Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Fourth Week in May

I cut a bouquet from the garden for a photoshoot that I was doing. I cut roses, celery flowers, elderberry flowers, chamomile, mint, and honeysuckle.

We harvested apricots, Meyer lemons, and parsley from the garden.

I gave haircuts to three sons and a daughter.

My husband and his siblings divided items from my father-in-law’s home. We chose some things that were very practical, including a freezer (which we will take after my sister-in-law removes her food from it, probably in a few months from now), a small microwave that my husband can use at his office, a barbecue grill (it needs a repair, and we rarely have meat to grill, but we do have chicken on occasion and my husband has wanted a decent grill for a long time, as the very old–possibly as-old-as-me–hand-me-down we have is small, faded, and has broken wheels), a circular saw, a few board games, some batteries, some fertilizer, a small ladder, computer paper, and some boxes of tissues. We also chose some books, a few pictures, a hat and a tie for my husband, and a small table. The table will go in our bedroom and I will put flowers from the garden on it.

I used my crockpot to cook a large pot of beans. We had rice and beans several times this past week.

We continue to enjoy the much cooler than usual weather. Usually it is well over 100 degrees by now, and we’re permitted to water the lawn every day. Between the cooler temperatures and the unheard-of May rain, I’ve been saving money on electric and water. The sprinklers are still on only three days a week and we’re not even running the ceiling fans, let alone the air conditioning. All of that will end this Friday when the temperatures start creeping up to normal, but we’ve sure enjoyed a May like never before!

My mom picked up a couple of vintage glass bowls for me at a garage sale (2 for $0.25!) in a pattern for which I am searching. I now have 6 small matching bowls. I’ll keep looking for these to eventually have at least a dozen.

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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98 Comments

  1. I finished reupholstering 4 outdoor chairs as a thank you for the friends who have opened their home to us for the pst 2 months.
    I am hand quilting my scrap quilt.
    We, too, are enjoying the cooler weather.
    I have used photos I’ve taken (and had printed when Walgreens had free photo developing ) to make a Father’s Day card and a graduation card. I sent a Trader Joe’s card (99cents) to son and daughter in law for their anniversary. It was actually a birthday card, but so perfect a saying for them that I covered the happy birthday with paper that matched the card and wrote happy anniversary on it. It was so perfect that our son even commented on it (very rare!) and said he hadn’t realized how I’d altered it until he’d been looking at it for a while.
    I have baked gluten free scones that will be part of my lunch when we fly back east this week.

  2. I’m glad you’re able to have a second freezer again. I’m sure your FIL would be glad to know his belongings are having a second life with his kids. And I love your bouquet!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Preservative-Free White Cheddar Popcorn (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-white-cheddar-popcorn/) using ingredients I already had at home. It’s very frugal compared to store-bought packaged White Cheddar Popcorn! Both my husband and sister agreed that it indeed tasted like white cheddar. Even though it was cheese-free!
    – My mother gave me a packet of wild flower seeds that she had gotten free, so I planted them on my balcony. Am hoping for some nice blooms!
    – I used some of the digital currency from my trading app, to purchase a rhubarb plant, a creeping Jenny plant, and a lamium plant. She gave me a freebie plant as well, which I believe is a sedum. A few pots of pretty groundcover plants will add some nice colour to my balcony! I already cut the two largest rhubarb stalks and froze them. I also cut and froze some green onions.
    – I planted yet more sunflower seeds, thinned radishes and replanted the thinned plants, planted nasturtiums and poppy seeds, and repotted some green onions elsewhere. I took the advice of several posters who kindly answered my question last week about squirrel repellent and dusted everything with cayenne and orange peel.
    – I met a friend for coffee that I hadn’t seen in a while and used a gc from Swagbucks to pay for my coffee.
    – While running errands, I got stuck at a neighbourhood strip mall due to some rain, so I took shelter in a Starbucks and used a reward to get a bakery good and a free ice water for no money OOP.
    – I received some high-value formula coupons in the mail that I couldn’t use and gave them to a fellow mum. She gave me a box of nursing pads that she couldn’t use. If I can’t use them, I’ll probably trade them.
    – I made a loaf of no-knead bread, and a batch of chocolate chip & pecan cookies. I also made a batch of double chocolate flourless cookies and used the leftover egg yolks to make lemon curd. I’m hoping to have some time to make my easy lemon meringue tartlets (http://approachingfood.com/my-long-promised-easy-lemon-meringue-tartlets/) this week, but we’ll see!
    – I found a sale on cut flowers at my local fruit and veg store and bought a bunch of tulips for a dollar. I love displaying them in my (second-hand) crystal vase in my entrance way. Even though they won’t last long as they’re past their prime, they still make me happy every time I look at them.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon.
    – I combined a sale, a coupon, and an online loyalty points coupon to get the best value on a face cream purchase.
    – I sent a friend a present (a mug) and only had to pay for shipping as I had gotten the mug almost free (paid something like 75 cents during a sale) and used a bubble mailer that I had traded for.
    – I did some work on my blog, and added a new free Instagram plug-in, Instagram Feed. I also used a free tool, gtmetrix.com, to check my site speed with and without certain plug-ins.
    – When my sister visited, I made some Healthier Peanut Butter Cups (http://approachingfood.com/healthier-for-you-peanut-butter-cups-wine-bonbons/) using ingredients I already had at home. I also served Brandy’s tomato basil soup, along with some homemade bread. I send my sister home with a quart of the soup as well.
    – Thanks to the tip from a commenter previously, I made some stewed (organic un-sulphured) apricots for my baby since they’re high in iron. I froze some too, in an ice cube tray.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as usual!

    1. Margaret I had such a funny laugh out loud moment reading your post when you mentioned taking shelter at the strip mall. Although I’ve visited the US a number of times my UK brain didn’t think you were sheltering at a row of shops, I thought ‘oh my days what’s Margaret doing at a strip club’ ??!!

  3. Good morning Brandy,
    I love your photos as usual, you have such a creative eye. I saved money this week by-
    Drying all the washing on the line
    Put the irrigation on late afternoon so the moisture would soak in
    Packed morning tea and lunch everyday for work
    Bought many items from the bulk store
    Ate lots of fish and prawns from the freezer (hubby catches the fish and prawns)
    Picked lots of again greens from the garden to go with dinners
    Cut out squares of paper from recycled gift wrap to make origami seed packets
    Topped up some well used vanilla pods with more vodka to make another bottle of vanilla essence
    Cut and shared a magnificent home grown pumpkin
    Made a claim through Tupperware for a broken lid
    Raised some tomato seedlings from saved seed
    And that’s all I can think of at the mo,
    Fi

  4. I celebrated my birthday this week and said yes to family/friends wanting to feed us, so I didn’t use groceries. Leftovers were gladly accepted!
    I said no to extra work or engagements that would have used my time or money, neither that I have a lot of right now. It was refreshing to be home and stay caught up on our home or take a few hours to read for leisure instead. I did say yes to future extra money gigs, but thankfully those are spaced out.
    eBay has been good to me this week, so thankful. Items I thought for sure would be a lost cause to list, sold immediately.
    My husband found an online Excel course for me to take for very little money. I have been learning with free tutorials, but feel I am at the stage where I need more training to be better. Never in a million years did I think I would want to pay for an Excel course, but growing up is an adventure.
    Our dehumidifier stopped working properly due to an error. After a lot of research my husband called the company and it turns out this a manufacture fault and the company replaced it for free.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  5. My husband got a new job that comes with a slight raise. It came at the perfect time…our boys are going through a growth spurt and seem to be bottomless pits right now. We are going to use the extra from his first check to purchase some bigger bulk items that normally cant fit in my monthly grocery budget without a sacrifice (brown rice, oats, sugar, flour, oil). I’m so thankful for that!
    My last day of work is this coming Friday (I work 10 months for a school). I have worked to plan a fun and (hopefully) inexpensive summer for the boys. I’m hoping to go camping at least once, and spend lots of time at the local parks and library. I’m also hoping to do some inexpensive projects around our house, like repainting our kitchen cabinets and organizing closets.

  6. We’ve begun setting up a structure for the solar hot water panels we’ve had for several years. It’s been on our to do list, and we’re finally getting to it. I bought the three panels used for $100. I finished sewing a summer bed cover. Today I gathered purslane and pesto from the garden, and made pesto. Laundry was dried on the line. My husband repaired our A/C. He had the materials on hand, so nothing OOP. I was gifted an air fryer from my MIL. Any good suggestions on using it for a vegetarian are welcome. I listed 26 items on ebay, a record for me. Wishing everyone a lovely Memorial Day.
    https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/05/repairs-projects-frugal-accomplishments.html

  7. I made chicken stock from a chicken carcass and chicken leg bones from the freezer, and then cooked orzo in it for lunches. I will have quite a few more meals that use this stock. I am planning to buy a side-by-side fridge/freezer in July and want to clear out the freezer in my current fridge before then, so this was a start.

    I attended a meeting where lunch was served.

    I have been trying to add more vegetables into every meal or recipe I can. I added frozen peas to potato pancakes.. This worked very well, though the pancakes tasted very much like peas. I thought the flavor would be milder. All good, though. I do like peas! I had one more pancake than I usually do, since it stretched the amount of food I made.

    I made tea biscuits with blueberries. I used cooking oil, and replaced the milk with water, to work with what I had. They worked very well. I’m getting close to the end of the blueberries I froze last summer. Still have a good supply of peaches.

    I was given a beautiful pen and pencil set from the college whose board I sit on.

    The computer I bought in August needs a new cooling fan before it can be used again. I don’t normally buy warranties, which has saved me money in the long-run. Because I was buying a computer that had been shipped to a different customer and returned, I received not only a large discount but a free one-year warranty. It will be a couple of weeks before I can get to the store to take the computer in (I live 100+ miles from the city), but at least will save on the repair. A part will need to be ordered, so it will take a while to get this repaired. I pulled out my previous laptop to use for transcription. I managed to earn $100, before the mouse on the keyboard became inefficient from too much clicking. No transcription work for me until the newer computer is fixed. I want to take the summer off to focus on other things, so my break has started early.

    An appointment has been booked to get my summer tires put on, so I will be back on the road again. I also need to buy a jack though I am going to check the garage first to make sure I didn’t put it there by mistake. It has been very frustrating to be limited to local trips, especially now that the weather is nice.

    I have been outside cutting lawn. Pleasant work with the weather being sunny but not too hot yet. Everything is growing very quickly, so it is hard to keep up with it. Two big banks of lilacs are just beginning to bloom, which is the most spectacular thing that happens in my yard all year round. I try to never walk past lilacs without stopping to smell them. One of my very favorite scents!

  8. What a week this has been! I babysat grandsons on Monday so one of my sons (age 35) could go to have his first colonoscopy since our oldest son’s oncologist said that all of our children who are 10 years or less younger than him (45) are at a 10 times higher risk of developing colon cancer. This younger one’s colonoscopy is clear and he can go 5 years until his next one unless he develops symptoms. We are grateful!

    Our son’s chemo and radiation treatments are now starting week 4 (of 6) and he’s powering through. After the 6 weeks, he will have an 8 week rest and then have surgery to remove tumors that have hopefully decreased in size. We are all feeling calm about this and determined that we will face whatever outcome as a family!
    Now, on to some frugality!
    I bought a 40 pound box of bananas for $5. Shared some with daughters and am using the rest to eat fresh, make and freeze banana muffin batter, make banana cookies and make a banana birthday cake for hubs. Wednesday he turns 70 and his last day of work will be Thursday!
    I bought a bushel box of corn (50 ears) for $4.80 and 20 pounds of ground beef (80/20) for $1.79/ pound on Memorial Day sale at Meijers.
    My daughter bought their peaches – 57 cents/pound- and her very first box of quart canning jars to can peaches. She is borrowing my steam canner and I’m so proud!
    She and another daughter also bought the 10 cent and ear corn at Meijers and will be freezing it the same way as I will! I had hubs make them each a “stabilizing stand” to hold a blanched ear of corn as they cut sections of kernels off to put into freezer bags! Such a simple tool he made- no OOP cost! https://pin.it/bxercyye4zaqo7
    I found a recipe for pressure canning chili that has you layer the ingredients into each jar so it’s easy to do it assembly line fashion! It uses dry (but rinsed) pinto beans on the bottom, then cooked ground beef (I always have bags of it in my freezer so I just thawed them for a minute in microwave)next, then other ingredients. The only ingredient I didn’t have was a single can of tomato sauce so when I was buying my other things (corn, ground beef) at Meijers, I picked up a can (39 cents). That was my only OOP cost and I got 16 pint jars pressure canned in a single batch processing! https://pin.it/3uvtvv3k7kg77g They all pinged after they came out and I am thrilled to add these to our pantry shelves!

    We sold more koi this week bringing our total to $360 so far with some customers saying they would be coming back for more! That was a nice addition (after tithing) to our savings!

    Made and sold more sets of Bowl Covers this week https://pin.it/ia7c72cxnzk25i so that was also a nice surprise!

    Only 3 more work days for hubs- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and actually Thursday will be more along the lines of a school “field day” since he will be turning in his work computer, badges, parking pass, etc with a farewell open house at 2! Don’t think he will be doing much real work that day! He has already been treated to lunch about 6 different days in the past two weeks! He has already received team signed cards with 2 sizable gift cards included- 1 for Amazon and the other for Kroger’s!

    My stove/oven, dishwasher and refrigerator all went out last week- one at a time as though they had been talking to each other but handy hubby ordered parts and has them all operational again at a fraction of the cost of replacing them!

    Had a surprise Friday that the amount I would be receiving monthly would be about $500/month less than what we had been told for the past several months of planning. Hubs has delayed retiring until he turns 70 to maximize his monthly SS. We were told that as the “non-working spouse” , my benefit would be 1/2. But Friday, we found out that it would only be half of the normal retirement age benefit which makes a $500 difference! Yikes!!! But, because we don’t have extravagant needs or plans, we will still have a cushion in our budget each month.

    Our peach trees are both covered in peaches and I am excited to have our first crop this summer! Something has munched my cabbage plants in the garden and a bit of my lettuce too. We saw a groundhog the other day and I’m thinking that might be our culprit!
    Chickens are still giving us about 3 dozen eggs a week- what a joy!!
    Life is never dull and sometimes it can get challenging but how much we have to be grateful for!

    Pat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Pat,

      Sounds like you’ve been busy! Kudos to you for the retirement planning, even with the hiccups. It’s good to know that you’ll be able to manage because you’re used to being frugal.

      I’ve heard some interesting things about vitamin C with regards to cancer treatment (thinking about your son). It might be worth him researching as a supplement to the current treatment. It would certainly support his immune system and might help him to feel better with the chemo treatments. Just a thought.

      Sending prayers your way!

      1. Yes to the Vitamin C as a supplement for chemo, etc. Also check out Chrisbeatcancer.com for lots of ideas on how to improve your immune system and minimize side effects during cancer treatment. Many videos and interviews there of people who had recovery of their health. Good luck!

  9. Lovely pictures Brandy.
    We’ve had a couple of busy weeks. My daughter and her new husband have moved into their rental townhouse and began setting up house. As a part of our wedding gift, we purchased for them some small appliances like a hand mixer, toaster oven, mini chopper etc. that were on sale. We also planned on buying them a freezer, and stocking it, little by little, with on-sale meat and frozen goods. However, they’ve asked that we hold off on doing this as they’re just renting temporarily while they look for a house to buy and they don’t want to have to move more furniture than necessary, so we’ll give it to them once they’ve purchased their house. However, we did loan them a very small apartment-sized freezer we had so they could at least stock up on some in-season fruits and vegetables to save them money and for on-sale meats etc., and we did buy them some basic groceries to get them started. As well, my daughter purchased some jam and salsa and once she tasted it, asked if she could come raid our fruit cellar for home-canned goods as “the store bought stuff is terrible” (her words). I home-can as many items as possible: preserves, pineapples, jams, salsas, various pickles, relishes, tomatoes, tomato paste, taco sauce etc. My husband and I have been married 29 years now, and I’ve home-canned that entire time so my kids are used to these flavours. When she tasted the store bought goods she wasn’t impressed. She asked if her and her husband could come over and grab some items to last them until canning season begins. So they grocery shopped in our fruit cellar and pantry! She’s looking forward to doing her own home-canning this year.
    – on my home front, I made homemade pancake syrups: one 50% less sugar, as my middle daughter is diabetic, and the other a regular kind.
    – made 50% less sugar chocolate syrup.
    – made a low-sugar homemade granola. My kids eat it as cereal as well as spooning it over yogurt.
    – made Banana-Bran Muffins; Squash Cookies, using frozen pumpkin puree mixed with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds; Zucchini Muffins; Lemon Loaves (x2). Froze half of each item to have on hand for later use.
    – made 3 loaves homemade toasting bread, twice, so we could have some to eat right away and some to freeze.
    – used up leftover coffee making a coffee granita dessert; and coffee-chocolate wafer cookies.
    – made pitchers of iced coffee, iced tea, and lemon-lime punch using dehydrated citrus.
    – restocked my freezer making homemade spaghetti bolognese, marinara sauce, bean chili, and meat chili.
    – made more chicken stock and froze.
    – made all our meals except one.
    – taught the married daughter how to debone on-sale chicken thighs as I had only taught her how to debone breasts. Oops!
    – taught this same daughter how to butcher an on-sale loin of pork to get many different cuts/meals from it.
    – did some yard work as it was finally warmer and drier. We’ve had such a wet season here.
    – priced out the cost of buying some patio stones, sand etc. to make a small deck for my husband to barbecue on. We moved to our present home in November last year, and this house has a wooden deck. My husband loves to use a charcoal grill which tends to drop hot ashes. We don’t want any stray cinders catching fire or at the least damaging the wood, so a small stone deck will be built by my husband. He will save us quite a bit of money over having someone else build one.
    That’s it folks. Have a blessed week.

    1. My mom always used a bunny cake pan. Stood the far end of the corncob in the hike in the center of pan then used a sharp knife to cut off kernels into the bunds pan.

        1. An old angel food cake pan works well. Stand the small end of the cob in the whole and slice down. Ther kernels fill the “cake” area.

  10. Hubby repaired leaky toilet tank, balky lock on screen door, replaced corroded bathtub faucet, and checked on possible clogged kitchen sink at our condo. This saved a lot in plumbing bills. He also fixed an electrical outlet that did not work. I found 2 men’s leather belts at Goodwill for .99 each. One was an Italian leather belt made in Italy. The other was a brand I have seen sold at Macy’s. He liked the belts & they were a cheap gift. I also found him a sleeveless cotton pullover to wear over a shirt for playing golf. It was one dollar. The pullover was new with tags still attached. (I think there are many wealthy people in FL who get rid of good quality items.) We are using a borrowed car that a good friend loaned us for our vacation. Hubby checked the fluids in the car & serviced it. I am grateful for his mechanic, electrical, & plumbing know how. (I’m a college grad & can’t do these things.) I brought a leftover frozen ham in my suitcase on our flight. TSA agent asked what it was when he looked in the suitcase. That was funny! I ground up some of ham in food processor , added relish, mayo for tasty ham salad. We are also eating leftovers I froze when I was here in March (chicken taco soup & chili.)

  11. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy I am so glad that you were able to save money on electricity and water and are able to water your lawns and gardens too and got some lovely keepsakes from your father in laws home 🙂 .

    Our savings last week added up to $470.15 🙂 .

    In the kitchen-
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch for the week.

    Grocery stockpiling –
    – With our $40 a month pantry building budget we purchased on really good specials 2 x small chocolates (for grocery shopping energy), 1 x box of special K, 11 x pkts of pasta and sauce,4 pkts of nice biscuits and 8 x 250 g blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese saving $34.70 on usual prices.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 4 x 100 pk boxes of Panadol and 8 shave sticks on special saving $9.12 on usual prices.
    – Saved up enough to buy all of our wool insulation batts for our ceiling cavity.
    – Purchased a new laptop for myself on eBay since my last one’s hard drive gave up the ghost saving $374.11 over buying an equivalent one in the shops.

    Trading –
    – Traded us digging fence post holes with our auger for 8 metres of rapid mesh we lined our trailer with saving $35.72 over buying it in the shops.

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 10 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    In the gardens –
    – DH finished tilling our 10 in-ground and above ground garden beds and we both removed barrow loads of soil ready for it to be amended with manures and put back in.
    – I lined the bottom of each garden bed with weed mat, grass clippings, ride on lawnmower mulched autumn garden leaves and our vegetable scraps from the last week or so.

    Hope everyone had an equally wonderful week :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. We have used old cardboard boxes in the bottom of beds instead of weed mat. They are free and they have done a better job for us than the weed mat that we tried. I told our son about it just as he was wondering what to put in the bottom of his raised beds.

      1. Thank you Kara and thank you yes you are right that cardboard makes a fantastic base for the bottom of garden beds ;).

        Unfortunately we were clean out of cardboard and had the weed mat sitting around for years in the shed so finally it now has a use and is out of the shed. We also lined on top of the weed mat with lots of composted grass clippings and autumn leaves we mulched up with the ride-on lawnmower so hopefully this will be enough to stop the weeds coming through. Although i firmly believe there is an endless supply of weeds in the world to pull out of everyone’s gardens 🙂 .

        Sewingcreations15

      2. We did this too! The cardboard kills the weeds/grass, but breaks down with time. However, we used the weed barrier to create pathways around the raised garden beds. The weed barrier material doesn’t break down the same, thus helping keep the weeds down to a minimum on the pathways.

  12. Beautiful flowers from your garden, Brandy. It’s been extremely wet here and we are expecting more rain tonight. We did have a beautiful Memorial day though and I was able to grill out. You’ll love your new grill.
    I haven’t been able to do a lot in the garden but we have been cleaning the garage and getting rid of stuff. Here is a list of my frugal ways https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2019/05/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-52619.html
    Have a great week

  13. Today I started the day by reading the “Encouragement” section on Brandy’s blog. It brought me
    a lot of comfort and I relaxed knowing that by the end of the day I would receive my property tax bill and
    a hefty increase. (all homeowners are getting an increase to offset the downturn in business revenues).
    Ironically my assessment was down by a considerable amount so I guess that decreased what the bill would have been).

    I neither saved money nor spent money. I enjoyed a beautiful blue-sky day — not too warm nor too cold.

    I am grateful to have a home, a garden which I am developing, food and a bed. And flowers and birds. All in all, I am very thankful.

  14. What beautiful flowers, Brandy! The only things I have blooming at the moment are aliums and a tiny snowball bush, but the irises and other June perennials should pop any day! Here was my week–
    *I harvested the first of the outer leaves of Buttercrunch lettuce Thursday. The lettuce is starting to set heads, and the leaves are tender and de-lish. I noticed that the lettuce seeds I planted between each plant are coming up.
    *I planted the tomato and pepper plants in my raised bed. They were tiny when I got them free a few weeks ago with some overpriced bagged soil. The tomatoes were outgrowing gallon pots when I planted them out. I will plant the rest of the garden from seeds on Tuesday of this week.
    *My husband built me a window box for the garden shed from a free pallet I picked up at the curb. Pallets aren’t his thing, but he did it, anyway…and it’s really cute! We already had the screws and brackets and leftover potting soil and only had to buy a 4-pack of impatiens.
    *I placed a small Amazon order through Brandy’s site. The fact that I kept the order small was my frugal accomplishment, LOL.
    *I made dinner from my freezer and pantry for a friend’s parents. Her mother just started hospice, and her dad has dementia. They had mostly been eating fast food. I am going to try to do this every Friday until they get organized.
    *My daughter is getting new glasses. The frames and high index Transitions lenses were $189 at Costco, which was a deal in itself. I expect most or all of this will be reimbursed by Medicaid.
    *I bought fresh strawberries for $1.44 lb. Not the cheapest we will see them, but close. My son will be in town next weekend, so I made him and his wife a batch of frozen low sugar strawberry jam. I already had the other ingredients. This is the first year for my own strawberry bed, so I’m not expecting much of a harvest (but they have started to bloom!).
    *I sold an old lawn mower for $40…and there is a back story. In 1986, our old lawnmower (which was only 5 years old at the time) bit the dust yet again, thanks to lingering Mt. St. Helens ash. It needed a huge repair after the eruption in 1981, when it was only about a month old, and every year after that. My husband agreed we needed a new mower, but couldn’t find the time to shop. I did my research, narrowed it down to Honda and John Deere, and test drove both. When I told my husband I’d bought the Honda, he thought it was great until I told him it cost $460! (That was quite a sum in 1986). Well, after he mowed the lawn with it, he admitted it was by far the best mower he had ever used. Fast forward 33 years, and this mower is still going strong. Still starts on the first or second pull. It has been tuned up exactly twice and had gas left in it over the winter most years. I sold the mower to a friend who knew its history and will keep it going forever…or as close as she can get. We bought a Honda SUV last year because of this mower–we knew it would have a good engine, LOL.

  15. That bouquet is gorgeous! Bet it smelled good, too. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were beef tacos, chicken and dumpling casserole x2 (put one in the freezer), stromboli using homemade pizza dough (put 2 doughs in the freezer).
    *My husband finished trimming the trees along our driveway with the pole saw he borrowed. He then cleaned the saw and returned it.
    *Ordered more office supplies at work through Ebates (now Rakuten).
    *Called and put money on my college son’s flex account as opposed to doing it online (which charges a fee).
    *Received a free meal at our company picnic. Also accepted leftover fried chicken, potato casserole and cupcakes.
    *Made green beans in the crockpot and baked a cake (all from the pantry) for our church’s annual Pig Pickin’. Also took a pack of sparking water we didn’t care for that I had gotten free with a coupon.
    *Went to the movies on Thrifty Tuesday ($8 instead of $11) with a group of ladies from church to see Breakthrough. The movie was so good!!!
    *Cut my husband’s hair.
    *Sent a birthday card to my SIL out of my stash.
    *We have not received our refund check from the IRS, so I printed and filled out a form to have them look into it.
    *Were able to pick up a truckload of gravel from the local quarry for a $25 donation to the local fire department. What a great fundraiser!
    *Enjoyed $5.99 hot and ready pizza from Little Caesar’s one evening. It was in the budget. ?

  16. I ordered groceries from Kroger and had them delivered Sunday. The only cost for delivery was the tip and with very few exceptions, I stuck to the sales. It was so nice shopping from my recliner instead of having to figure out where mom could sit while I did the rest of the shopping after she had selected the produce and pie she liked. $50.48 of coupon savings (out-of-pocket $90) plus some sale prices. Our kitchen cupboards and refrigerator are full again.

    I have been saving the containers from mom’s Meals on Wheels lunches with the intention of starting plants in them. This is the week I finally started planting herb seeds. Some of my seeds are so old. I hope at least one from each packet will sprout. I am also planting two onions that sprouted, green onions from the grocery store, and the bottom of the celery I just bought so we will have some instant greenery while the seeds take their time germinating. The sweet potato I buried in a flower pot a few weeks ago now looks like a beautiful plant. It moved outside two days ago.

    I was at Family Dollar to buy Breyer’s ice cream this week. They had half-off their clearance prices which were already half off. I found a summer dress for one of my nieces who will be visiting in less than three weeks and a soft sweater dress for mom. Two new dresses for less than the normal price of one at Good Will. And mom’s dress included a bonus necklace.

    That’s it for now. My sister is enjoying the cool weather in Arizona too. I feel.so bad for the people who have been hit so hard by the seemingly endless stormy, rainy weather. Try and stay safe, everybody.

  17. My grandaughter came to visit yesterday as a late Mother’s Day visit. She had lost her glasses on Mother’s Day , which she needs to drive, so wasn’t able to come then. She gifted me 20# of basmati rice, and a new scarf. I made two pizzas at her request, and my DD came with dessert—brownies. I had plenty of ice cream so some of us had ice cream with brownies. The rice might have seemed an odd gift but was prompted by a conversation we had a while back. She goes to several grocery spots as she lives in the city, and I had asked if she knew where I could get basmati rice for less than $2 a lb. I don’t know what she paid for it, but I will be eating FREE rice for some time to come. I probably had 3-4 pounds in the cupboard already. I can make rice pudding with abandon now! We eat more stir fries in summer too, with fresh veggies, so no problem in using it up. Storage may require some thinking, though.
    We did finally get some warm weather and get out into our very needy garden this week. We discovered that out max work time is between 30-60 minutes. At that rate, we will be all summer cleaning up around the hard. We have about half the veggie garden cleaned up but not turned over yet. This week is fairly free of outside activities and if we don’t get too much rain, we will be out there as long as we’re capable of every day.
    My new columbines that I put in last year are ALL dark purple, which is the color I was lacking! I have some bright yellow ones I started from seed about three or four years ago, and a few older ones in pinks and pale reds. I am pleased as I really love them and think I now have enough! I am eager to plant some zinnias behind the columbines on the side of the house so there will be flowers when the columbines finish blooming. I plan to soak my morning glory seeds tonight and plant them in the porch boxes tomorrow after topping them up with some new Miracle Grow potting soil for flowers. Last year’s didn’t do as well as usual, and I think I skipped the topping up part as we got a late start then too. If I can get those things in and sprouted, I will have something to watch grow. My husband should be able to turn over the part of the veggie garden that has been weeded, perhaps tomorrow, and I can get some lettuce started at least. We’re 6 weeks late getting that done, but we’re still in need of lettuce weekly.
    We spent little money this past week because there were so many jobs needing doing we didn’t have time to think about “fun” stuff. Gardening is FUN for me, but not for my husband. He does it but does not enjoy it. His friend did come one day and took him on an outing for lunch–about a good hour’s distance away. They rode in the friend’s convertible and when they came back they took a good long walk to walk off their lunch. That was one of the few days I’ve had any time for myself in a long while. I split the day up into half work and half play–well, computer play, some of which involved phone calls and writing checks, but just getting those things done is worthwhile also. The friend has cared for a brother before who had a stroke, so he understands what it’s like for me to be my husband’s caretaker. He doesn’t need a lot of physical help so far, but he does require lots of mental help as he is so forgetful now. The friend and his wife just returned from their winter home in Arizona, and I suspect he will be making himself available when he is able to this summer. He did a lot last summer, taking my husband for long rides about once a week or so. It really helps.
    So glad we are finally getting some warmer weather–I even got some short sleeved shirts out this week!

    1. That wonderful gift of rice. One of the ways we use rice is I make chili and serve it over rice. My family
      Loves it and it makes the meal go even further for less. I’ve never made rice pudding, maybe I will give it a try.

  18. You are proof that waiting patiently for things you need really does work. A free freezer when your old one just recently broke down, some useful items your family will definitely use, a few precious keep sake items for your husband (including a lovely table that he will see every morning), and 2 antique glass bowls you are slowly collecting for only $0.25 for the pair. That’s a really amazing week, Brandy!
    This week, our frugal accomplishments for our home included:
    *Meals made at home included make-your-own pizzas, breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce and potato wedges, hamburger helper with salad and baked potatoes, BBQ chicken with mashed potatoes and corn, ham & cheese hash-brown casserole (see below), and chicken ranch tacos.
    *Picked fresh dandelion greens in our yard for our Guinea Pig. She loves them, they are free and it saves me from buying so much expensive lettuce from the grocery store…win, win, win!!!
    *I sent deviled eggs in DD and friend’s school lunches one day this week. Normally DD is not overly excited about eggs (her friend, on the other hand, LOVES eggs). This time, I ran out to the garden cut 2 chive shoots and used scissors to cut chive pieces to sprinkle over her container of deviled eggs. I would have mixed them in, but her friend does not like onions (neither do I so I get it). DD loved them so much, she requested the same lunch again the next day. then had them again on the weekend for lunch! I love that it is healthy, cheap and she is enjoying the bounties of our garden.
    *On the weekend, I was trying to figure out dinner, I asked DD if there were any meals I hadn’t made recently that she’d like to have. She couldn’t think of anything, but suggested I try a new recipe. After some searching, I tried making a ham & cheese hash-brown casserole. I used a combination of these two recipes: https://writtenreality.com/ham-and-hash-brown-casserole/ and https://www.plainchicken.com/2016/03/ham-and-cheese-hash-brown-casserole.html. I did not have frozen hash-browns, so I made my own from potatoes that needed using up anyways. To make it a more complete meal, I added corn to the casserole (would have chose a different veggie but my brother is super picky, so corn it was).
    *With so much gardening needing to be done, I took the easy route and made jello cups for DD and friend’s school lunches this coming week. Cheap, easy and I happened to have some in the pantry! Each box (made 2 different flavours) was divided into 5 servings in reusable containers.
    *Continued to work on setting up my veggie garden area this week. We finished preparing the 2 new raised garden bed, laid down weed barrier topped with cheap wood shavings (the kind we use for the Guinea Pig) to create pathways in and around the raised beds, and set up the deer barrier fencing. We currently have spinach, peas, pie pumpkins, dill, and radishes sprouting, but no signs of parsley or butternut squash yet. I planted 4 tomato starts, 4 jalapeno pepper starts, 18 strawberry plants, and planted seeds for 3 different types of lettuce, Swiss chard, beets, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, pole beans, green bush beans and yellow/waxed bush beans. My mom potted up the basil, which we will keep on our deck. Waiting on raspberry bushes, which a co-worker is giving me some from her garden. She has them potted but wants to ensure they will live before she brings them to me. Our garden is looking good so far. Hoping the animals will not destroy my efforts again this year!!!
    *My first week back working in the pioneer village was very interesting. We had visitors from the Netherlands, France, and Afghanistan, as well as a family from Texas. The lady from Texas has a family connection to some of the early settlers in our area and is trying to write a book. I think I spent about an hour and a half talking to her, as she took notes on what it was like to be an early settler to our area. As she was leaving my building, I was asked by the museum manager to be in a video. They will be using the video to apply for a grant to help make our village more accessible to people with disabilities. The next day we had a Mennonite school group come. They enjoyed my interpretation so much they rewarded me with a button. This year, our work is giving visitors buttons to hand out to interpreters that really made their visit special. I believe senior staff can also give these to us if they see us doing an exceptional job. In return, the interpreter with the most buttons is rewarded “Employee of the Month” and we receive a prize. I’m one of the first to earn a button (another very deserving co-worker also received one)!!!
    Still enjoy reading everyone’s comments every single week. Wishing you all a wonderful week filled with lots of frugal joys!

  19. I have been spending all the time that I can in our little garden! My husband enjoys building with wood, so each year he is adding a few more garden beds for me. Our teen age daughter has a section in the garden that is just hers, and she plants whatever she likes there. So it is a shared hobby among the three of us! Plus we end up with a few good things to eat, and a few flowers to feed the soul! I posted a picture of my garden on FaceBook, and was amazed by the number of people who commented on it, so I thought I would post on my blog more pictures and tell about how I garden very frugally. You can read that post here: https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2019/05/frugal-friday-week-of-may-19-25-2019.html
    It is not a professional garden by any means, but we love it—and the eight million bunnies that call our yard home love it—so that is what counts! ? I DO have the most adorable picture of a baby bunny posted in the blog post, so if you love baby bunnies you will love this sweetie!

    Other than gardening, we have been having company as my parents are currently staying with us for a few days, and my niece is coming to stay for a week the very day that my parents leave. I have made a menu plan ahead of time, so I could know what I was cooking and make sure to be using up food that I already had.

    My daughter had a homeschool graduation at our church two weeks ago, and I reused a few of the decorations for my nephews graduation open-house this past weekend. My sister was very grateful for both our help in decorating, as well as the decorations.

    Looking forward to reading what everyone else has been up to!

    Susan M. (From Chattanooga, Tennessee)

  20. The fourth Sunday in May has been Decoration Day at the small country church where my kin are buried since 1840. There is always an all day singing and dinner on the ground (lunch). I think this predates Memorial Day but this makes it convenient because all the graves are decorated. I decorated my mom’s grave, my maternal great grandparents’ graves, my great great grandparents’ graves, and my great great great grandparents’ graves. Genealogy is easy for me on my maternal side of the family….lol. My maternal grandmother is buried at her husband’s home church elsewhere I went swimming at the state park for $4. Since it was over 100 degrees with the heat index, it felt great! I took my Toyota Yaris to the dealership and had the tires rotated for free, and an oil change. I used soft potatoes to make homemade hash browns for use in a funeral potato recipe.

    1. I should say “have been buried”….sigh…..for some reason, grammar is not my strong point when I am on my phone.

  21. i always love your flower arrangements. They are beautiful!

    I have been cooking indian bean recipes. They are tasty and economical. We have been eating imperfect asparagus from the garden. The rest will go to the grocery store. My son and husband love asparagus, as do I. Cooking meals at home. Reminding myself when I am tired of cooking and cleaning that I am happy to have food and a home to clean. Happy to have spices. Although I need dill weed and Rosemary. I need to find an economical source for spices. I got my Indian spices from a store that sells things from India. I made tuna thoran this week.
    Returned movies to the library.
    Getting about 40 hours in a week. Hubby is at same job. We enjoyed another rainbow this week.
    Things are so tight that we hardly drive anywhere unless we have to. We did visit his family and bought a lemonade and coffee and a cookie to share at a restaurant when we were with them.. I hated even buying that. I need to think of free fun things to do with my husband.
    We will be selling more asparagus this week. The money we make from that is very helpful. Every bit helps.
    Two family members were in the hospital last week. Scary. I’m glad they are both out. I love my family and want to keep them around.

    1. Can you grow dill from seed and purchase a small rosemary plant for your garden? Dill grows easily and rosemary grows quickly.

        1. Yes, and dill will come up the next year if you let the seeds drop. I am in North Central Illinois and I get two to three crops a year. Even very young dill can be used for flavor. At the end of the season, I take some dried dill flower heads and put them in a bag for the next year just in case, but I have never needed the just in case! My family and friends call it my dill forest and it takes over an area very quickly. In my zone, rosemary has to be replanted every year, but I get enough from the plant at the end of the season to last me until the next year. I also have planted sage and thyme…along with the rosemary, a bit of black pepper and nutmeg, I make my own poultry seasoning (recipe is online that is similar to a well-known brand) and it is much cheaper!

    2. Tammy, I’ve been in your shoes before. Not being able to have take-out because money is tight, but at the same time, tired of cooking can get a little discouraging. I found that if I made make-ahead meals and froze them, those nights were made easier by pulling these meals out of the freezer. I used to make spaghetti sauce and freeze in 4-cup measures in Ziploc bags then I just needed to boil some spaghetti noodles, defrost the sauce and dinner was on the table in no time. I used to (and still do) also freeze marinara sauces (these are particularly cheap because you don’t use meat), chilis (meat or bean), pot pies (when cash was super tight, I only made vegetable pot pies), ground beef hand pies, pierogies, hamburger patties, meatballs (you can also make mushroom-lentil meatballs), taco filling with meat or just beans, bean-cheese-rice enchiladas, soup stock, chowders, etc. etc. Make and freeze bread and baked goods as well.
      In order to do this just buy on-sale items a little at a time, then make when you have enough to add to the freezer. In just a short while, you’ll have a variety stocked away.

  22. Need help: after a few mishaps of Amazon orders and Dollar Store purchases of clothesline pins, can anyone direct me to a really heavy duty long lasting strong clothesline pin that will last at least a year without breaking. And as a follower of many years I am in awe of all of the knowledge I have learned here. (second time “asking”) Thank you!

    1. Jo, I follow a blog by Herrick Kimball called The Deliberate American (used to be the Deliberate Agrarian). He makes clothespins as part of his Whizbang Planet home business. I have not personally tried them but know he sells quite a few each year. Another possible choice would be Lehman’s . They supply all kind of homesteading and non electric goods.

      1. No one has mentioned clothes pegs. They don’t have wire, so can’t come apart. I found some at T.J. Maxx last summer.

    2. The very best clothespins I have found are the stainless steel ones. They have a lifetime guarantee (a spring came out of one of mine and they replaced it right away). They hold heavy clothes well with no problem. They are pricy..about $1.00 per pin but you can pass them down to your children!

    3. I am always on the search for good strong clothespins. The only ones I have found are when I luck onto old ones at an estate sale — which doesn’t happen often enough. New ones are made in China and not very sturdy. I have seen some handmade ones on Etsy, which I’m sure are very nice, but they are over $17 for ten of them, and that’s a little steep for my budget.

    4. Lehmans.com sells Kevin’s Quality Clothespins. They are not inexpensive, but they are USA made and very strong. They will last a long time!

    5. Jo, we’ve bought heavy duty wooden clothes pins in the past, which seemed to hold up well. The heavy duty clothes pins have a bit stronger of a spring on them, than the cheaper wooden clothes pins you’d find at a dollar store. I’m in Canada, so I’m not sure where you might find them where you live. But if you are in the US, you could check hardware stores, Walmart, Target, or other places like that for some. We always seem to loose a few to springs popping off. But as long as they don’t cost too much, it’s a small sacrifice. You can always put them back together if you can find all the parts. Once they get a bit weathered, they seem to hold up better for some reason.

    6. Jo, I know this doesn’t really answer your question, but when I was growing up, my Mom always insisted on having a clothes pin bag and bringing the pins and bag inside after the laundry was dry. Her clothes pins remained in good shape for many years!

    7. The very best clothespins are the stainless steel ones. They have a lifetime guarantee and I received a new one when a spring came out of one of mine. They are spendy ($1 each) but you can pass them down to your children. These pins hold jeans and heavy items on the line with no problem, even when a stiff wind is blowing.

    8. I use stainless ones. They have lasted at least 5 years, probably closer to 10. I forget where I got mine, but they have several on Amazon. Good luck!

  23. Your flower arranging skills are so impressive. The bouquet is lovely. I’m so glad that you will be the recipient of a new-to-you freezer. It’s a big ticket item to replace and I know how useful it is for frugal living.

    • I placed an online order and went through ebates for cash back.
    • While paying my credit card online, I noticed two charges I didn’t recognize. I called the cc company and then the phone number attached to the charges. I had redeemed United frequent flyer miles last year for two magazine subscriptions for free for one year. I never had provided my credit card number to the magazine subscription company. They claimed United had given them the card info in order to charge me for a continuing subscription after the free one year period. The magazine company said they will reverse the card charges and I cancelled my credit card and ordered a new one. The annual magazine charges would have totaled $47.28 for ONE magazine.
    • Washed ziplock bags
    • Attended a free jazz concert at our local library
    • Used a groupon and took my elderly next door neighbor to a tea tasting
    • Made beef ramen, orange beef & broccoli stir fry with brown rice, risotto with gorgonzola and arugula, and a large pot of oatmeal with flax seeds

  24. This week I resigned my job as I have decided to go home. For anyone who has worked away from home for a time, you will understand the joy I am feeling. I know that I will have to find a job at home and solve the insurance quandary before August, but I trust that God has it all under control. My work here is finished. Most of the financial and emotional recovery is also finished. I expected to be here another school year, but am delighted that this is not the case.

    I mailed my final box home last Friday. The cost was about twice what I expected, but still less than replacing items. Finishing up the school year, the gardens, and odds and ends before I leave late June. I’m hoping to return with my son in late August as he returns to college. I’ll stay for a month to attend a wedding and get the cabin ready for winter.

    Frugally, I used the crock pot and cooked all the chicken from the mini fridge’s freezer for chicken salad. I have enough left to take to work this week as well. Found two bags of organic blue corn tortilla chips that I had oddly stored in a different place (?) and am eating them with the chicken salad rather than buying bread.

    Hung laundry out to dry since it has been dry on and off, put away the bird feeder now that the last of the bird seed is finished, used pineapple juice from a can of pineapples in a drink, visited a friend and gave her a present I had for her that I’d bought at the thrift shop a year ago (where does the time go?), washed out baggies, harvested lettuce for lunch salads, planted gifted walking onions, horseradish and columbine, and sent my daughter a free-to-me postcard as a fun little surprise in her mailbox.

    Finally, I was tickled to be able to package a group of lovely vintage crystal that I have collected over the past couple years to mail off to a young couple that is getting married. I’m delighted for them and glad I had the forethought to anticipate the weddings that are starting to happen to these youngsters. Two gift sets used, one gift set remaining. I’ll keep my eyes open. I also have my daughter’s wedding China bought and stored for the day she marries – whenever that may be. She loves the pattern and the complete set for 12 in beautiful condition with serving dishes was just 75.00. I am pleased to have her wedding present bought and waiting.

  25. I just buy wooden clothespins from Walmart. They always last several years. I leave them out all the time so they become weathered and grey, but I have no problem with them breaking. I dry every single load on the clothesline. I’m fact, we are moving and I don’t think we will even buy a new dryer at all.

  26. Hello Everyone,
    I have been cooking form the food pantry and freezer except for I meal on a 4 hour errand to Maine. I spent a bit on the garden this week I bought 70 strawberry plants 35 raspberry bushes 1 gala apple dwarf tree that is 7 years old 2 cubic yards of premium bed mix and 2 cubic yards of compost. A neighbor is going to let me borrow a rototiller for the new bed I am trying to get set up. I bought a 12″ “ladies chainsaw” there are free logs in my neighborhood. I can cut a cord wood for the stove this winter to start to offset the $ money for the dirt. ( I cant believe I order a dump truck of dirt!) I planted lettuce and peapods and broccoli. I started seeds in milk jugs back in March with the winter sowing and they seem to be doing great. I will do many more next winter. My daughter and I joined a photography club, it is great to meet people and learn new things. Thankyou Brandy and Fellow readers you inspire me each week.

  27. Jo – try the Vermont Country store for the clothes pins. I read that you can coat the wood ones with a preservative to make them last longer- hope that helps.

  28. The flower bouquet is so beautiful! I love it, and the photo. It’s nice you’ve had some cooler weather. I live in a much cooler climate than you do, and cannot even imagine being so hot! I guess it’s all in what we get used to. I’m glad you were able to get some useful items as well. My hubby loves his BBQ–sounds like yours is the same.

    This week, I used my zoo pass to take the maximum people allowed, and our large group only had to pay for 2 people. My sisters and I decided to take as many cousins as we could, along with the 2 children my niece babysits. We had a really nice time. Since it was my pass for most of the entries, one sister paid the additional entrance fees, and the other bought lunch for those who wanted it, and a train ride on the zoo train. The kids all had a great time, and I’m sure they will all sleep well tonight! Pictures are at: http://beckyathome.com

    We had a family cleaning party at my sister’s house as we had a family birthday party there, and have an upcoming graduation party there next week. It’s very clean, and we had fun working together.

    My garden is growing nicely, but it rained so frequently I could only get in there and hoe a couple of times. This week’s supposed to be nicer, so I hope to get out there more frequently.

    We bought quite a few groceries since there were quite a few bargains on the Memorial Day sales at various stores. I used some Ibotta money and some Bottle Drop money to pay for the extra groceries that were above my normal budget. We are using a lot of groceries right now. There are lots of people eating/receiving food out of my kitchen right now. That being said, it’s amazing how God keeps bringing the bargains, stretching my food dollars–we have more than an abundance of food, no matter how much I give away or use!

    As I posted a couple of days ago, we received a couple of unexpected blessings as gifts.

    We had a great time with our nephew for a couple of nights. He’s really on a paper airplane kick and at one point my floor looked like an explosion in an airplane factory. Fun!

  29. Living frugally in Portland, OR. This week, I:

    -gave my oldest a haircut at home (well, actually, in the garage)
    -picked the first of the strawberries in my garden….so sweet….I hope there are many more to come!
    – made my husband a homemade chocolate birthday cake from scratch. We also had homemade pizza and celebrated his birthday with a family hike.
    -picked roses from my garden to put on my dad’s grave. I also put some in a vase for us to enjoy in our kitchen.
    -enjoyed a hike at Forest Park with my best friend. We both are busy with work and family but made time on this holiday for each other without spending money (besides the gas to get to the park).
    -picked up some new-to-me pajama bottoms from a neighbor in my Buy Nothing group.
    -biked to work and for errands, like always.
    -spent time researching the best price for new, badly needed tires for our Honda CR-V. The winner? Costco.
    -started composting in my city-issued compost can. Hopeful I will not need to spend a dime on compost for the garden going forward.

  30. Nearly 30 years ago, my aunt gathered all the recipes she could find from her formerly-Amish mother (in Grandma’s handwriting), photocopied them for me and put them into a book. I had forgotten about it until I found it a few weeks ago. I made new copies and gave them to my daughter for her 25th birthday. This is an especially treasured gift as we have very few pictures from that side of the family, so a connection like this is priceless.

  31. I’m so glad you got to pick out some sentimental items from your FIL’s home. I’m sure they will be special to your family – and the freezer will be useful.
    Consider grilling pizzzas on your new grill. Topped with fresh veggies from your garden everyone can make their own according to their tastes, a “grilled pizza bar” can be a frugal and fun summer meal idea.
    We fixed the dryer handle and reattached the loose dishwasher. Blessed another family with my old car. Given our income bracket and the tax law changes donating it to a charity wouldn’t be advantageous and this neighbor could use reliable transportation. eating out of the freezer. Got a new grill on clearance and a military discount and then negotiated another $50 off due to a broken grill grate. The replacement grates from our old grill will fit the new one. Packaged more sugar, rice, beans, and pasta in mylar bags so we wont have another pantry moth and bean weevil infestation. Still have more to package up.
    Leaving for a week-long Puerto Rico vacation tonight! Picked up VISA gift cards last week when they were 6x gas points at Winn Dixie to use to pay for items on our trip (and one later this month to Disney World). Room, breakfasts, rental car, and flights are already paid for (on a card -paid back immediately – that gives us hotel points).

    1. Years ago my mother taught me to put bay leaves in my flour to prevent weevil infestation. Reading online, you can put bay leaves in everything and even lay them on the pantry shelves. They really do work! And the flour, etc., does not taste of the bay leaf!

  32. This weather is unusual this year. I am in Texas and I still have the house open for half the day. It is hot in the afternoon so I turn the a/c on, but at 78. This has saved me quite a bit of cash this month. I have loved the cooler weather for us.
    I was gifted a mint plant which I use in hot tea and tabouli. It was a timely gift as I was out of dried mint.
    My son-in-law and grandson (who is 11) are fencing my 10 acres of land. We had half of it fenced a few years ago and it cost $1600. This is free fencing…plus it is teaching Zayne (who wants to be a farmer) how do do things for himself. This is a double win for me.
    I have saved gas money this week since I don’t have to pick up the grandkids. This is the last week of school for my granddaughter.
    I keep these two grandkids during “out of school” times. I am looking for free and cheap things to do this summer. We can’t do a lot outside once the heat gets here, but I would appreciate ideas please. We will be doing some water color painting, library time and Goodwill shopping.
    I did go to Denton this last Saturday for my sewing group. This is an expenditure that I could do without, but I need it for my sanity. *laughing*
    There was little else done this week.

  33. – I had unexpected guest for the long Memorial Day weekend. My parents came in on Saturday afternoon and just left this morning (Tuesday). I was able to use my planned meals and just added a little extra from the freezer/pantry to stretch. My Dad bought ice cream cones for the whole family (8 of us) yesterday.
    – My husband is losing weight and I found a pair of shorts for him at a deep discount.
    – Went on a drive with my parents and listened as they reminisced about places they remembered from growing up. We visited two different family burial plots to pay respect and honor our heritage.
    – We had an outbreak of tornados and are grateful to not have any damage. Just lots of rain. It has rained here nearly every day since the beginning of April!
    – My son’s family dropped in to do laundry and stayed for dinner. I was able to make tacos with leftovers from earlier in the week.
    – My granddaughter learned to walk this week, so we enjoyed that milestone!

    Diana in Indiana

  34. 1. My handy husband is installing an electrical outlet in our basement for the dehumidifier. It will be less wonky than extension cords snaking across the floor.

    2. I finally (after 2.5 yrs in this house) dug out the dirt pile on the far side of the garage. Lots of trash; this pile is 12 feet from the garbage cans; they couldn’t walk that far? Also uncovered 18 landscaping rocks which I put (da-dum) in my landscape.

    3.Renewed my library books. Loved Mary Doria Russell’s ‘Thread of Grace’ about the northern Italian resistance to Nazis. A rabbi, a priest, and a daredevil agnostic airplane pilot worked together to save thousands of Jewish people. Now I’m reading “Benevolence and Betrayal” by A. Stille which is the true-life accounts of these people and events. Libraries!

    4. My new grandchild was born last week! We brought his big sister (2 yrs old) a thrifted Elmo lunchbox filled with sidewalk chalk. In the days we stayed with them I baked “milky bars” for my daughter; I’d first made them when she was nursing baby #1. They are filled with flaxseed meal, honey, brewer’s yeast, nuts, dried fruit, and more. I cut them into small bars, wrap individually and put in their freezer. When she gets up at night to feed the baby, she grabs one and, she says, it helps with energy and milk production.

    I asked if she wanted the recipe or for me to just keep her supplied the next few months. Hah. I’m on for months of milky bars.

    5. Hiked beautiful Scuppernong Nature Trail yesterday with a friend. I took many photos of wildflowers and then, since the afternoon had turned to rain, I had time to turn my pix into a collage at my website. https://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/spring-blooming Hugely satisfying day for me; no $ spent.

  35. The flowers are so lovely. Speaking of cooler-then-normal springs — we woke up this morning to 3 inches of new snow! I have never seen that much snow here this late in the year. Everything in the greenhouse is fine and the few things I had already set out look like they survived. But who knows how long it will be before the soil outside is warm enough to plant seeds? Thank goodness for our greenhouse. We are eating lots of lettuce from there and I shared some with friends.
    I made homemade bread.
    A part on our hot tub broke. My husband bought the part online and made the repair himself, saving us hundreds of dollars.
    I tailored two tops I owned so that they fit better and are more flattering. I sewed a shirt using a free pattern and fabric that was given to me. I also sewed a dress with purchased fabric and pattern — not cheap, but I got exactly what I wanted.
    I purchased some annuals and made my own hanging baskets—a luxury I indulge in every year, as I enjoy them so much. (Fortunately, they seem to have survived the snow.)

  36. Our weather is getting warm (north central Texas) so the central air has been running quite a bit. Not looking forward to those summer electric bills! We have an automatic thermostat and keep it turned up quite a bit (79-80 during the day while we are out and then 77 or 78 when we are home.) We use ceiling fans and portable fans as well, and keep all the blinds/curtains drawn. We have light-blocking drapes in our west facing bedroom window, and also on our glass patio door, and they really do make a difference. Not long ago I received an Amazon gift card, so I used that to purchase more light-blocking drapes for our west-facing dining room. That room has a large window that gets direct sun in the afternoons, so this should be a significant help.

    We hit an estate sale in a beautiful home, very pricey part of town. It was the last day and they were heavily discounting! We bought some matching lamps for our guest bedroom, a new waffle maker to replace our very old one, a butcher block, I found a purse, and a couple of other things for the house. It is bulk trash pickup week in our neighborhood, so we cleaned some items out of the garage storage.

    We went to a sporting event and dinner this past weekend through my husband’s employer. We had a good time and it cost us nothing.

  37. Our neighbor uses our lawn mower and all I ask is he replace the gas. He showed up the other day with a $25 gift card to our favorite steak house so hubby is dying to go out to eat lol

    My moms dr told her she needs to greatly reduce her salt intake so I brought home 3 bags of chips, raspberry singers, coffee cakes, pickles, and manwich. (Snacks are a big expense here)

    School was out last Wednesday so less gas being used until summer school starts.

    I signed the 12yo up for church camp. It was only $50(way cheaper than others) for a week(hope they realize she eats way more than that in food lol)

    Used the 12yos cookie credits from cookie sales to renew her membership. She still has $5 she can use at the gs store to buy something

  38. i read about Udemy web page, offering free courses on how to budget and how to finance a blog, plan to check it out.

  39. So many blessings with the weather and useful items, Brandy! I’m enjoying reading about everyone’s gardens 🙂

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week include:
    *Hanging out several loads of laundry on nicer days
    *Using up food and trying to waste nothing
    *A couple no-spend days and several no driving days for me since school is out
    *My husband accepted a free car part for the old Nova he is restoring.
    *Redeemed a $25 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. Used it to purchase 1 household item and a few homemaking books that have been on my list. Chose the free shipping although it takes longer.
    *Have mostly been using only fans, but my husband did put in the 2 window AC units over the weekend and those have been on intermittently.
    *Earned a small amount from ibotta.
    *Have been coming in under budget on groceries, which is helpful as we try to stretch the budget and learn to live on the 1 income again.
    *Used pet food bag in place of a trash bag.
    *My 13yo daughter cut my hair, and I really like it!
    *My husband and I cut his hair and trimmed his beard getting ready for the hot season plus he will be in his brother’s wedding this weekend.
    *My husband used duct tape to repair a hole in his concrete/mud boots to get a bit more use out of them before we replace them.
    *Did not purchase store bought bread last week and instead made homemade bread. I tried an Amish white bread recipe, which was good and easy, but will try a honey wheat recipe for next week. I need to price the ingredients to see if this is a savings compared to the bread I normally buy at ALDI and also figure out how to cut the slices more thinly. I have a bread slice guide I bought on Amazon a long time ago and finally got it out to use it. But the slices seem to be really thick.
    *The bills are coming in for June, and I was pleased to see 2 of them are lower than expected – the electric bill is $32 less than budgeted and the cell phone bill, which I just added my daughter to, is $22 less for the first month than expected.
    *Called the phone company to see if their internet was available in our area yet, and while the answer was no, the nice customer service rep said he saw there was a promotion that would lower our phone bill without changing our plan. So now our home phone is half what it was before! Win!

    Wishing everyone a blessed week!

  40. Hello Everyone,
    We spent a Saturday getting the outside ready for the summer. Cleaned our deck & patio furniture that we’ve had for many years, planted flowers in ceramic pots that I’ve picked up 2nd hand, reused flags & other decorations for the yard that I store in the basement every winter. Many people around here buy new every year or so to keep up with the latest style.I don’t care so much about trends, just a comfortable place to sit on a summer night. During the cleanup we discovered that our house numbers were broken & ready to fall off. DH made a plaque with our number using wood & stain he had in the garage. Looks great & no money OOP. Stopped at a yard sale & found a work appropriate dress for $1.00 that still had the $60.00 department store tag on it! Eating leftovers so nothing goes to waste, making & taking coffee with us instead of buying, shutting off lights, all the little things that become habits & add up over time.

  41. Lisa, between the strawberries and raspberries, I hope you have a lot of friends and family to help pick. We had raspberries for a while–several years, and they are a bit of a pain to pick. We put stone walkways on either side of the rows, but you’re either pulling weeds or picking berries, and before too many years go by, my tune changed from “wonderful raspberries” to those “darn thorns and delicate berries!” They grew so thickly that we could barely squeeze past them to pick. They only keep a short time, so do plan on doing something with them as soon as picked. I love raspberry pie. Now I just buy a few pints over the season and put them on my cereal. They are work intensive! Blueberries are so much easier–last year I picked quite a lot because they were so beautiful and the weather wasn’t too hot. I went twice, just grabbed a bottle of water and the second time took my DD too. She froze quite a lot and so did I. My husband loves blueberries and especially blueberry pies. He is in happy land when I make pie! Good luck with your major planting!!

  42. I have a hand-me-down grill at home that I use all the time in good weather to grill vegetables (and no meat at all — I’m a vegetarian). Peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, any squash — all delicious and smoky when grilled! Great on their own as a side, in sandwiches, salads, soups, and pasta salads…

  43. Was this a wedding shoot? Love everything about these pictures! The stunning bouquet , the blue dress ,really all of it is just simple perfection!

      1. The past few weeks have been very busy helping to get our daughter and SIL’s house on the market. She and her family live out of the country and will be staying there longer than they anticipated. So we have been painting their deck, doing a deep cleaning, painting the grout in their kitchen, hauling off brush, and bringing in mulch to get it ready for the open houses this weekend. Not frugal for us, but we have saved them a ton and that makes me very happy!

        I have gotten some vegetable plants marked down to 50 cents at the local nursery, the rabbits keep eating my plants and I keep putting in more. This time I have covered the plants with laundry baskets and crates and they are still here. I have squash, zucchini, bush bean and a few pole bean, two dozen tomatoes and a dozen peppers, one watermelon , basil,oregano,horehound, chamomile, mint and stevia planted. Hoping things will rebound from our hot, dry, May weather. Today, June 1 it is lovely outside, just the perfect way to start summer!

        Blessings to each of you!

  44. Beautiful pictures Brandy! Sorry about
    The loss of your father in law. I’m sure having some items of his is bittersweet.

    My husband new job and pay increase has been a huge blessing for us. We have been able to pay off all our consumer debt beside a car loan and a loan his parents gave us. The company also gives him a car allowance as well so that pays For the car loan. We are I so grateful and trying hard not to change our budget. A not so frugal accomplishment is my husband dental surgery $1400 but thankfully we had money on an FSA and an HSA card to pay for most of it. Fred Meyer here gives a % back every quarter and we have almost $29 in a rebate To use at the store. Plus I loaded a coupon to earn extra gas points and got a $1 off a gallon. Waited until I was almost empty. Saved quite a bit. We are planning on a big Disneyland trip in June. Our kids all have summer birthdays so it’s a birthday gift to all 3. While not frugal we have found ways to save. Including getting our hotel 5 nights free using my husband’s Hilton points he earned from all the work travel the last few years. We choose a property that was cheaper in points and came with a free full hot breakfast every morning. (Think like a holiday in or comfort inn) we also used air miles and companion passes to purchase airfare. Doing that saved us over half the cost. All of these items have already been paid for. Disney tickets and food is what is left. We have a budget for all of that. We are so looking forward to it. Our twins 12 birthday is 4 days before we leave so we are planning a low key family bbq with cake and the kids have asked for Disney gift cards as gifts! Our son with autism doesn’t understand gift cards so we will have to get him a few small fun toys to open but when we get to Disney land he will love buying some of his favorite toys?. I’ve been boiling eggs for healthier snacks for my kids. I’ve also been going to the now open local farmers stands/markets to get some good deals on fruits and veggies. Kids get out
    Late June from school but we are looking forward to having some downtime from school routine. Planning some fun hikes and free park time! Have a great day everyone.

    1. Brandy, when you go to Disneyland, make sure you stop in to Guest Services upon arrival. Let them know you have an Autistic child and see what they offer for accommodations. At Universal Studios, they offered us a pass that allowed us to use the fast lanes, so we didn’t have to wait in the long line-ups. This normally costs extra money, but was given to us for free to accommodate our Autistic daughter. Such a life saver! Usually they will provide this for the whole family. So please check with Disneyland, as I’m sure they will have something to offer that will make your visit so much more enjoyable!!!!

      1. Thank you, will look into that. I am worried about the long lines for him but we are hoping everyone will be at the new star wars land the other lands will be less crowded. He loves anything lighting McQueen. We saw they have a Max pass but it’s $15 per person everyday. That will add up 5 people for 4 days.

  45. We received leftover bread from the food pantry this week. Local bakeries donate bread and guests come to the pantry to pick it up, but there is always so much left over. The pantry freezes what the can to hand out later and the volunteers can take what they want to give to friends or family. My mom works at the pantry and so always brings us bread and treats. It’s been a wonderful supplement and blessing. I took some to another family I know of that could use bread.

    We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and try to attend our temple when we can. The closest one is 3 hours away and costs about $24 in tolls to get there, plus gas. We were able to go yesterday with my mom, who paid for the tolls, and babysat our children while we attended. She stayed there in the city and we made the 3 hour drive back in her car. It was a wonderful family “vacation” seeing historic sites (in Philadelphia), enjoying a lunch and snacks we packed, and our children seeing the Philadelphia temple for the first time.

    I reorganized our homeschool supplies and books and realized we don’t need to purchase anything for our summer lessons. We’ll use what we have and add in the library and the pool (we have 2 in our apartment complex) and we’re set for summer! I will need to purchase more sunscreen and bug spray (ticks are crazy around here!) and a long sleeve swim shirt for me.

  46. Long time reader, first time commenter. Rough day today. Was laid off from my job of 15 years. Broke my arm in December, was on FMLA for 12 weeks, went back to work 3/19/19 and laid off today due to lack of work. They took the duties I was doing and distributed them among 3 other employees while I was gone. Must admit I’m kind of heart broken. They did give me 6 weeks severance and 2 months insurance, so I’m grateful for that. But still so sad.

    1. Hello Mia
      So sorry to hear you have lost your job. I was made redundant last year and not only was it a blow to finances but it also rocked my self confidence. I hope you will find something suitable soon and in the meantime allow yourself to feel a bit sad – it’s only natural. The old saying about every cloud having a silver lining has been true and may apply to you longer term too – good things that you haven’t imagined will be around the corner I hope. Take care of yourself – I will be thinking of you.

    2. Mia, sorry to hear about you being laid off. Brandy has some very low cost meal plans to help you stretch your budget. I am sure you will be able to find something soon. Good luck. Praying for you.

    3. Oh Mia! Sorry to hear this. Keep the faith, something will pop up. Maybe something better than your last job.

    4. Mia, I’m sorry for your job loss. Perhaps you can view this as a great opportunity to do something new and different. After 15 years doing the same job, a new position might be quite enjoyable for you. Try to keep a positive outlook, and good luck with your job search! In the intrim, you’re definitely in the right place to help as you maneuver through your new budget restraints. You can do this! Thanks for joining this community. I hope you will continue to contribute comments each week. We love learning from each other!

  47. I think the frugal accomplishment I was most excited about last week was fixing the refrigerator. The freezer was still cold but the fridge itself was up to 62 degrees (F). I watched some videos on line and was able to determine that the fan that was supposed to be pulling the cold air from the freezer into the fridge was not functioning properly. I took all of the items from the freezer and stored them in the chest freezer and then was able to see that there was too much ice along the back of the freezer wall in front of where the fan was supposed to be doing it’s job. I got the ice out of there and voila, the fridge started to cool again. I was so excited, I probably looked quite silly dancing around the kitchen 🙂
    Happy June everyone !

    1. Thank you all. I really appreciate it. I do believe everything happens for a reason so I’m trying to be positive. I’m going to take a few days for myself and then get back out there.

  48. Hello Friends!
    What a week. We have had several big expenses pop up. Not really pop up as we knew they were coming but they happened at the same time. We purchased a new air conditioning unit for our upstairs (the old one lasted about 15 years) and a new compressor for the ac in my 15 year old car. My car is the best and I am so grateful to have her. I like to think we are both aging gracefully together, lol. Savings is super low now, boo!
    This week we were blessed with beautiful lilies from a neighbor and we have enjoyed them for a whole week. Fresh flowers are such a treat and I only grow hydrangeas, which I am happy to say, actually bloomed this year!
    Our little garden produced delicious peas this week, which we devoured and thoroughly enjoyed. We have blooms on our tomatoes and peppers. These plants were gifts from my FIL. He has an amazing garden each year and is kind to share starts with us. The basil plants are filling our nicely and we should be able to have our first batch of pesto next week. Pesto is a favorite here so be make double batches and freeze one to enjoy during bleak winter days. What a treat!! We have also been harvesting mint and making lots of iced mint tea. Very refreshing during the hot week we have had here in Virginia.
    A neighbor, who was moving this week, posted on FB that she put a box of free cleaning supplies on the curb. We were headed out so we drove past. So glad we did! She was getting rid of shampoo and conditioner, dry shampoo, perfume, dog shampoo, and various cleaners. Several of the things in the box were things on our replenish list. Her gift will save us the immediate expenditure of at least $25. Wow! I am still excited.
    Thank you for such a lovely blog, Brandy. I look forward to reading your accomplishments each week. Hope everyone has a safe and frugal week!

  49. I didn’t get around to commenting last week. But the photos are so beautiful! I would love to grow apricots! My biggest frugal accomplishment is getting my garden all planted after a final Colorado Snow! This has been a crazy spring for us! Wish everyone well.

  50. Brandy, I like that your husband’s family was able to divide things up with, apparently, no hard feelings. That’s a blessing.

    My biggest frugality is one I didn’t do: my son-in-law took my car to the shop for me when it started acting up, then paid the bill, which wasn’t small. I intend to give him at least some of the money back if he’ll let me, but since my husband is going through a tough health issue right now, this was a real blessing for us.

    Beside that, everything else is pretty small.
    I hung out laundry in the 100 degree heat this weekend.
    I keep the A/C turned up to 78 or 79 and have the upstairs programmed to be 82-85 deg. during the day when no one is ever upstairs.
    I am cooking from scratch, although I ate out one time due to traveling to the hospital, 2 hours away, to visit my husband. The hospital cafeteria would have been cheaper, as I had coupons for it, but they close at 4 p.m., which I didn’t realize until too late.
    I glued the soles on two shoes, both right shoes from two different pairs of flats, both loose at the toe. I wonder how I’m walking, to cause the same damage to two different right shoes?
    I sanded and repainted a rusted outdoor side table with rust stopper paint. It looks 150% better.
    I’ve packed my lunch every day, even those days when I’ve gone to the hospital after work and get home at 10 at night.
    Thanks, everyone, for the inspirations I get here!

  51. This is certainly not frugal but I just want to share with y’all my not so prudent adventures. I am a career healthcare worker. I have worked for 33 years as a registered sonographer. For all those years I have taken care of countless patients and when home, my children and husband were my priorities. I have for years put myself and my own healthcare on the back burner and I have sorely paid for it in the past year. Since July of last year it has been one thing after the other including two unplanned surgeries, two hospitalizations and focal injections in my spine. I have met my maximum out of pocket on my insurance and I have never done that before. I am facing one more surgical procedure by the end of July. I am not writing any of this for sympathy. I am going to be okay. That being said, it would have been way most cost effective if I had kept up with preventive healthcare rather than waiting until problems arose. Please ladies. In order for you to do all that you do, do it efficiently and do it prudently, you must stay well. I have lost the greater part of the past year because of these issues/surgeries. If you haven’t had your mammogram, please make an appointment to do so. Same for your colonoscopy. Colon cancer is curable if caught early. All of you have given so much to me over the years and this is my way of giving back to you. Some of you could have underlying health issues that haven’t been caught yet. Please put yourself on the list. After that is accomplished, then we will have the gift of wellness and we can do all that we need/want to do for our families.

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