Frugal Accomplishments

Frugal Accomplishments For The Third Week of July

July Garden Harvest 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I’ve been seeking new ways to save money all month, as our finances are particularly tight at the current time with a lower income, increasing expenses, and an emergency trip to the hospital earlier this month. I have found that if I look closely, there’s always another way or two to save money in addition to what I normally do.

Here’s what I did this past week to save money and make the most of what we have:

Concord Grapes The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested two Armenian cucumbers (these are quite large if you’ve never grown them; they’re easily like having 2-4 regular cucumbers a piece depending on when one harvests them), a zucchini, a handful of red noodle beans, two colanders of tomatoes, five baskets full of Mission figs, bay leaves, garlic chives, rosemary, Genovese basil, 2 baskets of Concord grapes and a basket of table grapes from the garden.

I used water collected from the a/c drip (a couple of gallons a day) and from shower warm-up water to water pots in the garden.

We had a few minutes of rain on Monday. I saw the storm clouds and I know that mid-July is usually one of the two days a year where it normally rains here. I put out buckets and pans to collect water off the roof (houses here have no rain gutters as our annual rainfall is 4 inches a year). I collected about 20 gallons of water this way and used it to water potted plants in the garden. I even put out trash cans (several of which are actually buckets) which were needing a good rinse. The rainwater cleaned them out and I reused it on potted bushes.

I sowed seeds for zinnias (if at first you don’t succeed . . .) and vincas in the garden.

We changed the filters on our air conditioner. We use really inexpensive filters and changing them means using less electricity, as the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard. Our lows have been around 89ºF, so the air conditioners (our house has 2)  are running all the time.

We had one exceptional day on Wednesday where a storm was south of us. We got a few drops of rain but it was overcast and temperatures dropped to 81º for a large portion of the day. I turned off the a/c units for a good part of the day, which saved us $4 for the day. (I saw the results on the weekly report from the electric company. I receive an email each week showing how many kilowatts I used and how much it cost for the week).

My husband had our insurance agent reshop our auto insurance. We were able to get better coverage for $400 less per year. 

We cut my husband’s hair and two daughters’ hair at home.

I read a borrowed mystery book.

I cooked chicken pieces using a free sample of seasoning that came in the mail. I used the bones to make broth and made chicken soup with Swiss chard, bay leaves, and basil from the garden and some garlic, an onion, and white beans.

I canned applesauce, fig jam, and grape juice using produce from the garden. I dried figs in my dehydrator  (affiliate link) as well. 

I made cupcakes from scratch for a party my daughters had with their friends. I cut flowers from the garden for the table (I shared a photo over on Instagram, along with three others from the garden this week) and we hung a cloth bunting that I made years ago from scraps.

I accepted some hand-me-downs.

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

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127 Comments

  1. I hope everything is okay with that hospital trip and I hope your income goes up again soon.

    I also made bone broth this week…sooooo much better than canned.
    I used coupons at CVS and purchased 11 items for 36 oop….

    Other than that not a lot out of the ordinary.

  2. Brandy your gardens are wonderful . I know you have spent a lot of time getting them that way with Blessings from Heaven to help.I don’t turn the lights on in the mornings. Bugs the crap out of Hubby that I walk around in the dark but I was raised you didn’t turn the lights in the morning unless you were cooking . I light a candle in the evenings unless I need more light. Straining my eyesight isn’t going to save money. I priced our ins(car/house and term life) again…still the best with where we are at this time still saving 5% for having smoke detectors through the house and carbon detector at the furnace. I have read JL Collins book “The Simple Path To Wealth” as Hubby is getting ready to retire and I’m not willing to pay a lot for someone else to manage my money. I don’t mind paying some but I’m not clueless on investments either.I transferred more of our savings from our local bank to Ally to get more interest but still have enough locally to cover us until the money was transferred back from Ally if needed.I add water to dish soap, shampoo, conditioner and body soap. The hand soap is made from scraps of bar soap melted in water or body soap with extra water. I changed the font on my computer to use less ink when I am printing, sometimes I will copy and paste if what I am needing printed has a font that uses more ink. I print on both sides of the paper (except for coupons 😉 ) I use scrap paper (did when we homeschooled also or had the kids use the computer and just save what they were doing to a thumb drive) Dad told me to quit wasting food when I threw watermelon rind away instead of pickling the white part of the rind. I haven’t bought a watermelon since LOL.I reread “More-with-Less Cookbook” and “Extending the Table”. I save any fat off any meat to use for cooking and save my oil. I buy oil around Thanksgiving (we deep fry the turkeys for more than one family) I get what is for the turkey fryers (not peanut oil due to allergies of my brother and his family). The used oil is give to a friend that uses it to heat his workshop, he gives us eggs or barters work we need done. I use the power saver mode on my laptop display instead of balance that uses more energy. I also do this on my cell phone as it saves battery then I don’t have to charge it as often. I unplug cell phone chargers as they are vampires and still consume power when not charging your phone so are computers. I have coffee makers on powerstrips. I started checking the caulking around the doors and windows .I wash full loads only, even though my washer is HE, every time you run a load it uses the same amt of electric no matter what the load unless you use quick wash. My electrician also told me that HE is only water efficient you need to have energy star on it also.I use one fan pointing out the window and one across the house/room pointing in to move the air through. Putting a pan of ice cubes in from of the fan will make the air feel cooler also. Grew up with cooking the meals in the mornings during the summers and ate cold meals for our evening meals. Cooked breakfast in winter so we have some heat in the kitchen. The rest of the week of frugalness and preparing for surgery and staying frugal is here.http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2017/07/frugal-preparing-for-surgery.html

  3. Oooh, your grapes look delicious! And how nice that you were able to find more affordable auto insurance; that’s a significant savings!

    Last week was a busy appointment week for us (orthodontist for son, dentist and MRI for me), so I didn’t get anything written down. Still, we plugged away with the normal things like keeping the AC at 80F (although we’re still about 11% higher in usage than the same time last year–it’s hotter this year), saving warm-up and rinse water, baking bread, etc. Hubs has also continued to have fun making things in the Dutch oven. This week it was a frittata (with eggs from our hens and herbs and yellow squash from the garden) and an apple crisp (with apples from our tree and some that were canned last summer). I also took advantage of some good sales for groceries, so I may actually come in a bit under budget this month.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  4. The garden is coming along very well. We harvested cherry tomatoes, kale, the last of the lettuce, cilantro, basil, stevia, mint, and green beans.

    I shared some cilantro with a friend and some mint and stevia with our daughter. Our granddaughters (they are 6 and 8 years old) loved eating the stevia leaves right from the plants. They are so sweet. One of them said, “Wow, Nana, you sure grow lots of stuff!” Next year we plan on growing even more. My husband will be working part time starting in November and collecting social security, so he will have more time and energy to do more things around the house that will help us to save money. He already is making plans for all the things he wants to accomplish that he hasn’t had the time for, such as house repairs and refinishing some furniture.

    We stocked up on pasta that was on sale for 50 cents per pound and tuna that was 50 cents per can. We also bought cabbage for 19 cents per pound, zucchini for 37 cents per pound, and cucumbers for 25 cents each.

    We did all of the usual things that save us money: washing baggies to reuse, turning off lights when leaving a room, and making do with what we have.

  5. Good job on collecting all that water! I have a question my husband and I debate on. He hates when I can indoors because it heats up the house but I hate canning outside in our garage where I have an extra stove because I have no water source. I try to wait for cooler days to can…I am in MN so it does happen but sometimes you need to can today! How do you feel about heating up the house when canning? I sometimes put my water bath canner outside but lugging hot jars is heavy and a little dangerous.

    I harvested 5 gallons of picklebush cucumbers with 5 thousand more coming on. Lol I harvested my first 2 early girl tomatoes. Snow peas and regular peas, a gallon of banana peppers, raspberries, zucchini, and 100lbs. Of red potatoes. My first planting of sweet corn will be next week. I planted a total of 500 seeds so even if the raccoons get in we should still get some.

    I sold $21 worth of items on Facebook and $60 on ebay. This will be my peach budget. This week Colorado peaches are on sale for .99 lb. That is a good deal here.

    I used all food and didn’t waste anything. I made pork broth from a roast bone and I made an Asian Cole slaw that was horrid! Since I didn’t want to throw the large amount of slaw away I made soup with the slaw and pork broth. I added some spicy sausage that had been in my freezer too long. It was good.

    I am down 20lbs. By just eating less and walking 6 miles a day. I have seen a decrease in my food budget since my husband and I cut our portions.

    I cashed out $25 on ibotta to my PayPal account.

    Have a great week everyone.

  6. I was away three days on a business trip. Before I left, I froze several food items so they wouldn’t go bad while I was away.

    I flew in & out of an airport in the next state. Since CT has some of the highest food prices in the US per MissouriEconomy.org cost-of-living index, I stopped at an Aldi and another grocery store in RI on my way home.

    On Friday I was really tired and so badly wanted to buy lunch, but I pulled the frozen leftovers out and had them instead. I have to tell myself, “eye on the prize.”

    Made swagbuck’s goal 3x. Hung laundry out to dry. Made food from scratch over this weekend to eat all this coming week. Uploaded medical receipts for reimbursement.

    I’m really keeping an eye on my July budget versus expenditures. I was just going to make it, but in Saturday’s mail the every two year auto inspection and registration notice arrived. This means $90 to the state and $20 to the testing center on top of the $132.71 in car taxes I paid at the beginning of the month. I’m mad at myself for forgetting to budget for this biannual expenditure and also frustrated at how expensive all of this is….and my car is 11.5 years old. I am thankful that I have the money and a reliable working vehicle.

  7. Just your pictures alone are such an inspiration.

    Zucchini is abundant in my garden. I have been sautéing, baking muffins, soups and tried a simple “soufflé” to enjoy. Just when I think there are no more ways to keep zucchini interesting, a few simple recipes find their way to me.

    The house I sit for has stopped paying me cash and instead are paying with Entertainment gift cards and food. Some days I miss the cash for practicality sake. I am however very thankful for the food and entertainment payments for these are things I would not have money to spend on (even if I was given the cash).

    Since the beginning of the year I started doing the penny challenge (pennies added to match the day of the year to a jar). This week, being short to pay upcoming bills, I took half the challenge money to cover the bills. I am grateful for such a small savings plan, I will not worry about bills (well at least until next month maybe).

  8. Juls,

    I have read the More With Less cookbook. I had heard it was supposed to be filled with very inexpensive meals, but I found that it was very expensive (to me) and most of the main courses seemed to call for meat, and not the cheapest cuts (like ground beef and sausage rather than chicken or pork, which are much less per pound). Does it read that way to you? It’s been a while since I got it from the library.

    I have heard about that ice cube trick! I think it’s wonderful.

  9. Jenifer,

    I am addicted to zucchini hashbrowns, like breakfast, lunch and dinner. My zucchini plants can’t keep up with my demand!

    Grate zucchini and salt. Let stand 20 minutes.
    Place in a flour sack towel and squeeze out juice.
    Add breadcrumbs and an egg or 2 depending on how much zucchini. Add some cheese or a dash of hot sauce or herbs of your choice.
    Just needs to come together in a patty. Add more breadcrumbs of to sticky. Bake in a 375 oven until crisp about 20 minutes. I flip once during baking. I have even frozen them unbaked or in my fridge for a week. I like to dip them in hotsauce.

    Sorry for not having an exact recipe but I just wing it.

  10. Heidi, it definitely heats up the house, BUT it’s 108º outside and there is no way I can stand outside and can in that! I keep the a/c at 79º and if I am doing a lot of canning it will heat up to 84º in the kitchen at night. If I keep the doors closed to the other rooms that helps keep those other rooms cold, and when I can turn off burners for a bit then I do.

    My husband feels the same way about canning but he’s not the one doing it and I know he doesn’t want to work in the garage when it’s that hot out 😀 so I can in the house. Also, I need the sink while I’m working as I’m washing fruit as I go, or if I’m canning peaches then I’m constantly using the sink. So to me, I HAVE to can in the house.

  11. Sounds like a great week, and I LOVE that concord grape photo! So beautiful!

    My week was fun! Here’s what I did:
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 and a $5 gift card to Amazon
    – I love fancy frozen coffee drinks (but not fancy prices), so I developed my own Banoffee Frappe! (http://approachingfood.com/banoffee-frappe/) It’s a banana toffee frappe, and is super-frugal, especially as it can be made with leftover coffee. I used a coffee concentrate that I had made from coffee sachets from a hotel stay, plus bananas on sale, and made my own caramel syrup. Also, it keeps me cool as I sip it while walking to work.
    – Bought a 10 kg bag of flour for $8.77. I’m set for a few months now. Perfect timing for the sale, as I ran out of flour two days ago.
    – I bought two cartons of cream for $5 (a good sale for hereabouts)
    – Traded a sample toothpaste (received from my dentist at my yearly checkup, but I need a different type) for bandaids, via a trading app. I rarely use bandaids, but needed to replenish my supplies, so this worked out perfectly. Traded a box of mini perfumes (I never use them) that I received between 5 and 10 years ago, for a transit token (totally will use). Traded a soap that had been given to me, and a cactus that I grew from a leaf, for two boxes of OTC medication that I use a lot of. Traded tea gifted to me for two bottles of pepsi, a can of cider, a carton of dip from Costco, and a box of individually wrapped biscotti (I had a lot of tea!). I had been going to put pepsi on my shopping list, so it works out perfectly! Traded two bottles of wine gifted to me (from those homebrew places) for two transit tokens. Traded a bathset gifted to me (that I can’t use – my skin is too sensitive) for a box of tampons. I’m really liking this trading thing – I’m slowly decluttering, keeping items out of landfill, and getting useful items (that will be used up and not take up space) in return.
    – Made a batch of lemonade using up sugar & sugar substitute packets that I had
    – Made a cherry & blueberry clafoutis (Brandy’s recipe, natch!) with cherries, flour, and cream bought on sale, and blueberries I froze many months ago when they went on sale. I only used half cream and half 1% milk (to stretch the cream), and it turned out perfectly. I pitted the cherries using a paper clip (thanks to whomever mentioned it here last week or so!) because the cherry pitter I ordered (using money from online surveys), hasn’t arrived yet. I was able to give some clafoutis to my mother and father when they visited.
    – I lent my dad my old laptop as his is in the shop being repaired, and he needed one to communicate with family overseas regarding my uncle’s health. Being able to communicate quickly with family will significantly decrease his anxiety level (telephoning isn’t always practical due to the time difference). My husband did some techie stuff to the laptop to make it run faster, and when he realized that the letters on the keys had worn off (I’m a touch typist, so I hadn’t noticed), he made letters out of sticky labels and relabeled them for my dad. The laptop will die unless it’s constantly plugged in (which I why I had gotten a new one), but as my dad uses his as a desktop computer, it will be perfect for his needs.
    – Cut and froze green onion that I regrew
    – Baked several loaves of bread and froze most of it.
    – Cat-sat for cash and was gifted two coupons for free root beers from A&W as well
    – I was running errands downtown today, and came across a giant cartoon character handing out free full-size bags of crispy minis (a chip like product). I ate it for lunch and enjoyed it. Then I came across a promotion where a café was giving away Haagen-Daas ice cream. Needless to say, I enjoyed running my errands!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  12. Hi Brandy!
    Sorry to hear you’ve been experiencing additional financial burdens but you seem to have found some great ways to save!
    This week I continued to work towards slashing the grocery budget. I made the trip to Aldi’s, which did net me some significant savings even though it was a bit of a drive to get there. I tried to find a WalMart near me but the closest one is about a half hour away.
    I was awarded a grant to help cover some of my university costs. This is a big help because I’m paying for school out of pocket.
    Turned the a/c up a degree this week.
    Brought my breakfast and lunch to work everyday
    Worked a double shift on Friday to increase our income
    Not necessarily frugal (because baking can be expensive and use a lot of resources) but I’m attempting to learn how to make my own croissants. I love to bake and I think that learning a new skill is never wasted.
    Made a marinade and dressing by combining the last dregs out of an assortment of mostly empty condiment bottles. I worked great and I’m a little bummed that I’ll likely never be able to recreate that exact blend again.
    Cleaned around and behind the washer and dryer. There’s always a heavy buildup of dust and lint fluff in the laundry closet and it felt good to get it all wiped away.

  13. I’m sorry you had that emergency trip to the hospital — I hope all are well now.
    Your blog is a constant source of inspiration for me as I strive to save money.
    While I was in town this week, I swung by Target to take advantage of some deals. By combining coupons, sales, and Cartwheel offers, I was able to get M&Ms for 20 cents a bag, Dove dark chocolate for 60 cents a bag, and nasal saline for 20 cents. They also had a bunch of big pump bottles of Pantene shampoo on sale for $3.89, so I grabbed one of those. I will use the candy for both snacking and baking, and my husband uses the saline every day (he doesn’t care that this was designed for babies – it’s the same saline in a different package.)
    I turned a leftover hot dog bun into croutons for a salad.
    Harvested lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, green onions, and Swiss chard from the garden.
    Used rainwater to water my hanging baskets and potted plants. We are into our summer monsoons – rain every afternoon – so I was able to turn off the irrigation to everywhere but the greenhouse. Our water is expensive, so this really helps.
    I made a reusable duster to replace the Swiffer disposable dusters we have been using. We started using these when we bought a 50-pack at a garage sale for $1 and really like them, but the refills are expensive. Here are the directions: http://www.sewmuchado.com/2010/03/tutorial-reusable-swiffer-duster-cloths.html These can be washed and reused and I’m so pleased with the results.
    We’re eating out of the pantry, freezer, and garden.

  14. I don’t know how you get so much food from your garden in your heat! We are experiencing a heat wave here right now (everyday has been between 98-105 for the last week) and our crops are really hurting. We also haven’t had rain in weeks, which is highly unusual. I’ve been catching shower water to help with the watering. I’ve also been using the water out of my canner. But when your garden is 3,000 square feet – plus 12 fruit trees, 3 raised beds, 12 bushes, an asparagus patch, and a rhubarb patch – it takes a lot of water!

    Our anniversary was this week, so we celebrated by going back to our Alma Mater (where we met) and visiting campus. Then we ate at one of our favorite restaurants from college. It was our first date all month. We specifically saved out entertainment budget to eat at this nice, but somewhat expensive restaurant. We took leftovers home with us and ate them for lunch the next day.

    The heat is making my lettuce bolt, so I harvested what I could. I also harvested tomatoes (enough for a batch of spaghetti sauce!), 6 zucchinis, a Walmart bag of cucumbers, some basil, four peppers, and three pumpkins. I was able to shred 12 cups of zucchini for the freezer and still leave us one to eat. I picked 6.5 pounds of wild blackberries. For every one I picked, I left probably 20 red ones on the vine! I plan on going back next week for more. I made some into a cobbler this week and froze the rest to use later. I canned 5 more pints of green beans and 3 more quarts of pickles.

    Since we downsized houses when we moved last fall, I am having a yard sale to get rid of the stuff I don’t have room for or need anymore. I have about 40 boxes of stuff plus some furniture. I am embarrassed to see how much money I wasted on this stuff.

    My husband finished his job by deadline but he worked a lot of extra hours – which means extra income! I’m glad he’s able to slow down a bit now though.

    We went to an Amish bulk foods store with my parents this weekend. I was able to get mustard seeds, dill seeds, and pickling spice to make my pickles for much less than the grocery store. I also picked up powdered milk, pizza crust mix, buttermilk biscuit mix, and pie crust mix for great prices. And a 3 pound brick of cream cheese for $4. I will use some to make cheesecake and freeze the rest. What a great treat! I managed to stay under my already tight budget. Anything else we purchase this month will have to be at Aldi using our gift card. But our pantry and freezer are SOOOOO full.

    I also found out that I will be getting some whole chickens for free. My dad’s friend raises and butchers chickens. He had some that weren’t spoken for on his last round (which he will butcher tomorrow). So dad said he would take them and give half to my sister and half to me. I don’t know for sure how many it will be, but it’s a blessing no matter what!

  15. Thank you again for your blog! I look forward to your posts every few days, and was glad to see an extra one last week ;). You write with a positive and uplifting tone and it makes all the difference in the world.

    Frugal activities:
    -baked bread. Based on this blog, I got up the courage at age 58 to bake my own bread ;). This past week I finally moved from the bread machine to using the bread machine to do the hard work then moved the dough into a pan for the final rise and baking. And it turned out great! So for anyone reading brandy’s blog that hasn’t yet made their own bread, it is possible! And frugal!
    -ate home cooked meals. One day i made home made chicken noodle soup ;). My husband and I remarked how amazing it is that we can get three meals from one baked chicken. He cooked the whole chicken in our BBQ to avoid heating up our house. We then had two meals from it plus I made a big batch of soup. We used to bake a chicken, take off the two breasts, and toss the rest in the garbage. Gees, what a huge waste that seems like now. Apparently, we are destined to learn all this new good stuff in our 50’s and 60’s 😉
    -used appliances during lower cost electricity rate time periods
    -continue to eat from the freezer and pantry. Goal is to defrost the freezer next month to get ready for fall sales.
    -I started freezing half gallons of milk and we have found that when we thaw them out, they last longer in the fridge than normal not-frozen milk. Not sure if anyone else has noticed that.
    -one of Brandy’s ideas on cutting expenses is to limit grocery shopping trips. For me, I could go to the store every day. I still go to the store a few times a week, but I go with a list and a price, I don’t wander around anymore. When I was in the check out line last week, I was astonished at what the lady in front of me bought…and how much she spent. Then I look back at my records of how much we used to spend at the grocery store each month and realize that was me five years ago. 😉

  16. In the last three weeks, the only things we have purchased was a gallon of milk a week and one kind of whatever fruit was on sale that week. (Yippee for cherries on sale!). Everything else we have eaten has come from the garden or the freezer.

    Made 52 servings of pesto from the garden, using half basil and half chickweed instead of all basil—people I have served it to cannot tell the difference. That is enough to have pesto once a week for the next year, until next summer’s crop. Using weeds is free and it stretches the garden’s basil.

    Traded several loaves of homemade bread for three dozen eggs a neighbor’s chickens had produced in one week.

    A friend came over and did a fish fry with halibut she had caught. We contributed zucchini that she breaded and deep fried, a cucumber salad and dessert—a honeyberry cobbler made with honeyberries I had picked and frozen earlier in the season.

    A friend moving out of the country for work had 22 points on her Safeway account. She gave us her number and told us to use the points up—that means we can get up to 25 gallons of gas twice, with a dollar off each gallon. That will make it $1.89 for a gallon. What we don’t use in the tank (you can’t spread the 25 gallons over two fill-ups), we use up by filling five gallon gas containers. Later we pour the containers of gas into our vehicle, thus making full use of the 25 gallon limit.

    Found a really marred table at the dump recycle site. Refinished it and are now using it, instead of having purchased a new table. It was made of oak, so is lovely and sturdy.

    Converted two too-short dresses into tops.

    Other than that, it was the usual stuff of reusing and repurposing things.

  17. Great week for us! Harvested 19 cucumbers from our garden- canned 16 into 13 pints of sweet pickle relish using all ingredients I already had at home! A friend let us pick out her small peach tree after she had taken all the peaches she wanted. We came home with two buckets full and I canned 32 pints of peach slices! I had all ingredients and supplies here at home already!!
    With the two medium zucchini I got from our garden and some carrots I was given, I made 2 large zucchini carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting! We took one to a church BBQ and the other is individually packaged now for lunch desserts! Again- all ingredients were already in the house!
    I harvested a huge cabbage from my garden too and made Runzas for dinner (and leftovers packaged for lunches). I had extra crescent roll dough in the fridge so I used that up for this recipe just to help clear fridge!
    With the 45 pints that I used for canning this week, I am so grateful for my jars that I can rotate by using the in our meals and then reuse! The new jar lids I bought on a clearance sale for 25 cents/box of a dozen lids! I bought over 200 boxes at the time so I won’t run short for a while! I gave some to a friend whose husband is out of work since she also cans but was running out of lids!
    Our side business making wood furniture/home decor is doing well- orders coming in and going out continually! This week it has brought in over $500- a kitchen storage shelf unit for an apartment, a “Murphy” computer desk, 2 planter boxes and a tv stand with storage underneath!
    Got $6 in pinecone surveys, $10 rewards from credit card and $2 OYNO for grocery store! Sold some decluttering/downsizing things and made $75. This 365 day decluttering challenge has been great for us and several friends/family members have been gifted things that we just didn’t need!
    We paid off my hubby’s pacemaker copayment ($6000) in just 2 years!! Down to the last $2000 of copay for my surgery and then no medical bill balances!!!
    All in all, a very good week!!

  18. A friend gave us a large bag of peaches from her tree.
    We harvested quite a few cucumbers, and 1 zucchini from the garden. I will can pickles and relish this week.
    We had several days of rain so I didn’t need to water the garden.
    Our fish tank & turtle tank needed to have a water change, so I used the drained water on the garden.
    I made taper candles with leftover wax from other projects.
    We bought ice cream on sale and ice cream cones so we have treats for the kids and they won’t ask for anything from the “music truck”.
    My daughter and I made sewing cards for my youngest to practice with. We also made several other homeschool materials instead of purchasing them.
    I signed up for an educator card at Barnes & Noble to save 20% on our books.
    We prepared 3 boxes of items for a local consignment sale.
    I purchased school supplies during a penny sale at our local office supply store.
    We saved up to go out to dinner this month, and decided to go tonight because kids eat free.

  19. I’m afraid it’s a Toronto-centric one, called Bunz. I suspect it will spread out, but right now it’s only in Toronto and surrounding cities (as far as I know, anyway!) Maybe there is something similar in other cities?

  20. I’m new to your blog, Brandy, but I’ve been reading through your posts over the past couple of weeks and really learning a lot from them. Forgoing consumerism and living more simply have always been important ideals of mine, but in recent years, our family income has been healthy, so I haven’t HAD to be as frugal. I’ve noticed that our house has filled up with more stuff we don’t need (causing me anxiety), and I spend far too much time de-cluttering and finding space for new items. So in the past month or two, I’ve been trying to refocus. Reading your blog and a few others and everyone’s comments has been great motivation. This past week, I:
    Fixed our upright freezer myself (instead of calling a repair person), with a little help from Google. It took two attempts and a lot of frustration, but it was worth the savings.
    Helped my sister pack up her house in preparation for a move. She offered me several items for free, which I gratefully accepted: a very comfortable, but stained, sofa her kids used in their basement. It’s microfiber and the pillow covers are removable, so I’m hoping I can wash them easily and have it looking like new with some elbow grease. This will replace a 1960’s couch we’ve used in our own basement for the past 15 years. She also gave me some outdoor Christmas lights (which I’d been wanting anyway), a fleece jacket for my son, and several heavy duty reusable bags I can use for grocery store and Costco trips.
    We recently renovated our 40-year-old bathroom, which now has some wonderful built-in open shelving. I had been planning to buy some black wire baskets to use on the shelves, but realized I had two baskets on hand that would fit. They weren’t black wire, but still looked good. I needed two more, but they were no longer sold in the store I originally bought them at. I remembered my sister had some in her house, so I asked if she had any she wasn’t using. Sure enough, she did and gave me the two I needed. I probably saved at least $50.
    Combined sales and coupons on the body wash my kids and I both use to get a good deal.
    Used any leftover water (from boiling eggs, etc.) to water my plants.

  21. I baked whole wheat bread, banana bread, cornbread. I made bran muffins, waffles, and crepes. Still trying to wean my kids off of cereal. I cooked several dinners with beans.

    I made pesto with kale from my garden. It was ok. Need to harvest some basil and make some real pesto. Picked a strawberry, I’m surprised they’re producing again already. Lots more will be ready to pick soon. I should be picking my first zucchini any day now.

    I gave my husband and kids haircuts. My husband changed the oil on his car. He called the internet company after our bill went up and got a new promotional yearly rate.

  22. I renewed my house insurance after discussing it with my broker. She gave me a 15% loyalty discount.
    Since the store is right next to the broker’s office, I did my month’s meat shopping a week early thus saving 2 one-way taxi fares. I put 31 packages of meat (individual portions) in the freezer for the month of August. I will make soup out of the chicken carcasses and put in the frozen okra I bought for $1.79 a package (made in India!). I bought blueberries (a small case) since I think the price was as low as any I’d get at the farmers’ market. I will put them in mason jars in the freezer. I picked some of the sour cherries on my tree and am letting them ripen until tomorrow. I gave a friend a sour cherry tree some years ago and she phoned to say it was loaded with cherries and she’ll give me a bucket. I will pit them and freeze them and either make jam or put them in milkshakes or possibly make pies.

    When my friend gets back from her holidays she’ll take me to the farmers’ market. There I will buy a case of fresh pesticide-free peaches and a case of apricots for the freezer. Since it is just the freezer above my fridge, that will be it for the winter supply of frozen fruit. I will have plums on my tree too but they look like that won’t be ripe for awhile. In the meantime, I’ve been entertained by a hummingbird and also a million bees at the beebalm plant. I had to cut some of the beebalm flowers so a rose nearby could get some light. I made a bouquet and put it in a ridged green glass vase I found in the basement. My tomato plants have about 60 tomatoes in various stages, the first of which are just ripening.

    I should have tomatoes every day for a month. Tomatoes can be put in the freezer and then put into pasta as it cooks. Once the water is drained, then mush the tomato with a fork.

    While at the insurance company, I asked if they would use their photocopier to copy a couple of applications for me for subsidized tickets and transportation and they said yes. I was able to drop them in the mailbox on the way home.

    The store where I mailed them had toilet paper on sale for $2.99 for 8 rolls. The heat wave has broken and it is nice and cool and it looks like rain. I hope to be able to stop watering plants as much. I will be using the warming up water from the shower, like so many fellow readers do. There’s actually now a gadget of some sort that prevents the waste of water for warming up.

  23. Brandy, you are such an inspiration! Things here in Estonia (small country in Northern europe) are maybe more expensive and it is harder to find great sales, but I still try to achieve at least something, following your examples.

    Last week we decided several times against spending money on something.
    I gave up hoping for homemade strawberry jam this year, because most of my strawberry plants died last winter and the price for strawberries on the market is exceptionally high. The decision not to buy fruit to preserve, but to stuck with what we have/what is given to us is a frugal thing, I think.
    Also, I stayed away from my favorite bookshop – to avoid temptation.
    Another thing I gave up is painting my toenails. I ran out of nail polish and decided against buying a new bottle. It is the almost coldest summer in living memory anyway and there is not much chance to wear sandals or open-toed shoes.
    Our water heater for the bathroom broke. We decided not to buy a new one at the moment. It would be 150-250€ that we don’t have anyway. Instead we bought a big bucket and taught kids how to heat water with the kettle in the kitchen and how to wash, using a mug instead of shower. The washing itself still happens in the bathroom, the person who is taking a “bath” just needs to carry the warm water into the shower stall.

    Now the long story. We are getting a new roof this year. It is paid by a government-funded organisation that helps improving housing situations in poorer families with many children. The same time last year my husband applied for a new roof and apparently having 3 children in considered a large family. We got the “yes” just for Christmas, but the money is only enough for the roof, not windows or raingutters. So my husband found 5 windows for a really great price, I think it was 40% less than the regular price and this is where our summer budget went (living on God’s grace right now, well fed and thankful). Last week we had 8 friends from our church over, helping us to tear down the old roof (because for this there was not enough money). I was able to feed the whole crew for very little, using ingredients that were on sale. I made shepherd’s pie and cheesecake the first day and sausages + salad and a sour cream-strawberry-rhubarb cake the second day, using for the cake the fruits from the garden. You can see the old leaky roof in this blog post: http://meeleheitetakoduperenaine.blogspot.com.ee/2017/07/12-pilti-12-kuupaeval.html and the works on the roof in this post: http://meeleheitetakoduperenaine.blogspot.com.ee/2017/07/rindeteated.html
    My blog only speaks Estonian, but the pictures are hopefully speaking for themselves. The old roof was actually double, there was 100 years old wooden roof underneath and the maybe 40 years old cement board on top of it, both broken and so it has been raining a lot indoors, too! Since we heat the house with wood, we are going to save most of the wooden roof parts for firewood. At this very moment all the kids are collecting wood bits around the house and carrying them to the shed. The builders should be here any minute to start putting up the new, not-leaky roof.

    Next week I hope for several vegetables and berries from the garden. The weather forecast finally says sun, so there could be some ripening.

  24. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    What a blessing for you Brandy to pick so much lovely produce from your gardens and the reduction in the cost of your car insurance for the year is a wonderful saving.

    Here is how we saved money last week –

    Financial –

    – Saved more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us up to 20.24% of the way there.

    Groceries and stockpile –

    – Purchased 8 face washers, 2 bath sponges, 30 hair bands, 2 hair brushes, 4 9V batteries, a pizza cutter and 4 bedroom pillows saving $44.87 over purchasing them in the local supermarket.

    In the kitchen –

    – Cooked all bread and meals from scratch.
    – Blanched and froze 33 meals of sweet potato from sweet potato and picked from the gardens.

    In the garden –

    – Harvested 700g of turnips, 29kg of sweet potato and 300g of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $294.90 over purchasing the same in our local supermarket. Yes organic sweet potato is running out at $9.90 kg here 😮 .

    Electricity savings –

    – Used our solar lanterns all week instead of turning on mains powered lights, boiled water on our slow combustion fireplace instead of using the mains powered kettle, washed up dishes twice with water heated on the fireplace saving a total of $11.80 in electricity for the week.

    Have a wonderful week one and all 🙂 .

  25. I bought “More for Less” cook book years ago. It’s an interesting read, but I have never used many of the recipes. I like it’s companion “Living More With Less” (both by Doris Janzen Longacre) much better. It is very helpful even these many years since it was written. I think these books are still in print and often found in Mennonite/Amish stores as well as other places. And through the library, of course.

  26. That’s wonderful you were able to collect so much water. We are beginning to lose some trees and plants from drought. It hasn’t been too long ago that we got rain, three weeks or so, but it has been quite hot and breezy, and things are getting crispy. There’s no way to water everything, though we try to keep the gardens watered, and many other things as we can. We were checking out our figs yesterday, but it will be a while yet before they’re ripe, hopefully September. The concord grapes are starting to color up, so I hope to be harvesting those in August. I hope things ease up with your finances, and all your family members are healthy. I’m happy to be joining in here: https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/07/free-roosters-thrifted-treasures-frugal.html

  27. We accepted some zucchini and squash from a friend’s garden.

    I bought 45 pounds of chicken at $.42 a pound. This will last us a few months.

    I baked all our casseroles/dinners on our grill or used the Instantpot so I didn’t have to heat up the house.

  28. Re: raccoons in the corn, I have a friend who uses garden lime to dust the ears when they are in tassel. He said he learned it from an Amish man and it will keep away the deer and anything else that will try to nibble away at the ears, as the lime dust is not pleasant for them.

  29. I have been known to rinse out my air conditioner filter, very carefully, and then dry them completely, before putting them back in the air conditioner….lol. I love to swim and have not been able to all summer. I went to the local National Park and for $3.00 I swam in the lake there. It was beautiful. It was on my drive home from visiting my sons, so no extra gas. I made corn salad from food I had on hand, and also black eye pea caviar. I brought the corn salad to work for lunch today. When I do not have an ingredient, I substitute. I also cooked up the chicken (that I had purchased a while back for .39 cents a lb) I had in the little freezer compartment above my fridge. I made lemon water, which I like so much more than plain water. I did not have any lemons so I used lemon concentrate. It is not as good, but it will do for this week. I walked on a dirt road at a relative’s house for exercise. I cooked up a bunch of figs from my mother’s tree. I also cooked up my potatoes, so I have plenty of food in the fridge. I am trying not to go to the grocery store for food for me until August 1st. I think I will make it. I have been turning off the air conditioner as much as possible, even though we have had a heat index of 108. I trimmed the bushes in front of my house with my old manual set of hedge clippers.

  30. This week some bad things happened and some good things happened. We got hit by an unexpected bill that needs to be paid by the end of the month and we hurt our truck. And a bear made a snack out of my berry crop. Fortunately, if we scrimp we can cover the bill and insurance will help fix the truck. We were lucky enough to find another source of Saskatoon berries on our property and we found a patch of huckleberries while we were out collecting fire wood. We will have jam yet this year!

    I helped a friend clear out some of her property after a failed relationship and she let me take home a couple of jam jars, some expensive tea, a marine battery for our trailer, and a cast iron enamel pot for helping her out. Another friend let me collect immature walnuts from a tree in her yard. I am using them to make a walnut liqueur for Christmas gift giving.

    I am feeling very envious when I read about everyone’s garden harvests. Our garden has just started producing but I think it is really suffering from the heat. Fortunately, we are not facing forest fires again like so many in our province. I continue to hope for rain.

    Have a great week everyone!
    https://hiproofbarn.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/frugal-endeavors-66/#more-2777

  31. I’m sorry to here about your tight financial situation. Late summer early fall are expensive times for us, our yearly propane bill, our yearly car insurance bill and one kiddos preschool tuition are all due within 4 weeks of each other. So this week I’ll be working on getting a real handle on our spending and figuring out a plan to tackle everything so that we can get to the end of the year still with less debt than we started with. My frugal 5 for last week are here: https://frugalfive.com/2017/07/24/frugal-5-friday-72117/

  32. Hello Brandy!

    I love your garden photos, they inspire me to improve mine.

    We had two birthdays this week (my older twins). We just had a family party and everything was cooked at home. The relatives each brought a dish and my husband and I provided corn on the cob, steak tacos and toppings bar and appetizers. We made a sheet cake and decorated it at home. Our biggest expense was the piñata (which I didn’t make). We had filled it with candy we had purchased after Halloween (severely discounted) and froze. For our stick, we used an old mop handle. It was a huge hit!

    I was able to salvage a rose bush in my yard using just a drop of Dawn dish soap, a drop of Fabuloso and water. Something was eating it to the point that it was almost skeletonized but I was not able to figure it out as there were no visible insects. However, two applications of the soap mixture mixed with water and sprayed on solved the problem. Now it looks amazing.

    My son is adjusting to life with his full arm cast http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/07/the-broken-arm/. He, his brother and my husband are away with the boy scouts this week so the house is quieter (and cleaner, too)! I enjoying the quiet by reading a few library books.

  33. I’m not very thrifty at all compared to most all of your readers but I’m trying to be better than before. I’ve finally figured out that my spending doesn’t make me happy but adds to my depression. Your blog has been such an inspiration. Thank you for continuing with it.

    In the past week I’ve tried staying put. Not going out equals no spending for me. My exception was to take my mom to the Amish market where I bought some corn and tomatoes. That saved stopping at a grocery store. We stopped at an vintage/antique shop where I bought a new to me kitchen table just big enough for two. I had been searching for one for over a year. My daughter took my old one months ago to her apartment.

    We have been eating down our freezer and pantry for a while now. We cleaned and organized both this past week to see what we have. Both look much neater and we are seeing a big dent in our supply.

    I’ve done laundry with my homemade detergent and hung every load out on the line. I love the no smell clean of the sun and country air.

    I’ve been decluttering a bit each day. I have a dentist appointment later this week and my goal is to drop off two boxes to AmVets.

    Hopefully more next week.

  34. Hi all! We had a big electric bill since we had to pay for 2 homes for 10 days in 115 degree weather! So, we cut back on several things. Plus we have several other big bills coming.
    This is how we saved last week
    – washing only full loads
    – watching free movies (since we moved to a new home Directv offered free movies for 3 months and free NFL package for the yr – we are so excited about that since we are big football fans!
    – cooking from scratch
    – staying home a lot
    – shopping without my husband – he adds everything he likes!!
    – walked the dogs for free exercise
    Probably the biggest save is that not using a big part of our 2 week allowance so I haven’t had to withdraw any money for 3 weeks.

    Have a good week all!

  35. How nice to have a reader from Estonia. It truly is a small world. Your story of burning your roof for firewood reminded me of our situation 25 years ago. We bought an old house with a wood burning fireplace. We could have bought a huge tank of propane for heat but it was very expensive and we were a little afraid of it. My mother-in-law was tearing down an old house and building a new one. Every time we visited her we took home a truck load of scrap wood to burn. We lived in that house for 12 years and never paid one penny for wood, we always scrounged it. We were in Southern California so heat wasn’t critical, nor was it all year long, but still, I’m proud of us.

  36. You have such good ideas! I need to check into different auto insurance to see if we can get lower rates – $400 less per year is quite the savings! I need to go out and harvest from my garden this week – the Swiss Chard, kale, and collards are going crazy right now! I did use some basil and harvested 3 yellow squash this past week.

    We are in the midst of building a 9 foot long triple pedestal farmhouse table and matching bench. The overall cost will be just over $100. I also built a little crate-style clipboard holder to hang on the wall out of scrap wood instead of buying a hanging basket from the store.

  37. I have been busy canning apricots and making apricot sauce for the freezer. I’ve also baked two pies. The tomatoes are finally producing well as are the zucchini. I’m getting a few green beans every day, but I still have to save up to have enough for a meal. We are enjoying arugula for salads and also have used it with fresh basil for pesto.

    I didn’t grocery shop last week so we ate out of the garden, freezer, and pantry.

    I make all of our salad dressings. They only cost pennies compared to bottled dressings and the possibilities are endless.

    The water from canning has been used to water container plants.

    The second planting of peas is now coming up so we will have a fall crop.

    We were gifted two tickets to an event with dinner included. A nice evening out with a meal and entertainment.

    I boned out a chicken, cooked the meat for two meals, then boiled the carcass with vegetable scraps from the freezer for broth.

  38. I am home alone for most of today and have already sanded 2 benches that I trash picked a few years ago. There were 4 of them but we decided we only needed 2 so the other 2 will go on craigs list. They were from someone’s backyard ice hockey rink, are homemade and are signed and dated 1961!

    I’ve also made granola from Brandy’s recipe, took some potato buns we did not like from the freezer and cut them for croutons, juiced 6 limes that were getting a bit old that I will freeze for future use.

    Yesterday I made a pair of pajama pants from some fabric in my stash. I need to buy some elastic to finish them up.

    When my husband gets home from a Habitat for Humanity build today, I’ll head to our local fancier grocery store where they have corn on the cob for .10 each and 1/2 off all ice cream. We have company coming for 9 days (our son, daughter-in-law and perfect grandbaby) as well as 2 upcoming parties here so I will stock pile the ice cream for easy – and cooling! – summer desserts. Last week I found boneless pork roasts for .99/lb so I bought 4 – again anticipating feeding larger groups.

  39. Thanks!!!! I accidentally bought a bag of garden lime and didn’t know what to do with it. I trust the Amish gardening secrets! Thank you.

  40. Loved the pictures on your blog! I am so glad you are getting a new roof. My mother always said that a good roof was essential to keeping a house in good repair.

  41. Reet, your post warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing and reminding all of us that our joy comes from the Lord and not from things. What wonderful friends you are blessed with and sweet children that just get on board and help out with happy hearts.
    Sheila

  42. Always love reading these posts and the ideas of everyone else!

    * I picked at least 10 gallons of little peaches from a tree we did not expect to produce. Yay! Small but delicious!
    * I made three batches of low sugar peach preserves.
    * I plan to can a few jars of peaches from the remainder and make a peach cobbler (special request from my daughter).
    * I donated to a fundraiser benefit auction six months of free homemade bread (one loaf of homemade bread (their choice) each month and a loaf each month to the person for whom the benefit was held) which sold for $100. So, I baked two loaves of bread for the recipient and delivered it yesterday while we were already out visiting my daughter. Our friend sadly passed away so I’m giving her loaf to the buyer of the subscription for her to gift to someone she chooses.
    * I tried a new recipe for crockpot granola which used lots less dishes, was easier, and did not heat up my kitchen. It is great!
    * I packed a jar salad for lunch today, with dressing in the bottom underneath the vegetables. I pack lunch every day – and this worked well!
    * I made a zucchini chocolate cake for dessert with a zucchini given to me by a friend.
    * Lots of friends have given us extra produce like tomatoes, zucchini, onions, potatoes, cucumbers. Delicious!
    * I shared enough peaches with my friend to make two batches of peach preserves for her family.
    * I am working on recycling my husbands worn out jeans into sewing projects (trivets, rugs, and potholders). So excited to get started sewing.
    * I posted my granola recipe on my blog. It generates a small bit of income and helps inspire me when I don’t know what to make!
    * We changed the filter in our AC as well which is helping keep our house much cooler! It was 102 last week, and my AC was struggling. I had the temp increased, fans blowing from the basement and back of the house, but it was still not keeping up. The filter made a huge difference!

  43. My husband and I are removing gravel from our side yard in preparation for sod installation. (The builder put in gravel and my husband really wants grass.) It is a hot and heavy job for a mature couple but it will save us $1000.

    I bought a fifty cent book from Friends of the Library – 101 Things to do with Cake Mix. I tried one of the recipes – Gooey Bars – very rich, but good and easy. I have to find 3000 homemade cookies every year for a Christmas open house at our local museum. I will send the many cake mix cookie recipes to the many volunteers I have to recruit for this job.

    We have traveled to 16 national parks and monuments this year in Idaho, Montana, Utah and California. (That doesn’t count trips to our Wyoming sites – Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone and Grand Tetons). We are planning a trip next month to 6 more in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. But we will mostly camp in our tent and have picnics or eat at our campsite to keep our costs low. I hope the weather cools a bit. The west is having a really hot summer!

  44. Here are three more things to do with zucchini:
    1. Pasta con crema di zucchine
    (Pasta with zucchini and herb puree)
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 small onion, coarsely chopped
    3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
    1 pound zucchini, halved or quartered lengthwise, then sliced about 1/4 inch thick
    1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
    1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1 chicken bouillon cube (preferably Knorr brand), crushed
    2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for passing
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1 lb of Rigatoni, Penne or other type of short pasta
    Grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese to taste
    1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add the zucchini, basil, parsley and the crumbled bouillon cubes.
    2. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the zucchini are fully cooked and soft. If the zucchini seem dry, add a small amount of water to continue cooking until soft. It should look like a mush of zucchini. Taste for salt. If needed add salt to taste. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
    3. When the zucchini are cooked, place the mixture in a blender and puree until you have a smooth sauce.
    4. Bring the water for the pasta to a boil, add salt to taste, and cook the pasta until al dente.
    5. While the pasta is cooking, place the sauce in a large sauté pan, and add the grated cheese. Mix well.
    6. When the pasta is ready, drain, and add to the sauce, raising the heat and stirring until the pasta is well coated. Sprinkle with more cheese and serve at once.
    Serves 6

    2. ZUCCHINI BUTTER The stripped-down version comes from a great blog called Food in Jars and is quite simple. Sauté two pounds of small cubes of zucchini and five smashed cloves of garlic in some olive oil and butter (the former allows you to sauté without burning and the latter imparts a rich flavor). Keep stirring on low heat until the liquid from the zucchini evaporates; don’t rush it as that will result in burning, the entire recipe can take up to an hour to reach the right consistency. Add salt and pepper. The resulting spread will keep for a few weeks in the fridge and much longer if frozen.
    The basic recipe said to add thyme or rosemary to the pan at the point where the zucchini starts to soften. I don’t care for those herbs that much so instead I add some very finely chopped scallions.

    3.ZUCCHINI TOTS
    Ingredients
    4 medium zucchinis, shredded
    Salt
    3/4 cup bread crumbs
    1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    Directions
    In a medium bowl, sprinkle zucchini with a GENEROUS amount of salt and set aside for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, preheat oven to 400F.
    Tip the bowl to carefully drain any excess water. Lay a thin dish cloth on the counter and place zucchini in it. Twist dishtowel at the top and wring the zucchini out, trying to remove as much excess water as you can {it’s impossible to remove it all, you just don’t want it puddling!}.
    Return zucchini to bowl and add all remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Take about a teaspoon of the mix and form into tot looking shapes. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Enjoy!

  45. We had a family BBQ this past weekend. My parents offered to pay for all of the food & drinks if we hosted at our house. After the party was over, we got to keep as the leftovers. Win win! Our guests offered to bring dessert. My cousin’s also provided drinks. As a hostess gift, my cousin brought us Greek pasta sauce, baklava & soap from a Greek Orthodox monastery.

  46. Beautiful pictures again, Brandy!

    I had an interesting week. My back went out on Friday morning, then I was rear ended on Friday afternoon. Nothing serious, I was stopped in traffic and a guy in a big work truck with one of those huge grills on the front thought he could get around me to go into the lane on our right. Nope! We go on vacation tomorrow, so we will deal with that next week. My cell phone also broke, so I had to get a new one. So not the most frugal week!

    My accomplishments:

    * Ate leftovers for lunch.
    * Received a surprise settlement check from a class action law suit of $102.47. Put that right into savings.
    * Drank free coffee and tea and ate free jam that I had gotten from work.
    * Used free hotel toiletries.
    * Used the toaster oven as much as possible instead of using the big oven.
    * Kept the A/C at the highest temps I could stand.
    * Hubby took his lunch 3 out of 5 days.
    * We always use our grocery gas rewards for when my Hubby fills his truck’s tank as his gas tank is bigger. Saved 20 cents a gallon this week.
    * The mosquitos are terrible in my neighborhood and I have been bitten quite a bit. I use straight ammonia on a cotton ball to soothe the itch. Works great.
    * My daughter had given me an Olive Garden gift card in thanks for watching my grandson every week. I used it to take out my dad for our weekly lunch date.
    * Had friends over for dinner on Saturday night. Hubby wanted to do something nice, so we had grilled salmon and grilled chicken with homemade Cajun spice mix on them. Served it with linguine (bought on clearance for 50c / lb.) in a tomato sauce with Cajun spice. Had that with a salad. Not the most frugal night, but we get together with these 2 couples about every 3 months and take turns hosting. One of the women brought me 20 lbs. of tomatoes that her husband had gotten for $5 as her hostess gift to me and the other brought me a gallon bag of figs from her fig tree and some homemade fig newtons she had made. Since my back is still bothering me, I put all of the tomatoes and figs in the freezer to process once my back is better.
    * Washed used ziplocs to reuse.
    * Got angel hair pasta from the clearance rack for 50c / lb. Also got some thin sliced black forest ham that was on sale for $2.00, then marked down 75%, so the package cost me 50 c.
    * Got some more Ibotta rebates.
    * A few years ago I bought a refreezable cold pack for my back. I’ve been using that over and over this week.
    * Was able to use a coupon we won playing trivia to pay for our dinner Tuesday night (our regular trivia league night.)
    * Other than Tuesday’s dinner we ate all the rest of our dinners at home.
    * Kept all unnecessary lights off.
    * Because of my back I had to dry the laundry in the dryer. I always only use 1/2 of a dryer sheet per load.

    I think that is it for last week. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  47. I completely agree with you, Brandy, about the More with Less Cookbook. I grew up in a Mennonite family with very conservative Mennonite Grandparents. I think the More with Less Cookbook provides some good ideas and a ‘different way’ of thinking about food, but it’s not altogether all that frugal and sometimes not super healthy. Extending the Table and Simply in Season are two other World Community Coookbooks, by the same publishing company. In my opinion, those books are way better- both in recipe flavor and frugality. Brandy, if you’re able, those might be enjoyable for you to look through. Both of those books have beautiful pictures and quotes.

    There is also a book called,”Living More with Less”, by the same publishing company. The book has many Mennonite contributors on all sorts of topics. It’s an old book and out of print. I bought my copies at our local thrift store. ( I live in a heavily populated Mennonite area). BUT, if you can find a copy, it’s a fantastic book!

  48. Thank you for sharing the links to your roof photos! Wow, did you need it! It is really nice to see other types of architecture and buildings. Please share a photo when you are done ;). And thanks for posting, it was very interesting to hear your ways of saving. Even though we all live in different places, many of the ideas are similar. And it is a lovely community here that Brandy had created.

  49. Anne,

    I loved your story of living on the heat of the scrap wood. My hubby says I make a beautiful life of living off of the scraps others throw away. I have made it years by living on scraps.

  50. Brandy, I hope you will share with us the frugal ideas you find and how they worked for you. You are so frugal already, that I’m really interested in what you come up with. Great savings on the insurance!

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included chicken fingers with choice of french fries or sweet potato fries and mixed veggies, make-your-own pizzas on naan bread, pasta with choice of sauce and optional sausage slices, BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs with potato wedges and cold salad, and hot chicken sandwiches with salad.
    *Cut up 1 lonely, leftover chicken finger and mixed with lettuce, bacon bits, grated cheese and Caesar salad dressing to make tasty chicken Caesar wraps for my work lunch. So good!
    *We opted to buy a rotisserie chicken meal deal one night for dinner. For take out, this is one of the most frugal meals we could buy. We always have leftovers to use for other meals and I saved the bones in the freezer to make chicken stock later.
    *My brand new All American Pressure canner was delivered this week. This was a very expensive investment purchase. I have been saving for this item for over a year now by putting away money I received for birthday and Christmas gifts as well as some of the money I earned making treat trays for bowling banquets. In total I had $200 saved. My mother offered to pitch in another $100 as my birthday present this year (my B-day is end of August) and husband agreed to pay the remainder. I can’t wait to try canning some convenience meals that we can use instead of eating out on busy nights!
    *I typically grocery shop every other week in the summer, to make it easier when I’m working. This week was my week. Deals this week included 4 packages of short dated pepperoni luncheon meat for $1.99/1kg pack (that’s less than $1/lb) which I promptly divided each pack in half and repackaged with food saver for the freezer (left some out for hubby – it’s his favourite cold cut), 2 containers of yellow plums for $3.97/1.5L container (hope to can some), some cherries for $1.47/lb (might freeze some for later use), 2 packages of romaine lettuce (2 heads in each) for $0.88/pack and 7 blocks of cheese for $3.77/450g block (put in freezer to pull as needed).
    *I was able to go to the farmer’s market and buy 2 flats of raspberries @ $60/flat (really wish I had raspberry bushes!), a large basket of wild blueberries for $50 (must stop child from eating the entire basket in one sitting!), and a dozen cobs of corn for $7/dozen (love fresh corn in the summer!).
    *Attended my first free concert this year. It was a Journey tribute band, so I know a lot of the songs. I also won a free coffee from McDonald’s. Unfortunately, I don’t drink coffee. However, someone else won a free McDonald’s ice cream cone and was nice enough to trade me!
    *My mom was kind enough to take my daughter to a Pokemon group for children and teens on the Autism spectrum (I had to work). She has such a great time at this group and it only costs $3 to attend.

    Thank you to all of you who take the time to share your accomplishments. I so enjoy reading them all each week!

  51. Ooooh, huckleberry jam…..yummmmmm. My old college roommate lives in Montana and last year she sent me both jars of huckleberry jam and syrups. I could have sat down and eaten it alone with just a spoon!! I hope she sends more. I wish it wasn’t so expensive to ship. Enjoy!!

  52. Brandy, sorry things are tight for you, at present. I always enjoy reading your blog. The frugal ideas are helpful and as a side line, it is interesting to read about gardening in the desert. I’m in the UK so gardening is quite different, here.
    My money saving this last week:
    -sold some books that we have finished using.
    -made chicken stock in the slow cooker.
    -my daughter made several soups.
    -purchased two tops and a pair of trousers in a sale. Postage was free and the total came to less than the cost of the trousers.
    -found out about the possibility of a relevant, and free, home education trip.
    -planted salad leaves and herbs.
    -used a voucher for a free entry to a farm.
    -took packed lunch when we went out.
    -cycled or walked for local trips.
    -saved some wood off-cuts to work as kindling.

    I like reading other people’s tips.

  53. I’m not feeling so great about frugal accomplishments this week! I’m very grumbly because I misread the date on some mozzarella cheese and when I took it out to make a pizza yesterday, it had mold. Then I noticed it was dated two months ago. I’ve been angry at myself for leaving it in the fridge and not freezing it like I normally do. Hmph.

    For savings:
    *I used a store refund of $28ish to buy a new carbon monoxide alarm, A/C filters, & a long-handled brush to scrub the shower.
    *Used water from the rain barrels to flush toilets
    *Got a free snack pack at the market
    *I got a refund on an overcharge. It technically wasn’t a save, but it would’ve been a loss if I hadn’t carefully gone over my receipt.
    Check those receipts, folks! I stapled the receipt to the store ad so there was no question.
    *My husband helped me dye my hair with OTC dye that was less than $3 with a sale/coupon. I have no idea what the salon charges, but I’m sure it’s well more than that!
    *I did a market survey for fuel points.

    Hopefully I’ll have a better week next week. I pride myself on never wasting anything and keeping careful track. My husband says, “Give yourself a break!” and I say I will and then growl to myself!!!

  54. My mom would do the grocery shopping without dad most of the time. But every couple of years he’d make some comment about the size of the grocery budget and she’d invite him to accompany her to the store. That week’s tab would be at least twice as large as normal as my dad added all his favorite treats to the cart(s). After checking out, he’d make some remark about how he couldn’t afford to shop for groceries and then drop the subject for the next two or three years.

  55. Brandy, you are such an inspiration and I love your positivism. Thank you for your email last week!!!

    I am a total wimp about needing the AC on….I do not do well with the heat. For this reason, I have been striving to keep my garden healthy and alive versus really working on it! I did plant a new pot of herbs and some vinca yesterday, though.

    I have been doing Plastic Free July all month, and I was remarking to my husband how I have saved money this month for the simple reason of not wanting to buy anything in plastic. This has also lead to a more vegetarian diet this month. I have been detailing my journey on Instagram if anyone is interested. I am a tree hugger and a bit of a hippie at heart…..sometimes I do not feel that I fit in, especially where we live in SoCal! Anyway, this past week I have made the following homemade items: yogurt, almond milk, salsa, creamy jalapeno sauce, hummus. My crockpot decided to break, and I found one for about a quarter of the retail price at a thrift store, along with a really pretty blouse for 2.99.

    I have been making plans for some more significant improvements to our front yard once it cools off. Planning on adding society garlic grass under our 5 new crepe myrtles and some flagstone in one area. 🙂

  56. This week did not feel very frugal at all. More like picking the lesser of several evils haha.

    Our house renovations were finishing up – but for over a week we had no kitchen. Only our fridge and not even a table where we could eat. I planned for this – but you can only eat so many sandwiches and stuff you premade only lasts for so many days without needing to be reheated or thrown out. Once the food I made ran out, I went to Costco and got a container of Quinoa salad, potato salad (the huge tub for $5.99), Tex Mex pasta salad and beet salad. We then made this last over about 6 days by combining it with things like meatballs I had premade and thawed, croissants (store bought), and creamy corn I made on a skillet when we could at least access our cooktop. I normally don’t buy this premade stuff, but it was still far cheaper than having to eat out.

    I took some donations to the Salvation Army, and I got a coupon for $10.00 off a $25 purchase. I now have three of these coupons tucked away in my wallet for when I do some holiday shopping. I have been saving them from every donation we took this year. I especially love getting books at the Salvation Army.

    I tried to sell our old countertop and sink on Kijiji, but after 3 days with no response I donated them to the Habitat Restore as we needed to get them out of the house. Plus, I know they will be put to good use.

    My vegetable garden has gone kaput this year. This has never happened before. I think it is a combination of rain, rain, rain and not being able to access the garden to get it properly weeded because of rain. I have already replanted once, and only some of the replants came up. Not wanting the garden to be completely overrun and ruined by weeds, I went to a garden centre and picked up some clearance vegetable plants. I got 10 plants for $5.00. All peppers. I planted them in the garden. At this point I don’t even care if they produce anything, I just want them to root and help stop the weeds from going crazy. Having said that, some of the stuff I planted is growing so hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to start harvesting.

    One day this week when I took my sons to the park and splash pad I brought one of the 1L bottles of bubbles I got on clearance for $1.00 at Walmart. We went on a big grassy area and I blew bubbles and literally all the little kids at the park were chasing the bubbles. It was quite hilarious. The other moms said I looked like the Pied (sp?) Piper with all these kids following me around. It went on for about an hour, then we took a water break because it was very hot. This was so much fun, and I didn’t even use 1/3 of the bubbles in the jar. Looking forward to more bubble fun on a sunny day!

    We went to the mall one day (it was incredibly hot and it is a nice “outing” for the kids in a cool place). We went to the activity time at the Disney Store (it is free, obviously because they are hoping the traffic in the store generates sales). We did not buy anything (it’s not like I never shop there, because I do so I don’t feel bad at all…).

    On another note – if you life in Toronto and are looking for some free stuff to do – check out the Aga Khan Museum website as they are running a number of free events and pop up performances over the summer. I also recently found out that the Opera in Toronto runs a free lunch hour concert series during their regular season on a first come first serve basis. They haven’t released their schedule yet for next year, but I did find out about it because I know they are going to be doing a free show for the Invictus Games. And on that final note – there are a number of free ticketed events that the public can attend during the Invictus Games in Toronto this September. If you go to the website for the games it has all the information. Although Toronto does not have free entry to most museums like in Europe, there are still a number of cool things you can do here for FREE.

    I hope you all have a good week!

  57. In some areas Yes Brandy it seemed on the expensive side but if you are raising the cattle and hogs like Hubby did as a kid, it’s not so, I just substituted what meat I had. I felt there was a lot of expensive cheese in the recipes. I also read Rita Van Amber’s Stories and recipes from The Great Depression of the 1930’S, Clara Cannucciari had a cookbook called Clara’s Kitchen (she is deceased now) also Great Depression recipes, Brother VIctor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette has cookbooks out with recipes from the Monastery, frugal and not much meat also Marcia Adams has several cookbooks with Amish (Quilt Country she calls it) that has several good frugal recipes. When all fails I fall back on the dish my Nonna made here stateside as she called it since she was from Italy. Bean soup on Monday, add mixed veggies and water on Tuesday, add rice and water on Wednesday, add pasta and water on Friday and on Saturday she added more water and served it over stale bread that was baked the Saturday before..wasn’t much beans in the pot after Tuesday … she baked 25 loaves at a time. Sunday was fried chicken, spaghetti with meatballs and homemade sauce, day old bread and whatever veggies were in the garden or she had canned. She made curtains and quilts out of worn out clothes, clothes out of bed linen she would get at thrift shops or yard sales.

  58. Just dipping sliced zucchini in egg, then breadcrumbs (or a mixture of flour and cornmeal) is good, too. Fry or bake. Yum.

    Brandy, I was wondering…you have such beautiful herbs. Would a local restaurant be interested in buying some of these from you, for cash or restaurant credit?

  59. Oh I also recently had pizza cheese go bad and I was grumble about it too! I got an idea from Margaret who comments here regularly. From now on when I buy the large block, I will grate it in pizza portion sizes and freeze it right away so it doesn’t go bad. 🙂

  60. Hope everyone one is alright . It is never fun having to run to the ER and then you get the bill.
    My daughter’s Sweet 16 was this weekend but I still managed to save some money. Her theme was Italy.
    -Got a $5 rebate check in the mail
    – Needed a notary so went to the bank where it is free
    -Friends from out of state were coming to the party so came for a long weekend. They said lets just go out to eat since we were doing stuff for the party. I said I’m good with cooking. Had a nice dinner with leftovers for the next days lunch for less then the cost of 1 and there were 11 of us.
    -Let our friends use one of our cars so that they didn’t have to rent a car. Couldn’t fit them in the house as my daughter and her boyfriend were coming also and I only have 2 extra beds.
    -Treated to bagels for everyone(a request by all of the out of state guests) but bought butter and cream cheese previously on sale and used a coupon.
    -My friend did my daughters hair(up do) for the party and wouldn’t take any $
    -My daughter and I did all of the decorations and centerpieces ourselves. We have friends that own a restaurant so they saved empty wine bottles for us. We scrubbed the labels off and she painted and glittered them. We used our wine glasses and filled them with red/green M&Ms. We printed pictures of different places in Italy. Each table was know by the place and not a number. We put a single red rose in each vase(roses from BJs) They came out great.
    -My daughter wanted a Backdrop to take pictures in front of for the party. I looked at the cost($200 -$300) and so no way. My husband said I can build it if you can do the lights and curtains. Got everything on sale and with coupons.
    -Wasn’t going to pay for a photographer. My sister has a great camera and loves to take pictures. I asked if she would mind doing it. She had a blast and they came out great.
    -Most of the Sweet 16s give out favors at the end. Things that go in the garbage. My daughter wanted to do one but I didn’t want to pay for something that would be thrown away. So we made biscotti and wrapped them and tied them in green and red bows. Put them in a basket that I already had and put a big red bow on it. So many of the parents said it was a great idea.
    -Brought home leftover cake
    -Everyone had an amazing time and came in under budget.

  61. FYI J and other possible visitors to Toronto – you are correct that museums etc. are not normally free but all have free entry times – I know the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) is Wednesday evening and I believe the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) is Friday night – and I think the Bata Shoe museum also does this but I don’t know the day – if you check the websites they’ll have the correct days and times.
    Also – if you are a walker – the ROM does free historical walks to different parts of the city on Sunday afternoons – I believe Wednesday afternoons and I think the occasional Thursday evening. I also just went on the free Queen’s Park tour (Our Provincial legislative bldg.)) – you do have to have Govt. issued photo ID with you and sign in beforehand for security concerns but it was really interesting.
    The Toronto Botanical Gardens (used to be Edwards Gardens) is free entry and they also run a 45 minute tour down at the lakefront Music Garden once or twice a week. Visitors should also know that all children up to 12 years of age ride for free on our transit system which can certainly help. Hope that gives folks some ideas of things to do if you are coming to Toronto this summer.

  62. Have you ever made zucchini noodles? I have the spirilizer and make noodles and s aute in a little olive oil I live adding sauteed onion, mushrooms, tomato. You can add parmesan or make a peanut butter sauce for different flavors. I sometimes add chicken or pork and sauteed quartered squash/zucchini.

  63. I continue to let my son drive my car to work each evening. We are hoping to have our small truck sold soon. It has been in our family since new. 22 years later, I need to let it go. My son struggles with a stick and I need to be confident he is safer on my insurance. College is in four weeks so hopefully we will be coordinated. My daughter asked to go out, so we made a trip to the salvage store. I bought a Libman mop with a removable head for 1.00. We found an extra mop head too. They appear to be never used. I picked up three freebies from Kroger. I have puppy a bath but it looks like she will need a visit to the vet. Her scratching is intense and nothing I do relieved it. I think when we were at the hospital for my daughter, she got in the catfood. Charlotte is allergic to chicken and cat food is full of it. There’s not much spending of money going on here. I am cooking from scratch and hanging my clothes out. Anyone have any ideas about my 50 lb mosquito mosquitos stalking me. Working in the yard has been my only outlet lately. Zombie monsters are severe this year. They usually don’t bite me.

  64. Lol. Yes, my husband knows it’s better to let me shop. As long as we go thru the ads and he tells me what he plans to cook (he is a very good cook and likes it :)) then I can shop and save money at the same time.

  65. Instead of a pan of ice cubes we freeze a jug of water and place in front of the fan. Then we just refreeze the jug.

  66. -I made a big batch of bean salad and added tomatoes from the garden
    -I went to a community garage sale and purchased some desparately needed clothes for my children and a brand new in box giant puzzle & book for $2, which I will use as a gift
    -finally purchased a new pillow and pillow protector/cover for my husband and I at 70% discount
    -going on nature walks with the children and doing art and craft with their ‘treasures’
    -still researching internet providers. We purchased a computer several weeks ago and now need to organise internet…it will be such a luxury to have it at home
    -on track with paying off our mortgage
    -decluttering and selling things on our Craigslist equivalent or giving them away
    -being mindful, purposeful and grateful

  67. Our a/c filters are reusable–husband took them out and washed them last week to improve efficiency. All meats eaten at home last week. (That is rare for me to accomplish!) Got some progress made on cleaning the house as I had let it go some recently, keeping up with a bunch of other things. We have a lot of medical appointments this week–one for me today, one for husband on Wednesday, one for me AND one for the cat on Thursday, and next Monday two more for me! My annual checkup of my abdominal stents revealed a problem which needs investigation, and I just got into a new urologist and have even more tests scheduled for next month. It stinks when they all come at once, but I am thankful for my excellent health insurance from my job. And at my age, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Our crops are starting to come in–I do not have a veggie garden this year, but I will buy some things from the farm stand and preserve them anyhow.

  68. I have all of the Mennonite books you refer to, and I prefer Simply in Season and Extending the Table. One of the articles in Living More with Less was written by my CSA provider. I read them for inspiration as much as inexpensive, healthy recipes.

  69. Does anyone have any ideas for overripe cucumbers? I was out of town and my hubby did not pick the cucumbers.They are now huge, yellow cucumbers.

  70. We have had a long and difficult 9 years, but are doing better bit by bit now…it’s looking good for the future! There will be student loans to pay off though. We do not, however have a mortgage and are making a place to live without one. It’s more difficult than I expected, but I’m looking neither left nor right! Instead I focus on what we are doing and our end goals!

    I’m out east with my son for his college years as we discovered that he has a health issue that he needs to learn to live with. It’s just a lifestyle change, so we are very thankful! There are going to be airline ticket expenses as we fly back and forth since we live out west where my husband works. He is house sharing for probably another year with our possessions in storage to save money. Frugal win!!!! Than we will see what happens. I’ll be back in the summers after this one, and all school breaks.

    I just found a good, permanent position starting in the fall that has great medical benefits

  71. Happy Tuesday, frugal friends. I’m still adjusting to going from just myself to a family of 5, so I feel like I’m in a complete downward spiral on the frugal front these days. Still dealing with picky eaters, who subsist on pb&j sandwiches and $5 Little Caesar pizzas, which SO alternates every other day. I’ve all but given up cooking — why bother when no one eats!

    I did buy ground beef on sale at Aldi last week for $1.49/lb. I bought 4 packages, I believe, and then came home and divided them into meal size portions and froze them. I wish I still had my chest freezer because I certainly would’ve cleared out all they had that day! I also picked up cream cheese for .79 each. I wish I’d bought more. Eggs continue to be ridiculously cheap — I think they finally went up from .49/doz to .59/doz. I have so many eggs in my fridge right now, that I don’t need more anytime soon. I will hard boil 18 this afternoon to use for egg salad sandwiches for the rest of the week.

    I ran into Sam’s this weekend to buy the lotion I prefer, which is cheaper there than Walmart by more than $1, and upwards of $2+ cheaper than other places, plus it contains more. While there, we picked up cereal for the children, since they protest any other breakfast.

    I’ve decided to start hanging the wash again. It’s much more convenient to throw it in the dryer, considering how many loads I do now with 4 extra people living here, but my electric bill jumped by $80 in 3 weeks!! Needless to say, that was shocking. Granted, part of that is just because it’s summer and we’ve been having temps in the 100°+ range, but a lot of it is because extra people = extra showers, extra laundry, etc. I need to install a proper clothesline, which I’ve been wanting to do since I moved in last summer, but for now I’ll just use my super sturdy Amish folding drying rack, which I wish I’d purchased more of when I lived in Maryland, near Amish country in PA! I miss the Amish bulk stores, too. I try to keep my thermostat on 78, and I have the ceiling fans running non-stop. The replacement windows the previous owner had installed are really of the lowest quality. I need to invest in some energy efficient curtains for the windows that face east and west. Those rooms heat up so much during the summer. My kitchen can get to 84° in the afternoons and that’s without even turning on the stove or oven.

    I’ve been borrowing DVDs for the children from the library every 10 days or so. I am allowed to check out 10 at a time, though I don’t usually find that many that I think would be suitable. We’ve instated some basic rules and guidelines, including a 9p bedtime, and I’ve put up a daily responsibility chart for the 6 year old and 3 year old, and they are enjoying accumulating stickers, which I purchased at the Dollar Tree. The DVDs I borrow are mostly Bible stories and ones that teach about manners, etc. The improvement in their behavior lately has been noticeable!!

    I feel guilty for not taking advantage of my half acre of yard and planting a garden. Last summer was so busy with buying the house, then renovating, then moving in that I simply didn’t have time. This year, I was getting things squared away for SO and his 3 kids to move in, so I missed my chance again. My poor pear tree which was loaded with fruit last year, has absolutely no pears this year. We had a very warm winter, and it bloomed in late February/early March, but then we had snow on 12 March, which is unheard of here in eastern South Carolina. I’m guessing that is the reason for no pears??! SO really wants a garden, and now that he’s living here, maybe we can get one put in next year.

    The children return to their mother on 18 August. SO and I are talking about taking a few days and having a vacation. We are hoping to purchase a tent, and other camping essentials, and then we’ll possibly go to the mountains in western NC for a few days of relaxation. Some expense upfront but certainly more frugal than staying in a hotel room. He wanted to buy a bigger tent (like one of those 3 room, 10 person tents) so that it could eventually accommodate the 5 of us, but I’ve convinced him to wait on that. Firstly, I am not interested in tent camping with a 18 month old, a 3 year old, and a 6 year old — that is too much work for me. Second, by the time they are old enough for that (old enough in MY OPINION!!), the tent could be dry rotted. lol I think he and I can get by with something smaller and more affordable, and in the future should we decide to brave tent camping with the children, then we can purchase a bigger tent.

    I have been unable to get any Etsy or eBay listings done in what feels like months now due to the complete upheaval of my daily life and ensuing chaos of moving 4 more people into my house, so I am really trying to buckle down this week and get the last few areas that became dumping grounds for all the stuff SO moved in, cleaned up and the stuff put away so that I can resume working. I rely on my Etsy and eBay sales to make ends meet and no work = no sales = no money. I have a ton of stuff stockpiled to list, so it’s just a matter of clearing an area to work in. I am really antsy to get back at it!!

  72. One way to help with party expenses is to use peanuts in the shell to help fill the pinata and make the candy go further. I used to do this and the kids loved it. Some of them didn’t know peanuts came this way! It was also fun for them to be able to crack the shells and just throw them on the grass.

  73. Just shred it! I store it in plastic bags in 2 cup increments in the freezer. I’ve done this for 5-6 years now with no problems!

  74. We’re on vacation this week, but have tried to be frugal. We’re visiting family, so have been able to cut down on meal expenses because family has fed us most meals. We did go out for one meal, lunch, keeping expenses less and we drank water. I shared my tacos with my four year old, saving money. (The food was good, but the waitress got the order wrong initially… frustrating when we go out so infrequently…)
    We’re staying in a hotel for part of the trip, but paid with credit card points. The continental breakfast has been wonderful and a fun treat for the boys. The pool has been nice too, giving free entertainment and practice from swimming lessons last week.
    We brought snacks from home for the car and afternoon, so we’re not purchasing those. We’ve also saved the fruit the boys don’t eat at breakfast for later in the day. It’s nice to have a little fridge in the room for this and yogurt.
    Our housemate is keeping our dog while we’re away, which is nice. We took some off her rent as payment for her.
    Would love to hear how others save on vacation.

  75. My daughter worked in a state park and they would rub dryer sheets on exposed skin . They would cut it into slips and stick one in each sock sticking out and one on each wrist with a band. She never got bit.

  76. We did a few frugal things this week that I’m proud of. The biggest was putting in a lot of hours and elbow grease to get our flower beds and deck into shape. I weeded a TON, pulled out 3 pricker bushes and dug/cut out the root balls (which was exhausting), planted some blueberry and raspberry bushes, and mulched. Then I bleach-washed the deck, which was in dire need of some TLC. I decided the furniture we had was getting rusty, so instead of searching for new furniture, I got a wire brush and some rust-o-leum spray paint, and re-did the furniture. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and for only a few dollars!

    I had purchased a pasta maker and an ice cream maker back in May to try out some recipes in a cookbook my kids had gotten me for Mother’s Day, but I’m embarrassed to admit I had not used them at all. We finally broke them out, and used them to make a delicious pasta dinner (with homemade marinara sauce) and gelato (with homemade caramel sauce). Not only did we have a fantastic meal, the first one this summer on the newly cleaned deck, but we made many good memories putting the meal together as well.

    One evening, while all the kids were gone, my husband suggested we pick up a pizza for the two of us. Instead, I grilled some chicken, and we had grilled chicken caesar salads for dinner, saving us the cost of a pizza and the gas to drive there, too.

    I ordered a couple of items from Shutterfly for my daughter for Christmas that were free, aside from shipping. I know she will enjoy the personalized stationary and return address labels, and I’m happy to check a gift off my list.

    I hung a mirror and painting I already had, and re-arranged the living room furniture. It was exactly what I needed to make the room feel fresh and bright.

    We had a couple of dishwasher issues, but instead of calling for repair or buying a new one, I ordered new parts, and my husband and I spent an hour and a half one day to get it running like new. Alas, I did not have the same success with our ice maker, so I spent $4 on ice cube trays, and added the daily chore of “make ice” to my to do list.

    I had to travel for work, so I saved the shampoo, etc, from the hotel to use as donations for my children’s school’s Christmas drive, where the children are encouraged to bring in travel sized items for the homeless.

    Finally, I have been planning for our next pantry challenge, which I will do next week. Instead of spending my usual budget for the week, I will cash in my Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Paypal money, and limit my purchases to fit within that amount. I started to inventory my freezer and pantry to make a grocery list and meal plan. My goal is to get through the week without my family knowing it was pantry challenge week, and if I’m really careful, even continue it for 2 weeks. I have 2 vegans in my family who eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, so it is somewhat harder than it sounds, but I am determined to make it work.

  77. Yes, Jean … you can make mock apple rings with the overripe cucumbers. I haven’t made these for years, but when I did, they were wonderful! You really need overripe, end of season cucumbers to do this recipe. I couldn’t find the recipe I used, but I recall that you used a package of cinnamon red hot candies. I’m sure you can find a recipe online.

  78. Brandy I hope all is okay from the emergency hospital trip- those are never good unless they’re for a baby!
    – Thanks to all of your wonderful sugggestions on meal prep while working, we ate all meals at home! And none of them were frozen pizza this week 🙂 last night we finished the leftovers from the last of those meals
    – my husband cut my son’s hair for the first time. He looks cute as a button but doesn’t have his baby curls anymore!
    – I have a truly amazing neighbor who also has a young baby but has an amazing milk supply. She has donated some of her surplus breast milk for our little girl, since I can’t pump enough at work for her. I know it may sound odd to some of you but it’s such an awesome blessing (both financially and health wise) for us!
    – brought all lunches to work
    – continued to use cloth diapers
    – my phone broke! Bought a cheap one on eBay since I need to be reachable for work. It’s been nice. It having one for a few days!
    – shopped at yard sales and bought a lunch bag for $1 for when my little one ages into needing food at daycare
    – used a gift card to buy a few clothing items
    – picked up an old journal to start writing again rather than buy a new one

  79. We go to a grocery store in the area and pick up food items we can use for lunches. Since you have a fridge in your hotel room, it will be easy to store the food. The cheap, collapsible “cooler bags” they sell for transporting groceries work well for drinks and food, plus are easy to carry where you are having your picnic lunch. We fill up freezer Ziplock baggies with ice from the hotel (which can be reused each day as long as there are no holes) to keep everything cold. Every morning we make a lunch to take with us. Often I scoop a few items from the continental breakfast to use in lunches (fruit, yogurt, muffins or even boiled eggs for egg salad sandwiches), to save on cost.

    We do a lot of research before we go on vacation (travel websites and pinterest are great places to start) and usually have a pretty good idea of what we want to see before we go. We check the websites so we know exactly what will be offered and costs involved. We look for coupons or the best way to get discounts that are designed to encourage visitors and for free things to do. If it is a big attraction, sometimes it is cheaper to purchase tickets on-line before going. Hotels have racks of attraction flyers which sometimes include coupons. Some area also offer city sight seeing cards that you can buy which includes many of the attractions in the area. Although they can be expensive, often these are cheaper if you plan to visit many of the more expensive attractions, plus you can fill in your time with other options included on the card. Since you are already there, ask the hotel desk for ideas of things to do (nothing better than asking a local), and don’t be afraid to use the complimentary computers (if available) to do some research as well!

    Those are a few of my frugal travel ideas. Hope they help!

  80. There is now a 40th anniversary edition out.

    The idea behind the cookbook was not to make cheap as possible recipes but to realize that other areas of the world subsist on so much less than the “advanced” areas. Thus when we cut back on our own food expenses (to what ever degree) we have that much more to give in assistance to various charity, relief, rescue organizations.

  81. Trying to stay out of the grocery stores is my best way to save money. I have always been frugal. My problem is I put up food or freeze leftovers that then never get used. I am trying now to just reach into the freezer and grab a package then find a way to use it. Our dog has turned her nose up to the dry dog food but will eat if I add human food to her dish. Some of the frozen foods are added in to keep her appetite up and prevent me from purchasing more expensive food for her. Whatever leftovers we have I try to use up instead of adding to my freezer hoard. Our chickens occasionally get odd meals. I feel like whatever I can feed them saves me more money on chicken food. I shopped the thrift stores last week for new to us clothes. Found a beautiful blouse with the tags still on and a gorgeous stoneware vase I will use for Christmas gifts as well as several things I’ve been needing for the house. Albertsons has been sending coupons for 5$ off 25$ purchase each week all summer. Now they changed it to 5$ off 50$ purchase so I won’t go every week…more reason to stay out of the store. The farm store a mile from us is starting to sell fresh veggies. I plan to start walking the dog down there each day and pick up fresh produce from them.

  82. Heidi, we can in the garage whenever we do large projects. My husband has built a semi kitchen in one end. We have a cooktop and a double utility sink, counter tops and then we set up folding tables. Every spring he gets it ready ad then closes it down late fall. I prefer ducks, geese and fish etc not be cleaned in my kitchen. The water source comes from the house as pipes would freeze in winter. It is a system of hoses for water in and to drain the water out. If your husband does not want you to can in the house but offers no safe alternative then keep canning in the house.

  83. I’m sorry your finances are in the tighter side again Brandy. That said, I have no doubt that by sharing what you learn as you continue to stretch your $$$ to make ends meet, many will be blessed and helped. Thank you!
    Some things I did to save money in the last week:
    -harvested Swiss chard, celery, carrots, turnips, spring onions, kale, tomatoes (I’ve managed to grow them through winter here in South Africa this year!), radishes and lots of lettuce. I planted out more Swiss chard plants today (started from seed) and sowed more carrot, spring onion and radish seeds. I also planted zucchini and cucumber seeds; these may be a little early but our midday temps are reaching mid 20s (celcius) and I don’t think we’ll have more frost.
    – collected eggs from our hens.
    -used my Wonderbag for cooking rice, sweet and sour pork and minestrone soup which saved electricity. I cooked double portions of each, thus planning ahead to have cooked meals already prepared and just needing reheating later in the week.
    – baked bread from scratch.
    -used water that filled buckets while we showered to water potted plants
    -used children’s bath water to do laundry (I transfer it from the bath to my top-loading washer in buckets) and to flush toilets (I fill a bucket with water before flushing, and then fill the cistern with water from the bucket immediately after flushing).
    – used fabric given to me as a birthday gift (from the African country of Malawi) to sew myself a skirt.
    -used oddments of yarn to knit pullover tops (vests) for babies born to very poor mothers in rural areas of South Africa. Some of these babies are born into such poverty their mothers wrap them in newspaper for lack of even a blanket! Through using offcuts of fabric and oddments of yarn to make clothing items for the needy (I call them Dorcas Projects), I have improved my skills tremendously and also discovered ways to make creative, attractive clothing even for my own children and as gifts that cost only my time because everything else comes from my scrap bag.
    -accepted several bags of childrens clothing. I sorted through them and kept only what I needed/will need and passed the rest along to others with children in that age range. I kept aside a few items of clothing that are in excellent condition for a nephew who is having a birthday this weekend. Fortunately, our family is readily accepting of second-hand/used items as gifts.
    -purchased a few yards of fabric on sale.
    -used washable menstrual pads (for myself) and cloth diapers on the baby.
    -hung bath towels out to air in the sun every day. This freshens them up so I don’t have to wash them as often.
    -caught cold water in jugs or buckets while waiting for hot water from the faucet. The water from jugs fills our urn (we drink a lot of tea and coffee), water in buckets is used for laundry or garden.

  84. A friend of my daughter’s offered to give her 3 gallons of raspberries he had picked off his bushes if I would make 1 gallon of them into jam for him. I will make all of them into jam and he will get a batch, I will get a batch and my daughter will get a batch of jam- I call that a win, win win. (especially since I got sugar on sale this week)

    My sister’s mother-in-law is addicted to QVC shopping. She recently purchased two pairs of shoes that did not fit her so she gave them to me. These are high-end shoes that I would never buy for myself. There are my style and are comfortable too. I will find a way to show her my appreciation.

    Somehow, I don’t seem to have enough tops/blouses to get through my work week. I have plenty of pants but not enough tops. I think part of the problem is that I do not like want is currently available in the stores and frankly I don’t feel they are appropriate office work attire. I went to Goodwill and purchased 4 new to me tops that are perfect for work. The total cost for the tops was $20. These should last me a couple years.

    I will be babysitting my two nieces tomorrow. My daughter is going to come over with her son so they can play together. Our local elementary school provides free lunches to anyone over the summer so we will be going there for lunch and then I will let them play in the sprinkler for awhile. I have also made some fruit pops for them for a snack. I made these for them last year and they loved them. It should be a fun, frugal summer day with the cousins getting to play together.

    I think there are still many more ways we can all save even more money and make our dollars stretch even further than before. I look forward to discovering some of these myself and reading all the new ways this blog community finds to do more with less.

    Thanks for allowing all of us to benefit from your successes Brandy!

  85. Brandy, Your produce photos are beautiful!
    We had a good week.
    We collected 34 eggs from our chickens and sold a dozen and a half.
    We harvested onions, cucumbers, and zucchinis.
    Tried to ferment a 1 1/2 pt jar of beet pickles, but they weren’t turning out right (they weren’t gross or spoiled, just kind of bland and not softening much). So I looked up a canned pickled beets recipe for ingredients and ratios, added some sugar, allspice, and cinnamon, and made refrigerator pickled beets instead of throwing them away. AND everyone liked them!
    Fermented 4 pint-and-a-half jars of dill pickles and canned 9 pints dill pickle relish.
    Froze half of a baking sheet each of red, white, and yellow onions. Dried 7 dehydrator trays of mixed onions; ground some fine for onion powder, ground some coarser for onion flakes, and left some big for adding to winter soups.
    Mom baked zucchini bread from garden zucchini.
    In our area, each property has a giant water tank that is connected to the property’s fire hydrant. Several years ago, ours had sprung a leak and we had hired someone to come out and fix it. Two or three weeks ago, it started leaking again, from another part of the front panel where the drain is. It took a while to remember/track down who the repairman was, but he came out and repaired the leak and reinforced the rest of the front panel (the only place it can really leak). The repair cost $350, but a new tank the size of ours would cost about $2500.
    This was the week of our bi-weekly groceries run. We saved quite a bit by shopping at Grocery Outlet for some things we know they have the best prices on. We used a coupon for $10 off at Smart & Final to stock up on paper goods (I’m trying to wean us off of some of these, but we will ALWAYS need TP!). Used a 10% off coupon at Tractor Supply for chicken bedding and a new tarp for the chicken coop.
    My sister used coupon codes at a couple websites to buy supplies for her preschool classroom.
    My dad (our mechanic) had been stumped for months about what was wrong with his car (’69 Cadillac). Over the past few months, he bought several major parts (not frugal, but most were old and probably needed replacing) and FINALLY, last week he solved the last piece of the puzzle and the car is running great. Just like the water tank, repairing is cheaper than replacing (not that his car is replaceable.
    Did the normal stuff: packed lunches, hung out clothes, worked on reducing our use of disposables (paper towel, etc.), cooked at home, etc.

  86. Hello! This is my first time commenting and I’m happy that I found your blog today. What a blessing to a girl who was really starting to look at life differently. I have a question how did you acquire the grape vine? I’m enjoying these frugal ways ladies..I plan to write some down on note cards for later review. Bye 🙂

  87. Hi Tierra! I’m glad you’re here.

    I purchased several grape vines at my local nursery, I have Red Flame, Thompson’s Seedless, Concord, and a mislabeled grape that is a table grape that I use to make juice. I bought them on sale. I’ve also taken cuttings in winter from the vines when pruning them and made new vines that way. They don’t all take, but I had two Concord vines take that way. It takes 3 years before you can harvest grapes unless you start with older and larger vines. I always start my garden with small trees and vines.

  88. Love this blog!! Have been a lurker, first time poster. Thanks Brandy, can’t wait for your posts and the responses.

    Frugal week here-garden growing well. Harvested chard, zucchini, cucumbers, thinned onions and a handful of beans.

    Bought 3 lugs of peaches to can. Out $60.00 but can’t grow them here in Minnesota. The grandkids love them so hope to have at least 20 quarts. Jars in dishwasher as we speak and this will be my afternoon of fun!

    It is my motto to never buy anything full price and in most instances it can be found gently used if you keep looking.

    Frugal accomplishments include:
    -sewed a button down shirt for one of my grandson’s. It was from a piece of Mickey Mouse fabric I bought at a thrift shop/ interfacing was scraps/ and buttons from my button jar. He loves it!!
    -working on a couple of summer dresses for my 2 oldest grand daughter’s from fabric that was given to me. Hope to be done by the weekend.
    -washed and hung clothes out on the line
    -kept groceries to $50. Try to keep total to $50 per week.
    -only gas was to work and back, no extra trips. Got groceries after work one night.
    -all meals at home. Mostly grilled meat and a salad or veggie at night/ breakfast is usually yogurt and fruit for me, hubby has toast made from homemade bread. Lunches-we take leftovers to work.
    -Have cabbage rolls in the crockpot for supper tonight (from the freezer from last year-the last of them.)

    That’s about it. Keep posting everyone and I will keep reading!

  89. J, it might all be a mess this year with your house and garden, but we’ll hope that next year with the new kitchen in you will have a wonderful garden and a bounteous harvest.

  90. Mary Beth, the party sounds like it was a lot of fun. I like the idea of the biscotti for favors. We went to a wedding where they did that. I don’t know of sweet sixteen parties. It sounds like a common occurrence where you live maybe?

  91. You can put up bat houses. They seriously eat a lot of mosquitoes. I know that won’t help you right now, but in the long run it would. When we use spray we use the kind that also repels ticks as we have those also. Have you tried planting mosquito plants or using citronella candles when you are out? We do that for our patio and it works relatively well. There are always the super determined bug that let nothing stop them.

  92. PJGT, I am glad you are able to help your son with his medical problems even though you are so far away. Best wishes with the new job.

  93. Lori, I am sorry you have to deal with picky eaters. I know lots of readers gave ideas a couple weeks ago. PBJ and pizza not that bad overall except for the high salt content of the pizza, but I would worry about as they get older how harder it will be to change their habits.

    Even if you don’t get a garden put in it would be great if your husband could get the ground broken for it this year, tilled, the soil amended etc. Rocks picked. Whatever is needed. Then you would be ready to go first thing in spring without delay.

  94. Allyson, it sounds like you are doing frugally well with this trip.

    We always travel a route that has friends and family. So stay a night here or there. They didn’t even actually have to put us up in the house as we would have our VW van and all our camping supplies. So we’d put tents up in the backyard. We always bring a hostess gift and of course they are welcome to stay with us when they travel. If the weather is not amenable to camping out we can camp in… we all have sleeping bags and mattresses for the floor. Also when traveling we have a camp stove for cooking, a box that has staples and another box with dishes, pots, pans. We invested in a set of nesting stainless steel cookware with 4 kettles (largest is big enough to cook pasta for all of us with leftovers) and a tea kettle. We also have a stovetop percolator for coffee. It is easy enough to find a park picnic area, county, city, and have the meal there. We do love to visit grocery stores especially in other areas of the country or Canada.

  95. Well, another busy height of the summer week. I need 5 more hours a day and it would be just perfect.

    I wanted to make a comment as re’ the women who feel they cannot find other women of a like mind. I would suggest you look up your Homemaker group. They might be harder to find in a large city but small towns and farming areas are sure to have one or many. They might be called by the initials HCE but they can be found through your county extension office. If you don’t have an active one, start one. They will supply you with resources and help. We have monthly lessons with all info and handouts supplied to us for our meeting. We have a snack, lots of talk, we make plans and go on little field trips together. We share recipes, talk about our gardens, canning. My group is a mix of women some older, some younger, some working, some retired. Most with farming backgrounds but that is not a requirement. There are county wide meetings, district meetings, even statewide. You can be as involved as you want.

    Well, I’d like to write more later if I find the time. My youngest and I have been running the family farm stand the last 2 days. It is usually handled by my 2 uncles and their wives and their children/grandchildren but they had to go to a funeral on the wive’s side. (2 sisters married 2 brothers). My aunts lost their only brother so everyone of that family is gone to that for the gatherings and service. (My aunts had an interesting life..they are family of 5 children orphans from the Ukraine. The oldest Aunt Delphina was only 15 and had to take care of the younger on boat trip over and travel to new home. It was a major journey to here. They are writing a memoir for the family.)

    But back to the farm stand. It’s hard work! They extra loaded up with produce, fruit to get through the day and 1/2 they would miss and so we don’t have to go pick. Also they have a man from church monitoring the cucumbers and he brought those in this morning so they could fill the pre-orders. They did ask my husband to pick corn as that has just started in. He and our youngest daughter and our visiting missionary picked 6 bushels!! (approximately 50 ears per bushel) this morning and we sold it all by 11 am. 5.00/dozen. Some regular customers pre-order and they came to pick up 2,3 4 dozen at a time. The amount of corn picked will increase so much day after day now. We picked the first of our own corn and it is delicious. Corn every night for dinner is ideal.

  96. We always seem to end up with extra hot dog and hamburger buns, so I toast the leftover hot dog buns either for individual “garlic bread”
    with spaghetti or another Italian dish or to make mini-Hoagie roll sandwiches. My son loves to have a tuna sandwich on the leftover hamburger buns.

  97. I always love reading about you and your busy life. You have such good ideas. Your family really seems to pull through for each other and you have such a good time doing it.

  98. I thought I left a comment at the beginning of the week, but I probably forgot to push submit. Anyway, I had a great time reading through all the comments today.

    I was wondering…do the red beans taste the same as green ones? I’ve never had them before. We tried to grow them here once, but they don’t grow well in our area–not enough heat here. It’s great you can get them to grow there.

  99. Thank you Elizabeth. We are fortunate to be geographically situated in the same or near by area. That helps

  100. They are very common in NY. We did so much of it ourselves to help cut costs. Some of them are crazy expensive. We saved up for it and did not go into debt for it. We had a wonderful time. My daughter has some health issues so we didn’t even think twice about having a party. She keep saying she felt like a princess. She left for Italy with my sister a few days later. She is having an amazing summer. I hope it’s one she never forgets.

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