July Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

We harvested red and green seedless grapes, peaches, tomatoes, and apples from the garden.

I cut chocolate mint for a large batch of herbal tea.

I went to the Joann’s on the 3rd of July to buy a few items on sale, including some broadcloth in black, white, and navy at 50% off at $2.49 a yard and some ribbon by the spool at 60% off. 

My husband replaced our garbage disposal himself.

We used solar lights at night in our bedroom instead of turning the lights on. I bought a two-pack of these at Sam’s Club in May for the same price as one from Amazon. We’ve had problems with other solar lantern batteries burning in our heat in the direct sun. We put these inside the window and they worked without any problems. They were bright enough to use for reading at night.

I collected warm-up water from the shower and used to water potted plants.

We celebrated the Fourth of July at home. I hosted and food was combined with my mom. We watched fireworks from our yard–they weren’t real large, but we were able to see what several people were setting off nearby from our yard and we didn’t have to spend any gas to go anywhere.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Lowe’s.

I looked over the grocery ads when they came. There were some good deals–but not the pasta sale that I’m hoping to see. I threw the ads out. I also received some catalogs with summer clearance sales. I glanced through them–and then quickly tossed them. There were some things that I liked but that weren’t in my budget nor were they priorities or planned purchases. Throwing them out removed the temptation to spend money I need to use for other things.

I organized three drawers. It took a bit of time but was a no-cost way to add some peace to my life.

I organized my garden seeds. I have plenty of vegetable seeds to plant for my fall garden without having to purchase anything.

My husband and I chose to celebrate our anniversary at home with a meal for the two of us: caprese salad with tomatoes and basil from the garden.


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  1. Happy Anniversary!

    I too, have been waiting for deal on shaped pasta. I started making basic gnocchi for something different that spaghetti.

    I spent money this week restocking the pantry with Aldi.
    I have been wanting nail polish for my toes since June 1st. I treated myself to a bottle from the dollar store.
    Forth of July, I brought potato salad. I was a tad shy on servings vs. people and only had enough potatoes for what the recipe called for. I bulked up the salad with celery, bell peppers and carrots. It was well received with a serving left over.
    Made rhubarb crumb muffins with the rhubarb from the garden and cut a 1/4 of brown sugar out of the recipe. They tasted just as good if they had the quarter cup added in.

    I am grateful to have sat outside on a beautiful day and read a book for a few hours for free entertainment.

  2. The wild blackberries are ripe on the bushes across the street in the field. Hubby picked a bowlful and we had fresh blackberry pie that night. I had already purchases a pint of heavy whipping cream so I mixed that up to use on the pie.

    Fireworks are held in our town on Lake Erie, so we walked down to the lake with our lawnchairs, watched a beautiful sunset and then the fireworks. Since 10,000 people come to the Lake front for our fireworks, and we only live 4 blocks away. We walk down and back home again.

    Thursday night, my mom brought over a Little Caesars Pizza she’d had leftover. I gave them some pie to take home. My son ate a few pieces of pizza for breakfast Friday Morning.

    Got some free magazines in the mail thanks to Recyclebank & Verizon Wireless Smart Rewards.

    Stayed home a lot because I’m on injury leave from work. Had a slight accident that caused me to trip and fall, which wrenched up my back and caused me to have numbing pains down my right side. I start Physical therapy tomorrow for it.

    Made meatloaf and mashed potatoes with food already on hand. Surprisingly, my son LOVED it.

  3. Sounds like a lovely week! I love your garden produce pic!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made granola bars (http://approachingfood.com/vanilla-bean-granola-meal-replacement-bars/) using egg whites, and fried up the egg yolks in some hamburger grease then chopped up the fried eggs and froze them to add to fried rice at a later date. The DH will appreciate the meaty flavour and I will appreciate his appreciation!
    – picked some parsley and radishes from my balcony garden. I ate the radishes for lunch, and added the parsley and young radish leaves to salad for dinner.
    – Made a cold brew coffee concentrate, from coffee packets saved from a hotel stay. I also made caramel syrup (but with milk instead of cream, because that’s what I had, and also, it’s healthier). I’ll use the concentrate and caramel syrup to make fancy-pants iced coffee drinks at home.
    – Cat-sat locally for cash.
    – My zucchini plants are blossoming! I’m so excited! I need to drill some additional holes in the dollar store planters I bought, as they’re currently retaining too much water and the leaves are a bit yellow, but still, zucchini blossoms! My tomato plant also has some fruit on it. I’m letting the last two of my radish plants flower and eventually go to seed to see if I can collect seeds for next year. In the same two-radish plant pot, I planted an amaryllis bulb that I saved from Christmas time (and chilled in my fridge). I’m hoping it grows and flowers. Gardening experiments are fun!
    – I planted more radish, pea, zucchini, and lettuce seeds.
    – My mother gave me a mail-in rebate form for free dishwasher detergent that she couldn’t use, so I bought the largest value product I could, and sent in the receipt/upc code/voucher. That’s 16 loads of dishwasher detergent for the price of a stamp!
    – Made tomato-basil-mozzarella salad using basil from my balcony garden!
    – Made iced tea using loose tea gifted to me
    – The DH and I painted the guest bathroom. We did have to buy paint and some supplies, but we used some supplies that I had saved from when I painted the condo after purchase (6 years ago now, I think), such as painters tape, sandpaper, and brushes.
    – I bought cheese and grated it all, put it into Ziploc bags, and froze it. Not only does this mean the DH and I can’t snack on it (better for our waistlines and better for the budget), but it makes meal prep easier.
    – I made Nasi Goreng (an Indonesian rice dish) which was frugal because a) rice and b) I used the fried egg yolks I mentioned earlier in the dish along with some frozen vegetables (from my freezer, bought on sale of course), and some regrown green onions. I boiled the rice in the last sachet of Bovril that I had from when the DH was on a liquid diet and added in some home dehydrated red and yellow peppers too. All together, it made for a tasty dish, and I was able to freeze 5 portions for future work lunches as well.
    – I made some quick yet frugal dinners: frozen veggie patties (bought in bulk from Costco, leftover from a camping trip), reheated and smothered with homemade mushroom soup (it was too salty to use as a soup, but perfect as a gravy), frozen mashed potatoes (leftovers from another meal), and frozen broccoli (previously bought on sale, blanched, and frozen). A vegetarian version of a meat, potato, and veg plate, and easily put together after a long work day! A lot of my friends don’t understand why the DH and I don’t eat out more often, but this is why – who needs weekday takeout when I’ve got a sit-down dinner ready two minutes after walking in the door? We do eat out occasionally, but I’m a pretty good cook and can replicate most dishes, and I’d rather save the money we would have spent and use it to pay down the mortgage a little bit faster.
    – Made homemade pizza for dinner using my homemade pizza sauce, and saved some for the next day’s lunch.
    – Bought broccoli on sale and blanched and froze the heads and made broccoli slaw with the stems.
    – With the veggie trimmings, I made compost tea and poured it onto my balcony garden
    – Cut and froze regrown green onions. I’ll regrow them one more time in water (they’ll be paler green this time), before planting them in my garden in some good dirt to grow nice and green again.
    – Made blueberry lemonade: I had a jar of blueberry jam that I had cooked for too long, and which had turned into blueberry candy, so I boiled that with water, lemon juice, and some sugar, and made blueberry lemonade! Great over ice on a hot summer’s day!
    – Made a batch of tomato taco rice and froze it to use in future burritos/enchiladas
    – Listed a couple of items on a trading app.
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 Amazon gift certificate

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

  4. Here’s my frugal list for the week –

    * Made chicken stock in the slow cooker. Jessica bought a cooked chicken to make sandwiches for herself. She gave me the carcass so I made the most of it. From that I made a pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup. Some was for a lunch and the rest went into the freezer in single serves.

    * Made four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

    * Sold one dozen eggs.

    * Made lots of cards using stock I had on hand.

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

    * Made 32 muffins using frozen berries Jessica had bought and abandoned in the freezer. I added raspberries from our garden last Summer. I used this recipe.

    * Made another pot of chicken stock in the slow cooker. This went straight into the freezer for future soup making.

    * Cleaned the dishwasher and filters with bi carb, vinegar and Miracle Spray.

    * Cleaned the kettle with citric acid. While I was at it I put bi carb, vinegar and water from the kettle down the sink to clean the pipes.

    * Darren and I had freezer meals ( leftovers ) for dinner one night.

    * Hand washed the dinner dishes instead of putting the dishwasher on. Some nights it’s just Darren and I home so there’s not enough dishes to use the dishwasher. I don’t like dirty dishes sitting in the dishwasher until there’s enough to put a load on.

    * Found an old room spray in our bathroom cupboard. The fragrance had changed slightly so on the advice of the shop owner from where we bought it, we diluted it with cooled boiled water. Now it smells fine and we are using it up.

    * Darren took a carload of unwanted items form my garden shed. He received two discount stamps for the donation.

    I have some photos of these tasks on my blog http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/this-weeks-frugal-tasks-saturday-8th.html

  5. Hi Brandy ,
    I am a relatively new commentor but long time reader of your wonderful blog. My frugal accomplishments are as follows:
    I harvested lettuce seeds.
    I planted seeds for green beans, cucumbers, and basil in my garden.
    I took a clipping of my daughter’s oregano and planted it in a pot by my back door.
    I watered my veggie and flower gardens using water from my 3 rain barrels. We get lots of rain here in New Orleans but it’s hot so I water a good bit in between rain days.
    I composted kitchen scraps
    I saw my sister over the weekend and gave her a dress I made for my mom so I could save postage. She will try it on and let me know if it needs any altering before I make her another one.
    I purchased a case of Mantia’ s spaghetti sauce from Sav-a-lot for $.99 a jar. I thought that was a sale price but I think that is the regular price-still cheaper than other brands. I needed to replenish my supply. We keep extra pantry items in a spare closet in our hall, which we jokingly refer to as Hall-Mart. This keeps us from running to the store so often 🙂
    I made spaghetti and meat sauce one night for dinner and used basil and oregano I had dried from my garden to doctor it up.
    We stopped at Sam’s for a few items we get there at good prices. The milk is about a $1 a gallon cheaper than other stores.
    My husband dyed my hair and I cut his. We also trimmed our little dog for the summer. I refuse to pay a groomer.
    We helped our son start to replace the roof on his patio. It was wood and asphalt shingles but will now be sheet metal. We were able to reuse all but 2 of the wooden support beams and all of the metal brackets and hurricane straps by straightening them on his vice.
    I also helped my son with free window coverings for the 2 windows in his spare room by using some fabric trim I ripped off an old set of curtains from my daughter and sewing on some old curtains my son had in his den that I also shortened to fit the windows in the spare room. I made 2 tie backs to match out of the fabric trim. I’m so happy when I can make something new out of something old, all for free!
    I sanded an old for door my daughter bought for her house for $56 at the Green Project (a place that takes leftover home repair items that have been salvaged and donated and sells them cheap for others looking to refurbish them. The door is craftsman style, solid wood door with 6 small windows at the top. Would have been $400 brand new. Lucky day finding that one!
    I read comments on this blog everyday for free entertainment. I enjoy the like minded friendship I have found here.
    Hope everyone has a good and frugal week ahead 🙂

  6. Happy Anniversary, Brandy.
    This week my husband used our pressure washer to wash our back deck. He also changed the oil in my car, using an oil and filter he bought at a deep discount a couple of months ago.
    I cut flowers for an arrangement in the house.
    I made French bread and burger buns. I made a large batch of stuffed pasta shells – three pans for three meals. We ate one that night and the other two were put in the freezer for future meals. I mixed chard and herbs from our garden with cottage cheese, mozzarella and parmesan cheese for the filling and topped with homemade pasta sauce. For Independence Day I made a chocolate pie using a crust I made and froze when I made my husband a coconut pie for his birthday two weeks ago, and whipped cream left over from the strawberry shortcake we had last week.
    I made a simple knit dress with a free pattern I downloaded and sale fabric from JoAnn’s. The fabric was $9. I used leftovers from the dress to make another pair of underwear, with elastic from my stash. I also cut off an old dress to make a blouse, then used the bottom half of the dress to make another blouse.
    We cut the last cord of firewood from the national forest – yay! My husband figured the cost at about $25 a cord (permit, gas for truck, gas for chainsaw and wood splitter). It’s about $200 a cord to buy it here. So we spent $75 for our primary source of winter heat.
    My neighbor who is moving gave us some weed killer, an almost full case of printer paper, a couple of live traps, some mats for the garage and two reams of cardstock. My husband made a couple of minor repairs to correct things found in her pre-sale inspection.
    I harvested lettuce, chard, green beans and herbs and some cherry tomatoes from the garden, and planted seeds for cabbage, broccoli and bok choy for a fall crop.
    I cleaned and organized my pantry and the big freezer.
    I made cards for my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s birthdays and redeemed survey points for Amazon gift cards for each of them.
    I made Brandy’s mini pavlova’s with some leftover egg whites. My husband had never had them before and loved them. I froze the leftover pavlovas.

  7. Great job saving money this week! I haven’t heard of solar lights; I’ll check them out. We just got a whopping $200 electricity bill, so I’m trying to find new ways to save on anything energy-related.

    This week:

    1. I pre-cooked a ridiculous amount of food for us to eat this week. But that means I don’t have to cook after working all day, which is a bonus. 🙂

    2. I used gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from our garden to make shakshuka for breakfast. Yum!

    3. Mr. Picky Pincher repaired our smoker, so we’re able to smoke meat in bulk and store it, which is great for making our meals taste uh-mazing!

    4. I cooked homemade ice cream with leftover cherries and homemade paletas with corn in the freezer. I also baked an angel food cake for the first time; it was good but I could do better.

    5. I plan on hemming some ill-fitting exercise pants this week and turning them into capris.

  8. It’s been awhile since I have posted. I wanted to sit down right away on Monday morning and get it done!

    *Over Fourth of July, my family attended Family Camp at a church camp in MI. We go every Fourth of July and everything is included in the cost of our trip. I pay for our trip throughout the year, so it’s not a huge chunk at one time. We were there 4 days, so I didn’t need to buy groceries and we turned off our AC at home while we were gone.
    *After camp, we were home for one day, then left for Southern OH to meet up with some of my family who is here from AZ. We all had lunch together and my aunt/uncle bought our lunch. They brought art activities for all my children to do at the table while we visited. We brought all those home with us.
    *From there, we drove to my husband’s mom’s house…she is moving to Assisted Living in 2 weeks and her house of 30+ years needed cleaning out. We brought home some of my husbands things (including Legos!) and a few things from my MIL. I said ‘no’ to many things, so my house doesn’t get cluttered and overran with ‘stuff’ we don’t need.
    *paid all bills online
    *accepted a watermelon from my mom
    *ate lunch at my parents house one day ( I am always so grateful when my parents feed my children)
    *harvested basil, gypsy peppers, zucchini and cherry tomatoes from the garden
    *went shopping at a new outlet mall. I found some great deals for everyone in my family (husband and me included). We used cash only from our cash envelope and stayed in budget.
    *continued with our normal: library, turning off lights, turning down AC when we aren’t home, recycling, donating items not needed.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  9. Jennifer, I made blueberry muffins and really regretted not leaving out a bit of the sugar. I normally do, and I find desserts taste better and are, obviously, more frugal.

  10. Are you in Fairport Harbor??? Walking home sounds wayyy better than trying to get out of there via car 🙂

  11. I spent two days going through all our bank accounts and categorizing EVERY purchase (we do most everything with our debit cards) for the last thirteen months and putting it on a spread sheat. I created about 15-20 categories and it was very eye opening to see where money was leaking. (hint: I thought my husband was my soulmate, but apparently walmart is!!) This hasn’t saved money yet, but it will as a i finish processing all the data and working with my husband to finally create a budget.

    Also, I found yet another left-at-the-register catalina coupon for FREE Halo ice cream. This is four that I’ve found so far and my daughter is thrilled.

    Also, I feel so guilty: apparently Aldi is having a price war with another store around here. My BIL informed me that a gallon of milk is a dollar and a dozen eggs are 25 cents… but…I don’t buy either of those things (vegan-leaning-vegetarian family)…. I sure wish they’d fight over raspberries and red peppers 🙂

  12. Happy anniversary!

    This was an expensive week. Our little guy turned 5. So we had a birthday dinner. Still, a birthday dinner with two other families was cheaper than a big party.

    We made cake and cupcakes and decorated them. Dinner was veggies, homemade hummus, and “make your own pizza” using crusts I made and froze, and pita bread for the kids.

    We also took mini cupcakes to preschool, and these were half off because they were July 4 themed.

    We did a lot of food prep. I’m trying to get back into teaching the kids to cook. The 5 year old loves to help. The 11 year old, not so much. But he helped me make one pot pasta with vegetables and a light cream sauce. I just need to make it a regular habit. Don’t want him learning to cook in his 30s like me.

    I also made a large sesame peanut noodle salad and a plum torte for a potluck, using things I had. And a huge batch of black beans and rice, for the fridge and the freezer.

    For fun, we had a beach afternoon with free parking and an afternoon at the YMCA pool.

    Husband has been busy staining and painting our interior doors.

    We have had the AC set at 83. It’s been getting hot here, for here anyway.

  13. Love your garden haul this week Brandy!!!! I’m sure that saves so much money now, instead of having to buy the fresh fruit & veggies!!! Do you use the flipp app on your phone? If you search pasta, you can find it everywhere nearby that has it on sale, and if it is, you can either go there, or price match at target or walmart. It is so nice to have some food in the pantry & fridge again!!! I had bought a 4lb bag of dried pinto beans at walmart and cooked some of them up. I then winged baked beans in the crockpot. I thought I used too many bell peppers, but when it cooked down……..yummmm. I’m going to try and experiment with different flavor bean dishes, and then pick up the 50lb bag of pinto beans at Sams for $35. I purchased 6 humongous red peppers for $2.98 last night. I’m really thinking I should go back and get more tonight. Its the first year in a very long time that I’ve bought peppers. Cant wait till we are growing them again. We went to the fireworks with my parents, they had my niece as well. Mom and dad paid the $5 per car. We were invited for dinner at my moms house a few times last night. In theory it sounds like it would save us money, but it doesnt because there are no leftovers for my husband to take for work the next day. I still need to cook what i had planned or buy him something. Oh I bought a 2lb block of mild cheddar cheese at sams last night and shredded it all in the food processor. I hope it lasts the week!!!! Other than that, still staying home during the day, so we havent spent any money,

  14. We are starting to pick our blackberries here in Kansas from our garden-I also finished up canning green beans and pickling beets. Am waiting for my 60 tomato plants to ripen and then the seriously huge task of canning will begin!

  15. Happy Anniversary!
    I liked what you said about tossing the ads and catalogs….if isn’t what you are needing and can fit in the budget…why keep it around to tempt us!
    Our garden is producing lots now. Cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce…almost over due to heat, tomatoes, corn, green peppers, banana pepers, sugar snap peas and collards. Almost don’t know which to fix with the abundance. Putting some up and sharing with family and friends.
    Our tame blackberries are bearing and I am putting lots in the freezer…will make jelly and cobblers later.
    Our 4th of July celebrating involved staying home also. The neighbors had a gorgeous fireworks display…we were invited over…however our dogs need our reassurance during fireworks. We grilled out and had lots of veggies to enjoy.
    Been organizing the pantry better so when I do begin restocking I am not buying things I don’t really need.
    Had a birthday celebration at my brother’s home Saturday. We, of course, brought veggies….cole slaw, cucumber salad and veggies and dip. Lots of good food and fun.

  16. I have been taking advantage of free entertainment too. Our area is home to many musicians and artists. Our town is on a bay with a golf course and tiny pier, which each host free weekly concerts throughout the summer and fall. Nearby is a larger town which has a monthly Art After Dark event where the museum and many local businesses display art and serve free appetizers and beverages. We also have an incredible wealth of beautiful hiking trails and mild weather throughout the year. Almost all my meals out these days are potlucks and home parties, and the food is great!

  17. I love your tomatoes. They look so good. We have only picked 3 tiny ones (Glacier Ultra Early) and 2 cherry tomatoes (Sungold). I am also having some pollination issues on my zucchini, but have picked and used 2. There are many more on the bush, but some are rotting rather than forming. Your basil looks great, too. I have been able to pick a small amount of that as well. Cilantro, on the other hand, is growing like a weed, and I’ve tossed it into every food that is remotely Mexican, and also tosses a bit into the lettuce salad to give it a different flavor, since we are eating salad daily because we have so much lettuce growing right now.

    We had a family barbecue here in honor of a niece who was home for one week from Ireland. My husband cooked the meat, I made lettuce salad, people brought things, and we had a great visit. It was much less expensive than eating out, tasted better, and we could visit as long as we wanted. I also sent home a large amount of lettuce with my sister, as they can use more than is growing in her garden.

    We stayed home on the 4th, since we had just gotten together with the family the day before, and also watched fireworks from our deck in the back yard. I was amazed at the amount of illegal, beautiful fireworks that were lit off in this neighborhood. It’s our first year here, and I was astounded. I was able to finish sewing a dress for my daughter, and make one for a little friend. I haven’t had much time to sew lately, so was delighted to have the time for that. The dresses came out very cute and pretty, and I was able to use fabric, patterns, and some rick rack I have had for years.

    Both my mom and my husband’s mom have birthdays on July 5, so we divided and conquered and each visited with our moms on that day for a little while.

    I spent some time doing extra yard and garden work. I was on vacation from my work, so used the extra time to get things in better order around here, as well as spent quite a bit of extra time with family and friends that I don’t see as much. I also did more cooking than usual, and even froze a few things for a time when I am busier again. I have one more day off, so hope to clean a bit more. It makes me feel much more peaceful, as well, when I have my home life organized.

    I put pictures of the garden, and what’s growing and ripening, as well as more things I did to save money on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/saving-money-weekly-update-july-9-2017/

    The coming week will be different as we have both mid-high and high school camp. Everyone but me is either going to camp to be a camper or working at camp as a helper. Mid-high is Monday-Friday. High school is Thursday-the following Wednesday. So, there will be a lot of coming and going this week, and I will be home alone on one night for the first time in years. Although I’d love to say I will be doing something super special with my alone-time, I probably will work in the garden or sew. Those are both fun for me. I will be working the second half of the week, next week, retrieving one daughter from camp on Friday, and hopefully, canning green beans. I’m thinking maybe Saturday??? It’s hard to tell exactly when they will ripen, but there are a crazy amount of blossoms and tiny beans forming, so I have high hopes.

  18. Happy Anniversary Brandy!

    We returned from our epic road trip driving across the country from PA to TX; http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/07/vacation/. We returned July 3rd at 0230 in the morning and it took me all week to recover. I’m just starting to get my groove back. I returned to a garden full of weeds so I’m weeding daily and tackling our walkway to the front of the house that looks atrocious. Our garden is doing well and we’ve harvested peas, cukes, chard, kale and some cherry tomatoes. We’ve had a very wet and cool summer thus far so tomatoes aren’t at their full bloom as of yet.

    I’ve been experimenting with recipes for our upcoming blueberry festival. So far, I’m thrilled with a panna cotta with blueberry balsamic conserve. I might actually enter the contest if I’m feeling adventurous or if I have enough energy. I’ve made two new dresses since our return. I have a bunch of double brushed poly in my stash. I’m make a dresses for me and one for each girl with creative fabric blending so that is a win. I used the Halla pattern Agnes dress which is free right now if you join their facebook group. Have a great week!

  19. Do you use LED lightbulbs? The price has come down to $2 to $3 per bulb (60 watt equivalent) for bulbs that last around 10,000 hours. The solar lanterns are good to have for power outages, but not feasible for the whole house.

  20. Brandy, I love your comment about organizing the drawers bringing peace to your life. Often I feel that cleaning and organizing makes me more appreciative of what I have, and helps me feel thankful to have things to organize!

    This week, we…

    Enjoyed a local 4th of July Parade. Watched the Disneyworld fireworks online, since it was too late to go out with my toddler. A free, fun 4th!

    Found a nice white wooden KidKraft play kitchen by the side of the road for my toddler. They cost a lot new. It had some marker, pen marks, and stickers on it, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to see if I could clean it up. Spent a happy hour reviving it! I used my whole cleaning arsenal- first warm soapy water of course, then a magic eraser (I buy the off-brand melamine sponges from amazon for a fraction of the price), then a white pencil eraser for the pen marks that still hadn’t come off. Then for the stickers, I used the blow dryer to warm up the old sticker glue so the stickers peel right off, but leave a glue residue, which I removed with a little vegetable oil. I touched up a few tiny scratches with white paint (I actually just used white-out, since I had it handy). The play kitchen looks brand new, with $0 out of pocket. I was able to sell her old play kitchen for $40 on a Facebook yard sale site.

    Bought a nice wooden balance bike for $5 on a yard sale site. It retails for $90 new. Daughter loves it.

    Sewed cups into bathing suit along the outer edges so I could stop wasting time fixing them every time I wanted to wear the suit, or worse, get somewhere and realize that they were folded up inside the suit or otherwise acting funky.

    Husband took daughter to free Home Depot kids workshop on Saturday morning. This is a wonderful program and we try to make it each month. They made a bug house. ☺

    Worked on our backyard “adventure playground” for a bit. I want something more rustic than a swingset. A neighbor recently took down a large pine tree and was giving away the wood. We took a large round piece, maybe 2.5’ diameter, for a “table,” and then hubby cut 5 simple “chairs” out of smaller sections of round tree trunk. It looks very magical and forest-y.

    Downloaded a few songs from Freegal and ordered a CD from the library’s interlibrary loan program to borrow.

    Took beach photos of my family using the DSLR camera my husband bought on black Friday a few years back. We also bought a 1.8mm lens, which makes the photos look professional. Used my dad’s old tripod from the 70’s and the delay shutter, so I could be in the photos too. They came out beautifully. Friends often ask who I use for family photos and I’m always proud to say I took it myself. I’ve done several headshots for friends who were job searching. It’s a great gift that costs me nothing but time, and is a huge savings for them over hiring a professional photographer. I read three simple photography books from the library a few years back, when we first bought the camera (the “your family in pictures” series by Me Ra Koh) which gave me instruction on how to take a good photo.

    Enjoyed a morning on the beach at a local lake, and one day at the ocean this week using my State Parks Pass. Best $60 I spend each year! It allows me access to 30+ state reservations, including ocean beaches, lakes, and tons of hiking trails. Packed all food and snacks, of course ☺

    Hosted a very spendy friend for two nights. I planned fun activities and nice meals, but was left feeling that I am inadequate. She is an old, loyal friend and in many ways a very good friend, but she does not approve of my choices—buying store brand food or second hand clothes, cooking at home rather than eating out, etc. After two days of semi-critical remarks and questions about our lifestyle, it was a relief to see her off on her flight. I actually cried when I got home, just from the tension of having to answer all of the “where did that come from?” or “what brand is that?” questions about my curtains, rugs, clothes, food, etc. I like my stuff and think we have a very nice home, but she made it clear that she doesn’t, and that was hard. The funny thing is, she works an unfulfilling job with a long commute and little growth potential and has 2 kids in daycare. She is always talking about how she’d love to stay home, but can’t because of money. I stay home, we live simply, and we are able to pay extra on our mortgage each month. I always think if she were able to make lifestyle changes, she’d be able to quit the job she doesn’t like, be home with her two young kids, and live a more relaxed life. But she puts a such a high value on owning all new things, eating lots of restaurant meals, having a house cleaner, getting pedicures, and the like, that she’s “lifestyled” herself into needing the income. Our values around money, time, and possessions are just so different, and it’s hard when someone you really care about thinks you’re doing it all wrong. It’s a relief to come here and talk with like-minded people. Thanks, Brandy.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  21. We were invited to friends for 4th of July. I was asked to bring appetizers. I brought pizza bites, raw vegetables and dip, and rustic slices of baguette with an herbal dipping oil. It was all made from the garden, pantry, and refrigerator. We have had out of town company and have enjoyed some touring close to home. One day we did some wine tasting another day we visited an Indian cultural museum. At the museum we were able to use the family rate and saved the cost of one admission. We are eating finally eating zucchini and tomatoes out of the garden. Yesterday I checked the apricots and some of them are ready for canning. It is a big crop this year so I will be putting up many quarts of fruit and pints of jam. We are also picking green beans now. They are slow coming on, but I can get enough for a meal every few days. A few days ago I made a couscous salad with mint, tomatoes, and zucchini from the garden. It was delicious. There was a little left over and I cut up a slice of leftover pizza into little bites and mixed it in. It made enough extra salad for two more servings and turned out to really well. I went to Walmart to look for a couple of sleeveless summer tops (on clearance). I only found one that I liked, but also found a pretty cotton knit nightgown on clearance – it was something I really needed so that was a nice surprise.

  22. Hi all
    The last was pretty frugal until I took my daughters dog to training, needs a thundershirt for anxiety $44 later….. I know these help as our older dog has one but I did not pay that much!
    I have been looking for an ASU shirt that I like and does not cost a lot, I finally found one on Friday $36 shirt that woul cost me $3 but would have to pay $8 for shipping to store or home!? So Sat I found if I go to store, Kohls and order it was free shipping to my house! So a $3 shirt woo hoo!
    My husband & daughter are helping with moving in Ohio and will be gone all week so the thundershirts have been helpful with the dogs anxiety.
    I am making things with what I have and staying home a lot. I made waffles yesterday and froze a bunch. Also, still unpacking and going thru things.
    I’m hoping only to have to go out tomorrow and Saturday. Have a good week all.

  23. * My hubby went and disassembled a greenhouse (6×8 feet) and dragged that home for me. We just had to buy two 4×4’s to put under the short sides – I took the wood pile off of 2 others to use for the long sides. It was FREE on Craigslist 🙂 i am very excited to have an area to grow fall crops in – especially cauliflower and broccoli that I lose every year to the cabbage caterpillars.
    * We took almost every tool and hardware we own from the basement, main house and garage and sorted them – threw away those that were useless and the rest were put into my husband’s tool drawers, my son’s tool drawers and I got my own tool box now for all my projects. The sheer amount was overwhelming and I am still slowly going thru things and putting them away. We have FIVE staplers – FIVE…..and we can never find one when we need it. Now we each have one. I stopped counting all the tape measure’s I found!
    * I picked the first pea pods from the garden as well as a small amount of red raspberries and the wild black ones the birds must have planted for me. I also harvested a small amount of lettuce and then they decided to start bolting so I pulled the plants and gave them to my ducks. The potatoes are all continuing to bloom but are starting to fall over so we should have some fresh potatoes soon (yeah!!). My old grape vine over my poultry run has quite a few grapes just starting to form – I thought I may have over done the pruning on it but it seems to have made it produce more.
    * We again only bought milk and some hamburger buns. Both freezers are stuffed so we really need to eat them down some to make room for upcoming produce.
    * I made myself another 2 head scrarves for work and put elastic in 2 more pairs of pants.
    * I made gluten free muffins and bread for myself.
    * We picked up a 1/2 cup jar of cinnamon and a small bottle of vanilla from Penzy’s spices for free.
    * I wanted to purchase some new sedums for the front of the house but I decided I really didn’t need to do that since my existing plants are so large – I split them instead.
    * We watched my BIL’s Pyrenees again over the 4th of July holiday week. She is quite a diva and has several annoying habits he never bothered to train her for – counter surfing, barking (breed trait I know but it is over the top) and her behavior around smaller dogs (our almost 13 year old beagle) and cats (OMG she is AWFUL about the cats!). I don’t know if we can break her of any of those since he doesn’t bother to correct her at his house and she is already 8 years old and rather set in her ways. Luckily, our cats aren’t dumb and they all go to the safe area we have set up for them while she is here. At least he pays us.
    * My hubby is trading one of his guns for a couple repairs on the boat engine that he didn’t think he could do himself. No cost to us except the parts he bought. The truck he traded our up north property for had the heater core bypassed – and we live in Michigan, so a heater is kinda important in the winter – the repair requires the entire dash be dismantled including the steering wheel. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the tools or know how to do that repair and we will have to use some of our $ we had from selling our other vehicle to pay for it.
    * We have kept the air off except for a few days where the temps and humidity combined made it rather miserable.
    * Our entertainment has been watching Diner, Drive-ins and Dives and old movies. Game of Thrones returns in a week 🙂 Hubby negotiated our bill and we got free HBO for long enough to be able to see this season.
    * At the thrift store, I found some striped fabric and a matching solid color to use to redo the cushion on the front porch bench. It was only $3. I also picked up 2 binders to keep all my project ideas as well as the home repairs and paints we have used in one place. The were even in the right blue to match my sewing room’s colors hehe – those only cost 50 cents each. I am still looking for silicone muffin “tins” to put eggs in to freeze them for winter time when the poultry don’t lay near as much. The eggs do not like to pop out of regular muffin tins and one of the blogs I follow recommended silicone.
    I think that’s it – hope everyone has a great week! I am off to sew my cushion covers!

  24. Brandy,I was so encouraged by last week’s blog post that I reread it throughout the week to see new responses from others! I also looked at the photos of your pantry, and read your “history” about what you did for storage in the house before the one you currently live in. This led me to:

    Clean out half of our front hall closet. Like you, we live in a warm climate (Georgia), where my son and I rarely wear coats, because we both are hot-natured. My husband is the only one who shivers when the temps get below 70F, so…I searched online for a portable closet to store our coats. I found one from Kmart, and discovered that I had $15 in bonus points, which means I paid only $7.40, including tax! My husband and I cleaned out a section of the garage to place the portable closet, which is more convenient for him when donning the coat, since we go in/out of our vehicles through the garage. I moved a shelving unit from the school/office/craft room into the front hall closet, and neatly organized all of our canned and bottled goods on it. I also fit rolls of paper towels between the shelving unit and the wall, along with a hanger that hosts our 3 kitchen aprons.

    Now that my canned/bottled storage is neat and accessible, I could see that I was in need of more canned tomato soup for my bean/vegetable soup recipes. Publix just so happened to have that soup on sale for Buy One Get One Free this week, so I stocked up. Gatoraide was also on sale, and since my husband drinks that when he mows the lawn, I bought some for him in his favorite flavor.

    While at Kroger on Friday, I noticed two packages of Jennie O lean ground turkey marked down to $2.99 each for clearance. I had two $1 coupons, which brought each pound down to $1.99. I used the meat to make turkey sausage patties forweekend breakfasts. My son and I also discovered that all of the summer merchandise had been marked down. I bought 3 lidded glass containers for dispensing iced tea. I will instead use them for storing bagged chocolate morsels, sugar, and oats. I already have 4 other glass iced tea containers that were purchased from previous summer markdowns, and they are used to store unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, Jasmine rice, and brown rice. Each will hold 5 pounds.

    I “shopped” in our house for dry food storage containers. A lidded Rubbermaid container designed for keeping a head of lettuce now holds 2 pounds of rotini pasta that were purchased Buy One Get One Free from Publix last week. I have several lid-lock plastic shoe boxes in my craft area. I combined the contents of a few them so as to free up 2 boxes. I washed them and used one box for storing bagged marshmallows, and the other for storing bagged powdered sugar.

    As I cleaned out my kitchen cabinets, I discovered that some items needed to be thrown away, while there were others that I donated to a family at our church.

    All of this cleaning and organizing is encouraging me to do the same with the rest of the house. I have been listing items we are no longer using on eBay with the hopes of selling them and depositing the money into our savings.

    Thank you so much Brandy for being an inspiration! I am extremely grateful for your time, blog posts, and website. Quite often before I go to bed at night, I will peruse your photos and previous posts for ideas and encouragement, and pray to G-d to help me continue to be a good steward of our money, as well as keeper of our home. G-d bless you and your family, and happy anniversary!

  25. Happy Anniversary!

    My garden here so far is just at the harvesting lettuce and spinach phase, but am definitely appreciating having it versus buying it. With your tight budget, even with the battles you do with the climate, it’s got to be a relief knowing your family has something to eat in the garden. I greatly admire all your hard work in making that happen!

    My list for the week can be found here…


  26. I’m intrigued by the chocolate mint herb tea. I’ve put leaves with coffee grounds before, but never thought of using it for tea. I’m canning today. A batch of our summer squash is cooling down, and I’ve started a batch of eggplant to go in next. I used the pot of water for boiling lids to refill bird baths once it cooled. Big Lots had their 20% off everything sale this weekend, but like you, I stayed home, and saved money that way. We had a major frugal fail, due to deer eating the majority of our wheat crop, and the raccoons getting our entire corn crop. I always say gardening is an adventure. Joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/07/a-somewhat-pitiful-week-of-homestead.html

  27. I was given a $25 gift card for Amazon for Mother’s Day, earned $25 more with Swagbucks, and my husband graciously allowed me to put the change from our change jar in Coinstar for a no-fee Amazon gift card, so I came out with almost $97 in gift card credit altogether. The Fagor pressure cooker I’ve been wanting for so long went on sale, and I purchased it with my gift card credit and $3.03 out of pocket. Since I work full-time outside the home, I’ve wanted a pressure cooker to make meal prep easier at night. I can’t crock-pot everything, although I think I’ve tried 🙂
    I ordered vitamins and supplements online and got a 15% off online coupon and free shipping from the site on all of their own store brand of vitamins. I also needed a name brand vitamin that is rather pricey, but I had a print coupon for $5 off for it, which I couldn’t use with the 15% discount online. I took the coupon to the retail store when in a nearby town, used it on my vitamin, and found a good sale on a supplement I take regularly but wasn’t low on yet, so hadn’t put it on my list. I had a 20% off paper coupon for that brand, too, so I went ahead and got it at a really good price. I know not everyone uses supplements, but two of these are actually doctor recommended, and we see good results from the ones we are using on our own initiative as well, so to us, they are worth the money.
    My husband complains that the clock on his side of the bed is too hard to see at night in low light, without his glasses. I found a nice clock with large numbers and a bright, easy to hit light on the face, in an old-fashioned looking case, at Goodwill, for $3.99. Problem solved.
    I plan to check out the Amazon Prime day prices, for Christmas gifts.
    I bought ripe bananas on sale, sliced and froze them for my husband’s breakfast shakes. I am hoping our two banana trees will start producing some bananas before too long.
    Happy Anniversary, Brandy!

  28. I was pleasantly surprised to actually find pasta on sale at Kroger last week (a Buy 10 deal), and I didn’t remember seeing it in the ads when I scanned through them. The macaroni and shells were sold out, but we are stocked up on spaghetti! This post is my reminder to go back and just see if the sale has perhaps been extended.

  29. Mostly, I have continued to cook from the freezer/pantry. I’ve also remained diligent with the light usage, although we are now running our air conditioner most of the time.

    My garden is starting to produce more and more vegetables and fruits. I froze another 2 oz of spinach. I picked more radishes. I also picked 16 cucumbers now – some of which I turned into 3 quarts of pickles. I also picked and ate a zucchini. We have plenty of lettuce still growing. I will need to pick the first round of green beans this week. I also accepted a 3lb tub of sour cream leftover from a cookout. I portioned it into smaller containers (8oz) and froze them for use in casseroles and cooked dishes. I also accepted a jar of instant tea and some chips leftover from this same cookout. A coworker shared some rhubarb with me. I used to have rhubarb before I moved and I shared it with him for years until his plants were ready to harvest. Now I don’t have any ready and he is sharing with me! I dried more basil from the garden as well.

    For entertainment, I borrowed 4 books from my grandma to read. We also checked out a couple DVDs from the library.

    I made $45 extra this week. Plus I worked a few billable hours for my husband’s construction business. I made an extra $550 from my online store last month, so it will be deposited into our account this month. I also worked on a few new items for my online store.

  30. Happy Anniversary! Loved how you included organizing 3 drawers as a frugal accomplishment!

    My achievements this week:

    * Hubby was in Taiwan all week, my son lives out of town and my daughter and her family were gone on vacation, so I was alone on the 4th of July. I had a free pizza coming from Dominos so I just ordered that and watched a movie. Hubby and I sort of celebrated yesterday by having grilled hot dogs (purchased at 75% off) for lunch and BBQ ribs (purchased at BOGO free) for dinner. Both the hot dogs and ribs were already in the freezer, so I didn’t have to purchase anything extra. I even had hot dog buns leftover from Father’s Day to use. Served the ribs with some home canned Ranch Beans and corn and red pepper. I made the BBQ sauce from scratch using an old family recipe. We spent the afternoon in the pool.
    * Hubby brought back a number of hotel freebies from his Taiwan trip including toothbrushes, tea and coffee.
    * Saved on Hubby’s work lunches, since he was out of town.
    * Used free toiletries and free coffee and tea I had gotten from work.
    * Swam for exercise 4 days last week.
    * Kept all lights off all day where ever feasible. Even started showering without the light on.
    * Kept upstairs thermostat to 84 degrees all day. Then set downstairs to 84 degrees when we went to bed.
    * Made muffins with some leftover home canned pear sauce that I didn’t want to eat plain and some dried fruit and nuts that I had gotten free from work. Made enough for 6 breakfasts for me.
    * Hung out 4 loads of clothes.
    * Reused Ziploc bags. I also save my bread bags and cereal bag inserts. I use those for when I am temporarily storing meat or for using when I shake chicken in flour before baking.
    * Ate leftovers for lunches and dinners.
    * Used gift cards for some groceries.
    * Used a coupon to a restaurant I won playing trivia for dinner one night.
    * Joined Ibotta. With the $10 bonus, I am already at $17 in rebates. I noticed that one of the rebates is 25 cents for bananas. I only purchased 2 bananas, which upped the % of my savings.
    * Scored big on bacon this week. I bought 16 packages of bacon for 62 cents each. It was marked down from $8.99 per pound to $2.49 per pound then had a 75% sticker on it! I will keep 8 and my daughter will buy the other 8 from me.
    * Used a 50 cent Colgate coupon at a store that doubles coupons and bought a tube of close out Colgate toothpaste for 24 cents.
    * I realized that my husband had our pool filter running during our on peak electrical hours. He reset the timer to run earlier. This should provide a pretty good savings on our electric bill.
    * One thing I am doing to save money is I have long hair. I only have to wash it every 3- 4 days or so and I only have to get it cut every 3 – 4 months. Also, with it long, it is easy to pull up into a bun or pony tail and that is actually cooler than if I had a different cut that I couldn’t pull up. Since I live in the desert, this is definitely an advantage.

    Have a great week everyone!

  31. Hello Brandi, I have never posted before but have read your blog for a long time and so much enjoy everyone that contributes.
    Son has picked wild black raspberries, not many enough for a couple batches of jelly our favorite, also picked probably a gallon of wild blackberries that I will make into jelly also these will be Christmas gifts, also picked from garden five heads of cauliflower and put six bags in the freezer the weather is getting so hot and afraid they will get strong if I don’t do anything with them soon. also have plenty cabbage sharing with daughter and daughter in law and a neighbor lady, still have several heads I will pick, blanche and put in freezer
    Celebrated my two boys birthdays yesterday son cooked hamburgers brats, and wieners on grill, we ate in house as it was so hot outside every one took stuff for dinner, I took fresh pickled beets, cabbage slaw, and fresh green beans and an angel food cake for the birthday cake. others took stuff too so we had more than plenty.
    I froze ice in the freezer to make ice cream with instead of buying bags of ice.
    Dry all the laundry outside when the weather is nice, but just postpone washing if it is raining!
    Used water I blanched cauliflower with to water the hanging baskets.
    Am going to make great grand daughter a ‘pillow case” nightgown with a pillow case I got for almost nothing at a garage sale this spring,, She is six and will love it as she much prefers a night gown to pajamas. It will take little time and make her so happy.
    Just finished embrordering a baby quilt top will quilt it this winter not for any one special, my sister in law gave me several quilt tops to embrordery as someone had given her a bunch of material etc they had gotten at a sale and she doesn’t y like to embrordery –yes to quilting or crocheting. I was happy to get them four full bed quilt tops and two baby quilts.
    I so admire you with all your money saving ideas that you use with your large family! Thanks

  32. Happy Anniversary! Your salad sounds wonderful.

    I’ve been enjoying my garden produce – lettuce, snow peas, shelling peas and chard. I’ve also started picking blueberries and raspberries from the communal bushes at the community garden. I was offered and accepted broccoli raab and carrots from fellow gardeners. Flowers and fruit are setting on my tomatoes, eggplant and summer squash.

    I’m also curbing my spending by not going shopping unless I have a specific need. I haven’t been to the thrift store in a few months.

    I continue to eat at home. I’m also turn off lights and electronics when not in use. No more leaving the room with the lights on. Every little bit does help.

  33. YNAB is great for both budgeting and tracking your spending. Highly recommend it, we’ve saved a lot more than the cost of the annual subscription, and after using it for two years now, have all annual payments (car license fee, time share levies, music examination fees, any and every recurring monthly/annual cost) set aside in full, in cash , in advance, as well as an emergency fund and a plan to pay off every single debt, including our mortgage, in 4 years time (unless something changes, we should make our final mortgage payment 5 years earlier than expected in the month I turn 43). We had tried various other methods over the years, YNAB definitely did it for us.
    Regardless of what method you choose, Good luck! Getting finances under control is commendable.

  34. Happy Anniversary!

    Harvested: green onions (which were sliced into small rings then frozen to use during the year), parsley, basil, oregano (which were dehydrated). We also harvested more black raspberries and froze them for use during winter. I froze some bananas that had gone mushy to use for banana bread or smoothies later.

    Watched the free city fireworks on the Fourth of July after eating a meal at home.

    I saved shower warm up water and other grey water (hand rinsing, veggie rinsing, etc) in a bucket and used that water to water the garden beds outside. I also took “navy showers” . I used my dish pan to fill with water and rinse the dinner dishes and used water leftover from cups, etc to water my indoor plants.

    I turned off and unplugged appliances when not in use (washing machine, coffee pot, microwave, etc). I also made sure the lights were turned off when myself or my daughter leaves the room.  I turned the AC units up to 75 to 77 degrees now that the temps are in the 90’s. I try to keep it at 77 however my husband usually turns it down to 75. They also get turned up at night or when we leave the house for any length of time. It cooled off enough to turn the ac units completely off for 2 days.

    I did no shopping this past week, we ate and drank what we already had in the pantry/cupboards/freezer. I made a list of items we ran out of or that we are low on.

    I am shopping around for other insurance companies (one told me we needed to completely replace our roof! Our roof is fine, my husband just replaced half of it last fall. I will contact another company to see if they tell me the same thing. I am also probably going to switch internet providers. We only have two in my area and switching to take advantage of their “special price” for 1 year will save me $25 per month.

  35. Love your post. Always so many ideas to glean from.
    Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week.
    . I was so excited to use a few ideas from your blog.
    I made French bread 2x first time. My family loved it.
    . Made homemade pizza 2x. They enjoyed that!
    . Picked more basil. Used for mayo..on a pizza
    . Picked rosemary…thyme…used on roast. Delicious
    Broth with herbs. Planted more spinach..lettuce.
    . Planted white pumpkin seeds. *yr idea
    . Cleaned and organized pantry…under sink..cabinet.
    Found some items I needed . No cost.
    . Cut roses and flowers. Bought in house.
    . Watched a utube on arranging flowers free.
    . Watched a video on making bread.
    . Listen to classical music on Pandora free.
    . Did my nails..toes..foot care myself.
    . Watched a video how to make an apron. Still working on that but love your beautiful ones Brandy has made.
    . Used most of what we had in meals.
    . Open windows early on cool mornings for fresh air.
    . Sent out a bday card I had on hand but had to stamp and change abit. I also placed a pretty blue vintage hankie I had for a gift .
    . Went to library for week of books. Free.

  36. We started a 365 challenge to declutter/purge at least one thing each every day! The priority with each item will be to : 1. Recycle/repurpose it to something we need, 2. Sell if it has value, 3. Donate if it’s still good but not high sale, 4. Toss into away into the trash! It has been really liberating so far and the first day we were able to clear a huge amount out of the center basement! We’ve given away some furniture and workshop organizers/tools that were extras or not needed. Friends/family were pleased to receive these and we’ve sold some other things! We also filled one of the 300 gallon trash cans over halfway in just a couple of hours! It feels so good !!!!!

  37. One side of our house is where my husband stores things like rakes and such; it is close to our neighbor’s fence so not enough room to use it for anything or bother mowing it. I virtually never go there but the other day I needed a garden tool so I hiked my way around things and what did I see? A HUGE amount of rhubarb. I planted some years ago but nothing seemed to come up so I just abandoned that side of the house to the husband. I ended up harvesting 41 pounds of rhubarb! This area never gets watered, weeded, fertilized or any attention and the plants turned into monsters. (Too bad ignoring things doesn’t work for the rest of the garden). I made a rhubarb cobbler from an insanely easy recipe and then froze and dehydrated the rest. I use it in the winter, when I make applesauce. I throw some dried rhubarb in and it not only adds a different flavor and other nutrients, it soaks up any excess liquid from the apples so the sauce is nice and thick. The frozen rhubarb becomes breakfast muffins or is cooked down, sweetened and mixed into homemade yogurt.

    Harvested most of my basil and made a year’s worth of pesto and put it in the freezer. Dehydrated all the pak choi that was going to bolt from the heat and dehydrated it. I grind up the dried leaves and use it as a thickener in soups or throw it into chili or smoothies for more nutrition.

    Picked and froze the rest of the honeyberries. Harvested cukes and what we didn’t eat in salads I used to make six jars of pickles. Shredded another 8 pounds of zucchini and used it to make relish (Tastes just like cucumber relish and we also use it to make tartar sauce since we eat a lot of fish).

    Peas are coming into maturity but not enough to harvest yet. Enough to eat off the vine when watering, however!

    Purchased only milk and watermelon at the grocery store, since we are eating meat/chicken/fish from the freezer and everything else is from the garden. I weigh and keep track of everything we harvest and then price out what it would have cost us to buy the stuff in the grocery store. So far this summer I have harvested $470 of vegetables, honeyberries, herbs and rhubarb!

  38. I’ve made a couple of personal changes that have saved money and help me with projects. Rather than taking my lunch hour to run errands, I take my lunch and knitting project and work on it during my break (I am new to knitting and really enjoy it!). I find that I fill my gas tank about half as often and I am also getting some projects made using my lunch time to knit. I just finished my first pair of socks and plan to make a few more pairs as Christmas gifts.

  39. I received 2 free lunches at work, they were unexpected, so I saved my packed lunch for another day.

    We had a great 4th of July celebration with our family. We cooked up more hamburgers than we could eat, so I served them the next night for dinner with the sides.

    I work at a university, so there is always something going on. After cleaning up there was a lot of fruit left for the volunteers to take home. I was able to take home some watermelon.

    Borrowed movies for my college age son from the library. I am not a huge fan of watching movies so was quite surprised when the librarian told me they had over 3,300 movies!

    I also received 2 coupons from Chick Filet for free products. My son enjoyed those as well!

  40. I cut lots of sweet basil, purple basil, lime basil, oregano, parsley, lavender, lemon balm, and three types of mint (apple, chocolate, and spear-) from the garden. I used them as fresh ingredients in cooking and in home-brewed ice tea, dried quite a bit for use later, and also put them in pretty jars around the house to enjoy. They made pretty, fresh-smelling bouquets. The herb garden has been incredibly prolific, and we’re enjoying the bounty!

    I took advantage of the warm weather to activate the solar-powered laundry-drying device (the clothesline), and used water from warming up showers and rinsing produce to water the herb garden and various potted plants.

    We “excavated” and reorganized two closets, which as mentioned above took some time and effort but provided a great sense of satisfaction and peace of mind. In the process we rediscovered some artwork from years past, which then inspired us to make some changes around the house – a nice “free” pick-me-up. I had a wonderful time decorating for Independence Day, getting creative with things we already had, and appreciated it when my husband commented, “I hope you leave the Fourth of July decorations out for a bit, they look nice.”

    We are expecting out-of-town company in several weeks and I’m continuing the “conversion” of the grown-up-and-moved-out boys’ rooms/bathroom into welcoming guest rooms – without spending money redecorating. I’ve moved furniture around, and have changed out sheets, towel sets, and wall decorations without having to buy anything. Two family quilts (one each from my and my husband’s grandmothers) have replaced the teenage boy comforters. I will admit to several thrift store purchases (several nice baskets, plus some children’s books and games).

  41. Happy Anniversary Brandy!
    I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a couple years now and continue to incorporate many of your ideas into my life. This week for the first time, I collected seeds from my Lupine flowers. I have also potted up several tree starts. Our neighbors have several large walnut and hazelnut trees and the squirrels sometimes forget where they buried their nuts and up come little tree starts all over my property so now I am potting them up instead of just pulling and composting. When I get enough growing well, I intend to have a plant sale and see how it goes- even if I make a few dollars it will be a few more than I would have otherwise and I enjoy the adventure.
    I am also trying to incorporate more quality vs quantity into our lives whenever possible. My husband requested some short sleeved shirts for work. Normally, I would have bought as many cheaper versions as I could but this time, I found one very good quality linen shirt for $12.00 and purchased just the one. I know it will wash up nice and can be line dried. I plan to take a couple of his long sleeved shirts that he doesn’t wear much and turn them into short sleeved and that should get him through the summer. He really likes the new shirt and will enjoy it for several years vs the cheaper versions just being something to wear.
    I discovered a water leak from a faucet on the front of our house. My husband was able to fix it but it had discolored the paint on the house so I re-painted the entire front of our house with 1 gallon of paint that I already had. I am so happy we discovered and fixed the leak before major damage happened.
    Today, we took down several trees on our property. They were getting too large. We will use them for firewood which should provide us enough for a couple years. We plan to purchase a new, more efficient wood stove this fall. We have had our current one for at least 20 years now so the new one should heat much better with less wood and keep us warmer this winter saving more money on our utility bill. We have been saving for this purchase for several years. We are hoping there will be a sale on wood stoves this fall- if not, we live only about 11/2 hours from Portland, Oregon and Oregon does not have sales tax so it may be worth it to drive down there for this purchase- we would save at least 10% just from tax alone.
    Brandy and everyone that participates in this blog community, I thank you for improving our quality of life!

  42. Happy Anniversary to you and your husband!

    I don’t have a backyard so I’ve been trying to cut eating out and cooking instead. My goal is to have my husband and I eat more veggies and less meat for both our body and our wallet’s health. Our savings took a hit as my husband got into a minor car accident. The repair shop gave him a free rental car but it is a jeep, which sucks up a ton of gas. We asked for a more eco-friendly car but they said it was all they had. That and a $1000 deductible meant we probably won’t be traveling this summer, which we really looked forward to.

    For 4th of July, we went to the beach and saw fireworks. A lot of people were (illegally) setting off fireworks there and they were the kind you usually saw cities and amusement parks use, maybe even bigger. It was a little dangerous but they did put on quite a show.

  43. Mable, I love how you cook down the rhubarb to add to yogurt! I don’t get much from my small patch, but what I do get I always have a hard time figuring out what to do with. I’m going to remember this, so thank you for the inspiration!

  44. Oh! I thought I might be the only person who makes shakshuka! It is one of my favorites – easy, tasty and healthy!

  45. Happy Anniversary, Brandy!

    Last week I:

    Did my research and switched Internet Providers and canceling our cable TV, landline and the purchase of a Roku player. Overall, that will save us between $1,200-$1,250 a year!

    I continue to bake our own bread from scratch, make our coffee at home, make my own pasta, eat all meals at home, borrow from the library and comparison shop for household items.

  46. I made your pasta salad with penne gluten free pasta that I found 2 lb/$1.50. I used vegetables from my garden and one cucumber that I purchased. And then for dessert we had your Clafoutis (I also made this gluten free using Bob’s Red Mill blend that I purchase in a 25 pound bag from Azure.) with cherries that I found today for 99 cents a pound. My husband said it was the best pasta salad he’s ever eaten. I couldn’t eat either dish because of my dietary restrictions but I had the Italian Dressing over romaine, cucumber, and cubed ham. And everyone loved the dessert! We are completely out of debt except for our mortgage, which hopefully we can knock out in less than a year and that is currently the reason we are driven to live frugally. Your blog is always such an inspiration to me. What an amazing homemaker you are! You really amaze me! Your home is so lovely and your eye for beauty is so inspiring. I was just thinking of you today and the will power you have is really humbling to me! A $200 grocery budget for your family is amazing.

  47. I have spent the week trying to get a handle on the weeds in the garden. We (husband and I) are making progress.

    *The weather has heated up so getting up at sunrise has become necessary if I want to go outside. I have picked: all types of greens, lettuce (the last for now) onions, squash, pinto beans, strawberries, cucumbers, 4 okra, blueberries, oregano, cilantro and ONE WATERMELON!!!! It was a bit rotten on the bottom but it still counts!

    *I am also trying to get caught up on my sewing after I work outside in the mornings. The mending and ironing are all stacked to the ceiling. I even found sweat pants still waiting to be fixed. I will not mention the dust on my iron and a dead wasp sitting on my machine.

    *The BEST NEWS! We will be going to visit two of my sons this weekend and I will be cooking and making them TV dinners to go in their freezers. They are my tightwad sons who love saving money and eating Mom’s home cooked meals. They don’t care if I am using the food about to expire in my pantry. I also take them supplies from my pantry since I get food on sale, using coupons and can purchase everything much cheaper. Plus I pay for it which REALLY makes it cheaper for them. Anyway, I asked them what they needed – peanut butter and jelly!!! NO! That tells me what they have been eating since they ran out of the last TV dinners I made. My heart is breaking.

    *Lastly, I shared a post about getting our field mowed and what it costs. Living in the country is not cheap.


  48. Happy Anniversary!

    My husband needed to run into Food 4 Less and we always check the discounted produce section. We found 4 packaged chopped salad kits for 25 cents each. We love salads and that is what we took in our lunches for most of the week. We also ate chicken thighs that we got for 47 cents per pound.

    My husband went fishing with his friend and one of our sons-in-law. He caught several blue gills and a couple of bass. We are looking forward to a fish fry 🙂

    A co-worker gave me a large bag full of Swiss chard. We harvested basil and lettuce from the garden.

    We watched our two granddaughters on Friday night. They made their own personal pizzas and we had ice cream cones for dessert.

    I only bought milk, cherries, and ice cream at the grocery store this week.

    I made extra money dog-sitting for our son-in-law’s parents while they went to Florida for 10 days.

    For the Fourth of July we went to our oldest daughter’s house. We brought baked beans to share. We ended up bringing home potato and pasta salad and watermelon.

  49. I continue to eat from the garden. I have been getting a lot of tomatoes so every few days have a caprese salad. My two eggplant plants are starting to produce so I shoukd have many eggplants in a few weeks. My blueberries and raspberries are ripening. What I don’t eat I have been sticking in the freezer. For the most part I’m trying to stick to the vegetables from the garden and not buy at the store.

    I cut some flowers to make an indoor bouquet. I planted several rounds of sunflowers so I’m hoping can have them into the fall. I love flowers but rarely buy them.

    My husband and I are remodeling our half bath. We are trying to do all that we can to remodel the house for a potential resale. The vanity we chose was on sale, saving us some $.

    We will be on vacation for a week so we have been eating from the fridge and pantry. I hope to continue to “eat it up” when we return.

  50. Happy Anniversary. I wish our tomatoes were ready …I am waiting for them to get a little bigger to have a couple for fried green tomatoes. We have been checking where the money leaks are and options to fill in gaps of needs that are coming up with me going down on shoulder surgery. My lettuce is almost gone and I plan to let one head bolt to seed itself. Hubby asked if he was going to be mowing lettuce again this year as last year the bolted lettuce was ALL over the yard. I dug several up and gave them to others to replant for themselves. Had a frugal accident (HA HA) last night. Had storms coming in so shut up the house and went to bed…forgot to turn the AC back on. House was still at 74 this morning when I realized it was off.Going to try it again tonight (since it is storming right now) and see if I can get by with it being off. The rest is here

  51. we continue to do the simple things. We plan our meals around the well stocked pantry and freezer. I wash our laundry and hang it out to dry in between rain showers. I continue to let my son drive my car back and forth to work instead of taking him myself. It makes me nervous but is financially necessary. We picked up a pack of hamburger buns for BBQ sandwiches and other than the two free pints of Halo ice cream, that was all we spent. I redeemed a Groupon for 45 days of free Hulu. I also signed up for a free 30 day trial of Netflix. Currently we have a trial of Showtime but when it runs out, I think we will try HBO. Hulu is currently offering a 30 day free trial of HBO so we may try The Game of Thrones. Sugar Cookies medical problems continue to keep us at home. Each evening, I have been spending time clearing off a 3 X 3 ft section of yard. Our house was an abandoned foreclosure and the yard has not been cleaned in 8 years. I bought a nice push mower but most work has to be done by hand. I sit on the ground and cut vines etc with a pair of scissors from the dollar tree. It actually is working pretty well. Perhaps next months budget will afford a few small hand tools. I am proud of my progress. We have doctor appointments this week and hoping that they are where they have free parking. Those fees add up fast and really eat my budget up. my back yard is full of black berry bushes. I am a city girl and dont know much about them. Hoping they will be worth keeping and eating. I have some research to do.

  52. This week has been long and short and I remember thinking I need to share this or that frugal accomplishment but they escape me now..

    1. My MIL offered to buy my kids some school uniforms which is a blessing. My kids go to public school but they have a standardized attire. Whatever else they need I will try to get from Wear and Share, where you can trade an outgrown piece for a new piece!

    2. My second summer school class started. Instead of buying a new notebook I ripped out pages I had already used and good as new!

    3. I have been using my Instant Pot to make items fro my work breakfast and lunch. Oats in 4 minutes and 8 hardboiled eggs in 8 minutes. Pretty nice b/c I can study instead of watch and stir the pot.

    4. I have been trying to find free unicorn printable for my daughter’s birthday. We will probably only have cousins over but want to make it festive.

    5. Took a homemade gift to a birthday party. My daughter loved swimming at the party which is a treat. We made her friend a butterfly necklace from some charms I bought and brought a coloring book. The mom had requested cash for her daughter’s college fund but I just can’t do it at the moment. Her mom’s expression gave me the feeling she didn’t think the gift was enough but luckily my little one is only 5 and didn’t seem to notice.

  53. Hello all!
    I’ve been trying to catch up with Brandy’s blog for some time, I’ve been absent for many weeks. Other things have gotten in the way!
    My past week was mostly filled with clothes-related stuff…our dryer broke in late January and we finally got a new washer and dryer set last week. Many thanks to all the ladies that gave me feedback earlier in the year re: center agitating washers vs. ones without the agitator. We decided to go with an Amana set of HE washer with center agitator and a dryer that is almost twice my old one’s capacity. (!) We ordered it thru Home Depot’s website and used the Shop feature at Swagbucks so will be getting almost $8 back. We did spring for the extra warranties (brings it to five years) so I feel a little bit calmer. The old set were almost 20 years old and I’m pretty sure that the new ones won’t last that long…the delivery guy remarked to my husband how old our set was and Jeff just laughed. I’m getting used to the way the new HE washers work…a much longer wash cycle than I’m used to but it’s so much easier not having to hang clothes to dry! I feel like we have so few “splurges” in our life these days that soft laundry is a luxury! I took a picture of my husband cuddling a fluffy (-ier) towel to send to my parents. He’s so silly.
    So we spent most of the 4th of July moving things around and tidying up before the delivery. My husband also dyed a pair of his work pants black and an older pair of jeans too. My first experience with using Rit dye. It’s messy but the pants look much better.
    I’ve mostly been catching up on laundry and did some mending-a pillow that was unstitched, sewing a button on one of my husband’s shirts, and stitching up a hole in my favorite t-shirt…twice. It ripped again when I put it on, lol. My mending skills aren’t amazing but I’m getting better.
    Husband also worked a charity event and brought home some unused food. A big container of Antipasti and a huge bag of salad mix. Not sure if the two of us can get through the salad before it goes bad! It’s A LOT of salad! Also brought home a nice logo glass that we’ll give to his mom.
    Looking forward to being better at reading and posting. Best to all.

  54. Brandy, I love your photo! The fruit and veggies look better than my supermarket 😀

    Activities last week:
    -baked bread
    -ate all meals at home except one. My husband is helping me by being so willing to eat simple meals at home (scrambled eggs, cereal, tuna fish) on those days when I have lost my cooking enthusiasm. I also love having a good group of frozen already cooked meals in the freezer.
    -researched a few needed items online to find the best price, then grouped items together to get free shipping.
    -lots of car expenses last week: replaced four tires, one battery, brake fluid and engine oil change. Much cheaper than buying a different car since I love this one and it is super reliable! I budgeted $800 for annual car repairs, alas the total will be $1100, but we will find other offsets to cover the overage.
    -had a manicure and pedicure using a birthday gift certificate from a friend, she even included cash for the tip 😉
    -hosted a 4th of July potluck with six friends; sharing food costs made a wonderful meal with lots of interesting dishes, and leftovers for the balance of the week.

  55. This is the second time today that I have heard about thundershirts! I must research, as our dog has anxiety.

  56. I froze extra eggs in snack bags. They lay flat that way and have worked well, but you do have the expense of the bags. I either use the store brand or get them at the dollar store. I also have several silicone ice cube trays. They work beautifully for freezing small amounts.

  57. oh they are actually good for separation anxiety and fireworks. Our dogs are both wearing them now as they sleep – as my husband and daughter are away. The dogs are very anxious at night and when I leave. I’m glad I only spent about $15 for the first one. I got them both at Petsmart

  58. My closest grocery store to me is Safeway, although certainly not the least expensive. They have American Beauty pasta on sale for $0.89 in their 4 week specials book, I purchased 8 , utilizing my 4 coupons and ended up paying $.39 cents each. They also had e coupon specials that had a dz. Eggs for . 29, two 24 oz loaves of bread for .49 (combining clippable coupons), and a lb. Of ground turkey for .99. I purchased a few other produce items and when reviewing my receipt in the parking lot, I caught an error of $2.79. I went to CS to get a refund. I try to review each receipt before I leave the store so I don’t waste another trip or even worse, forget about it.

    I collected Rosemary, Lemon Balm and Basil from the garden.
    I replanted zucchini seeds in the garden as I’ve had a terrible time fighting slugs this year.
    I took several soft wood cuttings from two different blueberry bushes to try to propagate new bushes. I read that you need 2 bushes per person to have a years worth of blueberries for fresh eating, canning, baking and freezing. This means we’re about 12 bushes short 😮
    Collected blackberries, so far just enough for snacking.

    We enjoyed dinner at home and then went to a free event in our community to watch fireworks.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  59. I did the usual frugal things daily using muscle memory. Here are some unusual frugal activities:

    – We used a whole watermelon. We ate the red part, served the pink part to our Wriggly Worms, made pickles with the white part and composted the green rind.

    – My hand held can opener was not cutting evenly. I wadded a paper towel lengthwise and ran the opener through the towel a few times. After much grime came off onto the towel, the opener works like a charm. I crossed can opener off my To Buy list.

    – I’m running low on liquid hand soap, so I soaked an old glycerin bar of soap in water for a few days. The soap liquefied and works fine in a recycled dispenser.

    -On my daily walk I came across 3 quarters, 2 dimes, a nickel and 2 pennies on the side walk. I’m assuming a hearing-impaired person dropped them. I picked them all up and promised to be a good steward of them.

    Brandy, Happy Anniversary to you and your special husband! I say special because behind every wife who does great things, there is a special husband!

  60. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 😀 .

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments included –

    Here is our frugal accomplishments –

    Groceries –

    – Purchased grocery gift cards from our roadside assist club we are a member of saving 5% off the face value which will save us $10 off usual prices on a combination of groceries and fuel this month.
    – Purchased a years worth of golden syrup, cooking chocolate, vanilla extract and 6 months worth of yeast from our online restaurant using a 20% off voucher saving us $68.70 on regular prices.

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into and earned interest in our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 19.71% of the way there.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made 4 lts of pumpkin soup from pumpkins and spring onions picked from the gardens and used stock powder and evaporated milk that needed using from the pantries aving $29.32 (including the cost of our ingredients) over purchasing the equivalent in the supermarkets.

    In the garden –
    – Picked 2 capsicum, lge bunch of parsley, lge turnip, 511g of shelling peas from the gardens saving $26.60 over purchasing them at current supermarket prices.
    – Used vegetable steaming water to water in newly sprouted vegetable seedlings in the garden.
    – Used our saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water all the house paddock lawns without using any town water.

    Firewood savings –
    – We cut 1.079 cubic metres more hardwood ironbark firewood from a friends farm free of charge saving us $215.80 over purchasing it.

    Electricity savings –
    – Boiled our kettle & steamed vegetables on the slow combustion stove, used our solar lanterns, and charged our solar lanterns and mobile phone with our DC cable in the car on cloudy days saving $14.92 in electricity this week alone.

    Craft and seed saving internet hobby shops –
    – Sold some more garden seeds making around another $6 this week.
    – Took advantage of a free listing promotion on Ebay to list 37 of my handmade items saving $55.50 in listing fees.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead one and all .

  61. I do love that solar powered clothes drying device. I use one of those outdoors and a heater powered clothes drying device indoors.

  62. Happy Anniversary Brandy!

    This week I have been just making lots of food at home as always and packing lots of picnics for when we go to the park and splash pad.

    I am still waiting to harvest anything besides rhubarb from our garden as I planted a bit late and I had to replant some (we have had loads of rain this year and I think it washed out some of the first seeds I planted….).

    I have been working with a very minimal budget to finish my Christmas shopping and start any gift making that I want to do. I find at this time of year I can get great clearance prices on things – typically up to 70% off items from last year’s collections. I was able to get some cheese knives and kitchen towels for my mother-in-law who loves to entertain, some Disney Tupperware drinking bottles for my son and niece and nephew, and some beautiful hand towels that I will pair with bars of soap as gifts. I have now reached my spend limit from my gift budget and will not be buying anymore in this category until I go back to work in December. I have a few DIY gifts that I am going to start doing “trial runs” of to see if they turn out the way I am hoping.

    As I approach the end of my maternity leave the budget will continue to shrink. Since I went on leave in October, my income has been reduced by about 60%, but we continue to pay for my elder son’s preschool and actually double what we normally pay for gas. His preschool is by my work (which saves us loads of money and time when I am actually working) but means I have to drive more to get him there when I am not. My husband and I try to split the driving but his job does not always allow it. I reduced him by a few days a week when I was first off, but then bumped him back up to 4 days a week when I realized how much he was missing the routine and activity of being around the other kids (we are completely on our own where we live with zero family in the area). All that said, we have been able to make everything work but I am definitely starting to feel the strain so to speak and working very diligently to keep everything in line so we do not take on any non-house related debt before I go back to work.

    Otherwise, I have continued to just not buy anything that isn’t necessary.

    Oh – and I got a free drink from McDonald’s haha. Big news. I love fountain pop and said I would treat myself to one Dollar Drink Days drink a month during the summer. The other day I went to get a Coke and for some reason my lane in the drive thru was getting skipped. I waited while 4 or 5 cars went through the other lane and then pulled up to the window and said that nobody took my order. They gave me my drink for free! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  63. Cari-We received our first Roku 4 years ago as a gift, got rid of our cable, and haven’t looked back since. We love it.

  64. Margaret, that is a great idea regarding the cheese! I am going to start doing that with our pizza cheese.

    I was wondering if you’ve ever made kosheri? Not to be confused with kosher, it’s an Egyptian dish with lentils, rice, tomatoes, and onions. It is very frugal and vegetarian. There is a great recipe for it in the Ottolenghi cookbook.

  65. Elizabeth, I’m sorry to hear about the fallout with your “friend”. You seem really lovely. A therapist once told me that the way people criticize and react usually has very little to do with you, and very much to do with them and their own issues. Nobody should ever be able to come into your home and make you feel inferior. Very rude and un gracious behavior.

  66. Those grapes look so delicious! I would love to have a garden that produced more fruit. Hope you enjoyed your anniversary dinner at home with your husband, Brandy!

    Well, we finally had 4 days without rain!!! Whoohoo, we set a record for this year. Good part is the puddles are finally drying up, but down side is we now we have to water and weed the gardens. Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home included taco bake, hot chicken sandwiches with broccoli and salad, spaghetti with choice of sauce/topping, chicken fingers with tater tots and corn, and make-your-own pizzas. (Frugal fail: we are eating out more than I want to admit to lately, but one night was my mom’s birthday)
    *Taking my lunch every day to work, as usual. I often take leftovers, hummus with cold salads, or sandwiches with cold meat from my freezer stash and homemade garlic sriracha mayo. I usually round out my lunch with yogurt or cottage cheese and some fruit. We have some great bakers on staff this year and cooler weather as well. We have been enjoying treats almost very single day cooked in the wood stoves or over the open hearth. Cookies, tarts, pies, biscuits…So Yummy!!!
    *I was getting a bit bored with eating boiled eggs every morning for breakfast. My mom kindly cooked up a package of breakfast sausages for me and put them in the fridge. I just pop a few in the microwave to heat through for a tasty, quick meal.
    *Taught DD how to make her own smoothies with the magic bullet. She enjoys them for breakfast and they are an easy, healthy choice for her to make herself.
    *Canned 13 pints of pineapple chunks from 7 of the 8 pineapples bought on sale for $1.50 each. One of the pineapples was a bit dark when I cut it up, so I decided to use that one as fresh fruit instead. I used 1 can of pineapple juice ($2.50 for the can) diluted with 2 cans of water for the liquid. Unfortunately, 1 jar broke during processing, otherwise I would have had 14 pints. Just out of curiosity, I checked the cost of canned pineapple at Walmart (their brand, about the same amount in a pint jar) and regular price was $1.67/can. My cost was about $1/jar and far superior in quality!
    *Awesome grocery deals this week included 12 jars of pasta sauce (mom & hubby’s favourite) for $0.99/jar, 2 heads of romaine lettuce for $0.50/head, and another flat of farmer’s market strawberries for $26 (we will eat these ones fresh and freeze what’s left if they are starting to go bad before we can consume them).
    *Bought 2 bags of sweetened shredded coconut on sale for $0.77 each to add to my pantry stock. I checked expiration dates and it’s good until 2018. I will most likely use them for Christmas baking, so that works perfect!
    *Used a coupon to save $10 on some much needed PJs and other clothing essentials for DD.
    *Wrote down the recipe for the cornmeal pie crust that everyone has been using at work this year. It is so tasty, almost like a crumbly graham cracker crust but not so sweet and slightly more flaky in texture. It can be rolled or just formed directly in the pie plate, making it versatile to work with too! Must make it for the family when I get time.
    *Bought 25 canning jars (quart sized, about 1/2 are wide mouth) at an auction for just under $10. I have been saving gift money to buy a pressure canner and should be buying one sometime this summer. These jars will definitely come in handy!
    *We’ve been really enjoying the wildlife at work this year. There is an adorable baby bunny living under the deck of the food booth…so cute! We also have a very large number of chipmunks running around, including a very brave one that is missing part of it’s tail. One of the girls sometimes brings treat for them. The little half-tail darling ran up very close to me one day, hoping I had treats, too. I could have almost reached out to touch it, but it’s not quite trained for that yet.
    *Took a moment to walk around and see some of the classic cars at the Car Show and Transportation Day event we host at our museum annually. They were just arriving, so I didn’t see all of them as I had to work. I did see the DeLorean, though (the “back to the future” car).

    That’s it for me this week. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  67. Hi J! I haven’t made kushari, but as it contains hot sauce, I’m sure it’s delicious! I’m not a big fan of rice and lentils in general (I can eat them, but I’d rather eat other things). That said, if I’m ever in Egypt I so want to try this dish! (Can you tell I Googled it? 🙂 ) Interestingly enough, I do remember eating a rice, lentil, and toasted spaghetti dish as a child. I think my mom got it out of an Arabic cookbook, so it’s probably related to kushari. And I haven’t read the Ottolenghi cookbook, but I’ve heard good things! I’ll have to borrow it from the library one of these days; thanks for the recommendation!

  68. That is so horrible! My friends chuckle and tease me about my frugality but never ever try to shame me- although my aunt does that sometimes. It’s so hurtful. Someday she’ll realize you were right but I’m sorry you had to deal with that 🙁

  69. I second that whole-heartedly! My MIL is very similar to your friend. Having her over has become so divisive that we now meet them at a restaurant once a year. I hate paying for dinner to have a miserable evening, but it would be worse to invite such dissension into our home. Good job maintaining dignity and grace while she was visiting!

  70. I love reading everyone’s accomplishments! I wonder if anyone out there has any suggestions for me…with two young kids, studying, and work I sometimes feel defeated that I don’t accomplish as many frugal accomplishments as those of you on here. one of my big struggles is healthy, quick dinners. I would love to use my crockpot more, but by the time I get home after work, it will have been running for 10 hours which is too long for a lot of recipes. Also, I haven’t been able to find a lot of really healthy crockpot menus! During the summer we do a lot of grilling and frozen veggies. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    – I almost never shop but Loft was having a huge sale and I had a gift card given to me a year ago. I bought a few articles of clothes and jewelry for date nights. I skipped things like jeans and pants because I get those at thrift stores. I also went through Ebates
    – we had to buy a few outfits for a friend who just had a baby. We went to the carrters outlet for them. I was still floored by how expensive they were! Our kids have been dressed in hand me downs and yardsale finds. The only thing we’ve bought are socks and shoes!
    – we decided to never buy greeting cards again. I know this is old news for you all, but I couldn’t believe how expensive they have become! I have a bunch of $1-2 dollar cards from the clearance rack at TJ Maxx and then some blank card stock cards. I had my son fingerpaint a few for future grandparent cards.
    – Used cloth diapers and tried to hang them to dry. When my husband does them he puts them in the dryer (which is easier but more costly and wears out the diaps!)
    – tried to use up food in our fridge. A few veggies got tossed as casualties. Lunch yesterday was a salad with just lettuce- not the best haha
    – tried to remember to water our veggie garden. Hard to remember at the end of a long day!
    – studied hard for my certifying exam tomorrow!

  71. Brandy,
    I wanted you to know that this year I was able to have a tiny container garden on the top of the garage in the back yard. The garage is quite new and it is partially built inside a bank. So far I have harvested arugula, lettuce dill, my favorite of fresh herbs. Silverbeet and green onions are on their way 😉

    Thank you, Brandy, for everything!

  72. 1. My SO fixed the shower valve to switch between the shower head and the handheld. It had developed a significant leak. We already had the part from his old house. While he was doing that, he replaced the shower head with a low-flow shower head that we received free from the utility company.
    2. My 15 year old washer finally gave out. It needs a new belt which we will replace ourselves. However, SO had his washer from his old place. It is a front load, energy efficient washer. We swapped out the washers. The old washer will go out to the shop for the icky shop rags and floor blankets.
    3. We replaced the tail light on my van. The lens had fallen off while driving on the interstate. I bought a new tail light off Ebay for a lot cheaper than the automotive stores and we replaced it ourselves.
    4. SO changed the oil on his pickup. We had to buy oil and a filter, but saved $20 in labor.
    5. The garden is coming along nicely and I hope to start harvesting from that in the next week. We should have peas and summer squash ready very soon! I don’t think we will have strawberries or raspberries this year due to transplanting them to a direct location.
    6. One of our local grocery stores had a B1G1 Free sale plus a 24 hour sale. I spent $52 and saved almost $65. Most of those groceries will last us 1-2 weeks. Plus, a friend of mine spotted four almost expired lactose-free milk for 99 cents for each half-gallon. She picked it up for my lactose-intolerant daughter and I gave her a brand new shirt that didn’t fit me very well.

  73. It is a good cookbook – but not frugal at all aside from the kosheri and a few cracker recipes. A lot of the recipes require ingredients that even someone who cooks a lot would probably not have on hand. I got the book because we used to live by their Islington restaurant in London, and I remember walking past the window and seeing the truly stunning desserts in the window. And yes – the book does not disappoint on this – full of beautiful dessert recipes.

  74. I know exactly how you feel. I used to have a lot of people around me like that. Most of them I’ve eliminated from my life. Just didn’t need their negativity and judgment. Some people you can’t avoid though. Just know that time will tell. Especially when you have a paid off mortgage!

  75. I did the baggies last winter – but they all leaked when they were defrosting in the frig (they weren’t actual freezer bags) even though I double bagged them. If I can find a silicone one it will mean a lot less bags to buy – I’ll just pop the cubes out and put them all in a big gallon size freezer bag or in one of my Rubbermaid storage containers – it won’t be as easy or space saving though as freezing them all flat.

  76. Wait, wait, wait… Is this something new, to ask for money for a child who’s having a birthday party? How crazy is that. The child was probably far more delighted with the gift your daughter brought!

  77. Jeannie….how many acres is your pasture? I am just curious, as I pay to have my six acres mowed. Beautiful property by the way

  78. That’s fantastic, Gardenpat! We currently are renting a house and are contemplating our next move. We really need to get rid of stuff, as the more stuff we have, the bigger the house we will need, the more expensive it will need to be. We’ve moved quite a bit over the years and I culled quite a bit, so I don’t have too many extra things that were my own, but in the last 3 years we have also helped our parents on both sides downsize and have inherited things. When were downsizing them, there were quite a bit of emotions going. Now that those emotions have subsided, we need to take a closer look at the things we kept from them.

  79. Wow, just wow… The parent requested cash… Ugh. Good for you for sticking to what you could afford and finding a creative way to be generous!

  80. I cut my husband’s and son’s hair using our clippers. If I was brave and wouldn’t look like Curly from the Three Stooges, I would buzz my hair too. OK, maybe not, lol. My girls have never had their hair cut and we all wear it long and waist-length. We also used things we had around the house to eat when we spent a day at a campground with friends.

  81. Thundershirts have a proven record. They work along the line of swaddling babies to make them feel secure. My daughter in law’s parents have one for their dog. It is funny, the dog was fine when they lived in the big city and she was mostly an indoor dog except for quick outside potty trips. Now that they live in the country and have a large backyard to roam in she was frightened of all that open space, birds flying over, etc so my son in law the veterinarian recommended the thundershirt when she goes out. They also switched her to a turkey based dog food which seems to have a calming effect in general. She is a tiny approximately 8 pound Shih Tzu and there is a thundershirt for that size and all the way up to big, big dogs.

  82. Keep trying! You will achieve more and more savings as you go along. I’ve been frugal for over 30 years and I am still learning new things and getting new ideas from this blog!

    Remember that veggies that might not be good fresh anymore may still be ok for a soup pot. I keep a plastic container in my freezer things like soft celery and tomatoes and also put in leftovers that I think would be a good blend like leftover veggies from dinner (that last tablespoon of corn in the bowl!), that little bit of roast beef or hamburger, etc. Then when it is full, I add some bouillon and maybe a can of tomatoes and round it out with some Italian spices and have a great soup.

  83. We picked peas and strawberries from our garden. And we pulled and tied up the garlic to dry out to use at a later date. We’re really happy with how well our tomatoes and squashes are doing this year – I’m hoping for a good crop to make plenty of tomato sauce and soup to freeze and use whilst I’m on maternity leave.
    We’ve also sorted out all of the baby things from our first born to re-use. We just need to buy a new cot mattress.

  84. what will your family remember most about you? that you had pedicures, or that you spent time with them at home, making it a place they love to be? I have a similar friend, but was able to tell her some comments hurt my feelings, so she immediately did a reverse turn ,… thankfully, for I enjoy her otherwise. its all good now. hope it works out for you, sometimes it helps to just come out with it … ann lee s

  85. As a single senior lady I do all my own … cooking, cleaning, flower gardens (the rabbits ate all my lettuce and green beans)
    the usual … hang out to dry, make bread, etc. Recently I became determined to clear out unused items, and so far this week I have made $42. !!
    I so enjoy all the blogs and comments from your readers.
    ann lee s, Vancouver island, bc canada

  86. Mable, it seems that those who leave rhubaqrb alone and say “live or die” have the most prolific rhubarb! We have two rhubarb plants my mom forced me to plant about 20 years ago. They have been run over with our 4 wheeler (kids), trampled over (to get to our wood shed), and cursed and left for dead many, many times. They only get watered by rain, as they are too far from the house to think about.

    I used to have my husband cut them and take them to friends and co-workers who liked to can rhubarb, but then one day I decided I would take advsntage of those hearty plants and can the fruit.

    Now I can most of it as rhubarb pie filling – this tastes great as an ice cream topping, too, or you can just lower the sugar and bake it in cakes. We take the rest -ours almost always produces two crops by autumn – and drop it off at a homeless shelter. We feel good that a perfectly yummy, nutritious fruit doesn’t go to waste and have learned to appreciate the no fuss plant.

  87. Guess what? My birthday & my son-in-law’s mother’s birthday are both July 5th as well! So someday they might be doing the same thing. Of course the “other” mother lives in England, I live in California & the newlyweds live in Utah. So no one gets a birthday visit. Thank goodness for video chats 🙂

  88. Woah! All I can say is, “How RUDE”, to ask for money for a little girl’s brthday party!

    Our kids used to be invited to a birthday by every child (parent) they knew, and it just got to be too expensive and too “status” driven. Plus we noticed the Man Greed Genie always seemed raise its ugly head in the birthday child. For years now, we have had a rule that our kids don’t go to birthday parties. There are plenty of other events they attend with their friends – church, ball games, regular ply dates, etc.

    Likewise, we have only family birthday parties. We allow each child to pick a special restaurant for the family to eat at and then have a special birthday cake and gifts at home. OR we allow the child to choose a special home-made dinner. A lot of times, our children have chosen to eat at home with a special dinner made by mom or dad.

    We have never seen this as being “cheap”, nor do our children. We see birthdays as special [b]family[/b][i][/i] times with no exectations of gifts from people outside the family. Birthday gifts at $10-20 a pop are so expensive for parents, and a few per year gets pretty spendy. A lot of the gifts received at thes obligatory parties are not even appreciated.

  89. Here’s the Ball Corporation, maker of the jars and lids you probably use in your canning, on ditching the lid warming step (emphasis mine):

    Here is the attest thing from the Ball jar company, about heating lids before canning. “Our Quality Assurance Team performed comprehensive testing to determine the need for pre-heating lids. Ultimately, we determined that it’s completely safe to skip pre-warming lids in the canning process. Since our testing found that pre-heating isn’t necessary, we recommend prepping lids by washing with warm, soapy water and keeping them at room temperature until you’re ready to can.” And if you are going to water bath can for 10 minutes or longer, you don’t have to boil the jars either. Makes canning A LOT easier.

  90. Brandy, would you consider doing a post about working from home? I have health problems that don’t allow me to get an outside job. My husband only makes $500 a week and we are in desperate need of more income. I signed up for Money Saving Mom’s blogging course and paid for the hosting package and web designer she suggested. I have already spent over $1,000 just to get started and I have no idea how blogs actually make money! I know you have been blogging for years and would love your help. Thanks so much.

  91. TJMaxx and Marshalls both have good prices on nail polish. I like OPI and there’s is more than 1/2 off retail.

  92. I freeze excess lettuce/greens/salad and put it into smoothies. I also dehydrate salad and throw it into chili, where it soaks up extra liquid and adds nutrients.

  93. Since meats can be on a counter for up to two hours before it starts becoming unsafe, when I used to be gone from home for 10 hours I would plug the crock pot into a timer that I set to start cooking two hours after I left. I would fill the crock pot insert at night and put it in the fridge so all I had to do was plug it in right before I walked out the door. (I put a sticky on the door to remind myself to take it out of the fridge, after I forgot a few times and came home to the crock pot still in the fridge.) By the time the timer goes off, the insert has warmed up enough that it won’t crack when the heating element comes on. Also, if you set it for six hours of cooking, it will go on warm for the last two hours so things don’t get so over-cooked. Between the warm cycle and starting two hours after you leave the house, you may find that you can use your crock pot more often. Hope this helps.

  94. Darla, I asked my hubby and he said it is about 7 acres of pasture land. We have 12 acres total but some of it is woods or lawn around the house. When we first decided to hire someone, we called around and got different quotes, this was the best. Also, there are not many people who do this in our area so our choices were limited. We originally wanted to find someone who would mow it and take the hay as payment, no one was interested. Our land is too small to bother hauling their equipment here.

  95. I know how you feel. I’m so sorry. You are right, Brandy’s blog and webpage and the sweet, REAL comments make me feel like a part of a true community that appreciates what we can truly do. Thank you for opening up and sharing your struggles!

  96. I was able to use the church’s Mylar sealer to dry pack several bulk bags of powdered milk, rice, pinto beans and black beans. I’ve had the bulk bags for almost two years and haven’t used them, so I put them into Mylar bags and they will last for years (I hope!) I had to buy some new oxygen absorber packets. $11.94 was my total for over 100lbs of food. (The food and Mylar bags were no out-of-pocket cost to me, a tender mercy.) This food will be a great blessing in the coming year.

    We harvested one zucchini from the garden! There are a couple more almost ready and tons of tomatoes that will be ripe in another week! Beans are getting close too!

    Tonight for dinner we went to Chick-fil-a for their “dress like a cow” day and got free dinner! We only ordered entrees (no extras or drinks) and took it to a park with water bottles. It was a fun family outing with no dishes!

    My sweet husband takes his lunch to work everyday. He usually makes it himself in the morning while I’m making breakfast for the children but I secretly made it for him tonight. Little things like that make the stressful times a little easier and even fun!

  97. I am going thru that now – just moved – went thru things before moving and still going thru things as we realize not enough room My daughter is helping my husband with moving things from his fathers house – they know how much room. It’s hard with emotions involved…. There are things at least 50 years old …. some that we have no use or room for… I’m praying that we do not have store stuff in our garage. I’ll find out in about a week!

  98. Hi Brandy, and happy anniversary!

    I’m wondering if you would be willing to share what food you prepared for your Independence Day celebration at home. I have so looked forward to your holiday celebrations! I struggle with making frugal foods for holidays and events, and I would love to hear about how you handle this prudently. Thank you for your wonderful blog!

  99. I am happy to see that my bad attitude isn’t so bad. As I have aged I have found that being kind and generous ends up with me feeling taken advantage of. So many special occaisions seem to turn into events where people were handing out sign up sheets for their loot list. Often it seemed like we never heard from any of these friends except when they are looking for a gift. Now I have a steadfast rule. I am the first to congratulate you on your special day. We politely decline events and parties. I keep gifts for the children to give at birthday parties. I keep several on hand in my gift closet that I usually buy marked down. Barbies etc…. I rarely spend more than ten dollars. Sadly Christmas has become the same way. This year I will buy for my three young adult children and possibly any companion they may have at that time. Our focus will be on the holiday, the meal and family time. The gimmee are over with.

  100. Sure Shelly!

    My mom provided the meat. She bought 3 (and 2 would have been enough) 8-pieces of fried chicken from the grocery store for $3.99 each. This is very different than what we normally do, but that was an outstanding price and what she decided she wanted to contribute. I made corn on the cob (8 ears for $1 plus my mom had bought some as there was a limit of 8 and we had plenty). My mom brought over butter. I sliced tomatoes from the garden. I made individual pavlovas and we topped them with whipped cream (I bought the cream and whipped it with powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla) and blueberries and cherries that were provided from one other guest that I didn’t mention (a senior lady who my mom takes grocery shopping each week and helps in other ways; she is often included in our holiday meals and usually provides something by buying it ahead of time and then I can make it).

    We had water to drink. I know drinks are often a huge expense at holiday celebrations, but water works well and is always refreshing, with no extra money spent for drinks or ice.

    We ate on real plates, so there were no disposables to purchase.

    I decorated with some miniature flags I already had placed on the table in mini milk bottles on a table runner.

  101. Oh, Miriam, I am SO happy for you! It has been several years since you’ve had a garden; wasn’t your last garden in Finland? You never mentioned having one while you were in Jerusalem, so I can only imagine how wonderful it is to have a little space for a garden again! I remember you said everyone in Estonia uses every tiny bit of land to garden in. I am so glad you have a garden growing!

  102. My frugal week from urban Seattle:

    *Admiring everyone’s garden production and Brandy’s beautiful pictures of her garden produce! We live in a rowhouse with a shaded patio. I have a balcony that gets sun where I grow herbs and I meant to try tomatoes this year, but that will be next year now. This week a friend asked me to water her garden in exchange for produce and I came home with some early tomatoes and herbs that I don’t grow myself. I made the tomatoes and some of herbs into spaghetti sauce in my crock pot.

    *We were able to bike all week and leave our car in the carport everyday except for Saturday.

    *Biked over to the “shoe bank” (a neighbor who sacrifices the side porch of her beautiful house to store soccer cleats for trade). I was able to trade both of my boys’ cleats for larger sizes for fall sports. We’ve never had to purchase a pair of cleats since we moved to Seattle thanks to the shoe bank. So thankful for this neighbor’s sacrifice!

    *We *thought* we had comp tickets to a pro women’s basketball game, but when we got to the box office, they wouldn’t allow us to use them for that night’s game. So we decided to play in the giant fountain next door to the stadium for free rather than purchase full-priced tickets. It was a beautiful Seattle evening and we had a great time at the fountain.

    *We walked to 7-11 for free slurpee day today for a late-afternoon treat!

    *My husband and I had an early morning Saturday date playing pickleball (kind of a cross between tennis and ping pong – very popular in Seattle) at a neighborhood park. I purchased some used pickleball rackets and balls off Ebay last Christmas for just a few dollars and we use them practically every week when the weather is nice.

  103. I spent the week picking & dehydrating pie cherries. Made two cherry pies, too.

    Picked & froze blackberries, red raspberries, red currants & white currants. The gooseberries are almost ripe.

    Saved seed from the blossoms on the chive plant that our middle daughter sent to our oldest daughter, & also saved seed from the parsnip volunteer in the garden. There are several onions in the garden going to seed, along with some of the garlic, so I will save seed from those, too.

    Continued to knit on the baby blanket for Little Stuff’s baby brother to be.

  104. That’s too bad your bags leaked. I haven’t had that problem, although I do put the bags in a bowl in the refrigerator to defrost.

  105. Great week so far! We have:
    -froze four dinners of butter chicken to have over rice
    -bought vegetables for the week at the farmers market. Very cheap and fresh
    -went to the French Festival and had a fun day with my family. We caught the train into the city, packed a picnic lunch which we ate by the river, overlooking the city, got the children doing lots of free French activities…yoga, music session, art and craft and each of my children got a free french activity book and CD. We splurged and bought some pastries : )
    -shopping this week has only been for the bare essentials; bread, milk and vegetables. Around a $15 weekly spend
    -budget is on track and house mortgage decreasing at a good level..we are slightly ahead of schedule
    -took some lovely photos of my children
    -went to the library
    -still harvesting carrots, basil, spring onion and parsley from the garden

    Looking forward to the weekend and taking the children to a local fete. I will take $20 with me so they can have some fun! I will bring food and water bottles with us.

  106. Enjoyed reading what you did. I especially liked your tip of tossing out the ads, sometimes blogs are all about the deals and how to buy stuff cheaper, but don’t talk as much about just not buying things that aren’t needed.

    This weekend we moved into our new rental house and…
    I started composting!! I’m so excited to not have that stuff stinking up my trash, but instead nourishing the dirt!
    I picked some spinach-type stuff that is used here (West Africa) in peanut sauce, so I used it in my peanut sauce today.
    My husband made a simple swing for our kids and attached it to a sturdy tree branch. They love it and it was made from materials we had on hand.
    There was a leak in one of the showers, so I put a basin under it and used some of the collected water to mop. Then today my husband fixed it.
    I’ve been trying to do better about writing lists on scraps of paper instead of getting a clean sheet for every little list I write.

  107. we have a few family/friends that way also. I told them that as much as I loved to see them that I have realized my lifestyle makes them uncomfortable so it’s okay if we just email, etc instead of visiting. HARD very very HARD but I think it made them also feel they could stop pushing. My one daughter told me that she gets it a lot and she’s a single parent and has to work but doesn’t spend the money like her peers

  108. Brandy, you are an inspiration!
    We have done well. We made all but one meal at home in the last two weeks. We need to pay off debt and save to replace my 14 year old car. I considered going with just one vehicle but I really need it as my husband works out of town and I run the errands for us and my disabled son. So, we are praying that my car holds out until we get money saved for a decent used vehicle.
    I am being careful to only leave lights on that I need. Try to open windows in morning instead of using lights.
    We bought chicken at 34 cents a lb. It was marked off at Aldi. We will be eating lots of chicken and I will make homemade broth. I get such a thrill out of savings that good! Been eating a lot of eggs as these have been cheap lately.
    Borrowed books at the library and toys from a toy library for my grandchildren. Got the toy library idea from the Tightwad Gazette along with so many other ideas. Googled Toy Library Association. Pretty neat!
    Been reading everything I can on homeschooling, including your site Brandy. I really like the Charlotte Mason method. My three year old granddaughter and five year old grandson are reading! I’m just teaching them over the summer, although I would love to homeschool them! It is fun to watch them learn. My son thanked me and told me I am doing a good job! That made me happy too! I just have them 3 mornings a week on most weeks. It is amazing how much you can get done during that time. I really enjoy reading your blog Brandy. I appreciate not only the frugal ideas, but also the homeschool ideas.

  109. Giving cash to all but your closest family members has been and still is considered tacky! Presents rule…and if bought on sale, even better. Don’t let any ungrateful parent make you feel terrible or unworthy. They will have to deal with themselves, and we get to give the presents we wish to give guilt free.

    I never give money or extravagant presents. Just not done in my family. The closest I will Give is a gift card. The one exception I make is college graduation. I used to give engraved pens, but now do give gift cards to those I know are moving for a job.

  110. I use a hot iron to seal my mylar bags…I don’t think they are special ones, but it might be worth checking into if you need to seal then sometime without access to a sealer (a real treat!). I’ve even been known to seal them with my daughter’s straightener for hair.

  111. We did all of the normal frugal things this week. We also had two stupendous frugal purchases finally materialize.
    My son, with our help, bought a new-to-him older vehicle to get to class and back next fall. It is going to be a bit more costly on gas; however it has 4wheel drive for going over the mountain in the winter. It was also over the blue book cost for several good reasons (extra set of tires, extra radiator, extra transmission, newer engine, and bought from very honest and trustworthy people we know whose daughter drove it). Should last him through college and save his old and useful pick-up for using for many a year to come. He transfered to a local college and is going to live at home for the remainder of college. Now that’s a frugal save right there!

    Which brings me to frugal joy number 2! Our rather small cabin has been delivered. It is Amish built, unfinished inside and cute as a button. We have the electric hooked up, water running and the composting toilet ( talk about frugal living!) usable. We are going to have a cabin and garage (came with a packed-to-the-gills garage that just needed cleaning out) that we own outright!

    I also have to landscape now and have some saved plants plus lots of offers from friends. I’m an experienced Master Gardener, so I can do the outside work. I just don’t know anything about building…but am learning as fast as I can.

    Finally, the museum that I volunteer with out where we live (in the West) wrote a grant to have me do some remote work, and they are flying me home for a week to finish up on site! I had no idea…what a gift!!!! I chose to go the week of our anniversary ❤️ . Congratulations, Brandy, on your anniversary. Good things are happening here!

    I try to focus on those good things and not on the difficulties of living in mud without amenities. They will all come soon enough. I also have a terrific MIL who does our wash and likes to buy groceries. Thankful for family and a roof…not to mention mouse traps!

  112. Riley it sounds like you are doing great. Some crock pots are available with a timer that can change from a low setting to a keep warm setting to stop food from burning. I’m not sure how much they cost though. I try to do a huge cook on Sundays and divide into meal size portions for Mon/Tues/Wed so those three nights I just need to re heat. Thurs/Fri are quick and simple dinners like eggs, pancakes, grilled cheese, fish, soup, smoothies, continental breakfast at night, etc.

  113. Margaret, interesting use of your blueberry jam candy. Did you make a sort of concentrate or did it just make one pitcher?

  114. Happy Anniversary!

    Whew. The week is getting away from me. Our biggest effort this week is just staying cool. :p

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals.

    * We actually had one day that was cool enough to not use the AC at all (unfortunately, the rest of the week was hot). We’re keeping the thermostat set at 80F, using fans, and opening up when we can at night and in the mornings, but our electric bill will still be quite a bit higher this month than normal. It’s not unexpected though; July, August, and September are always our hottest months. At least we have only a few days that pop over 100F–unlike Vegas and Phoenix.

    * Made bread, cole slaw (w/ cabbage from our garden), hummus, and chicken stock.

    * [u]Tried[/u] to make grape jelly w/ juice from our own grapes. It still hasn’t jelled however. Will try recooking it and adding more pectin. Of course the lids will be lost . . . . 🙁

    * Hubs made a full Dutch oven feast on Monday (roast chicken and veggies, rolls, and peach cobbler–with peaches we canned last summer). Had leftovers on Tuesday and made the chicken stock w/ the carcass.

    * Harvested apples, zucchini, Roma tomatoes, a cucumber, and more (!) grapes.

    * Our neighbor was out of town over the holiday weekend and let us use her pool while she was gone. 🙂

    * Did NOT get everything on my shopping lists (decided against the meat).

    * Used water from our rain barrels and rinse/warm-up water to give our roses and potted plants extra water during the heat wave.

    * Stayed home for the 4th of July. Hubs and son set off “poppers” (the only type of legal fireworks in our city) and enjoyed the neighbor’s pool, then we all watched A Capitol Fourth on PBS.

    * Went to a local youth production of Beauty and the Beast Jr. A couple of kids we know were in the cast.

    * Rescued a pair of son’s shorts w/ original blue Dawn and hot water. (Something chocolate came home from camp and managed to go through both the washer and dryer.)

    * Son got a free frozen yogurt as a reward through the library’s summer reading program.

    * Went to a matinee movie (not especially cheap, but a special treat since we won’t go on a vacation this year).

    Have a great rest of the week!

  115. “The mom requested cash for her daughter’s college fund . . . ” Unbelievable! Does this woman not understand that you have your own child’s education to pay for???? Is she planning on contributing to the college fund of [u]your[/u] daughter?

  116. Thanks, Diane. Your idea is great, and is exactly what my mother suggested to me the next day–for our next girls weekend, just meet at in the middle and enjoy a night or two at a hotel. I don’t mind spending some money to maintain happy friendships and shield myself from unintended hurts. I suggested the hotel idea to her and a few other girlfriends, and it looks like that’s the plan for fall! She’s still a good friend and I love her and I don’t think she realized that she was “coming off” as critical, but her priorities are different than mine, and over a 2.5 day visit, that really came through.

  117. Cindi, that is interesting. I don’t think I have heard of making underwear…I am guessing you made panties? Do you use a pattern or copy off of a pair that you like? I sew my own petticoats (slips) sometimes from a pattern I made years ago, sometimes using a tank type top with a half slip…I buy these when I find suitable 2 items at the thrift store. I wear a petticoat everyday, warmer for winter, very lightweight for summer.

  118. Thanks, J. I tried to keep my chin up and not let it show that it was getting to me. I think if it had gone on a few more days I might have had to have a little heart to heart with her, but we only see each other once or twice a year, so I let it be. It would be much harder if it was a close family member or my mother in law, as another commenter said. This was about her, finding fault with my life, in order to justify her own choices to herself. (I imagine the internal dialogue was something along the lines of, “Well, I have to work this job I don’t like, but my rugs/curtains/clothes/orange juice is better!”)

  119. Thanks, Ann. In the moment, I never know what to say. Thinking about it now, maybe something that is non-accusatory would be good, like “I’m sure you don’t mean to, when you ask where I bought things, it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. You are such a kind person, I’m sure you don’t intend to make me feel this way.” If that doesn’t get the message across to cut it out, I would just have to reassess having her as a houseguest in the future.

  120. Yes! It felt like she was trying to push me to be more like her. Everyone thinks their way is the right way. On reflection, I think that was part of it- she feels she is doing me a favor by shedding light on the areas where she sees room for improvement–like, maybe I just haven’t noticed that my hall rug could use replacing, and as a friend, it’s her job to let me know. We frugalistas sometimes get in trouble for the same thing, when we point out ways that others might consider economizing. We’ve all done that and had it not go over so well. I just need to take her words with a grain of salt, and keep doing what works for my family! Brandy, thanks again–the other commenters offered such helpful thoughts and helped me work through an upsetting situation. THANK YOU for hosting this forum!

  121. Isn’t it nice when relatives visit? Especially when they can share pictures and stories of the places they have been.

    I am glad my green beans aren’t in yet as the cucumbers have gone full force.

  122. My much older aunt made nasty remarks to me about my frugal posts on my facebook wall. I told her I was broke, and if she wanted to help out, she could. That stopped the nasty remarks and I continue to post helpful hints to others…..lol

  123. I boiled up a big pot and it filled two pitchers. I used one pint of over-boiled blueberry jam, a big pot of water, some sugar, and some lemon juice. Heated it until the sugar and jam were dissolved, and served it over ice! So, so yummy! 🙂

  124. Good for you Jen not buying the full price tickets and enjoying the close by fountain for free instead. We do the same when you get told no on a promotion you are counting on do not cave and buy the expensive item they are pointing your towards after all at full price your family would not have been out for the game in the first place. We always just look for a local park to enjoy. If we already spent the gas money we will see what is close for free.

  125. Happy Anniversary Brandy! I just got back from being at the hospital for two days. A very close relative had cancer surgery, and we hope the surgeon was able to remove all of it, and that the cancer has not spread elsewhere. I am beyond exhausted because I stayed with the relative at the hospital. It looks like I will be eating from food storage from a while, to help pay for the deductibles on the medical bills. So, I tossed away the sale papers also. When I have a crisis, I go to my “blackbelt” food storage plan. Beans, rice, potatoes, oil, dandelion greens (or whatever green is in season), carrots, tomato dishes (which includes the cans of tomato paste, pasta, eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter, cheap canned vegetables. I already have my six months food supply (which is what I keep in my small house) so I am not worried. My fig tree (which is actually my mother’s fig tree) is producing, so that will be my main fruit for the year, and it produces an amazing amount, along with my mulberries I picked. It is more of a plant based diet. I will occasionally buy a can of tuna, or seconds on catfish (I live in catfish country) and add it to rice. I will not buy chicken unless it is 49 cents lb or less. I will buy something only if I run out. I will eat more water based soups, and usually rice based dishes with vegetables added. So, I am not worried about my food. I will cut back on my electric even more by not running the air, and just using ice on myself instead. There will be no thrift store purchases of clothes (and I just purchased some on 4th of July weekend, so I do not need anything anyway at the moment). Yes, it is blackbelt frugality time. If it really gets tight, I will make beans, soup and rice my main dishes every day. I am optimistic that my kin will survive this health care crisis, and thrive. Life has peaks and valleys. Ya’ll be blessed!

  126. What? Whoa…cash for a kid’s birthday party??? No way, you need to pay for your own kid’s college….you did the right thing. Wow. That mom was rude. Do you mind my asking what area of the country/world you live in? I just have never heard of such….I am old…lol

  127. Katie, I have been blogging for 9 years. I don’t write for the money; if I was writing for an income I would have to write a different type of blog for a different audience. There are bloggers out there who sell lots of things through affiliate links and make money that way. Many of them make BIG money, and it’s a full-time income. Many make enough to hire other people to work for them (a friend of mine currently supports her family working for one of those types of bloggers).

    I don’t make big money, but I spend a LOT of time working on my site. It would be lovely to make a lot of money, but it’s not why I write. I write to help those who are struggling to put food on the table and have what they need on a small income. That’s not every reader, but that’s my “target reader” (every blogger needs to find their target audience) –and that reader doesn’t have money to spend on buying stuff through affiliate links. That makes my readership different than most bloggers–even frugal living bloggers. There are people who coupon and save money because they want to make their money go further, and then there are those who NEED to watch every penny to make ends meet. That’s why I write.

    I see bloggers say they’re making thousands of dollars after blogging for 6 months. I’ve read their sites and seen their income reviews, and I don’t know how they do it.

    I currently make a little less than $100 a month from Amazon and every 2-3 months I have enough points in Swagbucks (from people who signed up under me earning Swagbucks) to get a $25 gift card.

    I spend easily 20-30 hours a week working on my site.

    So I don’t have any answers for you from personal experience.

    I have seen a lot of articles on Pinterest from bloggers (search “blog income report”) talking about how they’re making money. Perhaps there is something that can help you in that way. There are also blog posts about generating traffic. Make yourself a private board and pin those articles that are helpful to you.

    I wish you the best!

  128. I’m not sure what kind of pasta you are looking for but Sams Club has $1 off their 6 pk of spaghetti. That is 4.58 for 6 – 1 lb bags. I live in West Texas but I’m pretty sure Sams Club offers are good for all stores, yes?


  129. It can be tough when emotions run high giving items away when parents are downsizing. However, when emotions die down and you ask yourself the question what do I really need and am I willing to place time effort or money into any item I do not need.

    It does always cost time effort or money for every item we own. Dusting , moving, repairing etc…

    If it does not bring you joy take a photo of it and pass it on to someone it will bring joy to.

    I have learned the hard way . Take any cash you can get for items and turn it into great joy for your family.

  130. Earnings $28.00 this week. 3 free bagels , one free slurpee, 2 free meals, and one free large tin of baby formula! Yeah team!!!

    Using up what we have on hand and trying to make the most of water and electric.

    Looking for a used sewing machine and checking out projects I might start.

    Looking at dental supply places for best price on toothbrushes, listerine , and garbage bags etc…
    Thinking I can get a better deal than at Staples or Office Depot for our larger crowd here.

    Planing a long trip away and looking at subleting an apartment seems much cheaper than anything else I can find.

    Took Grandson to the pool and let him pick a book at Salvation Army (the kid is smart he picked a book marked $9.99 and pointed that out to me he only had $2.00 and it was remarked $1.99 and he got a discount so he only paid $1.79 then he went next door and got skittles for .39 and I had the .19 on a gift card so he got it all for his $2.00) Pretty smart for a six year old.

  131. About three times a year there is a sale on American Beauty pasta (and in the east, it’s on the Ronzoni brand) for $0.49 a pound. I am holding out for that sale; it may not come until September but I am down to angel hair pasta and I am looking for it. I have 2 coupons for $1 off 2 bags (so 4 bags total) as well; with the sale they would be free. If I don’t see the sale I will at least pick up some pasta with the coupons (Winco has some American Beauty pasta currently marked $0.88 if I don’t find a better price). I look for the 16-ounce bags rather than the 12-ounce bags at that price. Part of the way I keep my budget so low is by only stocking up at the lowest price. I have a $200 budget for July; you can see my shopping list on the previous post. That’s not a bad price at Sam’s but I will hold out for the $0.49 sale if the stores are still doing it. If the price goes up, then I’ll make adjustments to my price points–and we’ll also eat more rice, as that is a lower cost per pound.

  132. Yes, I made panties. I used these directions: http://verypurpleperson.com/2013/01/tutorial-sewing-panties/
    Now that I have a pattern that I know fits me, I can make these in no time. I have a heavy cotton white T-shirt that I received free for doing volunteer work that is much too big for me that I cut up for the crotch lining, and I use scraps of knit fabric from various sewing projects, plus elastic that I buy on sale at the thrift store or Jo-ann’s. This underwear is so much more comfortable and wears better than any I buy — and it is quite pretty.

  133. One thing our family does is meet up every July and at Christmas. We all bring items from our homes that we no longer want or need and swap within family. This tradition is on it’s fourth generation and it works!

  134. I was dreaming of gooseberries the other night. My grandmother had a bush along with currant and raspberry bushes. We would play outside all summer long and when we got hungry we just went into the garden for a snack. Perhaps a gooseberry bush needs to go on my garden wish list. I always enjoy reading your posts Marivene.

  135. Brandy,

    Just want to say that I love your blog just the way it is. You may not make “big money,” but your site is a real blessing to those of us who are regular readers. It’s beautiful and inspiring (and does not have all of the annoying pop-up ads that so many blogs have).

  136. The BUNZ app! There’s a website as well, but I never have the time to use it, so I downloaded the app and found it very useful. It’s still quite a young app, and only in a few cities in Canada (I’m not sure if it’s even outside of Ontario). You can’t use money to buy items; you can only trade for them. Some people get around that by trading items for gift cards, bus tokens, or alcohol. It’s probably a lot like craigslist was back in the day.

  137. This made me smile, because I always use my flatiron to seal mylar bags. I have to seal one side, then the other, but it works! And it doesn’t hurt the flatiron.

  138. Katie, there are two bloggers whom I follow who have great advice: Ruth Soukop of Living Well, Spending Less and Rosemary Groner of The Busy Budgeter. Both make big money. If you sign up for their newsletters, they will send you emails that are truly useful, and they often have freebie handouts on blogging that you can get too. They DO also try to sell their products, but just DON’T buy them (you’re not at that stage yet, since I think you’ve just started blogging. Wait until you earn money before you invest any more). If you want to see a great blog that is slowly improving itself and building its audience, check out mediumsizedfamily. The blogger often posts here, and I’ve watched her grow her blog bit by bit; I think it will really gain traction shortly and start to bring in income. She’s also a bit more relateable in blogging terms than the first two that I named. All three are great, though (the first two are just the best in the business). Check out ‘How to Blog for Profit w/o Selling Your Soul’ from the library – written by Ruth Soukup, it’s still one of the best books out there.

    The biggest advice that I can give you for where you are in your blogging career, is:
    – as Brandy said, define your target audience and write for them
    – write good content
    – build your email list
    – build a strong relationship with your readers; a strong relationship with your readers is better than high pageviews, as pageviews can be fickle
    – keep plugging away. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. You have to truly feel that you have something to share, have an attractive and useful site, and spend A LOT of time working on your website in order to see any return.

    FYI, bloggers make money in various ways: sponsored posts, affiliate links, ads (both side bar and in text), and selling products that they create.

    And finally, hang in there! It sounds like you’re under a lot of stress and working hard. Things will get better! I wish you lots of success!

  139. I’m so glad you posted how you used the frozen veggie patties. I have some in the freezer I need to use. Your idea sounds much more appetizing than using them on buns.

  140. Cried this morning. Worried that husband will lose his job. But then I decided it would be best to put on a dress, do my hair and makeup and spend the day with him. Now I am going to go into frugal mode and not worry about spending money on extras. I think my husband likes it when I take care of myself and the house. It makes him happy. So I’m going to try and keep my eyes dry and play Queen. I am going to clean my kitchen this evening, try to make things neat. I actually got my hair done today even though I didn’t want to spend the money. I could see that my husband really wanted me to. Now I am going to not make an appointment for a long time. I pray he doesn’t lose his job. But he may. I’ve got to be strong. I want to rush out and get a job. But he really likes me taking care of the house. So I think that is what I will do unless he really needs me to.

  141. It is a truly good thing you are doing, Cindy. Our family has had some serious times where our spending has been cut to the bone. All I can say is that God provides!

    I love the site, fallingfruit.org to look and see if there are fruit trees and bushes near you that, with the owners permission, can be harvested or gleaned. Sometimes I win, and sometimes not.

    The first time the apple tree I located was in someone’s yard and they even loaned me their ladder! I learned to bring a step-ladder and buckets, bags or containers. If it’s too high, I bring my husband!

    We also have lived in areas that have food waste reduction programs ( ie. Free Food Friday) which are not food banks, but available for anyone who has a need and a heart to not see food go to waste. I wish we had that program where my son and I are right now.

    I also tell all my gardening friends that I love any extra veggies. They are often overwhelmed at harvest time and are wishing for the veggies to go to a good home.

    Finally, I have volunteered at a feeding program as the cook and received a meal for myself and my children (who were with me). Oftentimes it is difficult for feeding programs to find volunteers, so it is a good deed and a meal. I haven’t stayed around to the clean-up because of time constraints, but I think there would be leftovers. I have seen the leftovers in the fridge when I went in to cook.

    There is always freecycle and Craigslist where people list their abundance. And, I stop and take veggies when offered for free if I see them as I am traveling.

    Last year my brother was raising some pigs and he went to the local vegetable farms and took away loads of vegetables. Some were so good looking that we ate them!
    One load of corn was rejected by the local grocery store for some reason…the entire crate. I wished I wasn’t just visiting because I could have frozen or dehydrated lots!

    Just more ideas for the community. I get so many ideas here…just wanted to give some, too.

  142. Thank-you. I’m going to save what I can until, if, it happens. Definitely cut out expenses. I’m hoping I can get enough of a fund to pay bills before unemployment kicks in. I’m worried about not having health insurance. Luckily we have a bit of a pantry mostly tuna and chicken and canned vegetables. I’m so glad that I have been reading your blog. I know there are places where I can cut our expenses. I’m going to make our own bread. Try not to drive anywhere unless I am going somewhere with my husband or run an essential errand. I know I have wasted money on so many things in the past and I am really sorry that I don’t have much of an emergency fund. But I think by being extremely frugal we may be able to acquire a bit of one before, if, it happens. Our anniversary is coming up and I already had planned to make dinner at home. I have a can of oysters and I am going to make oyster stew. My husband loves it. I am going to make a dessert also. We had already planned on not buying presents. Even if it does not happen. Having an emergency fund is important. Oh, but I don’t think my husband would tell me that it is likely unless it is. Anyway. Thank-you for your advice and recipes.

  143. I have looked into getting the $20,000 house from Rural Studios at Auburn University here in Alabama. It is that price without septic, and excluding the land. I would love to look at other options for when I retire. Which Amish company did you buy from?

  144. Just a thought… don’t know if this would work or not, but could you spray metal pans with non-stick spray before you put the eggs in? Would this help with the sticking problem?

  145. Hall Mart!! That is hilarious and so fitting. I, too, have that hall closet that I store extra things in like paper products, extra snacks, etc. I might have to make a sign for the door now.

  146. Riley, don’t be too hard on yourself for not having the time to be as frugal as you’d like. You have a lot that you are trying to balance and not being at home all the time will limit what you can accomplish in a day. You are doing great!

    My suggestion is to make things on you are at home (I’m assuming you do have days off from work & school), that can be used for multiple meals. For instance, make up a big batch of chili and use it for chili with cornbread one day, chili mixed with pasta another day and chili cheese dogs yet another day. Cook up some chicken, shred it and use it to make BBQ chicken sandwiches, hot chicken sandwiches, a casserole, soup, chicken wraps, quesadillas or chicken fried rice throughout the week. This also works for ground beef, pork, or even turkey, like Brandy does for her family!

    If you don’t like eating the same thing over and over again, that’s OK too. Try making pre-cooked frozen meat servings or pre-assembled freezer meals when you have the time, or make extra for the freezer when preparing something for dinner. You will need to remember to pull the item to thaw in the fridge, either the night before or in the morning, but all you have to do is cook and serve when you get home! If you forget, frozen, pre-cooked meat packets can be thawed in the microwave fairly quickly as well. Hope these ideas help with your busy schedule.:D

  147. Butter chicken is a traditional Indian dish, kind of like curry but different spices, often served over rice. It is a very popular dish, with lots of recipes on-line (I checked Pinterest and they had numerous links). I have tried it and it’s good, but I will let Annie-Blake suggest her fav recipe as I have never tried making it myself.

  148. Nope – I DID spray them and I ran hot water over the bottoms to get them to pop – nope. But my pans are very well used and beat up so everything sticks if I don’t use cupcake liners. I actually am going to try the liners in a couple and see if the eggs will just stick to them or if I can peel them off. I looked at thrift stores for the silicone ones again today and still no luck.

  149. Hi Elizabeth I am so sorry your endured that and it isn’t fair of your friend to judge you in such a way.

    I would simply have said I prefer to live the way I do so that I can spend more quality time with my children and don’t find it necessary to buy expensive things that I don’t get joy out of.

    Similarly I have some friends who are this way too and when similar comments are directed at me I simply say we have the money to do that, but we choose to put it towards saving for our home with cash so we are not paying massive mortgage repayments.

    At the end of the day if you are happy with your lifestyle that is all that matters after all they are not earning the money in your home or paying your bills you are 🙂 .

  150. I started my first blog (an infertility one) way back in 2007, my first frugal blog in 2009, and my current one in 2015. I make maybe $10 a month in affiliates/ads per month tops. I have a part-time job as a nurse and just finished grad school don’t have a full workweek to work on my websites. I think the people who make a lot blogging either are really good at sales or really got lucky. I will say, though, that I applied for and won a $2500 scholarship towards my master’s in nursing last year, and they told me it was because of my blog and our goal to pay for my degree without incurring debt, so in a way my blog did bring me resources for our goals. I ended up helping to write a couple chapters of a book when I was found by an editor on my infertility blog, and that book credit has helped give me extra opportunities in my career as a nurse.

  151. We have a local company called the Amish Barn Company in Oneonta, NY…I’m sure if you call them they will tell you where to go nationally or in your locality. I’m very pleased with our cabin.

    We have decided to go with a composting toilet (until we can afford an incinerator toilet) and a dry well. Much more affordable but takes a bit of getting used to.

  152. If you have not watched GoT’s before – be prepared – I LOVE the show but it is very, very difficult to watch at times and can leave you emotionally exhausted. It really shows all of the very worst parts of humanity.

  153. I don’t have a single cucumber, yet, but those beans are coming along nicely. I have my mom and aunt lined up for Saturday to help snap, if they go ahead and get big enough. I’d sure like to do a bunch then if I can, since I’m working a lot this week (caring for my nephew), so it would be nice to have the help of the ladies. Most of the family is away at camp this week, so I’ll be double glad for the extra help.

  154. Becky, we are in the midst of canning pickles. I haven’t had this many this early before. We are even doing a batch of relish which I normally don’t do until later. I did have to buy a couple bell peppers red and green as ours are not ready yet. Well we don’t ever grow the red, just the green so would have to buy red anyways. But in the summer they are always much cheaper in the stores. I have help from youngest girl, oldest girl, daughter in law, her mother, my mother, my sister in law and our tenant. She works food service at the university and only works part time during the summer. She has gone in on the garden with us so she has put much help into it which is very nice. We finished up pickled beets also. We all pool the produce and then divide up the end product. Today is nice! Only 55 right now and breezy. Was low 80s and so humid the last 3 days. We’ve been taking turns watching the 3 babies. I’m in the house now (we’re canning in the garage) with Dora in my lap who is “helping” me type. Henry and Anna Joy are napping. I hope you get everything done you want and enjoy your gathering. Some of the men are joining us for lunch…my husband’s going to grill hot dogs and we all brought side salads to go with.

  155. C, I am sorry to hear of your husband’s car accident. No one needs that kind of inconvenience and expense.

  156. Lillianna, I am glad you did what you felt was right. We obviously with a large family go to many birthday parties every year, but presents are never expected or required. I don’t even know if these qualify as parties in today’s definition as there are no themes or organized games etc…just a get together, sometimes with food, sometimes potluck, sometimes just dessert. Presents are small if brought, often homemade, certainly bought on sale. The younger you are the more immediate family the guests are, the older you are the more likely you have an open house with hundred or more coming and going. 70+, for example.

  157. Riley, you can only do as much as your situation and stamina allow. Never feel bad about it.

    My way, and my mother’s, was always to cook extra and cook ahead. I keep a large covered salad bowl in the refrigerator with a mixed green salad with a wide variety of vegetables in it. That lasts usually 3 days. I don’t add wet vegetables like cucumbers or tomato ahead of time. Keep relishes cut up in the refrigerator also like carrot stick, celery, peapods…ready to put out as a salad with just a bowl of ranch dip. Also make marinated salads like 4 bean, coleslaw, 7 layer, cucumber, tabouli, pasta. These are good for several days. Even salads like tuna macaroni and potato salad can be made a day ahead and will keep for 2-3 days. Last night for dinner we had spaghetti pie that I had made the night before from leftovers…leftover pasta, sauce, cottage cheese, mozz, just had to bake and it was ready in 40 min and just added the already made salad, sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, and fresh fruit. After dinner while my daughter was cleaning up I started curry using vegetables that I had cleaned earlier in the week and onions that are always kept chopped in a container. Also made a bok choi ramen noodle slaw. Both of these dishes are better the next day so tonight all I do is add already cooked chicken that is thawing now to the curry and reheat, put the rice in the cooker, put out a bowl of plain yogurt and dinner is ready in 45 minutes.

    Also, if your family does not like leftovers it is best to train them that they can be just as good. My husband was not used to eating leftovers as coming from a family of 10 there just weren’t usually leftovers or they were used up at lunch by his mom and whoever was at home. But he loves leftovers now and often makes up a plate of leftovers for his lunch the next day (his shop is next to our house).

  158. Brandy, I just want to say that aside from content, what I love about your blog the most is that it is not heavily monetized. I find many of the big money blogs difficult to read. Too much snap, crackle, and puff everywhere. Flash ups. Annoying product placement (I don’t mind product placement if it’s well done) and unrealistic advice. Your blog is one of the main reasons I did not try to monetize my own. (although there is nothing at all wrong with a monetized blog, many of those are also great – I just really like what you have done with this space)

  159. Some of my time savers – when I got home from Costo, I would cook up the hamburger. Some was fried in the fry pan. Some was made into a mix for either meatballs and/or meatloaf. Those would be popped into the oven, cooled and frozen in meal sized portions. Same for the cooked hamburger – once cooked, then cooled, it would be packaged for the freezer. I preferred to freeze the meat already cooked.

    One of my favorite rotations was : meatloaf on night one then leftover meatloaf crumbled into spaghetti sauce for night two. Night three was homemade pizza using up the rest of the sauce. No one suspected that nights 2 and 3 were leftovers.

  160. Thank you so much! That sounds like a beautiful celebration, and I love your idea to eat on real plates and with actual utensils. As always, you gave me many wonderful ideas for my family holidays.

    I look forward to each and every post, and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve learned from you and been able to bring to my family.

  161. Hi Cindy your post was inspiring. If you have the time would you mind posting the link to the pattern of the simple knit dress you made. I’m just getting back into sewing myself and would love something not too challenging to begin with. Best wishes x

  162. Taking care of the home and see if you can earn some money on the side. Even with 8 children Brandy holds her garden tours which bring in some cash and many of the woman here do swagbucks and sell items on ebay. There is always a way to earn one dollar here or there and although it might not be much it might be the dollar that makes the difference.

    So yes take care of yourself and the home but also, see if you can earn as well.

    We will pray he does not lose his job.

  163. I haven’t done a garden tour in a couple of years; there were a lot of people asking before to see my garden but the numbers aren’t there at this point. I didn’t charge much ($5 and later years $10; other gardeners that I see doing it charge $20 though). I don’t know if I’ll have them in the future, but for a while, I did have a garden tour in the spring and I also had a garage sale in the spring.

    I always added stuff to the garage sale from my mom and sometimes other people. Anything my mom was about to donate to the thrift store was added in, and sometimes she had a friend who would have the same thing who would add things, or I would have a friend who added things. One year we knew a family who was moving and they told us that we could have everything that they left at the curb. It included a big piece of furniture that we sold for $100! Plus a few shirts that my husband was able to wear, and several more things that we sold. Once I had large amounts of things from my grandmother when she moved from a house into assisted living; we made $1500 at that sale, which we needed to pay my midwife; the sale was a huge blessing. I remember another sale where we made $300 and used it all to pay utility bills. The past couple of years I have donated and taken the receipt for taxes and sold a few things on the local Facebook garage sale page. I can get more on the Facebook page than at an actual garage sale.

    I know some people on the local garage sale facebook page were recently letting people know they could watch children for the summer while parents worked. I have a sister-in-law who does a fun week-long summer camp; she has several themes for each one. They always involve crafts and cooking classes. She works at a school in the office so this gives her some income in the summer.

    Right now I occasionally take photos for home tours for one of my husband’s agents for his listings. I would love to do more of these for other agents in the future if I ever get the opportunity. (I take photos for my husband’s listings as well, but those don’t make extra money!)

  164. I had a good week. I found four landscape blocks at the dump where I took trash. I made yogurt. I put leftovers into the freezer as makeover meals. I visited my daughter and took up a bag of things I no longer wanted. I keep a bag for my daughter and another for my daughter in law. It pleases me to see how eager my kids are to see what Mama has brought and it doesn’t bother them that it is something I’ve used but no longer need or want.

  165. What a lot of good of good ideas!

    My library has an extra produce table, and I’m often able to get some odds and ends during peak season.

  166. I have been thinking of tutoring or teaching piano when i don’t have my grandkids. I have them at least 3 mornings a week and I help a disabled son. I’m also a writer, but the money from that is not much. A couple years ago I sold produce at farmers market. But I really barely made anything. I think I spent more in fees and plants than I made selling produce. I appreciate the ideas. I also appreciate prayers from your readers. I have a lot of teaching experience. Maybe I should try doing a day camp or class. I might run that by my husband.

  167. Hi Rhonda,
    The cornmeal pie crust recipe sounds yummy and practical–would you please share it with us?
    Thanks a bunch!

  168. I agree. I have always needed to make a few dollars, besides taking care of my home. Here are some of the things I have done over the years: I have not done them all at once:)

    Babysat–I’ve done toddlers, random children, overnight stays at people’s houses watching their children(we just both went and took the children, as well–that was in our early marriage), I’ve done steady babysitting, ie. every Tuesday night, etc. and random babysitting–ie–when someone needed it.

    I’ve taught piano lessons, sometimes only a few, sometimes up to 36 a week (when Rob was in college). My children could always play in the house, or, if I was using a church, come with me. Because we recently moved, I am working at a different job, but will get that going when I can, in our new location. It takes a while to build up the business, and moving really put me back to zero.

    Tutoring. I’ve home-schooled for many, many years, and so was able to get work that way, tutoring.

    I’ve worked on my family farm, for many years until it was sold. Every summer, as much as I could, I worked, taking the children with me. That opportunity is gone, but I know I could get a job at one of those fruit stand/farms/u-pick orchards/petting zoos, etc. Now that my kids are older, I could if I needed to.

    When I was much younger, I planted cauliflower for 3 days for a neighbor farmer. It was a short-term job, but gave me some much-needed money. A temp agency might have a few short-term, one-time jobs that a person could do. Or Craig’s list.

    We’ve had garage sales as well. We made a LOT of money (like $2,500) at our biggest one. It was God’s provision in a tim of great need.

    Right now, I’m a PSW (personal support worker) for a niece and nephew who have developmental disabilities. I’ve been told that there are many more clients out there that they cannot find workers for. The case worker would have happily set me up with several more clients, but I have no more time. You do, however, have to be able to give the kids a LOT of attention and help them grow and change and develop as they can–it’s much more than simple babysitting. I can take my kids, but they are 13 and 17 and 21. Or, the kids come here. I’m not sure of your circumstances–if you have kids, or their ages. But, if your husband is not working, maybe there would be a few hours a day that you could devote to something.

    My husband sells a few things on e-Bay for extra money.

    I’ve sewed and mended for money.

    The biggest thing I would advise is to cultivate skills. Skills of gardening (I could sell extra produce if I needed to and could grow any). Canning and freezing–eat what I grow, save it for later. Sewing, so I can make, mend and alter clothing as needed. Cooking–so I can eat well for less. Frugality–so I don’t waste the money I have.

    Everyone has a different skill set. You can probably do many things that can turn into a little cash. Just brainstorm like crazy. There will be a job you can do. Every little bit helps when you are in dire circumstances. And, every dollar NOT spent, is a dollar you don’t have to earn. Every vegetable you can harvest is one you DONT have to buy. Every dollar you can save now, will be a good thing later. Hang in there!

  169. if you have a place that rents mowers you need to check it out. We had to drive 40 min (we borrowed a trailer at the time and now have one)one way to pick it up but it came in cheaper than us hiring it down when we added up all the costs…you have to have the time to do it though.

  170. You are doing fine. I try to focus on doing one thing frugal a day…sometimes that is take a shower instead of soaking in the tub.
    My kids have the same problem with the crock pot…options they used was buy one that had a timer or buy a separate timer and have it come on later. Daughter single mother of 4 teenage boys in every sport there is went to using a ONE POT. Then talked her single brother (okay my son LOL) into buying one for himself. She fills it up the night before and puts it in the frig. When she comes in she puts it in the pot and turns it on. Longest she had had to wait for dinner is an hour HANDS OFF, she forgot to get the meat out the night before and it was froze solid…pork chops… when it was done it fell off the bone so she stirred in hot BBQ sauce . As a personal chef I stick to 30 min meals for the main entree and side dishes I can heat up in mins. I prep on the weekend usually by not sleeping in (down side ).

  171. Brandy I was talking to a group of women yesterday about you and sharing your website. We were at a party given for Hubby’s coworker that had a massive heart attack and not only survived but has recovered almost completely in less than 3 mos. His wife and him are raising 3 grandkids on his disability. One of the ladies asked if you got paid to write and I told her no, you did get a little from Amazon if someone went through your site…another one piped up and said “she gets paid in blessings” …that is true because I know how often when we were struggling or just need some support from someone that understands…we say Bless Brandy and hers on a regular bases especially yesterday when I was going through your menus. Blessings for you and yours ALWAYS

  172. I took on crap jobs…all the nasty jobs no one wanted to do or would charge a huge fee for. Mom and Pop did the same.
    Errand running and grocery shopping is what my niece is doing for a couple shut ins including my dad. Mow lawns,edge and trim (grandson), one time housecleaning (daughter) work parties that need extra help (other daughter) sick child watching (another daughter for when they can’t go to daycare/school etc) Mending (girlfriend)…just start telling family and friends you are looking for odd jobs to help but figure out what you are going to charge before you say something

  173. That is pretty much the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Most 5yr olds don’t want cash for their birthday, and if they do, it’s to buy a toy. I think that’s more a gift for the mom lol. Perhaps she should have a family birthday celebration instead and save the money she spent on the party for her child’s college savings .

  174. Sure, Cat! Here’s the recipe:

    -1 1/2 cup flour
    -1/2 cup cornmeal
    -1/2 cup sugar
    -1 tsp salt
    -8 tbsp butter cubed (can use shortening, but may need to increase amount)
    -2 egg yolks
    Mix all ingredients until it is crumbly and will form a ball when pressed in hand. Can be rolled out or pour portion of mixture into pan and press to form a crust. Enjoy!

  175. There was someone in our city who decided to sell their produce out front of their home each weekend, instead of selling at the farmer’s market. They just set up a table like a yard sale, but with their extra produce. I think they were doing it for a charity. I got the impression they did quite well. I don’t see why you couldn’t do it for yourself, though. I bet you would get a lot of neighbours and yard sale people buying your fresh produce and if you bake, you could put out some treats to sell too! Just a thought, anyways!

  176. I completely agree that letting friends and family know that you are available for side jobs is a good idea. They will keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities for you. Something good will turn up.

  177. Summertime is busy time, between watering, weeding, harvesting, and preserving it is a full time job. Of course, I keep up with the laundry, using only cold water and doing full loads. Meals are prepared at home and we drink herbal iced tea and iced water with our meals and in between. Hydration is so important and water is the best. We keep the a/c at 79 degrees. Sometimes it is tempting to touch the thermostat, but usually a cold drink and a little rest will cool us down again. We try to do our garden work early in the morning and watering in the evening after the sun goes down.

  178. Our city has a program for low income people to be able to buy low-priced concert tickets and a low cost recreational pass. So I’m applying for the low-cost concert tickets. I may only go once a year but it will be nice as a treat.

    I am not buying anything for the next 2 weeks but then will go to the farmers’ market and buy a crate of peaches and blueberries for the freezer. I bought certo (pectin) last week for making jelly and jam as I will have a lot of sour cherries.

    I am pleased because with all the hot weather, the tomato plants are thriving and are loaded with green tomatoes.

    We usually don’t need air conditioning except for 2 or 3 days in the summer but this summer and spring have been warm. I put my furnace fans on and the house stays cool.

    I also freeze shredded cheese but find it hard to shred my own due to arthritis so
    only buy shredded on sale.

    Yesterday, I spent the day watching the butterflies in the garden. Next year I will plant garlic and some veggies in the flower gardens. I am looking at all of the rose hips on one of the roses and will try making rose hip jam.

  179. Also, I read about how to propagate roses by putting a cutting into a potato and will try this, especially with one variety which is no longer sold.

  180. Hi Riley

    I am a widow with 3 children. Until a month ago I left home at 8 am and returned at 6pm for 9 working days out of 10 ( I had alternate Fridays off). This has been the case for the last 5 years since my husband died. On getting home my priorities were dinner, homework, bath then bed ( for me too).

    Some thoughts on your question:

    1. Leftovers are your best friend. If kept in the fridge it takes minutes to heat them up in the microwave ( really cheap microwave without all the silly extras you will never use). You can freeze leftovers to use another day. Takes care of Monday and maybe Tuesday depending on your weekend.

    2. The slow cooker ( English speak for crockpot) is also your best friend. Try to look at recipes that call for frozen ingredients you can make up beforehand ( Pinterest). These take longer because they are frozen. Alternatively a timed crockpot is great I hear ( mine is not timed- cheap basic model that is great).

    3. Stir fry was created for time- poor mothers. You can even barbecue the meat beforehand to give it extra taste. You can then freeze it and defrost when needed. Takes minutes.

    4. Bolognaise sauce. The food processor is a wonderful invention. My children have never figured out what veggies are hidden in there. Freezes like a dream. Defrost in fridge or microwave as time and organisation allow.

    5. I also make meatballs in stock. Basically make up mince ( beef, turkey, chicken whatever) into balls and throw ( gently drop) into boiling stock. You may need to bind with egg but I have done without when I forgot. They cook in boiling stock. You can then freeze and defrost to have with rice.

    6. You can buy mince reduced and cook burgers then freeze them. Takes minutes to put on plate.

    4. Last but not least. The cop- out. Reduced ( discounted) rack pre-cooked fish and oven chips. The kids love them whatever your ( and my) opinion.

    That’s all for now. There is all the usual – cooked whole chicken use meat and then bones for soup etc but I think you are already there.

    Hope that helps. I would say good luck but the reality is that you are doing great so you don’t need luck. So- all the best.

    Lol Sheena

  181. When I was a little girl my mom made all my underwear. I may see about making some for myself now….ty for the link!

  182. Tutoring and babysitting are really wonderful if you can find work. I have found that it can depend on the area. Should you live in an urban area or a tourist area, there are usually babysitting companies that can set you up with the job for a small fee. They pay quite well.

    I love the ideas for extra money…I never thought of many of them. Praying for you, T.

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