Grapes in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I collected eggs from my friend’s chickens and picked cucumbers, a few green beans, and tomatoes from her garden.

I canned a batch of dill pickles from the cucumbers.

July Harvest The Prudent Homemaker 

I harvested grapes, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and figs from my garden.

In the garden, I sowed seeds for red noodle beans, red zinnias, white zinnias, Genovese basil, Thai basil, Dark Siam basil, carrots, Chinese lanterns (hoping that this time they grow!), and parsley. It’s much later than I normally sow seeds in the garden for these things, but many of my seeds did not come up earlier, or came up only to be eaten by bugs, so I am trying again. 

While weeding, I found a few carrots that had grown in one spot from seed dropping from carrots in my garden. I carefully dug them and replanted them where they could grow larger.

Grapes in Basket 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I took cuttings from two sweet potato vines to root in water to make new plants. These are a decorative vine; they do not make sweet potatoes. I took short cuttings from the tips of the plants (about 4-5 inches long) and took off the bottom leaves. Where the leaves were, the plants began to root in water after 4 days. Later in the week, I took additional cuttings from the other type of sweet potato vine to root as well. I plan to transplant these to pots in my white garden. These are an annual that does better in  more mild and humid climates than here (I saw them growing quite large and beautiful in the sun in Missouri a couple of years ago) but here they need a bit of protection from the sun to keep the leaves from burning to a crisp.

We had a very humid week. This is “monsoon season” here, but I think it would be more appropriately named, “cloudy season” as there is not much rain. We got a tiny bit of rain on Monday night, but it was enough that I was able to leave the drip irrigation and sprinklers off on Tuesday. The clouds bring lots of humidity, and they brought the temperature down below 100° for several days. I took advantage of the cloudy, cooler (only 96°F/35°C and humid!) days and worked in the garden doing lots of weeding. I put an ice cream bucket under the drip from the air conditioning; when it is humid like it has been this past week, I can collect several gallons of water from it each day, which I used to water pots on my patio along with water I collected in a bucket while waiting for the shower to warm.

I purchased some dahlia tubers online on 50% off clearance with free shipping.

I purchased some children’s clothes online that were on sale and clearance that were not much more than local thrift-store prices.

I gave my two older sons a haircut. My husband and I cut his hair.

I went to purchase chicken on sale earlier this week and the store was out of it, so I got a raincheck.

Tomato Salad The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?


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  1. Your grapes look absolutely delicious. Sultana grapes are my favourite fruit. It is the middle of winter here, so it is going to be some time before I can enjoy grapes in season.

    I recently learned that carrot leaves, swede leaves and turnip leaves are all edible, so I have been using the vegetables and the leaves when I pick them from my garden.

  2. The tomato salad looks so delicious! I love being able to garden and then enjoy the bounty. It always feels like an accomplishment to grow your own food. I’m getting a lot of tomatoes this summer.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons whenever possible. Last week, I found $0.21 crayons, $0.21 rulers, $0.16 highlighters, $0.16 folders, $0.39 tissues, boneless chicken for $1.69/lb, strawberries for $1.50/lb and more. The only frugal fail was getting caught up in the Build-A-Bear hype. All of my transactions here:

  3. Love the abundance of grapes in the basket!

    These past three weeks I have been trying more than usual to not spend as we have some medical bills. This is how it went:

    -no additional spending for the 2 week school holidays. Creative thought was required.
    -packing my lunch and tea/milk
    -only driving locally
    -using food I have on hand and stretching it further than usual
    -gratefully accepting meals at friends and families houses
    -using paper on hand to make wrapping paper for upcoming friends childrens birthdays. The presents come from my stash that I always have. My children got to paint and have fun while putting the finished product to good use. Cards were also handmade with what I have on hand

  4. Fascinating about rooting the sweet potato vines. I remember my grandmother rooting plants but didn’t pay a lot of attention and now I don’t know how to do it.

    I started my new job last week and have a long commute. I made sure to have five dinners ready for heating up in the microwave as soon as I walk in the door.

    Tried a non-name-brand gas station as their gas prices were 10 cents less per gallon.

    Good friends moved abroad this weekend and offered me the food left in their refrigerator and pantry. I gladly accepted four bags of food. Several are new-to-me ingredients so that will be fun to experiment.

    Bought several new-to-me blouses and blazers on ThredUp to wear to work as my new job is dressier than my last one.

  5. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy what a blessing all of the fruit and vegetables you were able to pick from your friends and your gardens too and it is amazing how far saved shower warm up water goes to water pot plants and plants in your vegetable gardens too.

    Here is how we saved and got ahead last week –

    Our savings added up to $248.40 last week :).

    Earnings –
    – Earned $44.69 from the sale of thyme picked and dried from the gardens and saved capsicum seeds from the gardens through my eBay internet shop.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 7 x 250 g of strawberries on special saving $4.38.

    Blessings –
    – After having a smashing good time with a couple of recycled jars I had here due to really cold sub zero temperatures here on jam making I texted 2 close friends living within a couple of blocks of me who supplied me with 12 washed out and recycled jars & lids they had saving $12 over purchasing them in the shops. We now have adopted a warm up jars with hot tap water and then putting the jars and lids in and filled with boiling water and emptying them out just before pouring the hot jam in them. Bingo no broken jars due to very low winter temperatures and another case of we live and learn new skills and techniques :).

    Trading –
    – Traded 46 g garden picked and dried French lavender, 28 g of English lavender, 21 g of marigold (calendula) flowers and 100 g of dried rubbed oregano and 26 g of dried tarragon from excess pantry stocks for 3 x 44 g lavender lip balms, 1 x 25 g of chocolate lip balm, 3 x 10 g lavender lip balms and 1 x 10 g of vanilla lip balm saving less postage $65.92 over purchasing them locally.

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 26.56% of the way there.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 12 jars or 3.608 kg for $21.31 from some home grown and some purchased strawberries and free lemon juice given to us by a friend saving $38.58 over purchasing it in the supermarkets for an equivalent quality. 2 jars will go to the ladies that kindly supplied us with the jars as a thank you.
    – Made 2.8 kg of homemade honey,oat,coconut,almond and sultana granola from items in the pantry saving $28.69 less expenses over purchasing the same quality in the shops.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked 1.127 kg of cherry tomatoes saving $11.27 over purchasing them in the supermarkets.
    – Separated thyme picked and dried from the gardens making 319 g saving $42.87 over purchasing similar organic dried herbs in our local shops.
    – Picked another huge lot of thyme, English and French lavender from the gardens which we are drying for sale and home use.
    – Saved a lot of marigold seeds from the gardens to replant into another garden bed around the house.

    Hope everyone has had an equally wonderful week :).


  6. This week I decided to use up more of my fabric scraps and made two quilts- this one is all flannel scraps and quilted with a variegated thread- The other one is sandwiched together with batting and backing and is ready to quilt- again, Just made from cotton scraps . I had a twin size 100% cotton sheet from the thrift store that I was able to use as backing for both quilts. The thrift store tag still said 99 cents! Well spent for 2 backings!!

    My garden is still gifting me with cucumbers and zucchini and so I shredded some zucchini and used up some over-ripe bananas to make 3 loaves of very tasty chocolate chip zucchini banana bread! Here’s the recipe: Great use-it-up recipe!!!

    I cooked, packaged and froze about 25 pounds of ground beef so I can have the convenience of pulling them out as a recipe timesaver! I also made 3-1/2 pounds of ground beef into hero-burger mix. We made up half for dinner (and lunch leftovers) and packaged the rest in a gallon ziploc bag to have ready in the freezer.

    We drove 400 miles each way on Friday/Saturday to our daughter’s to attend a grandson’s baptism. Our 13 year old car performed like a champ (just like it had the previous weekend when we drove 700 miles round trip to my sister’s!!) with a little planning, I was able to make ham,Turkey, cheese wraps to put in the cooler of ice along with bottled water and cheese cubes and banana bread for the trip and then had butterscotch chip banana oatmeal cookies and a mix of raw almonds and craisins to snack on too!! Doing this meant that we didn’t need to stop for food at any fast food places, mini-marts or rest stop vending machines which saved us a fortune!! Had enough for the whole round trip!
    On Sunday, I had the assignment to visit two out of town congregations so with travel time, I was gone from 9:30 a.m. until 4:45 pm. After traveling the two days before, I was ready to kick back but I got a call asking if I could take dinner to a family at church whose mom just fell on their stairs and was in a lot of pain. Their house was about 10 miles away and the caller asked if I could just take them a freezer meal! I said that on Monday I could take dinner but that day there just wasn’t time to prepare and transport a meal before it was too late for dinner. The caller said she would continue to search for someone else. After I changed clothes, I realized that I have other options besides just freezer meals! So I called her back at 5:15 and said I could have dinner to their house by 6! I got out 2 packages of precooked ground beef, 2 jars of tomatoes, 4 jars of kidney beans, 3 cans of corn and various spices and made Texas style chili- enough for two meals even with the 3 teenagers in the family! I packaged up more of my chocolate chip banana oatmeal cookies and got them there a minute before 6! Not elegant food, but satisfying and tasty and the mom texted me the next morning to express her gratitude! I felt embarrassed that I had initially refused! I am so blessed with our abundant and diverse pantry that makes it possible to “whip up” a meal to take at the very last minute!!
    That is the best part of living providently- the ability to take care of our family and also help others!
    All I. All, a very good week!

  7. As always, lovely photos!
    We continue our time away from home with extended family but went home for a couple days.
    – I watered everything deeply at home: sad I’m missing my hydrangeas blooming and my blueberries but hoping they are still
    Both going when we get home!
    – bought very few groceries
    – used a Whole Foods GC to get a deal that was spend 10 her 10 amazon bucks for prime day. Spent 14, all on the GC
    – continued to use and wash cloth diapers
    – worked a few days
    – started to redo the cabinets in our bathroom. Used sandpaper and my sander to remove the stain that was on it and used stain we already had to start refinishing them.
    – filled in a survey for an Amazon GC
    – avoided buying anything unnecessary
    – spent heaps of time snuggling my little ones and reading to them. Very much enjoying my time away from work!

  8. Brandy, do sweet potatoes grow in your area? I’m wondering if it would be beneficial to grow actual sweet potatoes instead of the ornamental vines. You would get the same vine look, but also get some food from them as well. I was doing gardening at work in 35C with humidity weather at work on the weekend. I was hot, but it was tolerable as I was working in the shade. Much better that 40C+ with humidity which is what we have been experiencing!

    This week, our frugal accomplishments for our family included:
    *Meals made at home included hot chicken sandwiches with Knorr’s pasta sidekicks and leftover mixed veggies, hamburger helper, BBQ chicken breast on multigrain fococcia buns with choice of toppings and homemade macaroni and cheese casserole, roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots, “make your own” pizza, and choice between spaghetti with meat sauce or breaded stuffed chicken with a side of spaghetti.
    *I started making a very simple jam at work using the handful of mixed fruit (we have black raspberries and black currants ripening right now) I’m able to pick that day, a couple small stocks of rhubarb (to add a bit more substance to the pot since there are not many berries), a bit of water and some sugar. Nothing is measured, just dumped into a cast iron pot and brought to a boil over the open fire. I am amazed how well it turns out! My co-workers have really enjoyed eating it with various baked goods we’ve made, including on top of a tasty spice cake. I thought I would share this idea, as it could be easily replicated with small amounts of fruit (use up fresh, frozen or canned) on the stove top or while camping if you find some wild edible berries to pick. It really is a simple but tasty treat!
    *Made strawberry lemonade popsicle for DD using homemade lemonade (used bottled lemon juice), some fresh strawberries that needed using up, a bit of home-canned plums that turned to mush while processing and a little bit of extra sugar to help with the tart taste.
    *We had some rice in the fridge that somehow didn’t get eaten right away (tiny miracle!). I used it to make a small batch of fried rice for lunch on my day off. DD questioned if the rice was still good. I told her it was perfect for making fried rice. I also used up small bits of frozen peas and corn left in bags, along with 1 carrot and 1 egg from the fridge, the last of the soya sauce and some spices in the pantry. Made enough for DD & I to enjoy a nice lunch. She gobbled it up no problem.
    *Harvested from the garden: a few peas (DD just eats them uncooked as there is not enough to cook for a dinner), 2 kinds of lettuce, a little bit of Swiss chard (making a bit of a come back from the deer) and a few green/yellow beans (not sure how many I will get, considering the damage the deer have done). I have a few pea pods that have gone to seed, so will keep them for next years planting. There are a bunch of tiny green tomatoes developing with more flowers appearing (the deer ate the first few green tomatoes that developed), and 1 little pickling cucumber with lots of flowers all over the plants! Now, fingers crossed that deer don’t eat all of these. No sign of flowers yet on the water melon.
    *Broccoli went on sale for $0.97/bunch, which is my stock up price I look for each summer. I picked up a dozen bunches, that I will blanch and freeze this week, in preparation for our needs this coming winter. Also bought a basket of wild blueberries for $50 at the farmer’s market. Yes, they are very expensive, but tasted the way blueberries should, which is why I prefer to buy them, despite the high price tag. Left some out for fresh eating (DD loves them), and froze the rest for later use.
    *Things received free from work: Popcorn (leftover from food booth at end of day), baked treats (made by various people in village, including me), a cookie, several cups of ice cold lemonade and the leftover sample cheese curds from our car show event.
    *Fixed a pair of shorts that had a folded up cuff. Every time they were washed , the cuff half unrolled and needed to be ironed. I don’t like ironing. I fixed it by tacking the cuffs in several spots, so it won’t unroll as easily. If this doesn’t fix the problem, I will put in a few more tacks until it does!
    *My husband bumped into our friend, Dan the computer man, this week. He is the one who introduced us to using an android box for free streaming of movies and TV shows. He mentioned that he was having a lot of problems with the Kodi app. Hubby mentioned that we are now using Terrarium TV ( which works much better. On our advice, he downloaded the app and was thrilled at how well it works. So if you are looking for a free streaming app, as an alternative to paying for cable or Netflix, you could give this a try!
    *I have been giving some advice to one of my co-workers, who is in her early 20’s. She grew up in a household that struggled with money and having enough food to eat. Because of this, she struggles with how to handle her money and has weight issues. Since I too have struggled with money and weight issues, I’m happy she sees me as a mentor of sorts and is willing to listen to my free advice that I learned the hard way.
    *I found a blog post on Pinterest a while ago, entitled “How to survive on $1,000 a month.” ( It has a game that you can click on, where you are challenged to live on $1,000 a month. I am obsessed with playing this game! So I thought I would share the link, in case anyone else would like to try it, too. I will warn, there are some components that I think in real life I could do much better with (like the grocery shopping prices and options), but it’s still fun to try and make it through the month with as much money at the end as possible.

    Looking forward to reading all the comments and learning new frugal tricks. Have a great week everyone!

  9. I continued to do the weekly things like wash and dry ziploc bags, hand wash the dishes, and get drinking water from my parents. This week I trimmed three of my daughters’ hair and cut my oldest sons. On the food front, last week was low on groceries for us but I “made do”, making bread a few meals, using what I had, etc. One meal I found a few sweet potatoes in a fridge drawer. They were way past their prime but I fried them in oil and added salt. “Sweet potato chips” Then I added some homemade pizza sauce to pieces of toast and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top and cooked for a few minutes. “Mini pizzas”. It’s amazing what one can come up with using the ingredients one has on hand. Those times have yielded some of my best meals! I did get groceries and stayed within my list. I refused the urge to purchase cereal or any other snacks, only fruit. It’s so much cheaper to whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies or homemade granola bars! Sunday morning I made cinnamon rolls and took half the dough and made dinner rolls for lunch. I will continue to make our bread for this week. I also got 20 lbs of chicken leg quarters for $3.90 each. If I hadn’t already spent my grocery budget I would have loaded up on this deal. It usually comes around a couple times a year at my local grocery. Yesterday I emptied one bag into my slow cooker and seasoned them, cooked them all day and last night took the chicken off of the bone to use in several meals this week. I put the bones back into the broth, added more water, and simmered the bones all night in my slow cooker. Today for lunch I will make dumplings from this broth and use some of the chicken!
    My garden is out officially except for a few pickings of peas, but the figs have started and also pears will be ripe within a month. The children have already begun to pick pears and eat them. They like them green. 😀 I’m getting more and more figs each day but so far I’m just leaving them on the counter and little and big hands grab them all through the day!
    I started doing some spring cleaning last week as I was in the throes of early pregnancy during the spring. Finally getting enough energy back, I’m wiping the winter off of our walls and curtains (we use wood heat…think smutty walls). I made my own cleaner using some dish soap, a bit of borax and some vinegar. Also added some
    Essential oils and water.
    Those are a few of my frugal doings, Brandy! I always think of more when I send this! 🙂

  10. And oops that should say I cut my oldest son’s hair! It sounded like I cut my oldest sons! 😮 😮 And the chicken was $3.90 for 10lbs!

  11. We ran the A/C only for a short time and used the fan otherwise even though it was rather hot for the Midwest.

    I used six $1 off coupons to purchase salsa for our customer appreciation event. In addition, I am using beans and rice we had on hand. We’re having burrito bowls!

    For the invitations, I used to save money and to track RSVP’S with ease! I am using plates, napkins, spoons, and cups we have on hand.

    We used larger doses of natural remedies to stay well when our friends and their children were diagnosed with hand, foot mouth disease.

    Even though I had multiple appointments every day, I did my best to run errands while I was out anyway.

    We line dried all our clothes and ate most of our meals at home.

    I cleaned our balcony door with a very economical and safe multipurpose cleaner. The door looked brand new!

    I made a meal for a client whose mother is undergoing cancer treatments. For that, I was pleasantly surprised to make do with ingredients that we already had at home!

  12. Your photos are all lovely, but the tomato salad has me drooling! Our first tomato is ripening, and I’m hoping to pick it this week. And may many more follow :o). Last night’s dinner was all from fruit, herbs and veggies we’d grown… broccoli, potato salad, and fried apples. I finally started thinning my carrots, and put the thinnings in my broth bag, plus enjoyed a tiny carrot. I’m still gathering lots of cucumbers, though one variety should be slowing down soon. Summer squash, blueberries, a few okra and apples are also being gathered. The first lima beans are filling out, and there are blossoms on the green beans. We badly need rain here, and hoping the 50% chance this evening works in our favor.

  13. I continue to be amazed at all you can accomplish with a new baby! Also, that salad looks delicious.

    I had a fairly frugal week. I took a day off of work and did a rough inventory of my freezer, then made a list of 60+ meals I can make with the ingredients I have on hand (I can’t actually make all of it with what I have right now, but those are my options). While doing this I found two bags of chicken thighs that I had forgotten about. They were getting a touch of freezer burn so I cooked them in my pressure cooker, shredded the meat, then threw the bones back in the pot, added some more water, and made 10 cups of stock.

    Also, while I was at home, I went over all of our accounts and redid our monthly budget. It’s been a long time. Since then I’ve been faithfully recording every purchase daily. It really only takes a couple of minutes a day and it’s so helpful to me when I stay on top of it!

    We took a day trip into the woods to scout out camping spots for an upcoming trip. Rather than pick up sandwiches on our way out of town, I cooked a bag of chicken strips that were in the freezer. On the way home we stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few items for “snacky dinner” and thus avoided eating in restaurants all weekend. Sunday night I tried out a couple of copycat Taco Bell recipes – fire sauce and shredded chicken burritos, my husband’s favorite. They were certainly more time consuming than a trip to Taco Bell, but they were also delicious and healthier.

    I exercised using videos I found on YouTube. I’m trying to work out more and keep being tempted to join a gym, but the truth is that it would be very hard for me to make time to go, and I have everything I need to do a good workout right here at home.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  14. This past week went well, frugal wise.

    *I cleaned Mom’s house and it is now ready to for a realtor to inspect when she is ready to sell. I found more food on top of her cabinets which I brought home and also unloaded her full freezer.

    *I had not planned on going to the grocery but could not resist the $.99 ice cream at Kroger. I grabbed my limit of 5 early Saturday morning before they ran out. While there, I loaded up on the split bone-in chicken breasts for $.77 per pound. It is the best price I have seen around here in a long time. I filled the shopping basket half full and came home and began canning. It is easy to cut off the large piece of meat, shove it in a jar and process. The bones are tossed in a crock-pot overnight to make broth. It will also be canned. I used some of the broth to make a large pot of chicken vegetable soup with assorted vegetables from the garden. The soup was canned. Later today I will have my son bring home another basket full of the chicken before the sale expires. I will do it all again. I do need to freeze some but my freezer is almost full from Mom’s food.

    *Epic fail, I reached my limit of irritation and yanked the phone out of the wall. It wouldn’t stop ringing from solicitors and political robocalls. We have 5 registered voters at this number and all vote so we get 5 of everything. One evening I got 6 calls while trying to cook supper, then 4 more beeps for incoming calls while chatting on the phone. It was 10 calls within two and a half hours! It goes like this all day long plus my husband has a business phone. (For people outside of the US) – I have filed complaints with the FCC, the phone company, and Better Business Bureau. Nothing ever happens. The code-a-phone accepts messages so my family can get through. The silence has been calming. I may never buy a new phone again, no matter how cheap.

    *Other money savings, Bill gave Scooter a clipping and then cut his own hair. We have a set of clippers for people and another for the dog. Bill is snooty about that – he won’t share with the dog.

    I hope everyone else has a good frugal week. I look forward to reading the good ideas.

  15. Hello all, I enjoy reading all the great frugal ways that are shared on this site. Below is my list.

    Received a $10 off $50 coupon for Target so I’m currently making a list of items that can be used with Target Cartwheel and the gift card rebates. I wasn’t impressed with this week’s ad. The coupon is good until 1 Sep.

    I got the free Ore Ida fries with my Ibotta app.

    Received $6.50 back from coupon app.

    The Nielsen Survey group sent me $5 to complete a survey on radio and tv usage. I will receive another $5 after it’s completed.

    Temperatures are pushing 110 in Texas so I will be using our overhead fans more and turn the AC up to save on energy costs.

    My husband got free samples for medication he takes from his doctor, we plan to use it during our upcoming vacation since it’s in a smaller container.

    Received a $10 off $30 from Bed, Bath and Beyond, I will use it to purchase a friend’s birthday gift.

    Planned weekly menu based on what we have in pantry and freezer.

    Looking forward to reading all the great posts.

  16. My husband is starting an intensive licensing program in August, and I got back to work (I work for a school), so I have been spending my time and (too much) money on stocking our freezer with meals and quick grab and go snacks. Our grocery budget for the next two months will be minimal, though, so it’s worth it. Plus it be will make my life easier too, since he will be so busy with his program I will be picking up the slack around the house and with the kids.

    We have run into some financial difficulties lately, so I’m trying my best to think positively as well as more long term. We have two kids in daycare which costs us a pretty penny. Our oldest starts kindergarten next fall though, so we are so close to having that expense reduced!

    We got 4 chickens this last week from a neighbor. They are adjusting to the coop nicely and I’m looking forward to when they start laying. We got rid of our old flock back in May and boy was that a mistake! We saw a huge uptick in spiders and ticks around our house. Chickens are fabulous at keeping pests down- plus, free fertilizer for my garden!

    We have kept shower times at a minimum and the A/C off most days. My project today is to seal our back door to help insulate the house better. I’m also really trying to potty train our youngest to save on the price of diapers- but he is one stubborn little guy! 🙂 He’s getting there, though.

  17. Your pictures are beautiful. So happy for you that you are getting so much produce. You amaze me with how you are able to grow so much in such temps. I cannot make myself go out in your cooler temps of 95 degrees. I usually work in the garden in the evening when the temps are in the high 70’s to low 80’s.

    I have been getting tons of lettuce. I have been giving some away so that it doesn’t go to waste. Peas are trickling in still. My peppers are doing great. Lots of jalapenos and banana peppers are being picked. My purple bell peppers are turning purple. This is my first year growing them so it is new for me. I picked my first few string beans. I ate them raw and they were so good. I have several baby cucumbers and lots of tomatoes on the plants. I love this time of year when I can grocery shop in my garden.

    The kids are having an amazing time in Italy. I miss them and all of their help but am so happy for them that they are getting to see the world. Some photos of their trip and the rest of my frugal list are here:

  18. I think I take the prize as the worst commenter on this site. What makes it worse is that I really enjoy all the posts and read all the comments. I have resolved to be better at this- if I like reading the comments I should comment. Belated happy 10 th birthday and Happy Anniversary Brandy. Especially loved reading everyone’s comments 2 weeks ago. Really interesting to hear where people are from. Thank you for all your hard work. In keeping with other commentators people where I live pity someone being frugal so this site feels like a big support group!

    Right- what have I done to save money. Well right now we are just finishing a weeks holiday in Sardinia. While it would have been more frugal to stay at home this is the first time that the children and I have gone away (as just the 4 of us) in 4 years. It has been great to have the chance to just sit and chat without thinking about things to be done. Really enjoying playing Dobble, Snakes and Ladders, UNO and just talking. I’ve tried to keep costs down by 1. Earning avios on the booking/card used to pay 2. My mother is house/dog sitting. 3. Eating in our apartment. 4. We booked 7 months ago which made the airfares ( EasyJet) really cheap. 5. Did not pay for hold luggage or to book seats. Instead took 4 pieces of hand luggage (1 each) and was on the website as soon as check-in opened 31 days before the flight to be seated together. These 2 actions saved about £100. 6. Decanted suntan lotion I had at home ( which needed using) into 100ml bottles to take in hand luggage. Very happy I did this as it starts at €11 a bottle here. 7. Found food reduced ( yes really) in the local supermarket 8. Booked long term airport parking though a cash back site.

    The cost of the holiday is the same as friends have paid to go away here in the UK. Interestingly a colleague at work has approached me to organise leave earlier ( I am known for booking leave early) as she has left it until the last minute and ended up paying £5000 ( no no typo there) for a villa in Greece for 2 weeks. She also seemed to mention that the flights for her family were £2000!!! I did not say what I was thinking! Don’t think there will be any issue about early leave booking in future.

    Before we went away I went up to stay with my mother in Scotland. She has ‘collected’ ( my sister has other names for it) a huge amount of clothing over the years which my sister ( a very tidy/ house proud person) has tried to get her to sort ( most don’t fit). While I was there the rail in her cupboard collapsed ( deep suspicions everywhere that I had something to do with it ( in a joking way) but I was innocent- although even I will admit that the timing is very interesting ). That was the push she needed and I sorted them and a spare room out for her. She now has somewhere to sew. While I was there someone asked her if she wanted a greenhouse ( lots of glass missing/ she will be moving in the next few years) removed and mentioned a joiner wanted one for an allotment. We said yes to the removal and I asked if he could put up a rail back in my mother’s cupboard ( well he is getting a greenhouse frame for free).

    I have begun selling at car boot sales recently ( just used clothes/ baby and children’s stuff they have outgrown) so when we came back down from Scotland in the train I brought a huge suitcase of this clothing from her house that she told me to sell. She has said I can keep the income. My goal is to earn enough by selling in the car boot sales to completely pay for the holiday. We used a Friend and Family railcard to travel together (30%off) and I bought my mother a senior railcard for travelling back ( I buy her these and pay fares as she is a pensioner and her travelling is to help me).

    I recently found dry dog food ( Pedigree chunks) for the dog ( rescue angel) for £16.99 for 12 kg ( lasts about 2 months). Huge saving on the £46.99 for 15 kg I was paying previously for a brand with very similar content. I checked the ingredients. I used to give him a tin a day as well but it occurred to me that he loved chicken stock. I’m always buying chicken. My last price was £2.54 for a large chicken reduced at Lidl. I bought 3. We eat a lot of chicken and I have a lot of stock as a result- I can’t just throw the carcass away. So now I give him chunks and stock. He loves it and the vet approves. Coat very shiny. Yes I could make soup or freeze it but would run out of space.

    Which brings me to my next project- I have bought a pressure canner. Currently in a box in the hall. It arrived the day before we left. Very excited about this. I shopped around and bought the one Brandy recommends. I have the Ball book so just need to find good sales and will start to stock up. My plum tree is ripening so will be canning them for desserts. Also will can apple pie filling from our apples this year.

    That’s all for now everyone. Whoops one question: I am looking into putting drip irrigation into the garden. There are kits on Amazon. Any tips anyone? I’ve lost a lot of plants in the recent heatwave. I also want to start growing more food ( very proud of managing lettuce this year).

  19. Hello Brandy and frugal friends,

    I was able to get 1/2 gallon of ice cream for $.99 bought the max 5. My van broke and was $2400 to fix hardly worth it as it is a 2006…so we to it to a friend of a friend and he fixed it for $600. My husband just started working as a ICU nurse in February so was not working for 2 years prior ( while in school). We pray the van will last 2 more years. My friend is in town from CA and we are doing many FREE things around town . Went back to school shopping prices were great…my daughter of course wanted the pretty glitter things…I let her get the more expensive as she is a straight A student and finally after 5 years of the same backpack got a new one. Proud of everything we all do to stay frugal!

  20. We went camping for three nights in the mountains about an hour and a half from home. We camped for free in the national forest and brought all of our food from home.
    A favorite T-shirt developed a stain on the front that I couldn’t get out, so I embroidered some flowers over the stain. Now I like the shirt even better.
    A half gallon of milk was turning sour, so I made cottage cheese.
    We had a good rain – enough to fill my rain barrels, which were almost empty. I was able to shut off the irrigation to the outside beds for a couple of days, and used water from the rain barrels to water my potted plants on the porch and inside.
    I harvested lettuce, chard, onion, carrots and our first tomato from the garden.

  21. In the evening here it is just as hot as the hottest part of the day. I am so happy not to have it be 113° at 8 p.m. like it has been so many summers. This feels much cooler! But of course, it is still hot. The coolest time of day is early morning, where it has been around 86° at 6 a.m., so I have tried working more in the mornings.

  22. I made several loaves of bread.
    We had been out of town and friend was kind enough to watch our pets for free so I gave her a fresh loaf of pumpernickel.
    My son played with his friends on the playground and took a refillable water bottle.
    I met up with some friends a few times.
    I hung most of the laundry to dry. This is a challenge in the rainy season.
    I went to a swap and picked up several books, 3 shirts for my son, 2 sweaters for my husband, 1 shirt for myself, some facial scrub, some hair oil, a new bottle of dish detergent, 4 pairs of socks, an entire set of hair clippers with acccessories, jar of sudoceam, all for FREE!
    I didn’t drive anywhere.
    We shopped at the wholesale market.
    My husband got his haircut while on vacation. It was cheaper than our hometown salon.
    I started using reusable pads. I’m finding they are just as good as the disposables.
    A friend gave me some yarn so I crocheted something for her.
    I made pizza instead of calling dominoes.
    I went meatless for a couple meals.
    We went to dinner at the in-laws.
    We attended a birthday party dinner. No gifts just friends getting together. The host cooked.

  23. Hi

    Have you tried YouTube for tutorials on rooting plants? I found a really good one on how to root roses there.

  24. I harvested my first tomato. The others are slow in ripening but the plants are loaded down so should be getting a good amount in a few weeks. I have been getting a 1/2 cup to cup of raspberries for the past week. I am also making pickles with my cucumbers.

    I found seed packs at the store that were 75% off. I purchased 5 for .20 each. The majority won’t be sown until fall or next year but I am willing to risk it for 20 cents.

    I painted our entryway. I found the color I liked (Benjamin Moore paint) and had it mixed at Home Depot in Behr paint. The cost is cheaper but paint quality still high. I never knew you could do that so it has opened up a lot of design choices.

    I finally used my Christmas present of a food dehydrator. I made beef jerky in it. It is so delicious that it probably won’t last too long. Once my tomatoes start ripening I plan on dehydrating some of them also.

    Isn’t it interesting how many daily decisions you make without realizing that you’re doing them frugally? I sometimes feel I’m slacking in the frugality arena but when I stop and consider my daily routine I realize there are so many actions I’m committing that truly are frugal. For instance I’ve always used the library but I didn’t think of it as frugal until recently. This weekly list has helped me focus on them so thank you.

  25. Hello! Those grapes look so yummy! The salad picture gave me ideas of what to have for dinner this week-and all ingredients are in the fridge!! Thank you for another frugal meal! Here is my list from last week:
    – Cut up more cukes and put in already made pickle brine. (Recipe from last week.)
    -Dehydrated some cherry tomatoes. Grind them up into a powder and used to make a Copy Cat Red Robin seasoning mix. DS loves it on his French fries and we usually get it at the restaurant but this way I save money and he doesn’t know the difference. (I put it all back in the empty Red Robin shaker.) Plus have extra tomato powder in pantry for future use.
    -Made some DIY cleaning mixes from ingredients here in the house-Floor freshener using mint from garden and dried orange peel powder from pantry and toilet cleaner powder. For the citric acid, I used some lemon-lime Kool aide packets.
    -I started to can some salsa but made it too hot- had to add some stuff to try and cool it down so now I canned some Mexican cooking sauce. Made extra for Christmas gifts.
    -Transferred $53.00 to Paypal from Ibotta rebates.
    -Turned in Swagbucks points for 2-$25 gift certificates that were on sale. Saving them for holiday shopping. I am challenging myself again this year to try and get stuff free or pay as low as I can for them.
    -Bought another gift certificate that had a high point count to be added to Swagbucks account.
    – Got a refund back on a jersey I ordered thru work since it took them too long to customize it and it went on sale in the meantime.
    -Shared my 40% off work discount with friend so she could get a jersey for her DH to save for a Christmas gift.
    -DH changed oil and tinkered with the Trooper over the weekend to save money.
    -He also has been researching and asking friends to help out with getting Herbie ready for our trip to Disney World in March for the 50th Anniversary. He painted the strips across the rag top himself on Saturday and a friend helped him fix one of the wheels for free. We rode it out on Saturday night to get ice cream.
    -Brought home some free snack bags from work but missed out on the doughnuts-LOL!
    Crop out of garden= more cukes, cherry tomatoes, a few green beans (the heat is really getting to them!) and herbs.
    -Sent another large bag of my clothes to ThreadUp. Saving all money back from them for a pair of new jeans for the fall.
    I am hoping for some rain and today looks like a good chance for some. Wishing everyone a blessed week!

  26. Not a bad week all round….

    .Monday – stayed home and did housework and went through the freezer – no spend
    .Tuesday – grouped errands and banking and walked to grocery store to save transit costs – and get some exercise. Only bought produce and dairy & a magazine. Waited until Loyalty points were available – noted point totals were incorrect, came home and emailed and had 700 more points added.
    .Wednesday – attended my Social Club’s monthly meeting and talk – spent $2 for 50/50 draw – had coffee and cookie for free. Then checked out the large grocery store next door & found Canadian Back Bacon on 50% off
    .Thursday – went to the library – spent an afternoon at a friend’s house – she supplied some nibbles, I took a bottle of wine that I’d received as a hostess gift & my Scrabble game and the third friend brought dessert. A lovely afternoon.
    .Friday – managed to pick up non-food items at sale prices so now have enough TP & Laundry detergent to last into the New Year. Checked my non-food pantry and determined that the only items to find on sale are toothpaste, dish liquid & Q-tips – I like to have a 6 month supply on hand and try to never pay full price for these sorts of things.
    .Saturday – too hot to go out so stayed in to read – renewed some library books online so as not to incur any fines and to be able to group returns with picking up holds.
    .Sunday – enjoyed free coffee and treats at Fellowship after church and enjoyed a nice visit with some friends in the lovely air-conditioned church hall. It was so hot in the church during service that our poor minister had to take off his robes half way through or he would have passed out!
    This extreme heat – around 110F – with high humidity makes me feel so lethargic with no energy whatsoever and I hate feeling that way. I’m hoping to at least get a lot of “paper work” out of the way while I stay inside and hide from the sun! I’ve made a very large “To Do” list so I’m hoping to spend a good part of this week checking off stuff!

  27. I wore a thrifted $1.00 black dress (with pearls) to a murder preliminary hearing I had to prosecute. It looked great! It is nice to look decent on a minimal budget. I have been called to play the piano in church, and my piano is at my son’s apartment. That was a great excuse to go visit…there will be lots of these visits so I can practice….lol. If I just go visit my sons will roll their eyes, but if I go there with a purpose……for some reason, that is ok…..whatever works! I make potato salad and took it to work to eat at lunch for this busy week. I also have bologna, mayo, and bread at work, so that is a fast and cheap lunch. I do not care if I have to eat the same thing every day. I also used up the last of my spinach, some leftover tomatoes, spices, and noodles, and that is my supper for the week! I like not having to think about what I have to cook for supper every night.

  28. Summer gardening is here. We are already happily buried in zucchini. I’ve already canned relish and given bagfulls away. It finds its way to our table in some form each day. With the first big batch I made faux applesauce. Took some to my mother in law.
    We bought a new to us car last month. I found new floor mats at the thrift store yesterday for 5.99
    I’ve been doing mending for my widowed brother. He has blessed us with apricots and raspberries. I shared zucchini with him.
    Cooking from our freezer. We recently enjoyed chicken breasts, pork roast and ribs, all served with fresh veggies from our garden.
    With our 100* days laundry hung outside dries quickly.
    I’ve been doing mending and remaking some items to fit better.
    Using all leftovers up or feeding them to the chickens
    Making plans to visit two of our daughters in September, and then spending a few days at the coast with our crab traps and clam shovels.
    Life is Good!

  29. My Mom would root coleus plants. The red ones would send out roots in a glass of water fairly quickly.

  30. I went to the grocery store on the last day of a sale. The two items I wanted were out of stock and so I got rain checks. I will use these rainchecks on next month’s 10% off sale day thus combining the loss leader’s from last week’s sale with the 10% off day’s sale.

    I harvested my first tomato of the season. Finished the pea harvest. Zucchini and yellow summer squash continue to produce along with the lettuce and beets. Will reseed carrots and peas this week for a fall harvest.

    Continue to write down all my purchases and keep a running balance of my budget. Managing my budget this way is better for me then keeping cash on hand. Last month I did not spend all of my grocery budget. I’m using that savings to restock my pantry.

    I’ve been using the library for dvds and books. I’ve been putting quite a few things on hold which is free at my library.

  31. That tomato salad looks amazing! I have plenty of tomato plants right now, with a lot of little green baby tomatoes, but no red yet. Soon, I hope!

    I was traveling with my mother and children last week and used my time as a passenger in the car to knit twelve dishcloths, which I’ll give as Christmas gifts. When I came home, my husband complained that there was no food in the house. I responded by whipping up a delicious meal (tofu meatball subs, made with a roasted cherry tomato sauce I’d made and froze earlier in the year, and sauteed green beans with garlic and lemon). We had plenty of food, it was all in ingredient form. 😉 I also skipped grocery shopping last week and went yesterday for the first time in two weeks. Only needed to spend about $60, and we’re good for at least another week.

  32. Debbie, turnip greens (leaves) are a very popular dish in the U.S. southeast, more popular than the root; however, I see very few people eating carrot or swede leaves (that’s a rutabaga in the U.S., right? )

  33. Made a chickpea/zuchinni/pepper stir fry to to use up some veggies and herbs that were getting a bit wilted, was super yummy. Deep cleaned my bedroom after my oldest painted the ceiling, so the entire room is fresh and it’s SO nice! Then I deep cleaned the bathroom also. Took kids swimming at our athletic club (no extra cost) a few times. Enjoyed a local art show (free) and a local concert on the lawn (free also!) although I did buy the kids ice cream. But it was a super fun evening! Sold 2 used books (one textbook, one homemaking book) online. Will leave that $ in paypal for Christmas. Took a family member to airport and they insisted on paying me for gas and time, unexpectedly. So nice of them! Cooked all meals at home except one, which I had a gift card for. Read a few library books and put more on hold for later. Bought a pair of cute socks on clearance and set them aside for college daughter, for a care package item this fall. Did a Pinecone Survey, my points are really adding up- will use around Christmas for gifts, I’m sure.

  34. What a productive week you had, Brandy, especially in the garden! One thing I’ve learned from you is to take the long view of gardening — planning for several seasons down the road. Your grape plants are a classic example of this.

    My frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks:
    – Inspired by a comment on last week’s frugal accomplishments post, I made: Orange Crush Slushies! ( Almost embarrassingly easy, and very frugal. I used a can of Orange Crush pop that we had lying around the house, but you could use any watery drink. I think a plain Kool-Aid mix is pretty cheap and would mimic the classic corner store slushy very well (and for pennies on the dollar!).
    – I harvested parsley, mint, a few strawberries, a few teeny tiny stalks of rhubarb from my balcony garden, a single blueberry, and the first of the snow peas. The first tiny growth of rhubarb seems to be bizarrely dying off, so I picked what I could before it died. I see a few leaves starting to grow again, so hopefully I will have a proper harvest later on in the summer.
    – I made strawberry jam using strawberries on sale and tossed in the little bit of rhubarb that I grew myself. Hopefully some rhubarb flavour comes through!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Amazon, twice (in two weeks) and redeemed Pinecone Research Rewards for $5 to my paypal account.
    – I cut some overgrown branches (a beautiful dark red colour) from outside my workplace and arranged them a la Brandy in a silver mint julep vase, in my front hallway.
    – I traded a chocolate chunk banana pecan loaf (I used a chopped up leftover chocolate Santa from my baking stash) for 3 EUC white frames with mats. There are a few pictures and such in my husband’s study/now nursery, that I want to turn into a gallery wall in our bedroom. We live in a smaller condo, so there’s not a lot of space, but I really wanted to display a few family photos, prints, degrees, and awards on the wall. I had looked at ordering them from Amazon using Swagbucks, but trading for them was an even better value (especially as I’m trying to save my Amazon credit for a large-ticket item). Currently the gallery wall has white and black frames, and one dark walnut frame, but I hope to slowly convert them all to white frames to match our bedroom décor. No rush though – I want to do it slowly with no money OOP!
    – I made a batch of laundry soap
    – I finished sewing the slipcover for the nursery chair! Am very pleased with how it turned out. It’s essentially a quilt that slips over the chair cushions, so it’ll protect the fabric from staining, and be easy to wash. The fabric was some from my stash that I’ve had for years, I pieced together a few smaller pieces of leftover quilt batting for the centre, and then the backing is actually an old towel in the colour of the nursery. So, no money OOP!
    – Very excitingly, my MIL was able to send a package to us from South America to Canada! (This is usually not possible, as the mail service in the country where she lives is completely unreliable to say the least). She sent us a beautiful and delicate hand-crocheted baby gown/dress that she made herself, and the delicate lace trim to the Moses basket that my husband slept in as a child! My husband’s grandmother sewed it for him, my MIL painted it for him, and all his cousins slept in baskets decorated with it as well. I’m so thankful to have a piece of his childhood to share with our future child! I really, really appreciate having a family heirloom. We plan to use it as trim on the crib (at least on the two sides that aren’t facing a wall. I will carefully unpick one seam, and then it will work as a trim on the crib). There is also a smaller piece of painted lace trim, and I plan to use that as the bottom trim on a baptismal gown that I will have made from my wedding dress (I tried to sell my wedding dress shortly after my wedding, but the cost to have it dry-cleaned would be the same amount I would recoup if I sold it, so it wasn’t worth it to me. Better to turn it into a family heirloom/baptismal gown!)
    – My family (my parents, my sister, my husband, and myself) went on holiday to the Laurentians, just outside of Montreal, and I tried to keep costs as low as possible. We rented a fully-furnished suite (I say rented, but it’s actually to use up some points we got with a large purchase last year) with two bedrooms and a pull-out couch, so we all stayed in the same suite. There was a kitchen, so we bought groceries and made our own meals (I did some meal-planning, including breakfast for dinner several times, so that we stayed on a modest budget). There was some free programming (it’s not a resort, but someone still arranges programming) and my family took advantage of that (my sister and DH tried axe-throwing for the first time, and my sister and mother tried kayaking for the first time). It was beside a lake with a small beach, and several pools as well (my dad loved the indoor pool). We flew there, as my parents are getting older, and my dad didn’t want to sit for many hours on a train or car, but my flight was basically covered from the flight credit I received from being too ill to go on the last family trip. We packed snacks for the airport on the way back, and on the way there my sister used a gift card she was given to treat us to a drink. So, it was an affordable vacation. I’m so glad we were able to spend some time with my family, making memories, and for my husband to relax, as he has a lot of demands on him. A cheap maternity swimsuit from Amazon (using a Swagbucks gc) is the only other item besides food (and my husband’s flight – he got a good deal – and car rental – we’re all splitting that cost) that we will have purchased for the trip.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  35. Your garden produce is beautiful. Over the years it has been a pleasure to watch your garden grow. What a challenge to garden in the desert climate!

    This week has been a challenge for us as our daughter’s boyfriend has come to visit. They have plans, but we have had to figure out ways to entertain without costs as my husband’s job is just starting to take off (he is only paid when he works). We were successful with careful planning and using a gift certificate for their golf. I packed lunch (a great success) and dinner (a full on failure, but we ate it anyway) for a day out. We are eating in for the rest of the week. Phew!

    I found a quarter, washed out bags, rearranged some furniture instead of buying a needed table, trimmed my husband and son’s hair, did my own nails, and am working my way through everyone’s wardrobe to ensure the clothing fits and am fixing what needs fixing.

    We actually (finally) bought a new – to – us beautiful dining room table and chairs that fits our cabin decor. It was an amazing price and will last for the rest of my life. I am tickled! So blessed! We were in the habitat restore to buy a box spring and mattress (which we did) to get my son off the floor when I saw it. A successful day all round.

    I found that I had enough just linens to work. I am, as I said before, looking ahead to replace the linens before we need to. My son has asked for another quilt, so I think I will make him one and use an old blanket as the batting and a sheet as the backing. He wears them out, so I will either make a crazy quilt or 9 square.

    Free Food Friday (where the city community gathers expiring foods and puts it out to keep from filling the landfill) was a smashing success as the heat had many veggies on the verge of spoiling. (It is interesting that most people want the treats and breads, so I am able to bring home more veggies and dairy/nondairy). I’m planning my meals for the week around the food we brought home. I also was able to bring and donate some opened boxes of teas that an aunt had given to us before she moved that we will not drink. Waste avoided on all sides!

    Family downsizing continues, and is finally showing results. I am 1 size from where I want to be (and most of my clothing is), my daughter and husband are happily at their goals and my son is getting there. As we size down, we are ridding our wardrobes of the larger sizes. It has been a stressful past couple years and we needed to stop gaining weight because of it. We continue to focus on healthy eating and exercise.

    Finally, we weathered the very unusual heat wave here in the northern Rockies without buying an air conditioner. For me, that was an exercise in extreme self-control!

    Happy frugal-ing!

  36. I recently read about this, too–the woman had a Benjamin Moore paint color mixed in Valspar paint. I am curious how you go about finding the Benjamin Moore color to have it mixed. Do you have to go to a store that sells Benjamin Moore and get a paint card sample to do it? I have seen some Benjamin Moore colors that I really like and at some point, I need to do some painting here as well, so I would like to do this.

  37. That tomato salad really does look delicious.
    How I saved money this week:
    I trimmed my own bangs. I trimmed my hair a week or so ago, but not my bangs until this week.
    I made another five-gallon bucket of laundry detergent.
    I cut up a chicken and de-boned the breast. I used those bones along with bones from my freezer to make bone broth.
    We harvested figs off of our tree before the squirrels got them all.
    I took the online survey for cat litter that I was scheduled to take (through Swagbucks) after a week of trying one litter, and the survey froze and didn’t let me finish, just as I was all but done. I wrote to Swagbucks and they awarded me my bucks. The survey is a 2-part survey, comparing 2 litters, so I hope to get another $12 when I take the second survey after testing the second litter.
    I’m a Prime member on Amazon. Whole Foods in Florida offered $10 for shopping on Prime day if I bought $10 worth of food at Whole Foods. I did, and got my $10, which I used to get some more cabinet shelf pegs for my kitchen cabinets. I am replacing the old plastic supports for metal pegs. They run about $6 or $7 a bag — I got 2 bags for $3.90 and free shipping, using my Whole Foods credit.
    I mended my mesh laundry bag that was coming apart near the zipper.
    I found a dowel and rod type of wine rack at a thrift store; it looks almost like it was made of Tinker toys. A couple of dowels had come unglued, so they gave it to me for $2 off the asking price of $4.99. I glued it back together and put it in my deep hall closet, one half of which is where I store my gift wrap supplies, and used it to organize my rolled wrapping paper. Now I have a wrap station all set up — the only part I was missing was a good way to store my rolled wrap so it wouldn’t get all crumpled. Dowels set on screw-in hooks on the doors hold rolled ribbon, wall pockets hold folded wrap, bags, and tissue on another door, and hanging little bins hold scissors, tape, etc. Finally, it’s all in one place.

  38. Hi to all –

    My frugal ways for last week
    – stayed home most of the week
    – worked on swagbucks and surveys
    – returned books to the library on time & checked out More books & learned you have option to email your receipt (I love that! Less papers in my purse)
    – washed ziplocks and reuse
    – washed full loads
    – hung clothes to dry
    – ate all home cooked meals and leftovers
    – picked up freebies from grocery store – cereal, big bottle of 100 % juice & 18 ct eggs
    – accepted tomatoes from someone who came to visit

    Thanks Brandy for having this community. I appreciate it. It’s so helpful focusing on how people save. I learn so much!

  39. I don’t know about Swedes but I do grow sugar beets. They are used to make sugar so they are very sweet but also have a mild beet flavor. I use the leaves in salads and cooked dishes.

  40. Down south you are way ahead of us up north. Blueberries are in full swing, picking carrots, spinach, and radishes, but the tomatoes, cucumbers and melons won’t be ready until next month. Our chickens have started laying , but we are only getting three to four eggs a day from the dozen hens. My two boys’ hair grow so fast. My younger was looking pretty bushy as was the older, and the younger advised hubby he needed a haircut. Gettier easier as I don’t need to ask him, the boys do themselves. Saves me time and money having him do them, and never a bad haircut. Our cucumber, squash, melons, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and basil are all growing well. We had a dry spell and had to do watering, but are getting good rain today that we needed for the garden.

  41. I did have a paint chip that I brought (I initially went to Ace Hardware to look at the colors) but I asked the associate if only had the name, could they mix it up. She said that if you give them the name and the code used (for instance, I had them mix up Pale Oak OC-20), they can look it up in their computer.

  42. Mine was not a frugal week. First, I chipped a tooth (going to the dentist today). And then I dropped a glass in our bathroom sink and cracked it (the sink, not the glass, oddly enough). It’s not a fix we can do ourselves – it’s an undermount porcelain sink and beyond my skill level to replace. So I bought a new sink and a new drain, and scheduled the repair. Total cost of parts/repair will be around $500.

    Things at my work exploded. I work in a small medical office and one of our practitioners is leaving in August. This person has a full schedule so we are trying to find someone to take up the slack. It’s been really stressful.

    And it’s been hot (ok, Seattle hot, low 90s, but 70% of people here don’t have air conditioning). We keep the condo closed up all day so it is not too bad. We eat dinner out on our patio, which is really nice. I made all meals at home except for one.

    Had an inexpensive lunch out on Sunday with two friends I rarely see. We then went to Starbucks and one friend treated. We live in different areas around Seattle so we find a central place to meet. We often meet at a garden center, have coffee, and then take a walk, but it was too hot to do that. So I found an inexpensive yet delicious Thai lunch café and we met there. Enjoyed some nice conversation and some girl time. 🙂

    I was planning on taking this whole week off from work to continue on the bedroom painting project, but my plans were thwarted by the heat. So I ended up working for a few hours yesterday, which my boss appreciated. I am working for a few hours today as well (after my dentist appointment). Tomorrow it’s supposed to be cooler so I will be able to open up the windows and continue with painting.

    My herbs are doing well on my patio, and there are a bunch of small jalapenos on my four plants. I collected seeds from my green onions and will plant these in two different pots so I can have green onions throughout the winter (we are on the south end of our condo building, and it’s a zone 8 microclimate, so most plants overwinter quite well).

    I really enjoy reading everyone’s comments. And, Brandy, your photos are so beautiful. Thanks for hosting this great community.

  43. *Cashed a pine cone check.
    *Mowed the back yard & recycled the grass clippings as mulch on the back perimeter beds.
    *Continued to pick & dehydrate pie cherries. Made two large gluten-free cobblers to use at the meal after my grandson was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.
    *Continued to pick blackberries from our patch.
    *Met with an individual from the funeral home & pre-planned my funeral. I have yet to attend a funeral where ANYONE commented on the finish or ornamentation of the casket. It is on display for several hours, tops, then it is buried, & it is my opinion that the least expensive ones still meet all the manufacturing requirements of the most expensive, so my wishes are now recorded. No viewings, no signing book, no thank you cards, & the smaller size of funeral programs, since those fit best into Books of Remembrance, & in our family, that is where they will end up. I did not not pre-pay; I just pre-planned, which is free. This removed a weight from my shoulders, knowing the task of trying to make all those choices will no longer fall on, or cause disagreements among my children.
    *We purchased a gravesite in our local cemetery. The prices continue to rise every year, & are scheduled to rise again next year, so it is one more thing that is now taken care of.

  44. Hello, everyone.

    Third week in a row commenting, woohoo!

    Brandy, I was thinking about you and your explanation about your weather that you posted a year or two ago, I think. You said that in your pocket, even if Las Vegas gets rain, you usually don’t. I remembered that was it poured down rain here on Monday and Tuesday, and throughout the week, even today, as it has rained off and on. We were over 100 days without rain, but this past week we have had a ton of rain. Last Monday the weather was so bad, one of those “haboobs”. I sat in my third floor office and watched a massive cloud of dust move between two buildings, the wind was howling and the rain was pouring down. It was crazy. I had to leave my office and walk to my car in the storm because the power went out at my house and my family was home with no power. My brand-new-driver daughter was on her way to work when the storm hit and she had to pull over and shelter at a Starbucks (oh, the torture) because she was too scared to drive in the storm.

    I picked up my family and we went out to eat (ouch!) and then decided to go home and try to sleep, as the power company was saying that the power should be restored by early morning. We could have gone to my dad’s, but I wasn’t sure that was a much better option for various reasons. We opened the windows; even though there wasn’t a breeze, at least it was fresh air, and suffered through the night. We put wet wash clothes on our heads. I was ever so thankful when the power came back on at 4:30am. Thank you, Lord, for modern conveniences.

    I was also very worried about the contents of my fridge and freezer as I had just done a two-week shopping trip (which worked pretty well for my grocery budget, btw. Need to do a few tweaks to the system). But, we did not open the doors at all the whole outage and, thank you, Lord, again, we lost nothing!! The ice didn’t even look like it had melted at all. Our fridge runs a little too cold, which used to annoy me, but in this case I was thrilled. We very carefully checked over everything and have eaten things with no problem. I am ever so grateful for that.

    My husband also took off Monday and Tuesday in order to be home for the installation of our solar panels. We can not wait for this process to be completed; this is our first summer in this house and our power bill last month was $400. And that’s trying hard to be conscious, only use appliances during off-peak, etc. The solar panels should help at least a little bit.

    It was good timing for him to be off as our sitter was out of town and my daughter can’t watch the boys all the time. As a treat, he took our two younger sons to Peter Piper Pizza. They had earned free personal pizzas from the library program and he purchased drinks and tokens for them. He said he spent $17, and they had enough tokens to get a little something from the prize table. Just enough to be a treat for them. This happened before the power outage or we might have re-thought that plan.

    Thursday, my daughter wasn’t available to babysit, so I asked another friend to watch my boys. I hate asking people to watch my kids and am very careful to offer payment, especially when it’s an all day thing like this. When I set up this date, I didn’t specifically mention payment, but we had discussed payment previously so I figured she knew I meant to pay her. When I dropped off the kids and handed her the check, she was surprised but kept the check. When I got home that night, the boys told me that I had a package. Inside was a beautiful flower pin (, and a note returning my check. It was such a blessing and I was very grateful. I have been the sitter giving of myself for no payment many times, so I know how nice it is to be paid, and it was a sacrifice of the heart on her part to return the money. (Does that make sense?)

    So, we were able to have a whole week of not having to pay sitter fees.

    This was a blessing because this week my daughter is going to a youth conference in Colorado. Long story short (lack of hours on her job mostly), we wound up having to pay her way, all $350 of it. She had just enough money to cover the cost of her meals, but then we got nervous because they extended the trip by two meals, and she is gluten-free so her meals are often more expensive than the dollar menu. We talked it over and put it in the Lord’s hands and her carefulness. Yesterday, out of the blue, I got a text message from someone in the church asking if any of my kids were going on the trip. I replied that my daughter was, and she said that she would like to donate $60 to her expenses. I was so thankful as this ensures that my daughter has plenty of money for her meals, and probably some to make an offering, with leftovers. God just dropped us on this family’s heart.

    Saturday, I had to venture out to the hardware store so I decided to check out the Lutheran Thrift Store that was close by (we’re new to the area). It was amazing. Like a furniture store haven. I found the furniture a little pricey, but then I realized that most of the stuff was quality, not the junk I usually find at the chain thrift stores. And they have 50% off sales on certain things. So a nice china cabinet might be $125, but then 50% off. I didn’t buy any furniture and wasn’t going to buy anything until I noticed that the throw pillows were $3 each, and they were one of the things that were 50% off. I went through the shelves and pulled out 6 pillows that matched my living room color scheme. I paid $9. I came home and immediately arranged them on my sofa and the face lift to the whole room was instantaneous. I mentioned previously that I am trying to beautify my home on pennies and this definitely fit the bill.

    My son was doing online school through a new program this past semester, which was not working, so we are switching him to another online school that we used several years ago, before he switched to a private school (confused yet?). This school offers a computer to use (which we need) and a stipend for the internet. This will be a huge blessing and I think the school will be a better fit for him.

    That’s all I have for this week. I continue to be amazed that, while life happens, we are always taken care of. We may not have everything that we want (I really want to take my kids on a vacation), but we have everything that we need and are very well off compared to many (a nice house, paid-off vehicles, clothes and food, not to mention all of the blessings listed above).

    Have a great week, everyone.

  45. Brandy- where did you order your dahlia tubers from?

    I’ve been faithfully using up my refrigerator and freezer food so my meals have been from there – I’ve made fried rice using up frozen veggies and chicken, pulled pork, enchiladas using frozen sauce ( homemade and sooo much better than canned), beef stroganoff, zucchini bread to use frozen zucchini, pumpkin cookies, French toast (using odds and ends of frozen buns), pavlova using leftover egg whites and frozen cream. It’s been nice to keep my grocery shopping to a minimum.

    I was able to repair a very useful hoe that does weeds. I use it daily and it fell apart so my husband helped me
    drill a hole and put a bolt in it.

    A co worker of my husband has season tickets to Eccles theater performances and had to switch with someone else which left one ticket available. He was going to just throw it away but my husband asked if I mind going alone. I didn’t mind so I got to see Phantom of the opera for free. It was fantastic!

    I pick up a couple of library books and just randomly decided to walk there which is about two miles. I’ve never done that but felt I should. On the way I saw a police car parked at a dear friends house. She had just passed away. I was able to be there because I followed an impression and I’m grateful. The frugal side was that I saved gas and got free exercise.

  46. I haven’t posted or commented for a bit – finally wrote up a post for the past five weeks! We are in the throes of monsoon season as well, and so grateful for the rain we’re getting. It sounds like we are getting more than your area, Brandy, but we aren’t getting as much as some. NWS says that the areas west and north of Tucson are at 600% average monsoon rainfall, but those of us south and east are at 50% of normal. Booooo!!!

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  47. The grapes you harvested look so delicious! Great work getting some despite the huge this year!

    Around here I’m in a battle with larder beetles, so I am clocking in long hours cleaning every day. I’m still getting other things done too while at it though.

    My list for the later part of the week (I posted late the week before) can be found here…

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  48. Since U.S. postage stamps cost the same no matter what the picture, I choose designs I like. I notice a non-flag stamp on a personal letter/card, and think others do as well. Last summer, USPS tried out textured stamps, (round sports balls), and the image-changing eclipse stamps. Yesterday, I got scratch-and-sniff “frozen treats” stamps– brightly colored popsicles.

    We traveled to in-law’s and stayed in a motel. Although not directly frugal to us, we kept the room AC at a reasonable setting and turned it hotter when we weren’t in the room, and we don’t waste towels. These are only penny savings for the motel, yet I like to think it will help them stay in business. Also, after working motel housekeeping one summer long ago, I am very respectful of the maid’s work and time. Appreciated the free fruit basket in the lobby all day, along with included breakfast. I would rather they just dropped prices overall instead of having a points program, but played along and got points for the room, at checking in, for filling out post-trip survey on email, and a follow-up coupon if we return. We have general credit card points to pay for part of bill as well.

    Sister-in-law who lives in much larger city than we do mentioned she had switched from WalMart to Aldi’s, and cut her grocery bill in half.

    As others have written, many things we do frugally are so much habit that I don’t notice them. Our library has been getting more new books in, which we appreciate. We took a cooler of water and snacks in the car on our trip, and the motel had an in-room mini-fridge to keep extras in. (Ironing boards and irons and hair dryers are also now standard in chain motels). Fans are running in the house. Meals are planned for frugal shopping, cooking ourselves, making enough for leftovers.

    The caterpillars ate all the leaves off the potted parsley plant I put next to the dill they were eating, as well as finishing off the dill I was trying to distract them from. I hope I get to see the butterflies after they hatch, because I sure fed them enough! I didn’t mind them enough to squash them, was more interested in seeing what would happen.

  49. Last week we picked lettuce, broccoli, snow peas, a couple of bulbs of garlic as we needed them, swiss chard, green onions, herbs as needed and cauliflower. We also picked our first zucchini. that means in a couple of weeks, we will be inundated with them.

    I made a chicken vegetable stir fry with veggies from the garden. My DH says he looks forward to this meal all year. We served them with some of the spaghettis noodles I got for 33¢ a pound a couple of months ago. Also got some pork ribs for 99¢ a pound, and the DH BBQ’d them for dinner. We ate on that for a while with salad from the garden. Drank water with lemon squeezed into it.

    We don’t have air conditioning in our house. We have insulated curtains on most of our windows, which are good for keeping the sun out in the summer and the heat in in the winter. We run two fans in the living room and one in the bedroom. when I am blanching things for the freezer, or have the oven on (not often in the summer) I bring one of the fans to the kitchen to add to my little table top one. I cools down at night, so we sleep well. And like I said last week, if it gets really hot we can basically live in our basement.

    Dried laundry on the line. I love the smell of freshly laundered sheets dried outside.

    Went swimming a couple of days this week. It felt great.

    Planted the last of the $1.99 flat of marigolds. One of the stores brought in too many, so sold them for $1.99 per flat. There were at least 48 plants in the flat. I got the small bright yellow ones. They look so cheerful.

    There was more, I am sure, but that is all I can think of for the moment.

    Hope everyone has a great week. I love reading the comments, so decided I should start contributing.

  50. I love all the rain we continue to have. The temperature cools and makes the house bearable. I have to watch my laundry drying carefully but the unbearable heat does dry them quickly in between storms. We had a horrendous downpour which led me to discover a pin size hole in the roof. This is good as it allows me to repair it without suffering major ceiling damage. My neighbor has explained how to take care of it. Neighbors family is in vacation and he works many long hours. I cut his postage stamp size lawn to prevent him from receiving citation from city. Cut mine too .
    Sugar cookie has many extended family members entertaining her. That have celebrated several birthdays and she has had several outings. I love how all her family is just family. No one is defined as a half or step sibling. Non family that married other family still just created family. Love really is a beautiful thing. All the children have gotten old enough to drive and they all make time to carry her off to do her favorite activities which they kindly pay for.
    My summer is not going as planned. Part of being frugal for me is being patient. I have decided for a while host of boring details, to sit quietly for three weeks. It will cost me the least amount of money to handle my troubles this way. My car will be taken care of either by the recall or by my warranty but I can’t drive the car for three weeks . I find ways to entertain myself and have made a list of things that need to be done least I find myself bored.
    Being practical, I redeemed Swagbucks for a Visa giftcard. I planned on buying a roku device. Instead, I used the 25.00 with four 10.00 Google express credits to purchase necessities for my household. I placed four separate orders of 16.00 a piece and bought catfood, litter, dog food and girl supplies for sugar cookie. I used a small amount to buy me a DVD of 4 classic movies. The cash I saved will be put up for any possible charges I incur at the car dealership.
    I set up a new email and Amazon account for sugar cookie. I checked into the Amazon prime discount for people who receive benefits and it is only 6.00 a month. I thank the kind reader who shared this info. I googled it and it popped right up. We currently are using the free month. I was able to get 3 months of kindle unlimited for 99 cents.
    We do not qualify for a free trial of Hulu so I used ebates to get it and make 15.00. I believe if I make another 10.00 small purchase somewhere, we will get a 25.00 bonus bonus.
    I spend an hour a day doing Swagbucks surveys. I am averaging 300 to 500 points a day and hope to offset any extra bills next month.
    The movie ticket deal at coca cola has ended. My month of collecting caps netted sugar cookie 10 movie tickets, 10 popcorn and 10 LG drinks. I also ordered her a magazine I have never seen available for free anywhere. I also order her a free Shutterfly print we will use for a collage of family members . I figure I spent 4 hours this month collecting caps.
    I happily brought home several treasures. 8 large bottles of 91% alcohol with safety seal intact, this is part of what we use to make puppy ear cleaner with. 14 lbs Epson salt, new in sealed bag. One 6 ft extension cord. Several cigarette lighters. These are put away to light candles. I also collected 12 neon colored micro fiber mitts used to wash cars. They are purchased from a vending machine to wash cars and then they are tossed in the trashcan or left on ground. They are great for cleaning my baseboards, light fixtures etc. My college daughter grabbed the Epson salts and floated in the bath for an hour. She is still shaking her head.
    I want to thank everyone for their kindness. I am fortunate that our tiny home I purchased at foreclosure is paid for. My car wreck also left me with a new car paid for. Sugar cookie and I have everything we need and a good bit of what we want. Our bills are few but taxes and insurance are hefty. Our lifestyle is simple and so many freebies are out there to enjoy. My frugality is pretty extreme at the moment but only when it applies to myself. I do everything I can to make sugar cookie happy and content. In fact, a little birdie told me that during the big Amazon sale yesterday, her sister bought her a fire stick on sale.
    So college boy left on a Sunday for the Army. By Thursday they dropped him back home ! Seems all the glitches ended up with his paperwork expiring and it had to be redone and resubmitted. His new date is the 30th. I will be having a long talk with a new recruiter if this falls through for the 4th time. I keep reminding myself that perhaps it serves some great reason for him to be delayed. I
    While at grocery store using free Redbox rental code, I saw a large mason jar someone left in trashcan by the coinstar machine. I rescued the poor lost jar and rehomed him. He now is fresh and clean and holding my bacon grease. College girl just keeps shaking her head at me. I explained that I will not be embarrassed. I mean I just recycled a piece of glass. She thinks I am nuts. That’s okay. A little crazy never hurt anyone.

  51. OH! I didn’t realize you could have bought 5 at that price! I so wanted to go and that REALLY would have been worth it. I forgot that the digital coupon works for up to 5 items.

    Do you like the ice cream? I asked a friend of mine and she said she hates that brand, but I imagine we would have liked it. What flavors did you get?

    I really wanted to go but we had some car problems (My fault! though it was an accident. . . .) so I couldn’t go get any.

  52. Thanks! The thing I liked about this quilt is that I could use up “leftover “ bits of flannel from other projects! I love when I can do that and then this pattern was perfect for that!

  53. Thanks! For me, it was a reminder that it’s not that hard to give service from the abundance we’ve been blessed with!

  54. Brandy, your grapes look delicious! We had a pretty average week here. Hung laundry outside to dry. Ate all our meals at home. We did have a treat when we went to the mall on Satruday but used a gift card to pay for it. I had $25 in Amazon cards so I bought some more baking supplies: flour, cocoa, and baking powder which will last us for a bit. We have dinner with my mom every Sunday and she sent home leftovers that we have been enjoying. I also rolled $7 in coins at my Mom’s that will be added to savings. I am working on a long-term savings account for my son as he is 15 and disabled. I don’t know what benefits will be available to us when he turns 18 so I am thinking ahead. I received two beauty samples to add to my collection. I have a large basket full of free samples that I am slowly working down.

    It has finally cooled down here so we are enjoying having the windows open and letting the breeze in after days of air conditioning.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely, frugal week!

  55. Phoenix averages 8 inches a year. Tuscon gets just under 12, and Las Vegas gets all of 4 inches of rain a year (measured downtown at the airport). We see the clouds and we can smell the rain, but it usually falls west, east, and especially south of us, no doubt influenced by the mountains and the shape of the valley. I read about rain downtown (and there were flash flood warnings the same days) for Thursday and Friday, but it didn’t rain here. The clouds sure were pretty, though, and a nice change from always having blue skies!

  56. It depends on who you ask, Jo! Other names for swede: yellow turnip, rutabaga, neep or sometimes just turnip (which is often used interchangeably for white or yellow turnip). I’ve witnessed more than one heated discussion about it in international cooking and gardening groups!

  57. Sugar cookies grandfather passed a year or two ago. She has told me today that her uncle will be packing up grandpa’s clothes this weekend and donating them. After seeing your post, I have decided to call and ask for his flannel shirts. I imagine he had several. I imagine they will be willing to ship them to me. I would love to make a quilt for one of her Christmas gifts. Thank you for such a beautiful idea. I imagine my father also has several that I can have and then she will have a grandpa blanket.

  58. It depends on the store…some apparently have the ability to look up the color names of other brands, but some will tell you it is proprietary information so you have to have the info or a paint chip for them to color match.

    Most of our house needed painting when we moved in and I have tried a lot of different paints over the past decade. Valspar is by far my least favorite; it chips and scratches very easily, to the point that it isn’t worth buying. (Painting an entire room only to have it look horrible after six months use is a huge disappointment and a big waste of money.) I like Behr Premium Plus from Home Depot, but use Sherwin Williams for high traffic areas, like our powder room and hallways. The extra money (they have sales a couple times a year) is well worth it.

  59. My income has now been cut by $300.00 per month. So I’m sitting inside (having retreated from the hot sun and having a siesta). I spent $100 more than usual on utilities so that I could deep water the huge spruce trees. I have never seen a clematis wilting from heat before so I watered it, too. My cherry crop failed. The blooms opened when it was too cold for pollinators so I ought to have pollinated them by hand. The little garden failed. My gardener put a cover over it to protect it from the baby hares (I hear “lapin” is delicious! – just joking) but nothing grew. On the bright side, a friend brought me some Swiss chard. I go tomorrow to the insurance brokers to renegotiate the policy. Somehow they have on my file a claim for a boat –– I’ve never owned a boat so we’ll fix that. Trying not to spend money as I don’t have it to spend.

  60. I love hearing about everything you are doing in your garden and look forward to working on my own (smallish) garden when we move next month. But for now…

    Living Frugally in Urban Seattle

    – My youngest son has attended free art and writing camps for the past three weeks, put on by local nonprofits, and he’s loving them! One of the side benefits of living in a large city. I don’t even have to drive him! He rides his bike to and from.

    – We’ve been entertaining ourselves with local hikes, bike rides, lots of swimming in our neighborhood lake, and beachtime on the Sound. Last Saturday was lowest tide of the year, so we went to our neighborhood beach and looked at all of the sea creatures that were suddenly visible. I will miss this magical city on the sea!

    -A friend of my husbands dropped off leftover hamburgers and hotdogs and buns from a work-related bbq event, enough to feed us for a week! Such a treat! We’ve been grilling every night and between that gift and eating through our pantry ahead of the move, we spent $20 on groceries last week – definitely a low for us!

    – I received moving boxes and also a wooden silverware holder through my Buy Nothing group. I’ve always had cheap plastic silverware holder, and it makes me happy to look in my silverware drawer now! I’ve been giving away a TON of things on Buy Nothing — everything from toys to clothes to bookcases. It definitely feels good to give back to neighbors after being gifted so many things over the past few years here.

  61. I am envious of everyone’s garden hauls! We had a garden 5 years ago when we lived in Vancouver, WA, but since we have been back to Phoenix we have not been able to plant one. Maybe next year!

    Here are my accomplishments:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Worked 10 hours contract work.
    • I joined Weight Watchers last month. They have a program where if you refer someone both of you get a free month. 2 of my friends also signed up so I get 2 months free.
    • Only ate out twice. Once at our weekly trivia night and was able to use a gift certificate we had won on a previous night. The second time was for a fundraiser for my niece, who has Down Syndrome, who won a local beauty pageant and is travelling to Chicago for the National event. Also, hubby and I brought our lunches to work.
    • Defrosted, organized and inventoried my freezers.
    • Got cherries for 97c/lb and froze about a gallon ziplocs worth, in addition to eating a lot fresh. Also got apricots for 75c/lb and peaches for 75c/lb. Since I’m trying to eat up what is in the pantry and freezers, I have only really been buying fresh fruits and veggies and dairy, so grocery bill hasn’t been as high.
    • Had previously bought a year’s worth of contact lenses from Costco. They had changed my prescription, but after using them for about 2 months, I felt that the new prescription wasn’t right. They took back the unopened boxes and also replaced the 2 months worth that I used.
    • I had enrolled in the summer reading program at the library. I’ve earned a gift certificate for a free entrée at Rubios, a round of miniature golf and a free children’s book. My nephew and his wife are having a baby and have requested a book from everyone for their shower, so I chose a book to send to them.
    • As previously posted, my brother-in-law recently passed away. My husband and I flew to Iowa and helped my sister sort through all his tools etc. so she could send them to be auctioned off. My sister said to take whatever we wanted, so we acquired a couple of power tools for ourselves and a brad nailer for our daughter. He would be happy to know that they were being used by people who appreciated them. She also is downsizing and gave me a couple of tablecloths that she won’t need anymore.
    • The house we bought in October didn’t have window coverings. We love the look of shutters but couldn’t justify the cost. Instead my husband framed out all of the windows (they previously didn’t have any framing, just bullnosed) and we bought wood blinds from We are happy with the look and saved a lot of money over getting shutters.
    • My husband’s cousin-in-law passed unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. They requested people bring food to the gathering after the memorial service on Saturday. I made brownies with ingredients I had on hand.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates and had someone sign up with my code.
    • Got another Agatha Christie book from the library.
    • Got a free candy bar with the Friday Freebie.

    Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

  62. Received a couple of gift cards this week-one from my daughter’s friend who visited for a few days and one from Canadian Tire as my husband had to go back and have something redone on the car and I suggested he ask for one for the inconvenience.

  63. Thanks Brandy.
    The rainchecks from this store are good for 30 days which also helps get them to the 10% off sale days.

  64. I wonder if you can eat the sweet potato leaves even if they are a decorative vine? My mom planted sweet potatoes and while we are waiting for them to grow, we are harvesting some of the younger, tender leaves for a stir fry. They’re very delicious!

  65. Not shelley – but we like the ice cream. We are not ice cream snobs by any stretch of the imagination. Can’t afford to be. We got two French vanilla to have with strawberries and raspberries from the garden, a blueberry, pomegranate, chocolate chunk (which is yummy) a butterfinger and a caramel praline. forgot to mention those when I did my frugal post.

  66. SOme people are quite allergic to carrot leaves, even when they are not allergic to carrots. You might want to warn people or be alert if someone is eating your carrot leaves and starts feeling tingling and a closing throat.

  67. My friend calls on many execs. At Kroger Corp and even they rave about their Deluxe Ice cream. My family enjoys it too. 🙂
    The Wal-Mart house brand, however, is TERRIBLE

  68. Hi Brandy.
    Love all your produce photos this week.

    We did well on the frugal front. One of the neighbors on our street put out a real wood 5 drawer upright dresser for free so we picked that up right away. Real wood is so hard to find and so expensive. I plan to sand it down and paint it and probably put some new hardware on it. My daughter has said she could really use it and my son said if she didn’t want it he could use it so I am very glad I picked it up.
    We went to a garage sale and on the way out there was a free pile. There was this rusty, curved metal thing and I asked to make sure it was free and they said yes so I took it home, wire brushed all the rust off it and spray painted it a metallic black, turned it upside down and placed it in my gravel patio and it holds two pots of flowers and looks awesome. I had bought the can of spray paint about a month ago on sale for $4. It is a high quality spray paint so I am hoping it will hold up to our Pacific Northwest winters.
    We went berry picking and got enough blackberries to make another pie.
    I went shopping at HobbyLobby and picked up a platter with a pineapple design on it for 90% off- it costs me $1.49 and will be a Christmas gift for my son. I will place some of his favorite snack food on the tray and wrap it in clear cellophane. (he loves pineapple so will appreciate the design). I know he needs platters because he frequently borrows mine when he is going to parties.
    I recently took my mom shopping and she purchased hair clips for her great-grand-daughters at $3.99 for 4 clips. HobbyLobby had a pack of 4 clips for $1.99 and 66% off that price so I purchased 2 packs for my mom to have on hand when she is caring for the girls.
    Finally, I needed some spray matte sealer and used a 40% off coupon at LobbyHobby for that.
    While we were out berry picking, I noticed a downed tree branch that had tiny cones on it. I picked off the tiny cones that were growing in little clusters and will use those as present toppers for Christmas gifts. (the tree branch was dead).

    My husband and I have volunteered to care for the local elementary school garden during the summer while school is out. We have been watering and weeding. They are growing strawberries, potatoes, garlic, peas and a few other things. We plan to surprise them by planting a few fall crops such as more garlic, fall lettuces and whatever else we come up with. We are hoping to have everything weeded and looking very nice for them when school starts again in September. The school cooks use the produce in the school lunch program so they literally eat what they grow. I think I have already harvested enough garlic out of their garden for almost a year’s worth of school lunches. It is currently drying and will be ready for use when school starts again.

    Feeling productive, frugal and happy.

  69. Last week I needed a new misto. I was all set to go buy one and I remembered that I gave my mom one for a present seven or eight years ago and she hasnt taken it out of the box yet. I asked her if I could buy it. She gave it to me, saving me about $10. We had some exciting news over the weekend. We now have a contract on “the money pit.” We are supposed to close August 31. I had been saving like crazy because I thought we were going to need to evict our tenants from hell and anticipated being without rental income for several months. I was taking the extra savings and when I had enough for a mortgage payment, I’d pay it. September is already paid. I’m going to keep saving what I can so that we can increase our down payment on a new house. I did extremely well on amazon and ebay last week and the flea market on Sunday. Instead of putting my flea market money in the savings account, I paid off one credit card and put the rest on another. Last week I got a few bags of french fries free from ibotta. We’re eating them and still eating the turkey burgers from the week before. I think I may go back to the $50 a week grocery budget so that we can save more money. It is doable……I just like having a big variety of fresh fruit and veggies.

  70. Ha ha! I’m glad to see it is considered normal to eat sugarbeet leaves. My parents told me there was a lot of spinach to be picked from the garden. So I set out with my bowl on the 4th of July to get salad makings. I marveled at how large and perfect the spinach leaves seemed to be. A couple of days later I was out in the garden with my dad and he pointed out the sugarbeets and the spinach just a couple feet away. I had picked sugarbeet leaves to make our salad for the 4th. Nobody noticed or minded and I am now relieved to know that I didn’t risk making anyone sick. I asked my dad what he planned to do with them and he didn’t really know. Love to hear more specific ideas.

  71. Hello!

    We had a fun frugal week here! Below are the highlights:
    – We attended a Colorado Rockies baseball game for free with tickets from It is a cool organization that gives unfilled seats for events to veterans and their families. It was a fun game and I had not been there before, nor my husband.
    – We attended Vacation Bible School at the church all last week. This made for frugal fun and my son and I volunteered while my daughter attended.
    – I bought a food co-op box that had over $100 of food in it for $25. Plus I had an add on for $10 which was 70 plus chicken patties. This food is ready to go so we have to preserve it quick. I froze a lot of bread, cheese, bananas, meat, and buns. There were lots of snacks, veggies, salad, carrots and much more. Check if your area has a food co-op, it is well worth it!
    – My garden is growing in I have been able to pick swiss chard, spinach, beets and herbs. I am waiting on peppers, tomatoes, squash and zucchini! I am excited!
    – My son went to church camp for free this week since I work at the church.
    – I did some more freebies which on my blog here:
    – I have been giving more water and food to my chickens since it is so hot here!
    I think that is about it besides cooking meals, watering the garden, trying not to waste food or resources.
    God Bless,

  72. Cindy, years ago I was doing a child sexual abuse trial and as I bent over to look at my notes while questioning someone, I felt my zipper burst open. I spent the rest of the day nonchalantly holding a piece of paper in front of my stomach, even while sometimes using the other hand to hold a page of notes. To this day I have not bought another pair of pants with zippers in the front! In fact, if memory serves correct, I never wore pants to court again.

  73. Terry: I grow a ton of zucchini because it is reliable and versatile. Here are some ideas you may not have heard of or forgotten.
    Zucchini tots; lots of recipes on line and most require baking and not frying. Not exactly Tater Tots, but people still eat them up.

    Zucchini hummus

    Kung Pao zucchini

    Double chocolate zucchini bread (really cake pretending to be bread) from a King Arthur recipe

  74. Marivene:
    A few years ago my husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I told him a casket, so that I would be sure that he would not spend excessive amounts of money on mine. It took me two Christmases to convince him but the result was lovely I like having it in our basement; it gives me a sense of peace and I like the idea that I will be lying in a box made by someone who loved me. He did insist that I tell several of our friends that I had asked him to make me one (years, I hope) in advance. He said if I died under mysterious circumstances, he did not want the police to go to the basement and find he’d done some pre-planning regarding my demise.

  75. Some frugality, some not(seems to be the theme around here most of the time, lol)

    My mom sent over some food she wasn’t going to eat…a big ham steak , pack of chicken legs, chips, and onions

    I purchased 2 marked down whole chickens and 2 packs of ground chicken

    Finally got the big dogs switched over to a different dog food. If they start getting itchy, I’ll put them back on the $45 a bag stuff.

    The boy turned 19. He didn’t want a big party. So we went out to eat(NOT cheap, but he and hubby had leftovers the next day), had carrot cake, and we got him a lock box for his gun and the 11yo picked out candy for him.

    Stayed home except for work.

    Used redbox rewards to rent a movie free one night.

    Hubby’s boss sent us a couple dozen eggs from his chickens

  76. They are extremely nutritious. I have seen them dried and sold in capsules in health food stores as supplements. You can’t get much in one little pill and for the outrageous price they were charging, give me a leaf!

    They are a bit tough, like eating an older cabbage leaf, but if you cut them small, no one will notice. They are good sauteed in butter, toasted whole in the oven, blended in a smoothie with fruit (don’t use the tough stem), or shredded in the food processor and used like cole slaw.

    The flavor is better in the winter after they have converted their sugars. Here (lower middle Tennessee) mine survive the winter under the hoop house except that I can’t stop eating them and always run out. I have planted them twice already this year but something (I think it is a rabbit) is eating them. Today I put a netting over them and hope it works.

    It is not too late to plant them for this year because they will survive cold weather.


  77. Mabel, in 2010 both my husband & planned our funeral programs, writing down the hymns we wanted, etc. he wants a particular song sung at his funeral, & I previously had no idea. Now I do, & have acquired the music for it. If you & your husband did the same, making a note that the casket was handmade & stating the location, it should alleviate his concerns. I was surprised at the emotional load that was lifted after these two thing were done.

    In most families, there are several individuals who will find “something” they think should have been done differently. The ability to reply, “Mom chose that herself; it’s what she wanted” in those instances is priceless.

  78. I have not posted in several weeks but want to say how much I enjoyed the 10 year anniversary entry and all the comments. I feel lucky to be part of this community of positive, uplifting, inspirational folks. I love the simplicity and joy I feel from you all. I appreciate the time you take to comment and the time that Brandy spends in posting us. Thank you Brandy for starting this blog. When we have had hard times, it has helped us through…and offered comfort.

    Now…on to my frugal accomplishments these last few weeks:

    • Purchased 5 dozen eggs at a fabulous price while on sale; also purchased butter at $1.99
    • Cleaning with vinegar and baking soda rather than purchasing cleaners
    • I’ve done a major review and reset of our annual budget and planned ahead for next year. While I wish the bottom line were better, at least I know the path before us and can plan accordingly now! I’m also starting zero-based budgeting to see how that works for us to better save. Had a very honest conversation with my husband about spending habits and budgets. It was uncomfortable during the conversation and for a few days after…but we are more on the same page now.
    • I’m working to replenish some items in our pantry stockpile…and eating down a very full freezer.
    • I’ve had fun using all the little bits of leftovers in creative ways…and if I can’t find a way to integrate it, I’m freezing it. Recently, we enjoyed a simple meal off all the little bits from the freezer: rice, broccoli, chicken, breakfast sausage patty, cauliflower and combined it all with a can of cream of mushroom soup. Yummy simple meal!
    • Attended a free concert
    • I’ve enjoyed watching my girls create a recipe…pumpkin cookies. They really came out more like pumpkin muffins. Their first experiment turned out like rubber, the 2nd try was better, and the 3rd try was pretty good. I love that they are experimenting and learning how different ingredients react in recipes. I LOVE that they can cook already at the ripe old age of 12. It is skill that will serve them well!
    • I tried cooking red beans in the crockpot but let them cook too long. In the past, I would have thrown them out (eeek!). I simply mashed them up. With a little cumin and salt/pepper, they went well in some quesadillas.
    • Washed and re-used ziplocks
    • Checked out videos from the library
    • After a bout where our electricity went off, I’ve started considering whether or not I “need” to turn on lights as I enter a room. Sometimes it is just habit and I really don’t need the lights…the light from the window is just fine. For example, if I take a shower in the early evening, I don’t have to turn on the lights or if I’m walking into a room to pick up a couple of items, I may not really need the light. I’m not advocating for austerity but it has been really empowering to know that I don’t always HAVE to turn on the lights.
    • Purchased local grown blueberries at a good price
    • Was gifted blueberries from a friend (a gallon’s worth!) and made blueberry coffee cake as a treat!
    • Have received 2 candy bars as freebies I the store. These I’m putting up for the stocking as the candy keeps well.
    • Started my Christmas gift list so I can begin watching for sales
    • Found bread at 25 cents a loaf at the Bread Store! A little sad that I had room in the freezer for only 2 loaves! But I’m glad for the full freezer on the other hand.
    • Cashed in grocery points for gas and purchased gas for under $2/gallon
    • Free Tide after a sale and coupons!

  79. I am assuming “car boot sales” are where you sell items from the “trunk” of your car? If this is what that is, great idea! Here in the USA, southern Middle Tennessee, we have “garage” or “yard sales” as a way to get rid of unwanted items.

    I love my pressure canner and use it for so many things. Keep your eyes open for food jars that have the same lid as canning jars so you can save money on the jars. My friends save their jars for me and have saved me a fortune.


  80. I was able to get some of the sugarfree for me and the regular kind for the family. We are not ice cream snobs, but love them all.


  81. Congratulations on getting the family heirlooms for your baby and for being creative enough to repurpose your wedding gown. I am also glad you were able to take a vacation and hopefully get some rest.


  82. That produce looks so delicious!
    My car died again. Thankfully AAA, with these 2 tows has paid for itself. Followed the car to the garage and confidently and politely asked for a loaner (since the problem came back after being there a month prior). They gave me a loaner and that saved a 5 day rental fee.
    I was thankful for that loaner, since I took on 2 house sitting jobs to help cover the cost of the previous car bill.
    Picked my first cucumbers from my garden. I took 5 tomato and zucchini plants (late planting) from a friend who over seeded. At the time I scrambled to find homes for them, they are finally producing and should be pickable in a week or two. My parents are retired with some health issues, so they hadn’t planted a garden this year. I plan to give them the pickings from those plants.
    Processed 1.5 lbs of dried beans into 9 pints. That equals to about 4 “free” extra cans, for the price of 5 cans at a discount grocery.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  83. For Heidi- I have the same caterpillars on my parsley, or what’s left of it. According to my research, they are black swallowtails and we have been watching them grow bigger everyday. Hoping to see a lot of beautiful butterflies in the near future.

  84. Thanks, Jeannie! 🙂 We’re so excited to have this family heirloom, since due to the political situation of the country she lives in, it is unlikely that any other heirlooms will be able to be passed on. I’ve always been big on family and history (one of my favourite things to do when I visited my grandparents when I was younger was to poke around in their attic) so this really resonates for me, and it’s nice for my husband to have that connection with his family and heritage. 🙂

  85. Stephanie, your husband’s comment is often the one echoed by our children. They’re old enough to cook so I now reply, “Well, what would you like to make?” Sometimes I even get dinner out of the deal! Usually it’s cookies or smoothies or a pasta bowl of some kind though.


  86. Ellie’s friend from Canada, So sorry your income has been cut and that your garden didn’t succeed.
    Best wishes in negotiating with the insurance – unfortunately, that type of thing happens fairly often – my dad and my cousin have the same first two initials and the same last name and mix ups happen often. Maybe it’s something similar with your case – similar name, same birth date, etc. Hopefully it’s an easy fix!

    So glad you have friends who will share their bounty with you and hopefully and cuppa and conversation too.


  87. Such beautiful produce! I love looking at all the wonderful things you grow in your garden, Brandy : D

    Here are our frugal accomplishments for last week:

    * Made homemade bread, pizza, and lasagna to use in various dinners during the week.

    * I made the decision to not go grocery shopping last week and to use up what we had on hand- we’re low or out of some items, but I figured I could make due until this week. One of those items was coffee- normally I throw grounds into a reusable k-cup and go with my keurig, but I had a small canister of instant coffee from making instant coffee mixes for Christmas from last year that I decided to use instead. Surprisingly, the instant coffee is much less bitter than my usual go-to, which means I can use less sweetener/creamer.

    * Both the SO and I signed up for library cards at our library (since we moved, we needed to get new cards as we were out of the old library’s service range). This will allow my SO to get audio books to listen to on their long drive and allow me to access ebooks for my commute, as well as other library services. As a bonus, there’s a branch only three blocks away from our apartment!

    * We had an impressive storm one night, so the SO and I rolled up the blinds and laid out in front of the window to watch the storm. There’s something so impressive about big thunderstorms, they’re so beautiful to watch.

    * We finally got people to RSVP to a game night we’ll be hosting next week. The plan is to use our collection of card and board games to get a group of 4-8 people together once a month for fun activities (and potentially do a snack potluck or something if it turns out to be a success).

    * I ordered a tea from Adagio that was on sale, added a $5 first-time customer credit, and then got 2 free samples. All said and done, I paid under $5 for 3 oz and 2 samplers of some fun tea flavors that I can use to blend with other teas/flavorings I already have.

    * I continued to do my body-weight exercises for my physical therapy and ride my exercise bike to get in both strength training and cardio. It’s fun seeing how much you can improve over time! The increased energy and reductions in pain and potential future health problems are great for improving one’s quality of life without spending money.

    * I bought a few things from Target today with a gift card I had gotten for my birthday- I picked up extra sheets (we always seem to need these, LOL!) and a cold-brew coffee maker (that I think can also brew hot coffee if I so desire). Prompted by my love of iced coffee and also by my prior coffee discovery, I decided to purchase this (even though I could make due with other items) because I have wanted one for a long time, it was a very good price ($15), I had the gift card (I never shop at Target usually), and cold brew makes coffee that’s far less acidic than regular brewing, meaning I’ll save money on sweetener and creamer over time. I also bought a small deep fryer (I have always wanted to try deep frying, but filling any of my pots with oil would take well over a liter). All of this (and tax) came to just 26 cents over the value of my gift card, which I am totally fine with paying!

    * I picked up a quart of buttermilk- I plan to make rolls and pancakes with it, and supposedly you can make more buttermilk from leftover buttermilk by adding fresh milk to the jug and leaving it out overnight, so I’m going to experiment and see if that’s the case. If so, I’ll be able to have fresh buttermilk perpetually for the cost of the milk alone.

    * I bought a game from the Steam summer sale that I have played over 50 hours in. The game was only $12 on sale, so roughly 24c an hour for quality entertainment, and I’ll probably get even more time out of it as there was a new update released today. I paid for it from money I have gotten from Verto Smart Panel, so it was no out-of-pocket cost to me.

    Wow! That was a lot! I hope everyone else had a good week!

  88. Our kitchen faucet started leaking under the sink, which meant we needed a new faucet. While we had to buy a new faucet, we removed the old faucet and installed the new one ourselves, saving a plumber’s bill. My husband originally wanted to call a plumber, but I pushed him to try it , and even though it was frustrating at a few points, we did it.
    My daughter brought home a huge zucchini from work, and I made zucchini bread for us and some friends. From our garden, I picked raspberries, blackberries, lettuce, zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, kale, green beans, rhubarb, basil, and our first little cherry tomato. I have frozen raspberries and broccoli, and plan to dehydrate kale and cabbage. If I can collect enough, I will can a small batch of green beans.

  89. I guess you could call this the week of zucchini! We have had a heat wave, and have been watering heavily. Thankfully, we have a well for watering in our back yard so we don’t have to pay extra to water extra. The zucchini grew so rapidly that I believe I have harvested about 25 in the past 3 days. Yikes! I’m giving them to everyone who will take one, or 8, and made zucchini bread and gf zucchini muffins to feed the college age group at church tonight. I did a triple batch of the zucchini bread and a large batch of muffins, and only used 2 of them up, since one was oversized.

    I picked lots of lettuce and shared with relatives. It’s so hot, it’s going to bolt, and I have almost all of it cut and used now. There are tiny little plants that came up from my last planting, so there will be lettuce again before long. I am getting a few snow peas, a few tomatoes, basil, and tons of green onions. I got a couple of quarts of new potatoes, from plants that grew in the compost heap from scraps or rotten potatoes.

    We are given a budget for the meal when we cook for the college-aged group. We had salad bar with a taco salad option and a chef salad option. They could top the greens how they wanted with things like kidney beans, ham bits or taco meat, cherry tomatoes, and so forth. We also had deviled eggs, baked beans (from a can), and watermelon. We were able to come in well under budget by making the zucchini bread from the garden produce and cutting up things ourselves, making the eggs, etc.

    My husband got the monthly phone bill lowered by $35 by lowering our data plan and setting up auto-pay. He’s working on other money-saving ideas. He has also been using his spare time (since he is working part-time this summer, so has more time than usual) to buy things for low prices at yard sales and is re-selling them. He is also listing and selling things he sorts out that we don’t need. His hard work is paying off and things are starting to sell. We both worked extra hours on Monday that were not expected.

    Because we ended up taking my niece and nephew bowling that day, I quickly signed my daughter up for Kids Bowl Free, so she bowled for the cost of the shoe rental. Rob and I did not bowl, but instead really enjoyed the company of the kids. Two of my niece’s friends were bowling, too, (2 boys) and they were so cute, and loved having Rob there–they wanted him to clap for their good scores, or bad ones, one showed him his wallet, and they told him all about everything as only special needs kids do…I have to say that was a very pleasant work afternoon.

    I canned 2 pineapples. I cooked at home all week, even when I did not want to.

    I wasn’t going to shop this week, but could not pass up the 99c ice cream. I got vanilla, chocolate chip mint, and some others. We like this ice cream just fine.

    Pictures are here:

    My car is still broken and in the shop. I have been staying home more, we are sharing the van, and I do have my nephew’s old Mazda to drive if it’s a crisis. I have a certain amount of driving I have to do, such as to and from work sometimes. If I have the kids here, their family brings them, and we take them home, so no one has to pay for all the gas themselves.

    We attended a comedian/magicanl at the library.

    We got books and movies while were there.

  90. I only like them as sweet potato fries. My mom and I will eat them that way, but DD and hubby refuses to eat them too.:D If you did grow them, is there someone who would trade you the sweet potatoes for other produce?

  91. That is so funny Mable, and yes, that is the reason I do not wear pants in actual jury trials. I will wear pants in pretrial hearings, occasionally.

  92. We paid off our home this week! – 20 years early! We haven’t taken vacations, every bonus and tax returns has gone straight to it along with any extra each month. We owe no man anything but to love!

  93. Glad to hear that you were able to enjoy a bit of a break with family, especially since you couldn’t go on the last holiday. You do an amazing job of trading and finding ways to do things so there is no OOP cost. And how wonderful that you have a lovely family heirloom for the new baby!

  94. Brandy, the grapes and tomato salad look delicious!

    Frugal updates:
    Replaced seven incandescent ceiling light bulbs in kitchen with LED bulbs
    Used Kroger points to save .50 a gallon on gas
    Stayed under budget for weekly grocery run
    Mended small tears in mattress pad to prolong its life
    Sewed close several pin holes in cotton tee shirt
    Took grandson on a ride on public transit (MARTA train) for summer fun; he doesn’t live on the transit line and enjoys navigating the stations. We had hamburgers for lunch near one stop and ice cream at another. The senior fare is only $1.

  95. I was thinking along the lines of rutabaga, myself. I have never eaten carrot leaves, but I don’t often grow carrots anymore–space is limited and carrots are cheap in the stores and available year round. Carrots are VERY popular in my family–rutabaga not so much. I will sneak it into a beef stew or soup in small cubes, and people will eat if without noticing too much. I like it–my folks were farmers from large families and were teens during the depression. They didn’t have the luxury of not “liking” something–if it was on the table, they were lucky to have it to eat! I will eat white turnips too without complaint, which is more than I can say for the rest of the family.

  96. That is just amazing to me! We’ve had HIGHS in the mid-80s here (Seattle) and everyone is screaming and calling it a heat wave! It’s also a dry heat, but no one has AC.

  97. Husband and I went away for the weekend and stopped for lunch in a university town. Our sandwich was accompanied by a salad of greens, most of which I did NOT recognize, calendula leaves, and a couple blossoms that looked a bit like columbines with the curved curlique on the bottom, but in deep yellow/brownish colors I’ve never seen in columbines. We ate them although they did not taste like much. It was a pretty salad, although I jokingly called it “weed salad” to my husband because I do recognize most salad greens grown in the area! Foraged is fine with me, if they were. Expanding my knowledge even this late in life! What my children loved best when they were very young was to pick flowers off clovers and pop them in their mouths, giving their grandmothers fits! My granddaughter could recognize quite a few different edibles among the weeds by the time she was three. She would eat chives too, when her cousins ate “around” anything onion-like.

  98. After my brother in law passed from cancer, his youngest daughter took a few of his favorite flannel shirts and her kids each wore one for their school photos that year! Such a clever idea, and such a tribute to him. She is always coming up with clever ideas that don’t cost much (five kids, from 11 to 26 years–and a lot of problems getting pregnant and carrying her kids to term account for the gaps between them.) One year there was one child in every level of school from preschool to college! All are healthy now.

  99. I am surprised. I don’t either, and I have really tried hard to like them. I can eat deep fried sweet potato fries with honey on them, but they are hardly a vegetable at that point!

  100. Our local recreation center has a ‘car boot sale’ every spring. For $10, you are allowed to occupy two parking spaces for the day. It’s a great fund raiser for the center and a great way to have a garage sale. When I participate, I sell until 3pm or so and then stop by the thrift store on the way home to donate what didn’t sell.

  101. Our local independent paint store can look up the paint formula if you know the Benjamin Moore paint name. So you don’t have to have the paint chip in hand. Also, some remodeling magazines will tell you the name of the paint color. They also give the contractor’s discount to anyone who asks for it.

  102. My father passed away suddenly and I was left to plan his service and burial. I would have loved to have found a file with that kind of information in it.

  103. I’m a wimp. I admit it. I couldn’t deal with that kind of heat. I have lived in NY my whole life so I guess I am used to humidity and snow.

  104. We have also used the Behr from Home Depot. They do rebates so be on the look out for that to help with the cost. Also Home Depot has a wrong mixed shelf. They can add more color for no extra charge. I grabbed a pale ivory one time and had them add purple to it. Came out beautiful. I wanted a light purple but I’m not very picky about the exact shade. I have also gotten the wrong colors for projects. One year all of the kids projects were a light blue that my daughter had picked out for a project. It became the base for many other projects. It cost 99¢ for a quart. That price worked for me.

  105. Enjoying reading all the comments over a cup of coffee this morning ( homemade of course). I think the theme this week for me was you sometimes have to spend to save.

    I always drop into an op shop on my way to work on a Wednesday and yesterday the deli opposite was closing down and had lots for sale. I spent $30 but came away with 2 x 2.5,kilo tins of tomatoes ( tins are those lovely Italian one’s so I am going to repurpose them as pot planters when they are emptied), jars of olives, artichokes, curry pastes, pesto, Passata, sauces which will all add a lot of flavour to my cooking.

    I also bought a new slow cooker from Aldi and I hope meals might be a bit tastier. Does anyone have any tips on using slow cookers?

    My son will work 2 shifts in his uncle’s motorcycle repair shop this week while he is on school holidays which will give him some cash, and hopefully a better insight into whether the automotive trade is where he wants to head in the next couple of years.

  106. Thanks Lea,

    I spent two hours at the insurance broker’s today. I had obtained comparison quotes from other companies for the same coverage. One I would have switched to but I read the comments online and the comments were so negative! The boat claim was corrected. I pointed out that a rider I have should mean no renewal fee. After consultation with 4 senior adjusters, they all agreed with me. In the end, I kept a $500 deductible, (low deductible) –– an option which will be not available in the future due to all of the increase in weather-related claims, have a much better policy for $500 less than billed for last week. It pays to negotiate, examine the policy, etc. Now in Canada, insurance companies are depreciating
    the value ora roof according to age. I also compared the depreciation formula of other companies. I also realized that my roof is a weather resistant roof and that changes the outcome for the better. Still, my original policy was better. So I’m glad to have saved the $500 from the total cost. Ann

  107. Margaret, I don’t remember, is this the first year for your rhubarb? You don’t harvest the first year. Do you have it in a good size pot? They don’t like being transplanted.

  108. Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    A co-worker of mine gave me a large yellow squash. I sliced it thinly, sauteed it in a little butter, and topped it with Parmesan cheese. I can honestly say it was the best thing I ate all week.

    Our granddaughters, who are 9 and 7, came over for a few hours on Sunday. We made pillows from fabric I had on hand and it was the first time they had ever used the sewing machine. They had lots of fun and were very proud of their accomplishments.

    My husband grilled a whole chicken and since the grill was ready to go, he also cooked a pork roast. That will save us lots of time in the kitchen and whatever is left over will go in the freezer for future meals.

    I made a list for the grocery store and Walmart and only bought what was on the list.

    I joined the library’s summer reading program. I requested library books from my list to be put on hold and picked them up. I rarely buy books anymore unless I find them at thrift stores, yard sales, or my library bookstore, and they must be books I will read or refer to again and again.

    Two of our son-in-laws came over and helped my husband get rid of some heavy items in our basement. My husband then organized and cleaned the basement. Wow, what an improvement. Our goal is to paint the basement and make a work-out area.

  109. 1. I have been doing a grocery challenge where I have been shopping at Aldi first and then filling in the missing items at Kroger. So far I am saving $40 a week by simply switching grocery stores and trying to be more aware of my budget….it creeps up on me:)
    2. Found swim trunks and nice dress shirts for my son at the thrift store for $2 each
    3. Lined my grill’s bottom pan with aluminum foil because it has rusted thru and I really do not want to replace it
    4. Bought 100lbs of beef from my dad for the family rate of $2.50 per pound
    5. Saved $100 by enrolling my son in a group swim class instead of taking private lessons

  110. Brandy, some paint places have the ability to scan a colour with their computer and the computer will create the paint colour for you. You can even take in a piece of fabric that you want to match the colour to and they can scan that. You just need to check with the paint department first, to see if they are able to do this,as not all of them can.

  111. I have at least one slow cooker meal each week. Usually on Thursday so that leftovers are available for Saturday. There are many slow cooker tips and recipes on the internet. My Tip: Do not set the slow cooker directly on your countertop. I always place my slow cooker on top of a large cutting board which sits on my countertop. Several years ago, I forgot to do this and the heat/steam from the slow cooker damaged my countertop. Enjoy!

  112. Good going! I turn 65 in September and I’ve already decided which companies to call to ask for a discount – and my Insurance Co. is top of the list. I’m going to go through my policy and double-check everything and then I’m going to get some quotes from competing companies just to see what I can come up with! If you don’t ask – you don’t get!

    My income will also be dipping come October so going to spend next week getting my resume out there for some part-time work. I’m a bit limited on what I can do because of mobility issues but we’ll see what’s out there! I don’t want full-time and I don’t need benefits so I hope that helps since so many companies don’t want to pay this sort of things anymore. Each month is a challenge isn’t it? Have a good week.

  113. I started a new job about a month ago. It’s been a great job and I’m really enjoying it. I’m making more money than my old job and I’m actually working less hours per year. However, my old job allowed me the entire summer off. Now I have to work 20 hours per week. So that has limited the time I have to garden. It has also been a terrible garden year here. It’s been so hot with little rain. This is all affecting my garden quite a bit. My squash looks terrible. But at least it can ripen off the vine if they die completely. My tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and peppers looks great. I’ve already pulled a lot of good sized onions, too. My green beans are looking good, too. I’m hoping my potatoes, squash, melons, and broccoli pull through.

    We’ve been putting as much extra on our mortgage as we can. I’m still receiving paychecks from my previous job until August 15th. And I’m now getting paid from my new job, so it’s been like getting double paychecks. My old job also has to buy out my unused vacation time. We’re almost to 50% done with our mortgage.

    Well get to cancel my husbands health insurance next month since he can now be on the health insurance at my work for a much more reasonable price. We should save about $330 a month!

    Beyond that, it’s been same old stuff. We’ve canned a lot of green beans and pasta sauce. We’re trying to eat as much from the garden as we can.

    I also needed 2 legal filing cabinets. The legal sized cabinets were very expensive! I figured it would be about $600 for the cabinets. No way was I doing that! So I found some crates at Walmart that hold legal sized hanging file folders. They were $3.47 each and I had to buy 10 of them. It’s a little more inconvenient to have to unstack them when I need something from the bottom, but I can deal with it for $560 in savings!

  114. Thank you Brandy for creating this wonderful place to learn frugal living skills from so many.
    I found a great bargain on carrots this week. I like to make carrot applesauce muffins and am wondering if I can just shred the carrots and toss them in the freezer? Will they be ok? Thank you.

  115. SJ,

    Condolences for you about your father. A sudden death is very hard for those left behind. My father passed away suddenly, too, and I know how difficult it is. I am sure your father would have liked the service you planned for him. Prayers for you. Ann

  116. I’m a lot crazy then. I garbage picked 3 dozen mason jars the other day. They are in great shape and I will put them to good use with canning my garden produce.

  117. You could make your own breadcrumbs with bread that cheap.

    We follow Dave Ramsey’s plan. It was hard at the beginning but after 4 years Hubby and I are much better off in our finances and our marriage. Good luck.

  118. Sue: Yes, you can grate carrots and put in freezer, I do it all the time and put about a cup in a small baggie and use them for carrot/pineapple/jello salad, In fact I just found a good deal on carrots at Aldi this week and got several bags and I intend to grate them and mix with about 3/4 cup pineapple and l cup carrot and freeze for salad, all ready for the gelatin, . and can stretch a 20 oz can of pineapple to four salads.

  119. Hi Athanasia! This is indeed the first year for my rhubarb. I actually bought it as a plant with stalks (small, but stalks nonetheless). The stalks grew and then all of a sudden, died. But new ones are growing! I don’t know much about growing rhubarb. I only remember my mom and neighbour growing it and all they did was leave it alone and let it grow. I do have it in a pot bigger than it came in, but it was growing successfully for at least a month or more before it went weird and died. Ah well, always a learning curve with gardening! Thanks for the tip!

  120. Hi Margie,

    It is useful to get estimates from more than one company using similar amounts and use it as a learning experience to complete a list of what coverage types to get. After all the recent weather events/catastrophes, we have to think more about things which were unheard of before –– overland flooding, seepage, sewer backup, wind, hail, roof depreciation. On mine I have a rider that costs $10 which covers accidental window breakage. I am surrounded by large trees so it is not impossible to have a tree fall and break a window, or a large bird fly through. This year, ice dams caused a lot of roof damage. A cousin had to have a whole new roof and carpets replaced due to an ice dam. Cost them $20,000. Sometimes separate riders have advantages. The rider for my camera has no deductible, and does not count as a claim. Worth the money. I believe in trying to foresee all possibilities and not skimping on insurance. Also important is to document things. Since we get a lot of hail here, I periodically have my roof inspected to document that it is in good shape. Photos of items also help. I was scared to death of an ice dam while I was staying at my friend’s home but within 2 days it had melted.

    I had hoped to work part-time as the church receptionist but they decided not to have one.
    I have degrees but now you have to have really specific certificates. It is sad because with a small amount extra each month I could scrape by. It is probably better if I don’t work due to health issues.

    Have a great weekend. I hope the temperature is cooler.

  121. Yikes just put a board under it now! I’m sitting beside it while it cooks our first meal of lamb shanks.

  122. Why sure I can!!

    3 packages instant cup-a soup tomato soup mix ( I used my tomato powder I made from dehydrated tomatoes from my garden.)
    10 Tablespoons salt
    2 Tablespoons chilli powder
    4 Tablespoons garlic powder
    1 Tablespoon basil
    1 Tablespoon cumin
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    Mix all seasonings together in a bowl and funnel into a large spice shaker.

  123. Sue: I have frozen shredded carrots with no problem. I measure them out in the amounts I use for carrot cake and mark the bags as such, (two cups, etc.).
    This is the only time I use the Salad Shooter I received as a gift many years ago, to shred carrots and chop walnuts all at once. Freezing not only saves extra carrots, it means I only have to clean the machine once.
    Your muffins sounds great!

  124. Excellent job! Congratulations on that. You will reap the benefits of much cheaper housing for years to come.

  125. Frugal week for us, finally. We do have some expenses coming up that we didn’t foresee, but we will have to deal with them. The cat needs dental work–the estimate is $800-1100 but if we don’t do it now, it could be more expensive later. That is what we get for adopting cats who are FIV+. More infections to deal with but if you take good care of them, it really doesn’t shorten their life, or not by much anyhow. Our last cat was 13 and died of cancer but was FIV+ as well.

    I got sour cherries for the freezer–already pitted–for $2.70 a lb. I know that’s more than 99 cents a pound that someone else paid but I snap up every bargain I find, and that’s the place for cherries. The farm is about a mile and half down the road and they order them from Michigan and you get your name on the list and everyone picks them up the same day. 30 pounds are $57, which is $1.90 a pound, but it’s also a LOT of cherries for 2 people!! Maybe next year I’ll find 2 people to share them with and get the price down for all of us. I don’t always use them all in one year but my husband’s doctor would like to see him gain some weight, so pie is something I know he will always eat! He has also started drinking more orange juice lately, so I just buy half a gallon a week now, and if the fridge gets too crowded, we have a glass of juice. We originally limited it to Sunday morning breakfast for the most part, because I need to WATCH calories so I don’t gain too much. Drinking water instead of sodas, juices, etc. is saving calories and money both. I will have to make sure the majority of the oj is HIS. I love it too.
    The past two weeks the grocery specials have been unimpressive to me, so I haven’t spent a lot of money either week. Less the beer which husband enjoys, I only spent about $22 on food. Had a $4 coupon off 2 shampoos which we were OUT of, and were on special for 2/$7. It was the last day to use the coupon too! I add up the savings from my coupon and “sale” items every week–well the store receipt does most of it–but I generally save 20-30% EVERY week, and that is using store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons, the latter of which have been a bit sparse lately! I did spent $7 at the farm stand as well–corn on the cob, a huge tomato, and a canteloupe. Easy meals with corn on the cob–some kind of meat in a bun, and we’re happy! That’s a gourmet meal in our book.
    Met with social worker to find housekeeping help since husband’s dementia diagnosis has me finding things he loses for half the day, plus his medication causes him to NOT feel like “mowing the lawn” he says. Neither of the agencies she gave me come out as far as where we live, so I’m going to be stuck with finding recommendations on line. If he’s not going to help at all, I will be spending more to get his jobs done too. Never very outgoing, he is becoming more withdrawn, even though I have been encouraging him to do things with me. I may be joining a caregivers group and see if I can pick up some helpful hints there. He will still set the table and make the bed but he’s stopped doing a lot of other things.
    Tonight I am roasting one of my recent bargains: a 50 cent a pound roasting chicken. It’s a bit over 5# which is a lot for 2 people also, so I will be pushing chicken over the next few days! We don’t care for it much after freezing and defrosting once it’s cooked, although if necessary I will put a sauce on it or use in a casserole to use it up.

  126. Take it from someone who spent hours pitting her cherries–that part alone is amazing and worth more money than getting them with the pits still in them. I’m glad you could get them. With all you need to do for your husband, it’s wonderful that you could save some time there. You are going to have to pick and choose if you have to do more work some areas. Likely, you will continue looking for shortcuts in others. It just makes sense. I hope you can get some housekeeping help.

  127. I gave paint chips and one lid of a paint can from different stores to my head contractor and Sherwin Williams matched all of them. Contractor said all stores can do it but some will refuse because of their rules.

  128. Your produce and pictures are beautiful as always!

    Took 1/2 days with the kids this week. Much needed though I was not nearly as productive as I had hoped.

    Pulled together 3 boxes of donations for a fundraising sale for a member of our church.
    Harvested pint of cherry tomatoes.
    Added bag of compost to the garden that I found when I started cleaning out the garage. Oops.
    Checked out museum pass at library.
    Found lots of supplies that we can use as school supplies while cleaning up. Taking those half used notebooks and turning into looseleaf paper.

  129. Try adding some shredded carrots to youride spaghetti sauce. It adds a delicious swetress with no added sugar. Cooked long enough, you never see them!

  130. I was talking to a friend today and she is going to a shower for a woman in her thirties. The bride has worked and has many things which usually would be received as wedding or shower presents. So they are having a “pantry shower” for her to stock up a pantry. I thought this was a really great idea! My friend is taking cake mixes. Not an expensive gift but a welcome one, I’m sure.

  131. What a lovely success at the insurance brokers! I was praying for you (I hope you don’t mind).

    I read your reply to Margie below. Is there something you could do from home? Just a thought.

    May I keep praying for you,

  132. Mabel and Marivene,
    Just another thought for you…when my mother passed away from cancer very young, I ordered a pall for the casket because our church did not allow fresh flowers at the alter for funerals (don’t really know why) but anyway I went to a local christian book store and they were absolutely wonderful as I didn’t have a lot of time to figure something out. Mother had a very inexpensive casket per her request. The crazy thing is that we have used that pall at so many family members funerals, I even went back and hand embroidered the names of each person in the family in gold thread on the underside hem that we have used it on their casket. It has become a family heirloom. The cost back then was $100 for it and it is beautiful and way cheaper than all the flowers that we would have paid for on the casket.
    Thanks for the great laugh this morning regarding casket in the basement!!!! I am cracking up and love all yall crazy frugal friends in the cyber world!!

  133. I understand exactly about not turning lights on. It is do different between my husband and myself. I was raised in a high electric cost area and find that I still utilize those skills after all these years…milk or cream is poured into a pitcher to use for coffee so as to not open the fridge door so often. Lights were turned off when not in use. Room lighting was almost never used as individual lights were turned on when needed. The TV wasn’t left on. The dryer was used minimally (we iron). I love electricity, but do conserve. It’s ingrained.

  134. Sour cherries are so good for you! My friend who has 8 trees in her backyard uses the frozen cherries in milkshakes. So delicious and it would put weight on your husband. I have just finished the last package of mine. I don’t put sugar on them as I don’t want to gain wait. Last year my friend gave me all of hers and it took me 3 solid days to pit them all. You got a bargain!

  135. I’ve eaten ornamental sweet potato tubers before. The texture was a bit drier, more like a baking potato. Not bad with enough butter and some salt and sugar. They’re the same species as the ones bred for eating.

  136. Pleasure

    The one I found on roses was by Monty Don

    Realy felt like I could manage it after watching him

  137. We had a garage sale and made $370. Leftovers went to the curb. It feels amazing to be rid of the clutter, as we are preparing our house for sale. We bought a used light fixture off of FB marketplace and bought a new ceiling fan on sale. Moved a light fixture to another location. DH installed the light fixtures. Ordered new countertops, measuring them ourselves, although stressful but should save at least half off. Hopefully the installation won’t be a disaster. Trying to use up pantry items, made orange cranberry muffins with an old can of cranberries and taboleh for a party with buhlgur.

  138. You could use white paint to tie all the existing frames to save the cost of new ones. Making them all the same color helps make even very different frames look good together.

  139. Cindi, thanks for the comment about making cottage cheese from milk that was turning sour. I have about a quart left in a gallon that has started to go. You reminded me to use some of it in pancakes for breakfast tomorrow (I hardly ever make pancakes) and some of the rest in a loaf of banana bread. (You can guess what else here is starting to go, LOL). I was on the verge of pouring it down the drain.

    We are in our new home and just got internet today, after waiting a month for the cable company to wire our new neighborhood. This means we have been without TV for a month, too (we stream). DH has actually learned how to have a conversation again, LOL.

    I really haven’t done anything frugal. In fact, for the last month, my life has been one big frugal fail! However, the USPS sent me a bunch of coupons in the new address package. I used the 20% off entire purchase coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond to save $28 on our living room curtains. Too bad I didn’t get the 10% off coupon from Lowe’s a day earlier…we bought $1,500 worth of deck materials and would have saved $150.

    We have landscaped the yard with the plants I bought in the spring to be planted in July. This wasn’t frugal, but I did it on the cheap (including free plants from friends) and it is beautiful. Just beautiful. Nicest garden I’ve ever had. (It is about 90% done). I have ordered some dwarf fruit trees for fall delivery and we’re building a raised bed from scrap lumber for strawberries. The plants are adapting well to being planted on 95F days in July, but it has taken some extra water. I am in the process of making drip lines so I don’t have to (personally) water every day.

    The ceiling fans in the new house are helping us stay cool at a higher AC temperature. We installed one in DD’s bedroom upstairs, where it gets stuffy even when the AC is running.

    I am loving living in town again! We are so close to everything! Saves on gas, but just as importantly, on time needed to run errands. I am half a mile to 2 miles from EVERYTHING. We also have sidewalks again (first time since 1977) and enjoy walking through the neighborhood. Life is good…or will be, when I get the last box unpacked!

  140. Margaret, don’t forget that a can of white spray paint can transform all of your picture frames. I have had the best results by spraying a first coat of white primer, then spraying the regular white paint as a second coat.

  141. Andrea, depending on the severity of your son’s disability, he will likely become eligible for Medicaid when he is 18. This will pay his medical and Rx costs as well as special training, etc. He will also be eligible for Supplemental Social Security (SSI) which will provide a monthly income. He MAY be eligible for those benefits before he is 18. Google “Katie Beckett” and you’ll find out how to apply and what he might receive. My daughter began receiving Medicaid (but not SSiI under Katie Beckett when she was 16 or 17, even though our income was higher than is normally allowed for minor children. Also, if you save too much money for him, you will likely have to exhaust those savings before he is eligible for Medicaid. There is a limit on the assets he is allowed to have. I believe it is $2,000.

    Also note Lilli’s post about her Sugar Cookie. She is able to get Amazon Prime in her daughter’s name for $6 month. You can also get a lifetime pass for the National Parks for your son, and the whole family can use it when he is present. It is called the Golden Access pass (Google it) and it also allows for 50% discounts at federal recreation areas (think campsite and boat launch fees).

  142. My husband has been on sick leave for a couple of months now due to an injury. I feel blessed that he has pay during this time but his sick leave and vacation will run out by September, I believe. Then, I don’t know. My job is sporadic. Sometimes 40 hours. Sometimes nothing. Sometimes something in between. On a good note. My husband has had time to write his music. His music really is very good. Hoping that he can do something with it soon. He also has a beautiful voice. Although we are both sick at this time. Hubby can’t stop coughing. I’m getting better. We still took time to watch the sunset at a nearby lake yesterday. It seemed to calm us as we sat in the car and talked about out dreams. Even though I’ve been afraid of our financial situation, I’m excited about my husband’s music. I’m hopeful.
    Been trying to save so we can pay our taxes in November on the house. And just pay bills. So this is what we have done.
    Gone to food pantries to spread our food budget.
    Cooked at home.
    Brought food with us when going to town, or shopped at grocery store for meals.
    Borrowed books and movies from the library.
    Date nights at home, watched free movies, watched the sunset, sunrise on the back of my hubby’s truck, Fed chicken’s together, picked vegetables together, Danced to our song “Dream” This is the first year we celebrated our anniversary by going to a food pantry. Hubby thought I was cool for doing that with him. At least he knows that I really love him through thick and thin. He loves me too.
    Vegged on computer, shared thoughts about recipes, news, possible music outlets.
    Did free things with grandchildren.
    Felt terrible that I couldn’t treat one of my sons and his family to breakfast. Instead he treated me. I’m going to invite him and family over to my place instead in the future, that way no one has to pay. Cooking can be minimal. Grandkids love running around the farm and looking at the chickens and picking vegetables anyway.
    Building has been at a standstill. Not enough money to do everything. But i feel blessed to have a shower, a dishwasher, washer and dryer, a home with a soft bed. Family that loves me. And possibilities. I have hope.
    Brandy, I remember one of your articles mentioning spending time outdoors. It makes a difference. Using your good stuff, china, silverware. It makes a simple meal pleasant. I also believe that God has a plan, and that gives me hope. Thank-you for this outlet.

  143. If the pits are (I am guessing) about a quarter of the weight of cherries, you saved about 70-90 cents a pound by not having to pay for that part you would have just thrown away. They don’t even compost well.

  144. I read this to my husband and we both rejoiced for you. How wonderful! With God behind us, we can do anything,

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