Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Second Week of July

I harvested bunches and bunches of grapes from the garden this past week.

We enjoyed peaches from the tree in the front yard.

I harvested basil and tomatoes.

I sowed seeds in the garden for zinnias, red noodle beans, Armenian cucumbers, zuchinni, squash, parsley, New Zealand Spinach, Swiss chard, Chinese lanterns (trying again; I’ve never once had these germinate), basil, and chives in hopes of an October harvest. The zinnias, beans, cucumbers, and basil have germinated already, so those at least look promising! The Armenian cucumber seeds are ones that I collected from my own cucumbers last year.

The children entertained friends by having them over for a giant slip and slide party. We used a huge tarp by husband got for free several years ago. I made several batches of stovetop popcorn and had plenty of cold water in glasses, as it was 107 degrees outside.

I gave all two sons a haircut and my husband cut my hair and our two older boys’ har.

I cooked a large pot of pinto beans in the solar oven. At the same time, I cooked a 6-quart crockpot full of black beans. We enjoyed bean burritos for several meals.

I found three no-cost and low-cost solutions for my photography business, saving myself several hundred dollars.

I downloaded a Google font that is free for commercial use.

My two oldest boys were hired to clean the yard of a woman from church. She’s preparing her house to move, and she has changed what they eat recently, so when I dropped off my boys at her house at 6 a.m., she offered me 200 pounds of rice (which I gladly took home).

I bought 12 pounds of ground beef that was on sale for the unheard of price of $0.99 a pound. At the same store, they had cherries on sale for $0.97 a pound. Cherries are usually $3.99 a pound on sale (sometimes $1.97). As I strive to keep my produce purchases below $1 a pound, this was perfect. I keep my meat purchases to $2 a pound or less, usually purchasing meat that is on sale for under $1 a pound so that I can purchase more meat for the same amount of money. At the same store, they have a free item you can add each week to their app (I was at Albertson’s). This week it was the store brand of Ziploc bags. I added the free bags to my app and brought home a box of 22 free quart-sized bags.

I bought diapers at Target while they had the spend $100 on diapers get a $30 gift card offer. I also bought 24 bars of Zest soap while it was on sale.

My husband and I had a date night at home, playing a board game together.

I talked to a friend in England on the phone using Facebook Messenger voice calling at no cost to me.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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172 Comments

  1. Your produce looks delicious!
    Last weekend I attended a community swap and picked up a few things:
    *2 boxes of tea
    *a bottle of purfume
    *8 boxes of Jello
    *1 bottle of nail polish
    *5 sets of adhesive nail polist
    *2 bars of soap
    *1 bowl
    *1 t-shirt
    *1 pair of shorts
    *1 windbreaker

    We’ve had nice weather so we are spending it outside in the park.
    I’ve been able to line dry my laundry.
    Made as many meals as possible at home.
    Went for bike rides for exercise.
    Overall a good week.

  2. Greetings from the hot south, although not quite as hot as you and a lot wetter. The grapes look great.

    ·         Signed up for Scribd using the link from Gina Martin at Home Joys: On Starving and Audio Books. I have access to three library systems, including Libby, Hoopla, OverDrive, and cloudLibrary, and I STILL found at least 8 books on Scribd that were not available online to me, especially older books. There are also a LOT of audio books. I am currently doing the 2 month free trial but fully intend to purchase the full year subscription for $85 when the 2 months are done. Using Gina’s link also gives her one month free. I so admire her strength and grace in dealing with her husband’s illness and death. Combined with an annual $99 dollar subscription to Premium Tune-In radio (so I can listen to major league baseball games, national hockey league games, podcasts, etc.), my paid entertainment comes out to just over $15 a month. I don’t have cable TV or a streaming service but I’m very content with what I have, knowing I can also get movies and TV shows from the library if I want them (and I rarely do).

    ·         Used bubble wrap and envelopes I already had on hand to mail the Frontline flea and tick medicine I gave away to two people (3 doses to each person) rather than buying padded envelopes, saving me money and a trip to the store. The recipients both reported that it arrived undamaged.

    ·         Gave my sister a set of dishes and some rags from my large supply since she is setting up a new apartment.

    ·         Ate all meals but one at home, using up some of the items in the freezer and pantry. Even when I did not want to cook, I was able to take food I had previously made and frozen (quiche, pork BBQ, and Sloppy Joes) to avoid going out. I also made egg salad, strawberry cream cheese, cherry cream cheese and pitted cherries for quick snacking. The meal that was not at home was at a small neighborhood festival which included a food truck rodeo. I bought pork BBQ nachos with small bits of pineapple and basil served on homemade potato chips. It was excellent!

    ·         Rearranged my dining area by taking the leaf out of the table so it is a smaller round table, not an oval. I used a tablecloth I already had to cover it and moved a rocking chair I already owned beside it. I did not move my dining room chairs from Maryland because the style did not fit into my new house and I now need to pay for my dental work before buying new chairs. The rocker gives me a place to sit while I’m eating when it’s just me. When people come to visit, we eat out on the porch or at the kitchen island where I have stools. I really like the appearance of the revamped dining area.

    ·         Began analyzing my daily activities to lower my costs. I found that I needed to run the dishwasher every 2 days to wash silverware; I have enough dishes. By washing the silverware by hand, I was able to run the dishwasher every 3 days, not every 2.  I don’t even need to heat up water to wash the silverware because by the afternoon my cold water is very warm, even hot on some days. My house is built on a slab so the water pipes run through the attic and the water is warmed up on our hot summer days. This is why ice is made first thing in the morning and drinking water is kept in the refrigerator. I also was having to put out trash 2-3 times a week because it was starting to smell after a couple days. I realized that it was because there were little bits of moist cat food that I was throwing away and even though it was very little food, it smelled. I started putting those bits in a plastic bag in the freezer and will throw it away when it gets full. I’m back to emptying trash one day a week, reducing my trash bag use and thus saving money.  I also dried 3 loads of laundry in an hour by hanging up half-dry items that would normally take a lot more time, such as towels and bathroom throw rugs. I’ve also gone back to unplugging the TV and alarm clock when I’m not using them .Based on my hourly electric use, which I can check the next day because I have a smart meter, I know that neither the dishwasher nor the dryer use that much electricity but even saving 2-3 Kwh a day doing all of this adds up each month and year and the house stays a bit cooler when heat-generating appliances are not running, saving on AC cost.

  3. I love the photos of the grapes- they look delicious! Are they seeded grapes or seedless?
    This week I:
    – used cloth diapers like usual
    – made sure to use up all our food and not let things go bad
    – accepted free watermelon after a party
    – took books and a movie out of the library. We rented Free Solo which was a very interesting documentary!
    – patched the kids plastic pool. Then used left over water to water the garden box
    – avoided buying anything unnecessary. I have four weddings this summer and have worn the same dress to three of them.
    – went through my closet and donated a few more things
    – went through the baby’s clothing bins and separated out what no longer fits. Stored that.
    – had bought a new to us din8ng room set that had unattractive fabric on the seats. Have been doing 1-2 chairs per night of recovering with on sale fabric from Jo Anns

  4. Wow a great week for you Brandy-so nice to receive free rice and cheap cherries and ground beef and also save money on your website. Nothing really frugal to report here as I am away caring for an ill relative. Hoping to be home next month to get back to my frugal shopping habits at my familiar stores.

  5. Hello Everyone,
    This past week my husband found savings of $120.00/month by having our insurance agent take a look at our car insurance policy, our agent found savings we were eligible for and by also looking at our Verizon bill & cancelling a $20.00 monthly service we no longer needed. At work I closed down a physician’s office who retired & was able to bring home a box full of useful items: Lysol, Dawn, binder & paper, box of nails, mini corkboard, a keychain, metal shoehorn & an umbrella stand. We also took a few boxes to Goodwill & redistributed items to other offices. We attended a wedding, (which is in no way frugal!) that required formal wear. My husband fortunately has a tuxedo that he got free from a shop a few years back that was giving them away for free due to them changing designers and I was able to find a floor length sparkly black dress for $18.99! I will be able to wear it to weddings & other events for years. I used my grocery points for 50 cents off a gallon of gas, taking coffee & lunch to work, eating down freezer & pantry prior to restocking, just continuing all the daily things that add up over time.

    1. Curious–did they put black tie on the invitation? I have never attended a wedding with required clothing mentioned before.

      1. I have never been to a wedding like that either. I would guess the reception was not held in the church fellowship hall or the family
        pole barn. 🙂

        1. I attended one wedding that required tux but most of the ladies were wearing knee length dresses, although the dresses were much dressier than church dresses. This was also back in the 80’s so all the gueats looked like we were in the show Dynasty, complete with shoulder pads.. and rhinstones….lol. I remember my dress coat $180 bucks on sale!!! That invitation did not specify black tie but we all just knew because of the society folks who were getting married. At most weddings I have attended, the reception has been in church dining hall. I prefer that. I was a nervous wreck at the fancy wedding. I was so afraid I would trip or spill something and make a spectacle of myself

        2. Nope, definitely not! But they do sound fun! I’m used to fire hall wedding receptions here. This was in an historic building that had been renovated to host galas & other events. Beautiful but expensive.

      2. Yes the invite had “black tie” on it. It was an over the top event, not really my cup of tea, but to each their own!

      3. I have been to one a few years ago where meet were asked to wear tuxedos and women something blue. Not compulsory, but please if you could. Most complied and it did look good. Tux hire is cheap here

      4. I’ve been to two such black tie weddings. It said black tie on one invitation, and black tie optional on the other. My husband was in a position where he needed a tux for frequent business events so he had purchased a tux a few years earlier, so he wore it to the black tie event. For the other, he wore a black suit. I wore a very fancy black, tea length cocktail dress to one (with lots of sequins!) and a similar black dress to the other wedding. In each of these, the weddings were quite extravagant and held at very exclusive country clubs. They were quite different from the weddings I typically attend, but they were a lot of fun!

  6. Love all the produce that you’re getting from your garden! My peaches look like I will be able to harvest them within the week. My Concord grapes looks big but so far only a few on each bunch are turning purple. Should I pick them before the purple ones drop off and let them ripen indoors? I’ve never had so many big beautiful bunches and I want to harvest as many as possible without losing any!! Any ideas?

    We were up north in Michigan (from central Ohio) until Monday night. Then on Tuesday this week we got the wooden fence up – I just need to water seal it! Hubby thinks we still have some gallons of the brown tone we used on the rest of the fence! If so it will be another frugal win as we declutter!! https://pin.it/ajz4whycvphgn5

    A friend who just moved into a new house offered us some bricks that were there that they didn’t want. On the first load, we brought home 99 long bricks that interlock. On the second load, we brought home almost 200 plain bricks! The plain ones will extend our walkways that we started last year and we combined the long interlocking bricks with some octagonal interlocking bricks that we only had about 35 of to lay out this pattern as a walkway in front of the 18 foot long blackberry garden bed. Here’s a peek at what it will turn into once we dig them in and level them! And those 30+ octagonal bricks will be used up without having to buy more to finish a project!! Definite win!! https://pin.it/vbggv6i4rd7kof

    Our lump sum annuity came in yesterday and we were able to pay off every debt + all previous medical bills that we had been paying over time! And we put the remainder into savings. Our mortgage is all that’s left now to pay off! If we pay an extra $200 with our regular monthly payment, it will be paid off in 5 years. But we’ve taken on the goal of making it faster than that! Every month when we zero out our excess balance in our checking account as the new checks are deposited, we will divide the amount in half with half going into savings and the other half as extra principal payment money on top of the extra $200 each month! I’m thinking of making a paper chain for each month to see it get smaller as a visual incentive!

    I’ve restrained myself from looking on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for anything free while we are using up what we already have. And yet- I picked up another box of canning jars from a friend who is downsizing to a condo and today at church, another friend said she loves seeing all the things I have been canning and she doesn’t think she will be canning any more since she’s an empty nester (we are too! ) so she has 100+ jars for me! Would I like them? Well, YES!! I use them for regular canning, vacuum sealing dry foods, gift giving + my daughters are starting to can so they will use any extras I have! What a treasure!!
    I just finished repairing a baby quilt that belonged to a young mom that she handed down to her little boys. It was getting threadbare and tattered! I was able to add new cotton batting and cut away some ends that were just too shredded and mend other places. Then I quilted the 3 layers together for more durability and added an actual binding that will also serve to reinforce the edges so they won’t start fraying again.

    Just as I finished that quilt, another friend hired me to quilt her a baby quilt that she made for her daughter. So, HandmadeinOldeTowne.com continues to add services and goods!

    A couple at Church are due with their first baby in October, so I went through my giant tote filled with quilt tops just waiting to be quilted and bound. I found one that I think they will like so I’m starting to quilt it! I love it when I’m able to shortcut the process and get a gift made with materials I already have!
    L
    It’s been a very good week! We are still loving frugal living during retirement and so far, so Good!

    1. That is a great idea about the paper chain to count down to paying off your mortgage. I made a thermometer when I was paying off mine three years ago and I loved coloring in a different section each month. I have also seen a brick house template that you can color in as you pay off your mortgage on a different blog. If I can find the link, I will share it:)

  7. How wonderful to get 200# of free rice. I know your family will put that to good use. I’ve been wondering if it’s been an especially good cherry year, as I’ve gotten them on sale twice for $1.99/lb., which is cheaper than I remember seeing before. As you said, they’re usually $3.99 on sale. I’m enjoying lots of cherries this year! I harvested yellow squash & zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, basil, parsley & oregano. A frugal fail was trying those rather expensive food saver sheets for produce. I mainly wanted to see if it would keep nectarines from molding as quickly as they were, but they molded just as quickly even sitting on it, which was a major disappointment. They got great reviews, but they sure didn’t work for me. We were given a large cabbage from a neighbor. I believe asian slaw will be on the menu tonight. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/07/mid-july-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Sweet (Bing) cherries have been continuously on sale here for 1.99. The ranier cherries are always 3.99 and higher. Why anyone would pay that I do not know. We had them once on a trip to Washington state and I did not think they were as flavorful as the dark sweet cherries. Our cherries here, sour, were running late due to the weather. All the adult children and spouses are going picking Saturday. It will be a long day so grandchildren left with grandparents. Johanna and Olivia will pick for us…I am hoping for a minimum of 20 pounds.

      1. Athanasia, I prefer the Bings, but I got Rainiers yesterday for .75 lb! It was at a fruit stand where the produce isn’t quite up to supermarket standards. This box had been dropped and some of the cherries were beat up a bit and there were leaves and a little gravel in the box. I was going to save this report for next week, but I canned 11 quarts last night @ $1.36 each including sugar and lids. I do not usually shop at Wal-Mart, but their Mainstay brand of lids were $1.24 per pack–a full $1 less than Ball. They all sealed, too!

        1. My experience with Mainstay lids is that they don’t stay sealed. Be sure and keep checking over the year. Great prices on your produce.

      2. It must be wonderful to live in cherry country! I love both the dark red and Mt. Rainier cherries. I have paid big bucks for both of them in the past. If I was going to have them at all that year, that was the choice. Plus, they were a favorite fruit of my Mom, and enjoying them makes me feel she’s just a bit closer. I have tried growing them several times here. The only ones I’ve had minimal luck with so far are the sand/bush cherries. Our largest cherry tree, which had yet to fruit, mysteriously died last year. I’m hoping for the best with the 2 year old sweet cherry and bush cherries we have left. I hope you get your 20# if not more.

    2. I have not heard of the produce sheets, but do have and use produce boxes that I picked up at Walmart. I believe they are made by Rubbermaid, they are clear with green on them. I was skeptical that they would really work, and they are a bit on the expensive side at around $10-15 each box, but I have done my own test with produce in a box and produce outside the box, and they truly did make a huge difference! Over time, I have bought several different sized boxes and I absolutely LOVE them!

  8. Good luck with the Chinese Lanterns! And it looks like you had a productive week 🙂

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * I froze leftovers from several meals for the future. It reduces waste and means I don’t have to cook in the future!

    * I made a big pot of bean and potato soup, and instead of using bacon, I seasoned the pot with a bit of butter, some smoked paprika, and salt. I also made the soup using a batch of vegetable stock I made from my bag of freezer scraps.

    * I made dinner rolls to go with the soup.

    * I pulled some leftovers from the freezer for lunches this week, so I didn’t have to prep lunches.

    * I froze some leftover bread.

    * I cut down my basil and Thai basil plants and dehydrated a bunch from both, then put the stems in my bag in the freezer to make stock.

    * I used frozen fruit to make smoothies, and used liquid from canned fruit in the smoothies.

    * I debated purchasing several items, and decided that I did not need them. It can be tempting to shop when there are sales, but when you don’t actually need the items, it’s really not saving you money.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  9. The food grown from your garden sounds refreshing! And awesome score on the ground beef!

    I stayed home mostly to save. My contract jobs are in limbo/slow periods at the moment. Neither knew this was the course they would be taking. Thankfully Ebay has kept the bills paid.

    I made some gifts for the holidays. A pendant necklace, 2 sports themed pot holders. That small amount of fabric came from thrifting. I used a You Tube video to learn an easier way to get crisp mitered corners.
    I used a small amount of liquid soap in a sink of water to wipe down all the wood work & furniture. It beautifully took of marks and greasy finger prints (build up over time of having lotion on our hands).
    A friend offered 2 tomato plants she had no room for. They are a lot taller than the ones I planted on mothers day weekend. I am dealing with stunted plants this season. That said, I was able to pick enough green beans for 4 servings. I clipped some basil to dry.
    After reading all the good comments on Yesterday, we went to a matinee. It was a great afternoon date.

    1. Do you happen to remember which Your Tube for the corners? My August gift-a-month will be a potholder made with the embroidered section of a T-shirt from a long-ago trip to Australia. I haven’t had the greatest luck with corners of knits. Please post if you remember, and TIA.

        1. Hi Maxine, if you back the knit with a woven interfacing it will act a lot more like a woven fabric. That might help with those pesky corners.

  10. Nice scores on the cheap ground beef, cherries, free rice, and Ziploc baggies Brandy! I’m sure that was a much appreciated add to your pantry. I hope you were able to buy enough cherries to add some to the freezer or can them up, so you can have some for later. I know I would at that price! I love the slip and slide party you gave your children and their friends. I bet they had a wonderful time!

    We are dealing with yet more high humidity in our area. Thankfully had rain roll in, which brought some cooler temperatures for a day or 2. But it was only temporary. This week is back to extreme humidity, again. Really hard to work in this heat every day! Our frugal accomplishments this week entailed:
    *It was a heavy eating out week, this week. However, we did eat at home a few times. Meals made at home included baked ham with scalloped potatoes and corn, BBQ cheddar sausages & hot dogs with green/yellow beans, breaded fish with potato wedges and green/yellow beans, BBQ grilled chicken with baked potatoes and corn.
    *My mom made a batch of brownies for my brother to take with him to a friend’s cottage. He was invited to say the weekend. She split the batch in half and saved some for the rest of us to enjoy here.
    *Harvested a small handful of strawberries, a sandwich bag full of pea pods, and various greens from the garden. DD is thrilled to have fresh peas to munch on. I’m happy she is snacking on healthy veggies.
    *We bought 1 flat of locally grown strawberries for $32. Took out a pint basket for fresh eating, and froze the rest for for later use. We still have a bunch from last year in the freezer. However, I need to make jam this year, as we have finally eaten through most of what was left from previous years. Last year I didn’t make any, since we had so much already.
    *We took the whole family out for dinner to celebrate my mom’s birthday on Monday. We let DD pick the place, since my mom didn’t care. She chose Chinese Buffet, and everyone had their fill. Afterwards, we walked over to Chapter’s (next door) and DD bought the next 2 books in a series she has been reading for a few years now. Not particularly frugal, but that is why we save money in other areas.
    *Hubby bought groceries again this week, as he has been since he is not currently working and I am. We usually create a list for him, so he gets our input on what we need. He has also been very careful about watching sales and stocking up items when there are loyalty points offered on things we use, as long as they are not too expensive. This week I asked him to buy some ramen noodles, since we could get loyalty point for them, and we were a little low. However, I didn’t tell him how many. So he bought 24 packages (an entire flat)…I usually buy maybe 6 or 8. Well, at least they were cheap and we got lots of loyalty points for them!
    *My mother and brother went out to a free dinner and theatre production. My brother received the tickets through a volunteer position he has been involved with. He also won an award and received a gift. At home, hubby decided to buy a rotisserie chicken dinner for our meal that night. I used the leftover chicken and lettuce from our garden to make wraps for my lunches this week. The carcass was frozen for making stock later.
    *We have been binge watching Stranger Things for the last 2 weeks for free on our Android box. It’s like a nostalgic walk through my childhood. I particularly enjoy picking out the 80’s movies that have influence each season. I also have young co-workers who enjoy discussing conspiracy theories they have on the show. So much fun!
    *Our pioneer village has been scouted as a possible site for a filming of a Murdock Mysteries episode (for those who like mystery shows, you should check this show out. It’s a very popular, Canadian produced show that’s been around for several years). I’ll keep you posted if it happens.
    *Friday was one of those days. First, I heard the radio announcers say my BIL won a prize, but then went on the funniest tangent about how awesome his last name was (our last name is Akey). They played Achy Breaky Heart, had a humorous discussion about the difference between line and square dancing and even broke out in song for a few lines. Then at work, I managed to injure my finger, which resulted in having to fill out the dreaded “long form” (aka punishment for being stupid and injuring ones self at work). My supervisor accidentally clicked “amputation” which thankfully I caught. HR would have been freaking out if they read that! My supervisor and I had a good laugh about it. My daughter also thought this was hilarious. Sometimes you just have to laugh. TGIF!
    *Hubby and I had a date night on Saturday night. We went out for dinner, and shared a meal. Then we went to a free concert in the park. The band playing this weekend was Crash Test Dummies, who had some huge hits when I was in my final year of high school (anyone remember the superman song?)! Enjoyed a nice evening of music and company. We even picked up 2 free reusable water bottles while we were there.
    *Worked 8 extra hours at the car show and transportation day event that took place at my work on Sunday. My next paycheck should be a good one! There were over 200 cars that came this year. I was directing them for parking within the village, so I saw nearly every single car come through. There were some really amazing cars, but I think my favourite was the old tow truck that looked like Madder from the Disney movie “Cars”. Oh, and there was a “Mr. Bean” car there too (don’t know what they are called, just know the car from Mr Bean driving one). Of course, there were a few model-T’s there, and everything in between, right up to modern day sports cars.

    Looking forward to reading and learning from everyone’s comments. You all inspire me every week!

    1. I just bought a few cherries. I have plenty of grapes and peaches at the house right now! Plus, with 10 people here, we can go through a bag of cherries in one sitting!

    2. I love Murdoch Mysteries! It would be very interesting to see how a tv show is put together.

    3. Rhonda, we used to live in Cambridge, Ont. and people could watch while they filmed episodes of Murdoch Mysteries in the older section of the city (Galt, est. in the late 1700’s). There were write-ups in the local paper about the actors frequenting the deli’s, restaurants and farmer’s market etc.. Many, many movies and shows were filmed here ( for eg. The Handmaid’s Tale) because many of the buildings built in the 1800’s are still standing: the Galt post office was built in 1886; a huge grammar school built in 1853 ( it’s quite impressive) is currently used as a highschool; an Anglican church built in 1844 is still in use; and many, many other historical sites. The main bridge was built in the 1932, I believe. So you see, the city is perfect for filming period films. Just a little info. I thought you’d like. 🙂
      A note on the weather you mentioned, the area I now live in is expected to feel like 38*C (100*F) today with the temperature rising to where it will feel like 46*C (114*F) by the end of the week. Ugh!! Unlike Brandy, we Ontarians are not used to weather like this. When it gets this high, I for one, would rather have snow!

    4. Rhonda, I have watched MURDOCH MYSTERIES on Hulu but it has ended with Season 10 episode 19… that episode was dated 12-12-16. So, there should be a few more seasons then? I wonder when they will show up on Hulu.

    5. I am a huge Murdock Mystery fan so please keep us posted. It would be fun to watch an episode knowing exactly where it was filmed. I met Murdock and Julia in person and they were very nice, pleasant people.

    6. I remember the Crash Test Dummies! Sounds like a great date night. I seem to remember that Mr Bean drove a Mini. (My kids grew up on Mr Bean and the other classic “BritComs”.) 😀

    7. Rhonda – I don’t know how you do it – wearing period costume in this heat & humidity! And as Pat J. mentioned – we’re to hit around 46C later this week! I don’t think I’d manage anymore without A/C.
      I love Murdoch Mysteries! A couple of years back I was attending the Fan Expo (huge SciFy convention here in Toronto) and as I came out of one Q&A I heard people all excited about what was happening down the hall! The whole cast from Murdoch Mysteries had been brought in to make an appearance – they were unbilled – it was free advertising for the new season. Well it became obvious pretty quickly that you were going to have to choose to either stand in one line to get their autographs, or stand in the other line to get into their Q&A. I chose the Q&A – it took place in the Rogers Auditorium which holds hundreds – people were crowded into the doorways and sitting on the floor in front of the stage! And what was really wonderful was that the age range was about 8 to 80! It was a fun session and they were all very charming and very funny!

  11. Such gorgeous fruit photos — they look so luminous!

    My frugal week:
    – Using some leftover cream from my fridge, I made a no-churn ice cream recipe: Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream (http://approachingfood.com/chocolate-ripple-ice-cream/). I was very pleased to have come up with the recipe, because aside from the cream, it was all pantry ingredients.
    – I used the leftover homemade chocolate shell to coat the inside of some leftover sugar cones, and dipped the edges of them in as well, just for fancier cones for the next homemade ice cream I make.
    – I bought more cherries for sale at $1.66/lb and froze some as well as making some baby food and freezing some of that as well.
    – I found a mulberry tree on my regular walk down a major street near my home and picked a snack several times when I walked by it.
    – I picked lettuce and radish leaves, oregano, and lemon basil from my garden, and planted more lettuce seeds. I also picked some more service berries/saskatoon berries from the bushes on my condo property and froze the berries.
    – I redeemed swagbucks for a $10 gc to Old Navy.
    – I took advantage of a loyalty offer at my drugstore and spent $60 on needed items and stocked up on sale items, to get the equivalent of $20 back in loyalty points.
    – I made a batch of eggless chocolate chip cookies. I kept some to snack on throughout the week, and traded some (using my local trading app) for a good size raspberry seedling.
    – I made a double-batch of my granola, but used pecans instead of almonds since that’s what I had in my pantry at the time.
    – I used a $2 of $10 coupon at Bulk Barn, plus a gift card, to stock up on a few things, including almonds.
    – I made a triple batch of granola, and a batch of Greek yoghurt as well.
    – I also made a batch of flourless double chocolate cookies, and used the leftover egg yolks to make lemon curd.
    – I hosted the latest edition of my cookbook supper club this weekend. I made two dishes and doubled the amounts so that I could feed my sister (who was babysitting for me) and my husband and I for a few days, in addition to the actual dinner. I made two fancy cold salads, and redeemed loyalty points for some of the ingredients, so that I only paid $10 OOP (the rest of the ingredients I already had in my pantry). My mum did give me a tablespoon each of prepared mustard and hot sauce, as I rarely use those ingredients and didn’t want to buy a whole bottle. I also used some homegrown oregano. It was a lovely get-together! I used my wedding china and set a nice table. I served homemade lemon basil iced tea using the lemon basil from my balcony garden.
    – I made a floral centrepiece for the dinner using my silver mint julep cup (inspired by Brandy, obvs) and a piece of floral foam leftover from my baby shower. I cut a few branches of ivy from the ivy on my balcony, and picked some lilies and purple bell-type flowers from a construction site around the corner. I then added in some flowers that I had dried from a bouquet my mother had given me for my birthday (they look fresh, not dried). For a zero -cost centrepiece, I was happy with it!
    – I redeemed some Starbucks loyalty points (collected using Swagbucks gc) for a free lemon loaf slice and an iced water, on a hot day.
    – I went to a mom-and-tot music class, for free, using their free preview programme.
    – Using my trading app, I was able to trade almost all of the digital currency that I had collected over the past few months, plus a gc earned through swagbucks, plus a gc earned from Air Miles, for a 5-foot fig tree! It just fits on my balcony. I’m super excited about this! The person I traded with said the tree was self-fertile, and pointed me in the direction of some free online resources on fig trees. I don’t know if it will fruit this year (although it’s big enough) as the person said that he uncovered it a bit late this year (he buries it under compost in the winter), but I’m hoping it will! The person whom I traded with told me that I could keep it indoors during the winter but it will lose its leaves. It should still grow leaves again and fruit apparently. I’ll have to do some more research on it. But I’m very excited about the tree!
    – I was also able to trade some digital currency for a BNIB set of 10 dolls, which I will gift to some family friends at a later date. And lastly, I traded a can of maple syrup that I had previously traded cookies for, for a BN with tag Williams & Sonoma silver-plated wine bucket. Once I shine up the bucket (it’s a tad tarnished), it’ll be a great Christmas gift. Or I might just trade it again, having upped its value by polishing it up.
    – And then I used the last of my digital currency to get an ice cream cone while I was out trading. Dinner of champions!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    1. Your wine bucket sounds beautiful!

      Figs go dormant in the winter and they don’t put out leaves until everything in the garden has already leafed out. For me, that’s April, about two months after the flowering trees flower. Figs do not flower; they just put out figs! It is rather amazing. If you don’t water it enough, it can lose all it’s leaves in summer and still make it if you water again. My tree used to be in a pot at my last house, and I would forget to water it in summer. I thought it was dead, but a little water and it grew new leaves! I must have done that about 10 times to the poor tree. It does quite well here and it grows rather quickly.

        1. I grow Mission figs, so they’re black when they’re ripe. The birds get to them about a day before they’re ripe, which is always a good way for me to know (on my peaches, they’re out there a week ahead of time). If you grow white figs, turkey figs, etc. they should be soft to the touch and sweet inside. Figs do not ripen off the tree, so they need to be picked when they’re ready!

    2. Margaret – as soon as I have some room in my freezer I am going to try that ice cream recipe! I even have all the ingredients in my pantry!

  12. Those grapes look delicious! And I love the idea of the slip and slide in that heat.
    Not frugal, but from years of living frugally, my daughter and I are now enjoying a holiday in Italy. I am trying to make it as economical as possible and buying food from supermarkets and local markets and catching buses and trains everywhere. It’s been wonderful so far and I’m so glad we have been able to do this together.

      1. It’s been fabulous but I have to start not having a gelato everyday as that and the fabulous pasta has meant sone of my trousers are not fitting!

  13. Hi to all –
    Brandy, I did not realize thru the Albertsons app you can get a free item so I will have to check it out. Also, Wow on the .99 lb ground meat!
    My frugal things last week –
    Took care of friends dogs for 10 days and was offered to use their pool, which we did several times.
    We have had water leaks in our irrigation system so we had the cheaper system replaced with a system that should last longer so now our water bill should be cheaper.
    I got 2 dozen eggs at Fry’s for .49 each. Peaches were under .99 lb so I got 4 for my daily fruit salad.
    My glasses broke last week, they are glued temporarily and several years old so needed new ones. It was expensive as I’m getting new sunglasses also. I was able to save some $ by getting one pair cheaper thru my insurance and the other with deals at the store. I wasn’t happy with my previous glasses and had them for years thru another store. So I m anxiously waiting for the new ones!
    I earned an Amazon card thru Ibotta that I’m saving for my daughter’s textbooks.
    I’m continuing to use what we have and only buy things needed on sale if possible.
    My husband & I are trying to put more $ on the principal of our house and also save more fore retirement.
    That’s all I can think of.
    Have a good week everyone!

  14. Those grapes are gorgeous. Isn’t it wonderful when your gardening efforts yield such a bounty?
    This week we camped four days in the National Forest. We hiked and fished and had a campfire one night – a fun, frugal time. On the way home we stopped at a farm stand and bought fresh sweet cherries for $1.50 a pound. I was looking for pie cherries, but she said they won’t be ready until the end of the month, so I’ll be sure to check back.
    We enjoyed cabbage, carrots, onions and various herbs from the garden.
    We’ve had enough rain this summer that I haven’t had to water my front flower beds or fruit trees. I continue to irrigate the vegetable beds because they grow faster and yield more when I do. I’m watering potted plants with saved rainwater.

  15. It’s amazing, Brandy, how prolific your garden is in such heat. I’m in S. FL and only tropical edibles will grow here well in the summers.

    Lovely photos!

    1. Grapes like the heat and full sun. My peaches are a low-chill variety, so they will produce fruit with mild winters.

      So many tropical edibles grow there in summer; it must be wonderful to have things like guavas, mangoes, and passionfruit!

      1. Yes, it’s mango season here & a fiend has been bringing us some. They have a lot of fructose, though, so we limit them. Our guava tree died after the last hurricane, but we also have bananas and I’m growing plantains and tropical yams (Discorea, not Ipomea), as well as turmeric and ginger.. About the only greens that do OK in the summer are the collards.

        I’m trying to acquire only edibles at this point! Anyone on here in Ft. Lauderdale, I need to get rid of a lot of ornamentals, and would be happy to give them away to caring plant people.

        1. Have you tried Swiss chard? It grows here in summer and is similar in growing to collards.

        2. I realize it was a typing error, but I got quite a chuckle out of a “fiend” bringing you mangoes. I pictured someone in a black cape sneaking up to your door at midnight to deposit fruit.

          1. My neighbor once gave me some herbal teas from a small company. One ingredient listed on the package was lemon “blam.” I have called my plant that ever since. Certainly an exploding plant a “fiend” would share.

          2. Yes, a silly, but funny mistake. I’ve actually had fiendish plants, but the people who gave them to me were well-intentioned.

            This laptop seems to have stiff keys that I strike, but they don’t make a letter.

            I haven’t had luck with chard in the summer. Maybe it’s the humidity?

  16. Food from the garden looks great. I chuckle at how intensely you are trying to start Chinese Lanterns in your climate and, when we lived back east, I had to work hard to contain them. So nice in arrangements and very pretty dried.

    There have been some real blessings this past week. The Dr. was able to finally reduce the intense pain and start treatment.

    Frugal savings…
    *I avoided the much needed hair color and cut because I didn’t know what was going to happen to my hair. Good choice.
    *Each time I need to drive to SLC, we have packed all that we need to carry with us except for a treat or caffinated drink for the driver.
    *I was able to get some expensive OTC medicines filled as prescriptions thus saving quite a bit (one was 35.00 OTC, but less than 3.00 with my prescription plan).
    *My insurance continues to agree with the doctors on the treatment plan and is covering everything (less the remaining deductible amount). I have everything questionable looked at by the amazing Casemanager.
    *We have relied on the hospital’s Casemanager to submit referrals to the American Cancer Society’s Hope House here in SLC and our stays have been free. (As an aside…I have always supported this organization in honor of my MIL not even knowing what they truly did. Glad I did!). There are over 30 of these houses across America and they are phenomenal!
    *When ordering food, I always order what my husband likes since I am unlikely to finish the food and know it will be eaten and not wasted.
    *When my husband or sister needed to order food, I make sure they use the family discount coupon.
    *Just by accident, we found that most nurses stations have an ongoing coffee pot and kept my husband supplied with free coffee.
    *Most importantly, I think, is that I fully follow the doctor’s instructions. This will continue to avoid complications and help the healing process. I do not relish being homebound for 4 months to avoid secondary infections, get a lot of walking in, and drinking gallons of water, but it must be done.
    *My sister graciously made yummy chicken and biscuits for me from a crock pot full of chicken broth, ugly veggies from the crisper drawer, leftover chicken and 2 pieces of pork loin from a hospital meal. We left half for the boys for dinner and took the remainder with us to heat up for dinner here at The Hope House.

    This is not my favorite situation to be in, but my daughter is on her way to take over care for when my sister leaves in a week. I thank everyone for their prayers and hope that my experience might help someone in the future. On a lighter note: my doctor’s name is pronounced “Dr. Who” and we have been having great fun with that!

    Happy frugal-ing friends

      1. Patricia,

        Thank you. I cannot tell you how much this means to me that you and others in our community would take the time to think and pray for me and my family. We are connected even though it is through the internet and that’s amazing. I’ve about 4-5 months of being mostly homebound to avoid secondary infection.

        Trish

      1. Margaret,

        Keeping on keeping on. It is one way I can truly help my husband and family. I certainly have more time, even though I don’t always feel well. I can move slowly. Many in this community have been such an inspiration over the years of doing what they can with what they have.

        I do wish my area had your trading app now that I have time to try it out, BTW. Sounds like such a fun way to Frugally exchange. I love reading about your trades.

        Trish

    1. Trish, it sounds like you have a great attitude and a well thought out plan with lots of support as well. I’ll be thinking of you and sending good thoughts and ((hugs)).

  17. I was super excited to get my first few little Glacier Ultra Early Tomatoes this week! Yours look lovely and I’m glad you are getting so many. My garden is just starting to produce. I have been picking snow peas, broccoli, lots of lettuce and berries for the most part. Green beans will be ready soon. I’ve succession planted more lettuce and a few more beans for fresh eating.

    I had planted a lot of flower seeds last spring and some of them are blooming. Also, dahlias came up again and are now blooming. I had bought a few starts as well. The slugs are bad here, so only part of what I planted made it, but I’m really enjoying what did. The seeds were inexpensive compared to buying lots of plants, so I was willing to try them this year. A picture of my favorite poppy is on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    My week was busy because our daughter was visiting from Hawaii and the house was more lively with different ones in and out to see her, extra meals to cook, and visiting time. It was a good week.

    I made vegetarian lentil tacos twice last week, and finally posted the recipe. It’s on my blog at: http://beckyathome.com/main-dishes/instant-pot-vegetarian-lentil-tacos/. I used my Instant Pot, but I know you could boil them in a pot as well. My daughter is a vegetarian, so that was a frugal, delicious option to have on hand for her.

  18. Wow! 200 lbs. of rice! That is terrific! And thank you for the heads up on the free item at Albertson’s. I didn’t know they did that. I just looked at the app and now it is 2 free boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese, which I loaded this morning.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 6 times, including meatloaf, twice baked potatoes and zucchini (home grown); homemade chicken noodle soup (made with home canned broth and meat); cheese crisps; home canned pintos and jalapenos; chicken with Greek roasted veggies and pasta made with garden produce; steak, baked potato, spaghetti squash and corn on the cob. Used a gift card on the 7th night and ordered off the happy hour menu.
    • Hung 4 of 6 loads.
    • Worked 22 ½ contract hours.
    • Hubby brought his lunch 4 days. The company paid for his lunch the 5th day. I also worked in the office 3 days this week and brought my lunch one day (leftovers from the freezer) and the company provided lunch the 2nd day and my boss took me out to lunch on the 3rd day.
    • Didn’t have my Dad for lunch this week, as I was able to pick up and drop off his laundry over the weekend, since we were with him then.
    • Went to Goodwill and got a 6 teacups and saucers, 8 small plates, a picture for the family room, a devotional I’d been looking for and a teapot all for less than $26. One of the teacups was the same as the china my mother used to have, so that was nice. Also included in that $26 was a new oven mitt that looks like blue willow china that I will give to my daughter for Christmas, as she collects blue and white china, and 2 village buildings that I will gift to my son-in-law’s for his Christmas village.
    • When we bought our daughter’s car last week to replace my husband’s old commuter car, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the insurance is $77 less per year, so I will be getting a refund check.
    • Listened to some financial podcasts while I worked. These gave me some extra incentive to stick to the goals we have set and put in some extra hours. I’m lucky in that I can pick and choose the hours I work. We mostly have 1 big financial goal really, and that is to pay off our house. We are debt free other than that and our cars are in good shape and we expect them to last another 10 years. But paying off the house is a biggie. Probably 8 years away, but I’d like it to be less than that.
    • Best grocery deals this week were 10# of boneless, skinless chicken breast for 99c/lb, corn on the cob for 8/$1, 2 dozen eggs for 49c/dozen and a free protein bar. Plus my daughter and I went to the produce rescue place and each got 70# of produce for $12. This included 6 beefsteak tomatoes, 20 tomatillos, a watermelon, a honey dew melon, 2 acorn squash a spaghetti squash and 4 bags of grapes. I froze the watermelon, grapes and acorn squash for smoothies.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

      1. I liked Stacking Benjamins. I also listened to Frugal Family Home, Chris Hogan (who works with Dave Ramsey) and So Money. These were good too. I’m still looking around for more too. Can’t get enough motivation!

        I’m also following Stacking Benjamins and Chris Hogan on Facebook now too.

  19. I enjoyed the jam i had made last year – apple/cranberry. I ran the jam through blender before canning – it was messy but the texture is so worth it!
    Today i made wild strawberry jam. I like it.

    Brandy, I have to repeat, your photos are outstanding and remind us, we do not have to settle for something less if we want to be frugal!

  20. Beautiful Photos Brandy! I am always so impressed what you grow in your garden.
    My biggest frugal accomplishment was finding a battery for my daughters car. When her car wouldn’t start one morning we quickly made a plan to car pool together. We both work about a 10 minute drive away, but we each take our own cars. I never know when I am going to be leaving the office – I work in a medical clinic/day surgery and we finish when we have completed and seen all our patients. My dad offered us a battery he had and my husband installed it. When I tried to pay my dad he said it was an early birthday gift for his granddaughter. We love practical gifts and she was very grateful! My husband set aside the old battery for return deposit.
    I returned some bottles/cans/milk jugs for a refund and received $15.
    I used $10 of loyalty points off my grocery bill.
    I used an app to get 20x the loyalty points on my milk.
    I received and used a free sample of tide pods.
    I reused a giftbag, made a card for my Dad’s birthday; the gift was paid for with Swagbucks points.
    I listed and sold a few items on my local Facebook buy/sell site.
    Wishing everyone a lovely, frugal week ahead! I enjoy reading all your comments.

  21. Well, today’s the day the air conditioner finally has to go in the kitchen window based on this week’s forecast.

    My 35-year-old sleeper sofa almost ended up at the curb this week. I took the cushion covers off and found that the foam underneath was crumbly and likely would not survive the hand-washing they absolutely required to stay indoors…. and I’d need a kiddie pool to attempt the job. The slipcover, about 14-years-old, was also worn and stained, and since it wasn’t designed for a sleeper sofa, had kept me from offering the sofa as sleeping accommodations for guests. So I ordered cushion wrap at 60% off, two yards of cushion foam also at 60% off (I need to go pick that up today), and two Sure-Fit slipcovers at final clearance prices in a fabric I had first thought of buying over six months ago. One cover is specifically designed for a three-cushion sleeper sofa and the other for a medium recliner. I bought the second cover to make sure the cream color of the sofa cover won’t fight with the flax color of mom’s chair. The slipcover also will keep her chair looking better longer as mom eats nearly all her meals while sitting in it. I also purchased an electric knife whose first use will be to cut foam, not a roast or bread. I tossed the very smelly, stained original cushion covers in the washing machine on cold and delicate after waxing the old zippers with a candle. I was in what-do-I-have-to-lose mode. Worst case, I’d have to stitch up some covers from spare sheets. They came out of the wash still stained but in surprisingly good shape. They are drying in the basement on the clothes line. If they are dry, today’s the day I put the sofa back together and in a few days, after the new slipcovers arrive and have been washed and dried (one purchaser reported a chemical sensitivity to the chemical used on the slipcovers to prevent mold on their ocean transit), the sofa will be ready for visitors. The sofa was the major purchase for my first apartment. I waffled about the expense of rehabbing the old one versus buying an inexpensive sofa from Walmart. But the old one is so very sturdy.

    I suspended mom’s Meals-on-Wheels until October-as long as we can without having to reapply for it. The delivered lunches and breakfast snacks were very, very helpful when mom first got back home. But this summer our challenge is to get enough liquids into her and my new plan (after nagging didn’t work) is to serve her soup with both lunch and dinner. Meals on Wheels here never comes with soup. The $60 or so suggested monthly donation will go a long ways at the grocery store buying mom her favorite treats. And our not-quite-local Kroger store now delivers so if I cannot get to the store, the store will come to us. The last time I used home delivery, four of the main items in my order were not included and I was not handed the receipt by the delivery person, which left me wondering if I had reached the minimum size of the order to get free delivery (except for the tip). The online receipt didn’t show up for a while and didn’t include all the details the missing paper receipt contained. I whined to Kroger customer service and they surprised me with a $20 credit for my troubles. I have checked this week’s sales flyer and that credit will be buying a lot of food.

    1. Holly,
      There’s a very interesting book–Quench– that is all about hydration and how important it is. The authour became interested in the topic when her mother was going through dehydration problems. I got it from the library. Maybe it would give you some ideas to help your mother. I do know soup was one suggestion.
      Good luck.

    2. Holly, since it is summer, you could make Popsicle for your mom to enjoy as a snack or dessert. I make smoothies, then freeze in a Popsicle mould. These would help provide nutrition if she is not eating well. However, you could also just use fruit juice, lemonade, etc. It’s still liquid, just in frozen form and very refreshing for hot summer days!

      1. Also, not sure if anyone has mentioned freezing grapes for summer coolness. Put them on something flat to freeze for a few hours, then move to a freezer container and take out what you wish to eat, (though a potential choking hazard for toddlers or infirm people).

  22. I started sewing 28 curtains , 14 for warm weather 14 for cold weather using what material I had or found on sale like twin flat sheets on clearance for $3.. I am now sorting through my fabric stash for material to be the insulation part of the cold weather curtains.

    We had an out of state friend who lost his mother this week.Instead of sending flowers, we sent gift cards as they will have to travel out of town. I got a phone call this morning thanking us as they used the gift cards to pay for pizza to be delivered for everyone in the family.They combined it with a coupon and a discount for their age.

    Our garden is dying due to drought. We have 1/2 acre planted. We are now watering only the stuff in pots. We will start removing what is dead this week. Heart breaking.

    Hubby got his motorcycle running so we can start using it for trips to see our parents and kids when the weather is good. Maybe we will make it rain??? 😉

    Hubby reminded me it was Amazon Prime day. Pretty much everything that was on my watch list was down to our price point including the antenna we wanted to buy when we bought the house last year. We don’t have cable in our area and don’t pay for Dish which is the only option besides antenna.

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/07/frugal-choices.html

    1. I think you have to wash the car to make it rain. 🙂 Sorry about the drought. I have never lived where it rains enough for a garden and am used to drip irrigation and sprinklers as that as what I have known all my life.

      1. if we wash the trucks and car they might break down from the shock LOL. Definitely looking at irrigation system here and bringing in garden soil since this one is so bad.

    2. Several years ago my mother made fleece window curtains for my son’s bedroom. They are excellent at keeping the cold out. She lined them with muslin.

      1. I never would have though of fleece Libby! I too have been looking at thicker curtains for my front windows and figuring what I could use. I’m going to dig through the stash because there is sure to be fleece in there.
        Thank you!

        1. Or those flannel-baked plastic table cloths that show up on clearance and at yard sales all the time. I have one in the back of the car for a blanket, emergency covering, etc. For drapes, though, they might hold in moisture you don’t wish next to the windows.

  23. Brandy, your photos always beautify the ordinary. Your produce is lovely, and it sounds like it is doing well even in your beastly temperatures!

    It is hot and dry here in Piedmont NC. Everyone around us has had rain but it has been weeks, so I am needing to water, which with a welI is not a big deal. My garden is producing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans (slowly), basil, oregano and the weeds, purslane and lambs quarters. I have been drying the latter for superfoods in the winter, to add to my smoothies. I almost drying hibiscus for teas.

    My sister came in town for her birthday and I made a choclate zucchini cake, which is her favorite and my tradition for her birthday. I took her to lunch which is what she wanted and she bought me a holy basil plant and I bought a parsley plant, as mine is bolting. It had five plants in the pot, I am watering those hoping they make it in this heat. I am continuing to amend my garden beds and hope to start seeds for fall planting.

    We have been eating lots of salads, pasta salad and stir fry. I found ground turkey on sale again and cooked up sloppy joe meat with lots of shredded veggies mixed in it. I use my crockpot and put it on the porch.

    Hubby and I still walk in the evenings and I walk in the morning. Sometimes a neighbor joins me and we catch up as we walk.

    I have been sorting through geneology stuff trying to organize my information into binders for each branch of the family. I am the guardian of my family history and want it thorough and easily navigated by my siblings. I have a lot of free fun studying and learning and communicating with new found cousins!

    Blessings dear friends!

    1. Jean, where are you in Piedmont, NC? If you’ve said before I either missed it or forgot. Always interested in my fellow North Carolinians!

  24. I wish I could come up with more, but with the heat and humidity here in OK, things have slowed way down. Today will be about 100 with 76% humidity. The biggest thing we did was stay home instead of running around which always saves money. I also cooked several things which make good leftovers. My mom took my daughter and I shopping, so that was a huge blessing to us. I did pick up 2-3 plants at 50% off from the local plant nursery to replace the ones that did not make it. I am cutting back on my watering by only watering the beds and not the yard. We have regular bermuda grass, and it will be fine without daily or even weekly watering. I only water in the early mornings or after the sun starts to go down so that there is no evaporation. I look for our city to go to an odd/even days watering rotation pretty soon.

  25. A fruit bonanza! Grapes, cherries, and peaches – yum….and what scores on free rice and inexpensive ground beef.

    • Hung all loads of laundry out to dry
    • Made totally easy-going meals this week including: lots of cheese quesadillas, cantaloupe with prosciutto, and salads with chicken, feta, and cranberries. Not turning on the oven helps to keep my small house cooler.
    • Used free survey monkey account to send out a questionnaire to help in planning the August family reunion: favorite pizza toppings, figuring out color palette for group photo shoot, and activities people hope to do.
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Purchased vitamins BOGO at Walgreens.
    • Put $0.39 table salt on weeds growing in driveway
    • Did monthly grocery shop at Aldi, which is 40 minutes away. Brought a cooler to put groceries in to keep cool during trip home.
    • I went to Lowe’s in order to purchase some asphalt patch that was highly rated on its website. Unfortunately the product is not stocked in that store and not at any of the area stores either. A clerk in the aisle suggested I go to customer service and see if they would order it for free delivery to my house, which I did and they did! Lowe’s truck delivery charge is regularly $65.
    • Spray painted the two outside lights I had gotten for free last week

  26. I am so envious of your grape harvest and also your deal on the ground beef! .99 cents/lb is unheard of here.

    *Our weather has been heating up even more, up around 100-102 most days for the high, without much cooldown at night. We continue to keep blinds & drapes drawn, lights off, fans & portable a/c going, as well as keeping our central unit on a higher temperature. The house stays comfortable and dry and our bills aren’t insane. We did just have to renew our electricity plan and the price has gone up somewhat, but the kwh price is lower than most of the other plans, and we get an automatic $30 bill credit every time we go over a certain usage amount (which we do every month during the summer).

    *We cooked and ate most meals at home including Swedish meatballs & egg noodles, beef brisket tacos with rice and beans, chicken strip salads, chicken & waffles, and chili mac. I have been getting a lot of use out of my instant pot recently, as it avoids heating up the oven. Picked up free pita crackers, lemonade, lettuce, mini peppers, protein bar, and a couple of other items using various grocery store apps. (If you are anywhere near a Sprouts, I highly recommend downloading their app – constant freebies!) Bought 2 beef roasts on sale & added to the freezer stock. Bought corn on the cob on sale 8/$1, which seems to be a standard summer sale price here. We have been enjoying a lot of corn! Also picked up several loaves of “take and bake” bread on clearance and added to the freezer. I have found that these type of loaves freeze wonderfully, don’t lose any flavor or freshness, and are a nice alternative for when I don’t have time to make bread. Took my lunch to work each day (jalapeno pimento cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread with grapes & carrots on the side – delicious!)

    *Other random things: We went on another mini road trip to a small town last Saturday for something fun to do. We packed a cooler from home with drinks & a few snacks, and our reusable ice packs, so $0 spent. We intended to visit a state park in the area, but we got a late start and time ran short, so instead we spent time walking around the town square & visiting some antique shops. Contributed to a meal train for a coworker who recently had surgery. Not the most frugal, but worthwhile. Gave myself a pedicure.

    *Exciting news – we are officially down to 12 payments remaining on our mortgage! We originally took a 20-year loan with a fixed rate, but we will have it paid off in 17 years. Very excited that we will be completely debt free by 2020 (Lord willing & the creek don’t rise, as the saying goes). Next year will also be our 20th wedding anniversary, so it looks to be a landmark year for us.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I haven’t seen ground beef that low for about 18 years. I somehow missed it in the ad and someone told me about it, so I went over!

    2. Congrats on the mortgage! That is our big goal, but we still have over 8 years left at the rate we are paying (which is as aggressive as we can get.)

  27. Those grapes look wonderful. Grapes will ripen in August, here in North Florida. Then the race will be on to beat the wildlife to them.
    How wonderful that you got 200 pounds of rice for free — that’s truly amazing, and how nice of the woman, too.

    We’ve been harvesting figs off of our fig trees although the birds and squirrels are harvesting them, too. We have to watch when picking figs, because they sometimes have wasps on them. I love fresh figs and rarely have enough left to dry. My kids love them, too, and grab a few every time they visit.

    By shopping at Whole Foods this month for items I needed that were on sale, I earned $10 toward any Prime Day purchase at Amazon. I bought two small kitchen items yesterday that weren’t on sale, but with the $10 and some Swagbucks, I was able to get them for free and keep more of my Swagbucks for later. I had those things sitting in my list, just waiting, for months, and I have yet to see them go on sale.

    I received my $5 off of $30 reward at Greenwise ( a new store from Publix) by shopping there for items I needed. I only picked up sale items while there, too.

    I found a basket to hold baby bottle nipples, rings and caps in the dishwasher at a Goodwill. I was needing something to hold my lightweight and small items in my dishwasher, so I got this. I also found two nice rolls of padded drawer/shelf liner for 99 cents a roll, which I can definitely use.

    I continue to cook from scratch every day, even though it has been difficult, with my husband home and still not recovered, and me working full-time. The aid I’ve hired to stay with him helps out by cleaning up after him during the day, but my evenings are still super busy. I persist, though.

    I’ve been digging further into what might be available to us financially around my husband’s health issues. Some new avenues might be opening up, so I’m hoping! I went to an expert, this time, and paid for the advice, but I’m so glad I went. I had been getting a lot of contradictions and misinformation from non-experts!

    The pictures, as always, are lovely, Brandy.

    1. Those are Thompson’s seedless, Concords, and then the other big ones were mislabled, so I don’t know what they are.

  28. Brandy, sounds like you had a nice frugal, productive week. I don’t know if you have ever heard this, but I was told many times that Chinese lanterns are invasive. I had always wanted them and planted seeds anyway, I put them in a small triangular bed bordered by the house and two cement walkways, and THEY TOOK OVER and started spreading underneath the walks and popping up on the other side. In your super hot climate, if you get them to grow, they might not be invasive…but they certainly were for me. Maybe plant in a container? It took several years to eradicate them…lots of digging out roots, and Round-Up, too This is another case of being careful what you wish for!

    As for my week, I was sick for two days when a couple of chronic medical conditions came together in a perfect storm. While I do have problems from time to time, they are usually not as severe, and they have never occurred one on top of the other. The pain was about the most severe I have ever had.
    *My spinach and lettuce both bolted. I pulled it all up, salvaged what I could, and fed the rest to the compost. I had also planted lettuce seeds between each plant, and they are now far enough along that I can harvest the outer leaves.
    *I was able to buy more blueberries at the previous week’s sale price and made another batch of low sugar freezer jam. I already have enough set aside for gifts, so this batch is entirely for us (or, should I say, my husband).
    *I was able to get a prescription, written for 30 days with refills, filled for 90 days. This will save me two trips to the pharmacy later.
    *We went to a Celebration of Life for a good friend’s mom and were invited to stay for lunch afterward.
    *A friend let me pick her raspberries and I made a batch of freezer jam (I’m on a roll, LOL). I picked another gallon Sunday, while my friends were on vacation. Raspberry jam is my daughter-in-law’s and my fave, but I am too cheap to make it unless I grow the berries or get them free. I am beyond thrilled with this windfall!
    *My husband and I both had dental hygiene appointments last week and brought home the “free” toothbrushes and toothpaste. We have dental insurance and break even with two hygiene appointments per year.
    *I made a batch of 5 bath bombs for my July gift-a-month project. They actually held together! (I have had as many failures as successes with bath bombs so far. I use the failures as bath salts, but not as gifts). My two gift-a-months (so far) have been jam in June (added to in July) and 5 bath bombs, which make great stocking stuffers for girls and women.

    1. Not much is invasive here. Violets are hard to keep from burning alive. Mint is invasive but will burn to death in a pot so I went back to growing it in the ground. Passionfruit is invasive, though (but still easily torn out), and crabgrass is a problem–my only big problem. Even dandelions don’t grow in the wild here! I’ve had a few in the garden, but they are not too bad.

  29. Boy, Brandy, I sure enjoyed seeing some of your wonderful produce and hearing of your frugal wins! The slip and slide sounds like great fun. I’ll probably borrow that idea for some of our grandchildren. Now that the hot weather has finally hit us here in Utah, we need something cooling for their outdoor activities. We just got word this morning that our 20th grandchild was born early today. Whew! Such grand news whenever a baby comes into this world. Several weeks ago, my husband’s suit jacket was ruined because of something spilled on it. We tried to remove the spot, but that resulted in a small hole in the fabric. Inferior fabric in my estimation. So we went to the thrift store and found a jacket in his size for five dollars that looks quite smart on him . This was to provide him with something appropriate to wear to church while we wait for a new outfit to be delivered to a store. However, I now almost wish we hadn’t ordered something new. He looks very handsome in the thrift jacket! If the new jacket is just perfect, we’ll return it. : )

    We put deer netting over some of the garden produce to discourage the deer from eating too much of it. I hope that helps. My husband works hard on our small garden, trying to keep it alive. We live next to a small forested area, so every critter that frequents that area thinks the garden was planted just for them. We aren’t allowed to have fences in our subdivision, or we would certainly have one around the garden! I do enjoy watching the quail and their cute offspring that come to have dirt baths in the garden. We’ve seen deer, quail, pheasants, foxes, raccoons and the occasional neighborhood teenagers just hanging out in our backyard! I cut my husband’s hair and he cleaned our carpet. Now it looks much better. We are making slow progress on our basement finish project. We’ve had furnace runs put in, new plumbing for a bathroom and kitchenette, and framing. We’re in the process of getting bids for electrical work. We are acting as our own contractors to save a bit of money, so it will take a while to complete this project, but I’m looking forward to the enjoyment it will provide. My husband used to do all this kind of work in our previous houses, but at this stage of life that isn’t an option. Have a great week, everyone!

      1. I hadn’t thought of hedges, Brandy. I’ll present the idea to our gardener (husband) and see what he thinks. Thank you!

    1. We have a lot of deer here and really the only way to keep them away is fencing. They can jump most hedges, unless you could do something 6 to 8 feet tall. However, before we had our permanent fence, I successfully used deer netting and bamboo poles. You put the poles in the ground and the deer netting is very lightweight and almost invisible. Do a search for Deer Netting to see what I mean. Perhaps you could use something like that during gardening season?

  30. Last week, here is what I did to save money:

    * Purchased two weeks of groceries at one time. This will save me gas and time on going to the grocery store, as well as keep me out of the store so that I am not making unnecessary purchases.
    * We took advantage of a sale to purchase supplies for church.
    * I purchased chicken thighs on sale (enough for at least two weeks, I hope).
    * We ran the A/C on energy saver, and it cooled the house down enough for our comfort.
    * It was a blessing to use part of a gift card for some purchases.
    * I cooked all my husband’s breakfasts and lunches, the latter which he took to work with him.
    * In the mornings, I closed windows and blinds to keep the house cool as much and as long as possible.
    * For Saturday’s lunch, I used leftover chicken and rice and added mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli for a quick, easy, and healthy meal (all of it was heated in a frying pan with some water).

  31. Wow…amazing ground beef price! I made my plane reservations to fly from Atlanta to Salt Lake City roundtrip for $201. I was so excited! She should be anywhere from four to seven weeks old when I get there, and of course that depends on when she is born. I am shipping my clothes for that week to my daughter. Apparently the budget airline I used will only allow a carry on that is the size of a purse, or very small kiddie backpack and will charge $37 for a carry on. That is ok. If I ship my clothes, toiletries, etc. now by U.S. mail, it will only cost about $5. I am looking at air bnb’s in the area near where she live,s so I can walk to the house every day and spend all day with the grandbaby. I have friends I could stay with but they live a tad too far away, and I just want to concentrate on my grandchild, daughter, and son-in-law on this trip. Other than that, I had a $421 dental bill today, in my never ending dental saga. That is my share, after insurance. I am grateful that I have dental insurance and grateful that I have saved for the Utah trip. I made a crockpot full of pinto beans, and have been eating them using Brandy’s recipe, in a burrito. I think I prefer them with a touch of lime juice and whole, without mashing them up also. I am still eating tomato sandwiches from the tomatoes that my neighbor gave me. My electric bill was $51, despite having many days with heat indexes over 100 degrees. I am grateful today for the shade the neighbor’s trees give my house, to keep it cool. I do run the window air conditioner some, but sparingly. Hurricane Barry (it was merely a tropical storm by the time it made it here) brought some rain, but it was not too bad here, and I am grateful for that also. I always worry about the big trees crashing down on my house whenever we have a lot of wind and rain.

  32. I should clarify that the airlines charges $37 if you bring a carry on, larger than a purse or kiddie backpack.

  33. I soaked and cooked pinto beans in my instant pot, making a quick dinner after a long summer day. I had to drop my car off to get a new tire (after I slashed it on a curb trying to parrellel park. Yikes!) There is a splash pad across the street from the tire shop, so we packed swim suits and snacks to play there. BUT our AC went out in the car on the drive over and was just blowing out hot air! We are headed on a 9 hour car drive in a couple days, so this was BAD news! Turns out the compressor has several leaks and needs to be replaced. With our limited time before our trip to upstate New York, I told them to go ahead and replace it. (Big Sigh.) Since my boys and I had walked to and from the splash pad to hone several times (about 3 miles total), I ended up buying a box of ice cream sandwiches to eat on the long, hot walk home. I felt pretty defeated, but I keep reminding myself this is exactly why we have an emergency fund and we don’t have to go into debt. It’ll be okay. I’m thankful the AC went out before our trip on Thursday. It would have been miserable. The air temperature doesn’t get too hot (90-95) but the humidity index is stifling and wipes me out. We are camping in New York and will bring our own food. We’ll do free activities and see some free sites. The campground has a lake and we’ll go swimming hopefully!

    1. I also fly a budget airline to visit my married children and grandchildren. I leave a box of clothes in my grandson’s closet. Last time I flew down, I layered three shirts that I was wearing. (I tried layering two pairs of jeans, but that didn’t work.) I was flying into Mesa, AZ so my son got a laugh from that. When I came home, I left everything there except what I was wearing. . I have a friend that picks up clothes from the thrift store when she flies on a budget airline. I have a small backpack, but I sew lots of things for my grandchildren and I’m usually carrying something like mermaid tails that need to be tried on or raspberries from the garden. I can’t be bothered to take along clothes.

  34. Your grapes look great! I recently ripped out a couple blackberry bushes that haven’t produced anything in years and have thorns everywhere. Maybe I’ll put grapes there! I added tame, thornless blackberries and couple years ago and they produce wonderfully!

    I took a free online course for continuing education that I need to maintain my state license.

    I worked an extra hour last week.

    We’ve eaten green beans, zucchini, blackberries, lettuce, rhubarb, radishes, cucumbers, basil, and cilantro from the garden this week.

    I have quite a bit of basil, so I made some pesto. Not the cheapest thing to make, but a little goes a long way. And still cheaper to make than buy. It turned out great, so I’ll probably make a bigger batch and freeze some. I’ll dry some basil and cilantro, too.

    The water pump went out in my husband’s truck. He was able to fix it for the cost of the parts. But he had to have it towed to an auto parts store since he was hours from home when it happened. So that was another $145.

    We live near the state line. The next state over has MUCH lower gas taxes. While we over there, we bought gas for 45 cents per gallon cheaper than home. I also used my Murphy app to save an additional 10 cents per gallon.

    I disputed a receipt I submitted on Fetchrewards to get another 2,000 points, which is equivalent to $2.00. It only took me a few seconds to do.

    I downloaded the Joann’s app so I could get some savings on some items I needed to buy. I ended up saving $46. Some items were presents and some were needed to complete a project I am getting paid to do. Once I’m paid for the project, it will pay for the rest of the purchase (including the gifts) and then some!!

    My husband received a ticket for free admission to an event he was wanting to go to. The ticket included a meal, too. It ended up only costing him the gas to get there.

    The repairman still hasn’t come to look at our air conditioner. I’m hoping it’s not a super expensive fix. In the meantime, we’re saving money by only running one AC. But it’s hot!

    We had to change the oil in two vehicles and have one vehicle realigned this month, but I had the budget set aside for that. These things should help our vehicles last longer.

    I paid a bill online.

    It rained, so once less watering this month.

    I shopped clearance for a baby gift and was able to get a few outfits and some headbands for less than $25. I think it will make a nice gift.

    I took my lunch every day this week.

  35. I am hosting a baby shower for my niece this summer and the theme is going to be Winnie the Pooh. I wanted to buy a small stuffed Winnie the Pooh for use as a decoration and then afterwards as a gift to the baby. I found exactly one and they wanted $35 but luckily I found a stuffed Tigger for $2 at the thrift store so that will work just fine for me. I washed him up and he looks like new. I will be using fresh flowers from my garden for the center pieces. I am thankful to Brandy and this blog community for all their ideas over the years as this really helped me keep the cost of this baby shower very low but still beautiful.
    Another very practical thing I did which I learned from this blog was to purchase a big bag of pre-made corn tortillas. I use these with leftovers and make street tacos which my husband loves. This has helped so much with lowering the food waste!!
    I purchased a book with anti-inflammatory recipes- it has been very interesting. I learned you can make pesto from parsley. I never thought of doing that before and I have a lot of parsley growing right now so I am making pesto and freezing it to use on pizzas through the fall and winter.
    I had big plans for my grandson and I this summer- I was going to take him to the beach and to libraries and all sorts of adventures which would have cost money but I thought the memories would be worth it. He is not interested at all. He spent the entire afternoon playing Legos at my son’s house and could not have been happier-just spending one on one time with his uncle was all he needed. He has also enjoyed riding his bike in our driveway and playing with his Tonka trucks in our gravel patio. I serve him lunch on the patio and he is happy. Sometimes simple is the best and really no cost so it has been a win-win.

      1. I don’t have a food processor or a regular blender. Has anyone ever done pesto with a stick/immersion blender or even a stand mixer? How was pesto made long ago– anyone know?

  36. Those grapes look wonderful. Do you not have a problem with wasps being attracted to them?
    I picked lettuce and the last of the snow peas.
    Made soup and muffins for lunches during the week. My Mom was over when I made them, so she and I had soup and muffins for lunch on the day I made them. Additionally, I gave her two of the muffins to snack on when she wanted.
    Made homemade pizza using previously made individual crusts and homemade and frozen sauce. Put snow peas on the pizza, as our bell peppers aren’t ready yet.
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work all week. Made chicken fajitas one night. Used some peppers from the “ugly produce” bin. they were 3 for $1.00.
    Had this for two nights. Had leftovers from the weekend on Monday.
    Weeded the Swiss chard. There were so many weeds, I didn’t realize I had as much chard as I do.
    Had a BBQ on Saturday with my DH, Eldest son, sister-in-law and mother. We were able to eat outside, which is always a blessing. Made hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken thighs. Will eat on that most of this week. Also made macaroni salad, had chips and salsa using last year’s frozen salsa. SIL made brownies.
    Picked all the remaining lettuce from the one large watering trough. My DH will clean it out, so I can plant another round. We will eat off of transplanted lettuce for the next couple of weeks.
    Read books from the library, listened to books on tape from the library while driving, didn’t buy anything other than food, washed full loads of laundry, used the clothesline – all the normal stuff that I don’t even really think of anymore.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. We do have wasps, but you can kill them with a spray of dish soap and water. I had to do that one year on one bunch of grapes.

  37. My husband brought home a dozen croissant sandwiches, six apples and five bananas from an event he helped run. We pulled the lettuce out of the sandwiches and froze about half of them.
    I am harvesting a few raspberries each day from the garden. Today I pulled the garlic crop. I’ll let it cure a bit then roast some and put in olive oil. I finally had to pull all the lettuce because it was getting bitter.
    I am going to a quilting workshop in August. My friend who is a wonderfu quilter has some duplicate quilting items, like a mat board and ruler that she will lend me so I have less money to spend on materials.
    I colored my own hair.
    My husband and I attended a free concert in a local park over the weekend. We packed a picnic and enjoyed the evening.
    Friends have lent me some interesting memoirs to read so I have plenty to keep me occupied.
    I’m taking three paintings that I wasn’t happy with, sanding the surface and trying to create something more interesting in advance of a studio tour I am participating in in October.
    Found a great summer black dress at a thrift store for $6.

  38. Paid all bills on time so I didn’t have to pay any late charges.
    I closed curtains in the back of the house in the morning and the front of the house in the evening. This helps keep the house cooler throughout the day.
    For the fist time this year I had to turn on the air in my bedroom. It feels like 106 today and will be this hot all week.
    I cookes beef in the slow cooker yesterday saving gas and the heating up on the house.
    I have a friend coming to my house to work on my Featherweight sewing machines.
    I have 3 featherweights that all stopped working at the same time. *laughing* If you take the vintage machines to be worked on most places tell you they are not worth fixing…and try to sell you a new machine. Dart (my friend) cleans my machines and can work on them. I pay her a small amount compared to trying to find someone to work on the machines.
    Dart will also fix one of my treadle machines. I can’t get the belt on with my physical problems.
    I bought fruit and jellies from a woman at the farmer’s market. I paid $8.00 for a gallon bag of frozen blackberries. $3.00 a jar (large) for homemade peach jellie, blackberry jam and bread and butter pickles. These are good prices for knowing what is in the items and that they are organic. Very nice.
    I decided not to buy 2 bigger ticket items this week. I had gotten along without them this long so why bother?
    I stayed home except for today. This helps my expenses more than anything.
    I ate at home.
    I accepted a watermellon and cucumbers for free.
    I hope you don’t get bored with us telling you how fantastic your photos are.
    Thank you for all you do.

    1. It IS 105 here all week! I went outside to water the potted plants Monday morning as I had forgotten to do it Sunday evening. I almost fainted after 10 minutes outside. It’s just too hot for me out there.

  39. I miss having a vegetable garden, but I am lucky to have a large local farm stand just a few miles up the road. I was there twice this week–especially the day after they reported having sweet corn available. The latest first harvest in years, they said! I had strawberries, too, and cherries, and local blueberries. There is a cantelope in the fridge also that we have not gottent to yet. It’s hard to control the impulse to buy. I also have lettuce and yellow wax beans.
    I went through my husband’s dresser drawers with him one morning. He was standing naked and confused in front of his dresser after his shower. He forgot which drawer his underwear was in, and too confused to just open one and see if it was right or wrong. While we were there, we went through his jeans, because he said he couldn’t find jeans that fit—he has about 6 pair but if he can’t see them, he can’t find him. We did the same with shorts, and I did find one pair to donate, as they were a size smaller than he wears. He gained 10# in the past year because more than one of his doctors suggested it. He piles things on the dresser or on the floor in a corner–so I will have to be more watchful and help him find things. I also made myself a bit of extra laundry by picking up things he intended to wear again but had gotten too wrinkled! Telling him how to do something no longer works–I have to help him do it and even supervise a lot.
    I mended a dress for my granddaughter, using stitch witchery because she didn’t want stitches to show. I also made her a kit with some Stitch witchery and a copy of the instructions and cut her a pressing cloth from a well used sheet, so she is able to do that kind of repair herself. It looks quite good, if I do say so myself!
    I used my gas points from the grocery store to save 70 cents a gallon on gas–in two separate stops. I’ve been driving my husband around on “rides” as he is unable to do many other things he would have formerly occupied his time with. One day I even stopped at a couple stores and he willingly walked around them with me–although I didn’t spend a lot of time at it. I hadn’t been in a store for a long time and just wanted to “shop”—Spent a whole $5 on a roll of twine and a meat thermometer (I have two but both were “lost” at the time.) We also spent $8 on an ice cream stop on the way back home. I insist stores must keep the humidity inside as low as possible because we were totally parched, which I usually am if I shop anywhere at all. Root beer floats have gotten a lot smaller since I was young, so I doubt it made a serious dent in my calorie allowance!
    On one ride we stopped at a local restaurant we had never tried and were pleasantly surprised at their reasonable prices and good service. The food was pretty good, although we may not have chosen their “best” dishes. We looked around to see what others were ordering and will probably go back again another time.
    I made rolls twice, biscuits for strawberry shortcake which made two night’s dessert, and still have about half a quart of strawberries to put on cereal. The strawberries are finished but more good things are ahead. Bought eggs for 88 cents a dozen but only needed one dozen. Two people only need so many eggs. We ate snickerdoodles (homemade cinnamon cookies) all week when we didn’t have shortcake. It’s time to bake something else–hopefully tomorrow before it gets too hot. We are going to have temperatures that feel like 100 this week with high humidity–so we may go back to something in a bun with a side salad before the week is out. I did make pork roast and also spaghetti and meatballs this week–thinking of using some of those eggs for quiche as well–that’s a lighter meal for a hot night. My husband’s appetite does not suffer during hot weather, but mine does. I don’t eat as much when it’s too warm. Tonight I made Polish sausage with noodles and cabbage, one of our favorites. Prep time is short for it too!
    I spent a little time putting things away–newspapers and magazines and junk mail are the overpowering annoyances to me!! I try to get rid of them as quickly as they come in, but always fall behind before the week is over. I did cancel a couple car magazines that husband no longer “needs” since he is unable to drive any more. I let him drive one car in the driveway to re-position them, and it was nearly a disaster for the side porch. I won’t be trying that again. He gave up his license but driving on our property is legal, if ill-advised! Got the other car back after two weeks in the shop—it wasn’t too expensive and I showed it to a prospective buyer today. It didn’t sound like he was about to buy it, but he did have another to see before making a decision. I have a couple more prospects and I’m in no hurry to sell it as I am feeling more confident about driving it even if it feels like driving a tank after my smaller car. The insurance is paid until October at the moment, so whatever happens is ok with me.

    1. Hi Marcia. I am sorry to read of your husband’s continuing difficulties. Do you think that pictures of the items taped to his dresser drawers might help him? Like pictures of his underwear or jeans to help remind him of the drawer’s contents and the item’s location? Just a thought. Sending ((hugs)).

  40. My grands are here today and we had to shop a little bit. I was sick from the heat when we got home. This is going from air conditioned home to car to shop to car back to home. It is that few minutes it takes inbetween and waiting for the car to cool from 130.
    It only feels like 100 at the moment. It is 7:04 pm.
    So far our offical temp hasn’t reached 100 at DFW (where the offical temp is taken). It has hit 100 once up here.
    It is a struggle to deal with the heat. People that don’t live in like places don’t understand.
    I burned myself touching the metal railing to my house. Darn it all. *smile*

    1. The heat made me feel really ill yesterday when watering the plants and I try to only shop after the sun has gone down in the summer months here because it is so nauseating and fatiguing just spending a few minutes in the car. My mom did a little test a few years ago and put a room thermostat in her car for a few days. It was over 140 degrees in the car.

      1. Brandy, the heat inside the car is terrible.
        One of the news stations fry an egg on the sidewalk almost every year here.
        The car temp is a good learning lesson. Children are left in cars (or get in a car and can’t get back out) here every year and they die from the heat. I used to count my children as the went in the car and count them again as we got out of the car.
        Take car of yourself. This heat is a killer and you’re such a tiny thing.

    2. Becky – hello fellow DFW-er! I’m in the DFW area as well. It’s so frustrating when I know it is much hotter than what the “official” temp at DFW airport is. Haha! Just going from my air conditioned home to air conditioned car to air conditioned office can be miserable, and those few minutes for the car a/c to get fully cooled down can sure be tough. I can’t spend much time outside at all until probably October.

      1. Pam B., it IS awful, isn’t it?
        I do my best to stay inside during the heat.
        We have been lucky this year in that it hasn’t been as hot as usual…it is that darn humidity. *laughing*
        I live north of D/FW about an hour and a half so it isn’t as bad as you are. Pete (channel 8 weather) shows Saint Jo and we are a little cooler than the offical temp…usually.
        Having grown up in Indiana I didn’t suffer this heat. I noticed the other day that IN is as hot as we are. Poor people will be dropping like flies.

  41. We are heading out in the morning on a 13 day trip to a son’s house to dog sit and then visit when they return. We will don some exploring of the area without our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter and then have fun doing what she likes when they get home. Thankfully we are driving so –
    1. Taking our dog with us – no dog sitting fee
    2. Taking food, toilet paper, kleenex, etc from our supplies so we won’t have to shop as much when there (they have already been gone one week with a friend dog sitting so I’m assuming very low household and food supplies). I have successfully emptied our house of food that would spoil while we are gone without wasting any.
    3. We were thinking of getting take out for dinner the first evening we are there but then I realized I could freeze chili and it would still be cold and ok once we arrive. It will also keep some other foods cold so it is easier to take them too.
    4. We have made this drive a number of times with our dog and have our dog friendly stops for lunch and breaks mapped out so we know where we will be eating and getting coffee and what it will cost.
    5. I loaded up on books from the library and friends so I will have plenty to read while we are there.
    6. A friend is going to water our few outdoor plants for us while we are gone.
    7. We put air in the car tires to get better mileage and wear.
    8. We will have their washer and dryer available so it will be easy to manage.

  42. I’m hoping to see Chinese Lantern photos this season! Pretty sure the squirrels would enjoy them if I ever planted any.
    Meeting up with an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time at a local school with a pond and fountain on its grounds. She called me, said someplace where we didn’t have to spend much money, and I suggested this, bring-your-own water to drink place. I suspect her family is cutting corners this summer and I am glad to meet her without cost. I am also glad to be recognized as the kind of friend who doesn’t care that we aren’t going fancy.
    Working at keeping the AC at the highest setting we can handle to still stay cool, and running fans to help as well. Humidity is not my friend. With the high temperatures coming the end of this week, perhaps I should just plan to clean in the basement those days.
    Picked some day lilies that were down to just a few big buds on each stem to bring into the house. Little buds don’t always open indoors, so I wait to have them inside. As in their name, each bud only blooms for one day and dies off overnight. I also put some chopped up buds in a salad for color. With all the water, this was a great year for them, and a lot are blooming orange in the ditches on the country roads around town. I’ve only had to water my outside plants once, which is certainly a record. I have jugs of water from the basement dehumidifier to use.
    Have been bringing our own grocery bags for a nickel credit for many months now, and with no credit to other stores as well. Once we figured out where to store them in the front closet and in the back seat of the car, we got them into our routine.
    I’ve been shopping very conservatively at yard sales this summer, doing a firm “Do I need this” for any possible purchases. Got a free opened package of plastic wrap (our last one lasted a good fifteen years and we never replaced it when it finally ran out a few months ago) and a roll of masking tape from a free box, as well as two ends of some kind of duct-electrical-silver-foil tape rolls to put in the drawer with similar ones I might never use, though one never knows….
    I appreciate this website as a place to celebrate small victories and longstanding habits! Our wedding anniversary was last week and we celebrated in our usual low-key way of having lunch at a restaurant and enjoying the drive out of town and back. In the larger city, husband got new tennies (I have been indirectly told by at least two people that no one calls them that any more– the clerk gently corrected me and directed us to the “running shoes”) which are frugal because we wear our shoes to death and bad/cheap shoes mean bad knees, hips, and feet.

  43. I had to look up chinese lanterns. I hope they grow, they are so pretty!

    We have two vehicles and have a car loan for each one ( I know, ouch). I have refinanced 1 vehicle (saving $50 a month and several interest percentage points) and am waiting to hear about approval for refinancing the other one. I also switched our car insurance and cut that bill in half.

    I made a meal plan for the next two weeks. I get home from work and am tired and do not want to think of “what’s for dinner” and end up spending money I don’t have. I have stuck to it so far this week. I also make sure to get my work snacks and breakfast ready the night before (over night oats usually) as I have to get up at 3:30 am to go to work.

    I have several health issues I am seeing my doctor for trying to resolve. He changed my blood pressure/water pill to a stronger one and already feel better after only a week. I seem to have a little more energy and am able to get more done around the house at night after work 🙂

    I purchased two tomato plants on clearance (1 is a grape tomato plant the other just normal sized tomatoes). I have already harvested a few grape tomatoes. I have a bell pepper plant I also purchased on clearance that has 1 pepper growing and several more flowers. I planted green beans and cucumbers, they are growing well. I make sure to dump my gray water from rinsing dishes onto my plants in my raised beds. I water my house plants using water leftover in cups.

    I hung laundry on my outdoor lines (it finally stopped raining!) this past weekend. I brought out my drying racks (they were in storage) and began using them again during the week.

    That’s all I can remember. Have a great week everyone!

      1. We did this with our truck a few years back and got a much lower interest rate! We still paid the same payment so that we that we wouldn’t be paying more over the life of the loan. It can be a helpful tool for sure!

  44. Hello Frugal Friends,
    The rice find was great! So nice of her to give that to you!

    We came back from vacation last week so it is back to the grind on frugal living! But it is good and I enjoy finding ways to save.
    – My son went to church camp this week. He did 2 fundraisers to help with the cost. He also mowed at his grandpa’s house to help with spending money. So, I did not have to spend as much out of pocket as anticipated.
    – I have started harvesting from the garden. This week it was beets and swiss chard. We have been getting a lot of rain here in Colorado, which I am grateful for!
    – I was able to work a few hours this week. That is good because my work usually dries up for the summer months.
    – I decided to do a craft bazaar in October. It is my first one. I crochet and sew and make other fun stuff. I am looking forward to it! But also have been starting to work on inventory to be ready!
    – On that note, a friend gave me 2 huge bags of free yarn. We live in a military community so people frequently move and purge items. She knew I love to crochet. It was very nice quality yarn and very kind of her to do.
    – We had vacation Bible School last week which was free and I helped so that kept us busy, all week.
    – I did well on my midterm in economics. I am taking classes for free with money from the VA with my husband’s benefits.
    – I purchased uniforms for my daughter from Old Navy. The polos were $3.00 each last week so I got 6. Hopefully that will last the year.
    – My daughter’s school is providing their school supplies so, I am starting to look for sales on my son’s supplies.
    – I get a check for a little over 60.oo for mystery shopping in May. It takes a couple of months to get the money but they do pay. This company is called Market Force.
    – I signed up for lots of freebies, which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/
    – I think that is about all for now!
    Liz

  45. Definitely had some frugal wins for the week! Continued using hotel shampoo, condition and lotion from our recent hotel stay. I had a few coffee packets left from same trip which I enjoyed with the creamer my MIL had left at our house. My MIL also gave us money to put towards our son’s dental expenses. We had saved enough to cover it, so we ended up using the money she gave us for a new set of tires for my husband’s car which are desperately needed. Did a Costco shopping trip for my parents which I also dropped off at their house. My parents graciously offered to pay for any items we needed there and to stock up! I did take advantage and bought several items that will last till the end of the year. Went and visited a local Victorian house from an early settler in the area. There are volunteers that give free tours. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed it outside on the grounds afterwards. I also purchased a christmas ornament for my parents from the house; I will give it to them for Christmas. Had a mother son date with my son at a local movie theater; had a gift card so I was able to pay for the tickets and snacks with no OOP cost. I am trying to be frugal with my time as well. This week I bought the last birthday gift for my son (a toy new in the package at the local Goodwill store for $5; retails for $15) and then I wrapped all the gifts for him using wrapping paper I already had. I also bought 6 used lego sets (no boxes but all the pieces were there as well as the instruction books) from a neighbor on our local neighborhood website for $25! Two of the sets retail on Amazon for almost $100 each. My son will be thrilled. I am most likely going to save them for him for Christmas. The lady said she will most likely have more. I told her to let me know! I picked and enjoyed almost a dozen lemon cucumbers from my garden; I am going to google it to see about saving seeds for next year. Had an inexpensive dinner out with girlfriends from high school. One of them offered to have us over to her house afterwards. She drove us there and also dropped me off back at home, saving bus fare. Macy’s was having a black Friday sale and I was able to purchase a heavily discounted Oneida silverware set for 12 plus 12 extra teaspoons. I had a gift card to cover part of it and shipping was free. I had winning eBay bid for a lot of like new build a bear clothes for my son for Christmas. I got two outfits plus shoes and accessories for a little over the price of a new outfit at the retail store. I paid another trip to the local good will store in efforts to find Christmas presents for family members. I found a #1 Grandpa mug new for $2.49; I will fill it with candy for my dad for Christmas. I found four hooded sweatshirts for my son for $5 each; two are our local major league baseball time, one is a name brand athletic company and one is for the school he attends. My son loves to wear sweatshirts year round, so this was quite the find. And lastly, I found two hallmark ornaments from 2018 at the hallmark store for 75% off. These will be gifts for two different family members. I am doing as much as I can to find gifts for my family for birthdays and Christmas at rock bottom prices and also way ahead of time. It’s my hope that by doing a lot of things ahead of time, it will save me time in the fall/winter and I’ll be able to relax during the holidays and spend quality time with family 🙂

    1. Just dry out the cucumber seeds to replant next year. They should be pulled from cucumbers that are very ripe, so let them get a little bigger than normal before you collect seeds. Lemon cucumbers are open-pollinated so the seeds are good so long as they have had time to mature in the cucumber.

  46. Hi Everyone;
    .
    Not a frugal month at all. My dad who has dementia was told and tested that he cant drive anymore. He has been living alone since my mom died and living off of fast food- I would make him meals to heat in the microwave but he would forget they are in the fridge and I would end up throwing them out. He prides himself on his independence. So for the first few weeks as he adjusted to not driving I purchased his bacon egg and cheese biscuit for his breakfast every morning they have a special so that I could get another one for 16 cents. I would give the extra to a homeless person I know. I would bring him to my house for dinner. I am using a ton of gas driving to his house 2 or 3 times a day. Have been trying to get my dad to move in with me and he simply refuses. I will be buying a TV and cable -we haven’t had one for about a decade in hopes that he can stay happily at my house during the day. The nearest senior day care is over an hour drive one way. Once he gets used to being at my house during the day I hope he will move in. It will be about year and half before he can go to the VA nursing home. I am hopping to find some assistance with him when I am at work my disabled daughter can help a bit. I am trying to create a space for him to be comfortable in my house which will be frugal saving about 80 a day for adult day care that we would not be able to afford. I am trying to work from my house as much as possible so that I have more time. I did get my apple tree planted. My cherry tree has had catapiliers and destroyed all the leaves. A neighbor used a tractor to spread my 2 cubic yards of topsoil for free and wouldn’t let me pay him. My peapods are coming along nicely. My Mac Apple tree has about 30 apples on it! It had 2 last year- so progress.

    1. Just a thought- would it help to tell your Dad it would save you money/help you if he moved in with you? No need to go into detail….sometimes it helps to think of a few chores for people to do..watering garden ( in the evening when you are home to supervise ?)

    2. If your Dad is a veteran that served during a war, he may be eligible for a stipend from the US government for living expenses. My Dad served during the Korean war (and spent his whole time in Altoona, PA) and he gets a monthly amount. I’m not sure of the name of the program. I’ll ask my sister and let you know.

      1. Ok, she thinks it is VA Aide & Attendance and he gets about $1700/month towards his care. My Dad is in assisted living and this helps a lot!

  47. The grapes look absolutely divine! While birds and bugs and groundhogs got to our fruit trees/plants, our tomato plants and hens have been very productive – we are up to our necks in tomatoes and eggs! We have been eating them for several meals along with cucumbers and eggplants.

    Husband and I had unexpected car expenses so we will have to tighten our pursestrings this month. However, the county fair is in town and I dearly would love to go so I am looking up deals for the cheapest tickets. For several of our dates, we have been playing board games that we already own with friends or seeing a free movie courtesy of our library.

  48. I took a look in my fridge the other day and realized the “left over” basket is working really well. The kids are allowed to eat out of it at lunch/snack time and rarely food is going to waste. We are getting some tomatoes!! This is our first year and I learned so much here. I am also enjoying McDonald style french fries from a recipe a reader shared here. This past week my husband was installing a sound system in a church that was built in 1847. My two oldest boys each got a day to go help. The rest of us stopped by to see the church and see the sheep that live on the farm behind the church.

    1. Leftover basket is such a great idea! My husband always complains he never knows what he “is allowed” to eat. He is a late night snackers. I’m absolutely going to try this!!

  49. Well the cleanup from the sewage backup continues in my little apartment building – those evacuated are still not allowed to return! I have been very lucky but there was a notice under my door when I got home last night advising those with storage units on B Level that they would have to remove everything temporarily so that sanitizing could take place. I had moved from B to A level about a year ago – and downsized my unit considerably so this won’t affect me. I checked out my unit on A last week and everything seemed to be fine – no water and no smell so we’ll see. If I do have to move things it won’t be too bad as I have a very small unit with almost everything in plastic bins. I would just bring everything upstairs using my “bundle buggy” except for the bottom ones which I would first empty and then put directly into the bathtub to scrub – just in case. Most of the items down there are Christmas decorations and I’m actually thinking of selling a lot of them at the Fall Garage sale so this would be an opportunity to get all that done ahead of time – we’ll see.

    I worked another 20 hours and then did 3 extra hours on a training session so that will help. Everything is paid – I still have some allowance (even though I had two meals out last week – nothing expensive but good and really it was more about the socializing). Grocery money does need to be topped up before the end of the month but I did use $40 worth of Loyalty points to buy last week’s fresh produce, diary and a few sale items for the pantry. I am due an OOPE cheque so will split that one – half for groceries to the end of the month and half to savings. I honestly only need some more produce and milk & cheese but will wait until I see what the new flyers have on offer and probably shop on Friday morning.

    I spent $11 to see a show at the Toronto Fringe Festival – it was called the “Knitting Pilgrim” and was simply amazing. He is an actor and a knitter and started off this project years ago – he comes from a long line of Presbyterian ministers, still attends faithfully but became interested in both Judaism and Islam after 9/11 – and this multi-media show explores the similarities and the good & bad of these three Abramanic(?) descendants of Abraham religions. What he then did was create 3 “stained glass” windows from knitting! Each is 9 feet high and 5 feet wide and are just incredible to see – even if you aren’t a knitter. Here is his website – for those readers in Ontario he is touring for most of the next few months – http://www.kirkdunn.com/knitting-pilgrim
    I also walked over to City Hall with a friend after church on Sunday so we could tour the Outdoor Art Exhibit – there are some very talented people out there! I would have liked to purchase one or two pieces but they were a bit pricey – and really I don’t need anything – so I just looked. We climbed to the top to sit and relax – and cool down – in the shade of the rooftop garden and the breeze was just lovely.

    I am back to my decluttering efforts – my place isn’t bad but more and more I want to downsize and simplify even more than I have already. I’m trying to do this with what I have on hand as far as storage is concerned – no new purchases. And I’m also going to go through more clothing to either give to a friend or to donate to my church – I just want a very simple and coordinated wardrobe.

    Well – it is going up to 36C today and there is a thunderstorm going on at the moment – tale end of that storm that hit New Orleans last week – so it is going to be a miserable few days here – but that should keep things frugal as I won’t be venturing out much except for work! 🙂

  50. Hi Margie,

    I replied to your questions last week but for some reason I don’t think they were posted. Yes it’s Ann. I have many colours of the peonies. I planted the rose coloured ones in front of a rose coloured monarda (beebalm) which in turn is in front of a deep rose coloured clematis. There are different shades of yellow peonies, then white with dark purple centres, then red, then apricot with a darker orange centre. Almost all of the Itoh peonies are two-toned.
    The rose have a darker rose centre. I tried to colour co-ordinate them.

    The book seems destined to happen. I met with my indigenous contact. I need his help translating — I only realized it today that he has taught the language for 40 years. I met him at the archives and told him the indigenous names I had discovered for our area. He was thrilled as they are having a project to find the indigenous names of this area and these are the first he’s discovered. The archivist told me that my contact was VERY happy as he left the archives. I had suggested he could translate the whole first part of the book into syllabics and the native language.

    Shortly, I am off to my society’s board meeting. Someone is picking me up. In the meantime, I bought 5 plastic storage boxes at half price at Staples yesterday and arranged to have them delivered. Unthinkingly I told them to leave them on the porch if I wasn’t at home. Well, before I could answer the doorbell, the delivery man had piled them on the porch but now I am “boxed in”. Help is on the way. Ann

    1. Your peonies – and all your other flowers sound amazing! Those deep colours and then the contrast with the yellow and the white – I just wish peonies lasted a bit longer – they are just so spectacular!
      Congratulations on the wonderful feedback on the book and your research – the contact that you made should prove to be beneficial to you both!
      Don’t get me started on some of those delivery companies – the number of times I’ve sat in all day only to discover a “you weren’t home when we tried to deliver” notice in the lobby – liars! Be careful not to fall over them!

      1. Hi Margie,

        If only my monarda would bloom then everything in the deep rose colour would be in bloom. Not to worry about falling over the boxes! my fellow board member came to pick me up and he moved them so I could get out. We had heavy rain and today we got hail. I was in a handibus coming up a hill and the hail was golf-ball sized. Luckily at home it was only pea size and didn’t seem to cause much damage; however, the torrential rains a few nights ago really battered the roses that are fully open. One rose bud survived and I got lovely photos of it.

        I was at the archives today. I thought about not going but felt I should even if not totally ready. Well, my friend who is researching a similar subject (but much broader than mine) and he emailed the archives from Europe to ask if I were there and could I proofread his latest instalment.
        we were all laughing but they printed it off and I proofread it. For the next 4 or 5 days, I am going to really look at my book and try to get the footnotes completed so when the Archives close and move to the university I will have finished. Also, if the weather turns nice, I will find a way to get to my friend’s house to try for hummingbird photos. And I will be sorting things into the new storage boxes. Tomorrow I have to interview someone for a scholarship. Anyway, this book has a life of its own! Two days ago I was introduced to someone in the archives and it dawned on me this morning that he was the person who I need to ask for permission from to use a photo I’d like to use. Just last week I was wondering how I was going to find him! I survived our board meeting. I finally told them I wrote a book. They approved the extra expenses for the photos that I went ahead and ordered. There was one contentious issue but today I asked the director to explain her issue so we’re making headway. I hope your weather cools down a bit, Margie.

        1. Isn’t odd how things just work out sometimes – and when we least expect it. You are so close to the finish line now with the book so keep hat momentum going! 🙂
          We may be getting some of your hail this afternoon – it’s over 30C at 8am and we could end up feeling like 46C by this afternoon with thunderstorms expected! I am really hoping that you folks in the west send us some cooler weather soon!
          Have a good weekend.

          1. It is cool here — we will send it your way! Busy day — two archives replied to my questions in the queues. At the same time I was proofreading my friend’s stuff. Brandy, I’m assuming that your 46º temperature is a dry heat and I think Margie’s will be very humid.

            I can’t imagine 46º either way!

            I went to my house insurance broker and reviewed my policy. I happened to ask if the “wind damages” clause covered damage from tornadoes — I would have thought so but NO it didn’t. Given the recent tornadoes in Canada, I think we should have it. I went to save money; instead by the time I was done $500 more in the already expensive premiums and no tornado coverage. Sheesh!

            1. It is drier, yes, but that just means it’s like standing inside the oven. When the wind blows, it just gets hotter.

  51. Hi Brandy,
    I was happy to hear your grocery store had the $0.99/lb sale on hamburger! I got 10 pounds when it was on sale here on Phoenix ;). Last week a store had boneless skinless chicken breasts for $0.99 and so I also got 10 pounds of them for our freezer.

    Over the past three months, we have slowly been replacing some worn out items since we have a bit of breathing room in our budget. I looked at our income and spending for the year and we are on track. Since we are both retired, I sleep better when I know where we stand (I am the financial person, my husband is the mechanical one). So we fixed a garage door, replaced a broken kitchen sink, got new brakes on my car and bought some new clothes. Woohoo! I smile when I look at this list, when we were younger and more carefree with our money, our list of what we would spend money on looked quite different ;).

  52. Your harvest looks wonderful, Brandy! And I love how you entertained your children’s friends in such a fun and frugal way.
    Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were beef stir fry with homemade yum yum sauce, basil chicken fettuccine, chicken wraps with chips, lots of leftovers.
    *Took my car by the shop where we bought our tires and had them balanced and rotated for free. Also had a chip in the windshield repaired, which was much cheaper than replacing the windshield.
    *Made a honeybun cake for a funeral at church using ingredients on hand.
    *Took blueberry muffins from the freezer and made a quick glaze to put on them. Served these at bible study along with zucchini bread that was gifted to me and veggies and ranch dressing I already had.
    *Ordered a 12 PC Pyrex storage set for $9.99 after rebate. Also went through Rakuten to order and used our credit card to pay to earn points. This will go in the gift closet.
    *Helped with a meal at church and received two bbq dinners (with desserts) to take home. Also enjoyed a gospel singing before the meal.
    *My husband went camping with his boys group from church for the weekend. He brought back some sodas, orange juice and snacks that were leftover.
    *Renewed vehicle tags online instead of in person, saving an extra fee and time.
    *Ordered a wedding gift online going through Rakuten and using a gift certificate I had for partial payment.

  53. Your grapes look so sweet and juicy! The squirrels ate most of our meager five bunches before they even ripened.

    Last week I started wearing two slightly outgrown pairs of pants by making a one inch extender at the waistline. I sewed a button on one end of a one inch plus strip of twill tape or elastic.. I sewed a button hole on the other end. I matched up each button to each button hole. Not visible, as I don’t tuck shirts in. I also keep one in my purse for when I eat out and get bloated from some restaurant foods.

    We had a bumper crop of plums, so I peeled and sliced the sweet flesh and froze them on a cookie sheet. I broke them apart and stored in ziplock bags for future smoothies, jello gelatin or jam.

    The weather map of the USA looks frighteningly red this week. Please stay cool, everyone! My family members faint very easily from dehydration, and emergency room visits have not been part of our frugal plan.. Those froggy neck cloths have helped me stay comfy. I just soak them in tap water, squeeze, then flap them in the air until the fibers become really cold. Then I plaster the wet cloth around my neck. Aaaaaah, relief!

  54. My tomatoes are coming in regularly now, about 4 pounds a day. I’ve been saving my harvest until I get about two days worth and then make a batch of sauce. Not canning this year, only freezing, because our HVAC system has been having a hard time keeping up this summer. Its regularly quite warm in the house, so trying to keep the stove off as much as possible. We have someone coming out today to give us an estimate on repairs vs a new unit. The unit is 13 years old and is under sized for our house. Not very frugal, ha!
    Made several batches of refrigerator pickles, and 5 jars of salsa put up so far. I’m hoping for 15 if my plants keep this up! Came across a marked down cake mix at the store for .10! I snatched it up. Will use this for my son’s 4th birthday this weekend. I typically make cake from scratch, but I couldn’t pass up .10 cake. It will get transformed into batman cupcakes and leave me more time for decorating the house.
    My MIL is taking my oldest son on a special trip next week to celebrate the start of kindergarten. I offered to watch all of her pets for her, requiring a lengthy drive each way. I have the time every day as I am off in the summer, and it will only cost gas (a small expense compared to what she is doing for our son). She kindly offered to pay gas, which I refused. I did say yes, however, when she offered to give me some ground beef from her freezer 🙂 she is cutting down on red meat, and i have two growing boys, so it’s a great deal for me. Especially because red meat is so expensive! .99 a pound is such a great price, brandy! She also has a pool, so the youngest and I will swim everyday after we care for her pets. It will be in the 100s this weekend with brutal humidity, so there will be a lot of homemade popsicle eating this week. Especially if the HVAC unit continues to struggle….happy frugaling, all!

  55. We use a stylus on our tablets and spouse recently broke the rubber tip off his. When we bought our first ones they were $5.00 apiece at the office supply store. When we needed replacements I thought of the dollar store. No luck there. I thought I would check Amazon. They had TEN , in a package for $6.59, no sales tax, no shipping. I couldn’t believe it.

    My husband laughed at me looking for the best price for cheap styluses and said we had just paid a fortune for a trip to Hawaii last month. I told him we paid for a lot of the Hawaii trip with points, both airfare and hotel……and 2. We were able to afford Hawaii because of a lifetime of looking for cheap solutions for the small stuff. We are in our 70s.

    1. That is key, isn’t it? We save on the small stuff so we can afford the big stuff! We save on things that don’t really matter so we can do/have the things that do!

  56. I am melting like the Wizard of Oz witch here in the heat. I pulled several Yeti cups from the cupboard to use. I’ve never liked the bulky things and usually donate them. I’ve changed my mind. Some time ago , the girl brought home more of them from a convention. I must remember to not be rigid in my old age. A cup of ice will still be frozen 24 hours later in them . I made my trip into the city as practical as possible. I parked where there was free parking. I made a 10.00 purchase at Whole Foods and received a 10.00 credit for Prime day. I stopped at my daughter’s to deliver a birthday present instead of making a second trip up. The 60 mile drive into the city can take 2 hrs with summer traffic. Coming home is horrendous. With rush hour traffic it has become a 3 hr trip. I asked my daughter about a deal I had seen on Swagbucks . If you downloaded a food app and placed an order , you received 2850 swagbucks . I was going to order something easy and cheap before I headed home. My daughter ended up ordering food for dinner which several of us shared. I collected the swagbucks instantly. The girls all downloaded the app to collect their own swagbucks. I used several more Amazon codes I received to order more diapers and baby food for baby Henry. I bought my son a fire tablet from Amazon, but did wait to buy it on Prime Day with a credit and got it for 20.00. I had Starbucks I could have used and just hadn’t gotten around to redeeming them for an Amazon card . I had an interesting experience this week. I ordered 3 packages from Amazon. The delivery confirmation showed 3 packages were delivered . A photograph of the actual boxes sitting on the front porch was included . I absolutely loved that. The problem is there was only two small packages. Amazon called and said they would credit my account back for the shoes I ordered. They had no idea where that package had been delivered. I received an odd email that I have never seen before about my untrackable item. Two days later Fed ex showed up with them. I tried to send them back and the lady said they didn’t want them . I did give her the Fed ex number. Amazon seems to have gotten a tad to big. I find more mistakes than ever with them but then again, I do order frequently. I received a pair of children’s sandal s instead of womens. I had to strongly protest receiving only 1/3 of my money back when they had no inventory to replace them with the correct product. they charged me restocking fees after they were the ones that made the mistake. One of my daughter’s birthday gifts was a box of candy ; six containers of different types. They arrived all melted in a glob. Her building has a central mailroom inside that is air conditioned. Packages are delivered to the concierge at the front desk. Customer service offered me a 5.00 credit. This was after emailing them 18 shots of the security tape unbroken , top and side views. After posting the same photos on social media , they called and sent her a new box. I am dumbfounded by customer service each and every day. I simply don’t have very much spending money. Shopping for deals is the only way to buy us any little extras in life. Lately I find my patience being tested and I continue to try and be kind and gentle every day.

  57. Beautiful fruit!

    The frugal: I made zucchini cookies for lunches from the first zucchini of the season. I’ve also made four loaves of zucchini bread from subsequent pickings. I salvaged the overlooked bananas and turned them into popsicles for the kids to enjoy. I contacted my internet provider and negotiated a better plan for my household. The hvac technician visited and checked the air conditioning unit. I now know that I need to plan on replacing the furnace and air conditioning units in the near future, probabIy within three years. That gives me time to save and to check for best prices. I gave the kitchen scraps to the chickens by freezing them into an ice block as a treat for them on these hot afternoons. We have a family goal to turn out lights as we leave a room. The two year old is doing pretty well with this and I hope the six year old figures it out soon. We are spending our afternoons in the basement where it’s cooler and saving the chores downstairs for when it’s warmer upstairs. We went to farmers’ market and the splash pad this week, purchasing some wonderful produce there because our garden is not producing much yet.

    Have a wonderful week!

  58. It has been a busy week. I am saving money on gas. My son is here so I don’t have to drive to my parents. I can take care of him at my house now. With my parents help we finished his room and moved him in. Now to finish the rest.
    Hubby made 25 dollars at a talent contest.
    Borrowed books, movies and music at the library.
    Took grandkids to McDonalds and did not get happy meals but just sandwich and fries. It is way too hot here to be outside for a picnic. Kids played at the play place at McDonalds. Thought about traveling to our house to eat and play. we will do that next time. Took grandkids to the library for a fun time.
    Making payments on a doctor bill.
    Going to call Monday on a hospital bill.
    My husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary.
    Thinking about saving for taxes and propane again.
    turning off lights
    using Basil from garden, yum!
    Will be drying some basil.

    I like you pictures of wonderful produce Brandy!

  59. Tammy,

    My Italian inlaws freeze their basil and just break off what they need for the dish they are making. I now do that too as the flavor is so nice and fresh.

  60. * Checked out an eBook from the library instead of buying it from Amazon

    * Used our cargo bike for a grocery run instead of taking the van

    * Started a batch of apple scrap vinegar; starting a ginger bug as well in hopes of homemade naturally carbonated soda

    * Started beans and pumpkins from seed

    * Took a cutting from a fruiting mulberry in a public parkway; hoping to get it to root!

  61. Great finds! I wish we had Albertsons here.
    This week we started clothes shopping for switch to public school. Between sales and goodwill we spent 70 on a week’s worth of pants or shorts my teen was comfortable in.
    Tried on sons clothes. Because we bought men’s polos for my daughter’s last year, my son will hopefully get 1-2 years out of hand me downs.
    Checked out movies at library.
    Got scholarship for a youth group activity.
    Paid for scout awards using Scrip. I get reimbursement either way but now a % goes back to help the school we’re meeting at.
    Fasted for one meal. Working hard at upping water intake instead of soda
    Plan to double up on errands to save gas especially in this heat

    Have a blessed week!

  62. Brandy,
    What do you do when you seed for another go around such as this post mentioning zinnias, spinach and such? Do you put down seed in the same spot as something else or start the seeds in a potting mix for germination and transplant later? I’m trying to figure out when to plant what, how to plant it and what can go with what in the same bucket (I am bucket gardening). I see so many YouTube videos that say to start in a special mix and then transplant which honestly causes the cost to go up if you are trying to plant a couple hundred things every 4 months or so. I am lost on how to overlap my seasons as well. My goal is to have something growing all year long if I can manage it. I live in zone 6b.

    1. You can direct seed fall crops now in your zone. Check out my fall planting guide under the Garden tab.

  63. Just want to give a heads up to all those readers in Ontario to check out their local “No Frills” this week. Went out this morning and found a LOT of items on special prices that are not in the flyers!
    UHT milk for less than half price – No Name canned soups & veg for 44 cents plus other non No Name items greatly reduced and all have at least a year until BB dates.
    Worth checking.

  64. Lynn–thank you for the idea of using pictures on my husband’s dresser drawers. I don’t know if it will work or not, but it won’t cost me anything to try it—we have catalogs and tape already so a little time will do it. I will see how it works and might do it in the kitchen too. He used to empty the dishwasher all the time but he can’t remember where things go anymore. If the pictures help, it would be nice to give him more to do and save some time for me too. I hadn’t thought of using pictures at all!

    Also about Amazon products: I got an e-mail yesterday telling me that my recent purchase is “still being processed”–it was to be shipped directly from the manufacturer. I was a bit annoyed that they didn’t tell me sooner, but no worries! Next time my husband went out to sit on the porch, the big box was there with my purchase inside!! One hand doesn’t know what the other is doing!

  65. For Readers in the SF Bay Area, if you are looking for toys for Christmas, birthdays, etc., check out Target. I saw several things at 70% + off for super hero and cartoon characters. Great time to fill up the gift closet!

  66. Cindy, I love the idea of just leaving the clothes at your DD’s house. Think how easy future trips will be!

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