Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments for the Third Week of July

We harvested grapes, peaches, parsley, lemons, and Swiss chard from the garden this week.

I canned 7 quarts of grape juice.

I made raisins from our Thompson’s Seedless grapes. This was my first time having enough seedless grapes to make raisins.

I cut and froze peaches. My husband was able to get my father-in-law’s old freezer on Saturday to replace ours that died a few months ago. I like freezing peaches as it is faster than canning and then they’re already cold for smoothies and popsicles (plus no added sugar).

I cut up peaches and put sliced peaches over homemade whole wheat waffles. We also had peaches in smoothies, and had fresh peaches and grapes all week.

For my son’s birthday, we homemade brownies and popped popcorn on the stove (I buy it in 25-pound bags from Winco). We had fun on the tarp we use as a giant slip and slide. I bought ice cream on sale for $2.99 a gallon! (The deal was when you buy 5, and it’s never that low. That’s half-price. It’s the Kroger brand ice cream. I bought five and we’ll have them over the next few months).

I bought a photography class from Creative Live on a skill I need to learn that was on sale for 40% off. When I added it to my cart, it dropped another 60% off. For $14, I can start working on something that I wanted to work on in August.

I read a book from the library using the free Libby app.

I continued to improve my French language skills by watching French learning videos on YouTube.

What did you do to save money last week?

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156 Comments

  1. This week I completed a quilt that I had put together and even quilted, but not bound, 9 years ago! The tensions had been wonky and so the back stitches were a huge series of loops over the whole thing! I loved the fabrics I had used as well as the pattern and so I tucked it away in my UFO tote because I couldn’t bring myself to toss it away! While looking for a shortcut to make some fast baby quilts to replenish my gift cupboard, I saw that quilt again and had an idea of how to rescue it! I took my Crayola washable markers (I always use these to mark stencils on fabrics or quilt tops because then I can wash the finished item in washer using a Shout Color Catcher which removes every bit of the marker as if it had never been there!) and traced over the first row of original quilting. Afterwards I seam-ripped that stitching from the back where it was so loose. I quilted that row. I was pleased to see there were needle hole marks from the original quilting! Then row by row, I repeated the process! Here’s a photo of what I ended up with. https://pin.it/vj3hormuffybcn

    Then on Wednesday, a friend brought over a baby quilt top and backing and hired me to quilt it for her, after she bought batting from my stash (at full retail replacement cost per yard). She wanted to make and sew on the binding herself. Took me about 90 minutes to do. I charged her $.02/square inch for the labor. Here’s a photo of what she picked up, ready to bind. https://pin.it/xkunxogd6cvmh2
    Started another baby quilt from scraps to add to my gift cupboard. And here is a photo of that one. It was a puzzle to me to “deconstruct” the quilt pattern by looking at it and graphing it out so I bought the digital pattern. The Tessa Quilt by Erica Jackman. It comes with 3 sizes so I know I will get some use out of the pattern! The baby quilt size I made has some fabrics that you are using less than 1/4 yard! https://pin.it/ktj3efuq2kmzoo

    We went to Cheryl’s cookies semi-annual warehouse sale. Their corporate headquarters is here in Columbus. We bought some boxes of their unbaked frozen cookie dough balls- oatmeal raisin and peanut butter and got a price break when we combined the box our daughter bought with ours! I also bought an assortment box of 72 cookies/brownies to send out to our daughter-in-law to enjoy and share (only if she wants to!) with her children and husband (our son with colon cancer). She is balancing so much with our son’s 48 hour chemo treatments after 6 weeks of oral chemo and radiation and surgery coming up in Sept and then 3 more 48 hour IV chemo treatments that will finish in mid January. We wanted her to know that we were thinking and praying for her as well as him and their children! So, as a result, the 7 other children of ours who are 35 and older all are having colonoscopies as instructed by our son’s oncologist because they are at a 10x greater risk. Our son is only 45 so all of our kids 35 and up need to be tested right away rather than waiting until they turn 50! So far- everyone is coming back clear! Just 3 more to be tested!

    I had 7 English muffins that I wanted to use up so I made ham, egg and cheese McMuffins for grab and go breakfasts! Made Copycat Taco Bell Quesaritos for dinner with plenty for lunches and dinners. Made Ranch Bacon Chicken wraps for lunches. I made really easy Apple Peanut Butter Wraps for meals in this heat that are still in the “healthy” range. https://pin.it/5pqta5bqlcqjbd

    A friend had noticed my Facebook posts when I’ve shown stuff that I’ve canned and told me that she was cleaning her basement and had over 100 canning jars that she wanted to give me because she “knew” I would put them to good use! I will use them for regular canning, for making dry jar meals and vacuum sealing them and also will share with my daughters as they can for their families! Really pleased! Really grateful!!

    We were invited to a friend’s 93rd Birthday party open house and asked to bring a snack to share. I really dreaded heating up the kitchen to make something when I remembered my buckets of yogurt covered pretzels! I even have some Red, White and Blue star shaped pretzels and he is a decorated WW2 pilot! Seems appropriate! If you remember, I bought the pretzels in an 18 pound box for $5 and used them for our daughter’s 4th of July party with the 39 of us, took some to my sister’s Surprise 75th birthday party and our own party here. So now using some for this open house, I feel like it was $5 well spent!!

    Just bought 20 pounds of BLSL chicken breast for $1.49/pound! We will freeze some and also can some chicken chunks to have more shelf-stable meats! It’s so handy to open one for chicken salad or any one of the recipes that call for chicken breast! Saves on freezer space too!!

        1. I pressure can them into pint mason jars! Couldn’t be simpler! Cut up raw chicken into even sized chunks (about 1” cubes), pack into pint jar. Add hot water and put into the pressure canner for 90 minutes to process. I can process 16 pint jars at one time and they taste amazing!

          I bought a Presto 23 Quart pressure canner on Amazon a few years ago (they also ave them at Walmart.com, etc) for about $80. ( It’s $71.99 on Amazon right now. I just looked out of curiousty. Use Brandy’s link here on her blog to get to Amazon!)

          I also bought a second shelf to allow me to stack my pint jars in the Canner so I can process the 16 pints at one time. The additional shelf was available separately on Amazon for about $7.

          They have paid for themselves many times over! I can meat so it’s on the shelf ready to use and doesn’t need refrigeration to store! I can dry beans (in water) to rotate my food storage and not run to the store for a can of ready to use beans (pinto, black, kidney, etc). I can easy layered chili as a ready to eat alternative to Hormel, etc! And the list goes on and on!

          I use it on my glass top LG stove with no problem because the bottom of the Presto canner is made to fit a normal burner size!
          Hope this helped!

    1. Gardenpat,

      You and your family are in my prayers. My husband had a colon cancer mail in screening test that was negative and will repeat every 3 years. I had the full on test since family had polyps, and have 10 years till the repeat. This new test my husband took was super simple and EVERYONE should start much earlier to check for anything! Both tests were included in our insurance.

      I’ve always wanted to do more intricate quilting than the 9 patch quilts that I’ve managed over the years. I am getting my fabric stash out too. What is left of it anyway. I haven’t bought fabric (except some thrift store finds) in years and years. Fabric prices have really gone up. ?I’m going to use what I have.

      My dear son loves quilts and, when he was first heading for college, asked for one. At that point, I had been saving 4″ denim squares and made him a dorm bed sized tied quilt to take. It was mostly light colored denim but I did have enough dark denim for a top row to set it off. It turned out to be a very “manly” quilt for the engineering student and can hold up to a lot of use. I think I should start collecting those denim squares again as they take a long time to get enough of. Not much is left to salvage when a pair of jeans is heading to the trash at our house. Friends and family love to give their worn denims too. That helps.

      Thanks for the inspiration and keep the faith. Blessings.

      Ttish

  2. This week I completed a quilt that I had put together and even quilted, but not bound, 9 years ago! The tensions had been wonky and so the back stitches were a huge series of loops over the whole thing! I loved the fabrics I had used as well as the pattern and so I tucked it away in my UFO tote because I couldn’t bring myself to toss it away! While looking for a shortcut to make some fast baby quilts to replenish my gift cupboard, I saw that quilt again and had an idea of how to rescue it! I took my Crayola washable markers (I always use these to mark stencils on fabrics or quilt tops because then I can wash the finished item in washer using a Shout Color Catcher which removes every bit of the marker as if it had never been there!) and traced over the first row of original quilting. Afterwards I seam-ripped that stitching from the back where it was so loose. I quilted that row. I was pleased to see there were needle hole marks from the original quilting! Then row by row, I repeated the process! Here’s a photo of what I ended up with. https://pin.it/vj3hormuffybcn

    Then on Wednesday, a friend brought over a baby quilt top and backing and hired me to quilt it for her, after she bought batting from my stash (at full retail replacement cost per yard). She wanted to make and sew on the binding herself. Took me about 90 minutes to do. I charged her $.02/square inch for the labor. Here’s a photo of what she picked up, ready to bind. https://pin.it/xkunxogd6cvmh2
    Started another baby quilt from scraps to add to my gift cupboard. And here is a photo of that one. It was a puzzle to me to “deconstruct” the quilt pattern by looking at it and graphing it out so I bought the digital pattern. The Tessa Quilt by Erica Jackman. It comes with 3 sizes so I know I will get some use out of the pattern! The baby quilt size I made has some fabrics that you are using less than 1/4 yard! https://pin.it/ktj3efuq2kmzoo

    We went to Cheryl’s cookies semi-annual warehouse sale. Their corporate headquarters is here in Columbus. We bought some boxes of their unbaked frozen cookie dough balls- oatmeal raisin and peanut butter and got a price break when we combined the box our daughter bought with ours! I also bought an assortment box of 72 cookies/brownies to send out to our daughter-in-law to enjoy and share (only if she wants to!) with her children and husband (our son with colon cancer). She is balancing so much with our son’s 48 hour chemo treatments after 6 weeks of oral chemo and radiation and surgery coming up in Sept and then 3 more 48 hour IV chemo treatments that will finish in mid January. We wanted her to know that we were thinking and praying for her as well as him and their children! So, as a result, the 7 other children of ours who are 35 and older all are having colonoscopies as instructed by our son’s oncologist because they are at a 10x greater risk. Our son is only 45 so all of our kids 35 and up need to be tested right away rather than waiting until they turn 50! So far- everyone is coming back clear! Just 3 more to be tested!

    I had 7 English muffins that I wanted to use up so I made ham, egg and cheese McMuffins for grab and go breakfasts! Made Copycat Taco Bell Quesaritos for dinner with plenty for lunches and dinners. Made Ranch Bacon Chicken wraps for lunches. I made really easy Apple Peanut Butter Wraps for meals in this heat that are still in the “healthy” range. https://pin.it/5pqta5bqlcqjbd

    A friend had noticed my Facebook posts when I’ve shown stuff that I’ve canned and told me that she was cleaning her basement and had over 100 canning jars that she wanted to give me because she “knew” I would put them to good use! I will use them for regular canning, for making dry jar meals and vacuum sealing them and also will share with my daughters as they can for their families! Really pleased! Really grateful!!

    We were invited to a friend’s 93rd Birthday party open house and asked to bring a snack to share. I really dreaded heating up the kitchen to make something when I remembered my buckets of yogurt covered pretzels! I even have some Red, White and Blue star shaped pretzels and he is a decorated WW2 pilot! Seems appropriate! If you remember, I bought the pretzels in an 18 pound box for $5 and used them for our daughter’s 4th of July party with the 39 of us, took some to my sister’s Surprise 75th birthday party and our own party here. So now using some for this open house, I feel like it was $5 well spent!!

    Just bought 20 pounds of BLSL chicken breast for $1.49/pound! We will freeze some and also can some chicken chunks to have more shelf-stable meats! It’s so handy to open one for chicken salad or any one of the recipes that call for chicken breast! Saves on freezer space too!!

  3. I never fail to be amazed by how much you can cram into a week; you are inspiringly productive!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Lemon Basil Iced Tea (http://approachingfood.com/lemon-basil-iced-tea/) using the lemon basil I’m growing on my balcony. A nice change from regular iced tea, and pretty when served to guests!
    -In addition to lemon basil, I picked lettuce and rhubarb from my balcony garden.
    – I brought my own containers to my bulk store and for doing so, received 20% off the almonds I bought. (It was a promotion for plastic-free July)
    – I redeemed a loyalty reward from Starbucks on a hot day, and received a lemon loaf slice and a cup of ice water. It was the perfect air-conditioned break for the baby and I while running our errands.
    – I made a double batch of my almond and cranberry granola. This keeps me full and cuts down on my snacking. I also made a batch of flourless chocolate chip cookies, and baked cheddar biscuits and froze most of them for quick snacks/sides.
    – In addition, I baked a batch of spritz cookies. I sandwiched some with leftover chocolate shell to make Milano type cookies. I brought some to my workplace (networking on mat leave), traded some using my local trading app to get some digital currency as well as a BNWOT rain jacket for my daughter, and then set aside the rest to bring to my parents’ place for a relatives’ visit.
    – I used the lemon curd that I made last week from leftover egg yolks, to make lemon tartlets from half a pie dough recipe. I filled the other half of the shells with homemade jam. I brought them to my parents’ place when some family came in from out of town.
    – I made cream cheese stuffed everything bagel bites, using items in my pantry. I only had to buy about 50 cents worth of granulated garlic and onion. I gave some to a friend and served some to the out of town relatives.
    – I picked up a free A & W root beer on free root beer day, when out running errands with the baby on a super hot day. It was perfect to recover from the heat!
    – I also made homemade slushies (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-ever-orange-crush-slushy/) using pop leftover from my daughter’s baptism in January. It really hit the spot during the heat wave!
    – I went out to dinner with a friend (a rare occurrence!) and received 10% off my total as she had a discount card.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Old Navy.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

      1. Thanks, Jenifer! It has been so hot here lately (including the humidex, it gets as hot as Vegas) that it’s crucial to build in cooling breaks when running errands, not just for my comfort but for the baby’s safety . Plus, I get a kick out of doing the whole yummy mummy Starbucks coffee shop thing for $0 OOP!

  4. It was a busy week but here goes: sewed a button on my husbands favorite team shirt, utilized my insta pot to make meals during a heat wave (highly recommend one, mine is an off brand but I love it), picked up a few extra hours at work (the extra money will go into a vacation fund) and hung clothes on the clothesline to dry. Oh, and went to a nice dinner out with a friend as we were both free, a rarity. Love your blog it is so inspirational.

  5. My money savings have all been focused on getting the food in from the garden. I go out at sunrise to harvest, then head to the kitchen to can, freeze, or dehydrate. It is hard to go anywhere and do anything when food is piled up on towels on the kitchen floor waiting for my attention. This past week I have harvested:
    * Vegetables: tomatoes, onions, celery, broccoli, spaghetti squash, peppers, kale, okra, purple hull peas, eggplant, Swiss chard, cantaloupe plus one pumpkin. It wasn’t ripe but broke off the vine when I was moving it out of the path. I tried microwaving it and then ate it like summer squash. It was surprisingly good.
    * Herbs: lemongrass, basil, thyme, coriander seeds, chives, cilantro, and feverfew.
    * Seeds saved: celeriac, lettuce, endive, and stem lettuce.
    * I went to the local orchard and bought peaches to freeze except that my family ate all of them! I sent them back yesterday to get more and they had seconds for $.75 a pound! They called me and I told them to buy all they had. Now I am canning peaches also.
    * There’s just so much to do but I realize this is normal for this time of the year. When I am tired, I sit and read the comments from weeks past. It keeps me encouraged. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to comment.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2019/07/todays-blooms-july-21-2019.html
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. Wow, Jeannie, that is some impressive yard work! It all takes time, doesn’t it, and a lot of patience, and sometimes a “blind eye”!

      1. Yvonne, I definitely need a blind eye when looking at the mess in my yard! However, burning the wood ourselves instead of hiring someone to remove the three trees has saved us at LEAST $6,000. A good friend who lives close by told me yesterday she had hired a man to cut down a tree leaning over her house and he quoted $2,500. (Her tree is much smaller than our trees.) This past week it stormed horribly and the tree fell. She was thrilled because it fell away from her house. Now her husband is busy burning wood also!
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    2. Loved your stumps! We made a outside side table with pieces of wood my mom had from a tree they cut. We also made some stump seats.

      1. I am trying to get my husband to make some furniture or something but he keeps refusing – says he doesn’t have the tools. I am hoping he will try and make something when he starts back cutting the last tree this fall. He says keeps giving me stumps to sit on but I keep putting them in my flower beds.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    3. Jeannie,

      What a beautiful photo of a swallowtail butterfly on our blog. One easy way, in your case, to tell the difference is if it’s yellow it’s a swallowtail, if orange a monarch. Of course, a swallow tail has two long tails. There are lots of other differences, too. You are going to have lots of swallowtails next year as I think all of caterpillar photos are Swallowtails!

      1. Ellie’s Friend, they are swallowtails! Thank you for telling me because I couldn’t tell the difference. Will they winter over in my garden somewhere or are they going to hatch out this year? Where would they be hiding because I don’t want to destroy any of their cocoons?
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

        1. Jeannie,

          I don’t know how many life cycles they will go through in your area. Their chrysalis is usually attached to a twig or stick. I would worry more about destroying their eggs. you may want to purchase a lovely book (I don’t have it) The Butterflies of North America Titian Peale’s Lost Manuscript. It shows paintings of butterflies and their caterpillars or another more modern guide. I never knew Swallowtails love fennel and dill so I will be growing some next year just for them. You can find lots of free info online. Although I said that Swallowtails are yellow unlike the orange Monarch, some species of Swallowtails are black with blue and orange spots. The long curved tails are diagnositic.

          1. Thank you for the information. I have some free time today between errands and I think I will stop by the library to rest (it is air-conditioned) and will check to see if they have the book. I really don’t want to accidentally destroy them while weeding because I love butterflies.
            Jeannie

  6. I’m jealous of your produce. This is my first year gardening in South Carolina and suffice to say I am starting to pay more attention to what you grow in a hot climate. The tomatoes are okay but I need to switch to the cucumbers you grow, not what I grew in Maryland. I’ll have more time for researching this and for gardening next year after I retire in January.

    I did not do a whole lot extra last week since I had dental surgery and the painkillers made me loopy for a couple days. What I did do included the following:

    • My attempts at saving electricity paid off with a monthly bill of $89. I’m continuing to reduce appliance and AC usage while still remaining comfortable.
    • I ate most meals at home but went out to lunch with two of my sisters to celebrate the one sister’s birthday. Just a hint: Deep fried deviled eggs with bacon may sound like a good idea, but they aren’t.
    • It’s still hot here (although it is supposed to cool down to the low 90ies for the coming week and we should be getting rain on Tuesday and Wednesday!) so I limited cooking. I bought a rotisserie chicken for the first time in years and made meals from that, including Brandy’s Museum Pasta Salad, quesadillas, chicken salad with dried cranberries and toasted almonds, and chicken in a tossed salad. I bought and prepped more cherries and blueberries on sale for freezing, cut up peppers and cucumbers for snacking, and made flavored cream cheeses (cherry, strawberry, and red pepper).
    • My double credit card points expire with the next bill this Wednesday so I have stocked up on everything that I can, including 6 months’ or more worth of toiletries, printer ink, furnace filters, cat food, gardening supplies, etc. I also bought fall bulbs and seeds online. I do not carry a balance on the credit card and I would need these things eventually anyway, so I may as well get an extra 1,000 or so points to use on gift cards for myself and as presents. I will have $200 worth of gift cards available after Wednesday. Many of the points came from paying for my dental work with the credit card. After charging it, I transferred the money from my health savings account to pay that portion of the bill.
    • I made sure to order daffodil bulbs that do not require pre-chilling. I bought enough to start naturalizing the area at the back of my property while having enough to plant in the flower gardens as well. I also bought lilies, 6 peonies in different colors, crocuses, and a couple other things. I bought them from Van Engelen, the company Brandy uses, and mentioned in an e-mail where I asked a question that Brandy recommended me and if they give credit for such a recommendation, they should give it to her. I’m not expecting that, but you never know.

    Have a frugal week! I’ll be preparing for house guests next week and am so looking forward to seeing them.

    1. Mari, I grow Armenian cucumbers. They can get giant without getting bitter! Plus, they are open-pollinated! You still have time to plant them. Burpee sells seeds, and Walmart, Target, our local garden store all have Burpee seeds. Back to School supplies tend to take the place of seeds now, so if you look, you might be able to still find some locally! They still flower some in the heat, plus they produce well into the fall. I just planted a bunch and I have one cucumber on the vine now. I’m letting it get nice and big because I know it will be fine! They do get hollow if they are really large, but they still have plenty to eat and you can collect the seeds from the hollow ones.

      Van Engelen does not have any kind of affiliate program (I wish! I would gladly take all my money in credit in flower bulbs!) but I have been very happy with them.

    2. ask around those that are gardening in your area what variety they plant. Amish lady told me to plant blue lake green beans in the early summer and Jade beans for the fall planting. I haven’t used those varieties before. They grow Dutch flat cabbage, also something that I haven;t done. The wisdom of what grows best in the area is wonderful, you just have to ask around.

    3. Mari, I am in southern middle Tennessee and have a huge winter garden. We might be in similar zones (7a) so you could grow a garden similar to mine and have fresh vegetables when there is snow on the ground. My zone can grow well over 250 different varieties of winter vegetables. Why people don’t try it is perplexing to me.
      This is one of my older posts explaining how I do it.
      http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/01/winter-garden-sunlight-hours.html
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

      1. Jeannie,

        What a helpful list of winter hardy plants I found on your site. I live in the same zone in Piedmont NC , so this list is perfect! There are lots of things I have not tried and will give them a try this fall. Thank you!

        1. Jean, (what a lovely name), seed catalogs are finally waking up to winter gardening and they are beginning to sell more cold-hardy varieties. I have purchased everything new I can find and will be experimenting with them this winter. I will share my successes and failures as I go. We save more money gardening in the winter than in the summer because food costs are so much higher then.
          I am so happy someone will benefit from my mistakes!
          Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  7. My siblings, Mom and I finally agreed a good time for us to get together, so I booked my flight finding a flight at least $400 cheaper than my last flight there. I will stay a week in October. I will plan some shopping there since PA has no tax on clothing.
    I earned a $20 Amazon card thru Ibotta. I ll save this for my daughter to order books for college.
    My husband took lunch to work 3 days. Another day was a work event. He came home with several different prizes, most will go to our daughter.
    Made all meals at home echo Saturday night, after Mass we got Pizza and cheesesteaks for 3 people, that meal lasted us several extra meals. I grocery shopped with a list, saving me from buying unnecessary things.
    My husband had credit to use thru Touch of Modern, we found a light jacket for me, to replaced an old ripped one and a pocket knife for my husband.
    I continue to walk our dogs very early for exercise and staying in to stay cool. I’m looking forward to everyone’s posts, as usual!

  8. My library has Hoopla. Does yours? You can only check out 5 things a month but it has a wide selection of audio books, ebooks, movies, music, etc.

    1. Ours does! I haven’t been able to do audio books (too hard to hear them here; I can barely manage some YouTube videos after everyone is asleep). I need to check it out for movies for the children.

  9. I was already planning to check for the cucumber seeds this weekend. It has been a learning experience for sure!

  10. Last week, I harvested cucumbers, green beans, squash, swiss chard, basil, purslane, eggplant, parsley, oregano, a few apples, and our remaining peach… the squirrels got almost all of them :o(. I have a question about the slip and slide. We have tarps, and I mentioned it to my husband for our granddaughter. His comment was that it would use a huge amount of water. I’m thinking if that were so, you would not be doing it, so I’m wondering about your experience with it, and if there is some way to do it in a water-friendly way? Thanks in advance!

    1. It definitely uses water! We do have a sprayer so when we are not spraying it is turned off. We don’t do it real often so it’s a treat when we do. Also, all the water ends up on my grass and I can skip the next watering cycle.

  11. Oh, boy, do I envy you those peaches! I would love to have a peach tree (I’ve tried, several times) or even find a good price on peaches. My mouth is watering at the thought of a peach pie!

    Here was my week–
    *I bought 4 items of clothing at Costco for a little over $50 to perk up my bag lady wardrobe. (I’ve spent about $130 so far and it’s already a lot better). A friend gave me a pair of capris for jeans crafts that I discovered not only fit me, but were in better shape than any capris I already owned! (In other words, I have a new pair of capris, LOL).
    *I canned 11 quarts of sweet cherries @ $1.36 each, including sugar and lids. I don’t bother to pit them, although I’d pit cherries for pie.
    *We took advantage of a coupon my husband received with an oil change for a free deluxe car wash. This carwash has free vacuums, so I vacuumed the white dog hair off the black fabric upholstery while my husband wiped down the interior with a damp rag.
    *I’m gonna be a first-time grandma this week! My son and daughter-in-law are adopting a 3-year-old…German Shepherd, LOL. I made a dog blanket out of a piece of fleece with paw prints all over that I’ve had for about 10 years. I watched a You Tube of Girl Scouts making a fringed and tied blanket and decided if 6th graders could do it, I could, too!
    *I removed dirt and grass stains from a pair of pants that shouldn’t have been worn in the garden. When they didn’t come clean on the first try, I soaked them all day in a bucket of hot water with a dishwasher tab and one cup of chlorine bleach. It worked! This mixture is for light-colored garments when you have nothing to lose! Stain removal is one of the biggies in my frugal bag of tricks.

    Best wishes and happy frugal-ing to everyone here!

    1. Hi. My husband dripped fat from grilled sausage on his dark blue trousers – not jeans. How would you remove that? Thanks!

      1. I have had good luck using Dawn dishwashing soap (the original blue formula). Put some of the Dawn onto the grease spot and, using a toothbrush that is wet, brush the Dawn into the grease spot. You will need to continue dipping the toothbrush in water until the Dawn is worked into the stain. Then put the piece of clothing in a bucket of water until the next time you do laundry. I have had this work 99.99% of the time. Hopes this helps!

      2. When trying to remove an oil/fat stain from clothes, I first try putting dishwashing liquid on the spot and letting it rest for at least 30 minutes before laundering. I then air dry as putting the item in the dryer will “set” the stain if it hasn’t come out.

        If dishwashing liquid doesn’t work, I then use Carbona oil stain remover. I’ve had decades of success using this brand for really tough stains. It’s become harder to find but I think Joann Fabric still carries it.

        1. Carbona stain devils will get ANYTHING out! I keep the oil & grease one on hand all the time. I too have found them at Walmart. Otherwise I have had good luck with dishwashing liquid for grease stains.

      3. Dawn (the blue original) dish soap. I work in a deli with smoked meats (brisket, pulled pork and the chickens are the worst) and routinely drip grease on my clothes. Dawn has worked every time.

      4. I use the blue Dawn also mixed with hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. I use an old toothbrush to scrub at it. I have never had a stain I can’r get out. If it has been there a while it may take a few tries. I just did it today on a blood stain.

      5. I recently spilled olive oil on a pair of favorite pants. An olive oil producers website recommended using baking soda on a fresh stain to absorb the oil. I left it to sit for a few hours and then repeated applying a second layer of baking soda. Finally washed in cold water and left to air dry. Worked really well.

      6. My daughter’s work t-shirts get covered in grease – not just spotted. Most treatments are too expensive when using on entire shirt. Any ideas on what she can do? Something to put in a bucket of soaking water maybe?

  12. I did the usual stuff that most of us don’t even think about anymore…like paying billes on time, etc.
    I have started buying Christmas gifts so that I can buy only on sale items.
    I know lots of people may be saying, “Christmas!”. I have to start this early so that I can get a little something for everyone. I have 4 children…3 are married and I have 6 grandchildren.
    I was given 3 leather coats. One is a long coat, one a blazer and one is a jacket. The jacket is going to my youngest grandchild as a gift. The other two I need to sell or give away.
    A friend came to clean and refurbish my 3 Featherweight sewing machines. I fed her lunch and gave her $60.00 for the 3 of them. None of them were working before she worked on them. All of them are sewing now. It would have cost me so much more to take them to a shop…IF…the shop would work on them.
    I am selling one Featherweight machine. I no longer give lessons and don’t need 3 of them.
    Ate all meals, but one at home.
    I only used the car once. It is too hot to go out.
    Was given a new sink and toilet for my redone bathroom.
    Jake brought strawberries, 3 loaves of Italian bread and a head of cabbage which we cut in half. Half for both of us.
    I read 3 free books this week.
    I am teaching my, now, 15 year old granddaughter to make cakes from scratch. This is not only better tasting, but less expensive for me…and her one day.
    I am growing, cutting and drying my own mint. I use it in my wheat salad and tea. Mint is so expensive already dried. I cut the bits and let them air dry. It is so nice.
    I know I had something I wanted to share, but my mind is a sieve and I don’t remember what it was.

    1. Tell me about your wheat salad with mint. I really need some new ways to use our mint.

      1. I use “cracked wheat” for the base. I use water to hydrate the wheat and the dried mint. I sometimes put this in the refrigerator overnight to hydrate.
        I chop green onion, tomatoes and cucumbers very small and add it to the whet and mint.
        I use a lemon and oil mix to taste.
        Salt and pepper to taste.
        Brandy, this is similar to Tabouli. I grew up eating it this way and we called it Tabouli, but it is different.
        I think you can use any kind of tomatoes or onion and it makes no difference.
        I would bet you could use Italian dressing for a different tast too.
        I know you don’t eat lots of meat, but we also put wheat in ground steak (I use hamburger) and fry it. It is so good. I can probably find “real” recipes for you instead of my personal favorites.

        1. I wondered if it was tabouli or something else. Thanks for clarifying! I am looking for some new mint recipes and hoping to find a number of different ones as the mint is doing very well in the garden.

          1. I use mint in hot and cold tea. I use it in Tabouli. I also sprinkle it over potatoes with butter. Now the potatoes may be something you try in a small amount first.

          2. Brandy my youngest daughter is a mint lover so I’ve cooked with it in ways she likes. I’ve used it in Watermelon salads; added fresh minced leaves to diced peaches, strawberries and blueberries and served over Pavlova; made Mint Jelly and poured over chocolate ice cream; added the leaves to smoothies (I’ve even used the mint jelly for this); I’ve made a sweetened butter with minced mint to serve on sweet cornbread muffins or chocolate chip scones; I make Iced box cookies and add minced fresh leaves to the butter and sugar before creaming it together – it intensifies the mint flavour. Then once the cookies are baked, I dip the bottoms in melted chocolate; I’ve steeped the leaves in cream before adding to chocolate for a minty ganache frosting on brownies or cake; added the fresh minced leaves to warm blueberry compote and served over pancakes, yogurt or pound cake. (you have plenty of blackberries, so I’m sure it would work perfectly with those.) I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure Mint Extract can be made or mint added to scent the vinegar for homemade cleanser. I like it steeped in Nettle tea to mask the nettle’s flavour or in Lemonade.

            1. These sound wonderful! And I never even thought to make mint cleaner instead of vinegar cleaner! I’ll have to try that!

      2. Dear Brandy,
        I have a recommendation for using mint! I harvest several long stems of mint, and rinse well. This gets places in a tall glass pitcher, or large glass carafe, with a squeeze of lemon, and filled with ice cold water. I cover it with plastic wrap, and let it set in the refrigerator for 2 days to fully diffuse. The more mint you use, the better it tastes. It is delicious and refreshing over ice. You can also add slices of fresh cucumber into the pitcher if you like that flavor combination, or slices of orange. There is nothing as refreshing as ice-cold infused mint water!

    2. Dawn dish soap is great for removing grease stains. Just rub a little in, let it sit and then rinse in the sink. Sometimes I have to do it 2 or 3 times for all of the grease to leave, so don’t give up!

  13. Hi Brandy and everyone,
    It is funny how it is hard for an old dog to learn new tricks ;). I am speaking of myself of course. Many ways to save money involve changing behavior, some changes are easier than others. Since I was a teenager, and I am now 63, I have taken evening showers. My husband of over 30 years has continually suggested I would be happier with morning showers, and even though I have tried, it doesn’t work. I have also tried using the logic that electric rates are cheaper earlier in the day. To no avail. However, this summer, between early morning walks and the heat/humidity, by midday or early afternoon, I am more than ready for a shower and new clothes. So I have finally been able to switch my shower to the low cost time of day! Yeah! Apparently, I just needed the right motivation 😉

    Otherwise last week, we ate in for most of our meals. I am cycling through the freezer and canned goods. We are considering giving up Netflix (we gave up cable years ago so use a Roku box and have Netflix and Amazon prime). We use amazon enough that the savings on shipping costs pays for the annual fee, and so the video library is a bonus for us. Over the past few years, the video library has greatly improved, and now we think it is sufficient to give up Netflix (which is costing us $14 a month now). Funny how monthly costs seem small until you figure out the annual price. Netflix at $14 seemed affordable, at an annual rate of $168 my eyes opened up and I thought it wasn’t worth that much. I had read years ago that a good technique was to take a month cost and multiply times 12 for one year then times 10 to get a ten year value…in this case, Netflix would cost us $1680! Yikes!

  14. Those peaches look delicious.
    We picked chard, lettuce, green onions and the last of the snow peas from the garden.
    Picked a few carrots – actually thinning them, but eating them.
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work all week. Mostly leftovers from our Sunday BBQ.
    Took my mom shopping for her needs – which are small. Most are provided by the facility she lives in. I take her to church on Sundays, and then she spends the day with us.
    Got BSCB for $1.49 per pound on a one day sale.
    Found 4 tops that are light weight, but I can wear to work for $1.50 each.
    We picked all our garlic. There are some really nice big ones this year.
    Dried the clothes on the line. It was nice on Saturday.
    Got ice cream for 99¢ a carton at Fred Meyer. Also got chicken thighs there for 79¢ per pound
    Got $1.00 off per gallon of gas at Fred Meyer. My son followed me, and we filled up his car too. We got about 21 gallons of gas between us, so saved $21.
    All I can think of for now. Hope everyone has a great week.

  15. I haven’t commented much the last few weeks. We have moved-we sold our house in March, lived with friends locally until end of June and have now made the long distance move, into a 600 sq. ft. rental. We are finding our way around. I am having a hard time leaving the community I had.
    There does seem to be a lot of free stuff offered here though, we picked up redwood boards (longer and wider ones for making compost enclosure, and narrow one, which my husband made me a lovely thread rack out of). We still have the majority of our house contents in storage, including all the tools, but we found a tool library here. We checked out a circular saw, a hammer and a rake. It is awesome! This morning we picked free plums. I discovered a crafters thrift store, 5 minutes from our rental. It sell all things craft related, fabric is sold by the pound. I bought 3 yards of fabric, 6 yards of ribbon, size 15 knitting needles and a new zipper for $3.50. So that’s going to be a fun stop. I also bought 3 shirts (2 for me and one for a craft) for $1.98 total at the Goodwill Outlet. So I’m trying to find good in this move.

    1. Kara, I made a long distance move from Maryland to South Carolina last fall. Alhough I very much wanted to move, there are some things and some people I really, really miss. I don’t know why you moved but I hope you settle in, enjoy exploring and learning the new place, and make friends. Good luck, it takes some time to adjust but I have faith that you can and will do it.

  16. I haven’t posted in quite some time, so thought I would do so today.
    * I bought a bushel-and-a-half’s worth of peaches for .65/lb. As my daughter was leaving for her delayed honeymoon, I canned 12 quarts of preserves for her as well as a batch of peach jam. Some slices were frozen as well.
    * I’ve made peach jam for years, and other than the married daughter and I, nobody else enjoyed eating it, therefore, I had no intention of making any for us this year. But my youngest daughter decided she liked it afterall, so I canned more jam for us, as well as froze some peach slices in 2-1/2 cup measures. My girls eat the frozen peaches semi-defrosted, and use in smoothies, or in crepes with whipped cream. This is their most favourite frozen fruit I prepare. If I don’t “set some aside” – aka. Hide some packages – there wouldn’t be enough to last until next year.
    * married daughter’s husband has discovered that he likes our home-canned fruit cocktail, so she’s on the lookout for another sale on peaches so she can make a few jars for her pantry. Although all my girls have been taught how to can, she is nervous about doing it on her own, so I’ve helped her so far this year until she’s comfortable doing it by herself. I’m not sure how long that will take but I’m sure by the end of this Fall, she’ll have had enough practice with canning the pickles, relishes, tomatoes, salsa etc., that she may be less anxious next year. No matter. I’m always here to help.
    * froze some bing cherries that were on sale for an incredible price of $1.65/lb.
    * I had breast cancer 5 years ago, and as part of my treatment, I was prescribed an estrogen blocker. It is the contributing factor to my weight gain so after trying many, many ways to try to lose the pounds, I’ve finally found a diet that has helped me lose: the Keto Diet. By reducing my carb intake, the weight is starting to finally fall off. Once my husband saw the results, he decided to join in so he could lose some stubborn pounds as well. Once we lose what we want, we’ll just remain on a moderate carbohydrate intake instead of resorting back to high carb eating. Because of this new way of eating, baking bread or baked goods has been non-existant. Although, I have made muffins for my girls, they are not a temptation – thankfully.
    * enjoying being challenged to discover a different way of eating and therefore a new set of recipes, such as, sauteed radishes. Never had them cooked before but we were surprised at how good they actually are.
    * married daughter found that the small freezer we’ve loaned her isn’t large enough to hold all the harvesting she has done/is doing. As part of their wedding gift, my husband and I planned on buying them a freezer but they wanted to wait until they moved into their purchased home, rather than the rental home they’re presently staying at, so they wouldn’t have to move it. However, my daughter has asked if they could have the freezer sooner rather than later, so we bought it for them and they are waiting for it to be delivered. Now, their wedding gifts are completely finished from us.
    * celebrated 2 daughers’ birthdays.
    * did the usual frugal things: line-dried the laundry; watered plants with start-up water; saved money not baking :); saved on electricity by running the air conditioner for only 2 weeks this summer; opened windows to cool down the house and closed the drapes to block the sun from heating up the house; purchased only on-sale produce and meats; home-canned; ate all meals at home saving from dining out; used the crockpot or barbecue to save on heating up the house and therefore our electiricy usage; hubby discovered he enjoys water with lemon, so saved money not having to buy tea to make pitchers of lemon iced tea.
    That’s about as exciting as it has been here. Cheers everyone!

    1. I have also found that the Keto plan has worked best for me as far as losing weight is concerned – that and intermittent fasting. I have been getting a bit bored though with salads & protein – bacon & eggs etc. so yesterday I splurged on a $12 cookbook full of keto recipes – can’t wait to give them a try.

      1. I found the Plant Paradox diet (Dr. Gundry) to be very easy to follow, and the book is interesting. Low carb, but high in resistant starch to feed your good gut bacteria. The cookbook is also good!
        He provides vegetarian and vegan options as well.

      2. Margie, I’ve used a Keto website that I’ve found interesting. https:// http://www.gnom-gnom.com/recipes/ I’ve made the Swedish meatballs, 90 min bread (not eggy tasting like others I’ve tried), the cheesecake parfaits (these are delicious) and jicama fries. I’ve enjoyed the recipes for what they are…low carb, and I have my eye on trying a couple more. Anyway, another option for looking up some new recipes.

        And Cara, thanks for the info about the Plant Paradox diet. I’ll definitely check that out.

  17. What a bounty of peaches! Thank you for the ide to use over waffles.

    Washed my car by hand, which actually provided some relief during the heatwave.

    Started making bread again. I had stopped due to some disappointing loaves, but had come to realize my yeast had died.
    I had saved some sour milk for the baking this week.

    Grateful the heat wave is over. as I was able to “Marievne method” weed pull again. It is a jungle of crab grass and thistles at the moment.
    My 12″ stunted tomato plants started producing! I harvested 4 cherry tomatoes, which I used as an appetizer – caprese salad on a toothpick. There are more coming.
    I clipped more basil for drying and a few green beans.

    My one contract job (who has hit a slow down) was concerned I might go looking elsewhere (I wasn’t) so they offered to keep paying me for my usual contract time as a retainer until things pick up again. It was unexpected news and is a huge relief (that is the job utilities are paid from).

    I was gifted a gorgeous over the top 60’s cocktail dress for helping a friend clean out a costume closet. Not going to lie, I will wear it to clean the house. Why do the counter tops get to be the only thing that sparkle?

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. I loved reading your “Marivene method” reference in your post Jenifer. I so miss reading her post each week. It’s funny how someone can make such an impact on our lives when we’ve never met them in “real life”. ❤️

    2. Hi Jennifer. ..I use the “Marvene” method of weeding too!! She was such a wise lady I miss her ! How cool was the gift of the cocktail dress ! Would love to see a picture of that! Have a great week!

      1. I am a newer reader….I understand she was a much-loved member of this blog community and so sorry she has passed away…..can someone please describe the weeding method you are referring to? Thank you!

  18. That is so amazing you were able to make raisins from your home-gown grapes, Brandy! I love the idea of peach Popsicle’s, too. Now I have a craving to try them! Your son’s birthday sounds like lots of fun. Glad you were able to purchase the photography class for such a great price!

    Well, I suffered through tremendously high heat and humidity last week. Sitting indoors in air conditioning is not an option when you work at a pioneer village, unfortunately. I assure you, I really appreciated it when I got home from work, though! This week, our frugal accomplishments involved:
    *Meals made at home included hamburger helper with corn, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs, tacos, “make your own” pizza, and spaghetti with choice of sauce.
    *Made oatcakes at work one day, and ended up with extras that no one wanted to eat (it made a lot). Brought them home to share with my family. Another girl had leftover sugar cookies that no one wanted. I brought them home too. We were also offered bags of chips that were past the sell by date, so I grabbed 3. Family was happy to receive the treats!
    *Received free treats from work on several occasions, including donuts, little bags of Doritos and Freezes.
    *I spent the last week picking and freezing the ripening black raspberries at work for a co-worker who was really excited to use them, but was on holiday in Switzerland when they ripened. I’m sure I will be rewarded with amazing baked goods in return for my kindness!
    *Harvested a lot of green/yellow beans, lettuce (2 types) and Swiss chard. Also harvested a few more tiny strawberries and a few peas. The peas are pretty much done. Any left on the plants will be left to go to seed, which I will harvest for use next year. Out of curiousity, we have a lot of reddish beetles all over the strawberry plants. They done appear to be hurting the plants. Does anyone know what they are, should I be concerned and how do I treat them if it is a problem?
    *There was a second round of scouting for Murdock Mysteries. Several members of the show’s production crew were looking at the buildings to see if they would work for their shots. I believe the General Store and the Print Shop may be in the running for buildings to use in their Halloween episode. Everyone here is rather excited about the possibility! However, we have been scouted on numerous occasions for many shows, without a filming happening. So we will have to see. Will keep you posted as I know more.
    *Every year we have a couple, who run an English school in Taiwan, come with a group of their students to visit our village. Over the years I have gotten to know them and look forward to seeing them each year. We always tell the new staff to watch for them (the children ask for your autograph as a keepsake of their trip!). This year, the children brought us gifts from Taiwan, to give to the interpreters they spoke with as a little thank you. I received 2 different magnets and a luggage tag! It was so sweet!!! I always enjoy talk with them, as I know how exciting it is to visit a country so far from home.
    *Hubby, DD, and I went on a mini family trip to the African Lion Safari, near Hamilton, ON this weekend (left Friday after I was done work and came home Sunday afternoon). We took DD’s friend with us, as well. DD is an only child, so trips like this are more enjoyable if she has a companion along. Her friend never goes anywhere, due to family financial issues, so it was very exciting for her to go. In fact she said this was the first time she had ever stayed in a hotel! We took lots of food from home, for snacking on and lunch items. Our hotel had a pool and free breakfast, which we took full advantage of. We knew in advance that we could get discounts for everyone at African Lion Safari, due to both girls are Autistic and I received a discount through a reciprocating program from my work. While waiting in our car to pay our entrance, a lady jumped out of her vehicle and asked if we had pre-paid tickets. We told her no and she offered us a ticket for free entrance. They had an extra that they were not going to use. We happily accepted, which saved us even more money! The girls thoroughly enjoyed driving through the park, where all the animals were freely walking around, as well as the huge splash pad (temps soared to around 50C with humidity on the day we visited). It was a really good trip!
    *We pulled out a bunch of food from our pantry, as well as hygiene items, for DD’s friend to take home. She told me on the trip that she is starting to buy and make her own food, since her mom is inconsistent with buying groceries. She will turn 15 in November, is Autistic, has no job so relies mainly on her allowance or money her grandma gives her and she doesn’t know how to cook very well. I gave her a bunch of easy to prepare food and some staples. We also scooped as much free stuff as we could at the hotel for her to take home, including fresh apples, yoghurt and tea bags from the breakfast buffet.

    Wishing you all a wonderful, fruitful and frugal week, everyone!!!

  19. This week we saved money by cooking & eating most meals at home, and using up leftovers. My husband’s birthday was this past Sunday. At his request I made schweinebraten (German style pork roast) using a pork loin we had in the freezer (bought on sale at Costco earlier this year) with schnitzel & glazed carrots for dinner. I also baked him a cake. I used the leftover pork loin to make pork fried rice with potstickers the following evening. We spent $10 to go to a local museum’s movie night for a date, which was fun. We also got to see some Apollo 11 exhibit items while there, which was a nice bonus.

    The weather was brutally hot over the weekend, so no respite for the air conditioners. I am keeping blinds & curtains closed, and our thermostat turned up. I have been hang drying most of my laundry on indoor racks lately. It saves the dryer from heating up the garage, and also saves on the electricity. Between the house a/c and the ceiling fans, I can hang a load up before I leave for work and it is dry when I get home. Yesterday I even washed & hung the sheets!

    Other random things: I earned $10 in Amazon credit by taking surveys. I gave myself a pedicure. I took my lunches & coffee to work all week. This week I will get free lunches all week due to software training. They are made by our facility’s chef each day and are delicious! I picked up a couple of free items from grocery store apps. One was a bag of dried veggies that I took to my office for a desk snack. I received a free nail file from a vendor at a conference. We started cleaning my husband’s closet out and donated a lot of clothes to a local charity. He has a lot of nice dress clothes because he works in an office, but he has a lot of things that no longer fit or that he just doesn’t wear, that need to be weeded through. Not exactly frugal, but we hope some other young men can use those clothes for job interviews etc.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  20. Hi Brandy,
    Glad to hear you are getting lots of food from your garden.
    I went over to say hello to my neighbor the other day. She is a single mom with kids aged 6, 4 and 2. She had lots of questions for me on how to best use the veggies from her purchased produce box. I had lots of ideas for her that she had not thought of. The one she liked best was drying the kale and cabbage and mixing it with other dried veggies such as carrots and onions and storing in sealed jars then she can just toss a couple handfuls into soups, stews and sauces all fall and winter. She said this would work well for her because she is running out of freezer space and because her kids wouldn’t really realize they were eating veggies. I was so happy to see that it was important to her to fed her kids healthy foods and yet stretch that grocery dollar as much as possible.
    I found chicken legs for .88 cents a pound so I purchased several pounds and cooked it up and pulled it off the bone. Half I froze to feed our dog and the other half I froze in small portions to use for chicken soups, salads and tacos for us.
    I found a really nice scientific-type poster of different insects in an up-scale gift shop for $4. I intend to mount it to an aged board and give to my grandson as a Christmas gift. He loves studying about animals and insects. I also found him a book at the library book sale for .25 that I will use as a Christmas gift.
    My husband and I spent 4 days at our beach cabin which is huge for us. We are usually lucky to get there for a weekend. We thoroughly enjoyed being there during the week when it is quieter and less busy. This was our summer vacation. We ate most meals at the cabin and only splurged on one nice dinner out. No money was spent on entertainment but we found plenty to do for free such as a car show, watching the surfers, walking the beach, having lunch and dinner on the patio, reading books from the library. It was a very relaxing vacation for very little cost!
    I am hosting a baby shower this weekend for my niece. I wanted to use blue hydrangeas for the table centerpieces but unfortunately I had to move my hydrangea bushes to a shadier spot so they are not producing flowers this year. A co-worker is going to bring me some blue hydrangeas from her garden so I won’t have to purchase any.

  21. In the last 12 months we have redeemed over 40 offers for free movie tickets. 30 of those were combos that included popcorn and drink. Those alone were worth $1050.00 . Picking Coke caps up off the ground has value especially since we don’t drink soda . We have enjoyed several movies this summer. I used a promotion to receive two Audible books. We tried a trial to a streaming service but found nothing of interest and canceled it right away. College girl came home after attending a dinner at an upscale restaurant. I was thrilled she brought me her leftovers . ( 5 people tab was $700.00) I ate several meals from it and it was heavenly. I stalk the weather to get my laundry dry between rainstorms. I’m helping a young lady with her wedding. I’ve volunteered to care for the youngest children and clean afterwards. No gift needed. Several of the young bridesmaids will be staying at my home overnight. I’ve prepared a menu based on my pantry. I believe juice is all I
    need. My house taxes have gone up, I’m going to try to get them reduced. Sadly several plans have been delayed as I simply don’t want to spend savings. If the taxes get reduced, we will buy the extras. The microwave has gone out but we can live without it. I’ve taught baby Henry’s mother to use Swagbucks. She spent 11.00 on offers and will have $70.00 coming in next month. This certainly will help her buy the little extras. Sugar cookie is enjoying her summer and has recently been camping and canoeing.

    1. Lilliana, I have been saving my Coke caps as well. Around Christmas, I was able to get a free magazine subscription. What you are doing for baby Henry’s mom touches my heart each time. What a good heart you have.

  22. Love the fruit harvest, Brandy!

    My accomplishments this week:
    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 6 times, including grilled chicken with Cajun pasta; homemade chicken noodle soup (made with home canned broth and meat); fettuccini with Brandy’s white bean alfredo sauce; turkey in gravy (from freezer) with boiled potatoes and home canned green beans; grilled salmon, baked potato and corn on the cob; steak, baked potato, asparagus and corn on the cob; We did get Olive Garden takeout one night, but only ate the entrées and both of us saved our salads for lunch the next day.
    • Hung 3 of 4 loads.
    • Worked 19 ½ contract hours.
    • Hubby brought his lunch 3 days. He was home sick one day and had errands to run at lunch so picked up something cheap the other day. I also worked in the office 3 days this week and brought my lunch 1 day (leftovers from the freezer,) got a free lunch from my boss one day and left early enough to eat at home the last day. I always save leftover dinners in single serve containers and put them straight into the freezer. This saves me the cost of buying Lean Cuisines, etc. to take to work for lunch. I just pull one of them out.
    • Paid extra on the mortgage and took off 3 more months off the end.
    • I brought home a ½ gallon of cut up watermelon, ½ a small container of raspberries, ¾ large container of blueberries and ½ a brown lunch bag of packets of mustard and mayo from work. All perfectly good that they were going to throw away. I will use the fruit in smoothies and my husband will use the packets while hunting and camping.
    • Harvested and froze about a gallon of tomatoes from the garden. Will use them in soup throughout the year.
    • Had Dad over for lunch instead of going out. We had tuna sandwiches with honey dew melon and chips leftover from 4th of July.
    • Remembered a trick out of the Tightwad Gazette book, which was to smash the toilet paper roll before putting it on the holder. This will stop the paper from spinning off too many sheets.
    • I replaced a couple of pair of sandals a couple of weeks ago but am wearing the old ones when I am around the house and just going to the grocery store. Am saving the newer ones for work or if we are going out.
    • Turned a moisturizer bottle upside down to get the remains. Should get another 2 – 3 weeks out of it.
    • Went through my dresser drawers and part of my closet and got rid of a kitchen garbage bag full of clothes.
    • Hubby has just a few personal care items that he is very particular about brand and hair gel is one of them. I don’t argue with him, as he is pretty frugal for the most part. I went to Albertson’s and it was buy one, get one half off. When I got home, I realized the discount wasn’t taken off. I went back to the store and it turns out that they have a new policy that if it is wrong, you get the first item free. Which means I got $23.70 back! This hair gel will last him at least a year. Funniest thing is that when I told Hubby the story, he was surprised at how much his gel is costing us. He now says he will be willing to try a different brand next time.
    • Got 2 frozen pizzas for 49c each and a box of popsicles and 2 boxes of mac and cheese for free and a cantaloupe for 87c.
    • Increased amount of Hubby’s pay going into his 401(k) by 1%.
    • Cooked up a bag of black beans in my Instant Pot and portioned them into ½ c. servings and froze for Hubby to use in his lunch salads.

    Have a great week!

  23. I too am very envious of those peaches – we get ours from the Niagara region but that won’t be for another few weeks. Whenever I read your posts – and those of many who comment – I always think of that expression – if you want something done, give it to a busy person! Some of you are truly impressive with all that you accomplish.
    This week I had one frugal fail – bought a dozen eggs plus ran a few errands before heading to work – left the eggs sitting out on my dining table all day – in my very hot apt. – had to throw them out!
    But – I did have some good luck with other grocery purchases – especially at our No Frills store which had many items advertised at 97 cents – i.e.. mushrooms & broccoli – plus a lot of canned items for 44 cents & 64 cents – and these were in-store – not in the flyers – so I stocked up. Also got UHT milk for half price so put a few litres away for the winter. It’s funny, in the UK and Europe this sort of milk is much cheaper than regular milk but here it costs a LOT more! But it’s very handy to have on hand if the weather turns nasty and I can’t – or don’t want – to go out.
    Lob laws also had their frozen veg on about 50 cents cheaper per bag than even the NO Frills – and their frozen fruit was on at 50% off so got a few bags – would have liked more but no room in the freezer!
    I wanted some canned Sockeye Salmon that was on at a good price but it was all sold out even on the first day of the sale – remembered to ask for a rain check! I’ll pick up 10 cans within the month.
    No eating out this past week and took my lunch to work when needed. It was just too hot to do much outside.
    Started some more serious de-cluttering – I’m putting things aside to sell at a Fall garage sale. I want to move around some furniture and get rid of a few pieces so need to downsize some more items. It’s a good motivator.
    Caught up on a lot of laundry this past week (things like Spring/Fall jackets that I was still wearing mid-June) and the only items that went into the dryer were the 2 loads of sheets – everything else was hung to dry.
    I think that’s it for this week – looking forward to catching up with everyone.

  24. Hi Brandy!

    I was actually just wondering if you had ever dried grapes for raisins! I’ve been wondering if it was a reasonable preservation technique for home-grown grapes (as neither I nor my SO are fond of any other grape products other than fresh and as raisins).

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * I pulled another set of leftovers from the freezer for my lunches for the week (one of these years we will use up all of our freezer leftovers!), and made bean quesadillas for my SO’s lunches (plus homemade salsa). I also pulled some hummus from the freezer to eat with veggies from our CSA box, and I made sandwiches using the hummus and some honey wheat bread I had in the freezer.

    * I mended a split seam in my work pants.

    * I’ve been debating my decision of staying in graduate school. I currently have a master’s degree, and with that, could get a job paying anywhere from $50k-$70+ starting salary, but it would also be difficult to go back for my PhD. However, I feel like at this point, actually completing the degree will not lend me any more technical skills than I already have, as my research would be in a rather different direction than the work I would like to be doing, and I’ve taken most of the classes available to me that would be helpful. It’s a tough decision, and one made harder by the significant increase in salary (starting pay would be twice what I make now). I have a year to decide, however, so I don’t have to rush into the decision.

    * I got a late fee waived on an account of mine. I had missed the payment by one day due to having a really hectic schedule (I don’t like using auto-payments, as I don’t look at the statements in detail like I should when I set them up), but I was able to call in and have them remove the fee.

    * I made more fruit smoothies to cover our fruit needs for the week. These used fruit from the freezer and the juice from some canned mandarin oranges.

    * I made more bread rolls, because they are delicious and a great snack with some jam 🙂 They also served well as improvised hamburger buns when we ran out of buns.

    * I decided not to go grocery shopping, because I could make do without it. This is two trips that I’ve been able to put off this month (both a trip to Sam’s Club, and a trip to Aldi).

    * We deep-cleaned the house using what we already had on hand, and have enjoyed the peace it brings.

    * I dehydrated more basil, thai basil, and mint from my Aerogarden. Unfortunately, my green onions kicked the bucket, so I will need to look into replacing those. I might plant different herbs or some flowers instead, since the Aerogarden has a limited number of growing spaces and I have several packets of seeds I got for 25c each.

    I think that’s everything for this week!
    I emptied a big canister that used to hold coffee, so I’ve been trying to think of a way to reuse it, so if anyone has suggestions for what to do with a coffee canister that’s 1.5x the size of a usual one, please let me know!

    1. K,

      Just a thought on your PhD. Not that our stories are at all the same, but I’d go for it now if you can. Very useful. I hold two master’s degrees and am ABD. I doubt I’ll finish in this field at this point (may switch at some point and finish the PhD “just because” later on). I could have many more options for employment and advcement in my fields had family and now illness not interfered with my plans. Just a thought.

      1. Remember the “opportunity cost” from macro economics? It’s “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” In other words, the cost of getting the Ph.D now would factor in the lost income from going to school vs. working. Generally, the earlier you get an advanced degree, the more financial gain, because your lost income will be lower AND you will start making the big bucks sooner. Just another thought, if you think you will eventually want that Ph. D.

    2. Just an encouragement to stay in school if you can. A finished degree always equals more opportunities in the future, and it’s something that no one can take away from you once you’ve earned it. My husband worked on his masters in engineering one class at a tim e while we had three young children at home and he worked a full time job. He struggled to stay motivated, especially half way through, but having the masters made it possible for him to eventually work from home and for us to continue as a one income family while our kids are growing up. It’s been so worth it. Best of luck whatever you decide.

  25. Peaches looks delicious Brandy! I remember eating warm peaches right off the tree, so juicy and delicious!

    We have been using basil in noodle recipes. My son really enjoys the basil. He also put it in his quesadillas. I bought chicken at 79 cents a pound at Aldi. We enjoyed Chicken and Dumplings.
    The Weather has been nice so we opened up the windows and enjoyed fresh air.
    Both my sons in one day told me they want to take care of me in my old age. They are so sweet.
    Watched movies from the library. Took grandkids to library. My son gave me money to take his kids out to eat and then some all day. He is a sweet heart.

  26. I discovered that in addition to 10 free films each month through our public library, I can also access free lectures. I watched a wonderful series on
    Ancient civilizations in North America. I learned more about the mound builders both in Ohio and in southern states. And about the southwest indigenous peoples. It was incredibly well-done and although comprehensive it was not overwhelming. I am low on food but am eating the contents of my freezer (small above the fridge) so I can go to the farmers’ market and buy a case of blueberries, apricots and peaches to put in the freezer for winter treats.

    It is really hot here today. I ran into a busload of tourists from Wisconsin and they loved the cooler temperature than home.
    I envied them because they were heading to Banff. It is tempting for me to just get on a bus and go for the day. There is a bus service from Calgary to Banff which is $10 each way — a great value! Reservations have to be made (weekend trips before Sept. 3, I think). It’s called “On-It Transit” and is designed to reduce the number of cars on the highway and the parking in Banff. You can return the same day — no hotel. Plus when you get to Banff you can catch a bus that goes to all the tourist places there. Great deal. Save on gas, parking, the hassle of driving through tourist traffic! It’s very tempting but I think I’ll go to my friend’s house and try for hummingbird photos instead.

    The garden now looks like an English cottage garden — that was the design plan and several people have commented on it.

  27. I should have mentioned that the bus to the tourist places within Banff is called Roam and it’s included in the On-It Fare.
    The normal fare toBanff is $75 one way so $20 round trip on On It is a great deal!

  28. I agree with having frozen peaches. They are so very useful. Although, I do love home canned peaches as well. Fantastic about getting a new-to-your-family freezer. Most useful.

    Today my dear sister flew home. She has been a godsend in getting everything started and all of the sanitary systems in place. She left lots of notes around the house along with bottles of hand sanitizer. ? Tomorrow my parents arrive after picking my daughter up on the way. She will stay and care for me through the entire treatment and probably through the winter.

    I’ve learned my way around our local library’s website. This has helped me to avoid renting any movies or joining anything. The only money I did spend was to renew my Victoria magazine subscription.

    We are eating our way through the freezer to make room. It’s a good thing because my dear husband found a large piece of pork for 13.00 which he bought as it was a significant savings from the 40.00 original price. We have used the pork to make a pork gyro recipe from this month’s Cook’s Country magazine (which I viewed digitally from the library). It is delicious and highly recommended. We didn’t get around to making the pitas, so used some tortillas.

    My husband planned and cooked for a men’s church event. He grew up in an Italian restaurant, so made a very tasty Italian Giovanni lasagna and brought some home for us too.

    I am very pleased with my insurance. I just had an ultrasound of my elbow for a 10$ copay. We are also heading in for our twice yearly dental cleanings for the same copay. Even with the upcoming COBRA payments, the entire family will be covered for a lot less OOP for my treatment and their medical and dental needs than a less comprehensive plan.

    Interestingly, my husband found that the grain free dog food that we buy is 7$ cheaper for the same bag at the dollar general store rather than the grocery store next door. He was just in the dollar general looking for painting hangers when he discovered the dog food. Good eye!

    This week I get to turn my flight voucher from last February into 2 tickets for the children. One to return to school and the other to attend a wedding. I, of course, cannot go and my husband must work all that he can, so our daughter is going to have to represent us. I already bought her ticket from Chicago to the wedding before I became ill, so all I need to do is get her from here to Chicago and back. And she’ll be able to have a couple days to visit with her boyfriend and his family. A small reward for her dedication to become my caretaker.

    I’m not allowed fresh flowers and plants at this point, so will recycle a flowering plant gifted to me to my mother for her birthday.

    Happy frugal-ing friends

    1. I love gyros. I have never made them with pork. That is a wonderful idea as pork is much cheaper than beef or lamb. I have made meatless ones before, however.

      1. Hi Brandy- I love gyros too but cannot eat meat now due to medical reasons. How did you make your meatless ones?

        1. I made “gluten” meat with wheat and seasoned it. It’s been years since I’ve done it that way, but I had wheat kernels in my food storage and no money for food for over a year, so I tried it out. It tasted pretty good and I made it a few times. It’s a lot of work, though, but it was a good change in our meals.

          1. Sounds delicious! I am going to look into something similar with a meat alternative. I was actually gifted seasoning that would be perfect to use for the “meat.” I never thought of doing this – thank you!

  29. Last week I made flash cards with card stock that was collecting dust in the filing cabinet. I also enjoyed Home Fires and relaxed by crafting on a cross-stitching blanket. The tomato plants and peppermint plants are thriving and loving all the 90 degree weather we got here last week. We got to see a world champion yo-yoer at a library program.

  30. Brandy how wonderful you are picking so many peaches and grapes from your gardens. The ice – cream was a great price and I would have stocked up at that price too. I am glad you are able to pursue you passion of your photography business and do courses at such reasonable prices.

    Our savings last week added up to $41.68 .

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

    Purchases –
    – On specials we purchased 5 x 500g of frozen peas, corn and capsicum, mandarins, kiwi fruit and bananas saving $11.68 on usual prices.

    Finances and eBay listings –
    – We paid an extra month of mortgage payments off our home loan from a bonus pay I received saving interest and time on our loan. We have almost made double payments since the start of our loan in January :).
    – Other items purchased from my bonus pay were a few curtain rods, ends and curtain rod holders.
    – Listed 10 items on a free listing promotion on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    In the gardens –
    – Put all the drip irrigation frames for 10 garden beds together. We still have to link up the main watering pipes to each garden bed.
    – We reused 13mm pvc pipe, t-pieces, elbows and our drip irrigation pipe from our last gardens saving about $30 over buying more.
    – Both of us trench composted more vegetable/fruit peelings into another vegetable garden bed.

    I hope everyone had a wonderful week last week and will this week too :).

    Sewingcreations15

    1. Lorna, Even though I haven’t been able to comment much, I often see your posts here and other sites. I’m always amazed at how much you get done around your new home! And, how awesome are you to be able to pay so much down on your mortgage! Good going! Your hard work is paying off!

      1. Thank you momsav for your encouragement 🙂 .

        I think anyone paying off a mortgage find it a mammoth task to pay it off. We are extremely fortunate that mortgage interest rates on variable interest rates have gone down twice so far this year and they are hinting there may be more reductions to come. We shall just keep paying the usual mortgage payments and pay the interest each month and tip in any extra savings we have from our budget.

        For some time I have been picturing how good it will be to pay it off in full 🙂 .

        Sewingcreations15.

  31. Brandy, your peaches look amazing. It has rained here all of June and the first 2 weeks of July. My garden has some things doing well and some not so well.
    Last week’s frugalities include:
    Thinning my beets and making borscht, so yummy with the leaves and baby beets.
    Enjoying a bbq burger lunch at my friend’s Art Supply Store for Customer Appreciation Day.
    My employer provided a pancake/sausage breakfast to celebrate Klondike Days, our annual summer festival.
    Enjoyed spinach omelets using garden spinach.
    Packed all meals to work..
    Received a $20 check for surveys.
    Thankful our repeated hail storms did not damage my apple tree.
    Washed my SUV in the driveway, saving car wash fees.

  32. My sister sent a box of peaches over today from her orchard! Yum:). Yours look amazing, too!

    We got some of the inexpensive ice cream from Fred Meyers this week (Kroger). I bought very few groceries otherwise, because I spent so much over the past 6 weeks re-stocking that I finally got caught up…I hope! It was nice to have a couple of weeks where I wasn’t out of much. The garden is really producing which helps a great deal.

    So far, I’ve been able to can 19 quarts and 20 pints of green beans and freeze 17 baggies of broccoli in the last week or so. I’ve harvested all the main broccoli heads now, but will leave the plants for side shoots.

    My niece and daughter gave our dog a bath, saving us quite a bit.

    I got to hold a 6-day-old baby. Priceless, in my opinion. So precious.

    I got to see some old friends at a wedding reception. That was very meaningful to me, as well.

    My zinnias are going crazy all over my garden. In the spring, my husband picked up some baggies of zinnia seeds at a yard sale for 25c/baggie. There were a lot of seeds in them and I put in a couple of rows and scattered more seeds in the back of the garden. Lots came up. I also had other areas that self-seeded from last year’s row of zinnias. So, I have a TON, for a very low price. Pictures of them are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

  33. I love reading about everyone’s garden harvests, it is so interesting to me what people grow. We have been enjoying cucumbers, Italian green beans, and zucchini from our garden. We’ve had about 6 grape tomatoes so far. I received 2 products to try from a survey company I participate it & then I was able to turn the points I earned into an Amazon gift card. So free food & free money! We were invited to a friend’s lake home for the day & I was able to make & bring a recipe from items I had in my pantry. I had a hair appointment & when I arrived realized I just needed my bangs cut and my stylist graciously did them for free! I have very unsuccessfully trimmed my own bangs in the past & was more than happy to have paid her. I am truly in awe of those of you who can cut your own hair!

  34. I read comments here every day except Sunday. Gathering the frugal wisdom. I am cat sitting for my son while he’s at school on the military side (he also works on the civilian side for the Army) . Where he is at lost power, horrible in barracks and classrooms. Chow hall shut down, cold showers… said his childhood popped up in his head and he went to a store (he drove so could leave base) and bought a lawn mower battery, inverter and box fan . An inverter hooks to the battery and then allows you to plug in items that run on electric. We had just did this with the Amish baby that needed a nebulizer .He put ice in a tray he had in his car and put it in front of the fan. He shut the blinds to keep the light out . Took his cold shower before bed and then again in the morning. Only had to do it about 36 hrs but he said he could remember me “practicing” no electric day on Sunday while they were growing up.
    I do the same here as I do at home, curtains open and closed based on where the sun is, AC on only if the house gets to 78. I have been cooking my meat for the meals on the grill in the early mornings and just nuking it at meal time. I bought my own food for here (Son on strict diet) I bought a bag of cauliflower, broccoli, corn and green beans and a pound of carrots. Menu is broccoli one night, cauliflower the next and blend of the two and then the fourth meal add carrots. Next week it’s corn one night, green beans the second and corn and green beans mixed the 3rd. I can fill in with carrots on other days as I am still going back and forth. Mostly here with the Grandkitties.

    I have started (finally) sewing the warm weather and cold weather curtains for the house. I finished 4 of the 35 curtains. Yesterday I cut the other 31 curtains out and pinned them,then I cut our 7 table cloths , 32 napkins and 4 aprons. My goal is to have it all done by time Son gets back. I am using a lot of fabric I had bought through the years and not used or still had enough left to use.

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

    1. Hi Juls, I love your son’s innovation. I had to smile when I read about your no electric days. We had those too, except ours was because I didn’t have the money for power. We used candles and the fireplace, had PBJ sandwiches and just hung out (me and seven kids). I always carried a lot of guilt about those days, but my kids think of them fondly. They didn’t know the reason behind them; I just told them we were going to be like the pioneers those days.?

      1. Thanks for sharing this story. I had some no power days myself because of bad money management in the past. Nothing ever made me feel more guilty or ashamed than when my kids were impacted this way by my mistakes. It helps to know I’m not the only one and that your kids remember it so differently.

  35. Brandy, I love that your frugal accomplishments include enrichment activities, like learning French and reading. It would be so easy to focus only on maintenance (food, gardening) — which is important and enjoyable, too. But thanks for going beyond. I always find much inspiration here! PS: I’d love you to grow your section on gifting!

  36. Reader, I would pre-treat the stain with either Fels Naptha or Zote bar soap (find in the laundry aisle) OR waterless hand cleaner, such as Goop. Use a little water if using soap, but not necessary with Goop. Rub the product in well and wash as usual. (Goop is my last resort with grease). Do NOT put the trousers in the dryer. You may have to do this more than once, and you don’t want to set the stain in the dryer. Good luck!

  37. Took advantage of the amazon prime day deals. Purchased cleaning supplies at 60% off. Bought a lego set for my son for Christmas; it was originally $200 but prime day deal was $89. I used a $25 gift card I had for amazon, so it was only $65 OOP. When it arrived a few days later, I was disappointed that they shipped it without an outer carton. They had put the label on the front of the package and some of corners were dented. I emailed Amazon and they refunded me $20! Bought a Christmas gift for a co-worker from Victoria Secret. She loves that brand and I was able to find a passport holder (go figure). They were having a 40% off sale plus free shipping. The cost was $10.40 and I had a gift card for that store for $6, so it only cost me $4 OOP. My mom also asked me to purchase some things for her, which I went ahead and did and had them shipped to her. One of them will be a Christmas present for my husband. Went and saw the Lion King at the movie theater. we used a gift card we had to purchase tickets and drinks. My husband cleaned out his dresser and found several gift cards that we had forgotten about; we had gotten in the habit of putting them in there. Now we have a tin in the kitchen where all gift cards will go 🙂 Purchased another gift for a friend’s son, Duplo Lego set. It was on sale for $29.99. I used another amazon gift card, so I only paid about $7 OOP. I tried something new this week and made chicken broth from a Costco chicken. When doing a big clean, I found a greeting card we had received from a friend at our recent family celebration party. Inside, besides the lovely note, were gift cards for a movie theater and local restaurant. My mother in law came over one night and brought dinner for us. My husband and son went to a local zoo using our membership cards. I packed them a lunch to take. Columbia was having a great sale. I purchased two jackets for my son for school. We went to Target and purchased school supplies at rock bottom prices for my son, which my parents treated for.

    1. I bought the exact same lego set during their prime day and it also shipped without an outer box. I had just arrived home with the son that the item was intended for and there it was just sitting out on my front porch. I was so upset that his Christmas surprise was almost ruined. Thankfully he did not see it, I was able to grab it and stash it away before he was aware. Not cool Amazon!

      1. I don’t know if you’re comfortable doing this, but I would suggest contacting Amazon to let them know about this. I had a similar incident a while back where I specifically requested that an item ship in Amazon packing, and they just sent it without an outer box & the label on the outside. It ended up fine, but I emailed to make them aware of the situation (especially as I had specifically asked for a box), and they gave me a significant account credit. Not suggesting “complaining for profit” but I do feel they should make it right, and also if enough people voice concerns, their shipping policies may change. Package theft is a big thing where I live and something like that sitting on a porch advertising what it is would be an easy target.

  38. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I made a plane reservation for $201 round trip from Atlanta to Salt Lake City. I have now made an air bnb reservation for five nights for $220 total and it is only three minutes, walking, from my daughter’s residence. So happy! There is also a grocery store nearby so I won’t have to eat out. I really don’t like eating out very much anyway. The baby decided to arrive early and as of late last night, I now have a beautiful granddaughter. Since I am not going until late August, cheap smart phones these days send great pictures! Thank goodness for technology! In other news, my neighbor gave me tomatoes. I have made cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch. I walked around town for my exercise. Y’all have a great week!

    1. Cindy in the South– It has been fun to watch the progress leading to your granddaughter’s appearance!
      One of my favorite child-raising lines is “Fruit spoils. Babies don’t.” So hold that little one as much as you can!

    2. Congratulations on the safe arrival of your new granddaughter, Cindy! I’m sure both you and your daughter are looking forward to spending 5 day together with the new little one. Enjoy every minute of it!

  39. My son wore his tennis shoes for a walking-heavy, week long trip in hot weather. The inserts disintegrated and they smelled SO bad. I didn’t know if I could get them clean but I would have to throw them away if not, so I gave it a shot. I tore out the insoles, soaked the shoes in an Oxyclean mix, and scrubbed them all over and inside with Dawn dishsoap and a toothbrush. Then I washed them in the machine on hot, with detergent and vinegar. They totally turned out- smell totally good and are so clean. I bought inexpensive inserts at the grocery store to replace the other ones. SO happy with the results! Another thing I did was (after careful planning) doubled all my meals and froze the 2nd meal each night. With 7 kids, I wouldn’t normally have anything to freeze, of course, unless I plan on the extra dinner to freeze. I now have 5 freezer meals in the freezer. Got the Fred Meyer ice cream for .99, too, 10 cartons. Enough to last the kids awhile I hope! Food prepped on Sunday which is normal for me, but when I don’t do that prep I really notice it during the week. I love roasting a lot of veggies, cutting/prepping veggies, etc. ahead of time. I did that along with making pb protein balls, which I eat each morning for breakfast with fruit.

  40. You must be so happy to have the new-to-you freezer Brandy….and just in time for the peach harvest!

    • A friend was emptying out her parents’ home before the sale closing. I gratefully accepted: a director’s chair, two baskets, an old wooden box, glass water pitcher, several turn-of-the-century books, an old pine nightstand with drawer, a lamp filled with sea glass, and a beach chair. Many of the items were exposed to mildew and smelled. I mixed up hot water, bleach, and Dawn and scrubbed down the furniture and baskets and left them to bake in the sun. The furniture still smells a little mildewy so I scrubbed them down again but with a stronger bleach & vinegar solution and left them out in the hot sun.
    • I put the books out in the sun every day and opened them to different pages. The sun was working albeit slowly to eliminate the odors. Finally I put all the books, opened up, into a plastic box with a lid and placed an open box of baking soda. After several days the books smell much better! I’ll use the baking soda for housecleaning and not for baking.
    • Used a coupon for $7 off $35 combined with two BOGO coupons and purchased a month’s worth of wet cat food.
    • Usually the furnace company sends out a postcard with a $25 off coupon if service is performed during the summer. I didn’t receive a postcard this year so when I called to schedule the furnace cleaning, I asked if they would give me $25 off and they agreed.
    • Called regarding a medical bill that didn’t appear to be correct. The CSR agreed and reduced the amount by $51.36.
    • Read a book I ordered through inter-library loan: Where the Wind Leads by Vinh Chung. It was the best book I’ve read so far this year and was a gripping story of a family escaping Vietnam, becoming “boat people” and ending up in the USA. Talk about taking frugality to its limits: raising a family of 13 on a salary of $22,000.
    • made swag goal x 1
    • used a 20% off coupon good for all meat that would fit into a grocery store bag. I purchased 10 pounds of chicken breasts and 1 lb of kielbasa.
    • Used Gas Buddy app to find cheapest gas in my area
    • Made cabbage and beef stir fry, and ate lots of salad and grilled cheese sandwiches
    • Hung all laundry out to dry except for one load.
    • Realized I was charged $4.98/lb for asparagus rather than the $2.98/lb sale price. Went back to the store while I was already in the area and got $2.13 refunded to me.

    1. For cleaning the book smells, you might also seal them up in a box with newspapers, (not including the colored ad sections), which will attract some of the odors, or a cup of coffee grounds, I have purchased a cheap coffee brand for soaking up smells from dampness.
      I HATE mildew smells, and wish you well with cleaning your finds.

    2. Libby, on your recommendation, I borrowed this book from the library yesterday via the Libby app 🙂 and read it yesterday afternoon. My childhood best friend was Chinese from Vietnam and she was adopted by her mother who was old enough to be her grandmother. The author was my age. It made me wonder more about her story.

      The frugality aspect intrigued me that you mentioned. As I read it, I saw many things that I did as a child, though there were just two of us, and many things that we do now. Because interest rates were so high at the time (17%!), my dad had to work three weeks of each month just to pay the mortgage. Eventually, my mom opened her own business after working at a few different jobs, and we worked there. They did pay me when I was older, but not when I was younger than 15.

      The family’s way of life seemed pretty normal to me! We do a few things differently (for example, rather than sharing one bicycle, we have gotten used ones for cheap and free at garage sales, sometimes for as little as $5) but a lot of things feel very similar, having a large family.

      The book was excellent. Thanks for the recommendation! It was just what I needed yesterday!

  41. Hello All!
    In the past week we had plenty of rain so I did not need to water outside at all. Most days were not that hot. On the hot days I made sure to let cool air in the morning and shut all blinds, curtains to keep out heat. It doesn’t get to hot in my area so our ceiling fans do most of the work.
    I was treated to a pizza lunch from my employer one day; all other days I took meals, snacks, tea & coffee. All meals were prepared and made at home.
    I fixed a strap on a reusable grocery bag; in my area we are charged 5 cents per bag. I always bring my own bags.
    I continued to work on Swagbucks; made goal x2 and redeemed for $25 Amazon gift card.
    I listed and sold some items family members asked me to “get rid of”. I donated or sold items with their blessing, they were just happy to have someone else take care of this chore. I made $145.50 for my efforts.
    I was able to use $30 towards my grocery purchases using store loyalty points.
    My biggest frugal accomplishment was fixing and mending an area rug. My cat had picked off the binding edge and I was able to use a large upholstery needle, some fishing line and a thimble to fix it myself. (And one band aid!) I took my time and it went on fairly straight; I am pleased with the results and even more pleased it was a no cost repair!
    Many thanks to Brandy and her outstanding website and to all those who comment. Have a fun frugal week ahead.

    1. I also live in Calgary. On the two or three days when it is too hot in the house, I turn my furnace fans on. It circulates the cooler basement air to the upstairs. Usually I don’t have to do even that. I just let the early morning col air in like you do.

  42. We finally got our air conditioner fixed – only $40! But now we have to replace a tire that blew on our car! Ugh!

    We’ve been eating a lot from the garden – zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, blackberries, peppers, rhubarb, green beans, basil. I made pesto for the freezer with some of the basil. We made rhubarb bars last night. We’ve been steaming zucchini and I made zucchini muffins this weekend.

    I continue to participate in my walking group, which is good exercises for only the cost of gas.

    I was going to buy a new fitted sheet for our box springs. A few years ago, we were gifted an antique bed. It has bed rails that come up the side, so a bed skirt didn’t work with it. At the time, I didn’t have an extra fitted sheet, so I just stuck the bed skirt in and made it work. But it was a constant battle to keep it on the bed. I finally decided to by a fitted sheet. Then I remembered we had a white fitted sheet upstairs that had gotten thin the middle. I had kept it thinking I would cut the edges of it into rags. But I thought, since it’s on the box springs, it doesn’t really matter that the middle is thin! So I put it on and it works great! The edges are fine, which is all you see. It works so much better! And saved me the cost of a fitted sheet!

    I line dried three loads of laundry.

    I deposited into our HSA, which will save us tax money when we file.

    I bough a curtain and a set of sheets at a thrift store for $1 each, I plan on cutting them up to add to our rag pile. We are trying to reduce paper towel usage.

    I canned 8 pints of green beans. We used up another jar of applesauce that I canned last year. We also ate hamsteak from the pork my parents gave us for Christmas last year.

    I keep using my Murphy app to rack up points to save money on gas. I found out if you pay with a Walmart gift card at Murphy, they take 5 cents off per gallon. Since I was going to Walmart anyway, I picked up a gift card to use for gas.

    I keep using fetchrewards and Ibotta. I have a fetch rewards referral code if anyone wants to download the app. It’s K9YTB. I love it because I don’t have to search through and find the deals or shop at certain stores. So much easier!

    Anyway, I think that’s about it for this week!

    I think that’s about it.

  43. Helped at a church event over the weekend. It was hot. I won an Italian basket and it has a restaurant gift card in it. Hubby and I will enjoy that. Picked my first zucchini and peppers from the garden. I have so many baby peppers. Still picking raspberries, kale, lettuce and herbs. Tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants are almost ready. I pulled the peas out and will be replanting in a few weeks. Sold the last mini fridge that Hubby and I got free from the garbage from college move out day for $50. Hanging all laundry outside. Pulled cooked taco meat out of freezer on the day it hit 100. Was a very easy dinner. Been getting my youngest ready to go away to college. Going through what we have in the house to send with her. Had a long list and it is almost finished with very little purchased. She was given several gift cards to Bed Bath and Beyond for graduation so we will be going there to look for the few items still needed. We will bring coupons too.

  44. Those peaches look delicious! Our frugal accomplishments this week were;
    *Meals made were burgers with macaroni and peas, Italian chicken with corn on the cob, pan-seared salmon with baked potatoes, grilled beef summer sausage with chips, hot dogs with salad.
    *Wrapped a wedding gift for friends and a birthday gift for my mom using recycled bags, tissue paper and ribbon.
    *Scheduled 2 appts in the same day to save gas. Also picked up a part that my husband had ordered for his car (which he will install himself) while in the area.
    *Husband went for his 6 month cleaning at the dentist, which is 100% covered by insurance. Received free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.
    *Our AC went down on the hottest week of the year. ? We were able to get someone out the next day and he said it was the compressor (which is under warranty). We had no idea how old it was since the heat pump was installed before we bought the house, so we are super thankful he found that out. We survived a few days using a window unit that a friend lent us and then left on an already planned vacation. (Such great timing…thank you, God!) The compressor will be in next week and the repairman will install it while we’re gone.
    *Accepted 2 dozen donuts and some sticky buns that were leftover after a breakfast meeting at work. These went in the freezer for our family vacation.
    *When leaving the grocery store, a sweet lady asked us if we’d like 18 eggs. She has chickens and had received the eggs free from the store. We gratefully accepted.
    *Stopped at a state park near our vacation rental and signed up for a historical pontoon tour of the lake we’re staying at. We’ve tried to do this in previous years, but it’s always been full. We were 5 days early so were able to secure spots.
    *Took groceries from home along with us on vacation. We had to buy very little and were able to use up items we had purchased on sale.

  45. A few frugal efforts from recent weeks-

    – Hemmed 3 pairs of pants for my single, adult son. Introduced him to the wonders of Aldi.
    – Attended a meeting of “Age Well. Be Well.” with my husband. This is a health and wellness monthly free community event for people 55+ years old held at the hospital where my husband and I both work. The hospital dietician gave a presentation on eating a vegan diet, and vegan refreshments were served. We concluded the time with a work session in the healing garden.
    – We canceled Amazon Prime. We had started with it when my husband received the student discount. The fee doubled when school ended. So, that’s that.
    – The garden is coming in: yellow and zucchini squash, jalapeño and green peppers, tomatoes, parsley, and basil. We’re mostly eating these fresh and freezing extras.
    – Brought along water and lunch to munch in the car after shopping for shoes and craft supplies out of town. I enjoy my healthy take-along food better than any fast food. Also, topped off the gas tank at a super-cheap price there in town.

    Thankful for the quiet, peaceful week.

    Have a terrific week!

  46. Greetings!
    I love the fruit accomplishments! Fruit can be such a budget buster! Beautiful pictures, as always.
    I feel like we’re just treading water. But, I guess that goes in the positive column.
    We continue to save shower warm-up water and the occasional dehumidifier water. I use it for washing dishes, flushing or laundry. I have one water barrel for our small gardens.
    I repainted a glass greenhouse my husband made for me some years ago out of old windows. I still need to scrape and caulk and maybe do the inside, as well.
    My husband is taking a weekend trip to take photographs. The money has been saved so no surprises there.
    I’ve had a new-to-me once yearly medicine. Incredibly, it has eased my chronic back pain. It was supposedly for my hip which wasn’t much help. But, i’m still so very happy about the back! We haven’t gotten the bill but it will be a whopper, no doubt. Not frugal but very much appreciated! I hope I can use the CC to pay if off and get money back.
    We used FaceTime to chat with our daughter and her family. What a blessing that is! Her ten month old is growing too fast!
    I’ve been shopping the sales and cooking enough for two or three meals at a time. Three days a week I get home after 6:PM. My husband can fend for himself IF there’s something easy to heat. He will never be a good cook.
    I watered my lotion down several times until it was just right! The last one lasted months and months.
    I think that’s about it for me. I need to go back and read what others have written. I seem to have less time even though i’m working less hours. How does that happen? ? Have a wonderful week!

  47. I love all the fruit, Brandy. I don’t have a lot of frugal things this week; we’ve had to spend money, but we had a few.
    I’m still finding good deals on cherries, strawberries and blueberries, for some reason. I love nearly every berry, so I have been buying them every week and have put some in the freezer. Our local berries are finished for the year, and we can’t grow cherries.
    It’s not frugal for me, but I’m cat-sitting for a daughter and her family who will be out of town for a few days.
    I’ve been cooking larger amounts lately, in order to put the excess in the freezer for later. It’s nice to have when I have no leftovers for lunch or just don’t want to cook one night.
    I’ve had two more pairs of shoes fall apart and I’m not replacing them. I had too many shoes, anyway.
    Still working on de-cluttering the house. I made some progress this week — I got rid of a large set of china that I was given which I’ve stored and never used for decades. Someone else was happy to get it. I DO use my wedding china, though.

  48. Well, things have not gone as planned here. Our irrigation system sprung a huge leak where it connects to the water at the street, leaving us without running water for almost 3 days. The fire department came and turned off the water at the street at no charge, a service that most fire departments provide, so that saved us from calling an emergency plumber. It turned out that the problem was due to the wrong type of sealant used on the main valve, so the company who installed the system last year is willing to pay for the repairs.
    Having no running water really was a blessing in disguise, as both my husband and I learned how unprepared we really are to be without water. We keep at least 4 cases of bottled water at all times. In the Seattle area we are told to be prepared to be without water for 2-3 weeks in the event of a major earthquake, there is a huge fault line running through our area. However, we were not prepared with water for hand washing, dish washing, flushing toilets. Now, I see that I really need to step up my prepping with jugs of water. I can’t believe how much water I really use everyday in cooking, washing vegetables, washing dishes and cleaning up after preparing food… that was a real eye opener. I also found that the old baby wipes packages in my emergency storage were dried up, could have used those for hand washing. We were able to run to the store for the things we needed, but we might not have been able to do that in a real emergency. I have a lot of work to do now to add to my storage. I would also like to keep a list of meals that can be easily prepared with little or no water, and a list for meals with no power available.
    Now, I’m just trying to catch up on everything else…laundry, cleaning, baking.
    Hope everyone is having a great week! Thanks for all the inspiration and ideas!

    1. Susanmarie, if you buy laundry soap in the big jugs that have a spigot on them, you could repurpose some of them for hand washing/dish washing water. These jugs can be set up with the spigot over the sink, making washing up very easy. Any residual soap will just help with the clean up! I also have repurposed juice jugs with tap water in them. The water is clean, not ideal for drinking, but if boiled, it would probably be OK for cooking purposes. If there was concern about it’s safety, we can always use it for flushing toilets! I also keep canned pasta, canned baked beans, ready to eat (heat & serve) soup, peanut butter, jam, canned tuna, canned ham, crackers, canned fruit and other easy to prepare meal options as part of my pantry at all times, in case of emergencies. No matter how good of a cook I am, during an emergency I will have too many other things to think about than “what can I prepare without hydro and water”. If the emergency lasts for an extended period of time, I will have more time to think about more complex food prep as we settle into our temporary “new norm”.

      1. Rhonda, thanks for the great advice! I’m going to start saving large bottles and jugs for extra non- drinkable water.

    1. My son tells me that amazon has the best prices. He also likes to rent the ebooks at a much cheaper cost. Some of his professors put the textbooks on hold in the library and it can be cheaper to copy the chapters needed…especially if the students get a number of on campus copies for free. With a syllabus, it is fairly easy to plan hie to print out articles and textbooks while leaving room for printing hw, assignments, and the syllabus.

      Hope this helps,

      Trish

      1. For buying used textbooks, I have used the website Bookscouter. It searches by the book’s ISBN and then gives you a list of all the sites, with prices, where it is being sold. It also does the same for books you are trying to sell.

        Two other textbook tricks I have learned over the last 10 years of having college students-my daughter doesn’t buy the book until she attends the first class and asks if the book is required and if it will be used. Many professors post on their syllabus that a certain book is required, but in class they will say that it is not. Also, my daughter has cultivated connections with students ahead of her and behind her in her major. They are a good source for buying used books from, or for selling used books to. And then if she can’t sell them, I will sell them online.

    2. Jenn, we’ve had luck using Chegg.com, but always compare. There have been random times where the school bookstore has been cheaper. Usually they are the most expensive. Go figure!

  49. We’ve spent a few hours at the local splash pad when it’s been hot, well, hot for here. The kids love it and it gives me a chance to be outside and NOT garden or clean up something. We also avoid having the tv on when we’re outside having fun.

    I shopped hard for the best deal to replace my living room blinds (destroyed by the dog and the toddler). If only I could measure them correctly! This was a learning experience and next time, if there is one, I will hopefully remember what I learned. I had to make a second trip to the store to have them trimmed down to fit correctly. Fortunately, there was no charge for that. I was also able to match additional curtain panels to the ones I already have to help cut down on the heat transfer. It took about 45 minutes to take down the old blinds and hang the new ones and additional curtains. It looks much nicer and I am pleased.

    We wrote out a list today of things we want to do as a family before school starts. The six year old suggested we have two columns; one for things that were free or didn’t cost a lot and one column for ideas that have some cost. Somebody’s listening when Grandma talks about stuff! That led to a discussion about how we will do things from both columns and how we will plan it so it’s affordable for our family.

    The veggies are starting to ripen in the garden! I don’t have enough to can anything, but the kids like to pick and eat, so I’m letting them do that. I’m hoping they continue to enjoy veggies as they grow up.

    The decluttering is still going on; I’m able to go through stuff for about 30 minutes at a time once or twice a day for a few days. It feels so good when I fill a bag and haul it off. I’ve found a co-worker who has children just younger than my grandkids and she’s thrilled to have what they’ve outgrown.

    My daughter-in-law is scanning photos for me. I’m grateful she’s taking the time to do this project. I’ve wanted to do this for some time, just don’t know when that would happen. I want to share these photos with my kids and grandkids. I need to take the time to write the captions and backstories for them. My parents and siblings have all passed, so it’s up to me!

    Have a wonderful week!

  50. Hi! I have garden fever this week. It’s our first year and I am loving it, and feeling the need to make every inch of my yard a garden. At the same time I feel a bit I intimidated since I am so new to everything and want to do well but understand the learning curve means I am fighting squash bugs and overwatering and underwatering and weeds and weather and my newbie nature of guessing and hoping for the best.

    That said I love having a garden so much!!! This week we harvested green bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, tarragon, rosemary, basil, strawberries, and zucchini. I made some vinegar cleaner using some rosemary stems. I made dairy free pesto with our basil. I used some Castile/oil/water spray to attempt to quell squash bugs and used duct tape to unstick their eggs from the leaves of my zucchini plant. I hop it helps.

    I was able to use two 25% off coupons to buy two trees for shade for my backyard. We are building a chicken coop ourselves and need the trees for shade near the coop. I went to winco and was able to get lots of produce under $1/lb.

    It has been a hot week here so I try to keep the air on at 77f during the day and turn it off for the evening. I open the windows in the early morning to air out the house and catch some of the breeze. It helps lower the cost of the bill.

    I was able to trade my organizing skills to help a friend get her playroom in shape. She colored my hair for free as a trade. Super nice!

    I was able to do some early back to school shopping for my kiddos and found some good deals. But I also made a list of exactly what I needed and stuck to it, saving money. Well that’s it so far this week!

    Have a great week!

    1. I have good luck on eBay, Amazon, or Facebook marketplace. Or even just post on Facebook that you are looking for a certain book and someone may have it to sell. The bookstore gives you so little back for used textbooks that it is smarter to sell person to person.

    2. Jenn: Regarding cheap college textbooks, a few observations from my years of teaching:
      Students will get a sense of the teacher’s style over time; make sure your student knows how to “read” the teacher. It would have been impossible for someone to do well on tests or complete most papers without having access to the book for my classes. Some instructors are different and cover much of the text in lectures . Students who read for themselves do best in college– That sounds self-evident, but an amazing number of students take short-cuts and skip the books. (And it also means the good students were read to when they were little and learned to love reading. My number one tip for “How to save money for college” is Read To Your Children!).

      Start with the college bookstore website, as they might have the best prices on at least some items, including ebooks or bundles of all the books for a class. Used books sell first there.
      Consider sharing with a classmate, working out costs and sharing time agreeable to both. Some teachers put books on reserve in the library, though it was disappointing to find out they are seldom used. A learning lab or tutoring center or athletic tutoring center might have copies available. See if a club, residence hall, fraternity/sorority, etc., can set up a lending library.
      Check interlibrary loan, even from your home library.
      Look online for full texts of books, especially literature, histories, classics, Bibles, such as are needed for general education classes. Again, identify the teacher’s style. Some will pick particular editions for the informative notes and glossaries. Some literature is almost useless in poor translations, (“Candide” is not amusing, and “Dante’s Inferno” and “The Canterbury Tales” are boring in such cases). You never know what you will find online until you look: The fairly recent transliteration of “Beowulf” by Seamus Heaney is available as a free .pdf and even YouTube videos of the author reading it. An auditory learner might find recordings to listen to as support for the books.
      Project Gutenberg has a huge catalog of authors for free online files. Dover books has fairly inexpensive literature. Again, some translations are better than others. Used book stores near large universities, (even not your school), might be worth checking. Try Cragislist?

      Textbooks have a huge range of learning aids that don’t always get used– objectives, study guide questions, glossaries, and often online learning aides, and the teacher might have chosen books with those in mind. (Hint: the information there might be On The Test). Publishers’ websites might have some student aids the teacher doesn’t mention. Knowing how to write in texts, highlighting key passages or writing questions in the margin, is part of reading. Use post-it notes if that works better.
      Reading in small chunks of time is better than not at all; planning to read for several hours right before a test is not the way most students do their best these days. If using e-books in a classroom, be disciplined to not open other windows and surf the net.
      Professors are very conscious of the high costs of textbooks. I was frustrated For students who paid thousands for tuition, yet who could not pay an extra five-ten percent for texts because they could not afford them. I was frustrated With students who did not try to get them, whether they could afford them or not. Look at whether any scholarship money can be used for book expenses.
      For a teacher, finding a student who prioritizes doing the required readings is a joy. Talking with an instructor from the point of view of “I want the book–can you help?” might provide avenues for texts you didn’t know about. You might also discover resources the teacher didn’t know that could be used for students in future semesters.

    3. I have rented books for my kids for college through Amazon if it wasn’t their major. They also have good prices for used. My youngest is starting college next month. We always wait until school starts to order because once you are in the class the professors change the list. Hubby didn’t have the money to buy his books one year so he copied them in the library. My roommate and I were in several classes together so we would only get one copy and shared it.

  51. 1. Earned $27 in credit card reward points thanks to paying my daughter’s tuition with my card instead of a check.
    2. Took more cuttings from my Pothos plant and now have two more plants to enjoy.
    3. Attended a lovely program at the library on exotic animals
    4. Bought used textbooks online and saved 40%.
    5. Found butter marked down to $1.89 at Kroger, so I happily bought eight.

  52. This has been a difficult week…we had to purchase a new and reliable vehicle for my husband because he travels so frequently for his job. His employer reimburses gas at .58 per mile so that is helpful, plus we purchased a hybrid and get 50 mpg. An expense but one that will be tempered by the mileage reimbursement enough to pay for gas for the month and about 1/4 of the payment. I have to have about $1200 worth of dental work done unexpectedly. We also got what we needed for back to school. I desperately need new clothes and recently donated about 80 percent of my closet due to holes, wear, and threadbare. I haven’t bought new clothes in years. I decided that I will work diligently until my birthday in October to drop some weight and then treat myself to new clothes then (which also would be about the time that we could afford it anyways!) Meanwhile I’m sure my coworkers will be wondering why I wear the same 4 shirts over and over again, ha! Hopefully this will be good motivation for me. On the frugal front, I made a lasagna from scratch- noodles and sauce from scratch, sausage, ricotta, and cheese. It was amazing and cost little to make. 4 meals for our family of 4. We also continue to harvest tomatoes, although they are slowing down a bit. I’m thankful that we have lots of yummy pizza sauce and pasta sauce tucked in the freezer for this fall. We also have several jars of salsa and pickles put up. My MIL took my oldest son on a trip this week and asked that I pick up her CSA box for her. She told me to keep it which is such a blessing. In the box we received a half watermelon, 4 ears of corn, an acorn squash, 6 eggs, 3 peppers, and two cucumbers. I love to stuff acorn squash with rice beans and spicy salsa, top with cheese and bake. Amazing.
    We had a horrific storm come through this weekend that picked up the trampoline and put it into our neighbors tree. Needless to say, by the time we got it out, it was beyond repair. My mom was so sad to see the kids so upset (they watched as it flew through the air! Such a sight to see) She offered to get them a new one for Christmas. We gladly accepted. They will be thrilled. Speaking of Christmas, I started a jar of homemade vanilla extract to give as gifts. Has anyone else started on the Christmas craziness yet? I’m trying so hard to be proactive this year….have a great week, all!

    1. I’ve started on Christmas. I buy books all year long for the grandchildren. I have a large tote under the bed that’s full. I may add some chapstick or stickers, something small, but they always get books. (And an ornament.) I started making three friends each a junk journal in Feb. I didn’t like them so I took them apart and will try again. Now that Summer is here, i’ve slowed down. It’s blueberry season and Summer, which is about eight weeks for us, so i’m taking it easy! I also ordered several kits to make needle cases if the journals don’t work out. (30% off from an Etsy seller.) Or, I can use them for someone else or the following year. I have that brain where I need to be ahead on some things and gifts are it! (Food, too!) Plus, we’re on line to make several thousand less this year.. Our gifts can be from garage sales, thrift stores etc. So, you aren’t the only one! I would bet that most of us buy ahead.

    2. My Christmas gift closet grows on a regular basis. I am always on the lookout for great clearance items that can be given as beautiful gifts. As for making gifts, I am not able to do that until after the summer. I work seasonally every summer and don’t have time to make gifts while I’m working. Too busy planning out the canning and preserving of the summer harvest when I’m not working!

  53. Trish said (a few posts back) that her son recommends Amazon. We’re not buying textbooks here, but generally I have found bookfinder dot com to be .50 cheaper than Amazon. In general, dealers that list a book on Amazon also list it on bookfinder, but bookfinder has cheaper postage. There is also the chance that bookfinder will have something Amazon does not, and vice-versa. I don’t think I have bought any new books–even for gifts–since discovering used books online.

    1. I found a website called ThriftBooks that has great deals on used books. And free shipping after you spend $10. And you get reward points. After 100 points you get a free book.

  54. It was a good, frugal week.
    I was able to rearrange some work hours to save a little money on babysitting.
    I bought gas for the van at Costco for a good price.
    I shopped mark downs and loss leaders: lots of produce is on sale, and I found pork loin fillets (pre-marinated in bag), buy-one-get-one-free, and 50% off on expiration date, making them $2/each for a 24 oz package. I took a chance and bought 10, hoping they’re good. They are good, so it will make for some cheap meals.
    I made bread.
    I continued to sell items on facebook, ebay, and mercari.
    I started cleaning out my older daughter’s room with her. She has a lot of outgrown toys and clothes that we’re moving out, and hopefully her room will feel more organized and less cluttered.
    I found free swimming lessons through the YMCA, and was able to take my younger son. The other kids got to play in the baby pool during the lesson.
    The kids got a free banana and cookie when they went to Kroger with me. We saved the bananas for later.
    I cleared out enough freezer space that each child got to pick a carton of ice cream when it was .99 at Kroger last Friday. What a treat! I think we only have two left now, lol.
    I made rice crispy treats using some really old marshmallows. Some had been frozen and some were hiding with Easter candy, but they melted just fine, and no one would have known they were very old, hard, and stale. We eat a lot of expired (but not spoiled) food, and we’re fine.
    I asked my next door neighbor’s opinion when older son cut his thumb playing with a pocket knife (!!!), and neighbor said it should be fine with just a bandage. Sure enough, the bleeding stopped and my son was fine. This son had been warned not to do this, knew better, and the knife has now been taken away.
    I used baking soda, peroxide, and blue Dawn to get stains out of three child chair covers, then air dried them in the sun. They look much better.

    1. I am amazed that your YMCA has free lessons! They were very pricey here the last time I checked. That’s wonderful for you!

      1. The YMCA usually has a scholarship program for free or discounted lessons and memberships based on an application process.

  55. I think my Roku box just died. I’ve tried two different remotes and fresh batteries, I’m getting a scrolling home screen but no response to the remote. HMmm. Another thing to add to the Year of Broken Stuff list. My son ran over a pothole when he was practicing driving. $$$$ My daughter ran over the water dept access in the front yard. New used lawnmower $$$$ Repair guy to fix the new used lawnmover. $$$. Window air conditioner, dead. Air conditioner in both cars, needs fixing. At least the stove is still working. I can’t keep up. I feel like the money is spent before we can earn it. So, not a very frugal season, and not much to share.

    We have also been freezing peaches and blueberries for future months. I hope to make some jam and pies. I am looking for a new bulk source for meat since Zaycon went out of business. I shop the local sales, but this is time consuming and for some reason the quality of meat and produce in my area stores seems to be going down. I am amazed by all of the great sale prices others are finding. Hopefully they will come my way soon.

    Mostly we are saving by all the things we are not doing and by adapting when things break instead of going out to find an immediate replacement. Lots of entertainment from the library. Early morning walks before the heat gets bad. Craft projects with material already on hand. I think the hardest part is just having to say no to so many things. As in yes I would love to do ….. but it’s not in the budget. Also my teenagers pass through the kitchen cupboards like a plague of locusts consuming everything in their path. I remember going shopping. . . But it’s all gone so quickly. I forgot how much teenagers eat. I did grow up with three older brothers and I remember my mother making double and triple batches of everything, I should know better.

    Thanks for the lose it app recommendation. In spite of ongoing mobility problems, I have lost over thirty pounds since January, eating pretty much whatever I want, and just being honest and accurate with my tracking.

    1. Stacey, I’m sorry you are having such a hard time with everything breaking. That would frustrate anyone, but even more so when finances are tight. At least you are able to preserve and put away produce to use later! My suggestion for the teen locusts is to find some really cheap recipes for baked goods or snack items (muffins, biscuits/bannock, cheap homemade snack mixes, flavoured popcorn, roasted chickpeas, bean and cheese burritos, pasta salad, etc.), make double batches and put them where they are easily accessible. Perhaps the teen locusts will gravitate to the cheap bait and leave the food in the cupboards alone!!!

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