We harvested blackberries, apricots, figs, tomatoes, basil, oregano, parsley, New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia) and green onions from the garden.

I altered a skirt.

I defrosted a turkey and roasted it, only having to cook once for several meals’ worth of meat.

I signed up for a free two-week trial for hosting for my new photography website, which allowed me to design my site without paying a fee for two weeks.

We went to the local library, where my children turned in their reading logs to earn free books to keep.

I checked out a great historical fiction book. It was called Last of the Name, and it was about two children who immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland during a famine and during the time of the United States Civil War. If you’re feeling like life is hard, this book will give you some great perspective about how many blessings you have.

My parents set up a large blow-up pool for a few days and my children went to swim in it. When they were done, we drained the water into my garden.

I found a skirt that was just was I was looking for for $8.99 at Ross, and a dress that was just what I have been wanting for several years ($30). I am slowly building a new wardrobe in a size 6 of things I love. Getting a couple of new things made it easier to add a dress that was a size 10 to my donation box.

I’ve had several questions about how my eldest is doing up at college. I thought I’d share a few of the ways that Winter saved money this past week as well.

She found an extra $63 “late fee” charge added to her rent. She pays by automatic withdrawal, so it’s impossible for her rent to be late. She contested the charge and they removed it.

Her roommates showed her the place on campus where she can print for $0.04 a page instead of $0.06 a page. She always uses the less expensive place.

She and her roommates had received $15 in gift cards to a local custard shop from two sources, including from their rental office for keeping their apartment clean. They used them to get custard together.

She went to a lost and found sale that her university was having. For $1 (total) she purchased 4 water bottles, a scarf, and a hat.

She continues to study hard with the hopes of keeping her GPA high enough to receive university scholarships. She has an on-campus job and she has applied for Pell Grants for the next school year (we’re waiting to hear on those).

What did you do to save money last week?

Disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through my links. This means that I earn a small percentage from any items you place in your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going to Amazon from one of my links (i.e., it doesn’t have to be an item I have linked here). If you’re going to be making a purchase from Amazon, I thank you for using my links to support this site!

Riveting Stories of Two Different Irish Famines

Similar Posts


  1. Sounds like Winter is carrying on the prudent/frugal legacy! Well done!!
    Our first SS checks came and so I got up at 2 AM to make sure direct deposit showed them in our account! Then I got out my paper and pencil and list of all our retirement budget line items, including monthly allotments for things that are spent intermittently (gifts, water bill, home renovation/repairs, car repairs, etc) . Everything was accounted for and it showed a positive balance that made me happy.
    I zeroed out my unallocated excess money in checking account when direct deposits came in and was $162 to add to our savings account!

    Apparently, our car decided it needed a sizable repair that would take the yearly repair allotment in one immediate chunk! Yikes! But, fortunately, we have our savings and I grudgingly agreed that we could transfer some over to cover the repair. The better news is that our monthly pension check came into our account and canceled out the car repair bill without having to transfer savings and even gave us $57 to the good! So we feel definitely grateful and watched over!

    We finished the perimeter around our fire pit with our free landscape rocks and have about 30 left to use around the sides of our koi pond as a bonus! Here’s a link to how the finished work looks: https://pin.it/t6vf4jf7p3fj7k

    We had tacked up a piece of plywood siding (unfinished) to the end of our chicken coop just before winter to shelter our hens a bit more from heavy rain, snow or wind. We were going to take it down when we realized that it provided some extra shade to them now that our days have suddenly switched over to hot and sunny! This is how it looked before hubby trimmed and more firmly attached the plywood. https://pin.it/xubz73mgaxgb25. I thought we still had some of the barn red exterior paint we used on the rest of the coop but we were out. So, in the spirit of no spend/use it up/ declutter goals, I found we had a gallon of exterior green paint and proceeded to paint it 2 coats of green to weatherize it and make it look less ramshackle! What do you think? https://pin.it/mlilntzo2fvcx2. I think that it was a free upgrade and it looks more finished than before, so I am quite happy with it!

    My 8 year old granddaughter had a sleepover here on Friday night and so on Saturday, she and I cut out and sewed up 2 pairs of shorts for her using my fabric stash and elastic I already had! She picked out the fabric herself so we are both pleased!

    While we were sewing, my doorbell rang and I thought it was just a friend stopping over but instead, a fellow I didn’t know asked if this was the place that sold Soup Cozies and when I said yes, he asked if we were open right now. Our website needed to have business “hours” listed even though we are home based! I said sure and invited him in and brought down our inventory which fortunately is kept neatly organized in lidded plastic containers and labeled really well. He bought 3 sets plus 1 single one which brought his total to almost $30. Just an unexpected reminder from a loving Heavenly Father that He is aware of my concern over retirement income and costs and that everything is being watched over!

    Sam’s Club had a promotion going for their pick up in the store service where if you spent $50, they would take $15 off the total. I found some pantry staples that I needed that were on sale as well and so I did that! Effectively, that gave me (6) 66 oz bottles of Heinz ketchup (We are ketchup snobs! Two- 3 bottle packs) for that $15! That’s a price point I can be happy with.

    Replenished peanut butter with 5 more jars at 99 cents each! That limit seems to be the right number to replenish to keep my supply even between sales as I rotate through it!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Must be an Ohio thing Gardenpat as our 350 Ford truck broke down. Cost us $134 to have it towed to the dealership. SIGH. Just had it in for routine maintenance last month.

    2. YEAH for money coming in! And being what you expected it to be! What a relief that must be for you. The landscaping rocks are called Belgium Blocks and are very chichi in New England – they are beautiful and your fire pit looks like it will be fun to use.

    3. Hello Gardenpat. Would you be willing to share those items you list as allocated spending other than monthly items (like car repair, etc.) and how much you allocate? I need to do this with our finances. I don’t know if I have been under a rock or in the clouds, but your idea of putting what’s left over into a savings account just blew the lightbulb in my head. Thank you! But the way, I love the chicken coop and so admire your approach to things in general. I just went through my fabric stash and organized it. Now, I am pondering ways to use it up. As for your soup copies…I had made some using an old mattress pad (all cotton) as the padding. It worked really well. My mom used to use old mattress pads as the padding for quilt type blankets. Have a blessed week!

      1. The non-regular allocations for us are as follows ( and everyone will be different)-
        Gas for cars ($150/month- we have a car and a minivan),
        Food- $300/month- includes any eating out, stocking up, cleaning and paper supplies), car repairs- ($100/month),
        Home improvement-($167/month- we live in 125+ year old house and this takes the place of big vacations or toys!)
        car registration for 2 cars-($10/month- we LOVE Ohio!!),
        clothes- ($42/month- the finance lady insisted it be that high! In reality, we spend less than half that for the two of us!)
        , Birthdays- ($104/month- remember 11 kids, their 10 spouses and 35 grandchildren!! For Christmas I make family gift baskets with foods I make and buy ahead!),
        Haircuts- ($12.50/month), property taxes ($233/month),
        water bill- ($96/month- comes every third month),
        entertainment- ($50/month- includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Acorn, Hulu and a bit extra)
        Those are the “squishy” irregular things we put in our line items every month. I’m pretty simple (hubby lives spread sheets, I’m pencil on a piece of used printer paper)! If anything hasn’t been spent in any of those accounts, I just zero it out and put it into savings. When something big comes up from one of those categories, we either fit it into the existing monthly budget making a smaller “leftover” amount at the end of the month or we transfer it over from savings.
        Not as precise as many people, but it works for us!

        1. Pat, don’t you have an electric bill? Do you have a sewer bill or do you pay to have a septic tank emptied?

          1. Sorry, Brandy!
            I totally blanked on regular monthly things that are still flexible. I budget electric- ($200/month but I usually come in less than $150. Remember our old house is 5200 square foot and very old!)
            Our sewer is part of our water bill that comes every 3 months, so it’s listed in my previous post
            Our gas bill is level pay- heating, hot water heater, clothes dryer- ($128/month but that may go down next month for next year because we’ve been conserving )

            1. Wow–you have 5200 square feet in an old house and only pay $200 a month? Amazing!

              Your sewer bill is very low as is your water bill. Our water went up significantly last year as they raised rates again to pay for new piping because of the drought. I changed up to use less water on the grass and our bill was $300 last month. I’m using less water and the bill is $80 more than before. Our sewer bill is $64 a quarter.

              But our gas bill is low. I generally pay around $40 a month except for during the three months of winter, and even then it’s rarely more than $78, even with higher rates from October through April.

  2. I love your photography so much! You’ll have to share your site when you’re ready — I’d love to see more! And very glad to hear that Winter is doing so well at college; you raised her well!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I made Creamy Sundried Tomato and Kale Pasta (http://approachingfood.com/creamy-sundried-tomato-kale-pasta/), using leftovers from my fridge (the last of a jar of sundried tomatoes, the last of a bag of fusilli pasta, the last of my frozen kale, and the last of my sour cream).
    – I harvested lettuce, radish leaves, and chives from my balcony garden. It made for a nice lunch salad for me. I also cut a stalk of rhubarb and froze it, and planted more nasturtium seeds. I used a gift card to a nursery, and bought tomato plants and basil at 25% off. As well, bought a sheet of coco mass, and made my own planter liner. The price of a roll that would make two liners, was $5 cheaper than a single premade liner.
    – I bought strawberries for $1.88/clamshell and made strawberry jam.
    – I redeemed loyalty points for $10 off groceries.
    – I made a Cheesy Mushroom and Green Pea Casserole, all with ingredients from my freezer.
    – I’ve been sending lots of whatsapp videos of my daughter trying different foods or crawling to family. It seriously makes their day and it’s free.
    – I made a frappuccino for myself at home several times using homemade coffee syrup that I keep in the fridge.
    – I processed for the freezer, the kale, beans and broccoli I received in my (discounted) organic produce delivery this week. Now I can give my daughter a variety of healthy organic veggies without affecting my grocery budget.
    – I redeemed Pinecone Research Reward Points for $5 to my paypal account.
    – I went to a ‘sustainable vegan block party’ with my sister on the weekend. I went for the free ice cream! And the fun in the sun. We had free scoops of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, free Magnum ice cream bars, and free bottles of flavoured water and stevia-sweetened drinks, in addition to lots of other small free samples. It was held next to an organic grocery; I looked at the store specials and found a short-dated large tub of hummus on sale for 98 cents, which I purchased along with a bag of healthy bean chips and we ate them for dinner on the store patio. To keep my baby cool in the heat, I packed frozen expressed milk in her stroller as an ice pack, and once she drank that, I used the free cold bottles of water as ice packs, plus I cooled her off in the grocery store periodically. A very inexpensive day out!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a hand quilting frame that I had bought 20 years ago and no longer used, for 10 permanent stamps. I also traded a silver-plated candle holder that I never use for a roll of recycled wrapping paper, which I needed.
    – Also using the trading app, I traded 2 dozen dairy-free chocolate cupcakes topped with buttercream icing (http://approachingfood.com/the-only-buttercream-recipe-youll-ever-need/) for $32 worth in digital currency. I used up the remainder of a can of coconut milk that I had opened when making my Tropical Coconut & Banana Nice Cream, plus pantry ingredients, all of which I had purchased on sale. I topped half the cupcakes with dairy-free vanilla coconut icing (I just used coconut oil instead of butter in my Best Ever Buttercream Frosting) and then added in some homemade strawberry jam to make Strawberry Coconut Buttercream Frosting for the other dozen cupcakes. To transport them, I cut a cereal box in half lengthwise to make two separate boxes. The trader picked them up at my condo so that saved me time. She also included a BNIP dry shampoo and BNIP travel size Crabtree and Evelyn products!
    – I took advantage of a holiday weekend promotion when at the mall, and picked up a free iced tea at David’s Tea. It was nice to walk around the mall sipping on an iced tea, without a penny OOP!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  3. Hi to all! Love reading everyone’s posts on their frugal ways and also on good books to read.

    My frugal attempts
    Picking up fruits that are under $1 to use in my daily fruit salads. Got 2 boxes of tissues for .74 each and then got .50 off with a Target cartwheel. I have been cooking from our freezer and pantry so grocery trips are less and lower. I have received extra $ from several sources, some is being saved for a trip to see my mother and siblings, some is being put toward the principal of our mortgage and some is being saved. I am continuing to read books from the library. When I picked up cheap peaches from Sprouts, I also got peppers and crackers for free. It has been very hot here, it’s 109 right now so I’m trying to stay cool. We do not get cool mornings or evenings so air is always on. We have solar so our electricity is very low. That is all I can think of. I hope everyone has a healthy, safe & frugal week!

  4. I have stayed home all week so there was no car expenditures.
    As I have aged I find that I don’t stand the extreme heat or cold very well. To combat the price of electricity I have hung a down comforter over the opening from my living room to the kitchen. I use my kitchen mostly in the mornings while it is cooler in the house. The comforter keeps this end of the house so much cooler for much less. I have been able to use only one a/c unit this week.
    I have also hung a comforter over my front door. I close this before the sun beats in the door window in the afternoon.
    My elec bill runs from mid-month to mid-month. The bill for the last month is only $120.++. Not bad for here.
    I’ve used my slow cooker more than anything else for cooking this last week. Once I made chicken and we got 8 meals out of the chicken. Once I did a small beef and I got 5 meals out of that.
    Because of the heat I have a small yeast infection under a breast. For those of you that don’t know this diaper cream works wonders for yeast infections. No visit to the doctor. Over the counter meds. It is a win/win.
    I have read 10 free…small books this week. Well…not quite free. I have read them because I have Amazon Prime.
    I have watched Netflix movies. I do get them free. My daughter pays for that bill.
    I haven’t bought groceries except for a gallon of milk this week.
    I was gifted fruit Saturday that was bought from a local at farmers market. Blackberries that were frozen. I am eating them with a little sugar and mostly frozen. A nice treat in this heat.
    My son that lives in Boston is going to buy a half-beef so my husband can teach Izzie (my granddaughter his daughter) how to cut the meat up. Izzie is very interested in how to cut your own meat. Jake is an old butcher from England and still cuts meat the “old way”. My son was a butcher for a few years (during the computer slow down a decade ago), but he learned on a band-saw and Izzie wants to learn the “right” way. This will mean a free half beef for us. We will have enough beef for a year since we only eat beef about half the time.
    There isn’t much more here.
    I am so proud of Winter that she caught that “extra” charge. I think a lot of place add those charges and hope to get away with it.
    Have a good week everyone. Stay cool.

    1. Mrs. Pratt,

      You mentioned diaper cream for yeast infection. Is there a brand you are recommending or just mentioning as a solution.

      Every summer I deal with this so I would love a solution other than baby powder which concerns me due to the fine powder. Thank you so much for your help!

      1. I live in Texas and every summer I had horrible yeast under my breasts I researched it and tea tree oil took care of it. I just put some tea tree oil on a cotton ball and rubbed it under each breast and it cleared it up after applying a few times.

        1. Tea tree oil is the best thing we’ve found for fever blisters/cold sores. Dries them right up.

      2. Over-the-counter Monistat (or store brand) also works for yeast infections on skin and is cost-effective. Also face this every summer… I don’t have any tea tree oil but am glad to know of another possible solution. Will price out when run out of the monistat.

    2. Thanks for sharing about the diaper cream! I think I have a yeast infection in my armpit. I’ll try that before the more expensive creams and doctor visits!

    3. I don’t know if they sell this over the counter in the US, but the topical cream for vaginal yeast infections can also be used for treating yeast infections on the skin of other parts of the body. However, if the skin rash is due to something else, like a heat rash, it may not help. Not all diaper creams will treat yeast infections, either. When my daughter was a baby, she had a couple boughts of diaper rash that would not clear up with diaper rash cream. When I took her to the Dr, he said it was a yeast infection and gave us a prescription for the appropriate treatment. However, it may sooth and treat other rashes, such as heat rash. My suggestion is to try the diaper rash cream first. If it doesn’t clear up, try Canesten or another brand of vaginal yeast cream.

        1. I just love all these solutions for these type of personal problems. Sugar cookie recently came to me and she was raw under her arms and breasts. I pulled out a container of baby powder ( actually corn starch ) and she healed up in like a day. It was amazing. I actually thought we were going to have to make a trip in to see her nurse practitioner. I’m so glad I still have most of these products in the drawers.

    4. I’ve used apple cider vinegar for topical yeast and fungal infections for years. Cheaper and gentler than tea tree oil, although it will sting when first applied if the area has been scratched raw. I put it in a small spray bottle to make it easy to apply.

  5. Thanks for the book recommendation and for the update from Winter. I have been wondering how she is doing at college.

    Happy Canada Day to everyone north of the U.S. border and Happy Independence Day to everyone in the States! Sorry, I’ve got nothing for people in Australia, Europe, and elsewhere. ?

    My frugal accomplishments this past week were:

    ·         Put up 4th of July decorations, including homemade banners of red, white, and blue triangles on my front porch. I made it last year for my old house and it could use about 4 more triangles here because of the length between posts, but it still looks great and I decided that if I waited until I got the flags made, it would not go up until long after Independence Day.  I didn’t let perfect get in the way of very good.

    ·         Started purchasing items I will need between now and the end of the year, such as cat food for the three felines that own me and various toiletries. My credit card provides double rewards points when you spend $15,000 between the August and July bills and I hit that last October with all the expenses involved in buying a new house, such as new appliances, and some repairs to both the new and old houses. Fortunately, I was still able to pay for them all, even when paying 2 mortgages for 3 months. Since the double rewards points, which I use to get various gift cards for myself and for gifts, expire this month, I am stocking up to get the points for things I will need to buy in the next 6 months and for which I have the money since the card is paid off every month and there is no interest involved.

    ·         Ate all meals at home except for one family dinner at my sister’s.

    ·         Cut up bell peppers and cucumbers for snacking and salads. I also froze 20 cups of blueberries in 1 and 2 cup bags. They are from North Carolina and Aldi’s had them on sale. As much as I want to support the local farmers, when the same size containers are at the farmer’s market for $5 or $6, it just doesn’t fit my budget to buy in bulk and freeze.

    ·         Cooked a Boston pork butt roast in the crockpot, made 3 servings of pork barbeque with sauce I already had and froze the rest in 3 packages to use however I want (cook with apples and sauerkraut, make more BBQ, or something else).

    ·         Made pimento cheese and use it to top another tomato pie. It was good but I think I prefer the pimento cheese on crackers rather than on the pie. I’ll go back to Paula Deen’s recipe for that in the future. Since I was already heating up the oven, I also made a crustless pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice bars.

    ·         Organized my pantry, checking “best if used by” dates and shelving items accordingly. I bought an expanding triple shelf and can now see all my spices! I also cleaned out and organized the refrigerator. There was very little food waste. I need to start eating from the freezer, though, because it is too full to add anything else. I really miss my old upright freezer but there’s no room for one in my new house

    ·         Downloaded 18 free kindle books. I don’t have unlimited kindle but there are books that are available for free. I selected cookbooks and a few light romances. The romance novels tend to be the first in a series with a cost of 99 cents to $3.99 for the remaining books; it’s pretty decent marketing for them if a reader likes the first book enough to be willing to buy the others.

    I found out that some dental work is going to cost several thousand dollars more than I expected so I have adjusted the budget to pay for it using the balance in my health savings account (HSA), some of my regular savings, and my pay checks. I am hoping to delay one piece to the beginning of the year so I can pay for it with next year’s dental insurance (I am maxing it out this year with the work I am having done) but am grateful and thankful that I can pay for it.

    I have a couple items I’m trying to give away. Cat owners, I have 6 doses of Frontline (flea and tick repellant). The vet and several neighbors say it just doesn’t work well in our area (low country of South Carolina). The box has been torn so I can’t return it. The packaging for the medicine itself is still fine.  If anyone can use this in their area, go to my Instagram page (catsontheporch) and send me a message and I’ll send it to the first person in the U.S. that contacts me. There is no charge. I’m using a different medicine on my cats and hate to throw this away. The only caveat is I want someone who will actually use it on their cats to get it, NOT someone who is going to turn around and sell it online themselves. I also have about $27 worth of tickets to Knoebel’s amusement park in Elysburg, PA. Anyone want them? Again, free of charge to someone who will actually use, not resell them and I can mail them to the first person who contacts me via Instagram. It is a WONDERFUL park – best bumper cars ever – but I’m not dealing with E-bay or some other sales site to get rid of them.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week!

    1. We had extra Boston Butt over Memorial Day. It was great with cheese on baked potatoes also really good substitute for ham/turkey on chef salads. Great with 1000 island dressing

    2. The Knoebeks tickets are gone to someone with great childhoood memories who wants to take her adult friends and share the fun with them. I am really happy they will be used.

      1. Thank you again!
        My daughter is thrilled! Knoebel’s is an awesome park & frugal in that there is free admission, you can bring your own food & drinks and purchase tickets as you go if you don’t want to buy an all day pass.

      1. Glenda, I don’t want to put my email address out here which is why Instagram would work so you could send me a private message. I don’t use FB or Twitter. If you set up an Instagram account just so you can message me OR if you have a child or friend who can message me, it is yours. Just have your name in there since you are the first one to ask.

        1. Mari, I can see both of your email addresses. Do you want me to pass yours to her?

    3. The Frontline flea and tick medicine has been claimed, too. Glenda, please make sure you email me after Brandy gives you my email address.

  6. Thank you for the update on Winter. It’s wonderful to hear she is doing so well. And how exciting that you have a photography site! I hope that goes very well for you.
    This week we attended a free concert in the town park. We packed a picnic supper as always. We met friends there and she invited us back to the hot springs where she works to soak for a couple of hours. We soaked and looked up at the stars – so relaxing and beautiful.
    We had a freak cold snap that I thought killed some of my green bean plants, but thought some of the leaves died, all the plants survived. The weather has been so odd this year. I was able to cut off the irrigation for a couple of days after it rained, and water my potted plants with collected rainwater. I harvested lettuce, onion, carrots, chard, mint, and cabbage from the greenhouse and garden.
    My husband’s sister and her husband visited for five days and though we ate out once, I fed them home-cooked meals the rest of the time. We took them to a nearby national park, getting free admission with my husband’s senior card. We also took them hiking and on a scenic drive. We used the free photography session we won from our local electric co-op to have photos taken of both couples. We had a lot of fun with the photographer and hope to get a nice shot of my husband and his sister to present as a gift to his parents, plus we each have good photos of us with our spouses.

  7. If possible Winter may want to have her rent taken out a day or two early. It might not show up in the rental agencies account for a few days. I know I have bills that are automatically withdrawn and sometimes they don’t go through my account right away. Might save some hassle…

    1. She actually tried to set it up that way to start but the apartment complex actually told her what day they wanted it taken out, so if it’s not going through right away, that would still be their error.

  8. Congratulations on your photography site! I hope it is very successful. And thank you for the update about Winter.
    I harvested peas, lettuce, spinach, strawberries and raspberries from the garden. I had a partial container of liquid fertilizer that has been in my garage for years, so I finally used it up and gave my plants and extra treat.
    My freezer is about half empty now and I found three bags of roasted and crushed tomatillos from 2015. I used them as a basis for some pork chile verde, which turned out great! I also had a partial jar of green chile salsa that I added to the batch.
    I finished crocheting a baby afghan from donated yarn that I will donate to the Linus Project.
    I mended some wind chimes in my yard. They needed new strings among the pipes.
    I was able to go on three hikes this week.
    I made a fruit crisp for a neighborhood potluck, using rhubarb from the garden and blueberries and peaches from the freezer.
    I took three boxes of items to my local thrift store for donation.
    My stepdaughter and I visited a new bulk store. You take in your own jars or containers, weigh them first, then add the products. It certainly cuts down on waste! We mostly looked around, but they have a huge variety of products, from personal care to cleaning products. I plan to go back and stock up on items when they are getting low in my pantry.
    I helped my husband for a few hours last week (he is self-employed) by calling on some past due invoices. In many cases, the contact information was incorrect. I hope he receives payment for some of the work done.
    I had some cherries that were getting soft in the fridge so I just stirred together another batch of Shrub, adding some blueberries, lime zest and lime juice.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  9. Brandy, thank you for the update on Winter!!
    This weeks frugalities include:
    -Being gifted 10 coffee pods. I use a reusable pod but my friend who is a property manager had a box of coffee pods left by a tenant so she gifted them to me.
    -Finding free parking for my week of late shift. There is lots of free parking when I start at 0645 but not so much when my start time is 1100. I was able to find parking about 4 blocks away so I got free exercise and saved $10/day.
    -Harvested spinach, green onion and mint from the garden.
    -All meals cooked at home.
    -I am spending time on Sundays making a meal plan and doing food prep for the week.
    -Our union had an ice cream day for it’s members. We enjoyed assorted ice cream with a variety of toppings and a bag of Miss Vicki’s chips. We were also given a lanyard and a reusable “coin” for our shopping carts.
    Have a good week!

  10. So glad to hear Winter is doing well. I received free lettuce, carrots, wheat thins, and grapefruit. My co worker made delicious banana pudding. I got sirloin steak strips at 83 cents a lb…what????? It was at Walmart and you can bet I enjoyed it. I enjoyed playing the patriotic hyms at church this past Sunday. I enjoyed a lovely walk under the moss draped trees at the river. I use the lunchbox ice packs on my chest to help stay cool at night. I continued to bring my lunch to work, listen to the radio, at home and try to keep the air off as much as possible, which is difficult when the heat index is over a hundred humid degrees

    1. Sometimes at work, when we have a special event on a very hot, humid day, we are given water soaked cotton sheet scarves (they look historically acurtate, but you could use scarves you already have or make some from an old sheet) that have been frozen. Wondering if this idea might also help you keep cool, Cindy. It’s cheap and reusable!

  11. Thank you for sharing Winter’s ongoing accomplishments. You have taught her well.
    Since I shared a lot last week, I will keep it short. I bought fresh cherries at the 99c store and made two desserts with it. I used the pits (which I extracted using a sturdy straw) to boil with water and sugar for a simple syrup to pour over shaved ice for snow cones. I cooked a large chicken and will get many meals out of it. I used a recipe from the 1920’s to make Milk Bread. No yeast required, uses self -rising flour (add 1 tsp. Baking powder and 1/4 tsp. Salt per 1 cup flour, if you only have plain flour) and milk. (I used reconstituted evaporated milk.) Two ingredients! Surprisingly, the loaf rose big, was soft and moist, sliced well with my electric knife, and was a great substitute for yeast bread! I will definitely be making this often! Ready in one hour, start to finish. The recipe is Be-Ro Milk Bread from the 1920’s when self-rising flour became available to consumers. I presumed from the recipe that this flour did not contain salt (as current self-rising flour does) so I only used the amount of salt to diy self-rising flour, since I only had regular flour. I baked it at 375 for about 40 minutes. Yum!

    1. I am sorry, but I meant to say, add 1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder per one cup plain flour to make self-rising flour.

      1. Tejas, this bread recipe sounds so good! Do you have to knead it? It would be hard for me to knead with my permanently broken tendon.
        Also your method of extracting cheery pits with a straw is interesting! Ann

        1. Hi, Ann. The bread is a batter bread. Just stir it up and scrape it into a well-greased bowl or 3 in. deep dish, and pop it into the oven. No rise time or kneading are necessary, as this is a quick bread. I use a vintage clear Pyrex dish I bought at the thrift store. I bake all my no-knead yeast bread recipes in those old glass bowls, too, and they work perfectly. Yesterday I baked another fresh loaf of milk bread and tried their 1923 recipe for “tea bread”, using raisins instead of currants. It also came out beautifully moist and delicious. I am sharing the link to the old BeRo recipes, but be aware that measurements are in lbs. and oz., instead of cups and tablespoons. The conversions are easily found on Google. For the milk bread I used 3 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or regular flour plus 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder per cup, plus 1/4 tsp. salt per cup) and 2 cups of milk. I baked it at 375 degrees for around 40 minutes. After loosening the loaf from the glass with a long, thin knife, I dumped it out and left it to cool on a rack. When halfway cool, I placed a sheet of wax paper on top and down two sides, leaving two sides open. This allowed the crust to soften, but not get soggy. By the third day, it was still moist, but drying just a bit, as homemade breads do. I hope you enjoy this link.

  12. It sounds like Winter is doing great! We do our best to prepare our children for life on their own, but it’s always a blessing to see them thriving. A reminder of God’s faithfulness! Our frugal accomplishments were:
    *Meals made were grilled chicken with baked potatoes and green beans, pork fajitas with corn, baked chicken with roasted veggies, chicken wraps with chips, chicken salad sandwiches with potato wedges, grilled burgers and hot dogs with macaroni and corn, fried eggs with sausage and biscuits.
    *Received a banana pudding as a thank you from a friend we had helped out.
    *Went to two appointments and picked up a prescription all in the same day and to save time/gas.
    * After baking a chicken, put the carcass and onion bits in the crockpot to make chicken stock. Used the leftover bits of chicken to make chicken salad.
    *Accepted a free donut at work on 2 different days. Also drank free coffee and water at work.
    *Made a crab salad for a luncheon at church using pantry items, except for the crab. Accepted tossed salad, chicken salad and apple salad that was leftover after the luncheon. Took it to work for lunch the next day.
    *Sent a sympathy card and a birthday card from my stash.

  13. January doesn’t seem that long ago, yet here it is July! I appreciate the work you put in to your blog and into welcoming all the commenters, (commentators?). It is both encouraging and peaceful to me to read this.
    We had two good recent money wins. Insurance on our two very old vehicles dropped about 10%. We are long-long time customers with the company, (my husband got put on his Dad’s policy when he was a teenager and kept that “old” number), have clean driving records, and have both home and auto with the company, so the rates were good to begin with. We have a very helpful agent and have never been tempted to change companies.
    And when a two-year trial we had of a service ran out and the rate jumped, I phoned, politely said we don’t wish to pay that, and was offered the old rate back for another year. Fortunately, the representative who answered my call recognized I meant business right away and transferred me quickly to the supervisor who could make the change, as the original person didn’t have that power.
    However, we are reeling from ten days notice that our health insurance is increasing by a significant amount at the change of this fiscal year. We will adjust, but we have gone through our spending to see if we can choose to cut anything. I am most grateful that is a choice rather than a necessity.
    With the abundant rain, I had some flower seeds sprout– nasturtiums, cosmos, marigolds– but something is munching them all away, as well as the leftover poinsettias I had put out on the deck, and the salad greens. The caterpillars did not return to eat the dill this year, though. Yet. I put it in a different place than it was for last year’s bug buffet.
    I have many forget-me-nots (had never planted those seeds before) and they have big scratchy leaves but no flowers or buds. Is that normal? I found a $13 dahlia on clearance at WalMart for $3. It has only about half-bloomed now, and I hope it will come back when planted in the ground next year. It must have been forced to bloom very early, as my other dahlias bloom closer to fall. I sometimes pity the plants in the WalMart sunny parking lot enclosure. I patronize the local garden center instead when I can.
    I have two sleeveless cotton button-front blouses from yard sales that I am going to alter. I realized when I put one on that the collar made the shirt look stuffy. My plan is to take the collars off and adjust the necks to a v in front.
    I have become pretty good at timing when my grocery store puts the triple-washed organic greens on clearance for 99 cents instead of between 4 and 7 dollars a container. It lasts four or five days beyond the sell-by date. I am eating salad once or twice a day, instead of sandwiches, and my KMart Mom Jeans are getting looser.
    Before the weather got very hot, I finally got all our winter coats and fall jackets washed and dried on the clothes line and put away.
    My husband needed some IcyHot for a stiff shoulder. Our jar is dated 2/90 on the bottom. It still smells the same, and he said he can feel it working, more so than the patches his doctor had suggested.
    I thought about Winter when she first left, because what I’ve read about college homesickness is that the person worries that she is needed at home. This is a catch-22, because of course you can’t tell your child you’re fine without her, implying she isn’t necessary and never was, but if you say you need her, she will feel worse. From what you’ve written, your children are very important in looking after each other and sharing in running your home, especially as they get older, and everyone must have had to adjust to her being gone. I am glad that you prepared her well for being away, even as you miss each other. Thus parenting goes!
    And $63 is a HUGE amount for a late fee.

    1. She is doing what she is supposed to do! We are very happy for her, and she hasn’t felt homesick. She’s having a ton of fun, she’s doing well in school, and she has a job that covers her housing, phone, food, clothing, and fun expenses, so she’s great! We video chat with her once a week using the Duo app.

  14. Hi Brandy!

    I’m glad to hear that Winter is doing well so far! The college transition can be a difficult one, but she seems to be handling it just fine 🙂

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * Returned an air mattress and got a replacement because the old one developed a hole that we could not get to stay patched.

    * Ate leftovers from the freezer for a couple of lunches.

    * Made do with what we had left in the pantry instead of going shopping last week. We actually just went today. So, overall, we spent about $150 last month.

    * This month’s shopping was a bit expensive, but several items from my pantry needed replacing. We bought everything we needed for the month in one trip, so we will not be tempted by impulse buys later in the month. I stocked up on several varieties of dry beans that I can’t get at Sam’s Club or Aldi, and will use those to add variety to dishes in the months to come.

    * I continue to limit snacking and when I eat. I’ve lost 11 lbs since June 10. I’m hoping that a combination of calorie reduction and intermittent fasting will help me maintain a stable and sustainable weight once I’ve lost what I’d like to lose.

    * I got a well woman exam for free, as my insurance covers one per year.

    * Once again, I prepped and cooked all the ingredients that came in our CSA box. I forgot to mention this last week, but that includes finely chopping stems from cooking greens like kale, which are nice in long-cooking dishes like soups. This last week, we received collard greens, radishes (with tops), green onions, rhubarb, and two kinds of lettuce. I roasted the radishes, cooked the collard greens with black eyed peas, ate many, many salads, and chopped up and froze the rest.

    * We have had several storms this last week, so my SO and I have had many chances to watch the rain and storms, one of our preferred activities and free!

    * My SO and I played games that we already owned with friends over the weekend. It was free and fun!

    * I dehydrated more basil, thai basil, and mint from my aerogarden, and harvested my potted green onions. I had been out of regular onions for the last week, but between the ones from the CSA that I had frozen, the ones I got last week, dehydrated onions, and my plants, I made it to the end of the week just fine.

    I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July!

  15. If Winter is printing/copying course notes (as I did in University), those printers have awesome settings which will allow you to shrink the page to half size and copy both sides. Thus you can copy 4 pages onto one and save $$.

    1. She only prints to turn in papers for her English class. In her other classes, she submits her work electronically.

  16. Great to hear your oldest is doing well at university. It’s always an exciting time in life.
    *I’ve line dried most of my laundry.
    *My neighbor moved out of the country and gave me several boxes of food and clothing. There were some random items as well that I have passed on to others including a 5ft tall teddy bear.
    *I’ve tried to eat at home most days.
    *I’ve started going for bike rides for exercise each morning.
    *I baked bread.
    *A friend came over yesterday and we had a clothing swap. I got a pair of pants and a shirt. She got a dress and a couple other items.
    * I returned some yucky avocados for a refund.
    *I got a refund from the bank for a failed transaction.
    *I made popcorn as an after school snack for my son.
    *I’m trying to declutter and Mari Kondo my wardrobe. I’ve gained weight recently due to my medication and I don’t think it’s going to come off any time soon.
    *I gave a big shopping bag of clothes to a coworker that were just her size. They are all office appropriate too. I was happy because it freed up space in my closets.

  17. I’m so glad to hear your update on Winter, sounds like she’s settling in. I’m eager to see your photography site so I hope you’ll share soon.

    For the cost of an hours drive worth of gas, I visited my sister-in-law for two days as a mini vacation in Monterey, California.

    I got pork tenderloin on sale and divided it up in four individual containers, marinated it with sage from the garden and froze it.

    Harvested tomatoes from my plant that overwintered.

    Took cuttings of Mexican primrose From a friends garden and successfully transplanted.

    Just pulled up the last of the cilantro. It came up volunteer from last year’s crop. Let it go to Seed so I can replant.

    Planted my window boxes with edible flowers seeds I saved from last year.

    My third crop up strawberries are about ready to come in, but they are sparse. Next year I hope to plant some later baring varieties.

    Juiced 35 Meyer lemons from my tree and made ice cubes, so now two cubes/water/sweetener gives me a glass of instant fresh lemonade.

    Filled up my gas tank before the new six cents per gallon tax started on today.

    Except for one blistering week, I’ve been able to avoid ac as the weather has been kind of late.

    Hope everyone is doing well!

  18. Made food at home including for the kids: yellow cake w/ choc frosting, homemade bread (although I use a bread maker), baked ziti, sausage + cabbage, hamburgers, beef and vegetable soup. Protein balls and salad, too. Accepted my grandma’s patio furniture as she’s moving and getting a new (smaller) set. I brought home and washed. It’s so nice! Very happy to have outside seating (table, chairs and a lounger). Rinsed the sides of house near patio, shook rug, etc. Deep cleaned/purged my bathroom drawers and cabinets, located a bunch of little floss boxes that my kids got from dentist. Enough for me to use for awhile. Ate leftovers for lunches. Sat on patio in my new-to-me lounger and watched/listened to birds, read a bunch of old posts/comments on this blog! (Thank you Brandy). Not frugal- took kids to ice cream but at least it was budgeted for, we go at the end of every school year. Ate the ice cream in a local park that was on the river, looked at the tiny fish and skipped rocks. Taught 2 art classes (for kids) from my home, and tutored 3 students. These are my PT jobs and they pay well, plus I love it.

  19. Thank you for the update on Winter = sounds as though she is doing really well – and good luck with the photography website – I don’t know where you find the time!
    I organized all the bills and transferred the money for the first of the month – loaded a monthly transit pass on to my card, put aside the grocery money for the month and then gave myself an allowance. I should be able to put about $300 aside this month after the CC are paid.
    I got a good deal on the beef I was looking for so bought 3 large steaks and a package of beef strips for stir fries – also earned Loyalty points so I now have over $50 available. I’d still like a rotisserie chicken but I’ll wait to see if that shows up as part of my points offers for next week before buying. I cooked up all the salmon pieces that I had in the freezer so might add some of those to the shopping list – but not desperate.
    I also managed to stock up on boxes of kleenex – bought the sale limit and earned more Loyalty points at the same time.
    I used my museum membership to treat a friend to one of the special exhibits that are on right now and in return she bought us coffee and we split a piece of lemon loaf.
    Another friend had about 20 of us over for a BBQ yesterday to celebrate Canada Day early and insisted on providing all the food – we all brought something to drink – this was a more than fair exchange as I had a wonderful lunch and a great visit.
    The weather has been wonderful all week – so I was able to enjoy many walks and to enjoy the Raptors parade from the front steps of the church where I work = one building over from the major intersection they were going through – We The North!

    1. Time: Less sleep, a garden full of weeds, and a bit more disorder around here lately. But, we need to increase our income, so here’s hoping it’s all worth it, because it’s going to cost a lot of money to get started!

      1. If you also offer things like photo cards on your site, I’m sure those of us who are in the financial position to do so would love to buy them, and hopefully that would offset startup costs. You could even have your kids put them together (photos glued on folded cardstock, possibly with a personalized stamp on the back). If you were able find a way to print the photos for free (shutter fly or similar often has promotion ex 300 free phitos ) that would reduce your out of pocket costs to the paper and stamp. A small but steady source of income, especially around the holidays, which would require little effort from you aside from choosing the prints, and which would hopefully subsidize your site and allow all of your session photography profit to go to your family. I personally love your photography and would buy a nature set or a garden set for sure. Just an idea!

        1. Margaret,

          I am not sure how to sell prints in Canada yet, but I have a way that I could sell prints in the U.S. from a high-quality, professional place that is accurate in color. I have seen their work and their quality is amazing. At some point, I would like to offer some prints for sale to my readers of images, but right now my focus is on all the legal setup of the business–starting my LLC, getting a tax id number, setting up sales tax, meeting with a lawyer for legal contracts, purchasing state, county, and city business licenses, and getting all of the online things set up. Getting the business set up is rather costly (thousands of dollars), so if I can turn a profit this year after all of my expenses, I will be happy. I will have to take photos for months to cover what it costs to get started. In the future, I’ll need to upgrade my equipment (many more thousands of dollars) and pay for more things (almost everywhere here in town requires a paid permit to shoot; some places are $50 a shoot, some are $50 an hour, and some are $250 a shoot with 30 days notice) and I’ll have additional online needs as well. It’s a gamble to start a business for sure, so I hope it’s successful, as we could use additional income!

          1. Have you taken in person or on-line the free Self Reliance course from the Church on Starting and Growing your own Business? We took it in person and what an incredible help it was! We were in the first group in our Stake to go through the 12 week class (all of it is available on-line as well including the videos) ! What no one realized is that they used the course that had been tailored for those in developing countries rather than their set tailored to US/Canada and other developed countries! But we learned so much, particularly the financial end of things! Plus the marketing, etc! It’s available to anyone for free! Here’s the link for course manual and videos- https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/self-reliance/course-materials/starting-and-growing-my-business.
            They also have a course on personal finance, gaining employment or getting better employment and increasing your education! Our family has been incredibly blessed for all that we’ve learned and gained from this!

          2. Wow, you are definitely dotting all your business i’s and crossing all of your t’s! Given your work ethic and your skill level, I’m sure you’ll have a successful business in short order! Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

          3. Good luck with all of that! It’s amazing how much it costs.

            I agree with Margaret. I would definitely buy cards and likely a couple prints of flowers or the desert.

          4. Hi Brandy,
            Good luck with everything, Have you ruled out a sole proprietorship for your business? I found that to be much less hassle and expense.
            I wouldn’t think photography would expose you to liability from which you’d need protection.

            1. There is definitely a liability. I’m also required to carry a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance. Some places require double that in order to shoot there. Locations want you named with specific verbage on their policy, holding them exempt from damage.

              My parents, before they retired, owned a picture framing business (and before that, collectibles and picture framing in another state). They were required to carry $3 million in insurance.

              Setting up an LLC is not too big of a deal. Our real estate business is an LLC. I’d rather have the protection an LLC affords.

      2. I have a good friend who over the years has built up a good photography business. She specializes in landscapes, and I know you do wonderful portraits, but maybe some of the things I have learned from her will help you.
        She submits her work to magazines — mostly regional, like AAA and similar magazines, as well as offering them to Chamber of Commerce publications. She has sold several photographs this way.
        She has created postcards, calendars and notecards and has persuaded local stores to offer these for sale. Some of them are on consignment. This took a lot of footwork, but she dedicated one day a month to visiting stores. She offered to set up a nice display (this could be as simple as a wooden box or a nice basket) to display her work. She started small and built a market for her work. This did require an upfront investment for the printing. She now sells unframed prints as well.
        She teaches one-on-one or small groups for one-day photography courses. She advertises this on Facebook. This has been one of her better money makers and she enjoys teaching and people love the opportunity to spend a few hours working with a pro. She posts to Facebook about once a week or so with links to some of her photos so that people can see her work. She often posts a theme (here are pictures of flowers, or stormclouds, or city scenes — whatever.)
        She offers her work for sale through pixels.com https://1-denise-bush.pixels.com/ She said this is really easy — simply post the pictures and people order what they want. Her monthly themed facebook posts direct people to this link.
        I don’t know if any of the above will be helpful to you, but I hope so.

  20. Wonderful to read that Winter is using all of her frugal skills at college. Great job Brandy!

    I ended up in the hospital for five days and will go in for tests in the next couple days. Answers are around the corner.

    While here, I ordered hospital food for when my husband was here since the portions are huge and my appetite is reduced. This way nothing went to waste and my husband didn’t have to pay for much. We did buy my son a cheeseburger when he came to visit and we played cards as a family.

    We managed to work with our amazing hospital staff to get all the tests done on site so as to not have to travel. The test results will be sent off to SLC for review, but we won’t have that travel expense.

    The pharmacy wanted to charge me 53.00 for one prescription because it was over the number of pills my insurance would pay for. I had them just give me what was covered and will have to return for refills as needed. We pass our pharmacy everyday, so that really saves.

    I avoided buying any magazines to browse and just looked at those that were available.

    My husband stayed over in the sleeper chair in my room to keep me company, but also so he could avoid driving.

    Happy frugal-ing!

  21. Cooked meals at home. Let the grandchildren get their own egg from the coop and then we washed the eggs and the kids hands. Hardboiled their eggs. Then they got to eat them. They were so happy to get to eat their own egg that they ate several. Had a nice day with our grandchildren at our house playing and doing crafts. We did rent the Grinch from redox for a little over a dollar. It brought tears to my eyes. It was an enjoyable movie.
    Only got 25 hours in last week. I was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. Now I already got my recheck doctor bill. Yuck! Wait till I get the hospital bill. We are going to call and ask if we can make payments. We have terrible insurance that doesn’t pay anything. I have to work twelve hours or more after taxes come out just to pay the doctor bill.
    Sat on the back of the truck listening to classical music today. Forgot about the bills for a while as we enjoyed looking at the sky, feeling a gentle breeze, and watching the birds and airplanes fly by. We told stories of where people on the plane are going and what they are doing and who they are with. It is a fun thing we like to do. We both love to make up stories and because we can’t go anywhere now, we enjoy traveling in our minds. Hubby is going to put more plants in the ground. I’m relaxing ( and venting a bit.) I love your blog Brandy. I know that things could be so much worse. I might check out that book you mentioned. It sounds interesting.
    Got our water bill it was twice as much as usual. We are going to call and ask about a charge on it that we don’t understand.
    My grandson looked in our fridge and told me I needed to go shopping. He said “All you have are eggs!” Luckily they like eggs and we made homemade french fries. I also had a couple of oranges. Since then I went to a pantry, as we truly should not spend anything extra, we have so many bills to pay. We got a lot of good stuff at the pantry.
    Went to hubby family for dinner one evening. My mom made spaghetti for me today when I was there. I gave her eggs.
    Looked up recipes on internet and used Pandora for music.

    1. Tammy,

      You have my prayers! Being in the hospital is taxing enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about the bill.


    2. Good luck with the hospital bills. My hospital has been very good about allowing me to make payments — I’m paying off another one now!

    3. Tammy, when you get the bill call the hospital and ask about financial assistance. You have to fill out paperwork, but they often forgive a great deal or all of the bill. Will be praying for you as well.

      1. Definitely do this! Not all hospitals do this, but we have found out that some here do and some do not. Assistance is based on income. I’m so glad Laura said something about this. It is worth asking! They might say no, they have nothing, or they could say yes, we can help you with a certain amount, or they can say your income is so low that they will write it all off. It depends on the hospital.

        1. Brandy, Laura, and Cindi,
          Thank-you. Thank-You for the idea to ask for assistance. Also I do appreciate prayers Laura s.
          Brandy, Thank-you for explaining how it works.
          I haven’t got the hospital bill yet . But the doctor visit is letting us make payments. Really happy about that.
          I hope you all have a nice 4th of july!


          1. So we found out that if the hospital offers you assistance, you can let the doctors know, and they may also give you a discount.

          2. Brandy,
            Thank-you. I hadn’t thought to ask for a discount. I will have to look into that. The bill is so expensive.

            Also I wish to the best with your photography business. I’m also happy that Winter is doing so well. It is so nice when your children can pay their expenses and have leisure money as well. On top of that being happy is a great thing!

    4. Hi Tammy,

      I’m sorry to learn you were in the hospital and hope you’re ok! I think we are kindred spirits because you and your husband like to travel in your mind’s eye! So do I! Also I love that you sit on the back of your truck listening to classical music. It is so true that happiness is important! In fact, I was going to write that I have taken off the few sunny days recently and done nothing (and I mean nothing). I was waiting for my very shy hummingbird to come so I could get a photo but I only saw it a couple of times and then it didn’t go to the feeder as it doesn’t like my being anywhere in the yard. So instead of hummingbird photos, I ended up seeing 10 different species of butterflies in the yard over about 5 days! I got photos of 7 of them. The peacefulness one gets just by being in nature is so important. Best Wishes, Ann. i hope the hospital gives financial assistance and a repayment plan for the balance. fingers crossed!

      1. Ann,
        Thank-you. And how lovely to see 10 different species of butterflies. I love butterflies! It is so nice to be outside in nature. I love the skies around where I live. We woke to a gentle rain on the 4th and at sunrise there was a full rainbow brilliant and the beginning of a second. I loved it. Of course we went out in the rain to watch the beautiful sunrise and look at the rainbow on the other side. It was a very nice day indeed.

  22. We had a pretty quiet week, for which I am thankful! My car is still at the mechanic’s because their test equipment had to be sent out for repair. It should be done sometime this week. I did manage to cook good meals all week, despite the heat. We had meatloaf, pork ribs, spaghetti with sausage, and bratwurst another night. In between, I made meals from leftovers from the other nights. We went to lunch at my sister’s one day and to visit my grandaughter on the weekend, while her step-Dad put her Air Conditioner in the window for her. She has a second floor flat and it gets very hot up there. Also a girlfriend from NYC is coming for a couple days over the 4th, and she wants to make sure she is comfortable.
    We only got one day of gardening done between showers, but there should be fewer showers this week. I kept busy in the house when we couldn’t get outside, though. Back to decluttering.

  23. I was absolutely delighted to find my electric bill only increased by $40.00 this month after running my air conditioner all month long. I found a great deal on Swagbucks for junk food. I bought $100.00 worth of food from Schwans for $15.00 out of pocket. I filled the freezer with an assortment of items for my son to enjoy over the summer. With Sugar cookie being gone for the summer, I’m going to be going on a few trips and he doesn’t cook. I also picked up 5 big bags of cereal for free after coupons and Ibotta. We rarely have these in the house so he will enjoy his frosted flakes. I needed something to use to lower my new bird feeder down a little lower so I could see it through my bedroom window. I used an old shoelace I took from an old pair of boots. It worked great. I was able to take advantage of an offer at Amazon.com and buy little baby Henry some baby food. I bought 40 twin packs of Gerber and several canisters of cereal for $6.00 out of pocket . The young mother ‘s household income has gone down so I will just coupon and keep her stocked up on food. As hard as she tries, she still struggles. He’s 6 months old now and his smile warms my heart so much. I gifted my nephew two movie vouchers and he gave me a sunflower plant. I’m hoping to have many beautiful blooms. At 19 yrs old, he needs to be a farmer . Anything he touches grows like crazy. We’re cooking out for the fourth of July. I have everything we need for an awesome dinner. I just need to locate it all .I do believe we have a bag of charcoal left over from 2013 when college girl graduated from high school. Here’s hoping it burns. Things are buried in the pantry and freezer but I should be able to put out a great spread for my family.

    1. Lillianna, how incredibly thoughtful and kind of you. Speaking from experience, what you are doing for this young mother keeps not only the wolf from the door, but all-consuming despair as well. You give her hope and strength to go on, God bless you.

  24. Thank you for the update on Winter. We probably passed like ships in the night last week when she was on her way up to my neck of the woods and I was on my way down to hers. Here are my frugal accomplishments for last week–

    *I thinned the beets and Swiss chard and transplanted the thinnings. Not sure if this will work, but worth a try. I am getting a few strawberries from the bareroot plants I set out about 7 weeks ago. My paid garden helper has been taking care of her mother for the last 3 weeks, so I have saved paying her wages. (I’d rather have her here!).

    *I made another batch of strawberry freezer jam with .99 strawberries. I set aside two jars as gifts–I am trying to make a gift a month between now and the end of the year.

    *In my quest to improve my bag lady wardrobe, I went thrifting ISO nicer threads. (I live in the “tiny” town where Winter found 15 thrift stores. I went to 3 of them). At Goodwill, I bought a pair of like-new dressy black pants from Chico’s for $6 and multicolored stripe slip-on espadrilles with rope trim for $7. Both in excellent, almost new condition. Also, I polished a pair of shoes and my purse. I’m not sure they will last any longer, but they sure look better. I’m surprised the shoe polish hadn’t dried up in the can!

    *The bag lady’s new pants were baggy in the thighs! I took in the inseams…which took me longer than expected, but they are done and the pants fit and look great! In the future, I’m not going to buy anything that needs more than re-hemming.

    *We were invited to a picnic hosted by the company that coordinates my daughter’s special services. A nice event! And free food! And I didn’t mess up my clean kitchen, either!

    *In the kitchen: I made bread crumbs to bread meat for one meal and used frozen black beans, cooked previously, for black bean and corn salad for another meal. Among the usual things we do: Most fruit juices are too acidic for me. I can drink 100% grape juice, which Winco sells for $1.16 can ($1.07 this week). We always dilute it with 4 cans of water instead of 3. We think it tastes fresher, plus it stretches the juice by a little.

  25. Just wanted to thanks Brandy & all the folks who post here! It gives me joy & inspiration to read everyone’s comments every week. My hubby was able to buy tri tip for BOGO. We enjoyed this for several meals along with the 5 for $1 corn. We also continued eating party left overs. Even though I prefer flavored creamer for my coffee, I’m using left over half & half from when my MIL was here donut doesn’t go to waste. My mom gave me some coffee packets that she had gotten during a recent hotel stay. Took the family for a $6 movie ticket night, saving half off each ticket. Was gifted some left over fruit from a ladies tea that I went to which my son enjoyed. Hubby & son also went to a free pool day in the neighborhood which a local church sponsored & organized. They received a bbq lunch also; we brought chips & cookies to share. Found out that a relative who was supposed to visit next week isn’t coming. While we have enjoyed seeing them, their visits are not inexpensive for us so we are glad to not have to spend the money. Picked several lemon cucumbers and cherry tomatoes from our garden. Did some math and realized that we will be able to pay cash for son’s dental procedure! We are so thankful as it will be several thousand dollars. Called cable company & was able to get monthly bill cut in half!!!!

  26. It’s the middle of winter here, so I have all the curtains closed and the door snakes carefully positioned across the closed doors. I continue to walk into work (5.6km) to save on the public transport fare, and to improve my health.
    A girl at work is bringing in mandarins, which I take for eating fresh, and baking into a whole mandarin cake recipe.
    My sister, who lives in the country, has kindly gifted a box of over ripe tomatoes, perfect for tomato relish, tomato paste, tomato sauce, etc.
    And I have discovered that there are a large number of bakery’s that want to clear their bread stock at the end of the day, so every couple of weeks I pick a number of loaves, pastries, rolls and other yummy items.
    Happy frugaling folks.

  27. Thank you for sharing how Winter is doing and the book you read. The book sounds exactly the type of stories I love reading. I will definitely have to look into that one. So glad Winter is doing well in school. You’ve done an excellent job teaching her about frugality. It will serve her well over her lifetime, I’m sure! I also please to read you were able to add a couple more new clothing items to your wardrobe, at some really great prices, too.

    Our frugal accomplishments this week entailed:
    *Meals made at home included pancakes topped with strawberries (thawed, from the freezer) & syrup, and breakfast sausages, BBQ hamburgers & hot dogs with potato chips, subs (made from cold meat pulled from the freezer), choice of chicken burger or breaded fish with potato wedges and green beans, and grilled cheese sandwiches with canned baked beans.
    *Decided not to make any baked goods to use in lunches for the summer, as I am the only one taking a lunch and we have lots of baked treats made in the various buildings most days. Saves time, energy, and it won’t heat the house up when our temperatures are soaring.
    *My brother went away to a friends cottage this weekend. So my mom pulled a loaf of banana bread from the freezer and made a batch of brownies for him to take. Since there will only be 2 people at the cottage, we sent 1/2 the brownies and kept the rest to eat here.
    *Made a large smoothie batch, using up some leftover thawed strawberries, a very ripe banana, leftover juice from canned pineapples and 2 individual containers of low calorie yoghurt blended with an immersion hand blender. Poured most into the empty Popsicle moulds and DD enjoyed the rest for breakfast. I love making this into Popsicle because DD feels like she is getting a special summer treat. In reality, it is super healthy for her! DD is allowed to eat these anytime throughout the day. She has even enjoyed them as a breakfast option. DD gave them to her friends, when they were looking for a snack. They really enjoyed them, too!
    *Made a batch of fried rice this weekend to use up some leftover rice (and threw in leftover green/yellow beans, too) with the intention of using it for my work lunches this coming week. Since there wasn’t an excess of rice, I went heavy on the mixed veggies and added 3 eggs for lots of protein. Hope DD doesn’t eat it all on me!
    *Finally planted the raspberry bushes a co-worker gave me in the garden. Hoping they root well and get established, so we can maybe start harvesting berries next year! Also picked spinach, radishes, and dandelion greens. I tasted the first ripe strawberry from our new plants. There are lots of blooms, but very few berries so far. Not surprising as it’s been an odd year for weather. Normally strawberry season is early to mid-June for us. Ontario strawberries just became available as of this past weekend.
    *Hubby took DD for a haircut, then took her to get her passport photo done afterwards. Her passport is due again. It is much easier to get a new one before the old one expires, than to renew it only when we need it.
    *Hubby & I had an unplanned date night, when an appointment fell through last minute. We went to an auction (almost bought a 2013 Mercedes Bens with only 13,000km, but a local car dealer had much deeper pockets than us), then had dinner for the first time at the new casino (everybody has raved about the food, but we found it just OK).
    *I attended a “staff appreciation” game night after work on day. I was talked into going, despite the fact it was pot luck and, since I hadn’t planned on going, had nothing to offer. I felt better when another co-worker was also snagged into staying, who had no food either. There was LOTS of food anyways. I did have a lot of fun in the end and was glad I stayed.
    *Hubby received a text from a former co-worker, again asking if he was looking for a job. This one spiked his interest and he met with the man. The job is working in a cafeteria for our local University (at the bible college and some residential student housing is there as well). He would be a supervisor, the pay he asked for was slightly above what he was working for, he would get the summer off as well as 2 1/2 weeks at Christmas and it has benefits! He is waiting for a formal offer, but it sounds like hubby is seriously considering this one.
    *Signed DD up for a 1 day teen felting course this summer. Only cost $36! Made arrangements for her respite worker to take her and support her while doing the course. We have funding that will cover the cost of the respite worker fees. DD is very excited to do the course.
    *Shopped at a charity garage sale and bought 3 brand new water bottles and 3 new wiper blades for our cars for $10. The water bottles were added to my gift stash. Including the wiper blades we bought last week, we now have replacement blades for both our vehicles, plus 1 spare for driver side on mine.
    *DD had a sleepover with 2 friends this weekend. We ordered pizza for dinner, then watched Dumbo for free on our android box while snacking on potato chips later in the evening. For breakfast, I made homemade bannock biscuits with scrambled eggs. When I found out 1 of her friends had allergies to soda (we had a bottle of root beer for them to drink), I whipped up pitchers of homemade lemonade (using bottled lemon juice) and homemade lemon iced tea to offer her, along with water, which we always have. All three girls enjoyed the drink options. We also took them to my work (pioneer village) for free, where they took part in a First Nations Kairo Blanket Exercise. They learned about Native history that is sadly not taught in our schools.

    I hope you all have a wonderful week. I look forward to reading all the inspiring comments as I get the chance to read them over the week!!!!

  28. Last week I worked at Vacation Bible School at my church. In return I got free snacks every day and two free lunches. I read Kindle books checked out from the library. My daughter got a free book at a book swap booth at the farmer’s market. I took a survey for them and got her a little toy radio which she loves even though the audio quality is terrible, LOL! Picked green onions and lettuce leaves from my garden. I don’t think my lettuce heads were meant to be cut and come again but that’s how I’m treating them and it’s working so far! My cilantro is all in bloom so I’ll be harvesting seeds for next year. All my plants were volunteers this year! I somehow missed the window for picking my peas so I let them go and will save the seeds for next year.

  29. A new photography website! What an exciting project. I am in awe of all you accomplish. Love, love the update on Winter. The lost and found sale sounds amazing. Kudos to her for advocating with the rental management company.

    • hung laundry out to dry
    • Made a tarte de soleil for a potluck going away party
    • Made two loaves of banana bread to use up bananas which were turning very quickly. Put one loaf in the freezer. Made risotto with zucchini and tomatoes, Ate cantaloupe with prosciutto – such a yummy summer meal.
    • Cleaned the sofa and love seat using my carpet cleaner, which I had purchased years ago as a refurbished model at a job lot store.
    • I had two separate coupons for $ off at Ace Hardware. The clerk allowed me to ring out in two transactions so I was able to use both coupons, saving me $12.
    • Replaced a shower head with a low flow version. I have no water bill since I’m on a well, but I’m hoping this will help bring down the cost of heating hot water.
    • Got a raincheck for a sale item that wasn’t in stock.
    • Had overnight house guests and for dinner I served: asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, olives, cheese & crackers (bought on sale), and a salad bar with mixed greens and poached chicken with lots of other add-ins. Made two types of salad dressing: balsamic vinaigrette and lemon vinaigrette. Cherries bought on sale for dessert with peppermint, chocolate chip brownies baked with candy canes purchased on a deep discount after Christmas.
    • My son installed a new over-the-range microwave oven for me saving me $150.
    • Went to four yard sales and found two items: a sturdy, folding aluminum table to go along side my grill and a Dr. Seuss book for a total of $5.25

  30. I am so glad Winter is doing so well. I do understand all the costs of starting up your own business. I used to be a Personal chef, went Private to cut some of the costs and then retired out as I was only breaking even..
    This month we started our IRA’s for our retirement. In 17 months Hubby will be filing for his SS. SO it’s tight year…. at that point the 2015 F350 Ford work truck that had just been in for maintenance must have heard us and decided to BREAK DOWN.Cost us $134 to get it towed as our 1998 Silverado can’t pull that nor would it fit on the small trailer as Friend thought his truck could pull it.Hubby didn’t sleep at all as he was to pick up an Amish family out of state. It worked out okay. They found a way to get home so we aren’t renting a vehicle to get them as you can’t fit 2 car seats and an adult in the back seat of my jeep compass. He also “lost” 4-5 other jobs since the dealership can’t even look at the truck until Friday or Monday let alone fix it…SIGH. Now focused on what can be paid and what I can shuffle until he gets working again. Just can’t afford to buy a back up truck right now.
    Our garden is not doing well. Even after compost the nitrogen and potash is extremely low. I have fertilized it as best as I can. Also we went from too much rain (causing shallow roots) to NONE for over a week. Hoping to get some this afternoon but it doesn’t look good for us. as today is the only day of possible “pop” up rain for the next 7 days.

    Stress is definitely triggering my Crohn’s then my brother (10 yrs older) was texting me about how sick he was and they thought he might have Crohn’s also after he spent a week in the bathroom before going to the doctor. Nope just the virus but he did ask me if I knew you could sit on the toilet and throw up in a trash can, his wife gave him a trash can (he’s 70 and she’s 46 the age of my oldest, been married 20 yrs ). Glad I was not talking to him on the phone as it would have been rude of Hubby and me cracking up laughing until we cried over that . Apparently he doesn’t get sick like that. Can’t wait to see sister in law and ask how that one went LOL.


  31. Hello!

    This week my biggest frugal accomplishment was to sand, prime & paint the trim around garage door. I was able to use all supplies that I had on hand, no out of pocket expense. I had to plan my weekend time around the weather, so I am pleased to mark this chore off my list. A fresh coat of paint always looks so nice!
    Otherwise just the usual thrifty habits; take all food to work, no eating out, no unnecessary spending, earn on Swagbucks. We have had quite a lot of rain so it has not been necessary to water the plants or lawn in my area.
    Thank you for your wonderful website Brandy and thank you to all who comment!

  32. My sister’s wedding was this weekend. It was out of town, so a bit costly. However, it was a perfect weekend and a beautiful wedding. It was also a great reminder of why I’m frugal most of the time – it allows me to enjoy these special moments without stressing about how to pay for it. I tried to keep some frugal habits throughout the weekend – like packing my own snacks and taking home the hotel toiletries.

    We just put one air conditioner in last night. We have window units, so we just put in the bedroom one. It’s been in the 90s here lately, so it was finally time. I can’t believe we made it to July 1st before we had to do it! Crazy! We haven’t put the other one in yet.

    I was $43.66 UNDER budget on groceries last month – which I’m sure was due to us eating so much from the garden – strawberries, blackberries, rhubarb, lettuce, radishes, etc. I’m trying to decide if I want to roll it over to stock up on more stuff this month or bank it.

    I froze some cherries I received from a friend.

    I used CVS extra care bucks to buy two bottles of shampoo for $1.12. I also used coupons to buy the special contact solution my husband uses for $6/2 – it’s normally $18/2. But he’s a carpenter and nothing else seems to get the grime off his contacts.

    I worked 2 extra hours last week.

    I continued to use Ibotta and FetchRewards. I think someone used my referral code that I shared on here again. If so, THANK YOU! I keep all those points all year and redeem for gift cards at Christmas time to offset the cost of all the extra cooking and baking during that time of the year.

    I made an oopsie and accidentally used my little measuring cup to mix some chemical for the garden instead of the cup we have designated for that. So now I’ll have to replace my little cup for food usage. It looks like it will cost me about $5. Not a huge deal, but it was totally avoidable!

  33. Hello everyone! This week is the first full week that school is out for the summer here, so I am putting together a list of free or very low cost summer fun ideas for my 13 year old son. My challenge is that I also have to take my Mom out, as she is no longer able to drive. Entertaining my 13 year old and my 83 year old mom at the same time can be quite a challenge!
    -We have some large expenses coming up soon (braces, trip to the east coast for a family wedding), so it’s time to buckle down the finances even more. I’m going to try to use up what I have and be creative.
    –Here are my frugal doings for the last week:
    -Before I went away for a few days, I prepped Hawaiian Roll (boaught at bakery outlet) sandwiches and snacks for the guys to keep them out of the fast food restaurants. They did still go to the grocery store once for dinner items. That drives me crazy, because we have a pantry and freezer full of food. Next time I will plan out meal options for them, too.
    -Picked up a free sweater at Macy’s using a Macy’s Cash Card that I earned when I spent my Christmas Gift card last month. It is a sweater that I can wear all year round here.
    -My son’s best friend spends the summers in Mexico where his Dad lives, so the boys had a fun no cost sleepover before he left. They built a giant cardboard box fort in the garage using cardboard that I have been collecting for a few months. It was great fun for them. I served them hot dogs and buns from the freezer and snacks from the pantry.
    -Did not find much at the thrift store this week. Things were really over priced and expensive!!!!!
    -Trying to spend the mornings baking. I made granola clusters for snacks (I use Brandy’s granola recipe, add a little more honey, press it into a pan and bake a little longer. When it cools, I break it into large chunks for snacking. I still get lots of little pieces that break off to use as toppings. I added chocolate chips.), also made homemade croutons with bread ends and brownies from a mix that needed be used up.
    -I’m really trying to work hard at lowering the electric bill, turning off lights and unplugging electronics. We don’t need air conditioning here, as there are ususally only a few weeks a year above 80 degrees, so that is one expense I am thankful that I don’t have.
    – Trying to work on sewing a little each day to keep up on making items for a local store and for craft shows this fall.
    -My husband found a free app that shows local trails for walking, hiking, biking. We found an amazing paved trail system 15 minutes from our house that we never knew was there! Free fun and exercise for us and the dog! We will bring our bikes next time.
    Thanks to everyone for the great ideas and inspiration! Have a great week!

    1. Susanmarie
      Was noting your comment about your 13 year old and mother. I had the same situation….and was laughing. My son was into cars “what kind of car” he was gonna buy when he grew up etc. at 13. So one summer (my mom was going thru chemo at the time and couldn’t stand the heat) we would go to car dealerships and I would test drive the cars, my son would sit in the front seat the salesman in the back. He would talk and my son would listen. My mom would go to the service center and they always had free coffee an usually a donut/danish. She would sit in the cool and tell them I was out test driving but she couldn’t sit in the car in the sun. To this day, and my son is grown we still talk about which cars we liked etc. I never did buy a new car BUT if I ever have to I already no which one I would purchase. Also if you have a Sams club membership my mom, son and myself would go to sams on the “food sample” days and walk around looking and trying new foods at no cost. Then usually if son was still hungry I would get him the cheap pizza deal for like 2.00. Just a thought for you all.

      1. Tha sounds like fun for a teenager! I remember going to a car show with my parents with I was 13. I loved the look of the Mazda Miata–until I sat in it! It was more like laying down. My dad told me to get in because I would be driving in a few years. I remember I was so surprised when he said I could!

  34. I haven’t posted here in several months but have been reading when I can. We have had staffing problems at my work. I had to cover for a coworker who unexpectedly went on a three week vacation, and then gave her notice when she returned. It’s a small office so the situation has been challenging. My boss has not found her replacement yet.

    I have been doing all my normal frugal things: cooking from home and using up items from the freezer, reading books I already owned or got from the library, reading blogs, using the internet for entertainment, making water kefir, exercising outside and at home, using my gym membership, mending clothing, etc. I sewed myself several clothing items, which is not necessarily frugal, but it keeps me sane and happy. The weather (Seattle area) has been mild with only a few hot days. This is the time of year when our electricity bills are the least expensive (we don’t have AC, but we do have a bunch of fans we run when it’s hot).

    Some friends from Europe passed through town last week. We hadn’t seen them in nine years, so it was great to catch up. We spent a couple of days together, and I cooked several meals for them. They don’t eat gluten due to health issues, so I made meals they could eat. They were so appreciative of this, as they had previously been staying with some friends who don’t cook. I also gave them a coupon for discounted admission to a museum they wanted to visit (they went on a day I had to work). They also treated us to dinner one night. We had a lot of fun.

    For the past two months, they have been painting the outside of our condo (there are 80 units here, so it took a while). The painters were very careful, but several of my plants accidentally got sprayed with paint. One of them was my bay plant, which is a major bummer, because I liked to use the bay leaves in cooking. I can’t get the paint off, so now the plant is just ornamental. On a more positive note, the painting is now finished, so yesterday I was able to pot the petunias I had purchased. Now our patio looks so cheery! I love sitting outside in the summer under our patio umbrella and reading.

    I have a week off from work mid-July. For years, I have I wanted to visit a local lavender festival, which is held in a town about three hours away from Seattle. Well, it turns out the festival is the same week I have off (yay!). My husband isn’t interested in going, so I’m going to go by myself. I found a reasonably priced hotel with breakfast, and plan on bringing food in a cooler and my Instant Pot so I can heat up things for dinner in my hotel room (I figure I will eat lunch out). I like traveling by myself and am looking forward to the trip!

    Hope everyone has a great week. Thank you, Brandy, for hosting this blog. And thanks to everyone who posts their comments. I enjoy reading them so much.

  35. Thank you for your book recommendation. I’m happy that my library has it available.

    We are in a month of transition as my husband started a new job and things are a bit hectic until he settles in. I made some changes last week to save us some money, including:

    – I canceled Amazon Prime as the $12.99 a month was not worth it to us. If I need to purchase something I will wait until I have enough items in my cart to qualify for free shipping.
    – I also canceled four other monthly subscriptions totaling $40 a month.
    – I started making my cold-brewed iced tea vs. buying premade iced tea.
    – I renewed my library card.
    – I unfollowed retailers and social media accounts that may tempt me to spend.
    – I sold two dresses online and listed a few more items as well. This is my first time trying to sell before donating. So far, I’ve made $75.
    – My mother gave me the bread machine that she doesn’t use for free, as I mentioned that I was going to purchase one.

    Have a great week, from beautiful, New Hampshire, USA!

    1. If you are going to the Sequim, WA Lavendar festival, you will have a wonderful time! It’s really nice, and the town is charming! A great side trip is Port Townsend, about 45 minutes southeast (I think) from Sequim. It’s a Victorian Seaport with lovely shops and beaches. We spend a lot of time in both Sequim and Port Townsend.

  36. Your desert scape looks very like where I grew up in the deserts of North Central Washington. Moisture was on the 10 inches per year side, but mostly in the form of snow in the winter.
    I brought breakfast and lunch to work all week.
    Picked strawberries, snow peas and lettuce. We are finally getting something from the garden other than herbs and green onions. Still awhile – probably a month or more, before we get tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and green beans. We have had strange weather. Hoping we don’t have an early September frost.
    I took my mother to an eye appointment on late Friday morning. I just decided to take the day off work, since I would miss about half of it anyway.
    Planted 55 basil plant that my neighbor gave me last week into a 4 x 8 raised bed.
    We planted our snow peas in a raised bed. My DH put heavy duty grid wire in the bed, so the peas can grow up it. We find that we can pick the peas by getting a metal folding chair, and sitting on it while we pick. Since we are in our mid to late 60s this is really helping with our backs. We find that if we do some things like this, we will be able to have our garden longer, and it is not so hard on our bodies. We have 15 tomato plants planted in 15 old garbage cans that we cut the bottoms out and filled with dirt. Our garden is on the back 1/2 acre of our property, so not visible from the road. I also have tomato plants in an old clothes dryer drum. My lettuce is in an old animal watering trough. Being creative in the method of planting is key as you get older, I believe.
    I made spaghetti sauce for dinner one night. My son was visiting from Seattle for the weekend, and that was the only thing he requested. I was happy to do it.
    I made homemade Italian salad dressing with a recipe I found for Good Seasons copycat Italian. My DH loved it. said it was better than the little packets, and much cheaper too.
    My son brought his little dog with him when he visited. Such a cutie. It’s a miniature Australian shepherd. I took him for a couple of walks, and he was very good on the leash.
    I washed our bedding, including the bedspread, and hung them on the line to dry. They smelled so good.
    I would say that I used fans instead of the air conditioning, but we don’t have air conditioning in our house, so we always use fans rather that air conditioning. 🙂 We have large, lovely trees that give our house ample shade. If we are too hot at night, we just sleep in the basement, where the temperature is cooler.
    Thanks for the update on Winter. I think I live across the border from the “tiny” town she visited, in an even tinier town. So tiny in fact, that we aren’t even legally a town.

    1. Nancy, they drove across to Spokane one night as it was raining and they had to change their plans!
      Downtown Las Vegas gets 4 inches of rain a year, but in my part of the valley, for the past several years, we’ve averaged closer to three. This year’s incredible rainfall has been SUCH a blessing to us!

      1. Close to Liberty Lake. They are an incorporated town. I live in Otis Orchards, which is just across the river, north of Liberty Lake. So if you are in CDA – its not tiny compared to where I live.

        1. Winter thought it was so small, so your area must be quite a tiny place, Nancy! I bet you have to drive a long way for groceries!

  37. It was a busy week but we did manage to save a little.

    When we needed to be away from home over meal times, we had picnics instead of going out to eat.

    We took frugal dishes to a family get together.

    We stayed one night with my mother in law in order to be able to take 2 sons to a chiropractor who is cheaper than the ones we have locally.

    I accepted clothing both for our family and to sell on eBay. I also attended a half price sale at Goodwill and bought items for our family and to sell. My mom drove, saving me money on gas.

    I accepted unwanted jam from my mom’s employer. It is several years old, but it’s fine.

    I organized and cleaned out our van and restocked it with all the “normal” things that we keep in there to save from having to buy things unnecessarily when we’re on the go. (I’ll have a post about what we keep in the van up first thing on 7/3)

    We’re going camping this weekend and we made a plan to use mostly food that we already have. The place where we’re camping is free.

  38. Winter is so smart, and I know where she got that from — her parents!
    I remember my daughter in college, turning off the lights, turning the a/c down (Up? Which is correct?) when they left for the day, and making sure unneeded things were unplugged in her apartment. Her roommates laughingly called her the Electricity Police. but she kept their bill lower.
    I pay most of my bills through my bank with no service charge, or online if there is no “convenience fee,” which is a term that irritates me.
    I will make another five gallon bucket of laundry detergent this weekend. I use the pre-flaked white Zote soap, which is much easier to use. Zote is inexpensive, too.
    I ordered another 4 pound tub of fish food for our goldfish pond. The per ounce price is hugely cheaper than buying the smaller containers.
    I batch cooked again this weekend, saving time and electricity.
    Happy Fourth to all here in the U.S.!

  39. Beautiful pictures, as always. I’m excited for your photography business and I’m sure it will do well, you take lovely photos! Also thanks for the update on Winter. I’m glad she discovered and contested that $63 charge!
    * We had a good week last week. We ate almost all meals at home. I enjoyed several free lunches at work (leftovers from large events). I made an effort to use up leftovers and avoid food waste at home. We used leftover breakfast sausage patties to make patty melt style sandwiches to take for lunch one day. I used leftover pinto beans (cooked in my instant pot) to make refried beans, combined with leftover breakfast potatoes, for baked chimichangas for dinner one evening. I have been using my crock pot and instant pot more often to avoid heating up the oven & the kitchen. Tonight we are having slow cooker bbq pulled pork (pork loin roast from our freezer stock, bought on sale at Costco) on Hawaiian rolls with corn on the cob bought 8/$1.
    * Summer heat is upon us, with highs in the low 90s. Typically we are in the upper 90s by now, so I’m not complaining. We have been keeping the blinds & drapes tightly closed, fans going, and the portable a/c units running in our living area & bedroom. Our central air has been running considerably less than usual, which should reduce our electric bill, not to mention reduce overall strain on that system. Our house seems to hold heat – it was 87 in our garage this morning at 8 AM – so anything I can do to cool things down really helps.
    * Looking for any advice on what to do about rodents. I love feeding birds, and have spotted rats on our back patio under the bird feeder recently. Our city has an ongoing rat problem, but this is the first time we’ve personally dealt with it. The squirrels spill the birdseed from the feeder, and that is what is attracting them. I removed the feeder (which I am heartbroken about, I love feeding and watching the birds), and cleaned the porch extensively to remove any seed. We blocked what I suspect is their hole. We have a lot of backyard wildlife and I cannot put out poison or anything that could potentially harm another animal or bird, so not sure what else we should try. My husband found RatX which claims to be nontoxic to any other creatures, so we may try that, but if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them! I’m hopeful I can figure out a way to put my feeder back up at some point.

    1. I live in the deep South, in a flat, swampy type town. We have thousands of starlings (at least I think that is what they are) at certain times of the year, and other birds. There are a lot of feral cats around here. They seem to seldom bother the birds, but they do keep the mice and rats under control. It is probably because of the huge mice population that they are not as interested in the birds. I admit, I encourage them to stay around my house by feeding them sometimes, because otherwise, I would be run over with mice. I do have an indoor cat, in case a mouse escapes from the feral cats. We have zero HOA’s (in fact, horses are ridden every weekend on our streets, and lots of folks have yard parties in their front yards with bbq, children running around, music blaring on holidays, including my next door neighbors) so I don’t know if you would have an HOA problem with an outside cat.

  40. Life has been very hectic the past few months, it feels good to be able to sit and read my favorite blogs for a while.
    * The busy season at work is finally over and it was rough. I am proud that I was able to make lunches and not run out to grab something at all. It required quite a bit of self-control.
    *Reese (son #2) came home and visited for three weeks. All he wanted to do was rest so I spent my time canning food from the garden for him to take back. I also packed up a large amount from my pantry that I had purchased on sale with coupons. He is frugal and appreciates it.
    This past week’s money-savers:
    *At Kroger, I got $.40 off of gas. I met my son Dustin at the gas station and we filled up both cars and the lawnmower gas cans.
    *Bill gave Scooter a haircut this weekend.
    *I am still going to the Amish to get fresh milk, eggs and produce but switched to every other week to save on gas.
    *Found bone-in turkey breasts on clearance half off at Dollar General Market and bought as many as would fit in my deep freezer. I used a $5 of $25 coupon to save even more money.
    *My biggest money saver has been eating from the garden and preserving the extras. It seems my garden is bigger than I expected.
    It’s good to be back.

  41. Brandy, best wishes of prosperity for your photography business! Thank you and Winter for passing on her accomplishments. I love to hear of my daughters’ generation living life well 🙂

    I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks or maybe more due to a strange issue with my left eye that came on suddenly. Over the course of 4 days I lost about 99% of the vision. So far I’ve been to an optician who said it was dry eyes and to use eye drops. Then the vision worsened and I found the only ophthalmologist (specialist) within a 2-hour drive and he said the optic nerve was inflamed. The good news is the vision should return to normal or close to normal eventually, but he wants to get a brain MRI to see what’s causing it. However, his office has not followed through with getting this set up, and our insurance also ended at the end of June due to losing our tax credits and it going up to over $1,000 per month for the premium for just my husband and myself. The deductible was $15,000 before they paid anything anyway so we dropped it and are looking for alternatives. So my focus (ha-ha) has been on just doing the minimum homekeeping I can do with half vision!

    We were pleased to end June having met all of our financial obligations. We have adjusted back to one income so hopefully we can now start to shift to sending some money to savings, even if just a little. If I get any further progress with investigating the eye issue, then we will have those bills to take care of, but worth it if I can have full vision returned!

    We have continued our usual frugal ways with using things up, wasting very little food, packing lunches and water, combining errands, and using the library. I have a meal plan for July and plan to do only 2-3 shopping trips this month, the first one being the biggest and the other 1-2 to fill in. Right now I am relying on my husband, mom or oldest daughter, who is home from college this summer, to drive me where I need to go so this will make me feel less like a burden.

    Our first garden is going as well as can probably be expected for new gardeners and with the strangely super wet season so far. We do get a few cherry and pear tomatoes from the garden each day and have harvested a few yellow squash. My in-laws, who live next to us, have gifted us with a few pounds of green beans and 3 very large and delicious cabbages. I am freezing the rest of the beans tomorrow and found a Dixie relish recipe in my Ball canning book to use up some of the cabbage. We’ve had quite a bit fresh and I’ve put some in jars with salt for fermenting, but we still have a lot left!

    I felt very blessed when I got the electric bill that is due in July that was for mid-May to mid-June and it was only $10 more than the previous bill, which was our low one for the season. Even with our 2 window AC units running, that one wasn’t too high. I’m thankful for the small blessings!

    1. One morning many years ago, my mom woke up without vision in her left eye. They found it was caused by a strep infection. She had several rounds of IV antibiotics, but the vision never returned. I pray yours does and they find the root of the issue quickly!

    2. I pray your eyes will return to normal Jenny R. I deal with dry eyes. Lately I have to stop sometimes during a trip to town just to put in eyedrops. I also have pressure in my eyes. Doctor is monitoring it. I’m praying I don’t get glaucoma.

  42. Brandy,
    It was so nice to hear how Winter is doing- I think we are all proud of her efforts and hard work.
    My husband made a wooden box from old cedar fence boards from my son’s new fence project and I potted it with flowers for my daughter’s yard.
    I asked my husband to make me 2 more of those boxes which I will use for Christmas gifts. Each year I fill a container with groceries for each of my adult children as their Christmas gift and I think this year they will enjoy getting their groceries in a handmade wooden box. Not having to purchase a container will mean I can spend a little extra on the grocery items.
    I found sets of 4 wash clothes at Target for $3.00. I added some stitching to both ends to dress them up and they will be Christmas gifts as well.
    We took our grandson to a community parade. They were handing out all sorts of goodies to the children such as candy, pencils and even .50 cent and one dollar coins. Our grandson ended up with $3, a pencil and lots of candy. It was a really fun day and the only cost was an ice cream cone for the grandson!
    I have been picking up my nieces from their summer camp program and taking them home which saves their parents time and gas. It is right next door to my work so it doesn’t take any extra time or gas for me. The bonus for me is getting to see my nieces more often.
    I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts this week.

  43. Brandy I am glad you were able to get some lovely outfits for yourself at a reasonable price and are able to pick vegetables from the gardens. Glad Winter is doing well at university.

    Last weeks savings added up to $813.34 :).

    In the gardens –
    – We added lime to 4 of the garden beds and watered it in.
    – Added fertiliser around the mandarin tree and watered it in.
    – We have now put up all of the galvanised pipe roof framework on our garden enclosure and wired on heavy duty chicken wire on the top ready for the shade cloth to go on. We figure by digging the post holes, putting the posts up and firming them in, attaching the pipe roof framework and heavy duty chicken wire we have saved ourselves so far $796.84 over hiring a handyman for 10 hours to do this for us.

    So far we have only spent $3.66 on building the 10 x 2.2 metre garden enclosure by using all recycled materials. We are chuffed with the results so far.

    Finances –
    – By being super frugal with our budget I managed to replace the funds I used to purchase this laptop :).
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $16.50 on usual prices.

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

    Hope everyone else had a wonderful week :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. The word “chuffed” hasn’t made it far into U.S. vocabulary, which I think is a shame. Friends from England use it, and it seems to add a sort of extra-large smile to being pleased with something.

      1. Heidi Louise you are so right it is a very English saying and my father was English so I think that is where I picked up the word from.

        Needless to say we are really happy with being able to construct things with minimal expenditure and the $2.66 was for tw0 secondhand pipe clamps we picked up at a garage sale and the other $1 was for netting clips we purchased to put on the chicken wire with for the roof.

        1. Most welcome Mary in SW AZ and next time you are excited about something you have achieved or something wonderful has happened to you, you can say you are chuffed too 🙂 .

          Sewingcreations15 (Lorna) .

    2. Lorna, I too was confused by the word “chuffed” and read it as the English word “cuffed” (as to box or smack someone’s ears). It sent me to the dictionary to figure out the meaning. I love learning new words from around the world. I am glad you are pleased and didn’t “smack” someone.
      Jeannie (from the deep south in the USA)@GetMeToTheCountry

      1. Jeannie I am glad you learnt a new word too there are so many words in the dictionary for many countries.

        I am too gentle to “smack” someone but are more able to be excited about something instead 🙂 .

        Have a great week :).


  44. I’ve not posted in a while but read each of your comments each week. My frugal accomplishments for the last several weeks included:
    *Attending a minor league baseball game with my DH; he received 2 free tickets from work. We did have to pay $5 for parking but was a beautiful night and very inexpensive date (we ate supper before we attended)
    *Received leftover food from a work function: bagels, fruit 1.5 gallons OJ!)
    *Paid $20 for a new dress plus earrings. The dress was a name-brand and originally $88!
    *Purchased a bakers dozen from Panera using a gift card.
    *Redeemed a free bowl of soup from Panera and I enjoyed it at lunch one day.
    *Given a free pint of blueberries at a local farmers market; they were trying to promote their “you pick them” farm
    *Had some produce that was going to be past its prime, so cooked it up and put in freezer
    *Washed and re-used ziplock bags as usual
    *Used alcohol for deoderant
    *Hiked with my kids for entertainment one day
    *Used a basket I had on hand and extra spices/sugar in my stash to create a “Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice” present for my mom’s birthday. She loved it and can use all the items.
    *Saved water to water plants
    *Made pesto from my basil using parmesan & walnuts (instead of pinenuts)—both purchased from Sam’s
    *Kept AC high to save on cooling costs.

  45. This week I was able to add $260.00 to our Emergency Fund. I found meat marked down at the store. You have to get there first thing all the frugal shoppers are looking too. Was gifted squash and Zucchini from the neighbor. The temperature has been pretty mild so no A/C yet. Was given a near new Kindle. Best of wishes to your Photography Business Brandi. My daughter is starting one also. Mostly horse photography, Senior Pictures and is trying to break into Real Estate photography. She is working full time and in college. This is her side hustle.

  46. Good luck on your photography business, Brandy! And thank you for the update on Winter! She seems to be doing well.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 4 times, trying to utilize garden produce. We had Cajun chicken pasta and tomato sauce; a zucchini & tomato frittata with sourdough toast; steak, baked potato and zucchini; and tostadas.
    • Hung 2 of 3 loads.
    • Worked 11 contract hours.
    • Hubby brought his lunch 2 out of 3 days. He had to get his tires rotated one day (free since we bought the tires at Costco), so had a cheap salad there that day.
    • Took a long weekend trip to Portland. Used airline points and a companion pass. Total cost of flights for the 2 of us was $22.40. Used free drink coupons on the flight. Stayed with my niece. Turned our AC to 82 degrees while we were gone.
    • Defrosted and inventoried my freezers.
    • Had Dad over for lunch instead of going out. We watched a movie we own while I did his laundry. We had leftover goulash out of the freezer.
    • Got a great deal on cereal (organic store brand similar to Reese’s Puffs.) I got 6 boxes for 39c each. Also got 6 boxes of chewy granola bars for 59c/box. I don’t eat cereal for breakfast, but I like a small bowl for dessert sometimes.
    • Found a penny.
    • Bought my daughter’s car that she was selling for my husband to use as a commuter car to keep the mileage off of his truck and save gas. She gave us a good deal, and we were able to sell our old commuter car to a friend. Win/win/win!

    Have a great week, everyone! Happy Independence Day!

    1. Laurie, where do you get all of your free tea and toiletries? Is it from traveling? I keep meaning to ask you.

      1. I work for a company that produces conferences. The tea is product that gets leftover from those. I get assorted other items occasionally from the conferences as well.

        As for the toiletries, I used to travel to all the conferences and would take all the toiletries out of the hotel room each day. Now I don’t travel so much, but my husband, daughter and son all do quite a bit of travelling for their jobs, so they always bring me back the toiletries from their rooms. It has become kind of a family joke, “Don’t forget to get Mom’s toiletries!” I also take tea, coffee and sweeteners out of the hotel rooms as well.

      2. Brandy, do you drink tea, or just tisanes? If you drink tea, I’d love to send you some. I have a friend who works for a high-end supplier and she keeps me well stocked! I was under the (possibly mistaken) impression that you didn’t consume caffeine, but if you do drink caffeinated tea, I can easily send you some!

        1. Just tisanes! I was just curious as Laurie always has free tea!

          I grew up drinking tea all the time, but part of my faith asks that we don’t drink tea or coffee (neither decaf nor regular) but tisanes (called herbal teas in the U.S.) and hot chocolate are fine. And I eat chocolate 🙂

  47. Hello to all! First, Brandy, my daughter and I are fascinated by how talented Winter is and study her clothes intently as they are much the style my daughter loves…especially the overalls. Wishing her all the best as she journeys forth. All of my children have spread their wings, though two are still in college and one is home for a while having just graduated college and having to do an unpaid internship. I was concerned about how much the water bill would go up since he came home, but it has been only $20 for two months. Having nine kids at one time, we had the largest bill in our town (so the lady told me). Our town has the most expensive water for miles around.? This week I took two old (at least 20years of being beat up by six boys) dressers and filled in all the knocks and cuts (apparently at some time or another they sawed into the edge of the top in several places pretty deep?), shaded them and painted them a deep gray. The drawers will stay the natural color. I saw this at a vintage show and loved it! I looked for knobs in m husband’s knob bin, but I needed 24 of them. Went to Menards and Hobby Lobby…the cheapest I found was $2.00 a knob. I went on Amazon and found 25 for $16.99…glass ones that look perfect! The dressers look awesome and certainly cost far less than any replacement I could find, they are solid wood, and using what we have. First project like this ever, but I am motivated now as we have a lot of well-loved furniture that needs help. Traveled to see hubby and brought a cooler with sandwiches, water and grapes, so didn’t stop to get food. It is a 12 hour drive from our house to where he is assigned for a year (only three months left) and I drove it in one sitting (and could actually get out of the car without walking bent over due to all the walking and garden work I have been doing). Tomorrow we will be enjoying the 4th of July festivities (all free) in Washington DC, including the free tickets he got for our president’s speech! He was also offered free tickets, courtesy of the staff where he has stayed all these months and the cast of Hello Dolly to see the musical at the Kennedy Center. I brought my versatile black dress and shoes…not buying anything new. We are then heading up to our family vacation on the coast with seven of the nine kids coming in for it. We will be stopping at Costco on the way up for food, toilet paper and detergent. Much cheaper than eating out and we have a washer/dryer at the house we rent. We have a couple of places we eat…one is a place that provides the seafood for many of the restaurants, but it is cheaper if you buy it at the dockside and eat on their picnic benches. Looking forward to extended time with hubby and seeing the kids. Picked from the garden (which will be covered in weeds when I get back…again). So blessed!

  48. Last minute I found out that, while my mother in law would still be hosting July 4 festivities, she would no longer be able to cook and needed me to take over. We usually split the cooking 50/50. This wasn’t really in the budget for us, so I got a little creative. I gave myself $35 to spend and ended up, between my shopping trip and pantry, making meatballs, bacon jalepeno dip, black bean and corn salsa, rice krispie treats, a fruit tart, watermelon, and caprese salad (blessed by my garden). I was fairly impressed with myself, ha! This will serve 10+ people. This morning I will finish what I wasnt able to make ahead and we will pack it all up and head to her pool for a fun independence day!

    This week, we stayed home, aside from one trip to the river to cool off, and another trip to the library. Since I am home most of this month with the kids, I intend to make $25 worth of gas last the whole month. This will really help pad our savings for back to school expenses in August, as we typically budget 250 for my husband and I. He will likely still be spending around 120 for gas, so we are hoping for a savings of appx. $100.

    Our grocery budget is about $500 a month. Being home, I am cooking so much from scratch that I am easily on track to spend less than $400. We are using that savings as a means to offset a repair that had to be done to my husband’s chainsaw. A tree fell across our driveway, and my husband elected to remove it himself instead of calling out for service. But, the chainsaw had to be repaired to the tune of $100. Still cheaper than a tree service! Normally we would put out an ad on craigslist offering free firewood to whomever wanted to chop it up and haul it away, but this tree was quite rotten and good for little.

    I have been struggling with possibly taking a different job. I would be back to work full time, but would have a liberal leave package, an early retirement benefit (I could retire 6 years earlier than my current position), as well as increased pay. The only benefit to my current position is the schedule- I get summers and weeks at Christmas off. I have been praying and grappling with this choice for a week now. I have 4 days left to make my decision. I’m not sure what to do.

    Our garden is producing with abundance now. I’m so thankful I planted some, even if not a whole garden like we usually do. The 16 tomato plants that are alive are producing quite well. Theres really nothing that compares to a homegrown tomato! On salads, homemade sauce, on pizza, blts(!), you just can’t beat it. It makes the summer heat somewhat worth it. Maybe. Ha!

  49. I love the landscape. It’s so different from where I live (which I love also), but so pretty in a different way.

    Since Winter started her school in April, does she just keep going year-round from April to April? Or will she get a “summer” vacation whenever it rolls around? Like in September? Just curious! I’m glad she’s doing well.

    I spent a lot of energy this week working with the kids. We are keeping my nephew off electronics when he is here during the weekdays in the summer. This takes more planning and time and energy from me, but I totally get what his mama is wanting, and I’m all for it. We are setting some activities for the afternoons. Today’s was making cupcakes for 4th of July/Grandma’s birthday. We did a library program last Wednesday. I took him to a garden center and let him wander for as long as he wanted, choosing the best (small) flower there was for his mama. We’ve had board game times. I’ve read and read and read. I’m having no trouble finding inexpensive activities to do with him, it just takes planning.

    I got some extra hours in June, which will translate into a rare, slightly larger, paycheck this next time. That’s good, because the other thing I’ve been doing is stocking the pantry back up. Quite a few areas were getting low since I’ve been using so much from there these past few months. So far, we’ve done a couple of stores, and a big shopping trip at Costco, and ordered from Azure Standard. Of course, I’ve got the best things at each place where they are the most reasonable. It’s a lot of work, though, and I’ll be glad to be back to just buying a few things now and then when needed, and since the garden is starting to produce, that will help a lot during the summer months.

    We adopted a dog from the pound. We’ve been looking for over 6 months for the right dog. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com
    You could have a vet check for free, so I went and did that yesterday. I chose a vet from the list they provided that was extremely close to my house, so I didn’t have to travel far. I did pay for a heart worm test and some medicine to keep her parasite free and flea free. We expect to have some expenses for a dog, obviously, but we were delighted that we were able to only pay $20 at the pound for her, since she had almost reached her time limit to stay on there. She was one of the dogs we had seen on the internet, we just thought that was a typo because it was so inexpensive, but it wasn’t. She is working out very well so far.

    I made lentil taco filling. We ate that for one meal, and I took some to a friend who wanted a vegetarian meal. We really like it. It is one of the few vegetarian meals my husband, the meat and used to be potato, guy likes.

    My husband’s weight is continuing to drop, thank goodness. He was plateaued for a couple of months, and it was getting discouraging for him.

    1. Winter’s school has 3 semesters plus a summer term which is basically a half-term. Students are assigned two of the three semesters and anyone can go during summer term. On the off semester, they are supposed to take classes online through the school. She will stay there and work during her off semester and take her online classes there.

      My husband and I both went to college year-round, and we know how much fun that can be, so we’re happy that she can do the same!

      We’ll see her at Christmas.

    2. Becky- Today we tried the white cheddar popcorn you shared a few weeks ago. My kids and I love it! Popcorn is a staple here at our house — every few years we get a 50 pound bag at Sam’s Club. And I only had to purchase the buttermilk powder. Nutritional Yeast flakes is a pantry staple. We put it on oatmeal, spaghetti, popcorn, salad, and cooked veggies.

  50. Not a frugal week in some ways, husband had shoulder surgery and will be out of work 6+ weeks.
    On the positive side:
    – negotiated a small break on school tuition
    – had a $10 birthday celebration. Made cupcakes and met friends at neighborhood pool
    – carpooled to camps
    – figured out carpool for teen retreat next week
    – was able to pull 1/2 the needed school supplies for my middle schooler out of office supplies from late mother
    – made a zero cost album for my dad with photos from the funeral
    – mom’s extensive yarn stash went to my girl scout troop for a scarf knitting project this fall, making prayer shawls for the hospital, a friend who knits baby items for colleagues, and a yarn swap at local library
    – her fleece stash is going to be for a scarf fundraiser for my scouts
    – collected used shoes for a church youth group fundraiser, hoping it will save $50 for youth conference costs
    – gathered random painting supplies for a scout event
    – working on rebooting blog for extra revenue

    1. I’m sorry for your loss, Robbie. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of a yarn stash, I can attest how nice it is. I always feel like that person’s spirit goes with the item that’s made. Be kind to yourself.

  51. Greetings!
    It’s nice to hear about Winter and her money-saving ways. I’m totally impressed! And, I love the picture of you and your husband! It’s just a lovely, lovely photograph. You both look very comfortable with each other.
    A friend gifted us many lemons and several yellow squash. I made a large jug of lemonade and froze the rest of the juice for later. I shredded the squash and have made two batches of zucchini brownies with it.
    Our basement walls should be painted every year for mold and mildew. It’s been three years. It seems I always miss the window where it’s not too rainy but before the frost. This year, I got it done! I still have a second coat to do. The only expense was a new brush. So happy with it!
    Mangy bananas were used to make choc./choc. chip banana muffins.
    I’m still doing the usual; line drying clothes, saving shower water, walking with friends and exercising at home. My Dr. appointment was good. It’s official, i’m ‘normal’. And, the visit was covered. Not sure about the bloodwork but it had to be done.
    Have a fabulous week!

  52. Hi Brandy,

    Your new photo business sounds wonderful! I’m not sure it would be worth the hassle for you to try to sell in Canada — two different jurisdictions, sets of laws, and then provincial rules etc. It might not be such a problem but I don’t really know. I think your absolute forte is portraiture! and more specifically your action shots of children just cannot be surpassed! (although your other photos are superb to0.). There should be a market for your portraits. I think that everyone now thinks he/she isa photographer because of smart phones so the key would be to find a niche where people think “Oh I can’t do that, I Like it and I will buy it”. It sounds as if you have all the bases covered. It is such a pain to have to pay a fee for photographing in specific places. Here it applies to national parks if you are a professional photographer.

    I tried to be frugal and planted a lot of red nasturtium seeds in the pots. Not one seed came up! I have a different package that I will plant in case we have a late fall.

    I am thinking of going to a free bird photography talk tomorrow.

    I did a lot of duolingo but am going to cut back because my arm hurts too much afterwards.

    I made my second last trip to the archives yesterday. I will go next week on one day.

    As mentioned in my reply to Tammy, we had a couple of non-rainy days that I totally did nothing during except watch. for the hummingbird (yes I have one) — no photos but I got lovely butterfly photos. They were all staying high up in the trees — my fruit trees did not bloom this year and normally the butterflies would land on the flowers. Finally, a day arrived when they all came down to my level. There is a trick to butterfly photos and that is to hold your camera on the same plane as the butterfly —so if the butterfly is perched so it’s head is higher than its tail, you tilt the camera so it is on the same angle. I couldn’t do this but still got lovely photos and with my telephoto lens.

    Soon I will go to a friend’s house where he has less skittish hummingbirds. I hope to get my hoped-for photo of a male ruby-throated.

    I went to the market last week and was lucky that there was asparagus on the day after the last day. I have been enjoying that as well as some lovely spinach and beans.

    It is really rainy here but it is the kind of weather that birds get grounded until the storm front passes so I’m hoping for some lucky sightings!


    1. Seventy-five percent of the state of Nevada is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. To take photos in those locations requires 30 days advance notice, a million dollar liability insurance policy, meeting ahead of time with a ranger before each and every shoot and going over specific locations where I will shoot (about 3 hours of driving there, meeting with them, and driving home on a day other than the shoot), and a $250 per shoot permit. Other land is state park land, and the time commitment and requirements (meeting with a ranger ahead of time) are the same but it’s $50 per shoot. Other places are $50 an hour or a shoot and insurance is always required. Each place requires specific verbage on your insurance policy. So I have hours of my time to have compensated in addition to the permit fee and my time for the shoot.

      1. Wow – that is a lot of time, effort, and $$ involved! Is it possible you could take some portraits in your own garden? Or plan for next year to plant parts of your garden with flowers that would make a backdrop that you want? Your yard is so beautiful already. I had very expensive senior high school portraits taken at a well-known studio in the major city where I live. The studio is based in a historic house and has the yard next door planted with a few different areas of different heights of flowers/grasses, etc specifically to take photos in front of. All photos are taken outside; in case of rain, the shoot is rescheduled. Nobody enters the actual building. The 2 city lots together are much smaller than your yard and likely smaller than the area you already have planted as a garden..

        1. I do not plan to take photos in my garden for other people at this time. Perhaps in the future if the garden grows as it should. It is no being very cooperative this year . . .

      2. Brandy,
        That is incredible and onerous to shoot on the BLM lands. I cannot believe it’s $250 per shoot and you have to meet ahead of time with a ranger to discuss where you are going to shoot.

        I do think your most profitable market will be “action shots” or portraits of other people’s kids. It is what people will want to spend money for.

        I did go to the free bird photography talk today. It turned out to be very little talk but an enjoyable visual presentation of owl photos. I picked up a few very minor things I needed. I realize I can transfer photos from the expensive xqd card to a cheap sd card, thereby freeing up the xqd card. I had bought an xqd card when I bought the camera but hadn’t used it as I didn’t have a reader for it. So today I didn’t have to spend $129.00 for a new card. I just paid $20 for the reader. An xqd card has a very fast buffer speed so it will come in handy for hummingbird photos. I noted that the used consignment counter had the lens I would really like. I had it once but it mysteriously disappeared in the mountains one day. I never claimed for it on my insurance. The used one is more than i’d like to pay for it. I have a rider on my insurance policy for my camera equipment which insures for damage, destruction, loss and theft worldwide of my camera equipment. It does not increase the premium for my other insurance. And it had no deductible. When I accidentally broke my telephoto lens a year or so ago it was totally covered.

        At the talk today, the speaker will selling some magnificent prints. He did the framing himself and the printing on an Epson printer. The price was quite steep. He only sold a few. Ann

  53. Brandy, good heavens! How will you ever make money when you have to pay all of that before you take pictures?
    Are you allowed to shoot in your own yard without all of that expenditure?
    I am just gob smacked by this information.
    Girl…move to Texas. *laughing*
    And just for your information I have said for years that I would buy many of the photographs you have posted on this page.
    Thank you for all you do.
    Becky in Texas

    1. Any self-employed person deals with this. You have to have business licenses, pay taxes, and there are all kinds of costs to do business. Just something to think about the next time you ask a self-employed person to discount their work or services . . .

      1. Well-said. We are also self-employed and enjoy your blog extra-much because you understand all of these issues, as well as understanding having (greatly) fluctuating income. Like you, we have had months this year with no income at all. And like you, we save for those months during months when we do have income.
        So often people say about some business cost or other — “Doesn’t your employer just reimburse you? That’s pocket change to them?” No, every cost of the business is a cost to us., and every dollar matters.
        I applaud you for charging for all of your time. Since we are in a service industry, people I have never met and don’t know often call with “just a quick question.” I am dumbfounded that they do this. If I answer, it incurs liability to me. My ability to answer their question is based on years of $$ invested into education (which wasn’t quick at all) and ongoing large costs for a license to answer then as well as other overhead costs, like expensive insurance. Would these same people go into a grocery store and expect to get “just a few groceries” for free?
        You are so talented, no doubt you will be successful. I found that it took about 5 years to make substantial income off the new business, but did earn some profit even during the start-up time.
        I would also be glad to purchase a collection of note cards featuring your flower or nature pictures. I love to buy cards like this perfect for all occasions. I find doing so cuts down on space to store cards as I don’t need all the different event-specific cards and simplifies my life.

      2. Yes to this! Thank you for sharing this in a respectful and polite way. My family is self-employed. When we first started I was shocked at the cost. Just like a household has items to budget a business has items to budget and I wish the general public had common knowledge of basic business costs. May God Bless your business abundantly!

      3. I’ve been self-employed for years. I sew for a living.
        I agree with all you said…especially about asking for discounts. *laughing*
        Perhaps it is because I live in a small village, but my daughter (a photographer and self-employed) can go almost anywhere to take pictures without paying. She has taken pictures in Fort Worth and Dallas with no charges. All she had to do was ask. Perhaps we need to look into this more.
        There are so many things you have to pay for when setting up a business. It just seems that (I was going to say nickle and dime) they now fee you to death.
        It’s a wonder any of us still start businesses.

        1. A lot of small businesses fail. Just the expense of staying in business is huge.

          My husband is required by law to have a physical office, but he works from home most days and all of his agents work from home. He meets clients in their homes. If the law didn’t require him to have an office elsewhere, we could save the cost of rent every month. That would be wonderful.

          Even in the city here, a lot of places charge for photos. There is a shopping center in town where people like to take photos. A lot of people take photos there without finding out about the permit ($50 a shoot). You can get banned from the hotels downtown if you don’t have permission to shoot there. Shotting at the strip is pretty much a probelm unless you’re the official wedding photographer at a wedding there. There is a dry lake bed where tons of people shoot–but it’s owned by a city (Boulder City) AND is BLM land. They are coming down hard on photographers for shooting there without a permit. Lots of people tell me about shooting here in the conservation area without permits. They think you don’t need permits because there’s not an entrance fee, and they mistakenly think they don’t need permits where there is an entrance fee because they’ve paid the entrance fee. It’s not the case, however, and there are people whose 9-5 job is is to find photos posted online without permits and fine those people. The most recent one I heard was a $1600 fine. People think they can take photos anywhere, but you should always find out and get permission. Just yesterday I saw an ad from a local photographer advertising photos at Mt. Charleston. That is National Forest land. In a local group that I belong to, a photographer shared the screenshot of the email she received from the person in charge there. They said that permits are required to take photos there, and at this time they are NOT issuing permits. That means it’s illegal to shoot there. But people are still advertising shoots there. I’m not going to get fined and/or risk losing my license because I didn’t play by the rules. Photographers need to make sure who owns the land where they are taking photos and make sure they have permits. There is no unowned land. Some places will give permission for free, but require advance notice and insurance waivers. I’m sure the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth require business licenses as well as the state license. Permits and charges change all the time, too. The Wetlands in Henderson used to be free, but now it’s $50 a shoot and you need to have them mentioned on your insurance. Even the city parks here require each park where you intend to shoot to be listed by name on your insurance. Not everyone does it, but it’s still the law.

          1. I was telling my husband about all of the fees required for taking pictures that you listed. He was shocked by the prices. Jake asked me how anyone would know you were taking pictures. I said first and foremost you would know. Then I did explain to him that, in this day and age, there were people hired to find out who was taking pictures. Like you…I don’t want to pay a fine for not taking care of business.
            I have said for years that I would buy some of your photographs. I have wanted some of your “flower pictures”. You take such beautiful pictures of your garden.
            I have a purple bedroom and have wanted some of your pink roses pictures clustered on a wall in there. I think it would be gorgeous.
            If you had an Etsy store I would even buy some of your roses and other flower/plant pictures and print them myself. I know it isn’t an optimum idea, but I would sure do it.
            Let us know when you are ready to sell your art. I think there is a long line of us just waiting for you.

            1. Red Rock Conservancy and BLM are pretty diligent about searching people out and fining them. It’s people’s 9-5 job to do it, and since the fines are so high, I’m sure it’s profitable for them. Unless people look at the map, they might not realize how much land is part of the Red Rock Conservancy. A lot of people, including photographers, think they just need a permit for the paid entrance part of Red Rock. But that’s not the rule. I would rather pay the permit fees than get busted, and since so many local photographers have been sharing online in the local group about getting fined, I think it would be risky.

              Thanks for letting me know about the flower prints. Right now my focus is going to be taking photos of people locally, but if I can figure out some things for people to order for prints, I’ll do that, too!

    2. I still have to have business licenses, pay taxes, etc. All of that is required. It’s required in your state, too. Check out your state, county, and city rules for businesses.

  54. I haven’t posted in a little while – kind of got away from keeping track of my frugal habits. Not sure why, but I am back with things now.
    I did more research in terms of my tooth (well it’s two teeth, but have been only focusing on one for the moment) root canal vs extraction and implant. I have decided to go with the root canal – it is less expensive. The endodontist was also willing to give me one dose of a medication to help with my dental anxiety so I should be able tolerate the procedure more easily. Still not looking forward to it, but I will deal 🙂
    I have still been trying to walk for exercise but have had to change the time from lunch to earlier in my work day. It’s been hot and humid in New England (mid 90’s) – I know that’s nothing compared to Brandy’s climate! The exercise is free and I am occasionally able to convince a co-worker to join me for a chance to socialize a bit as we walk.
    Happy Frugaling everyone ! Thanks Brandy for everything you do !

      1. Wow! I didnt think it ever got that hot there? I wonder what that’s like for them?

      2. I talked to my daughter in Anchorage yesterday. This is the first time ever that Anchorage has reached 90 degrees! And she said the smoke from the wild fires is really affecting air quality. I definitely believe in climate change!

    1. Joyce,
      Ask the dentist if they will lay the lead apron on you during your procedure they usually use during x-rays. Sometimes, the weight can be very calming. If this won’t work for you, then don’t do it. I would also recommend using a portable device to listen to whatever would be pleasant and calming for you. Or, you can take your own comforting blanket. Good luck!

  55. Everyone is mentioning landscape photos for your business, but, personally, I would prefer notecards, or such, with pictures of old fashioned kitchen implements on them. No cost to photograph those. Just a thought.

    1. I have some of those and it would be nice to offer those. WHat would you think of ordering prints of those rather than notecards? At this time I can offer prints for certain to readers in the U.S.

      1. I would probably but a couple smaller 5 x 7 or 4 x 6 prints of those. I would put them in the kitchen and there is only so much room available on the walls.

      2. Brandy,
        I would consider getting some of those as recipe cards … to add to a gift or use at a shower.

      3. Just a thought, Brandy…how about locating blank cards that allow you to put a picture in a “frame” on the front?

        Did you feel the earthquake?

      4. Prints are good. Just be sure to offer in the standard frame sizes. And link from this site, maybe feature each week a photo to top your blog and then note that it’s for sale.

      5. Brandy, I think you should offer whatever you can from you photography at the moment and let people chose if they want to order. Any sales will help offset the start up costs. It will also give you an idea of what types of photos your market audience likes. As you are able, you can offer more product lines for people to order, when you are prepared to do so.

  56. I cannot believe the baby is walking!
    I did a pantry and freezer inventory this week and was pleased to note that we technically could survive for about three months start to finish, three meals a day, though we’d want lettuce and eggs and cheese. Still, it’s lovely to have the assurance of a pantry and to know where stocking up may be increased to be of even greater value.

    Found two vinyl wicker chairs roadside. They’d been painted flat black and the paint was not the sort that adheres to vinyl. A s well the vinyl wicker is a bit brittle but nothing that can’t be better controlled once in use indoors. One was a rocker, which will be going to my daughter’s nursery and one just a regular chair. I’ll be putting that in my sitting area in the kitchen neat the big windows. I have chosen a pale pink paint for it, and almost have the one chair stripped of paint.

    I did a lot of small organization jobs this past week and will tackle more this week. I find that I have created a little more space with each task and that is most appreciated in my smaller home.

  57. Hi Brandi, Just wanted you to know I had trouble getting to your blog. I had to type in Prudent Homemaker French Bread Recipe and then hit the home button to get to your site. I read your frugal accomplishments every week. You are so inspiring and such an encouragement to me. I wouldn’t miss your post for anything. I also enjoy everyone’s comments. Thanks for all that you do to make the struggles we all encounter a little easier to bear and all the things that you do to make this life a little more beautiful which inspires us to do the same.
    MJ in South Carolina

    1. So when my site was moved over to the new platform it wasn’t crawled by Google. I have to figure out how to get Google to do that.

      But there is no www in the address like there used to be, years ago. So if you just type theprudenthomemaker.com it should come up for you. You cal also try subscribing. I moved to the new platform in hopes that emails would finally work for everyone. They are working for most everyone now.

      1. Clearing the computer’s cache or browser history might clear up google searches that get stuck. On my computer, it means clicking three vertical dots at the top right of the screen, finding history, and then clearing browsing history.

        Brandy, When you consider formats for selling your photos, don’t forget bookmarks! Perhaps self-stick laminate or clear ConTact paper over the photo on the front, if it needs to be protected or is on thin paper, and a blank back that someone can write a message on if using it for a gift.

    2. Martha,

      Have you tried adding it to your favorites? You could then just select it every time you want to visit.

  58. Hi Ladies! It was my best friend/father figure’s birthday, and since he has everything he wants and needs and is housebound due to health issues, I bought him a lemon meringue pie from Nation’s (his favorite) instead of a gift card for a treat he would have trouble redeeming. He was delighted with the pie and declared he would be ripping into it that evening. For our visit, I made Pillsbury cinnamon rolls–when fresh from the oven, they’re delicious; for me, they’re the right size, have the perfect amount of cinnamon and glaze. I can also afford them a lot better than Cinnabon! We had a great visit and enjoyed each other’s company–friendship is free and priceless!

    *I was feeling pretty hagged out lately due to fatigue and stress, so I did some beauty treatments at home. I did my hair extra pale blonde using Feria hair color, which really does make your hair shimmer as advertised! I finally polished my toes with a lovely shade of rose gold, gave myself some facials, and am making a habit of using body lotion at least every other day to keep soft and silky. Since I was still rather pale, I brightened up with extra mascara, and a brighter lipstick. It did perk me up and lift my spirits, and I was happy to please my husband and indulge in some fun flirting with him. 🙂

    *My husband and I broke in the new canvas camping wagon by using it for our trip to the local lake. It made the trip quite a lot easier, and we were both really happy with it! Since we don’t have the means to travel, we plan on doing lots of trips to the lakes and going on day trips for picnics. We took a McDonald’s lunch for ten bucks, and admission to the lake was only 7 dollars for the two of us. Much cheaper than Sandals Resort, and we sill had a lovely day! It was a great afternoon of sun, relaxation, reading, and refreshing dips in the cold lake.

    *During my breaks, commute, and down time at home, I enjoyed the two books I bought from the library for a dollar. One is a thick book by Dean Koontz that should last me a few weeks and is quite enjoyable so far, and the other is by Mary Jane Clark. I like her stories, and she’s a much better writer than a lot of the current and popular authors out there at the moment, but she really does need to spice it up!

    *I cooked a bit more from scratch this week, and tried to buy as much organic as possible that I could afford, to see if it can give my energy a badly needed boost. I noticed the chicken and the ground beef was much tastier, and was very pleased with how they worked in my recipes. The burgers were so good I enjoyed them just as much as In-N-Out! I also made homemade tomato soup, half of which I froze, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I also made brownies from mix for my desserts at work. Because my husband doesn’t eat them as much, I froze 5 pieces for another week when I might be too busy.

    *We did have Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake pizza at the end of my busiest week of the month (we get take out only once a month, and I save it for the week I feel like a workhorse that’s ready to collapse. I also make sure to extra frugalize the grocery list that week to make room for the treat.) It was delicious, and I love the way it makes the house smell as it bakes! It’s much more affordable than Round Table, and I did the survey online afterwards to rate their service and product. Since I love the pizza, the store is sparkling, and they have really decent, friendly kids who do a great job, I gave them five gold stars to let them know how much I appreciate them making my life easier and helping people enjoy Pizza Night on a tight budget. For doing the survey, I now have a 3 dollar off coupon for the next family size pizza I order, which will probably be in August.

  59. Oh and I love the photo of the baby! Hard (for us, not you I’m sure) to believe he’s walking! Ann

  60. Dear Brandy, could you sell some kind of gift cards/certificates/vouchers etc for your products/services on your photography web page? It would be a good way for us, your supporters, to spread the word about your site and services (by gifting a gift card and therefore making people visit it and buy from there :))

    1. Thank you for the suggestion. At this time, I am not offering gift cards, but I do have a couple of giveaways that I have announced/will be announcing on my photography website’s Facebook page that you can share if you know people in Las Vegas. I am giving away two free engagement sessions and photography for one wedding!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.