August Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

I picked red noodle beans, butternut squash, Armenian cucumbers, grapes, Swiss chard, and a few tomatoes from the garden.

Oregano Drying The Prudent Homemaker

I cut oregano and basil from the garden to dry. My drying process is simple: I rinse the herbs and lay them to dry on a cooling rack. Our climate is very dry and the bit of the humidity that we have had from the passing storms is gone, so our humidity runs between 5 and 10%. I let these air dry and it takes 1 to 2 days for them to be completely dry. In a more humid climate, it may take up to a week before your herbs are dry this way. It uses no power and is very simple, which I love!

I canned a batch of dill pickles with the cucumbers. I added a grape leaf from the garden to each jar to help them to be crisper.

I was given some onions and some bell peppers that were past their prime. I used them with cucumbers from my garden and spices I had on hand to can sweet pickle relish. The timing was perfect as we had just used our last jar of relish in tuna melts the previous week.

I cooked meals in my solar oven every day.

Baby Lizard The Prudent Homemaker

Wren caught a baby lizard in the garden this past week.

I took cuttings from my Boxleaf euonymus and Greenspire euonymus bushes and started them to root. I took several as I know they won’t all take. I lost several bushes in the garden due to the extreme heat and sun this summer. I know it will take 4-5 years to get the bushes large enough to replace the ones that died, but it will save me the money on new ones. I will move any that any take root into the garden sometime in November or December when the weather cools.

I saved $6 in electricity over the week before last. The electric company had estimated my bill to be $415 for this month. With 4 days left, they’re now estimating it to be $375. I always challenge myself to make the number much lower than they predict. This is our highest electric bill for the year.

I made a pair of earrings for myself using beads and findings I had on hand.

I mended and modified a hand-me-down dress that my girls received a few years ago.

Making a Casting The Prudent Homemaker

For a merit badge, my husband taught my son how to make a mold, and then to make a casting from it. Before we were married, my husband was a mold maker for the movie industry; it was fun to see him teach Ezrom this process We had all of the supplies on hand..

I had a couple of date nights at home with my husband.

My husband worked from home two days, saving gas to drive to his office and back.

I used Recyclebank points to renew a subscription I got for free from them last year to Cooking Light magazine. Now I have another free year to enjoy reading.

I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Lowe’s gift card. I am saving up cards to use to purchase supplies for some projects at home.

After watching the short video, “The Potential of the Piano” as a family this week, my eldest found a free pdf of the sheet music here. (You can also download a free MP3 of this pretty song at the same link).  Winter likes this song so much she is considering using it as a recital song.

We went swimming at my sister-in-law’s house. On the way home, we stopped at the library, where we enjoyed the art exhibit (I shared a photo over on Instagram), checked out books, and made note of some upcoming activities that we are interested in attending.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  1. I called the bank and got a $100 mistake fixed. I called the hospital and got a $100 mistake fixed. I caught a $70 mistake at the Pharmacy. So I count the week as having earned $270! Yah me !
    I kept groceries to a bare minimum as half of our household is away visiting family so we have been eating leftovers and we still have a ton in the fridg. I have turned off a lot of unneeded electric this week as well.Staying home not using gas. Hubby and I shared a hamburger for date day on a coupon so that was cheap and we drove to Annapolis one hour from home visited the Navy base the navy museum free and watched the boats in the bay all free! Going to the grocery late this week to stock up on rock bottom priced items.

  2. I dry herbs the same way you do — one advantage of an arid climate.
    One of my pleasures these past two weeks has been reading through all of your blog posts from the beginning. (I started following you late in 2015.) I learned so much, and received so much inspiration and encouragement from the posts. But I think my greatest pleasure has been in seeing your lovely family grow. Your children are enjoying the kind of childhood I would wish on any child — full of love and learning and creativity. I know things are not always sunshine and roses, but I appreciate the honest and gracious glimpses you have shared with us — thank you!
    As for frugal things this week, my husband bottled a batch of beer he brewed. He enjoys this hobby and it saves a lot of money over buying the craft beers he likes.
    I refilled the hand soap containers with a mixture of Dr. Bronner’s and water and essential oils.
    I put up 5 ½ pints of sweet-hot pickles. I also pickled nasturtium seeds to use as faux capers.
    I accepted some burgers and buns that were left over from a church barbecue and we had them for dinner one night. My husband had one for lunch the next day as well.
    I cut flowers for the house. From the garden, I harvested tomatoes, lettuce, chard, collard greens, herbs, green onions, baby bok choy and a handful of raspberries.
    I made a pair of slippers, using yarn I unraveled from a sweater.
    The rest of the week was the usual – I made bread, hung out laundry, cooked all meals, watered plants with rainwater I collected in buckets, conserved water, read library books and bunched errands to save gas. I’m so used to doing all these things I sometimes have to remind myself that not everyone does.

  3. Great pictures, as always, especially the lizard!
    I made chicken broth in the crock pot using bones from a whole chicken and celery trimmings and chopped onions that I had in the freezer. It’s the first time I added the celery and onions and the broth is much more flavorful. I froze it in 2 cup bags for use when needed.
    I went to an out of town wedding and stayed at very nice Marriott where for some reason they upgraded me to a one bedroom suite. I wasn’t a rewards member and it was only me staying in the room. They didn’t upgrade any of my relatives who were there even though they were all rewards members and had tons of points. NO idea why I was upgraded but I did rub it in to them. I used Marriott’s senior rate to get a discount. I did my own mani/pedi before the wedding, which made up for the cost of getting the gray in my hair colored. I know people do this at home but I am not that talented and am willing to sacrifice other things to pay for this. I wore a dress and jewelry I already owned and took lunch and healthy snacks and my beloved Diet Pepsi with me on the trip to save money. We did go out to eat on Friday night and I took leftovers home for lunch on Saturday. That upgraded suite had a kitchen almost as nice as mine at home; it may have been nicer if it had been bigger! I also ate the free hotel breakfast both days.
    I used my vegetable peeler to make zucchini and yellow squash “ribbons” that I used in place of noodles in Fettucine Carbonara (Zucchini and Yellow Squash Carbonara is too clumsy a name). It was definitely good, although I want to fool around with the sauce a bit. I’ve made several “ribbons” meals since then and it’s a good way to add more veggies to my diet. I’ve continued to cut up veggies in advance and store them in my canning jars to make quick salads and stir fries. It’s healthier and veggies are no longer wasted. I froze some strawberries and blueberries that I was not going to be eating before they went bad and will use them in milkshakes when needed. The blueberries and some cherries that I also had frozen are also a cool treat on hot days when eaten straight from the freezer, although the strawberries
    Other than the dinner out on wedding weekend and lunch for the birthdays for 2 co-workers, I ate all meals at home. I’m still working on losing weight – and succeeding – and I’ve found that I just eat better at home when I know what has gone into a dish. Besides, I’m eating relatively low carb and it seems most restaurant meals have a lot of carbs, at least the ones I like. I can have a little bit of that stuff next year when I’m down to the weight I want to be at to be healthy.
    I’m really trying to conserve electricity because my bill has been creeping up since I started working from home full-time last summer. I LOVE not commuting and getting to avoid traffic, but I want to keep the utility costs down. Right now, I’m on track to use $30 less worth of electricity than I did last month; that’s about 34% less. I’ve opened windows and shut off the window AC units as much as possible and run fans for cooling any room I am in instead. Since it is summer, the gas usage won’t change much. I can get an hour by hour report on how much electricity and natural gas I’ve used for anytime in the last 2 years and have determined that I do not need to feel guilty about using my gas dryer because it is literally pennies to dry a load of laundry (around 4-6 cents a load, depending on how long it runs) and with three cats in the house, I especially like using the dryer for things that they lay on, such as the bathroom rug and the sheets. A lot of cat hair comes out in the lint! I like the “dried in sunshine and a breeze” smell from when the sheets are on the clothesline, so I will put the slightly damp pillowcases out there to get that scent, but it only lasts one night anyway.

  4. This week we vacationed at my mother in law’s. For free. It was great. The house was just 3 hours from us, but they are on the verge of drought and we are having the opposite problem. Too much rain. When we got home my husband cut our grass, which hadn’t been cut in a few weeks due to dampness. My 3 year old had a blast chasing the snakes (non venomous) and frogs that had been hiding in the long grass.

    We spent several afternoons on vacation driving around and researching different areas we might move to in 2018. We were in the area, so this saved us from having to make extra trips later in the year when I am back at work. In addition, we did it while our little guys napped in the car so we did not need a babysitter.

    We made a few decisions this week that will save us over $1000 next week, but I will write about them after they have come to fruition.

    We harvested more cherry tomatoes and beans from our garden. I used them to make Bonnie Stern’s New Wave Caesar Salad which is one of my favourites and not at all a traditional Caesar, although I love those too.

    On the spending front, at the end of last summer my husband asked me if we had money for him to get a new pair of everyday shoes for work (his work is very casual, jeans and runners are ok). Since I was about to go on mat leave, I asked if he could hold out until spring because I knew in the winter he would be wearing different footwear which also needed to be replaced (he had been wearing the same pair of Merrell shoes for 9 years). He agreed so we got new winter shoes for him and he kept wearing his old runners as needed. I totally forgot about this until a few weeks ago. For a few days every once in awhile I was noticing a weird smell in the house. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from – and then I realized it was the shoes!!! When I made a snarky comment to my husband about it he said, “yes remember I told you I needed to replace these a year ago!!!”. Ha!! I had completely forgotten, but needless to say he will be getting new shoes this week. Oh and he doesn’t need my permission for this stuff, but I appreciate him checking with me as I sort run all our consumer type spending.

    I also joined Bunz after reading all Margaret’s notes about it. I’m not sure if I am patient enough for it – I like to just get rid of stuff. But I am giving it a go.

    Other things we did to save so far this month can be found here:

    And cute lizard, Brandy! Although I’m not sure what I would think if I found it in my garden 😉

  5. I will take lizards over snakes every day!

    I see lizards every time I step out into the garden. They eat bugs, so I am grateful to have them.

    I wore a pair of sandals completely out last week; they broke right in half! I think they are really only made to last one year, and I wear sandals 8 months of the year, but I managed to make them last this year as well.

  6. Hello Brandy…always an encouragement with your post.
    I have gleaned so much this summer and thank you.
    Our family was hit with stomach flu this past week. Rare.
    It was a tough one. Thought of you when things past..opened windows..washed down everything and freshened bedding . Time to reset. Lemon water..fresh greens from garden..fresh air..a little coconut oil will help.
    Here are a few frugal accomplishments these past weeks.
    . Harvested dry
    . Ate simple meals at home.
    . Made salsa …tomato sandwiches from garden
    . Made 5 more quiches to eat n freeze. Eggs cheap
    . Brought in more greenery…to fill my vases.
    . Ridded out closet of a few things .
    . My daughter gifted me an apron pattern. I haven’t sewn
    In years. Would like to make a few for Christmas gifts fir my sister’s.
    . Colored my hair. Did my nails n toes. Was gifted some
    Coconut oil to use.
    . Read more library books
    . Made my own cleaner. And swiffer for floor.
    . My sister gifted me 2 magnolia magazines she already read.

  7. Oh my, it has been a frustrating week. I discovered that Sugar Cookie has ordered 300.00 worth of movies on her Kindle. I thought that the ordering process was password protected but obviously not on this device. Apparently Kindle Fires require you to hand set each individual device. This is one unhappy mother. I am so grateful that earlier in the year, I tucked some extra money away just in case I needed it for my taxes on my house. I had to go pay my electric and water where they were declined by my bank. Grrrr. I will have to replace the tax money over the course of the next few months. Meanwhile, we continue to cook from the pantry and freezer. I am so grateful that my frugalness provides for us in difficult times. College son is unable to start school due to botched paperwork. I hope he learned a valuable lesson. He will start in January. Seems like the household is falling apart since my surgery. I am feeling better and pray I may be relieved of my constant pain. College daughters cocker spaniel is keeping me company and is a wonderful companion. My daughter claims she will not take her back now, as I have ruined her. I think I did ! These posts have meant so much to me as I have been flat on my back for two weeks. Blessings.

  8. I love the little lizard! On our recent trip to Mexico, a couple of the teens found one on the job site. They had so much fun with that little guy–they don’t live here in our part of Oregon, so it was a marvel.

    I also love the Cooking Light magazine. Last Christmas, I made the mini raspberry cheesecakes from there for the holidays and they were awesome. I used frozen garden raspberries and bought 1 small carton to decorate with.

    I’m in the middle of pickle making, as well. Right now, I have a batch of sweet pickles going on my counter. It’s a several-day process of pouring on boiling water/syrup/spices, etc. morning and night, and I’m about 1/2 way done with them. Then, I’ll can them. I’m also doing fruit cocktail, did dill pickles, and plan to do pears today. I’ve been freezing the small batches of beans and broccoli as they ripen and we have more than we can eat. I’ve also done frozen peaches for smoothies and crisps next winter. I was given 2 huge boxes of pears and am so delighted to be able to get them into jars, both as canned pears and the fruit cocktail. I may do pear butter as well. I was able to use peaches from the tree that is in our backyard for the fruit cocktail. I’m not super delighted with the variety of peaches and may cut the tree down eventually, but for now, I was excited to get some usable fruit. Since my sister has a peach farm, I have another supply, but it’s sure been handy to have them right in the yard.

    Today is the eclipse and our back yard is in the prime viewing area! So, we are not going anywhere. Instead, I will can pears and watch the eclipse from our yard.

    Most of last week was used getting the house and garden back in order after our trip. I decided that there were so many food items left from the trip, plus so much garden produce right now, that I did not have to buy very many groceries for the rest of the month. The money I saved has, and is, going toward boxes of apples for applesauce, and other canning supplies. My husband took our nephew to an apple farm and they picked around 100 lbs for around 50c/lb. Now, they wait on the covered porch along with the pears that are ripening up. Instead of buying more groceries, I have been focusing on food pulled from the freezer, and fresh produce from the garden. I made up a menu plan, and have been working hard to cook the food I planned. Cooking from scratch takes a lot of time, but I have the time right now and love to cook, so am enjoying myself. We had a nice family Sunday dinner yesterday and I did not have to purchase one thing.

    Some of the foods I cooked this week were ham and beans, chicken (and boiled the bones for broth), spaghetti, brownies from a mix I was given a while back, refried beans, chili, a rice salad with dried cranberries in it and a dressing, and lots of fresh produce like green beans cooked in butter with garlic (my favorite!).

    I dug some potatoes that grew from volunteer plants from our compost pile. I had transplanted them to a row in the garden when they came up, and probably got 15-20 lbs. for absolutely free.

    My husband and I were able to put in 40 hours of work between the 2 of us this week as well, caring for our nephew. We took him to the library summer reading party and he received his free book and played lots of games and got stickers and a foam airplane as prizes. Rob took him apple picking one morning. I kept him going on his chart of chores, which includes exercise, reading, 2 chores, and a fun activity. The week was filled with board games, playing with little cars, “helping” me freeze beans, play dough, playing on equipment at a park, and more. Sometimes we do “bigger” outings, but this week, we chose simple ones, and he was just as happy. We work on self-care, hygiene, social skills, exercise, outings, safety, and more. A lot of those activities are accomplished by living daily life and helping him participate as he can. One of us is actively participating with him almost all the time when we are billing hours, as that is the nature of what is needed. He does play nicely with Patsy at times, which works on his social skills, but we need to be right there to referee if things get tense (he needs practice with not winning, sharing, etc.) When my husband and I can switch off with him, it sure allows me to get more done around the house, which is needed right now. It also provides a part-time summer job for both my husband and I. We will have him some more towards the end of the week and some next week. Then the hours will decrease as he will be in school and we will both be busier anyway, so it’s great to get a good chunk of hours right now. The paycheck will come in mid-September, a perfect time, since Rob won’t be paid until the first of October from his school job.

    We have a couple of days off now, and will work like crazy around here as we have many projects we want to get finished before school starts and my husband goes back to work and I begin homeschool again. We worked in the shop on Saturday, getting a bit done towards the organization that is sorely needed out there.

  9. Hello all! I look forward to all the posts.
    This past week, we had problems with my husband’s truck and decided it was time to trade it in for a used hybrid car. We will have to make very low payments but with the gas being lower for the car, no extra money will come out of our budget.
    We were finally able to work on things at home -placing three large area rugs given to us in great room, bedroom and kitchen. More comfortable walking on the rug, then the tile floor. Next big project will be pictures ….
    This is how we saved last week
    – I stayed in for two days, getting things done.
    – I combined trips when I did go out.
    – using up all leftovers – sending my husband to work with some so he will not buy lunch
    – I earned a $10 Lowes card that I will use with another Lowes card to buy more cabinet pulls.
    – I found some casual sandals at Marshalls using up a gift card and Shopkick points, cost me 0!
    – spent about $60 at grocery mainly on fruits and dairy
    – cooked all meals at home.
    – ran dishwasher and washer at full loads.
    – hung most of our clothes to dry

    That is all I can think of …. have a good frugal week all!

  10. We have those same lizards here. When I see them, I have been known to talk to them :). I’d like more raspberries and hazelnuts, so I tried tip layering several of each. I hope they’ll take. They had several varieties of large hostas on the clearance rack at Lowe’s. We got 5 plants of 3 varieties, and divided two of them. So, 7 new plants in the shade garden, and landscape block on sale, with OOP reduced by gift cards and J’s military discount. I’m harvesting pawpaws, among other things. We had a visitor this weekend who works for the Smithsonian come by for some pawpaws. These were a personal interest of his, not professional. He does coffee roasting on the side, and promised to send us some of his coffee as thanks. I’m joining in with everyone here:

  11. Good for you, Janet! That’s why I check out every receipt and every bill so closely. There are more errors than one might think. My husband had a follow up blood test and exam that was needed with his doctor. He called the insurance company ahead to find out how it was covered. He was told it was a follow up and 100% covered by them. Sure enough, we got a doc bill and lab bill that totaled more than $200 combined. The doc’s office simply coded it incorrectly so we got it removed. Completely worth the 5 minute phone call! Since my husband had taken notes when he called the insurance company, I had all the info needed. We keep a spiral notebook just for such phone calls. We always know the details. I also had a prescription go down $12 because the clerk hadn’t used the new insurance info, but just continued on when the old one came back as uncovered. And just yesterday, we had a buy one/get one free item not credited. I checked it in the store so we got the $3.xx back immediately.

    Always double check everything!!!!

  12. Hello Brandy!
    Your herb drying has given me the idea that I could attempt to do this myself on store bought herbs that I have extra of and cannot use up in time. So many recipes call for only a small amount of a fresh herb and it feels so wasteful (and they’re expensive!) when I cannot use the entire bunch or pack bought.
    This week had its ups and downs.
    -SO bought himself a new car. The downpayment that we ended up making was slightly more than we wanted but necessary to keep the monthly payment in budget. We’ve been planning and saving for this new car for a very long time.
    -From our vacation last week I took home the complimentary shampoo and lotion bottles in the room. My kids had used the products while there but I kept the empty bottles and when home refilled them with product from my bathroom. We don’t often travel to places that require a hotel stay so this will be useful for things like camping or when the kids have overnight visits with friends and family. The lotion bottles I refill with my own large bottle of hand cream and keep in my purse for when I’m out. Doing it this way means we can use our preferred products while travelling without having to worry about leaving behind a full sized bottle.
    -I made our menu for last week and found that most everything I wanted to make was already in the pantry. My grocery budget for the week revolved around increasing our food storage instead of buying daily items.
    -I made my own foaming handsoap for the kids bathroom using soap from a large refill bottle.
    -SO roommate from many years ago was moving to a new house. We offered to help with the move and among the things the man was about to toss was a large box of kitchen trash bags and a large bottle of dial handsoap. I claimed them both and will put them to good use. Trash bags are expensive, especially since it’s money that goes straight to the trash!
    -I cleaned out my closet and gifted some workwear to a friend. Since I wear scrubs now I don’t need as many slacks and blouses as I did when I did office work.
    -Our electric bill is our highest utility bill because SO is a computer engineer that works from home. He has five desktop monitors and three laptops in his office on and running at all times. The heat from the machines makes his office very hot and the power used adds up combined with the double whammy of having his office in a room with windows on two walls that get the brunt of the afternoon sun. To combat this I’ve been doubling my efforts to keep electric usage to a minimum everywhere else. This months electric bill was $30 less than last months
    -We shopped around for and found a new car insurance policy that will save us about $500 over the six month term.
    -I repaired a shoe (my favorite pair!) using shoe goo.
    Have a good week everybody!

  13. I know many people here who pay $800 to $1000 a month in the summer for their electric bills. I had a $500 bill my first summer in this house. The electric company has raised the rates more than 40 times since then. I’ve done a lot to cut it down (I had it down to $325 in summer before) but even as I continue to use less electricity, the bill continues to go higher because of rising rates. I have noticed that the difference between keeping the house at 79 versus keeping it at 77 is almost $200 a month, so I keep it at 79; this past week I put it at 80º a few times.

  14. We were in Annapolis last month (40 minutes from me) but we didn’t do it for free! However it was still a great touristy day with two of my sisters, except for usual July heart and humidity

  15. I’m so glad you posted about your shoe breaking because I think I forgot to share what happened to me in late spring. In one week!!

    It was about halfway thru’ church one Sunday and I looked down to see cookie crumbs all over the floor around me. I was thinking that it was probably from a child and that mom should find a ‘less crummy’ snack for church. As I approached my car afterward, I step forward and this metal clunks in front of me and my shoe feels very odd. I look down and there’s a pile of those ‘cookie crumbs’ under my shoe, which split between the bed and sole like a giant alligator mouth, & a metal support popped out!!! The foam padding was completely rotted! Into the trash they went at about 14 yrs. old, leaving me with one pair of summer sandals.

    3 days later, I’m in Sprouts and as I’m walking, this black thing ‘runs’ under my cart and out the front, causing me to startle and let out a small screech. I realize that when it stops, it’s not moving. I lean down and see that it’s a piece of rubber and I assume it has come off my cart wheel. When I get home and take off my shoes, I notice that I’m missing a giant chunk of one sole of my shoe! Into the trash went my 10 yr. old shoes, leaving me none!

    Admittedly, I was sorta proud to completely wear them out!! Neither was inexpensive as I have a neuroma and I need good sole support. I figure the combined cost of those shoes to be about $180, but when I factor in how long they lasted and stayed comfy, I think it was money well spent!! For fun, I noted when I bought their replacements & the cost. I’m curious to see if they will last as long. One is the same brand, Aravon.

  16. Hi Brandy:

    I also enjoyed the piano video and music. My son (7) has just started taking piano lessons so it motivated him as well.

    Like you, I try to root plants from what I have. This week in the garden, I dug a bed on the outside of our garden for flowers. I had my husband till up the soil where I wanted the bed to be. Then I used the straw and droppings from our chicken coop run (after I mucked it out) and then tilled it in again. Then I added the flowers and hand edged the bed. When I gets cooler, I will plant in my spring bulbs and then mulch the entire bed. I buy rose plants and day lilies at clearance prices at the end of the season (I do the same with hydrangeas) and try to use them in planting beds. I was able to add in two more roses buses and 4 day lilies purchased very cheaply.

    We are on a “shop our pantry” and eat from the deep freeze this month as we had our house re-sided and my husband built a much needed yard shed. School starts here next week and I bought the kids’ school supplies sometime ago so we are ready without having to buy anything. One of the few purchases I did make was at the dollar store where I bought containers for an inexpensive but super handy spice rack my husband built me.

    Hope you week is going well.

  17. My big achievement for the week was canning 11 half pints of blueberry jam. Caught the blueberries on sale. I also got kale on sale so I stocked up and made kale cubes for my green smoothies. (kale and water in the blender, blend away, and freeze in ice cube trays). I had some tomatoes, some kiwis and some nectarines that were on the edge of going bad. I made cubes of this stuff, just mixed up, to add to the green smoothies. I ate from the fridge and freezer all week. I was offered 7 extra hours at work and I grabbed ’em. Won’t change my paycheck much, but every little bit helps. I was cleaning the pantry. Found some dried soup mix I’d bought ages ago. It was horribly salty stuff so I tried it once and forgot about it. I added the ingredients to a saucepan and then rinsed them in water and dumped the water out. Still too salty so I added some extra macaroni to the mix. That gave me more soup and evened out the salt. Did laundry and hung things on the inside drying rack to dry. I used a $4 coupon for a shampoo and a haircut at Supercuts. I was gifted 3 shirts that were too small for their owner. They’re fancy name brand shirts and they’ve never been worn. I think that’s it.

  18. I keep our thermostat set on 79 degrees in the summer, because our bill would be horrendous otherwise. The good thing is that we only pay an average bill each month — the lower usage months build up credit to help balance the vicious months of summer along with the now and then cold weeks in the winter.
    This is the “check your bills” day, I guess — I found the self-check-out at Walmart charged me twice for the bananas I bought — the machine claimed it didn’t get the weight the first time and said to weigh them again. It was only $2.98, but I went to customer service when they weren’t busy, and got it back. It’s a little bit, true, but every little bit counts.
    My husband gathered pears from our tree and I peeled and sliced them to dry. I use a dehydrator for drying any food. If I don’t, it will mold long before it dries. Our humidity is always so high — I can’t imagine living with a humidity of 5-10%! In the warm months, our humidity rises at night to 98-99% then goes down some in the day.
    I shopped some good food sales at my local food co-op. I have also started stocking up for the holiday cooking when I see a good sale on something I know I’ll use.
    I bought two more gifts for Christmas. I save up for Christmas, but the more I can shop now, the less time and money I have to spend all at once in December.
    And I do the normal things — use homemade laundry soap, hang up as much laundry as I can, use up leftovers, wear used clothes, and DIY as much as I can.

  19. It was a beautiful day yesterday to be by the water and the breeze was so nice. Hubby did ask how much to take a boat ride it was $20 each even with senior discount (he was not feeling well) so I opted to be happy just walking around the water and sitting on benches and watching the boats go by. We always take the camera and he got some amazing photos as well. Which we always enjoy on the next morning with a special breakfast which kind of makes that a date as well.

    I do always check my receipts and yes there are lots of mistakes on average of $7.00 in the favor of every store you check out at according to one survey I recently read and over the course of the year on average of $300 for other various charges on credit card bills that people do not catch. We do not spend 1/4 of one penny that we did not intend to spend. I watch everything like a hawk!

  20. I chipped in a small amount of money with 2 friends and paid my gardener (a single mother with 2 children) to weed the memorial garden. It is small but at the back of the church where no-one sees it except from the alley. I was worried that someone might report the church for a weed notice which would cost $400 if fined. It was overgrown with quack-grass and scentless chamomile.

    Elsewhere, I pointed out to the church committee people that the dead pine tree might be on the boulevard and if so was city property.
    They should phone the city and ask for a new boulevard tree. Even if the dead one is on church property, the City could still plant a tree near it on the boulevard and that would save them from buying a new replacement tree. None of the 3 of us could physically weed so my gardener (whom I cannot afford very often) got 5 huge bags of weeds out of the garden. One of the contributors to this small effort said “what did you do with all the plants?” (She never did realize that all of the plants were weeds).

    We dug out clumps of plants and put each clump on a bench that I was sitting on. Then I pulled the quack grass out from the bottom.
    and we replanted the clumps. This worked well until we encountered the huge clump of irises. The rhizomes were so intertwined
    that it was almost impossible to pull them apart. In the end, we replanted 12 individual rhizomes. The big clumps were put by the side
    of the church to go home with anyone who wanted them. In short, we were rejuvenating the garden. For the friend who couldn’t cope with how bare it looked, I offered to donate 2 daylily plants that will grow bigger.

    While my gardener did the heavy work of digging, etc., and I pulled quackgrass from the clump bottoms, we chatted. We discovered that we each had loved picking berries and fruits as children (and even still). I asked her if she’d like crabapples and she said yes!
    After we did this, I phoned my friend who had given me a bucket of crabapples and she said yes she’d be glad to donate some to my gardener who would pick them. So my gardener ended up picking 4 buckets of apples while I chatted with my friend who looked relieved that the number of apples on the bumper crop that she has to do something with has been reduced. My gardener went home and made tons of applesauce.

    The next day my gardener came to weed a trouble spot in my yard and we chatted. She wants to start up her own charity to grow veggies and fruit for people in need and I told her the steps she’d need to take. And that I could get it to a form reviewed by a lawyer.
    to save money.

    It is really incredible how one thing leads to another. So I spent a little money, saved the church a lot, led them to acquire a new tree for nothing probably, inspired my gardener to set up her charity that will help low income people grow, harvest and eat their own food.
    All in a couple of mornings!

  21. This week is all about muscadines!!! We harvested 5 gallons of grapes yesterday and over 3 last week. I have made jelly which I will make more of also muscadines pepper jelly and juice. The wetter than usual spring and summer we have had here in the south has produced bumper crops of first figs and now muscadines. I will be gifting the jelly and fig butters this Christmas.

    We were gifted a 40 qt ice chest full of catfish. So this week catfish court bullion it is. I will also be making Maque Choux from gifted okra and canned tomatoes and corn we put up earlier this summer. I know my family would just want fried fish and fried okra, but I try to slide in healthier alternatives.

    My daughters Jeep needs a new part. My husband ordered it and will replacing it. I am so thankful for a spouse that can fix things. My sons are now at the age where they are helping him. I want my sons to be able to have the skills to fix things they grow up, that and dance with their wives, so I make them dance with me. Lol.

    We are getting ready for a garage sale. Hopefully in October when it cools off we can have one.

    I made fabric softener, mouthwash and refilled the hand soaps, I also made sea salt spray for my hair. The spray allows me to go to bed with a wet head and then mist again in the am, scrunch and go it dries on its own.

    I think that’s all, have a great week everyone.

  22. Hello,

    I’ve not added my comments in the last 6 weeks, but I keep a little running tally of things I do to save. It keeps the momentum going. During these weeks, I’ve:
    *received 6 dozen eggs from a friend of mine whose chickens are laying more than she can use
    *received enough grape juice to make 2 batches of jelly (from a friend who was gifted a lot of grapes). I appreciated her cooking down the grapes to make the juice so much that I purchase some Surejell for her to use next go round!
    *I received a Zaycon ground beef order and cooked some, made freezer meals, and made many burger patties. I like portionning the meat in smaller units. That way it is easy to add a 1/4 lb beef to flavor a dish. We try to use half the amounts of beef called for in any recipe (well, maybe except meatloaf!). It is a way to feel like you are getting meat and flavor without all the expense. I use recycled bags, ripped Ziplocks to wrap up the meat.
    *I was gifted 3/4 of a blueberry pie. It was good but too sweet for my families taste. I froze it and plan to use it soon either to top pancakes/waffles or to make little mini-pies. We’ll see how that experiment goes…but no oop regardless!
    *My dad had surgery recently and gifted me with a pasta dish. They had been gifted this from a friend but, as several folks had done the same thing…they had too much food. It fed my family for one supper.
    *Checked out free videos from the library.
    *Our company treated us to lunch one day.
    *Received free ice cream cones; ice cream is on sale at Krgoer this week and I have a $1 off coupon. I plan to use it and buy a gallon of ice cream as a treat…I should be able to get in for $1!
    *Received free books
    *Found a favorite cookbook (that I had first discovered at our library) at the thrift store. Brand new for $2!
    *I decided to not visit a friend of mine that lives 2 hours away in order to save gas and eating out. I talked with her by phone instead (though I missed visiting in person). I also passed up another trip from a friend who is at a conference at a beach 6 hours from my house. All the expense I would have had would be gas and maybe a meal or two out….but I felt like I needed to save the money.
    *We have had a lot of unexpected bills in the last 6 weeks: my daughter had to have 4 molars pulled, my son was involved in a fender bender, a tree fell on electric lines and also caused damage to our house. Though we have insurance, we now have to meet deductibles.
    *my husband fixed our washing machine when it broke. He tried to fix our dishwasher but it is beyond saving. We will not replace it until he is back at work…perhaps in 2018!
    *I took leftover donuts from work and shared with my kids.
    *Thrift store find…a cooling rack I needed
    My husband has been out of work over a year now. We are to our last scraps of savings. The unexpected accident and tree falling down has not helped! It is a little scary but we are tightening up our belts, eating down our stockpile and being cautious. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for thrifty ways and this community of people. All the best!

  23. To save money this past week I:
    “shopped” my gift closet for several birthday gifts and mailed them out in recycled boxes.
    used my local library for internet service and several new books and magazines
    hung all laundry to dry in the house due to allergies
    made home made citrus cleaner
    pre-made salad in mason jars to have less veggie waste
    ate most meals at home and packed snacks and drinks to take with me while running errands.
    packed 2 lunches for my husband to eat “on the road” (this is a little challenging as he is a long haul trucker without a ‘fridge in his truck.
    Saturday date day was a visit to our local farmer’s market, exercising together, and Scrabble post dinner at home.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful frugal week.

  24. Hello! I am envious of those butternut squashes!!!

    I purchased two small star jasmine plants that were on sale for $5 each and planted them in our courtyard. Fixed some sprinkler issues so that an area of the yard will get better water and I am hopeful to plant some veggies in that area in the fall for our hot zone.

    Made homemade salsa, green jalapeno sauce, almond milk, yogurt, granola, and hummus. A lot of these homemade staple items are just on autopilot now for me and they really don’t take much time now. I stocked up on some grass fed beef because it was 50% off.

    Younger son and I are taking a mini trip toward the end of the week to visit family before he heads back to college and I am planning to do this as frugally as possible. 🙂

  25. My grandmother always put a grape leaf in the bottom of each pickle jar to make them crisper.

    I have been dehydrating grapes along with sliced pears as they ripen. I picked a half bushel box of pears from our tree when the stem would release if the pear was lifted at a 45 degree angle. The box has been on the dining room floor, under the counter, for the last week & the pears are ripening very quickly. Most of them have wind damage from the storms last month, with subsequent insect damage, so dehydrating is a better option this year than canning.

    This morning I picked a half bushel box of notmquite ripe peaches from our big tree, to lighten the load on the branches. I thin a lot in the spring, but the weight of the fruit just pulls those branches down. Other than the branches in question no longer touching the ground, it is hard to even tell that I picked. It will not take those peaches long to ripen in the box, either.

    I have picked up ground beef & ground bison multiple times from the bargain basket at the grocery store, for $1.99 per pound, in the one pound heavy shrink wraps. All three of the brands I have bought are hormone free, organic, antibiotic free, etc. and they are usually upwards for $8 per pound. I will not pay that, but when it is in the bargain basket, I do not pass it up, either. Some has gone to our daughter, & some is in our freezer.

    I continue to knit on presents for the holidays – little doll dresses & doll blankets – & to order the things I am buying on sale & with coupons. Most of them have already arrived, & just need wrapped.

  26. This week was back to work for me. We will see an increase in gas now that I am working again, but my salary is well worth the extra spent in gas. My husband is a carpenter so he must travel to wherever the job is. Luckily, he will be completing a kitchen remodel for the next couple of months on a house just a few miles from ours. So that should help offset the gas expense for a little while!

    My garden is producing massive amounts of food right now. So we are eating everything we can and preserving the rest. This week, I canned 7 pints of pickle relish, 7 jelly jars of pepper jelly, 5 jars spaghetti sauce, and 21 pints green beans. We are also eating watermelon from the garden this week. I blanched broccoli and froze peppers as well. And I was able to give away some green beans, as I had already canned quite a bit before this last round. At this point it is more than enough to get us through the year. I also shared a couple zucchinis.

    I picked 110 ears of sweet corn yesterday. I will freeze all of this corn and it will last us over a year. The patch still has lots of corn left, so I will give some away and we will eat fresh corn on the cob as much as possible until the patch is done. Apples should be ready within the next week, so then I will get started on canning applesauce and apple pie filling.

    We ate dinner at my parents house a couple nights this week. Breakfast was provided the first two days of work last week. I couldn’t eat all the food, so I took the muffins back to my office. They are individually wrapped. I added them to my snack drawer.

    My husband also hand washed his truck rather than paying for a car wash.

    I only bought milk and some potato chips for groceries this week. I also bought two dresses at 40% off.

    Thank you again for all you do on this blog. You are so inspiring and a constant reminder that there is always something else we can be doing.

  27. I have been reading, but have not commented in quite a while. But these last 2 weeks have been great on savings. First my husband’s sunglasses needed new lenses. The company will replace the lenses for a lot less than buying a new pair. They are name brand and rather expensive, but he works outside and they have lasted about 3 years. Considering the work he does, 3 years is great. Anyway, I sent them back and they no longer make that style. They offered me any pair of glasses they had in stock for a fee of $11.95. Say what? Their glasses run about $150-$250.
    I’m home all day by myself and do not turn lights on. My husband always asks how I stand it. It’s not the only thing I do to conserve energy though. We have budget billing for power. This was our anniversary month to recalculate our payment for the next year. I opened my bill on Friday and it said BALANCE DUE $0. And our payment each month will drop $17.
    This one hurts but glad I figured it out after a year. My daughter purchased a car June 2016 and got her own insurance because she graduated college and was moving out. I had her old car removed from our insurance since we were giving it back to my brother (yes, he gave their old car to her when she turned 16). I did not realize until last month that she was actually still listed on our insurance. My payment was almost $50 less this month. I don’t know if it will continue to be that much less or if that was a prorated payment. But I was excited.
    See, my husband and I haven’t been on a vacation by ourselves since we got married in 1991. We are always with family or friends. And the only vacation we normally get is a week of camping/fishing with about 15-20 of his family members. So, in November we are going on a short cruise. Passports are not necessary, but if something happened we could not come home by plane without one. My parents are in their 80s so I feel a passport should be purchased. I have saved enough money this month to almost pay for them. To pay for the cruise, we have been purchasing Carnival gift cards as Kroger when they have 4x fuel points. I have filled my diesel truck up 3 times at $1 off which saved me about $75.

  28. I don’t understand Swagbucks. I have tried it but I guess I am just not getting it.
    I made some cleaning spray, and homemade laundry soap with some old ingredients I found. I made granola, cooked up several pounds of ground turkey at once so I don’t have to keep using the stove top.

  29. Lillianna, what is a “Sugar Cookie”? and how can it order on your kindle? If this is a person that used it I would expect you would have them pay the bill, not have to dip into your tax payment money!! I am glad the dog is good company for you, especially while you are unwell.

  30. Contact Amazon. If it has never happened before, they will likely give you a one-time credit for some of the purchases. My son purchased an entire season of a show on Amazon and didn’t realize that it wasn’t part of our Prime. As a one-time courtesy, they gave us our money back.

  31. Busy last 2 weeks!!

    Garden is consuming a lot of time.

    Canned 13 pints green beans, 8 pints brown sugar carrots, 7 pints regular carrots, 7 pints bread and butter pickles, 6 pints pickled jalapeños, 6 pints dill pickles, and 6 half pints pickle relish. I also froze 10 pints shredded zucchini and 7 pints sautéed mixed summer squash. Plus the weeding and watering. Tomatoes are loaded but just starting to turn. Late this year

    Kept to my $50.00/week for groceries. That is for 2 people. I buy as much organic as possible. And I need gluten free.

    Found some meet deals in the markdown bin. Ground pork, $1.50 per pound x 2 pounds, chicken tender $2.00 for a pound, and $2.50 for kielbasa sausage.

    Made all meals at home- meatballs, mashed potatoes, hash browns, Irish coddle, hamburgers on the grill, pulled pork, which also morphed into pulled pork nachos and a pulled pork and potato casserole, zucchini brownies and zucchini muffins (gluten free), homemade bread for the hubby, salads, and caprese salad.

    Sewed some clothes for my grand daughters, cut out a nightgown for myself for winter.

    Had my 4 grand kids last week. But we stayed close to home and did free things-swimming at the beach, splash pad, playgrounds, and picnics. Did go camping 2 nights. Made all our meals, canoed, swam, and hiked. Fun time!!

    Cleaned a couple of closets. Filling boxes for the thrift store.

    Need to start working on Christmas gifts.

    Have a great week!

  32. Brandy, do you run the fan continuously, or set it on “auto”? I’m trying to train us to have the a/c on a higher setting, but going from 77 to 78 has been hard–when there’s no air stirring, 78 feels too hot. Or maybe I should just buy more fans?

  33. Hi Ellie’s Friend in Canada,
    If you check Kijiji , FB or look on the internet for ” Food Share” with your cities name,it may be available where you live.
    People who have fruit and vegetables that they are unable to use, offer it to the “Food Share” group. Address is kept confidential till a picking crew is assembled then a date and time is confirmed and the address is released to the pickers.
    Volunteers then arrange a time to come and pick. 1/3 goes to the owner, 1/3 to charities like area food banks and shelters, 1/3 is divided amoung the pickers.

  34. Richella, I have the fan set to “auto.” If you have it set to “on” it will run all the time. We have ceiling fans in almost every room. I only run the ceiling fans when I am in the room, because ceiling fans cool people, not rooms. I can’t stand to be in the room this hot without ceiling fans going; it drives me crazy and I start dripping sweat without them on–but with it, I am fine. The more humid it is, the hotter it is going to feel and the more difficult higher temps will be in the house. I do know that visiting my grandmother’s house in summer (where she had no a/c and it was in the 90’s with 90 humidity) that fans made ALL the difference. She had a box fan set up in her kitchen window to blow across the kitchen and that was a huge help.

  35. Those Armenian cucumbers are impressive!! I must look into those for next year.

    As far as frugality:
    I cut all five boys’ hair last week.

    Found two pairs of “almost” new shoes for my boys at a garage sale totaling $7. Also found a brand new Ralph Lauren long sleeve collared shirt for my oldest for $1. He will wear it for Christmas.

    Was not able to hang much laundry outside due to the rain, but the cooler weather meant no AC. So the costs balance themselves out.

    Made a 1 gallon jug of my all-purpose cleaner that I use for just about everything.

    Packed my husband’s breakfast and lunch every day.

    I was given several cucumbers and two cantaloupe.

    Bought 3 tubs of 48 ounce ice cream for $1.99 each, normally marked for 4.99. Will use for my son’s birthday and general desserts when it’s too hot to bake.

    My little boys harvested more cherry tomatoes for salad.

    Made hamburger buns to go with the ground beef purchased at $1.87/lb the previous week.

    I do have a question if anyone can help… I made a batch of yogurt that went wrong, too liquidy. However I was hoping that I could do something with it? Popsicles? Anyone have ideas? Much appreciated and greetings from Michigan!

  36. Forgot to add, received my Ebates check for $19.95 and my husband also received a $50 gift card to our local grocery store through work. Yay!

  37. Your runny yogurt would be good in smoothies. And popsicles. As the liquid in recipes calling for milk — would make them a little tart, which could be good.

  38. Brandy… you are a blessing. My daughter just lost her job due to being in a temp service and coming down with Mono …no time off when sick but because she did read your blog from end to end she is going to be okay in the food area so she can focus on paying the bills . Single mother of 3 with her oldest in high school and going to college part time.

    What you spend in the summer is what we used to spend in the winter when heating the upstairs…we don’t heat there any more, just pile on more blankets and get dressed in the bathroom.

    I feel like all I have done is run run run… couple times from the garden snakes…Toads are getting pretty thick also but I noticed no where near the gardens where the snakes are.

    I am trying to do Swagbucks daily… struggle as I don’t focus on it much as I am busy but have learned that by putting it on a separate tab I can do more than one thing at once. Still don’t make many points that way.

    Sitting here reading everyone’s posts and watching the eclipse but taping a paper with a hole in it to the front room window and watching the difference on the paper laying on the floor. I won’t get to see it much as there is a storm going to roll in. I need the rain.

    Went to physical therapy, ahead of “norm” about 3 wks. BUT because of how I was scheduled at the last minute I can’t get my last visit to be released until a week after I am done…so they decided since I wasn’t paying out of pocket they would go ahead and schedule me one extra day for me to work on their weight machines that the Wellness center does not have. I will start going to the Wellness center to rebuild the strength in the right arm after I am released from PT . Wellness center is $26 a year for us. I am suppose to do push ups….I couldn’t do push ups before the surgery due to breaking my wrist when I was 21, they won’t allow me to do it on my fist, suppose to be flat handed… Wellness center told me to ask if they would accept me using the hand weights to hold my hands off the floor since I would be holding the weights instead of knuckles on the floor.

    I went shopping after PT each time to finish up stocking the pantry since I was already in town. Scores too many to mention here but on my blog.The only things we bought for weekly groceries is milk, a cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple.

    I dehydrated some herbs others I hang after tying together and when it’s like thyme I put netting around or paper bag to catch the leaves as it dries if it falls off.

    Hubby found a couple cucumbers the size on my thumb so I sliced them up and put them in the brine leftover from the refrig pickles my girlfriend made while I was in the sling.

    I have zesty chili cooking right now that I make with sausage, saving the sausage grease for later ,I will can this chili tomorrow. Beef veggie soup next then mild hamburger chili along with tomato juice and pasta sauce. I don’t have to worry about lifting weights when I am lifting canning jars and canners LOL

    Blessed be you and yours

  39. Better yet, you can SEE them through the glass a d know what you have. Store celery upright in water. I wash spinach and lettuce and spin them completely dry in a salad spinner. I also dry the peppers before storing them.

  40. Hi PollyWog,

    Thanks for the tip. She has used a similar service but we just offered her our excess, too. All the fruit we had to share was shared with my gardener, a single mom. Her idea is to actually have low income people grow their own veggies etc. to share. She is a master gardener. She would teach them how to grow, harvest, etc. She has access on land on which to do it right near a subsidized housing complex. It’s a great idea. Thanks again for the tip.

  41. I had to look up what Irish Coddle is. It sounds delicious and I will try making that this fall. I learn something new on this site all the time! Thanks.

  42. Yes, I would use in smoothies. You can freeze in ice cube trays and just take out what you need as you need them.

  43. Love the lizard picture, Brandy!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:

    * Took Dad out for our weekly lunch and was able to use a $10 off $35 coupon.
    * Dad wanted to give a fruit basket to one of the caregivers at his Assisted Living home, so I put one together for him. My daughter had a basket already and picked up a cellophane bag at the dollar store. I already had some shredded stuff that came from a gift basket we had received a month ago. I had a bow already. Fruit came to under $4 and I threw in some brie and crackers and nuts that came in the gift basket we had received.
    * Canned 11 pts. of pinto beans with jalapenos. I had gotten the jalapenos from a bulk produce program, so they were basically free. The pintos cost 57c/lb. I used $1.63 worth. Not including the lids, this makes them 15c per jar. I had bought the lids in bulk, so I think I paid 6c/lid. So much cheaper! And Hubby loves them. They are one of his favorite foods.
    * We went out to eat on Friday night, but used a $5 coupon I received for filling out the survey on the receipt the last time we went.
    * Hubby took his lunch 3 days last week. For one of the lunches he ate out, he used a certificate that I had gotten for free, so he got his lunch 1/2 off.
    * Hubby went camping over the weekend. The only thing I needed to buy for his trip was some sliced cheese for his sandwich. Everything else came from the freezer or pantry.
    * The lawnmower broke, but Hubby was able to fix it with parts he had in the garage. I feel so blessed to be married to a man who can fix anything!
    * Spent the time to unravel and roll up a skein of yarn I have. Took me over 2 hours! I will use this to crochet a tea cozy for a Christmas gift.
    * Bought minimal groceries this week, as we are going out of town on Thursday for 10 days. Ate up what was in the fridge. Tonight’s dinner is soup made from leftovers and veggies that won’t keep. Am serving with toasted leftover hamburger buns. Something I did buy were 4 snack bars that were on sale that I had a coupon for. We will use these on vacation.
    * Ate leftovers for lunch and dinners.
    * Hung out 3 loads of laundry. Only ran full loads and I only use cold water. Of course, here in Phoenix, the term “cold” is relative!
    * Bought some shirts on clearance. They were marked down, then 70% off of that, then 15% off of that. I got 6 shirts for under $53.
    * Used free toiletries, coffee and tea.
    * Got a couple more Ibotta rebates.
    * Kept the AC turned up as high as I could stand. Turned the thermostat up to 84 degrees whenever we left the house.
    * While Hubby was camping I made whole wheat pancakes for myself (Hubby isn’t a fan) using pancake mix and syrup I had gotten on clearance. Was able to have that 3 days in a row.
    * Sister-in-law’s birthday is today. I sent her a card I had gotten for free.

    Not so frugal, we had to get tires for my car. But we don’t have a car payment, so that’s ok!

    Have a great week everyone!

  44. Completely agree! Two items scanned incorrectly at the grocery store this morning – got them both for free as they were each under $10 – saved me a total of $7.50.

  45. A kindred spirit! I also love going back through the archives of my favorite blogs. This blog especially has so much inspiration and information on how to live well on less. I’m glad I’m not the only one who digs into the archives. 🙂

  46. You use so many electric reducing tactics! Such as solar for lights and cooking and turning off electrics when needed. One that we use is to charge our electronics using battery packs that we charge elsewhere (office? Library?). They are also good when out and about. My husband also ski instructs so having his phone charging when he is away from electric is important for him.

    I’d love to see a blog on electric reduction. I need to move beyond hanging laundry and such.

  47. Brandy,
    Thanks to you and all who regularly comment on this blog, I was able to have enough money set aside to help out my daughter this month when she needed it most. She is a teacher and had worked hard teaching reading at a summer education program but due to a paperwork nightmare, she never got her paycheck! She really needed it to pay her bills but I was able to front her the money until her paycheck is sorted out. She also found out her school district will probably be striking because the district wants to cut the teacher’s salaries by $500 per month. With a $500 per month pay cut, my daughter will not be able to pay her mortgage and utilities. I don’t think people understand just how much money it takes to pay the basics of life. Her city sewer bill is $185.00 per month add to that water usage, garbage pick-up which is mandatory, heating/cooling and her utilities cost as much as her mortgage payment each month!! It is crazy. She has been in tears all week because she tries so hard to be financially responsible but things out of her control are causing major stress.

    I offered to purchase her a few new items of back to school clothing (they will eventually have to start school one way or the other). She found some pants for $10 and a couple tops to go with them. When I went to pay for them the clerk said if I gave her my email address she would give me a 10% discount and then she gave us another 10% off for a teacher’s discount. We were very, very happy.

    Thanks to all of you for your constant stream of good money saving ideas. It means the world to me to have this knowledge and useful advice so that I can help out my daughter. She is stretching every dollar.

  48. Well, we’re all busy her with the eclipse. The science teacher came in and set up a telescope in the parking lot with a viewer on it and sent out an email. I was already at school so we took our lunch outside. We’re not in prime viewing territory.

    We have had a usually busy 3 weeks. Tomatoes and corn are full in, same time as always. We have also harvested green and wax beans, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, melons, eggplant, greens, herbs, blackberries, carrots, onions, herbs, bell and spicy peppers, the last of the potatoes, cabbages, and the first of our hardy peaches. That is the most exciting.

    We had a few momentous family happenings over the last 3 weeks. Well first is always my sister and my birthday which was so close to the time my cousin was doing his annual pig roast this year that we celebrated then as everyone there anyways. At the gathering younger son Markus and his special friend Christy announced their wedding. We knew and many suspected they would get married soon. November 4th is clear at their church so their planning has begun. We gain a grandchild…Christy lost her husband almost 3 years ago. He was a childhood survivor of cancer but he relapsed when Adam was one. Adam is adopted due to all the radiation and chemo that Adam Sr had had in his life. My husband’s sister is returning to the family…Annie disenfranchised herself due to a boyfriend, they eventually moved away, married, had 2 children. We never saw them, they lived a totally different lifestyle. They eloped so we never saw the wedding, they never once attended anything other than her parents funerals and she came by herself for those. Well, the husband said he is divorcing her, her only employment has been at his family business and her children live 1000 miles away in either direction. She has decided to relocate up here. She was terribly upset of course and called Levi…he drove there taking along Carrie, another of their sisters. So we are happy and sad for her.

    Some of the things baked and cooked the past 3 weeks were vegetable stir fry and rice, stuffed bell peppers, jalapeno poppers on the grill, grilled fish, grilled vegetables, macaroni and cheese, 7 layer lettuce salad, along with just regular tossed salads, 4 bean salad, boc choy ramen salad, coleslaw, cucumber salads, roasted beets, macaroni salad with fake crab meat, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, bratwurst once on the grill. Lots of grilled food in summer. We ate many fresh vegetables with hummus or ranch dip. Corn on the cob often. Made American (cold) potato salad, deviled eggs. Made zucchini bisquit quiche twice. Sauteed chopped eggplant, onions, peppers and zucchini in olive oil and put into 1 and 2 cup freezer containers. Made more basil pesto and put 5 more 4 oz containers in the freezer. We made cream puffs because they are famous here for the state fair. We don’t go to the fair, just eat cream puffs and watch the old version of STATE FAIR on the DVD. Baked white bread every week, rye bread, applesauce coffeecake, blueberry buckle, frozen pumpkin ginger pie (very good–recipe in old red Betty Crocker cookbook), blackberry cobbler, blueberry muffins. I can’t remember anything else.

    Did little grocery shopping as there is so much to use at home. Bought milk each week, farm eggs, the large size of plain yogurt were marked at .99 each for clearance so I bought 4 and put them upside down in the back of the refrigerator. They will keep. We all prefer to eat plain yogurt and I use yogurt in place of buttermilk and sour cream. Bought the large size jar of minced garlic. I don’t like peeling and chopping…one of the few cooking chores I can’t abide.

  49. I strain mine to make a spreadable cheese (add spices) of Greek yogurt…also, save the liquid for baking or smoothies.

  50. This week was social! We had 3 different families over at separate time. For the morning tea family I made chocolate and banana cupcakes from scratch, using what I had on hand. For the dinner family they bought burgers, meat and salad and I cooked a coconut cake from scratch, using ingredients I had on hand. For the late afternoon tea family I put out fruit and biscuits and I made 2 simple family size pizzas. Lots of fun!

    I spent $48 on groceries for the week for my family of four.

    We went to a school fete and my children had fun! Total spent $17 and this included some much needed second hand clothes for my daughter and I.

    Sold a balance bike on our Craigslist equivalent. I purchased it for $30 and sold it for $55!

    Had dinner at my parents house. Lasagne and apple and berry crumble.

    Went to the library and my children participated in a rhyme time 30 minute session. We also checked out some books.

    Our electricity for the month is $75! I always line dry, never use the clothes dryer. Year round. I am conscious of our usage at all times and try to minimise it wherever we can.

  51. Your electric rates sound like ours here in San Diego. They went from 4 Tiers to 2 Tiers. If you can keep it under 2 Tier level it’s 13 cents a Kilowatt. If it goes over , it jumps to 26 cents. If you run your A/C or heater at all you’re in the higher rate. I think we are the only household not to jump on the Solar bandwagon. SDGE only pays you 3 cents back for the extra kilowatts you don’t use. It doesn’t pencil out for us. My grandparents would not believe what it costs today just to keep your lights on and heat your home.

  52. This is my first trip between our two places while I help my son. Did fairly well on packing and traveling with food, but still did have to buy one meal. It was huge, so I won’t have to eat again for the day. And, I filled out their restaurant survey for a huge bag of chips and salsa in case I do get hungry. I brought an empty stainless water bottle to refill at the airport. Used free glasses for eclipse viewing (spectacular!).

    I packed up clothing that I almost fit back into to be mailed to me for the school year. So excited to have a job with full benefits! Still paying on medical bills that were incurred with poor insurance. So thankful for a relief from medical bills.

    Went bicycling and kayaking for free with my new bicycle and our old kayaks. Our anniversary dinner plans fell through, so we ended up visiting our favorite places and never did get around to eating out. Fun night all the way around!

    I think I mentioned that I had been able to get 50%off orchestra tickets. As it was the last concert of the season it came with an after party for the audience and musicians. This year the party was catered and was a meal. We had a picnic snack before, so our day was a frugal success. And, we visited with a number of friends at the event as well.

    I went to the free food giveaway and came back with 2 cottage cheese containers, donuts for my husband, 2 cucumbers and a turnip. I also visited friends and was given zucchini, lettuce and some herbs.

    Gave our daughter money incase she needed to stay over on her way back to school. She was able to make the drive and stay with friends. Yeah!

    Picked up a free protein bar for my husband! Bought ice for the church with their money using our shopping card which added points toward gas savings.

    I was given a sewing machine from an older family member, so I now have a working machine at each place. What a gift!

    We have had more frugal successes this week than fails!

  53. We have gas heat, cooking, water heater, and a gas dryer. You have to run the a/c here when it’s 114ºF (46ºC) cooling down to 79º (26º) and sometimes only 84º (29ºC). Some years our coldest sumer temps have been 104º at 4 a.m. with daytime temps at 122º (50ºC). Other places have large bills in the winter; ours are in the summer. This is generally my highest electricity month for the year. Our house has two air conditioners plus I run a window unit in my walk-in pantry in the garage. I have two fridge freezers and a full-sized freezer as well. I rarely ever turn on the lights except for an hour at night in the summer. I run the dishwasher (energy star) after every 2 meals and sometimes 3 times a day as there are 10 of us. I do 3-5 loads of laundry a day using an energy-star rated front loader. I have 11 ceiling fans in the house; we only run them when we are in a room, but they are very important in the summer and for feeling cooler at higher temperatures. We are home all day or I could program a higher temperature while we are gone; I keep the house at 79º F (26ºC).

    If you don’t run the a/c in the summer the house will quickly be 105º (41ºC) inside and the cabinets will start to warp and the door frames will become mis-shapen; it happens to houses that are bank-owned and left to sit for sale for a while. Most people run the air conditioner between April and October here.

  54. My husband just installed a solar tube in the bathroom. It doesn’t heat up the room but looks like the lights are on, it’s so bright. I can’t wait to see how this affects the electric bills. There are no windows in that room so the light was always needed. That’s my next mission, to get electric lower. I’m not sure what else we can do living in such a cold climate. The nights never really got out of the 50’s all Summer. I read everyone’s processes for lowering their bills hoping I can use the knowledge here., somehow. Lynn, your rates are higher than ours. Our water bill makes up the difference, I think.

  55. Darcee, Janell in Georgia, I had a hard time figuring it out, too. It’s boring, truth be told. I finally decided that I needed to do other things to earn extra money. It’s definitely not for everyone! I wouldn’t feel too bad about it.

  56. Holy moly! I just learned something! I had no idea about empty houses and such! I can’t imagine living in that heat.

  57. Me, too! I was on the 5th or 6th year of a pair of Teva flip flops. I had noticed that the texture on the sole was flat in a few places and thought I’d have to replace them soon. Well, two days ago, I turned fast and quick and the thong pulled out of one sandal. Can’t be fixed. We are living at the lake most of the time this summer, and the only other shoes I had here was a pair of old sneakers. The innersoles had been removed and they were in terrible shape. I cleaned them up and wore them without any “innards.” The only problem is, our puppy has chewed up all of my other shoes at home, except for two pairs of pumps! However, I think I know where those custom innersoles are when I get back… but I have GOT to buy some new shoes, LOL. I’m also keeping my shoes on a high shelf, LOL.

  58. I work in credit card disputes and it is surprising how much you can actually get from the merchant in question. Some are difficult to deal with but others are a breeze! Just remember to be truthful and avoid “friendly fraud” (that’s where either you or someone you know/live with actually made the charge but won’t admit it…for example, you buy some shoes, they don’t fit but you miss the return deadline….so you call your card issuing bank and say the charge was unauthorized….ugh. So bad and people do it ALL THE DARN TIME!!) Anyway, I digress… Amazon may also help you adjust your settings, etc. so you don’t have future “unauthorized” charges. It’s worth the try! Good luck!

  59. • Our local library had a public board game night on Tuesday. It was loads of free fun and I learned how to play “Ticket to Ride”.
    • Washed out four plastic ziplock bags
    • Very excited – my electrical bill was $33 less than budget and $36 less than the prior month. I keep track of $ per month per year and kilowatts per month per year on an excel spreadsheet. The average kilowatt cost in Connecticut for me this year is 23 cents – there is no reduced time of day/night nor financial incentive to reduce usage.
    • I bought a bushel of “utility” peaches saving $12. I’m freezing individual peach slices to put on oatmeal this winter.
    • Hung all loads of laundry outside to dry
    • Washed head lettuce rather than buying more expensive pre-washed lettuce
    • Cooked dried chickpeas in slow cooker to make into hummus
    • researched Roth IRAs – am trying to decide whether to continue aggressively paying down my mortgage or to funnel some of that money into a Roth IRA, using the 2016 tax software, I estimated my 2017 taxes and found no need to change any withholdings.
    • Shopped at two grocery stores and farm stand buying loss leaders
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • Finished a jar of dill pickles and, rather than dumping out the juice and recycling the jar, I sliced up a cucumber and put the slices into the pickle juice in the pickle jar. This is the first time trying this but I read about this trick here and also in the Tightwad Gazzette.
    • Used three green onions. Put the root ends into a small glass of water and put out into the sun. After just one day, two onions have grown ¼” inch of new green stems

  60. That is one cute baby lizard, Brandy! Glad you shared that picture. I’m also very interested in the mold and casting project your son and husband did. What is the mold and casting material they used? I learned how to do this when I took the museum conservator course, so I’m curious if he uses the same materials. Really interesting that your husband worked in the film industry, though. Did he work on anything we might have watched?

    I’ve had a busy week, with both frugal and not so frugal moments. Our frugal accomplishment included the following this week:
    *Meals made at home included “piggies in a blanket” (breakfast sausage and cheese crescent rolls) with salad, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with broccoli and french fries, breaded stuffed chicken with flavoured rice and corn-on-the-cob, and baked chicken smothered in cheese soup with mashed potatoes and fresh green/yellow waxed beans. Family had spaghetti with meat sauce on the one night when I was not home for dinner.
    *When I ran low on eggs, I pulled the last package of chicken bacon from the freezer to use for breakfast. I’m enjoying delicious bacon and cheese English muffin sandwiches for a change at breakfast.
    *My mom treated us to Chinese take out one night. I used the leftovers for a few days of work lunches. So good!
    *My mom and I cut, blanched and froze most of the 2 plastic grocery bags full of green and yellow/waxed beans. We held back enough fresh to use this week with our meals. Saved the end pieces/scraps in my veggie scraps bag in the freezer for making stock in the future.
    *Needed a few things at Costco. While there, I found boxes of 16 individual hummus for $2.97 each (expiration was 1 month away). That is an amazing price! DD loves these as snacks and for school lunches. So, I bought 4 boxes and froze 3 for future use.
    *While out shopping for other things, I found a sale on bacon for $2/pack. Picked up 10 packs to restock our supply in the freezer.
    *Brought home 2 tomatoes, a handful of cherry tomatoes, an onion and some turnip greens (for our Guinea pig), free from the gardens at work.
    *Learned how to make “Bush Donuts” (deep fried donuts made over an open fire/hearth) at work this week. I was extremely resistant to learning, but they were so good and really easy to make that I’m glad I was forced to learn. Added bonus…all my co-workers love me now, too.
    *We had our “ghost hunt” with paranormal investigators at the pioneer village I work at on Friday night. It was only for staff and volunteers. My co-workers decided to have a potluck dinner, so we didn’t have to run home then come back in a few hours. Two people that were scheduled off picked up pizza, which we all shared in the cost ($5), plus lots of other treats were brought. I treated my co-workers to one of our unbaked homemade apple pies from the freezer that I baked it the night before. A couple of my co-workers brought their guitars and had a jam session, with another co-worker joining in the singing (he’s a trained opera singer). They all sounded so amazing! The ghost hunt was interesting, scary and fun all at the same time. It was so nice to spend an evening with all my co-workers in a more casual setting. Definitely worth the $20 ticket price!
    *Frugal fail: Bought a bunch of back to school supplies and clothes for DD who is starting high school this year. I needed to buy some items that we haven’t had to purchase in the past, so it was expensive this year. I also find it more difficult to shop the deals when I’m working full time and DD passionately hates shopping. Many items were bought at full price, just to get it all done. Oh well, hoping that several of the items will last over more than one year, now that we have them.

    I am slowly working my way through all the comments. I love catching up with the regulars and meeting new commenters every week. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  61. Life is such a mixture of happy and sad, isn’t it? I feel bad for your sister-in-law to have such sadness in her life. I hope moving back to family will help her get through this awful time. It’s great that your son will marry and you will get another special little one to love out of it, too!

    I’m in the same boat–there is so much food that we cannot seem to eat it all–what a great problem! So, I, too, am not buying much these days. Any surplus money is just going to canning and other food preservation projects, but the daily food–it’s coming from the garden and freezers and canning cupboards right now. We don’t have any corn ripe, yet. My sister is growing some for me, but it’s a little ways off. Soon….

  62. Same song, second verse–for me it is water. Today I got the highest bill ever, over $500. I nearly choked when I read it. We are running the sprinklers to assure a green lawn for potential buyers. I told my husband I was going to cut back on watering, and he had a fit–until he read the bill. He saw we were just over the threshold for the extra high rate, which has never happened in 20 years. We have to pay a surcharge for every gallon of water used. So, when we get back tomorrow, I’m cutting back on the water. (Bigtime). We will probably save 30%-35% next month. Plus, we are at the time of year when you cut back, anyway, to harden up the grass for winter. I live in an arid part of the country (not as arid as Las Vegas!) and we’ve had a hot and dry summer. Our winter bills are $31.

  63. I marvel every time you describe the intense heat you experience and what it does to things around there! Warped door frames? Yikes!!! I would just wilt. I don’t think I’d ever sleep, much less get 1/4 done of what you do. Thank goodness for air conditioning. I’m afraid I would be one of those guys with the $1000 power bill until I got used to it! Maybe even $2000 at first! I don’t do well in heat:) All joking aside, our power bill was much higher at our old house because the house itself was so much larger and we had outbuildings/barn/shop that all took power. It was always several hundred dollars per month, and we used wood heat all winter–not the furnace unless it snowed heavily and the temps dropped really low, which was rare. I also had more freezers there. I also had 2 fridges, but one broke when we moved and I did not replace it. So, all of those things have contributed to a much smaller power bill, which is nice. Since we are living on such a lowered salary, all these things help to keep us able to do well anyway–pay is lower, but so are the bills.

  64. I almost gave up on Swagbucks when I realised that (1) I am obviously not in a desireable demographic for nearly all surveys and (2) they drastically reduced the number of Swagbucks I could earn per minute of video watching. My searches on my laptop are still linked to so I surprise myself from time to time with a few Swagbucks. But I haven’t been using my laptop as often since the case broke which rendered it a very stationary laptop so that I can retain the ability to plug in its charger. I need to remember to place online orders whenever possible by going to the store via to get the 1%-3% back in Swagbucks that are offered by the various merchants. I forgot about that feature for several months. Oops.

    But I got a very welcome surprise when I checked to see how many points I had accumulated during the last several months without any effort at all. $45!!! So far, I have cashed out $5 as an Amazon gift card, and $10 as a Starbucks card. I now have a $31 balance, most of which will be ending up in my Amazon account. What a happy surprise.

  65. There is no time of day here either. There is a program where you allow the electric company to take control of your thermostat and turn it off for several hours in the hottest part of the day to reduce your bill. I’m home all day–so NO WAY would I want that! There is a level pay option, which many people like, but that isn’t a good plan for me as we don’t make the same amount each month. Our lowest bills are in January, and that’s also our usual lowest income month (as well as a month when we have several large bills due). Summer is usually when we have a higher income, so higher bills are more easily able to be covered.

  66. You can find his name in “Shrek” at the end of the credits is Los Angeles Pre-Production; he made maquettes for that one. He also puppeteered on “Jingle All the Way” (he controlled the eyes on the pink tiger). He’s worked on other movies too and his brother has done tons of stuff; he’s worked with his brother on many things. We orginially thought he would keep doing that, but that isn’t how it worked out. It’s sporadic work too; I wish for his sake he could go back to it, but that’s not how things are.

    He used plaster or paris because that is what we had. He used to make silicone molds. The beautiful bust that is on my piano is a a piece he cast from a mold he made. He made one from the original for the studio (she was the character study for Fiona) and made another afterwards for himself because it was such a neat piece of artwork. The sculptor originally made it from clay and then it was my husband’s job to make molds and cast silicone pieces for the studio to digitize. He had his own shop doing that.

  67. Hello Brandy & everyone from Australia 🙂 . I am glad Brandy that you were able to lower your electricity bill and were gifted some wonderful produce you could preserve.

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments consisted of –

    Financial –
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us to 20.66% of the way there.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased an electric toothbrush for myself as mine had had it on special for $19.99 saving $27.01 on usual prices.
    – Bought 4 3kg bags of oranges saving $4.04 on usual prices.

    In the kitchen –
    – Juiced 4.2lts of orange juice from oranges purchased on special saving $1.89 over purchasing it in the supermarket.
    – Juiced 30 gifted lemons from friends saving us $35 over purchasing them.
    – Made a homemade whole orange cake with butter icing saving $2.22 over purchasing it.
    – Made a half batch of chocolate brownie premix from a recipe given by a blog friend saving $10.62 over purchasing the mixes in the shops.
    – Made a large batch of chocolate walnut brownies from the same premix we made saving $19.16 over purchasing them premade in the shops.

    In the garden –
    – Purchased another large trailer load of horse manure from a local horse stud for $20 saving $288.80 over purchasing it in bags.
    – Hand watered our newly planted strawberry, thyme, roses, lettuce, basil and tomato seeds and seedlings and watered in lime put on 2 garden beds with rain water from our tanks rather than using town water.
    – Picked capsicums and washed, diced and made 4 more bags for meals for the freezer and we saved the seeds to resell and plant next season.

    Electricity savings –
    – Only turned our hot water system when needed to heat for 35.5 hours this week saving from what I have worked out $6.36 on electricity.
    – Used our solar lanterns to light our home this week and boiled water on our slow combustion fireplace rather than turning on the electric kettle saving us $3.04 in electricity.

    Fuel Savings –
    Saved $8.35 in total on fuel by coupling a 4c off per litre voucher I get with buying groceries I usually buy over $30 and coupled this with a grocery and petrol discount to get another 5% off the price.

    Have a fantastically frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  68. Holly, do you find Bing rewards you better? I have wondered about it. Perhaps I should switch!

    I agree with mosav–it IS boring. Sometimes one needs the little something, especially if you can’t do much else, but it is not really any fun at all. I feel the same way about taking surveys for another company. I’m not delighted with it either, and it’s not much money for the time, so it’s a hard call.

  69. Lynn, no tiers on electric, but the tiers on water here are insane.

    NV Energy (our only power company) decided to drastically reduce how much they would pay for people who got solar. It really worked over a ton of people who were on solar but still on the grid. The only way around it is to be off the grid, but it’s a huge investment. We have a friend nearby who sells solar and is completely off the grid (he has solar and wind power). After we ran the numbers with him and he saw how little we used (especially lights) and where we keep our a/c, we could see it wasn’t worth the investment to us.

    My parents switched all of their lights to LEDS. Now they have lights on all the time and their bill went down! But, it depends on what kind of fixtures you have. We have dimmable small bulbs in all of our ceiling fan/overhead lights, and they are $7 each to purchase! Most bulbs are too large for our fixtures. We don’t use the lights much so our regular bulbs last us about 7 to 10 years. Some bulbs I have never replaced in our house, and they’re incandescents!

  70. Maxine, we have high water rates here too.

    I have a post written on water conservation that just needs some photos. In the meantime, I would suggest that you look for leaks in your irrigation, make sure you’re using sprinklers in the early hours of the morning (to reduce evaporation), and cut back on the days you water. If you can water every other day (if it’s a high in the mid 80’s you can) then that will cut your bill tremendously. I would also check each station manually though to make sure something isn’t amiss if this is much larger than a usual summer bill.

  71. I would add a little stevia (or honey) and eat it with fruit or granola. YUM! I have been making yogurt now for a while and each batch seems to come out a little bit thinner or thicker (I use the crockpot method, nothing fancy). The last batch I made was SO thick…it was amazing. But still not exactly sure how I achieved that! 🙂

  72. Love your garden produce!

    This week was full of errands and appointments. I combined them as much as possible and made sure to bring my reusable water bottle and a snack. One day I was really hungry but convinced myself to wait and eat at home.
    I bought some needed shoes and got the second pair half price. I also found a badly needed scarf and belt at a thrift shop. Lastly, I was lucky and bought a new mop that happened to be on special. Love it when that happens. 🙂
    We ate all meals at home and took leftovers to work. I repurposed some leftovers and used up some random bits and bobs. Resisted the strong urge of ordering pizza.
    We went to see some of my husband’s family for two days. It’s a scenic three hour drive to get there and we packed snacks and drinks. They provided a lovely dinner for us and sent us home with lemons, limes, garlic seeds and a glass vase.
    My husband’s mum gifted us an embroidered tea towel and I picked up a free bag of Christmas decorations from a FB page.
    No savings for us but someone else: We donated two unused single beds and a bag of food to some people in need via a local FB page.
    We’re doing well with turning the heater on later in the day which will hopefully show on our next gas bill!

  73. Athanasia, Sugar Cookie is my mentally challenged 29 year old special needs daughter . She has many weaknesses, but her computer skills are pretty good. She actually is like a 5 yr old. I bought her Kindle just a couple months ago. I should have checked the settings. My Kindle and our tv’s all have you enter a password to make purchases. I just assumed when you logged into our Amazon account it applied to all devices. She doesn’t have a devious bone in her body and doesn’t lie. Honesty is part of her syndrome. It is definitely a financial blow , but I will manage. I blog and never use the childs name for privacy since she is my special love .

  74. On Saturday my husband and I, along with our 4 daughters, 3 son-in-laws, one boyfriend, and 4 grandchildren, went to the lake for a day of swimming and picnicking. Each household brought favorite sandwich ingredients, drinks, and sides to share. We also celebrated one of our daughter’s birthdays.
    The lake is 2 ½ hours away from our house and it cost exactly 15 dollars in gas in our little Honda Civic. My husband is very pleased 🙂

    We harvested green beans, tomatoes, basil, stevia, and mint. I froze the green beans, ate my husband’s favorite-tomato sandwiches, and drank mint tea-one of my favorites. I dried the stevia.

    A friend of ours asked us to watch his dog over the weekend and in return gave us two filet mignon and two New York strip steaks from his freezer.

    I made Greek yogurt in my slow cooker. I soaked, cooked, and froze kidney beans.

    My daughter cut my hair. I cut my husband’s hair.

  75. Hi Brandy,

    Thank you for this beautiful blog and website. Your photos are stunning. I am new to your site, and I love it! We live in Massachusetts. I have 5 children ranging in age from 24-9. I’m always looking for tips, ideas, and inspiration about how to live frugally. Thank you for all that you provide. Here are my top three recent frugal efforts:
    1) Forced myself to shop the loss leaders from the circulars and grocery shop in a more focused way instead of just walking in without a list. I used to be obsessive about this. Got out of the habit of it for a while. Back to it.
    2) Packed my husband’s lunch every morning. Refilled small glass Snapple iced tea bottles with water. Put those in a cooler with ice packs and his lunch, and the glass bottles stay relatively cold.
    3) Saw a beautiful wedding gown in the locked display case at Savers (a thrift store). Told my 14 year-old daughter about it. She laughed at first, but I talked her into going to Savers with me so she could try it on. This took about 10 minutes of me using the low, deep Momma tone and her trying everything possible not to have to try it on. She is nowhere near marriage; she’s just starting high school! A bargain is a bargain, and I told her, “Some day you’ll thank me for saving thousands of dollars on your wedding gown!” She tried it on. It was a bit small but exquisite fabric. It was priced at $49.99. Used my Savers coupon, bought it for $34.95. Dropped it off at the dry cleaners. Will cost $95 to dry clean. It will be ready to be picked up in September. I will store it in my cedar chest (bought 2 years ago at a church yard sale). My wedding veil, baptismal gowns for my children, and precious baby clothes are all stored in there. The gown can be reworked when my daughter is ready to marry. She says that will be in “10 or 15 years,” but the gown will be waiting.
    Thank you for all of the wisdom and insight that you offer, Brandy! I love reading comments from your readers! Have a great week!

  76. I love Muscadines, catfish, okra, and figs! Yes, I had a bumper crop of figs also in Alabama because of this being such a wet summer!

  77. Brandy, have you heard of the show called Face Off! on Syfy network? I realize you don’t likely have that channel. But I’m sure you can find it on You Tube. It’s a makeup competition show and they do lots of silicone molds and such. It’s one of only two programs that I and my husband make sure we do not miss.

  78. I had an unexpected bill. The wall air conditioner/heater unit in my mom’s house went out (my kid lives there)…. I purchased another one for $400 (plus tax) at Lowes. I complain, but this heats and cools the whole, small house adequately, so I will hush. I had another under $45 electric bill at my house, but I think the next one will be huge because our humidity levels have been above 100 degrees and I have been running the air on weekends, when I am there, and at night a lot. My water bill is about $55 to 56 dollars. I complain about that also but I guess I need to hush about that when I see the rates other folks are having to pay. Of course, it is only me at the house, so my usage for one person should be low. I went to Aldi and purchased 59 cents a dozen eggs, $1.85 for hummus, 99 cent sour cream, $1.46 for oil, 88 cent bread, 95 cent bologna, $1.69 for mayo, and 99 cent for several tomatoes. I also bought sharp cheddar cheese but I cannot remember how much it was, just that it was under the price at other stores. I usually eat an egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast, and a bologna sandwich for lunch. I have been making tacos at night this week and just using pinto beans, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and leftover salsa I have, along with a vadalia onion I was given. It has been delicious! I did have a weak moment, went to the thrift store in search of a pot I needed, and saw a t shirt for $2.00 about a vacation spot in Florida. I am a sucker for vacation t shirts and I purchased it…and wore it…lol. Gas is $1.99 at certain places near where my kids live, so I try to purchase gas there when I go visit my children. Y’all have a fantastic week!

  79. Becky: I follow your blog and I am amazed at everything you and Rob get done. I am especially impressed because you just purchased that house about a year ago and essentially started over again with the garden and fixing up the house, as well as Rob’s new job. My best inspiration comes from you and Brandy 🙂

  80. How much are the electric rates per KWH where you live Brandy? I have noticed my rates are higher this year than last. We are at 10.6 per KWH.

    Candace in Louisiana

  81. That is so amazing and extremely fascinating!
    Thanks for sharing that about your husband Brandy. I hope he can work in that field again someday. Extremely interesting.

  82. I like to use ziplocs for storing the clean vegetables. That way as I use part of it I can condense the size of the storage down. I don’t like things taking up more space than necessary in the refrigerator and you can sqeeze down the ziploc smaller and smaller. I even do that with pickle and salsa etc. When the quart jar is half empty I move it down to a clean pint jar. I use the ziplocs over and over. They never really get dirty so I just rinse them well with hot water and the tiniest drop of detergent. I have a dryer contraption for plastic bags that my husband made out of dowels. The bags I use for these are often the ones I used for the freezer. They are still good but I prefer not to reuse freezer bags in the freezer.

    We like spaghetti carbonara very much, especially in the summer as it is such a quick dish and goes good with all kinds of vegetable, vegetable salads. I never use the bacon though, since my youngest does not like meat. I use red onions sauteed in olive oil as a substitute.

  83. Thanks, Lillianna. I at first was thinking it had something to do with cookies that I always hear about on websites and this was some new kind of scam called sugar cookie…like it lures you in because it is irresistible.

    Speaking of scams, on the radio news this morning they mentioned a scam aimed at Amazon Prime Day shoppers…emails are sent to you that look just like they come from Amazon and they ask you to do a survey on your last purchase and you’ll get a $50 gift card. When you click you are redirected to another site that looks just like Amazon but they ask you for your password and user ID to start. Then they start using your account and by the time you get your bill they have run up all kinds of charges.

  84. I had a few small frugal accomplishments this past week as well.

    1. Had a free work lunch yesterday (we do every Monday) and we will have another one today as it is one of our co-worker’s birthday. I brought my own breakfast and snacks.

    2. Received a brand new package of 2 pacifiers and a diaper rash cream (for my upcoming baby) from a friend who have not used them with her baby

    3. I posted a few things on ebay and received a bid on one of the items. Fingers crossed it will sell.

    4. I received a maternity summer dress from my husband’s aunt. She got it on a yard sale for $1 and the shipping was less than $3. It fits me well

  85. I am gonna sound dumb, but your sewer bill is not tied to your water bill? my sewer/water/trash bill is all in one bill and is the $56 dollars approx a month that I mentioned in my post….I guess I do really need to hush because I have been complaining about it.

  86. Hello All!
    This week has been a good dry run of what our winter income will be when my husband’s work slows down. I will back up a little bit here though: We purchased a new to us car in the beginning of July from WA, and we live in OR. It was a bit of paperwork hassle waiting for plates, etc. There was a misunderstanding on our end, I guess when you purchase a car out of state they can give you a pass to drive home but the title, registration, etc are not included in the costs of the loan as it would be if you had made an in-state purchase. I put two and two together yesterday and have to go spend $194.00 down at the DMV today for these items. We dont have this cash on hand so I will need to put it on the credit card we have been trying to fervently pay off. *sigh*. I am just glad we are able to pay for it.
    I have done A LOT of driving these past two weeks on top of my commute. I filled my tank pre-eclipse…unfortunately they jacked up the fuel prices because of the traffic. I also need an oil change. I believe we are going to get the supplies for my husband to change my oil at home as it is at least $80 with a coupon. The initial cost of equipment would eventually pay for itself in oil changes. Plus I wouldn’t have to wait in line :p
    We were in the path of totality for the eclipse, we sat on the roof and drank some champagne. Our anniversary is on Thursday so it was our eclipse date 🙂 The champagne was a gift from Christmas so i was free. The eclipse
    was amazing! When the sun was blocked out it was cold and the sky was like twilight. Something to remember for a lifetime.
    I took off Monday and Tuesday this week to avoid traffic and get some errands done. I managed to make all meals at home this week and some homemade fruit leather in the dehydrator. I am going to try and make some banana bread today. Which involves cleaning the kitchen *groan* haha.
    I put some things lying around the house that we dont use on FB Marketplace and hoping someone else will find some use for them and put some extra cash in my pocket to help pay for some things.
    I purchased my sons school supplies this week from Walmart. It was sort of last minute and I didn’t have the foresight to start getting things pre school year so my bill was around $66.00. I have not purchased any new back to school clothing for him. He has plenty of clothes and his grandmother bought him a few new outfits to wear.
    Hope you all have a frugal and blessed week!

  87. Greetings from Crazyland! Tourists have over-run us, here. Two weeks to go and I may be able to shop, walk and make a left!
    I love the picture of your husband helping your son! What a great background your husband has!
    For frugal endeavors, I’ve been listening to yooootuuuube while I clean and cook. I’ve been missing out on a whole different world out there! I watched some of the war time episodes, in the kitchen and garden. Very interesting!
    One of my bosses was told I’d been buying supplies for the store, on my own time. He told me to put it down as an hours pay for each trip. So, I got points on my CC and my hourly wage! Happy dance!i
    I’ve cut and dehydrated lime balm, pineapple sage, violet leaves, pine needles, regular sage. I’ve dried dill and parsley from the CSA. She gave me some very nice mint that I have in water. I hope it roots so I can put it in my garden. I have a small patch but it hasn’t decided if it wants to grow, yet. I’m also trying to root pineapple mint in water. I think it may grow all Winter in the bathroom now that we have the solar tube in there. Some of the dried herbs are steeping in oil for salves.
    I bought some mushrooms at the farmers market. I dehydrated those for Winter soups. I got two packages of organic mushrooms from the store that were starting to turn. I started to dehydrate those when one of my walking buddies got her hand mangled in the log splitter. (Surgery tomorrow. She’ll be fine.) so, I’ll be making mushroom/barley soup for her while she mends. She is a huge soup lover!
    I sold a couple of things on eBay. Frugal fail…I ordered three books to give as gifts for Christmas. Two did not have pictures. They have the same beginning title of the book I want but they are not that book. The third book was pictured so I know that one is correct. The two wrong ones will cost as much as I paid to return. So, I have two unwanted books that I paid for. Lesson learned! Don’t buy anything without a picture and read the whole title. Grrrrrr
    I inventoried Christmas gifts. I only have a few things to buy, three boxes to cover, and several small items to go into the boxes. (This does not include husband or in-laws.) If I have time, and the inclination, I may make the boxes more personalized.
    I watered down the dish soap in all the hand pumps and for dishes.
    I waited out the rain, actually paid attention to the weather, and hung clothes out when it was dry.
    And, I mended a garage sale shirt of mine and patched a pair of my husband’s work pants. Although I love hand work, I wait to do mending til there’s more than one item. It’s not as fulfilling.
    Have a fabulous week ahead!

  88. Cindy, every city is different. When I lived in the city of North Las Vegas some of those were connected. In Las Vegas city limits, I get a separate water bill, trash bill, and sewer bill. Sewer used to be yearly but changed to quarterly recently and is $62.22 a quarter for any size residence. Trash is $43.53 quarterly and every year it goes up a bit. Water is monthly and is tiered up to 4 tiers; there is a basic charge plus a charge per tier. The rates go up each year plus there are additional fees as well on the bill. I am using less water than last year but my bill is considerably higher. My water bill for this month is $282.18. (And September has both of those quarterly bills plus my highest water and electric bills for the year, plus I have a gas bill, so I pay right around $800 for utilities in September).

    The water district here took over most wells unless you are on horse property (and even then I know two people who have been harassed by the city to give up their wells and go on city water). My sister-in-law had a private well and had to give it up and go to city water. The water district regulates days you can water and times you can water, and can fine you for going outside of those days, as well as it water runs off your property. The fines are several hundred dollars. They drive around in cars looking for violations.

  89. I’m with you – NO WAY would I turn over control of the home environment to the electric company!

    I don’t want to have to wait a full year to see the effects of frugality with the level load payment option. July & August are my highest months too.

    Hoping there is a sudden uptick in sales for your husband in September.

  90. That must have been so much fun to really experience the eclipse. It looked like a huge party everywhere where viewing was prime. We never got dark and all and our usual summer skies are partially cloudy and sunny so it was through the clouds, but we did get to see it on the telescope viewer. Those of us that were at the school and church this week had a little mini party and some students and families came by too so that was fun.

    Glad to hear of your garden bounty. You will be all stocked up again to what you were pre-move!

  91. Make a ranch style salad dressing out of it. I would put some chives, a little garlic, some dried parsley. You could also use it instead of sour cream with some browned (sauteed) hamburger meat, some mushrooms, some paprika and make a fake stroganoff. My first 2 batches in my bargain Cuisinart did not turn out well — the first curdled and was quite foul (I meticulously followed the directions), the second was too thin. The third, just ready this morning, is very tasty and is great. The second one I drank. This one I’ve eaten for breakfast. With your thin yogourt I would put oatmeal in a mason jar and add some of the yogourt and leave it overnight and add fruit for breakfast. Good luck.

    On the third batch, I added 1/4 cup of skim milk powder (I could not get whole milk powder) to the milk and starter yogourt and that did the trick.

    You could even peel and cut up your cucumbers, slice them, salt them, leave them in a bowl for a half hour then squeeze extra moisture out of them. Then add some dill and a bit of your thin yogourt and have a nice side dish for a hot day.

  92. So I had to go find the last time I received a paper bill, which was January. Rates go up every quarter but now I just have mine billed automatically (no more mailing it in and paying for a stamp) and I get an email report every week that shows how many kilowatts I have used and how much I paid. I had to add up all of the many charges per kilowatt to get to the actual amount; there are 5). It’s $12.75 a month to have power, plus $0.1119 per kilowatt, plus a 5% charge that is the “local government fee” on top of that.

  93. Oh my goodness! I guess utilities bills are different everywhere. It is always so interesting to see how it is different in different parts of the world. I noticed that Frugalwoods has no water bill, nor garbage (I think she lives in Vermont and is on a well) bill and that they heat with wood. So, I was sorta envious of her not having to pay for electric heating and cooling like I do down here, as well as having a sewer/garbage/water bill. But, they have to snowplow their driveway so I guess bills are different everywhere. I so so impressed that you are able to keep your air at 79, considering the intense heat you have to endure!

  94. Laurie, you should have success with tip layering the hazelnuts. They do that easily. I know that is what my cousins do with the hazelnut trees.

    I remember in 1st grade we had a teacher that had us sing a song about “way down yonder in the pawpaw patch”. Of course we did not know what pawpaws are and do not have them around here, but it was fun, as she had a game with it.

  95. It isn’t an either/or choice. It is easy to get 25 cents or more a day in a few minutes by going to and doing the daily fact-based quizzes, catching up on the news, and then doing enough additional browses to make your daily maximum of 150 browsing points (300 daily browsing points this month only). You can get more points by using Edge for an hour a day, but I haven’t done that yet. $7.50 a month or a bit more isn’t going to make anybody rich, but I view it as getting paid a little to be informed and entertained. I linked my Chrome browser on my laptop to Swagbuck for searches, but haven’t done so for other browsers I have installed on my laptop or any browsers on my tablets. If I wanted to earn points watching Swagbucks videos, something I haven’t done in months, I would go directly to on my laptop’s chrome browser and watch them from there. When they had introductory language lessons as an option for the videos, I liked being able to make a few cents while learning some phrases for travel.

  96. Athanasia , thanks for the heads up on the Amazon scam. I do surveys often and this is something I might have clicked on. I have been reading old posts to entertain myself while I recover from surgery. I read a very old post about the things in your refrigerator and laughed so hard I almost fell out of bed.

  97. People on wells and septic systems do have bills. The water bill in particular can be very large and come at a most inopportune time if the well suddenly fails. Often, the “free” well water needs to be filtered and softened, something you MIGHT not need to worry about with city water. Culligan around here charges nearly $50 a month if you rent their equipment. And if the electric power grid goes down, your water taps will be dry for the duration. (Been there, done that for five days at a time, twice in a decade.) The well pump does increase your electric bill. Septic tanks also need regular pumping as minimal maintenance. Around here, you can expect a $200 or larger bill for that every three years.

  98. no tiers here in northwest OH but our landlord researches all available suppliers for our electric. He got it down from 13.6 to 6.6 . Really helps because the supply charges are equal to your costs. He switched all his household lights and the barn lights after he saw how much ours dropped after changing to LED. I have 2 over lights (of course the only light in the kitchen and butler’s pantry) that are old tube lights. Landlord dropped off a LED overhead for the butler’s pantry that Hubby will put in after this next reading (so we know what we will save). IF you have an old screw in fuse box instead of the newer breaker box it will cost you more also.

  99. Tina, I hope your husband is employed again soon. You sound like you are coping very frugally, but I am sure running out of savings is very scary.

  100. It is just one of those little things you always do but don’t think of mentioning because you just think it is common knowledge.

  101. College daughter made us watch Jingle all the way , 9 billion times when she was 2 . When we watch this at Christmas, I will look for the tiger. Funny thing is, all I remember is Turbo Man.

  102. What do you do with dried violet leaves? You collected them long after they bloomed in the spring? (We have violets in the lawn.)

  103. I live in Minneapolis in a 950 square foot townhouse. I’m feeling quite lucky that our utilities are so reasonable here! Over thirty years ago, we lived in Texas, and our monthly bills were so much more even then! I do think they take advantage of people in climates that require air conditioning.

    Our monthly electric bill in the summer months is about $85-90. (We have electric stove and water heater. I hang all laundry as I choose not to own a dryer.) We have 2 window air conditioning units we install just for the summer, and this year we have used them less than ten times. Our water bill runs about $30/month. We have natural gas heating, and in the coldest months, we average about $100/month. We are well insulated with townhomes on either side of us. I guess I am aghast when I read of bills of $1000/month, but in Texas we had a tiny home, and bills easily ran $350/month in the early 1980’s!

  104. Thanks Julie T…now Hubby wants to know if he can have a Full fry so we can have leftovers to make Irish coddle LOL;) Been a long time since I have done either.:)

  105. Here in Ohio, doors and floors will warp when there is no heat during the winter in bank owned houses. Along with busted pipes including toilets and water heaters if no one thought to shut off the water and drain them. We also the ceiling fan in the winter to “blow” the hot air back down along with summer.With the humidity right now( Hubby weather spotter so we have a weather station gizmo) at 78 our wood doors are sticking shut.

  106. It was really special!

    I do love seeing those cupboards fill up. Canning is one of my favorite things in the world–all those gleaming jars of fruit/veggies! Today, it’s more pears and a start on the applesauce, and canning those pickles later in the afternoon after one more time of pouring the brine off, adding sugar, etc.–then they will be done. I’ve love to do another batch if the cucumbers cooperate, but they seem to be almost finished.

  107. I remember the day a few years ago that my nephew ordered $10 worth of coins for some game on my Kindle. He was 4 or 5 at the time and it was sitting on my dresser. He got to play it sometimes, so thought nothing of pushing lots of buttons. Yikes! Thankfully, that’s all he ordered, and I password protected it, and kept it up from then on!

  108. if you can get a hold of the list for the next grade you can start getting things a little bit at a time through the year. We have done this with our 6 kids and 22 grandkids. Will when the great grandson starts school also.

  109. Our Gulf Coast beach towns on the coast are overrun with tourists this time of the year. I am assuming you live near a recreational area.

  110. Yes, I guess utility bills are different everywhere. In small towns here in Washington State, the water and sewer rates are crazy expensive because the small towns have to have their own waste water treatment plants and the tax revenue that normally helps pay for those things is simply not enough. As I stated earlier my daughter’s utilities now cost as much as her mortgage each and every month. My son lives in a different small town and his aren’t quite as much as my daughter’s but still very expensive. We live in the country and have our own well and septic so we don’t pay any monthly fees yet. They do want to take our water away from us and make us pay for city hook-ups and monthly services even though we don’t live in the city limits. Washington State is now trying to pass a law that will put a stop to any new wells being drilled in our state. That means that if you purchased a piece of property to build on, your property no longer has any value because you will not be allowed to drill a well for water-if the property is located close enough to a city you could pay a very expensive fee and possibly get connected to their services but if the property is not close enough then you are out of luck.
    I think this will become a huge issue in the future. I know Brandy worries about water issues daily living in Nevada but I think shortly water usage will become of great importance to all of us.

  111. Thank you so much for the kind words. The past couple of years have not been easy, that’s for sure, but I’m so thankful for what I do have. Our recent trip to Mexico helped reinforce that fact that I have SO much. It was interesting to me this trip, though, to see that the standard of living has risen considerably in that area, since we were there a few years ago. So, that made me feel happy, too. I’m the first to say that money doesn’t buy happiness, but if you do not have enough to meet your basic needs, it’s a real worry.

    Back here at home, it is very rewarding to see the canning cupboards filling up with freshly canned goods–so pretty to me!

  112. No well allowed, no city water available, then the prospective builder would need to put in a cistern. Thirty years ago, in the middle of a rapidly expanding suburb of Detroit, I knew a large family who lived in an older house with a cistern. They had their water delivered by truck whenever their supply got low. I was “so* surprised that they weren’t yet on city water. I think the water main ran on the other side of a busy road and it would have cost them so very much to connect. I don’t know why drilling a well hadn’t been an option for them.

  113. Mrs. T, we use plain yogurt all the time to replace buttermilk–in baking cakes, muffins, corn bread, sour cream–in curry or stroganoff, on top of potatoes, in cucumber salad, also in baking when they ask for sour cream, make frozen yogurt–we add usually mashed bananas and nuts or we add orange juice concentrate and grated chocolate. We have a hand crank mixer. I actually like it on the looser side, so I never buy or make the Greek yogurt. Someone suggested ranch dressing too. That is a good use also, either with the dry mix or your own seasonings. I also use it to moisten in place of mayonaise or in addition to just to cut down on the mayo…in things like deviled eggs, tuna melts, 7 layer salad, veggie pizza, dill dips. We use it to make the cucumber sauce for Greek food and also for the raita for Indian food. We always serve to top rice pilaf with shish kebab. Oh, we’ve used it on waffles with fruit in place of whipped cream. And we all eat it as is, no sugar or other sweetener added.

    I just bought 4 quarts of short dated organic nonfat plain for .99 each at the store and that will really not last us that long at all. I hope you found enough uses for it and may your next batch turn out to your liking.

  114. Laurie, that gift basket that you and your Dad made sounds very nice, and I’m sure will be a happy surprise for his caregiver.

  115. That is a lovely line of “one thing leading to another” you created! If she hasn’t already, your gardener should check out the group Harlem Grown – Urban Farming and Mentorship. I know there are other groups out there but this one was recently written up on CNN and it sounds very well organized and supported. Your gardener could probably contact them for ideas. I used to love helping my grandmother with her flowers and houseplants, but I would have been thrilled to learn how to grow food, dry, can, etc., when I was a kid!

  116. Kim, I am sorry that your teacher daughter is treated so poorly there. The situation is only getting worse. We have a governor here who does not seem to value higher education and has made way too many cuts in recent years in the area of education. I am glad you were able to help her.

  117. Everywhere is different. We have no bill for garbage or recycling pickup but it is part of our taxes for our village. We have no water bill due to a well, but we do have a water softener, very much needed, and a reverse osmosis system for water purity. We also do periodic water testing to make sure the water is good. We do own the equipment outright but there are some bills for filter maintenance. My husband handles the salt. If the well went out, that would be a major expense. We are hooked to the city sewer…that is a quarterly bill of $60.00. Yard/garden waste has been banned from our state landfills for 20 some years. Some municipalities have yards where the leaves, clippings, branches etc can be dropped off and they are either chipped up for mulch or composted, then used in the city and county parks, other municipal areas. You can also go to the yard and pick up load of mulch if you’d like. We live outside the town so for us we either need to burn or compost or chip. We do the latter two, except with weeds or disease plants we burn.

  118. Yes, J, the older version from the 1940’s not the new remake. We laugh so hard at the pickle and mincemeat judging scene!!

  119. momsav, it’s the opposite of us trying to keep pipes from freezing in winter…sometimes you have to leave a trickle of water running or leave the cupboard doors open so ambient heat from room accesses pipes. They also don’t have to worry about snow accumulation on the roof and frozen drain pipes and icicles and all the road damage for freezing/thawing and snowplows! Oh and rust! I know I could not function in the heat. Cold is hard but tolerable.

  120. Oh yes Juls, and having to run dehumidifiers in the basement all summer due to wet humid air and then a humidifier in the winter to keep the wood furniture from drying out and the static electricity away.

  121. I picked up some extra shifts this week. I worked 8 hours on Sunday when my husband was home to be in charge of the kids. I telecommute, so I didn’t have to be away from the kids to do it. We got a lot of free samples from the children’s doctors this past week, including the more expensive asthma inhaler. The allergist has given us 2 of these inhalers in the past 6 months, saving us two copays.

  122. We have a solar tube in our laundry room – the only room that has no windows. I love the solar tube!!! I almost never have to turn on the light, only at night if I go in there, which is rare. It is so bright during the day in there – sometimes I think the light is on! I m not sure of the savings since we just moved here.

  123. I live in a tourist area, too. The joke here is that none of the locals go to the public hot springs in the summer — it’s too crowded. During the off season it’s much more pleasant. Traffic is also horrible this time of year, but we don’t complain too much, since the tourists are what keeps our economy going — and most of them are very nice people.

  124. Yikes! That’s quite an electric bill (totally understandable, though, with your temps being what they are). Still, I cringe when ours tops $100 in the summertime. Do you try to put a little extra aside during the months that are not quite so hot to cover the hottest months?

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Speaking of electricity, we’ve been having unusually cool weather for August so we’ve been able to go without any AC for 9 days this month. Our usage looks like it’s going to be down 11% over the same time period last year. We’ll be a bit over $100 this month, but not too bad for summer weather and an increase in rates. (Of course the temps are rising again, with several triple-digit days in the forecast, but I’ll take any break I can. 😉 )

    * We ate all but 2 home-prepped meals.

    * I paid most of our bills online, saving in postage, and I paid a [u]little[/u] extra on the principal of our mortgage.

    * Harvested basil (and made pesto–yum!). Also harvested lemons, the last two peaches, and some green beans. Harvested (and dried) tomatoes. Collected eggs.

    * Used a Sprouts gift card to offset the cost of some groceries.

    * Son needed a graphing calculator for his math class (Ouch! Those things are expensive!), and we were able to find the kind he needed on sale at Staples for $60 off. This [u]should[/u] do him for several years, however. We certainly hope so.

    * We had all of the other school supplies he needed in our stash at home.

    That’s all I remembered to write down. Have a great week, everyone!

  125. Cindi,

    How do you prepare nasturtium seeds to be used like capers? We can grow nasturtiums like weeds, and capers tend to be one of those things that I just omit from recipes due to the cost.

  126. We got some very, very good news – the fluid around hubby’s heart did NOT have lymphoma in it (even though the discharge papers said so). He is still not in the clear – he had a PET scan today and we will get those results next week but at least we know it has not spread to his heart! Thank you for all of the prayers!
    *I used some special rusty metal W-D 40 and managed to get the bolts undone that were holding the upper floor of the 5th wheel demo project on. I had “spaghetti” arms and hands for a bit but now I only have the lower floor to do 🙂
    *I picked up an extra 4 hours at work so next weeks check can cover a couple bills, the Dane’s food and some toiletries we need.
    *I froze all the corn and carrots we received at a food distribution – it was a lot more than what we could eat before it went bad. I have suggested they hand out a flyer on food preservation so there is less waste. There was no way hubby and I could eat 8 ears of corn but I knew how to freeze it for later. Most people I come across have no idea how to save foods for later. I also dehydrated some limp celery. We used our food stamps double up bucks at the farmers market to pick up the produce we needed as well as some duck eggs for me – I can’t wait for mine to start laying as they are $7 a dozen at the farm market but I can’t eat chicken eggs :/
    *Brought home the bottled water I was given while hubby was getting his scan done.
    *I got brave and decided to deconstruct a pair of shorts in order to make them smaller. I have always shied away from doing this type of sewing but almost nothing fits now so I really have nothing to lose trying it. I have now dropped 38#’s since January. If I can make the shorts work, I will then try jeans.
    *I moved some more perennials into an area that I just removed the sod from as well as the Rose of Sharon. I am hoping I didn’t kill it by moving it as it has some sentimental value to me. The temps are supposed to be much cooler over the next couple weeks which will help with the shock of transplanting.
    *I picked more cukes and another summer squash. Does anyone know how to tell when a spaghetti squash is ready to pick? I also found I have several pumpkins as well – first time I have actually gotten ANY pumpkins 🙂
    *I found more blackberry bushes to transplant this week as well (which is good because I think several of the other ones are dead from the shock of transplanting)
    *I used a coupon for a free ramen noodle 6 pack and matched a coupon with the butter that is on sale. I have not seen butter below $2.79 now in many months.
    *I made more breakfast sausage with meat we received at the food distribution. The huge tubs of yogurt we received are currently being used to marinate meat for some Indian dishes we love. The only thing I was out of was the heavy cream – I got the biggest size and will freeze any left overs.
    *I froze extra eggs – the silicone muffin tins worked beautifully.
    *We combined errands with doctor appointments and a trip to the airport to pick up our son which saved us gas. We also took my old Jeep instead of the big truck since it gets better gas mileage.
    I hope everyone else is having a great week. I will slowly read thru everyone’s posts – I have gotten some wonderful ideas from people here as well as encouragement. Thank you!

  127. So frustrating to think you are buying one thing on line and receiving another. Been there, done that!

    I’ve had very good luck buying and selling books on It is owned by Ebay but is entirely devoted to books, music, and movies. Knowing the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) will help you buy exactly the volume you want of a publication.

    You could try selling the two books on It is a breeze to list items. I always price things a penny less than the cheapest listed price.

  128. Thanks for the encouragement, Athanasia. I hope the hazelnuts will be successful. I didn’t know what pawpaws were either until I moved here. They’re native here, along with persimmons, though there are not many left in the wild now.

  129. I know. That makes having a cistern a problem for people–but in some places, like Australia, a cistern is commonly the only way to have water, and you have to pay to have your cistern filled if you don’t get enough rain.

    Where I live, it rains so little that the houses aren’t built with rain gutters, because they aren’t needed. I put out buckets under the corners of my roof where more water drips down during the rare, short bits of rain that we get. Today my neighbor asked me why I would do that. Not everyone is interested in conserving water.

  130. I’ve meant to ask Rhonda – how long have you worked at Pioneer Village? I used to live up that way and worked at York U. for about 12 years so used to visit quite often. I am looking forward to the new subway stop opening in December as it will make it a lot easier to get back there. Are you anticipating a lot more visitors next year?
    I had a friend who used to work there – she was a weaver. Are you a guide for a particular building?

  131. Athanasia, my grandmother had a city pickup of garden waste that was done like yours.

    Our city doesn’t do that, but burning is illegal here.

    The city is considering going to one trash can per family with once a week pickup, and you have to rent the trashcan for $8 a month. I really hope they don’t do that, as it would not only increase our costs, but be a major problem for us. We already fill several trash cans several times a week, especially when I am pruning and pulling out old plants for the season. Just our regular trash is more then one can twice a week right now. I love twice a week pickup as it reduces the roaches and smell we get in our heat.

  132. Becky,
    I love canning also! This past weekend was green beans, blackberry jam, salsa and peach sauce. Next i’m on to spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and more beans. It is comforting to have good food put up for the coming winter. Always trying to add to our food storage.

  133. Brandy they give us one bin for recycling and one for garbage when they went to single stream. One truck with mechanical arms does both. If you wanted a bigger bin there was a fee to pay. The bins are owned by the village and stay with the property should one move. Each came labeled with codes. Since you have to include so much in your bins because there aren’t other options I see one bin would not work for you.

    Oh by the way, did you ever have success with the trash can composter?

  134. Yes it will be interesting getting to know her again and for her to get used to a very large extended family, most of whom are strangers. The sisters are thinking it might be best if she finds a place in the university town just north of us. They are all rural and she’s not sure she wants to small of a town. She will probably have to get used to being called Annie again ☺. She changed it to Annemarie but her real name was Anna Mary. Jay has moved out to let her pack up etc. Levi met with him at his office to discuss details. It sounds like he will be generous. She has an almost brand new car, he will continue her health insurance, and she can take pretty much anything in the way of furniture and goods from the house. (Apparently his girlfriend has very specific ideas and is planning on doing it all over her way). She will have money to live on also. Jay had a whole outline drawn up and signed. We hope for the best. Oh he will also pay moving fees. The family’s all figuring out who can do what and when.

  135. does anyone have a suggestion on what to do with an overload of bitter tasting cucumber? We planted 2 varieties and I have a bumper crop of both. We are eating the “good” cucumbers as our daily vegetable but no one will touch the others. I even rub the ends but they still taste bitter. My husband wants me to get rid of the bitter ones. I am looking for options to rescue them.

  136. I fill recycled bottles half way with water and freeze. When I am packing a lunch, I add water to the top of the bottle and put it in the lunch bag. No need for ice packs as the bottle melt as the day goes on so things are kept cold and the water is cold when I go to drink it.

  137. It has been a busy summer!

    1. Got a free photo collage from CVS so used it to make a collage of small summer road trips we took. The furthest was 2 hours to a ghost town in the California Mojave desert.
    2. Had training and they provided a lunch and a breakfast. At the end the coordinator told us to take some things because they would be taking it all away so I grabbed two small bottles of OJ which I can use for 4 smoothies!
    3. Have been refilling my 32oz water bottle on campus at the fill stations which is free!
    4. My daughter likes shopkins. Found a lot of 54 on Ebay and will make my own mystery boxes origami style and put this gift away for christmas.
    5. Trader Joe’s had a 50th anniversary day so scored 4 lbs of pasta, 2 large french breads, 2 avocados, and a dozen eggs for 4.50!
    6. Made a photo holder for a dear friends birthday. The materials were not free but the wood, stain and clips I bought will make 6 photo holders for 30$. My friend texted me she loved the gift and her husband, a renowned physics professor was impressed so that makes me happy :). The party was great with many nibbles not currently in my budget so I am glad she felt loved because I had a great time!

  138. Roberta, usually the lower cost months are also when we have lower income (in fact, we usually are living on our savings for January and often February) so there isn’t an income to set aside for those months. September is [i]usually[/i] our highest income month, as our the other summer months, so that works out well for us most years. (Unfortunately, this year is shaping up to be our lowest income yet, so who knows how it will go!) Not being on the level pay plan, though, I also know that I can immediately make changes to our usage (such as turning the a/c up to 81 and trying to keep it off in the early morning when it’s 78-80º outside) to make a difference of a few dollars each day. I was just on the power company’s website and they break down my amount per day, which is pretty neat because I can see how much little things I do make a difference each and every day. Tonight I turned one of the air conditioners to 81º (we have programmable thermostats for each unit) and I went ahead and turned the pantry a/c up to 80º as well. It’s a few dollars difference that will be helpful. I am thinking I will reprogram them in the morning to stay a bit higher at night for a while.

  139. Melissa V, its excellent news regarding your husband’s health. And Athanasia, I hope life gets better for your sister in law.

    The ongoing discussion on utility bills interested me. I have solar panels on my inner city home and this means I pay about $70.00 over winter and get a small credit for feeding power back into the grid over summer.
    I also have what we call a water tank (cistern). A lot of Australians have them. Most city folk just use water tanks to water their gardens, while rural folk use them to live off. I use mine for my garden and my toilet. This means my quarterly water bill is a little over $200.00.
    Australians pay rates to the council and in towns, at least, these rates will cover garbage collection. My quarterly rate bill is approximately $330.00. We also have gas piped into our homes, and for me this is about $150 per quarter. In Australia, gas is cheaper than electricity, so its used alot.
    I have recently put bubble wrap over my windows, there are already thick curtains. This is to reduce the warmth leaving the house. Thanks to the suggestions here, its worked a treat.
    We are approaching spring, YAY, and a work collegue has gifted me a warrigul green (new zealand spinach) plant. So I’m going to plant that out in a few weeks time.

  140. I actually work at Lang Pioneer Village in Keene, ON which is just outside Peterborough, ON. I think you are referring to Black Creek Pioneer Village, which is in Toronto. There are definitely no subway stops coming our direction. LOL!

    To answer your question, this is my 6th year working at Lang, though I also did my unpaid school internship here as well in the fall of 2010. Most of my work here has been out in the village interpreting, but I also held a 1 year paid internship contract working in the collections a few years ago. I am trained in the Fife cabin (a typical 1st settlers cabin, so I talk about what the 1st pioneers had to endure), the general store (1899 time period – we are no longer pioneers by this point!), the weaver’s shop (I explain about weaving and the 3 different looms, including the Jacquard loom which eventually inspires the binary code system that computers use today), the hotel (1870s), and this year I learned a bit more of the school house(1880s-1890s). I also do guided tours of the village in the first part of September, after the summer staff leave, and the Christmas program for school children in Nov-Dec. Although I don’t have training in some of the buildings, I have enough knowledge about them to give a good overview.

    As for visitors, we have had a very steady increase in visitors every year since I started. I used to say it was a hidden gem, but word is definitely getting around about us! The village was a centennial project in 1967. This year is not only Canada’s 150th, but also our 50th Anniversary. We have a big “County Fair” event planned on September 20th to celebrate both. I anticipate this event will be quite busy! Hope that answered some of your questions!

  141. Oh my gosh, we LOVED Shrek! Of course, it does have a particular Canadian actor/comedian, so maybe we’re bias. I haven’t watched “Jingle All the Way” in a while, though. I’ll have to watch it again this year at Christmas, so I can watch for the pink lion.

    That is a really cool job your husband used to have! Did he choose to leave the industry because he didn’t like it or because of a falling out. Sorry, I know I’m being nosy. I’m curious because I can see my daughter working in the movie industry (prop design, set design or something creative like that), but I really don’t know much about the politics of industry. Since she is on the Autism spectrum, I’m not sure if this would be a good fit for her or not.

    As for molds, I’ve used sheet wax & dental plaster to replace a missing piece from the rim of a plate and flower pot, and a silicone mold & dental plaster to recreate a coin (both school projects). I really enjoyed it, but wish I had more experience. It’s definitely not easy to get a good mold and casting! Too bad your husband doesn’t use this talent and knowledge for some side jobs. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun!!! Thanks for sharing, Brandy.

  142. He liked it just fine Rhonda. You have to bid on each job and jobs are come and go; working in the movie industry is not steady at all. It’s irregular, like real estate, but even more so. There just weren’t any jobs coming his way. Jobs are out of Los Angeles and he would have to drive there (about 4 1/2 hours each way) to bid them.

  143. That sounds like a good start to her new life. I am glad she has such a supportive family to help her out with this change.

    I do like the sound of this frozen pumpkin ginger pie. Two of my favorite flavors. i’m going to have a look for the recipe.

  144. Very interesting Rhonda! I was actually thinking about coming to Keene this weekend for the big event that Donnell Leahy and Natalie Mixmaster are hosting, but we have to travel to cottage country for a family event instead. I am going to try and get to the Pioneer Village before my may leave ends. It sounds wonderful.

  145. Becky, our cucumbers seem done too. Well, the weather is changing so much already what with the shorter days and cool nights. We’ve still been getting enough for salads and slicing though every day, just not enough for a batch of anything. My daughter is going to clean them out soon, I think, and then she’ll bring me in any of the larger ones that got missed in the vines. There are always some. I like those for making relish. I hope to make at least 2 more batches of sweet relish.

  146. I don’t usually chime in but I am so proud of our family that I must! We paid off our 2013 minivan 10 months early. My husband rocks! Also, we cancelled a quick trip that would have cost several hundred dollars. I told husband it is okay that we didn’t go especially since some things were out of our control. Thanks to all of you for encouraging. Brandy especially, you are amazing!


  147. Heather, the food all sounds so interesting. I googled Maque Choux and court boullion as I had never heard of those. I don’t think anyone grows okra around here…I’ve never seen it at the farmer’s market or produce auction. My husband will go for catfish if he happens to be river fishing when he goes out with his brothers. Then they deep fry it and serve with boiled red potatoes and coleslaw.

  148. I had no idea there was a village up near Peterborough – and my stepmom still lives up that way – must ask her if she has been for a visit. I will look you up online for directions and try to visit the next time I am up that way. Thank you.

  149. It sounds like a nice variation on stew but not till it is colder out. The wikipedia said it has sausage in it. What type of sausage do you recommend?

  150. Elizabeth, the pie is soooo good. Most ingredients are normal, but it does call for crystallized ginger. I can get it in the bulk section at one of the stores in town and it is much cheaper than the little McCormak jars.

  151. PJGT, the orchestra performance/party sounded very enjoyable. Congratulation of the gift of the sewing machine.

  152. Hello Brandy and all! This is my first time sharing, though I have been gleaning from this inspiring group for over a year now. I can’t thank you all enough for not only the great ideas and tips but also for the encouragement to keep being a good and creative steward.
    Here are some of my recent frugal ventures:

    – Used Evites instead of mailing out party invitations (saved on stamps and invites)
    – Purchased several Christmas gifts at yard sales
    – Picked up several large pots, plant food, gardening gloves, hand trowel, rake, shovel and more for free from a Craigslist ad.
    – In our area we have a Goodwill Outlet. Goodwill sends whatever does not sell in their thrift stores to their outlets. Most items are sold by the pound. Clothing ends up being around 50 cents per item. Overall the prices are super cheap. I was able to find a book my son needed for school for 50 cents, a mug for 20 cents, and a pair of little girls UGG slippers (like new!) for $1.50 that I will use as a Christmas gift for my niece.
    – Through my account with Snapfish, I have received a coupon code for 15 free prints with free shipping several times this year. Anyone can use the code as far as I know. The one they sent today is good through 8/25. Here it is if anyone wants to try it out. AUGFREE15 I plan to use this deal to have prints to slip into birthday cards.
    – I cut my husband’s hair.
    – Menu planned: I had heard menu planning saves money and resisted for quite sometime fearing I would lose the spontaneity that I love in the kitchen. Lately I have seen just how valuable menu planning is in saving time, money as well as headache on those days when dinner time sneaks up on you! Creativity has not been sacrificed either!
    – Wore aprons: this is a tip I learned here. Previously I would find little holes in the fronts of my shirts from leaning against the counter. Wearing aprons definitely saves wear on clothing and protects from grease stains, etc.
    – Had a family movie night using Amazon Prime and making our own stove top popcorn.
    – Started planting lettuce seeds every two weeks for fall harvests.
    – Paid attention and: saved money on a bill that was overcharged, pulled unused items in one room to be used in another, formed menus around what we already had, checked the library for a book I intended to purchase – they had it!
    – Found joy in giving thanks for all of the gifts I already had!

  153. Libby, we like TICKET TO RIDE also. There is Europe version too. We have played those 2 sets…my son in law is a big board game fan and has introduced us to many many. Plus there are sets of the other continents too. We have game nights at church…it is nice to try out other games for free.

  154. That’s interesting! It is sounding better and better.

    Crystallized ginger is actually quite easy to make. You just need fresh ginger and sugar and a little water. I don’t know how the price compares …

  155. Thanks, Cathy, for the tips. I used to have to help plant, and dig the garden, and weed and harvest when I was a child and did not like it (probably it was just a bit too hard for me at that age) but I really loved it when my mother and I, on a winter’s evening, would sit and dream about the flowers we would grow and what seeds we would grow from the catalog. then on snowy evenings, we would read the free seed catalogs as if they were books, full of ideas, beauty, promises, and dreams. My mother is with her Maker and still I feel her presence in the garden. Every day this spring and summer I have taken photos of the plants, the roses and flowers, for the day when I may not be able to live here. I have made my own book. It really is a gift to ourselves and future people to grow plants!

  156. I make mine into sweet or dill pickle relish which seems to fix the bitterness. I did up a small trial batch the first time I tried it and it has always worked good.

  157. Lisa, I used bitter cucumbers for sweet relish this year and we can’t taste the bitterness. (I also used less sugar than called for in the Ball canning book I have.)

  158. Wow, that was a productive week, Brandy! This blog is my favourite. It’s always so pretty and inspiring, and I never fail to learn something each time I visit. Thanks for all your hard work, Brandy!

    I’m posting later than usual this week, as I was on vacation and am catching up on my social media, etc. just now. My frugal accomplishments for the week prior to my vacation:
    – A colleague gave me a bag of granola, as a thank you for letting her take a granola bar from my stash at work once. Totally unnecessary, but deliciously appreciated!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded two bath fizzies, two nail polishes, and some make-up sponges (all things I didn’t want), for some ice cream cones, pasta, a package of Skittles, and some Swiss chard. I’ll use the ice cream cones with my homemade ice cream, eat the Skittles (or bake them into cookies), and put the pasta in my pantry. Some of the ice cream cones and one of the two boxes of pasta are gluten-free, so I’ll likely just donate those or give them to a gluten-free friend.
    – I had a minor operation this week, and my mother was able to give me a ride home from the hospital, saving on cab fare (as we’re car-free).
    – I defrosted some Portuguese-style Bean Soup from the freezer for an easy dinner when I was recovering from the operation(
    – I made a macaroni salad for a BBQ, and it was super popular, which made me very happy! I used pasta shells that I had bought on sale, a container of mayo that I had bought on sale, some homegrown green onions, as well as some home dehydrated peppers (and a bunch of other pantry ingredients, like pickles, smoked paprika, mustard powder, onion and garlic powder, dried chives, and red wine vinegar). I estimate the entire giant bowlful cost me about $2.50. Not bad for a dish that could serve several dozen!
    – I received a full-size bottle of dish detergent in the mail, for a product sample survey. I love free samples!
    – I ground eggshells and added them to my garden.
    – I picked some cherry tomatoes from my balcony garden. There’s nothing quite like fresh tomatoes!
    – I had some cappuccino buttercream frosting in the freezer, so I tossed that in with a new batch of chocolate buttercream when I was making a fancy-pants chocolate cake. So yes, you can freeze buttercream! No waste!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks gift card

    Thanks as always for sharing all your knowledge, ladies (and the occasional gent)!

  159. Vacationing for free is great! Plus time spent with family is precious. I’m sure your mother-in-law appreciated being able to spend time with her grandkids. I think those are some of the best vacations ever! (I’m particularly sentimental about it because I don’t have kids but I wish I did so that we could spend time with my mother-in-law, as I know she really wants grandkids. All of which is to say, awesome vacation choice!)

    Re: Bunz, I think of it as one more tool to stretch my budget and to reduce landfill. My husband thinks it isn’t worth the time investment, and he’s right, but it’s not like I have a job where I can just decide to work an extra hour to earn some extra income; however, I *can* decide to trade something and stretch our budget that way. I also realllly like not throwing things out. When I worked in the non-profit field, I used to take anything I (or my family) didn’t want and regift it, as I worked with low-income seniors and the organizations I worked with/ran were always on a tight budget. Even something like a nice mug that I didn’t want, I would then fill with 50 cents worth of bulk candy, wrap in dollar store cellophane and decorate it so that it was “rich in ribbons” as Dickens wrote, and raffle it off at a holiday party. The clients I worked with loved winning something, the organizations budget was stretched, and I wasn’t throwing out stuff I didn’t need. It was lots of fun trying to be creative like that! I also used to donate items to Goodwill, but the local store closed down, and while I can donate some things like clothes that I’ve outgrown to a collection bin, some things aren’t easy to stuff in a bin, and I practically have a visceral reaction to throwing out something that is perfectly good (but cluttering up my home and/or that I can’t use). I was talking about Bunz with a friend this weekend, a single-income mom, and she was saying that she prefers to use kiijiji for resale. So, I think it’s all about finding the best match for your needs, taking into account your time and the type of product you have to sell or trade. Personally, I’m liking getting rid of all the little things that are too good to throw out, but awkward to sell, like mini bottles of lotion (that I know would irritate my skin and so can’t use) and such. But again, it’s a matter of finding the right tool for your needs. And hey, stretching our money is fun, as your Great Grocery Project on your blog shows! (Love that series, btw!)

  160. Elizabeth I never thought of making it myself. Is it similar to candying orange peel? I would certainly try that.

  161. Roberta, I pick the seeds green, then soak them in salt water for 2-3 days, which I understand helps remove the bitterness. I boil white vinegar with a bay leaf, sugar, and a few black peppercorns and pour this over the seeds after I’ve removed them from the salt water. I keep the jar of seeds and vinegar in the refrigerator and add to it as I collect more seeds. They work well in recipes and they’re essentially free. Here is a recipe very similar to the one I use.

  162. Cute little lizard! Our yard is swarming with them. There have been several times I’ve had to pull our vehicle over to (hopefully) let a lizard hitchhiker off of the hood after leaving the house.
    Brandy, are solar screens popular in your area? We had them installed on all our windows several years ago and it made a huge difference in our electric bill.
    I have been wanting to try the bucket of weeds a day tip that someone suggested but it is just too hot and humid for me to be able to implement that right now unfortunately. The weeds are getting out of control! I don’t know if my age is part of the problem or what, but I don’t recall the heat affecting me this way before this summer. I can stand to be outside for maybe 15 minutes at the most before I have to go inside to cool off. Even at night the heat and humidity are unbearable most days. I’m so over this summer and can’t wait for our 3 days of winter, lol!
    Well, here’s my little list of frugal things:
    Thank you everyone for sharing what you do, I always learn something that I can try!~TJ

  163. Haven’t posted in awhile. First I had Bronchitis then the flu. Yuck! Went to doctor twice before I got an antibiotic to get over Bronchitis. Not looking forward to bills although we do have insurance to help.
    Husband still has job. We are looking at possibilities elsewhere for both of us if his job does not hold out. Had found myself overwhelmed, but seems that picking up my Bible and praying has helped me with this. I feel a sense of calm that I did not have before. Have not eaten out all month until today. We ate the special at a restaurant. I had just gotten over the flu. So I had broth and my husband had the special. Feeling much better today.
    Hubby has been a sweetheart helping me cook or clean when I didn’t feel well. Otherwise I’ve cooked all other meals at home. I find that ethnic foods are cheap. I have a lot of spices from India and beans and rice. I’m blessed that my husband enjoys this type of cooking as it is very economical and healthy. Shopping for spices at ethnic stores are cheaper than grocery stores. I also go to Natural food grocers bulk section and buy spices there. I don’t do much shopping there otherwise. But I love there bulk section and essential oils. Most shopping is at Aldi.
    Missing grandchildren, as school has begun. Hope to have them over this weekend.
    Husband has been working on putting a book that my son and I wrote on Kindle. Not sure when it will be ready. But we are excited about it! We had hired a really talented artist last year to do the artwork. It has just been sitting waiting for the next step. I’ve written for magazines and an part of an e-book called the Paid and Published Writer but this will be my first children’s picture book. I am excited. I have another in the works. I really need to sit everyday and write. I truly enjoy writing. It is fun to get a paycheck from something you enjoy!
    I have also been working on our house. While my husband did electrical outlets, I painted cabinets. We will work on it again tomorrow.
    Our landlord at our apartment asked my husband how the house was coming. He told her not to be surprised if we put in our 30 days in a month or two. I’d love to put our thirty days notice in on the first. But it may take longer. We are working hard on finishing so we won’t have the expense of our apartment and all the fees that go with it.
    We are working to get an emergency fund to at least pay our bills for one month. I haven’t shopped for anything extra this month. Hubby is happy and so am I.
    I enjoy your Blog Brandy!

  164. I live in Glendale, Az (just two blocks from the Phx city limit). We also have the extreme heat problem. Our electricity here is on time-of-day rates which means it is cheaper from nine pm to nine am and on weekends. After a year we could and did ask for our bill to be averaged over a year’s time so we pay $211 per month. There are three adults in the home. We run our dishwasher and take all showers at night. We do all laundry on the weekend as well as any cooking that requires a large oven (all electric home). We have a swamp cooler as well as ac, and find that it does well for cooling until about mid-June and starts being effective again in mid-Sept. We got notice that our rates were going up as of Aug 19, and would be figured differently. I am certainly searching for more energy saving ideas.

  165. Brandy that little lizard reminds me of the very baby salamander or skink I found while working in my flower bed the other day. I was amazed at how cute it is. I try to remember that the lizards eat bugs and the snakes eat rodents, but I’m not fond of either one, lol. I am grateful for all that comment and share here. There’s so much interesting information and how often I find some tidbit that helps my frugal life go a bit further.

  166. Yes, solar screens are popular here. We had them on our last house. I found that it made the house so dark that I needed to turn on the lights all the time, so eventually, we took them off. The house felt depressing with them on to me.

    The weeds get pretty bad in my garden when it’s super hot, too. I can’t be out long enough to pull many of them. I try to do a big cleanup in fall. I’ve done a few here and there and then I’m just wilting in the heat.

  167. Yes, it is. There are lots of recipes on the internet. Basically, you boil the ginger in a sugar syrup and then roll it in sugar again afterwards. I’m thinking it would be nice to make for holiday baking and to give as small gifts to bakers, though I’d make it for myself first before to make sure I’m happy with it.

  168. Thanks Margaret. I agree with everything !! I think the problem I’m having is we are too far North, so I’ve seen lots of great trade opportunities but when I factor in gas/time to meet it cancels out the value, and that’s even trading larger things. But I will let you know how things go!

  169. I canned tomatoes yesterday. I will use the cooled canning water for house plants and color bowls on the porch and patio. We drove to see the eclipse. We carried our own cold drinks, sandwiches, cake, and fruit for the trip. Other than the cost of gas, it was a frugal outing and totally worth it. Our garden is supplying us with plenty of tomatoes and green beans, peppers and zucchinis. The butternut squash look great, too and there are some nice cantaloupe about ready to pick. The peas I planted a few weeks ago are coming along nicely, but the lettuce seed hasn’t sprouted yet, probably too hot. I’ll be picking more grapes today for dehydrating. I’ve already put away 4 quart jars of raisins. All meals and snacks have been prepared at home this week. I did find a marked down beef roast at the store. It was already on their weekly sale and had been marked off 50 per cent. Great buy and will be good for several meals.

  170. We have lived in New Mexico, Florida, and Texas. They all have hot summers. Air conditioning made summers bearable. I kept the thermostat at 80 in order to hold down the electric bill and we were always a little too warm.

  171. Hi Athanasia, I’m not Ellie’s friend, but I do make a lot of overnite oats! You should be able to find numerous variations online. I always use regular oats and especially like the extra thick ones — seems to give it more “body.” I start with 1/3 to 1/2 cup oats. I also add either a tablespoon of oat bran or Scottish oat cereal to make it a bit more creamy. Then I add lots of optional ingredients — brown sugar, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds, and some kind of fresh or dried fruit in small pieces. All of this goes in a mason jar. I add the same amount of milk (can be non-dairy) as I started with in oatmeal plus half as much (for 1/2 cup oats — add 3/4 cup milk). I shake/stir it up, put a lid on it, and put it in the fridge overnite. Next morning, I top it off with a bit more “creamer” (1/2 & 1/2, alt. milk creamer, or more milk/non-dairy milk) and dig in. I can take the jar to work or eat it at home. I gave this to my 6-year old granddaughter one morning — she looked at the jar, looked at me, and asked, “don’t you have any bowls?” LOL! You can use yogurt in place of the equal amount of milk to oats, or less. Then make up the difference with additional liquid depending on how thick your yogurt is. It’s a really handy thing to do, if you can remember to do it the night before! Hope this helps.

  172. I haven’t posted for a couple weeks. I bought a shirt pattern from a small UK pattern company. Finally I found a pattern that is cute and true to size. I made two shirts from material in my fabric stash. I will have to make a couple more for the pattern price to pay off. My love of sewing has been restored.
    Yesterday I went for a long walk and stopped at Starbucks for one of their fruit infusion iced teas. The young man working there said I could have it for free.
    This morning I was taking a bus to the doctor’s and realized I forgot my bus card on the table at home. The bus driver said that I could just ride free of charge. I am wondering if I look sort of forlorn or something:)
    Today was a special day for me as it is the one year point of being cancer free. A pretty hard year, emotion wise, but I feel really ready to move on. The doctor gave me a clean bill of health and I am so happy (but realize I am not all of the way out of the woods). My husband and I went out to lunch to celebrate.
    Last weekend we went to two free festivals. Saturday was an environmental fair and Sunday was a Vikings Day festival. The Viking festival included a free museum admission for both of us. I got a really nice pen given away at one of the booths.
    Made two meals in my instant pot – chuck roast ( half off on an organic roast) and lentil soup. Just love that Instant Pot. I made one loaf of whole wheat bread and my sister gave me some zuchinni from her garden which I used in a stir fry.
    I found my daughter a pair of sandals in a high end thrift store. They were on a sale rack, brand new condition , her size and style for only $5.00. I looked up the brand, online, and they retail for $100 to $200 at Nordstrom.
    We watched a few free movies on Amazon Prime and that is it for my week.

  173. We have a well and septic. Besides the electric to run them (which is why we got a generator this year) we also have a whole house filter and water softener. Between the Ridx for the septic tank, filters and salt for the softener we spend close to $ 75 a month to maintain that. Landlord just spent $150 for a part when the pump broke last week for 2 days and he hauled water 1/2 mile twice a day to us since I was in a sling. Still was a struggle to “flush” the toilet. Hubby rigged a hose and put the water like we do when collecting water and then taking it to the gardens. We have a water drum that we used to use.

  174. Thank you Elizabeth M. We have friend that is hard to get anything for at Christmas/Yule… the ginger is one of his favorite snacks but he isn’t willing to pay the price.

  175. Regarding shoes, I have arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other joint and bone problems, so I have a lot of pain at times. A few years ago I was working with a physical therapist for leg pain. He asked me how long I had been wearing my tennis shoes. I told him about five years. He said that everyone should replace their tennis shoes every 12months, and if you wear them at a walking type job, every six months. He said that the insoles just wear out too much, and then problems start. I have a hard time with this, I wash them and they look fine. But I did just buy a new pair after a couple of years. I try not to pay more than $30.

  176. Enjoy your posts so much and also the people that help with their money saving ways. We have had a relatively cool summer and my garden has been a real flop, but thanks to neighbors with an abundance I have had all the corn I want, a neighbor gave me a big roaster full of tomatoes, made nine bags of juice and put in freezer and kept out several to eat, in the roaster was also five nice big green peppers, The peppers I planted turned out to be hot ones! Bah humbug! I did have green beans and also good cabbage and cauliflower We are blessed in this area, have had plenty rain, feel for the people in southern TX. with the hurricane coming.
    I don’t do much different than everyone else to save, I do make ice in my freezer for homemade ice cream and cooling veggies that I am freezing. use whipped topping containers for a bigger chunk than cubes to cool corn etc.

  177. No lizards where you live! We are in Florida, and see quite a few around our house. My sister lives about Three miles away and I think her house is built on a lizard breeding ground! They are everywhere.

  178. Have lots of fun on your cruise. If it is your first one, look for cruising tips online. They helped plan my cruise not rack up lot’s of onboard expenses. It is so great to have someone make your bed each day as well as enjoy the dining service. – Just like going to a fancy restaurant every night!

  179. This week I bought chicken breasts on sale and broke them up into small pieces and froze them. I found raspberries on sale for $.50 a pint and picked up 10 pints. I dehydrated some of them, made fruit leather from some, and we ate some. I also planted some lettuce.

  180. We have not paid for an oil change in years. I am a mystery shopper and they always have lube companies they need people to shop. They pay for the oil change and I get $5 for the trouble. It is not a lot, but it could save you a little bit.

  181. I have sliced and frozen bitter cukes and then used them as an ingredient in a long cooking soup where I use an immersion blender at the end to make the soup taste creamy. Leek soup, for example. Recently I learned from this blog to slice and freeze cuke slices and use them to thicken smoothies. I’ve done it once but those were not bitter cukes.

  182. Yes, I’m right in town too, where all the action is. We’ve been talking about moving even though it’s so beautiful here. We can’t use the national park in the Summer with all the traffic. The beaches and trails are over-run. Our whole life has become about doing/seeing before or after the tourists leave. In the middle, we work like crazy.:D

  183. Holly, I’m going to make some salves. I used to make more herbals but got out of the habit. It’s time to reacquaint myself with the process. Jan Berry has a fabulous book that I’m using.

  184. Congrats on the book! I have an idea for a book but doubt it would ever get far. My husband wrote a book, illustrated one and art directed the third. Of the three, the last one is actually being read! I swear it’s going to be a movie some day! I hope yours does really well for you!

  185. I am drowning in squash from the garden and have a spiral cutter in the pantry which I forgot about until I read this post. I was waiting until this time of the year to play with it. Thanks for the reminder. Anyone want to guess what we will be having for dinner tonight?

    Jeannie @

  186. I encourage everyone to read the informational inserts that come with your utility bill. I usually get some good money saving tips. I discovered the city of Phoenix has a program that if you exchange your normal size trash bin for a smaller size you get $3 off your bill each month. Not a ton of money bit $3 is $3 dollars! They came out and exchanged my trash bin fore a smaller size for free and I immediately started receiving the discount. I think the program is supposed to encourage recycling. I also recommend checking to see if your city participates with recycle Bank.

  187. I’m actually recapping the first 3 weeks of August, because I haven’t had a chance before now. The last 3 weeks have been filled with fighting fire ants, keeping up with the garden, killing fire ants, entertaining and out-of-state guest, did I mention the ants?

    Week 1 we collected 29 eggs, week 2 we collected 32 and sold 1 1/2 dozen, and week 3 we collected 30.
    We harvested corn, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs, cherry tomatoes, chili peppers.
    We canned 8 pints pinto beans, 7 pints sweet pickle relish, and 16 pints chicken stock. I also fermented 3 – 1 1/2 pint jars of fermented dills and dried some of the corn we harvested. Saved the corn husks for future craft projects.
    Our normal grocery shopping cycle is every 2 weeks, but sometimes, when we’re in town, we’ll stop to “fill in” something that we forgot or ran out of. The first grocery cycle of this month, we held out and didn’t make any extra stops and just worked around anything we didn’t have. When we did go, we knew that we would not be able to make our next regular shopping trip, so we stocked up a little. We did end up getting a little in between, but still stayed a little under budget. Once again, we were able to save on groceries by shopping at the Grocery Outlet for part of our needs.
    For cheap entertainment, we have a small group of friends who come to our house every month to 6 weeks for movie day. Our family and another couple coordinate a menu and share in bringing the food; the single man brings ice cream. This time we had all kinds of appetizers. My mom made tortilla pinwheels, but didn’t use the whole package of burrito-sized tortillas. The next day I used them up by making burritos for dinner and extras to freeze for lunches and pick-up meals.
    Last from Wednesday, Aug. 16 to Monday, Aug. 21, we hosted our friend, a Gospel singer from Tennessee, who had two concerts here in CA. We had budgeted extra money for food (He’s 6’4″ and has a hollow leg), gasoline, and eating out, but still tried to be wise in our spending. One frugal FAIL was that we had chosen a restaurant for when we picked him up from the airport based on the fact that we had a coupon that was about to expire. Then we forgot to use the coupon! DUH! We made waffles one morning while he was here and froze the extras for future breakfasts. We took him to a city 3 hours away for one of his concerts and the host pastor took all of us out for dinner after the service.
    Last year I bought a blouse at the thrift store, but I didn’t like the way it hung on me; it seemed like it should be shorter. So I cut it off and hemmed it, but I still didn’t like it; now it seemed too short. So I crocheted a lace edging on it from some crochet cotton I had in my stash. You wouldn’t believe the number of compliments I received when I wore it! I also crocheted 2 washcloths and one soap holder for the Operation Christmas Child boxes I’m working on.
    Bought meal worms from the chickens at clearance price. My sister’s lunch bag was getting pretty torn up. At Grocery Outlet we were able to buy her a new one that was a perfect fit for her bento box for $7; the old one was around $30.
    Received a bag of clothes from a friend; each of us found a few items we could use. Anything that can’t be used will be passed on to a local women’s charity.
    Combined sales and coupons at Michaels and Staples to buy craft supplies and items for the OCC shoeboxes.
    My sister (whose income is more steady than mine right now, gifted me 2 homestead magazines.
    I found fabric in my stash for a project my sister is preparing for her preschool classroom. She also was able to make cut-outs from cereal and cracker boxes for the same project; the original instructions called for wooden cut-outs from the craft store. Saved toilet paper and paper towel tubes for the preschool. The director at the preschool threw out some good-sized pieces of tulle that my sister rescued from the trash and brought home for future crafts.
    My sister’s dog had a hot-spot on his leg and the doctor prescribed a spray-on antibiotic that had to be covered by gauze to keep him from licking it. After rummaging around in the first-aid supplies, we found a couple large pieces of gauze, left over from a first-aid class, that could be cut into strips to fit.
    I needed a new nighty and wanted a summer-weight bathrobe. I found a matching set on clearance for $20. My mom combined a sale and coupon to get a good price on pants.
    Received a very small raise at my (very) part-time job. Every little bit counts! Also we (my boss and 3 employees) were on vacation because the boss was out of town the third week of August. I was able to get a few hours by coming in to fill orders that came in while she was away. Again, every little bit counts!
    Whew! What a month!

  188. You are right Rachel. I do replace my runners regularly. I’ve also had a lot of problems with my feet post childbirth. My chiropodist recommended wearing a high quality pair of sandals, like Birkenstocks or Crocs for a cheaper option, inside at all times. No going bare feet. I did this and can’t believe what a difference it has made.

  189. Debby, that’s so funny about your shoes! I spend the money to get good support shoes/sandles for my high arches and to prevent back issues and I wear them to the end too.

  190. Ann, could you dry the hot peppers that you grew and grind it into a powder? That way you could use it as a seasoning, but have control over the amount of spice you add to your food. If nothing else, the powder could be gifted to family or friends who like spicy food. You could also try trading the hot peppers with someone for something items you will eat. I’d hate to see good produce go to waste.

  191. Wish I could find a deal like that on raspberries in my area!:o I spent over $60/flat on raspberries…totally jealous of your $.50 pints!!!

  192. Thanks so much for the link to the piano video and the music! I’ve printed the music off and have enjoyed playing it this past week. You are so kind to share that with us Brandy. I love your blog and all the wonderful comments! Thanks for sharing all the beauty you see in life.

  193. The pattern company is called ‘ Sew Liberated ‘ and you can order them online although I found mine in a fabric store with an example of the shirt already made up. The shirt is called the ‘Esme’ shirt. I just started a dress from another company called Grainline Studio. Cute so far but I’m not quite finished with it.

  194. Times up! Since no one jumped in to guess what we had for dinner I will tell: chicken and rice. It wasn’t squash noodles because I ate ALL OF THEM when they came out of the oven hot. I didn’t mean to. I just couldn’t stop. You can’t get full on squash, it is just water. (That is the excuse I am giving for not sharing.)

    Jeannie @

  195. My granddaughter has finally learned to trust her mother to get bargains. She found a pair of flat shoes she needed for work (sells real estate) but they were $110. (She has great taste.) First Mom found them for $50, but before she got them to their new owner, she took them back because she found them somewhere else for $35.00 Now that’s what I call a bargain! My DD is fantastic with sales and coupons–she and her husband are both disabled, so she can take the time to look in alternative places. And she really needs to save all she can as their income is not that high. DGD is paying for the shoes–Mom just saved her the $ 75 difference she would have paid!

  196. I could have plenty of free fresh garlic too if I wanted as my older son’s in-laws grow a lot of it and are always offering. But do you have to get that skin off first before pressing?

  197. I don’t know JINGLE A!! THE WAY but we do have SHREK. I will enjoy watching for his name in the credits
    What is it I should watch for in the movie itself?.

  198. Yes Brandy, I actually just watched it and it made me cry. What a sweet little vignette. Used, broken, abused, abandoned…. there is still so much potential if we just look for it.

  199. I feel that grapes are one of the best things I’ve planted in Iowa, along with apples, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, strawberries, and plums. I’m still waiting for apples and plums. I’m curious if there are raccoon or Japanese beetles where you live. We use a live trap on our 1 acre to control raccoon population but I’m still wondering if I need to control the beetles and other issues like fungal disease with our humidity.

  200. Kim, I don’t think there are raccoons here, but I do know that there are coyotes and wild rabbits. I don’t have squirrels either, but my father-in-law has seen some chipmunks at his place across town.

    We do get Japanese beetles, but I only see a handful each year. We have problems with lots of beetle grubs, though!

  201. Do you use any insecticide on any plants? A neighbor here that owns an organic CSA said they haven’t been able to pick wild plums because of the beetles/ bugs that get into them. Now I’m very worried because I planted 13 plum trees hoping my daughters could sell at roadside stand for a summer project someday (they are 3 and 1 now).

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