to enjoy a holiday meal of NY strip steaks, roasted veggies and scalloped potatoes for our Fourth of July meal. I also squirreled away a few boxes of Magnum ice cream bars, and store brand Neopolitan ice cream sandwiches.

    For the Fourth of July, we started out by going to the local parade, which was very festive and enjoyable, a wonderful time for free! Afterwards, we had lunch at a By The Slice pizza joint–two slices of excellent pizza with toppings and two sodas for 13 bucks including tax and tip. (The fellas got a good tip from me because they decided to show off by spinning the pizza dough in the air! They said it was just for me! I didn’t tell my husband, LOL!) In the evening we walked to the local community college for the fireworks–I’ll never get tired of fireworks and razzle dazzle!– using our camper wagon again to carry the blankets and chairs. We just love that thing!

    For my vacation, I was able to enjoy leisurely coffee breaks in my patio with a good book, read the newspaper, go to the condo complex pool to cool off and then soak up some sun with moderation. I watched discs from Netflix: Season Four of Better Call Saul, and Law and Order Criminal Intent. I played and snuggled with my doggie, grateful for our portable air conditioner, no kidding!

    We made some simple meals, such as grilled cheese and BBQ chicken. The day after the holiday, we packed up a dinner of sloppy joes and brought it to the local park, which was lovely with the picnic pavillions and flowers. We also played a game of rummy, which I’ve really missed doing! One of these days I would love to learn how to play backgammon again. It’s fun and relaxing, and a cheap way to enjoy an afternoon or evening.

    We took a day to go to the local lake–because it’s got pretty white sand and water that’s quite blue, I pretended I was luxuriating on the Mexican Riviera like I was some kind of trophy wife. My husband, who loves gadgets, had recently received the beach tent he’d ordered a while back. It was pretty nifty and easy to use, and it provided a nice bit of shade. We did act like millionaires throwing money around with wild abandon by picking up deli items for a fancier picnic and treating ourselves to Foster Freeze for big soft serve cones and sodas–but it was my hard earned vacation, after all! 🙂 And even though it wasn’t a traditional travel and stay in a fancy hotel vacation (which I certainly wouldn’t mind, though!) , I still had a wonderful time! Just being away from work was vacation enough.

    Have a great week!

    1. Silver, I loved both the humor and savings in this post! I, too, consider my vacation and sick leave to be money in the bank because everything I don’t use will be paid in cash when I retire early next year.

    2. Staycations are the best! Thanks for the great perspective and outlook, Silver 🙂 loved reading your recap!

  60. I am just now reading about your exciting new photography business, congratulations! Wow, I took such a long break from reading blogs when my dad was ill that I didn’t realize your family’s income had grown so abundantly to allow you this luxury of putting so much money into a new business. That is such great news! So I’m guessing Vegas’ real estate market finally taken a turn for the better? So very happy for y’all!

    1. Ahh, wouldn’t that be nice! But no, it’s really the opposite! The market is slowing (1000 houses fewer per month than the same time last year are selling in the tri-city area, and this is the busy time of year), our income has dramatically decreased, but after praying about it we are moving forward with another way to make money for our family. Our income did increase some last year (but was still low), and we live frugally and within our means, so we were able to put aside 6 months’ worth of money last year (one month of which went towards our daughter’s tuition and book, as she was accepted to college within less than 24 hours of applying). Living within our means and living wisely goes a long way!

  61. Thank you everyone for your kind words and prayers. I will be home or hospital bound for about 4 months and will share all the frugal saving that I discover on this journey. Although truly unexpected and unexplainable, the timing is a blessing. 6 months ago this would have been far more devastating for my family. Every day we move forward, and that’s what matters. You are a great community to belong to. Thanks for the support! Thanks, Brandy, for all that you do.

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