I harvested tomatoes everyday, plus lemons, a few blackberries, peppers, Swiss chard, and green onions from the garden.

I found two new people on Instagram to follow with hand-weight exercises. My goal right now is to do at least 30 days in a row of these exercises (in addition to any gardening I do in the mornings and ballet warm-ups) . While most of the people I have found have paid workout programs, I have more than enough free workouts that I can follow. I am exercising in my closet in the morning and at night, so I don’t need to buy workout clothing or shoes. The hand weights I have are ones that my parents purchased at a garage sale.

I listened to videos on YouTube while working in the garden in the early mornings and while exercising.

I read one e-book (a bit of fluff again! Ha!) from the library using the free Libby app. I find it easier (and faster) to read a book than to listen to a book; I can usually read a book two to three hours faster than the audio version. I read while stirring a pot on the stove, while washing pots and pans, etc.

Because I was working in the garden, I noticed some plants were dying. It turns out one of my valves in completely broken and wasn’t watering anything at all. I watered plants by hand (those that didn’t die sustained some damage) and I will be replacing that valve plus two others that I noticed are leaking this week. While these are not cheap to fix (and are only two years old!), if I can fix them myself, it will save a significant amount of money over paying someone to do it (which I have done a few times in the past; it costs about $100 per valve to have someone fix them).

I cut roses from my garden to enjoy inside.

Two of my daughters attended camp in the mountains this past week. I was asked to go up one day to teach cell phone photography to some of the girls. I stopped to enjoy the wildflowers and the view on the drive back. The cooler weather on the mountain was so nice.

I really enjoyed reading all the wonderful comments from readers on Facebook and Instagram this week on my website’s 15th Anniversary posts! It was really touching to see how this website has blessed so many of you over the years.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I love all that you’ve been able to harvest and also that you e been so resourceful with your exercise !
    Rain, glorious rain! My veg garden loves it!! Just need to weed whack the brick paths between beds tomorrow when it’s dry! 🤔😉 https://pin.it/5qOmlHL

    While it’s been raining, I’ve been playing around making scrappy quilt blocks ( https://pin.it/3FmCZOC) and canning chocolate cherry jam- https://pin.it/1AjDEtE. Those are the first 8 jars. I actually made 24 jars!

    I bought 4 packages of Kraft sliced American cheese and with their sale price + 2 coupons on packages for $1 off of 2 packages + ibotta rebate- the price went from $4.49 (regular price ) down to $1.75 for each one which is more keeping with my budget.

    I was at Walmart when they announced over loudspeaker that their 5 pound bags of potatoes were $1 each (20 cents/pound). Since we had just finished the last of ours in storage, I bought 5 bags! They also had large seedless watermelon for $2 so I picked up 2 and cut them up at home for refreshing snacks!

    The mother of a dear friend just passed away and my friend is bringing me “boxes” of quilt fabrics to put to use! My daughter and I will definitely make and give quilts to many charities with this generous donation!

    Hubs had more skin cancer surgery on Friday- squamous cells that keep returning on his arm so he has some lifting restrictions until the stitches come out in 2 weeks. Glad he has those regular dermatologist appointments!

    Tonight one of our sons is stopping over to help us install 4 of our window a/c units in the house. The rain is leaving us with temps that will be in the 90’s and humid, so although we will try not to use them, it will be nice to know that if it’s just too muggy that they are an option.

    Two more final projects outside on the house will hopefully be done before summer’s end. They are major work that we have hired contractors to do- painting the trim around windows that we can’t reach (2nd and 3rd floor)as well as porch ceiling and eaves and also siding contractor who will cover (clad) our window wood trim with metal so that we won’t have to paint again or worry about wood deteriorating. These are projects that may dip into our regular savings account but are, again, one and done projects that will protect our home investment!

    We are grateful that the smoke filled skies from Canadian fires have finally dissipated with our rains and hope others in the more northern states will also get some air quality relief.

    We are hoping that Wednesday we will get our 2 cars back that we have loaned out to friends (9 weeks) and son (2 weeks). We are returning our daughter’s car on Wednesday since they loaned it to us while they were on vacation! We are chuckling about our “community” cars! But it will be nice to have ours both back and grateful that we were in a position to loan them out!

    Life isn’t without it’s bumps in the road, but with faith, focus, friends and family in our lives, we can get through these “interesting” times!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat, I was just part of a discussion on Instagram about what people call the “weed whacker.” We call it a weed eater, but I have used weed whacker. Some people called it a trimmer, and I believe that an English person called it a stimmer. Some called it an edger. I just thought it was fun to see how different areas call things differently.

      1. We call it a weed whacker, but my step dad used to say that we didn’t have enough money to buy a Weed Whacker. Apparently it was a brand name.

    2. Here in Toronto we call it a whipper snipper. I use it to cut what I laughingly call my front lawn….it’s simply a strip of grass about 3′ wide by the width of the lot. It’s only there to let the dog have someplace to pee.

      1. Patsy, our *yard* in Los Angeles was similar. 10 x 25 sf. We didn’t have enough light for grass so we did a pebble middle for our dog and surrounded it with shrubs. We probably could’ve used scissors if we had grass lol.

  2. Just a quiet week here. Wishing those in the US a happy and peaceful 4th of July. And my thanks Brandy, for the years of work on the blog. It is a sweet place in the midst of the noise.

  3. Happy blog anniversary, and happy upcoming wedding anniversary! Perhaps not the anniversary you would have predicted even a year ago, yet trusting the future together is a big part of marriage.
    I finally finished my work as my father’s trustee today, and was reminded again of how important it is to be a loyal and well-behaved customer, (my bank in this case, where the manager made some things easier for me, but also important for plumber, carpenter, lawn guys, etc.).
    USPS is raising first class and international rates this coming Sunday.
    The dry and cool spring here in the Midwest confused my flowers. Still, the morning glories finally put out some blooms today, and I will have notable numbers of zinnias for the first time ever. I am looking forward to picking them for inside and using some of the vases that were my Mom’s.
    I cleaned out my spice cupboard of long-expired bottles and sprinkled the spices, along with some cheap red pepper flakes, around my back deck and it seems to be deterring the raccoons who were a nuisance for the first time ever this year.

      1. Happy Anniversary Brandy and wishing you an especially lovely video call to celebrate the years with your husband!
        My father worked on the road as a traveling salesman. He and my mother talked on the phone at night and they ended their calls by saying a number which was their secret code for “I love you.” We grew up hearing that number every night they were apart. My parents are long dead but my siblings, our spouses, children, nephews, niece, even some in-laws and cousins say those 3 digits to each other all these years later.

        1. Kat,
          My in-laws did the same thing. When my husband was working, and calling from all over, he took up the coded endearment. I thought it was corny, and still do, but it’s a nice corny. Sometimes, we’ll sign notes or cards the same even now.

  4. I heard some people at another table in a restaurant talking about renting out their cars. How does that work with insurance? I had a wreck years ago in my Aunt & Uncle’s car and their insurance threatened to cancel because I wasn’t on the policy? I can’t imagine them paying if you were renting or letting someone drive your car for long periods without adding them to your policy?

    1. It may depend on the insurance company and the policy?

      The company we use states that the policy is vehicle-specific, not driver specific. So if we need someone to drive us, if we loan the car to someone, or worst case, a person steals the car and does damage or hurts someone, it’s covered. If it’s long term or a student driver, they do want us to provide the person’s information and license number, but by them attaching coverage to the cars themselves, it helps. We pay a little more compared to some companies we looked at, but had peace of mind when we were stationed overseas and my folks were “babysitting” the car. The company just needed to know where it was stored and that they were driving it every few weeks to keep it running; then when someone rearended them at a light, everything was handled with no issues. I can see where, on the flip side, some companies would insure drivers, no matter what vehicle they are in, as opposed to the vehicles themselves; people who travel a lot and are in rentals, perhaps.

      In the case of actually renting out a car as a car share, or for driving services like Uber, they offer a different policy. When we added our son with a learner permit, they asked if we were doing either of these “side hustles” as they have specific coverage for liability that needs to be in place. They consider it to be similar to small business coverage, apparently. That was interesting to learn, though we don’t have any plans to pursue those things.

  5. Such beautiful pictures, as usual! Did you take of them with your phone? I wish I’d been at camp on the day you came to teach cell phone photography! I have never really gotten the hang of it. Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week–

    I turned off my sprinkler system once last week–4-5 times so far this summer.

    I get GCs from my insurance company for completing wellness activities. I use them for gifts. I received a $50 card for Macy’s for having a physical exam. Sometimes the card itself is the gift–I will use this one to buy a present for my daughter’s birthday in September.

    I was able to buy sweet cherries again last week for $1.47 lb. at Winco. I bought a crate and canned 12 quarts, which are still lined up on the breakfast bar for me to admire. (I will try to have them put away by Thanksgiving, LOL). I actually canned 13, but one jar broke in the canner. Bummer!

    I made a batch of Miracle Spray and cleaned the bathroom. Miracle Spray + Mr. Clean Eraser = “da bomb” on soap scum.

    I fell again last week and have a tiny fracture of my ring finger. I don’t have to do anything if it heals well (as it seems to be doing) on its own. I went to urgent care with $40 co-pay instead of the emergency room with $75 co-pay.

    I always said I would get an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” alert when I turned 80, whether I needed it or not. I’m not 80 yet, but I’ve had several falls in the past year. My husband has vertigo, but hasn’t fallen…yet. He needed a new phone because I accidentally put his new phone through the washing machine and there was no hope for it. We decided that we would both switch to Jitterbug, which has a button to call for help. The Lively/Jitterbug site has their smart phones on sale for $112.49, however I got them at Best Buy for $74.99 each. I applied a $5 coupon I didn’t even know I had until I placed the order.

    I made a list of all of the meals we commonly eat. I had a list before but misplaced it. This is a huge help in planning menus because I don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time.

    I hope Brandy and all of the commenters are having a wonderful week!

  6. 1. I accepted four bottles of gummy vitamins from a friend who did not like the texture. These large bottles cost over $20 each, where she buys them! 2. Been eating almost exclusively out of the freezer so that it will be empty for fall’s hunting meat. I keep a running list and still I have found items that I did not realize were in there! As a result, in June we spent less than $50 for food and all of that was for milk. 3. We had a lot of finished compost this year, some of it started two years ago. A neighbor offered to buy a truckload of it for $50 and I practically yelled, “Sure!!” Garbage turned to money; I felt like Midas. My husband was so impressed that now he has started asking me if things can be dumped into our newest compost heap; before he would carry stuff out there but was sort of oblivious to what. 4. Bought some gift certificates for graduation and new baby gifts, the week we got 4X the amounts as fuel points at the grocery store. We ended up getting $1.25 off per gallon and made sure to drive until we were almost out of gas and then took two gas cans along so we could get the maximum 25 allowed gallons. 5. Thankfully accepted a pineapple and chocolates that a client brought back from Hawaii for my husband. 6. The rest was just the usual of turning off lights and faucets, using every last bit out of jars of food, lotion and toothpaste, and so on. Happy 4th to you all.

  7. A friend asked me if I’d like her leftover tomato feeding sticks – I quickly said yes. She is also giving me half of a small cabbage.
    She has to come to my part of town so enroute she is stopping to pick up some things from the drug store. I decided that while
    I work outside that I should sit with my back to the patio table. I now have a system so I am facing the flower pots. I was waiting for the hummingbird (who is very shy) when a fritillary butterfly landed on the dahlias. Then a few more did so. I was so lucky as I got an exquisite photo of one of them. Now I just need to figure out which species of fritillary butterfly it is. I am getting a few prints made up — I got a discount at London Drugs for doing so. We had at a terrible storm (the day before another area had a terrible tornado). My power was out for 12 hours. Then I decided to go outside at 7 a.m. to look for the hummingbird as my neighbour had seen it around that time. All of a sudden
    there was a very loud explosion. I phoned 911, the very nice police came, and discovered an electric transformer exploded. Shortly afterwards, the power came on and I raced inside to see if the small fortune I have of frozen chicken breasts had thawed out. I had not opened the freezer during the outage. And the chicken breasts had not even begun to thaw out. The only casualty was the frozen blueberries which I ate right away.

    Meanwhile, my friend arrived. She brought not only the tomato feeding sticks but she brought me a couple of apricots, a large bunch of celery, and the small cabbage. As for sale items, Co-op has its 1.5 kg bag of frozen blueberries on sale, reduced from $12 to $9 something. I have been using one of the several bags of couscous that I got for my pantry. It was a great bargain.

    The store was supposed to put aside a couple of items with the other items my friend was to pick up but the store forgot to do it and my friend forgot, too. Ah well, money not spent is money saved.
    And I’m feeling down because we now have smoke again.At least when I had to choose between going to the mountains 12 days ago when it was cold and windy and this week, I seem to have been blessed with the choice I made.

    Brandy, bon courage!

  8. Wanted to wish you and your husband an early happy anniversary, Brandy! As I recall reading back through comments, your special day is this week, if I’m not mistaken? What a fun outing to go to the camp to teach photography! So sorry about your irrigation system malfunction. Hoping you’ll be able to get the repair done and avoid the service call expense. And, interesting that you mention the hand weights – I recently added that to my daily routine (mentioned in my list below). What a coincidence!

    Thank you again to everyone who shares frugal tips and tips here – so inspiring and so many great ideas … I’ve really also enjoyed reading back through them.

    *Organized greeting cards and when I run out of occasion-specific will convert solely to decorative blank cards that can be used for any occasion. I can easily DIY with stamps, etc. to add the occasion to the cover of blank cards. Used lovely blank cards to send condolences to two dear families.

    *While tree cutter was on his tall lift to remove a dead mature tree from our lawn, he also graciously cleaned the exterior of our second story windows. We were very grateful and paid him a little more than his quoted price for the tree service. Even so, it saved us the cost of hiring window washers. In the past we’ve tried the window cleaning spray attachment that you hook up to a garden hose but it didn’t work well for us.

    *When using ziplock freezer bags, I don’t write directly on the bag. I use masking tape to label with the contents, size and date. For nonmeat/poultry/fish items, I can then remove the tape, clean, sanitize and reuse the bag.

    *One of our mature nonfruit bearing trees had several areas of webworms and we had planned to call a tree service to treat it. But, while our regular exterminator provided our quarterly home service, he sprayed the large tree as well at no extra cost. And, thankfully, the webworms are gone! A nice cost savings!

    *Cancelled Ancestry.com membership. Obtained all the info I’m interested in and no longer need access. $25/month savings.

    *Experimenting with freezing whole tomatoes, rather than blanching and slicing before freezing. Will be a time savings if they’re acceptable for soups and stews.

    *Our oldest son (a former personal trainer) demonstrated basic upper body exercises with light weights I can do and I used my cell phone to record his “tutorials” – easy to refer back to and no gym or personal trainer fees.

    *Gathered all the low denomination postage stamps we had on hand (2 cents, 20 cents, postcard postage, and 24 cents) and am combining them to use for mailing the few bill payments that cannot be paid electronically (small town services).

    *Occasionally we buy a small bunch of fresh cut flowers. New to us are Charmelias. To me they look similar to Freesia but form a full and pretty bunch at the end of each stem. Constant blooms and they lasted 28 days. Bonus: vase water stays clean with no slimy stems – I changed water every 3 days. Definitely worth the $6 for a month of beauty.

    *Instead of using our oven for peanut butter cookies for hubby, opted instead to make No Bake Peanut Butter Balls. Mix 1 cup oats with ¼ cup peanut butter and ¼ cup honey. Add ¼ cup each sunflower kernels, raisins, and nuts (use all add-ins or just a couple). Form into bite size balls and roll in coconut flakes. (I also sometimes put ¼ coconut flakes in the mix as well.) Refrigerate and serve. No oven energy costs and kitchen remains cool!

    *Online source (Chewy) for pup’s dry food saved us $20 with first order and 5% on future orders, with free shipping. Was very tempted to try another less costly food brand, but it’s such a gamble with a senior pup. We did that years ago and that resulted in vet bills. No cost savings in that scenario.

    *I ruined a favorite pair of white capris while trying to remove a stain. Cut them off, converting to shorts, will add white lace edging at the hem, and now I believe I will like them even more.

    *A toiletry item we received was damaged in shipment and much of the contents (hubby’s body wash) leaked inside the waterproof envelope. It was a mess! We were told to discard the item and a replacement would be resent. Of course, we will use the remaining body wash that was left in the container. And, I removed the spilled product from the envelope with a cleaning cloth, adding it to a pail of hot water, used it as I would any multi-purpose diluted cleaning product. No wasted product and our home smelled great!

    *Decluttered, cleaned and organized tall workshop cabinet containing gardening supplies and cleaning products, and miscellaneous outdoor items. Consolidated like items together, added shelf liner, contained items in plastic bins (from our stash). We now know which products we have and which we are running low on. Wayward items found their proper homes, and miscellaneous (non-product) items will be donated. A no spend project that will save us time in locating items in the future and a cost savings – we won’t buy duplicates needlessly.

    *Hubby prefers showers and I prefer baths. Will have him collect shower warm up water that I will later add to my bath as I’m running warm bath water, resulting in less water needed for bathing. Our bathroom is upstairs and I don’t trust myself to safely get a pail of water downstairs without spilling (to water outdoor plants). LOL

    *Added a bit of water to a nearly empty container of body lotion, allowing access to all the contents and extending the product.

    *Did all our typical frugal daily routine items … fewer/larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day (triple digit temps outdoors); kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; ate from freezer/pantry except one restaurant meal.

    Wishing everyone a fun and frugal week and a safe and festive Fourth (for those of you in the U.S.)!

  9. Hello, frugal friends from the hot and steamy Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. Congratulations, Brandy, on 15 years with this blog! You have definitely made a positive difference in so many lives, mine included. I still reread my favorite posts like the 40 cents a day series and when you relandscaped your front yard, just to name two. You and our frugal friends have helped me get through some difficult times and have allowed me to rejoice the happy times with our frugal friends around the world. I do not do facebook or Instagram so I am glad you mentioned your anniversary in today’s blog.
    On the frugal front:
    *We received 2 more refunds from my heart attack bills. We have only paid 4 bills (all we have received) so I am not sure where the fifth one comes from, but we just put them both into our savings account.
    *We harvested lettuce, peas, green onions, kale and beets from our little garden. We have so much lettuce that we were able to share with family and friends.
    *I remembered to turn off the stove and oven a few minutes before the cooking time was over.
    *I used small appliances instead of the stove and oven.
    *I earned .30/gallon off for gas. We purchased a hybrid Toyota and it gets great MPG…42-45 around town. It is not a plug in but recharges the battery using brakes and when going down a hill. We traded in our Honda and paid cash for the balance.
    *We had to finally turn our a/c on due to the Canadian wildfire smoke and the heat. When I think how far the smoke traveled to get to our mountains it made me think about those fighting the fires in Canada and the wildlife there. Prayers are sent their way.
    *We had enough rain one day so I did not have to water the garden last week.
    *I used sales, coupons and military discount at Joann Fabrics to purchase netting for my garden. I bought 5 yards of netting and 2 yards of mosquito netting (104″ wide both) for $10. I have enough now to cover almost all my garden boxes to keep critters out…or in the case of the raccoon eating my strawberries, slow it down.
    *Used our military discount at Lowes to buy mulch.
    * At the grocery store I found marked down whole wheat bread for .57 a loaf so I bought 2, big bags of whole wheat bagels for .75/ bag-bought 2, strawberries for 1.50/pound-bought 2 pounds, 18 count eggs for 1.13, 8 oz bags of cheese for 1.29-bought 5 bags. I saved 2$ with coupons. I bought very little else.
    *I froze peas and greens from the garden.
    *I am sewing a skirt using fabric from my stash. I will start a Christmas quilt using scraps (throw size) once I am finished with the skirt.
    I wish everyone a safe, healthy, frugal week!

  10. This week has been better for frugality. I’ve used up a lot of dibs and dabs in the fridge (cups of queso cheese and stale Doritos in a taco dish; butter packets from KFC, some slightly sketchy blueberries, and a little jelly in the cobbler I’m taking tomorrow for the 4th of July; the last of the teabags for iced tea).

    I also signed up for a free trial of Hello Fresh for only $4.99, which gave me 4.5 pounds of meat, green beans, noodles, sweet potatoes, rice, bread crumbs, and seasonings. They let my husband sign up, too, so he will get another box this week. He did a better job picking so I think we will actually eat those meals instead of just using the different ingredients in our own recipes.

    I took our new neighbors a gift – I found 3 really nice children’s books at the thrift store and added a homemade jar of jelly wrapped in a kitchen towel that I got for cheap. I used a vintage postcard as the card.

    My niece is the manager in a low income housing complex, and she has started a little free library. I put out a request on my Facebook, and I have collected 4 boxes for her.

    My sorority sister is going through her mother’s things, and she is sending me box of old glass, maybe mercury, Christmas ornaments. She is happy to share with someone she knows, and I’m happy to have them.

  11. I forgot to mention that my 5 tomato plants each have tomatoes forming on them. Unlike last year, I will have tomatoes (barring hail, etc.)

  12. Brandy, happy blog anniversary and happy marriage anniversary. It has taken me a long time to have a simple unquestioning faith.
    There are some situations where there is no alternative but a stoic and preferably even happy and tranquil acceptance. i am facing one such
    situation myself now.

      1. thank you Brandy. I am sure my problem pales in comparison to what so many others have to face.

  13. Congratulations, Brandy, on your 15 year blog anniversary! I’m glad we all have the opportunity to remind you what an uplifting and nurturing space (like your garden!) you have created here. Thank you!
    *Preserving season has begun, albeit slowly as the springtime was a bit chilly. Pineapples were on sale at last, so I canned chunks for winter use.
    *Red bell peppers were on a deep sale, so I bought a great many to chop up and dehydrate. In our area, bell peppers are no longer field grown but only in greenhouses. Which means the harvest is spread year round with no “glut”. Which means in turn that sales are rare.
    *I also found discounted lemons which I am brining so that they ferment and will last a year in the fridge. The peel is diced up and used to add a wonderful pop of flavour to chicken, salmon, couscous, and middle eastern dishes.
    *A young relative and her two children stayed with us overnight en route to elsewhere, and it was good to catch up in person. It was a jolting reminder though that the social media world can be a curated creation which needn’t reflect all of a person’s reality. I had no idea if the depth of the burdens she was facing until we talked face to face. I think Brandy suggested some months ago to ask a person “What are you facing at the moment?” The answers can be surprising.
    Blessings on your week, everyone! And to our US “cousins”, Happy Fourth of July! 🇺🇸

    1. I’m so glad you remembered, Elle.

      Social media doesn’t usually show any of our burdens.

  14. Two more frugal a things – my husband picked up a cheesecake for my son-in-law’s birthday. Where it was said it was $7.99 on the tag. It was tagged on the the packaging itself as $13.99. They charged him $19.99! He immediately went to customer service, took them to where it was with the $7.99 tag, and received his $12 back!

    My son and I made a 4th of July banner to put on the cobbler out of scrap paper and saved ribbon. I’ll save the banner portion but will need to find small wooden sticks to use – for tomorrow I just glued them to rolled paper tubes.

  15. It’s been a great week in Houston!
    We’ve had hot dogs three days in a row: twice for free at church celebrations/festivals, then once at the Sam’s snack bar. The two free events included free food and snowcones, live music, bounce houses, etc. Lots of fun!
    I’ve sold a few more things on Facebook Marketplace and Mercari. Cash in, junk out! Every little bit helps.
    I used Folex from Home Depot to clean stains out of a free Pottery Barn Kids rug. It looks great, now! I am very sensitive to smells and could never get the vomit smell out of the last one.
    We got to swim at my aunt’s house, where she always gives the kids popsicles and ice cream.
    Just a week and a half left in my online classes for the first summer session, yay! There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
    I treated one son’s swimmer’s ear with half rubbing alcohol/half vinegar. It’s clearing up, fortunately.
    Has anyone bought the Dawn or Tide from the people selling it on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, in unmarked 5 gallon buckets? Is this a scam?
    We do so much laundry and wash so many dishes with a big family, and the blue Dawn is my favorite, although expensive.

    1. I consider these the same as people selling Forever stamps for cheap And they’re bogus! … If it’s too good to be true… I wouldn’t buy anything that we believe is cleaning our dishes and glasses, or is on our clothing, that might not be as pure as the branded, sealed packaging. To me, it has scam and possibly danger, written all over it. A legit company would WANT their name on their product.

    2. Sometimes when I see those sorts of sales of non-retail amounts I also wonder if they are stolen from a workplace [I work at two public agencies and supply theft is an issue at both! Things just walk away a little at a time!]

    3. Leigh Ann – you probably know this already, but to prevent swimmer’s ear, pour about half a capful of rubbing alcohol into each ear after you get out of the water. Let it sit for 5 seconds, then tilt head & let it run out. This will evaporate any moisture left in the ear canal, so it doesn’t develop into swimmer’s ear. We never diluted it, just used straight alcohol. I worked in a doctor’s office and this was a frequent recommendation, rather than purchasing the expensive drops or a doctor’s visit.

      As far as the Tide or Dawn, it’s probably legitimate product, but definitely stolen and possibly counterfeit. Even janitorial or industrial supply large packages are going to be brand-labeled. Tide is a high-theft item.

      1. Thanks, Pam!
        Yes, we keep a solution of half rubbing alcohol, half vinegar in an old mustard bottle, which we use for this exact purpose. For some reason one of my sons is especially prone to ear infections and water trapped in his ear.

    4. Hi Leigh Ann,
      I would suspect that, as others have commented. The detergent is stollen. My hubby is a trucker and has taken loads of Procter and Gamble product to their special Incinerator. They are very protective of their products and want them to be the highest quality. If something is wrong with a batch, they destroy the product.

  16. Hi everyone!
    I can’t believe it has been 15 years already for this blog. Congratulations on building such a warm, caring and helpful community! This blog has been a blessing!

    I went to my local Safeway today to pick up $0.99/lb. Chicken thighs and drumsticks. We put 4 packs in a freezer. We also bought a tri tip roast that was on sale. We’ll bbq half tomorrow and freeze the other.
    While at Safeway, I saw store brand 1/2 pies priced at $8 and a local bakery’s whole pies priced at $25!!!! 🤯 I think many will be having red, white and blue Jello tomorrow instead. Yikes! I baked a cherry pie with frozen cherries and a plum pie using garden plums. Also I was shocked to see that the highest priced loaf of bread was $8. I’ll just keep on baking my own!

    I’ll be making jam this week: cherry and plum. I had to net the cherry tree because the crows are incessant. 🐦‍⬛

    My husband is also replacing drip irrigation valves. It seems that some break every year.

    I was going to mention a really great IG fitness pro who teaches a lot of body weight, barre and strength training clips. I love her videos! Maybe she’ll give you some new ideas. https://instagram.com/laurengeorgefitness?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

    Have a blessed 4th of July! 🇺🇸🎉

  17. Congratulations on your 15th anniversary! This site is such a lovely and hopeful oasis, in a crazy world. I know I’m not alone in feeling blessed that you continue to keep it here. After using up all the nettle tea on the tomatoes last week, I started another batch of comfrey & nettle tea. I harvested lettuce, lambs quarter, parsley, oregano, cucumbers, mulberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I gathered flowers, to make a bouquet for our home. GF bread ends were made into bread crumbs. Laundry was dried on the line, except for one load, after the forecast changed for the day. I blended up banana skins and aloe bits in water, and fertilized plants with it. After finishing a library book, I began reading one of my free Kindle books, which I’m enjoying. For a dinner, my husband requested egg salad sandwiches. I made a big salad for myself, using our lettuce, cucumber and sweet potato. I harvested almost all of our onions. The few that still had standing leaves will remain in the garden a little while longer. I added homegrown blackberries, mulberries, pawpaw and figs to a smoothie, trying to use up some of last year’s frozen fruit. I planted winter squash, butternut and Lady Godiva. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/07/homestead-summer-days.html

  18. I needed one more item printed to return the incorrect mobile phone that Amazon had sent. To save the cost of a second trip to the library to print it ($14 return for the senior’s bus, or $20 return for the local taxi), I asked the grocery store supervisor if I could send it to them to print. The supervisor and manager agreed, and it only took them a minute, but they were clearly not happy about doing me this favor, so I’ll make sure not to ask them for help again. I really did appreciate that they did this, though.

    The next day, I re-packaged the phone, together with all the Amazon labels, and walked over to the post office. The instructions had said that once they received the return, they would reimburse me within seven days. Exactly three hours after I mailed the package, I received an e-mail from Amazon saying that they had processed the credit card payment, and that I would receive the refund in two to four business days. It came through in one and a half days! Such is the magic of Amazon’s technical set-up with Canada Post.

    We had rain all through the Canada Day weekend. My knees have been very sore the last couple of weeks, though it gave me an excuse to get some rest and enjoy a book and watch some movies, TV and YouTube. It has started to dry out now, so I hope to get productive again soon.

    I did get bills paid, and a few errands run. No deals grocery shopping, though. A lb of butter is now $6.79. Strawberries were on sale for $3.98 for a 1 lb clamshell package for the four days around the Canada Day weekend, but there were none on the shelf. There were many packages available for $6.98 the day before and the day after this sale, though. I don’t like how cynical I am becoming when I see these “supply” issues. I had some cherries and some radishes to munch on instead.

    1. Elizabeth, have you thought about putting out a request on FB or Craigslist for the donation of a used, “must be operable” printer? Or even just ask your friends. Lots of us have printers just taking up space. The thrift stores here will not take them, even in working condition, because they are offered so many and testing costs more in labor than they will get for the printer. I had a perfectly good printer that just needed ink that I had to take to the dump. We bought a new one because that model sucked ink and it was cheaper for us to start over. But you could buy a lot of ink for the cost of a taxi or even a bus ride! In my experience, Epson uses the most ink. Brother is easy on the ink and also produces nice printing. But, if someone is GIVING it to you, and you don’t use it often, you can just go with whatever is offered.

      1. I wouldn’t have to go very far to find a free printer, since there is one in my kitchen. I use it so rarely (once or twice a year) that the ink dries out, and it costs far more than the bus or taxi ride to replace the cartridge. Last time I bought a cartridge, they were $36. Also the cartridges need to be ordered online because they’re not available in my small town, so there’s a few days’ wait anytime I want a new cartridge. I found if I kept an extra, it had dried up by the time I used it. This particular model is a color printer, and it won’t work if any one of the four color cartridges is dried up — it won’t even scan! A laser printer might work, but I haven’t looked into it. They’re quite a bit more expensive new, but I hadn’t thought of looking to see if anyone had one they weren’t using. I’d need to price the toner cartridges.

        I think you can also refill the ink cartridges, but I have a hand tremor, and this is not a project for me.

        1. I use a laser printer. It’s just black toner. Though the printer is more than an ink jet printer, it quickly saves mobry over buying color ink. I highly recommend going that direction. The toner cartidges can print 8,000 to 10,000 pages before needing to be replaced.

          1. Thanks for the input, Maxine and Brandy. It’s given me some new direction to go towards having a printer at home again. Perhaps I can add this when I put a new to do list together.

        2. Once you get this resolved, if you print one or two pages a month, even of things you don’t need, will that keep the ink moist?
          I share your frustration with the high cost of printer cartridges! Our rarely-used printer was maybe as much as fifteen years old and cartridges were almost thirty dollars for color and for black-and-white. When the printer started jamming, we bought a new printer-scanner for $49 at WalMart, first cartridges included. The old one was recycled and our library recycles old ink cartridges.

          1. It seems easier to me to take a senior’s bus or taxi once or twice a year to the village office or the library, than coaxing a fussy printer along at home. I can usually combine the trip with one or two other necessary errands, and always, I am getting something printed or scanned that will result in some money in the bank for me. This time was quite unusual in that I needed a second item printed. Amazon used to give you pre-printed labels with your shipment, but I guess that was expensive for them.

  19. I am finally finished with work and holidays have begun! This means I can spend more time at home and save money. Some of my recent frugal accomplishments have been…
    *I bought an electric vehicle. Not exactly cheap but I got a 10k rebate from the government and I am paying about $7-8/week to charge. The chargers at work are the cheapest I’ve found.
    *I’ve baked bread, muffins, and turned some over ripe bananas into banana bread
    *I’m doing a self imposed pantry/freezer challenge to clean out the pantry and freezer
    *a friend came by and we cleaned out and decluttered my kitchen cabinets. She took home a few things that I no longer needed
    *I had gathered some food donations but the woman from the food bank is unable to pick up the box. I passed it on to a friend who struggling financially
    *Instead of spending money outside I spent a day cleaning out my dresser. I threw out all the old and stained items.
    *I hosted the bi-monthly swap last weekend. I came home with less than I took. Some items I found were..
    -a game for my son
    -a swimsuit in a style I’ve been eyeing from some time with a $79 price tag still attached!
    -a couple books. Two for my son and one for me
    -a wallet for my son
    -a keychain to replace my recently broken one
    -a bottle of clarifying shampoo
    -a bottle of shower gel
    -two shirts for my son
    -two hooded towels for my son

  20. My husband would love all of those tomatoes. My neighbor said herbs aren’t ready yet, so he’s still waiting on home grown ones.

    Got a free Starbucks drink with points

    Found 12 packs of Coke 3 for $15 and had $1 off coupon on one of the boxes

    Used a 20% off McDonald’s code

    Printed some things at work(got permission first), which saved a few cents and my time and gas going to the library

    My son fixed my daughter’s headset

    Earned $10.50 though Ibotta

    Earned a $12.50 Amazon shopping reward

    Sent off for $6.39 Menards rebate

    Ate breakfast and lunches at work

    My husband grilled so that gave us a few leftovers.

    My lettuce and radishes bit the dust. I have a few more seeds so I’ll try again in the fall.

  21. Oh, those tomatoes! So gorgeous.
    How great that you got to enjoy a drive into the mountains.
    This week was hot, dry, and windy. I had to use extra water in the garden, but tried to conserve where I could. We enjoyed lettuce, a few carrots, lots of peas, green onion, chard, and mint from the garden.* My husband’s birthday was Sunday. We went to the local hot springs. Our friend was working and spotted us as we came in and insisted we be her guests as her gift to my husband.*This same friend’s husband was hired to clean out a repossessed house. He stopped by our place and dropped off 2 unopened cases of wide-mouth quart jars, and a box of four fancy pint canning jars. He said he saw them in the house and knew I’d be able to use them. And I certainly will. They were leaving on vacation that afternoon but when they return they will be getting a big basket of produce from my garden.* I made a batch of yogurt and canned 7 pints of homemade pasta sauce.* We attended our homeowner’s association picnic. It was a really fun afternoon. At the end of the event they asked people to take home leftover food, and provided containers for us. I took home some hot dogs and brats, which we at the next evening for dinner. *After avoiding a big grocery run all month I shopped on Wednesday. Afterwards, I totaled my purchases for the month and I spent less than half my usual grocery budget, so the effort to use what I had in pantry and freezer all month was definitely worth it, and the groceries I purchased will last us at least two weeks, if not three. I am going to challenge myself to see how long I can make my purchases last.* This was the weekend for the annual Women’s Club Rummage Sale. They haven’t had one since before the pandemic, so they had LOTs for sale, and it was priced very reasonably. We went on the first day and spent $33, and returned on Saturday, when everything is marked down, and spent another $15. I’ve been searching for a cast iron muffin tin for years and they had one for $3. I scored 6 yards of suiting wool in a beautiful gray blue for $2 (I’d like to make a coat), and a huge bundle of fabric – probably 6 or 7 yards of assorted cotton prints– for another $2, a box full of new zippers of assorted sizes and colors for $2, and two jars of buttons for $1 each. We also bought several pieces of clothing, picture frames, and small tools. My husband found a new entry keypad for a garage door opener – he’s been wanting one but was unwilling to pay $40. This one was $1 and works perfectly.

  22. Hi everyone,
    Our strange weather continues. Storms have gone through and washed away the smoke, thank goodness. We’ve had a lot of rain this week but are grateful it’s not as bad as Chicago.
    My cheese making night was a success! We did a pitch in for a dinner and then made mozzarella and ricotta. (The ricotta was an accident.) Uncertain whether I’ll do this again, but it was fun. Messy but fun. Here is the recipe if anyone would like: https://cheesemaking.com/products/30-minute-mozzarella-recipe
    Had an amazing meal. Used the ricotta, mozzarella, oregano, garlic and basil from my garden, and made a sourdough pizza crust. The pizzeria that makes this locally sells them for $25 (last time I checked) so this was a treat!
    Traded sourdough bread for a Nutella roll “cake” for my daughter’s birthday.
    Working on a tshirt quilt with my daughter’s girl scout camp shirts for Christmas. Joann’s had a sale this weekend so I got the backing fabric and interfacing for half off. Plan is to work on this in little bits.
    I’m trying to cut back on my soda consuming. Decades of bad habits don’t help. Trying to limit to 3 cans of diet coke each day.
    Husband is having to do yet more tests for disability so he’s having his primary care dr get a copy of results so tests don’t have to be repeated. Even though he’s on my health insurance now, it’s still time and driving to hospital for services, etc.
    Ordered furnace filters on Amazon which is cheaper to buy multiple a few times a year than buy in store when we need it.
    I appreciate all the learning from each one of you! Have a good week.

  23. We watched fireworks for free tonight. Our church had a fireworks display. Cooked at home for most meals. We did buy some hamburgers tonight before the fireworks. Gathered eggs for our breakfasts. Paid for feed, so I’m not sure that it is a savings, but my husband enjoys the chickens and we are using the eggs. We had breakfast for dinner a couple nights and egg salad for lunch. I was trying to think what we did to save money and my husband said we ordered only one slush and shared it. I decided not to buy potatoes this week because they were 6 dollars for a 10 lb bag of russets. We have a few we need to use up anyway and I still have some squash to use. I relaxed to music from YouTube. Cleaned to music as well. Ate oatmeal for some breakfasts. I made soup that lasted us three meals. I love to make homemade soup, it is so economical. It is also yummy! I am going to go back to using a free app to help me keep track of what I eat. It helps me lose weight. I was losing weight. Then, I stopped keeping track. I have to be careful because my blood sugar has been dangerously low recently. Although, it was resolved after eating. It is a balance that I am still trying to figure out. I am doing the usual things; using cloth hankies and napkins, turning off lights and trying to use up what we have.

  24. 1. I found 10 cartons of 18 count soft drinks in a Dollar General dumpster. I don’t drink sugary soft drinks so likely these will be donated. I also found 10 bottles of Pure Leaf iced tea. These I will drink as they are unsweetened.
    2. I went through drawers & closets. I found many things that can go in the Operation Christmas Child decorated shoeboxes that Franklin Graham sends to 3rd world countries.
    3. Went to the local beauty school to get a haircut & hair color. Price was 35$ with my senior discount. I gave the student a 5$ tip. Likely would have been double that price at a regular hair salon. I haven’t colored my hair for 5 years. I had a light lavender put on my silver hair. A nice pale color that can blend with the regrowth.
    4. Got a free 8.8 oz block of plant butter with a store offer. I have not used plant butter before I am sure it will taste ok on toast.
    5. I made some banana nut squares with healthy ingredients on hand. I used flaxseed instead of eggs, high fiber flour, stevia, some frozen bananas from the freezer, veg oil, applesauce, and some pecans. It tasted good although it is rather dense & heavy. I guess the high fiber flour & flaxseeds caused this even though I used leavening agents.

  25. Happy Anniversary, Brandy, on both accomplishments!

    Have spent time this past week with a close friend who is dying from Lewy Body Dementia. It has been a humbling and spiritual experience. This woman is/was such a magnificent being! Physically beautiful with a brilliant mind. She was a tenured Professor at a major university. When she walked into a room, she was the center of attention with a great laugh and dazzling smile. She was a friend to many and helped so many children and students over the years. She has two lovely children, who are adults, and who are overwhelmed with the grief of seeing their Mother vanish. As I have sat with her, she has cried out for her husband who has been dead for several years–speaking of her love for him. I feel the actual presence of God(you may call it something else) when I am there. I have thanked my God for this honor and cannot express how it has made me feel. What a gift life is! How wonderful to experience loving relationships and just the beauty of our world! So hope you do not read this as a negative, but see it as, perhaps, an affirmation of the wonder of being given each day and the joy we should draw from it.

    No deals to report. However, our utility bill did decrease by eleven dollars, which is a miracle during this time of year!

    Thanks for listening. Have a great 4th! Onward, y’all, by all means!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with your friend, CherylB. She is teaching even now, that we look at the wonders around us.

  26. Congratulations on your 15th blog anniversary! Relevantly, I was reading the book Callings, The Purpose and Passion of Work by Dave Isay (on the Libby app, naturally) when I saw your IG post. Brandy, I am so thankful you heard and answered your calling!

    My family spent a long weekend with my sister’s family at the lake to celebrate the Fourth of July. We ate all meals at the cabin. I was assigned breakfasts, snacks, and a side dish for both families. I kept costs in check by using pantry items, shopping at Aldi, serving inexpensive and versatile meals, and eating leftovers on the last day. We did not spend money on anything other than groceries, just enjoyed fun in the sun.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats!

  27. PS: Does anyone shop at Costco Business Centers? There are only 24 around the country. Your regular Costco card is all that is required. You do not need a business one. Supposedly, they are a wonder to behold. Most seem to be in the West.

    1. CherylB in Tennessee- Our son-in-law took us when we visited them in Houston. We checked to see where else they were and saw that there is one in Chicago area as well. I think I counted only about 15 Costco Business centers in the US.

      We were surprised that their prices were actually quite a bit cheaper than at the regular Costco! For example, we could buy almonds in a 5 lb bag rather than 3 pound size at regular Costco, but the total price for 5 pounds was less than the price for the 3 pound!
      Yes, it is a glorious place!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Gardenpat: thanks so much for the info! When I looked for info on the internet, they showed a map in the states of their locations and said that there were 24. The one closest to me is in Commerce GA. Guess I’ll be going to GA!

        I so enjoy reading your posts! Have a great day!

    2. I love the business center in Orlando! No crowds in the afternoon, great deals on meat and produce and they carry a lot more items in certain categories than a regular Costco (want a whole frozen goat, anyone?). I love their kitchen supplies section, and the snacks and drinks section.

  28. The tomatoes look lovely all the different colours.

    A much cooler week this week and 2mm of rain thankfully but I could do with much more.
    I have washed the spare bed bedding I will do the curtains if and when we get some more hot weather.

    We have picked the first tomato ,lettuce, peas, field beans, potatoes, strawberries, raspberries, black currants and red currants. The fruit has been frozen and I will make jam later in the year. I am drying Oregano in the kitchen. I made yoghurt, 3 Bakewell tarts and some coconut cakes. I have cooked all meals at home, I am trying to improve our diet to eat more veg and beans.

    I have sown peas and bush beans for autumn harvesting. I have been weeding but the ground is so hard (clay) it is difficult to get the roots out.

    We found ground coffee £1.25 for 250g in Poundland We have had it before and it is as good as much more expensive blend.

    Hubby needed new lightweight socks found M and S do 3 pairs for £18 needless to say we are still looking. I have read books from the library. All washing was dried on the line . All kitchen water is used to water the garden. No grocery shopping this week just milk. We have not used the car only the bus pass.

    Keep safe everyone

    1. Hi Chris

      If you would still like those socks at a cheaper price I suggest you try eBay. I needed linen trousers for summer and found 4 pairs of M&S trousers for an average of £13 each- new with tags. M&S is cheap on eBay and you can find great bargains. I found a raincoat I needed £30 less than in M&S new with tags.

  29. We’ve been starting to pull in more produce from the garden. I harvested two large turnips, a ton of peas, and handfuls of kale. I’ll be back for the first zucchini in a couple of days, and the pots on out balcony are producing plenty of greens, herbs, and green onions, so I didn’t need to pick up any vegetables at the market this week.

    My son started bagpipe lessons! He inherited the family pipes this year and decided he wanted to play. The local pipe band provides free lessons if you play in the band, so that was sorted neatly (and affordably).

    My partner and I wanted a day out on Saturday and we both wanted to try a newer restaurant, so we opted to go for a stroll through the downtown market and along the waterfront (free). We combined it with stopping to have drinks and split an appetizer. Not without cost, of course, but less than $20 for a full date day out was a nice budget alternative to a full meal out or a paid activity.

    I’ve been walking to my community garden bed instead of driving. This may change once the harvests get bigger, we will see.

    It’s been an eat down the pantry week, mainly because I am putting off grocery shopping until after the holiday weekend. I even made bread, something I rarely do anymore, simply so I could stay out of the store.

    I read 4 library books and listened to one audio book. I’ve also been spending my evenings embroidering a large panel from a free pattern, using my stash of thrifted embroidery supplies. I have several panels I’m planning to do, in hopes of making a hand embroidered quilt for our bed.

    My partner was given a small gift card from a client, which we used to buy some much desired equipment we need for our business.

    Not super frugal, but we booked our stays for our upcoming trip to Ireland. I followed some advice online and used aggregator websites to find available B&Bs and hotels in our price range, but then booked directly through the owners instead of through the aggregator. We saved $75 USD on average for each room doing this, I was shocked! Plus, a few places that online said we had to have two rooms (our son will be 18 at time of travel), were able to give us one double room when I explained we were a family traveling. That effectively cut the cost of some nights in half!

    Today we’re going to watch the parade, chill at home, then walk down to a nearby overlook to watch the fireworks over the bay.

    1. Wren, that was one of my main motivations for pulling out my old war-horse bread machine! I was out of bread and I SOOO didn’t want to go to the store! 🙂

  30. Thank you, everyone, for your comments!
    The only frugalish thing I remember is that I had a quality pair of socks which i could not wear because it had a difficult pattern and the thread loops inside always got stuck between my toes. I turned them inside out and can wear them now 🙂

  31. Happy July 4th to those in the States.
    Happy Marriage anniversary and happy Blog anniversary. We survived our bankruptcy, rebuilt credit and bought our forever (until nursing) home because I’ve read your blog. Even now with loss of 50% of our income, we aren’t stressing. Hubby even mentioned it was because of following you all these years that he wasn’t worried.
    Normally I would be getting ready to plant snow peas and peas for fall but my spring plantings are still blooming so I will save that seed for next year. We weren’t going to plant a fall garden or do row cover over fall garden to get through the winter some until our IRA guy told us they were seeing a strong chance of stocks dropping at the end of 2023 into 2024.
    I cut the propane order by 100 gallons, prepaid total amount, paid before Aug 1st and got 10 cents off a gallon for doing that. Got a grill tank filled for free and 3 other topped off. Used my credit card for cash back saving over $100 including what it would have cost me to get the tank filled instead of for free.
    We ordered more scrap wood from the sawmill. It’s already cured and will get about 4 cords. That will give us plenty to get through this coming winter as it makes 8 cords not counting the cord left from last year or all the night time wood our Amish neighbor passed to us for free as it’s not the right size for his stove.
    Our property taxes almost doubled and the farm insurance did the same. I can cover it using savings. At least I was given a head’s up so I could transfer money around.
    We found metal gardens beds on sale at Amazon. I thought to order the last of what we needed next year. Hubby insisted we do it and not wait. Good thing since our income has been cut to almost half as I will need to plant for fall and winter (under row cover) as the groceries have been cut to $175 the most. They are already paid for and we already have the dirt and compost here also.
    Prayers for peace
    Blessed Be

  32. I’m always impressed with how good your roses look! We just planted ten David Austin roses this spring (from bare root), and at first we were patting ourselves on the back because they all survived (for once), but now they seem to be getting hit by all sorts of pests and diseases and soil issues and who knows what else. We’ll keep trying though!

    The hospital bills have started to come in for the birth of our baby and some of the special medical specialists we’ve had to meet with, but I’m still bracing myself for the bill for the big six-week NICU stay. I was able to put away some more money into our medical fund this week though from an unexpected refund, and I’m hoping to cut down our grocery budget by a couple hundred dollars this month to go towards that as well. Here are my own weekly frugal wins:


  33. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary and your blogging anniversary. I think I have been reading your post for about 10 years. I have shared your blog with friends and family.
    We have had rain several nights so I haven’t had to water except for our new fruit trees. Like you I save water and use that.
    We finally had to turn on the AC because of the humidity. We keep the 1st floor on 76 during the day. We turn on our AC in our bedroom a half hour before we go to sleep. Then downstairs gets turned off. We only have an AC in our upstairs bedroom since the kids moved out.
    The wineberries are ready. I picked our first pint. The swiss chard is still going crazy. My friend’s isn’t growing well so I gave her another huge bag. I made 2 frittatas , omelets, and a huge batch of beans with it. I froze 3 containers of it with the beans. The lettuce is still going strong. We had salad for dinner 2 nights and I had salads for lunch most days. I dehydrated more oregano, thyme, and parsley. I made a huge batch of pesto with walnuts. I freeze it in my silicone mini cup cake holder. I pop the bricks out and put them in a freezer bag. I made 24 bricks and have been eating the rest all week.
    I bade banana muffins and cupcakes this week. Trying not to use the oven now that it is hot.
    My neighbor and I went to a library class together. It was a 4th of July craft. We had a nice time. I gave her a bunch of lettuce from my garden.
    Hubby was off last week so he fixed several small things that needed it. We went to a car show and the beach. Both were free.

  34. Happy anniversary Brandy – to you and your husband and to this wonderful blog. I think I started following you about a year and a half in – I think I read an article about you so found the site and then spent a couple of days catching up on all your posts! You have done an amazing job over these past 15 years and you have built a wonderful community of people from all over the world. Thank you.

    It has been a very busy week!
    Monday: I booked a vacation day from my pt job and worked the municipal election. This earned me $265 dollars, which will just about pay my up front costs for some dental work at the end of the month. (I will get 90% back from my insurance).

    Tuesday: I worked from home but then went in to the church for our final volunteer night until mid-Sept. We always have a bbq for all the participants on the last evening and fed 116 guests and 25 volunteers! I managed to get a hamburger while taking a wee break and then brought a pkg. of hotdog buns & some leftover pizza home (shared the pizza with the friend who lives downstairs). The buns will be handy as I found hotdogs on sale this morning!

    Wednesday: I cashed in my six months’ worth of coins for $72 – which all ended up going on groceries as there were a few deals that I wanted to take advantage of and this particular store has more variety than my local No Frills. I am absolutely shocked at the price of canned fruit at the moment – approaching $3 for the smaller cans – and I believe things will only get worse as the peach crop in Georgia did not do well – our Niagara peaches aren’t usually ready until August so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that they do better. They had 2 for offers on beans and lentils so restocked on both – black beans, Great Northern beans and lentils. I was going to cook up some this weekend but found bags in the freezer that need to be eaten first. I also printed out some of your bean recipes Brandy!

    Thursday: Took in some banana bread to share at the office. Got more clothes closets sorted at home. Used some box lids from office supplies to help steady things on my pantry shelves.

    Friday: Picked up some milk, bread and fresh veg before the holiday weekend (July 1 is Canada Day) and then managed to get 2 loads of laundry done! Hung up both loads to dry.

    Saturday & Sunday: Miserable weather for most of the weekend so stayed in and worked on my apt. = which saved money!
    .finished clearing out closets and packing away Winter clothes.
    .re-organized kitchen cupboards and my baking cupboard which is a free standing unit.
    .went through all my baking supplies – only had to throw out a couple of small items
    .wiped down and re-filled all my herb and spice bottles
    .dusted & swiffered – still have to vacuum
    .cleaned and re-organized the fridge
    .used a dozen eggs and a bunch of odds & ends to make 18 egg bites – managed to squeeze a few into the freezer
    .used a lot of odds & ends from the freezer for meals – hot dogs – pasta sauce – cooked chicken & beans for quesadillas
    (the corn wraps have been in the freezer for ages) all with salads to use up the greens!
    .ironed all the laundry from the day before
    .paid all the bills online and handed in the rent cheque!

    I really can’t finish up the living room re-organization until I put 2 Billy bookcases together – I am determined to get that done this week! Right now it is very hot & humid and the smoke seems to be back so I am going to try to stay cool for the rest of the day. Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!

  35. Your tomato photo! Wow! They look so luscious. And isn’t it amazing what can be found via tech? Books, exercise videos, talking with friends/family?

    My frugal week:
    – made a loaf of bread (http://approachingfood.com/no-knead-shortcut-artisan-bread/)
    – made my own moisturizing body scrub, from coconut oil and sugar
    – packed lunch and drinks for work
    – enjoyed sweet treats (chocolates) at work, and took an extra one home for my kids
    – walking home from a park, picked mulberries with my youngest
    – baked hotdog and hamburger buns instead of buying them
    – celebrated a long weekend by staying overnight at my parents place
    – borrowed books from the library
    – ate from the pantry/fridge/freezer, to keep grocery costs as low as possible.
    – used the flashfood app to buy sliced deli meat

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  36. Happy 15th Anniversary of the Blog. It has meant so much to me and mine. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. * We’ve had a quiet few weeks. I’ve enjoyed staying home. I’ve taken on the goal for July of decluttering, organizing and deep cleaning the main floor of our home. With my physical limitations, I’m taking it slowly, making piles of things that need to be moved, that my husband and son can move for me in the evening. It’s nice to have staff! 😉 I’m finding some things to donate, others that are just trash that I’m tossing. Like, why do I still have the binder for our school district on the shelf when my last child graduated three years ago? time to recycle the papers and reuse the binder. * We have needed a new dining set for five years when our old one essentially collapsed. We’ve made due with a table and chairs from my husband’s childhood, but it has definitely seen better days. We have been putting money aside and decided to check out the holiday sales. We found a moderately priced set that was an extra percentage off, that was just what I was hoping for. It has one leaf, four chairs and a bench. It will be delivered Friday and I’m so pleased. I’m so thankful that both my husband and I are good with making do until we have the money for something and then can make a sensible purchase. The old childhood set is being repurposed in a different area of our home.* We are going to our daughter’s house for the Fourth. My contribution is Italian pasta salad. She was happy to do everything else. That made me happy too! * Since I’ve been enjoying the embroidery so much, I decided to do some more sets of pillowcases for Christmas gifts. I decided to buy plain white cases and transfer or draw designs on them myself. I found a 12 pack of pillow cases for $24 online which is cheaper than if I bought each set separately. That will keep me busy. *I finished a baby blanket using yarn I was gifted for Mother’s Day by my son. He didn’t buy quite enough, but I had an extra skein in a coordinating color so it turned out nice. It will go to Project Linus. * Read lots of library books and listening to Christy by Catherine Marshall still on the free libby app. Enjoying it so much! * We’ve been eating well, cooking at home. Recent meals have been, spaghetti with meat sauce (then I added some cheese the next night to the leftovers and had an almost new dish). Tacos, burrito bowls, homemade pizza, baked chicken and sweet potato, baked potatoes with broccoli, bacon, cheese and green onions. * Hope everyone has a great Fourth and wonderful safe and thrifty week!

  37. Our grandson has been with us for the last month and his mother will come in a few days and work from our home for one week before they go home. All meals have been cooked and eaten at home. I have been use the grill and the smoker to not increase heat in the house as much as possible. Still waiting on my tomatoes to ripen but we have enjoyed cucumbers, bok choy, lettuce and peppers and squash. I have harvested basil and made pesto but I think I will dehydrate the next few cuttings. I recently learned about a book called “Where is my mother when I need her?” It has times and recipes for newly independent adults. I bought it for my older grandson but looked through the recipes and found several oldies but goodies I have incorporated. I made the incredible coconut pie this morning for our 4th of July celebration. Have line dried clothes, mended some clothes and remade some others this week. I added mulch to a new part of my cottage garden and have successfully propagated succulents. I also started turmeric and ginger in my greenhouse and just transplanted those this morning. Trying new things at this stage of my life is exciting if I don’t overthink it.
    I ordered a sound bar for living room tv but it would not turn off and I could not access features on remote. The vendor from Amazon required the use of QR code to return and my UPS drop off store does not do those. I contacted the vendor for alternative to send item back and he said keep the sound bar and gave me refund of $70.00. I was flabbergasted but grateful. I am sure one of my kids or grandsons may be able to use it as is or figure out how to do it. Thank you to Brandy and all the followers that post. You keep me motivated and I learn so much.

  38. Brandy, I am so thankful that your website has been available as an inspiration and encouragement for the last 15 years! I think I’ve been around for about 12 years…time flies! And happy wedding anniversary, too!

    I haven’t felt very frugal, but there have been some upsides. I accepted a couple dozen canning jars and some leftovers from my mother in law. My mom picked up some good grocery deals in her area for me. I took advantage of some holiday deals…corn on the cob (19¢ each) and watermelon ($3.77.) A friend gave us a pair of shoes and another gave us a couple of bags of hand me downs. My mom was involved in a multi family yard sale. When it was over no one wanted the things they had left. Mom took them and saved out some things she knew we could use. The rest will get donated to our church’s yard sale.

    While both of our vehicles were broke down, our church let us use the church van without charge. What a blessing!

    I sewed myself a new apron from gifted fabric. I was able to purchase embroidery thread in a specific color using a gift card from Christmas.

    I’ve been cleaning and organizing around my home. It costs nothing but makes my attitude much better.

    We’re harvesting onions, broccoli, lettuce, peas, beans, radishes, garlic, potatoes, turnips, spinach, and herbs now. It helps a lot on the weekly grocery bill. I canned the first beans…only 2.5 quarts, but if I do that a couple of times per week, it will add up.

  39. 15 years blogging – that’s a long time! Thank you for all your efforts on this blog!

    This week my son is camping with the scouts – it was only 90 USD for an entire week – it’s on a scout sailing center and all transport, accommodation, meals and drinks, teachers and sailing experiences were included! A lovely and inexpensive holiday for him with good friends.
    I mulched the vegetable garden with hedge clippings. We have had some rain lately, and I didn’t have to water as much as during the recent drought. We continue to water fruit trees and bushes with warm up water from the shower and water from rinsing or steaming vegetables in the kitchen.
    We are eating so many meals with vegetables from the garden. Thanks to Juls Owings who mentioned the lettuce soup last week! It is so tasty, and I made a big batch from all the lettuce that was about to bolt in the garden. Some was eaten right away, and some went into the freezer, omitting the sour cream, that can be added after defrosting. I also followed the link from here to her blog and found two uses for the apples I have thinned from our apple trees. I made some pectin and will try the onion/apple chutney mentioned. We find that this year our food costs have really decreased during garden season.
    I will try to get some fabric from an old sheet cup up so I can hand stich napkins in the evenings while listening to some nice podcasts I have found online. I will use the napkins as gifts, as we already have a big pile ourselves that we use every day. I have also made some nicer linen napkins for special occasions – I will try to make a small embroidery in one corner of these, but need to find a design that is suitable for more occasions.
    Hope you will all have a nice week!

  40. Congratulations on your 15th site anniversary! Thank you for creating such a wonderful resource and keeping it going.

    I have not been very frugal over the last couple of months due to health problems, but I’m getting back on track this month. I have been able to start cooking again instead of relying on ready-made food, which helps my budget a great deal.

    I found out that my Chase Freedom card offers a benefit of $10 cash back on Instacart once a quarter. I used a free trial of Instacart+ to get free delivery on a grocery order and the cash back offer.

    Kroger is having a good Fourth of July sale in my area, so I bought all the things that were a good price, and nothing else. Cheese was 0.99 for 8 oz packages, so I got the limit of 5 of those. I also found butter for 2.99 a pound, a good brand of bread for 1.99, hot dogs for 2.29, and orange juice for 2.99. None of those would have been especially great prices before this past year, but they’re pretty rare these days. I also got a frozen pie for 4.99 and strawberries for 1.27 a pound. I plan to make a cobbler with the strawberries and save the pie for another time.

    I am getting back in the habit of doing little things to save money in other ways, like turing the lights off (there’s so much sunlight right now that we don’t need them much) and turning the stove off a couple of minutes before the food is finished cooking. Our electricity bill is gradually decreasing each month, even as the weather heats up and we use the air conditioner more.

  41. Happy Blogiversary Brandy!
    I hope everyone enjoyed a safe, wonderful 4th of July holiday.
    The temps have been in the low 90s with high humidity that makes it feel like low 100s here in the mid-South. I have been keeping my thick, new to me drapes closed when the sun is on that side of the house. This helps keep the house about 10 degrees cooler. I set the a.c. at 78 during the day and use a portable fan to create a breeze.**
    Hemmed a pair of thrifted Chico brand pants while watching t.v. They are wrinkle free “travel pants”, made of material that you can crumble up, yet they don’t wrinkle. I was very excited to find these as they retail for $70! Savings of $15 by hemming them myself.**
    Kroger brand pop was on sale 4 for $10. My husband takes these to work and I give them to the garbage and recycling men each week. 33 cents a can well spent! It is so hot here and I like to show our appreciation for the job they do. Summer would truly be awful without the garbage men. **
    Bought the digital coupon specials as usual. Cut up the watermelon and shared with my elderly neighbors. Win win as our households both enjoy fresh fruit and none goes to waste.🙂
    **5 pound bag of russet potatoes is now $2.99 on sale. I made sure to make homemade potato salad (2 lbs.) Since the store deli potatoes salad is $8.99 lb. I felt better about the new sale price. $2.99 for a bag of potatoes is much better than $16.00 for 2 pounds of salad. I used sale bought mayo and fresh dill from my herb bed to complete my salad.**
    Purchased hotdog buns with the digital coupon. Used them with previously bought and frozen hotdogs. Then used them creatively as slider and filet of fish buns in order to finish up the package of buns.
    Thanks for again Brandy for the lovely blog community you provide for us. Frugal Friends, remember to use Brandy’s Amazon links as you shop. 😉
    **Almost forgot, I used the “Marveen method” of weeding 4 days these week and my flower bed looks much better. A bucket of weeds pulled each time adds up to a clean flower bed.
    Ellie in AR

  42. Congratulations on both of the Anniversary. I have been dealing with some health problems. Been eating from the garden so that has help a lot we’re eating green beans,tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, bell peppers and cucumbers. I appreciate all that you do in keeping this site going. Praying for you.

  43. Brandy, Happy Anniversary!! This site has blessed me so much, I look forward to it each week. I find something every week that I can add to my arsenal of frugal ways. I think we are going to need them in the years to come! I truly feel like each and everyone of you are family! Brandy you are providing such a worthwhile ministry here!! Thank you!!

    My accomplishments:
    -I made baked meatballs from 3# of ground beef and 3# ground pork. We used some for meatball stroganoff and then I froze the rest naked for meals.
    -I made zucchini yeast rolls using up some frozen zucchini from last year. I mixed and did the first raise in my bread machine. They turned out great.
    -I cleaned and organized my pantry. I also inventoried my canning. Getting ready for the onslaught when the garden starts producing.
    -Garden is doing well, picking pea pods, basil, chives, and zucchini. Green beans are blooming and tomatoes and peppers are setting.
    -Potato bugs are particularly awful this year. Been picking them daily and killing them in a bucket of soapy water. Also checking the undersides of the leaves and crushing the eggs.
    -I picked my cherries, these are dwarf trees planted 2 years ago. I got about a pound of sour cherries. I cooked them in water and strained them. I added sugar and cooked down a bit. I canned 5 half pints of syrup. This can be used to make cherry lemonade.
    -I cooked up 5# of ground beef and canned 8 pints. I use this in spaghetti sauce or casseroles. The texture changes a bit so I use it in things where it is not as noticeable. Just about have the 2nd of 3 freezers empty. Getting ready for garden harvest and fall meat purchases from the farm.
    -I continue to make bread in the bread maker. The bread we like to purchase is almost $5 a loaf now. Making bread is about $1 a loaf so it saves so much money.
    -I found watermelons for $3.99/each. I bought 2. Otherwise we purchased milk at the store and eggs from my friend. All meals were ate at home. Eating out is rare for us now as it has gotten so expensive.

    Have a great week!

    1. Hi, JulieT: Did you pit your cherries before you made the syrup? I so much hate that step.

      For your bugs, I had read once, though did not try, a bug repellent made of dead insects. Take all the various dead squashed predators you collect, put them in a bucket of water, and leave it in the sun for a few days. Spray the water on your plants. It sounds more like revenge but maybe it works.

      1. @Heidi Louise: You can get a manual ‘cherry-pitter’ (table-model) that does the job a whole lot easier and quicker. We have one that can take 2 cherries at a time and has a different sized pitter for plums as well. It has saved us so much time over the years!

  44. Happy Anniversary both blog and wedding. I have read your blog and comments for years and have been blessed by both. I have learned so much from you. You are a blessing to many people with your gifts. We got our first tomato out of the garden. It was so good. There is no taste like a garden tomato. We have switched our car insurance and have saved over $600 on two vehicles and a trailer. I have been reading gardening and library books. Our extension office has been giving away small kitchen utensils and recipes each week at a local grocery store. The company I work for has been sold so I guess I will know in 90 days if I still have a job. I am not really worried because I know that it will work out for my good (Romans 8:28). We went to a cookout and watched fireworks for the holiday. It was relaxing and it came up a rain, and rained 4 inches. There was flash floods and water standing everywhere. I was so proud of the rain on our garden. I will be picking green beans early in the morning. My husband is off this week and he is going to cook them for us. I can’t wait. I have been making zucchini bread and giving it away. People won’t take the vegetables, but love the bread. I pick squash and zucchini every other day. Has anyone ever used squash in bread or other recipes to use it up? Cabbage worms got to our last three cabbages. I cut around them to get one pot of cabbage. Potatoes are very expense here at the grocery store. We have been eating from the garden and having meatless meals some nights. Our carrots are standing tall and I have some sunflowers ready to burst into flower.

    1. For zucchini, my sister-in-law would shred them (it?) and freeze it in pre-measured packages. At Christmastime, she would make zucchini bread for gifts, which was a treat at that time of year and very inexpensive for her.
      May your faith uphold you while your company is in change!

  45. Happy wedding and blog anniversary to you, Brandy, and a heartfelt THANK YOU for all you’ve done and continue to do to keep this all going. I’ve definitely followed for at least 10 years, but probably a couple more than that, and it has always been an encouragement.

    My biggest frugal accomplishment was getting a part-time job! It will be three mornings/week, so hopefully won’t interfere with family and homeschool life too much. But the income is absolutely needed, so this is an answer to prayer. Related to that, I was able to find some black pants (needed for my uniform) at Goodwill for much cheaper than brand new elsewhere.

    My garden also continues to produce. We had the first is this year’s tomatoes this week, along with my first big basil harvest for pesto. Cucumbers continue to produce, as well.

    Hope everyone has a good week!

  46. Brandy happy anniversaries! Those tomatoes look extraordinary. I have my first green tomato on one of the plants I had brought inside during the typhoon. I’ve never babied a batch of tomato plants so much. I do have a nice crop of green onions going restarted from the whites at the grocery store after I had used the greens. I transplanted my first set of post storm seedlings outside basil, lettuce, bok choy. They are wrapped in chicken wire and covered with enviroshade to hopefully transition we’re topping out around 104 each day here. The wild hens I caught have been giving us 2-4 eggs a day theirs 7 of them and my two older hens give me 1 egg a day reliably. I was in charge of coordinating food for 100 volunteers for our Freedom Rocks event on base. We open the base to the public here on Guam for 4th of July we had about 5000 people attend. I ran the volunteer tent. I was able to get Navy League to donate funds for some of the food. I stretched it by ordering sandwich trays from the commissary. Buying boxes of bagged chips I had coupons for and soda I had coupons for. One of the commissary vendors donated a 50 pound bag of rice. So I made up two instapots full and made a cowboy rice salad with things I had here at home. Canned tomatoes, canned corn, canned green chilis, red onions, and green bellpeppers. I topped it with a lime cumin dressing. It was a popular side dish to go with the sandwiches and chips. The USO donated 40 cases of water and our Spouse club made cookies. I made 7 dozen brownies and there wasn’t one left. There was however sandwiches left so we gave as many as we could to our volunteers that were all young sailors, as well as the extra cookies and some of the extra water. I’m taking the leftover sodas and chips to the USO for sailors to eat when they come in. I did come out of it with a case of water, leftover rice, and half a tray of roast beef sandwiches. We’ve gotten created and toasted them added green chilis to them we’re on day 2 and have eaten them for lunch and dinner We’ll probably have enough through tomorrow. It was a lovely free event for the public with live music, craft vendors, food trucks, and bouncy houses and fun games for kids a real small town event. My birthday present came early it wasn’t a frugal investment but it’s going to ultimately save me lots of time. My husband bought me two automated whisker litter boxes. They will replace 4 of the litter boxes I have in the house. I still will have a regular one for a senior cat and one for my two foster kittens but the amount of time it will save me scooping every day is enormous they also use way less litter so assuming they last over time I will break even eventually. We have 8 foster fails that live in the house and right now 2 actual foster kittens. So 10 house cats keep me hopping. Happy 4th everyone. I hope you all have a blessed week. I enjoy reading all your comments you inspire me each week to keep figuring out how to save more money.

    1. Natasha – As a fellow kitten foster Mama, I tip my hat to you. 10 cats! I could get there sooooooo easily. It is a wonderful if bittersweet thing passion. Sending love from another “Crazy Cat Lady.” 🙂

    2. Natasha: Just WOW! I had to rest after reading your post! You are amazing. Your family is surely blessed!

    3. There is a special place in heaven for you with your cat fostering. We have three, all of whom volunteered to live here so we wouldn’t be lonely. 😀

  47. This weekly blog post and the content on your website has been a blessing. My family doesn’t discuss money other than to say “save what you can”. I think I’ve been reading here for about 10 years and I’ve learned so much. I’m very grateful for you and the community.

    I have a pair of linen pants that have gotten thread bare in areas. I mended/reinforced with cotton so many times, they are turning into cotton pants. 😀It’s so unnoticeable that I will continue wearing them in public.
    A local gas chain offered $1.77(6) gas prices for all grades on the forth. My husband topped off both tanks. He woke up early and beat the long lines.
    The bananas I can find at the best price are rather large. Started cutting them in half to share and stretch the fruit (half is a full serving of fruit).
    Used a small piece of leftover pork and minced it with a hand chopper, stretched the left over into 2 servings (bulked with veggies) to make 2 quesadillas.
    Have a calm and productive week everyone!

  48. Congratulations on both of your anniversaries. Thank you for creating and maintaining this space for all of us like minded souls. It is a joy that I have been looking forward to for almost fifteen years (although I don’t comment often). You’ve positively touched so many lives via this little corner of your world, much more so than you might realize. You are much appreciated. Blessings to you and your lovely family.

    1. Tracey – I encourage you to comment more often. Everyone has something to share and I learn from every response. I imagine others would say the same. 🙂

  49. Happy Anniversaries! 🙂 I know I have been reading your blog since just before my soon-to-be-12 year old was born. We knew I would no longer work outside the home and would be a homeschooling family so I used the time waiting for my baby to come to fine-tune my life-long frugal ways. This space has been and continues to be such a blessing to me. Thank you, thank you!
    *Not much new here this week but consistency in frugal efforts yields great rewards. We have enjoyed free activities like taking our puppy for her first hike on the waterfall trail that runs up from our church, playing in the river/creeks/ponds, hiking our own trails, eating outdoors, working in the gardens, fishing with friends, watching the fireflies from the porch – slow, simple things that don’t read as very exciting but bring a contentment that money (often) can’t buy.
    *My youngest son cut off his long hair and donated it to Locks of Love – an organization that makes hair prostheses for children who have lost theirs due to medical conditions. I am so thankful for his generous spirit. The frugal aspect of it is that all the beautiful hair is being put to good use rather than being thrown away. I took him to a local barbershop for a $10 haircut to give me a good base to trim from. The man in the next chair showed us a photo of himself with hair down to his waist. He had donated his 2 years ago and told my son he should feel good about his decision. So kind!
    *We enjoyed a free fireworks display over the weekend at a ski resort in our county. It is never crowded and we take dessert and drinks with us.
    *Used a coupon code and money saved from selling used curriculum to pay for my boys’ yearly standardized tests which is a requirement of home educating families in our state.
    *My boys attend a weekly youth group in the nearest town with some friends – they have fun and are fed supper. Everyone’s happy! 🙂
    *Black raspberries and blueberries are ripe and we just stand in the garden eating them by the handful – real luxury!
    *Had a paying landscape job for a neighbor – my boys help and we get it done well and quickly and all earn some money.
    *Have a lovely week, all! 🙂

  50. Hope everyone had a great 4th!! After almost 3 years of looking we finally purchased a home that has all our “hopes and dreams”. We wanted out of a HOA so we had more flexibility about what we could do in our yard. We wanted a half acre…..in our area that’s huge. We are beyond excited to have chickens, goats, and bee’s on our tiny homestead. It’s going to be a lot of work but we are so ready!! We are making some changes to the interior and we opted to do the demo to save money. It was a lot of hard work but so rewarding. We’ll be taking advantage of the water districts landscaping rebates for the front yard. We believe that the rebate will more than pay for the installation of drought tolerant plants and other landscaping. We are on a well but the rebates still apply to us. Thank you for the great encouragement from Brandy and everyone that comments about saving money, using up what we have and making do. Have a blessed day!!

    1. Congratulations on your new home, Kim!

      The extension service has an excellent beekeeping class if you are in need. I really enjoyed it.

  51. Congratulations on 15 years. I’ve been reading for most of that time. I started as a broke college student. Thankfully I chose a field in healthcare that has provided a lot of opportunity. We have kept our debt at bay thanks to a lot of things I learned from here and have made some great investments along the way. So, our financial picture has drastically changed but I still keep up with gardening, cooking at home and overall keeping our expenses low.
    I’ve been picking mulberries from parks/vacant property, from our garden the last of the asparagus, lettuce, and parsley. I cut some roses from one of our rentals and had enough to share with my mom. We should have raspberries soon. I bought 30# of strawberries on sale and made strawberry jam. I made sourdough bread, pasta salad, popcorn and fruit bars. I bought watermelon, apples, granola bars and cheese on sale. We had unexpected company so I unthawed some hamburger and asked them to pick up buns instead of running to the store myself. We really wanted to go out to breakfast but forced myself to unthaw some bacon and made pancakes and had a “fun” breakfast at home. Another day, I used up some wilty potatoes for hash browns. Also avoiding pricy sugary iced coffee drinks (for the most part).
    I returned some extra flooring and building materials. There was a glitch that took 2 hours but they eventually figured it out and were able to return everything.
    Doing laundry in the early morning before it gets too hot and when electricity cost is the lowest.
    Rode my bike to work one day, reducing on gas.
    All of our neighbors have nice looking matching plastic Adirondack chairs. I feel out of place with our mismatched outdoor chairs but those plastic ones constantly break and I just don’t want to add more to the garbage problem. If I stay out of the stores, I won’t be tempted.

    1. I agree with you about not buying plastic furniture that will break sooner. You can tell yourself that since people aren’t all shaped the same, you don’t need chairs all the same. My style is more eclectic than matching anyway.

      You mentioned thawing hamburger, which reminded me of a thawing trick I re-learned. Putting the frozen item on something metal, in my case my stainless steel sink, will help it thaw faster than if it is on a countertop. The metal absorbs the cold. I put a can of concentrated lemonade in the sink and it turned to liquid much more quickly than I expected.

  52. Brandy- you remain in my prayers. I hope you are finding some peace in your heart at times.

    We have had a busy week – a few days with a grandchild staying here (from just an hour away) and so spent a little more this visit, taking him and his mom to a waterpark for one of the days. Bought a 10-pass card to get us in a few more times before the end of the season, using four of the 10 yesterday. It was big enough but not huge – we’ll go ourselves even without a kid!

    The best financial surprise was receiving a check from a contact lens settlement case that began a few years ago – I’d pulled together all of my receipts for five years’ worth of contacts, submitted them with the forms required by the deadline back in 2019, I think! I received a check for several thousand dollars – a wonderful windfall before two of our pets have dental surgeries, which have been averaging a thousand dollars each the past few years. (tooth resorption/cats…) My husband didn’t look for his receipts back then despite my urging and pleading.
    and now is kicking himself. He thought I’d be getting about $12 out of it. As soon as I opened the envelope he was like wait – WHAT?

    I made a pretty comprehensive list of meal ideas for which I have most of the items on hand and just put a dot over the ones that needed an ingredient that I might have to buy/make – like pico de gallo. But for the most part, I have ingredients/ideas for about 30 plant-based meals on hand and feel good about that. Even if it’s just burrito bowls or black bean soup or pancakes with scalloped apple topping – looking at this list will make sure we use up what we have. And I also won’t go down the rabbit hole of wanting to try new recipes all the time that might need ingredients we don’t have on hand right now.

    My husband spent time many nights this past week clearing data from all sorts of electronics that were his parents and early version of ours, to be recycled. Out of the house and it feels good to slowly cull things that are no longer needed. He sent a couple of items back to Decluttr for cash as it’s free shipping and you get the money quickly.

  53. I’ve loved the summer tomatoes this year! Tomatoes are so versatile, and there’s just something different about sun ripened, warm-out-of-the-garden tomatoes! The blackberries here are done, but I was so happy to find some dewberries (wild blackberries) in several neighboring pastures and get several bags in the freezer before the season was over. Who do you follow on Instagram for exercises?

  54. Congratulations Brandy on 15 years anniversary for your beautiful blog! I found you about that long ago. The first entry I read was the one where your parents gifted you with about 100 lbs of fresh peaches and then helped you can them all! It was quite inspiring to me and I now can, dehydrate and freeze dry myself. Your gardens, both the original and the updated, are magnificent. I envy you your green thumb! Especially since I have discovered that I have what my husband lovingly refers to as a Black Thumb! Never the less, I continue to plant and press on with including beautiful fragrant flowers along side my herbs and vegetables. The addition of the flowers is owing to your own inclusion of them! I never saw a garden a well rounded and thoughtfully planted as your White Garden. Can’t thank you enough for your blog and pictures!

    I wanted to point out to you about your water system, the value failing. It’s unusual to have that many fail in a newly installed system. Sounds like you might have some lemons on your hands and most hardware stores will honor replacements for you if you bring in the damaged ones. I know you installed the system yourself, but at Home Depot or Lowe’s Hardware, that won’t matter. I’d be tempted to return all your valves just because of such a large number of them initially failing. Most managers will replace them for you. Hope you get your system back up and going quickly! Your garden needs them owing to where you live.
    All the Best to you and your husband!

  55. Congratulations Brandy on both your Wedding and your Blog anniversaries. Your creation and upkeep of this world wide community is so precious. We all need teachers and you have brought together hundreds of them for our benefit and we learn from each other. That is truly remarkable and I find it mind blowing to contemplate how much we have collectively saved financially and from landfill in the past fifteen years. Thank you seems such a trivial thing to say but it is heartfelt.

  56. Happy blog anniversary and happy wedding anniversary. I am astonished that it has been 15 years. I am not sure how long I have been reading your blog, probably close to 15. And I can’t express how it has helped me so often. I learn, I feel part of a community and when I am feeling down, I read to get picked up a bit. Thank you ❤️

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