I spent many, many hours up late each night this week canning. I am grateful to my mother-in-law for teaching me the basics of canning. I had a newborn at the time (my second baby) and she came to my house and taught me to can peaches. 

With lots going on during the day (and another newborn!), I always find it easiest to can at night, when no meals are being prepared in the kitchen and no one needs anything from me.

Using cucumbers picked from my friend’s garden, I canned a batch of sweet pickle relish, a batch of bread and butter pickles, and a batch of giardiniera.

Concord Grapes The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut concords and another seeded grape from my garden and canned several quarts of grape juice. I also canned the grape pulp; instructions in the canning book say to strain and discard the solids so that you have clear juice. I don’t mind having unfiltered juice with a little pulp. Some of my jars were just juice, some were pulp and juice, and some were more just the thick pulp (like blended grapes) which are perfect to use in smoothies and in popsicles.

Green and Red Beans The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested figs, seedless grapes, green onions, Swiss chard, miniature bell peppers, a couple of peaches from the white garden, and red noodle beans. 

We collected eggs from my friend’s hens and picked tomatoes and green beans from her garden.

I used YouTube to show the children about many things mentioned in their schoolbooks. We saw videos about giant grouper, Niagara Falls, and Amsterdam.

My husband cleaned the dryer vent lines and removed the front lower panel of our front-loading washing machine and cleaned out the drain. These two things will help our clothes to dry in a timely manner. I had noticed them coming out of the washer wetter than normal and also taking longer to dry even after I did an extra spin cycle, so they will now be able to dry in one cycle, rather than taking twice as long as they had started to do.

I collected water from the air conditioner drip all week long and used it to water potted plants. I also used shower warm-up water to water potted plants.


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  1. I’ve been letting our finances slide a little in the past few months – haven’t been as diligent about tracking expenses. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I got back on top of things. This week I discovered that someone in Ireland has been using our credit card. Small expenses that flew under my radar. I only noticed it because I had two Netflix charges in the month, one of which had a foreign currency fee attached. Fortunately my bank is extremely helpful when this happens (not the first time). I closed the card and disputed the charges. We’ll get all our money back. In the meantime, we’re on a cash basis until our new card arrives.

    We ate nearly all our meals from home this week. My husband and I went out to dinner and a movie for our anniversary, but it was mostly covered by our gift from my parents. I haven’t been to a prime-time movie in a theater for a long time – holy cow that’s expensive! It was a nice treat to celebrate 15 years.

    My daughter has a baby tooth that is bothering her. She decided she’d rather wiggle it loose than have it pulled at the dentist (it’s not urgent, just irritated by a tooth coming in behind it, so the dentist left it up to her). That will save us $87 out of pocket, LOL.

    I submitted receipts for medical reimbursement as I got them (normally I let them sit until the end of the year and it’s a mad scramble to try and find enough to get our full reimbursement).

    I planned a menu for the next two weeks using what we have available at home – I just needed to buy some fresh produce for lunches and I’ll pick up milk at the dairy this week. This kept my grocery shopping to the bare minimum. We’ll eat from the pantry and freezer to save a bit on the grocery bill.

    I exercised using YouTube and other free videos I found on the internet.

  2. Mostly spent this week at home. Did my widowed brother’s mending. He brought us fresh raspberries when he picked his things up. I stopped at the thrift store this week hoping to find floor mats for our car. I found a new set still in the bag for 5.99. when I looked them up online they were 118.00.
    I bought hubby a pair of Foster grant sunglasses for 1/3 the regular price. Did very little grocery shopping this week other than some bread and bacon for blt’s, a container of ice cream for a treat, and some canning lids. Most meals were cooked from our pantry and garden. I did buy a 5# chicken on sale for 88@#. Cooked it in the rotisserie and have focused it in meals for several days. We have tomatoes, beets, green beans, carrots and a mountain of zucchini. I made a canner full of zucchini relish. All laundry washed in cold water and hung on the line. Opened the house early each morning and running fans keeps the house cool until nearly noon.

  3. Our cucumbers started coming in this week, so I waited until I had several good sized English ones, and canned 4 quarts of dill slices. Put up 10 pints of salsa from ingredients in the garden. Had a low cost birthday celebration for my son, who turned 3. Am stocking my freezer before returning to work August 3, and am anticipating a very low August and September grocery budget (fingers crossed).

    Dressed up my sons and took several photos in the woods behind our house- I got some great photos that I will use as Christmas gifts in dollar store frames this year! I’m trying to get all of my Christmas shopping done before Halloween this year, that way we can use every bit of December spending time together and enjoying the fun things.

    Drew up plans to make Halloween costumes for the boys- a robot and a rocket ship- using items we have. This will save money for us, the boys will love them, and I think people genuinely appreciate effort put into homemade costumes 🙂
    Ate rice and beans with some leftover meat twice this week’s, and will eat it again tonight along with other leftovers to clear out the fridge. Trying to teach the kids about not wasting food.

  4. It’s a wonderful feeling to see those jars of canned goods on the shelf, isn’t it?
    I attended a work conference all week, which wasn’t particularly frugal, though I did some things to help defray expenses: I took food and ate breakfast and a couple of lunches in my room. I only ended up eating out 3 times over 5 days (there were 3 meals included in the conference fee.)
    Parking at the hotel was $40 a day. Instead of paying that, I parked for free at a light rail station in the suburbs and paid $5 for a round-trip light rail ticket. I had to walk three blocks to the hotel with my roller bag, but it was an easy walk.
    I wore sensible shoes and walked to the one off-site meeting, 1/2 mile away. A couple of friends walked with me — we got to the meeting before those who decided to take a cab.
    I came home and harvested several pounds of carrots, a lot of garlic, and a bunch of chard and collard greens, which I will be preparing for the freezer this afternoon.
    My church is collecting sample size toiletries for a women’s shelter, so I was able to bring home some from my hotel room to contribute.

  5. I worked a few extra hours at my church job this week so that will help a bit when I submit this month’s hours.
    I combined a number of errands and some walking in order to save on transit fares.
    Found some good deals on bacon, cottage cheese, milk and cheese this week and used Loyalty points to pay for the bulk of groceries. Also found some good deals at the drugstore for the non-food items that I want to top up – aiming for at least a 6 month supply on everything – only a couple of more items to add.
    Had problems with my cable reception and by the time they got it sorted I had missed almost 3 full days of TV so I will be getting a credit on my next bill – of course I had to ask – they didn’t offer….
    Attended a free evening at a downtown independent bookstore as a “field trip” with my Sisters in Crime group (mystery writers and fans). There were sandwiches, cookies, wine & other cold drinks plus a “20 books in 20 minutes” presentation.
    Attended an evening outdoor presentation of Pygmalion at the Guildwood Park on Friday night – a friend lives nearby and asked if I would go with her. The ticket was $20 but I like to support local groups and they did a wonderful job. We sat outside and there was a lovely breeze without too many bugs – and my friend cooked a lovely salmon dinner for us so it was a great day.
    Otherwise I continued to use the library, stayed home some days and got caught up on laundry & ironing, and continued to use up items from the freezer and pantry.
    Canning is such a lot of work – I hope you are managing to get some decent hours of sleep – even with a new baby – I cannot imagine doing all that you do each week!

  6. It feels like I had a how much can you spend week.
    Animals went to the vet $295
    Car needed a few repairs $69
    Out of everything like paper towels and what not $200
    I did find some coupons for food items…
    Hopefully next week will be better

  7. I am currently waiting to have almost $800 of fraudulent charges reimbursed to my account from the week before last. One was $3.95 but the other was $770! I caught them the next day but it will be almost 2 weeks before I get the money back.

  8. Some of the things I did to keep more money in my pocket this week was to stay home instead of going to the stores.
    I paid all of my bills on time. Goodness those late charges are getting higher and higher.
    I accepted some frozen chickens that were on sale. I was given 4 of them.
    I am cooking all of our meat in the slow cooker to keep the house cooler. We are breaking records with our heat here in Texas.
    I cook enough meat for us to have meals for 3 or four days. This is saving me time and electricity.
    I made a chicken yesterday so we had chicken and rice last night. I will make chicken and noodles, risotto, chicken alfredo and then chicken salad from this one chicken. I will then put all of the bones, some onion, skin and whatever chicken is left in the slow cooker again to make broth. After that is finished the bones will go to the dog.
    All meals were made at home.
    I am making gnome ornaments to sell from scrap fabric and stuffing I have from other projects. These ornaments are almost free for me to make.
    I sold a parrot costume this week for Halloween. This was $137.50 I wasn’t expecting yet.
    My 14 year old granddaughter has grown so much (almost 6′ tall) this summer that none of her clothes fit. I have been looking for clothing for her and have found some leggings for good prices. Last night her mother came home with new clothes for herself (gifted to her) so she and Gaby went through her “old” clothes (mom is eating healthier and exercising and has gone down a size) and Gaby now has blouses and shorts for the start of school.
    I cancelled Prime Unlimited for the rest of the year. This saves me around $10.00 a month. I will be sewing more and won’t have time to read as much as I do when it isn’t my busy time.
    I had already cancelled Terminix. We will be spraying my house.
    I am trying to weigh if I can stand to cancel cable. This would save me about $60.00 a month. I can watch most of what I want on the computer so it may be gone in the next few months.
    I can’t think of much else I’ve done this week.
    Brandy, thank you for all you do.

  9. *My grandson & I picked the last of the pie cherries, then removed the net from the tree & folded it until we need it again next year. The net was a present from my youngest daughter several years ago, & since we have started using it, the yield of cherries has increased due to no bird or insect predation, but also because the net decreases the temperature under it. The lower temps also prolong the season & keep the cherries from rotting on the tree in temperatures over 90 degrees. We harvested 95 cups of pitted cherries this year, & the tree is still fairly young. We froze some & dehydrated some. The ones my grandson & I picked & pitted went first into my freezer, then home with him in an ice chest, to become pies & cobblers.

    *Picked more blackberries.

    *Enjoyed a long rainstorm that watered everything for free on Saturday night, complete with thunder & a little lightening. We opened a few strategically placed windows to let in the cool, clean air. We have had a lot of wildfires around us & at times the air has been smokey.

    *Cashed a pine cone check & completed another pine cone survey.

    *Exchanged several items of clothing within the family, updating wardrobes for free.

  10. That has to be tough, canning at night, but I can understand how that would be the best option for you. The color of those grapes are almost other wordly, they’re so beautiful. There are many concord grapes on our vines, which have dwindled some due to drought and animals. We had a beautiful rain last night, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to harvest and share lots. I canned blueberry jam last week, and besides blueberries, harvested yellow, spaghetti and tromboncino squash, cucumbers, basil, parsley, a few okra and apples, and our first ripe tomato. I saw our first little green beans today, so they won’t be far off. I hope you’ll be able to catch up on some sleep this week. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/07/summer-of-squash-frugal-accomplishments.html

  11. Just happened to think–my Mom had a recipe for “Zucchini Brown Betty” which tastes a lot like “Apple Brown Betty.” I assume if you grow zucchini you must have a million recipes for it. I also have a recipe for Lemon Zucchini bread, which I personally like a lot. If anyone doesn’t have these, just let me know and I will post either or both. I’m growing nothing but weeds this year although I am going to try to get my gardens ready for next spring if my body and the rain hold up. We were in a slight drought up until yesterday and I don’t know how much we got but it was all during dark hours.

  12. Canning is something I’d love to do more of! I haven’t found an inexpensive source of jars, though (I did tell my mom to keep an eye out in case she sees or hears or any; she lives about an hour away and so will have different opportunities), so I just pick them up locally when they go on sale and will continue to do so. All the canning I’ve done so far has also been late at night.

    We ate all homecooked meals this week. I hung the laundry out to dry, knitted several Christmas gifts, I cleaned out the refrigerator and made sure all leftovers got eaten before making new food. We made several trips to the library (picking up several interlibrary loan books) and had a lovely playdate at the park with friends. We also got some great deals on fruit this week, so my daughter and I have been enjoying fresh fruit with our lunches and as snacks all week long. 🙂

  13. We cancelled our cable and haven’t looked back. We do have Amazon Prime and Netflix, but those are much cheaper than having cable.

  14. Glad you got your canning in! It is so satisfying to see all those jars on the shelf, isn’t it?

    Here are my accomplishments for the week:

    Week of 7/15/18
    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Found 2 pennies.
    • Dinners consisted of eating up individual servings of leftovers I had frozen. I was able to use up 6 containers.
    • Bought my 2 ½ year old grandson some watercolors at the dollar store. He loved them and painted for about an hour! Money well spent.
    • Renewed my county library card. Checked out 2 more Agatha Christie books and a cookbook for vegetables. Am trying to eat more vegetables and less starches and I think if I were more creative with the vegetables it will be more satisfying.
    • Got more cherries on sale for 97c, which I pitted and froze. I ended up with 6 qts. frozen. Also got a free bag of Airhead candy with the Friday Freebie, a cantaloupe for 25c/lb, 6 bottles of my husband’s favorite shampoo for 69c each and 4 boxes of tissue for 49c each. The store also had a buy 1 get 2 free sale on petite sirloin. I got enough for 10+ meals for the 2 of us for $34.
    • Cooked a turkey I bought in November. Had turkey and gravy for dinner that night, then canned 7 qts. of turkey & broth soup starter and 9 – ½ pts. of turkey and froze 16 individual serving sized packets of sliced meat for lunches and 4 containers of turkey & gravy.
    • I’ve been eating smoothies for breakfast every day. I make up Ziploc bags of the fruit and veggie mix ahead of time and freeze. Then the night before, I put them in the refrigerator so they will partially thaw. Easier to blend that way. I’ve been really happy to be getting so much fruit at such good prices this year.
    • Worked 15 hours contract work.
    • Stayed in with hubby this weekend. We were going to watch a movie that my friend recommended, but it would have cost us $5.99. I just can’t justify spending that when there is so much we could watch for free. Instead we watched a couple of episodes of “Churchill’s Secret Agents: The New Recruits” on Netflix. Very interesting show!

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  15. I picked up 50 lbs of roma tomatoes from Sprouts for $25. I canned 13 quarts of slightly watery spaghetti sauce (we like ours loose and barely cooked down for things like goulash which will soak up the liquid), 24 pints of salsa (we eat lots of Mexican inspired dishes) and 3.5 pints of ketchup out of these.

    I also canned peach/blueberry pepper jam and peach scrap jelly.

    I got a large lot of jars from an old farm for $15. They were dirty and gross, but at the very bottom of the box, I found two old jars, that are worth $20-40 a piece (on average from ebay and etsy).

    I planted beets, mustard greens, carrots, and peas in the garden. It’s been hot and weird here in Kansas, nothing is really growing how I had hoped, but we’re trying.

    I put an ad on Craigslist seeking super cheap or free veggies, and I’ve found a source for zucchini (which I’ll turn into mock apple pie filling, mock lemon pie filling, mock pineapple, zucchini pickles and zucchini relish). I will hopefully be picking up a ton of those this week.

    We’re slowly building up our pantry. I spent almost $400 this month on food. Next month I should only spend $100 or so to rebuild and fill out the missing gaps.

    All in all, an amazing week.

  16. This week I finished quilting and binding the simple rectangles quilt I started the day I posted last week. Here is a link to the photo: https://pin.it/xr7k7mczkxdjqz I am pleased because, to me, the quilt looks a little more complex than it did before quiltiWe ng. It will go into my gift cupboard.

    Usual- eating at home from scratch, washing and reusing ziplocs. Gathering eggs from our hens (at any given time we have about 200 eggs in our basement fridge! I hard boiled another dozen in my Instant Pot (I do this every week) so we have an easy snack in the fridge!

    Our daughter paid off the final $130 of our loan to her for car repairs. She has been faithful about paying us every single month and it was great to see that she completed it now!

    Even though our savings took a hit with unexpected van repairs , we’ve been able to bring it back to it’s pre-repair balance!
    When I went to my produce market yesterday to buy some greens for my chickens ($1 for a 5 pound bag of spinach), my sweet friends there asked if I would like some tomatoes for my chickens. I asked how much and they said I could have them because they wouldn’t keep until Tuesday when they reopen (they are closed on Sunday and Monday) ! They brought out 5 plastic containers (which, btw, we love to keep because when not in use they fold flat!
    I thought there were about 120 pounds but it appears that there may be closer to 140 pounds! So I too am canning!! Tomato sauce cooking down in my roaster and then diced tomatoes in quart jars! Diced tomatoes are versatile and relatively quick to put up. Then later, I can use them to make and can salsa or sweet and sour sauce or chili, etc when I have more time!

    We did some more landscaping in the yard! My Freecycle bricks have now completed my side yard walkway and also almost completed the brick path in front of my 24 foot long raised bed with blackberry bushes!

    I’ve got a few ideas for prototypes of items to go into our sales inventory for our business using more of my fabric so I’m excited to do an ROI and test market them! Hopefully, I’ll get those made up this week!

    Still getting more cucumbers, zucchini and tomatoes from my garden.

    All in all, a very good week!

  17. From my cental Indiana garden I harvested lots of cucumber, one tomato, Swiss chard, and herbs as needed. I also harvested zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumber from a friend’s garden while she was on vacation. My zucchini plant suffered extensive vine borer damage so I removed the plant this week and started more seeds. I canned pickles, tomato jam, and cherry balsamic jam.

    I also found 6 solid wood dining chairs on Facebook marketplace for only $25 each! I had been looking for months for the style I wanted as we have an antique farmhouse style table. We picked them up today and they look amazing!

  18. Somebody from the bank told my husband that when somebody steals your card number they first do a tiny purchase to see if it goes through, and a big one afterwards. It’s really annoying and very hard to detect until it’s too late

  19. Thanks for another good idea-canning giardiniera. I have some cucumbers but not enough for a batch of pickles. I am going to try your recipes this week. What good ideas for using up all the grapes! Here is the ways we saved money this past week:
    – Pick some basil and dehydrated it-then grind to make it into powder. Added to already made jar.
    -We were gifted a $75 gift card to a local grocery store and I used points from Swagbucks to get 2 more $25 Wal Mart gift cards and turned in points from my ShopKick account and got another $25 gift card. Between both stores, I used them to stock up on canning and baking supplies. The haul should last hopefully until the end of October (or longer…).
    -Was gifted 4 dozen of fresh farm eggs. Very thankful for these since it’s one of a few protein DS eats.
    -Traded cucumbers for tomatoes with neighbor.
    -Finally got some rain over this weekend. Saved me from watering garden. Crop from garden this week was cucumbers, a few green beans, cherry tomatoes, a couple of green peppers and basil. The okra is flowering…
    -Hubby and son went to Target yesterday and they were having a Harry Potter Anniversary event. they picked up a backsack, poster (HP Lego characters), a bookmark and a temporary tattoo=all for free.
    -Free from snail mail= 2 coffee pods, a couple of “female” products, sample of hair mask and a sample of an all beet drink mix.
    -Canned some spaghetti sauce. —
    -Made homemade egg rolls and tried a cauliflower fried rice recipe. Wasn’t for sure how it would go over but Hubby loved both!
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!

  20. I refuse to spend any of the little savings I have accumulated. It may be needed for car expenses. I cut my grass and the neighbors grass to avoid any citations. ( it’s interesting that code enforcement is profiting off of this when there are so many other violations they should be addressing. I guess this one makes them more money) found that said neighbor removed dead battery from my truck for me. I hope to use Swagbucks to replace battery soon.
    Living with sugar cookie is like being on an Easter egg hunt often. Items are often placed ?????? I spent the week reorganizing my stockpile. All H&B are in bath closet. All dry goods in hall closet. All canned food and glass jars are on commercial shelving in garage. All small kitchen appliances are on shelf across the laundry room. I am adding another same length shelf under the other one for my baking/dry ingredients in Tupperware containers. I need a couple of screws(?) to put it in place. I tossed out tons of food that had expired . Most of this was salvaged from a restaurant I evicted from a former job. Many of the items I would have kept and used but we simply do not eat that way anymore. Being organized is so much more frugal.
    I salvaged several items this week while collecting Coca cola caps. A roll of gorilla tape was happily used to splinter my rake back together after I cracked it. Found two bottles of gorilla glue. I had a large crack down the center of a kitchen cabinet door. Glue fixed it right up. I almost cut my hand off using electric clippers to cut bushes on curb. After carefully evaluating situation. I bound up hand and taped tight. Once bleeding stopped, I cleaned it and sealed it. My late husband was a surgeon so I have experience. I bet gorilla glue and tape have not been used often for this purpose. It is healing and has no sign of infection. In hindsight, our medical bills from last year are over 600 thousand. One more wouldn’t have hurt. An ambulance ride isn’t practical when you have no way to get home. My frugalness has become extreme. I am hoping car will be repaired on first of month under warranty or recall and that the costs are all covered. I can’t handle many more problems. It makes me angry that a 2 year old car has these problems. Meanwhile I am spending no money. I am making do and using everything we have. I am happy and content and using all the free online streaming sources I have found. I miss my weekly trip to the thrift store. For all of you growing food it makes me smile to read your posts. You cannot possibly but a red ripe tomato here. I am so jealous.

  21. I don’t envy you canning at night either–but you have children old enough to help peel and cut now. Or do you prefer them out of your way? I know sometimes they slow you down more than they help.
    Have you ever made concord grape pie? It is really tasty but barely worth the trouble. You slide the peels off all the grapes but then add them back in to the pie filling. There is a recipe in the 1960-ish Betty Crocker cookbook, but I will warn you–The grapes of today do not need that much sugar!! A couple years ago I made two pies–one for us and one for the person who gave me the grapes. It took forever, and I never gave a thought to the sugar. I don’t think more than two slices from each pie were eaten—it was far too sweet. A terrible waste of effort. However, a grape growing region nearby has a grape festival every year and I’ve eaten the pie before and it was delicious! They sell a LOT of them and now I know why they are so expensive. I wouldn’t use more than 2/3-3/4 cup of sugar if I did it again.

    This week I only caught up on things after last weekend away. Bought veggies at the farmstand and only spent $22 at the supermarket. Used a $4 coupon on shampoo which was 2 bottles for $7–was pleased with that. Cooked a roast chicken a couple days ago that cost 50 cents a pound on special unadvertised sale. I could have had more but my freezer was very full that week. Another lady looked like she was getting quite a few. I got my husband to trim the trees in front of the house, making it possible for people to walk past without ducking, and also for me to see down the road when I’m backing out of the driveway. Have been researching stuff on line for my husband’s newly discovered needs–a medical alert pendant needs to be ordered so he doesn’t wander away and get lost–dr says it’s ok for him to walk or ride his bike on the canal towpath only–not on any streets. He has gotten mildly lost a couple times–knew what town he was in but not how to get back to the road he wanted to be on. He does carry a cell phone –he can call me if he remembers to! His helpful tasks have to be done in a supervised way—so trimming the trees was an accomplishment. We ate all meals at home this week. I put 10# of sour cherries for pies in the freezer which I had purchased at a nearby farm, already pitted. If you buy 30# they are lots cheaper so next year I have to find two friends to share with. My daughter and I are going to the Amish store tomorrow–I need oatmeal and she wants veggies–they have excellent prices there. If they have sweet peppers I may get them there as they are usually 50 cents each. Good time to make stuffed peppers. I will also cut and freeze some as more come to market. Laundry was a trial this week–only did half of the past week’s so had to catch up after the weekend away, and it is wearing to go up and down those cellar stairs these days. Make chicken in gravy over biscuits the next night and still have chicken left that I will do something more with. Not sure what just yet. I thought I had a free week, but got a reminder call yesterday for a doctor’s appointment on Thursday–had forgotten to write it on the calendar. Good thing they call these days–for older folks like me, anyhow!

  22. I remember a lot of nights of a couple hours sleep when all the kids were home and I canned at night to keep the house cooler as we didn’t have AC.

    I used a couple recipes that were Brandy’s especially zucchini potato pancakes.

    This week we have been gifted with zucchini (now shredded and put in freezer and 5 different flavors of zucchini jam canned) sweet corn that was put in freezer along with other garden items.

    I mended a pair of pants for Hubby and a PJ shorts for myself.

    We turned down 2 different parties that we were invited to as it would have costs us more money than we felt comfortable with spending.
    Blessed Be everyone ….

  23. I love the photo of your concord grapes, Brandy, and I’m always impressed by how proactive you are in terms of the care of your appliances. Another busy and productive week for you!

    My week was good too:
    – Inspired by some family friends and items I had in my garden (parsley, radishes, and mint), pantry (onions and spices), and fridge (tomatoes, lemon juice, and cucumbers), I made Syrian-Style Chopped Salad (http://approachingfood.com/syrian-style-chopped-salad/). Super-refreshing on a hot summer’s day, and almost entirely possible to make from garden produce, so quite frugal.
    – Using my local trading app, I was able to trade a box of nut bars that I no longer liked (I bought them from Costco, using my membership that my work paid for, thinking that the bars would be a good source of protein for work snacks, but no longer liked them once pregnant) for some of the digital currency that the app uses. I plan to trade this currency for bitcoin, which is what my DH currently uses to get money to his mom overseas. A bit of a convoluted trade, but it got rid of something I no longer wanted, and will be translated into money for my MIL!
    – I picked radishes, mint, and parsley from my garden and thinned and replanted some lettuce.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Amazon.ca.
    – I meal-prepped two weeks worth of smoothies for the freezer (I package the ingredients individually in a baggie, so when I want to make a smoothie, I just add some homemade yoghurt and blend it all up. A fruit-veggie-almond butter smoothie is so perfect to have for dinner after a long day of work and walking home in the heat! I sit and put my feet up to reduce pregnancy swelling, and drink the smoothie, and by the time I’m finished the smoothie, I feel so much better and ready to tackle the rest of the evening. A very frugal yet healthy meal!
    – I gave myself a manicure at home. I used to sell make-up products as a side hustle (it was how I managed to pay for my airfare and accommodations on my trip to Italy & France five years ago, and I still have lots of highly discounted supplies leftover). Now my nails look nice, and all it took was my time!
    – My mother belongs to a website called houseseats which, for a small membership fee, gives members the option to get free tickets to the theatre on a first come-first served basis (she bought the membership when there was a get-two-years-for-the-price-of-one deal). She uses it to get random tickets to shows for her and my father, and it has served her well as she has gotten tickets to local productions of plays as well as tickets to the symphony and so on. This time she was able to get tickets to The Tempest at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, which is a big Shakespearean play festival. Usually she and I go on a yearly mother-daughter weekend to the festival, but we hadn’t booked anything this year, so it was very serendipitous! We drove there and back the same day. Medium-range tickets can cost over $150 for two, depending on the seating you select so it was a very good find! We parked far away from the theatre and so didn’t have to pay for parking. We packed snacks and drinks in a cooler. We did stop for dinner in town: my mum paid for dinner (sandwiches) and I paid for dessert (ice cream) and we managed to find parking for a brief period of time in the tourist info parking lot and only had to pay 25 cents. It was a fabulous mother-daughter get-away for $25 OOP!
    – My husband redeemed loyalty points for $60 of free groceries (he has a loyalty credit card that gives him double grocery points, so we try to put most purchases on his card. We pay it off every month, obviously.) Yay for free groceries!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

  24. Hi all –

    Last week was not the greatest week $ wise…

    Focusing on frugal things done –
    – stayed in most of the week
    – college daughter was home for a few days and usually go out to movies. We found a movie to watch on Netflix instead
    – received a $88 check from decluttr for old Apple Watch and a book – will be used for bills
    – read library books
    – made homemade meals and had leftovers
    – my Husband & FIL went grocery shopping, I decided to go so they would spend wisely. Was a $70 trip and FIL paid $60
    – washed baggies, full loads for washer & dishwasher
    – hung clothes to dry
    – enjoyed the mountain views here

    That is all I can think of …
    Enjoy your week!

  25. Hi Cindi—Please accept my apologies if I am sounding forward as I have no idea where you work or if you attended a conference for your own business. If you work for an agency or other company, please check with your employer about what types of expenses they cover if you have not yet done so. I am a Director of an agency and was surprised a year or so ago that a few of my employees didn’t realize that our agency would pay for their parking fees incurred while attending meetings; our agency also provides a set amount of money each day to cover meal expenses. As am employer, I would not expect my folks to cover extra costs while attending a work function such as an out of town conference. It could be that your agency might cover your expenses if you have a receipt…or at least a portion of your expenses. I hope so!

  26. So glad the produce you have received from your friends garden, as well as your own, are being canned for future use, Brandy! Always nice when you can pull those home-canned items off the shelf, instead of having to purchase them. Love the idea of canning the grape pulp for making popsicles later, too. You must be exhausted from all the late nights, though.

    We finally had a full day of rain today. Whoohooo!!! Our gardens and field crops were in desperate need, not to mention the numerous wild fires that are happening, due to such dry conditions! Hope the fire ban is lifted soon, so we can do cooking demos in the open fire pit at work again. This week we were able to accomplish the following frugal tasks:
    *Meals made at home included chicken fingers with green beans and choice of sweet potato fries (I made myself some spicy dip for my sweet potato fries using a bit of mayo, a generous pinch of garlic powder and a small sprinkle of sriracha powder) or potato wedges, shepherds pie (made using leftover roast beef), chicken low mien stir-fry, breaded chicken burgers/patties with fresh corn on the cob, and crock-pot meatballs in gravy with mashed potatoes and green beans.
    *Harvested lettuce, a few beans, a few peas (mostly as seeds to save for next year), and 2 small pickling cucumbers. There are several small cucumbers developing, so I am hoping I will get enough to can a jar of pickles soon.
    *Cut, blanched and froze a dozen bunches of broccoli (in the winter fresh broccoli is around $2.50/bunch and I bought these for $0.97/bunch). Bought a bushel of mixed green and yellow/waxed beans at the farmers market for $50. Last year I bought a half bushel and I ran out of green/yellow waxed beans rather quickly. We are slowly blanching and freezing the beans for use during the winter (about 2/3 of bushel already done). I also bought a dozen sweet corn, which we enjoyed for dinner that night. The niblets were cut from the leftover cobs and frozen for use during winter. We will continue to do this almost every week with corn on the cob until corn is done for the season. Every summer/fall, I blanch and freeze fresh produce my family enjoys eating, as they are in season and on sale. We then use these fruits and veggies throughout our long Canadian winter. I find this saves quite a bit of money, instead of buying frozen veggies each week at a minimum cost of $2-$4/bag (frozen veggies are much cheaper than canned), or frozen or canned fruit which is even more expensive! I still buy a few bags of frozen veggies, like peas (they are very expensive to buy fresh, and I can’t grow enough to preserve for winter) and corn (despite my best efforts, we go through more corn than I can preserve each winter), and some fresh produce (like apples, oranges, bananas, lettuce and spinach) but it is kept to a minimum by preserving the summer harvests!
    *Used reusable silicone baking sheet liners that I already own to line the pan when freezing the veggies. They work great at stopping the veggies from freezing to the pans, can be used to funnel the frozen veggies into the Ziploc bags and are recyclable which saves me money!
    *Started a word document to keep a record of the fresh produce we purchase this summer (including notes on prices and quantities), how much it made in preserves for winter (e.g. how many jars of jam or how many bags of frozen veggies, and an inventory of what was leftover from previous year that can still be used this coming winter. My plan is to update this each year, so I can keep a record of everything I did year to year and use it as a reference in the future. By using/saving a word document on my computer, I don’t waste paper, it costs me nothing, and I can update and add any time I want!
    *Went to Costco instead of doing a grocery shop, since we didn’t need much from the regular grocery store this week. I was pleasantly surprised to find 4 items on my stock up list on sale! It ended up costing more than I originally expected, but I am now set for shampoo (which we just ran out of that morning), conditioner (was almost out of this as well), Kleenex (we only had a couple boxes left), and fabric softener (almost out as well) for a while. Hubby was thrilled that his beloved Drumstick ice cream cones were on sale as well, so we bought 2 boxes of those too (you’d think the man was hard done by with the pathetic whine he produced when we run out of these!).
    *I have made efforts lately to make meatless lunches to take to work. The previous week I had BBQ chickpea wraps (one home-canned quart of chickpeas lasted several days). This past week I took a small reusable container of baked beans (1 can lasted 4 or 5 lunches) and a bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese. This was complimented with some fruit, a yogurt and 2 reusable travel mugs filled with ice and tap water (which stays cold for hours!). My family are not into “meatless meals”, so this is my way of doing it without revolt.
    *Free things I received from work this week: Popcorn (leftover at end of day from food booth), an “all day” sucker and a smaller sucker (broken, so written off), a couple salt water taffy (candy melted out of wrapper, so written off), baked treats (made in buildings, health department will not let us give samples to public any more), lemonade, and soup (made from veggies and fresh herbs picked from the gardens at work).
    *Took DD and her friend swimming at the recreation centre for free through the PHIT program (this program is run out of our hospital, designed for children struggling with weight and/or other health issues), saving me the $15 fee for all 3 of us to go. We enjoyed the hour long public swim and got some great exercise at the same time!

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments, even if it takes me most of the week to read them all! Have a lovely week everyone.

  27. Happy Sunday, everyone!

    We had a few frugal fails this week, but I am going to choose do focus on the good.

    Friday was my birthday. I redeemed coupons for a free Nothing Bundt Cake, free El Pollo Loco meal, free Wetzel Pretzel, and a free Venti Triple Mocha Frap from Starbucks. Such indulgence.

    My mom gifted me a Target gift card, at my request. I used it to purchased much needed under things. I still have money left.

    My dad gifted me a home made meal, a beautiful orchid and money. I’m saving that until I find just the right thing.

    My office was amazing. First of all, Thursday was our All Staff retreat. My job is all the logistics. We served breakfast; that was quite yummy. My boss very graciously thanked me in front of everyone at the retreat. Then, Friday, I walked into the office to a decorated door (our little tradition), then, my coworkers came in my office singing and handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a cute mason jar vase and my favorite Starbucks drink and a card. As they left my boss mentioned that it was also a thank you for my hard work on the retreat. When I opened the cars there was a Chipotle gift card inside. I was truly blown away by their generosity. On top of all that, my boss made me leave work two hours early 😀

    My family took me out for an inexpensive dinner and bought me yet another flower pin. I love those things.

    That’s pretty much it for me. Have a great week everyone!

  28. We have a store near us that sells clothing, accessories and home goods at close-out prices. Often, these items are in perfect condition, they just were last year’s style or a catalog return or similar. But just as often, the products have a flaw. But the discounts are so great that it’s worth digging around every so often to see what you find. This week, they advertised a 99 cent sale, so I went and found 5 items – 4 pairs of shoes and a purse, all new with tags. I came home and did a quick internet search to discover that the items retail for around $250 total. I paid just $5! The purse needed a tiny mend on the strap but due to the design of the purse, the mending doesn’t even show. One of the pairs of shoes needed a small area glued, but the other three pairs were perfect. I’ve stopped shopping at thrift stores and almost exclusively shop at this store now because I rarely pay more than a few dollars for anything. Also, I usually shop at Aldi, but one of the local grocery stores had raspberries for $1 a pint, so I bought several pints and froze them. I also purchased gluten-free crackers, which were on sale for the lowest price they ever are around here, plus I combined them with coupons, to save a total of $2.50 per box. I also bought a home-waxing kit to wax my legs. I don’t shave during the winter, but in the summer I like to remove the hair on my lower legs. Lately, shaving has started aggravating my eczema, so I tried salon waxing and it was great – no irritation at all and it lasts much longer than shaving. It’s expensive, though, so I purchased a kit on Amazon this week to wax my own legs for half the cost of one salon visit. The kit has enough supplies for the whole summer and beyond. And tonight I will cut my husband’s hair.

  29. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    So glad you have been able to pick so much lovely produce from the gardens that you have been able to preserve to add to your pantry Brandy . I also remember doing cooking and baking late at nights when my children were small so there were no distractions and half the cookie/biscuit dough didn’t go missing before it was cooked 🙂 .

    Our savings and earnings last week added up to $428.21.

    Here is how we saved and feathered our nest –

    Earnings –
    – Earned $50.40 from the sale of a home made bread bag and 300 g of thyme picked from the gardens and dried in my internet store.
    – Earned $3 from the sale for a garden harvested a bunch of silver beet to friends.

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 26.80 % of the way there.

    Purchases –
    – BigW were have a huge clearance on their winter and some summer clothing with markdowns and a further markdown of 40% off those prices again (18th to the 26th I think) in store. With our following purchases we saved 73.31% or $267 on usual retail prices and stocked both of our wardrobes for a few years to come in winter clothing.

    For myself I purchased on special 2 pairs of knitted gloves, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of jeggings, 2 pairs of shaping tights, 1 x 3/4 sleeve lace detail t-shirt, 8 x l/s t-shirts, 3 x 5 pk of cushioned sports socks, 3 x puffer vests, 3 x puffer jackets. For DH we purchased 4 x l/s t-shirts, 1 zip polar fleece jacket, 4 quilted track suit tops, 6 tracksuit tops and 4 x tracksuit pants.

    In the gardens –
    – Separated out 392 g of thyme picked and dried from the gardens saving $52.68 over purchasing it.
    – Picked 21 g of snow peas, 254 g of early Massey shelling peas, 200 g of money maker tomatoes and 2.3 kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $52.68 over purchasing them in the supermarkets.
    – Harvested more French and English lavender to dry from the gardens and separated other dried garden harvested French and English lavender saving $9.68 over purchasing it in the shops.

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

    Other frugal things we usually do –
    – Saved warm up shower water and dish rinsing water to water the fruit tree pot plants on the back veranda, only turned on the electric hot water system when it needed heating, heated the home with free firewood, boiled our kettle most days on top the slow combustion fireplace instead of using the electric kettle, hung washing out to dry on the clothes line and washed out and reused clip seal freezer bags.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


  30. Karen and Brandy the fraudulent credit card charges and hacking are rife all over the world unfortunately 🙁 .

    I also had it happen once when I put in a bulk order with an online grocery order and they notified me that their website had been hacked and personal data taken. Just after that I saw a huge charge from an overseas destination on my credit card and rang up the bank but likewise it was a couple of weeks until it was sorted out and the bank sent me out another card. It is so inconvenient.

    This is why I keep a running tally of what I put on my credit card so if the balance is higher than that I know there is something wrong and query it.


  31. I enjoyed produce from my gardens: lettuce, chard, beets, peas, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, yellow squash, strawberries, raspberries. I harvested my garlic and onions. I picked blackberries for free from bushes growing along my street. I accepted some free berries from one of my neighbors.
    I picked apples for free from a city park. I shared half of the apples with the manager at my community garden. She’s been giving me free produce that are her returns from her farmer’s market booth. This week she gave me one green cabbage and one purple cabbage. I made coleslaw.
    I stayed out of the thrift store. I went grocery shopping but only picked up this week’s loss leaders and some milk and eggs.
    I continued to track all my purchases in my notebook.
    I went to the library twice to pickup holds I’d requested and to return items.
    I shredded most of the zucchini and yellow squash and froze them in 2-cup portions.

  32. I have been spending more than I want to this month so I am going to start exercising better self-control starting this week. We ate all meals at home and did a fairly small grocery shop for some vegetables and dairy. My mom very generously sent home with us after Sunday dinner at her house some blueberries (which I will freeze the bulk of), some melon, some stewing beef and some chicken breasts. We are very blessed that my mom is so generous as it really fills our fridge and freezer. I received a couple more beauty samples so my basket is starting to overflow. We received quite a bit of rain this weekend so it has kept the temperatures down so that we can leave the air conditioner off and it waters the garden naturally! I also gather as much of the rainfall as I can so we’ll have water for the plants when they need it.

    Hope everyone has a frugal week!

  33. A couple of small checks arrived that I wasn’t expecting. One is a rebate of a carbon tax, and I will see three more checks over the coming year. The other was because of a $5 a month increase in my government pension, because of contributing from employment last year. The check paid me retroactively for six months. These checks plus some extra work earnings made it possible for me to pay a bill that I thought I would have to delay. The next carbon tax rebate comes the day before Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, so at least that meal will be taken care of!

    5 lb. flats of blueberries are in today’s grocery flyer, at $2.00 less a flat than last year. The last time we saw this price was four years ago. I will be picking some up tomorrow, and freezing them in 2-cup bags for the winter.

    10 days ago I took the car in for some servicing at the next town over. On the way home, it seemed to have developed a whistle, so I am doing without the car for a couple of weeks until I can get it fixed. I live a block or two from most places I need to go, so no problem.

    I decided that this year I would go without getting produce from a CSA. I have been to the local farmer’s market and bought greens for salad and for cooking at less than what the store charges. The growing weather has been perfect here, so I am enjoying this fresh produce. The market is very close by, but only runs for 3 hours a week. I find it hard to remember to go over there at the right time.

    I am enjoying some library books, and some new shows that are on CBC online for free.

  34. My understand is that crooks first float a very small to charge to see if it will go through. Hence the $3.95, THEN they try more major purchases. Your $770. I think the bank told me this a couple of years back.

  35. Brandy, what a brilliant idea to can grape pulp for smoothies and popsicles! Using YouTube for education is another idea I’ll use in the future for teaching.

    Last week, here is what I did to save money:
    * Combined several trips on one day to save time, gas, and money.
    * Cooked the food for our client appreciation dinner instead of ordering much inferior food that would have cost even more. I used beans and rice that I already had on hand and salsa that I got for $1 off with a store coupon! The dinner was a huge success, and people loved the meal.
    * We took a walk to the store to save gas, get exercise, get fresh air, and purchase supplies we needed.
    * We had a frugal date taking a walk in a nearby park.
    * We left the air conditioner off all week (for several weeks in a row now). It has actually been almost COLD compared to past weeks. Our highs have been around 85, and our lows in the mid-60’s at night!
    * I gladly made all my husband’s lunches for him to take to work with him.
    * We made our own bread in a bread machine that was a gift to us a few years ago.
    * Some friends with whom we were in contact have hand, foot, mouth disease. We doubled and tripled up on immune-boosting natural remedies to avoid getting it ourselves.

  36. Becky, we cancelled our cable several years ago. Admittedly, we did have about a month of angst lol, but then it was over. We got an antenna and found that there was more we liked, 3 PBS stations! We watch far less tv now and get a lot more done. We get series’ at the library like Downton Abbey, Sherlock, etc.

  37. Wow, you are amazing in your dedication with nighttime canning! Some small frugal gains.
    1. Returned some clothing items I had ordered online. I really don’t need more summer clothes no matter how much I might want them.
    2. Cooked dinner at home every night except for a family party at which we were guests.
    3. Went on a free lighthouse tour in a nearby town.
    4. Couldn’t remember the name of the park we had stopped at on our last drive to visit our son but finally found it on line! Great calm place to have a bite to eat, exercise the dog and stretch our legs. The dog hates the rest stops along the highway as the noise level is high. We have hated the bugs lol.
    5. Frugal for someone else and us: we agreed to have a distant cousin spend two nights but she did headed out to have meals with others.

  38. For the last few months, mom has been holding onto a tall wicker planter wedged against the porch post to get onto the front porch. I was thinking it was time to add a handrail but hated the thought of drilling into the brick wall or the asphalt driveway, much less the expense of having to buy a handrail and either relying on the kindness of a friend or paying a professional to install it. We’ve decided to add a white powder-coated shower grab bar to the wood post by the step instead. The grab bar cost less than $12. However it came with grey screws so my d-i-y installation is on hold until I buy six long rust-proof white screws.

    I have been bringing my drinks from home when mom and I run errands. She loves McDonald decaf so we are still going through the drive-thru but are usually ordering one drink, not two.

    I have been watching videos on youtube about lymphadema massage and bandaging. Mom has had intermittent problems with the skin on her lower legs because of poor circulation (the first symptom, a red rash on her lower legs, appeared over forty years ago when she stood for hours at an amusement park on a hot day) and, more recently, lymphedema. She was referred to a lymphadema clinic after her annual checkup. She has been having a lymphatic drainage massage, some exercises, and careful bandaging done three times a week. Her legs were in bad enough shape that several weeks of therapy will be covered by Medicare and her Medicare Supplemental Plan with just the regular annual deductible. Once the therapy ends, I will be responsible for the massage and bandaging, so I have quite a bit to learn in just a few weeks. One set of bandages were supplied by the clinic. But she’ll now need to budget for two sets of six short-stretch bandages (three per leg) every six months. The skin on her legs is looking so much better. One leg is back to its unswollen bony self for a while immediately after the bandages are removed and the other’s swelling is much reduced. It was scary last winter watching her calves slowly get bigger and the skin getting darker and leathery without knowing how to treat it. (And, yes, she had been seeing a podiatrist regularly for years, one who successfully treated the legs after the water blisters turned into open sores.)

    That’s about it. I am trying to catch up on the laundry. I do not know what I would do without a working washer and dryer in the basement. (Memo to self: Add at least a mini washer to your list of requirements for your own future senior housing.) Next week, I will be shortening a couple of pairs of slacks mom pulled out of the back of her closet. She has decided that “mommy the mummy” isn’t the most attractive look for her and wants to wear slacks to hide her bandages instead of skirts more often when we are out and about.

    This afternoon, I bought a six-month supply of emergency food for one in eight buckets from Augason Farms for less than $200, half off, thanks to a coupon they had emailed. I bumped the order over $200 to snag free shipping by also buying a bag of baking mix that was discounted 75% to less than $5. I need to add salt, oil, spices for beans, and something like Tang to complete a very basic emergency supply. The food will be rotated into our everyday supplies.

  39. Brandy, my MIL taught me to can, too. We canned pears–and, later, applesauce–from her trees. That was 49 years ago. I worked for a newspaper at the time and put a free ad in the classified section for used jars. I got some for .50 dozen, and 4 or 5 dozen Ball widemouth jars, with rings and still in the boxes, for $1 dozen. I still have some of them. It’s funny, but I can look at most of my jars (the ones I still have) and tell you when and where I got them and how much (or little) I paid. I was big into gardening and canning in 1976 and bought a lot of Ball’s bicentennial jars. When we downsized, I sold a lot of jars, but I kept most of the original Balls and the bicentennial jars.

    Still haven’t got back into the frugal swing of things as a result of the move. However, I’ve been enjoying my new washer tremendously. It’s a top-loading HE model with no agitator. It’s Energy Star rated, uses very little water and a tiny amount of detergent, which I know will save $$$ over time. Last week I washed pillows and other bedding that I normally would have to take to the laundromat. Next week: dog beds! The super capacity is paying off.

    In last week’s comments, someone mentioned using milk that was about to go off to make cottage cheese. This inspired me to use some milk that was ready to turn in pancakes this morning. I had some blueberries that were a little past their prime and used them to make blueberry pancakes.

    I brought home the last of the groceries from our other house, so this week will be spent organizing my pantry. (I also found 3 pints of last year’s homemade blueberry jam, which was a score). I have a big pantry in the new house (half of the utility room) but, unfortunately, so little cabinet room in the kitchen that I’ve got all of my small appliances taking up space in the pantry. It will all get sorted…eventually!

  40. I just wanted to take a moment to encourage you to really consider cutting cable. Here in Ohio the cheapest we could find was $125 and couldn’t afford that. That was almost 5 years ago. We do have subscriptions to Hulu, Netflix and I have amazon prime but it allows us to watch all our normal shows but only have it be around 35 each month. Worst case you cut it for a month or two and try life without it and decide to go back to cable. Best case you cut to cord for good and save some cash. Good luck!!

  41. Hello all, Always enjoy reading everyone’s comments.

    Opened doors to let in cool air in the mornings
    Worked one day at my occasional office job
    Made a combined total of $357.75 selling on local facebook groups. We have been successful at selling and are accepting some commission for selling friends and neighbors items also.
    Redeemed $40 in points towards groceries
    Redeemed $50 Amazon giftcard from Swagbucks
    Made swag goals 5x
    Made a birthday card from supplies on hand
    Used Service shuttle instead of having my husband drive me to dealership
    And all the little “usual” frugal things I do mindlessly.
    Enjoy the week ahead!

  42. Hi Brandy, you are an inspiration as usual. Just interested to know if you have solar panels on your roof to help pay for your electricity? I hope you have a more restful week.

  43. I made Gluten-free fig bars today. It used 2# of figs that really needed using. We pick some every day. Also picking tomatoes from our garden, and Armenian cucumbers.
    Making fabric gift bags, burp cloths and pajama pants all from fabric scraps I had.
    I’ve been cutting 3” squares to make a quilt. All of these squares are from scraps. I have a net hamper that I put all my scraps in. When this got too full (after about 12years) I sorted all of the bits that were big enough to cut a square from. Eventually I’ll make a queen size spring/fall weight quilt entirely from scraps.
    Mending some clothes. My daughter has been inspired to mend/alter some of her clothes.
    I had one cutting of a houseplant (golden pothos) that I’d successfully rooted. I’m giving it to a friend for her birthday today. I have started 5 more cuttings from the same plant, since it worked so well.
    Keeping up with food leftovers. Since I have a long list of allergies, many of the items in the fridge I can’t eat. Other members of the family are not good at seeing what’s leftover, and eating it up. But they are very willing to eat it if I tell them what needs used.

  44. We’ve had that happen before. It seemed for us that they ran a small charge through to see if they could get it to work, then tried a big one. Very disturbing, but it happens. We got our money back, as well.

  45. We do not. The solar company offered incentives here for people renting them–but then took them back. Also, unknown to most people, the electric company technically has the right to charge you for anything you put back ON the grid!!!:o!!! Our friend who is off-grid completely (the one who has the swamp-cooled greenhouse) knows all the rules and after learning about it a couple of years back when we were seriously considering it, the only thing that makes sense is to be completely off-grid concerning electricity. That’s a huge chunk of money to come up with (like $60,000) so no, we don’t have solar panels.

  46. I have spent SO much time canning at night, or early (like really early) in the morning over the years. Even though it’s hard, there is such a peace about having the calm kitchen to yourself. I used to worry that kids would get burned if they were underfoot, not to mention being asked for something every few minutes. I agree it’s tiring, but worth it. I hope once this batch of items are canned, you can rest up a bit for the next batch of produce that comes along. In the meanwhile, bask in the beauty of those full jars and the popping lids as you finish each batch! It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world.

    I’ve been getting small batches of a few things preserved–zucchini dill chips, 2 jars beet pickles (wish it was more there, but that’s what there was), several batches of various jams, and frozen berries. Our family is smaller now, and I’m getting older and so my energy is less than it was, so it’s all working out. We still use many, many more jars in a year of home-canned produce than many people do nowadays, so my idea of less is relative. I plan to get some New Haven peaches tomorrow from my sister when I go up there to help her can green beans. I hope to make jam and freeze a bunch. Later, I will get Elbertas from her to can.

    This week, I pulled some very old turkey drumsticks and pork chops out of the depths of the freezers and made them into good dinners. I’m glad they were still usable. We’ve been doing all of our cooking and eating at home, except for one meal at our oldest daughter’s house yesterday(she wouldn’t let me bring anything–what a day off), and family Sunday dinner at my sister’s today (all food pre-cooked and taken there). I’ve been spending hours cooking from scratch to best use our garden produce and other food items. I brought our grocery budget down a little this past month (mine goes from mid-month to mid-month) and would like to bring it down more this month. We’ve had lettuce, snow peas, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and a few potatoes so far. Other things are coming along nicely.

    My husband has been hitting yard sales. He bought a few items and has listed and re-sold them, making a little money. We both are working with our niece and nephew.

    He found a couple of clothing items for our daughter at yard sales. He got about 20 jam/jelly jars for free. I plan to give jam as Christmas gifts, as usual, so I’m super happy about that, as giving away my jars depletes my supply in a hurry.

    I’ve been doing a little extra cleaning around here, which brings me peace. It saves me money as well vs. paying someone to do it. Truthfully, I would not pay anyone to go though my things at this point, but still….

    We’ve been utilizing the library, both for children’s programs and for books and movies.

    I, also, have been looking things up on the internet when a child asks a question–to show them a picture of the answer to their inquiry.

    I continue to water, water, water with the water from the well in our back yard. If it wasn’t there, I would let the lawn go brown, but would still have to water the garden. We are having another bout of temperatures in the 90’s after a few days in the 80’s. For us, that’s really hot. (Don’t laugh too loud). I did put some weeds in the weed bin on the cooler days and we got the lawn mowed and some weeds in the garden pulled. I’d love to fill it each week, as they haul it away each week, included in our garbage service. It’s just been a little too hot for me….

    My car is still broken and in the shop. I am still driving my nephew’s old Mazda stick shift, with no air conditioning, and lots of quirks, and am very thankful I have something to get around in. Still, it’s condition discourages me a bit, so I stay home more. There are times, though, when my work requires me to go somewhere with those kids or I have doctor’s appointments or therapy for mine…..it’s saving us gas when I drive it or stay home, but the van is costing us more since we are using it more….needless to say, I’ll be glad to get my car back.

  47. I forgot. The post on the zucchini dill chips is here: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/07/21/zucchini-dill-chips/

    They came out really good and I will make more as the zucchini keeps producing. I hope to get enough to add to Christmas baskets. I like to make them for certain relatives when I want to give a little bit of love to someone so they know I remember them without spending a fortune. I also put in jam, sometimes embroidered dish towels, etc.

  48. I am a native Texan – Corpus Christi – so know what you mean about that heat! You mentioned you give your dogs chicken bones; you might want to ask a vet about that. Ingested chicken bones can result in a mighty high vet bill!

  49. Brandy, I used to can late at night, too. I admire your efforts and you must surely be pleased with your results. It is so satisfying.

    It is too bad to throw away the pulp from the grapes, especially seedless grapes. I wonder if you could make jam with them by mixing them in with something like apples?

    A friend picked up groceries for me. I got a good deal on mini cucumbers, tomatoes, and ground beef.
    We picked up bottled water for $1.99 for 24 bottles. It is for our Historic Calgary Week talk.

    We have had forest fire smoke from B.C. but this afternoon it cleared for awhile. I enjoyed a quiet, peaceful sit outside. I changed the hummingbird feeder but none showed up today. It will (hard to believe) all too soon be time for them to migrate southward.

  50. Concord grapes are my favorite! Yours look wonderful!

    We continue to try and save money. Hubby helps cook. Use computer. Library movies and books. Entertaining ourselves on the farm. Watching chickens, Sunrises and sunsets. Enjoying seeing deer in the evenings. Gardening. Need to pickle peppers and some gifted cucumbers.

  51. Living in a small tourist country town I don’t have a lot of shopping choices. The nearest city is an hours drive. I do have a Rite Aid 14 miles away and I get all my prescriptions filled there. That really adds up and I have what they call gold member status which means I receive 20% off all purchases that are not on sale. Some things can be a real deal, most not, you just have to do the math.

    This is a hot, dry climate and most homes have evaporative coolers. I have lived in the same house for 21 years and my cooler has always been sufficient to keep me nice and cool even in 100 degree plus weather. About 10 days ago it started getting up to 80 and 81 inside which it has never done before. I’ve had two of my children plus a maintenance service come inspect it and they say everything is working correctly. New pads were installed, the water lines checked and bearings greased. The maintenance guys told me this is normal for our heat (and it has been 100+ every day). Does anyone else with this kind of cooler have any advice, I accept that it’s working correctly I just can’t understand why the change all of a sudden.

    Other than babysitting some grandkids a couple evenings a week while one daughter plays on a softball league I’ve just been staying home and out of stores and away from temptation to spend. I haven’t done much cooking in this heat, mostly cold meals that require minimal cleanup. I hand wash what few dishes I have including washing and reusing ziploc bags, you can get so many uses out of them if cared for, just like anything.

    Brandy, thank you for this blog. I look forward to reading your weekly report and usually read one page of comments nightly so I can spread it out over the whole week. I love hearing about your family life and of course your photography is gorgeous.

  52. Hi Brandy and all, I too have been canning and freezing sometimes into the night. So far I have 16 pints and 4 half pints of green beans with more picking cone Tues. Grated and froze 4 gallons of zucchini for use in soups, spaghetti sauce etc. Next is plum jam as there is more on the tree I will be doing a lot of plum and plum berry jam for the pantry and for gift giving. My Mom has concord grapes and pears that will be ready in a few weeks so no rest for the canning crowd! I inventoried the pantry and freezer so that I know what I need to put up and or buy to stock up. SCORED a play school play house for the grandkids $20 in great shape …That was THE BEST buy of the summer as far as they were concerned! We enjoyed a day with family at our family reunion yesterday it was such a great time hearing stories of the old days and sharing pictures of family gatherings and life in the past. Have a wonderful week and thank you for all the inspiration!

  53. I retired from a career management position 3 months ago. We relocated to a small furnished rental apartment in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley (from the Rocky Mountain area) just for the summer. I am working a full time seasonal job with the National Park Service and my husband is working part time. We rented our house to someone we know for about 2/3 of the time we will be gone.

    I have learned a lot of things from this – such as how much I appreciate our very nice mattress and our kitchen appliances at home. We feel that the best way to make the most of this one time sojourn away from “home” is to travel when we can. Since we have 3 days off every other week, we are using that time to visit family and friends on the East Coast, visit National Parks, beaches and mountains. (We use the days off in alternate weeks to do basic household type tasks – cooking and baking, laundry, etc.) In one sense this is not the least bit frugal, but we are getting to have a lot of experiences while we are close to these things and we have and will stay with family and friends as well as tent camp for some of the travels. We also are using rewards points for some of the times we stay in a motel and taking picnic breakfasts and lunches with us. We are visiting sites/friends/family in MA, NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV, OH, NC and SC as well as a number of places in VA. Next summer we will probably try to work a seasonal job again in some new place, but it will probably be in the west or the Midwest.

    I have enjoyed visiting the local frugal possibilities -the different grocery stores, farmers markets, thrift stores and just the regular stores, as well. We have bought very little stuff – just food, rent, gasoline and the costs of travel, so we actually are building up our emergency fund and checking account.

  54. Please post the lemon zucchini bread recipe. I love lemon flavored food and I’m growing zucchini this year.
    I bought 2 sacks of 6 lemons at a garage sale of all places! They were part of a large $4 purchase. We enjoyed some lemonade made from scratch. ( First I washed and seated the lemons, and saved the zest.) Of course, I learned 2 freeze the lemon zest here. Thank you!

  55. I couldn’t agree more about “going solar”. I studied this long and hard as well. It seems that our utility “buys” the power produced at “wholesale” but sells us power at “retail” when it comes to solar. And as you point out….can do what they want…when they want. I could never get the “numbers” for solar to work for me…

  56. Please do not give chicken bones to your dog, there is a real danger of the bones splintering and becoming lodged or perforating. But some broth on dry food would be wonderful.

  57. In an effort to put more money aside, I went back to the $50 a week budget. Then I went to Sams and spent $40 of it. Yikes, good thing I still have lots of turkey burgers in the freezer that I got for free. Even better that its Monday already so I only have to make it 6 days at the most before there is more grocery money. I made a huge pot of skinny tastes brown sugar beans in the instant pot. I use either all pinto beans or all navy beans. DH complains too much about kidney beans or black beans. I have a lot of reward points at Walgreens, so I used them to buy turkey bacon, eggs, brown sugar and wraps. Walmarts egg prices are up to 10¢ an egg again……whats up with that???? I had planned on buying a steamer basket insert for the instant pot last week. I have a 30% off coupon and a giftcard for kohls, but after deciding to save more money for the next house, I decided not to get one and that I would make do without. Does anyone have a good suggestion on how to steam brocolli or green beans in the instant pot? They fall through the slots in the little rack. I had tried placing my plastic collondar at the top, but it was too far away from the water and nothing steamed……or melted. Last week I paid off 1 credit card, as soon as my amazon payment hits my account I am paying off another. Those 2 accounts had monthly interest on them. I bought a book of stamps and 6pack of paper towels at office depot using my ink recycling rewards. We had recently acquired 2 new ipads for my daughter. The plan was to sell the 1st generation minis, but boy what a pain in the butt that is……..Everyone wants to know about them but nobody has come up with money. I wont put them on ebay because of internet fraud. I wouldnt want to lose money or hurt my reputation because of them. I delisted them from the other app sites and decided to keep them for myself. Thats 4 more coupons that I can print from each ipad when there is a good coupon available. We needed an oil change and I found a $20 pepboys coupon to use. Wow, if I die first, my husband is gonna be in trouble……He’ll be hungry and homeless!!

  58. Happy (belated) Birthday!
    Its fun to sign up for the free birthday treats. Keeps me feeling young at least!

  59. This week will be a very rainy week. Looking forward to opening the windows and having a week off from weeding with the mosquitos.
    I am looking forward to dusting the nooks and crannies, some small sewing projects and I will can more beans this week, and also can some bean soup. The 2/3 of the soup canning will be used for Christmas gifts.

    I added more vegetarian meals into the monthly meal plan. This (sans the walnuts – I was out) was delicious! I used frozen vegetarian ravioli that I bought on deep discount and used 2 TBS of butter instead of the 3. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/576249714816966905/

    A friend is moving and asked if I can sell half her wardrobe through Ebay. She offered a nice profit for me. Keeps my store filled and her clothes are prepped and ready to be listed (no pre prep work needed on my end).

    I did some arm chair traveling looking through travel magazines.

    Have a great week everyone!

  60. Thank you for such a thoughtful reply! As it happens, I work for myself, so no one else to reimburse those expenses (though I do save all receipts for my taxes.)

  61. I find that those are the types of things that it’s really annoying and inconvenient to run out of – plus I hate paying full price for things that I can always get on sale somewhere so that’s my two main reasons to stock up. I live in a 1 bedroom city apt. but I’m lucky to have decent closet space – and since I live on my own a 6 month supply doesn’t actually take up too much space – but I know that might be a drawback for some people. Good luck.

  62. One of my strongest memories of my Mom from when I was very little was her standing at the sink, slicing fruits for canning. I never developed her skills with a paring knife, and I don’t really remember her having the big boiling kettle going when we were around, so perhaps she would also do the heavy work at night. She would do pears, cherries, plums, beans, rhubarb, blueberries, and peaches in quart jars.

    My favorite preserved summer food was frozen peaches. Perhaps she only made them when she didn’t have enough for a full jar, as they were in little freezer boxes of waxed cardboard, sliced peaches (or strawberries) and sugar syrup. On top was a crumpled piece of waxed paper and getting to suck the ice off that was a special treat. I suppose that was in the pre-zip-lock days.

    Our savings this week are nothing huge, continuing small moves, like timing laundry/dryer and opening windows to match the FINALLY cooler temperatures.

    I was looking through YouTube for some craft ideas, and changed the setting (the little wheel at the bottom of the screen) so I could watch in twice-as-fast time. Some of those how-to videos are long and I only wanted the general ideas.

    I have a rotating flower bouquet from my yard in a tall vase: phlox, hosta flowers, one gladiola, and several colors of daylilies. I pick the daylilies when they are an open blossom and a few big buds left on a stem. The open ones die off after a day, while others open in a day or two, so I never know what it will look like. I once tried chopping the buds up in a salad but didn’t find they added anything in particular, so I let them bloom.

  63. Is it warmer than usual where you live? I know we have been having temperatures 15 to 20 degrees above normal this summer.

  64. We had a very hot, humid weekend — it was 79 deg. F. at the coolest part of the early morning and 99% humidity. The temps have been reaching mid-nineties with humidity between 70% and 99% all day. I did NOT hang out laundry in that, but I used my drying rack and shower rods to hang a lot of it inside. It added some humidity to the house, but at least it didn’t add any heat.
    I received a rebate check in the mail and made a mobile deposit — no gas or time wasted.
    I’m cooking from scratch and we aren’t eating out.
    I’m using our homegrown tomatoes in cooking. We don’t have enough to can, but plenty for fresh eating and recipe use.
    I’m re-purposing an old solid colored pillow case to make a liner for a print curtain in a very sunny window — it will keep the print curtain from fading.
    We installed a replacement door and I’m painting it myself. I’ve painted several doors — they aren’t fun, especially the muntins, but they aren’t really hard to do.
    By the way, my daughter’s debit card was recently hacked and had to be closed, for the fourth time in the last few years. Mine has been hacked twice and my credit card has been hacked at least three times. At one store where I wrote a check, the checking information was stolen off several thousand checks in the store’s computer base, and I was placed on a credit watch, courtesy of the store. I don’t understand the people who do this sort of thing.

  65. I’m almost there on free Crest toothpaste. The coupon available for buy 2 save $2 means free toothpaste when Crest is on sale for $1 like it is this week at the Superstore. I’ll redeem two of these coupons this week for four tubes and have my 6 month supply. One item down, a few more to go! Hope you are safe in Toronto after the shooting last night. I’m in London and it’s just too scary so close to home.

  66. Can you please tell me the make and model of your new washing machine? I’m trying to find a toploader that is HE and Energy Star. Most of the ones I find are only HE, not energy star. Thanks so much!

  67. I used Ibotta for great grocery deals. I picked basil, chives and peppers. I got some hostas from my parents to spruce up our yard and another one of our properties. Visiting family while we have some work done at our house- family gets to meet the new baby and we don’t have to keep our baby in a construction zone. It’s nice to relax for a few days before we get back to renovations. We have another busy 2 weeks then I hope to get canning. Unfortunately the strawberry season was very short so I missed out on making strawberry jam, my absolute favorite. I sold an item on eBay, which is helping declutter the house. I bought a great Melissa and Doug wooden toy and wooden play construction bench for $6 at a garage sale.

  68. Pat,

    Do you mind sharing the dimensions of the rectangles that you used for your quilt as well as the dimension of your quilt. I have some flannel that I’d like to use up. This would be great for that. Thanks.

  69. It happened to me this week, too. Thankfully, my credit card company caught it immediately, as I had used the card earlier in the day and there’s no way I can be in two far flung states at once. We rarely use our debit card for purchases, but it does have a daily limit of $400, which is another way to limit fraudulent charges.

  70. If you cook chucken bones long enough for bone broth, they are very soft. Cooking them longer, they are almost mush. No danger then of the bones splintering.
    Enduring Texas temps of 106 and up here. With 70% humidity, it is very draining. Give me dry heat of 115 anyday, over the 90’s with high humidity!

  71. We pay $12 per month for “Limited Basic” cable from Comcast. It is bundled with our internet. If I cancel it, our internet cost will actually go up! They don’t advertise this package, you have to ask for it. I think we have about a dozen channels. It works for us, as digital antennas in our area only pick up a couple of channels due to the topography.

  72. Brandy;
    I really enjoy your blog. I know that you are a very buy mom. However would love to see more recipes perhaps some for your dill pickles. Or pasta sauce.
    Thank you

  73. Hi Colleen! You can actually make your own ‘wax’ using just lemon juice and sugar! I don’t remember the exact quantities, but I’m sure it’s easy to Google. ‘Body sugaring’ wax is just a fancy name for this milennia old mixture.

  74. We took an incredibly unfrugal cruise to Bermuda last week. We paid cash and made a ton of family memories. We were advised a few months ago that if l wanted to travel l need to do it now because we have no idea how long l will be medically stable. The day after we came back l went to the thrift store and managed to get the girls a land end squall parka and a down winter coat for the coming winter for four dollars each. I also picked up a dress and t shirts for their birthdays for $1.69 each. I mended two towels and used CVS extracare bucks to purchase free to me hair elastics. My older girl starts middle school next month and she needs a new backpack/lunchbox( we will purchase for K/5th/9th grade or when they wear out from normal use), she chose to limp through the last few months of fourth grade with a few tiny holes in her backpack so she would have a better selection and we would pay for it. Comparing her four year old ll bean and my 25 year old backpacks it is clear the quality is not the same. She picked a Jansport that l got on sale. School supply sales are in full swing and l checked my stockpile before buying anything. I have 1/3 of what they need already from last year. There are 8 packages of crayola 25 cent crayons that are going to become tie dye lego shaped crayon birthday party favors.

  75. Way to go! Some days I am get a bit tired but reading your post laced with grit and determination have spured me on. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  76. We are visiting my oldest daughter in Baltimore. We are staying with her instead of a hotel. We are cooking at her apartment. We went to Aldi to keep costs low. Hubby, OD and her boyfriend are going to an Orioles game tonight. They are walking the 6 blocks to avoid paying parking. We are visiting 2 colleges for our youngest while we are away. One is nearby in Maryland, the other is on the way home in NJ.

  77. Tejas, I used to be a veterinary technician and worked in the field for over 10 years. It is not recommended to feed chicken bones to dogs, as many have stated already. I understand what you are saying. However, there is always a risk that there could be a bone splinter, which can perforate the intestine, causing very serious medical issues. I’ve see the cost of vet bills to treat or just diagnose things similar to this. My honest opinion is that it is not worth the risk, both for the animal’s health and the financial implications that go with it.

  78. Credit and debit cards have different liabilities if stolen. Credit cards protect the consumer more.
    If you report the theft before any charges are made, (good luck on that!), you are not liable for any charges.
    For stolen credit cards, you may lose up to $50. For stolen credit card numbers, nothing– I didn’t know that.
    For debit, depending how quickly you report the theft, you may lose $50, $500, or all the money in your linked accounts, depending if you report within two days, sixty days, or longer.
    SO ANNOYING! I don’t want to have to know this.

  79. Brandy, have you tried using zucchini with that dill pickle mix? I have a lot of zucchini but don’t want to waste it if someone else has already tried that substitution and found it wanting…Thanks.

  80. Stephanie, I was just thinking today how much I miss shopping for bookbags and lunch boxes for my children. Mine always wanted the latest cartoon/ movie character that was in the moment and that’s about how long they lasted. I started buying ll bean for all my children about ten years ago and had really great success with them. I know they have made some changes to their policy due to abuse but perhaps you could contact them. ( I think the abuse problem was people picking up 10 and 20 year old items at thrift stores etc and returning them ) we always have had great service. In fact, when I went back to school three years ago, I used my daughter’s bookbag from high school. We bought my son a bookbag from the makers of Swiss army knife in middle school. ( sorry I can’t remember that name) that bookbag was used and looked like new for 8 years. I washed it and it disintegrated. It had a warranty too but I just couldn’t submit one for it. I used staples rewards and a coupon to purchase that 100.00 bag and got back 100.00 in credit the next month for it. One of my greatest purchases. If ll bean will replace it, you could have an extra one or save it.

  81. My frugal accomplishments for the week include:
    Received a $5 Target gift card after purchasing a razor deal.

    My son went to the $5 movie night at the theater.

    Borrowed E-books from the library.

    Ate out only once for dinner.

    Went to CVS to purchase vitamins and since it was Saturday evening I was able to get the B1G1 free for 1 set of vitamins. Apparently the signs had been removed because the sale had just ended and then cashier allowed me to use a 25% off coupon I received in the mail for another vitamin. Ended up saving $15!

    Received coupons from H-E-B in the mail for 4 free items and a $3 off $30 purchase.

  82. I am so sorry. That happened to us too. Made us bounce checks. It was 2 1/2 weeks before they straighten everything out and removed overdraft fees, returned checks. Plus, our account was frozen. It has happened twice to us. Every time it was a gas station when it happened.

  83. Thank you for thinking of Toronto Andrea – very scary! I live on the other side of town but I’m over on the Danforth at least a couple of times a month as I love the shops, plus two friends live over there (they are both fine). I have been to all of the restaurants that were targeted so it is quite shocking!

  84. Gorgeous grapes!

    Here’s my list
    * Last week I was on vacation and my husband and saved money by eating out twice a day most days and saving leftovers for dinners.
    * Packed a nice beach bag for us so we didn’t have to purchase snacks, water, etc. Also packed additional snacks and tea bags and avoided ordering beverages with meals as usual.
    * Purchased fresh fruit on sale upon arrival for vacation snacks. It was great to curl up and read and have this fruit (chilled) as a delicious snack on hot days.
    * Cooked in bulk before vacation and froze leftovers to have easy meals when we returned.
    * Enjoyed free entertainment and activities on vacation: drive-around site seeing, nature trails, and the beach.
    * Watched a movie on Netflix rather than going to the theater.
    * Increased the amount of our automatic savings account transfer.
    * Worked out using free YT videos.
    * Purchased culinary herbs at a discount.
    * Made a cream cheese/yogurt strawberry dip instead of purchasing from the store.
    * Did my own pedicure at home.
    * Made homemade soft scrub (baking soda, dish soap, and a bit of water) to clean shower and sinks.
    * Made homemade toothpaste.
    * Read and finished a book I purchased at the Dollar Tree for $1. I rarely purchase books in other places anymore. I need to go to the library and take advantage of the books (and movies! magazines, too!) there as well.
    * Saved and reused glass jars from other products.

    Have a great week! I always love reading everyone’s comments, so thanks for taking the time to share! 😀

  85. We continue to plug along this week. I am reorganizing the house and working diligently to get rid of things that are not wanted. This allows us to live in a lovely space without clutter AND find things. I remember Brandy said something similar…an inspiration.

    This week my son needed his sleeping bag fixed. We teamed up to find a way and successfully mended it. It was a good teaching moment and I realized how self-sufficient he is becoming!

    I found some coins ( I am always amazed at the coinage I see on the ground these days), gave myself a haircut, trimmed the back of my husband and son’s hair for them, have been choosing free exercise in an attempt to lose the final size, used kale from the flower pots (edible landscaping), froze 4 quart bags of green pepper slices for winter use from free peppers, made iced tea to keep from buying flavored drinks, and have been enjoying our deck instead of going out.

    Our biggest frugal success is to notice that our dog with the queasy stomach stopped eating again. We moved into canned dog food mode and began feeding him several times a day. So far, he’s eating and we are avoiding a vet visit. Still some ways to go to return to dry food though.

    Happy frugal-ing y’all!

  86. Laurie, my husband an I have been watching Churchill’s Secret Agents as well. We really have enjoyed it.

  87. Laura, it’s a Maytag MVWB835DW3. It is 5.3 cf (I believe) super capacity, and I bought it on the Memorial Day sale at Lowe’s for, I believe, $739. Home Depot also carries it. The tub is big enough that I was able to wash a queen size quilt with no issues. I had a Maytag for 28 years and no repairs (it left a puddle of grease when we moved it). I am not expecting the new machine to last as long as the old one, but Maytag is again getting good reviews. HTH.

  88. I should add, because we used a Lowe’s CC to pay for it (and then paid it when the bill came), we saved an additional 5%, which in this case was about $37. Plus free delivery. We sold the old washer for scrap metal (about $3, but wouldn’t have gotten anything if we had taken her to the dump).

  89. We have had fraudulent charges on credit cards an average of once per year for the past decade. Thankfully, we have never lost a cent. The physical cards have always been in our possession and never stolen. It is incredibly frustrating!

  90. You have been in my thoughts and prayers. Terrible occurrence! I feel so sad for the two young fatalities.– beautiful young girls.


  91. Years ago, my husband (then fiance) and I lived in that area. We were north of that section of the Danforth. I used to go for walks along that section all the time, not to mention eating out in some of those amazing Greek restaruants. So heart breaking to see this happen there. I remember it as a really nice, relatively quiet area to live.

  92. Jlg, I do not know anything about these coolers, as I live in Canada. However, just a thought I had…are you experiencing more humid weather than in the past. If the cooler works on the premise of evaporation and the air is more humid, then the cooler won’t evaporate as much because the air is already heavily saturated with moisture, thus the cooler will not work as well. I’m guessing that is why we don’t have such cooling mechanisms in Canada. Our high heat is always in conjunction with extreme high humidity.

  93. I think you have found an excellent way to travel frugally! You have a regular paycheck coming in while still seeing the sights. You’ve found a way of being paid to go on vacation! Very impressive.

  94. Good job on canning… i know how hard it is to can while having family AND the hot weather AND also when you want to do it properly!

  95. I really pushed myself to freeze some strawberries, little bit of cherries, 2 small boxes of raw wild strawberry jam, small box of gooseberries, 2 little bags of raspberries, small box of rhubarb… All our own stuff. We tend not to eat those things very well in winter. I must prepare better foods with them.
    Also canned some cucumbers my mom sent me.
    We have our own potatoes now and onions, also green peas and lettuce…

  96. Not a whole lot of frugality this week it seems. We went back and forth to my mother in laws 3 times(just over and hour away one way) cutting into the gas budget

    The teen had his dentist appointment and his insurance ran out when he turned 19 so we had to pay cash. We did get 15% off by paying day of, so that helped. He, of course, needs some fillings now, so I spread those 2 appointments out(one in August, the other in September). We’ll get 15% off by paying at each appointment

    Rented two movies from redbox using codes

    Hubby’s cousin and aunt were in the area so we met for lunch on Friday. His cousin paid and everyone had leftovers for dinner.

    My mom sent over 4 boxes of tea bags. They’ll last my hubby forever since I have to drink decaf.

    My mil sent over 2 giant boxes of taco shells(48 shells each, in packs of 12). I’ll share some with my mom. She also sent 2 12 packs of 7up, 2 bags of chips, and a couple big bags of candy.

    Neighbor sent over a Walmart size grocery sack of tomatoes and cucumbers. Hubby is in heaven.

    Hubby grilled a bunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken legs Saturday so we’ve been reheating them for dinner.

    Found out some our school system has a new program that the supplies for each kid will be provided, plus a backpack. It’s only going to cover just a few schools this year and the 11yos middle school is on the list so that is a few things that won’t need to be purchased.

    While not exactly frugal, I wanted to get hubby a Kindle because he’s discovered reading ebooks is cheaper than buying paperbacks. I put some money back, hoping I could find a good deal on prime day. I got him a Fire 7. It was on sale for 29.99. I used $10 gift code I received from a survey project, then another $21. I even managed to get him a yellow one. 🙂

  97. Megan, and others with the squash vine borer problem, you can do a little surgery on your plant to save them if this happens. Find the spot where the vine wilts, make a slit in the vine long ways, not cross ways, and dig out the borer. Then bury that section of vine with dirt. It’ll root there and the vine will continue to produce.

  98. Hi Brandy,
    Congrats on your night time canning, what an accomplishment!!
    I have recently found it more difficult to keep the budget under control. Gas and grocery prices are increasing faster than I can believe where I live. I feel I have cut our budget to the bare minimum and am still having trouble covering all our needs.
    I am trying to stay positive and this blog helps with that considerably. Thank you to Brandy and all who comment.
    I am drying another batch of parsley and dill from my garden.
    I am going to try having a small garage sale this weekend. I have never had much success with this but I have a small pile of stuff gathered so I will give it a go.
    I planted some more basil and am hoping it grows well enough to harvest some for making pesto.
    I knitted a dish cloth for my own use and am now working on one for a Christmas gift.
    I dried 3 loads of laundry outside last week since we had 90 degree temps.

    This blog encourages me every week…thanks so very much!!

  99. – I found a side job through a FB site. I’ll be folding clean laundry (!) once a week for a gal who doesn’t have time. Super excited about this one, as it’s easy and nearby.
    – Cooked all meals at home, was also able to make extra for both my mom and grandma who are experiencing some health issues.
    -Got the Friday Freebie at Fred Meyer (Kroger) and put aside for a gift.
    – Mended my daughter’s jeans (rip in seam). Easy and she was thrilled.
    -This isn’t necessarily frugal, but resulted in some frugal methods. I have seven kids, and they do chores often. Yesterday, instead of a normal chore list, I randomly wrote down that they each had to do a kind deed for every sibling. They had until this morning to do it, and they had to tell me what each thing was. It ended up SO fun and so meaningful. I saw bedrooms secretly being cleaned, cookies baked, notes written, etc. Nothing cost anything and most of them had fun (I cannot say my teenage boys had fun in all honesty, but they did it). I’ll repeat it next month, I thought it was well-worth it.
    – Made cherry freezer jam and orange-cherry pancake syrup (that was really good) with cherries that weren’t being eaten.

  100. We don’t have a Lowes credit card but instead we go to Safeway and get gift cards for large Lowe and Home Depot purchases. That gives us money off gas refills from Safeway. Locally you can get up to $2 a gallon off with points. Used to be $1! We have had an ongoing construction project that we do as we can afford it, so over the last year have not paid full price for gas. You can get up to 25 gallons, so we bring two five gallon cans and when our tank is full we finish getting the 25 gallons in the cans and then later we pour them into our gas tank as it empties.

  101. Hello Frugal Friends,

    This week I tried to be more frugal. The month is so long, even when you budget!! Here are some things we did to save/ earn.
    – We ate some produce from the garden such as zucchini and swiss chard with onions. I love to cook swiss chard in oil and onions. This is probably one of the cheapest things I make!
    – We ate a couple of free lunches at the USO on post since we were there anyways.
    – I was able to get 10 ears of corn for 10 cents each at Walmart!
    – We ate some cheap, low meat meals such as baked potato with salad and just a little bit of chili.
    – I sent away for some free samples, I have them at my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/07/24/freebies-today-7-24-18/
    – I also downloaded some free Kindle Books, which are also on my blog.
    – I stuck to a $60.00 budget for the last 2 weeks of July since we have garden produce and other items to eat.
    – That’s all I can think of for now!
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  102. Brandy’s spaghetti sauce recipe is the best ever. We love it and it is so cost effective. I freeze it in portions because there are only two of us. I can’t wait to try the pickle mix.

  103. We had an old iPad sitting on the shelf in the office. So my husband looked up online and we were able to send it back to Apple for a $25 gift card for iTunes. Maybe something you’d be interested in looking into? You should be able to google it and put the serial number in, and they will tell you what it’s worth. They send the box pre-paid postage to send it back to them.

  104. This has been a busy week in the garden. I pulled 32.5 pounds of potatoes (which was about 1/2 of what I had planted – the rest are still out there), 14 pounds of onions (which was about 3/4 of what I had), 3 cantaloupes, 1 watermelon, 12 butternut squash, 14 acorn squash, and lots of green beans. I’ve canned 21 pints of green beans so far. I’ve picked over 100 pounds of tomatoes so far this year. I’ve made 19 jars of pasta sauce and 7 quarts of crushed tomatoes. I’ve still got 2, 5 gallon buckets to process. We eat a lot of pasta so I’ll probably make more spaghetti sauce. We’ve also eaten about 1.5 pounds of tomatoes fresh. Wild blackberries and black raspberries grow on our farm, so we’ve been picking them. We got about 2 pounds of black raspberries and they are done producing now. We’ve gotten over 2.5 pounds of blackberries (plus some that we gave to my grandma) and they are still producing. I’ve made blackberry jam and froze them. I also froze 6 pounds of frozen corn. We ate 20 or so ears of corn fresh. I’ve also been drying oregano, basil, parsley, and cilantro. Our strawberries are pretty much done now, but I was able to make strawberry jam and we eat over 5 pounds fresh. There have been a ton of garden based meals these last couple weeks – Parmesan zucchini fries, fresh berries & melons for snacks, squash, blackberry-chipotle pork loin, bruschetta with fresh tomatoes & basil, mini quiches with fresh veggies, broccoli & cauliflower with dip, cauliflower layer salad. I’ve hardly had to grocery shop!

    I’m also still getting double pay checks, so we decided to use the extra money to make some needed repairs to our vehicles. One will get new brakes & rotors and the other will get new wheel bearing and repairs to the power steering. Luckily, my husband can do the labor himself, it will just be parts.

    I noticed an error on my health insurance deduction on my first pay stub at my new job. They had listed my husband and I as tobacco users, which increased our premium by $80 a month. I called Human Resources and they fixed the error. Thank goodness I checked! Who knows how long they would’ve deducted it before I noticed!

    My husband and I celebrated 5 years of marriage last Friday, so we went on a little weekend getaway to an Amish community about 2 hours from our house. We loved looking at their handmade goods in the little stores around town. There is also a delicious restaurant whose owner is Amish. We ate there and visited the local Amish grocery store. They have excellent prices on herbs & spices in bulk, so I stocked up. On the way home, we stopped at an outlet mall. My husband’s only pair of tennis shoes and fallen apart. He was able to get a new pair of tennis shoes for a good price. I picked up several pieces of clothing for work for about 1/2 of what I’d pay new.

  105. This blog and all the comments are so encouraging!
    I am continuing with all the usual things I do to save money and time.
    I am harvesting green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and my first tomato. I grated, sliced and cubed the squash and zucchini for cooking and baking. I added grated squash to potatoes for hash browns, sauteed some with apples and spices and baked it with other veggies from my freezer. It is so mild that it takes on the flavor of whatever I’ve added it to.
    Have a great week everyone!

  106. I cleaned out/reorganized my upstairs pantry and reloaded it with canned goods. I didn’t throw out much food (yay!) but did throw out a lot of packaging. It looks nice and I can locate stuff again. This project freed up my counter top. I walk by and open the cupboard door just to see how nice it is.

  107. So nice to hear that things are going well for you.

    I find there is so much for entertainment online.

    We had a terrific rainstorm last night so I won’t have to water things for quite awhile. Alas, I have to hire my window washer
    to clear out the gutters/eavestroughs. Alas!

    best wishes, Ann

  108. I would love to hear more about the apartment the name of the complex it is something we might have a great need for.
    Hubby and I “retired” exactly as you describe we live with family and visit as we can things that are free or cheap near where we live while we work part time.
    If you can’t retire this is the way to go. We stay places off season and we split our money just as children do 1/3 bills, 1/3 savings. 1/3 travel adventure fun!
    Hubby is in his 70’s if we don’t go now ? (when would we?) So we save up and then off we go each time the pot gets full.
    We paid off our debts first before we started doing this.
    Our savings is our emergency fund and we have very low bills as of right now so we have been doing this for the past almost 10 years.
    It is not how we saw retirement but it is a way to get out and enjoy nature and if you don’t do it this way I don’t know how you ever do?

  109. Lemon Zucchini Bread
    Makes 2 regular loaf pans or about 6 mini-pans.

    3 eggs
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup oil
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 tsp lemon extract
    3 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    2 cups grated zucchini
    yellow food coloring (a few drops liquid or a dab of paste color–the bread needs this!!)

    4 tsp lemon juice
    4 TBSP sugar

    Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes. (If using mini-loaf pans bake for about 35-40 minutes.)

    Let cool for a few minutes. Remove from pans. Warm up the glaze in the microwave or a saucepan, and drizzle over tops of bread while bread is still warm but not hot.

    Personally, this is one of my favorites and quite easy to make. It freezes well too, just make sure it’s completely cool. I wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and then again in foil.

  110. Marybeth,

    I will wave to you as you drive by we are in Bethesda right outside DC . It is amazing how much money folks can save when family comes together, and combining things.
    Long ago or should I say long long ago when I was young Family all lived in the same area. When folks started to branch out some families got together at Christmas and Easter at least. It was tradition in most large families (Mine as well and we were very very very large) to bring all usable items to these get togethers. In that way families could share.
    There was a lot less waste in America back then.

  111. I also watched this and really enjoyed it. It’s not just a reality show – they give you so much historical context that it is really quite fascinating.

  112. Jlg – could it be that the insulation of the house is settling? Even if the home was brand new when you moved in, 20 years could do it. Might be worth discussing with a professional. A couple of years back my parents had insulation added to their attic crawl area and it immediately made a difference in how warm and cool the house is.

    Our last home was almost 50 years old and you could tell there was little to no insulation left in the walls. The end of the house where the sun set, the interior walls actually got hot to the touch on long summer days and cold in the winter. I used pillows to create a headboard as we don’t have one and our bed was at that wall. It never occurred to me before that house – but now I understand why all those tapestries in castles helped!

  113. This blog helps me feel like the little things I do to keep from wasting money are important, so many times I’m greeted with a why bother attitude,I know why I bother but it can get you down.So thanks Brandy for the time you put into the blog and thanks to those that share.

  114. We’ve gotten a lot of good deals at the grocery store recently and have been given many food items, including 15 lbs of frozen blueberries.

    One thing my children have been enjoying is homemade corn dogs. They are quite frugal and to make them even more so, I cut each hot dog in thirds and get them in small batches in my smallest saucepan. This way, I use much less oil and I don’t use sticks which would just get thrown away. The kids really like these “corn dog minis”!

  115. Kim, do you have a Pinterest account? It’s free to sign up if you don’t. I love to research frugal living ideas on Pinterest and have found some great pins that talk about what to buy/cook/eat when you are “broke”. Brandy has some great recipes on here, but it never hurts to look at other ideas out there for inspiration, too. You may find some delicious meals to make for your family that are super simple, very healthy and ultimately help stretch your food budget even further! If you are looking for ideas or inspiration, there is a wonderful resource right here in this community too. So don’t be afraid to ask! I’m sure we’d all be happy to share our favourite, ultra frugal meal ideas with you as well.

  116. Kim, you don’t need a specific Instant Pot steamer. If you already have one of those round collapsible metal steamers in your cupboard (and it fits inside the pot), that will work fine. If not, you can just as easily use a Pyrex bowl on top of the metal rack you already have. I do this all the time, and it works fine for me (although I haven’t used it for beans or broccoli). Just put the vegetables you want to steam in the Pyrex bowl (you can add a couple tablespoons of water to the bowl too if desired), and put this on the rack. Add the recommended amount of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot, and steam for the desired time. Good luck!

  117. If anyone ever wonders why they bother being frugal. I know for certain just a little frugality will save a family on average $10K per year. Deep cuts obviously go farther. I saved for 23 years it came out to $389K Every coupon , every dropped coin, every item someone gives you that you can’t use that has resale value it all adds up!

    On top of the $389K I was able to do more for my family and give more to others during these years as well.
    When times are tighter I have been on the end that had to receive and we were extremely grateful!

  118. We have had many unexpected expenses this year with hubby’s bike accident which resulted in multiple hospital stays, multiple surgeries and procedures, medical supplies and equipment, and the purchase of a used car to replace his bike. After 5 months off, hubby is doing well and returned to work. Had to replace our 20 yr. old a/c system last month, to the tune of $12,000. We lived for 3 days with 98 degrees inside the house. Very grateful for modern a/c. Trying to keep food costs low, as it is the one thing I have control over. Made another batch of my whole wheat, olive oil baking mix that I use for pancakes, biscuits, cornbread, muffins, etc. By baking vegan with no eggs or dairy, and using water as liquid, baking is super cheap and every bit as tasty as the old recipes. Often, these quick breads do double duty as bread with the soup or meal, then as dessert with jam or syrup. Made recipes of ketchup, tomato soup, spaghetti and enchilada sauce that call for one can of tomato paste. All make at least 2 cups for no more than 70c. Drying blackeyed peas from my garden. Continuing to use my harvested red and white bulb onions. Substituted minced carrot tops in a sauce recipe that called for dill.Growing 2 kinds of sweet potatoes that had sprouted. I regularly get 60 lbs. of sweet potatoes from a 4×5 bed next to my house. The vines look pretty, too, and we eat the leaves for greens. Worked 4 hrs. as a sub. Mended shorts and a shirt. Haven’t used dryer sheets in yrs. and have never noticed a difference in softness. Made a batch of laundry detergent. So happy to have found a friendly site here with so many good ideas. Thank you, Brandy, for your frugal elegance that is inspirational.

  119. Has anyone ordered any of the samples from Get it Free? I just discovered it and they had DeWalt drill bit sets, kitchen gadgets, Tide, Hanes, Craftsman. But there were no details on what you needed to agree to for all that glorious bounty to land in your mailbox. Thanks!

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