My father-in-law passed away this past week, just a few days before his 90th birthday.

My son put together a slideshow of photos from those everyone emailed to him on a free slideshow program for the funeral.

My husband designed the program for the funeral.

Our faith usually provides a luncheon to the family of the deceased after a funeral. We have a large extended family and there were over 100 family members, and there was a meal for us provided by my father-in-law’s congregation. When members of our own congregation die, we are usually asked to bring a dish for the family. It takes stress off the family to have to cook and takes away the expense that might have occurred by having to have it catered.

We wore clothes we already had for the funeral and burial (two different days). As we already had church clothes, no new clothing needed to be purchased.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card.

We used the free Duo app to video chat with our daughter at college.

We received record-setting rain on Monday, so I turned off the drip irrigation for a few days. The storm brought cooler weather and I was able to turn off the air conditioning as well for most of the week. This is so unusual this time of year (both the record-setting rain and the cooler weather). We recorded a little over an inch of rain here! Our normal rainfall is only four inches (ten centimeters) of rain a year, and most of that occurs over a couple of days in January and one in July.

I cooked a turkey that I had to pull from the dying freezer. We also made lemonade with juice from last year’s lemons that had been frozen. When my mom’s sisters came into town, they didn’t have plans for dinner after their long drive, and my mom wasn’t feeling well. I had just finished cooking the turkey, so I invited them to dinner and cooked roasted rosemary potatoes with rosemary from our garden and cooked a large side of Swiss chard from our garden.

I harvested Meyer lemons, Swiss chard, rosemary, and garlic chives from the garden.

I discussed trading taking family photos for piano lessons for one of my children with our piano teacher. I was going to suggest it to her when she brought it up. This will allow another daughter to take piano lessons. I took her photos this past week and will take Christmas photos for her too.

I forgot to mention a frugal thing from the week before last. We celebrated my youngest’s first birthday. I know for some people a first birthday is a rather large celebration with many people invited, major food, decorations, and photos. We had a simple celebration at home. I made strawberry shortcake for his cake. I gifted him toys and board books that I had purchased for $0.50 and $1 each in like new condition. My parents came and also gifted him toys in like-new condition from garage sales.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. My condolences on the passing of you father-in-law. It sounds as he had a good long life with many blessings.

    Your preparations for his funeral nd burial sound lovely and it is great that the church provided the reception meal.

    That is a lovely photo of Hamish being pushed by his big brother Octavius. Ann

  2. I am so sorry for your loss!

    I have been having a “no spend week” due to some unexpected expenses come up.

    I purchased a small portable cd player/radio for work to play books on cd that I borrowed from the library. I do data entry and easily go through 3 to 5 audio books a week. I can’t afford $20 to $35 per audiobook to download onto my (very old) ipod. It also has a radio 🙂 I purchased this two weeks ago before the expenses came up.

    I made pumpkin bread, raisin bread, “breakfast cookies” (like no bake cookies with healthy add ins), popcorn, gluten free bread, milk from powder, a mexican rice dish, macaroni and cheese from the pantry, sandwiches, oatmeal several times. I have been using up items that have been in my pantry and freezer that I’ve had awhile, too. I have to make my daughter’s lunch for school as well as my lunch for work, breakfasts, dinners, and snacks for both of us. My husband eats free at work (restaurant manager).

    I moved all the emergency stuff we have (candles, matches, emergency blankets, etc) into a plastic tub with a lid that I already had so everything is together in one spot.

    My mother in law gave me a bunch of bananas that was starting to brown. I cut off the brown parts and froze the good parts.

    I took my daughter to the park several times the past two weeks.

    I downloaded several books for free to my kindle and borrowed several from the library.

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. Mandy- have you looked into the Libby app ? Check at your library to see if they are affiliated- they have free audio books that you check out- sometimes it’s a wait just like a regular book but I put a bunch on hold then I have something to listen to on long car trips or while I work on family history- you sign in with your library card.. they might have a similar app if they don’t have Libby.

      1. Just adding to Michelle’s post—if your library doesn’t have Libby, other apps are Hoopla and Overdrive (I believe Hoopla replaced the latter, but I still see Overdrive floating around). Due to a fluke in my residency, I have access to both, and they’ve been a real blessing.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. Praying for peace and comfort for your family. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were hamburgers with chips, pan-seared cod with baked potatoes and salad, grilled steak with baked potatoes and salad, grilled pork with grilled asparagus and leftover potatoes, brownies.
    *We had purchased an Easter lily to be displayed at church in memory of my husband’s Granny. We were given the plant back after Easter and once it was done flowering, I planted it in my flower bed. Also weeded the flowerbeds.
    *My son moved out this week and I rearranged furniture in our two extra bedrooms so they each have a bed and one serves as an office as well.
    *Washed our shower curtain liners instead of buying new.
    *Made a strawberry shortcake using items on hand to serve to my bible study group along with chips and salsa from the pantry. Saved bits of the cake to use in a trifle later.
    *Our son used a Little Ceasars gift card to purchase pizza for us one evening before he moved out.
    *My husband and son went to see Endgame during a matinee to keep the cost down.
    *Paid my son’s tuition online using an electronic check, which is the only way to avoid processing fees.
    *Accepted 2 like-new cardigans and a hosta from my mom.

  4. I’m so sorry about your families loss.
    Thank you for all your frugal things and sharing
    I really use some of your ideas. I’m thankful you got rain .
    Here are a few frugal things from my week:
    . Purchased mini peppers using a rain check .88 a bag
    Will freeze and use in dishes this week.
    . Was given several dozen small eggs free
    . Bought coleslaw .99 a bag and have made several batches of Cranberry Apple Slaw…used for stir fry..used as coleslaw n shedded pork sandwiches
    . Ridded our more and took a more minimal approach to warm weather decor to keep things tidy.
    . Worked on cleaning out our garage area and found several items I won’t need to buy now. A couple items I that weren’t open I will take back to store.
    . I clipped some greenery to bring inside.
    . I was able to learn some new things online?

  5. So sorry to hear about your father-in-law. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    Had a so-so week, frugality wise.

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • I haven’t been very frugal this week with our food. Lots of eating out.
    • I won 2 bottles of aspirin, 3 donuts; a dozen eggs, a lb. of butter, a box of tissue and a lb. of pasta with Safeway’s Monopoly game. Also got a $5 gift card and cashed in the tokens on a tube of foil, a box of frozen waffles, a can of tomato sauce and some reward points. Also got 2 jars of spaghetti sauce for 25c each there.
    • Worked 11 contract hours.
    • This week’s lunch with Dad I had to take him to the doctor, so instead of eating at my place we had to eat out, but we just had Chick-Fil-A, so it was under $20.
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Went to Goodwill on Saturday for their ½ off sale. Found a floor lamp and shade, 10 canning jars, a picture, 2 wine glasses that are my crystal pattern, a pair of shorts for me and a book, all for $26.50.
    • Canned 12 pts. of pinto beans with jalapenos, which used up some jalapenos I had in the fridge.
    • Got a free lunch on the day I went into the office from my boss.
    • Got a 10% senior discount at the grocery store.
    • Cut the bottom of a tube of facial cleanser off so I can get the last of it. I just fold it over and close it with a clothes pin so it doesn’t dry out. So far it has lasted me a week!

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Hi Lauie,
      I cut open tubes to get the last of products too. I use medium sized, black office binder clips. They stay on great. I find they close tighter than a clothes pin.

    2. Great idea about the clothespin or binder clip, I’ve been taking the small tubes after cutting off the bottom and putting them in a recycled prescription container. Keeping the lid on the container does the trick with regards to not drying out.

  6. Brandy – I am sorry to hear about your FIL. I am sure your faith will be a great comfort to your entire family. How nice about the rain – both the water and the cooler temps.
    Our snow peas are coming up that we planted awhile ago. We have finally hit 70 degrees, and now this weekend it is supposed to be 80. The only thing we are harvesting right now are chives.
    I stop at the store probably twice a week on my way to work, to look at the “Ugly produce” section. Got 2 cauliflowers for $1.00 apiece. Also a bag of 4 bell peppers for $1.00.
    On Thursday and Friday my nephew and his son stayed at my house. They were visiting my mother from Chicago. It was the first time she had seen this great-grandson, who just turned 1 in February. For dinner on Thursday, I made all the fixings for a taco bar for dinner for everyone. Just put it all on the table and you could make a burrito bowl or soft tacos. The refried beans were from pinto beans grown in my garden, cooked in the instant pot then frozen. The peppers were from the ugly produce section the onions from last year’s garden. Cheese, sour cream and tortillas were all on special for Cinco de Mayo. My Mother took all of us to dinner on Friday, at a little hole in the wall diner that we all really love.
    On Saturday, I went to Winco and was able to buy two spiral hams at 98¢ a pound.
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work each day.
    Did my mother’s laundry, so she wouldn’t have to get it done at her facility and pay $25.00
    Made pork chow mein for lunches during the week.
    Had popcorn for a snack.
    I drive my mother around a lot, so she filled my gas tank when it was running low. Not necessary, but appreciated.
    I am sure there is more, but that is all I wrote down.

  7. Beautiful photos, and I’m so sorry for your loss. My MIL passed away the day before Easter, so we’re also grieving over here. But focusing on all the good memories!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made homemade baby food and froze some for the future.
    – I made blackberry jam using blackberries I bought on sale in the fall and froze (
    – I baked pretzel buns for the first time, and they were delicious! I fried up the leftover egg wash and used it as a topping for ramen soup ( I also made a loaf of no knead bread.
    – I picked up another four packages of free prepared rice using coupons I clipped a few weeks ago. I used two of the packages of flavoured rice to stuff some peppers I bought on sale last week and topped them with cheese. Easy stuffed peppers! Enough to eat for several meals and freeze some too.
    – A local bakery held a fundraiser and was giving away cupcakes in exchange for canned goods. I traded 13 rice packets of my free rice packets for 13 cupcakes. I took a dozen of them to my workplace. My colleagues got a treat, I got them to keep me in mind even though I’m on mat leave, a good cause was supported, and I didn’t spend a penny OOP. I was pleased!
    – I lost more baby weight and found a pair of jeans in my new size on sale for under $14. Perfect, as the one pair that I had in my post-baby weight was not only loose now, but also about worn out due to my knee brace (a souvenir of pregnancy) rubbing against it. Now I have a pair of pants that fits properly until I can lose the last of the baby weight.
    – I treated myself to an ice cream treat, using a 50% off deal for downloading an app. I deleted the app after using it.
    – I baked two ‘yoghurt cakes’. I didn’t have yoghurt so I used sour cream thinned out with whey leftover from making Greek yoghurt. I added in frozen lemon and lime zest, using up the last of my freezer zest stash (try saying that 5 times fast!). I also misread the instructions, so it didn’t turn out as expected, but they were still good! I cut up and froze one for evening snacks, and froze the second one.
    – I made pizza dough and froze it for quick meals ( Later in the week I defrosted it and made up a pizza for a friend going through a rough time.
    – I made a batch of Greek Yoghurt and kept the whey to use in smoothies.
    – I made smoothies for quick lunches several times.
    – I visited family friends, and was able to take a bunch of gifts, without spending a penny OOP, as I had previously traded them or purchased them with swagbucks. I re-used saved gift bags and tissue paper to wrap it in. Now, to start collecting gifts again!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a kitchen-aid spice grinder accessory kit for a EUC kid’s wooden bead and wire pull-toy. I no longer have a spice grinder (it broke) so I don’t need the accessory kit, and my daughter now has a new toy to challenge her.
    – I found a bouquet of Margarita flowers at my local fruit/veg store on sale for $1. I cut some forsythia growing in a public strip (it was overgrown) and put it together with a floral frog, in my second-hand crystal vase, to make a spring bouquet for the table by my front door. Makes me happy to look at it! I still want to add in some greenery (I have the thriller and the filler, now I need the spiller), so hopefully I’ll find some overgrown bush somewhere while on a stroller walk.
    – I darned holes in several pairs of socks. I don’t bother fixing it up to my grandmother’s standards; I just do a quick whip-stitch and I’m good to go!
    – As much as I’d like to invest in my blog, I haven’t been able to for the past little while, so I’m utilizing free resources to try and improve my blog. I was trying to create a collage picture for this week’s post ( but didn’t want to pay for the laptop version of canva (I already have the free app on my phone, but needed to create something using my computer), so I used a free version of picmonkey instead. Am appreciative of all the great free resources on the web!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

    1. Sorry to hear about your MIL – I know you had mentioned before that her health wasn’t the greatest. It must have been a comfort to at least get to meet her granddaughter before she passed.
      You always manage to accomplish so much each week. Take care of that knee.

      1. Thanks so much, Margie. We really miss her — she was a remarkable woman. But we are so, so thankful that she was able to visit and hold her grandchild! So very thankful.
        I’m currently going to physio for my knee, in addition to icing it. I’m using my benefits from my workplace as well as my benefits through my husband’s workplace. Am very appreciative of our benefits as otherwise the cost would be quite high. The small amount I pay to keep my benefits during my mat leave is very worth it. Also, I managed to McGuyver a molded ice pack from a face wrap and an ice pack, as opposed to buying one, so am pleased about that. I did have to fix it with duct tape when it broke, but whatever, it’s still better than buying one!
        Hope you’re having a good week, Margie!

    2. My condolences on the loss of your mother-in-law, Margaret. How lovely she was able to visit your family and see your little bundle of joy before she passed away. I’m sure you and especially your husband with charish those precious memories for a lifetime!

  8. Brandy, thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your father-in-law’s picture with us a few months ago. He looked like a man happy with a life well-lived.

    Adorable picture of your two youngest boys!

    I kept track of my frugal accomplishments last week–
    *I started a new bin of compost.
    *I was given 3 partial bags of chicken you-know-what to heat up my compost. They equaled about one filled feed bag. I gave one bag to a friend.
    *Same friend receives many gardening items her friends no longer want or need. She had THREE potting benches…that is, until she gave me one of them! It needed some minor repairs, which my husband has done.
    *I was given 10 raspberry plants that would have cost $80 at Lowe’s. We planted them Friday.
    *I planted lettuce seeds.
    *We found some leftover plants from last fall behind the garden shed. I had seeded some sweet Williams last fall, but they didn’t do anything. They wintered over, and while they are scrawny, we decided to give them a try (and a lot of love). We also planted some bulbs that might be grape hyacinths. I love a surprise, LOL!
    *I paid my bills online, saving time and postage.
    *We went to our gourmet club dinner last weekend and ate overlooking the lake. We had a 3 course seafood dinner for $11 per person. Considering the menu and lakefront location, $22 was less than 1/3 of what two comparable restaurant meals would cost.
    *I bought more strawberries at Winco for .99 lb. I bought lettuce for the first time in several months. It was .99 head. I haven’t bought celery since Christmas. It is nearly $3 bunch
    *Dollar Tree has flip flops again! I bought 2 pairs for my OCC shoeboxes. (Try finding flip flops in northern Idaho around Thanksgiving, LOL).

    1. Maxine, celery is over $6/bunch here…can you imagine? Six Bucks!…needless to say we haven’t had any celery in months. I heard there is some strange “celery juice is good for you” thing going around and that’s why it’s so expensive.

      1. Hi Patsy,
        $6 is insane. Seriously! I grow Lovage (outdoors) which is a cousin to celery. It is stronger, so you don’t use as much. The leaves and stems grow quickly and are very prolific. I trim it back every few weeks and either freeze or dehydrate the stems and leaves to use interchangeably with celery. It is wonderful in soups and salads, sauces etc.

  9. Your faith’s funeral and burial traditions sound absolutely lovely.

    Last weekend, my husband was a groomsman and my daughter was a flower girl in his cousin’s out-of-town wedding. It was an elaborate affair (literally: cost more than the down payment on our 5-bedroom house…) but my husband could wear a suit he already owned and that was perfectly tailored to him, and my daughter’s dress was made by my husband’s aunt. We split an AirB&B with my SIL and her children, which meant 50% costs and a shared kitchen (no restaurant expenses). It wasn’t the cheapest weekend, but it was definitely the cheapest way to attend that wedding!

  10. I’m sorry for your loss 🙁

    Hubby and I were out running errands by ourselves. We stopped at Bass pro outlet because he was looking for summer work boots, but found tennis shoes for myself. My current pair aren’t totally wore out, but it was hard to pass up a deal, especially for my big feet, lol. They had Asics for 44.77 plus all footwear was an additional 30 percent off . So 44.77-11.19-10.82 in rewards-6.57 from a gift card=$19.16. Nice!

    That night I also used $12.50 in rewards at petsmart on a bag of dog food and $5 reward at Ace Hardware.

    We went to see Avengers and we had a free ticket with regal rewards and I used a groupon for popcorn and drinks.

    My mom went back in rehab so I brought home her eggs and 2 half gallons of milk

    I’ve been using up gift cards in my wallet for small treats here and there.

    Not really frugal but hubby asked a couple weeks ago what I wanted for my birthday and I said I would like to have the windows on my truck tinted. (Trying to cut down on clutter) That should help keep the inside cooler this summer.

    I’ve been scouring FB buy/sell/trade sites for summer clothes for the 12yo, she has outgrown everything. I’m hoping I don’t have to resort to paying full price for her some summer clothes.

    As usual, we cooked at home and combined errands

  11. Getting by being frugal. Making lots of Indian dishes with beans and vegetables Egg curry, Dosas, Dals, Lentil soup as well as. Potato asparagus soup and Rosemary white bean soup. Hubby is making caramel corn and we are going to watch a movie we got from the library. Turning off lights as well as opening the window for fresh cool air. Electric bill was 22 dollars cheaper this month! Put a sign up to sell asparagus, so far no-one has bought any. I may pickle some asparagus, YUM! Fed grandkids at home. bringing lunches to work.

    1. I wish I lived near you — I’d be there buying your asparagus. I can hardly wait until fresh asparagus is available here.
      The farm here makes a pickle asparagus spears, an asparagus relish in jars, and a soup that they freeze. The soup is like a concentrated puree to which you just add milk. Also, it freezes really well. I love asparagus! Good luck selling some but you can preserve it in so many ways. Ann

      1. I purchased several cans of asparagus (tall, narrow cans) when they were on sale. The texture was softer than I prefer, so I pureed them with chicken broth, milk and a small amount of instant mashed potatoes to make a simple, delicious, and QUICK cream of asparagus soup. With a side salad, and hearty bread, it makes a nice dinner on a busy evening, or a nice addition to a brunch.

    2. Tammy, if you can, why not blanch and freeze some of the asparagus to use during winter. This is the season when I start preserving fresh grown seasonal veggies to use for the upcoming winter season. Not only does this save us a bundle, it ensures we have lots of healthy choices to eat throughout the year. If you think asparagus tastes good now, imagine how nice it will be to use it in dishes when it’s the dead of winter!

      1. That is a good idea Rhonda. We are going to go to a Monday Farmers Market and try to sell some. The rest I will preserve.

        1. My goal every summer is to preserve enough veggies and fruit that I don’t need to buy much produce during the winter. We do buy some fresh veggies during the winter that are relatively cheap, like potatoes, carrots, spinach, cabbage and fresh fruit, like apples, oranges, and bananas. But things like green beans/yellow wax beans, broccoli, berries, peaches, etc. that are outrageously prices during the winter (eg. $5-$6 for celery out of season compared to $1/bunch in season!), I buy at rock bottom prices in season, then try to preserve enough in the freezer or canning for our winter needs. The veggies work well in soups, stews, casseroles or even as side dishes. The fruit can be used in baking, smoothies or even eaten as is (like canned peaches…yum!). Some things I buy really cheap and preserve, even though I can get them in the winter at good prices, because they go for so cheap when in season. For instance, I can get 10lb bags of carrots for around $2 in the fall, but pay $2-$3 for a 2 lb bag in winter. So I peel, slice, blanch and freeze 20-30lbs to help keep my costs down. I also buy a bushel or 2 of apples and process them into unbaked apple pies, unbaked apple crisp and canned apple sauce (and sometimes I make flavoured applesauce by adding some frozen berries or other fruit when cooking the apples into the sauce). I like to keep a pie pumpkin or 2, cooked down into puree and frozen in pre-meausred baggies to use for baking. I’ve frozen grated zucchini in pre-measured amount in the past for use in baking as well. And when it comes to canned fruit, I try to add a few varieties to our storage, like pears and pineapple, along with the canned peaches and applesauce, just to ensure in an emergency we have lots of choices available to eat. I would encourage you to think about what your family enjoys eating, and try to preserve some for winter use this year. It really does help with your food budget in the long run, while ensuring you have lots of healthy things to eat in times when your budget might be tight (like at Christmas time!).

  12. Wow, almost 90! So sorry for your loss.

    I’m not doing a great job being frugal these days with a husband who travels a lot for work, a full time job and 3 young kids. But I try where I can!
    – used cloth diapers and bought wipes and formula on sale at Target
    – tried to be much more diligent about using up left overs.
    – reviewed my CC statement and saw we were billed 50 dollars on our car rental from last month! When I called it was for gas-which we had topped up before drop off. When you drop it off in the lot and leave the keys (like they say you can) apparently you automatically get charged it! Got that removed.
    – while flying for work, I bought a few things I needed on Amazon. By doing it in the air on JetBlue, I got triple jet blue miles. And they also had a promotion I took advantage of for more cost savings.
    – tried to be conscious about what I choose to eat. I’m relatively good at keeping the “long game” in mind with money and staying disciplined. Not so with food!
    – will submit every receipt I can from my trip to get reimbursed from work.
    – filled in a program at work for healthy actions that gives us money towards a flexible spending account. Saving up for glasses and sunscreen!
    – one of my price alerts let me know a digital picture frame I like to buy for wedding gifts was on sale. Bought it with a GC for further savings!

  13. Brandy,
    My condolences to your family on the loss of your father in law. Thank you as well for explaining the traditions of your faith for the funeral service. It is interesting to learn how other faiths handle it. I grew up Protestant, my husband Jewish. When my husband’s father died, a Jewish friend of ours explained to me that there is a tradition of a meal after the service, so we had one. It was very nice to have a chance to celebrate my father in law with friends, although we didn’t have anyone who did a slide show 🙂
    Thank you for posting the wonderful photos! I just loved the one of your two youngest.
    For frugal activities last week, we worked through most of the frozen cooked soups in the freezer. I bought a cooked chicken at Costco and it has fed us for three meals, with one more (chicken noodle soup) to go…a great value. My husband needed some nuts and bolts, so we ended up at ace hardware. He found they had hugely increased their prices for the size nut he wanted (to $0.50 from $0.05). So he found a less expensive substitute. As he was leaving the store, he mentioned the huge price increase to the checkout person, and he said he wouldn’t be buying his nuts and bolts at Ace anymore. The checkout person agreed their pricing was crazy and then smiled and gave us our change. Amazing. Customers are hard to find and that store just was fine with us never coming back….no wonder some of the brick and mortar stores are disappearing ;(. We would rather buy local but not for ten times the price. I am lucky my husband is able it fix things 😉

    Made homemade bread, sliced it up and froze in two slice freezer bags for future use.

    I often think of you, Brandy, as I am muttering about whatever task I need to accomplish, and then get a grip and do the task! Once i get up and start it, it gets easier, it is just getting motivated for that first minute…I go to the gym a few times a week and it is the same phenomena…getting past that first minute when I want to talk myself out of it is the hardest.

    1. The slideshow was just something we wanted to do. We showed it in the hall of the church building before the service and during the luncheon. The luncheon was family only, but we have a large family as my husband is the youngest of six children. All of his siblings are grandparents.

  14. It sounds as though you created a lovely meal to share, in a challenging week. I too redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for an amazon GC. The remaining spaghetti squash from our garden were baked and frozen, and the remaining butternut squash were cubed and frozen. All that’s left in storage is a huge cushaw squash, which admittedly, is not one of my favorites. We planted basil seedlings in the garden, as well as a stevia plant. Sprigs of creeping jenny were transplanted in several places. We had a short getaway for our anniversary, and other than meals, all we brought home were plants… 2 heirloom apple trees, a birdsfoot violet, globe artichoke, and black cohosh, which we got in the ground when we got home last evening.

  15. I hope that the memories of your father-in-law will help during a very sad time. Blessings to you and your family. The photo of your sons is a treasure.
    During the past week we were blessed-
    *Invited friends to our home, when they had suggested meeting at a restaurant. I offered a few snacks and we enjoyed 5 hours of conversation and lots of laughter. This was more comfortable and we spent very little but could have fun and relax.
    *Put our our hummingbird feeders and choose to do this rather than bird seed feeders. The first hummer of the season arrived and it was beautiful.
    *Washed our own vehicles, no car wash.
    *Saved rebates to home improvement store and cashed in during an already good sale.
    *Repaired a Fiberglass table by putting new fiberglass and fabric strips to repair and now it’s back to being a usable table.
    *Sadly, went to the final day of a Shopko Store Closing. All was 90% off. I was very careful and got great buys on cold medicine, make-up, a table cloth, and markers. They gave away for free large signage-core board that I can repurpose and use for signage at an event where I volunteer.
    *We found a used/new to us dock that we put together for the first time. My DH is great at making things work. We can sand and paint and it far surpasses the one we had which will be disassembled and used as back boards on some outside steps.
    *My sister grew, canned and shared homemade salsa-we gladly are returning her pint jars so she can use for other canning she hopes to do.
    *I made pizza dough in the bread machine, froze is disc shape for future pizza assemble. I have all ingredients on hand so we can enjoy great fresh homemade pizza anytime.
    *For Mother’s Day made a meatloaf, potatoes, and carrots and will stop by my moms and make the meal at her home. I have a card, a notepad with her favorite hymn on it and a small plant that she will like.
    *My cell phone is paid off and now I will use it for as long as possible. I compare this to having paid off a car, now is when the real savings begin.
    *Had extra bread, cubed it and dried in oven. I bag the bread cubes and either grind for bread crumbs or make into dressing. Bread can be used so many ways.
    *Saving on electricity with longer sunny days and lights off.
    *Repurpose any envelopes that we get in the mail, I use to write shopping lists and daily “to do” lists.
    So many blessings and so many wonderful suggestions on this blog. Thank you.

  16. The photo of your father-in-law on facebook looks like a wonderful way to remember him! Your husband looks a good deal like him.
    Sending thoughts of peace and healing during these tumultuous times for you and your family. I am glad you were able to do a post this week.

  17. Your faith tradition of providing food for a grieving family sounds exactly like what we do here in the south. We even call it funeral food! I am glad you have such a wonderful support system at such a difficult time.

  18. Hi, Brandy!
    I hope this goes through. For some reason, i’ve not been able to comment for months. And, not just this site but ALL sites. I don’t know if it’s the iPad or gooooooooggle but it’s so irritating!
    I wanted to express my condolences for the passing of your FIL. I hope he had a well-lived and well-loved life. It sounds like he did.
    I love the picture of your Mother with what I presume are her sisters! It’s just a beautiful shot of three people who love each other!
    Wishing everyone a fabulous week ahead!

    1. Yes, that is my mom and two of her three sisters. This is the first time they have come to visit her. On the day of my father-in-law’s funeral, they had a memorial service, just the three of them, for my grandmother.

  19. I am sorry for your loss. You and your family have my prayers. Having meals from your church must have been a real blessing.

    This week I’ve been focused on spending as little extra as possible and eating less. Such a struggle for both for some reason. To do this, I avoided the thrift shop, declined to buy what the students were selling (donuts) but donated some money to their advisor instead, and took all the money from my wallet so I wouldn’t be even tempted to buy anything not planned for.

    Frugally (and happily) I was able to finally afford mulch for the flower beds. By buying 5 bags, the price dropped way down! Now we can have fewer weeds and water less. I have a number of edible plants growing among my perennials that I will move once they get larger in a few years. I bought the cheaper starts.

    I eat a salad a day and only buy organic lettuce. When I went to buy more, it was BOGO. And I also planted lettuce in a pot. I’m not sure if it will ready for me to eat before I leave for the summer, but thought I’d give it a try and see. Ideally, I’d like to build a small greenhouse off the side of the cabin from some windows we found up back and grow lettuce all winter. May happen yet.

    We just have too much stuff in our lives. I continue to pare down while at the same time thrifting to plan for the future and replace needed items. I find that I can buy pennies on the dollar. I’ve also realized that much of our excess is because we are transitioning life seasons and spaces. I just need to move some things on to others who will need or appreciate it.

    Finally, found a button and added it to my button jar. I also found a few coins and added them to the change jar. We were given 4 painting from a friend whose art I admire when my husband was helping him in his garage. A blessing.
    Make it a great week y’all.

    1. It was a very nice luncheon, with salad, funeral potatoes, ham, and brownies.

  20. I’m sorry for your loss. Your faith community is such a blessing!
    I made blueberry cranberry jam with fruit I was gifted.
    I finished altering a dress I’d bought at the thrift store.
    Used CVS coupons to get free travel soap dish and deodorant.
    Continuing to eat up frozen food. We sold our house and moved in with friends who live close by. I packed the food from my freezer and transferred it to friend’s freezer. The new house we will purchase is a long distance away, so I need to have all freezer food finished.
    Returned a dress that didn’t suit me.
    Listed laptop on Craigslist and a book on eBay.
    Sent a handmade gift to a cousin. Made a gift for niece’s high school graduation-a rolled paper cross made from magazine (free) pages. It’s a bit fiddly and time consuming to make, but I have time and it makes a pretty gift.

  21. So sorry for your family’s loss Brandy – but it sounds as though he had a wonderful life and was much loved.
    There will be a funeral service at my church this Saturday and I am making the arrangements for the reception afterwards. It will be a combination of ordered food and trays of sweets that I will prepare. We arrange whatever the family requests but I can do a pretty good job of keeping to a budget.

    My own grocery shopping this week has been mainly fruit & veg and buying $1 and $2 items from my No Frills store’s big sale. I then processed a lot of the veg – washed, peeled & cut up lots to have on hand for quick snacks & to add to salads – and then cooked up a big mix of onions, peppers & mushrooms and then froze individual servings for future use.

    I stocked up on yogurt & cottage cheese to have with fruit for breakfasts most days of the next month. Stocked up on cans of fruit & baked beans which were at the best price I would expect to find.

    I did spend $50 on makeup but these items were on sale, earned me $7 in Loyalty Points and means that I am now stocked up to the end of the year. I am checking the flyers each week as I need to restock a lot of non-food items – I like to have a 6 to 12 month supply on hand.

    Washed full loads of laundry and hung up all loads to dry, except for towels.

    Did do a bit of socializing last week but I still have allowance money left and no plans involving any spending of it this week so it all balances out. I worked 18 hours last week and will have at least 20 hours this week and my lunches are already prepared for the next couple of days.

    Hope everyone had a good week.

  22. So very sorry to hear of your loss.
    Your photos are beautiful this week as always.
    I was able to work 27.5 hours at my occasional office job this past week. I packed my snacks, lunches and tea. I did my errands on the way home. I picked $1.20 of recyclables from our office recycling (no one else wanted them).
    I made 2 cards for mothers day with supplies on hand.
    My husband was able to trade work with an electrician. We had 2 lights repaired in exchange for my husband doing their taxes.
    I listed many items this week on my local buy/sell site. I was able to clear more space and earned $89
    The only money spent this week was food and utilities.
    Continue to earn with swagbucks, made daily goal x7
    Thank you for posting this week Brandy, I always look forward to the encouragement here.

  23. I was raised in the Baptist church (in the north) and we have the same arrangement for funeral luncheons, unless the family prefers to do otherwise. I feel sorry for those who have to cook for our family, who are mostly enthusiastic eaters.

    My condolences on the loss of your father in law, although I do feel that a life of just about 90 years is worthy of celebration. I love the photo of your two youngest boys–they are so sweet and look like they play nicely together. I realize looks can be deceiving at times, but the picture is lovely!

    Our week would have been fairly frugal except that the alternator on my car quit suddenly one day last week and the garage we were towed to by AAA was able to fix it on the spot. The difficulty was that it cost nearly $500 and my husband has pretty much been doing our car repairs for the last 50 years or so. He is no longer able to (dementia) and the prices are shocking compared to buying parts and putting them in himself. We can handle it. Unfortunately soon after that my brakes started making funny noises and I have an appt later this week to take care of that with our usual neighborhood mechanic. I shouldn’t complain as the car has been free of problems for a long time–it’s a 2009 and I have no plans to replace it yet.

    Our meals consisted mostly of leftovers last week–I sometimes doubt that I ever make a fresh new meal. This week I am making it a point to keep from making leftovers as much as possible. When I do make something we especially like, I purposely make enough for two meals. Some weeks it just turns out that we’re not as hungry and don’t eat as much as expected, and some things last longer than expected. Not entirely bad, but I do have to use as much as possible. No idea what’s on the menu for tomorrow, as there are NO leftovers so far.

    The weather still hasn’t allowed us outdoors much but I’ve been working on going through papers and doing some overdue bookkeeping and progress is being made on that front. Also took my husband to three doctors last week–two of whom we don’t have to see again for a whole year! Such a relief to have those out of the way for a while.

    Aching to start gardening but it seems to rain on days when we’re home and shine on days when we have to go somewhere. Luckily the spring bulbs are blossoming so it doesn’t look barren out there–just a bit weedy!

    1. I have felt like that lately, too. Everything feels like leftovers! Time to make something new. Tuesday generally is a day of leftovers at my house, so we’ve had a number of those today.

  24. Brandy,
    Please accept my deepest condolences.

    Here are my frugal accomplismrnts:
    * I retired very early to bed one evening becausey immune system demanded it
    * I cooked two chickens and a double batch of cornbread to eat all week.
    * It was a blessing to find some free and low-priced books to read on my Kindle app.
    * Inter-library losn provided another book to read.
    * I made Friday an errand day to get them all done in the most efficient manner possible.
    * I took walks with family and friends to a free way to exercise and fellowship.
    * My husband requested that I make goat’s cheese. I was pleased to find a simple recipe online.
    * Two clients responded to non-sales emails to place orders. I also gained a new customer.

  25. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy I would like to pass on our condolensces to you and your family for the passing of your father in law. What a wonderful way to celebrate his life with a slideshow of the wonderful times you all shared with him too you will all be in our prayers. I am glad you have had much needed rain and was able to save water by turning off your sprinklers.

    Our savings added up to $1936.13 last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –

    – Made a homemade cheesecake from homemade condensed milk and frozen juice from gifted lemons saving $69.48 over buying it in a cheesecake shop for the equivalent quality.
    – Made a 1.02 kg batch of chocolate fudge saving $55.87 over purchasing it in the shops.
    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.

    Purchases for Groceries/Fuel/home maintenance and Medical –

    – Puchased a 3 piece auger and extension poles saving $44.01 over another set I was watching on eBay.
    – Purchased wheat biscuits, grapes, oranges, capsicum and hot dog rolls on special saving $6.36 over normal purchase prices.
    – Bought rump steak for $9 kg and champagne leg ham for $9.99 kg on super special at IGA saving $68.35 on buying them in the larger supermarkets.
    – Bought 3 x 200 pk multivitamins, 2 x 80 pk probiotics, 1 x 400 ml 20 vol 6% peroxide and 2 x 40 pk fabric bandaids on special saving $35.55 on usual prices.

    Finances and listings –

    – Listed 38 handmade items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $62.70 on usual listing fees.
    – Paid our usual mortgage payment and another $410 over and above that saving time and interest on our loan.

    In the gardens and home maintenance –

    – Dug 2 garden beds and replaced half the soil with well rotted horse and cow manure and dug it through. In these we planted the potted Canna and Calla lilies and spider plants and mulched the beds with dry grass clippings.
    – By working out our 3 water tanks are already linked saved us $1188.47 over the quote we got from a plumber to do the work including the parts we purchased to do additional work.
    – After hitting the high pressure pipe that linked the 3 water tanks by digging in an existing a garden bed we repaired it and put in another gate valve in our water tank shed close to the house for the 3rd rainwater tanks as well to save us walking to the tank in the yard at night to change over tanks if water runs out in one. This saved us $160 in plumbers charges by doing it ourselves.

    Firewood cutting and stocking –

    – Discovered a huge fallen lightning struck ironbark tree in a rest area on the side of the road 10 mins from home when we went shopping this week. Seeing free easily accessable firewood we set off there today and cut 1 cubic metre of firewood saving another $240 over buying it in.

    Hope everyone else has had a wonderful week 🙂 .


  26. I’m sincerely sorry to read of your father-in-law’s passing, Brandy. I had my suspitions that something was happening at your home when there were longer than normal delays between comment updates and delay with the new post. How lovely the church was able to supply a luncheon to over 100 of your family members, plus meals to your own family as you grieve the loss of a close loved one. I’m sure that was a huge relief with so much organization in other areas requiring your attention. Are the pictures you’ve posted some of your husbands family? Your two little boys are so adorable. What a wonderful barter of music lessons in exchange for family photo sessions. Win, win on both sides!

    Our first week back from holidays, our frugal accomplishments included:
    *First, the frugal bad news. While on vacation, hubby received word that his employer has sold the restaurant, which means he will be loosing his job the beginning of June. Upsetting as it is, he is confident he can find another job quickly. We have a nice, solid savings in the bank to carry us through, in the event it does take some time. Good news, I will be starting back to work this month, so there will be income coming in throughout the summer. After conversations with his boss, there may even be some great opportunities that could come from this. So, we are keeping a very positive outlook on this unexpected situation!
    *Meals made at home included BBQ chicken on a bun with corn and potato wedges, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with potato chips, pasta with choice of meat or red sauce, popcorn chicken with homemade fried rice and veggie spring rolls, homemade lasagna with homemade apple pie for dessert, “piggies in a blanket” (breakfast sausages and cheese crescent rolls) with salad and grilled cheese sandwiches with various cold salads and pickles.
    *My brother was invited to a birthday party and stayed at a friend’s house before picking us up from the airport. He came home with a huge bag of buns and a bunch of cheese slices. We used these as part of our meals this week.
    *My mother made a batch of banana chocolate chip muffins, to use up some very ripe bananas. We used these in school lunches this week as well as for snacking on at home.
    *Checked out our favourite local food store for some deal on meat and other items. We picked up 2 sub sandwich meat packs (contains 3 types of cold meat), 2 containers of cream cheese and 4 larger bags of spring themed peanut butter M&Ms, all for under $20. The M&Ms will go in my candy stash, which I use for various holidays or as special treats throughout the year.
    *Redeemed PC points for $90 worth of free groceries. At another grocery store, I stocked up on a dozen Heinz canned pasta on sale for $0.50/can which is an amazing price for our area. I love having these for emergency food storage, as it can be eaten cold directly from the can if necessary, especially when hydro is out for an extended period. Plus canned goods have long expiry dates. DD likes canned pasta as an occasional lunch option, so the cans do get rotated on a regular basis. Even it they aren’t the healthiest food out there, they certainly serve a purpose.
    *Picked chives from the garden, that have come up from the plantings from last year. DD enjoyed eating them plain. My little rhubarb plant survived, but it is still quite tiny, so no rhubarb this year.
    *When DD asked if 2 friends could come over Friday after school, I had to come up with a meal plan to feed 2 additional hungry teens. I had nearly all the ingredients for lasagna (only had to purchase a container of cottage cheese), and pulled out a frozen homemade apple pie to bake for dessert. A hardy, filling meal for very little out of pocket and I avoided buying take out pizza as DD had requested!
    *Attended our manditory training session for work. They fed us snacks and lunch, plus I won a McDonald’s gift card (not sure of amount yet). Was good to catch up with some of the returning staff and meet a few new ones.
    *Bought a pair of stretch yoga pants (DD will only wear these types of pants) and a summer nightshirt for DD, both very needed items and they were on clearance markdown. Whoohoo!
    *Picked up some deer barrier to put around the garden this year. It wasn’t cheap ($70 for 1 roll and I may need to buy a second roll), but considering how much money we’ve put into creating these gardens only to have the deer use it like a personal salad buffet, it is worth every penny if it works! We are also adding 2 more raised gardens this year. I hope to plant some raspberry bushes in 1 and strawberry plants in another.

    Love reading all the comments each week. Hope you all have an amazingly frugal and joyful week!

    1. The family with the three boys is our piano teacher’s family! You can see more of my photography on Instagram @brandysimperphotography

      1. Have you started a photography side business, Brandy? You certainly have the talent for it!

          1. Congrats on the new business! I think this is the perfect side business for you. Hope it does well and you make some well earned cash to help with your family expenses.

  27. I’m sorry to hear of your loss. What a great legacy he leaves behind with all the children and grandchildren.

    Last week we had a few savings and some fails. We saw Avengers Endgame on a Tuesday night. Tickets are half off. We bought pizza using a gift card my husband had been given. We’re going on vacation so I haven’t been going shopping that much. With the vacation I’ve bought a few items to prepare for it that were not on sale.

    I attempted to overwinter dahlia tubers in the garage. Half of them may have died. I planted anyway and at least one is now growing. I bought some more at the store- they were fairly cheap plus 20% off. My raspberries are also ripening so have enjoyed a handful each day. I’ve also eaten a sugar snap pea or two per day.

  28. 1. Found replacement door shelves on Amazon for my freezer for just $15 a pair. Other sites were charging $50 for one!
    2. Made my daughter a medieval type dress for her Princess and the Pea play for just $15
    3. Used a tire warranty to have my tire plugged and then while I was there decided to have the tires rotated for free as well
    4. My gym finally fixed a glitch on my account that was causing me to not be charged for the past two months. Then they kindly declined my offer to pay for the missed months as it was a problem on their end. That was nice.
    5. Bought used textbooks online for next school year as they are cheaper and plentiful right now
    Pictures at

  29. Brandy, I’m sorry for your family’s loss. The photos of your family are beautiful.

    I am really enjoying being a wife, mom and homemaker full-time again. While I have also enjoyed the online business I started building a few years ago, serving clients had started taking a toll and the enjoyment was hard to find lately! So I am feeling blessed with the current stage of life of back to “just” homemaking 🙂 And my family is really loving the extra cooking, baking and projects I’ve been working on!

    Frugal Accomplishments 4/28-5/4:
    *My husband picked up the last of our garden soil needs on his way home from work so it saved me a trip to town. We got the last of the plants planted and most of the seeds have come up. Our first garden is looking promising!
    *Redeemed $2.95 through ibotta and $1.00 from app.
    *Received a refund for a dental insurance we canceled for one month’s premium. That is set aside for an extra debt payment for the medical bill we’re currently focusing on paying off.
    *Took budgeting to the next level starting this month. Previously we had been budgeting on paper before the new month started, and while we were coming in very closely to being on budget, we still were spending on things we hadn’t projected and it was putting us over budget most months. I had been writing down what we spent so now I have more details and have adjusted the budget to be more realistic and am now calculating as we spend how much is left in each category so we can hopefully stop spending in that category if we reach the limit before the month ends. Just another way of trying to be conscious of where the money goes.
    *My husband built 2 more garden boxes out of repurposed lumber.
    *Have been adding vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags and leaves to the compost pile. It’s a small round wire “cage” that was made by reusing part of an old fence so it’s not very large. I will start a second small pile soon in an old container just to have a second one starting while the first one is cooking. My goal is to buy NO compost next year for the garden.
    *Cashed out $6.10 from TopCashBack rebate site that I had forgotten about. I am using all these extra bits of money from coupons and rebates to the current debt focus bill.
    *Worked a couple of hours from home for a friend who runs an online business. This extra will also go towards the current focus debt.
    *Made my husband’s lunch for him to take the 3 days he worked on the job site. With my extra time not working, this has been helpful for him and he’s really seeing it stretch his weekly cash. Plus he doesn’t have to drive a couple of miles each way from the job site to the nearest place to find lunch. And he gets some sort of snack/dessert too!
    *I have been spending a bit of time scouring Pinterest and blogs for money-saving ideas that I’m not currently doing and also researching things that have been on my list to try.

  30. Prayers for you and your family during this time of loss. Providing a meal to the family at a time of loss is so deeply ingrained into the Southern part of the United States that comments about how nice it was for the meal to be provided confused me for a moment until I realized that this is not a common practice everywhere. Not that we don’t appreciate people’s hospitality, but it’s a major part of our culture and sometimes people forget that things that are commonplace to their lives are not practiced everywhere.

    Frugal Accomplishments include:
    1. Teacher Appreciation Week at my school includes lunch or breakfast everyday this week and a gift from a local vendor. This has helped the food budget tremendously this week.
    2. Tuesday is National Teacher Appreciation Day and the city I teach in offers many free deals. Yesterday we (my daughter in law and I both teach) got free ice cream, free salads, and free chicken tender combo boxes from two different places. It was enough to feed dinner to our families with leftovers. I greatly appreciate businesses that do this for teachers once a year.
    3. Stayed home except for going to work and a short drive to the beach, which is explained in my next comment.
    4. I have been having medical issues for quite some time now and switched doctors trying to find an answer. He begin running tests and mentioned the dreaded word: cancer. The past two weeks have been very stressful for my husband and I while waiting for tests to come back. We got the results Friday and while I will have to have surgery, it is not cancer. Surgery will fix the problem and I am very thankful for God’s mercy. We celebrated the news with a short drive to the beach and a cheap dinner.
    5. Stayed in budget on grocery shopping and utilities. The light bill did go up some, but it did not go over my budgeted amount.
    6. Continued to make home improvements ourselves to save on costs. Our water heater went out and three pipes had to be replaced, but my husband did all the work himself with me assisting him so save on installation costs.
    7. Discussed the bathroom remodel. Our bathroom in our master bedroom is really too large and has a lot of wasted space. We have decided to install a large walk in shower, which we will do ourselves, and close off the extra space to create a storage closet. This will help on heating and cooling costs because we won’t heat/cool that area and we won’t have to replace the flooring in that area either. We have already purchased the flooring, but since we won’t be reflooring that space, we can use the leftover flooring in the main bathroom which badly needs to be replaced, thus saving money for that remodel.

    I think that’s all for this week. Have a great week and weekend!

    1. Such wonderful news for you! Surgery isn’t comfortable, but it is much better than cancer.
      Would your washer-dryer fit in your master bath? (If the floor is strong enough).
      Providing food for bereaved families after a service and also bringing it to people’s homes is a strong midwest custom as well.

  31. I am so sorry for your loss. The photos are beautiful! I am still harvesting mulberries. I just did the usual this week, packed my lunch, walked, and worked….a lot. I love reading this blog. I consider it stress relief to take my mind off my work. Thank you Brandy!

    1. I’m on this site right now reading for stress relief too. Bills for my own immediate family and that of some other close family members is a bit overwhelming right now. Stress relief is important. Brandy, your site is great!

  32. -I am so sorry to hear about your father-in-law. I am glad that your family has had the support of your congregation at this time.
    -On the first Tuesday of the month, one of the two grocery stores in town has 10% off everything in the store. This combined with excellent sale prices this month. (It doesn’t always.) I didn’t have an awful lot of cash, but I bought 5 lb of boneless pork sirloin at 1.99 (1.53 US), 10 lb of chicken legs at .99 (.76), a large container of my favorite ground coffee at $2.50 off, two 2 lb bags of Green Giant vegetables, and some cans of my favorite soup. Then I got the 10% off on top of these prices. My fridge freezer is now full. This morning, I’ll bag the chicken legs in smaller packages and divide the pork into two small roasts, and some chops and cubed meat for stir fries.
    -This afternoon I’ll also be making peach muffins, and some soup stock.
    -We have some warm weather in the forecast after a chilly week last week, so I’ll be trying to get out in the yard again to do some more pruning and cleanup. The village has been sweeping my street since 5:00 AM. My two cats have been sitting at the window watching. They are usually afraid of trucks, but all the flashing lights and sweeping sound seemed to interest them. It always feels like a fresh start to the year when this road work is done.

  33. I am sorry for your loss. Our condolences.
    You continue to amaze me with your frugal and loving ways…. I love reading your posts and try to be frugal. I am not always successful..I admit..but I also am NO QUITTER!!!! Should you have time, would you post pictures of your Easter celebration? I glean so many wonderful ideas from your pictures. Also…I know you have posted your weight loss tips before, but did you do anything different this time? You look wonderful! Thank-you, again, Brandy with all you do and for the inspiration we all enjoy!! In Him.

    1. I didn’t decorate for Easter this year. It was the day after we came back from taking my daughter to college. We got in late in the evening after driving all day long. Easter was very, very simple.

      I haven’t done anything different this time for weight loss. I still have a way to go but I am working at it! I know my weaknesses and I am working to improve them.

  34. I’m sorry for your loss, Brandy, but hope being with your family brought comfort. I love the picture of your mom and sisters — I’m sure it is one they will treasure. I hope Winter is doing well at school.
    Shopped sales at the grocery store and was able to purchase 11 pounds of pork loin for $1.29/lb and 2 lbs. of frozen shrimp for $4.00 a pound, plus good prices on fruit and yogurt.
    We ate more salads from the garden, and picked some asparagus as well.
    Due to last summer’s drought, we lost quite a few trees on our property. My husband and I spent a day last week cutting dead wood. I dragged the slash into piles while he cut the trunks into fire-wood length. We cut all the trees in front of the house that were dead and got almost a cord of firewood. We have about that many in back to cut another day, then we’ll have all the slash chipped for mulch.
    I made homemade granola, sourdough bread and sourdough hard pretzel nuggets.
    I pulled up dandelions from the area of the backyard that we are landscaping—and cooked them for dinner. They were delicious!

    1. Cindi, remember that you can take dead trees off your taxes next year. Please look it up, but I know that we lost 2 trees one year and were told we could cover a lot of the loss in our tax return.

  35. Brandy, I am sorry for your loss. What a great legacy he has left behind in your huge extended family! I love it when churches have meals for the family, it truly is a blessing to the family!

    We are contemplating moving next spring, as my youngest is graduating from the community college next week. He has been going to school and working for four years for a two year degree! We are so proud of him! No debt to graduate with! He is the last living at home.

    * To prepare for the move we are doing lots of yard work on our two acre property. The weed eater and riding mower deck both broke. My son who is graduating with a machining degree repaired our mower, we paid for his time. He also put on new blades and changed the oil. Cheaper than a new mower but still a huge expense. The weed eater just had to be replaced it was beyond repair. It the weedeter came with a blower for free and we used a 10% off coupon. I trimmed all the bushes in our front.

    * My husband went on a staff retreat and brought home bags of chips, which I do not buy, and sandwich meat. We used the meat on salads and sandwiches, mine in lettuce wraps from our garden.

    * Produce for our garden included lettuce, carrots, wild onions, Swiss chard, parsley, oregano and strawberries. I planted seeds for cucumbers, more Swiss chard, zucchini, pole and bush beans. All of my spring seeds did not sprout, not sure why. So thankful that some fall plants overwintered and am using those up.

    *Found marked down apples and oranges and bought some bananas and that is the only produce I bought all week.

    * Made two meals for a neighbor with a family death, and a new single mom. Made a large meal for all of us and was thankful to bless others.

    * I am taking all of the odd babysitting jobs offered since my cleaning job was not working out. Every little bit counts.

    Hope everyone is enjoying this lovely spring weather .

    Brandy, thanks for posting even in the midst of your loss. You always encourage and bless us! We are grateful for you!


  36. I’m so sorry for the loss of your father-in-law. The meal tradition is so kind and thoughtful. My church does something similar, and you are right, it’s one less expense and worry for the family at an already difficult time. The rain and cooler weather sounds wonderful, and of course your photos are lovely (as always). You definitely have an eye for photography!

    We’ve had an immense amount of rain this past week, and continuing this week. In fact, it is pouring outside as I type this! The temperatures are warm (70s-80s), but it cools down at night into the 50s and 60s. I would love to have the windows open at home, but we’ve had to leave the central air on due to the humidity. The system doesn’t run much as we keep the thermostat turned up – just enough to keep the house dry & comfortable. Fans & ceiling fans keep the house from feeling stuffy.

    I was gifted a $25 Starbucks gift card at work, which was much appreciated. My husband’s new salary has now gone into effect, so we will see that on his paycheck this Friday. We brought our lunches, snacks, & drinks to work. I baked a cake to have something sweet around the house. We cooked most meals at home, and I’ve been using my Instant Pot quite often. So far I am impressed, and my husband (who can be a picky eater) has enjoyed every meal from it so far. Tonight I am planning to cook a Schweinebraten (German pork roast) with a pork loin roast from our deep freezer that I bought on markdown for $2.

    We had to run a couple of errands last Saturday morning and decided to hit a few garage sales while we were out, and ended up with some great finds. I bought a new-in-box item my husband has been eyeing and set it aside for Christmas – paid about 1/4 of the retail price. I bought several nice tops for work and a couple of scented candles for my kitchen. For years we have talked about upgrading the curtains & rods in our guest bedroom, but have always put it on the back burner. The curtain rods in that room were leftovers from the previous homeowner (pre-2003!), in poor condition, unattractive, and a weird size & shape meant for a specific window treatment that we don’t have. The drapes in that room were lightweight cotton panels we had gotten free from a garage sale several years ago. It looked ok but not great, and as that room faces west, we wanted to put something heavier & light blocking in there for the summers. One of the garage sales had a set of drapes for $15 – the colors matched the room, the right length, right number of panels we needed, and very nice quality fabric with a light-blocking backing. Right across the street from them was another sale with a set of curtain rods in the right length & color. We did have to buy some wall brackets to mount the rods, and Lowe’s had those on clearance for $1.98 each and the exact number left in stock that we needed. Neither of us could believe our luck and how it all came together. We ended up paying around $40 total between the drapes, rods & the brackets, and spent Saturday afternoon completing that project. It looks wonderful and I’m so thrilled with the bargain finds. The drapes we took down were still in good, usable condition, so I was able to give them away on our neighborhood Facebook group.

    I have to schedule a procedure/test with my doctor, which will not be inexpensive, but it does make me grateful for health insurance.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  37. My condolences, Brandy, to you and your family, especially your husband.
    As Susan said, bringing food to the family during a time of bereavement is a southern ( and perhaps other areas) tradition that is so helpful. Many churches provide a meal after the funeral service in my area as well. I know that had to have been such a blessing for your family!
    I bought a $25 Swagbucks Amazon card for the discount at the beginning of May.
    I’ve been able to hang out a good bit of my laundry.
    The weather has gotten so hot, and our house was so hot even with fans and open windows, that we finally turned on the air conditioning, but we are keeping the thermostat downstairs at 79 and the one upstairs is programmed to stay at about 82 during the day when no one is using that area.
    Using Gasbuddy, I fueled up my car at a station just 3 miles down the road from one charging 19 cents per gallon more than at the one I was using. Both are on my path home from work.
    I just made another batch of bone broth using leftover bones and bits. I cook it at least 24 hours if I use the slow cooker, so it is rich tasting and dark gold in color. It adds so much to dishes.
    I plucked two sweet, ripe blueberries off of one of my bushes. It’s early for them here, by about a month, but they were delicious. Our neighbor tells us he will be giving us some of his wild grapes this summer, which we will gladly accept.
    I have a plan for a container garden, since it’s become obvious that my husband is unable to do any gardening at all now and I don’t have time for tilling and weeding. It’s late for many things, but a few plants can still produce in this Florida summer.
    Keeping my fingers crossed — I see several tiny olives on my two olive trees –my biggest “harvest” was six olives so far — and more tiny lemons on my lemon tree than last year. I’m hoping no storms knock them off this time.

  38. So very sorry for your father-in-law’s passing and hope that your treasured memories of him will ease the sadness until your joyful reunion with him in the eternities.

    So far this week, I’ve made 3 lasagnas, 3 chicken YumYums, 2 gallon bags of taco rice, 3 Max & Erma’s Chicken Tortilla Soup, 2 loaves of Orange Zucchini bread, 2 Instant Pot Mac And cheese, Orange Cranberry Muffins, Apple Cinnamon muffins, Peanut Butter Banana Bars and Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Bowls.
    Several of these went into my daughter’s freezer for future meals, including extra muffin batters to thaw overnight and then bake in the mornings.
    I am making a big batch of beef stew in the crockpot for her family which will be at least 4 meals.
    And I’ll make chicken/apple quesadillas for dinner tonight and lunches this week!

    All of these are from a portion of the $120 I spent last week to stock my daughter’s pantry in this new house they’ve moved to. She is learning to appreciate having ingredients on hand to “whip up” meals/snacks for the family. Now that they are out on 13 acres in the country, planning is much more necessary!
    I went back to the City and put in my veg garden. I weeded and then planted spinach, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, multiple types of lettuce, peppers, yellow squash , chives and zucchini! I inventoried my pantry before planning my garden! Because currently have about 175 quarts of tomatoes canned due to the windfall the past couple months of over 200 pounds of fresh tomatoes that were gifted to me 75 pounds at a time, I decided to only plant 4 tomato plants instead of my usual 24! Two grape/pear tomatoes- 1 red , 1 yellow- and 2 big slicing tomatoes- 1 red, 1 yellow.
    We have been eating down our pickle relish so this year I planted enough cucumbers to have excess to can!
    It has been a real learning curve and has freed up garden space to diversify with other edible plants!!

    Ohio this time of the year is so green and beautiful!!

    Only 2 more paychecks until retirement- 21 days. I’m alternating between being giddy and being terrified, but after 49 years, I think we can get through whatever bumps in the road are ahead in this transition!
    Sold another Scrappy Bag so, now that I’m home, I’ll get back to sewing through some of my stash of fabric and hopefully adding some sales to our savings!
    I am continually learning so much from you and your readers! As I work in my garden and yard, I have my bucket next to me as I weed the “Marivene” way and my yard shows the results, never looking too out of control!
    Thank you for sharing your time and ideas!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. I saw where the BYU Magazine had Marivene’s death listed in the alumni section. I thought about her practical advice she has given here on this blog. What a beautiful legacy!

    2. Garden Pat , I had to laugh at your Marivene reference. I am physically unable to do yard work but yet it must be done. My backyard is covered in 6 ft high wild blackberry bushes. The whole entire yard is completely covered. This certainly is a code violation. Marivene said to eat it like an elephant. One bite at a time. Each evening I sit on a small stool and cut it away one square foot at a time. My goal is ten square feet each night. It’s overwhelming. I actually googled my square footage to try to calculate how long it will take me. I imagine Marivene would be proud of me.

    3. Gardenpat, your cooking sounds so wonderful. It would be nice to add a recipe in every once in a while for some of those breads or muffins you make. I have used several of Brandy’s recipes and they too were great. Love to try new things.

  39. I am so sorry for your loss.Give your Hubby a hug for me. we were just in Rexburg taking Hubs parents to a wedding of a great grand daughter. They are in their 90’s. I thought of your daughter when I was there and as I was writing checks for all the graduations I wanted to drop off a little something for her. I am so proud of her, and as I am a professional seamstress and costume designer she is special to me.

  40. Brandy, I am so sorry for your loss.

    DH and I went to the big city (Billings, MT, not very big by urban standards but here in the northern Rockies, nothing is very big.) I like the chance to shop at Winco because the bulk section offer items I can’t find – such as more spices at lower cost and specialty ingredients for cooking and baking.

    Before we start our seasonal National Park jobs (this weekend) I invited friends to three different lunches at our house to catch up before we leave. The last lunch was on Monday. I made baked potato soup with WAY too much red pepper flakes (accidentally) so I had to dilute it with lots of chicken broth, milk and sour cream. It is still a bit spicy but it is edible. Instead of that, I served minestrone soup, homemade bread, sliced ham, turkey and chicken salad. I made Carolina Cole Slaw (boiled dressing with celery seed and dry mustard) with cabbage and green peppers and green salad. I made a cookie tray with strawberries ( only 99 cents a lb. at Winco) that I dipped in chocolate, oatmeal cookies with craisins, cheesecake brownies and macaroons. Now I am eating up all the leftovers that can’t be frozen. I saved all the cookies in a large box in the freezer. My young ranger co workers can afford the calories, but I can’t, so they better eat the cookies! I did donate a plate of cookies to the community choir concert reception this week, as well.

    I bought some clearance items at Wal-Mart that are “behind the scenes” in my wardrobe. I bought a Curvation bra for $2 that I love – and wish they had some smaller ones to grow “down” into, as I lose more weight. I bought 4 pairs of tights (No Nonsense) for $2. I love, love, love to wear tights in the winter as the frugal choice. I bought 4 pairs of panties ($1.50 total), 3 pairs of leggings ($5 total) and a floral bandana (25 cents) for this summer’s -hikes.

    Our town has a new store -a small surplus outlet that buys trailer loads of miscellaneous stuff – though mostly non perishable food- and sells them at very low prices. You never know what they will have – but it is fun to look. So far I have bought canned pumpkin, whole wheat pasta, Lara bars (30 cents a piece), and a 99 cent L’Oreal lipstick in a color I like.

    We hear the griz (grizzly bears) are definitely prowling in Yellowstone so I hope they steer clear of us as we move in this week end.

  41. So sorry for the lost of your Father in Law. Your photography is beautiful. What a wonderful talent you have.
    We are down to one car. I am making do. Yes, your are right Brandi you get more done when you stay home.
    It is unseasonably cool here. We are heating our home for free with scraps from the lumber yard. Saving on gas with one vehicle.
    I wondered if you have written about a zero based budget before? I can’t remember. I’m starting the EveryDollar zero based budget. I wondered if you or your readers follow a zero based budget?

    1. I don’t follow a zero-based budget, but I came across the #debtfreecommunity on instagram, and a lot of people there do. Lots of inspiration there if you’re looking for fellow zero-based budget peeps! You don’t even need to have an IG account — you can just lurk in the community by searching for the hashtag.

    2. Lyn, I follow a zero-based budget and had learned that from Dave Ramsey. We have irregular income as my husband is self-employed, but we “spend” every dollar on paper before the next month and then adjust as we actually go through the month since we don’t have paychecks coming in regularly and not in consistent amounts. We try to stick to the goal of not spending anything else in a category once we’ve hit the budgeted amount. We also try to keep to a minimum set budget for all basic living expenses, such as groceries, household, gas, etc, and keep our monthly bills to the lowest possible amounts (things like home phone, cell phone, electric, etc.) This helps with budgeting I have found if it’s as consistent as possible, although it doesn’t always go as planned. Last month our household category was over budget, but we purposely spent less in groceries and pets categories to balance that. It’s definitely a conscious effort to keep up with it so we aren’t having month left after the money runs out! We are currently focusing on paying off the remaining debts and have found that doing the zero-based budget helps us to purposely have leftover funds each month that can go to our current focus debt.

      1. This is pretty much how we do it, as we also have an irregular income.

    3. Before YNAB switched to a monthly fee, I used to zero-based budget using their product. Now I budget and keep track in Excel. I find it very helpful for achieving savings goals.

      Stephanie at Six Figures Under has been using zero-based budgeting for many years. They also live off of last month’s income – meaning money earned in May goes straight into the bank and is not spent/budgeted until June. This way they always know exactly how much they have to spend, which I find to be fascinating, but have not tried myself.

      Good Luck!

  42. I am so sorry for your loss Brandy.

    Beautiful photos! You really have a gift for this.

    We’ve harvested a lot more seeds from the garden this week as we enter the last month of Autumn down here. It still always amazes me how one sunflower seed can turn into 600 plus sunflower seeds! – God is good.

    I’ve had a lot of fun saving the seed from Painted Mountain corn – originally from Montana.

    Have a great week everyone.

  43. I’m thinking about the spread in ages between your FIL and his grandson Hamish – almost 89 years – that’s AMAZING!

    I’m guessing your FIL was born in 1929 meaning he lived through: the depression, WWII, invention of the television – going from B&W to color, Watergate, Vietnam war, computers, man on the moon, rise of rock ‘n roll, commonplace travel via airplane, telephones in only some homes to today’s ubiquitous cell phone….what an incredible amount of change during his life.

    I’m so glad that 100 family members were able to gather to honor and celebrate his life….and be supported by your faith community.

    • Our local hardware store is becoming an Ace location so they mailed out a $5 coupon good for anything in the store. I bought a new silicone spatula for very little OOP.
    • Worked a trade show and received a free lunch
    • Downloaded an audiobook from the library
    • Tried a new recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Not Derby Pie Bars and they were scrummy!
    • Made pad thai. tortellini alla panna, ramen with beef and veggies, made homemade pizza, and took a container of broccoli cheddar soup out of the freezer and ate for dinner with grilled cheese sandwiches

    1. Libby, my grandpa passed away 2 years ago just before his 90th birthday, and he loved to talk with me about all of the changes he had seen during his lifetime. He always said his generation was beyond blessed that they could see all of the progress in their life span. One of his favorite stories was seeing one of the first computers when he was in the military during the Korean War and how it took up 4 huge buildings and then he saw on TV that there’s a watch you can wear that’s a computer (referring to the Apple watch)!

      That generation definitely saw many changes across all areas of life!

  44. I’m so sorry about your loss. It’s never easy, even if they’ve lived a long and good life.

    We did a bit of repurposing around our house, saving jars from pickles, etc. for our home fermented veggies. A friend gave us some plants that we’re excited about putting in the garden: tomatoes, lemon balm, oregano, and raspberries. Since we’re in the rental, most will go in large pots so that we can move them to the new house. Here are the rest of our accomplishments:

    I hope you all have a lovely week and stop by my blog! This is such a supportive community, which I really find grounding.

  45. My condolences on the death of your Father-in-Law, Brandy.
    Prayers and peace to you and your family during this time.

    Your photos are beautiful – thank you so much for sharing them!

  46. Brandy, so sorry to hear of the death of your father-in-in law. Very sad to lose a loved one no matter the age. My condolences to the family. I am sure you feel comfort in knowing that he is in Glory and will see you again someday.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog and all the comments from the readers. It inspires me and I read every one each week. I don’t comment a lot but certainly glean a great amount of ideas and tips. I am always encouraging others to read your blog and letting them know how much they can learn, also.

  47. I was very moved by your pictures. Especially the 3 women, I have never seen anything like that, and the father and the son. You are extremely talented Brandy,.

    1. Thank you! The women are my mom and my aunts. The woman in the family photo is my daugthers’ piano teacher.

  48. I know losing a parent is always hard no matter the age and wonderful life lived. I’m glad you were able to celebrate his life and hope that his memories live on in your family. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. The picture of the two boys is sweet!

  49. 1. Found a person to trade cat sitting with while I am out of town. I will care for his cat when he vacations.
    2. Found 10 cans of 14 oz cat food at Dollar General on clearance for 21 cents each. I bought all they had.
    3. Got 2 free meals at restaurants for Teacher Appreciation Day.
    4. Trash picked many usable comforters & sheets. These were washed & dried to donate to my church’s clothes closet for the needy.
    5. Trash picked usable men’s clothes. Will launder & then these go to the local VA hospital for vets who arrive for treatment with little to no extra clothing.
    “To whom much is given, from him much is expected”.

  50. From readers tips here I am taking care of my yard! This year I am planting a tiny garden (4 tomato plants and a few flowers). The garden area has grass and other areas of the yard do not so I am replanting the grass. I also trimmed our massive shrubs and I am keeping up with the mowing a trimming. I saved lots of money buying the kids school books by going 2 editions back (doesn’t matter for Math and old World History) and buying already owned. I passed up the opportunity to purchase the kid’s read aloud books for 50% off and instead I am going to look at yard sales and use the library. The my husband’s parents no longer want the swing set and play house they had in their backyard. Since I am now keeping up with the yard work we said yes to both items and my kids are so excited to have “new” items in our backyard.

  51. Brandy,
    I’m so glad to learn you’ve started your own photography business. You are so gifted in that area. It is very hard to sell photos but portraits are different.
    They are in demand! Best wishes for a thriving business!

  52. I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of your FIL.

    I haven’t posted in awhile, as it seems things haven’t been very frugal here. These are the things that I have done to save $

    Wash baggies and reuse, wash full loads and I hang dry the majority of my wash, eat leftovers, combine errands, buying fruits on sale. Eating lettuce, carrots, celery and tomatoes from our garden. Walking our dogs for free exercise
    Enjoying my flowers in my yard instead of buying flower bouquets

    Those are what I can think of. Wishing all the Moms a relaxing Mother’s Day! I enjoy learning from everyone here.

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