June Cucumbers The Prudent Homemaker

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Ten years ago, I sat at my computer and started creating this website. My plan was to create menus and recipes for those who were living, like us, from their food storage and garden. At the time, we had been living on our food storage for over a year. I had a newborn baby, my fifth child, and my eldest was eight years old. 

At the time, I didn’t want a blog. I wanted something easily searchable, with static pages (static blog pages weren’t a thing then, at least not on the blogs I read).

I wanted to encourage those who were struggling to put food on the table.

Over time, I shared fewer recipes and more of our day to day efforts to save money. The recession has been a long one and the recovery hasn’t felt like a recovery to many.

I have so many things I want to share with you! My family’s needs have to come first, so many plans and ideas have sat, unfinished, on the backside of my website, waiting for the chance I have to share them with you. I truly hope that this year I can find a way to share them with you, along with the projects that I hope to make and share. Be sure to check in often throughout the month; I will be sharing as many posts with you as possible!

Now for this past week’s efforts to save money:

I said yes to the offer of cucumbers and green beans from a friend’s garden abundance. She brought over a few tomatoes from her garden as well. She grows inside of a cooled greenhouse that is cooled with a swamp cooler, so she has the humidity and cooler temperatures that my garden lacks. Her entire garden is watered (and cooled) with grey water and the swamp cooler is powered by solar and wind power (as is the rest of their house).

I mended a hole in two pairs of shorts (one for my son and one for my husband). I turned three pairs of the girls’ jeans into jean shorts.

I hemmed two pairs of pants for my husband. It was my first time cuffing pants. I was a bit nervous about it, but I watched a video on YouTube a couple of times with instructions and then I cuffed both pairs. 

We harvested tomatoes, blackberries, and chives from the garden.

I transplanted a few zinnia plants and a basil plant which had all self-seeded in the grass into the garden.

I transplanted a tomato plant which had self-seeded at the edge of the garden into another spot in the garden where it will have room to grow.

My girls watched a movie on YouTube. 

I signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime. We’ll use it for the month (and then I’ll cancel) to watch some things we haven’t seen before. It’s too hot to play outside during the day (107°F/42°C is the average high, with the lows at 79°F/26°C around 5 a.m. ) so the children watch more tv during the summer. I found several things, including several Amazon original series, for them to watch.

My husband and I had a date night at home playing Rummikub and Sequence.

I accepted two used Cuisinart ice cream freezer bowls. Now I can have several bowls cold and ready in the freezer at a time!

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 gift card to Chili’s. My husband and I will use it on our anniversary next week for a lunch date.

I saved warm-up water from the shower and used it to water potted plants in the garden.


What did you do save money this past week? If you’ve never shared before but you read each week, I’d especially love it if you shared one thing you did this past week to save money, no matter how routine it is!


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  1. Congratulations on your blog and wedding anniversary. I am so blessed to have found your site a few years ago. I love it and the comments that are found here. I have shared your blog site info to many friends and hope that they are reading also. I am not near as frugal as some of your readers but do try to save money in many ways. I am definitely more frugal minded than many of my friends who find it “too much” to deal with. I always shop sales and use coupons. My stockpile is such that I often don’t have to go to the store each week and basically shop the sales to restock what I have. I am blessed that this has come in handy when I was too sick to go shopping and to share with those less fortunate. This week I have harvested yellow squash, zucchini, basil, green onions and tomatoes. I shared some of this with neighbors. I sold a gifted new in box Kindle and case to a lady on a neighborhood page. I already had one and did not need another. I attended an live auction and got dog food and dog dental chews at an extremely cheap price for name brand. I bid on some items on an online auction and also was able to get them cheaper than even a sale. I enjoy trying to look for the best way to get a deal. I am looking forward to all the comments this week. I read comments each night before going to bed. I then try to think about ways to put them to use at my home. Please continue to inspire us. You are a Godsend for many.

  2. While at a yard sale, my mom asked the home owner if they would be selling any succulent starts (they had beautiful planters full). The woman told us they were her mom’s, and asked her mom to come up. She was so generous and sweet, sent us in our way with a grocery bag of free starts!!!

    While at yard sales I found a handful of items to re-sell. Listed 6 auctions and have around that many more to still list. Sold two already for $37 before fees!

    My daughter (8yr old) and I have gone through her room and I’ve listed some toys on Facebook for her that she no longer wants. I told her that some money can go into her wallet for our trip to SoCal to visit family, some into her savings and some into my wallet (either because it was something I purchased or a little for gas money as I’m don’t have people come to my house and am driving downtown to meet people). I haven’t listed anything for less than $10, so far she has made $70 and still has some items listed and a few more to list. Trying to get my son to go through his things this next week while I tackle the “household” items. I can’t stand when the house starts to feel cluttered!

    Enjoying the Chief Inspector Gamache series that was recommended here by multiple readers, I’ve been able to get all of the books from our local library so far! I have also been saving any books that I’ve finished from my bookshelf, rather than immediately passing them on to friends or coworkers and not getting any in return – I’m planning on hosting a book swap later this summer. Hoping that this will be a neat tradition to start and that we can all get new to us books by trading those we’ve already read!

  3. I made my son’s birthday cake (this year he requested an ice cream cake).

    I baked bread and made pasta e fagioli with herbs from my garden.

    I canned 24 quarts of zucchini pickles, 8 pints of zucchini relish, and 11 pints of faux pineapple.

  4. I can’t believe it has been 10 years!!! congrats!!! I have been following your blog for at last 9 of those if not the whole 10. I remember when you had 2 different platforms and the day to day blog was one and your recipes and knowledge were another. I was so happy when you combined the two. You have truly made my life so much better. I was 22, in school full-time completing my Masters degree and living on $15/week. Despite that tiny budget, I was able to feed myself and my cat very well with a lot of organic produce, some meat and all the personal care items I needed. I was also able to donate so many things as well. I am now 32, still in a very tough financial spot and will be for another year but, because of your knowledge and the knowledge of your readers I am well on my way to being debt free, living within my means and having 3 advanced degrees all while living in one of the most expensive cities in North America.

    I very rarely share on your site but, I do look forward to each and everyone of your posts.

    Thank you for all that you do and share.

  5. I walked home from the train (about a mile) instead of taking the bus for $1.25. I always walk but it was 100 degrees that day. (I know, that’s a cold spell to you, Brandy!). But as I waited for the bus, I thought, ‘This is ridiculous–I’m gonna walk!’. And I did–and I even beat the bus home.). Brandy, yours is my favorite blog. Here’s to 10 more years!

  6. Packed my lunch everyday, mended a dress and fixed a drawer in our pantry. Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary! I think O started reading your blog about five years ago. I am grateful for your honesty and sharing your experiences.

  7. Brandy,
    I so appreciate your faithfulness in posting to this blog, since I know you are very busy with your family. I look forward to seeing your new posts. You have taught me so much, and inspired me so much. I look forward to reading this post — and the comments of all your readers — each week.
    This week I baked sandwich bread, granola, French bread, and two kinds of cookies. For my husband’s birthday I made a coconut cream pie (his request). We had friends over to help us eat the pie.
    I was asked to contribute a salad and bread for a funeral meal. I made the salad from my garden and sent homemade bread.
    Summer means lots of free activities in our area. We attended a free lecture by a wildlife biologist about mountain lions, and enjoyed a free concert in the park. We took a picnic to the concert.
    My husband took all the rugs (we have hardwood floors) and pressure washed them, then hung them on the fence to dry. This does a fantastic job of getting them clean.
    A friend who was cleaning out her closet gave me two very nice dresses.
    We enjoyed lettuce, chard, onions, mint, and a few raspberries from the garden.
    My husband and I downloaded free books from the library to enjoy.

  8. This week’s saving for me…
    Visited a friend and ate out only once…I brought food for us the rest of the time.

    Found milk for $1.58 a gallon! Got cheese for $.99 8oz bought 5…got cereal for $.99 a box not sure if my daughter (10) would like it…so I bought 1…of course she liked it…oh well

  9. We only have $100 for the month for groceries and other household misc so I am thankful for our garden. We will eat from the freezer and use our fresh fruit we purchased and vegetables from the garden. I am using more cloth rags instead of disinfectant wipes, and used vinegar to wash the floors. We were almost out of Windex so added vinegar to the spray bottle to clean the windows. Our easiest way to save money is to stay out of the stores and stay home. I have followed you for years Brandi! Thank you for all your tips on saving money, it has been a blessing to my family.

  10. Thanks for sharing Brandy! I always find your posts so encouraging and I am SO looking forward to more posts from you in the near future :).

    This weeks frugal accomplishments:

    Made 3 jars of strawberry jam from 6 lbs of very ripe berries that my husband brought home from one of the farms he manages. I had never made any before, and I didn’t have any pectin or sugar on hand but did have honey and found a good recipe on how to use that instead of sugar and use peeled apple and lemon juice instead of pectin. Turned out great! Used it on homemade waffles, total hit!

    My husband brought home 6 large beets and 1 big zucchini from another farm he manages.

    Enjoyed a free movie viewing at our local library. It was nice to enjoy the air conditioning and have my children entertained :).

    Hemmed six pairs of my daughters leggings into shorts. She’s 4 and had ripped a hole in almost every pair of her leggings. But since we need shorts under all her dresses anyway, I just decided to repurpose instead of buying new.

    Made a new batch of homemade cleaners using only vinegar, water, dish soap, and a few drops of essential oils.

    My husband repurposed one tall second-hand shelf that a friend had given to us for free. He cut it in half width wise and made two night stands. Now we don’t have to purchase new ones (at least for now).

    I gave my son and husband haircuts at home.

    Line dried all of my laundry this week.

  11. Congrats, Brandy, on your 10th blogging anniversary, and on your upcoming wedding anniversary!!

    These frugal accomplishments are for the last 2 weeks.

    Frugal accomplishments 18 June – 30 June

    Found 2 tomato cages in back yard from previous owners that I was able to reuse for the 2 tomato plants I bought on sale two weeks ago. Found miscellaneous trellises in the backyard that the old owner used for rose bushes I’ve since ripped out. I will reuse these in my new backdoor garden plot.

    Did all laundry on one day. Figured I would heat up laundry room one day by using dryer for 3 loads instead of doing laundry on separate days and heating the room up multiple times.

    My pull down attic door wasn’t shutting all the way and was letting a ton of heat into the hallway, right down from the thermostat for the a/c, so I screwed the door shut! No more heat leaking into the hall!! T

    Mended holes in vintage flannel blanket, 2 pair of pj shorts

    Repaired garden hose. Sprung a leak earlier in the week, so cut off bad portion, put fitting back in usable portion, clamped it down. Saved at least $25. Took less than 5 minutes of time and a little elbow grease.

    Kept a/c at 80° mostly. Some days when the heat index was well into the 100s, I had to bump it down to 76 just to cool the house off enough to not be miserable.

    Canceled renters insurance, saving $170/year. I co-own my house with my dad, who pays the insurance since it’s bundled in with his other houses, etc. I should have done this TWO years ago, ugh!!

    Set up automatic payments for my car insurance so I can stop forgetting to pay it (I don’t get a paper statement and somehow always forget!) Even though this was bundled w/ my renters insurance and I was getting a discount before, this still averages out to $95/mo. I requested some quotes from other companies and this was still cheaper than what the other places could offer.

    Made new batches of spice blends. I don’t buy store bought packages of things if it’s something I can make myself. I made white chicken chili mix and regular chili mix. I mixed up a batch of my house seasoning last week to give to my SO to take home with him. I reused an empty chicken bouillon bottle with the shaker lid to put the mix in for him.

    Submitted a receipt for a rebate. Pulled one of the hangtag rebates from a shelf at a store but when I got home, realized it was for a similar but different product. Decided to check website to see if there were other rebates for the product I purchased and there were!! Taking 30 seconds to check the actual website allowed me to submit the receipt and now a $5 check is heading my way!

    There was a hairline crack in my wooden front door that I could see daylight coming through. I found a tube of clear caulk here at home and caulked the crack on the inside of the door, and will caulk the outside of the door soon.

    I spent an (embarrassing) hour cleaning out my fridge. I hate to admit how much I had to throw out. I was an obscene amount of stuff that had been shoved in there and forgotten about and/or partially used. It’s rather empty now, but I feel I can keep better track of what’s in there, especially since I’m back to living alone.

    Last year I redid the small flower bed outside my back/side door. Previous owners had some rose bushes there but I didn’t care for them so removed those, put down cardboard, weed fabric, and mulch. The cardboard/weed fabric did nothing for the weeds, so I raked all the mulch out of the bed, removed the weed fabric and the cardboard, and I’ve planted my pepper plants and some herbs in there for now. Still have to weed it daily, but such is life I suppose. And the convenience of having herbs right outside my back door is pretty awesome.

  12. Hi Brandy! I haven’t posted before but have been following for at least a year. Love your blog! I’m trying to learn to be more frugal.
    We took care of a neighbor’s animals while they were gone. In exchange my kids made some money to put into savings and we could have all the fresh eggs for the week! 2.5 dozen!
    I traded kids clothes with a friend. She had a pair of shoes and a dress listed for sale in my toddler’s size and I traded my oldest son’s pair of UA pants someone had given him, but didn’t fit, for them.
    Now that it’s actually hot here I took my kids’ winter PJs and cut the pants and long sleeved shirts into shorts and short sleeves shirts. My son says they all look like pirates but it saves us from having to buy summer PJs. That’s all I could think of for now, but it’s a start!

  13. Ate weeds from back yard. Purslane stir-fried with garlic then added to eggs for scrambling is my current favorite.

    Took advantage of several items from markdown shelf at local grocery. While I seldom drink soda, I have no aversion to unusual flavors so got a six-pack of apple soda for $.75. It will probably last me at least three months.

  14. I am off for the summer from my full time school secretarial job and working two part time jobs when hours are available. I purposely save tax money to get us through the two months I am off for the summer. Yesterday I sat down and took a hard look at the July budget and decided my goal is to host a garage sale by the end of July if not sooner. Daughter will be attending two weeks of summer day camp through a scholarship and while she is gone I will be cleaning up a storm and organizing.

    This week I have focused on Swagbucks running at all times and will be able to get a $25 PayPal card by the end of the week, we will be eating out of the freezers and I am planning a Aldi’s trip for basics using returnable bottles to pay for it. I turned the air up high, use the ceiling fan when in a room, close bedroom doors and unplugging things like a mad woman! Organizing the enclosed porch better so I can dry laundry. Just made a second jug of sun tea using cheap tea bags with one “good one” for flavor, daughter is loving it. We spent the afternoon staying indoors as it’s hot here drinking iced tea, coloring in our adult color books listening to a Maisy Dobbs mystery for free through the library using Hoopla on my phone, very relaxing. Attending a not mandatory work meeting tomorrow for the hours pay and watering plants this week for a client making some extra cash.

  15. Hello Brandy!
    Congratulations on the ten years! What a great accomplishment. I enjoy so much and have learned much.
    These past few weeks:
    Picked herbs of basil..thyme..dill to use.
    Picked lettuce.and chives.
    Tomatoes still growing.
    Our local grocery had Free items certain days ..able to receive free healthy ice cream..cereal..regular ice cream
    My daughter covered to pillows in cream for sofa.
    We spray painted a desk and bedside table black
    To put in guestroom for guest coming soon.
    Cleaned rooms top to bottom. Ready for guest.
    Picked up Free sofa. Clean just needed some TLC
    Made meals at home.
    Able to stay on healthy eating plan within a budget.

  16. Hello Brandy. I love reading your blog and have for several years. It is always the gold standard when I read any other blogs on homemaking or frugality. This week I saved money by listing four of my vacuum cleaner parts on ebay instead of throwing it away. (motor went) They were only a fraction of the cost of new but still a money maker for me. (2 of the 4 parts sold in less than 24 hours.) I also went to a textbook selling site and entered the ISBN numbers of a box of books I wanted out of my garage to see if they would purchase any of them. Most were duds, a few for a whopping 12 cents, but at the end, a ringer….46.00… and they pay shipping. I feel like I earned 115.00 out of thin air!
    Hope you are healing well from your last birth. Congratulations!

  17. First time commenting –
    A few frugal things my husband and I did this week…

    Hung laundry outside
    Used up leftovers
    Grilled outside to keep the house cooler in our hot, humid weather
    Downloaded audiobooks to listen to while working and crafting at home
    Continue to do without cable and internet in our home – over four years now

  18. I enjoy your posts so much and love seeing your family. I cannot imagine how you get things going so smoothly but I sure admire you

  19. We sprayed our shrubs ourselves. The spray wasn’t expensive, and it was easy to do. We have an infestation of Bag Bugs. My husband accepted a lot of free food from work. We went to the free community pool to cool off because it was over 100 here several days. My youngest son is at camp on a scholarship. We did give a $25 donation to the camp but that was all it cost. I am doing some surveys online for Advil and Seventh Generation laundry detergent, so they sent me coupons and free samples. My husband is making homemade fishing sinkers, which usually cost $3 each. He is going to keep some to use and try to sell some on Facebook. Two of my children participated in a free summer lunch program 4 days this week. They were for all children 0 to 18 and didn’t have to have a certain family income or anything.

  20. I’m so thankful you made the decision to begin a blog. It is truly one of my favorite virtual places to visit. We are having a glut of cucumbers. I’m using as many as possible in meals, feeding them to the dogs and chickens, and giving them away to anyone who wants them. We have approx. 3 dozen quarts of dill pickles on the shelf from previous years, so I’m refusing to can any this year :). I do believe in stocking up to a point, but as this is 5 or 6 years worth of pickles for us, I feel there is a better use of my time and canning jars. I’m also gathering blueberries, blackberries and herbs, and patiently waiting for that first tomato (it will be several weeks yet).

    In reading comments last week, I saw a reference to your mushroom and cheese crepes. I decided to make them last night with the mushrooms and cheese, then made some this morning with the leftover batter, using our berries, and some ricotta, and sour cream that needed using. Yum! I believe I’ll be adding crepes to our repertoire! Happy Anniversary!

  21. Happy Anniversary!!! You have always encouraged everyone that comes here to be prudent and content. I have enjoyed your blog/website for many years! I can’t imagine what more you could share, but I look forward to it! You are an amazing woman and a shining example to us all! Thank you for all you do!

    I bought a freezer this week!!!! I know that might not sound like a money saving activity, but it is! I now have more room to store the bargains that I find with little limitations! I already feel better! I was in a constant conflict before! I NEED to buy more meat when it’s on sale but my freezer was full! Now I can!!!! So happy! This week it was pork loins for $1.69 a pound, ribs for $1.77 a pound and boneless chicken breasts for $1.69 a pound! We are going camping this week and I have a whole shelf in the new freezer to put all the things that need to come with us!!! No more leaving things behind (hopefully)!

    Have a wonderful week everyone! Hope you all have a fun and safe 4th of July!

  22. Congratulations on the blog-iversary! I truly appreciate all the effort you put into making such a positive space for people to learn and share with each other. I’ve learned a lot through reading your blog; thank you SO much!

    My frugal week:
    – I was a bit frustrated this week by not being able to work on my blog due to pregnancy exhaustion. Normally I would have pushed myself to achieve what I want to, but I now have to be careful as this is a higher risk pregnancy. Between that the morning sickness (still here, even at almost 6 months along, albeit much better), I don’t cook much, and don’t even have energy to do back-end techy things to my blog. I did however have time to throw together some leftover veggies to make my Easy Summertime Pickled Vegetables! (http://approachingfood.com/making-the-most-of-leftovers-easy-pickled-vegetables/) I love doing this with that last limp carrot or two, plus whatever other veggies I have hanging around the fridge. When it’s too hot to turn them into soup, I turn them into pickles!
    – By the way, Brandy, I LOOOOOVE your Instagram photo stream above your blog posts now. Is that a plug-in? And if so, what is the name? I loooooove to be able to do the same with my blog! Great way to grow two audiences at the same time. I plan to open a foodie and frugality IG account soon, as practice for creating an IG account fully in line with my brand (food, not necessarily frugality). Am learning lots of lurking the in the #debtfreecommunity on IG.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Old Navy.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a loaf of banana bread for 9 BNIB ceramic ramekins. I then gifted them to a family I’m friends with, along with a brand-new outfit for each of the three girls (using Old Navy gift certificates from Swagbucks), a handwash & lotion giftset (previously traded for), some shampoo and conditioner samples, and my mother bought an adorable stuffed panda for $5 from IKEA to gift to the youngest child. I used re-used gift bags to put all the presents in. I love being able to give nice gifts without paying OOP! When I visited the family, they kindly sent me home with homemade Syrian food for my husband, which he enjoyed.
    – I made a batch of yoghurt. I love homemade yoghurt; so easy, so frugal, and perfect to dump into the kale smoothies I’ve been craving lately.
    – I harvested green onions (which I froze), mint, and thyme (which I dried) from my balcony garden. My rhubarb is dying (not sure why) but my tomato and squash plants seem to be growing well in the 35 degree plus (and nearly 50 % humidity) we’re having in Toronto for the past few days. How hot is it? My sunglasses completely fogged up when I stepped the few steps between the car (my mum gave me a ride) and the grocery store.
    – I had purchased a pocket agenda early in the year (albeit on sale in the New Year’s sale, and no OOP cost as I had used a credit) thinking I would use it as my agenda this year. I ended up using a free calendar, wasn’t able to trade or return the one I purchased, but didn’t want it to go to waste. I finally found a use: the DH and I are sending a package to my MIL and I know she likes little pretty things, and I think she’ll use it and appreciate it (even if the year is half over). I only wish I had thought to send it sooner.
    – My husband redeemed $90 worth of points at our local No Frills; we only had to pay $8 and change for nearly $100 worth of groceries, including 10+ lbs of cherries (on sale). Unfortunately, my cherry pitter has broken beyond repair, so I either have to find a new one quickly, as I go on vacation next weekend, or eat all the cherries prior to that. As a last resort, I’ll try pitting them using a large paper clip. I had bought so many in hopes of canning some jam and pie filling, to mix in with my morning yoghurt, or to make cherry frozen yoghurt. Ah well. At least I can sit down while cherry pitting with a paperclip! Always a bright side!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  23. I have followed your blog eagerly for some time even though I don’t comment every week. I have also shared it with several others. Thank you for continuing to provide a great forum for encouraging homemakers everywhere .

    No grocery shopping this week and I think I can go at least another week without shopping. There is plenty of lettuce and fresh herbs in the garden which make wonderful salads. I have been picking apricots from the tree. There weren’t many this year due to a severe frost that hit just as the tree was coming into bloom. So I won’t be canning or jamming this year, but I am enjoying them fresh. If you haven’t tried them in a green salad, I recommend it. This has been a week of cleaning and purging. It feels good to see clean shelves and drawers. This is frugal because it reminds me of what I have and where it is which saves time looking and money not wasted buying something I already have.

  24. *Picked red currants, white currants, pie cherries & apricots from the garden.

    *Froze both the red & white currants to juice in the near future for my oldest granddaughter to use in the mulberry jam planned for the mulberries she picked & froze last week. Adding a cup of currant juice to the crushed mulberries makes a nicer set, due to the natural pectin, and the currants are so mild that it does not change the flavor.

    *Made apricot jam from Brandy’s recipe, without the vanilla, because we prefer it plain. My youngest daughter helped me bottle the rest in quart jars.

    *Made a cobbler from the pie cherries using a cornbread topping. This was an idea found online – it was delicious, gives us another option for the members of the family who are celiac. I pitted the rest of the cherries into a heavy sugar syrup to prepare them for dehydrating later.

    *Finished weeding one of the back perimeter beds, & began to use the grass clippings as mulch on the bed, now that it is weeded.

    *Finished dead-heading the yellow rose bush in the back yard.

    *My youngest daughter brought home some pants & tops that no longer fit her, to see if they would fit me. The pants were too large, since I have lost weight in the last several months, but some of the tops fit & look nice.

    *Ordered some sweat pants online for $7.50 each.

  25. We are watching a neighbor house and pets while they are on vacation. They realized that they never canceled their Blue apron or milk delivery so gave them to us-we ate two free dinners and two free gallons of organic milk are in our freezer. Yum.
    I fixed a pair of my daughter’s shorts that had a broken zipper. She treats them as pull ons so l sewed the zipper shut and sewed the zipper pull in the up position. Now her shorts look right and work perfectly. We are slowly cleaning out their room and giving/donating/selling outgrown items.
    They are in a free sports program one day a week and we discovered one child sneakers no longer fit an hour before we were supposed to leave- l was so grateful to pull the next size up out of the closet.
    School ended a week ago and all backpacks and lunchboxes have been washed. One backpack and possibly one lunchbox need to be replaced due to wearing out so we will be paying attention to sales.
    The kids are doing some summer camp and we are taking some trips but l have signed them up for various library programs and other free/low cost activities like slime at Michaels and home depot. They will have plenty of time to see friends, swim at the town lake, and most importantly be bored. The commuter rail is doing$10 weekends and kids are free so we may do a cheap trip to Boston if l am feeling up to it.

  26. Using the dryer for several loads in a row also saves energy because the heating element doesn’t have to be pre-heated (or do I mean re-heated?) several times.

  27. Hello! I read often but seldom comment, but last week my husband and I harvested and canned 5 pints of pinto beans, we also ate a fresh pinto beans a couple of nights for supper. They are not doing as well as usual this year due to very little rain, but we are enjoying what we have! We are having several tomatoes come off the vine now and okra too.

  28. I love your website, but have never commented. I said “yes” to zucchini from a friend’s garden and grated and froze it for zucchini bread. I turned some strawberries that were past their prime into homemade strawberry jam rather than throw them away. I cleaned out my linen closet and found some items to sell, some items my daughter can take for her dorm room, and some to donate. Have a great week!

  29. Mom and I have been staying out of stores as much as possible. This week, we shopped at one grocery store and took advantage of their sales. Tomorrow, the strawberries go on sale. They looked delicious this evening but, knowing they’ll be quite a bit cheaper tomorrow, they were easy to pass up. We took advantage of coupons at the grocery store and at the drug store too.

    We went out to eat last night because it was so very hot and humid and I have dilly-dallied about getting our small air conditioner in the kitchen window. There is a restaurant not far from us that offers dinners for two for $11 and the coffee is just $1.65 or $1.69. Mom and I were able to eat for $16. I had water for my beverage so the tip could be just one cent less than 20%. Mom only ate the soup course with good bread yesterday evening. Her dinner went home in a box and it was our dinner this evening. Yummy. I learned to fry bacon in the microwave today so I didn’t need to turn on the stove. We had scrambled egg burrito for lunch. This evening, it is a little bit cooler. Once the sun went down, I opened up the windows and turned on the fan over the stove. I soon will be opening the bedroom windows and turning on the bathroom fan to get out the hot air so those rooms will be comfortable tonight.

    Brandy, thank you so much for your blog. It is a source of encouragement to me.

  30. I love your blog, your garden’s are so inspiring. I always learn something new either in your words or the comments! Thank you for your work!

  31. Congratulations on the 10 years of blogging! Time flies by so quickly as our families grow !
    On Monday, I harvested 7 cucumbers from our garden. I turned those into 7 pints of sweet pickle relish. I bought pineapples for 97 cents and canned them into 13 pints of pineapple chunks to replenish some of the pints that my grandkids gobbled up during their stay!
    Now, on Saturday, 9 more big cucumbers showed up ready to pick in my garden! We will eat them in salads and as snacks, I have a feeling I’ll be canning more pickle relish this week!
    On Wednesday this week, a friend called and offered us some free wood pallets to use for our business and also some leftover construction sand. We picked them up and shoveled sand into buckets to carry home- about 600 pounds! Part of the sand has been used to fill in the seams in the brick walkway we’ve been making and a lot of the rest went to resend our chicken coop floor after I mucked it out! The sand probably saved us almost $85!!
    The pallets have been used to make 4 monogrammed trays that we have orders for ($35 each)- so $140 from the free pallets!!
    I made a lap size quilt using the cotton toile trimmings of a sheet that I had used for a large bed quilt backing! I saw a photo of the quilt online and made my own version. This quilt is going into my gift cupboard which had zero OOP cost!
    We spent 2 hours weeding our gardens and they look so much better now!
    Froze 4 quarts of whole strawberries and about 10 pounds of bananas.
    Made all of our meals at home using ingredients that were all part of my food storage.
    Had an extra $135 when I zeroed out our checking account when our new paycheck came in last week. Half went into savings and half went to pay down our debt.
    So, all in all, a very good week!

  32. Brandy, I have only posted 2 or 3 times but have been reading for years. I love your blog and the knowledge you share. My husband and I have a credit card that we charge on BUT we pay it off every month. We’ve never paid interest but have accumulated some “cash back rewards”. Last week, we had to replace our washer and dryer. We charged it and as soon as the points were added to our account, we cashed in the rewards and had the accumulated $337 applied to our balance of the washer and dryer. Not bad for charging items that we pay off each month any ways. We are also having a no spend month because of the extra money for the washer and dryer. Excited to see what you are going to share next. Thanks, Cindy

  33. Congratulations! I think I have been following for about 5 years now. I have learned so much and really appreciate all you do.

    I also really enjoy reading these posts every week (and all the comments). I feel like I know some of you now. I rarely comment so here’s what I did:
    -harvested peas, raspberries and asparagus from the garden.
    -was able to fix the garden gate to keep critters out (we have extreme garden security but not on at the gate, and something got in and ate all the lettuce). It has tried twice since but has not managed to get in again.
    -line dried the laundry.
    -stayed home, except to get groceries.
    -fixed the water pump so we could use the water collected in our rain barrels to water the garden.

  34. Oh, I also made a loaf of bread with a half cup of oats replacing an equivalent amount of flour. When the dough seemed too sticky, I added quite a bit of potato flakes and kneaded them in thoroughly. I hadn’t proofed the yeast and the dough barely raised. But I baked it anyway and my mom loved it, perhaps because oats and potatoes are two of her favorite foods.

    I thought an old (50 years old or thereabouts) wall lamp had died many months ago. A search on Amazon for an appropriate lamp repair kit for a new switch with the right configuration came up empty. This week, I screwed in the bulb a bit more tightly and tried the switch again. I was surprised, but very happy, that the little lamp is working again.

    We also enjoyed McDonald’s cone and sundae on Saturday, when they seem only 49 cents and 89 cents, respectively, in a neighboring town.

  35. We sold an old commuter car to salvage yard. It struggled badly to carry us home safely that last time, after our intellectually handicapped son’s appointment, saving us a costly tow & so many other safety issues. Perfect time for it’s retirement since repairs are too costly to make sense, both insurance premiums & DMV fees were due this week! We once again have 4 drivers and only 3 cars…

    As a first time comment provider I’d like to add your website’s information and inspiration has truly helped our household in so many ways. Your recipe index has become a first stop for me expanding our frugal meal choices because they are simple, inexpensive and successful every time. The community you have built through this site is ever encouraging and kind. Thank you for brightening many of my days!

  36. After several days of intermittent rain, we’ve been up near 90 for a few days, so I hung out the laundry instead of using the dryer. We keep the drapes (thermal backed energy saving) closed during most of the day to keep the house cooler. I found ground beef for 1.79lb on sale and browned and froze several pounds. I bought 2 copies of the Sunday paper, as there are some high value P&G coupons to pair with CVS sales this week. I checked out several books from the library on my kindle.

  37. I found your blog about 10 years ago. It was exactly what my heart, my soul, and my pocketbook needed! I’ve loved seeing it grow and change and I’ve loved how you are so honest with us and share your family life as well as ways to save and make things beautiful! Because of you I’ve overcome the shame I felt at making Christmas gifts and now I’m PROUD to give my best to others! I’ve learned to can my own jellies and jams and ventured into pressure canning, I have stopped buying popsicles – why would I when I can make such yummy ones here at home?!, I’ve learned that white beans can make an amazing sauce for pasta!, I’ve learned that big families are delightful, and there is no shame in having a couch with a cover over it until I can pay cash to get another – I was so convicted by the post you made with your chair and so thrilled to see you got it recovered! I have learned SO much from you and I thank you for adding so much to our lives! I can say you have truly changed my life! Thank you Brandy!

  38. My frugalness this week has been on the extreme side. College girl is on a mission. College boy left for the military. Sugar cookie is away for ten weeks. I basically shut my house down for the summer. All breakers have been flipped off except for two. I left the chest freezer and the refrigerator on. One wall in my bedroom is on. I put a small window unit in so when it is unbearable, I can sleep in the cool . I have had the internet, trash and recycling canceled. My only bills will be electric, water , phone and my insurances. I hope to save a good bit and balance my budget. I may use the crockpot and electric skillet on the back deck. I will eat simply and will only go into town once a week. I have several movie tickets, Redbox codes and small gift cards to treat myself with over the summer. I continue to collect my Coca-Cola caps and redeem them for treats. I am saving my swagbuck s for several household purchases. All the credits I have at Google express will be used for car food and cat litter. I am eating leftovers from the freezer and won’t be spending much of anything. My goal is to see just how much I can save in the next ten weeks.

  39. Brandy,
    I have been reading this blog for years, and want you to know how very much I appreciate it. I’ve had times where we had a little more money, but still really used the tips I get from here, and times when we literally have no money and really, really use the tips, but more importantly soak in the encouragement that other people are making it, and being happy, even with very little.

    I guess it’s going to turn out pretty handy that as you enter your 10th year of encouragement and plan to share even more frugal tips, we are again facing tight times. I am sure I’ll be reading every tip, as usual! I have always been inclined towards a frugal lifestyle, but the past few years have taught me even more about pinching a penny than ever before, and I get many good ideas from here.

    My husband is still out of work when fall comes. Because he was working on 1-year contracts, he does not qualify for unemployment. He applied for many jobs, but has not received an offer, yet. We have got nowhere on the insurance issue, but plan to tackle it again tomorrow. The doctors are saying that my husband’s hip is so bad, he needs hip replacement. My car, which is our “good” car is very, very broken.

    But, God is faithful. He knows our needs. There are blessings, too. He has his summer job, which was lined up previously, as he never would have worked in the summer at the school job. I have my part-time job. We have MORE than enough to meet our needs for the moment and I am content. Our garden is flourishing. It won’t be long until we have tons to eat from there. Our food storage is full. Where we got about 1 quart of blueberries last year, the 2 bushes are loaded and I picked more today on the first picking than I got the whole summer last year. I will freeze them. Someone who will stay anonymous, by choice, is going to pitch in to help fix the car. That was totally unexpected. We are waiting to see how much it will end up being, but it will be expensive. I need the car for work, but we are sharing the van for now, and using an old, cruddy Mazda our nephew gave us last year when our van needed fixing. Thankfully, my husband was able to get it started. I enjoy my flowers, my garden, my faith, my family, and many other things. I also love reading this blog, with all its comments, from people who also are looking for the bright spots in a world that can become discouraging at times. Thank you for all you do to keep it going.

    We went on a very frugal camping trip this past week. I wrote about it here: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-july-1-2018/

  40. I love reading your blog.
    I am in my friends wedding in September and we are trying to stay within a budget. So far, so good. So we printed off the save the date cards on walmart photo for 9 cents a piece. I am using my home printer for the rsvp cards and the invitations will be done at her mother in laws work.
    We can use the dollar tree to get some decorations. All in all we will have spent under 2,000 for the wedding.

  41. Congratulations on 10 years I’ve been reading your blog for years and have learned tons on how to prepare a pantry for frugal times.This week I diced and frozen yellow peppers that were getting soft and I didn’t have plans for right away. Now they are handy for stir fry, omelets, and soups. I also freeze diced onions for quicker prep on busy nights.

  42. I picked the last few strawberries, and a good amount of raspberries and boysenberries from my garden, along with some lettuce, rhubarb, a few peas, and an onion.
    My mother has been living with us, and we are clearing out her house so we can sell it. We rented a dumpster, which was expensive. (Most everything in the house is trash. ) Rather than rent a second dumpster, we are taking our little utility trailer to the dump, for $5 a load.
    I took munchies to my grandson’s ball game, so his sisters didn’t ask for treats from the concession stand.
    We watched several tv shows on Amazon Prime, and a movie on my daughter’s Netflix account.

  43. Congrats on your blog anniversary! I have followed you for several years and have learned so much!
    Frugal things for last week
    – I stayed in most of the week
    – all meals made at home
    – washed full loads and lined dried
    – temp kept at 78 year round in our house, if we get hot then we use our ceiling fans
    – met swagbucks goal all last week
    – filled car getting .20 off a gallon at grocery store
    – mended a hole in FIL shorts
    – reading books from the library
    – walking dogs and getting exercise at same time!

    I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s comments.

  44. I love your blog Brandy! It has really helped me keep upbeat even though things have been tight. I love your recipes and ideas to save money.
    This week, we used the library. Cooked at home. Bought some thrift store games to play with grandchildren. Harvested from our garden. Watched for sales on food items bought. Ate on our china to make dinner special.

  45. Thank you, Brandy, for giving of yourself and your knowledge all these years,

    It’s been a long time since I’ve commented on one of these posts. I forgot to track how many times I bought my own snacks and/or lunch to work, but here’s what I’ve got:

    * A coworker brought in (delicious!) homemade cookies and I enjoyed one.

    *Turned up the thermostat a few times to prevent the air conditioning from coming on.

    *Used surplus travel samples to restock the shampoo in the shower.

    *Saved $4 at Petco by using their loyalty card.

    *Updated my price book.

    *Watched a movie from the free movie selection on TV.

    *Attended a retirement party: free food and punch.

    *My husband bought a top entry litter box at a yard sale for $4. He knew I’d been wanting one, but we had been reluctant to spend the money on one lest our cats not take to it. This way, if they won’t use it we’re only out $4. You can’t even tell it was ever used before.

    *Our neighbor cut down a tree for us and hauled it away in his trailer. Even though we plan to get him a gift certificate to show our appreciation, that will still cost less than hiring an arborist would have.

    *Found an extra salt shaker in the back of the cupboard to take to work, negating the need to have to buy one.

    *Replaced a badly chipped cat bowl with one we found at a yard sale for $0.25. (Yes, most of my purchases are for our animals!)

    *My husband cancelled Sirius XM. I will be helping him set up a Pandora account and teach him how to use it.

    *Free cookies at church! 😀

    * Was delighted to see that my favorite chips were on sale, then read the fine print on the sign and saw the sale had expired. Asked the cashier if they would honor the sale price since the sign was still up. She had to get authorization from someone else, but I got the sale price!

    *Partook of a free sample at the grocery store.

  46. Ten years! Congratulations!! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your recipes. I look at your website for ideas when I just can’t bear the thought of putting together a menu and grocery list. Here’s to another wonderful ten years!

  47. Thanks for providing uplifting and encouraging Information.
    I drank ice water every day using a reusable water bottle that I have had for years.
    I dog/house sat for a friend, which gave me a paid “staycation.” This friend also let me pick raspberries from her garden.

  48. I am very happy to hear you’re going to do more than one blogpost a week! I love reading what you’re up to…it’s very inspiring.

    Here’s how we saved today:
    *Had a ‘free’ lunch at our church Fourth of July picnic (I brought a 99-cent bag of Keebler choc chip cookies from the King Soopers Saturday special)
    *One of the members of the worship team we play for occasionally, for a church further south, took everyone on the team out for a steak dinner. Husband and I were pretty full from lunch, so brought a good bit of that meal home. Steak and eggs for breakfast tomorrow!

  49. Adding my thanks for your lovely blog. It’s a highlight in my week.
    My husband made granola today, he added apples that I had gleaned for free and dried at home.
    We have been eating tomatoes from garden, apricots and plums from out trees and peaches for 40 cents a pound from fruit stand.
    Went to end of month sale at thrift store and bought 9 items for 10 cents each. All will be re-sold.
    Watching World Cup for free on our TV with antenna. Many hours of entertainment.
    One of our kids is newly married and had asked grandpa for financial advice. Grandpa’s advice was, “Save till it hurts.” I was told this week of the ways that this advice was being followed. Fun to hear!
    Thank you to all for this lovely community!

  50. I, too, am very thankful for your blog, and I get to say I knew you before the blog when we were both on the LDS Family Resources homeschool boards 🙂 Whenever someone requests a homemaking or frugal living blog, yours is the one I recommend for encouragement.

    For the last two weeks we have had various family members at camp, first my husband and son at scout camp and last week my daughter at YW camp. Tomorrow that same daughter heads off to Santa Barbara for EFY. Summer is actually a much busier time for at our house than the rest of the year.

    The day the boys left for camp, I noticed the my shower was freezing cold. Our 5 year old tankless water heater had died. My husband is a mechanical engineer and we have never run into something he couldn’t fix. Consequently I have never called a plumber, electrician, or home repair person, but he was leaving in an hour. The repair person came out the next day & told me the part was under warranty so the only cost to me would be the labor, $500! He also told me that our excessively hard water & old plumbing would cause the problem to happen again in the next year or two. He quoted me an additional $750 in parts and labor for that repair. To be honest I just wanted it fixed so I told him it would behoove him to fix it before my husband got home from camp. The part that was under warranty didn’t arrive until Friday, so we went the week heating water in the electric teakettle whenever we needed hot water for dishes or taking what my grandma calls a teacup bath. Most people were surprised that we didn’t just move into a hotel for the week or join a gym to use their showers. The repair didn’t happen until the boys were home from camp so my husband only had the part under warranty done and he’ll do the other work himself.

    Husband brought home from camp 2 costco sized bags of hoagie rolls. The kids have been using them for sandwiches & pizza bases and burger buns.

    When we picked up our daughter from camp the kitchen was full of things that weren’t used at camp and we were asked to take home whatever we wanted. We took home; 3 lbs of onions, 2 heads of cabbage, a costco size bag of tortilla chips, a bag of a dozen fully cooked burgers, a 2lb bag of cooked sausage crumbles for pizza and …… 37lbs of potatoes! We took the opened & partially used bag of potatoes. There was another unopened 50# bag, but I didn’t want to seem too greedy.

    An elderly neighbor asked us to come over and pick apricots off his tree, so we picked about 25lbs. I took out the ones that will be best for eating fresh over the next few weeks and made the rest into jam. For the first time in the almost 30 years that I have been canning the apricots completely refused to set, so apparently I made apricot syrup, which will be eaten on pancakes or waffles as well as drizzled over ice cream, stirred into yogurt or added to blintzes.

    Whole chickens were on sale for $.77/ lb. This is usually my stock up price, but I have 2 very full freezers and have made it a priority to empty out what we already have before buying more. On the last day of the sale I went in to pick up the weekly free item and there were 9 of the chickens marked down to 50% off the sale price. For $.37/ lb I couldn’t help myself. I roasted two that day and made chicken broth from the carcasses. The remainder went into the freezer.

    I found a set of lectures on DVD from Great Courses on sale for $89 that I would be able to use next year for homeschool (regular price $298) I thought I might be able to find it used on Amazon or ebay. I found it there for $64. I can never check them out at the library because on the rare occasion that they have what I want they make you check the parts out individually and the parts are not kept together, so something that had 32, 60 minute lectures might be broken up into 8 different items to check out spread out over the entire city library system. When I checked the library website, there the lectures were as a streaming download! I can stream up to 6 lectures/ month on my library card, so my daughter can watch one lecture a week.

    Our library instituted a “read away the fines” program for kids. I took both my kids who had fines on their cards and if they tell the librarian while they sit and read, the “earn” $5 for every 15 minutes. Usually we don’t have fines, but last month my husband checked out several audiobooks on one of the kids’ cards before a road trip and once we got home I forgot to check that card.

    It was over 100 degrees several days in the last week and we don’t have A/C for the house. I usually wake up very early in the morning, so I open all the windows to let in the cooler air. Once the sun is fully up I close the windows and the blinds of the windows as the sun hits them. We also use fans and when it gets too warm everyone retreats to the one room that has a window unit. My bedroom!

    I hope everyone has a good frugal week

  51. Brandy, congrats on 10 years! I have been following you for a long time. I don’t post often but I really enjoy reading your posts and everyone’s comments. I am very appreciative of the community here, as my friends and family aren’t particularly frugal.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – Cooked at home and brought my lunch to work. I used up leftovers in creative ways: tomato salad became a simple tomato sauce, leftover lettuce was added to a pureed soup (surprisingly tasty), and some not particularly flavorful raspberries were made into a refreshing shrub (found an easy recipe online). The only waste was a small portion of beets my husband didn’t want (I really dislike beets…but sometimes I eat them anyway. Not this time.)
    – Walked to work.
    – Made kombucha and water kefir.
    – Found the last four books in the Anne of Green Gables series at the used bookstore. They were very inexpensive. I never read this series as a child and am enjoying reading it.
    – Sewed a tank top using a free online pattern, using fabric I already had.
    – We watched DVDs we already had for entertainment. I also listened to podcasts and watched videos online.
    – Somehow I got a berry stain in a favorite dress, but I managed to get the stain out so it wasn’t ruined.
    – Gave away an item I didn’t need on the Free section on Craigslist. The person who took it was very happy to receive it.

    Thanks for all the inspiration. Here’s to another 10 years!

  52. Happy Blog Anniversary – I am so glad you started blogging. I have been following for several years now. I enjoy your posts and admire how hard you work to provide a beautiful life for your family. I always enjoy looking at your photos, especially your floral arrangements. Sometimes when I feel sad or depressed I come on your site to read some blog posts to help myself feel better.

    As to frugal tasks – it is winter time where I live. I dry most of my washing either outside on sunny days or inside on clothes horses, using the clothes dryer as a last resort. I took advantage of a sale at a nearby food warehouse and stocked up on items that we will use in months to come. Every week I check the sales catalogues for our local supermarkets and I buy items we need on special where possible. I have a ‘Watch List’ of items we are running low on and check every week for sales on the items on my watch list to avoid having to pay full price for them.

  53. Hi Brandy! Long time reader and occasional poster. As I’ve said to you before, thank you so much for starting this website and eventually, blog. I love telling people about “my internet friend in Vegas.”

    We’ve had some extra expenses recently: an emergency copay that thankfully turned out to be nothing, my daughter finally got her license and we are going to help her with her insurance while she looks for a better job as her current one isn’t giving her enough hours (summer slump), summer camp for my boys and helping pay for summer youth retreat for my daughter as she’s not making enough to pay for it all. Due to these, we are on budget lockdown.

    One thing that I’ve done to help me (I’m terrible about little expenses adding up), is to put a piece of paper on our board with a running total of our grocery/spending budget. It’s a lot easier to say no to dinner out when you loon over and see that you only have $x to last until payday and know you’re going to need essentials or that you’d already planned to do something special on Sunday night.

    Specifically, I saved dinner two nights in a row. The first night I realized that we were out of a necessary ingredient so I used the other ingredients to make a completely different meal. No waste! The next night I discovered that my meat was rotten. It was the end of the week so I was working with little bit I managed to feed my husband leftovers and the boys and I had tater tots and chicken nuggets (the girl was gone). Not the greatest but no one went hungry and we didn’t spend extra money. Win!

    I read everyone’s comments every week. Thank you to everyone. You inspire me to keep going.

  54. Thank you, Brandy, for hosting this community. It’s not everyone who is thrilled at the tiniest of frugalness, and I appreciate those who are! It’s been a rather up-and-down 10 years together on my part. I’ve been frugal for the joy of it until a couple years ago when it became a necessity. That’s when I realized the importance of this community. Having a group of like minded people supporting each other allowed me to carry on without giving into self-pity. Thank you everyone!

    This week I found a coffee table at the local habitat for humanity restore that is just perfect. We continue to downsize into our new house and it is a good feeling. I like that others can benefit from our excess…twice as we donate to a local church thrift shop.

    Saved a bunch of food from the landfill by visiting the local free food table. I like that I can use my skills to use up food on the verge of spoiling and save money at the same time.

    I found some change for the change jar, went ahead and canceled Amazon prime, redeemed 10 cents off a gallon for gas, and refurbished a wooden tool tray to hold some herb plants for the kitchen window.

    Happy frugal-ing!

  55. Hi Brandy and happy 10th Anniversary for your blog and you are an inspiration to us all on how life can be lived frugally and not expensively. I might add that we use a lot of your recipes on a day to day basis and find them brilliant :). How wonderful how so many blessings can come into our lives through the kindness of others.

    We had a good week here too still not up to full capacity yet after the flu but are feeling slowly better and more energetic and got a few things done.

    Our savings added up to $292.35 last week.

    Earnings –
    – Made $25.18 from the sale of a set of 4 curtain tieback cuffs and 70 g of dried sage picked from the gardens on the internet. I banked this into our emergency kitty saving us having to pay this from our pays.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 2 bomber jackets from Aldi on special for winter gardening work, 3 Sherpa hoodies and 3 flannelette shirts for DH and 4 long sleeved t-shirts for myself from Big W saving $161.70 over purchasing them in other local stores.
    – Bought 4 packets of butter menthol’s on special for the medical kit on special saving $2.
    – Redeemed $10 worth of FlyBuys points and purchased 4 tins of lychees with $1 OOP saving another $10.

    Finances and internet listings –
    – Listed 29 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $47.85 on usual listing fees.
    – Banked more money into our home and bank emergency kitties.
    – Saved more money for our home and land deposit bringing us up to 26.35% of the way there.

    Trades and or bartering –
    – Traded with a friend from another blog 100 g organic dried rosemary,55 g of dried thyme and 34 g English lavender flowers picked and dried from the gardens as well as excess 30 g oregano and 8 g tarragon in our pantry for 6 x 25 g lovely homemade natural lip balms and a around 50 g tin of Comfrey cream saving $40 over purchasing them in the local shops.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked a huge amount of thyme from the gardens we currently have drying on a mesh metal rack behind shade cloth on the veranda. We will keep some for us and sell the rest on the internet.
    – Separated 36 g of English and 33 g French flower buds from the gardens saving $5.62 over purchasing them.

    Other usual frugal things we did to save were –
    – Using vegetable washing, blanching and cooling and shower warm up water and some rain water tank water to water & fertilise some seeds and vegetables in the vegetable gardens. We are now on harsher water restrictions here as our local dam is getting low.
    – To water the lawns around the home we hand watered the lawns with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine as we use all biodegradable products. To add a tip to others on water restrictions or just saving water in general 1 lt of grey water waters 1 square metre of lawns or fruit trees so it goes a long way if you wash laundry a lot or shower over a bath in a week.
    – Used saved flannelette rags from old sheets I cut up for cleaning the car windows, shower screen and vanity mirrors with instead of using paper towel.
    – Washed out and reused clip seal plastic freezer bags to use for blanching and freezing more vegetables from the gardens. It is amazing how long they last usually about 4 – 5 uses each without having to buy more.

    Hope everyone has had an equally good week :).


  56. Brandy, I’ve been a dedicated reader for 6 years. I have always been frugal and I share many of the same frugal habits as you but you have inspired me to be more careful in creating beauty in my home.

    This week I found a small wood chair for my entry way that I’ve wanted that will also add extra seating at my table when guests are here. Cost $3 and it did not need paint or repair only a good cleaning.

    We are still getting settling into our new home and most of my activities are home remodeling ,updating and landscaping. right now. I have a shrub, I think it is a Scarlett Pierris on the side of my house and I would like to have two others to make grouping of three. Well I found one on clearance for half price along with two hostas which I was thrilled to find because I love hostas and plan to have them in my new landscaping as I can afford to add them. So far this year I have purchased $300 worth of plants for $70 on clearance. Right now they are all thriving. Most of them are annuals. However I have been able to acquire a few perennials.

    Sprayed perimeter of house for bugs.

    Painted a Lego wall using tape to make a brick pattern then used sample paint mixed to match Legos. I already had yellow from a separate project but needed red, blue and green. I have 8×10 LEGO pictures in black frames that I hung in some of the painted blocks. Gave the wall dimension and really made the pictures look cool. Will be making a large 2×4 set of Jenna and will use these paints again. The sample containers were the cheapest way to get the colors I needed.

    Husband and son made a cabinet/shelf above our master toilet for storage. I painted it with paint I already had. Spray painted a unused handle to install on the cabinet door.

    Reusing curtain finials that we’re already in master bedroom. Previous owner had a swag but I have curtains with grommets that need a rod. So I’ll use the finials with a piece of electrical conduit for my rod. The window is 10’ wide so with everything painted white this will look very pretty for only $5 for the conduit.

    I have two boys that went to youth conference near our Temple. So my husband and I had a Temple date before we picked them up. That saved us an extra 1 hour round trip drive.

    Thank you for your blog it is my favorite and I look forward to all your posts.

  57. The first blog post I recall reading here had a photo of Ivory at about 6 months old, so it’s been a few years. I enjoy every post and every reader comment. The main thing I do to save money is stay home, too much temptation if I enter the stores too often. I am a widow and I shop monthly for groceries, pet food, etc. In June I challenged myself to a low spend month using up things already in the freezer and cupboards. I feel I did quite well and plan to do that at least a couple times a year going forward. I live in central CA so we get plenty of dry heat here just like Brandy although not quite to her extremes. Today it was 106 so I was quite happy to be inside where it was cool. I love to read and use the library and download free books from book bub. Thank you to Brandy for this blog and everyone who contributes regularly in the comments, I feel I know so many of you and your families from your writings.

  58. I’m so so glad you sat down at your computer 10 years ago and began this life’s work, Brandy! Your blog has been a highlight of my week for years – I think your 7th was just a baby when I started reading, however long ago that was. I’ve learned so much and continue to learn from you and all those who comment here, always finding inspiration, encouragement and beauty.

    I’ve never posted my frugal accomplishments before – seems like by the time I finish reading all the other posters, it’s already Tuesday and seems too late. But here goes, for the recent past:

    -We canceled SlingTV yesterday to save $29.95 a month. Something had to go and that was it.
    -We moved to a very rural area in the CA desert and our only option for internet was very slow for $50 a month. Two weeks ago we ditched that after setting up with a program called PCSForPeople, which offers unlimited 4GLTE on the Sprint network for $10/mo. if your income is less than 24K. For $260 we purchased a modem and a year of service, saving $340 over the year ahead! So far it’s been reliable and slightly faster than our old internet service (though still ridiculously slow by cable/DSL standards). It seems like a decent option for anyone in an area with good Sprint data coverage.
    -We house- and pet-sat for two 4-day stretches for a friend two hours away, near the coast. Spent extra money on food and gas, but saved money on utilities at home (including missing a couple of super hot days here).
    -After being lazy for too long, I put in the time to make up a very detailed menu plan for July, synced with my supplies on hand and shopping plans, and resolved to follow it very strictly. Though I don’t think we’ve been super extravagant on our spending for food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies (about $325 a month for 2 adults, 2 dogs, and occasionally my 21 year old son), I want to knock that down to $250. Sadly, we have to buy everything — having mostly failed at our hydroponic gardening attempts this spring. What little we had — a bean plant, a pepper plant, two tomato plants, and some transplanted grapes — have been repeatedly savaged by wildlife. We snake- and rabbit-proofed our yards with 3 foot high 1/4-inch mesh fencing, but now there are birds and squirrels partaking. In the summertime, desert wildlife are relentless in their quest for water.
    -We also do the usual frugal things – hanging laundry, reusing bags, minding water and electricity usage, mending, fixing and improvising whatever we can.
    -One last thing – okay, a brag, because I recently found a use for something that I was wasting for a long time. Folks here convinced me to try POM from Sam’s Club and we now use that exclusively, but it’s always bothered me that each roll is wrapped individually. So wasteful! But then, during a lot of drama over a completely clogged sink drain, we resolved never to put a single glob of grease down that drain again. So we started wiping our plates into the trash using the tissue paper from the POM rolls. I cut each piece of wrapper into 4 pieces and it works great — wipe once, then spray with vinegar, a second wipe-down, and dishes are grease free! (Ironically, it ended up not even being a grease clog – someone at some point had dropped a broom handle down the vent pipe, for cryin’ out loud, which I discovered in the 90-degree elbow along with a bunch of crud when I finally disassembled the drain pipe outside the kitchen window. Problem solved frugally without a plumber!)

    Thanks again for this blog and to everyone who reads and comments here. I love this community. Have a fantastic anniversary celebration, Brandy.

  59. Happy Anniversary on your blog, Brandy! Your site is my absolute favorite thing on the Internet and keeps me motivated and inspired 😀

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    I made some new curtains for the kitchen from fabric I had.

    I made vegetable soup from odds and ends from the fridge and freezer. I also made a large pot of beans and rice. We ate some throughout the week and the rest went in the freezer for future meals.

    I was on vacation this week so we saved quite a bit of money on gas. I have an hour and a half commute each day.

    Since I was on vacation I was able to do some activities that I don’t normally have the time to do:

    We attended our granddaughter’s volleyball game. It’s so enjoyable to watch the grandchildren grow up and do things. We took our two grandsons to the local splash pad. It only cost $1 for each child since we live in the township.

    I went to two thrift stores one day and bought many books for myself and the grands. I am beyond thrilled that they love their books. I also found two tops and two pairs of shorts for $2.00 each since it was “Two-Dollar Tuesday.” I have been looking for a set of salt and pepper shakers and I found one I really liked for $2.00. The last thing I found and especially needed was a Rubbermaid dish rack and drainer. The larger ones are not easy to find these days (and expensive!) and my old one was looking sad. I don’t have a dishwasher so a decent quality dish rack is a necessity.

    We took a load of unwanted items to the thrift store. We still have more things to get rid of in the basement but every bit is progress.

    Have a great week, everyone! I will be back to read the comments.

  60. Hello all!

    This week I received the State Park backpack from the library. It has a free parking pass to any Virginia State Park and brochures, on bug, leaves, Tess, etc. it also has bug and fish nets for kids to use. I used it to take my grandson to Claytor Lake. I have it check out for one more week.

    I went to a few yard sales. Bought chutes and Ladders for $1. Also bought a few toys for my grandson for 50 cents. I bought a picture for my kitchen for $1.50 at the Salvation Army Thrift Store.

    I received 2 books from different university’s libraries thought the Interloan Library System. I will use these to write a philosophy of education paper for my teaching license renewal.

    Picked cucumbers and sweet peppers from the garden.

  61. This past week we have sold 200 dollars worth of homeschool books we no longer used. We will use the money toward new books and other needs.
    We packed our own snacks for a short road trip so we didn’t have to stop for any food along the way.
    I have been cleaning and organizing our home, the more organized I am the less money I waste on buying things we already own, and the calmer I feel seeing a fresh uncluttered space.
    Congratulations Brandy, I have been reading for years and your site is one of my favorites, I love your encouragement!

  62. Hi Brandy:
    Congratulations on 10 years! This is my first post but I have been reading for a long time and am so inspired by your work ethic, your willingness to share ideas, and the comments of readers who also provide so many frugal ideas. This week I hung all laundry out to dry, ate all meals at home and found two articles of clothing at a thrift store for $1 each. Both these items would retail at $100 or more if bought new. My husband took his lunch to work everyday. We’ve had no food waste and I bought only the minimum at the grocery store this week, spending less that $20. The lettuce in my garden is finally getting big enough to pick here in southern Ontario so we are looking forward to some of that this week! I’m looking forward to everyone’s comments and picking up more ideas and inspiration.

  63. We do “slushies” made with lemonade in our ice cream maker – yum! Love your blog. Thanks for all you do!!

  64. 1. A local thrift store was having a 50% off sale, so I found six tops that will freshen up my dwindling wardrobe for $12.
    2. My father is having a cow processed this week, so I am buying a 1/4 of it for around $2 a pound (we are having it mostly done in steaks and roasts, with a little ground beef thrown in because we still have lots of ground beef from the last time)
    3. I have been enjoying fresh blueberries from our bushes every day
    4. Kroger had great deals on dish soap, cookies, crackers, Beanitos, ice cream, and frozen veggies last week, so I stocked up.
    5. I replaced the burner covers inside my grill to hopefully extend its life for a few more years.

  65. I look forward to what the upcoming posts have in store! Your blog has been a great inspiration to me through the years. I’ve love watching your family grow as well.
    Our most frugal accomplishment this week was definitely in the garden. We continued to harvest a bucketful of tomatoes every other day. I have canned them and made salsa. I have more to do this week. We were given three bags of cucumbers from my dad and mom and are making dill pickles out of those today. We picked some from my in-laws last week and made five quarts of dill Spears from those. I put up 14 quarts of green beans that I picked from my in-laws garden last week while they were on vacation. Last night I picked my first “mess” of my own peas from my garden so I’m excited that they are making!
    My husband got several free posts from the electric company that they had taken down from various places and replaced with new. They are perfectly fine for fencing posts that we need.
    My father in law gave my husband a car battery charger when he asked to borrow it. This will be useful to us as oft times a child will forget to close the door and the battery runs down. 😀
    My son is still having to go to therapy twice a week, 90 miles away but my dad has been going with us some. When he does go he buys the gas and our eats.
    We have all had colds the past two weeks which includes ear aches and fevers. It’s been a bad summer cold. I only took one child to the doctor and the rest we have been self medicating and getting plenty of rest.

  66. Good Morning,

    Congratulation! I have used many of your suggestions over the years. All are so useful. I have used the recipes and many have become family favorites, I remember when you had a blog and Facebook and then you switched to this site. Some of my most favorites posting are the Gift A Day series and birthday celebration postings.

    The weather has been extremely hot here and relentless. Yesterday it rained all day and the temperature was cooler and more comfortable. The first new baby, my nephew, was born this weekend and we went to visit him. Because I crocheted a soft baby blanket for him, the gift was well received. The baby is beautiful and I look forward to taking care of him and (sadly) giving him back to his lovely parents.

    Ways I saved last week:

    Turned the temperature on the air conditioner up a few days
    Saved the water from the air conditioner to water the garden (learned that from Miss Brandy)
    Made a new afghan for to be a Christmas gift
    Did not drive for my car for several days to make the gas last
    Had $72 dollars left over from June budget which was put into my saving account
    Added up my change from six months of collecting = $66 and put into my Xmas funds
    Made all meals from the pantry for the last week of June and last week before getting paid

    ]As a single mom/woman these are savings that feel like accomplishments for me:
    Checked the pressure on my tires on my car
    Had my tires rotated for free (part of the warranty)
    Trimmed all the bushes in the yard and raked 8 bags of leaves (save $200)

    Farmer’s Market
    I go to the Farmer’s Market with $5 to get vegetables and fruit
    Bought a giant zucchini, 3 good size summer squash, big bag of small yellow potatoes, 2 giant cucumbers, 8 tomatoes, big bag of red onions, 8 green, purple, and white peppers, bundle of garlic

    What I have learned from Miss Brandy is to appreciate my small victories of saving money and to reflect on how to save money in the future. I wish I had added up all those savings for the last few years…that would be interesting!

    Have a wonderful week all.


  67. Congrats on the 10 yrs! Our local grocery store had 30 lbs of chicken leg quarters for $10 total!. I am going to give some to my sons. I did all of my routine things. Cooked at home, brought my lunch to work, and wore thrifted clothes.

  68. Congratulations Brandy on ten years of this beautiful site. I have also birth 9 kids and adopted 5. During the recession I found your post so encouraging and hopeful. I have love that you create beauty even when finances are tight. You have done an exceptional job and encouraged others to do so too!

  69. I’ve been following you for at least 6 years now, if not more. I really appreciate your work and beautiful, tasteful ideas and pictures!

    Last week I tried to make a flower bouquet. It wasn’t too fancy, but still nice enough to give it as a thank you. We didn’t need it, because someone else had already bought one for this person, so we gave it to my MIL instead who liked it! I made it out of sunflowers and greenery from our garden and used some paper and ribbon from a present we received; so the bouquet was free.

    Summer break just began here (Europe), so we’re using our cars less and stay at home most of the time. That saves us money and energy as well as time we can use in the garden. My husband is doing everything himself and saves us a huge amount of money. We hope to have a huge veggie garden nextdoor year!

    Our berry bushes are doing great and I’m freezing many berries to use in breakfasts during the cooler months.

  70. Oh no…it’s gone!
    Brandy, I loved that antique fork that was at the top of your web page. I’m assuming you had to move it to make room for your Instagram strip…I hope you reconsider. One of the great things about your blog is that even though you’ve modernized it a bit, it still has kept its charm and beauty I hope you don’t start crowding out the pretty for the strictly prudent. So many website/blogs have gone that route.
    Just my humble opinion.

  71. I hope that you are resting and taking care of yourself – and baby – in this terrible heat – for all of you who think Canada is always cold the temperatures n Toronto have felt like 110F + for the past 3 days and it’s to be almost as bad for the next week! Enjoy the cherries!

  72. Congrats on your anniversary!

    I’ve commented before with specific comments to other readers but never my list of frugal accomplishments.

    First a comment: Amazon allows you to share your prime membership with up to 5 email addresses. It’s not only legitimate, it’s encouraged by Amazon. You don’t get all the services that you do with Prime but it does allow people to share. I share with my family as part of my “birthday gift” to them. Just look under your account settings.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    1. Stayed out of the stores and unsubscribed to sales emails. Those two things keep me from making lots of “wants” into “needs.”
    2. Shopped for groceries based on this weeks and next weeks sales. I follow a blog for my main grocery store that somehow gets previews of the next week. I check both weeks and delay purchases if I can.
    3. Ate lunch at home. I need to leave work for a mental break but live close enough that I go home and make lunch almost every working day.
    4. By passed the expensive non-water drinks at the store, even though I wanted one, to keep from needlessly spending the money (and drinking the calories).
    5. Signed up for the lower kWh rates during the day with power company. Means I have to shift a lot of chores to after 7 pm but it definitely lowers the high summer bills due to a/c use.

    Have a great week all! Thanks Brandy for all you do!

  73. Brandy,
    I found your blog your blog some years ago and have never commented before. The reason I continue to eagerly await your posts each week is I feel life should be as beautiful as possible no matter the financial circumstances, and you have shown it to be true. Your blog is a gorgeous combination of practicality and luxury. What is more luxurious than an extravagant arrangement of flowers on the table cut and arranged from ones back yard? My small home is fragrant with the scent of fresh cut flowers, which in my opinion are essential to happiness:)
    Because I am a new Real Estate Broker (and raising a sixteen yr old daughter on my own) I am not able to take an away vacation this summer. However, I have not let that keep me from enjoying myself. I purchased a family sized inflatable pool on sale for 15.00,
    placed it in the backyard, put up my shade umbrella, made homemade lemonade, put on my swimsuit and lounged for hours floating on a small raft.
    My daughter and I are avid patrons of the library and almost never purchase books. This week we went to our local Barnes and Noble, which is very close to our home and found titles of new books we wished to read. Then, we promptly went home and made a request from the library online.
    Thank you for the important work you do with your blog.


  74. Wow! 10 years! That means I found your page not too terribly long after you created it. I remember how I felt like I struggled to put transplants or seeds in a garden while working FT & with my first child being born in Spring of 2009. I reached out to you & you responded with encouragement & tips to try (like doing just st 10 minutes a day and such).

    I have enjoyed watching God bless you by expanding your garden, including the front yard, & the added blessings of more children. He wouldn’t give those to you if He wasn’t going to help you provide.

    You are an inspiration!! I absolutely adore you & your family. I honestly hope to travel to that side of the states. I have you & one other family (I believe they’re closer to Seattle) that I wish to finally meet in-person. I’ve learned so much from you all and those who share while following your page. I don’t feel like a lonely odd-ball anymore. I just know “my kind of people” are spread out 😉

    I pray your site continues to bless you & those who find it/read it for many years to come (though I hope the Lord will ease the burdens finances contribute to). I am so thankful you started all of this 10 years ago. Truly! If I could hug you, I would!!

    Happy wedding anniversary as well!!

  75. WOW! That is impressive! I hope you have a lovely, relaxing summer and that you get to really enjoy all those little treats. Well deserved.

  76. Always fun to read everyone’s tips and encouragement.
    Granddaughter wrecked her car. I told her I would get about 1k for my car on trade in even though it was worth much more. Suggested she buy it for 1k. She was thrilled. Then I negotiated a great deal on new to us car. Everybody was happy.
    A stop at the farm store at the end of the day netted me about 20# of zucchini for 1$. We have had many good zucchini based meals and treats. I made 6 pints of relish using up bell and pablano peppers frozen from our garden last summer. Our garden is slow this year, but the farm store is an easy walk from here and lower in price than the grocery store.
    Up early every day to open the house and start fans only having to use air conditioning late in the afternoon so far.
    Chickens continue to give us just enough eggs for breakfast and an occasional baked treat.
    I’m doing the mending for my widowed brother. He gifts us berries from his garden and some extra fruit from his trees. Everyone benefits.
    All laundry washed in cold water and line dried.
    My stove has issues so we unplugged it and are using my two instapot, toaster oven, George Foreman and an electric skillet and getting by just fine.
    I appreciate you, Brandy for your wisdom, humor and wonderful greatfull attitude. Here’s to another 10 years

  77. Holley, I think additional freezer space is definitely frugal! I have 2 upright freezers that are stuffed with bargain buys of meat, fruit and veggies bought in season and processed by myself to use for winter, bread and other baked goods either bought on sale or made to use up things that would have gone to waste otherwise, pre-made freezer meals to help on nights when we are too busy to prepare a meal from scratch, etc. Your new freezer is an excellent use of your hard earned money, in my humble opinion!

  78. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary as a blogger and thank you for all your hard work over the years – I cannot imagine how you manage to do so much with such a large family – you are truly an inspiration!

    Monday: Stayed home and took care of some chores

    Tuesday: Attended my monthly bookclub – got the book from the library, paid $1 for coffee at the centre and as I was this month’s facilitator I did take a treat for the others – but as we take turns each month this isn’t a big expense. I then headed down to my church as it was our last English as a Second Language evening until September and we were putting on a BBQ for all the students. I went early to help with the set up – we had around 70 attendees and we all had a lovely, free meal.

    Wednesday – stayed home and did laundry – one load of sheets went into the dryer but the second load of clothes and the hand laundry that I did all got hung up to dry. Later, did the ironing and got everything put away, I also found $1.10 in change in the laundry room!

    Thursday: Stayed home and cleaned my apt. I was having 7 friends over on Saturday so needed to give the place an extra clean!

    Friday: Pension money was deposited so I did all the errands, went to the library and did the grocery shopping. I knew that this would involve a lot of trips on the subway so I bought a day pass, got more than my money’s worth and then passed it along to a neighbour who I met heading out as I arrived home from my last trip of the day.

    Saturday: Entertained and it was not frugal although I suppose for feeding 8 people it wasn’t so bad. The guests brought beer and wine but the food was a bit more than I’d hoped. I tend to be the one who has always entertained over the years – and I’ve loved doing it but now that I’m on a fixed income I will have to rethink how to do this – and how many times a year I’ll do it. Still – it was lovely to see everyone – especially those who only come to Toronto a couple of times of year now so I will bite the bullet for this month.

    Sunday: enjoyed Fellowship after church – good coffee and some treats. I also picked up my small cheque for the work that I do there each month and that will be deposited on Tuesday.

    I was feeling a bit down after listening to friends talking about their various travel plans for August – but then I reminded myself that I hate travelling in the Summer (too hot and too crowded) so managed to stop feeling sorry for myself. I will appreciate having the Summer off for the second year in a row and take advantage of all the city has to offer, especially all the free and low cost things that are out there!
    I’ve also been feeling hard done by as regards my pension situation and had assumed that a new friend was so much better off than me – but then at Fellowship yesterday I overheard her speaking with someone else about having to juggle bills a bit as her pension is so low and then speaking with her later she mentioned that she lived in a Bachelor (Studio) Apt. – I had assumed at least a 1 bedroom in a fancy downtown condo – but how wrong we can be. You just never know how others manage and that is another reason why I appreciate all those who comment here and who aren’t afraid or embarrassed to share their lives and their struggles. Thank you all for your contributions.

  79. Raising children and keeping up with a blog regularly has to be challenging. I admire your organizational skills to be able to do both!

    I spent my entire grocery budget on some grocery specials… a Mennonite family has a side business of buying short-dated foods and delivering them to customers in the area. Not only are most of the prices excellent, but getting them delivered feels like such a luxury! My order this week included a gallon of cottage cheese for $7, a gallon of Greek yogurt for $4.75, and 4.5# of deli sliced ham for $10.

    But the bigger frugal accomplishment of the week is that our central AC stopped working during this crazy heat wave in the Midwest. My husband called a friend/co-worker/HVAC expert to get his advice and was able to fix it himself for the cost of $33. A miracle!

  80. i have only been following you for 3 years. Happy Anniversary. I love it here because everyone seems nice and helpful. No rudeness. I don’t comment much because of time and energy issues.

    My Zone 5 garden is starting to produce. I picked radishes, and basil this week.

    I made over half the pesto we use for the year this weekend and tried radish leaf pesto. Pickled the radishes because they are pretty hot.

    I grocery shopped strategically this week buying only yellow ticket and sale items and then visited the bread store and scored a free bag of potato chips which went nicely with the yellow ticket chip dip from grocery store.

    Free backyard movie with homemade popped popcorn.

    The boys went to Boy Scout camp paid for my son from fundraising and my husband through 1/2 off for teaching a merit badge.

    Thank you,

  81. Thanks for taking the time to work on this blog, Brandy, and congratulations on your 10 year anniversary!
    I read often, but may only have commented once, if that.

    Many of our frugal habits came about as ways to help the environment. We live in S. FL and do not use AC. Ours is an older house that was designed to be open. So we save on electricity that way. We also save all the shower warm-up water, dish-washing water (we got rid of a dishwasher when we moved in), and basin water in the bathroom, and use it to water the house plants or the garden. We save rainwater and use it in our front-loading washer. We dry on the line.

    All our clothes come from thrift, or as gifts from people passing things they don;t want on to us. We try extremely hard not to buy anything new.

    We are strict vegetarians and eat lots of beans, greens, and resistant starches. Most people can’t believe we live the way we do, but we feel great about living low on the food-chain and consuming less in order to help the environment,.

  82. Happy Anniversaries Brandy! When I started to read this post my stomach fell thinking you were going to say good bye. I can only imagine the amount of time this blog requires and am so grateful that you have created such a warm, welcoming, and informative environment.

    I also had to stop for a minute and think back – I’ve been a reader for at least 8 years and also remember the different sites and using Facebook for the weekly frugal posts. I love this combined site: the beauty of your photographs, the antique line drawings, and the wisdom & knowledge. Thank you.

    • Strategically used coupons and offers and earned 18,000 Walgreens reward points buying only items that I need.
    • Used a 40% off Michael’s coupon and bought one paint pen as I continue to build slowly my collection. Resisted the siren call to buy anything else.
    • Hung load of laundry up to dry.
    • At the beginning of the week, I opened windows at night and ran a window fan to bring in the 54 degree air to cool down the house. Then shut the house up tight the next morning. By the end of the week my thermometer, which sits in the sun, hit 111, which is amazingly hot for Connecticut. I had all the blinds down and curtains shut with two window A/C units running.
    • Picked strawberries and froze them
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Itemized and donated decluttered ‘stuff’ to charity
    • Printed a coupon for on-sale yogurt before going to grocery store
    • Watched free shows on PBS via my laptop

  83. The toilet paper I buy is also individually wrapped, and I use the wrappers for wiping grease out of pans. How funny that you do a similar thing!

  84. I took public transit using my work-issued monthly transit pass to the mall to replace a pair of sandals that had broken after 10 years of use (no way to repair them according to my shoe repair shop). Because I have been buying all my shoes there for 20 years, they gave me the sale price on the new sandals even though the sale doesn’t start until mid-July. I saved gas, wear and tear on the car, and 20% on the shoes. I packed my water bottle and lunch so I could enjoy a picnic before I returned home. Being gone during the hottest part of the day also meant my apartment was cool even though I hadn’t run the air conditioner while I was out.

  85. Your upcoming blog plans sound exciting!

    -My family reached the end of June and the pantry, freezer and fridge were NOT empty as usual because I have been making more of an effort to use coupons and shop sales to stock up of food and household items.

    -Worked 2 shifts at my part-time job.

    -Did a lengthy survey with my 11-year-old daughter that was worth a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

    -Watched a movie for our Family Movie Night from Netflix, rather than going to the theater or paying to rent a movie.

    -Harvested enough basil to make a batch of pesto.

    -Sold some home school curriculum on eBay and made about $60.

    -Tried to stay out of the stores since it was the end of the month and I was pretty much out of money for June!

  86. I have been reading for several years, commenting somewhat regularly. I enjoy the gentle tone of this blog and the beauty of the photography. The tips I see here are a nice bonus!
    I did some repairs myself at my home this weekend. I hung up a few loads of laundry inside, but as it rained almost the entire weekend, I couldn’t do all of it that way.
    My husband wanted to stop for a snack after church (we live an hour from our church) but he finally decided he could wait until we got home. Money saved. I had already decided not to buy anything for me.
    I cooked from scratch as usual. Whenever possible, I use things we have grown in our yard in our meals.
    I cut my own hair.
    I scrubbed my sinks and tubs using baking soda, liquid castile soap, and water. After showers, I spray my tub walls with vinegar with a shot of dish soap in it, to make soap scum easy to clean off.
    I pack leftovers for lunch every single day, and I wear almost entirely thrifted or given-to-me clothes.
    My uncle’s 90th birthday was this weekend, and instead of buying a card, I wrote him a letter using the stationary I own, telling him how much we appreciate and love him. It cost me a stamp, is all, and it took less time to write than I would have spent looking for an appropriate card. Cards for adults, especially men, are so often crass!

  87. Hi Brandy
    I read your blog every week but don’t comment often. My money saving this week was to harvest rhubarb, raspberries and chives from the garden and not to buy any newspapers – I don’t really need them as the news is freely available elsewhere and they have become really expensive here. Its a considerable saving not to buy any. Thanks for a wonderful blog.

  88. I hope you are able to really save a nice amount to use next winter, Lilli. I know how much you struggled last winter, trying to keep up with your heating costs. Out of curiosity, how are you able to use the internet without paying for it? Just wondering if you have a good suggestion for this.

  89. Wow, I second almost everything you stated, Jess…except the “big families are delightful” part. I have 1 autistic child, and she is definitely enough for me to handle! heehee

  90. Brandy, congratulations on 10 years! I’ve been reading your blog for many years now, and am always inspired by your posts. My family has also enjoyed several of your recipes. I haven’t posted in quite some time, so here are a few frugal things from last week.

    1) My nephew and I enjoyed a free concert and strawberry sundaes at a local library, and plan to go to another in a couple of weeks.
    2) I rearranged the items in my refrigerator so nothing would be missed and turn before it’s eaten.
    3) My birthday was last week, and we celebrated with a simple cake and ice cream at home. My husband knows that no gifts are required.
    4) I am encouraging my husband in his efforts to eat more healthy food (birthday cake and ice cream excepted!), which is a frugal choice to keep us healthy and avoid costly medical care and prescriptions.
    5) Joined a Frugal Month Challenge for July to keep me motivated.

  91. Congratulations and thank you! Rather than driving the car, I cycled to and from work every day last week (around 6.5 mile round trip through the countryside).

  92. I went to a wedding and used a dress I had but never wore before. It had a weird spot/hem on the hip and I covered it with big brooch which matched exactly – colors and size. Brooch was also never worn!
    Love the blog as much as its readers!

  93. The statistics cited in the MSN article are sobering. Essentially it says we are losing the middle income segment of our society. Thank you for linking to it.

    Also – I’m fascinated by your friend’s greenhouse and use of alternate energy and water. Would she be willing to do a guest post and take us on a tour of it and the mechanicals and the costs involved?

  94. Congratulations on the ten year anniversary of your blog! I admire your dedication and consistency in your work, you must be quite disciplined to keep up with this blog when you have so many responsibilities with your own family. I feel that I learn something new every time I read your blog and also the comments of the many followers here. I also enjoy your photos and the beautiful layout.

    This past week I have used the Libby app to check out library books on my Kindle. I keep a list of books I want to read (many I have discovered from comments from your readers) and I appreciate having the books delivered to my Kindle and then I don’t have to worry about returning them as they return themselves automatically. I also have listened to audio books that way while I’m working on a knitting project.

    I replaced the elastic in a skirt for myself this week and have sewed on a button that fell off a pair of capris. I appreciate that you always include your mending in your list of frugal accomplishments, keeping things in good repair is always economical.

    Thank you for your blog, I have learned about Duolingo, the great value that orchids are, and have discovered some wonderful free sheet music resources online. In the past I had read some “coupon” blogs but I have found your blog to be much more my style!

  95. Brandy thank you for all you have done and shared. Hubby told someone the other day that he isn’t worried about running out of money with his retirement because I read your blog and do so much to make that money stretch. We know it 3 months the out flow will be cut by 1/3 and next year even more as we are looking at YOUR gardens to figure out how to plant ours which will lower the food costs even more.

    We finished eating the last of the garlic scapes that I had froze and I pulled the garlic out of the garden to cure.
    We have a couch, love seat and hassock that needs redone. In the past Hubby would have been looking for new, now he is looking for someone to redo it. I have 2 chairs, one belonged to Mother and the other to my grandson’s great grandma on his dad’s side that I am redoing myself a little at a time when I’m not working on 209.
    I registered for the cut flower video you had shared so I can plant a cut flower garden at 209 so I have something to enjoy next year.
    Blessed Be you and yours and ALL that share here or just read your blog.


  96. Brandy, congratulations on your 10 year blogging anniversary! I’ve been following for several years now and have learned so much from both you and all those who comment here. My favourite frugal tip I learned from you was to buy ham on sale around the holidays and slice it up to use for meals year round. Same with the idea of buying turkeys on sale around holidays as there is no other meat you will find that is as cheap per pound as those turkeys! I have learned to cook and eat beans, have invested in money saving small appliances, like my food saver, dehydrator, pressure canner, and even tattler lids that are reusable, and most of all, found some amazing, kind and knowledgeable people to share ideas and life in general with. Thank you for creating this wonderful community!

    Like many of the commenters here, we are currently being roasted by a heat wave here. It’s brutal working at the pioneer village in this heat, but we’re surviving so far! Our frugal wins at our house this week included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken low mien stir-fry with veggie spring rolls, breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, green beans and choice between potato wedges and sweet potato fries, ham steaks with mashed potatoes and broccoli, sandwiches with choice of meat (from freezer), dill pickle spears and cold salads, cheesy ham and broccoli rice skillet (I printed this recipe off for my mom to use, as it is a very quick stove top recipe, perfect to use during a heat wave), BBQ chicken sandwiches with choice of topping, and potato chips and cake for dessert (see below).
    *When we were hit with a heat wave, I made some homemade lemonade using bottled lemon juice, sugar and water. We don’t grow lemons in Canada, so I used what I had available in my pantry.
    *Harvested a handful of shelling peas and lettuce from the garden.
    *My mom decided to make a cake for Canada Day from one of the cake mixes I keep in the pantry. She tried to dye the white icing red with the food colouring in the pantry. However, I only have the liquid kind, not the gel type. So despite her best efforts (and using all the red food colouring we had) the icing turned out a dark pink. She then used white marshmallows to spell out “EH?” on the cake (it was the only Canadian saying she could get to fit on top of the cake). The whole thing was quite funny, but I’m proud of my mom’s efforts to do something special for us on Canada Day, especially during a heat wave!
    *We had 2 meetings in 1 day at the school DD will be transferring to next year. One was about the logistics of what her needs are and how they can best address them. The school will continue to work out the details. The second was a school tour for DD to see where she will be attending. She was anxious and excited to go. We were fortunate enough to meet 2 of the art teachers and see the art classes, which is DD’s favourite subject. One of the art teachers also has a daughter on the Autism spectrum. We hope she and this school as a whole will be a better fit for DD!
    *After a long day of meetings at DD’s new school on my day off, I didn’t have the energy to plan out a meal for that evening. Hubby jumped at the opportunity to buy pizza for dinner (zero argument when I told him he had to go get it). When he returned he had 3 medium pizzas instead of 2. He explained that when they made one of the pizzas, they used too few pepperoni’s by mistake (11 less than should have been used to be exact) and since this was substandard they gave him the improperly made pizza for free, plus made a new one that was correct. On top of this, it was buy 1 get 1 free day (which turned into buy 1 get 2 free), so he only paid about $20 for 3 medium pizzas and 2 dipping sauces. Hubby was rather proud of his unbelievable and totally unexpected luck! So we enjoyed our super cheap take out and the leftovers made perfect lunches.
    *On my way home from work, I noticed the price of gas had jumped significantly from $1.20/litre in the am to $1.33/litre in the pm in anticipation of upcoming Canada Day celebrations. I quickly diverted and went to Costco where the I was able to fill my half tank for $1.18/litre! This should keep me going for about 2 weeks, by which time the prices should hopefully come down to more reasonable prices.
    *Worked on Canada Day, so should be getting paid time and a half for those hours I worked. Lucked out and was positioned in the weaver shop, which is a modern building that has insulation and there is air conditioning in the back section. We had temperatures high with high humidity making it felt like over 40C! I was extremely grateful for the cooler building, though I felt terrible for my co-workers who were in historic buildings without any real protection from the intense heat/humidity! Needless to say, our “special event” was not as heavily attended as it has been in the past.
    *Free things received from work this week included candy, baked goods, lemonade, cake, and a jumbo freezie.

    Wow, so many great comments already. Just spend a few hours trying to read through them all before posting my accomplishments. Had to finally give up and just post it. I will enjoy reading each and every comment over the week. Thank you everyone for making this space such a wonderful place to visit!

  97. My best frugal win last week was accepting free veggies from the manager at my community garden. She offered me her market returns and I gladly accepted free broccoli and free rhubarb.

    Thanks again for all your work you do in running your blog. Congrats on 10 years!

  98. Ten years! You are a wonder, Brandy. Even though I no longer need to be quite so saving, I can’t change! I like to live this way and to read how you and others live well on less. I never thought to note down my frugalities, but now I keep at least a mental list. This week: some small repairs on 19 year old (beautiful condition) Forester. Cooked creatively down to the last fridge item. Walked everyday. Mended summer clothes from past seasons. Homemade manicure/pedicure. Cut husband’s hair. Harvested parsley, lettuces, swiss chard, basil from small garden plot. Made herb and flower bouquets for house.

  99. Congrats on your blogiversary and upcoming wedding anniversary!

    The biggest savings tip I’ve gotten from your site is Recyclebank and the free magazine subscriptions. I enjoy reading many different magazines. Thanks to your site I enjoy them for free and then pass them on to a local beauty shop owner for her customers (with my name and address blackened out of course).

  100. Congratulations Brandy. You’ve created such a beautiful and practical resource. You’ve made such a difference in my family’s life and so many others. Thank you.

    June was a busy month for us. My daughter completed her GED and got her drivers license. Hooray!!!! She is driving herself to work now and that has freed up so much time for us. I am so happy for her and proud of her too. The county has agreed to pay all of her expenses to become a Certified Nursing Assistant this fall, and we are so grateful. She will complete this program and hopefully become licensed by the end of October. They are also arranging a paid internship for her at a local healthcare facility but I don’t have all the details on that yet. On Saturday, I took her to shop for her first scrubs uniform and it is so exciting to see her start this new phase of her life.

    We stayed home a lot, out of the heat and relied on the library for books and movies. The cooking lessons continued and my kids are experimenting with a lot of new baking inspired by The Great British Baking Show on PBS. My 15 year old son even asked for a Victoria Sponge as his birthday cake. We used some of our homemade raspberry jam and it was delicious!

    I used a $70 tire rebate for grocery shopping, and spent one evening going to three different Jewels to acquire 8 oz blocks of cheese for .99 cents each. By the end I think we had about 64 blocks of cheese and this should last us several months. This week I will focus on restocking butter for 1.99 per pound.

    I want to thank whoever posted about Zaycon last week. I had four outstanding orders that equaled over $650.00.
    I was able to get all of my money back by going to the bank and filling out credit dispute forms for my debit card. Some of my charges were from last March and my bank still refunded my money after I spoke to the bookkeeping department and explained the Zaycon business model of prepayment for future deliveries.

    Our frugal fail was the unexpected death of a family pet. It’s expensive to cremate a tiny rabbit. We have had Benny for 9 years and he was so much a part of our family. We found him at a garage sale for $15.00 and that included his crate, food and litter. He was originally part of a pair and his owners thought he was female until the other rabbit became pregnant. She and her babies were given away and then the kids had gotten older and too busy to take care of Benny. We were so happy to bring him home with us. He kept my youngest daughter company during nap times and then moved over to the hallway at the top of the stairs to keep us all company during the day and to watch over us during the night. I think he was the best $15.00 investment we ever made. We all miss him so much.

  101. Hello Brandy and all and thank you so much for the years of encouragement your blog has provided. It is always such a pleasure to read each week. I have never posted before but have appreciated all the advice and helpful kindness I have found here over the years. When I first started reading my situation was pretty bleak but has improved considerably since then. I am still frugal, both by choice and necessity, but I am content and that is so important.
    This week I have done all the usual things: drying clothes on the line (I don’t own dryer), reusing ziploc bags, wearing thrifted clothes, mending and finding new uses for worn items (my dishcloths are old towels that I cut into squares and zig zagged the edges) cooking and eating at home, keeping the thermostat up so the air conditioning doesn’t come on as often, etc. All of these things make it possible for me to live a comfortable life and spend quality time with the people I love.

  102. Brandy, thank you for this blog. I know it requires time to manage it, time which you could spend taking care of your family, yet you chose to share. You are appreciated. I discovered it about three years ago and have since told many people who are struggling to pay their bills. I consider this site to have the “tools needed to climb out of poverty.”

    I will share one home improvement project which saved no money, cost no money but improves the world. Then I will share a few things I did to save money.

    *First, the home improvement project. We have a pile of broken concrete cinder blocks in a pile in the backyard left by the previous homeowner. (He was a contractor and left many piles of junk all over the property we discovered). Sending them to the landfill did not seem very environmental so I stopped by a concrete manufacturing company and asked if I could throw them in their recycling pile of broken products. They readily agreed. Whenever I am in that area and I will throw some into their recycle bin.

    * I needed new jeans, mine were beyond repair, so I stopped by a thrift store and selected ONLY the $.99 pairs to try on. I found two which fit and allowed myself to buy both! I paid and immediately left the store without tempting myself to spend money on anything else.

    * I used a $5 off of $25 coupon for Dollar General and bought only what I needed.

    *This week I have continued to cook the food I brought home from Mom’s pantry. Most of what she had purchased was instant items since she had stopped cooking a while ago. I only cook from scratch due to being health conscious and frugal. Today I cooked a package of macaroni and cheese and was stunned at how few noodles were in the box! When did that happen? Processed food is convenient…but not cheap!

    *My main focus this week has been to get the garden weeded and a few more things planted. Yes, I am still trying to get it out in JULY!! This week I will be starting the rest of my herbs from seeds and hoping I will get enough of anything to make it worthwhile. It has been the best I could do this year.

    This is June’s Garden


  103. I dried fresh basil from my garden to add to my spices. I am going to try making pesto for the first time using basil from my garden. I will also by dehydrating a batch of celery. Celery is something I never seem to use up in time when I buy it but when I need it, I need it…like in soups. I have also been grouping my errands so that I can stay home more days in the week saving gas. I love your website. You have helped me quite a bit. You are very inspiring and encouraging. Thank you.

  104. You’re so sweet, Margie! I am indeed resting mostly in this heat. I’ve even taken to leaving popsicles at my workplace, so that I can eat one on the walk home to help me stay cool until I get to my air-conditioned condo, whereupon I make myself a kale smoothie for dinner with lots of frozen fruit to further cool myself off. And lots of cold water and cold lemonade! I’ve only left my condo twice this weekend, both times when someone picked me up in an air-conditioned car. I also have a fan on my desk at my workplace, to help me stay cool. If this degree of heat stays for a while, I’ll also bring a plant spritzer to work, filled with water, to spritz myself with periodically, as the a/c in my workplace doesn’t cool evenly throughout the small building. (I have also been known to take ice-packs from the freezer at work to place on my neck and face to cool myself down.) I am sooooooo sooooo very thankful for my air-conditioner!

  105. Hi Brandy and everyone! I haven’t commented in a while and my “Frugal Accomplishments” compared to others probably seem like splurges… ok here is what I did last week:
    attended a tai chi class at the Botanical Garden (free with my yearly membership)
    used my Kohl’s cash and a coupon to purchase several things my college age daughter needs for her apartment she will be moving into
    used an REI gift card I won on a business trip recently to purchase some summer sandals
    found an item at Trader Joe’s that my daughter really likes (she is super picky so this is a win)- it is a sirloin steak with chimichurri sauce and we liked it so much I went back and got more and we had it for a second night-this beats the take out and eating out we have been doing too much of lately
    Donated plasma which I have been doing regularly for about 9 months- I qualified for the bonus for June based on my 8 donations-my “earnings” totalled $340 for June- I am using my plasma money to pay for our family vacation this summer

    Have a great day everyone!


  106. As Marie said, your blog is the gold standard of homemaking/frugality blogs! I’m so excited that you plan additional entries. I’ll certainly be checking.
    I have commented before but usually a question or a comment. Looks like I have a big frugal tip all of a sudden, however. Our central a/c died and despite this eastern heat wave I’m determined to get through the summer with just fans and save money to buy a unit next year. The inspector told us 14 years ago that it would need to be replaced in a couple years so not throwing money at a “fix.”
    Last summer when I was still working, the a/c in my car wasn’t working, but I endured a blazing hot car with just an icy water bottle on my forehead or neck every stoplight, and even had the bottle down the neckline of my dress. So this should be doable, although I hate excessive heat.

  107. I gave my husband a haircut.
    I cleaned seven apartments for a friend in exchange for the same number of free music lessons during the summer. Music lessons are $25 each, so I was thrilled! We were going to need to skip music lessons during the summer, to help save on cost so we could still afford lessons during the school year.
    I said “Yes” when offered a free hand me down dresser. I didn’t really need it right now, but we have space to store it in the basement. In a year, my son will finish at his college where he is renting a furnished apartment, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra dresser I can offer to him if his next place is not furnished. In the meantime, it can help organize things in the basement. It is a bit humble, but a new coat of paint would fix it up for regular use if needed.
    I have picked lettuce from our garden several times to use in salads, sandwiches, etc.
    I have picked three or four times huge bunches of kale from our garden, and this morning saw that there are tons more growing and ready to pick. This year, we purchased AgFabric off of Amazon after a friend told me about using it to keep the bugs from eating her kale. My husband built a frame out of previously used wood that we drape the AgFabric over, so the frame cost was zero. We did have cost for the AgFabric, but it is supposed to be able to reuse for several years, and is definitely working so we get to eat the kale instead of the bugs!
    I picked flowers from our garden to enjoy inside. Mainly Shasta Daiseys and Black Eyed Susans. They last a full week plus and make my kitchen counter so cheerful!
    I said “Yes” when my sister offered me three cucumber plants that she started from seed. My husband planted them yesterday–we will see if they grow and produce in the heat we have been having. But they were free, so worth trying anyway!
    I appreciate your blog so much, Brandy! Not much encouragement out there to be a home maker, and whether we are working outside the home or not, we are still home makers either for a husband and children, or even for ourselves! I look at my “job” as being frugal with the money my husband earns–stretching it as far as it can go for our family, and to be able to share with others as well. This allows me to stay home with our children and raise them myself.

  108. Congratulations on ten years! That’s an amazing accomplishment, and I’ve enjoyed your site for a very long time now.

    This week, I hung my laundry out to dry, finished reading several books from my own shelves (one I’ll pass on to others via a Little Free Library near me), and finally found a rug for underneath my piano bench. I’ve been looking for one for ages, but have held off because new ones the size I needed were so expensive. This one was a dollar at a yard sale, so that made me happy! I studied French using resources I have at home, made several meals’ worth of spaghetti sauce using veggies that needed to be used up, and read several books I’d requested from interlibrary loan. On one day, I was really struggling with pain and so we stayed home, thus spending no money at all.

  109. Hi Gardenpat, I love to hear how you and your husband make things out of found wood. Do y’all have a website?

  110. Congratulations and thank you for your blog. I started following your blog because of your lovely gardens but kept reading because I enjoy the way you “romance the ordinary”. Fresh flowers, creative homemade birthday celebrations, home-cooked meals and lovely gift wrappings all done on a budget and with a house full of little ones! You are a marvel!

    I will list a few things I’ve done to save money but I can’t hold a candle to most of you. I dried and saved heirloom seeds from my spring lettuce to use in the fall, harvested herbs and vegetables from my garden, edited our business website so I didn’t have to hire it done, sold some vintage items on ebay that belonged to my late mother-in-law and have been in storage and made some 4th of July promotional items for our business instead of buying them.

    I really enjoy your blog, especially your gift a day series and pictures of your gardens. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us.

  111. First time writing here. My husband needed a laptop urgently for his work. We had been using his old one for around 10 yrs and it was on its last legs. We bought a macbook one year old from a reputed second hand computer shop after doing lots of research. It cost 550$ instead of the 2600 a new one would have cost.

  112. I’ve been ready your blog for years and enjoy all that you do. I’m not frugal as you and most of your readers but work hard to save money where I can. Your blog gives me wonderful ideas as well as the readers who post. My biggest save was using the Ibotta app. It’s been about 8 months but I was able to cash out $60 to help pay for my daughters Girl Scout camp. Feels awesome to see those tiny amounts add up. I also purchased a $5 Kohl’s book with my $5 rewards. Only paid tax and gave it as a birthday present to one of my youngests sons preschool friends as a birthday gift along with his favorite candy.

  113. Depending on the rules for your credit card, you can pay your mortgage on it. We do and have enough rewards most years to cover Christmas shopping AND a hotel for vacation each year.

  114. Thank you for your blog. I have been a reader for several years and truly gleam information to help me and my family.

  115. Congratulations on 10 years! I have been reading your blog for many years, I think it has been at least 8 years. I have only commented once or twice. I found your blog when I needed help understanding how to be more frugal and simplify my life (my husband and I have 4 sons). I have read ( and stopped reading ) many other blogs along the way, but I never have stopped reading yours. You have inspired me in countless ways. The fact your are a Francophile and a Harry Potter fan really endeared me to you. You seem to run a very calm household which is something I aspire for. I am continually impressed with all that you and your dear family accomplish.
    I have also been inspired by everyone’s comments and ideas on their frugal accomplishments. I love how supportive everyone is on this site. I see it as a respite from my hectic world. I treasure all of your posts and look forward to each one of them
    Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  116. Happy 10th anniversary to your blog!!!!!

    I havent really posted in awhile, by the time I get caught up on all the posts, its later in the week and then theres no sense in doing so!!! One of the things that I have been doing for a few months now is I cut my sos pads in half to make them last longer. Here in Florida, if I use it once and leave it on a ceramic trivet, its rusted the next day. At least by cutting it in half, I can get 2 days out of one pad. Last week I thought I needed dishwasher pods, so I had a $25 giftcard for Walmart that I had redeemed from swagbucks, I went to Sams and lucky for me, they were on an instant rebate for $4 off. I had been getting $10 coupons off of groupon in my email. I found a deal at the butcher shop and a deal for large shrimp at the seafood store. Out of pocket costs were less than $5 for each, which made for 2 decent suppers. My husband decided that he would like to diet, so we both have weight watcher online accounts. While thats not exactly frugal, He is eating a lot less food. I am buying a lot less meat, but more in season fruits and veggies. Im almost at goal, once I hit lifetime, my weightwatchers will be free. Last week I did a lot of food shopping through both of our ibotta accounts. The freezer is stocked with turkey burgers and morningstar farms frozen items. Other than this, just my normal efforts to save/not spend money.

  117. Brandy,
    I am so very thankful for all the hard work you put into your blog on a regular basis especially with how busy you are with your large family. I just can’t tell you how much your blog has improved the quality of life for our family. You are truly a blessing to so many- but first and foremost to your own family which I greatly admire.
    I hope you and your husband have a great time celebrating your anniversary.

    I turned my dishwasher on the other morning and then went to brush my teeth before heading off to work for the day. When I went back into the kitchen- it was flooded! I quickly turned off the dishwasher and mopped up most of the water and then called my husband who was already at work. He came home and was able to fix the plumbing issue with very minimal cost for parts. So thankful for his handyman skills. So thankful the water didn’t ruin the flooring.

    For the first time ever, our cherry tree is producing lots of delicious cherries so we are eating those fresh and not buying any fruit.

    My daughter and her husband are remodeling their bathroom so we have been babysitting our grandson so they can work on the bathroom project undisturbed. They have been planning this project for at least 5 years. They slowly purchased the items needed at thrift stores and such and their total cost for tiling walls around tub and tiling floor and putting up bead board on other walls, new toilet, new sink, new light fixture, new paint is $2000. It really pays to plan and be patient and most importantly, be willing to do all the work yourself.

  118. I am new to commenting on your blog. Have been following for the past year. I lost my husband 2 years ago…am finding my way in this new normal. Thank you for providing a space to read, comment, and learn. You mean the world.

  119. Brandy, I would also like to see your friends greenhouse if she would allow a tour.

  120. Just to let you know that I so enjoy your words, pictures, recipes and tips. I have worked hard to be frugal and yet enjoy the beauty of life for many years.
    I accept your challenge to think of just one frugal action taken this week. There are so many but this is the first thing I thought of.
    We took three of our grandchildren for ice cream while on a day trip. When we got there we realized it would cost over $20 for each of us to get a small cone. We decided to walk across the street to a small grocery and buy a container of ice cream for $4. We stopped at a picnic area on the way home and enjoyed the ice cream. The kids loved it because it was all-you-can-eat!

  121. Congratulations on your blogging milestone!

    This week with the help of a neighbour I made mandarin and lime marmalade for the first time, (all fruit from my neighbours garden). I have given away a few bottles as presents and people love anything homemade.
    I think this blog is inspiring me to look for a second hand freezer. We belong to a fruit and veg co-op and I need extra space to freeze things that are at the moment spoiling as we don’t get around to using them. Anyone have advice on upright versus chest freezers?

  122. I too am thankful for all that you do for us, Brandy. You are such a blessing to me.
    I accepted some antique hankerchiefs from my mom. She also has given us a free lap blanket. I was able to purchase Ribs for $1.77 a pound. But my big score/savings happened tonight at Walmart. They had a buggy full of The walmart brand of Scott toilet tissue for a $1 a 4-pack. ( $.25 a roll) There were 22 packages. I brought them all home. I saved $22 Dollars. And they have provided entertainment! I was in my bedroom and the teenagers built a wall of tp in front of my bedroom door. I think they are planning on building a wall in front of big brothers door for him to find when he gets off of his second shift job. LOL We do love to have fun!

  123. Rhonda: I make lemonade this way as well as fresh lemons are so expensive here in Southern Ontario. I’ve never had any complaints! Our gas here in London is $1.37/L at the moment so I feel your pain there as well. We won’t be traveling far at that cost! Hoping that the school works out for your DD. My son is disabled but we homeschool.

  124. Brandy, your blog is the one I look forward to reading every week. Thank you for putting in the time and effort to show us how wonderful being a frugal homemaker is.
    I rarely comment but my big frugal accomplishment was that I wrote down what was in the freezers and pantry to come up with our meals for the week.

  125. I’ll join the chorus of thanks and congratulations on your 10 year blog anniversary. You have created quite a community. A recent and delicious out of the ordinary frugal success for me was a gift of 15 avocados which was quite unexpected. I am going to pass some of them on to a friend as there are just 2 of us to eat them. Offered to take dessert to a lunch at a friend’s so made brownies using my Mom’s old recipe. It was nice to see her handwriting and think of how many times I have made and eaten that brownie recipe.

  126. Margie, perhaps you just need to rethink what and how you will serve when entertaining your guests. I remember Brandy posting about a baby shower she hosted and the frugal but delicious spread she put out on a beautifully decorated table using things she had on hand. There are some very tasty party food that are made from inexpensive ingredients, especially made from scratch as most people don’t often do that these day (like homemade bread, tea biscuits or soup), can mimic takeout type food but use cheap ingredients (like fried rice, stir-fry or curry) or can look more expensive than they really are to make (like wraps or fancy tea sandwiches). Since you are retired, you can plan for post party clean up over a few days so as not to overwhelm yourself. So don’t be afraid to use real China, cutlery, glasswear and fabric table cloth instead of disposable paper and plastic ware. Of course, even in Toronto you could find a few flowers to cut or grow some in small pots to decorate the table and/or make a cute inexpensive crafts using the internet or library books as idea resourses. Bottom line…you shouldn’t stop entertaining just because you are on a fixed income!

  127. I cannot imagine wearing all those layers of clothing that you do for work – or working over an open fireplace – I would faint in this heat! It was 45C here in Toronto yesterday and you could hardly breathe!
    hat is good news about the new school for your daughter – I hope that it all works out for her and for you.

  128. I use excess garden lettuce in soup all the time, pureed or regular. They are no different than other mild tasting greens, to me and the husband. Also, I learned to love beets when I started making a flourless beet chocolate cake!!

  129. I love my upright freezers as they are so much easier to see and find what you are looking for! My understanding is that chest freezers keep things frozen longer if there is a power outage. But I would rather have a more functional freezer that is user friendly. By the way, I would recommend watching auction or estate sales for a used freezer. When loved ones pass away or need to move/ downsize often their family already have a household full of stuff and the duplicate items get sold. They can sometimes be in really good/ like new condition too!

  130. I have never posted, but always read. I love reading all your money saving adventures. I have a very tiny yard, but have a small garden. However, where I work they grow a HUGE kitchen garden for the cafeteria. They also sell the produce at a stand to benefit the non-profit and children’s programs. Each spring I volunteer helping in the garden a few Saturdays. So I am allowed to pick produce for my family for the remainder of the season. Today I got green onions, radishes, Italian parsley, basil, kale, lettuce, spinach and green beans. Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and squash are coming on soon.
    Happy Anniversary!!!

  131. I love your blog, Brandy! I’ve been reading for years. I remember when Ivory was born. I love your recipes, gardening tips, and sewing projects. My favorite series is the Christmas gift a day series, but I really enjoy everything you write. I don’t participate often in the weekly frugal accomplishments – maybe only once before. But I’ll try in the future. We’ve had unexpected medical bills recently and appointments at odd times, so we’ve had more eating out than usual. I have tried to cook at home as much as possible. We have a daughter getting married on Friday, so perhaps the only money saving thing I’ve done is keep an eye on the wedding budget. We’ve done well on that front! That’s something!

  132. Brandy, Amazon Prime offers a special deal for students. Free for 6 months then 1/2 price! My daughter in college uses this. Your oldest daughter may qualify since she’s taking university courses. —Just a thought!

  133. Thank you, Rhonda! I am very happy with my decision. I had been debating doing this for a very long time. Mostly, I had to convince my husband to give up more of his garage space!!! To say he has seen the light is an understatement! He is thrilled with all the meat I’ve already put in it!

  134. * We did without A/C even when temperatures reached 100 degrees.
    * We used a gift card to purchase most of our groceries.
    * We brought our own food when we were gone from the house for a long day and saved money on going out to eat (and had better food to eat).
    * I continue to combine personal and business errands to save time, money, and gas.
    * I purchased 2 pounds of organic blueberries with a gift card and have frozen about 1/4 of them. They are delicious!
    * I am making dinner for a client with food I have on hand.
    * We are having a customer appreciation dinner, and I am serving burrito bowls which are glorified rice and beans. I have most of the ingredients. For the venue, we are using a party room available to us and therefore saving hundreds of dollars.

  135. I think I found your blog when Ivory was between 12-18 months, based on my memory of her photo at the time. I have read every single entry since then and most weeks read all the comments as well. I learn from both! I admire your sense of elegance with such simple things. I am trying to emulate your accomplishments, although I am at a different stage of life. There is still more to learn. I also appreciate the kindness found here–on other blogs there seem to always be people sniping and griping at each other and the sense of helpfulness between your readers is a great improvement over those.

    This week saw us eating out twice-but it was for fairly solid reasons. I will attempt to do better, but I am unable to drive husband to the doctor and cook dinner at the same time–although with better planning I could. It’s not a financial hardship but it’s generally too much salt in my case. We found out this week that my husband is permanently unable to drive because of dementia, which was just diagnosed a couple weeks ago. He had a special driving assessment test at the hospital–very comprehensive, about 90 minutes worth, and it is no longer safe for him to do so. So I have now become the only driver, although my daughter lives only a couple miles away and can also help. I will be going to the vet with the cat tomorrow instead of to yoga class, but hopefully husband will remember next time, or I will call back and change the appointment. We are in the middle of a heat wave so missing one class in 95 degree heat will not hurt me at all.
    My frugal accomplishments included recyling a large pile of newspapers, making my husband the promised Father’s Day pie yesterday, and eating local strawberries in every possible shape and form–the season is very limited, and the heat wave is going to end it even faster. I have two more quarts in the fridge and might have had my fill of them by the time they are gone. I LOVE strawberries, and peaches. I try to get the first and last picking from the farm stand when those two fruits come along. I also had my first locally grown green beans and tomato today, also from the farm stand. Normally I would grow these myself but this year it just isn’t happening. No veggies this year as there have just been too many medical appts and too few days of weeding and trimming in the yard. I do have an appt in a couple weeks with the neurology social worker, who I’m hoping will be able to save me some research by leading me to reliable agencies for part time help with housekeeping and yard work. I have to save a certain amount of time in my day lately for finding my husband’s hearing aids, glasses, keys, and whatever else he manages to misplace. Including a slice of pizza he heated up for his lunch and then popped back into the fridge. I found it before it got cold!! Life is good.

  136. We do stone soup potlucks. Everyone brings an ingredient and we talk or play cards or watch a movie while the soup is cooking. Inexpensive and different.

  137. I rarely post but have been reading for years! I love this blog, it’s my very favorite.
    This week I:
    1. Sold multiple items as my teen girls cleaned out their rooms and closets.
    2. Carefully planned all meals including lunches and many snack ideas for my family (I am single w/ 7 kids, most in high school/college). Shopped at the cheapest store around me (Winco) and also got some great loss leader deals at Kroeger (detergent, hot dogs, cereal). Stayed just at my grocery budget, I was pleased, although would like to get it lower.
    3. Made daily snacks including banana muffins, homemade granola bars, cut up veggies, homemade ranch. Lots of fresh fruit this time of year also. Used up 6 very ripe bananas for the muffins.
    4. Got cheap gas at Costco.
    5. Picked 25 lbs of raspberries and 20 lbs of blueberries. Made 22 jars of rasp. jam, and 12 jars of blueberry syrup. Froze the rest of the berries in 2- cup increments to use all year in muffins.

  138. Håfa adai from Guam!

    I’ve enjoyed your blog for years!

    -Turned Handsome’s famous pasta sauce and meatballs into a lasagne for two.
    -Turn on the water heater each morning for 17 minutes. Perfect for our empty nest: two showers, dish washing by hand, etc.
    -Make our own freshly ground coffee each morning.


  139. Hi Brandy, warm greetings to you and your readers from here in New Zealand and thanks for publishing your wonderful blog which I really appreciate and enjoy.

    We planted cabbages, broad (java) beans, cauliflowers and more silver beet to grow through the winter in our vegetable garden. We are presently eating potatoes, courgettes, corn, broccoli and many other vegetables, fruits and berries from the last harvest.

    We’re getting a big pile of mixed sunflower seeds ready to sell to other gardeners. They were giant and other sunflowers that we grew – I think the largest head had over 1 kg or 2.2 lbs of seeds!

    A kind lady gave us a great big pile of gladioli bulbs she no longer wants so we will plant those in the Spring, along with dahlia tubers and other flowers. Some of them we will use to make and sell bouquets at our roadside stall.

    Our 7 lovely hens are still laying through the winter and we’re getting about 3 or 4 a day, plenty to keep us in fresh, free range eggs for the week. In the Spring we will get some more pullets too and sell some of the surplus eggs when we get them – it usually pays for all the laying mash for the hens so we get free eggs at the very least but usually a nice little profit as well.

    Come Spring we will plant some blueberries and boysenberries. We already have a lot of raspberries, some strawberries and a few gooseberry bushes.

    Our electricity bill went down by $60 this month. I was pretty pleased about that!

    I also managed to get $10 off the regular charges on my cellphone plan.

    Have a great day everyone,
    Wendy (NZ)

  140. My I suggest your next investment piece should be to buy a food saver. I admit they are expensive, including the special plastic rolls you have to buy. However, they allow you to store th at expensive meat for much longer in the freezer without fear of loosing it to freezer burn. I’m incredibly happy I have one!

  141. Thank you Andrea. The gas prices are insane this summer! Funny enough, when I came home after getting the gas, I told my mom what I paid and she had me finish cooking dinner while she ran over to Costco to fill her tank as well. Sure hope it drops down before I have to fill up again!

  142. When we have temperatures and humidity that reach into the high 30’s/low 40’s, we don’t start fires. Even the blacksmith just does an interpretation with no demos. We’re not sure why anyone would want to visit a pioneer village on such a hot day (I mean seriously, I love history, but I want AC in this heat), yet we’re always surprised to see people come through. The weird part is there are usually heat warnings stating that elderly and young children are more likely to have problems, and the visitors that come are grandparents with their grandchildren. We will happily welcome the visitors and give our interpretations with as much enthusiasm we can muster. But, really, under our smiles, we are absolutely miserable in those pretty outfits!

  143. Hello Brandy,
    I have read all of your blog since the beginning and your website before. It is all so lovely and helpful. I have only commented 2-3 times, sorry. I have a big garden. Working and harvesting veggies is probably my biggest frugal win each week. Also, we picked blueberries and black raspberries this week.

    I had some unsprayed potatoes that sprouted in my pantry, so I decide to try planting them where I dug up my radishes. It is an experiment, but I will see if it works.

  144. I have followed you and gained a lot of knowledge and encouragement from you and your followers for some years but never commented. Thank you for this wonderful site! This week, we have been eating from our fridge and freezer in preparation for a trip away from home. We have borrowed board games from the library for free entertainment. We watched our own copy of a Harry Potter movie when the youngest finished book 3 as entertainment instead of seeing new movies at the theater. We have bought less expensive items in place of the “fancier” versions that I usually think we need or that I desire aesthetically. This is never to be underestimated, as I find I usually never miss the “nicer” one once I am home using the more utilitarian version.

  145. I cringed when I paid $1.37 but we don’t travel far so hopefully it will carry us through the month. Hopefully by then the price will be somewhat lower!

  146. Congratulations! I love your blog. It is such a gentle and kind community. You have made frugality an art. Your house is a welcoming home. You are an example that beautiful does not have to cost much. Over the years I have followed many money saving blogs but mainly just follow yours now. The others are just too commercialized.
    with my husband going back to work I continued doing grande manage (spring cleaning–not sure on the french spelling, I took 4 years of Spanish eons ago). I donated another trash bag to the local thrift shop, a smaller bag to the library, and another to our local school of religion.
    Continued to focus on developing a meal plan for us. I gathered all the recipes I have been gathering thru the years and discovered I am a recipe hog! I weeded out all the recipes that do not fit my style of simple recipes. If there were any recipes that were more complicated or more expensive that I could not part with, they went on my quarterly recipe listing. I am basing my meal plan on various themes such as chicken night, no meat night, etc. So I separated my recipes to match my themes. I will concentrate on chicken recipes this week since that is often on sale so I cook it a lot.
    We received much needed rain last week. My garden is so thankful! The lack of rain & cold temps up to the first day of summer have really stunted it this year. I am hoping to harvest some lettuce this week.
    Scored big at the thrift store. Spent $7 on the following: 1 pair of shorts & a sleeveless blouse for me, 2 shirts for 1 son, 3 long sleeve shirts for school, 1 short sleeve shirt, a sleeveless shirt and 1 unused spelling workbook for youngest daughter, a book I want to use for decor, 4 books for me to read including the Diary of Anne Frank (I think a school donated class books since there were 10 of these and about the same amount of The Cay–both books were required reading when I was in school).
    Went to the library to take out books and purchased 1 book for youngest daughter and another hardcover for me that I will use for decor for 20 cents total.
    All trips were combined when I took my middle daughter to work.
    Have a great week!

  147. Happy Anniversary! Thank you so much for writing your blog. It is one of my favourites! I have been encouraged to live frugally, put up a pantry, and not to panic (!) during times of hardship. I appreciate all that you contribute for the good of others, and look forward to anything else you might share in the coming years.


  148. Happy anniversary for both this site/blog and your wedding! I remember when the blog was separate, and when Ivory was born 😉

    As many have said, you have put together a wonderful site, not commercial, filled with great topics and a community of lovely people. Thank you again for the time you spend to create this little island of learning and positivity.

    It has been great to see so many new posters this week :). I comment off and on, but read each week! One frugal thing I did this week was pick up a free grocery store giveaway (Safeway, Parmesan cheese).

  149. Congrats on both anniversaries ! I started reading your blog about the time it started because I had just started staying home with the kids.

    I borrowed my mils dehydrator. I’ll use it to make jerky and dried fruit, then return it when I’m done(saves me from buying one since I dont use it but a couple times of years)

    Went out of our city looking for a vehicle for myself. We are finding better prices and lower payments that way(still haven’t decided on one yet)

    Since the 11yo is at my mother in laws, I’ve stayed home a lot. Only running errands before and after work.

    Continue eating from what we have here. Filling in with only necessities

  150. This is a lovely celebration party! Your welcoming modeling of how to live with intentional care is wonderfully affirming.

    My husband and I are continuing in an awkward place between involuntary unemployment and early retirement for a second year, after our employer abruptly shut down a year ago spring. Being prudent is just a lifelong series of habits for us– much of our furniture and decorations are from yard sales; clothes are worn until worn out; food is not wasted; cars are old and taken care of. I appreciate reading the details of how you and others live and create and and make the best possible worlds for yourselves. Thank you!

    P.S. I have made good use of your “homemade bookmarks” post. I have tons of embroidery floss from yard sales to make tassels, and came up with some interesting uses of old maps and books for the paper parts. The tassels make them look classy!

  151. Patricia,
    Hugs and prayers for you at this time. I lost my husband almost 2 years ago also. It is such a different life now, isn’t it? I am blessed to have my 3 daughters and their families close by and my church family is amazing! As far as finances go, I am living on less income, but I also have less expenses. It seems that it just takes time to readjust priorities. This blog is a God-send to me for information and company!!

  152. Hello Brandy! I so enjoy reading your frugal accomplishments and especially reading the comments 🙂

    This week I purchased Disney on Ice tickets from the box office instead of purchasing on Ticketmaster. For three tickets it saved me $26.75 for three tickets. These will be a Christmas gift for my mother and daughter(I will attend also). The opening night is only $15 which also saves money over going on the weekend dates.

  153. If you like the Maisie Dobbs mysteries, you would enjoy the Victoria Thompson Gaslight mysteries and especially the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd

  154. Jessie…I love leftovers! I used to be shy about accepting, but not any more. Taking into account people who need them more than me.

  155. Hi Stacey,
    I’m so sorry about your little bunny. It’s always hard to lose one of our fur babies.
    Your cooking lessons reminded me of when my daughters still lived at home and we learned to make different kinds of cheesecakes together. Food is still important to us. Whenever we have a family get together we all talk about what food each of us is bringing. You are building great memories together:)

  156. Happy 10th Blog-iversary! And Happy Wedding Anniversary. I love your blog and all the good things that I have learned. Thank you so much! I so look forward to all your posts.

    *My children attend a charter school. It’s always a challenge to find their clothing for each year at a good price and before the items are sold out at the good price. I’ve been watching a few sites and checking stores. I was able to find most of what I needed for half the price of other sites. I used Ebates to order.

    *We have just 1 child home for the summer. We like to take her out for a small treat each week. She loves snow cones and we have priced out the best place to get these. $1 at a local shop is a good price.

    *Was able to get green beans and my first cucumber from my garden. So exciting!

    *I was able to pick up my Zaycon order. I was worried that the truck wouldn’t show up – but it did! I got $40 lbs of chicken for 99c/lb. I came home and divided into freezer bags and put away. That should last us a good long time. I needed more gallon freezer bags and found some on clearance for 79c. I was so thankful.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful and frugal week!!!!

  157. Brandy, congratulations on this 10-year anniversary of your blog. I have been following you since Ivory was a baby. I don’t comment often, but I very much enjoy reading your posts and everyone’s comments. I am a grandmother now – but when I was a young mother on a very tight budget, I would have loved having the resources and positive, uplifting community you have created here. Thank you for all of your effort – well done!

    Even though my budget is not as tight in this season of my life, I find that frugal habits have become part of my life. I still save warm-up water to water plants or add to the washer, hang laundry to dry, and try to never pay the full price for anything. Blessings to you and your readers.

  158. I keep my used SOS pads in the freezer in a baggie. That way they don’t rust and I can use them multiple times.

  159. Brandy, congratulations on your 10th blogging anniversary! You inspire so many with your positive outlook and can-do spirit. I look forward to your posts and have discovered many, many ways to save through this community. I’ve read your posts for several years and this is my first post.
    Recent frugal accomplishments:
    Natural gas provider lowered my rate after I told them a competitor sent me a postcard offering a better rate; they matched the competitor’s rate.
    Moved electric service to budget billing which will make budgeting easier
    Saved $25 on weekly grocery budget by shopping the sales
    p.s. Thanks for the link to your Instagram account – your garden is lovely!

  160. That is fabulous Cara! I live in South Central Alabama, but I do have a window a/c as a just in case backup. My diet is predominately beans, greens, rice, eggs, bread, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes.

  161. Hello, I have been reading and enjoying your blog for about 6 months. First time posting frugal accomplishments:

    Made a birthday card from supplies on hand;
    Made swag goal x 2
    Accepted extra hours to cover vacations at the office where I fill in occasionally
    Sold items on FB page
    Had my husband turn off our heated floors in bathrooms.

    I find everyone’s comments very inspirational and I always look forward to reading them!

  162. Margaret! Do take care of yourself. I almost fell over when I read how hot it is there! Here, it has been cool and rainy. No complaints but even my furnace came on! till by parade day, it supposed to get hot again. I love not having to water the yard or trees. We’ll send you our cool weather in a couple of days!
    While it is wet outside, I am going to plant the basil in with the tomatoes. The plants already have tomatoes on them. The clematis is already in bloom. I wonder what will be left to bloom in August.
    My single mum gardener planted veggies in my raised planter box. We covered them with netting and good thing as there is a baby rabbit (hare). Do take care of yourself! Ann

  163. I’ve followed your blog for years and I enjoy it very much. You set such a great example in so many ways. Thank you!
    My tiny frugal feat last week was to start a sourdough. Soon I won’t have to buy yeast when baking bread.

  164. Hi Brandy,
    I never comment, but stop by every week to read your blog and all the comments. I found you about 5 years ago when I was trying to leave a particularly stressful job situation. I wanted to stay home with my children that summer and just take a break from the work chaos. My husband and I already lean towards frugality, but I was looking for ways to get even better at it so it wouldn’t hurt as much financially when I left my job. I’ve since returned to work full time at a company that appreciates its employees and treats us well, but I still follow your blog faithfully. I’ve learned a lot from your community and appreciate everyone’s viewpoints and positive attitudes and determination. Looking forward to the next 10 years. Thank you!

  165. Be aware that a refrigerator or freezer that is more than 10 years old is going to use twice as much energy (maybe even more if it is really old) as a newer one. What you save in purchase cost and preserving your veggies will be wiped out in a couple of years by the cost of running an old appliance.

  166. Marcia, my husband and I recently watched “the Leisure Seeker” staring Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren. The movie is about a couple who decide to take a trip with their RV, without telling their children. He has dementia and she has cancer. I think you might really relate to this movie. I will warn some sexual content, sensitive subject matter and foul language is part of this movie, though mild in comparison to most movie today. It has funny moments, but more of a drama type movie overall. We both enjoyed it and joked that this was really a movie about our future selves.

  167. Anne, no frugal feat is tiny. Sourdough bread is VERY expensive here. They all add up over time.
    Good job.

  168. I am sorry to hear about Benny. In the evenings we sit on the porch and watch the wild rabbits help themselves to the clover in the yard. They are fun to watch.
    Again, so sorry.

  169. Yes, Terri Life is very different, and it takes time to readjust on all counts. And, like for you, this blog provides such comfort. You feel less alone, right? I appreciate you reaching out. Much grace to you. Patricia

  170. Brandy, congratulations on your blog anniversary–and your wedding one as well!:) I remember when we were both starting out and I am so proud of you for sticking out your mission.

    This week we made homemade cake and frosting for my daughters birthday – I feel really cool to have done it completely from scratch! I have never gone beyond boxes before successfully.

    God truly blessed us this week. We had two incidents that could have been absolute catastrophes. One was a hose burst on my car and if I had driven a few more miles on it it would have destroyed the engine. Second, our AC went out – praise God it was only low coolant and not time to replace the AC. Things could have been far, far worse for us.

    This week I will be eating a lot of zucchini dishes! 😀

    Done a lot of recreational reading from borrowed books; watching when I run the dishwasher and appliances to watch cooling costs and will be spending a lot of time at our neighborhood pool for recreation.

    Have a blessed 4th!

  171. Rhonda,

    Gas is 155 here in B.C., and that’s regular which my car doesn’t take! It’s actually been a little higher than that this season. I live in the country so try to consolidate trips and stay home more. It’s working :).

  172. Beth: its not a splurge to pay for your vacation with “blood” money!! Thank you for donating, I once had to receive a transfusion and felt new respect for providers. We don’t receive payment here in Canada for donating blood but it would be nice! We get a drink and a cookie. 🙂 oh yes, and a “thank you!”

  173. Hi Rhonda – I actually did use a real tablecloth and regular plates – a few years ago I bought 20 of each, dinner plates, side plates and bowls from IKEA to use in place of paper plates and it is one less expense. I did Caesar salad but it was the chicken that really added up – as I said, not ridiculous for 8 people but a bit more than I had planned for. I think the Winter is easier as you can make stew or chilli – and next time I will ask others to contribute a bit more – or it will be a coffee & dessert party. I am still adjusting to my more limited income so still learning to be creative. That’s why I love this blog and how everyone shares. 🙂

  174. I think “Gentle and Kind” says it best Lisa – no snark or meanness – just a lot of sharing and support for one another.

  175. Congrats on 10 years. I have been following you for several years. Not exactly sure how long but I remember your last 3 kids being born so at least that long. I love your blog. It has helped me so much. I feel like I have so many friends all of the world because of all of you.

    I have been washing baggies, using cloth rags and napkins, washing only full loads of laundry and dishes, using half of the amount of detergent, watering down soap and shampoos, shopping sales, using coupons, using the library and just being content with what we have. The rest of my list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2018/07/my-frugal-list-week-of-june-25-2018.html

  176. That is very adventurous of you. Hubby would veto that in a second. I hope you are able to save a bunch of money. You could always go to the local library if it gets really hot and you don’t want to run your AC.

  177. Thank you for your blogs over the years! I discovered your blog last year but I love it. It really has inspired me more than any frugal living blog I’ve ever read 🙂

  178. Happy anniversary! While our lives couldn’t be more different (We are a 2 career childless family), your wisdom, ideas, and hints are well received here and have made other options available to use.
    So this week…I Returned unneeded polycrylic and got enough back to pay for new paint for the master bedroom. Selected a mistinted paint for the guest room for less than half price. … And both paints have a rebate! Returned a few items to Ikea that didn’t fit as well as I wanted, but picked up a storage solution for critter foods that takes up less room and looks much neater.
    Put down a deposit on getting the roof redone. It will be installed next week. I picked a very pale oyster color for the roof to assist in keeping the house cooler. Installed a gable fan in the attic to help cool the house. Nearly got heat stroke doing it, but it is helping. Painted the guest room. Painted the kitchen. Started painted the master bedroom.
    Went window shopping for new flooring for the ground floor and found inspiration for the upstairs remodel. I called an architect friend to see if my idea will work and it WILL! I can turn the house from a 2/2 to a 3/3 and still get a functional laundry room and a large master bath. The 3rd bedroom will be really small, but will have an ensuite and a large walk in closet. Now to start getting estimates. (frowny face). This will really boost the resale value of the house and make the space far more useable for us.
    Used my grocery rewards points to pay for 2 weeks of groceries. Went swimming at the base pool several times for free. Attended a free movie at the base theatre.
    My attention to energy savings (lights off, AC settings, limiting use of the microwave, new blinds and curtains, …) has paid off big time. My new budget bill for the electric is going down $100 a month (I pay the same amount every month).
    Rather than going on a trip this week for our 10th anniversary. We’re doing a staycation and will recreate some fancy meals from our favorite Disney restaurants and doing a couple of day trips.

  179. Hi Brandy and all,
    I’m a longtime follower and a rare commenter 🙂

    This week I bought cream cheese, it was marked “$3 off” with a red sticker, and I noted the flyer price of 2/6$ (I’m Canadian. That’s cheap here).
    So I bought 4 and on my receipt the was cost 0$ After discount!

    I went fishing with my dad and restocked the freezer with walleye, 12 fish! My fishing licence was 16$ but buying the fish would have been waaay more!

    We had supper at a friend’s and she did grilled chicken drumsticks on the BBQ. Seasoned with only oil, salt and pepper. They were delicious, and not a cut of meat I’ve ever bought. I went to the store today and bought 5kg for 15$ (again, cheap for Canada). Plan to eat them this summer, I’m so glad she served them to us!

    My local grocery store has a points program, 2 days a month if you spend 100$ you get 15$ on your store card account. I meal plan for the entire month, and buy everything on these 2 days. I do 3 transactions and usually spend around 300$. I then get 45$ in points, which I use to purchase the fresh veggies I need throughout the rest of the month. Before meal planning and watching my pennies and following your blog I easily spent 600-700$ per month on food (Canada). Meal planning takes time, but the more I do it the less time it takes! Plus if I only shop once a month, I’m not in the store often enough to spend more money!

    We are heading into garden season, and we will eat most veggies straight from the garden for July August and September. That will be a big savings for us!

    Love your blog, I always learn something from you and your commenters, and I absolutely wait for your posts every week. My favourite are the monthly shopping plans and garage sale finds!

  180. It’s been a while since I’ve posted here! Life got super busy between us moving and a few medical issues I had, so I’m finally getting back on the wagon 😀

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the last month or so:

    * Made a trip to Sam’s club and stocked up on rice, bread flour, yeast, beans, cheeses, deli meats, parchment paper, freezer bags, and toilet paper. Our membership expires in September, so I am trying to stock up over the summer so that we don’t have to renew right away and can instead wait for a deal on membership.

    * My SO and I sold both our older vehicles and put the money from those towards the loan on our newer car. The new car should be paid off in about 3 years. We went from having 3 cars to one in the span of a few weeks!

    * I started making recipes from Alexandra Stafford’s cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs. I got it for Christmas last year. So far everything I have made has been delicious, and in particular, the hamburger bun recipe makes super soft, fluffly buns. I can’t wait to make even more recipes 😀

    * I have been making lots of iced teas as an alternative to cold water and milk for drinks. This is also helping me reduce my stash of tea.

    * I downloaded an app to learn how to code JavaScript, and I reinstalled Duolingo. I also found a few meditation apps to try.

    I hope everyone else has been doing great! I’m super excited for the potential new content too! 😀

  181. Happy duo anniversaries , no place like Brandy’s place, we all wait for your next writing, it is definitely a great creation of a gentle -kind-smart community, rarely found anywhere. I have learned so much from everything Brandy has shared,taught and mentored us with.
    Thank you doesn’t really cover it but know you have changed lives and definitely for the better

  182. 194 comments. 😀 Congratulations on the 10 year achievement. I am continuing to bulk shop and cook. I have 7 meal portions left in the freezer so I’m going to try to make them last through to the following weekend. I have plenty of protein shakes to tide me over should I need them. Lunches are kale and rocket with cheese sandwiches and breakie is coffee and biscuits from work. (They recently changed the biscuit brand supplied at work and people nearly went on strike. I was some what amused because I figure a free bickie is pretty exciting)

  183. Just a thought… I put left over beets peels and all in the freezer in a bag. When Easter comes around I pull it out and boil it and “dye” eggs or old cloth napkins the beautiful pink color.

  184. All of my friends, family, church members and co-workers know I will take leftovers home. If I am busy doing something they always make me a tray to take home. Really helps with the grocery budget.

  185. This is very true. However, I have seen nearly new appliances being acutioned off in our area (our city is basically a retirement home for Torontonians…not kidding). Sometimes an elderly couple will buy a brand new appliance, then their health declines significantly over a short period and their lives must change accordingly. They are forced to move or downsize due to health or the loss of their spouse and the barely used appliance is sold off as their children already have one (this is true for all sorts of houshold goods, like furniture and other small appliances by the way). If you can wait, it is possible to find a used one for a half decent price. If not, watch for a really good sale to buy new.

  186. Congratulations on your blog anniversary! It is a helpful and inspirational resource.
    Last.week, I picked raspberrie, blackcurrants and mint from the garden.
    All the washing was line dried.
    We changed a household insurance to one a third of the price.
    Leftovers made a couple of meals. I often find leftovers aren’t enough for a whole meal but work well for anyone in late.
    I replanted a struggling sage plant.
    I enjoy reading other readers’ ideas. Thank you for running this!

  187. Indeed! It is rather like a garden, where all plants are valued, big and small, planted and volunteers, food and floral.

  188. Marley, I want to share a system I devised to not waste any bit of celery. I use all bottom and top parts, including leaves, for cooking. I cut the middle heart part of stalk into one inch logs and store in a glass jar. ( I also store diagonally sliced carrots in jars so they are readily visible.) I munch on those with ranch dressing for snacks and lunches. I also use the siliced heart part as a salad for dinner using ranch dressing and raw sunflower seeds, which I buy in bulk at Sprouts. This system works if you love to crunch on raw celery.
    I grow basil and make them into pesto by grinding them up with olive oil and raw sunflower seeds. I keep adding them to my pesto stash until there’s enough to make pizza using chicken pieces and cheese for toppings on toasted English muffins. A bagful of thiese stored in the muffin bags in the freezer makes an excellent stash for quick, tasty lunches.

    May the “fourth” be with you, hostess Brandy and all of our frugal folks here!

  189. Brandy, after I read your first couple paragraphs, I thought it was a goodbye to blogging! Congrats on 10 years! I so appreciate all of your wisdom! I’m glad you will continue to post even though I’m sure you are busy with family life. My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    -Made all food at home.
    -Mostly stayed home.
    -Went grocery shopping, I used a $10 off $60 coupon, and bought boneless skinless chicken for $1 per pound. I bought 40 lbs. of chicken at this price.
    -Worked on a crochet blanket that I am making as a gift for a friend. My goal this year is to make as many gifts as possible to save money.
    -Bought some other items for gift making with a Michaels gift card that I have.
    -Made some banana bread using overripe bananas.

    Happy 4th of July, Brandy and family!

  190. Happy Anniversary! It has been sort of an eventful week with it being so stinkin’ hot here in central NC. But I did mange a few frugal things.
    – Samples in snail mail= a pack of teriyaki sauce, a pain relieving patch and a make-up eraser.
    – Crop from garden= cucumbers, green beans, peppers, and a few cherry tomatoes.
    – Made salads with cukes, and tomatoes using ingredients from pantry and fridge.
    – Dehydrated some sage-made powder out of them.
    -Cooked the green beans in the InstaPot with bacon and seasonings. Divided them up and in freezer for future meals.
    -Went to Sam’s with saved up money and stocked up on a few things.
    -Stayed home mostly and ate out of pantry, fridge and freezer. Swam in pool and tried to keep cool.
    -Worked a lot on my rebate sites and Swagbucks. Saving up for the holidays already since we are planning a trip to Disney World in March for the 50th anniversary of the Herbie movies. We have a Herbie but he needs some work on him and he is one of my DH’s passions so extra money focus is on it. DH is trying to save money by doing it himself-with help from friends.
    Hope everyone has a blessed week and try to stay cool!

  191. I agree! At the moment, I am critically short of money (have food, very little cash). but it lifts my spirits to read this blog. My only regret is that I didn’t discover it years ago.

  192. Brandy,

    I want to thank you for what you began 10 years ago. I’ve read many of your earliest posts, and while you were reaching out from a difficult season in your life, I have found all of it refreshing to know that through prayer and perseverance you have been able to create a beautiful life for your family. I’ve only commented a time or two, but I make sure to take some time each week to read the latest updates. One thing that I have found most refreshing in your blog is to look for the joy in my life, even when circumstances (from the world’s view) would expect otherwise. I have used quite a few of your ideas for my own family’s lifestyle, including putting a new emphasis on our garden and actually trying to find a use for all of the tomatoes that we gather there rather than automatically looking for someone else to pass them on to. I’ve also become more willing to try using fresh herbs in cooking; for so long I’ve been in the habit of buying containers from the grocery store and not looking at the alternative of actually growing them.

    A few frugal acts recently: last week I made your recipe for chicken-flavored rice, and once again the boys commented on how good it is; I accepted a bag of clothes from a cousin that she’s no longer wearing; while I’d really like to replace my kitchen chairs now’s not the time to do so, so I took a couple hours to refinish them and they look so good!; we used our clothesline – I so look forward to freshly-laundered sheets! I was able to donate several items to a benefit garage sale for a young lady raising money to go on an overseas mission trip. Some of the things that didn’t sell there were given to my son and DIL for a garage sale they held, and my DIL found a new swim suit for herself in the donated items:). We attended a free concert in the park featuring a local band and met up with some friends there, and finally I went to my church’s blood drive and was asked if I’d consider donating plasma. I’d never done that before but was willing to try; while it took longer it was not a bad process at all. I’ll definitely do it again.

  193. I would love to see it also since we are saving for and designing a greenhouse it would be wonderful knowledge to have, and learn from someone a few steps ahead of us.

  194. Can you please tell me how you made your green beans and bacon in the instapot? Sounds yummy.

  195. I’ve gotten behind on reading and posting my frugal accomplishments for the last three weeks! So here they are, combined:
    -My husband worked from home for six days over the past three weeks. He has about a 40-minute commute each way, so a big savings in gas and wear and tear on the car.
    -I read 7 library books.
    -I found 52 cents while out running errands!
    -Got free 1 lb. strawberries and a frozen entree at the local supermarket, gave the entree to my mother-in-law. Also, my husband used a $10/$100 coupon for his mom’s groceries at the same grocer.
    -Redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 PayPal.
    -Did one Pinecone Research survey for $3.
    -Got a free 1 lb. loaf of sourdough bread at Boudin, and a free pastry at Panera.
    -Bought 3 lbs. of cherries at $1.98/lb. Fresh cherries are my weakness, and the cheapest I could find was $4.99/lb. here. Held off until it was in my price range.
    -My husband got us Subway sandwiches on the way home from work one night. He got a $1 coupon from a nice lady in line and also bought the $4.99 sub of the day, so cheaper dinner for us. We ate chips from the grocery store instead of buying them there.
    -My husband had to repair a hole in his straw hat. He bought “shoe goo” from CVS and I gave him a 25% off coupon. At least it was a little cheaper.
    -We bought a new watch for my husband, a sheet set, and some dress shirts for my husband and used a 20% off Kohls coupon from their app.
    -My husband brought home a marshmallow treat and a small bag of chips from a work job site box lunch. He also brought home two tiny bags of Jelly Bellies and some Sel aux Herbes from a work function, as well as a 3-lb. bag of coffee beans from a client.
    -My husband picked up my Rx at Costco and didn’t buy anything else.
    Have a wonderful Independence Day week, friends!

  196. Rhonda, my son took over the internet and his phone bill when he graduated high school a year ago. He has told me that even while in the Army, he will be keeping his Amazon account and that we can share that. I struggle with wanting to cancel the internet. If I drop my phone bill to the 15.00 plan and adjust the other few personal expenditures, I can keep it on. This is how sugar cookie streams tv and I coupon. The 45.00 is certainly worth it but then again, that’s almost 600.00 a year I could be saving. I guess quality of life counts a lot for sugar cookie. I usually have a few Swagbucks tucked away for a back up plan . We live in a rural area and we have several businesses that serve the truckers at the nearby truckstops. There’s free internet all over the place a half a mile down the road. Not convenient for a weekend movie or streaming. I think my biggest problem is having inherited the tightwad gene from my grandmother’s. I always lived well and losing my husband, the economy crash and injuries from my car wreck just flat out make me insecure. Hope all is well with you.

  197. We had several meals featuring venison which my father gave us from a successful hunt. I scored a lot of clothes for myself and the kids at a dollar sale at my favorite thrift store. My husband and I continued to clear acreage we have – it’s incredibly hard work but I figure it’s good for us and it’s certainly better for our bank account. I can’t imagine how much it would cost to pay folks to cut down all the privets we’ve cleared. And the hackberries, And the pyracantha. You get the idea 🙂

  198. :D. We’re up to 5 now and I think we’re done. Every day has it’s challenges and it’s blessings!

  199. I have read your blog for years but never commented before. When I started reading I was in grad school and now finances have drastically changed as I own a very successful medical practice. We are saving up for our dream house on the water, as we love to swim and fish, making an offer within the next month. We have kept our personal spending like we are still in college. Much of our house has used furniture. I meal prepped on Sunday so I had lunches and easy dinners for the week. My husband and I set our own schedules so we don’t have to pay for childcare. Baby is breastfed, so no money spent on formula. I am finally getting back to running (free) after having a baby. I paid for an unlimited outdoor yoga package for the summer ($) but it’s good for mind and body, and I get patients from the yoga studio. Sold several items on FB that were cluttering up my house. Planning a yard/moving sale this weekend. Bought gorgeous used light fixtures for less than crappy new ones. Trying to use up old random pantry ingredients before we move- made fruit crisp with our mulberries and rhubarb, old blueberries, a wilting apple and a nutty granola bar we didn’t like, made GF brownies for a party with a random bag of GF flour, salad with quinoa, black beans, one ear of leftover corn, and wilting peppers.

  200. You made me laugh Rhonda as my dad and stepmom retired to Peterborough! Have to say that I was very impressed with all the facilities available to them – it really has become a growing industry for the town!

  201. Hello all (Scotland calling!)

    Thank you Brandy for your blog. I’ve never posted anything online in response to a blog or anything on-line but your recent post made me realise I should as I’ve been reading for about 4 years now.

    I’d like to thank you for all you do. I’ve drawn on your kind and generous guidance more than once and have used your recipes.

    According to my better half (he’s a big fan without realising it!):
    the French bread has been “the best bread I’ve ever made”,
    the devilled eggs “really tasty”,
    the chocolate wafers “keep them away from me I’ll only eat them!”,
    the bean chilli as “really good and one to have on hand in the freezer” and
    the white bean and rosemary soup as “one we’ll definitely have again”.

    You’ve inspired me to: use my electric slow cooker to cook dry beans, plant more veggies in my garden and generally make the most of all I have. I’m generally frugal but you have shown me that there is more I can do to make the most of what I have.

    I’m really looking forward to your new posts. Please keep up all you do.

    You may not hear from everybody you make a difference to but, rest assured, we are here.

  202. Congratulations on 10 years! Your writing has so profoundly and positively impacted my life. I’ve been a reader for 8 years, and look forward to reading and referring back to your site. Your passion for helping others is evident, and I respect and appreciate all your hard work for people you don’t even know! It’s a true mark of your character, and I’m grateful for your willingness to share with us.

    This last week we:
    *Stir fried some purslane from our garden with onion and scapes.
    *Found a deal on deodorant (Arm and Hammer essentials) and used a coupon, to bring the price down to the lowest I could. We all use this brand so we’re stocked for the year now.
    *Harvested and dried lemon balm for a relaxing iced tea in the evenings.
    *Ordered rain barrels on a sale with a discount code online for our backyard. We’ve had an unusual amount of rain this year.
    *A few years ago on Black Friday we purchased stand up paddle boards with all the accessories for a great deal. This has become one of our favorite hobbies in the summer as we live near a number of bodies of water, and is now a free hobby. We recently decided that we are going to rent out our boards to friends and co-workers for a reasonable rate when we aren’t using them which will pay for themselves!
    *We had a low key 4th of July, and it was the nicest on record. We’ve hosted parties at our house in years past, but this was by far our favorite. A quiet celebration at home in the backyard.

    I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

  203. I have only commented a couple of times, but I do look forward to reading every week. This week I used Check out 51 for a rebate, used leftovers for lunches, used ebates when placing an order, hung clothes to dry.

  204. Hi Brandy!

    I’ve been reading for about 3 years now, and it has changed my life! I was finally able to get up the courage to quit my job last year so I could focus on my family, and it has been the best decision I’ve ever made! Your blog made me realize it was possible to live well and homeschool several children on even a tiny amount (aka my husband’s student loans while he is in medical school :D). Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration!

    These past 6mos I have been working on your suggestion to make my own price book. I live on the southeat side of Vegas, so I used your price book as a starting point. I discovered the app “Flipp”, which has been a complete game changer. It allows me to search the local ads all at once and compares prices with one click. We have a lot of Mexican markets over here, and they have incredible deals on meat and produce. I finally got brave enough to shop there (I don’t speak Spanish, haha), and have cut our grocery budget in half.

    I know it’s pretty far from where you live, BUT for bulk purchases for canning/freezing, it might be worth the drive every once in awhile! Mariana’s Supermarkets generally have the best prices, but El Super, Cardenas, and Marketon are really similar. If you download Flipp, and use the zip code 89011, you can see them all. I’d be happy to share my southeast Vegas pricebook if you’re ever curious. 🙂

    Thank you for your encouragement and example every week!!

  205. I love the blog! Long time reader, first time poster.

    I live in New York City and work outside the home; I think there are a lot of regional,differences that become apparent when we start looking at frugal accomplishments. For example, I don’t have room for a garden, but I have access to excellent free events and inexpensive local ethnic shops.

    Here are my latest frugal accomplishments:

    Made the Momofuku Bo Ssam pork recipe at home to feed a group of people (recipe available online, and highly recommended!). Treated a slow drain with baking soda, vinegar, and hot water. Purchased a beautiful cookbook that I’ve been eyeing (Nigella Lawson’s Feasts) at a thrift shop for $4; it contains a cake recipe that I will make for my husband’s upcoming birthday. Purchased only the amount of seasonings I needed for a recipe so there was no waste. Automatically subscribed to the laundry detergent I use regularly to get the subscription discount. Asked the children to go through their old papers to decide what to recycle, saving me clutter, stress and time (which is money). Batched errands. My family walked home from an event rather than pay for transportation; on our way we stopped in the new Apple store. There was a free music class going on for children, and mine participated. Colored my own hair at home with henna. Saved discarded paper from work for my children to draw on the unused side.

    Thanks for your great blog, Brandi! I hope everyone has a great week.

  206. Hi Brandy- Thank you for all of the information and advice that you share with your readers. Your blog has such integrity. This week my oldest daughter had three of her friends sleep over. They set up our tent right in our backyard and lit a bonfire in our fire pit. They made s’mores and watched the fireflies flicker. Earlier in the evening they wanted to eat dinner at a restaurant. They all had spending money from their summer jobs and babysitting jobs, but I told them no. I made homemade mac & cheese. Cheaper by far. The girls had a great night!

  207. Brandy,

    One way we save on water is to empty out our dehumidifier into our washing machine when we do a load of laundry, the dehumidifier and washing machine are next to each other in our basement. Congratulations for 10 years blogging and your wedding anniversary.
    I don’t comment often but I enjoy reading your blog every week. Everyone is so kind and helpful to each other.
    Everyone enjoy your week.

  208. Hi All and Happy Anniversary, Brandy! I found your blog a few months ago and have been enjoying it. I wish I had known about it when I was sincerely struggling financially. My husband and I are entrepreneurs, and after a few years of struggling, we know own a successful business that employees both FT and PT team members.

    I still am firmly set in my frugal ways and here’s what I’ve accomplished in that regard:

    Hosted a dinner for 21 people at our home paying $38 for all items including dessert by buying things on sale and making most items from scratch
    Made all-purpose cleanser with herb-infused vinegar, water and a bit of dish soap
    Cooked most meals at home
    Did my own manicures, pedicures and foot soaks at home
    Made and used a homemade foot scrub
    Used up several items in my beauty products stash
    Made husband a hair rinse spray from apple cider vinegar I infused and tinctures in my collection
    Used lots of items in our freezer, fridge and pantry to make several meals, made most meals at home
    Bought pizza on sale
    Refilled my husband’s witch hazel bottle with a cheaper brand
    Repurposed a drying shower gel as a shampoo (worked great!)
    Made my own hair rinse
    Found and tried on clothes and swim suits I had at home, which still fit. Will be going on two island vacations this summer
    Used AAA discount to save over $100 on a hotel reservation and a family member’s membership to save over $1500 on a second vacation
    Purchased several stockpile items from Aldi on huge discount
    Placed Vitacost order with discount and BOGO special
    Found forgotten bottle of peroxide to dilute and use as mouthwash a few times a week
    Began making list of items I need to pack and a few to purchase for upcoming trips
    Used soap as shaving cream
    Used up two soap bars’ worth of scraps
    Repurposed body oil as hair oil
    Watched spiritual and educational vids on YT for free
    Avoided purchasing items that I didn’t need at grocery store

    Cheers to all on their journeys toward mindful, purposeful living! 😀

  209. Dear Ellie’s friend from Canada. I also am in a very tight position. I cannot get past one problem without being slapped in the face with another one. My main problem is that injuries have left me broke, in debt and unable to work. The tips on things certainly make my life better. Not only do I learn new things but I am inspired to try new things. No one laughs at me or criticize s me. That is special. I never thought I would stoop to searching for coke caps on the ground so I can provide my daughter with trips to the movies. Honestly I am not embarrassed because the happiness and gratitude from that disabled child is priceless. On my worse days and there are many, I can always find a kind word and encouragement here. That is priceless. I am blessed in so many ways by each and every post. I hope you are doing better.

  210. Brandy ,

    I have been reading your blog for 9 years I read all of the comments every week and I love all of the people here as well!
    I went from a six figure income to an income of under 48,000 per year. I have learned to stretch that income to make it feel like 100,000 income. It gets harder every year but I am still holding on.
    We did bit a large bullet and move in with my son and daughter in law a few years ago, this has been a tough cookie to swallow but I have been trying to find the joy in the everyday. We have three grandchildren under are roof and they are such a joy!
    It can be extremely difficult to live by someone 30 years your juniors rules.
    I have mailed you Brandy several boxes I thought your family might enjoy of clothing items and household items that I felt might be useful. This was my way of saying Thank you for all that you do!
    Last week I listed about 20 items on craigslist, I am going to keep doing that every week until I run out of items. I am always on the look out for more items I can sell. I work cleaning homes for other folks and it is hard work at almost 60 years old so I much rather find something and resell it. I cut hubbys hair, we always take vacation in the off season, take all of our food items (off of a list I have gathered mostly from this site.) We continue to use every food scrap this is available. (To this end Flour tortillas really help we put meat product with beans and veggies, and sweets with jelly and roll them up and make a powdered sugar icing this can stretch the smallest of leftovers into meals and treats) I shredded the last slivers of bars of soap into soap shreds I use to use this for laundry soap
    now I can’t use it due to very sensitive skin issues so I sold it off craigslist for someone else to make laundry soap.
    I sell everything! I have stopped using the blow dryer to do my hair I just let it air dry and then use the styling brushes at the end to make it styled. I use my drying rack in the laundry room for almost all of my clothing. I spend only $20 per week in gas when that is used up it is time to walk , ride a bike or stay home. We go over our bills all of the time to see if there are any ways to cut them
    I check all receipts just yesterday the grocery charged me $10.00 too much.
    My grandson is home schooled saving the tuition for private school in the area it is very high like $7,500 per year for kindergarten.
    I get to take him on field trips every couple of weeks and this is a great joy of mine.
    We shop second hand for all that we need. We look for second and third uses of every item we already own.
    Hubby and I do a date day every Sunday after church we never spend more than $10 but we always have a great time!
    We have been so many places and done so many things most people think we are extremely rich!
    I guess I most people just don’t take the time and if you do the research you can get most things for next to nothing with an AARP card or some other discount.

  211. I always read your site, but very rarely post. I’ve gotten loads of gift ideas from you 🙂

    Some of the things I did to save money this week were:

    ~gratefully accepted an abundance of fried chicken from a friend who had bought too much.
    ~used some of the above chicken for lunch while enjoying a pool date with my children and mother
    ~deboned the rest of the chicken and froze it for future use
    ~started making my Christmas and Easter menus (we will be hosting) so that I may take advantage of sales as I see them
    ~gratefully accepted some 4th of July decor from my mother that she had gotten at an estate sale
    ~watched fireworks on tv
    ~worked on a cross stitch piece using items I had on hand
    ~borrowed a few books from my mother for summer reading
    ~enjoyed a facial and lunch with a friend as a thank you for some help I gave her

  212. I have been reading here for a year and love the gentle joys found here! I love the fact that everyone is so supportive of each other in the pursuit of making do with little. In real life, if I talk about my frugality, the response is pity and offers to help! What I want to be met with congratulations for hard work and ingenuity is met, instead, with sympathy. Here, I love that we can celebrate each others’ efforts, following Brandy’s example. My main frugal efforts involve baking and cooking. I bake 99% of our breads, cakes, and desserts using vegan recipes, saving dairy and eggs to be used as protein dishes. Online WW1 cookbooks have plenty of meatless, wheatless, eggless, dairy-less, and fat-saving recipes that don’t call for expensive vegan ingredients that are popular in current sites. I also substitute 3/4 of the amount of oil called for with applesauce and use only 1/4 oil. Applesauce is much cheaper and healthier! Thank you, Brandy, that the overall tone of this site is one of beauty and elegance that come from dedication to using our own efforts in making the best for our families. Congratulations on 10 successful years!

  213. Grandparents come with grandchildren because they need to entertain them for little or no cost and it is one way to do so.

    Grandparent to nine.

  214. Gas by us is around $3.00 per gallon. I found $2.81 this week and felt blessed. It was $3.05 in many spots.

    It is truly out rageous!!!

  215. Try keeping your Sos pads in the freezer when not in use . We still cut them in half but we keep them in a glass pyrex bowl in the freezer door. It seems to work.

  216. Congratulations on the anniversary of this blog!! I have been following you since Ivory was a baby and have learned so much over the years from you and my fellow followers.
    Happy Anniversary to you and your husband as well.
    I haven’t posted for a while but have continued to read each week.
    My biggest frugal accomplishment was saving the money for a one week vacation in California. We used a cash back reward credit card that I paid off as soon as all the charges posted from the trip! A highlight of the trip was getting to meet Jessica Fisher the author of the blogs “Good Cheap Eats” and “Life As Mom.” We spent an hour together and had breakfast.
    I have continued to use the meats and veggies already in the freezer for most meals. I am only buying produce, fresh fruit and some dairy at the store. I still combine errands with other commitments and am still doing full loads of laundry and dishes.
    Here’s to another 10 years or more of success to you and your family

  217. Congratulations Brandy! I feel certain that when you started this online space, you didn’t realize what it would mean to so many people. Like minds can accomplish great things when allowed to share and talk back and forth. Love your constant inspiration.

  218. Marley–When our garden produce celery we chop it up and freeze it. I add it to pilaf, chili, soups, and even meatloaf! Having frozen celery means we can use it even when the stores are out which happens. It also gets expensive in winter and our winters in Fairbanks are long!

  219. I’ve been wondering what people use for this. Buckets? Empty clean milk or juice jugs, (if you run the bathtub faucet before turning it to shower)?

  220. I’ve been thinking about when I first started following your website. I think it must have been during the second half of 2009. My hubby had lost his job and we were struggling to make ends meet. I found encouragement and great frugal ideas within the website. More than one Christmas has included Brandy inspired gifts.

    When you started posting a blog, I started watching for every new entry. I always enjoy the content and have used your frugal ideas as my framework for all frugal endeavors. I’ve cooked your recipes, created your crafts/ideas, tried gardening (not successful yet), and generally adopted a grateful attitude.

    Yours is THE ONE blog that I read ALL the comments every week. I always learn something. I feel like you are all my people and I appreciate the fact that we’re always supportive of each other.

    Over the years, we’ve weathered a couple of bouts of unemployment. Each time Brandy and this wonderful community comes through with just what’s needed to boost the pockebook or the spirit. Thank you Brandy for all you do and thanks to all the readers and commenters for making this THE BEST BLOG – ever!

  221. Syacey, sorry to hear about your rabbit. My youngest daughter was given a pet rabbit by her students. She’s Ok. I guess. We’ve never had pets in the house before except dogs. I’m allergic to cats so they live in the barns. The rabbit kind of confused the dogs, like shouldn’t you be outside with the other rabbits??

  222. Ann, she said she donated plasma which is a paying business. Big business from the looks of the plasma center. Blood (whole blood) donations are that, donations, and are not recompensed. Though they usually have good snacks for you afterwards 🙂

  223. This week sadly is very un-frugal for me. It is 118 degrees here in LA, which broke the record for hottest day in 30 years by 14 degrees!! The weather will stay this hot for a week or more. My AC unit and fridge both managed to break at the same time. The AC unit is covered by warranty still but the coolent has leaked out so it needs to be replaced. The fridge passed the warranty date by 3 months so we’ll have to either pay to get it fixed or buy a new fridge. We moved all our groceries to my parents’ place but some we’ll have to eat quickly.

    But the good thing about this weather is that we don’t do much so we haven’t spent much.

  224. Susan, row cover works well. My daughter used it on several of our crops. It will last you years of you treat it well and I’d you store it away properly. She rolls it onto lengths of pvc pipe. With this heat we’ve had she put up some shade cloth this year, too, over the tomatoes.

  225. Ach, my typing. IF you treat it well and IF you store…actually it looks like it is the auto correct changing my words.

  226. Kim, I don’t like SOS pads for many reasons. I’ve used for years the stainless steel scrubby balls. They can go right in dishwasher along with load and last months.

  227. Lynne, it makes me sad to hear about your fruits and vegetables…what in particular are you having trouble with? That seems the immediate problem.

    I do have a freezer but I prefer canning many items due to the shelf stability.

  228. Amy I am confused. Do your children need special clothes to go to a charter school?

    I like snow cones too…always my favorite treat at the county fair.

  229. Anne and Jeannie, I just read a novel called SOURDOUGH by Robin Sloan. It was very enjoyable. A single girl is left with the sourdough starter from a little restaurant that closes and she learns to care for it and love it and bake and her world opens up and changes and she changes.

  230. K thank you for the cookbook recommed. I had heard about it but forgot. I just put it on reserve at the local library which does not have it but it will be sent from another library in the consolidated system. I should have it by Monday. I am looking forward to this!

  231. Congratulations to you and your husband on your wedding anniversary. I pray many many happy and love filled years for you.

    So many nice comments re’ your blogging. You are much appreciated.

    I enjoyed seeing your Instagram pictures via the top of your blog! Thank you!

    I read everyone’s post and all the comments every week. Sometimes I never get around to my own posting. One little frugality I picked up here was to use the plastic wrap that multi packs of toilet paper come in as liners for small waste baskets. Just cut open at top, lift rolls out and you have it, ready to go

  232. I have never posted before but wanted to wish you a Happy Anniversary! I look forward to your blog and reading everyone’s posts. You have made frugality an art form and you do it with such grace. Your photos find beauty and joy in simple things and that is so much of what life is about. My life has not been frugal these past few months, I have done a lot of traveling caring for my mother who recently passed away. I am lost without her, we had a very close relationship, spoke to her almost every day. My sister and I are trying to help my father cope with this loss and to eventually downsize. I know I must get back to more frugal practices as our financial situation has changed. Health insurance being a huge part of it. Thank you for sharing your family with us Brandy and giving hope when there may not seem to be any. You are such a blessing to so many!

  233. I use a 3-gallon bucket. You can get them from the grocery store bakery department, sometimes for free or maybe $0.50, after they empty them of icing. You’ll have to wash it out but it works well. It’s heavy when full and I don’t empty mine every day but usually wait until it is full. In winter I fill it almost every day waiting for hot water. In summer it takes a few days.

  234. Lilli, I certainly can sympathize and identify with you. Perhaps there might be something you could retrain for, something that you might be able to do at home. I know how it feels to be unable to work. It was very hot here today. I went outside to sort some of the boxes thinking it would be better outside than inside. That was a mistake as I felt awful. At noon, the roses and other flowers were wilting. I retreated inside. Now that the evening cool has arrived, I’m feeling better. A friend dropped off my groceries (I saved $27.00 and she lent me the money until I can pay). I greatly appreciate this friend’s kindness. I try to get through tough times by looking each day for the beauty in life, even if it’s a small thing), and looking for the kindness in others. Here, I don’t think we collect Coke caps, perhaps because we buy our Coke in cans not bottles and I never see Coke caps on the ground. I think it’s a great idea that you collect them. It’s like finding treasure! Keep your chin up! One thing often leads to another and unexpected blessings often drop into our lives.

  235. Susan,

    I’m sorry to read about your mother’s passing and offer you my condolences. I was extremely close to my mother, too and I know how sad and traumatic it is to lose a mother who is also a best friend. It is a true blessing to have such a mother when many do not. I hope the warm memories of her will help you heal. blessings to you. Ann

  236. I am posting for the first time to join everyone in congratulating you, Brandy, on your 10th anniversary. I’ve been following for a long time but I’m British and shy!

    I can’t wait each week to read what everyone is up to. It has made such a difference knowing there are other people out there struggling and succeeding against the odds.

    My husband was diagnosed with a heart condition, which lost him his job in 2004, two months after taking on the mortgage for this house and I was made redundant from my good job in 2010 and have only been able to get low paid temp work since, so our income now is less than 30% of what we had then. It’s been 14 years of teetering on the brink of losing the house but we’ve managed to hang on and bring up our children to be decent people.

    Thanks to everyone for helping me to get up in the morning and keep on trying.

  237. We love seeing grandparents visit with grandchildren. I totally understand why they come. It is just concerning that they would choose to visit during a heat wave when it could cause health issues and overall not pleasant to walk around in. Waiting to visit when we are experiencing much more reasonable temperatures would result in a much better experience, not to mention being able to see the village functioning at it’s best, with cooking and black smithing demos taking place!

  238. I dehydrated a bunch of celery last summer, when it was cheap to buy. Whenever I made soup in the winter, I threw in a little handful. I found it much more convenient than frozen, and I still have some left in my pantry, that is not freezer burned!

  239. As far as I know, we are not paid for any blood products we donate in Canada, whole blood or plasma (pretty sure that plasma and platelets are just separated from the whole blood). We can even sign up to donate bone marrow, but we don’t get paid for that either. It is considered a gift in kind. If you match and are asked to donate bone marrow, that requires a surgical proceedure. As a donor, you would need to make arrangements for time off work. Most employers would be very supportive of this if you told them what you were doing. The surgical proceedure is covered under our health care.

  240. Mary, I understand so well. We almost lost our house a couple of years ago until the bank offered us a refinance a few years ago that allowed us to keep our house (our income dropped to 25% of what we made when we bought it–equal to our mortgage payments). Last year we made 37.5% of what we made when we bought the house. The refinance has been such a blessing. The loan is longer and started over too now but we have learned to live on what used to be our mortgage payment amount and our payment amount each month is now half of what it used to be (so about half our income many months, but doable as we are careful). I wonder if refinancing would be a possibility for you. Rent for us would be the same as our old mortgage payment so this arrangement has been a huge blessing for us and also allows us to garden, since it is our house, and that helps us tremendously with the food budget. You will be in my prayers.

  241. I have never posted before, but I love your blog. One thing we always do is cook at home and plan leftovers for lunches, freezing extras for later. We rarely eat out and try really hard not to have food waste. Every so often we will just eat up everything in the freezer and then start over. Fritattas are my favorite way to use up leftover bits and pieces of veggies and protein. We compost any food scraps and coffee grounds. If we do eat out with friends, we usually split an entree because portions are always big. Or we’ll have a doggie bag for lunch the next day.

    Keep up the good work! I don’t know how you do it all!!

  242. So sorry to hear about Benny. I was given a Lionhead rabbit about 3 years ago by a family where the kids did not want to care for him any longer. I had never had a rabbit before. I have a very large bedroom that was an addition on this house when I bought it. He lives in a large cage in my bedroom. I allow him out when I can keep an eye on him to prevent chewing on cords. It amazes me how smart and personable he is never having had a rabbit before. They do make a nice small indoor pet. I will miss him when he is gone just like I am sure you miss Benny. Please look at Humane Societies or facebook pet sites in your area for another that needs a good home. There are always rabbits people want to rehome in my area.

  243. Thank you! I am imagining watering plants as a good parent-child activity: carrying the bucket, checking the plants, measuring, pouring slowly, etc.

  244. I have been a pheresis donor for years, to the tune of almost 50 gallons of blood, at our local Central Kentucky Blood Bank. Pheresis takes about 2 hours each time and usually takes platelets but may take plasma or WBC depending on what is needed. For years our “payment” was a snack at the end and a free T-shirt. However, local businesses have been generous in past years and you can earn points toward gift cards. I donate about every 2 weeks or so. I just earned $75 in Walmart gift cards and will be getting $75 in Speedway gas gift cards after two more donations. It is a lucrative “business” for me as every little bit helps with the budget. The best part is that I am also saving lives with every donation. Everyone that is able and eligible to donate blood should do so.

  245. I went to a garage sale and purchased 2 items I’ve been wanting to buy for my children’s toys. They all need some sort of tote but I didn’t want generic plastic types. I found a small bent with a lid that opens. My plan is to repurpose it and use that instead. I paid $10, but if I had bought something brand new and solid wood it would have costed me a lot more.

  246. if you know someone that works in a restaurant or deli they could probably get you a 5 gallon bucket. I work at a movie theater and we go through a bunch of them. I have given many to friends and family for free. they go in the garbage otherwise.

  247. I am so sorry to read of your mother’s passing. That is wonderful that you had a very close relationship.

  248. Hi Brandy,
    Congratulations on 10 years, what a blessing you are. I too have been really trying to save this summer. I am picking some weeds too. I haven’t got much from my garden yet. I need to water more, but we are on a well and has been very dry here. I have 4 acres to take care of. There is a lot of pruning, weeding, mulching and a 1/2 acre pond to take care of plus my vegetable garden. I am going to expand it next year and move some flowers out of that area. My raspberries are really growing and taking over. I grow a lot of herbs and use them and dry them. I have a dehydrator but I put them on my potting bench in the sun with a screen and they dry fast. I am cleaning out the freezer and cupboards. My second son is coming home to live until he finds another job. He will help me outside. I live near a lot of farms and farmers markets. I can go pick and purchase from them too. I cook for my dog so I use a lot of leftovers for her. I sew a lot so I am always mending and making things. I have been sewing for about 45 years. I have saved so much money. My husband bought me a wonderful Pfaff sewing machine 25 years ago. It is very durable and has a lot of utility stitches. I have been watching you tube channels and learning about thrift. I have been so my whole life. My husband is retired now so I am trying to be extra careful. Money becomes scarce at times. I love to garden, spend time with friends, sew, walk the dog and spend time with my grandchildren. I do have a couple thrift stores and garage sales I try to stop in. I think if you can make do and plan long term, that helps when times get tight. I would tell people to start young and don’t get into debt. Teach yourself skills. I watch people just fritter money away. It makes me wonder if they will have enough when they retire. I grew up with depression age parents and grandparents. I guess I just observed them.
    Thanks again Brandy and God bless your wonderful family

  249. did you try chewing on fresh ginger for morning sickness. Buy fresh ginger root and take a small piece of peeled ginger root and chew it. I had morning sickness for 6 months each pregnancy. I tried to keep a little in my stomach.

  250. Hi Brandy,
    I have been encouraged by your blog for many years, and although I don’t normally comment, it was important to thank you for your generosity and consistency in sharing.

    My upbringing was not frugal, but since I am self-supporting it is more important to be a conscious steward of my resources — I am a work in progress, to be sure, but there are some small successes to share:

    * I paid off my car 4 months early
    *Instead of replacing a part on my car, I was able to find someone to do a repair for less than half the cost of replacement
    *I paid off a credit card
    *I set up automatic tithing online at church
    *The a/c is set to 80 (down south it gets so hot that 80 feels cool inside)

    Thank you again for your generosity and encouragement, Brandy. I have the “When Queens Ride By” story pinned and read it from time to time in addition to keeping up with your regular blog posts. Congratulations on 10 years blogging, and happy anniversary, and happy new baby–basically ALL the happiness! 🙂

  251. Thank you for your reply. I am so glad I found your sweet site! The recipe looks simple and tasty, and I will give it a try. Hubby and I are trying to eat beans and oats every day to lower our cholesterol levels.

  252. Athanasia, I agree! After throwing away rusted, splintery expensive pads I decided to buy the stainless steel one. Best buy I have ever made. I have been able to clean items ( stove, pans casserole dishes) with one that takes the grime off and doesn’t hurt my old hands. You don’t need to scrub hard, gently works well and fast.

  253. I find that Mexican recipes can stretch far and cost little. I know it’s hard to change what your habits for entertaining have been, I’m doing the same!

    I’ve also started hosting more potlucks where we supply the main dish! I’m always the person that likes to put the whole spread on myself, but as the guest lists have grown I’ve had to make some concessions. 🙂 Another option is to host tea/coffee with desserts, or appetizers only (and not host at meal time).

    I think you’ll find ways to still host your get-together, they’re too important to not! 😉

  254. I have collected the warm up water in the shower with a Tidy Cat plastic litter bucket. When empty, I wiped it out and washed it off and then put it in the bathroom by the shower stall. I wait until it is half full at least before using it to water plants outside. If you don’t have a cat, ask around for these buckets. I give mine away free on our neighborhood information page online. They are snatched up within hours as people use them for a great variety of things. They make wonderful buckets to keep that last bit of open top soil or humus in the garage. Some even drill holes in the bottom for drainage and plant peppers or tomatoes in them. You can even paint them with the spray paint that adheres to plastic.

  255. Thanks for the tip, Cathy! That’s one thing I didn’t try. I also find that eating every hour helps, as I vomit if I get hungry. I tried every non-medical intervention I could find, no matter how anecdotal, but eventually I had to use prescription anti-nauseants staggered with gravol (both doctor prescribed) in order to function. Frugal tie-in, between my work insurance and that of my husband, the prescription was covered — yay! Thankfully the 24-7 unrelenting nausea has eased. I can handle vomiting and such, but nausea has always been my kryptonite! So thankful for modern medicine! No idea how women survived before; it has been hypothesized that Emily (or was it Charlotte?) Bronte actually died of morning sickness (hyperemesis).

  256. Congratulations Brandy on your wedding anniversary and your blogging anniversary! I’m not sure how long I’ve been reading but it was before the blog and before Ivory’s birth, so for a while now.

    I want to join the others in thanking you for the time and knowledge you have so generously shared with us. You have such a busy family life, I don’t know how you do it. But you do, and we are all blessed by your efforts. Your organization, knowledge, artistry, creativity and eye for styling is amazing, made even more so when paired with your frugality.

    I read your posts every week and all of the comments and have learned so much. It is a wonderful community and one of my very favorite blogs. I love reading comments here from readers across the county and world. I feel like I know some of you virtual friends. I comment occasionally (It is great watching Lorna’s savings for her house grow 🙂 but have never commented on my own frugal accomplishments. I thought I’d post for the first time, like Brandy requested.

    Like many readers here, I cook from scratch, eat out rarely, take lunch to work, use cloth napkins and don’t use paper towels. I have a stockpile, minimize food waste, recycle and compost. (Not only is this kind to the earth, but requires fewer garbage bags as well 🙂 We have a small garden and are currently harvesting tomatoes with peppers to come. I was able to pick 2 ½ quarts of blueberries from my parents’ bushes this week. One more unique frugal accomplishment from this week was repairing two purses. The bottom had separated from one and the straps were fraying on the other. I used a hot glue gun to extend their use for a bit longer. I’m going to try to be more intentional in noting my frugal accomplishments and maybe post more often.

    Wishing you another 10+ years blogging Brandy! I can’t wait to continue to read and learn. Wishing you and yours all the best. Lynn

  257. Jo, you are right about cards for men. I noticed it when shopping for a Father’s Day card for my 90 year old father. I finally found an appropriate one, though not as frugal as a hand written, heartfelt letter. I looked at one card and it was $8.49!!! I couldn’t believe it. Needless to say, I didn’t get that one!

  258. We raised nine children. They are all grown now and it is so rewarding to see them instituting the frugal ways we practiced.

  259. I googled plasma donations in Canada and it says there are only 6 plasma DONATION sites across the country. All other plasma “donation” is paid fee for service.

  260. When business bring a blood drive to their site for their employees they often offer incentives like that.

    My husband and the 4 older children all donate regularly. They like best the location held at one of the churches in town as the church ladies contribute very tasty treats for the after-donation snack.

  261. Just wanted to get in on the Ten Year Anniversary post! Congratulations Brandy on keeping this blog going and making it better all the time. Love reading your blog and everyone’s contributions. I need to try and contribute more often but don’t often do too much out of the ordinary, shop sales, stock up, cook from scratch, use coupons and deals, thrift store, get videos and books out of the library weekly and try to keep our utility bills down. This month I am doing a no spend month except for needed food and gasoline for the vehicles which has been a bit of an eye opener and I try and find other no cost ways to meet the need. Our monthly credit card bills have been having too many extra charges from buying this or that. So we are not charging any food only spending a predetermined amount of cash each week for food and only charging gasoline. We also have a monthly amount that automatically goes on our credit card each month until our dental bill is paid off. I was grocery shopping with my husband and had put a large pack of paper plates in our shopping cart at Sam’s Club. I had become used to using them to save on dishwashing time. We do not have a dishwasher at the present time. He said we really don’t need those, we can just use regular plates. Besides, they weren’t food or gasoline! So I put them back and haven’t even noticed washing a few extra plates. Looking forward to reading more of your blog and all the encouragement that comes with it!

  262. Chest freezers are more economical to run. I find if I keep things separate in reusable coloured supermarket bags and label the handles it’s easy to find/see things. Ie. Mince, steak, roasts, chicken, fruit, vegetables etc. saves rummaging through. I seem to be able to fit more in the chest freezer too

  263. When we flew home from Utah to DC, I took the time to pack snacks an sandwiches for our plane ride, and we brought an empty water bottle to fill up once we went through security. What didn’t get eaten was consumed the next day, as our fridge was empty!

    RE: amazon prime, my kids enjoy Tumble Leaf. We also like Owlegories, which has Christian values. We also love “Stinky and dirty,” which is about problem solving, but my kids love it! The author of “the gift of Failure”, Jessica Lahey, whom my husband and I saw at a lecture, is one of the creators of the show.

    I look forward to seeing more of your posts!

  264. I think we started following about the same time and in the same place in our lives. I was in graduate school too when I started reading!

  265. Brandy, what a blessing you are to me! I knew a lot about being frugal before reading your blog, but I learned much more. Thanks to you and your readers. Your photos showed me what a beautiful experience it can be. I cooked most meals at home. I began reading a new book from the library on my Kindle. I hung up my clothes to dry.

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