I have been wanting some crape myrtle bushes. I purchased them on sale for $20 off each at my local nursery (above). I also purchased some vincas on sale for mu white garden.

I found a leak in my garden and spent many hours digging to get to it. I was able to uncover the shutoff valve to those valves and staunch the flow of water. I still have more digging to do before I can make the repairs, but the leaking is stopped for now. Nevertheless, I know my water bill will be tremendous. I also lost many plants that were not getting watered as well.

Fixing the problems myself will save me more than $500 alone, as I have paid for this type of repair before (many years ago; I’m certain prices are higher now).

I spent lots of time organizing and cleaning, and got rid of several items that we weren’t using, which greatly added to my peace around the house while not spending any money.

I removed several tomato plants that had died and sowed seeds in their places in the garden for Armenian cucumbers and red noodle beans.

I harvested tomatoes, basil, peppers, and figs from the garden.

It rained a small amount, so I skipped a couple of watering cycles by turning off my drip irrigation for those.

I baked bread and brownies from scratch.

I cut a few roses from my garden that chose to bloom in the middle of the summer to enjoy inside before they burned.

I enjoyed sunrises and sunsets in my garden all week.

It was humid (we had 57% humidity) so I collected water from my air conditioner pipes where it drips and used that water to water potted plants in the garden.

I moved two century plant babies that my century plants made into pots where previous plants had died, replacing the dead plants with no out-of-pocket costs.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Brandy, such beautiful pictures! You certainly have found one of your talents in life! Adding beauty to others’ lives! Thank you!
    -This is for 2 weeks, the first week we had 3 of our grandchildren for the week. -We did not do much on the home front except food preservation as this doesn’t wait. We did go to the Minnesota Zoo, that is the only day money was spent. And just for tickets to the zoo, we packed a lunch and ate at picnic tables outside the zoo and then re-entered. Food was crazy expensive-$5 for a can of pop or a bottle of water!
    -We also went to our local lake and swam, water skied, and went on the tube behind the boat, we spent an afternoon at a local water pad (free) with a picnic lunch, and an afternoon at a local playground with a zip line. We had fun for very little money.
    -Our grandkids are lactose intolerant and they wanted ice cream, the lactose free Breyers is so expensive. I bought a 1/2 gallon of lactose free whole milk and a quart of lactose free half and half. We made 2 batches in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. We made vanilla and then strawberry with berries we picked in June. I got the ice cream maker for my birthday several years ago and it has been well loved. You freeze the bowl in the freezer overnight, no ice and salt. Makes in about 30 minutes. It was yummy, not as creamy as the regular with heavy whipping cream, but they loved it.
    The second week:
    -I was given a bunch of dill from a friend. She had excess in her garden. I cut off the heads and froze them until I get the small cukes I ordered. I dehydrated the feathery fronds for dried dill weed.
    -I canned 7 half pints of zesty zucchini relish using zucchini, onions, and green and red peppers from my garden. I also canned 9 quarts of spaghetti sauce from garden tomatoes.
    -I canned 4 quarts of apple juice from apples we picked up on the ground after a storm went through.
    -We are watering our garden and fruit trees. We have only had about an inch and 1/4 of rain this summer. It is so dry in central MN. We haven’t mowed the lawn for 6 weeks. It is brown and crunchy. I pulled up the snow peas and zucchini. I harvested the onions and they are drying and curing in the shed. Once they are done, the potatoes are next. The cukes and tomatoes are still coming. And the apple trees are loaded. So have some canning ahead of me yet.
    -I bought 5 dozen corn on the cob. We saved 6 for fresh eating and I canned 29 pints of kernels. I have a tool from pampered chef that someone gave me and it worked great at getting the kernels cut off.
    -We were invited to a lake to spend a day with friends. We brought 2# ground beef, buns, and sliced cheese for the meal. They provided the sides. It was the male friends bday. I gave him home canned candied jalapeños and zesty zucchini relish plus a pint of refrigerator pickles. He was thrilled with the food gifts.
    -I made apple butter quick bread from my second to last half pint of crock pot apple butter from the freezer. My apple trees are loaded here and I will make more this fall. I had been keeping this back as we like it so well.
    -I stopped at a garage sale and picked up a few things-2 metal riser shelves to use in my cupboards to double stack things and use some of the wasted space. Also some material and thread, a heavy duty basket with a wooden handle (going to use in the garden to harvest), and a brand new button down shirt for my husband. I spent $5 and all these things are very useful.
    -I also stopped into the local thrift store as they were having 25% off that day. I bought one thing, I bought a gadget that has 6 small wheels on it(think pizza cutter, but the wheels are smaller and there are 6. It is all metal and I think it is a noodle cutter. At least that is what I will use it for. I make egg noodles in the winter for soup, etc. It also could be used to cut strips of pie crust to make a lattice top for a pie. I paid $0.75.
    -I bought some clearance fabric at Hobby Lobby. I hope to make another dress from a pattern I already have made a dress from and I love. Total cost will be $6 plus my time.

    Have a great week!

    1. Sorry, Julie, I think we have your rain down here. I haven’t checked the rain guage since our second storm of the day came in after dark, but I would not be surprised if we got one and a quarter inches of rain just today. You can also have our high heat and humidity if you want it as well, although today’s feel like temp of 127 degrees F (52.77 C) really wasn’t that pleasant. Relief is allegedly coming tomorrow (Wednesday); they say it will be only 90/feels like 100 F (32.22/37.77 C). Oh well, it definitely beats winter cold and snow.

      Brandy, Lake Mead has continued to go up and is close to the 2021 level. Do you know if tha’s because you all have gotten some rain this summer, water is being released from Lake Powell (which is now going down), conservation efforts, something else or a combination of all of the above? Just curious…

      1. Water is being released from Lake Powell because of extra rain and snow that fell in Colorado. The little bit of rain we got here didn’t make a significant difference.

        The other reasons the water is rising is because people are not taking their allotted water. California didn’t take some and Arizona didn’t take some.

        Our water district here paid $25 million to Arizona farmers to not farm.

        Which explains a lot about our raised rates and fines.

        The 2021 level was the cutoff for massive conservation efforts. It’s a dangerously low number.

        What we really need to see is the Lake to significantly rise.

        It has been said that we would need 5 or 6 more winters like the one we just had in the west for Lake Mead to rise to full capacity.

        No one thinks that is possible.

        But California reservoirs went from 27% to full last year due to all the rain and snow that fell. It was amazing.

        BUT these are smaller reservoirs. Lake Mead is the largest.

        Personally, I have great hope that this winter will be a repeat of last winter, and that we will see more water coming downstream next spring.

        More than 2 El Niño years in a row would be rare (though we had 3 La Niña years in a row before that, which is dry for us). But if we could get a third year . . . I cannot help but think that would make a significant difference.

        Keep in mind that this is not California. We don’t declare the drought over here every few years. We have officially declared drought for 23 years. So, the rates and fines and rules will stay in place (such as new houses may not have any real grass at all).

        And the law passed, making a household maximum, that would be enacted if the Feds declare further cuts. This would be devastating to us; as a large family, I cannot possibly hope to stay below these amounts, and I would be in danger of having my water cut off completely, along with 20% of the residents here.

        So I pray for rain and snow in Colorado.

        1. Thank you for explaining. I know the current level isn’t anywhere near what it needs to be; I’m just happy for you all that it’s rising and not dropping like it does most summers. I think everyone from skiers and snow plow drivers to people who need water benefits with heavy snowfall years. Here’s hoping ama paying that happens.

        2. Living in Southern Arizona, I am as mindful as you are about water use. The per-house limit that would be imposed would be an unequal distribution of water. One person living in a single family home could fill the bathtub and wash their car every day, but what about large families being frugal? What if someone were to take in foster children and risk having their water cut off due to an increase in family size? It should be a per person use and it might be suggested to the city council now, before such restrictions occur (which I hope won’t happen).

          We have been having a frugal week here. One is a sad reduction in expenses as our very senior kitty passed. Pet care has gotten extremely expensive and I don’t think we will be replacing him, as sweet as he was. We did donate 80 pounds of cat litter and two cases of wet food to a church run food pantry which was delighted to take it all and bless someone’s pet in need.

          Your photographs of your garden are so beautiful, Brandy. They lifted my spirits.

          1. Nina,
            I’m so sorry for your cat’s passing. So kind of you to pass along the litter and food to help others. <3

        3. Could you have your home re-zoned as a duplex and get two households’ worth of water?
          Just a crazy idea.
          Elizabeth H.

    2. I did not realize you could buy lactose free half and half. I shall have to look into this as my grandson is lactose intolerant as well and his mom and I were just discussing getting ice cream for his birthday in November. If I can make it myself it would be so much nicer than it being a once in a long while treat for him!

  2. Brandy, I wish my tomatoes looked as good as yours! Actually, I just wish I had some tomatoes to look like yours! I have only harvested 4 this year and nothing about the plants has me thinking there are going to be many more. First time I’ve ever had a tomato failure. Only thing I did differently was try to grow them in containers….

    This week I harvested Swiss chard and the last of the green beans. I have turned off my sprinkler system every Thursday all summer. This is mainly so the grass is dry when the mowers come, but also to save water.

    We are in for a very hot week, with temperatures around the 100+ mark for at least 4 days. We are running the ceiling fans in addition to the AC. Trying to stay cool in whatever we do.

    I make a small pot of tea most mornings but don’t always drink the second cup. I am trying to remember to chill it or pour over ice in the afternoon for a pick-me-up that would otherwise be wasted. Since my tea bags cost less than .03 each, I’m not saving much…but I am definitely enjoying it! (When we were on vacation, tea in restaurants was $3.50. No, thanks!).

    I made a double recipe of meatballs and froze half for a future meal.

    The windshield on our 2003 pickup cracked last winter. We finally got it replaced. I was expecting a $250 insurance deductible and I was thrilled when it was only $100!

    My daughter-in-law gave me 128 laundry detergent strips. She had issues with the scent. They are the kind that dissolve in water. I’ve been wanting to try these. I love that there is nothing to recycle except a tiny cardboard box. Keep your fingers crossed that they are good.

    Brandy, you mentioned somewhere that you had a list of books you’ve read that were set during WW2. If you wouldn’t mind, please tell me where I can find the list. Thank you!

    1. Those are actually teeny tiny bell peppers!

      Click on the link to my Amazon storefront at the bottom; my WWII book list is there.

    2. Tomatoes in containers are a whole different animal. Even with instructions from a master grower I never got it right. I tried for four years before giving up. They are so easy in the ground by comparison.

    3. Maxine I do my tomatoes every year in large pots, I have sungold a round orange tomato, red cherry tomato, and yellow pear tomato- plus regular size tomatoes like san marzano
      Eight all total that are now approximately 8foot tall
      A friend told me to take bottom leaves off and mind soil up the stem
      The sungold will produce till frost most years
      Hope this helps

    4. Maxine, we have only green tomatoes and it is mid August. I planted in May like usual and they have stayed green all summer. I usually start picking in late Ju e and have never had this happen! I am wondering if the haze from the Canadian wildfires have blocked the sun all summer. My friend who has figs has the same issue. I usually pick by the 4 th of July and they are just ripening now! Very odd!

  3. Our village had a summer festival along the main street. I stopped at the library book sale, where books were “what you choose to pay,” and bought two books at the modest prices they charge when selling the books they are discarding. I walked up to the special farmer’s market held that day, and bought some local apples, potatoes, garlic, and homemade bread. The apples are a small, old-fashioned variety grown in cold climates. I didn’t know anyone I could ask for some, so I was glad to get some here. The potatoes were a variety not sold in the store. The prices were the same as the local grocery store for the varieties they have. Our farmer’s markets are normally more expensive, so I was happy with this. I kept to a budget by only bringing a set amount with me.

    Our main street has many benches. I sat down twice, and someone joined me each time. One person I knew, the other I didn’t, but both wanted to talk. We sat in the sunshine and I had a lovely visit with each.

    The RCMP (Mounties) had set up hay bales across one street, and held a hockey ball game, with the police officers playing with lots of local kids. There was a Smoky the Bear type of mascot, dressed in Mountie dress (red jacket and hat), who was high-fiving little kids. More than one adult had his picture taken arm in arm with the mascot as well. They had brought in food trucks. A huge turnout for the day, with many young families coming from local cottages and campsites.

    I have a very lean grocery budget this month and next, but careful shopping and meal planning is working well so far. I don’t plan the meals out on an exact schedule but choose each day what I want to cook from a list I’ve made in advance.

  4. Being handy and learning skills certainly is valuable, Brandy! Well done on finding the shutoff!!
    And the client quilts for our little quilting business keep coming: https://pin.it/4y2nvwA and https://pin.it/4D44M5D. As these 2 and 1 other were picked up and paid for on Friday, 3 more quilt tops from other clients came in today. In the interim in Saturday, I was able to quilt and bind a couple of my own to replenish my gift cupboard: https://pin.it/7mW2qvU. And this morning, I quilted this UFO of mine and it’s ready to bind: https://pin.it/77mVCJd.

    I took the 44 breaded chicken breast filets I got from the discount grocer for $10.80 and cooked them all up at one time and packaged in groups of 4 for the freezer so they will be truly “ready to eat” ! We kept out 1 package to try, put it into a bun with Ranch dip, Swiss chard and tomatoes from garden and a slice of cheese and Voila!! We had our version of Wendy’s Chicken Ranch Asiago sandwich for well under 50 cents each! This way, we could enjoy takeaway food without the cost!

    Speaking of garden, here’s a photo of the tomatoes I picked just 3 days after picking all the ripe tomatoes then. https://pin.it/25EuWe9. I love how handy those plastic Dollar Tree totes are for harvesting! I got out a large mixing bowl and filled it with the cherry and pear tomatoes to use as a “candy dish” for us to grab a handful any time we walk by! Yum!! I also added another tightly packed quart ziploc bag of jalapeños for freezer! So far this season, I have picked and frozen 4 quarts of them! I’m also picking a cereal bowl full of blackberries every day so when I brought cookies to a Church event, I made the Blackberry Oatmeal cookies (https://pin.it/3JgaUi2) that everyone seems to love! Dave teases about how I “make” him eat food storage all the time, like these cookies! Blackberries from garden, flour, oats and spices from pantry storage, butter from a year ago when it was $1.99/pound and eggs from our chickens! And white chocolate chips vacuum sealed in mason jars from sale last year (50 cents a bag!). Lol! Believe me, we do not feel deprived at all as we live on and keep rotating our food storage! And we don’t feel the pressure to buy groceries unless the price is really good!

    We have been abundantly blessed by this and it makes it possible to share a meal or treats with others easily. Case in point: a new family moved into our congregation from another state. Dad arrived first with moving truck on Saturday and was unpacking some boxes to start putting things into place. Mom and 2 little girls were driving family car and didn’t arrive until after 10 pm that night after a long, tiring trip. We had taken dinner and cookies over to welcome them when it was just Dad . Gave him our phone number before we left and said that we lived just a couple miles away and to call us if they needed anything. At about 9:30 that night, the Dad called and asked if there was any possibility that he could borrow some laundry detergent. Dave laughed and asked what brand the family used and rattled off the 4 different brands I had stored . He told us which brand they used (Tide) and Dave left to basement and got a bottle of it and took it over! Our first winter in Ohio (30 years ago) was a particularly snowy/icy one and people were advised to not go out on the roads. With a big family at home, we got down to the last few drops of detergent! Since then, I vowed to never get to that point again, if at all possible! So whenever there is an excellent sale price, I will buy some. Needless to say, when pandemic lockdown came, we had no reason to go to store for anything. We were able to keep our normal lifestyle with meals and sundries! This is not meaning to brag, only to express gratitude for the opportunities we have had and how it opens the way for us to share with others quickly!

    Today (Monday) has become a rainy day, so it’s a great time to concentrate on indoor projects! Or that’s what I had planned! Instead, I’ve had a nagging feeling that it was time to start planning the replacement of our laying hens. They still give us 2- 2-1/2 dozen eggs a week but I am looking towards next year. Availability was nonexistent this past year for started pullets (16-20 weeks old). I saw that the hatchery where we’ve bought them before had Spring and Fall as the time to get them and to preorder. But the website said sold out on all of them. So this afternoon, I called them to see if I could still preorder for fall and was told that they didn’t know if they would get any this fall because they got none this Spring! But, they did have 22 Buff Orpingtons in the store right then that were 20 weeks old. I told her to hold 8 of them and Dave and I hopped in van in the rain to travel 90 minutes away on an adventure! In the meantime, we posted our current hens for sale for $5 each on FB. They were sold immediately so we are pleased! This will ensure our egg production for the next 4-5 years! We feel like this was the answer to our prayer.

    Even though our triennial county tax assessment was last year and our assessed value tripled, the county did another one this year because of rising sales prices. Our valuation is now over double what it was last year, so even with our homestead exemption (which is a flat $450) and our owner-occupied exemption, our property taxes will probably go up by $200/month. Grateful for the 28 years it was low and grateful that we don’t have a mortgage on top of that!

    Trying to find a positive spin on all the craziness that is going on. I think that it helps our physical and mental health!
    Hope everyone else is able to find their peaceful and calm place through whatever challenges come! It certainly sounds like you have, Brandy! ❤️

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Pat, your Buff Orpingtons make me think of one of my favorite books, Busman’s Honeymoon (D. Sayers), in which Miss Twitterton’s Buff Orpingtons feature somewhat prominently. 😀

      1. Ava- To me, Buff Orpingtons are the Disney cartoon hens- plump and and adorable! Best of all, they have already started giving us 3- 4 eggs a day!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      2. Another Dorothy L. Sayers fan!!!! My fave is Gaudy Night, but love them all, of course. Have you read Lucy Worsley bio of Agatha Christie? It’s amazing, and there’s a lot about DLS worked in there…you might enjoy it!

    2. Gardenpat, your savings are such a good example of how to build up a most admirable stockpile over time. The savings accumulate: by saving a little on one item, and putting that savings into another stock-up item, and so on– That’s the way to go!

      1. Heidi Louise- You’re exactly right! There’s no way, even now that it’s only two of us at home rather than 13, that we could go out and buy or grow and preserve everything we would need to live on for a year (or even 3- 6 months) in one single trip to the store! We don’t have that kind of money! But…over the years, we’ve been able to gather foods and sundries when good sales/opportunities come up and we can stock up on particular things. Once we do, we can rotate through them and restock as opportunities come up again! And each item adds to our freedom from inflated store prices!

        Just so no one thinks I am the mastermind/boss of these adventures like the chicken run the other afternoon in the rain, today while I was busy binding a king size quilt for a client, Dave found an ad and made contact with a guy online who was offering free pears from his pear tree to anyone willing to pick them! So, off we went!! Got about 30 pounds before it got too hot, but we’ve arranged to go back in the early morning tomorrow with our daughter and son-in-law so they can also pick some with us! The tree is just loaded! Glad he and I are on the same “team”!! 52-1/2 years and counting!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  5. Brandy, your pictures are beautiful as always. This week my husband cut his hair and beard himself saving time and money. My sister gave me a watermelon and 2 pumpkins. At my job we had a lunch meeting and I got to take home the leftover sandwiches, vegetables and fruit. We had lunch at church this past Sunday and I made several dishes to share. We had so much extra, that we all made plates to take to different families in the community. My husband has been working on cleaning up an area close to our house with the trees. Rain, Rain and more rain. We are having his kids and grandkids over tonight for dinner. We are grilling from the freezer. One good thing our temperatures are in the 80s this week. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

  6. I hate to hear that you lost some plants, but at least you’ve found the problem.

    I didn’t use my clothes dryer this last week at all except to air-only/fluff the sofa pet cover to help remove dog hair. Everything else hung on a rack or clothesline.

    It was too hot to cook in the oven – the heat index in my area was 117 to 120 this past weekend – so I used my stovetop and crock pot. Some years ago I bought a really big skillet that has sloped sides and a flat bottom that exactly fits my oversized biggest burner. I used it to cook a large amount of cubed sweet potatoes in one go, then 12 good-sized homemade sausage patties, reducing the amount of hot burner time needed.

    I mended a stuffed toy for a grandchild.

    I’m eating what I already have for the most part to lower the grocery bill this month.

    I’m eating out of my raised beds almost every day as well.

    We are planning a birthday celebration for an adult in the family- the rest of us will cook and contribute to a nice meal at home for much less money and headache than going to a restaurant with multiple small kids.

    I gave myself a manicure.

    I’m still being careful with electric usage. My electric bill is going to reflect a lot of air conditioning, but I do what I can to keep the rest as minimal as possible.

  7. This must be the season for clearing out. After inheriting a considerable amount of clothes from one aunt, and an overwhelming amount of china from another aunt, my house was bursting. I have worked hard to reorganize closets, bookshelves and drawers. It makes the house feel fresh and new. The garage is next. I’ve taken a load to Goodwill, gifted many things on Buy Nothing, and sold a few things on FB marketplace. I was even able to give away (on FB marketplace for free) the 5 foot cube wooden shipping container that the dishes came in. Not a typo-there really was 125 cubic feet of wrapped dishes! I was glad the shipping container could be put to a second use with someone else.
    I picked over 60 pounds of apples at a friend’s orchard, and over 10 pound of blackberries at a different friend’s. My cucumbers and tomatoes are producing rapidly. New bush bean plants are growing, pole beans are starting to produce flowers.
    I’ve altered some clothing, bought my husband a few t shirts and a pair of shorts at Costco-fabulous prices!

    1. Kara – a friend of mine has the same issues – she says her apt. is full of dead people stuff! Mostly photos, paperwork and CHINA!! My friend doesn’t cook very much and doesn’t entertain in her home so she is feeling rather overwhelmed with all those dishes!

      1. That is an excellent way to look at all the items. I’m sure those who have gone before us and left us with their items will not be in any way offended when we pass these on.
        It really is a burden to be left with another person’s belongings. I am trying to clear, rehome , donate or sell my ‘stuff’ so my children dont have too much to sort.
        When my friends mother died they spent weeks sorting and clearing box after box of her belongings. Not alone is this time consuming for family it’s also a very emotional and exhausting job.

    2. Kara, there’s a totally glut of good china out there. I talked to an antique dealer that won’t even take donations of it anymore because it doesn’t sell. Young people are not interested, for the most part. A couple of years ago, my best friend told me she was going to buy some new every day dishes because so many had broken. I told her to use her china. She gasped and said the place settings were $125 each. She was planning to give them to her daughter. She also has her mom’s and MILs sets. Turns out her daughter wants NONE of them. So, I asked her how much sense it made to buy new dishes when she was already storing enough for a White House dinner in her garage. A couple of days later she said, “I can’t believe I ate In n Out Burger on an $80 plate.”. We had a good laugh and she said she never had to buy dishes again. She is not a tightwad or $ saver of any sort so this was a mini lesson.

      1. A couple of weeks ago our pastor said in a sermon that it didn’t matter if it was a paper plate or a fine China plate, a bologna sandwich was still a bologna sandwich! Me and the girl in front of me laughed and laughed over that statement. But you were perfectly right! Eat that In and Out burger off that good China. Put it to good use!

  8. Enjoying the larger number of photos today!
    My husband and I attended an opening reception for a display of watercolors by a local artist, put on by the local Art Council. Their gallery is in the Carnegie Center, the former public library– Those buildings have been repurposed in a great many ways! The paintings were lovely and the hors d’oeuvres excellent. I was well-behaved and didn’t keep going back to the table, though I really wanted to.
    I continue cleaning and sorting in my basement. I found several items of clothing that now fit my husband or me that had been put away, as well as some decorative items. (Is it just me or is the glass in old picture frames more brittle than modern glass? I get nervous when I take it out to wash it).
    I happened to be in the right place to spot the bright orange of my last blooming day lily of the season, and picked it for one day inside.
    We have a gravel driveway and lots of grass and weeds are coming up in it. I found a spray recipe online of vinegar, bit of dish soap for stickiness, and salt, which we are going to use to try to kill off some of them. This is mostly for closer to the house and center of the driveway, so it doesn’t seep sideways to grass or trees. That is our plan for Friday, when it is supposed to be sunshiney for several days. This will make my husband feel better about the yard; I don’t really mind the grass.

    1. My father was a picture framer, and I worked with him. Yes, older glass is thinner and more brittle.

  9. Hello Everyone ,
    Your garden is amazing, especially for your climate Brandy! 🌺

    We received our ultrasonic pest repellers from Amazon. I used your link Brandy so I hope you receive credit. I choose ones for outdoors that plug into a socket. The battery operated ones were not rated as well. We put it on a highest setting. The intermittent piercing noise is annoying when we’re outside, but it’s a worthwhile discomfort. In addition we trapped and killed 4 rats last week (one of which was pregnant) using peanut butter and dog kibble. We’re reusing traps as we can. There used to be 2 feral cats in the neighborhood who were plump. I haven’t seen them in months so maybe something happened to them? 🤷🏻‍♀️ Perhaps that plus our neighbor’s relandscaping has caused the rat problem this year.

    My garden is finally doing better. I finally have some green tomatoes, a couple cucumbers, and zucchini this year. I canned 20 pint jars of whole plums a week or so ago. I’ve made whole wheat zucchini muffins and chocolate zucchini bread this week. Pears are almost ripe so that will be an upcoming project.

    My son had his wisdom teeth removed last week. I received a refund from Honda for a car repair that had an extended warranty. So that money went to the oral surgeon. I’ve been making soft foods at home to avoid buying anything special.

    I had to drive to JoAnn for buttons and so I bought a few other notions for future projects as well. Since it’s a trek, I made stops at other stores on the way home. I stocked up on some supplies during back to school sales. Other savings: at home pedicure, dog wash, and interior car cleaning.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week all! ☀️

    1. Many towns, including my own, do not allow loose cats, so that definitely causes an increase in nuisance animals. But allowing them outside without being fixed causes a problem with too many feral cats, so it’s kind of lose-lose. We have an indoor-outdoor cat even though we aren’t supposed to let her out. She came to us as a stray, so that is how she has always known it, and she is too set in her ways to change. I feel that, Frank the cat. I feel it. 😉

  10. Your garden is so beautiful! I never get over how you can do all this in desert conditions. I’m glad you were able to find the leak. I saw the pic on IG and it looked complex!

    My frugal week:
    – hosted a friend and his daughter for a kid-friendly dinner: top your own homemade pizza (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/) and decorate your own cupcakes (homemade of course, with homemade buttercream icing – http://approachingfood.com/best-ever-buttercream-frosting/). I served watermelon (on sale the previous week), veggie sticks (half price baby carrots), and homemade hummus (https://approachingfood.com/ultra-creamy-hummus/ as sides. An activity and kid-friendly meal, all in one! My friend asked what he could bring. Normally I would say just to bring themselves, but his daughter prefers certain toppings, ones that I don’t usually buy, so I asked if he would bring those.
    – redeemed $10 worth of loyalty points for sale items.
    – followed up on $6 worth of loyalty points awarded to me, and $4 cash back not able to claim online. Got them both. $10 is $10!
    – made banana bread to use up some uneaten bananas, and sprinkled chocolate chips only on the top, instead of stirring them in.
    – made banana nice cream (http://approachingfood.com/tropical-coconut-banana-nice-cream/)
    – accepted a bag full of diapers in a size that a friend’s child had outgrown. Much appreciated!
    – foraged some raspberries on daily walks with my youngest, plus picked a few raspberries from the plant on my balcony.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  11. Getting Covid the first week really helped my low buy August month. It did not help my sick leave account. OH Well. I am lucky to have sick leave to use.

    I am 30 days into my 100 day clean food challenge. No UPF’s. People say that not eating UPF’s is expensive but I have really saved money. I virtually can’t eat out anywhere without a huge hassle. No frozen yoghurt or treats. Everything has to be pre-made. With my breadmaker, Instapot, rice maker, air fryer, and juicer I have been cooking inexpensively in bulk and freezing. I found 2 lbs of blueberries for 5.00. I have two dozen organic eggs 1.99 each.I 3 lbs of butter for 3.79 a pound. That was pretty good.

    I picked up 2 COVID free tests at school.

    I needed some containers from school and used packaging from bulk foods until I can find something better.

    1. Mary Ann …

      So glad that you’ve recovered well. Was going to suggest free COVID testing kits from the US Postal Service where we received them in the past, but I just noticed that they discontinued offering them a few months ago. Nice that you were able to obtain them from your local school.

  12. I canceled Netflix DVD(it was ending soon anyways). I had one movie left on my list, but it would be cheaper to just rent it when I’m ready to watch it.

    I made salsa with the tomatoes my neighbor sent over. I gave her a quart, and we have three for here. Froze the excess liquid to use in soup this winter.

    Froze leftover taco meat.

    Made nachoes with two ends of Velveeta I had in the refrigerator.

    Our water heater has been acting up, so hubby cleaned out calcium build up and replaced the heating elements. He used our Menards rebate card, so nothing out of pocket.

    Found a few things cleaning…another box of kleenex, two containers of laundry pods, floss.

    Cut all the dogs nails at home. Kind of a process, none of them are fans, but between the teen and I, we can get it done.

    Got rid of a few more items. I haven’t got everything sorted that I want to sell, and I go back to work this week, and classes start Monday. ☹️ I’ll get it done eventually.

    Got an alarm clock, heavy duty curtain rod, and a pad of watercolor paper from a pallet sale group($10 all)

  13. Hello Brandy and all.
    The pictures are beautiful. I rarely comment, however I look forward to each post. Thank you Brandy for such a wonderful blog. I would like to ask a question that I hope someone has an answer to… I happened upon a great sale for seeds today ( Menards) and purchased a large amount for the next few years. What would be the best way to save these? Open air? Freezer? I have never saved them for future use. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Carol. Nice that you founds seeds on a good sale! I’ve been told that the most important things when you store seeds are: dry – dark – cool – in that order, meaning that keeping the seeds dry is the most important, then dark and then if you can, cool. I keep my seeds in a dark cupboard at room temperature, and most last several years. It also depends on how warm and moist it is where you live, and how long you plan to store the seeds for. Some keep seeds in an airtight container in the fridge, but I prefer not to, as the fridge is moist, and if your container is not completely airtight, it means you will break the most important ‘rule’: to keep the seeds dry. I have no experience on freezing seeds, as storing them in a dark cupboard is fine for my needs. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you so much to all that replied about seed storage. I have a pressure sealer ( kind of like a food saver, but different. Lol). I’ll pressure seal them and put them into a closet until next year or several years hopefully. At .17 per package I was thrilled. The lady behind me bought 300 to donate to food pantry. I thought that was a great thing she was doing.

    2. Keep your seeds In their original packaging . put them in vacuum seal bags (or a ziploc bag with the air pushed out) with an absorbent gel package. put them in the refrigerator (not the freezer -unless they must have a stratified time in order to germinate). we are still using seeds that we found at my father’s house shortly after he passed (9 years ago) and they continue to produce at at least 90% germination. Good luck.

    3. Carol, I seed save and I keep mine in a cool, dry, and dark place. For me that is in a plastic covered container(to keep them dry) in my basement on a shelf in my storage room. I have no problem saving seeds year to year or several years as a matter of fact. If you have no basement a closet works well.

  14. The pictures of your garden are so beautiful!

    I saved money by getting cash back with Ibotta on my groceries. I usually don’t get much from this app, but this time they happened to have offers for many of the things I needed.

    I asked for, and got, refunds for a few things that were expired or missing from my last two grocery deliveries. I tend to just let these things go, but it really isn’t much trouble to get a refund in most cases. I’m trying to do better with this.

    I have used fans and kept the curtains closed in the afternoons to try and keep the house a little cooler. The air conditioner still runs almost nonstop in the heat wave we’re having, but I think it helps a little.

  15. Brandy, your garden is always amazing – I can’t believe all that you manage to grow in that terrible heat! Here – we seem to have a couple of days of hot and humid weather followed by a day of rain – and then temps drop quite a bit – and then we start all over again! It has certainly kept everything lush and green – usually by now everyone’s lawns would have turned to straw – but not this year! I’m not sure how well peoples’ gardens are doing but I haven’t minded this Summer at all.
    . spent about 10 minutes on the phone to get $5 worth of Loyalty Points that hadn’t been credited (and of course their online system was down for over a week so had to search for a phone number!
    .kept grocery shopping to a minimum
    .made a few jars of refrigerator pickles
    .made a jar of preserved lemons
    .made up a picnic to take with us when friends and I went on a weekend hike
    .had a friend up for dinner one evening and she had me to her place on another night.
    .repurposed a small metal shelving unit – it now fits in a corner of my tiny kitchen and will hold a lot of small appliances. I only have one outlet in my kitchen (its an old bldg.) so appliances need to be utilized at this one spot. This will put things like my blender, small food processor and – soon to be bought – slow cooker much closer to hand so I hope that will encourage me to make better use of them.
    .spent some time on a rainy Saturday cooking, ground beef and chicken plus a lot of veg – some to be used this week and others for the freezer. Hoping to get some baking done this weekend!

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  16. I enjoy all the beautiful photography that Brandy posts. I’m sitting outside watching all the birds flutter around my sour cherry tree. I need to pull my feeders down and wash them. I imagine the lil critters would like to have them filled. I’ve seen several hummingbirds at my bushes. I don’t remember when you are suppose to feed them. I will add a feeder for them next time I find one marked down. Sugar cookie returned home from her summer trip this week. I had the forethought to check her flight before parking at the airport. The flight was delayed due to weather . I stopped near the airport and browsed around several stores . This saved me a good bit of money on parking by not doing my waiting for her at the actual airport. I use the Hoppr app for most of our flights. Today it had repeated notifications that our November cruise had cheap flights. I purchased two round trip tickets for $57.00 a piece . I retrieved several sealed boxes from Burlington coat factory last week. My prized find was a pair of expensive Nike cleats that I will be selling. I brought home two new ” Mr Clean” toilet bowl brushes with the canister they rest in. Its ironic what makes me happy. I had a bag of shoes , one of seat covers for cars and one of assorted socks and clothes. Those were all passed to a neighbor family. The mom was thrilled with all the socks and the young father said the seat covers were just what his truck needed. I know that the increased gas and food prices make these younger families really struggle. I hand picked a few fruits and vegetables for my house. I stocked up on Pillsbury pizza dough for 29 cents a roll. My son loves making pizzas and it freezes well. An employee at my favorite store dumpster lost his phone. I had one in the car that was not needed. He was able to put a ” Mint ” , SIM card in it and get back to having service. Its nice to see electronics passed on. We were all up for upgrades on our phones. The 3 kids got free upgrades. I passed on mine. Mine works fine , Im still learning how to work it after two years but most importantly , I didn’t want to have to buy a new case for a new phone. My Otter case has saved my phone a dozen times. Its one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

  17. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    We redeemed another month of Pizza Hut book-it vouchers for free pizza for the kids. We are reading a lot anyway, so it’s no extra trouble, and a fun treat.
    I went to the salvage grocery store. They have 5# bags of white cheddar shredded cheese for $8.99, which is a good price. We use it for just about everything. I bought some and repackaged in my ($2 garage sale) Foodsaver, to help it last longer.
    I caught some items that rang up the wrong price at Kroger.
    I sold more items on Mercari and Facebook Marketplace: cash in, junk out!
    Major job: I went through many of the hand-me-down bins, and got the kids more clothes in their bigger sizes. A pair of nice shoes was missing laces, so I took the laces from an outgrown pair that I don’t need anymore. Minimal spending on back to school is a win!
    Goodwill Outlet trip: good condition Hydroflask bottle, Blippi talking doll, Keen sandals, bag of hotel soaps, cowboy boots, new pack of diapers, Tory Burch flats in a daughter’s size, highlighters, plus lots of lightweight athletic clothes I’ll take to the consignment store. Always an adventure!
    Visited my aunt and uncle, and they gave us some eggs from their chickens, as well as took the kids around in their golf cart. They don’t have grandchildren, and are so kind to my kids.
    Went to Ollie’s, and found several expired or near expiration foods that they marked 75% off for me: Kashi cereal (.50/box), Moon Pies (.57/box), chips, and lots and lots of Kind bars.
    I made Dutch babies on a night I was too tired to cook a proper meal.
    I donated some school supplies from prior years and from Goodwill Outlet to a coffee shop giving away iced coffees and lemonade with school supply donation, which was a treat for the kids and myself.
    A neighbor gave us some clothes she bought for her daughter, but the daughter didn’t like them and they waited too long to return.
    I returned a couple of clothing items to Goodwill that won’t work for my kids.
    I’ve decided to sell my old Honda minivan. It’s a great vehicle, but I can’t justify having two minivans, especially with our insurance increases.
    I have a good start on nieces and nephews, but need to start thinking about my own kids.

    1. Leigh Ann …

      Great going this week! And, great find on the white cheddar! May I ask which salvage grocery you visit in the Houston area? You don’t have to share the exact location, I’m just curious about the store name as I drive in to Houston once a month or so for shopping. Thanks so much!

      1. Hi Carolyn,
        It’s called Grocery Warehouse, in New Caney, on Highway 59 north.
        I do most of my everyday shopping at Joe V’s, which is owned by HEB, but more value-oriented. They carry a lot of the Hill Country Fare generic products, but still have quality meats and produce like HEB. It’s just less bougie, lol.

  18. Lovely pictures Brandy, thank you for sharing with us.
    I’ve been harvesting tomatoes 🍅. I have six plants and they are doing great. We’re pretty much just shopping the sales. I bring lunch to work everyday as I have for the last 42 years. Breakfast and dinner are prepared and eaten at home. Eating out is a special occasion for us.
    I have a question, do you dump your large bags of flour into the 5 gallon bucket with the gamma lids or keep it in the bag? Thanks

  19. Brandy, does your water department give leak credits? I know things are different there. Ours does. You have to fill out a form and provide proof that the problem was fixed. Within a month or two, you receive a credit based on how much your bill usually is.

    1. No. They give fines and charge you at a higher rate for all the extra water. They also call you and send letters threatening fines.

      1. Does your water company offer a leak app? Ours does and it notifies you if your water use increases suddenly or substantially.

        1. Given their extensive monitoring, they should be able to do so. They have real time monitoring and will fine accordingly.

          They do send threatening letters by mail and they did leave me a recorded phone message the other day saying they thought I had a leak. The phone call is new.

  20. I love your pictures Brandy!

    I am trying to think of the frugal things we did this week…. We bought veggies from a roadside stand. They were a better deal than the store and absolutely wonderful! My husband fixed the septic line. He had to buy a snake and use one of our garden hoses, but we saved on a plumber. At first we put boiling water down the a couple of the sinks. Our bathroom sink has a hairline crack in it now. So we will have to be on the lookout for a sale on a new sink. We had used an old dresser and put a sink in it instead of buying a sink in a stand already made. That saved us a lot of money when we first put it in and I ended up with drawers to put things in, soap and other stuff. I’ve been walking at least 20 minutes a day and doing arm exercises. Tonight, we saw deer and fawns in our yard when my son and I took a walk. I loved that! I enjoyed a tomato this week from the roadside vendor. I picked two tomatoes on our vine as well. I’m hoping to be in better shape by next season so I can garden, I am already feeling better. I’ve quit dairy, gluten and sugar for the next couple months. I felt awful one day, but now I feel great! My cousin is a certified health and wellness coach and she is helping me. She has sent me recipes and gave me ideas of things to do. I’m also using the Loseit app, which is free. I’m losing weight again and that makes me happy! I’d like to cut out about a third of my weight, so I have a ways to go. Feeling good is wonderful! I have so much energy today. I not only went for a walk, but I have been cleaning my house like crazy and I still feel good! My knees don’t hurt anymore. I don’t know if it is the dairy, gluten or sugar that made me feel awful. Well, I know sugar makes me feel awful. But my stomach doesn’t hurt anymore either. I can bend and load the dishes without hurting! It is great! I just have to have a plan for when I go to town so I don’t eat dairy, gluten or sugar. There are so many things with dairy and gluten. Even when you order a salad at a restaurant, there are often dairy and croutons on it. If I plan ahead of time, I can take things with me. Which will save me money anyway. Or, I can go to the grocery store and buy canned fish and veggies or fruit. Feeling good is priceless. But, It doesn’t have to cost a lot.
    We are doing a lot of the things we usually do… turn off lights, use cloth napkins and hankies, eat at home, use our clothing we already have instead of buying new, wash full loads of dishes and laundry.
    We continue to entertain ourselves with music. I get so excited when I see that people have streamed our song, Until Paris on Spotify. It will be a couple months before we hear about the other sites. I know that Iheartmusic is also streaming it, but I won’t know how many streams for a few months. There are a lot of other sites, Amazon, and iTunes, and Apple Music. I appreciate those of you who listened to it. My husband and I are working on another song. It is just finding the time to do it with our other commitments. I’d like to do praise music as well. My son and I sing praise music together. He has a gift for poetry, beautiful poetry and I’d like to help him put it to music and record it. We really enjoy singing together, free entertainment! My son had a brain injury years ago playing football, and since then he says beautiful praise poetry. I enjoy it as do those who hear him.
    We also use the internet for entertainment and information.

    1. Something, I just thought of. We brush and floss our teeth, immediately after eating. We also get regular dental cleanings. This saves us in expensive and painful dental problems.

    2. Tammy,
      I have a lot of allergies, which makes eating out difficult at best. We don’t eat out a lot because of this! And, I’m an excellent cook and don’t mind cooking. When we do go out, I simply ask them to leave dairy and gluten items off. I will get a hamburger with a lettuce wrap and no cheese or sauce (also allergic to eggs). Most restaurants are pretty good about that or will do some adjustments. For breakfast, I order an omelet without the eggs and ask them to substitute potatoes instead. It ends up being a veggie/potato scramble, which I like. You get the idea. Don’t be afraid to mention what you’re not eating and ask for help with ordering and substitutions. That said … it is simply much easier to eat at home or eat at some ethnic restaurants. Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese are my favorites and require little substitutions and I can always find something to eat.

      1. Chris M,
        Thank-you for your ideas! I appreciate it. I love ethnic food as well. You are right, It is easier, and cheaper to eat at home.

  21. Sorry to hear about your water leak issue. Definitely not a fun thing to deal with, especially on your own. At least you got it stopped, but that’s not a fun bill to pay out.

    We’ve had a hard week. My husband lost his job totally unexpectedly on Thursday, and we’ve been scrambling to try and get our basic financial bases covered the best we can. You know, my mind has actually gone to you and your blog a few times in the past couple days as we’ve dealt with everything, just because I thought about those years you mentioned that you had very little to no income, and how hard that must have been on you. I was so grateful I’d been reading your blog for years because I knew there were so many ways we could go even more frugal immediately, which is what we’ve done. I sure appreciate the community you’ve built here!

    Anyway, here are my frugal accomplishments for this last week:


    1. I am so sorry to hear of his job loss! I am glad you can cut back mote immediately, and glad that you did. I think it would help people go a lot further if they cut things immediately after a job loss. The money will go further and those things can always be added back in later.

      1. Thank you, Brandy. Thankfully our lifestyle was pretty pared down before so this hopefully shouldn’t feel so drastically different that it’s completely depressing, but I sure was surprised to see how much we could really cut back when we absolutely had to and had no other choice.

        1. So very sorry to hear of your husband’s job loss. Please remember to not to beat yourself up if things aren’t perfect. It’s so easy to get bogged down under these circumstances.

    2. Torrie,
      I’m sorry to hear of your husband’s job loss. Brandy’s blog helped us when that happened to us as well. We cut all extra expenses immediately. That was a must for us.

    3. Torrie, I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s job loss. That happened to us 6 years ago and I still cringe when I think of it. One moment it’s all good and then BAM! Total shock. I think I was in a wall staring stupor for 2 days and then I went to work. I inventoried, calculated, planned, etc. A whole redo. Just knowing what we had made me feel better. In the end, it worked out, but I don’t envy anyone in that position. I wish you the best and hope you make it through in better shape! You’re in a good place to be around here!

      1. It’s been interesting because you always know job loss is a possibility, but I’ve been surprised going through it just how many emotions are involved. Like you though, I’m a total planner, so that has really helped us — it’s given us a solid to-do list to follow and a plan of action, and I’m confident something else will turn up soon that’s an even better fit for us. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment <3

    4. So very sorry you are going through the shock of job loss! And glad you have a good support network and optimism for him finding more work.
      What we found in similar situation was that we should not presume anything. We thought, for instance, that COBRA for health insurance would be cheapest. However, the Health Care Marketplace was much better.

      1. Yes, that’s definitely sound advice. We’ve had to go through the Marketplace for years because my husband’s employer never offered health insurance, so it’s always been a really good fit for us. But I totally agree; I need to make sure I’m doing my research carefully going forward! You just never know what you don’t know, especially when it comes to jumping through the hoops for unemployment insurance and such. Thank you for your thoughtful comment <3

    5. Torrie, I am so sorry. I remember when you sold your home and moved several hours away from family to new home for this job. This has to be stressful. Hugs and prayers.

      1. Thank you, Cindy! It’s definitely been a crazy amount to process, but we’ve ended up loving the new area we’ve moved to since it’s what allowed me to start flower farming, so I’m really crossing my fingers we don’t have to move again…it would be a gut wrench to have to leave the farm after so much time, money, and love has been put into it. I sure appreciate your sweet comment <3

    6. Torrie ….

      So very sorry to hear that your dear husband has lost his job. My thoughts are prayers go out to you both, for peace during this interim season, and for the perfect job to present itself soon. (((hugs)))

    7. Torrie – My husband lost his job 11 years ago and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise in many ways. I hope the same will be true for you. You certainly have the skills to not only survive but thrive during this time. It can be unsettling and full of uncertainty but you’ll make it. Sending encouragement your way! 🙂

      1. Thanks Dawn, for your sweet comment over here as well <3 We're really hoping for the same thing and think that this could mark the beginning of a very positive change forward for our family. We sure appreciate the love and concern from everyone! It makes me feel so loved 🙂

  22. I am sorry to hear about your water leak and the lose of some of your but glad you have found the stopcock.

    I have been harvesting a lot of french and runner beans , the first of the autumn raspberries ,beetroot ,tomatoes, broccoli,carrots, and 20 cucumbers , some I have given to the neighbours.

    I have been eating down the freezer I will defrost it later this week.

    We have been foraging Blackberries From the fields around us. Years age we could gleen peas and potatoes after the crop had been harvested but sadly not anymore. It is always worth asking the farmer.

    We took family out for lunch not frugal but as gkids go off to college this year ,fingers crossed on exam results, it might be a while since we can do it again.

    I have split a peace lily , pulled up and potted lavender ,verbena and evening primrose which had self seeded in the drive. Free plants.

    I did the laundry around the weather so I could dry it on the line. Read library books and on line books for free. Weeded the garden. Sown late carrots and some kale. Cooked all meals at home where possible from ingredients in the pantry or freezer.

    Keep safe everyone

  23. Fantastic photos again this week, thank you for posting. I noticed that you also have dead plants, leaves and trees. Here in Phoenix, even with water, our area is seeing significant heat damage…maybe 20% of our plants have died or have a significant portion of dead limbs and leaves. I will hope for a recovery once the temperatures fall a bit. Last week, I started working on my 2024 budget…I moved in May to a condo, so I wanted to start looking at my annual expenses and make a budget. I bought a Berkey water filter system rather than installing a reverse osmosis system. Three reasons, first it was significantly less expensive and second, it is my understanding that an RO system wastes 3-4 gallons of water for each gallon it makes. Lastly, now that my DH has passed, I didn’t want to do the annual RO maintenance either, the Berkey is far simpler. Have a good week and thank you for this blog, it is indeed a wonderful bit of peace and knowledge in these crazy times.

    1. Yes, I do have dead plants. I am waiting until in cools down to replace those that can be replaced. Some things cannot be sourced.

      The peach tree died a week before it ripened. It has plenty of water to it. There is no reason that I can see that it died, save for heat.

      I am debating what to do about three other fruit trees that died as well. I am considering a different type of fruit for at least 2 of them. The heat has been brutal.

      1. Actually, I was feeling better about myself because I could see you had heat damaged plants. I figured you knew things I didn’t. Of course, I try to pick plants carefully and be careful about where I plant them, but 113 degree heat is 113 degree heat. Do you just cut off the dead/dying portion and hope the rest recovers?

        1. If it’s still alive, I will cut off the dead portion in a few weeks.

          Completely dead plants will be replaced.

          This has been one of the hardest summers on my plants.

  24. Brandy, I also feel better when I remove (or hide lol) visual clutter. Gretchen Rubin, author and podcaster, often says outer order, inner calm.

    We harvested more cucumbers and various peppers, also the first tomatoes of the season.

    We bought garlic heads at a local garlic festival. HH will use some to make his garlic jalapeño spread and canned salsa and will plant the others in his garden. The vendors shared tips for beginner garlic growers.

    I mended a pair of pants for my niece. I was proud of her for not throwing them away and was happy to help. While I had the sewing machine out, I altered two shirts and mended two shopping bags.

    I downloaded the Upside app to save money on gas. Now I need to get in the habit of using it.

    Made a point to purchase the loss leaders at multiple grocery stores this week.

    Found a stack of old gift cards that DD1 had collected. I took the time to figure out how much remained on each card, if anything. We divided up the gift cards based on who was likely to be near each retailer over the next few weeks. Several of the companies had been bought out by other national retailers. They offered to replace the cards with new ones under their brand. I was impressed with the customer service. While not a fun task, it was made more interesting by watching Painkiller on Netflix. (Heartbreaking series, similar to Dopesick on Hulu.)

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats!

  25. Those are the smallest bell peppers I have ever seen. I took a friend to my favorite thrift store. I got a brand new winter coat, still with tags for $10. She got a bunch of craft items. We stopped at a free little library to drop off books and each took one. We also swapped veggies. I gave her a large bag of swiss chard and she gave me a zucchini and a bag of parsley.
    Hubby went to Chicago for a few days for work so I ate whatever was around. It was nice not to cook for a few days and eat some things that needed to be used up. I forgot to mention that when we were away I had shut off the hot water. We always do this except in the winter. The garden is still giving us plenty. I picked our first cucumbers and beets. I made a huge batch of sauce with our tomatoes. Hubby made 2 dozen meatballs to go with it. I froze 8 containers for future meals. I made zucchini muffins and banana muffins. Fried eggplant was also made. I chopped a bunch of peppers and froze them. Swiss chard, beet green, basil and parsley were dehydrated. I washed all of the couch pillows and cushion covers. The couch looks great. My daughter and I went to Target. They were giving out lots of samples since it is back to school time. Have a great week everyone.

    1. Yep! They are tiny! I usually cannot get any at all due to the heat (the plants don’t flower) so I am happy to have some at all!

      1. Have you tried Cubanelle peppers? They do well in our heat and they last through summer for me. Even if they don’t flower in the summer heat, they produce again when it cools off into the low 90ies.

        1. I haven’t.

          This year I am trying a couple of smaller varieties. I tried some the last two years, but this is the only year they are producing. I think I need to further amend the soil in the other spots.

  26. I, too, find peace in clearing out clutter. Your garden is lovely. I sympathize with the irrigation woes. I’m having trouble in one of my irrigated raised beds. My husband is still trouble-shooting the problem. I dug all the potatoes from that bed and it was a very disappointing harvest because they had not been getting enough water. But I am thankful for what I did harvest, and we will eat them. I’m hoping we get lots of snow here in Colorado, which will benefit us, as well as you.
    I was able to get 50 lb of wheat berries for $25 from a neighbor who is moving.
    I harvested the last of the broccoli, as well as tomatoes, lettuce, and chard from the garden.
    I planted seeds for turnips, cabbage and bok choi. Only the turnips came up, so I replanted the cabbage and bok choi, and lettuce and chard.
    I repaired a pair of sandals by regluing the leather around the soles and replacing the cork insole. The leather is in good shape, so the shoes look much better now.

  27. The color of those last roses are beautiful, and your dessert plate looks like something from a 5 star restaurant! Several small chanterelles were harvested throughout last week. Some were dried, and others were added to our dinners. I tried a new recipe for GF tortillas, which needs a little tweaking. Tortilla making is something I haven’t mastered yet. I believe I made some decent ones in years past, but now that they need to be GF, it makes an added challenge. I began the week gathering pears off the ground that the squirrels had knocked out of the tree. They’d been gorging themselves for weeks. The tree started out with 200+ pears, and by Friday, it was down to 11 small pears. I found the fruit picker, and harvested all but one. Hopefully, I’ll have enough to do a small batch of jam. A brief, strong storm came through one evening, and we lost power for 5-6 hours. We ate dinner by candlelight, and read, my husband by flashlight, and I by headlamp. We got broccoli and cabbage seedlings planted for the fall garden one evening, before a good rain the next morning. The first zucchini was harvested. Tomatoes were frozen, until I have enough to process, which I intend to do today.

  28. The Natchez variety of crepe myrtles are white! I planted two of them in a previous yard to match my white azaleas. The new owner removed all of them and my heart aches.

    Frugal…ate at home, turned old towels into pot holders…doubled up, surged and bound with bias binding I had on hand. Good pot holders are expensive! Found a good price on bulk canning lids. I continue to buy 25 cent canning jars at my local thrift store. Canned plum, strawberry, apricot and rhubarb jams. Gave some books to a friend who will appreciate them. Made two craft/baking aprons for my grandchildren from two pairs of blue jeans that could not be repaired. I found some blue shampoo at Ross that was a fraction of what I previously paid at the beauty supply store. I bought 25lbs of potatoes for a great price. I’ll store them in the dark cool part of my basement.

    It is so distressing to see prices continue to climb. So glad I can offset them because I purchased at the lowest price, that I know how to cook and bake and know how to balance wants and needs.

    Thanks to each of you for inspiring me!

        1. So the good prices local nursery had 15-gallon ones on sale for $40 (not white). They no longer do special orders.

          Online, tiny ones would be that much, plus shipping.

          There is another nursery here, and they carry them, but they’re around $1000 each for the same size as the $40 ones I bought in pink.

          I refuse to shop there. All of their items are like that.

          But I think, in my white garden, I am going to add more roses on the lower level. That will give me more flowers there. I am wanting more perennials there and the roses should help discourage my elderly neighbors who have all started stealing fruit the last two years (and then fessing up to me about it later; I would have shared, had they just asked). A couple of rose bushes on the lower level below the apricot tree would be helpful, I think.

          1. Pyracantha bushes are another great landscape bush with thorns. My mom planted those on our fence line to discourage us kids from scaling the fence. LOL

  29. We are now officially in the dog days of August and I am sick of the heat already. Heat indexes in the low 100’s, 100% humidity and huge heavy rain showers in the afternoon/evening, lots of thunder, lightning….I am not a fan. This weather has led to the demise of my summer garden – despite my attempts to water and help it survive the heat, the heavy rain showers just rotted the plants. I am planning to tear everything out and sow seeds for fall crops as soon as we can get out of the rhythm of daily heavy rains. I would rather not have cabbages growing all over my yard! We are blessed to have gotten the harvest that we did and I am hopeful that my next planting will provide many good veggies and herbs for our table. I do still have basil that is thriving and will be continuing to make batches of pesto for the freezer for as long as I can.
    We are still working on eating the freezer down and over the last 2 weeks I have cooked all of our meals from items stored in our freezer. I pulled all of the strawberries that I had frozen from last years harvest and canned 15 pints of fresh jam. I still have blackberries to make jam with and some blueberries on hand for a large batch of muffins. I pulled two batches of frozen bananas from the freezer and made 3 loaves of banana bread from scratch. I harvested what I believe will be the last of the field peas from the garden, shelled and froze them.
    I took advantage of a gift card deal that Target was offering to replenish laundry supplies. I was able to purchase laundry detergent, bleach, softener, dryer sheets, a multipurpose cleaner and softener beads for just $43 out of pocket. I used my Target Circle points, a lingering store credit and the GC they gave after spending the $50 amount required. I split my transaction so that I could then immediately use the GC they gave me to maximize savings on my purchase.
    I was able to turn off our sprinkler system entirely given the heavy rains we have been having. The grass is growing like crazy and since we try to wait until later in the day to mow when the heat is not so terrible, we almost always end up trying to outrun the rain showers…literally. Oh well….at least we are getting our exercise!
    The company that replaced our roof last week left us the pallets that the shingles were delivered on and my husband built a gate for our second garden. We found that we needed to reinforce that gate as our youngest Boxer pup thinks she is kin to a kangaroo and likes to bound through the field peas and corn stalks. This is an irritating habit of hers but given that the garden was already on its way out, I looked at it as free entertainment. Her legs seemed like they were made of pogo sticks…if that doesn’t age me I don’t know what will.
    I have my eye on another batch of things we aren’t using that will soon be leaving my home and headed for the Goodwill. I have been reading so many things lately about the way that a clean, organized home affects your mental well-being. Ever since we have had the house painted, it has really driven me to purge more and more STUFF from our home, clear and define spaces based on how we use them, and just remove any clutter that I am seeing. I have enjoyed this task not only as entertainment but also for the mental boost it gives me.
    We enjoyed some free music on Spotify and free movies on Freevee. I bought honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon to enjoy as they are the least expensive fruits available in season right now. I am planning to visit a peach farm this weekend and purchase some peaches to can into jam.
    I hope that everyone is well & enjoying the last of the season!

  30. I am not a very successful gardener and you’re an inspiration to those of us who don’t seem to have a green thumb! I was wondering if you had tried shade cloths during the extreme heat? Here in Colorado things often just burn to a crisp because of so much sun.

    1. I know people who use shade cloth and it does help, but it would be very difficult to use with a formal garden design–and also, I love seeing the sky.

  31. Gas is $3.26 in University town to $3.59 two hours further south. I bought middle son a steak on sale. I also bought purple hull peas, tomatoes, and corn at the Farmer’s Market. I took my lunch to work every day, as well as my breakfast. I am trying to pay cash for everything, rather than use cards and pay off at end of month. I find I use less money if I use cash. I cannot remember if I listed that I bought a pair of New Balance tennis shoes for on sale price of $34.99 at a local store.

    1. I didn’t even notice the dead plants folks mention. I had to go back and look. The beautiful colors in the garden totally obscured those for me….lol.

  32. Brandy, your garden photos are just beautiful. The work you have done to make you yard a haven is certainly paying off!

    My friend gave me a huge bunch of basil from her garden. She has done this for several years. I made ten tubs of pesto for the freezer and had some for dinner. I also gave her a scarf I had knitted for her continued kindness.

    My neighbor invited me to hike with her. She drove and the mountains were lush with wildflowers of many varieties. Really gorgeous! At the top of the hike I shared homemade hummus and cucumbers from my garden. On the way back we stopped at a grocery store that had purple grapes for .33 a pound, and white onions for .25 a pound. They also had a good price on melons and potatoes, but I didn’t need any of them right now.

    I read “The Paris Daughter” by Kristen Harnel, borrowed from the library, and enjoyed it.

    I’m still working on knitting from my stash, eating more from the pantry than store, and decluttering as I go.

  33. I absolutely love the architectural items in your garden. I don’t know if I have said that before, but they are gorgeous. Beautiful design on your part and execution by both you and your husband
    This is the time of year that we cannot dawdle, and must work.
    My last day of work at my office was Wednesday, at least until next tax season. I am now a seasonal employee, and that season is winter and early spring. Not much can be done outside during that time, so it is perfect for me.
    Garden harvest – Picked the last of the cauliflower. Picked cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, chard, candy onions, zucchini, beets, tomatoes, lettuce, snow peas, and kohlrabi. Dug four hills of potatoes that had totally died back. Did my least favorite garden chore – thinned the carrots. I did it over two days. I have a 4×8 raised bed of carrots. We eat the thinnings that are big enough. I weighed the ones that are big enough to ear, and it was over 12 pounds.
    Preserving – Made 4 quarts of dill pickles, using cucumbers, garlic, hot peppers and dill from our garden. Broke apart and froze 4 cauliflowers and 11 cups of broccoli.
    Cooking – Made herb bread twice. I make two loaves at a time as there are just two of us. I use Brandy’s rosemary olive oil bread recipe, but add basil, oregano and thyme as well as the rosemary. It is delicious, especially with BLTs, which we had for dinner twice. Made BLT pasta with bacon, tomatoes, green onions and chard all from the garden, well except for the bacon. Made zucchini blueberry bread – I was delicious. Made coleslaw using cabbage picked and carrot thinnings. Made beets two different ways – roasted and just boiled. These are for DH – as beets taste like dirt to me. Had popcorn for a snack twice. Roasted broccoli, carrots and cauliflower from the garden for a side dish.
    Shopping – Not very much really. Got 2 pound packages of blueberries for $3.99. Bough three packages and froze them. Got bacon for $2.99 a pound – got six pounds.
    Other – gave DH a haircut. Neighbor who sells at the farmer’s market gave me a beautiful bouquet of dahlias she had leftover. They have graced my dining room table all week.
    Hope everyone has a good week, and finds ways to stay cool.

  34. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Lovely photos of your garden, hope your water bill won’t be too crazy, well done for digging to find the shut off valve yourself. You’ve saved lots of money on that issue already.
    This week clients gave us black grapes, cucumber and apples. From our garden we picked blueberries, beetroot, onions, lettuce, potatoes, courgettes, carrots and runner beans. I froze packets of beans and courgette. We planted out purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage,kale and more lettuce and beetroot. We picked many flowers and shared produce with neighbours.
    I used something from my gift box ( items bought on sale/ new from charity shops) as a hostess gift.
    I cut my own fringe and as always manicured my own fingernails and toenails. I have saved a fortune over the years doing my own.
    I sorted through all my tights and socks and bagged up the disreputable ones for recycling. I don’t need any more tights but bought a couple more pairs of knee length socks at a good price. I also bought a new dress in a sale. I’m slowly transitioning to more dresses and tunics and less trousers. I can’t remember the last time I bought clothing at full price. Charity shops aren’t yielding much at the moment.
    Inexpensive meals have been cheddar, shallot and courgette crust less quiche and several salads with grilled turkey meat. I’ve lost 4 pounds in weight.

      1. Hi Robbie
        Do you mean the recipe for the crust less quiche? I saute the shallots and small chunks of courgette in a little olive oil, spread them in the quiche dish, scatter chunks of cheddar on top ( usually I grate the cheese but just decided to concentrate the flavour in chunks this time ,) season with pepper and chopped parsley then pour in 4 beaten eggs. Bake in the oven at 160c for about 25minutes ( I have a fan assisted oven).
        Depending on the size of your quiche dish you might need more egg).
        Hope you give it a go.

  35. Hello, frugal friends from the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia! Brandy, I love your photos this week. Crepe myrtle are one of my favorites. This week in the life of this frugal mountain woman included:
    *Mr. Fix It finding mulch on clearance at Walmart for $2/ bag so he bought 15 bags.
    *We used our military discount at Lowes for lawn items and mulch.
    *Finished a scrap quilt.
    *Bought 18 count eggs at Kroger x 2 for $1.47/ carton, plus I had a digital coupon saving .60. I also found lemons for .50 each so I bought 2 for lemonade..
    *We needed new pillows so went to Big Lots and used a 20% off coupon on their already on sale pillows.
    *I have canned green beans, greasy beans and pickles this week.
    *We took our granddaughter and her friend to Claytor Lake yesterday as it was the last day of summer. We used our annual state park pass to get in. We brought lunch, drinks and snacks. Only cost yesterday were the ice cream treats…a total of $8.
    *Last Saturday was Mr. Fix It and my anniversary…45 years. We decided to go to Mountain Lake for lunch. It was so nice and a perfect day…so beautiful. Mountain Lake is where most of the original Dirty Dancing movie was filmed. The lake is now beginning to refill from a once in 200 year geological emptying phenomenon. It is the only place it happens here on the North American continent. Or so I am told.
    * We continue to do all the usual frugal things like hanging laundry, eating mostly from pantry, freezer and garden, using cloth products over disposable, and hanging laundry, etc.
    In response to Carolyn in Texas: I asked Mr. Fix It about the air filters. We use disposable ones for our air conditioner. Apparently what I saw him vacuuming were the filters for our room air filter. Sorry for the confusion. He is in charge of home and auto maintenance and I occasionally get confused because I depend on him for so much regarding these things now that he is home all the time.
    For Mountain Mama Dawn: It is move in week for both Radford and VT. I try to stay home or head in the opposite direction if I have to go out. I do not even try to go to the store in either of those towns. I went to Radford College from 1976-1978. It had just gone co-ed:)

    1. Marley,
      We spent a weekend at Mountain Lake in 2001. The lake was pretty and fairly full. My husbands family celebrated their parents 50th. It’s a wonderful memory.

    2. I love that you went to Radford! I enjoyed visiting my husband there and he has many fond memories of his years as a student. 🙂

  36. Even though it’s supposed to be over 100 degrees today, I made a big pot of split pea soup using a variety of vegetables from the garden that were past their prime — yellow squash, carrots, onion, along with broccoli and cauliflower. I added bacon ends (cooked and frozen previously) and a few slices of ham along with fresh peas. I let the soup simmer several hours to blend the flavors. It is delicious. I won’t even need to add milk or cream to enrich it. I will store it in freezer containers for quick meals in the future cold months.

    We’ve been eating out of the garden — peppers, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, squash, raspberries, and carrots — and the chickens are laying well eating garden scraps and scratching in the flower beds and among the trees. I love to grocery shop in the garden.

    I’ve been canning pickles (sweets and dill) and apricot jam.

    I rearranged the storage room to make room for new items and take a fall canning inventory. I won’t need to can peaches, pears, grapejuice, chicken, chicken broth, or chili sauce. That is a relief and will give me time to do a few other projects.

    My husband dried and ground green chilis from our daughter’s garden (ours aren’t ready yet).

    I invited friends coming to town from out of state to pie and ice cream instead of dinner. I made mini berry pies in raemkins with a mix of berries from the garden and freezer. She is a caterer and ohhed and ahhed over the pie, and I kept trying to downplay it, but she wouldn’t stop until I gave her step by step instructions. (I think the thing that mystified her was I make pie crusts with lard and that’s why she wanted step by step instructions. Lard really does give a different flavor to a pie.)

    I entered a few garden vegetables (potatoes and onions) in the county fair and helped our grandchildren do the same. They were thrilled! One entered a six foot long specialty bean and won best of division ribbon, the other entered atomic cucumbers (an heirloom variety supposedly brought to America by Ben Franklin) and also won a best of division ribbon. All three grandchildren entered at least 6 items apiece and got ribbons on each so will get prize money. They work hard in their family garden and displaying their produce for others to see and winning a little prize money has been quite a motivation. They have got plans for next year and the fair hasn’t even ended. One grandson entered a miniature marigold as one of his entries. His sister entered a fluffy, bright yellow sunflower that resembled an aster. She was so very proud of hers, and he was a bit embarrassed of his next to it. He told the fair attendant, “I think I know what award I’ll be getting for this: the “most disappointing entry in the barn” award. It made me smile when he got a blue on flower. His sister got a red on hers, but she’s 7 and could have cared less — a rainbow of ribbon colors is more satisfying to her than all blue.

    I made a fun family history game to play with grandchildren. Instead of Don’t Eat Pete, it’s Don’t Eat Grandpa. I copied pictures of various family members into a document and made copies of the document. Using cold cereal as markers, and following the rules of Don’t Eat Pete, we play the game together. When the chosen picture is picked (and everyone has yelled “Don’t Eat Grandpa!”), the child tells a story or something they appreciate about that person. It’s an inexpensive way to share family stories and keep everyone connected and I can mail it to grandchildren far away.

    Two of our granddaughters (who live several states away) came to spend a week with us. We have a fort or playhouse for the grandkids in our yard. While Grandpa helped one granddaughter make a bow (bow and arrows) in the shop, I took the other granddaugher to the $tore and gave her $20 to buy items to improve the playhouse. It was fun to watch her weigh her options. She came home with new dishtowels, cleaning supplies, a wire basket to hold apples, fabric to make curtains, and plastic dishes so they could eat in the playhouse. She worked and scrubbed and shopped in the house and garage for other items to use and got it back into living condition.

    Thank you for providing a forum for us to receive and share ideas Brandy.

  37. (Brandy, how in the world do you get paragraphs in your comments? When I pushed publish it took them all out. Sorry for the run-on paragraph.)

      1. When you post to Brandy’s blog, it always joins all the paragraphs together, but when they come up in final form, the paragraphs are always back again.

    1. At one point I wondered this too Jane – but it only goes all together when we submit and it tells us that it will be “vetted” once published it all goes back to the way we entered it originally.

  38. This weeks wins: I found pork belly on clearance at Sam’s Club, only $3.00 a pound! My husband is currently curing it and will smoke it for bacon. The high quality nitrate free bacon is $15 a pound at the grocery so this is a big savings for something that will be a treat! I broke another pork belly down into 8 oz portions for carbonara and soups and vacuum packed it for the freezer.

    Had a small birthday party for our youngest, did all the cooking and baking myself and held it at a local park.

    I am considering a year long clothing ban for myself. My husband already does a better job of wearing things until they have holes in them. I am saddened by the waste in the industry and the raising costs so a hard fast might be a good way to challenge my consumption in this area.

  39. It was mostly a week of same-old/same-old here on our mountain but, I am glad for small successes and grateful for everyday life.
    *I made $84 selling unneeded items at my neighbor’s booth in the antique shop. Slowly moving along things I no longer use and some things of my husband’s uncle’s we do not have space for. As Brandy said, cleaning out makes more a feeling of peace and a little extra money never hurts.
    *Sold eggs to neighbors. Half the money goes to my youngest son who helps care for the chickens and half goes toward their feed.
    *Did paying mowing jobs for family and neighbors. Our last mowing here is usually around the beginning of October so we are glad for the extra money while the work is available.
    *Attended a local outdoor drama – actually, the longest running Revolutionary-era play in the US (in it’s 71st year.) I have been waiting for my boys to be old enough to stay up late enough to see this play (we got home at 11:30pm) and this was the year. We waited until the last performance of the summer when they offer locals a $5/ticket deal which is a huge savings off the regular price. The play was wonderful and we had a great time out under the stars.
    *This year, I am co-chair of events and field trips for our homeschool co-op. I have arranged one field trip to Grandfather Mountain in September getting our group a special, discounted rate. I have also reached out to two other locations (one a private botanical garden which offers free tours by appointment and a living history museum that offers educational events for a low cost or donation.) I am trying to choose events that are free or low cost to keep it accessible to all of us. As with all things frugal, it is a fun creative exercise to search out solutions, talk to people and work out interesting alternatives to higher cost activities. And its an important skill to teach our children, as well.
    *We split some more firewood so we always have some dry and ready to go once cold weather comes. We have about 2 years worth stacked up but always like to have all the wood sheds full by Fall. Not having bills for heating or cooling is definitely one of the primary ways we save money and can live where and how we do.
    *Meals have all been based on what is ready in the garden so, right now, that means lots of tomatoes, greens, herbs, peppers, peas, etc. And, of course, eggs. I never get over the excitement of eating something that was growing in the garden 30 minutes before we sit at the table. Can’t get fresher than that! One trip to the store this week for exciting things like cat and dog food, dish soap, maple syrup and, our guilty pleasure – tortilla chips. We like to make all kinds of nachos this time of year with all the fresh produce – so fun to just pile it all on a platter and eat, like playing with your food. 🙂
    *Other than that all the usual things like hanging clothes outside to dry, staying busy at home with the millions of things to do here and practicing contentment makes life frugal and fun. Hope everyone has a happy and healthy week!

    1. That is nice that you have chosen free and low-cost events for your homeschool group.

      I have heard of other groups in other places and so, when my eldest children were young, I thought I would join a group.

      I then found out that they had expensive activities each week, usually about $20 per child, and there was no way I could afford that expense, so I never joined. It would have been over $400 a month!

      1. I remember you mentioning the costs of homeschool groups in your area being cost-prohibitive which is a shame. I am glad to be a part of a very like-minded group when it comes to frugality. I think it is one of the best lessons we are teaching our children and we all appreciate it being reinforced by the group.

        1. I coordinate annual “field trips” for my Book Club. Ages 40-90. There are tons of free outings out there. Our faves were visiting a Bonsai Nursery and performing arts center at local college. Only thing we ever pay for is gas (and we carpool) and fun lunch somewhere. And maybe a little for parking occasionally. And sometimes minor entry fees at museums. Since we are a library affiliated book club we also go on a tour of the local public library in whatever town we are visiting. They love sharing their behind the scenes action with us. My cousin coordinates for her home school group and she said most popular trip ever was to local gravel processing pit.

  40. Looking forward to catching up on everyone’s frugal comments this week!

    Gorgeous photos as always, Brandy! Crape Myrtles are so beautiful and the flowers are so pretty. In our former home we had them and they grow really quickly. They’ll be a nice addition to your stunning flower garden and will provide nice shade as well.

    Great going on problem-solving your irrigation issue! Was this a new troubleshooting skill that you learned in your husband’s absence? What a savings! So impressive! Are you able to use soaker hoses as a backup when your irrigation system malfunctions? They may be cost-prohibitive due to the size of your wonderful gardens.

    Drought and triple digit temps continue here in our area of Texas.

    Frugal efforts this week:

    *We’re rolling spare change coins that we’ve saved over the years and will take to our bank and deposit in savings. They provide the free paper wrappers. Coin machines in our area would have charged about 11-12% to convert loose change, but we’re not fans of paying someone to take our money. It’s a relaxing process (albeit a rather dirty one – gloves are a must!) while enjoying evening movies.

    *Grocery prices are holding steady here in our area. No big increases or outages that we’ve noticed.

    *Confirmed reservations for our two week out-of-state RV vacation to New Mexico. State Parks are a great frugal option for camping, compared to the cost of private campgrounds. Due to scheduling though, we will stay two nights at a private campground. We’ll take and prepare most all meals but will enjoy planned and budgeted meals at a couple of favorite restaurants. Entertainment will be free – desert hiking, lake swimming, sightseeing, cycling … and relaxing.

    *We’ve been more aware of eliminating standby or phantom power – unplugging devices that continue to draw power when not in use – laptops, chargers, Keurig, anything with a digital display (except large appliances).

    *Goal accomplished of ending the week with no leftovers in fridge and no wasted food.

    *Ate out of pantry and freezer all but one meal this past week.

    *Found a couple of our bakery items we typically buy … in clearance section of grocery store.

    *Discovered a $5.32 overcharge on grocery receipt (two items scanned twice) and received a refund. Was my first time in quite a while to not use the self-pay register and had store employee do the scanning. Found it to be a bit difficult to monitor their scanning while shopping alone and unloading cart at register. In future will resume self checkout when solo shopping, to ensure no overcharges.

    *Handy hubby repaired our motion sensor kitchen trash can lid. We’ve had it for about 10 years and the current cost for a similar trash can would be about $90, which we of course wouldn’t pay.

    *Sold two classic auto related items we no longer need/use, and received $275 total for them. Several other items are listed for sale.

    *Combined errands on a trip to the city where we buy items not available in our rural area.

    *Continuing to enjoy line drying all laundry – triple digit temps and breezes continue and make dry time super quick. To avoid fading from the sun, items are turned inside out and I alternate which side faces the sun. I can also choose which line to use for less direct sun exposure (we have them facing both East and West) depending upon time of day and sun position. Whites always receive full sun for the bleaching effect.

    Wishing everyone a frugal and fun week ahead!

    1. My husband showed me some things earlier this year when another valve broke. I am not yet confident in my ability to fix the valves, but I need to.

      I did not use a soaker hose; I turned on the water by hand and used a regular hose too.

  41. The last I had posted was in June from the ER, I had a brown recluse spider bite. I stayed 24 hours and they didn’t have a bed for me for longer IV antibiotics. The infectious disease dr recommended a different oral antibiotic and steroids and it worked. Saved me a lot of money as we have catastrophic insurance and the ER visit was all of out of pocket.
    *Our garden has just been so odd this summer, with tons of cucumbers and peppers, but the tomatoes won’t ripen. The cantaloupes are just starting and we have eaten one. They were all volunteer teens from the compost.
    *We are in South America this week with one of my daughters and her husband and five kiddos. We are visiting another daughter and her family. My husband at his job gets a paid sabbatical every seven years and we are able to pay for this trip with his sabbatical money. It will be a quick trip( it takes two days to get there), but we haven’t been back in five years and my daughter here is really good about coming home every few years. I am very anxious to see them today!!
    *My neighbor gave me 8# grass fed beef from his cows, when their freezer broke. I volunteered to store it while they repaired their freezer. He said just take it, and he also had a pork butt. We had a bday dinner for a son that week where I was planning to make carnitas, I used his pork. He brought a 5 gallon bucket of apples from his farm, they are delicious and am making some apple cider vinegar from it. I asked him to pick from our garden while we are gone as his garden is done for the summer, he is very generous and I am grateful to share what I have with them!
    I am eagerly looking forward to the change to fall weather, new garden produce and the joy that it brings. Hoping the weather cools around the country and everyone stays cooler, it has been so hot this month!

  42. I wrote yesterday but think I lost it before it got posted. The peaches that we bought for $4.99 for a two litre
    clamshell (about 4 pounds) (yesterday’s flyer) are now $7.99 in this week’s flyer. Of course I wish I’d bought more but some were wasted
    (they were rock hard one day and spoiled the next). I ate quite a few and enjoyed them greatly. I got a few put into the freezer.

    For the first time in many years, our city has implemented watering restrictions. Once a week, we can water outside for a maximum of two hours. Since we rely on glaciers and snow melt for our water, I have been worried about our water supply and poorly-conceived urban growth for several years. This year we had relatively little snowfall and an early snowmelt. Two hours of hose watering is quite generous for other areas. For me, it is hard as it is the time of year that we should be watering in our large 60 year old spruce trees and the fruit trees need to be watered in before mid September at the latest (as they need water but need to go into dormancy). Yesterday, I spent my two hours watering half of the spruce trees, my cherry trees, and my 60 year old clematis plants that are in a dry spot (not watered for long). We can water in unlimited ways by watering can. I filled a dutch oven with water inside then took it outside and washed my peaches in it. Then I used the water on my tomato plants. I think of you a lot Brandy as I think of ways to conserve water. I have barely watered at all this summer as ironically we have had plenty of rain and storms. Because of the trees, my yard is very shady. It is at least 5 degrees cooler than on the city sidewalk. When rainwater has dried up on the city sidewalk, my yard is still wet.

    A squirrel harvested all of my pears and is sampling my tomatoes. It left the biggest red tomato half eaten on the ground. Before I could get it in the compost bin, it had been eaten or carted off. I am decluttering and cleaning and organizing in a massive way. It is slow going but I can take things outside and do them. Yesterday, a Cooper’s Hawk flew low right past me and landed in a tree. I had only a millisecond to take a photo but it turned out fairly well. I have three weeds that I’ve been watching grow (mainly was too busy to pull them). I was going to pull them yesterday when a house finch landed and ate some of the seeds. It perched on the birdbath and leaned over to grab the seeds, totally ignoring the water. And a Woodland Skipper, tiny butterfly, an endangered species here, landed on a marigold. Our north forests are burning. This makes me ill. It will have huge devastating impacts not only on the people but on the wildlife, and especially on the climate. It is like losing the Amazon.

    Brandy, you are making the desert bloom! I love your photos. When I feel down because of the overwhelming tasks in front of me, I take courage and inspiration from your blog and the trials and tribulations your readers face with such courage. thanks.

  43. I love seeing your garden photos every week, Brandy. It is such a boost to see you thriving in the desert. Makes me feel I can bloom where I’m planted too. *Between leftovers, dinner invitations, and a linger longer potluck after church Sunday, I didn’t have to cook much last week. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little break. *I have two online classes this fall, so I’m focusing on finishing as many of the Christmas gifts that I’m making as I can. I might have enough time after school starts, but I don’t know yet, so am trying to plan ahead. *A friend loaned me three new mysteries she thought I’d enjoy. Very kind. Between them and the library books, I have plenty to read.*We received a couple days of decent rain and we are so thankful. *We are watching two of our granddaughters for a four-day long weekend, so their parents can get away to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Planning to stay close to home, visit their cousins who live down the road, go to the park, have movie nights and – the big exciting event – go to the ice cream shop after dinner on Friday for a cone. I love that they are little and get so excited by simple things at Granny’s house. I did buy foods I know they like (chicken nuggets, blueberries) and a couple snacky type foods. They are good girls, but I’ll be pooped when they head home. How I raised five little kids is still a marvel to me…I had a different body for sure! haha *Took advantage of the back-to-school sale at Walmart and stocked up on some notebooks, note cards, pens and markers I might need throughout the year. I also got new color pencils, crayons and markers for all the grand kids for Christmas while they are less than a dollar. * I hope everyone stays well and cool, and has a thrifty week!

  44. -Like some of you mentioned, we are struggling with tomatoes not ripening. The plants are loaded with green tomatoes and have been for over a month. We’ve only gotten 1 zucchini, still using some from the freezer last summer to make muffins. We have lots of small spicy purple peppers, planning on making a batch of pickled peppers with them. I also made sourdough bread. I got peaches 99c/lb for canning, normally they are half that price but I don’t think they will go that low this year.
    -My parents brought corn and watermelon over for dinner.
    -Sold a few items on marketplace and eBay. A tenant moved out of our rental and we took some canned goods home and some to share with my parents. Also got a few new toys for my kids and some toys to save for Christmas, some new to us shirts and a basket. After a long week of cleaning up the house and yard, I used some old McDonald’s gift cards for lunch as we were all starving, even with snacks I packed.
    -Unseasonably cool weather means no AC here.
    -I found lots of great deals on kids clothing at yard sales last weekend, which we should be pretty set for the next few years. I passed along some outgrown clothing to friends. I’m also working on decluttering.

  45. Checking in, although we haven’t had much new happening here. Our summer heat is oppressive and we have been under Excessive Heat Warnings for weeks now. We have been over 100 for the high temps daily since June (except for 2 days earlier this week when we were only in the upper 90s) and no rain in sight. The evenings cool down only into the 80s, so there’s not really any opportunities to cool down or turn off the a/c. Today is supposed to be our hottest day of the year at 112 (hotter than Phoenix & Las Vegas, but close to Death Valley temps lol) and we are breaking high heat records yesterday and forecast this weekend, with no end in sight. We have been doing all of the usual things – turning the air up higher, running fans & ceiling fans, keeping blinds & drapes closed. Just praying that this cap breaks soon. We are ready for fall!

    It is really too hot to do much outdoors, so outside of work, we largely hide in the air conditioning indoors and don’t do much during the summer. We did go swimming for a couple of hours last Sunday afternoon (our building has a pool). I am also thankful we both work in air conditioned offices, and our vehicles have good air conditioning! The a/c in my husband’s vehicle had stopped working a few weeks ago. I am thankful we got it fixed early. We did all of our usual stuff – cooked and ate most meals at home and watched for grocery bargains, only shopping for items as we needed to restock.

    Sorry for all the weather complaining – I’m just “over it” with this heat! I hope everyone here is enjoying much nicer weather and has a great week.

    1. Well we see 112° every summer and hotter, but there’s a category 4 hurricane headed to Las Vegas right now that has dropped the temperature!

      1. The fact that you and CA are under hurricane watches is mind boggling to me. Here where I live, our part of NC juts into the Atlantic, just daring a hurricane to come hit us! Thus far, we’ve had no storms, and you’ve got a cat 4 heading to you! Unreal. I hope that the deluge of rain the west is expecting will help refill Lake Mead with no other unwanted actions!

      2. I am envious of your rain, Brandy! We are usually over 100, but not 112, and not for 3 months straight! The humidity definitely makes it worse.

        I hope all is well with the hurricane and you only receive some welcome rain and cooler temps.

  46. I’m so grateful to live on well-water, so I don’t have to worry about conserving water for my plants! Where I am in TX it’s been 100+ this week! (I heard it got up to 109 today.) We are one-car family for now, so that has saved me lots of money just not being out and about! My mom visited and brought lots of spare fabric she had that I plan on making some clothes with. There’s enough for a cute dress for myself, and some thin denim fabric I’m hoping to use for some clothes for my 1 year old son. I haven’t made anything for him yet! I love how you said you got rid of some things, which add peace but don’t cost anything. I have really enjoyed doing that same thing lately, with less money to spend and more time on my hands to purge and find what really adds to our home.

  47. Last weekend we went on a three-night stay in Florida at our favorite oceanside condo rental place. I had been planning a more local visit, somewhere within an hour of home and discovered to my surprise that we would pay MORE for two nights locally than three nights away. Apparently, we have a ‘season’ in the nearby area which I was totally unaware of. The only disadvantage to the three-night trip was the long ride but that also ended up being more frugal than we’d anticipated. Our old Camry (2005) averaged 41 miles to a gallon on that long trip! To save money I pulled from my own pantry and freezer most of the things we would eat. The condo has a kitchen. We always cook our main meal and breakfast in the room. We pack lunches for road trip days, and we eat out only twice for lunches (far less expensive than evening entrees). We brought home a few leftovers (half a rotisserie chicken, two larger portions of steak) and I incorporated both into meals for us after we returned home this past week. My daughter-in-law grabbed up a half case of quite ripe bananas at the grocery where she works and brought them to me. I put up enough bananas to make many loaves of banana bread (20 or more). I stored the bananas in my freezer. I ordered a refill of a prescription before the expiration date in order to postpone a doctor visit to acquire the new prescription. After reviewing our spending over summer, I realized I was sorely out of balance with my food budget and have cut it back stringently these last few weeks so that we were nearer being balanced once more. I used up odd bits of things from the freezer/pantry/fridge to make up entrees and side dishes for meals. It is hot here hitting the high 90’s with heat indexes in the 110F range. I keep shades pulled in east and west facing windows during the time of day when the sun is coming in at those windows. We use fans to help circulate the indoor air and offer support to the air conditioning. I always peruse the clearance priced items when I go into stores. This week we got a pricey cat food for less than the cost of mass produced big name cat food. I was more than pleased over that.

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