We have had a large number of unexpected expenses this month, with multiple costly repairs needing to be made and items needing to be replaced. Some expenses one just doesn’t imagine ever having, but yet, there they are. Continuing to find frugality in as many ways as possible is important to keeping everything running smoothly.

Grapes in urn The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested peaches, figs, grapes, tomatoes, Swiss chard, green onions, and rosemary from our garden.

I planted seeds for what I hope will be a good harvest in a few months. I planted seeds for sunflowers, basil, chives, and green onions.

I said yes to some more tomatoes from my friend’s garden when she offered.

We had a fun get-together with the children’s friends and some of their cousins. We did the same thing the week before with some of their other cousins. Using a large tarp (that my husband got for free off of Craig’s List) we created a giant slip and slide. We have done this for a few years now. It’s a fun way to cool off and still play outside when it’s 114°F/46°C out, which it was at our house.

It’s still quite humid here as the summer storms pass overhead (not falling on us–the clouds just go right on by!) and I collected several water gallons of water from the air conditioning drip each day and used it to water potted plants. I also continued to collect shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants.

I cancelled my free Amazon Prime trial the day before I would be charged.

I watched a free photography class online.

I read two books that I borrowed from my mom.


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  1. *Continued to harvest blackberries, pie cherries & red currants. The grasshoppers are growing & we are doing battle.

    *Took another pine cone survey & cashed a pine cone check to add to my cash fund for thrift store shopping.

    *Continued to use the grass clippings from the lawn to reduce the water needed in the perimeter beds.

    *We had several visits to the ER this month, & were grateful for good insurance to cover the vast majority of the cost.

    *Continued to gather items we no longer need, to be donated to the thrift on the next visit.

    *Two younger peach trees, both Red Reliance, died this year, so we removed them. The large peach tree that is a different variety was unaffected, for which I am grateful.

    *One of our daughter’s sent a short video of her kneading bread dough with Little Stuff. I am so thankful that we have skype & FaceTime, & are able to share precious moments like these within the family.

  2. This week’s post hits close to home. I drove my car a mile down the road to the store. College girl had come home and unexpectedly required some personal items from the store. This was a necessary trip and I had not planned on it being a problem. After all, my planned trip to the dealership was for recall work. Well that silly little car stopped and wouldn’t budge. Neither one of us had our phone on us. Thankfully they know us at the grocery store and I called roadside service. I am always thinking ahead about having problems and having a solution ready. USAA promptly informed me that they would not tow me 12 miles to my service center that they only cover 11 miles ! I won’t even mention my anger. I called the dealership and they had someone come pick my car up. So now in addition to the warranty work, recall work, I now owe for a tow, a new battery ( who knows why) and whatever caused the car to stop running. I pray I have enough money to cover it. At this point I am now broke. I mean no savings, no checking, no cash and credit maxed out. The food stamp office has had our disability checks messed up for 7 months. I can not get this resolved and collect the back money they owe us. Now I need it. I will actually have to call the state governors office and they have an advocate who can see that it is resolved. Someone made a mistake and although they acknowledge they owe us money, no one will get it processed. I have no more patience. Thankfully all bills are paid that are necessities and we have food. If necessary, I will have to uber into the city and home to get sugar cookie from the airport. Try as I may, I constantly struggle due to others mistakes. Meanwhile, the boy left yesterday for the Army and for the fifth time , they sent him home today. I have little puffs of steam coming out of my head like a cartoon character. I hope to read lots of happy, joyful postings this week. Don’t mind me, I am grumpy. I will have everything under control in a couple days.

  3. I know what you mean about unexpected bills. We had 3 days of intense storms that made the roof leak – not fun for sure!

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons and rebates. I have gotten free shampoo, free coffee, free excedrin, free blush and free Twizzlers lately. My only fail was missing out on $0.16 school supplies at Walgreens. All of my transactions with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-7-21-18/

  4. Sorry to hear you have had so many unexpected expenses – that is hard.
    My major frugal accomplishment was spending a bit of time filling out a free raffle ticket at my local Trader Joe’s and winning a picnic basket stocked with goodies. We will use about half and pass on the rest.
    Otherwise, continuing to use the library and have a big stack of books. Taking swim technique lessons so I can utilize my HOA pool to swim laps for exercise, walking the dog for exercise and cooking at home most nights.

  5. Brandy, sorry to hear about the expenses. I hope that your family is able to save wherever possible, which I know you will do your best to make that happen.

    Here is my list:

    Doubled the amount we have in savings
    Caught a lot of sales at the grocery stores
    Did my own pedicure at home
    Continued to use vinegar as a laundry rinse
    Uses free resources for a project I am working on
    Made new batches of hair rinse, body scrubs, and mouth rinse from scratch
    Made infused apple cider vinegar to replace what we used up
    Made body and facial oils with herb infused oils
    Combined errands to save money
    Put together a family friend’s gift (a bath and beauty set) with items on hand
    Brought some fruit, snack bars and nuts from home as snacks

  6. Oh, those unexpected repair bills! They’re always a blow to morale. :p

    I’ve had a wonderfully (unexpected!) thrifty week!

    I forgot about the library’s adult summer reading program which ended last week. At the last minute I entered two of the eight possible book reviews but even so, my name was drawn and I won a bag of books, water bottle and headphones. Much later I found an envelope in the bottom with gift certificates to two restaurants and a free t-shirt.

    I was also able to go to a few garage sales (only for the second time this summer) but I got a small suitcase I’ve been looking for, a brand-new wax melt warmer, flower bed fencing, vintage Christmas ornaments, four early 1900s books for 25 cents each, and a pizza pan.

    The garden is starting to steadily produce cucumbers and okra, and raspberries and tomatoes won’t be far behind!

  7. Brandy, Sorry to hear about your unexpected expenses. That’s always the most defeating feeling. I hope you can cover them with a rainy day fund.

    *It’s summer vacation and instead of sending my first grader to expensive summer school we’ve been having it everyday at home 9-12.
    *I was able to repurpose a sports shirt and use handmedown goggles, and towels I have on hand for my son’s swimming lessons. I didn’t buy anything other than the swim trunks at the beginning of summer.
    *We went to a free museum with a friend and brought water bottles.
    *We went to a children’s science museum and got 50% off with a local ID card. $5 for 2 adults and 2 kids. We took our own snacks and water.
    *We played lots of pokemon go for exercise and entertainment. There was also an event we were able to get codes for from a local sponsor. We searched all day for rare pokemon. It was exciting and but most of all cheap.
    *I was gifted a melon, some wood shavings, and a box of Cheerios from friends as barter.
    *I cooked most meals and ate at home.
    *There have been record high temperatures lately. Since we have to run the airconditioner all day I’ve been hanging up the laundry and letting it dry.
    *I found a bucket of interlocking blocks in the recycling. They’ll be passed on to friends with younger kids.
    *I started using cloth pads. I don’t hate them as much as I expected.
    *We played in some local fountains/splash pads.
    *I spent time chatting with friends outside instead of going to Starbucks.
    *I found cucumbers to be cheaper than lettuce for the guinea pigs. Thankfully they like cucumbers so I bought a huge bag.

  8. Ugh! I hate when several things happen at once. I hope everyone is alright. That is very nice of your friend to give you more tomatoes. I love slip n slide. We had a fake one that my dad made growing up. My kids had one when they were young and we extended it with a tarp. We would put bubbles or bubble bath to make it extra slippery. They loved it. Just watch out for bubbles in their eyes. My son got them in his eyes once so always wore googles after that.

    We went to see our oldest in Baltimore and we looked at 2 colleges for our youngest while away. My garden is producing nicely. I have gotten cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, string beans, peas, basil, parsley, thyme and dill this week. Lots of green tomatoes but no red ones yet. I found a used garden cart that someone was throwing away. One of the tires is flat so we are looking for one to replace it. We have been cooking at home and while away. We have a college payment due in August and we are starting to get our driveway done too. The rest of my week is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/07/my-frugal-list-week-of-july-23-2018.html

  9. Mmmmm…tomatoes, figs and those herbs.

    I have a 2”x3” picture frame with missing glass. I took the plastic from a grocery container and cut a replacement for a missing piece.
    We will be celebrating my husbands birthday with friends this weekend. A friend offered to make sauce and pasta if I would make the “Brandy Bread” (rosemary olive oil bread).
    Due to payroll bouncing continuously at my job, I resigned. With this community I know I will have the support needed to keep life running smoothly until other employment is found.
    I am picking a lot of cucumbers, my first tomato,and mini eggplant. My zucchini are blooming, but not fruiting. I started hand pollinating.
    Have a great week everyone.

  10. Brandy, over the years we have had a number of those humongous and unexpected expenses, so I know exactly what you are talking about. Also, now that your Amazon Prime trial is over, did you know that you can still get free shipping when your order totals $25 or more…even if you are not a Prime member? A member of a frugality forum posted that she starts a cart, adds to it until it reaches more than $25, and then places the order. Go to the Amazon site and do a search for the details.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week:
    The Bright Beginnings (like Welcome Wagon) lady visited me and left a packet of goodies, mostly coupons. I got a toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste and dental floss. So far, I’ve been able to use the $10 coupon at a supermarket–and discovered they had top sirloin steak on sale for $3.99 lb. Double score! Also, the independent pharmacy inside the store gifted me with a very complete first aid kit, which we put it in the car.

    I received the change-of-address coupons from the USPS. I’ve got a 10% off Lowe’s coupon that is burning a hole in my pocket, but I don’t need anything big right now. I was able to use a 20% off entire purchase coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond, saving me $28 on my living room curtains.

    I found a $40 curtain rod on clearance at Jo-Ann’s for $14.99.

    The temps have been mostly in the mid-90sF. We have been using ceiling fans so that we can be comfortable with the AC at a higher setting.

    A friend and I set up a drip irrigation system for about 150 plants, shrubs and trees. I already had a sprinkler system to water my lawn. Adding this was easy, cost about $100, and it works! No more hand watering. It is so convenient! I don’t know how much I’ll save, because I don’t know yet how much the water is going to cost at this house, but it is bound to pay for itself sooner or later. Plus, conserving water is always a good thing. I can’t tell you how happy this has made me!

    After about 6 weeks of bleeding money, I am getting back to doing the usual frugal stuff. Doing a good job of eating up leftovers (I made a Greek salad for dinner last night with leftover couscous). Using rags and reusing plastic bags. Stain removal. It all adds up!

  11. I bought two 5 lb flats of blueberries, and packed them in 2 cup portions to put in the freezer. I was very happy with the price, and the quality. There were almost no berries that had been damaged and they were all fully ripe. The stores offering this had supply problems, so it took 4 visits to get the two flats. I just live 3 doors away, so not too much trouble.

    After an appointment at the next town over, I stopped at a store there that had premium butter on sale at pretty well the best price I see on butter. I bought a few pounds to put in the freezer. The same store had eggs at 50 cents less a dozen than the best price where I live. I bought a couple of boxes of gourmet soup on sale in flavors that I thought would be good served chilled instead of heated, which is working well as something quick to serve on very hot days. (I have fans instead of air conditioning.)

    When I was at the next town over, I asked my car mechanic to check the noise my car is making. The car didn’t make the noise of course, but there was no charge. I’ll try again later this week, because the noise is very worrying.

    The frame of the monitor on my laptop is disintegrating and the hinges have collapsed, so I will be buying a new laptop later this week. I have done the research to see what specs I need, and what the cost will be. Luckily, back to school sales are on, so prices are good this week. In the meantime, I am taking the week off from transcription and am doing work around the house and yard, as weather allows.

    I have been researching recipes to make with pesto, lemon balm, and ground chicken, to use supplies. I’ve also been planning what produce to be preserving over the coming month.

    Sunny days are alternating with thunderstorms. The cats don’t panic, but they sit very close to me when there are thunderstorms. They don’t want me to worry.

  12. After considering carefully the effects of my husband’s recent diagnosis of dementia, we took a long weekend two weeks ago and determined he is unable to assist with navigation at all either. Therefore we reluctantly decided not to go to the car convention which we have attended most of since 1985. This will save us well over $1000. I had a room reservatio which I cancelled with no monetary penalty. The convention committee has promised to refund our fees (over $500) since I had inquired earlier and told them we might have to cancel due to health problems. They don’t normally give refunds this late but they decided they would. The problem was–for me–the stress of driving in the Wash. DC area and not having a navigator to help me. Unfortunately this also means being unable to visit his brother in the assisted living in Maryland, but I can’t help it. My blood pressure was too high at my last doctor appointment, and I decided it was unwise to stress myself further with this drive. We will also save the gas money and a couple days worth of meals on the road. These savings should allow us to rent a senior alert device which I have been reading about and comparing for the past week. My husband is allowed to walk and ride his bike but this device would be able to locate him if he gets lost. I will also be hiring some household help if I get around to it. I have been catching up on the housework so it doesn’t look such a mess. He is just unable or unwilling to help much.

    Today I went (alone because no one wanted to help) and picked blueberries. Only got 5# this time but may go back one more time. My 75 year old back was feeling the effects and I did slip and fall on damp grass once, but I landed on my most padded spot, so no injuries. It was cool and cloudy but a bit more humid than I realized. I took cold water with me but could have used a towel too. I think my daughter might want to get some but she was busy today and couldn’t go. If she decides to get some I might go back with her and get a few more. They are $3 a pound to pick your own and $3.99 a pint already picked. I will use some for pies and muffins, and my husband will have some fresh on his cereal.

    We actually had a “date” this week, spending Saturday afternoon at the Historical Museum in Buffalo and then grabbing a bite on the way back home. Not many places you can spend the whole afternoon for $5 each. The AC was not working on the second floor, but we saw the other two floors in detail and did a quick look at the second floor. My husband was getting hungry and he wanted to eat right away. Sorry, I’ m not familiar with the neighborhood any more, so we stopped about halfway home for his version of “fast food.” Not a chain, but it could have been. I went for a root beer float (so thirsty!) and a foot long hot dog. Well worth the fairly low cost given the weather, although lacking in nutrition, I’m sure.

    The rest of the week was mostly stay home, do housework, and not spend. I am catching up on housework, which always makes me feel good. And, of course, adusting to my husband’s two newest catch phrases “I don’t remember” and “I forgot.” He is unable to control this, so I can’t complain. I’m trying to anticipate things better–sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s certainly a new chapter of life for us both. He is accepting me driving everywhere, but he has not stopped complaining that he is unable to drive himself. He says I am a better driver than he knew. That’s because he did most of the driving so he hasn’t ridden with me driving too often.

  13. It was an expensive week for us – we had a big travel week, and my son was in a car accident (no injuries, not his fault) that totaled his car. We are thankful for God’s protection. And for insurance! So really the only thing ‘frugal’ is that I’m cooking down some apples that became bruised while knocking around in a cooler for several days. Some of the apples were about 1/2 gone, but we just trimmed off the bad parts, diced them, added cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice and butter, and it smells like heaven here now. We’ll use the apples over homemade funnel cakes tonight, and for topping yogurt in the morning. Little things like that can really make a difference over time when you do them often.

  14. Sorry to hear about the unexpected expenses. I hope things get a bit easier from here on out! Your slip and slide idea sounds great!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made Shake n’ Bake tofu, using homemade seasoned breadcrumbs. (www.approachingfood.com/shake-n-bake-tofu/)So, so yummy! Finally, a way I can eat tofu and love it! Even the meat-a-tarian DH liked it, so it’ll be an inexpensive source of protein from now on.
    – I borrowed my mother’s cherry pitter (mine broke and I’m saving swagbucks Amazon gc to buy one, but I’ve some other stuff I want first, so it’ll take a while to get, which is fine! I’m quite happy to wait if I can get free stuff!) and pitted and froze the cherries that I purchased on sale over a week ago. I’m glad I purchased so many when they were on sale, as they doubled in price this week.
    – My husband disassembled our guest bed (my childhood bed frame) and part of it we disposed of in recycling, and the wooden bits my mother took to dispose on with her garbage (so that we didn’t have to pay a condo large item disposable fee). We sold the mattress very cheaply for $20, in order to get rid of it without having to pay a disposable fee.
    – I was able to use a $5 gc to The Body Shop (that I had previously traded for) to buy a nice body lotion to send to my MIL for only a dollar and change OOP.
    – I finally had a bit on energy last Sunday and baked plum crumble bars to eat as work snacks for the week, and also made a taco pasta bake as dinners for the week (to alternate with my smoothies), all from ingredients I already had at home.
    – This Saturday, I made a lasagna for the coming week, and also Brandy’s clafoutis using a can of peaches, and used the remaining peach syrup to sweeten a drink.
    – I picked a few peas, one tomato, rosemary, thyme, and oregano from my balcony garden and used the herbs to season the lasagna.
    – I took a friend out for coffee at Starbucks using a gc from Swagbucks (I combined it with a promotion to get the best value possible).
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a container of truffle olive oil (gifted to me) for a package of nail polishes which I will regift. My pregnant stomach is too delicate to handle the flavour of the oil, so it’s better that it goes to someone who will appreciate it. I also traded a Bath n’ Bodyworks candle (also gifted to me) for a package of newborn diapers.
    – MAC Cosmetics was giving out free full-size lipsticks on Sunday as a promo, so I got one and will set it aside to give as a gift (the only colour available when I went isn’t my favourite). I also checked Sephora as they were giving out face masks, but they had run out by the time I got there.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as usual!

  15. Unexpected expenses or repairs are awful. I should probably anticipate that they will happen but for now, they always catch me off guard. I thought I might need a new battery as my car wouldn’t start but it turns out a door wasn’t closed properly so it drained the battery. Thankfully my husband was able to jump my car and everything seems to be going well. We also thought our freezer had broken but turns out it was (also) left ajar. All the food went into our chest freezer so with the exception of 1 cherry popsicle, nothing was ruined.

    I went to a concert a few days ago with my husband. We went right after church so brought food to eat in the car as we drove. We found free parking and didn’t buy anything from the vendors.

    I continue to harvest tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers. I blanched and froze several bunches of basil. I cut dahlias to bring in indoors. I planted more sunflowers and zinnias. It rained this evening and is supposed to rain the rest of the week which will save me from watering.

    I borrowed some books from the library and put a few new dvds on hold. My mom went to a library book sale on the last day when all books were free. She found a few cookbooks for me.

  16. Those grapes look delicious, Brandy!

    We were out of town for vacation Wednesday thru Sunday, so didn’t save much. We’ll be back on track this week.

    Here are my accomplishments:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Cut the bottom off of a toothpaste tube and got 8 more uses out of the remainder.
    • Worked 6 hours contract work.
    • Bought 4 more cantaloupes for 25c/lb and cut them up and put then in the freezer to add to my smoothies.
    • Ate some leftovers from the freezer for dinner.
    • Travelled out of state for a long weekend. Was able to stay with my brother so we saved on hotel costs.
    • Ate in on the nights we were home. Continued to eat up leftovers from the freezer.
    • Went to niece’s baby shower. Put together a basket of some items from the dollar store.
    • My daughter found a picture for our dining room at Goodwill. She sent me a picture and once I said I wanted it, she bought it. It only cost me $12.
    • Turned the AC up to 82 degrees while we were gone.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  17. Your blog is always so refreshing and you get so much accomplished in each day. Sorry you are having unexpected expenses this month.
    My neighbor called me this pm and ask if I wanted to pick her tomatoes as they were leaving on vacation, so I went to pick them got about a five gallon bucket full. So much appreciated, Told me to pick them till they got home in two weeks. My vines died this year, not enough water I am sure was most of the problem. Will freeze tomato juice tomorrow. and we will be eating fresh sliced tomatoes. also had several plants of little red cherry ones, will pick them too, make good juice and I am so glad to get them We have had some terribly hot weather and rain has been very spotty grass is brown and crunchy!!

  18. The fall garden has been planted. All the seeds are in except for lettuce. A few spots may be replanted, if they remain patchy. The week is supposed to be a rainy one, so we should know soon. I harvested cucumbers, okra, zucchini, spaghetti and tromboncino squash, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, lima beans, basil, sage, oregano, chives, apples, plums, pears, elderberries, blueberries and pawpaws. A batch of sweet pickle relish was canned, and another of elderberry tincture begun. Busy garden times!

    I requested a book from the library, but ended up taking it back partially read, something I rarely do, as it wasn’t something I enjoyed.
    I made yogurt, hummingbird food and suet for the birds. Yesterday I cut flowers to enjoy in the house, including soapwort, which has the most wonderful fragrance. Walks with the pups were taken for exercise. Homemade soap and deodorant were used, and laundry was hung on the line. I hope things shift for you, so that you have unexpected windfalls, instead of expenses.

  19. Hi! Long time reader, 1st time commenting!
    We’ve been trying to find ways to go green and save money. My little guy and I have been hitting up our local thrift stores for linen or fabric napkins, but also scoping out clothes. I found my husband 2 nearly brand new shirts for work, really great names on the label for $1 each!
    We are canning oodles of pickles tonight, and probably have a few more batches ahead of us. We will give those as Christmas gifts as well as thank you gifts to our neighbors for various reasons 🙂
    I also have been aggressively cleaning out closets and drawers. I have an obscene amount of cardstock and paper, so i plan to make gift tags, bookmarks, cards and other tchotchkes to sell inexpensively or give as gifts.
    I also found a giant pile of flannel receiving blankets from when our little guy came home almost 2 years ago, we dont plan on having anymore kiddos(not to mention these were absurdly tiny) so I’m going to cut and hem them to make reusable surface wipes!
    Lots on the agenda, hopefully I don’t overwhelm myself!

  20. As you say, “…but yet, there they are.” We, too, have been dealing with a series of unexpected repairs and expenses – some smaller and more annoying than anything, a few that were daunting even though we were able to pay for them, and could have been really traumatizing if we hadn’t had funds set aside for such occasions. And yes, continuing to find creative ways to be frugal helps keep me on an even keel. If I’m able to say to myself, “I can keep saving warm-up water to water the herbs and lemon tree…”, etc., it reminds me that even when things feel scary and out of control, there are things I can control and choices I still have. It’s very comforting.

    I did use warm-up water from showers, and from washing produce, to water the herbs and potted plants. I enjoyed being creative with what I had in the refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and garden, and made some very nice meals, including for some unexpected (but very welcome) guests. I kept dryer use to a minimum and hung many loads of laundry out to dry on the line (which had the added benefit of lovely fresh-smelling laundry). My husband took our youngest to movies two Saturdays in a row using a gift card he was given as a birthday gift. We used up soaps, shampoos, and lotions we’ve brought home from several trips – I didn’t have to buy soap, and they were nice reminders of some very pleasant trips as well.

  21. So sorry everything decided to break at once, Brandy. As they say…when it rains, it pours. Still, I hope you and your husband were able to get everything fixed despite your tight budget. If you have any interesting tricks you used or great advise to find the finances to do the unexpected repairs, please share if you are comfortable doing so. You are always so brilliant at juggling a tight budget! By the way, the giant slip and slide sounds like a lot of frugal fun for all the children that attended! Bet it will make great memories for your children, too.

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included baked chicken smothered in cheddar cheese soup with Knorr noodle sidekicks and corn, ham steaks with rice, green/yellow beans, and homemade cherry cobbler (see below), breaded fish with green beans, peas and choice of potato wedges or sweet potato fries, pasta with choice of red or white sauce, optional sausage and homemade garlic bread (used hamburger buns from freezer), BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with potato chips, and beef stew with dumplings (mmmm dumplings…my favourite!).
    *Continuing on the “meatless lunches” effort, I took hummus for my work lunches this week. I had hummus in the freezer that I bought a while ago on sale that needed using up anyways.
    *We ate home-canned fruit this week, to avoid a trip to the grocery store for fresh. They were delicious and I didn’t spending unnecessarily. Used the leftover peach juice to make peach mango popsicles. I blended the peach juice, a few peach slices, some mango from the freezer, some canned plums that went to mush during processing and a little bit of sweetener, then poured it into our reusable popsicle moulds.
    *Finished blanching and freezing the bushel of green and yellow/waxed beans, thanks to my mom’s help. She washed and cut the beans while I was at work, then I blanched them and put them in the freezer when I got home.
    *We had an issue with one of our freezer doors coming opening a crack (too much jammed in the door, apparently), which caused some of the meat and cheese in the door to thaw slightly. The cheese can be refrozen, but my mom had to pulled several packages of breakfast sausage and cook it all up before the sausages could be refroze. Funny thing is, I was recently thinking that I should cook up a couple packages to use for my breakfast. Now they are an easy breakfast option…just microwave and eat!
    *I pulled out 2 pint jars of home-canned cherries from 2014 and told my mom that we should dispose of them, since they were now 4 years old. My mom, however, insisted they were still good. I told her if she wanted to make a cobbler with them, it needed to happen soon. Otherwise, they needed to go. I came home that night to a freshly baked cherry cobbler. It wasn’t the most tasty cobbler, regardless I was impressed she made the effort to make it.
    *I have a baby watermelon growing in my garden! I’ve tried to grow watermelon before, with no luck. Hope this one develops into a nice, big, juicy watermelon my family can enjoy.
    *One of our local grocery stores offers really great prices on boxes of peaches that are 2nds each year. Last year I called and ordered 3 boxes from them. I canned peach slices, peach jam and peach jelly as well as made peach pies for the freezer. This year, the store actually called me and asked if I wanted to order again. Of course I said yes, and ordered 2 boxes or 50lbs of peaches (we still have several cans of peaches from last year to use up). They will come in August 23 and will cost $13/25lb box, so $26 total for 50lbs. Just can’t beat that price! Even better, I may be able to use my loyalty points to purchase them, so I might be able to get them for free!
    *We were low on a lot of grocery items, so I did a bigger grocery shopping trip this weekend to stock up (not that we couldn’t go a few weeks without buying groceries if we needed to with the stock pile I keep). However, since I had purchased a bunch of stock up last week at Costco, I didn’t have a lot left of my grocery cash to spend. So I used saved up store loyalty points (PC optimum points) to get $60 in free groceries!
    *Checked the points I earned after grocery shopping, and as usual there was 1 offer I was missing points for. Placed a points inquiry immediately, to ensure I receive those points. They add up!
    *Free stuff from work: Baked goods, including hand-made butter (made in village by staff and/or youth interpreters), popcorn (leftover at end of day from food booth), a lesson on how to sharpen knives (one of my co-workers taught me on a very slow, rainy day) and cold lemonade on a hot day.
    *My mom and I attended a free Musicfest concert, featuring Scott Helman, a 22 year old singer from Toronto with several current pop hits I hear on the radio frequently. He delivered a great performance making it a very enjoyable evening. We took bottled water and snacks with us from home, as usual. Both of us also won a free t-shirt, a free bingo coupon (will give to MIL who likes to play) and a multi-headphone connector (that can be used with a cell phone or other devices, so more than 1 person can listen to what is playing).
    *Talked more with my young co-worker who is struggling with money and diet issues. She likes to eat out with her boyfriend (who is also a co-worker), so I gave her 2 challenges this week. First, I challenged her to use her Pinterest account to find recipes of things she likes to eat at restaurants. This will help her broaden her cooking skills, create new choices of homemade meals, be much cheaper than going out (not to mention healthier), and will make these favourite dishes less of a craving, since she can make them any time. Second, I challenged her to think of some fun things to do with her boyfriend that don’t cost much to do (cheap dates). She was very excited with both challenge ideas, so hopefully they help her out. She has already started bringing healthy, frugal lunches, which she is very proud of.
    *Started back to school cloths shopping for DD. Bought her 2 new very high quality bras, a short sleeved t-shirt and a long sleeved t-shirt for just over $100. The bras were the most expensive part, but she requires a specialty size, so I expected it would cost a lot. The shirts were clearance, with an additional 60% the clearance prices, making them a great deal! My mom used a 50% 1 item coupon to buy DD another bra as well. I found a pair of really nice black dress pants for myself on clearance and used my gift card from Christmas to buy them, so no money OOP. At another store, I picked up 2 packages of underwear for DD, as well. So I only need to purchase a few pairs of pants, maybe a couple more long sleeved shirts and some socks and she is done! She doesn’t need too many school supplies, either, this year. So overall, it will be pretty cheap for school this year!

    Looking forward to reading all the comments over the next week. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

  22. We went to the lake and took a kayak given to us. We took picnic lunch and dinner. One thing caught my attention-my husband has always packed his sandwiches in the bags that bread comes in. He has done this most working days for the past 25 years. That’s a lot of bags saved! He will reuse the same bread bag several times before he throws it out.

    I harvested Armenian cucumber, tomatoes, basil, chives, peaches and figs. I have a batch of fruit in the dehydrator right now. We have given figs away most days, our tree produces hundreds. We eat a lot, dry some, and bake with some, but still, we have to give them away. I have a list of friends who like them, and I rotate through the list, so everyone gets some. I love to not waste food.

    I got 9 items of clothing at thrift store for 10 cents each. All name brand items, which I will take to consignment store. A couple pairs of J. Crew pants may fit me, I haven’t tried them yet.

    Several no-spend days at home. Swam in our backyard pool most days. Bought a book for 50 cents at library sale, which I will take on a trip with me. That way, if I lose it, there’s no library fine!

    Using up scrap fabric by making re-usable gift bags, and making crocheted hats with scrap yarn. I will donate the hats to World Vision. The scrap fabric and yarn I have had for 10+ years, and it’s just time to be used for something. I am making room for some new things in my life! But I am very committed to as little waste as possible. I know I can donate the scraps, but I think that these small bits would not get bought at thrift stores/be useful to others, and the items I have made with them will definitely be useful and appreciated. All of this sewing and crocheting has helped me pass the time as I’m recovering from surgery and not able to get about much.

  23. I have nothing to offer besides prayers for you to stay strong. You seem to be so accepting of what is happening–I am in awe of your attitude.

  24. Hi to all.

    Frugal things I did last week

    – returned some handles we did not need to Lowe’s and had about $30 credited to my credit card
    – shopped alone with a list
    – checked books out at the library
    – walked the dogs most mornings for exercise
    – sent some clothes to ThredUp that do not fit me or I haven’t worn in awhile, is a relief to clear more stuff out
    – all week cooked from scratch and ate in except for Sat night
    – continued to work on swagbucks and surveys.
    That’s all I can think of. Have a good week everyone!

  25. Sounds like the ancient Chinese curse- May you live in interesting times! So sorry you’ve had so many at once! A couple weeks ago, our 13 year old van (purchased 4 years ago for $1000) started to lose power and I was able to get off the freeway and parked safely to wait for a tow truck (thank goodness for free towing with our insurance!) I was resolved that it might be the end of our van and that we could and would make do with our 13 year old car! However, the repair was “only” $600 and then a few days later another $150 for a new battery. We were sad but grateful to use some of our savings to pay for the repairs. I immediately went into no-spend mode and as a result, we’ve been able to put about $500 back into savings and on Wednesday this week, when I zero out our checking account balance as our next direct deposit comes in, the final $250 will be back into savings!
    Amazing how the small frugal things can really add up! Sometimes just staying home and out of the stores is all it takes to have more to save for me.
    I moved things around in my basement pantry to make room for the 29 quarts of diced tomatoes and 13 pints of tomato sauce I made last week from the free tomatoes. In organizing my shelves I noticed about 80 quarts of grape juice I canned in 2001!! Yikes!! So I’ve been systematically taking 5 quarts up to the kitchen every time I come out of the basement. I empty the jars and run them through the dishwasher and some of them were put back into service as I canned the diced tomatoes! Win-win! More shelf space, more empty jars to use!
    I shredded and froze more zucchini and we’ve enjoyed eating fresh zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions from the garden.
    I’ve been actively working on using up leftovers in my fridge and we’ve had some great dinners as I’ve combined ingredients!
    My daughters decided as a way to make dinner planning easier that they would make a Pinterest board that we could each access and add to labeled- Tried and True Instant Pot recipes. The only recipes in it are ones that one of the 7 of us have actually made and that our families loved! It’s amazing how helpful that is to us! Tonight I made a chicken, black bean and rice burrito bowl recipe https://pin.it/abqsqhhxfqi5pa that one of my daughters pinned! It was terrific and easy and so nice to know ahead of time that we would love it!!
    The brick walkway with the Freecycle bricks we got is finished. https://pin.it/nuhfrjixxqoi2d The cinder blocks against the wall were free and we will use them in the outdoor pizza oven we plan to build! I love how recycled materials and supplies can turn into something wonderful just by putting in some time and labor!
    Hope your week improves! We have been truly blessed this week!

  26. I feel for you, Brandy, and others dealing with unexpected expenses. I think we have all been there — it isn’t easy!
    This week from the garden I harvested carrots, celery, tomatoes, chard, collards, onions, mint, parsley, sage, jalapeno peppers, and the first green beans. I pulled all the garlic and hung it in the wood shed to dry.
    I cooked a batch of dried chickpeas and made hummus, which we enjoyed for lunch with our home-grown carrots and celery. I canned four quarts of ham and bean soup to eat this winter. I made two loaves of sandwich bread. I cooked a big batch of dried pintos and froze them for future meals. I made a batch of pancake syrup and another of brown sugar. I stayed out of the stores this week.
    I watered my potted plants with collected rain water. It was able to shut off the irrigation to the garden beds for six days, thanks to regular rain.
    I enjoyed a free birthday burger from Red Robin, and we attended a free lecture from the local historical society.
    My husband cut a cord of firewood off a local ranch.
    I sewed two Christmas gifts, patched a quilt, and hemmed a dress.

  27. I’m curious about this as well! A local class was offered by two photographers, and they wanted $550 (you did get a printed canvas, as well as the work displayed during a local art night)… but wow! I couldn’t stomach the expense with all of the classes you’ve mentioned you’ve found online for free. Thanks for any tips!

  28. Unexpected bills, indeed. We’ve had those this summer, and they’re disheartening, to say the least.

    This week, I did some baking at home, which was nice. I organized several cabinets and the pantry, which helped me to find items that I’d thought I was out of. Turns out I don’t need to buy them after all, which saves me money. I only needed to do a very small amount of grocery shopping, just milk and cheese, those kinds of perishables. Everything else, I already had on hand. I bought nothing at yard sales this week, because no one had anything I needed, I dried the laundry outside, enjoyed a barbecue at a friend’s house, and harvested our first (small) batch of produce from our garden. I finished knitting Christmas gift dishcloths, and started in on knitting a pair of Christmas gift mittens. It was a pretty productive week. 🙂

  29. You are in my thoughts with this new stage in life. Reading your posts each week, I continue to be amazed with your strength and positive thoughts/reactions in the face of your husband’s new “normal”. I’m very inspired by you.

  30. We literally just paid for a new washer machine and the A/C repair man is here, $425. My husband is ranting and raving. We have also spent $300 last week for school supplies and we’re not done. It’s been a terribly expensive week.

    We didn’t eat out one time last week, yeah us!

    Kids wound up only going to the sitter one day last week due to sickness and her vacation so we saved some money there.

    Got $1.00 per gallon off at the pump thanks to Frys 2x gas points promo and shopping for two weeks.

    That’s all I got at the moment. Feeling like we’re hemorrhaging money. We both have good, average jobs but not enough income at the moment. Hubby is working a lot of overtime and daughter is working her new job and slowly increasing hours so she’ll be able to take over her insurance soon.

  31. Hi Brandy and Frugal Friends,

    I can relate to you having a lot of unexpected bills this summer. We had a lot of hail damage this year. Between deductibles, out of pocket costs and now unexpectedly having to replace a vehicle that they said was repairable, we have had a rough summer. Also, all of my garden was destroyed again after I received free plants from a local nursery. It was more hail. It has been crazy. Here are the things that have saved us though:
    – Good insurance
    – A good emergency fund
    – Not spending everything we make
    – Side jobs
    We will be ok. Of course none of us want to go through hardships. But we all will. We have to hold on to our frugal ways. Of course we could take out a loan for a new vehicle. But, we are looking for a used one that we can pay cash for. We never know the future.
    Anyways, I will keep being frugal whether it means planting my garden for the 4th time this year, saying no to what everyone else is getting, planning ahead for large purchases etc… It is a hedge against disaster.
    So on for my frugal accomplishments:
    – I am reworking our budget to make up for emergency funds loss.
    – We have eaten what we could from the garden.
    – I am making a list of what we need from the store and not going over.
    – My son has been doing some odd jobs to earn some cash and pay for his own clothing that he wants for school.
    – I have been running Swagbucks, Earning Station, doing Ibotta and a bunch of other apps to earn cash. I have written about this on my blog. There is money to be made this way.
    – I sold 2 items that I crocheted at a consignment store.
    – I sent for free samples and activities. I have these on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/30/freebies-today-7-30-18/

    I hope that everyone can keep up their frugal journey and keep the faith that things will get better!
    Take Care,

  32. I haven’t commented for a few weeks because of health issues and crazy schedule. But I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s post. I’m sorry to hear about unexpected issues – we have had that as well in the form of medical bills. Thank you for all the inspiration that is received here each week. Gives me courage to keep plugging away.

    *Was able to go the movies with my dd using a gift card. There was free popcorn that day as well.

    *My husband and I had a date night at a local restaurant with another gift card. We split fajitas.

    *Discovered that at my local grocery store that they accept a digital coupon and a paper coupon for the same item if the coupons are different amounts. The checker shared that with me as I was trying to take back a paper coupon because I had a digital loaded on the store card. Because of that – I paid 75c for Skippy peanut butter. I bought 5. I also got very cheap Tide detergent because of the two coupons. I still find it odd and am surprised that it works that way. But I am thankful for the prices I was able to pay.

    *Been shopping carefully for school supplies. Our school fees for our public school for both children will be about $300.

    *I have been cleaning out closets and bedrooms. The items that are being given away are being recorded and kept for tax purposes. We get much more money back that way than trying to do a garage sale where we live. (I loved your post about a successful garage sale – wish we could do one here!)

    *Checked out books from the library. I am re-reading a favorite author’s series. It’s been fun to read again!

    *Picked tomatoes & cucumbers from our garden.

  33. Hello Marcia, I am praying for you and your dear husband. My mom is going thru the same thing in fact you described her situation perfectly. ..my father also says he doesn’t remember or I forgot a lot. I hear the frustration from my mom everyday as she deals with their situation. Her blood pressure has gone through the roof from the stress but in all this she is an inspiration and help to all of us. She says God has given her strength when she feels she has none. Bless your both in your journey we will be praying for you.

  34. I share your pain when it comes to unexpected bills. The old car needed two immediate repairs last week not just one. And now I am not sure if I am hearing another problem when driving other than a 17-year-old exhaust system. I am going to try to record the noise and play the recording to the service write-up person at my favorite repair shop.

    Walmart delivered the less than $35 “youth” wheeled walker for mom on Friday instead of Monday. The occupational therapist was impressed with its value when we showed up at the clinic with it today. Mom had begin using her cane two-handed when her left leg started hurting which had freaked me out as a fall waiting to happen. She is not happy to need a walker but it does help. I requested that the doctor prescribe one physical therapy session for her to learn to use her cane and walker safely. She came through with a prescription for many weeks of two- or three-sessions per week of physical therapy. Mom has never been a fan of exercise–will she change at age 95? I hope she will.

    I now have been taught how to wrap mom’s lower legs with short-stretch bandages to control her lymphedema. The bandages are much cheaper than other wraps designed to control swelling. I know what to buy, now I need to figure out where to buy the supplies balancing price with service. I am likely to have questions.

    Our neighbor gifted us with at least 15 summer squash of various shapes and sizes. I made a delicious side dish containing Del Monte stewed tomatoes with sweet onion and three different types of squash. This morning I threw together an impossible pie/casserole with one giant zucchini (shredded), along with cheese, eggs, ham, milk, dried onions, and red and green peppers. I want to finish our zucchini-centric menu with a mock apple pie. The remaining squash are going to be shredded and frozen for future baking sessions or soups.

    Strawberries are 3 pounds for $5 and blueberries are buy one pint for $3.49 and get a second free. I am going back to the store for more berries this week and will be using my dehydrator for the first time.

    My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the fires, the volcano on Big Island in Hawaii, and the recent floods.

  35. Marcia, My thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care of your self. I’m glad you didn’t break anything when you fell while picking blueberries. Make sure you carve out time for yourself somehow. 50% of patients with dementia have low folate so I’d suggest if you haven’t already done so, check it out with his doctor. They really don’t know why there is a link. As someone whose folate falls from time to time, I can say it really affects memory, energy, etc.

  36. Brandy,
    I’m sorry you’ve had unexpected expenses. My problems are minor probably but we had a bad storm and now I have to urgently get the downspouts/eavestroughs cleaned out. I have the big wheel barrow placed underneath the drain and it gets
    full after every storm. I been carrying some buckets of it to water plants that are dry. I froze four jars of blueberries. And I’m waiting for the tomatoes to ripen. Neither are more economical for me to grow than to buy them on sale but they sure are good.

    I am trying to cope with less money per month as my income was cut. I don’t go many places, don’t eat out, don’t buy new clothes. o’t know how much more I can cut out. 11 houses are for sale on my street and none have sold in 3 months so this year is not the year to move. I know itsounds silly but my soul is firmly rooted here, not because of the house but because of the birds, flowers, gardens. I hope I can stay a few more years.

  37. I got a little grumpy today about our lack of money and it started to get to me, so I decided to see if there was a new post (or I would be rereading some of the older posts). There is a new post and I’m so thankful for this supportive community. I completely understand the frustration of extra expenses and also offer prayers for Marcia. I’ve been dealing with my husband’s mental health issues for a few years now. They have cost us so very much.

    I have been a frugalista this week. In addition to the things I do habitually, I determined to use less of everything. Even just a little less will add up!

    I have sorted through bags of decorator’s fabric samples and ruthlessly reduced to those fabrics that I probably will use. Have chosen to go hiking close to home rather than drive to a new or different trail. Picked out our Christmas tree for this winter from the national forest abutting our backyard. Dehydrated 6 trays of banana chips for healthy family snacks. Dehydrated a few more celery stalks to add to my former peanutbutter jar of dried celery. Took the really old broccoli from the free food table to add to the doggies food (they love broccoli). Found a nickel and added it to the piggy bank. I needed a bedskirt and finally found one for 3.00 at the thrift store!

    The free food distribution of almost or just outdated foods has been a true gift this summer. This week I was blessed to find rice, pinto beans and a box of potatoes in addition to all the vegetables and some fruit. It does take quite a bit of time to process the food. Thankfully I do have time this summer! I rarely go anywhere in order to save. Most people like the goodies on the table and this is perfect since I want the fruits and veggies as I do not have a garden this summer. God provides!

    I also finally convinced my dear son to try on an entire pile of clothes to see what fits, what is now too large and what needs hemming. This concludes the closet and dresser sorting for the family! It is good to have this accomplished! My dear husband changed the height of the closet rods for me so I would be able to organize better. Everything is ready to wear and color coordinated! I even checked each of the collars and used dish detergent on the collars to get them clean. I’ve added a sample bottle to the top of the washer to keep up on the collars in the future.

    My happiest frugal accomplishment of the week was finding 5 airforce PT tee-shirts at the thrift shop for my AFROTC son to wear. He’s excited to have them to exercise in.

    Thank you all for the support! Happy frugal-ing!

  38. I know how it feels to be surprised with unexpected expenses.

    I worked hard this week at saving money. I shopped very carefully at the store with my grocery budget. I slightly lowered it again this month, and am going into the 3rd week of the lowered amount. I was still able to get over 20 lbs of chicken, and I canned chicken for the first time. I also did broth, which I’ve done before many times and love using. This was possible because of the amount of produce we are getting from the garden and we are eating that instead of grocery store items. I want to try the lowered amount for 8-9 weeks and see if I can either lower it more, or if it sustainable as it is. The key is to lower it as much as I can while still keeping the stockpile at a reasonable level. This kind of shopping takes a lot more thinking, adding up prices in the store, studying ads, and effort overall than just grabbing what I might like, but it is necessary right now, and I’m pleased that it is working so well so far. I was able to add a little more money to my Ibotta account.

    My garden is producing well. I have been making tons of zucchini dill chips. In fact, my husband gently asked me yesterday how many I thought I could use, even with giving them as gifts for Christmas:). I get it….I’m about done. Now what to do with the remaining zucchini….. I got my first bunch of cucumbers and did a batch of sweet pickles. I canned 7 quarts and 22 pints of green and yellow beans mixed. I made a batch of peach jam and some frozen peaches from peaches my sister gave me. She also gave me a small cabbage and some jalepenos. My daughter picked a nice bowl of wild blackberries and made a crisp from 1/2 of the, and we froze the other 1/2 for another day. Canning pictures are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-july-29-2018/

    We had an unexpected blessing this week. After our van broke ( it ended up being a cracked radiator, so not a little thing), we took it to our friend, the mechanic, because he basically ordered my husband to get it up there immediately when he heard its symptoms. (He is one of my husband’s very best friends in the world, so he gets to talk like that about our cars when they break!). He gave my husband his wife’s car as a loaner, then he and his son worked after hours on one of the hot, hot days to fix it. The very next day, it was done. We were so grateful that he fixed it, and then he would not let my husband pay a dime…said God had blessed him with some extra money lately, and he was blessing us.

    Another blessing has been figuring out all the new insurance ins and outs–it’s been very complicated, involving lots and lots and lots of phone calls, because some things were not quite right. But, it was finally corrected and we got a new doctor and have appointments next week, which I thought was wonderful that they could get us in so soon. Sometimes it takes a really long time to get an appointment at a new place.

    I exercised twice and we took the kids swimming at the YMCA, using our membership. Because we are on such an amazing scholarship program, it is very low cost for us to have that membership, and using it helps me stay healthier. I like to go a 3rd time each week, but couldn’t find the time this week, with all the canning.

  39. Brandy,

    I hear you on the unexpected expenses and trust you can get them all resolved soon.

    Here is what we did to save money last week:
    * Purchased salmon on sale. My husband loves salmon!
    * God helped with my appointments so that several were in the same day back-to-back to save me time, money, and gas.
    * I joyfully line dried all our laundry.
    * I gladly packed a lunch for my husband each work day.
    * It was a huge, unexpected blessing to have a few larger-than-normal end of month sales in the last week.
    * We thankfully cooked our meals mostly with food we had on hand.
    * We were blessed with a gift card with which we could purchase some healthy food.
    * I sent handwriten thank you cards to business professionals with whom I met. It’s a frugal way to add a personal touch and stay top of mind.
    * My aunt yhoughtfully blessed me with a coupon to the store where I grocery shop.
    * We almost effortlessly did without the A/C all week.

  40. That brick walkway is amazing. It looks like it’s been there forever, it fits in so well, and yet, I know you just finished it! Great job:)

  41. Maxine, that is always how I order so that I don’t have to pay shipping 😀 I go through different blogger’s websites to give them credit on my orders, as I cannot receive credit from going through my own Amazon links. I like to give other bloggers a chance to earn money that way as well.

    Drip irrigation saves a lot of money, and it also saves a lot of weeding time! I love it!

  42. Hi Brandy and yes we had a similar week to yourself in having to replace 2 chainsaws which were indeed unexpected expenses too as one was lent to a friend who accidentally put contaminated fuel in it and it literally seized while we were using it. I do agree that by living frugally we do have more money in our budgets to deal with these things and also having an emergency fund helps too :).

    Our savings added up to $2740.56 last week :).

    Here is what we accomplished and how we saved –

    Earnings –
    – Sold in my internet store 350 saved garden capsicum seeds, 100 g of dried thyme and 25 g of dried rosemary with herbs picked and dried from the gardens making $27.92 I banked into our budget.

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing us to 27.03% of the way there.
    – Listed 20 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $33 in normal listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 24 pairs of leather gardening gloves on eBay (12 pairs for DH and 12 pairs for myself) for under half the price we can get them in our local hardware store saving $109.20. We only use thick leather gloves here to give us some protection from brown snake and Redback spider bites in bushland whilst cutting firewood.
    – As both of our chainsaws needed replacing (after a dire prognosis from the repair shop) and I couldn’t justify a $2649 price tag on a named brand we got prices on I bought 2 chainsaws in a Chinese brand knockoff of Stihl called MTM on eBay taking advantage of a 5% discount voucher saving $2289.90. Both chainsaws had equal specifications and power as our Stihl ones did anyway and we have other equipment here in the same brand that have proven to be reliable and long lasting. I also spent a little more buying a spare chainsaw chain for each too.

    Firewood –
    – Cut 1 cubic metre of ironbark hardwood firewood from a friends farm for free as he had pushed over trees 18 months ago saving $200 over buying it locally. A challenge considering both our chainsaws were not co-operating but we got there in the end through determination. During the DH moments in cutting firewood I walked off and collected kindling on the ground a fair distance away (I had 40 acres to choose from) totally oblivious to the frustration directed at me, which in my view is the better part of valor in a marriage sometimes :).

    In the gardens –
    – Picked another huge amount of thyme from the gardens we are currently drying for sale on the internet.
    – While harvesting the thyme I separated off 4 more plants with good root systems on them into bare areas where the others didn’t take saving $18 over buying mature plants in the local plant nurseries.
    – Picked 647g of cherry tomatoes & 13 bunches of silver beet from the gardens some we used fresh for meals and the rest we froze or blanched and froze in meal sized portions for the freezer for food storage.

    Other frugal things we did –
    – Saved shower warm up water and dish rinsing water to water the fruit tree pot plants on the back veranda and newly planted vegetable seedlings and used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to hand water the house paddock lawns with.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Only turned on the electric hot water system when the water needed heating and boiled water in our camp kettle for our morning hot chocolates on the slow combustion stove rather than using the electric kettle.

    Hope everyone has had a good week also :).


  43. Lillianna, I hope your disability checks issue gets resolved soon. Your optimism and grace under such challenging circumstances are an inspiration.

  44. July has not been kind on my piggy bank for sure. I didn’t spend any money for 3 days this week. Then Friday I headed with my kids to my best friend boat for the weekend. I had to rent a car (not cheap). But staying on the boat was tons of fun for the kids. I brought food so we didn’t eat out except one meal a day. Hopefully next week will be better.

  45. We too have had some extra expenses this week, so the next few weeks (and months) will be about concentrating more on our frugal efforts.

    We had our yearly summer BBQ at work. The company provides the drinks, hot dogs, hamburgers, and brats, and everyone brings a side or dessert. I brought a loaf of banana bread to share. I had everything in my pantry to make it so I didn’t have to do any shopping.

    We harvested cherry tomatoes, basil, mint, peppers, and green beans. I am drying the herbs for storage.

    I planted more lettuce seeds.

    We ate all our meals at home and took our lunches to work with us.

    I washed and reused baggies.

    I cooked a crock pot full of pinto beans. I will be incorporating more beans into our meals.

    Earlier in the spring I planted zinnia seeds from the dollar store. They came up beautifully and everyone who visits comments on how pretty they are. My husband was sitting in the yard one afternoon this past week and watched a green hummingbird for about 20 minutes enjoying the zinnias. He said it was an amazing experience. He is hoping the hummingbird comes back.

  46. Unfortunately it seems like a trend that we’ve had unexpected expenses! Mine haven’t happened yet, but in addition to finding out that my maternity leave may be unpaid, I just found out that going to the hospital we’ve delivered our other children at will cost several thousand dollars. Trying to weigh out switching docs and hospital- both our kids have needed NICU help and this local “cheaper” hospital doesn’t have one.
    – started my new job!
    – turned off all lights when not in use
    – sanded and stained our bathroom vanity
    – bought a Lowe’s GC on sale in anticipation of a few minor house repairs we are doing. I love my house so much, and want to add board and batten shutters to the front and B&B trim to the bathroom. Not necessary but will be beautiful
    – watched videos and read more about both home repair projects above
    – borrowed my Dad’s stud finder for above
    – continued to use cloth diapers
    – added “starts” to my Starbucks rewards using a stickie left on a bag of coffee at the place we had stayed for vacation
    – planned menus for the week
    – clipped flowers for our table and tried to keep the house neater. It’s amazing how much this makes me love being home!
    – went out to dinner it’s some dear high school friends. One of them is retired with her husband! At 32! As she said it “we made a lot- I mean A LOT- of money flipping houses”. It was so fun to hear their stories and to see them. They ended up paying for dinner too, which was a nice plus. I found the best part was I didn’t feel envious of them at all- happy for them, but I like our lives as they are right now.

  47. I made large portions of refried beans in the instant pot twice last week. They’re all gone!!! But those were extremely inexpensive meals for us. I made chilli in the instant pot. I made it too watery, so I threw in some lentils. They soaked up the liquid, stretched the meal and nobody complained. Another win win!!! I did some food shopping at walgreens using my balance reward points. No out of pocket. I paid off a second credit card. Now I will have more money from the interest I was paying that can be applied elsewhere. Mangos were 3 for $1 at Savealot. I bought 9. I was hemming and hawing that maybe I should have gotten more, but when we finished them the last ones were over ripe. If I go past the store today, I will stop and see about getting a few more. I don’t have the room to freeze them and not sure if I want to dehydrate any. I stopped at Sam’s right after they opened, (I have a business membership) and we grabbed some fruit that was for the taking on the way out. I received a text message that the house buyer is having trouble obtaining homeowners insurance because of the pool. Could he take it down?? Heck yeah I couldn’t answer that fast enough! …..if the sale doesn’t go through that will be one less thing for us to pay for. (at least $500) since we aren’t nearby to do it ourselves. The current tenants are not maintaining the pool. We had already decided that the pool is a problem and needs to come down. Renters want to rent a house with a pool but they don’t want to maintain it. These are the second tenants that we’ve had that issue with. I was wondering how come I hadn’t received my $25 giftcard that I redeemed from swagbucks. I went looking for it and sure enough it was in my account and had money on it. I used it at Sams. Hoping everybody has a better August than July!

  48. I am with you on FaceTime. It is wonderful. My oldest daughter lives in Baltimore and we live in NY. I get to sit down every Sunday and have a nice chat while seeing her beautiful face.

  49. I know about unexpected expenses, they like to show up in groups here.

    I went 11 days before I needed gas. Now, I’m only putting $20 in at a time in case my Yukon goes out. School starts August 15th so I won’t be able to go that long after that, so I’m appreciating it now.

    Received 3 sample packs of downy unstoppables. I think the scent is a little much so I’ll only use about a 1/4 of a pack on each load(and I only use it on the blankets so they’ll last awhile)

    My neighbor sent over 25-30 pounds of tomatoes. It was a ton. I gave away a few, hubby has ate one a day, froze a few for salsa when it’s cooler, and I dehydrated the rest(takes up way less space)

    My mom sent over 2 packs of spaghetti noodles

    The 11yo got her school supply list yesterday. I’ll shop from my stash first, then fill in at the store(should be less than $20 of stuff I’ll need)

    I found 2 tank tops and 2 pairs of shorts for the 11yo on clearance at Sam’s.

    We ate out this weekend but did lunch instead of dinner so it would be a few dollars cheaper

    It has been a whole lot cooler here for several days. I’ve been opening up doors and windows and kept the ac off the majority of the day (the front of our house faces west so it gets really hot in here towards evening time)

  50. Oh, Lilli, what a mess! I hope everything gets resolved soon for you and your family. That is one really tough spot to be wedged into. I’m sending happy thoughts and joyful wishes your way.

  51. Why did I not think of replacing broken glass in a frame with clear acid free plastic! Thank-you for that brilliant idea Jenifer! So much cheaper than buying replacement glass or a new frame.

  52. My daughter and I got the free lipsticks and face masks. M daughter’s birthday was last week so she also got her free birthday gift from Sephora. She then treated me to Starbucks with a GC that she was given. It was a nice mother/daughter day.

  53. I stopped using the extra rinse cycle on my washing machine. For a while now, I’ve been doing all my laundry in cold water. I thought the extra rinse cycle was necessary to ensure the laundry came out clean. It turns out it isn’t necessary at all. The clothes come out just fine without it. This will make a noticible difference on my next water bill.

    Last year, I started learning more about wild edible foods. This summer I decided to put the knowlege into practice and have been regularly encorporating wild edibles into my meals. While this wouldn’t make a huge difference in my food bill by itself, lots of little things can add up to worthwhile savings as you’ve continued to show in your blog.

    I canceled a service just before the free trial period ended. It was something I really did want but the annual fee comes at a bad time and I can live without it.

    All of my meals were made from my food pantry (and wild edibles). I combined errands and limited my driving. My exercise comes from walking my dog – no gym membership needed.

  54. For bandages, look for “horse tape” or “vet wrap” sold online or at pet/feed/farm stores. It may just work or can be used in do junction with other wraps.

  55. I’m so sorry to hear about the expenses. Such a pain!

    We have decided to trade in our truck for a fuel efficient car, and thus lower monthly payment and gas expenses. We are working on doing that this week. We have to have the brakes changed on my car, and pay to have it inspected and registered. My husband changed the front brakes, but the rear needs an expensive special tool, so we elected to take it to the mechanic. At least we saved money on some labor. Still frustrating though!

    Aside from milk and a small amount of vegetables and fruits, we will not be grocery shopping this month. I anticipate we will spend about $100 in groceries total. We normally spend about $350. This will help offset some costs.

    The deer have been enjoying my tomato plants. But, kale and cucumbers and peppers are all doing well. I grew corn for the chickens this year to help offset their feed costs.

    I borrowed my mother in law’s carpet shampooer to clean my carpets. Saved money and the house feels so much cleaner!

    Made cookie dough and froze balls to pull out and easily make cookies as a nice treat occasionally. The kids love it when they get to help make cookie dough!

    Has anyone ever has the yellow round cucumbers? My seed packet of ebglish cucumbers has surprised me by not being English cucumbers at all! I’ve never had these round ones before- can they be pickled or made into relish?

    Continue to try and potty train my youngest. He’s a stubborn little guy 🙂 I go back to work Friday from summer break. Looking forward to getting back into a routine.

  56. I understand how you feel. My sister and I promised our parents we would not put them in a nursing home/assisted living. since my sister has little to no patience, mom is living with me. She just turned 86. Mom’s start of dementia came after she had received 3 phone calls on the same day from someone saying they were with the iRS and she owed them money. She called me and I explained it was all a scam. But having received more than the 1 calls, she panicked and had an anxiety attack. On her last call to me I could tell something was wrong, so I phoned her neighbor on my cell while I had her on my work phone line, and asked the neighbor to go check on her. Her neighbor got there just as she passed out and fell backwards and hit her head. the neighbor had a key to get in and phoned me that she was being taken to the hospital by an ambulance. So I left work, went home and packed myself and dog and drove 5 hours to get to her place and then up to the hospital. My sister could not take off of work, so it was me trying to do everything. The doctors said that when the elderly fall and hit their head, it can start the process of dementia, which it had done on my mother. It’s been 3 years and I’ve seen how it has now gotten a lot worse. My mom says the same phrases as well as talking about her head being cloudy. I have you and your husband in my prayers.

  57. Received an unexpected blessing of money, used it to purchase a larger freezer for food storage. The very next day our hot water tank broke and needed replaced…at twice the cost of the freezer! Thankful for frugality and an emergency fund! Now to work on building the fund back up again.
    On an evening walk we found two polywpod glider chairs on the curb for trash pickup. After looking them over and finding them to be in great shape, we got our truck and picked them up, scrubbed them good at home and they look brand new! I googled them and found they’re $400-$600 each brand new!
    My youngest starts at the local community college this fall. Lots of time was spent last winter applying for every scholarship eligible. He received enough scholarships to cover his first year. We are so thankful. It is well worth the time spent searching and applying, many generous people want to assist with higher education costs and we were shocked to learn many scholarships receive little to no applicants.
    We have several high mileage older vehicles and one needs to go to the shop for maintenance this week. Praying not a large cost!
    I cooked all week from scratch, found Eco reusable sandwich/snack bags at Marshalls for $4 (can use 1,000+ times and eliminates buying plastic storage bags). Used water. collected from our dehumidifier to water outdoor plants each day. We are to get much needed rain today and tomorrow. Its been a very hot and dry summer in the midwest!
    Thanks for all the frugal ideas and encouragement everyone!

  58. Hello Brandy, those temperatures you have there…unbeleavable…..We have several weeks now with temperatures from 25 to 35 celcius, for the netherlands that is exceptional. And about 6 weeks with hardly any rain, no green meadows overhere. I have to carry lots of buckets of water to the vegetable garden ( water from a ditch that is). I don’t get as many vegetables as a usually do.

    But still:lots of redcurrants for jam, black currants also for jam, courgettes a lot, green salat, onions, shallots, beets, carrots and cabbage.
    I made 2 skirts for myself, one was made of a pair of sweatpants.
    We had a village festival last week. I always cook for the volunteers (groceries payed for by the festival commite), my reward is that our whole familie eats with them for free. And al the compliments are a reward to, I love that.
    And I finished my first ever made quilt, the patchwork is done by machine put the stiching is by hand. It is 170 cm/170 cm big.

    Watered our garden plants every two days by getting water from the canal we live at.
    Well…….the temperatures stay the same coming weeks so I will keep calm, please do the same.
    Greetings from the netherlands

  59. Luba,
    Thank you for reminding me that a joyful perspective and thankful spirit are needed during our daily tasks. This morning has been rough as I am pregnant with twins while also caring for my 3 year old and 1 year old. But reading your comment reminds me to approach this season happily and thankfully as we are so blessed. Thank you.

  60. I’ve continued to can everything I can from the garden. I’m up to about 170 pounds of tomatoes processed this year. I did another 9 jars of pasta sauce this and 9 pints of pizza sauce this week. I will make some pepper jelly later this week. We ate honeydew and watermelon from the garden as well.

    I make a few trips to Sam’s Club a year. I have money set aside for these trips that doesn’t come from our grocery budget. I stocked up on cleaning supplies, toothpaste, toilet paper, etc…

    My husband continues to work on his truck rather than taking it to the mechanic. He’s almost done with the repairs.

    I have 2 more weeks of double paychecks. We have paid extra on our mortgage during these 6 weeks that we’ve had double checks. We’re at 48% paid off in 14 months!

  61. How absolutely frustrating! Yes, call an advocate and anyone else you can to see what reparations can be made. Your state representative/senator might also be able to expedite the disability checks. Advocates are made for situations like yours, and though you might have been politely patient, you have waited beyond far enough. Best hopes to you and your family.

  62. Bless you! When they are that young it is challenging. I’ve been there (but not with twins!) Mine are now 3 and 4 and it’s getting easier every day. Hang in there…

  63. Lillianna pickles July 30, 2018 My dad gave me a handwritten note when my late husband dropped dead from a heart attack, no health ins , no life ins, no will, no savings, no money in the checking as he had just paid the mortgage, utilities overdue and we had 5 children in our home. the note said


    Told me to read it when I felt overwhelmed and frustrated (like when Hubby’s ex that he did NOT have a child with tried to sue me for life ins that didn’t exist because he had been fired from the job he had when he was married to her)

    Blessing on you sweetie

  64. Marcia R. July 30, 2018
    There are support groups for caretakers, please ask the doctor for the information, some senior citizen centers have it also.
    Daddy’s line is, give me a minute, means he knows he forgot but don’t remember what he forgot. Hubby is starting into it and his line is “you didn’t say that, tell me that or I didn’t hear you.” SIGH.

  65. Marcia, I am very sorry you and your husband are going through this. We went through this with my grandfather. Once he was told he couldn’t drive he took it very hard. Not sure if this would help, but he eventually went on an anti-depressant. My grandma had to go on nerve meds to deal with him. He was very stubborn at times! Make sure you get away for awhile and take any help you are offered. Even if you just go for a short drive. I hope you have a support network you can vent to when you need it. I am sure you know this, but there are support groups for caretakers. I will be praying for you, although you seem like you are doing a great job!

  66. We are still dealing with hospital and doctor bills from my emergency trip to the hospital in January and my husband’s broken knee in April. We all go through it, but it is a really difficult time, isn’t it? I finally got a payment plan settled with the hospital, as I owe several thousand there — my deductible all came out of this bill, and I have a co-pay too. At least it will be at zero percent interest.

    I switched my “no-rewards” card to a cash back card. I am now using this card (carefully!), and getting cash back on it.

    We use solid natural deodorants, which are expensive. I save the old tubes, and when I have five or six, I scrape off that last bit of deodorant on the push-up platform that you just can’t use, melt them in the microwave, and refill an empty tube that has a solid push-up “platform” — some are perforated, so I can’t reuse those platforms. I did this this past week. Five tubes’ remainders filled the empty tube almost to the brim, with the platform swiveled all the way down. So, in essence, by throwing away those last bits in the past, we were throwing out almost a fifth of the tube. It took me all of five minutes at most to do the refill.

    We are eating mostly what we already have this week. I shopped for very little this week, spending 1/5 of my weekly budget.

    I continue to use my scraps to feed the worms in my worm bucket and to trench compost in the back yard. I have close to 3 gallons of worm castings now.

    I get paid on a bi-weekly basis, so in August we’ll get three paychecks. I hope to help build back up my emergency fund with some of it.

    I’m reading books I already own at home — I use the library, but I have to drive there. Home is even cheaper, and I have some favorites I can read a thousand times, like the James Herriot “All Creatures” series.

  67. Brandy I am so thankful for you and yours and this site and for each one that comments here. The support and the wisdom just over flows with blessings.

    Must be the storms bringing the unexpected bills and break downs… we got nailed with several between 209 supplier getting fired by our head contractor and having to find someone for the counter top that takes 3-6 wks to come in, so instead of having it THIS week it will be 3-6 wks from now. Carpenter is going to cut ply board (another expense) so I have something to work on. I am glad I have a sink in my mudroom to do pots and pans and the dishwasher. Hubby’s old truck is dying and it is going to be replaced we planned in Nov. when Hubby gets his last bonus from where he retired from.Had to buy it 2 tires on Monday and our mechanic told us to look at replacing the truck within 4-6 wks if we were lucky. Which means higher payment with the lesser down payment OR pull the savings and strap down the hatches on daily living to rebuild the savings. He has to have the truck for his business of portable welding when we move…Which comes to the next one, every single person that was going to help, pack, move, unpack and clean here is no longer going to help… between medical,new jobs, job overtime mandated and jury duty, we went from a total of 10 people 3 trucks with trailers, 6 cars to just the two of us with 1 truck with trailer (if it holds up ) and 1 car.
    We did get our new furniture and food for the pantry and the painting of 209 is going to be done this week. Floors refinished next week. I was given an phone number of someone that used to do re-upholstery and they thought might be willing to redo our 2 chairs.

    Blessed be everyone

  68. I’m sorry you had unexpected expenses. They are the worst.

    I did not manage to post last week but back in the swing of things this week. So this post is for 2 weeks.

    The children and I made it back from Holiday.One other frugality was that I wrapped the car seat for my tiny 6 year old in big plastic bags that had contained other items. It came through the journey just fine. We did have food delivered as a treat that evening but the family member who house and dog sat for us deserved it and enjoyed it.

    When we arrived back I received a telephone call in the airport offering me some freelance work the following day. I immediately said yes. On the way back from the freelance work that day I was passing Lidl and they had a lot of chicken and beef reduced which I bought. Great prices. I’ve also recently found 2 lettuce reduced to 12p a head and 3 Chinese leaf for 49p each. I found a (small) box of cherries for 34p that the children loved. I made enchiladas for dinner making my own sauce and using chicken from various boxes ( had to amalgamate some) in the freezer. The cherries and some other berries made a tasty dessert.

    Then it was back to work. I’m still taking packed lunches in. Last Friday I found strawberries reduced to £1.80 for 600g. I ended up buying a huge amount and spent Saturday afternoon canning strawberry jam. I ran out of time as a friend had invited me to a party that evening so mushed and froze what remained to make more as needed. I had 30 8oz jars of jam ( not counting the frozen strawberries). The kids love it. I gave some to my FIL and then took a jar of the jam as well as a bottle of unopened Brandy I found in the house ( I don’t drink Brandy- I had to google the French name to check what it was) to the party as hostess/host gifts. They went down very well and no OOP for me

  69. Oh, those unexpected repairs that arise…SO frustrating! (One memorable one for me was when a possum got trapped in our attic and since he only “came out to play” at night, causing our dog to bark incessantly, we had to call a pest control guy to come out. At night. Working on golden time. 🙁 yeah. )

    I notice on the grape leaves in your picture a discoloration that mine have also begun to have. Can you tell me what that is? I don’t know if I should be concerned or not.

    Re: rain. We surely get more rain than your area, but being the rain lover I am, I am convinced our little microclimate has an invisible dome over us that causes most predicted rain to pass right around us. I swear I can see rain clouds and rain fall surrounding our neighborhood sometimes and we have sun shining right over us! I know there are worse problems to have than sunshine-y weather though, lol! I just don’t think I could ever tire of rain though. (I type this as a good rain pours down…:D)

  70. I’ve had an onslaught of unexpected expenses as well. Neighbor’s dog attacked mine again — it also attacks other neighbor’s dogs. The Prosecuting Attorney asked me to appear in court and show the judge all of my vet bills over the years and my medical (mallet finger) from when I stood between my dog and his chow. I got pulled down and thought my dangling finger was a fractured finger – nope – it was the tendon pulled away from the bone. I avoided surgery where they insert a pin through your fingertip into the bone so that the tendon can try to grow back on it with a splint. Instead I opted to just do a splint 24/7 for 16 weeks (4 months) instead of surgery and 6-8 weeks with the splint. The Prosecutor wants to try to get me my restitution for the vet bills and medical bills as this was not the first time they have had to take him to court. Then the same neighbor decided to block my garage entrance as he supposedly owns 1/2 of it (so hired an attorney) as I fall under a grandfathered clause plus also adverse possession law. Our area was surveyed 3 times by different companies and all of our township has property line issues due to that. BTW, the neighbor was a no show for court, so there is a bench warrant on him with a $1000 cash bond. So I don’t have my reimbursement of those funds yet. Then last week, I had kept hearing a loud noise and thought it was the muffler/exhaust. A coworker said no that he felt it was a wheel bearing going. Sure enough $365.00 bill for that replacement. This time labor was only $65, it was the part that was expensive. I understand how all of you feel with the unexpected expenses. Next week my homeowners insurance will be due, and have that set aside at least.

  71. Thanks Marybeth, I was grateful for the experience and already feel a weight lifted off my chest.
    AND!!! I helped make a baby zucchini!!!!

  72. The bandages she needs are short stretch and are used for edema control. Two brands were recommended. They are reusable for six months or fifty careful washings, whichever comes first. She also needs to wear next to the skin a thin cotton knit tube (cheap and reusable until it wears out) and a second layer under the short stretch bandages of what I call fluff. It looks like narrow strips of quilt batting and will be reusable a few times. The surgical tape to fasten the bandages is one thing that is not reusable. While Amazon is selling complete pairs of leg wrapping kits for $200, I think that we’ll get by for about half that every six months, except for the tape. Mom also has the option of wearing compression knee-high stockings, provided we can learn to put them on her fragile-skinned legs. The Occupational Therapist will be attempting to teach us that during one of the next two sessions. We are just so pleased with how much better (and smaller) her legs look after the sessions at the lymphedema clinic. I am hoping mom will accept the pneumatic leg massager Medicare covers. The edema has to stay away for her lymph system to function properly and for her skin to stay intact.

  73. Margaret, just a suggestion for your tofu preparation. I make tofu weekly as my youngest daughter does not eat meat or fish. I buy extra firm, or firm if the extra firm is out. But I first slice it and then press between multiple layers of non lint dishtowels with a plastic cutting board on top and then something heavy on top of that. Tofu by itself has no real flavor, just kind of a cooked dry bean flavor. So most people will enjoy it more if it seasoned first by marinating. And the more moisture you press out the more flavored liquid it will soak up. If you want it extra absorbent freeze the block of tofu first then slice and press. Super absorbent then, like a sponge. I don’t normally bread the tofu; my daughter likes it best marinated and broiled.

  74. Please call the disabilities advisory commission in your area. They can possibly help you. Good luck! I understand!

  75. Those wild edibles likely have different vitamins and minerals that aren’t a regular part of your diet! And they taste so much better than store bought.

  76. The pathway is beautiful! I love your idea for a shared Pinterest recipe board. That would be a fun way to share family recipes with my aunts and cousins.

  77. Frugal Accomplishments this Week:

    Cut my husband’s hair
    Did my own pedicure
    Stayed home 4 days; no spend no drive days
    Combined errands on the way home when I did work
    hemmed my daughters thrift store dress
    Swag goal x 6 days
    Continue to declutter, sell and donate items (sold $100.50 on local FB sell site)
    Redeemed SB for $50 Amazon card, used that gift card to order a Christmas gift for my Mum.

    Thanks to Brandy and everyone who contributes, always enjoy reading comments on this website. Have a wonderful week!

  78. Lillianna, My heart goes out to you. Sometimes when it rains, it pours. You had hopes to get ahead this summer too! Getting money from the government is often a 1 step forward and 2 steps backward affair. Keep at them, but as you are aware, you’ll get it on their schedule. If the advocate at the state governor’s office cannot help you in a timely manner I would contact your state senator/representative.
    I would contact the USAA to tell them that you are disappointed with them for not going the extra mile to help your family out (and I mean that literally and figuratively). Yes, that might be what their rules are but really?! I would also contact the dealership & ask if they could at least waive the tow fee. Mention that you purchased this car so that you could have a dependable car and not have to deal with the service fees that are often associated with an older car. You never know until you try.

  79. If you have an extra bedroom, you might look into hosting international students. I hosted students coming to Vancouver to learn English. The language schools I worked with paid $750/month and I had to provide a furnished room and 2 meals per day. I usually made about $500/month after taking into account the extra utility and food costs for the student.
    I just opened the phone book (dating myself) and started calling the language schools listed and asked them if they were accepting new homestay parents. I loved that the school would collect the money from the students and deposit my fees into my account. I found later that the local colleges and even the local public high school had similar programs. But once I was registered with the language schools, they kept my room ‘full’.

  80. I know what you mean about steam out the ears.
    This past week we had some movers in our home for a room full of stuff we were storing for friends.
    The young lady walks in the home and promptly places a clip board on my antique secretary. I took it off and handed it to her. She put it back on my secretary , I took it off and placed it on top of boxes she took it and put it back on my secretary. I tossed it on the floor and said I do not want that scratching my furniture! That is an antique ! She just shrugs . (well I guess if it were IKEA that would have meant something to her)
    I then decided I was just being grumpy but so many things were like that this week. I took one top to the dry cleaners the broke every button on the blouse. I had steam out my ears on that one. Thankfully I had some old buttons from some old sweaters that almost were an exact match for the beautiful buttons the broke but I had to replace every button. I was so angry.
    I have been finding overcharges on all of my receipts I hate wasting time getting the cash back but I also hate it that they over charge.
    Continuing our sales and saving all that I can.

  81. I took the grands swimming, got them the free books from the reading program, off loaded items at the dump rather than paying an extra fee for extra trash pick up. I have been using as many coupons as I can find. Working extra as I can. Rubbing nickels into dollars. My sales have fallen off but I will keep at it and see how we do.
    I wish I could talk folks into off loading more of the items in the house, we have so very much and we will have to be out in eleven months now and they all think that eleven months is a lifetime and we have enough items in this home for three families.
    Some of what I wanted to do to earn more is pick up free items and resell but I can’t bring one more thing home. I just can’t!
    I keep working on it.
    I feel most days as I am losing a large battle.

  82. Brandy,
    I am so sorry to hear about the unplanned expenses. I hope things get better for your family very soon. My thoughts are with and others that are struggling right now.

    Last Christmas, I had a disaster as I had not planned well and every gift cost me way more than I could afford. It really zapped the joy out of the season for me. I have started working hard at purchasing inexpensive gifts now. I recently got some really nice ,men’s zip- front hoodies for $7 each. I purchased 4 which is still cheaper than what I ended up paying for 1 last Christmas. At the same store, I found really nice women’s slippers for $1 each so I purchased 3 pairs.

    At Joanne Fabric I found youth craft kits for $6 each so I purchased 2 of those. I have to say these are nice craft kits but I would never have paid full price and even $6 is a bit much for me. Still these sale purchases have really helped stretch my Christmas budget this year. I am very thankful for this.

    I have been knitting dish clothes for gifts as well. I can get 3 out of one skein of cotton yarn so I am making each of my adult children a set of 3 dish clothes. I may make some dish towels to go with them with fabric I already have.

    I have to tell you my slip and slide story. I bought one on clearance at end of season last year. Thus far this summer it has entertained my grandson frequently, my neighbor kids and my sister borrowed it this weekend for her grandkids. Endless hours of summer fun for many children means I got my money’s worth.

    One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from Brandy and others here is that it is vitally important to be consistent in our frugal ways. Pre-planning is also of utmost importance.

    When I saw the sale of the hoodies- it meant I had to rearrange my work schedule to get to the store before it closed. That was a pain and it was really hot (about 100 degrees) so I didn’t feel like shopping but I did it any way and it feels really good to have a head start on things. I don’t have the luxury of turning down good opportunities. It is my goal to provide for my family as efficiently and economically as possible and that means hard work, plain and simple. Not adding to my family’s financial stress is so worth the extra effort!!

  83. Busy with the garden here too! Canned 12 pints green beans. Froze 4 packages of a cooked small zucchini, Hansel eggplant, peppers, and onions. I use this in casseroles, lasagne or spaghetti sauce. Froze 4 ice cream buckets of blueberries. Picked raspberries at a friend’s house for free. Made 2 batches raspberry jam and froze 4 freezer bags of berries.

    Been eating fresh cucumbers and an occasional tomato. Also kale, chard, and kolarabi.

    Cleaned out closets and sent clothes to consignment shop and other things to a thrift shop. Feels good to have clean closets.

    Made all meals at home this week-Broccoli cheese soup from the freezer, taco Salad, spaghetti and sauce (sauce from the freezer); grilled steak, corn on the cob, and salad; plus potato hash and eggs.

    Took 4 days to go to our daughters in eastern Wisconsin. Took garden produce to her house. Also took the last of the cherries. She provided the venison steak for one dinner and chicken for another. We went to the zoo in Shaumico for free with some tickets from her friends that they couldn’t use and were about to expire. We packed a lunch and took water bottles. We did stop for ice cream on the way home.

    Walked 2 miles a day on my country road-free exercise.

    Need to start sewing some clothes for grandkids bdays. Have 2 of them plus my daughters in September. Mended a quilt for my daughter and a pair of pants and a shirt for hubby.

    No grocery shopping this week. Using up leftovers in the freezer and hope to do a no spend August with garden produce coming in. Grocery money to be set aside for Christmas gift shopping.

    Everyone have a great week!

  84. Laurie, I live in piedmont NC. Where did you get your pawpaw and elderberry trees from? Your produce sounds amazing!

  85. We have been fortunate with the free or low cost entertainment this month. We used our Zoo pass once, got 5 free tickets to a train ride with Super Why from PBS Kids, and free tickets to a baseball game from the Girl Scouts. Our HOA has a pool and playground,and we have made great use of that too.

  86. It is caused by whiteflies. I do not dare spray for them when it is this hot, as every spray says not to spray when it is above 90°F. As we reach that temperature in April, spraying after that time is tricky. I once sprayed in November and it was still too warm; all the leaves fell off and didn’t return again until the following March. Whiteflies can be quite damaging in the garden and many organic sprays fail to kill them. There is a non-organic spray that can kill them; I forget the name at the moment. I used it once on whiteflies and it did work (years ago).

  87. Our kids are at a free coding camp at the public library this week.
    Trying to limit food purchases, instead cooking from the freezer and garden.
    My daughter is going through office supplies at home for school supplies. She used a gift certificate from her birthday to purchase an outfit for school pictures.
    Made homemade brownies for my scouts at my house Sat. DId not have any eggs left but found one that used banana instead. It was different but worked.
    Borrowed books from friends and the library.

  88. When I had my knees replaced, I had to wear compression socks. These socks were “open toe”. My father came up with a BRILLIANT way to easily put the socks on. He took the thin plastic bag in which his newspaper is delivered and cut it short. I put the plastic bag over my toes and foot and the compression sock slid right on. I then was able to pull the plastic bag out of the open toe. Hope this helps!

  89. Friends thank you for your kind words. Janet I laughed so hard at this and right now, I really need a laugh.Later on, I got to thinking. I should have had it towed down the road halfway and called back and used another tow for the next half. I don’t have a limit on calls. I did call them and cancel my roadside assistance and am checking into other options. The whole point is having service that actually benefits me. Living in a rural area can be dangerous. Many of the roads are very curvy with no way to see ahead. They all have steep drop offs, with no pull overs. Very easy to get killed or have someone hit you from the rear and explode both cars. Many areas have low points where you cannot pick up cell service. After 30 years of service I will be expressing my disappointment until someone at least apologizes. I hate bad service.

  90. I echo the sentiments expressed by others – I am so sorry that you experienced so many unexpected expenses. When you live so close to the bone, it is hard to imagine where to find the funds for the unexpected. Sending you a hug and positive energy.

    • My friend graciously offered me her CSA box this week while she is on vacation. I received: corn, blueberries, lettuce, eight ball zucchini, regular zucchini, garlic, and herbs.
    • Enjoyed a free lunch at work
    • $1 price discrepancy between the olive oil price in the grocery store flyer and the sign on the shelf. I went to customer service and was able to purchase the oil for the lower sale price listed in the flyer
    • Hung two loads of laundry up to dry,
    • Tried a new recipe for risotto with zucchini and goat cheese,
    • Made swag goal x 1

  91. Thanks for the tip, Athanasia! I normally press the tofu, but this time couldn’t be bothered because, eh, one more step. But I forgot that tofu can be frozen before and then pressed! I’m definitely going to do that next time! Thanks!

  92. Rhonda, I also think it’s so nice that you’re mentoring your colleague! If she is young, she’s likely on Instagram. She might think about checking out the #debtfreecommunity on IG. It’s very inspirational and supportive and there are lots of young (20’s somethings. Am I dating myself?) learning how to manage their money on there. Might be a nice supplement to the in person training that you’re giving her!

  93. Did you ask if you could pay for the extra mile? We recently had a similar issue and I was offered the option of paying $6 per mile over the 15 mile maximum on my plan.

    Fingers crossed that you get some positive news this week!

  94. Hubby and I have been sick for over 2 weeks. Doing a lot of sleeping. Watched a movie at home. Doing most cooking at home. Harvested tomatoes. Keeping up on the housework with hubby’s help. Looking up internet recipes and using food on hand. Hubby’s favorite was chickpeas with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and olive oil cooked at 400 degrees. Easy snack when you don’t feel so good. Cheap too.

  95. Unexpected outlays of money are always a bit stressful.

    I visited an op shop on my way to work this morning and they had a fill a bag for $5 morning. As well as a couple of jumpers for my daughter I picked up some nice clothes for work that I hope will fit.

    I belong to a share waste group and last night a very generous man delivered a trailer load of compost and he is coming back next month once he dismantles his hardwood raised garden bed to give that to me as well. He appreciated the bottle of wine I gave him. Now I have no excuses not to start the veggie garden.

    I am going to start trying to leave my credit card at home so if I want to buy something and don’t have the cash I’ll have to use my debit card (or not buy it at all). I’m hoping this will slow down my spending.

  96. Our fridge broke down for the third time. Previously, my husband called the manufacturer and was told that since it is a month past warranty, it would cost us $75-100 just for a technician to come out. We tried to make do by unplugging our refrigerator overnight (their suggested solution) and it seemed to work…for a few weeks. One day I came home and the food in the fridge had all gone bad (food spoils quickly since it is in the high 90’s). This time I looked up the company website and chatted with a robo rep. The rep suggested calling customer service. It was a different number than the one my husband called. I realized it went to GE Appliance, a subsidiary. I told the rep honestly that my warranty was expired by two months and she said that she can open up a case for me and that they will send a technician free of charge! It’s a huge burden off my shoulders and I’m proud that I was able to find a way to save money just by trying another method.

  97. Eyed good-looking eggplant at farmer’s market but passed because there was some dehydrated that I’d been meaning to use. That along with dehydrated zucchini, onion, garlic, some herbs, and a can of crushed tomatoes went into the solar oven for the afternoon. The result will serve with the starch of the day and some cheese to make several meals in the coming week. Also the jars of dehydrated foods are thinning out.
    That’s important because I currently use the dishwasher as a storage spot, but would like to be able to present a more pleasant setting to whomever shows up. When this recovering hoarder gets more stuff eaten and maintains a more reasonable pantry, the pots and mixing bowls can move to the shelf.
    Baked whole grains in solar oven to serve as breakfast cereal.
    Checked clearance rack at local grocery where I got a jar of dill pickles for just $1.00.
    Purchased discounted fabric which will be used to lengthen thrifted sheer curtains, both to blend well with current valance and to coordinate look between window and door.
    Gratefully accepted two skirts given by a friend who no longer wears skirts.
    Got a brand new replacement pair of sandals for the ones I wear most from a thrift for $2. The color matches one of the skirts.

  98. I love your brick sidewalk! I have a pile of 700 bricks that I want to do the same with. It looks to me as if you did not dig very deep to make the foundation over which you laid them. Is that the case? Did you get some builders sand to sweep into the cracks? Do you live in a warm climate (just checking to see what sort of base I’ll need). Looks lovely. Ann

  99. Depending on where you live, it might be a Ruby-throated hummingbird. I am amazed a hummingbird would like zinnias.
    It’s not the usual type of flower (funnel shaped, blu, red or pink) that hummingbirds usually like. Perhaps it was gleaning tiny
    insects from the flowers?. Still, very impressive. My hummingbirds love monarda (beebalm). The Cornell University website
    allaboutbirds.org has a wealth of information and you can check what each species of hummingbird looks like.

  100. We had a pretty quiet week here. It was quite rainy, so laundry only got hung out at the weekend when the weather cleared a bit. We ate all meals at home and I packed my husband’s lunch everyday. My son continues to participate in the library reading club and has already won a $15 Indigo giftcard this summer. I received another couple of free beauty samples so my basket is overflowing.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  101. Hi SJ,

    Thanks for the suggestion. At the moment, there is not a spare bedroom or bed that can be used. One of my friends
    has hosted international students and it has worked well. Once I get the boxes of things sorted (boxes which came from my off site storage locker which was costly me a fortune), sent to recycling, etc. then there will be a bedroom to use.
    I don’t have a lot of the extra things I would need for a guest (sheets, bedding). I am trying to get rid of extra furniture so don’t want to have to get another bed. Still, it is a good suggestion. Decluttering is going slowly because of the broken arm which they say will still take 6 months or longer to heal fully.

    On Thursday, I am meeting a man who publishes several magazines (the type that are given free at stores, cafes, markets). I am hoping he might find some work I could do at home.

    On the positive side, the talk I gave for the local history week turned out really well. It is a great relief to have it finished. I was lucky to find lots of information for the talk online. A lot more has been digitized.

  102. My mom has taken care of her mom for 5 yrs, similar symptoms, getting worse slowly.
    Care-taker can easily become a care-needer herself/himself, says the statistics. It´s a hard work.

  103. Haha…this made me laugh! My autistic daughter is now 15 yrs old. Just recently we had to go clothes shopping, which she passionately hates, and was giving me a hard time about going. I told her she was so much easier to deal with when I could just pick her up. I don’t think parenting ever get easier!

  104. Good morning! Another rainy day in central PA and the grass and weeds are growing like crazy!

    I saw on the news that there are more food recalls due to something or other. It’s too late this year but next year I have to get my garden going again. I do have a half-share in a CSA which usually is enough for just me.

    I’ve thought about baking bread again, but the arthritis in my hands makes most everything difficult. I wonder if you, Brandy, or anyone else uses a breadmaker and can give me some suggestions. When I looked on Amazon the prices on one go from the $60’s to the hundreds. The yard sales here are awful, and the breadmakers I’ve seen at the thrift stores look like they’ve never been washed!

    I picked up my CSA order last night so better get busy in the kitchen!

    I hope you ladies all have a wonderful week!

    Mary Ellen

  105. I’m on holiday, so I don’t get paid. But I prepared for this by saving any extras from my pays over the previous 6 months.

    I am also saving money by cooking most meals from scratch. And it is good to have time off work. I have cooked potato bake, chicken stir fry, spag. bol., and a mince casserole.

    I get back to work on the 13th August.

    Hope everyone’s unexpected expenses come right in the end.

  106. The saying everyone use to tell me is God gives you what you can handle. I know this is true but I often felt Myself having way more than I could handle and still do.

    Men don’t seem to take care of woman the way they use to.
    Although I am watching my son and noticing he knows how to take care of his own.

  107. Please tell me how you dehydrate the banana chips. I haven’t had them turn out too well when I tried it. Thanks!

  108. Mary Ellen, I have both OA and RA. I have found wonderful no-knead bread recipes for unbleached, whole wheat, and oatmeal breads. No bread maker necessary, and they don’t require overnigbt rising, either. Basically fool-proof and can be baked in a round, glass dish, or traditional bread pans. If you are interested, I could look for and post the links.

  109. I’m no longer hosting students. The house was sold when I divorced and I moved into a one bedroom apartment. It is in the back of my mind, though, as something I could do to make money. The rule for the schools I worked with was that the student had to have their own room. My apartment could work for a homestay student if I needed to make the extra money and I slept in the living room. I’m not there yet but know it’s an option. I also loved that fact that the school prescreened the students as well as took care of the money.

  110. Buying off season is one of the best frugal things you can do. Shopping for Hoodies on a 100degree day.
    Getting a free Christmas tree and decorations in July.
    These are the types of things that add up!
    Birthday gifts in the winter after Christmas. I buy shorts and tshirts in Sept and October and PJ’s for Christmas in March and April (Flannel when it is almost 100 degrees is cheap!) Shorts when it is really cold out are dirt cheap.
    I also set a budget and I stick to it.

  111. 1. Received two free sandwiches at a local barbecue place as a thank you for donating blood
    2. Accumulated $16 in credit card reward points this past month
    3. We have been eating random meals that require little to no cooking while my husband is away on business, which helps to keep the house cool and uses up odds and ends
    4. Found clearanced blind bags for $.90 each to use for my son’s weekly treat/bribe that he gets if he completes his daily homeschool assignments with minimal fuss
    5. Made kool-aid popsicles to keep the kids happy…so cheap

  112. Thank you Jenny we are super excited to have reached just over 27% as well, and hoping it will be a lot higher when DH gets his tax refund cheque that we will also bank into our home deposit savings account :).

    We are working towards saving 37.5% – 40 % of the total price before approaching the bank for a loan. The percentage includes a new second car for when we are living further out of town, the cost of the land, the house being built and a 4 bay garage with a large veranda out the back of the house for entertaining and a BBQ area. We will pay cash for the 2nd car, the land, the garage and the veranda and only borrow for the cost of the house to be built.

    So exciting that we have also designed our own home so will have what we need for DH’s disabilities and for wheel chair access for him later that he will need due to his injuries and a large purpose built walk in food storage room.

    We looked at buying ready built but by the time we do the necessary renovations to account for wider doors and recessed showers for wheelchair access it would cost more than having the home built to our specifications anyway.

  113. Sorry about everyone’s unexpected expenses – it certainly seems as though the stars are conspiring against us all at the moment. Things were more expensive than anticipated over the past couple of weeks so I am going to have to dip into my small savings account. And I got the expected notification that my rent will be going up as of November 1st. Shouldn’t complain as it’s only by $17 but it’s just that everything seems to go up a few dollars here and a few dollars there so it all adds up.
    I stayed home 3 days out of 7 and so didn’t spend money or use my transit pass. I ate out twice but once was just ice-cream and a coffee while having a visit with a friend. I did go to lunch with a few ladies from church after services on Sunday – they have been asking me to join them for ages so I really felt that I should make the effort. We all had some pasta and a coffee so it didn’t break the bank and it was a lovely break.
    I used up ground meat and turkey thighs from the freezer – cooked both on a day when the temperature finally dropped to about 77F – coolest it’s been in weeks! I also took the opportunity to roast a few different vegetables and baked a couple of sweet potatoes – so had meals sorted for the week all in one go.
    I found peppers at a good price and open froze two ziplock bags each of red & yellow peppers – I’ll add more as the price drops. I also found canned fruit & canned beans at a good price so I added to my pantry stockpile as I was getting low on both. Otherwise I only bought milk, butter, fruit & veg at the grocery store and then went to the Bulk Barn for currents, raisins, walnuts & almonds. I’ve been told to eat more nuts and I like to add dried fruit & nuts to salads (I make up my own mix so no salted items & currents are a lot cheaper than dried cranberries) so I managed to get a good supply for just under $10.
    I continued to use the library and to watch Youtube and Netflix as entertainment – I did go to see “The King & I” on Friday night with my theatre group (last of this year’s subscription pkg. so the ticket had been paid for over a year ago) – it was an excellent production. A couple of us decided not to go to dinner beforehand and just met the others at the theatre so that saved me some money. All in all – a so so week.

  114. I’m going to second Ellie’s friend – please have his hearing checked. Sometimes people are diagnosed with dimentia, when in reality they have hearing loss My Dad is one of those – because of his employment earlier in life he is missing certain frequencies in his hearing but not all of it. His mind is fine
    Best wishes,

  115. I have fond memories of the giant tarp slip and slide at my summer camp growing up. I’m sure your kids had a blast!

    Our frugal project for the past couple weeks has been digging through the freezer to eat down items from it instead of going out or buying ingredients for other meals. This is doing double frugal duty because it’s peak time of the year to freeze the fruit we have grown and picked recently.

  116. IF my mom ever decides she wants to wear compression stockings, I will get her a pair of toeless socks and try your dad’s bread bag trick. Thank you for sharing it. The OT today showed me how to use the gizmo designed to help a person to put on compression hose alone. But, after one stocking was on, my mom declared that she definitely preferred bandages to stockings. That was a first from all her patients, according to the OT. So mom will be sporting her “mommy the mummy” look instead of stockings unless she changes her mind.

  117. I use this recipe for both unbleached and whole wheat with a couple changes. I use 3 tsp. sugar and cut the salt to 1 1/2 tsp. For whole wheat, I use 3 c. whole wheat flour plus 1 c. unbleached. Despite every possible mistake from being in a hurry or doubling, this recipe has never failed me. Once, I actually made the dough and put it in the bowl to rise, when I realized I had forgotten to add the yeast! I put it back in the mixing bowl, dissolved the yeast in a little water, stirred it in, and added a tiny bit more flour until it was the right texture. It actually turned out perfect! I also divide the dough sometimes into 4 small bowls to make bread bowls for soup.

  118. Ann,
    Thank-you. I’m sorry about your decrease of income. I hope you continue to enjoy nature and are able to take some pictures. We are starting to get over Bronchitis. Not much fun. On a good note, every time we drive somewhere we see deer. Love it! One day we got to see horses running in a field as we drove along with us. It was fun to watch.
    Hubby is not able to return to work without accommodations. Will probably go on disability. However he has been working on some music. I hope to see him do something with it soon. After we get over being sick anyway. I’m glad he has sick leave after almost 20 years at the same job. I think we have a month left, maybe a bit more.

  119. The dogs I have had have panicked quite a bit more than the cats. One used to hide under the toilet, even though there isn’t room. Another used to climb over me and onto the bedside table so she could reach up and turn the light on. The lightning was less frightening to her if the lights were on. The cats just think if they stay close by, everything will be fine. Because I might be frightened, not them!

  120. Today was our 42nd wedding anniversary. What a blessing that God brought us together at college and has kept us together through 5 kids, thick and thin, health and sickness, never richer, though!, but there has always been just enough. I cooked a simple dinner tonight and bought the ingredients for make-your -own banana splits. Saturday we will celebrate a bit more and use a gift card for dinner out. Tomorrow I have to make a day trip out of town, but will fill two crockpots before I go, so dinner will be ready when I get home. There will be plenty of leftovers for the next day when our chronically-ill adult daughter has her out-of-town appt. and we will be gone all day. More unexpected bills this week, including a brake job for the car at $905. Hoping the expenses let up soon. I so enjoy reading Brandy’s weekly post and all the comments. Everyone is so kind and supportive here!

  121. April, I put some downy unstoppables and a bit of baking soda diluted with water in a spray bottle to make a homemade version of Febreeze. It worked well to freshen up some areas and items in the house that are more difficult to clean.

  122. Our front door is chipped and peeling on the front, bottom. Instead of replacing it, (for multi-hundreds of dollars if not more), we are going to repaint it and add a kickplate. Should last at least a few more years.
    Froze some green grapes before they went bad. I have read they are like mini-popsicles; hope so!
    I clip Sunday paper grocery coupons and keep track of how much the papers cost and how much I save. Some years the coupons pay for the papers, some years they don’t. Summer is the worst time for coupon clipping, and I often wondered why manufacturers don’t offer many during this season, as though they don’t think anyone shops now. After reading the many garden comments here, I understand now! But coupons should start becoming more plentiful over the next months, the most from November to January or so.
    Hoping for good yard sales this weekend! Weather has been dry yet wonderfully cool.

  123. Jean- if I remember, the pawpaws & elderberries came from Edible Landscaping in Afton, VA. I’ve also gotten some things from Useful Plants in Black Mountain. I believe I’ve seen elderberries at Niche Gardens in Chapel Hill too, though I don’t think pawpaws. Where do you live? I’m in Seagrove, not too far from the NC Zoo.

  124. My son is allergic to eggs so I use 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water, set aside to thicken when making brownies without any difference in taste. You can get a lot of recipes for egg substitutes by searching for vegan recipes.

  125. More research is showing, especially with elderly people, what is essentially post-traumatic stress disorder during and following surgery and hospitalizations.
    Seemingly simple things can cause so many problems for older people. UTIs are often undiagnosed in the elderly, and that can lead to confusion and other problems. Best wishes to you all!

  126. Mary Ellen – I let the bread maker do everything for me on the dough cycle, then take the kneaded dough out and bake it in a bread pan in the oven. My arthritic hands don’t knead well anymore. This way, you don’t have to bake those strange sized loaves in the bread maker.

  127. Lorna, your house/car plans sound very exciting. You and your husband are proving that planning, commitment, and diligence help reach awesome goals. I am so happy for both of you!

  128. Mary Ellen, I love my breadmaker as it allows me to do other things while the dough is being mixed. My family loves the French loaf, which calls for very few ingredient. I just put the ingredients in as instructed, set it on the dough cycle, then shape the dough when the cycle is done (I have even divided the dough and made 2 small loaves in the past), let it rise 1 more time (as dictated in the recipe book that comes with the machine) and bake it in the oven. I also use the bread machine for pizza dough. If nothing else, you can bake a loaf of bread in the machine, especially on the days your arthritis is getting the better of you. I know it can be costly to buy one, but personally, I consider it a good investment.

  129. Hi Ellie’s friend! I did some research and it seems the hummingbird my husband saw was a female ruby-throated hummingbird. He is hoping she comes back!

  130. I turn 43 in a week. The idea that you have been married almost as long as I have been alive brings a smile to my face. I’ve only been married for 22 years, 23 next month, and boy, what a ride it has been! Congratulations on a long and lovely marriage! Here’s to many more years!

  131. I wait till the Bananas are really ripe and than I slice them onto the dehydrator sheets (with the holes), I dehydrate them until they are chewy (a personal family preference) and take them off when still warm. If I “overcook” the chips and they are hard, I store them in former peanutbutter glass jars for future use rehydrated in banana bread or cookies. We do not like the flavor of the fake yellow crispy banana chips sold in the store, so I do not try to replicate them. In my experience, most people who taste our chips and like them have difficulty when they try to dehydrate their own banana chips because they do not let the bananas get ripe (and therefore sweet) enough. Hope this helps

  132. Tammy,

    So sorry to hear about the bronchitis but glad you are on the mend. Yes, I’m able to take some photos. Now the docs think I may need surgery for the arm but we will see after a CT scan. Get well soon!

  133. We have USAA and when I wanted my car towed outside the 11 miles, they just had me pay for the extra miles. No idea what the cost for 1 mile is.

  134. Heidi Louise – that is such a good point about UTIs. Elderly people can seem totally out of their minds when it is a UTI. Very serious!

  135. Thank you, Douai, for your sweet words. Faith, commitment, trust, and a sense of humor are what it takes, evidently. There have been, and continue to be, plenty of challenges and struggles along the way, but one thing we have never had to even worry about, even if we don’t 100% agree–we have each other’s back. We are a unit and will do whatever it takes to help the other, without hesitation.:) And congrats on your marriage, too!

  136. We went to the Palo Duro Canyon for our 40th Anniversary and hope to go back for our 45th. I love that part of Texas!

  137. Unexpected expenses are not fun!
    I have continued to cook all meals at home and using up the leftovers. I open the house early in the day to let in fresh air and some days I am able to leave in open till late morning or early afternoon. I combine my errands with appointment or babysitting duty. We are harvesting cucumbers, green beans and yellow squash. The tomatoes are starting to turn colors–can’t wait!

  138. Thank you DonnaMarie for your encouragement :).

    It does take a lot of commitment to get there though but the sacrifice will be worth it in the end :).

  139. Hi Brandy,
    Any hope for an updated photo of your newest child? Octavius seemed to grow so fast 🙂

    Frugal accomplishments for this month weren’t many, however, one is worth mentioning. Our dryer stopped working…well it worked but started smelling like smoke. My husband googled the parts manual, service manual and various dryer repair sites to see what might be causing the issue…then he took the dryer apart and fixed it. The internet is an amazing source of information. Total cost was $10 for a new exhaust hose (unrelated to the problem but it was time to replace it) and a day of our time.

    Otherwise the last few weeks I have been sloppy about menu planning and when I looked back at July spending, it shows! So I did an inventory of the freezer and planned this upcoming week already.

  140. Hi Debi, What you said about falling and hitting one’s head as the start of dementia is so true. My mom had a bad fall and hit her head on the fireplace hearth bricks when she was about 80 years old. She ended up in the hospital and I was shocked at her mental decline…it was the difference between day and night. Now we are working with my dad who has Alzheimer’s.

  141. Amalia, I enjoyed your post “It’s that time of year again…”. Especially the line about not washing the floor til you stick to it ( during canning season). Haha.

  142. I haven’t read this series but am up to book #4 on a different series of hers, the Bailey Ruth series.

  143. Lorna, your house sounds a lot like ours. We built it, too, all on one level (with a basement) and all handicap accessible. We have a 4 bay garage also and large veranda/patio ( on the front of the house though) with built in bbq grill. The garage is nice as it has my summer kitchen in one end and not full of stuff. We have barn to store the mower, snowblower etc and no need for workshop as husband’s cabinet business just down the drive. So that makes garage good for entertaining with large gatherings. Can set up many trestle tables. It is not directly attached but has a breezeway between house and garage

    I hope your new chainsaws give you many years of use. They can be invaluable too!s when one has wooded properties.

  144. Zinnia would not be a preferred flower, but it could have been attracted by the red color. They also like petunias and impatiens neither of which are considered tubular. They don’t head toward a flower due to sense of smell, they follow the color. They have buzzed me in the garden when I am wearing a red head scarf. We keep two hummingbird feeders, one at the house and one at the shop. Even though a feeder has 4 ports on it a hummingbird will not share a feeder with another. They will chase each other off. We see only ruby throated where we are. Sightings of others are rare.

  145. It’s been months since I had time to read through the comments here on the weekly posts. I have had my youngest son, his wife and their two boys, ages 4 and 17 months now, here for the past five months while they renovated a portion of the house they were moving to. The plan: one month and rent and help with groceries. The reality: one month rent and help with groceries and 4 months later they finally moved out. Result: one very tired Gramma and Grampa, one overly tired son working full time and renovating the house, higher grocery bills, very high electric bills and the determination to pull out every frugal trick in my old bag of tricks which minimalized the damage of the last three months. Furnishings bit the dust, etc…This was our first week with them moved on. Easier week, slightly more frugal aside from the other family’s entire week of laundry being done here. I remade a slipcover from two old slipcovers to make one custom fit cover for a chair, tossed broken furniture that was not repairable, salvaging parts that could be reused and appreciating that our groceries at least will go much further than they have done of late. Ordered replacement pieces for perfectly good storage items that were missing lids, etc. All in all, a great week.

  146. Are you kidding?? Never tire of rain?! I suggest you move to Portland or Seattle. I lived in Portland for 40 years and I don’t miss the rain at all (although I don’t think it rains as much now as it did then). I remember a black sky (cloud canopy) and steady rain for 7 months of the year. Walking 14 blocks to and from school in that was no fun! The summers are beautiful, though…when it isn’t raining, LOL. Incidentally, at that time I thought it rained like that everywhere. What a treat to find out it didn’t!

  147. The bread machines I see in thrift stores are usually immaculate. This is one appliance that a lot of people want, but only half of them actually use. And then there are the machines that are gifted and don’t get used at all. I bought a Hitachi for $4 and when I found that I was in “the other half” and needed the storage more than I did the machine, I donated it back.

  148. Thank you Athanasia 🙂 and we think it is wise to plan ahead with making the home design, usage, age and disability friendly.

  149. Lorna,
    Even though I haven’t been adding my savings to this sight in awhile, i’ve been watching your totals add up for your home. I’m so happy for you! It’s all coming together!

  150. Brandy…I’m sorry you had unexpected expenses but your so sweet to bounce back and find ways to keep things going. I feel I’ve been there few the years and stand amazed at the needs given when needed.
    I go to your blog for lessons and enjoy using your menus and recipes at times. I will be enjoying your crackers and tomatoes snack as my tomatoes ripen. I enjoy your salads too. Take care.

  151. Thank you momsav I appreciate your encouragement 🙂 . Hopefully if you are saving to buy a home or other things you are doing well also.

  152. I have gotten like new bread machines for $4-8 at Goodwill stores. There are always some available and the ones I have bought were like new or used a few times. I’ve been making all our bread with machines for 20+ years. I still make it by hand sometimes, when I’m in the mood, but the breadmaker saves an awful lot of money compared to buying bread. I get bread flour for about $6.50 for 25 # at Sam’s Club, and yeast is $3-4 for 2 pounds. I keep it in the freezer and use it right out of the freezer with excellent results.

  153. Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. My husband is not deaf but is very hard of hearing–he wears two hearing aids. The doctor mentioned that people with hearing problems do have more dementia than those who do not. And I did get a lot of information for support networds from the hospital social worker, although I live so far in the sticks that some of her information really doesn’t apply to this area.

    I have a daughter and son in law only a couple miles away, who are both disabled but can help with some things. Also one sister is only ten minutes away, and the other listens to my vents—her husband just had his second surgery in a month so we can vent to each other.

    Not all of you may know that I went through this with my mother not that long ago. She passed in 2014 but my sisters and I kept her at her home during the week/our homes on the weekends until that was no longer possible and then about 15 months in assisted living, enhanced assisted living, memory care, etc. So I kind of know what’s ahead. And really, though there were heart breaking moments, there were also lots of laughs with my mother during those times. My mother was a card player, and her real heart break was when she could no longer play. My husband’s just came earlier–he can’t drive any more and that was very important to him since restoring cars was his hobby. I try to be patient–it’s not my best quality–but I’m learning. You can’t get angry at someone who can’t help what they can’t recall. It’s a disease, period. I just do my best, and so does he.

  154. My mother used to use sticky yellow paper for whiteflies in the house. Since you don’t get much rain, maybe you could
    put the sticky yellow paper outside near the worst infested plants.

  155. Thanks for all the advice on bread machines. As I said, the ones I have seen are pretty grimy but will keep my eye out for a nice one.

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