I harvested onions, tomatoes, lemons, and basil from my garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden for roselle hibiscus, Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, and zinnias.

I made a lemon meringue pie using lemons from my garden.

Not fruagl per say, but definitely an accomplishment: I was invited to be the guest speaker on the podcast put on by my local nursery. It will be the September episode of Desert Garden News by Star Nursery. They filmed it as well, so it will also be on YouTube!

I found a decently-priced ticket and flew one-way to Colorado, where my husband is currently working. Several people have asked why don’t we move, but he will be working all over the country. I’ve also been asked if he cannot find a different job closer to home. Right now, this is our life, and we are grateful for the income. We have several financial goals that we would like to achieve in the next four to five years, and we are hopeful that this job will make these possible. As the pay is not a set amount, we don’t know what will happen, but we are diligently working towards those goals, one of which is the hope to pay off our mortgage in that time, which would be no small feat.

I was able to pick up the vehicle he has been using and we were able to purchase another used vehicle for him in Colorado that has four-wheel drive (the other does not). He is more likely to need that in his work and I will not on the city streets of Las Vegas. I will have a smaller vehicle now than before (doable with fewer children at home), which gets more than twice the gas mileage of the van that we had, and which has better a/c.

One of my hopes is that if he is working in the same city for a couple of months, I can fly out to visit him for a couple of days, and see a garden or two in the area where he is working while he works. I found two this time.

Chatfield Farm was an enjoyable morning visit, and it was free to visit.

I also visited the Hudson Events Center (also free). There were not many flowers there, but there was a frog in the pond among the lily pads.

After that, I headed to an antique mall. I haven’t visited an antique mall in decades. The prices were a bit shocking to me, as I am used to paying garage sale prices. I was looking for a couple of particular items, and while I did not find them, I did find some other things that I liked, including handkerchiefs for $2 and $2.25 (I prefer white on white embroidery and drawn-thread work) a small tablecloth that will fit one of my tiny tables in the garden ($14), a gold-toned rose brooch ($9), which was something I had been wanting, and another small linen tablecloth ($10) that is stamped but has never been embroidered or finished. I will soak that one to try to reduce the yellowing from age before I embroider it and finish the edges.

I had a beautiful drive home through the Rocky Mountains. I stopped in Grand Junction, Colorado, for lunch, gas, and a visit to another antique mall, where I found just a couple of items, including a gold-toned poppy brooch ($5) that I wore yesterday and am wearing today, a book, a pastry cutter (I wanted a second one as I prefer the old ones to the new ones), and a key.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. How lovely that you were able to visit your husband and also get some time for yourself. Love the pictures! And congrats on being on the podcast episode!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – got free samples of candy and crackers, when passing by a transit hub. My kids enjoyed them!
    – got a free serving of tiramisu from a newly opened market. It was individually wrapped, so I took it home for my kids to enjoy.
    – as always, packed snacks, drinks, and lunch when working.
    – sold an item on fb marketplace. First time in many years that I did this, but it worked out (in the end), and I plan to try to sell more items.
    – got a few free chocolates from my workplace, which my kids enjoyed.
    – invited friends over for a playdate for the kids, and drinks/apps for the adults. Made mini empanadillas (https://approachingfood.com/tapas-easy-empanadillas/), pizza bites, mini cupcakes, hummus (https://approachingfood.com/ultra-creamy-hummus/), and platters of veggies and fruit. Plus, lemon drop martinis (I’ve had vodka in the freezer for many years that I never touch, so good way to use it up, plus lemons were on sale this week).
    – I met a friend to go grocery shopping together at an Asian supermarket and bought 15 lbs of sushi rice for under $20. Fun experience plus the best value I’ve ever found on the rice my kids and I like.
    – I swapped out some pictures in frames on my walls, for art done by my kids. They’re very proud to see their art framed ad displayed, and it’s no cost redecorating for me!
    – decluttered the kitchen at my work. Nobody claimed a bunch of Tupperware (mostly non-brand) and canning jars, so I gave them away to a friend, instead of just recycling them, as I have enough right now.
    – picked lettuce and zucchini from my parents garden

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  2. I didn’t save any money last week because I was on vacation…but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We didn’t eat out as much as usual, due to packing food for the first day, free breakfasts, staying a few days with our son, and eating out of the grocery store twice. Also, often when we are on the road, we have a late breakfast and early dinner, but no lunch.

    I went thrifting while visiting my son and bought a beautiful, like-new Tignanello handbag for $5. And it’s RED! (Red is my color). Other than food, it’s the only thing we bought on vacation.

    I canned 13 pints of beans the week before we left and my friend was thrilled to harvest beans from my garden twice while we were gone. The beans are about done. I picked enough yesterday for dinner and will probably get another small picking. I just cut Swiss chard for dinner tonight. I plan to plant more lettuce this week.

    I went to the Grocery Outlet, where I used to shop a lot, and discovered that all items I checked were .20 to .40 more apiece than at Winco. The only bargain was two Marie Callender frozen pies, one for $3.99 and the other $4.99. My top price for frozen pie is $6 and I prefer $5 and have not bought any lately.

    Best wishes to everyone here. Glad you got to visit your husband, Brandy.

  3. Your husband is working in the Denver area, isn’t he!!!
    I live in Sedalia, which is just south. (His co-workers may not recognize the name; it’s an old ranching town not far from Castle Rock.) I have loved and learned from your posts for so many years that it would be a pleasure to finally meet you in person. We can’t put you up (currently living in the fifth-wheel), but I could certainly take you out to lunch and show you around. Castle Rock’s thrift shop is particularly good, too. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch — cindyjbrick@gmail.com

    I had two appraisal sessions, with Husband going along…and we took our Daughter and Son out for her birthday. (Daughter #1’s birthday is tomorrow.) We also headed south, for a very long day looking at land/houses. Found some, but they’re more expensive than we’d hope to get. However, we ate breakfast at McD’s and supper at Burger King (sale items each time), and came home late — so no hotel.
    Some rain this weekend brought the temperatures down, which was wonderful — it has just been steaming around here. Grasshoppers are still thick in the grass, and a cloud of them flutters up when you walk.
    I did judge during the local fair’s SHEEP LEAD CONTEST — not that I know anything about sheep, but I was the clothing judge for the outfits the kids were wearing to complement their sheepish charges. The only problem: I’ve judged plenty of competitions before, but never when the contestant is trying to nibble at your clipboard!
    Brandy, I hope you’ll take me up on my offer…

    1. Thank you so much for the offer, Cindy. I am home now, though. I don’t know how much longer he will be in Denver and it may be only this week for all we know; it just depends on how many assignments they give him. He works alone; he calls in for his reports but the work is all over, so he doesn’t really have regular coworkers.

  4. I have always admired all the beautiful photographs you post. I have started taking photos of random beautiful things. These photos encourage me. This week a beautiful blue and black butterfly visited with me out in the yard. Silly me hit my toe on the corner of the China cabinet. I finally gave in and went to the urgent care center. It seems like my problems always occur on a weekend. I pay nothing for this provider ,so I saved the $300.00 ER fee. I have two fractures. One from ten weeks ago and of course this new one. I seem to be more clumsy in my old age. I often find myself reflecting that I will be 60 soon. I just don’t know how so much time has gone by. I had so many more activities planned but walking is near impossible. The boot for my foot makes me even more clumsy. My father requested some Boost drinks. I searched the product on ” Southern Savers ” , to locate the best deal. Using some rewards and coupons , I got 4 six packs for $10.00 total and $8.00 ECB’s back. I should have tried to use my Humana food card there but forgot. I selected a few random items from the dumpster. Its become necessary to only take what we need. I got broccoli and strawberries for myself. Picked up snacks for the neighbor kids. They have started school here and mom packs their lunches. I took cat litter for my daughter and dog food for the neighbors dog. This week , several stores have remodeled. I brought home a 12 pack of Colgate and passed it out. Its my kids favorite brand so that was a plus. Gasoline has gone up 70 cents here. There are a couple places with 3.33 instead of 3.79 . I’ve pulled cash from the ATM to keep in my dash. I’ll try to make a point of filling up.or topping off there when I pass by. The weather is very bad here. The storms are torrential. I’m hoping to not have my roof taken off or a huge tree fall. Be safe everyone.

    1. Thank you, Lilliana! All of my photos on this post were taken on my cell phone. I challenged myself to travel without my camera for this trip.

  5. Hello,
    I love the photos from your trip-so lovely and cheerful! I’m glad that you were able to find a vehicle to fit your family’s needs. That’s a blessing!

    Last week we were on a road-trip family vacation and went hiking in Zion and Bryce Canyon. It was our first trip to Utah and these beautiful parks. The elevation was a real lung stretcher! We did our best to minimize costs by taking a cooler, packing snacks and drinks, and shopping at grocery stores. We filled up the gas tank in AZ and UT as gas was $0.80 less/gallon than in CA. Groceries were more reasonable as well. When we arrived home later in the evening, I made pancakes and eggs for dinner rather than ordering pizza. Before we left, I made a batch of peach jam that used some peaches from our tree. Our second plum tree exploded this year, and I have to get busy canning and dehydrating them all this week.

    Brandy, you were right about the critters eating away at my veggie garden this summer. They’re rats! EEEWWW! Our neighbor has been re-landscaping his backyard for several months and I believe this is why we’re currently having a problem. They’ve devastated most of my garden this summer and we’ve discovered that they’ve been chewing wires, trying to get under our crawlspace. I’m going to try some ultrasonic pest repellers to see if this will drive them elsewhere. Not a frugal spend, but perhaps less than hiring pest control. I will use your Amazon link.

    I cut out a new dress for church a few weeks ago. I ordered some fabric from a 20% off 4th of July sale from FashionFabrics.com. It will definitely cost less than purchasing it new. I just need some time to assemble it!

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

    1. Chewing wires is such a huge problem. I hope you can get rid of them. I may have to try the ultrasonic idea myself!

    2. Julie, my husband and I have dealt with voles tunneling into our garden for the past several years. They would get into our raised beds and eat the root vegetsbles. Because they tunnel underground for long distances and appear only at night, eliminating them was impossible. We finally gave in and purchased rat poison. It’s referred to as one bite. It’s in block form with a center hole so it can be nailed to s board. John slid the board under the garden shed for the winter (dogs and chickens couldn’t get at it). I’m holding my breath , but no sign of voles so far this year and my root crops look great.

        1. I volunteer for a wildlife rescue center and rodenticides cause horrible deaths of birds of prey. If they’re anticoagulant poisons, and a bird of prey consumes a poisoned rodent, it will die a painful death. Rather than poison, please consider the old-fashioned wooden traps which kill instantly.

          “To try to assess the prevalence of rodenticide toxicosis in raptors, veterinarian Murray published a study examining Massachusetts Red-tailed Hawks, Barred Owls, Eastern Screech-Owls, and Great Horned Owls that had been admitted to the Tufts Wildlife Clinic between 2006 and 2010. Of 161 birds, 139—a whopping 86 percent—tested positive for anticoagulant rodenticides.”

          “The bait is eaten by voles, mice, and rats, or it leaches into the groundwater and fish, earthworms, snails, slugs and salamanders come into contact with the rodenticide. Songbirds, shrews, moles, and skunks eat those living things that come in contact with rodenticide, and they become prey for raptors such as Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawk, owls, and Bald Eagle.’

          1. Cara, I have, and they ignored them, even when baited with peanut butter. They are now in the rafters and have chewed through wires; I could have my house catch on fire. There are no birds of prey landing in my garden and none of my neighbors have dogs.

            It is too dry here for salamanders; groundwater is so deep that wells are rate and prohibited, and it would have to go through rock. I have no shrews or moles.

            I have baited many traps. I am down to using poison inside the shed, and the rats have died there. I will not have rats if I can help it.

            1. Brandy,
              We also use traps and found that they won’t touch the peanut butter unless there is also dog food kibble stuck to it. That has work for us. I’m hoping the ultrasonic noise scares them…will keep you all posted on their effectiveness once they arrive. Just heard one scratching up in the attic today. 😭

            2. Brandy, though my reply was to your post (simply because it was the last one in the thread), my information was not intended to be critical of you. It was information relevant to anyone else who might be contemplating using poison that could harm wildlife.

              As long as the rats are dying out of reach of raptors and earthworms, snails, and other creatures in the web of life, which they are in your case, they will not be a danger. Your shed makes it a different situation. Apologies for any offense.

              By the way, the rat-killer experts we’ve hired tell us Slim-Jims are the best bait.

              1. Thank you. I have only had success with the poison and I have been attacked quite a bit in local gardening groups for using it.

                But I have got to get rid of them. They are a growing problem here and they can do so much damage.

          2. Cara, Voles live underground. We do not use poison lightly because of our dog and free range chickens. We live on a quarter mile, dead end road on 50 acres of land totally surrounded by forest. We garden organically and are VERY conscious of the wildlife around us.

    3. What is it with the rats this year?! I haven’t gotten one tomato yet. I’m sure I spent more on hardware cloth than the tomatoes were worth 😄 I will be interested to hear if the pest repellers work; I’m willing to try anything at this point.

      1. Are you able to have outside/ semi feral cats? I had a problem with mice in the feed room and rats in the garden and stealing eggs. Then I got 3 barn cats from a feral cat rescue. They live outside and take care of my pest problems. When it gets bitter cold in the winter I do put a bit of dry food out for them; otherwise they do quite well fending for themselves. And I no longer have a rodent problem.

    4. Julie – Just a thought. You might be able to find someone who will bring rat terriers to your property to remove the rats. There are people who do that and then there are no worries about poison. We don’t have rats here in our area but many people have rat terriers and no problems with voles, moles, chipmunks, groundhogs or other critters that can damage a garden. 🙂

    5. Wow, I looked up that rat poison on Amazon and my daughter bought this same product in February. It’s gone up from $39 to $46 in five months. I just ordered some to have on hand as it seems like something you’d really want to have when you need it. We have had a mice problem in our outbuildings

      I dug through a box and found a few items for a dollar> It’s worth digging. I got a new dress…for a dollar!

      Have a good week everyone!

  6. I made plans to buy my nieces used, but well maintained, car. Her car is an all wheel drive hybrid. It gets better gas mileage than anything we currently have and will be able to go anywhere we want to go! It also has far fewer miles than any of the cars we currently have. The car is currently about 700 miles from home so one of my daughters and I will be flying to where it is, and taking advantage of the drive home to see some sights and visit family and friends along the way.
    I’m going to use some rewards points to purchase a soft sided cooler and pack food for our adventure.

  7. Beautiful picture of you!!!! The sacrifices you and your husband are making now will be beneficial for your future! Glad he is closer at the moment for you to visit!

  8. I needed new glasses, my prescription changed a bit, so I went onto ZENNI and got good bifocals with frames I love for just $50.At Costco,bifocals would have been around $200-$250.Gotta love Zenni!

    Decided AGAINST an expensive vacation for 2024.. it had been a bucket list item, but post covid, post “life itself” we find we really don’t feel like doing travel that is too far,too expensive, too long… we got used to being home a LOT in 2020 and 2021.. we have some shorter trips planned, all in nearby areas. We are retired but we are not RV or boat or travel people, in the main.We enjoy freedom,home, cooking, gardening, friends, shorter trips.. life is good.

    Frugal dates this past week:Library date one day, and then another day, a drive (20 minutes) to our local state park area where we can jump into the COLD Salt River for a nice break, at 7 AM before the sun is too strong (I live in Phoenix).. we have a Senior park pass and get in free! More “free” entertainment: My Hand and Foot card group meets this week, we share hosting duties.My turn:I am using items I already have for the lunch snacks: frozen shredded cheese I got on sale for 99 cents, a home made pie crust, milk I had frozen, and some cubed ham also frozen, for a quiche. Some berries and a coffee cake from a mix I bought on big sale a few months ago.

    Your situation with your husband /work/ just sounds like one of those “LIFE IS WHAT HAPPENS WHLE YOU’RE MAKING OTHER PLANS” and it is what is happening for now.I admire your ability to go with the flow..somehow it will all lead to something just right for all of you!!

  9. How exciting you got to see your husband and the gardens. I know it helped your feelings spending time with him. I know I love spending time with my husband of 5 months. We get busy with work and before you know it a few days has pasted. Looks like you got some good deals. We went to an auction and I could not believe the prices. People are crazy, I think they get caught up in the moment and lose all sense. We had the family over for a meal, and it was great to talk and share with each other. Our garden is on its last leg. My sister planted pumpkin 🎃 and they have took over. I am ready to get out fall decorations and college football 🏈. Go Vols. The company I work for has been sold, so we are transitioning into new processes and benefits. Times are changing hopefully for the better. Love being a wife.

  10. What is that lovely purple flower at the top of the page?
    I’m glad you both had extra time together. This is a season and I’m glad you’re making the best of it.
    Frugal things from the past week:
    Passed my certification exam Friday. It was something I wanted to do for myself. Earned a scholarship to pay for most of it.
    I also got invited to present a talk at a state conference. They will pay for all my expenses to go! That doesn’t happen in my field and my work doesn’t really support travel for education right now so this is great.
    My garden is still limping along. The drought finally broke.
    Melons at farmers market are not frugal. $5 for cantelopes and $7 for watermelons. I did buy one of each, thinking fresher and better flavor, and kids ate them up quickly. I’ll have to remember to cut them instead on school days!!
    Did some baking and meal prep. Made eggless banana chocolate chip cookies with banana in freezer and diced chocolate bars I got when at food pantry. It was nice to share some with older neighbors who just aren’t baking. Also made several batches of applesauce/peanut butter protein balls using the applesauce made from my tree and have in the freezer for kids’ snacks or fast breakfasts.
    So now I have a full freezer of things. 🤗
    I’m also realizing it’s easier to store bones for broth in the freezer than make and freeze a bunch of broth at once (which takes space that we won’t use immediately) so I’ll make that adjustment to my cooking.
    Also I made homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch using homemade broth, carrots, onions and leeks. I roasted the veggies and chicken in the oven while warming up the broth, and it actually felt much cooler in the kitchen because of it! My husband ate seconds, and he’s hardly eaten for 4 days. We will eat off the rest of the soup this week. It will make for fast meals when the kids are going different directions and it’s hard to do dinner as a family.
    We have been switching driving 3x a week to theater practice. The driving parent typically stays in that county for the evening instead of dealing with traffic and gas prices. I usually hit the trails at a park or go to the library there to work. Tonight I picked up the youngest from soccer instead of doing the theater run and we had the entertainment and dinner of making lumpia for the first time. I used ground pork I had gotten discounted from a farmer and most ingredients we already had, except for egg roll or spring roll wrappers. I think I spent $5 or $6 on a couple packages. I’m trying to be creative in what we spend on food wise right now as things feel tight with back to school and still not knowing about whether my husband will get disability. We cooked the lumpia in the air fryer, which cuts down on the heat in the kitchen and the oil. We have a cookie sheet of them in the freezer to enjoy at another time or for fast dinners. Was it as good as the ones my Filipina friend makes? Of course not, but it still will be a nice treat.
    Thank you all for your creativity. I learn from you all each week.

    1. Congratulations!

      Your comment reminded me that I saw local peaches for sale in Colorado–for $4.98 a pound! Tomatoes were $8.98 a pound! I was so glad that I grow my own! Even with our high water rates, it’s still worth it to me to get water back in fruit!

      I am prerry sure the flower is monarda, also known as bee balm.

      1. I live in Grand Junction! Price per pound is crazy high at the fruit stands, but a few of them sell 25# boxes for $40, a much better deal. I am so glad you were able to see your husband. We have had a few situations where my husband has been away from home for months at a time (work and some family emergency caretaking), so I know this is definitely not the easiest time for you!

  11. As usual, Brandy, lovely photos. If you get to Denver, I’ve heard the Denver Botanical Gardens are superb. You might have already seen it. For my part, I had just managed to save money for fixing my crumbling porch (never use ice melting substances on a porch) when there was a plumbing problem so I am back to square one financially. I was very lucky because I was going to hear our park society’s co-sp0nsored Historic Calgary Week talk but decided not to go. It was then that I discovered the leak. I’m replacing a toilet. It is not even that old — but from day 1, I’ve had problems with it. This week our Safeway store was selling fresh blueberries at 2 pounds for $4.40. That was a great price. Pre-covid I would spend $18 or even $20 for 5 pounds at the farmers market— pricey then so I don’t know how much it would be now. I put ten bags in the freezer and kept 2 pounds in the fridge for present eating. It was not a frugal shopping because I stocked up on several sales items. I think the mother moose and her twin calves are still around; I saw two deer probably aiming for my flowers; either the moose, the deer, or perhaps a squirrel harvested all of my pears
    . well, at least I don’t have to do anything with them but as it was the first good crop in a couple of years, it’s disappointing. My apple crabs (bigger than crabapples, smaller than apples) are loaded. They are very high up on trees so I’m not sure I’ll be able to harvest them. A friend gave me some applesauce from her tree today. I also bought toilet paper on sale today. I don’t know why but it’s always cheaper in the summer than in the winter. I am glad for you Brandy that your husband found a job and am sure you will cope well with it after adjusting to it. It will be nice for you to see your DH and a bonus to see gardens. I hope to see you on YouTube.

    1. I was planning to go there, but they were closed the one day I was there for a special event.

      1. Some of the libraries in the Denver area offer museum/cultural passes for free admission to locations around Denver. If your husband is able to signup for a library card for the area he is working in (or connect with a Denver-based coworker), you may be able to visit the Denver Botanic Gardens (and other locations) for free.

  12. It’s been a great, frugal week in Houston!
    Most evenings, I’ve taken the kids to the pool after dinner until it closes, which wears them out, then we head home to get ready for bed. We are so fortunate to have a neighborhood pool, and most of the kids are good swimmers. We’re frequently the only ones there. I have the kids shower off before we leave, so they don’t have to bathe at home as often.
    There were lots of markdowns at the .99 store on produce, although I don’t usually shop there. Plus, cherries were on sale for .79/#, which is cheap for here. They were good, too! It’s so nice to be able to say yes to the healthy treats my kids ask for! I’m hoping to make a stock-up trip to the salvage store before school starts.
    I bought a $2 pair of Lululemon shorts at Goodwill that I sold in 2 hours on Facebook Marketplace. I could have asked more than $12, but it was a quick profit. At size 2, there’s no way they would have fit me, but another person out there was thrilled to get a bargain in her size. I look for high-end items at the thrift stores that I can resell easily, such as certain name brands. It’s not much, but it’s enough to clothe my crew, plus pay for birthdays, Christmas, and little wants here and there.
    I like to pickup solid white Corelle when I see it under $1/piece, and I found some large plates to add to my collection. We have some of the vintage prints, too, but the solid white is my favorite.
    I took the kids to eat at Ikea for free kids meals on Wednesday. This is a nice little treat. We also took our dinner up to the pool one night, which was a nice change of scenery.
    My kids were really, really good at my uncle’s funeral mass, reception, and burial, as well as the drive to and from the cemetery. It was a long day. I was looking for an inexpensive way to reward them. They chose to stay up as late as they wanted watching movies. This was a free and fun reward for them. A cousin held the baby for a while to give me a break, so kind of her! And, I was able to visit with a lot of family in town that I don’t see often. It was nice.
    My old purse was looking pretty shabby, so I retired it and am now using an older one that I kept.
    We went to the library and enjoyed the books they have.
    I paid bills online to save a stamp. I rarely use stamps (or checks) these days.
    I changed the air filter and cabin air filter in my van. I changed the air filter in my house for the AC.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  13. So funny that you asked about a concert and the garden. I did attend a free concert, and I also harvested zucchini, cucumbers, green peppers, spaghetti squash, peaches, and a few tomatoes from the garden. I made pickles, chocolate zucchini bread, zucchini jam, zucchini chips, and froze some shredded zucchini. And that was only one of five large ones that I need to use. I have a lot more to do to use this produce well.

  14. What lovely photos – and how wonderful that you were able to see your husband, pick up the new car, and make a few stops along the way at the gardens & antique fairs. It must have seemed like an actual vacation for you!

    I paid all the usual first of the month bills online and I managed to double my payment to my CC. pay extra on some taxes owed, and still put a few dollars away into savings. I hope that the cheque I’m owed for working the municipal election comes this week and most of that is being put aside as well so not a lot of money to play with this month. But – I have plenty of groceries and my transit pass is loaded so I will be fine. I have started to pick up a few baking items (need to do a bit of a restock) so I bought 2.5 kilo of unbleached white flour, some nuts and sugars – it’s a start. I also used a Loyalty Point offer to pick up more non-food items that have gone into the store cupboard and otherwise it was just some fresh fruit & veg.

    I’ve gone through the freezer and tidied the fridge so that I use up things before they go “off”. I made a big pot of carrot & red lentil soup (added in some peppers that needed to be used and a cup each of mashed sweet potato and mashed pumpkin from the freezer). Then I made up a batch of egg salad so those will make a few easy and quick meals this week. I’ll take some soup to a friend tomorrow and probably freeze a couple of servings for later. It’s a bit humid again so just want some simple meals that I can plate up quickly when I get in from the office. I’ve also made up a liter of powdered milk as I want to stay out of the grocery store this week and that is the only thing I’m a bit low on.

    I did go out for brunch on Saturday after a walk in a local conservation area with two friends – bill, with tax and tip came to $20 – but – I brought half home for a second meal – and – someone had gifted me a lottery ticket which has won $20 so it all evened out! Otherwise, socializing has been done at home – out with a picnic lunch – or just a cup of coffee at a spot close to my office.

    I’m in the office for the next few mornings but my office mate is on holiday this week so it should be fairly quiet. Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. Just one day seeing the gardens and the antique mall, and then driving home from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. the next day, but stopping for lunch and another antique mall at the same time. Plus, the drive through the Rocky Mountains is incredibly beautiful!

  15. Brandy, I so enjoyed the details of your Colorado trip and the beautiful photos. It’s so wonderful to know that you will be able to visit your husband fairly often, get to sightsee in the area, and that you both have found vehicles that will work well for you. Wishing you and your family well on meeting your goals in the next several years!

    Would love to know what you use to whiten yellowed linens. Last weekend I passed up a set of lovely white dinner napkins in an antiques store that were yellowed.

    Thanks again to everyone who shares here. This community is a breath of fresh air each week!

    Frugal efforts this week:

    *Began rereading “Living on a Little” by Caroline French Benton. Can be read free here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42803 Told from the perspective of an experienced homemaker tutoring her soon-to-be-wed sister on the best methods for feeding a family and managing a household. Filled with lots of early 1900s practical food prep and shopping ideas for that era, many of which still ring true today … planning menus using in-season foods, multiple meals from one main dish, and, a variety of simply elegant desserts on a budget (as we know, a lovely presentation makes the simplest desserts really special). Especially charming are her detailed descriptions of the kitchen layouts in her home and vacation cottage. Enjoyed it so much that I did purchase a copy that I will reread many times. I recommend it to anyone who loves home and kitchen frugality!

    * Decided to wait for Fall to convert our cattle troughs into planters – I wasn’t born with a green thumb and that, combined with our consistently triple digit temps, would mean the odds aren’t currently in our favor for plants to survive.

    *Last week’s comments relating to one daily driver vehicle per family is relatable for hubby and I. We sold our second daily driver vehicle as a proactive frugal measure when the pandemic first began. We’ve not had any issues with having one vehicle. It’s been easy to plan any outings and hubby works from home and we do most everything together anyway. The only time I’m a bit uneasy is when hubby stays home and I travel to the city (1+ hours away) to run errands. The thought does cross my mind that if anything were to happen mechanically, he wouldn’t be able to personally quickly “rescue” me. Blessed to have roadside assistance as an option. I just say a prayer and go on my merry way on those days.

    *One blessing from our drought and consistent triple digit temps is that, for months, weather hasn’t interfered with line drying our laundry. If we do encounter a rainy season, will use our folding laundry rack and place it indoors in our small room adjacent to our attic. The space is the size of a large narrow walk-in closet where we store floor cleaning equipment, etc. It stays a bit warmer in that space year round and is perfect for drying laundry. Probably should run the dryer occasionally just to keep it maintained.

    *Accepted five ripe beautiful Texas Hill Country peaches from a dear neighbor.

    *Tried a cleaning solution recipe that I really like. In a spray bottle, add ½ rubbing alcohol, ½ water, 1 T Dawn dishwashing liquid, and 15 drops essential oil (I chose peppermint and next will try Tea Tree). We like a pleasant light scent in our home and this one is perfect – cleans glass, mirrors and other surfaces really well with a light lingering scent. Especially good at removing hair products from bathroom countertops.

    *Listed several items for sale that we no longer use or need – two like new folding bicycles for camping, an extra bicycle, and classic vehicle parts and accessories.

    *Purged holiday décor and miscellaneous household and garage items. Delivered one truck bed load of donations to local nonprofit thrift store (all sales proceeds go directly to local substance abuse rehabilitation efforts). Felt great to rid our spaces of items we don’t need/use or “may use someday” and have them go to others who actually will use them today!

    *Accepted a pretty decorative candle from a sweet neighbor.

    *Utility bill for last month is higher than previous, which was expected with consistent triple digit temps and August being our hottest month of the year. Continuing to take all usual measures to conserve electricity, water and natural gas. We have no other options for utility service and are not offered reduced rate hours, so watching our usage and ensuring our home is as energy efficient as possible seem to be our only options for controlling our utility expense.

    *Combined all errands and necessary outings in order to conserve gasoline. Nearest sizeable town with shopping options is 20 miles away (40 miles round trip). Current lowest fuel price in our immediate area is $3.29 for regular grade. Have found the GasBuddy app to be very accurate for current fuel prices in our area.

    *Obtained our membership at our local library. Our county library is super small and I’m guessing it hasn’t changed much since the 1950’s, but the staff is very kind, and they try very hard to accommodate. It’s nice to have access to Libby and library is within walking distance (doable when temps are below 100!).

    *Hubby continues to perform repair and maintenance tasks that would otherwise require hiring outside help. He’s currently addressing the masonry on the stone retaining wall in our front lawn. Removing cracked mortar, cleaning and adding fresh mortar. By doing just a small section at a time over a couple of weeks, even in triple digit temps, he’s nearly completed the entire wall. Our local mason would have charged quite a bit to do this.

    *He also repaired a storage cabinet in my craft area that I was certain would need to be replaced. The bottoms of each drawer had sagged, preventing the drawers from closing. He removed each of them, and glued and reinforced each drawer, making them stronger than when new. I’m so grateful he always seems to find a creative way to extend the life of items.

    *Accepted the loan of a book from another neighbor, “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” – relating to a topic I was unfamiliar with – the blue-skinned people of Kentucky. Looking forward to reading it.

    Wishing everyone a frugal and fun week ahead!

    1. I have seen several people soak vintage dresses with Oxi-clean in the tub. I plan to do this along with hanging it outside. I may end up soaking it more than once.

      Then I will have to decide what stitches to use on the stamped part and how to finish the edges.

      1. Finishing the embroidery on the stamped linens is such a lovely way to connect to the past. Do you have any idea how long ago the pattern may have been added in preparation for your embroidery?

        1. It would have been original to the piece. Though there are designs you can iron on, this one came that way. The blue ink is the giveaway; the iron-on ones are pinky purple.

          I plan to take some pictures and videos of it as I go.

          I don’t know the exact age, but I estimate this one is from the 1950’s.

          1. Brandy, I have 2 sets of pillow cases from the 70’s with the blue ink on them. Was afraid to clean them for fear the were dry rotted. Let us know if cleaning works.

      2. I have a handkerchief that my grandmother made. It’s got tatted lace around the edge. I needed to whiten it for my dil to carry when she got married. I boiled some water, added oxiclean, and then soaked it for the day. It looked brand new when I finished. I hope you have the same results.

      3. Brandy …

        Thank you! If the pretty dinner napkins are still available I will try OxiClean and sunshine to whiten them. I also have a bottle of Mrs. Stewart’s liquid bluing but am hesitant to use it on delicate napkins with lacework. Appreciate the tip!

        1. I have liquid bluing. I tried it on something once and I feel like it stained it blue rather than whitening it. To be honest, I am terrified to use it again and I have debated throwing it away.

          1. We added it to rinse water when bathing our white chickens for fair – more than once fair birds came in with a blue hue cause the kid had used too much 😆

    2. Carolyn that is an excellent book! When your thru there is a second book called “The Book Woman’s Daughter.”

  16. Wonderful that you were able to visit your husband and enjoy the trip. I loved your photos of the gardens and linens. Was it cheaper to buy a car in Colorado versus LasVegas?

  17. Brandy, I am glad you got a visit with your husband and that the trip was productive for you.

    We have had very unpredictable weather here in southern Ontario this summer which has made our garden very unproductive. We had a good crop of strawberries in June and some rhubarb but nothing else except the herbs has grown at all. I take every little bit I can. A friend allowed us to pick black currants at her house so I made two batches of jam with them. I am thankful for grocery clearance racks as I made five large jars of pickles with cucumbers I bought for $1.25. I am hoping for some tomatoes on clearance to get tomato sauce, pizza sauce and tomato paste made.

    We continue to be blessed by our local free group. We have received several boxes of tinned and packaged food which have filled our pantry shelf. Any other things I needed to fill in I have used Amazon codes from completing surveys to buy. A low cost pantry stock up. All our meals have been eaten here at home with food we have on hand.

    All our laundry has been hung outside to dry. I trimmed my son’s hair and helped my husband trim his. Since the weather has not been very hot, we have not needed the air conditioning on very much which is a big savings for us. The long range forecast is not showing any hot days so hopefully we will not need it much more this summer.

    I hope everyone has a productive week!

  18. Congratulations on the podcast, Brandy!! And I’m so glad you were able to visit your husband in CO!!
    From last week-Mary Anne- I didn’t see your request for the chicken spaghetti recipe until Sunday, so I’m including it this week for you: https://pin.it/7tthSLd.

    This week my quilting business has kept me busy- 10 quilts I’ve quilted up for clients in less than 10 days! More client quilts coming in and going out: https://pin.it/2HrQVD8 , https://pin.it/4mXL7Lb , https://pin.it/10V4b65 , https://pin.it/2EPKjMl and https://pin.it/6GjvdR7 with 2 more in line and 2 more on the way! Every time I finish a quilt, another 1 or more have been coming in to take its place! Really grateful for the extra income right now and it’s been added to our savings account! I found 5 new FREE pantographs on Urban Elementz to add to our website! That’s over $50 in savings!
    On FB Marketplace, I saw an ad for someone local who also does longarm quilting, so I clicked on her site to compare pricing. She charges 2 cents/square inch but it goes up if pantograph is “dense or complex”. We charge 1-3/4 cents/square inch flat rate regardless. She charges a flat $10 thread charge per quilt; we charge $3. She also has a minimum charge of $60 per quilt ($50 for quilt + $10 thread) regardless of size. We have no minimum charge. If it’s a small quilt or table runner, our charge is still by square inch. So, we felt confident in our pricing structure. We are still making a nice wage but our clients seem to be coming often and consistently! We are grateful for their patronage.

I made a chocolate zucchini cake using garden zucchini I shredded. I had clearanced pie crust dough in my fridge, so I made 6 individual Turkey pot pies (using leftover frozen Thanksgiving Turkey). I kept 2 pot pies for Dave & me and packed up the other 4 into recycled takeaway and grocery containers. I then packed up 3 cartons with 4 slices of the cake and 3 cartons with homegrown tomatoes and off we went! We delivered 1 package of pot pie, cake and tomatoes to a widow who was recovering from heart surgery, 1 package with 2 pot pies, cake and toms to a couple where husband has ongoing debilitating health problem and the last pack to a recently widowed friend. Each drop off was unannounced. We spent about an hour visiting at each of the 3 stops. And we were overwhelmed at how abundantly blessed we are to have enough and to share!

I froze more strawberries and jalapeños. Made a delicious cold pasta salad using diced ham from freezer and other bits of dressing and veg to use up things I had. It’s been fun seeing just how many things we can make with our pantry.

    A friend gave us a dozen bottles of foaming hand soap from Bath and Body Works. We were just using our last bottle of foaming hand soap, so the timing was incredible! Saved me time and money, even compared to making it from scratch!

    Our electric bill (which I’ve been dreading because we have used the window a/c units, especially overnight in our room, came and was $154 for the month, up from last month’s $112. But I budget $200/month, so it was not a hardship. Our level pay for natural gas will be $104/month for the year, starting now in August. Last year it was $196/month so our new windows we’ve been installing, along with our other conservation efforts have been paying off!

    I went to the discount grocery store again and got breaded chicken breast filets (not minced chicken breast) in a 10 pound box for $10.80. There were 44 individual filets in the box so I packed 2 per ziploc. That’s about 25 cents per filet!! We are chuffed!! I also got Cascadian granola (15 Oz box) for 50 cents. I watch their sales and don’t go every week, but when I do go, I take requests from my daughters too to maximize the savings.

    Our kitchen sink stopped up. I am so grateful that Dave is handy. Emptying the trap under the sink was not enough. He had to go down to the basement to unclog the pipe. But he knew how to do it and it didn’t take any purchases of tools or supplies to fix it! Yay!!
    All in all, a good week!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Hi there! Just a tip regarding the foaming bath soap…. When I get to half a bottle, I add water and
      fill it all the way back up. You can’t even tell it has been diluted and the scent is a little milder.

  19. Beautiful pictures Brandy.
    Over the last couple weeks, I’ve purchased blueberries for $1 per pint and boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.59 lb. I froze 12 pints of berries and 5 lbs of chicken. The wild blackberries have started ripening at our land where our camper is located. I picked 4 pints on Saturday. It looks it will be a bumper crop this year with many more berries yet to ripen. Not exactly frugal as the camper is 3 hours from home. We don’t go out to eat, movies, etc. so this is what we spend our entertainment money on. It’s nice to get out of town and into the woods.

  20. Brandy you found some good items at the antique store and yes prices are rediculous today on some items like the hankerchiefs its a shame they have unfortunately become popular and the are priced by demand. I have been doing the usuals I canned 13 pints of beans pinto, kidney and navy for winter meals. I canned 4 quarts of bone in chicken to take up less space in my freezers. I have a turkey in the deep freezer I always buy one for the following year when they are marked down sadly being a widow now I will not be making a big thanksgiving dinner so I’m going to be thawing it out and canning it for later meals dont worry everyone my sister has invited me to her house for Thanksgiving dinner. The goal though is to keep working on canning up meat from the deep freezer in order to replace with things that I alone enjoy instead of focusing as much as meals for two. I am still utilizing the library for books. My husband had a metal ramp for disability installed last year I am donating it to a senior resource center for a person who has recently had to start using a wheelchair. The son of the social worker there is dismantling it for me, taking it away, reinstalling it and getting me a receipt so I can use it as a tax deduction. Its a Win for everyone the person who needs it doesn’t have to pay for it and I have it out of my yard. It’s a large metal ramp. My friend took me to lunch yesterday so that was frugal, we were served by a robot so no tip was needed. The restaurant is called Hiron Ramen and Tea in Columbus, Ohio if anyone is interested in looking it up and seeing the Robot servers. It was a interesting experience they serve Japanese food. My garden is doing o.k. though I have had issues with rats again this year from what I have read the like seeds so they have not only been taste testing my tomatoes but ate all my sugar snap peas we did get a few to snack on before they invaded the plants.

    1. The handkerchiefs were $2 and $2.25 each, so they were within my budget.

      I was looking at some jewelry that I believed to be costume jewelry (and the seller was there) only to be told it was real, and the prices were $600 and $900 on the two pieces I liked.

      $9 for the brooch was more than I pay at garage sales (usually $1) but I had been looking for a rose brooch and I figured that price was much more reasonable.

    2. There is a robot server (for drinks) at a restaurant across from my office – the first time I encountered it I almost bumped into it thinking it was just some decorative item! They are amusing.

    3. Dear Anna,
      Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of your husband. I am so sorry for your great loss. I was very touched as I read your previous posts about what you were doing to make sure that his days were full of love and comfort. I will continue to pray for you as you make this big adjustment.
      Warm Regards,
      Rachel from Oregon

  21. I would just like to say that I find it very presumptuous that anyone would question where your husband is working. I’m sure that it was a decision that was not made lightly, was prayed over, and is what you all have decided is best for your family. Most importantly, it’s no one business but yours.

    My husband has been filling the freezer with meat – he haunts the markdown section at one of the grocery stores and has found some amazing deals. We are going on vacation in two weeks and will pack all of our protein from home.

    My sorority sister offered me two cedar chests that were her parents’. I accepted them happily and plan for my daughter to take one to her house.

    Our county had county-wife yard sales this past weekend. I went with specific ideas of what I wanted, and I found most of those things. I found a few items of clothing for work, including a dress exactly like one I already own, but I love it, so it didn’t bother me that they were the same. I also found an old reproduction that is probably 3.5-4 feet wide, of a woods scene that I used to make a decoration for Halloween by painting ghosts into the scene. My daughter had her own paintings to alter, and we had a really fun evening.

    I received my paycheck from the massive amount of overtime that I had worked in July. We are able to save most of it for vacation, which is very nice.

      1. Alice said Brandy probably what so many of us were thinking. I am old enough to know A LOT goes on behind the scenes in a home/ in a family and not all information is or should be shared. For a good many years , more than I care to remember I was working 60 to 70 hours per week as a nurse- always more than 1 job.My family and friends etc always questioned me being away so much which added to the pain of our situation. I missed so many things, holidays, weekends and my daughter’s childhood…BUT it was the sacrifice my husband and I bore to achieve a safe and secure life for our family. I truly believe we all are doing the very best we can under difficult circumstances. I applaud your creativity and hope for strength and endurance thru this life phase…you already have shown great courage. Besides we are getting great stories and pictures along your journey. Thank you

      2. I had the same reaction as Alice. It is no one’s business where your husband (or other family members) is employed. You look lovely in your straw hat & pearls. Despite living in a desert your skin is fair w/o sun damage. I bet the temperatures in Colorado were cooler than Las Vegas. How nice you could go on a trip to see & enjoy.

        1. I have had skin cancer before (in my part; I had surgery to remove it 7 years ago). I have made it a point to wear a hat much more often since then, and to be even more diligent with the sunscreen. I have always burnt easily and not really tanned much (but I do freckle). I also garden early in the morning in the summer and try to run errands after dark when possible in the summer.

          The straw hat was from a garage sale, the pearls were a gift from my parents when I graduated college. The dress is from Ross.

  22. Our neighbor had to go out of town last week, so the teen made a few dollars letting her dog out in the mornings. The same neighbor gave us about 2 dozen tomatoes, and told us she has more.

    Earned $13.25 from Amazon shopper panel rewards

    I used rebate card from Menards for a storage container for my Christmas tree

    Not cheap, but I bought a laptop on tax free weekend. (I had planned to get one, tired of sharing a computer with gamers and I have 2 literature classes this Fall)

    Found a few deals at the store…one store had packs of hot dogs for $1.18, with $1 off coupons on each so paid .18(got 10 mostly for the dogs but they aren’t bad tasting). The same store had Smithfield roll sausage for $1.38(got 6). Hyvee had jars of Miracle Whip for $1 each(got 4).

    Bought myself $10 Croc flip flops on Amazon

    I burned my finger and used my aloe plant on it

    The dog cut his pad, treated him at home(reoccurring problem with him)

    I found $6 in the laundry

    Continued decluttering the house. Well, mostly basement this week. Found some missing things (a couple trays to my dehydrater, the bug zapper, my long grabber), listed a bunch on some buy nothing sites to just get rid of, and have a pile of stuff to sort to sell(which I need to get ready to go this week since I go back to work next Wednesday). Hubby is planning a run to the dump and I have plenty for him to take.

    The kids spent a couple hours cleaning up the backyard

    We were blessed with cooler temperatures so the air has been off more.

    Stayed home aside from working out and errands, caught up on a lot of stuff hanging around on my watch lists.

  23. Looking forward to hearing your garden interview!

    On the frugal front:
    DD2 works at a grocery store. She brought home chopped pecans and canned fruit that were on clearance.

    My sister shared a box of peaches with us. We enjoyed a few fresh and froze the rest. I also froze overly ripe bananas and pitted bing cherries. I see smoothies in our future.

    I froze Costco chicken carcasses and veggie scraps for chicken broth this fall.

    DD2 wanted a small zipper pouch. I ordered a 10 piece multipack of pouches for the same price as one pouch. I will save the extras for Advent calendars and Easter baskets.

    We are taking inventory of DD2’s clothes before she leaves for school next week and shopping clearance sales to fill in the gaps. Thankfully, she did not need much. We gave her white sneakers a good scrub. They will easily last at least another year before replacement.

    This will be DD2’s first year in a college rental house rather than a dorm with a meal plan. We showed her where she fell on the the USDA food cost reports. https://www.fns.usda.gov/resource/usda-food-plans-cost-food-reports-monthly-reports
    We found with her older sister that using the USDA reported dollar amount helped avoid budget “negotiations.” We made a list of simple, delicious, nutritious and low cost meal and snack ideas. If she can healthfully feed herself under budget, she can keep the remainder for spending money. We hope the added incentive to economize will help build lifelong budgeting skills.

    HH used some old cans of spray paint to paint a lamp base, serving tray and plant pots for DD2’s college house. They are things we were had at home but were not using. We potted rooted pathos cuttings and aloe pups in the pots to place on the tray. Hopefully the plants survive college life.

    One of the perks of my job is free personal care and household products. I stocked up for DD2’s college house.

    I brought home large plastic bags from work that would have been tossed in the trash. I will use them as kitchen garbage bags.

    The owners of the company I work for have been decluttering their home. They have been leaving little free piles in the lunch room. I brought home a bathrobe, first aide kit and bath mat.

    Thanks to all who share their frugal feats!

  24. Brandy, I am so thrilled for you that you not only were able to see your husband, but also were able to get a car! God’s blessings to you and your family.

    My biggest wins for the week were not letting food go to waste. We travelled until late Wednesday night, and were able to use garden gifts from my sister-in-law, as well as eating from our cooler with planned-ahead on-the-road meals. We also harvested our first zucchini and tomatoes from our garden when we returned home, which we’ve been enjoying!

  25. -Took advantage of Sonic $1.99 milkshakes and brought some home to my mom and her caregiver for afternoon treat. They are delicious and really big for a small.
    -on Sunday I went early bird shopping at my favorite liquidation store. Everything I bought was 90% off and then an additional 20% off during early bird hours. Went back today while I was in town buying groceries and got $25 pair of earrings for only $1. This store has both 🎯 and Amzn liquidation. Today I also got $43 Melissa and Doug toys for only $4.05.
    -author I love just released new book. Almost bought for $21 but was able to be first patron to check out of library. Read in less than 20 hours (even with a break for sleep, shopping and family reunion lunch) and returned to library so it would be available for next patron. I love, love, love the library.
    -met friend to swap magazines/books/newspapers and items we had purchased for each other. I live rural and daily newspaper delivery is not available. She saves me my favorite sections of her daily paper and we meet every so often and swap things we have saved for each other. Sometimes we also have lunch and a nice visit and other times we just do a quick parking lot hand off.
    -was craving Mexican food. Went for cheaper lunch instead of supper and even had leftovers for my mom. I always drink water as it’s so much cheaper (free) and gets in my quota for the day.

  26. You look lovely! Gas prices are dreadful, it is $3.37 a gallon to $3.49 a gallon.The prices seem
    to increase daily. I fear food prices will follow. Eggs are still 97 cents a dozen at Aldi though. I had a talk with my grown middle autistic son and sometimes it is hard for him to understand the need to budget and economize. He also has so many food aversions that it can be difficult. He seems to have made some progress and we had scrambled eggs and toast for supper one evening, as well as grilled cheese on another night. We have not made much progress on the bean front though, which would help significantly. I keep trying. He will now eat pinto refried beans….sometimes. So that is some progress I suppose. I still have a low electric bill at work house, $46.00 but I am not there Thursday night through Sunday, and ai no longer have an air conditioner there. So that is how much our electric rates have gone up when my using a fan for only half a week and the rates are almost as high as when I was there full time and had an air conditioner there. Electric rates are just terrible. I keep the air set at 79 at weekend house when I am there. I attempt to raise it to 80 or 82, and that is just not working out for me.

  27. Congratulations on the podcast and video! That sounds like fun! I’m glad you got to visit your husband and that you will have a vehicle now. I have been cooking at home. We decided that it was important to eat at home not just to save money but so we can spend money on things that we really want to do. It is amazing how much we can save not eating out. My husband has been helping and my son even cooked something this evening. He was proud of his cooking and it made me happy to see him so happy! We also haven’t grocery shopped in a couple of weeks. However; we will shop sometime this week. I understand having goals. I’d like to save as well. We have to increase our income if we are ever going to retire. We are definitely late in the saving for retirement game. I’m not sorry about vacations we have taken, but I could definitely leave eating out for the most part just so we can save. We are doing the usual things this week; turning off lights, using hankies and cloth napkins, entertaining ourselves at home, and cooking at home. We visited family and played board games. Enjoyed talking on the phone and using the internet for entertainment and information. I have been cleaning house for exercise.

    1. We are trying to unplug a drain. We have been pouring hot water in the sink. Now my husband is putting some vinegar in as well. Unfortunately, the hot water cracked our bathroom sink and now we have to get a new sink. At least we saved on a plumber.

  28. First, your picture is lovely and all of us are looking forward to the podcast. Thanks for sharing a little bit about your future plans. We certainly don’t want to be busybodies but we were all worried about you being alone with all the children and missing your husband. It’s really good to hear that you have a solid plan and this could end up being a really good financial basis for retirement.

    Also, thanks for mentioning you are planting zinnias now. I adore them and none of mine came up and I figured I had missed out for this year. But if you’re still planting, then I will plant more seeds tomorrow.

    1. So long as they stay damp while germinating, they should come up quickly now!

      Last year I had to sow seeds 4 times before any grew! I think they dried out in our heat.

      1. Brandy, I saw a technique for planting carrot seeds that might work for any seeds in your climate. Soak the soil; plant the seeds; soak again and place a board or piece of plywood over the seeded bed. Check after a few days and then when you see sprouting, uncover the bed. It really helps to keep the soil damp until germination occurs.

        1. He got his AA but has changed majors a few times, so I’m not sure when he plans to finish his bachelor’s degree.

  29. That’s so nice that you were able to go out for a visit. It’s hard living away away from your spouse; we had to do it a couple years ago when my husband’s company hadn’t moved to their new location yet, but our family had. It was definitely not easy, although I imagine it’s made a little bit more bearable since your kids are a little older. Hugs to you and your family as you navigate this road. (And that’s great news about you finding another car, especially one with better gas mileage! What a blessing. And I love that your new goal is to pay off your mortgage as fast as possible–that will open up so many possibilities for your family when you no longer need to pay that every month!)

    This last week was a bit of a dumpster fire of a week, financially speaking. It’s been that kind of a year for us. I think that’s why it’s more important than ever to track my frugal wins — not only because it helps me to keep looking for ways to save money, but also because it encourages me because I recognize that I’m doing well on the things that I can control. And that is a win, indeed 🙂

    Here are mine for last week:


  30. I’m so pleased you and your husband were able to meet up again and have a tentative plan for future meetups. It’s difficult on the family, but less difficult than no income. Hugs to you all as you go forward.
    *I’m in a complaints process with a wiener (hot dogs) company. The grandkids wanted hot dogs for lunch, so I bought a packet of wieners and a packet of buns at the store. How many wieners do you think were in the non-see-through package?—only 10! And nowhere on the package did it state only 10 instead of a dozen! I understand Shrinkflation, but not telling customers they were only getting 10 struck me as purely deceitful. So I emailed that sentiment to the company. Which responded by telling me I was a valuable customer and my concern would be taken to the quality control department! What a ridiculous response! I told them that, and now I see they are trying to contact me by phone on the issue. So we’ll see what comes of this all.
    *I bought some clearance markdown clothes for back to school for the grands. Every bit helps.
    *I harvested green beans, cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, dill, and thyme. Plus a single ripe strawberry!
    * I bought a whole rotisserie chicken for less than cooking it myself. There will be 2+ meals, plus the bones (and assorted veggies)
    are in the crockpot turning into broth.
    *My husband is going salmon fishing for a few days. A relative has a boat. It’s not frugal, but the guys do their best to keep costs down by taking turns cooking meals, sharing rides to and from, splitting the gas bill. (They don’t drink, thank goodness.) If and when salmon are actually caught and brought home, I always hear that they are “free”! — haha!
    Blessings on your week, ladies!

    1. Call me crazy, but what hot dog company still has a dozen in a package? Most that I’ve picked up over the years have 6, 8, or 10…depending on the brand. Maybe check the serving size when in doubt…I always laugh that the bun package NEVER matches up to the number of dogs!

  31. Hello from Michigan! I’ve been reading every week.
    – Our basement flooded 2 weeks ago when a torrential downpour overwhelmed the drains outside the basement door and I’m still cleaning the mess up. The smell has permeated all of my fabric stash even though it didn’t actually get wet. Hopefully my washer doesn’t get burned out with all the washing. I need to still move the craft wood out as it also seems to have absorbed a lot of moisture too and we don’t need termites on top of it.
    – Our chicken coop is finally finished and the only money we spent was on screws and construction adhesive. 14 chickens is still a few too many so hopefully I can sell a few of the extras.
    – My garden is quite a failure this year other than a couple pumpkins so I’ve been purchasing from the farmers market. If you go at the end you can often get deals on bulk purchases. This week was sweet corn that has gone in the freezer.
    – I’ve mended several pieces of clothing.
    – We purchased baby items we needed at our house for our grandson from garage sales, the
    Goodwill outlet (by the pound) and marketplace.
    – I used free burlap coffee bean bags staked to the slope next to my driveway. I then split most of my perennials and started planting them down the eroded slope to hopefully keep the dirt in place. I also used chimney blocks that I also picked up for free to make steps up the slope.
    – My husband found free patio blocks and composite decking scraps that we will use to rebuild the back porch and steps and pave the dog pen.
    – We sold our 2nd vehicle.
    – My husband traded some things he had laying around for a “parts” engine. A chipmunk got into our pontoon boat’s motor over the winter and parts are stupid expensive. Hopefully he can get it working before the summer is over. We were given a hand me down Bimini top to replace our patched one.
    – He also traded for a pop up trailer that we’ve demolished and will use for scrap hauling.
    – We purchased a “sail” to shade the southern side of our house to keep cooling costs down.
    – We’ve eaten only at home. Other than a couple family get togethers.
    – We’ve driven down to watch the waves several times, watched movies and popped our own popcorn and had a couple bonfires as date nights.
    Hope you all have a wonderful week!

  32. Congratulations on being featured on the podcast. I look forward to seeing you on YouTube.
    And I’m glad you were able to make the trip to see your husband and get a new car. When you were in Grand Junction you were about two hours from me in Ridgway.
    We received a little rain and I was able to cut off the outside irrigation for a few days, and the rain refilled my rain barrels.* I harvested all my garlic and hung it in the wood shed to dry.*I planted peas and cabbage for the fall garden.* I baked sandwich bread and made a batch of granola.* I harvested cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, and the first tomatoes from the garden. I also shared cucumbers and lettuce with friends.* I made another quart of refrigerator pickles, and two pints of sweet pickle relish.* I made 8 cards to use as get-well or sympathy cards.* I mended a shirt, a jacket, and a pair of jeans.* Fruit of the Loom had a one-day online sale with many things Buy 1 – Get 1. I ordered underwear for my husband and myself — enough to last for a good long while.

  33. I am so glad you could visit your husband.

    It has been cold ,windy and wet here, the water butts are overflowing. There has been peculiar weather this year, global heating maybe. I resisted turning the heating on and found another blanket for the bed. The world may be heating up but we are cold here.

    This week I have been harvesting and bottling French beans and Runner beans. I have also been making jam with harvested red currents, black currants, blackberries and strawberries from the freezer and apricots that did not want to ripen. I made cranberry sauce from last years cranberries ready for Christmas.

    I have made dill pickle with excess cucumbers from the greenhouse. We had a lot of cauliflower so I made soup with it. I have the first autumn raspberries and blackberries from the field around the corner.

    As I clear the garden beds I am sowing early peas, beetroot and a lot of carrots all should establish before the cooler weather, I will cover them before the frost. I am collecting seeds for next year as they appear. I collected all the flowers the wind snapped off and put them in a vase, it cheers up the house.

    I have been reading books and e books from the library . I have done out a couple of cupboards after a shelf in the china cabinet collapsed thankfully nothing broke. I dried the laundry outside between the rain storms, it smells lovely when it comes in off the line. All meals have been cooked from scratch at home.

    Have a good week everyone

  34. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m so glad that in amongst difficulties you are finding some joy, visiting your husband must have been lovely for you both. Wow! The photo of you is gorgeous and you’re inspiring me to up my game! I’m going to a tea party today and I’m going to choose nice earrings etc. I love the colour of your dress.
    From the garden we used carrots, runner beans, potatoes, courgettes, lettuce and flowers. The shallots and garlic have been drying and are now indoors for use. I froze several packs of beans. I cut lots of lavender and have it drying now.
    Inexpensive meals were courgette, tomato and mozzarella bake, omelettes, veg soup made from a bag of bits and bobs of leftover veg I keep in the freezer and blue cheese, shallot and courgette crust less quiche. I bought a turkey drumstick which fed two of us a roast dinner and I’ve frozen the leftovers for stir fry.
    The dishwasher isn’t working properly so we’re washing up by hand which should be saving on electricity.
    Not being allowed to drive for a few weeks is saving on fuel and I am finishing up some outstanding sewing projects and gardening more.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Thank you, Penny! That’s a selfie!

      I only started taking selfies a year ago, and it’s very different to do it on a phone and lack the control of my camera, but I have been learning. I’ve been encouraged by a photographer friend of mine who posts selfies in her Instagram stories that she takes on her phone. Her pictures are always so full of life and so much fun!

      The dress is one I bought last year for (I believe) $20. It might have been less, even; I would have to look at my post from last year, as I think it WAS less. I almost didn’t buy it, thinking I needed another navy blue dress like I need a hole in the head, but I have become so grateful that I bought it! I took that picture after the interview and then I flew in that dress. It was super comfortable and didn’t wrinkle at all, so it’s an excellent dress for traveling!

  35. Hi Brandy – sounds like a nice trip, and beautiful pictures. I’m impressed that you can take so good pictures with your phone!

    This week I continued reading the copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette, that I got for my birthday. It is so entertaining! I translated/read aloud to my son – ‘Take the tightwad test’ and we had so much fun laughing at how we usually do things in our family – it was extremely easy to recognize the things we do as the options from the tightwad category! Oh the joys of recognition!

    Two tips from the book I consider using is getting a timer for the water heater (to switch on and off at set times) and to use pine cones as kindling (in danish ‘pine’ and ‘to light’ something is actually the same word).

    After an extremely dry spring and early summer, things have completely reversed and it is raining and windy. July was the wettest month ever recorded. The last two days have been extremely windy, which is very uncharacteristic this time of year. I secured many things in the garden and picked a lot of apples in advance, which has been a good investment of time. But we had to rescue maize and snow-peas that were blown over by the wind. Hope they will survive.

    We harvested carrots, snack pepper, tomatoes, a small squash, cucumbers, green beans, snow peas, welsh onions and lots and lots of apples. I use the carrot-tops for pesto. I have also started harvesting seeds – from tomatoes, asian greens, two types of snow peas, black salsify, basil, welsh onion, good-king-henry and radishes. A lot more will follow! I hope we will get some sun and higher temperatures before the summer is over, otherwise we will only get a very poor harvest of squash, corn and cucumber and the beans will stop producing prematurely.

    All the windfall apples I boil and make into applesauce for the freezer or for fruitleather. The handpicked apples we eat as the are or make into dried apple slices. The apples with worms I use for dried apple slices after cutting away the infested parts. The later maturing varieties we store in the garden shed when time comes. I have sliced sooo many apples this week and you can hardly see that we’ve picked any from our two best-producing trees! So more work to come! The good thing about the wind is that electricity is almost free these days (except for fixed fees) because of all the danish windmills – so I can dehydrate fruitleather and apples at a very good price.

    I have saved small twigs in a big bucket in the shed to use as kindling for our firepit.

    We make many meals with vegetables from the garden and some kind of starch – pasta, potatoes, rice – good for the budget! I plan to make big batches of lentils and beans to add some protein.

  36. Brandy, a great post! Lovely photos and I was happy to see the news you had a chance to visit your husband, get a car, and have a beautiful drive home through the mountains! My washing machine stopped working, so I took my clothes to a laundromat…it has been years since I used one, and oh my, the prices were astonishing. Medium sized washer $5.50. For my three loads, it was $25 and some of the heavier items weren’t dry at the end (I hung them up at home). I cannot imagine how people can pay that every week. When I bought this condo, it came with a one year home warranty. I had always heard that home warranties can be a waste of money. Well I called in both the broken washer and an air conditioning noise (huge humming noise when it starts to runs now). They said they don’t “cover” noises…but would send someone out to assess the washing machine for $85. Sigh. So we shall see today if the $85 was a complete waste or not.

    1. When we were first married, I had to haul our laundry to a laundromat. I chatted with a woman there who said she would rather have a washer-dryer than a refrigerator! I am not sure if I would go that far, yet completely understood her point of view.
      Later when we had purchased our own (my beloved!) Kenmores and we had college students babysit for us, we would tell them they could bring a load or two of laundry and do it at our house in addition to being paid. They always took advantage of that perk.
      Have never bought a homeowners warranty; always feared they would be, well, whimsical in their coverages.

  37. As usual lovely photos and such a lovely one of you. What a blessing to be able to visit your husband, I hope his job goes well and you reach your goals. I had a small inheritance so with all the frugal living I was able to pay our mortgage off. We are older than you so have had a few more years to do it.
    The biggest frugal achievement was from my daughter, a £1200 wedding dress for £70! She tracked down where the company sold some of there dresses off, all that needs doing is a tiny bit of beadwork which is loose, we can do that and the length needs altering. My daughter will be having silk flowers, which we are sourcing in the sales, as an ex-florist I will be doing all the bouquets etc, so we will save over £800 on that. I’m looking for a new suit which I will also be able to wear afterwards, I have a few months so fingers crossed I find one. Have a good week and blessings to you and your family.

      1. It certainly was. We have a budget and I’m pleased to say my daughter is being very sensible with the money. Thank you for all the frugal ideas. My daughters also enjoy your blog.

        1. Oh, how nice that your daughters like it here, too! Hello, Diane’s daughters!

  38. I’ve been MIA for a while. Summer vacation and the remodeling have been taking up my time. We should have the ground floor doors completed this week, but my progress will slow now that I am back to work. Additionally, the foundation repair that was done in May is giving us some issues and we may have to pull up and redo part of the floor.
    Frugal fail?
    Fell in love with a crocodile bench from Bali. Put it in my dressing room. There were much cheaper options for seating in there, but the crocodile bench makes me smile when I enter the room.
    Frugal accomplishments
    1. Using reusable sandwich bags for my lunch.
    2. Taking my breakfast and lunch to work.
    3. Made several meals from items in freezer and pantry and sent them along with my husband (He is also working away Brandy – you will get used to it 😊)
    4. Passed on a lovely but expensive armoire. My patience was rewarded when I found one for $600 (about a quarter of the price of the other one!) at the architectural salvage –and negotiated it down to $500.
    5. Picked up an antique carved Indian dresser to use as a vanity in the upstairs master bath. Much less than a “real” vanity.
    6. Bought the wallpaper for the guest room on sale plus used a discount for being a prior purchaser.
    7. Chalk painted an old desk that didn’t owe me anything rather than buying a new one. It looks fantastic.
    8. Found old picture frames in an attic box to replace ones that broke during the remodel.
    9. Gratefully received a jar of chalk paint that will be perfect for a trunk.
    10. Gratefully received antique metal corner braces to repair a nightstand the puppy chewed.

    Up this week – painting doors, painting an old trunk, staining quarter round, and finding a good buy on pencil molding to finish off the kitchen.

  39. I love that you’re thinking creatively how to navigate and enjoy this time in your journey. Last week, I was happy to find cherries for $1.99/#, and cantaloupes $1.79 at Aldi. I harvested a few tiny potatoes from a volunteer potato, which was missed last year. I made a batch of cashew parmesan. In the garden, we spotted the first tiny zucchini and tromboncino squashes, and first cantaloupes. I was told a Lowe’s store I usually pass whenever I have soap to deliver, has an awesome markdown area. She was right, as there were three large shelving units full, plus a cooler. I picked up a dented can of organic black beans for .75, and a lb. of organic dried lentils for $2.20. When I first saw them, I thought that was still pretty high, even if 50% off, but when I thought about nonorganic lentils at Dollar Tree being the equivalent of $1.67 per lb., I decided it wasn’t too bad. I’ll make stopping there part of my monthly routine. In the garden, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil and oregano were harvested. When I couldn’t fit another thing in the freezers, I pulled out thirteen gallon bags of veggie scraps, simmered them, and canned 18 pints of concentrated broth. It’s good to have a little breathing room in the freezers again. All laundry was dried on the line. Our fourth try at yellow squash were large enough to be planted out over the weekend. Here’s hoping they thrive. I started seeds of chard and broccoli. My Fall-inspired soap is on the drying rack. Cool days will be here before we know it!

  40. Brandy so glad you got to make the trip! Lovely pictures!!
    This past week was a blur as we were busy with so many things.
    Our new roof is being installed this week and I am relieved since we have been having heavy rainstorms and currently have damage on our roof. Kind of nerve wracking when it is pouring down rain! The installer we are using is replacing our roof with architectural shingles which is an upgrade on our roof above the three tab shingles we currently have. They are doing this at no cost to us which is a savings of about $8k. This will add a life.of about 10 years to our roof we hope.

    I took an inventory of my
    Freezer contents in order to set myself up for success in eating the rest of the food we have stored there. I will be making jam this week with fruit I froze from last year. I intended to accomplish this task last week, but cut my
    Thumb pretty badly and washing dishes in scalding hot water was not a good idea for me.
    I have mapped out several meals to use what we have on hand and add some easy healthy meals to the freezer to make our dinner time
    Routine easier. I have found that I can prep a large batch of a Mediterranean salad using romaine lettuce and it maintains its crunch for a couple days in the fridge. The salad is delicious using chick peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, feta, red bell pepper, Kalamata olives and a bit of Italian dressing. Depending on the day I will some chicken for extra protein and the salad is quite high in fiber too.
    I have torn out the first of our gardens planted in the Spring and I am preparing to sow seeds for my fall garden. Planning to plant lots of greens, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, greens beans, peas, carrots, celery, green onions, and lots more zinnias for fall color.
    Gas is super expensive so we are combining errands and staying home as much as we can. We have enjoyed Parcheesi, Rummy 5000 tournaments, Candyland, coloring books, and movies. This is a blessing as this provides the chance for us to stay inside where it is cool. We have had lots of rain showers lately and I have not had to run the sprinklers as usual. Some of the dahlias that I planted have begun to sprout and I am excited for the flowers they will bring. I know that they might not all come up the first year since I planted them late but I am hopeful.
    I canned 9 pints of sweet pickle relish this past week and 6 quarts of tomatoes. All from our garden 🙂
    I shelled a huge batch of field peas and froze them for later use.
    I hope you all enjoy a productive week ahead!!

  41. That is wonderful that you were able to see your husband and get the car at the same time. The last few weeks we have had lots of rain maybe too much. My celery is destroyed from all of it. The green squash didn’t make it either. The rest is still hanging on. We have started getting figs. They are huge. Tomatoes are going crazy as are all of the peppers. I am in-between lettuce so we haven’t had salads. I am still dehydrating lots of swiss chard, basil and parsley. I made bruschetta pizza, BLT’s(used beet tops as lettuce) and fajitas with the garden produce.
    Hubby, myself and our best friends stayed at my sister’s house on the water for 5 days. She went away and needed us to dog sit. We stay at her house usually once every summer. It is a beautiful home on the water and she has a huge in ground pool. We cooked everything there and played lots of games and swam.
    Hubby had to go to Buffalo, NY for work for a few days. He is comped for all of his meals. He brought home leftovers that we had for dinner the next day. He had dinner out at 2 amazing steakhouses. We rarely eat out so he really enjoyed it.
    I went to a yard sale. I got a brand new Scrabble game(I use the letters to make gifts), a water bottle ice tray, a cupcake holder(24) and a huge Tupperware veggie tray all for $3.
    We are going to Disney soon. I bought GC at BJ’s at a discounted price to pay for the hotel and tickets. I put them all on my cash back credit card and paid it off right away. Disney is expensive but there are some ways to save money.
    Hubby needed shorts for our trip. While we were shopping for him I found 2 summer dresses on clearance for $12 each They were original $68. I wore one to my niece’s bridal shower. Hubby got 2 pairs of shorts on sale too.
    We went to a free car show and Hubby and his brother went to another free car show.
    Doing all of our everyday frugal things such as opening windows when we can, washing baggies, eating leftovers, cutting up paper and cereal bags, hanging laundry.

    1. Marybeth – does your husband remember the name of the steakhouses he went to? I live in Buffalo!

  42. Hello All,
    I really enjoyed free music at a local campground store on the Missouri river this weekend. It’s a popular little spot that’s a hidden gem. The views of the sun setting over the river were priceless. They offered a little store to purchase drinks and food trucks were there for food. I enjoyed going with my daughter and her family. My best friend joined us for a great time.
    Groceries this week were at stock up prices too. Chicken legs or thighs at .77lb, ground beef 2.77, chicken breasts 1.99 and multiple packages of marked down beef! Our freezer is now re stocked. I did splurge on premade frozen bag meals for 4.99 (coupon) on nights I didn’t want to cook. They are really large and we will have leftovers. One is chicken alfredo and the other is shrimp scampi. I would never splurge at the regular price of 9.50 each!
    I really enjoy your photos of your time in Colorado. It’s precious memories for you and your husband. Getting a replacement vehicle must feel good even though it’s spending money, it’s a necessity at this time in your family’s life. Is your husband enjoying his new job?
    All my best to you.

  43. So glad you were able to see your hubby. We have the same goal to pay off the house in 5-7 years. It too will be a huge undertaking but we are up for the challenge. I would love my husband to retire early and just help on the farm. We have tons of up coming expenses so trying to work through those but keeping our goal of a paid off home keeps me motivated to save. Thanks for all you do and share.

  44. I’m glad it worked out for you with the car. I’ve driven through the Rocky Mountains, albeit the Northern Rockies. This was a really busy week, as my son got married on Saturday. The venue was in the Cascade Mountains, in the town of Snoqualmie.
    The wedding was not really frugal, but they did a few things. They decided what was the least important, and tried to be careful there. They bought flowers at Costco, and my DIL and I made the centerpieces for all the tables on Saturday morning before the wedding. The bride had made a sample, and took a picture, so we had a guideline to follow. It was bright and light pink roses and baby’s breath. They were very pretty. Then there were small pink vases that we put white roses and baby’s breath in. The dinner after the wedding was a taco bar. There was a lot of leftover food. We brought home an entire tray of pork carnitas, and shared with our son and DIL. We have been eating on those. We stayed till the end of the reception, as we had to help clean up. We were exhausted at the end of the evening. The wedding and reception were beautiful and a great success.
    Before we left for the wedding, we did the following:
    Garden – picked snow peas, zucchini, cucumbers chrry tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and basil.
    Preserving – Froze cauliflower and broccoli. Dried zucchini. Froze blueberries purchased earlier.
    Stayed three days at the venue for our son’s wedding. The hotel had free breakfast each morning, which was really good.
    Now I have to get caught back up on everything, since we were gone for 4 days. We were lucky it rained one day, so the garden did not suffer while we were gone.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

  45. Hello, frugal friends from the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia! The weather has turned pleasant for the end of summer. Brandy, I am so happy you got to go on a quick yet fun adventure to see your husband and sort your transportation issues. Sounds like you have some ambitious but attainable goals ahead. Paying off our mortgage early was worth every sacrifice we made. I had no idea how good it would feel to be free of debt. For awhile we could only put a small amount extra towards the mortgage, like $50-$100/month, but then by using an amortization sheet, crossing off the extra principal payment we started gaining momentum watching the balance get lower and lower. It really is exciting. Best wishes on your goals.
    On the frugal front:
    *Took the garbage and recycling to the dump on our way to other errands. Giving up garbage pick up has saved us $240/year.
    *Mr. Fix It cleaned the air filters in the house.
    *Mr. Fix It also did a huge yard project himself. He whacked and chopped the weeds, vines and wild olive trees along the fence line. Our neighbor is paying someone over $500 to do the same for her.
    *From the garden we have gotten 2 kinds of squash, green beans, green onions, bulb onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, a few berries, and the greasy beans are starting to come in! They are my favorite, so I am very excited.
    At the grocery store: I can’t remember if I reported my bread deals last week so here they are (again?): whole wheat bread .45/loafx4, 1 free whole wheat, sugar free loaf of bread, 4 French vanilla instant puddings on clearance for .42 each, 3 huge lemons for .99, BLSL chicken breast on sale for 1.77/pound, plus I had a $2.50 off BLSL chicken so the final cost per pound was 1.55/pound. I bought 16.5#. That should hold us for 6-8 months.
    *Our biggest frugal project was that we reorganized our porches. We have a covered front porch the length of our house, a screened in porch overlooking the mountains and neighboring farm, a back deck running the length of our house and a patio off the basement apartment. We want to use the screened in porch more often but need a table and chairs to enjoy eating out there. After much thought we decided to shuffle outdoor furniture around and clean up the screened porch. We ended up making it what we want and now we enjoy the view while we eat our meals in the nice weather. Cost: $ 0! We are watching for a small black bear that has been sighted in our neighborhood. I saw it about a month ago walking behind our fence.
    Blessings to all my frugal friends!

    1. Marley …

      Congrats on being debt free! What a beautiful area you live in … a view of mountains and the possibility of a bear sighting are exciting!

      You mentioned your hubby cleaning air filters in your home … do you use the reusable filters that can be washed, dried and reused? Or has he discovered a way to clean the paper type filters?

      We currently replace ours monthly but are considering the reusable type for our central AC units. It would be nice to avoid purchasing new ones each month.

      Any info you, or any other frugal friends here, can share from your experience is much appreciated!

      1. hi
        we used the washable permanent filters in our previous house for 9 yrs never ever had a problem and the cost savings was huge. we wuld remove them and wash them each month when our utility bill came it just helped us remember to donit on that schedule.
        when we moved into our current house we used the paper ones for 6 months then finally bit the bullet and purchased the permanent/reusable washable ones. i can tell no diff at all in the quality of one over the other. so i feel it is definitely worth it. i will say we have them at a farm house that during harvest the whole environment is terribly dusty in that house i wrapped cheese cloth or tuille over them only when they r harvesting to give our filter an extra fine mesh for the dust the remove them when harvest is over. hope this helps

        1. Marymac3637 ….

          So good to know that the reusable filters work well for you. Each time we buy the disposable ones for our two AC units we cringe at the cost. Thank you for sharing!

  46. We had a wonderful vacation on the Oregon Coast that was paid for in cash. We rented an AirBnb and enjoyed the view of the ocean right off our back deck. We walked on the beach everyday and enjoyed the ocean, sand and surf. We ate breakfast, lunch and snacks with food we had bought at the local grocery store. We planned for dinners to be dined out. But we chose mostly cheaper places to eat. We even had 2 $5/off dinner/lunch coupons for Mo’s Chowder House that were from many years ago and they honored the coupons. The waitress says they get them from customers almost everyday who are back visiting the Coast.

    We visited 2 lighthouses and greatly enjoyed the scenery from their lofty locations above the ocean. We saw whales, seals, and golden eagles. We saw crabs and starfish. I love to collect seashells and small, smooth rocks from the beach from each trip and keep them in a jar in my front room.

    One day was spent at our AirBnb walking the beach, watching the waves and enjoying the view from our deck. We all read books and ate snacks. It was really nice and relaxing. The weather was so beautiful all week with temps in the mid-60s and sunshine.

    Our drive back and forth was at hotels that provided breakfast. We ate our snacks we had bought on the way down and back.

    We were fortunate that 2 of our children could take care of our puppies while we were gone on vacation. I provided food they requested at my house and had everything prepped for them for the easiest experience. Our dogs were much more comfortable at home with my kids.

    We have been blessed with multiple quick rainstorms during the past few weeks. The monsoon type weather provided our entire rain summer total in one storm. I’m so happy about extra water that comes from these storms.

    My garden isn’t doing great. Both my zucchini and squash plant have died. My green bean plants didn’t grow no matter how many times I planted seeds. I’m hoping my potatoes come through and we get some tomatoes soon. I have picked 2 cucumbers and 2 sweet corn.

    Love the pictures you provided in this post! Congrats on being able to see your husband, a better car option (with better a/c!), trips to beautiful gardens and antique malls.

  47. All of the photos this week are especially lovely, Brandy, especially the one of you! *My two deck tomato plants have blooms and little tomatoes on them!! Nothing else survived so I’m pretty happy about that. *We had all the family over for First Sunday dinner. Now that we have three kids living locally we wanted to put something on the calendar to make sure we get together once a month (at least). We had a cookout, some sides and dessert. Then we played a game. We ate the leftovers the next night. It was nice. *Tomorrow is our 34th anniversary. The last few years we have forgone gifts and had a nice dinner out. My husband has church responsibilities on Wednesdays so I made the reservation for Friday night. I’m really looking forward to this. *Plugging away at Christmas gifts…still embroidering pillowcases. I’ve been sorting through the containers of embroidery floss left here by four teenage daughters who each were into making friendship bracelets at one time or another. I’m sorting into general colors (ie: pinks, blues, etc.), then putting in sandwich bags. It should be easier to gather supplies now and I won’t waste money buying floss I already have. *Finished reading another couple library books. *Everyone have a great week!

  48. We have been having quiet days at home during the hot summer months. I try and cook enough for several meals, saving energy and not having to turn on the oven so often. I cut my husband’s hair. I also traveled to help my daughter with childcare for a few days, which allowed her to get more work done. Grandma got paid in smiles and baby laughs.

    Years ago, my husband and I were in separate states (I was the one in CO) for work and for school reasons. Others criticized our decision- how could this be good for the marriage? How will it affect the children? But we knew our family’s needs best. Like you, we had our goals and it was the right decision for our family. We worked in visits once a month until we were reunited. Know that I am thinking of you- at times it isn’t easy but I know that if you are like my husband and me, no matter how far apart you are in distance, you are together in your goals. (Ours had to do with a mortgage and retirement plans and it all came together eventually).

    I love that you were able to see some gardens and go antiquing in CO and that you have a vehicle once again!

    1. Yes Nina it sounds like we had some things in common
      Being separated due to work and jobs doesn’t change the bond and commitment to shared goals in a marriage
      I am so glad you shared your experience. My husband and I made some hard sacrifices for the good of our family
      We also paid off our mortgage early in 2005 and have never regretted our decision and believe me we had alot of naysayers lol

  49. My garden is pretty well gone for the summer season. Our month of 100 degrees was just too much. I have a few tomato plants and pepper plants left but the squash, pumpkins and celery gave up. All my herbs are doing ok and my cottage garden is good except for the the grasshopper bites out of the leaves.
    I took my DIL to Sam’s and we were both pretty mindful,of our needs and spending. We split the fruits, bread and sausage package so there will not be any waste. My two splurges were a new label maker as mine could not be repaired and some dark chocolate.
    I have been hanging out all my laundry and cooking exclusively at home. Alternating tea and coffee in the mornings as I realized I had more tea in the cupboard than any one person should have and I better get to enjoying it.
    Cut my husband’s hair and gave myself my manicure and pedicure as usual. I need to get my hair trimmed though and don’t trust him with the scissors.
    Gas here is $3.79 per gallon so we are careful with our driving and plan our trips and errands. I did go to an estate sale and found a brand new pair of Easy Spirit suede shoes for winter for $5.00 last weekend.
    Brandy, I am so thrilled about your podcast. Glad good things are happening for everyone who participates on your blog.

  50. What wonderful photos – pretty flowers and a pretty lady. 🙂 We have lots of the wild bergamot/monarda/bee balm growing on our property, both lavender and scarlet. And our bees really do love it as do the butterflies.
    *Finished treating my bees for varroa mites. I use a product which is made with thymol, a derivative of the thyme plant. I do a lot of things to reduce the chances of mites (many of which don’t cost anything) but do need to treat them from time to time. Anything I can do to keep my bees healthy and help them survive is a good thing and keeps me from having to replace them in the spring.
    *My boys made a few new toys for our foster kittens. Like other babies I know, they don’t require much to be entertained and happy – love and attention goes a long way. A good lesson for all. 🙂
    *We were invited to an estate sale/giveaway at the farm of a neighbor. Her out-of-state family was here clearing out the house and offered neighbors the opportunity to buy or take things they could use. They very generously let us take many things at no charge – baby clothes I will give a mother in homeschool co-op who just had her 6th child, a microscope (I had been wanting one for science lessons with my sons), a vintage Bloomingdale’s coat, a few ball caps my older son likes to wear, a couple of books, silicon baking mats, lots of art supplies for my youngest son, and – my personal favorite – a large Ryker mount of butterflies and moths. I have a few of these I have done or bought at thrift stores and have them hanging in my laundry room. I love them so was thrilled to have this beautiful piece which will serve as a lovely reminder of our neighbor.
    *I made $63 selling items at my neighbor’s antique store booth.
    *Sold eggs.
    *Eating lots of meals from the garden. No grocery shopping this week.
    *My MIL is cleaning out some of her things and passed along some never worn socks I can use as well as some jewelry from her mother. There are a few pieces I will enjoy and I saved a few pairs of earrings I think my mother would like. Nice to be able to give these things new life.
    *Our church does a monthly free concert and potluck supper during the summer months at our summer parish – a beautiful old church built in 1862. Our choir (of which I am a part) performed in June to a standing room only crowd and it was such fun. This month’s performance was by a Celtic/bluegrass/roots music band called Wild Blue Yonder. They are mostly from Knoxville, TN so I thought some of the readers from TN might have seen or heard of them. They are fantastic! https://www.wildblueyonder.band/
    This series is something our church has done for years and it is such a great time and the food and company is always wonderful.
    *Took my youngest son to the movies on Value Day ($5/ticket). His birthday gift of a theater gift card from my parents back in April has given him a lot of free fun this summer.
    *Other than that, the usual frugal efforts combined with practicing contentment makes it all work around here. Thanks to all who regularly comment and encourage. Have a lovely week!

  51. I wrote an article and sent it to a niche newspaper. Not only did they accept it but I found that they pay! And they have asked me to write more, and to write book reviews for which I can suggest my own books! We are about to move far away from a library so honestly, one of the most exciting things about this for me is the opportunity to get free books.

    Realistically, I will not be able yo write for them more than once or twice a month. With three children under six and homeschooling my eldest, I will not have a lot of time to do the Big Thinking I need to do to write good articles. But I can choose my own topics/books and fit it in ad hoc around whatever else I have going on, so this is perfect for me right now. A bit of income, a bit of a chance to do some professional writing to practice and build my portfolio, some free books, and very little commitment and no hard deadlines!

    We need to decide what to do with the extra money, as I would love to put it aside for something out of the ordinary and not just have it disappear into the general budget. I am wondering if it could be a holiday fund for us, or a garden fund as we’d like to make some major purchases soon (trees, raised beds, etc). Mustn’t count my chickens before they are hatched, though!

    I also finished making 18 50cm square double-sided cloth napkins. I chose a busy red-based pattern to not show all the tomato stains! Hopefully this will cut down on children’s laundry as well as add an air of civilisation to our mealtimes…! So far they are lasting several days before needing to be washed (you know, with an open mind and closed eye about what really constitues “dirty”), even for the messiest child, and we haven’t had to do a single post-mealtime clothes change!

    The fabric was full price and I had to buy an awful lot of it, but fingers crossed this is a long-term investment for us that will last for a good long time. And I have a few offcuts to patch them in the future!!!

    I also made granola for the first time. Its tasty! I made one with oil, golden syrup, oats and peanut butter. I chose it because it was the cheapest recipe I could find, but I think it’s probably a bit sweet for an everyday breakfast – especially as I can’t have yoghurt with it to balance the sugar load as I can’t have dairy. So I am going to look for recipes with less sugar, although I suspect they won’t be as crispy. And I do love crispy…

    We are moving to the deep countryside so I am working on making more of what we eat from more basic ingredients that will be easier to buy in bulk and keep in stock.

    Brandy, I do appreciate you sharing the innovative arrangements you and your husband make for work and hone life in order to make your family work. It’s been nice to think differently about how one can set things up outside the typical mould. I so admire your resilience and determination.

    1. Suzie, I have a very simple granola recipe that I modified to cut the sugar.
      1/3 cup canola, vegetable or safflower oil
      1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
      1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      1/2 tsp salt
      3 cups old fashioned oats
      1 cup sliced almonds (or walnuts or pecans whatever nut you prefer)
      1 cup dried fruit canraisins, dried apricots or diced dates or figs, raisins or a combination of dried fruits

      Heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper
      In a large bowl whisk together oil and sweetener cinnamon and salt until thoroughly mixed.
      Add the oats and nuts and mix together. Stir to coat well. It is okay if it is clumpy
      Transfer to sheet pan and spread out in an even layer, use a spatula or wooden spoon to press down if necessary.
      Put in the the oven and bake for 10 minutes and then stir the mixture. Bake for 10 more minutes and check. It will still feel “wet” coming out of the oven, just make sure the nuts are toasted. You will be able to smell them. You might need to bake another 5 minutes.
      Add the dried fruit by sprinkling across the granola and press it in. Let cool. Once cool, break it apart and put in a Ziploc bag or container.

      Hope that helps. Cindy

  52. I especially love the zinnias in the photos! How nice that you were able to make that trip, Brandy. When my husband worked out of town, he luckily stayed in one place, and for 9 of those 12 years he rented an apartment in a 1904 “painted lady” house on a Florida east coast island. I visited him as much as I could, both to see him and to enjoy the island and its historic downtown. It was one of the few upsides of his working away – I got to have nice mini-vacations with him.

    We are still having the heat advisories and heat warnings, with high temps and high humidity. Our temperatures aren’t high compared to Vegas or Phoenix, but the “feels like” temperatures are running in the 105-116 range daily and our nights are miserable. I know my electric usage is much higher – almost double what it was 3 months ago – even though I’m keeping the temperature on 79 in the day and 82 at night with ceiling fans running all the time. I don’t run the dryer except maybe once a week, if that much, and I cook on the stovetop, in a crock pot or toaster oven (set outside) or the pressure cooker.

    We are on a shallow well, as water tables in Florida are so high, so the water coming out of our tap is rather warm. I can wash up in it without using hot water at all, so there is that little benefit.

    My dog lost his Kong toy and I walked the backyard in the uncomfortable heat until I found it, hidden in a hole in the ground. Kong toys are not cheap to replace.

    A surplus of cucumbers from my plants ended up as fresh-pack pickles.

    I was able to buy organic Rainier cherries on sale from Azure Standard for $2.75 a pound, and they are delicious. I will eat them fresh, but I also plan to put some of them up.

    I had to be on a fluid diet for a bit, and it was so simple and cheap to use the broth I make from bones then can or freeze.

    I continue to hang-dry my laundry, outside or on racks under a ceiling fan. I always hang my work clothes inside, to avoid fading them in the sun.

    I used a sale plus my member discount to get a new hot pepper seed cylinder for the wild birds that come to our feeders. I could save money by not feeding the birds, but they are such a joy to watch, I consider the price of the feeds as an entertainment fee.

  53. I’m glad that you got to visit your husband and have time to explore as you drove home. My husband worked away most of the week while the children were growing up. Now my son-in-law does the same. We were able to pay off our home early which was a goal.

    My frugal week:
    Our garden is producing an abundance this year. I started to feel overwhelmed then decided feeling grateful was the better option. Now I have pickles and beets canned, zucchini and green peppers in the freezer and nearly a bushel of Tomatoes to can tomorrow.

    I signed up for the Libby app from the library and love finishing a book in the evening and finding a new one to read without leaving my chair.

    My son’s band had a family friendly concert which we attended on Sunday, meaning they played at 5pm instead of 10pm. We had free admission thanks to the venue. Very enjoyable time.

    Bought 2 pair of shorts on clearance at Costco for $5. Also bought a set of walking sticks for $10. We bought the same set for $35 before our trip to Utah. Now we each have 2 sticks instead of 1. Helpful as we get older but still want to hike

    I made $.25 on Ibotta by scanning my Costco receipt. I don’t earn a lot because I don’t buy convenience foods or cleaning supplies.

  54. Congratulations on the podcast, Brandy! How fun! Our week was a good one. We had our granddaughter late in the week and took her to the water park, but as school has started and the lifeguards are back in school/college, it was closed on weekdays, so we went to a local splash pad and she had fun there and on the playground. Saved us the last three punches on our season card. We will have our older grandson, now 6, this weekend and will take him and his mom for a last visit to the water park for the summer.

    My husband continued working on his truck and now replaced the back brakes, saving us the cost of labor. He thought there was an additional problem with the truck and ordered the parts, but was able to return them no issue, as all was fine. He has been pricing electric mowers that are much lighter than our 20-year old one, and finally found a deal he thought was good – cleaned up our mower and sold it for $100. So while our state unfortunately is still coal-driven electricity, there will be fewer emissions with this mower. A cost we weren’t counting on but a good late-season deal.

    A neighbor has gone out of town for a few weeks and invited me to pick her tomatoes and peppers as they ripen, so I’ve been sharing with neighbors as well. Her plants are really producing and she said she doesn’t want to come home to rotted veg.

    Meals were mostly at home for us except we treated our granddaughter to a Happy Meal, and she was all excited, so $6 splurged there. We brought it home and all ate together with leftovers we had. Those are few and far between for us to buy bc I think way too overpriced for the food and plastic toy. We also ate a quick dinner at Chipotle one night where I choose the kids meal – protein, two sides, a drink and a handful of chips we share and it’s much cheaper than the adult meal and not too much food – and a bit of a treat for a diet pop out. Meals cooked have included bruschetta with all of these tomatoes!, pasta alla arrabbiata – my husband’s favorite, homemade pizza, roasted veg salads and bowls with quinoa/brown rice as well, spicy tomato soup with ditalini and veg, and appetizers for meals when hot – tray of sliced veg, fruit, some nuts and olives or hummus. If anyone’s seen the movie The Other Sister from years ago, we call it Tids & Bits from that film 🙂

    Be well!

  55. We’re enjoying the last of the summer raspberries out of the garden. Still no zucchini from the garden yet, normally it’s flowing out of our ears by now. We’ve been getting beans and tomatoes, peppers, rhubarb, kale and a second batch of lettuce. It won’t be a record breaking garden year, with the weird drought, then cold, and now flooding rains. We haven’t gotten enough of anything to can yet. We’re thankful to have gone through the past few weeks without major storm damage to our home or vehicles. Made sourdough bread. Made a batch of oatmeal and fruit bars with a bunch of random fresh and canned fruit. I keep resisting the siren call of the ice cream parlors on hot summer days. My family treated us to a dinner out. We normally BBQ at our house so it was a nice treat. I did break down and order pizza for the first time for the first time in at least a month.
    I got a free almond milk, clearance milk, 24 pack of yogurt tubes for $2, and bone in chicken thighs for 60c/lb, I bought all 5 packages on markdown.
    Sold an old cast iron sink on marketplace for $100 from a house demo, buying a $10 used stress steel replacement (instead of $250 new). Win win. Also bought some used light fixtures on marketplace, a $150 for $15 and a $300 for $60. Sold a few things on eBay and listing a few more items.
    It’s been an expensive month with our rental business so we’re trying to cut expenses where we can. We’ve only ran our AC a few nights. I dug through storage to find lights and flooring for the current house renovation, either stuff we bought on clearance or leftovers, which should save about $1000. I bought doors at salvage, saving $150+ per door.
    My husband always repeats, live like no one else will now, so later you can live like no one else can. We will have our house paid off this fall. We have lived in construction zones, doing live in flips to get to where we are now. Hopefully a few years of sacrifice will pay off long term.

  56. Hi Brandy, I’m glad that you and your husband are finding a balance in this new season of life for your family. Sometimes change is inevitable, and we can fight against it or we can embrace it and see where it goes. I hope you are all able to embrace it and enjoy the ride.

    Things here have been quiet and steady lately. I have a season of change coming up for me and I’m so ready for it. I’m so so ready for it. Sometimes change is a good thing. I hope you and everyone else are doing well. Have a great week!

  57. Brandy, How wonderful that you had the opportunity to visit your husband here in Colorado! The photos from your trip are lovely; you look so happy in your selfie! My husband and I were serving in the Navy when we met, so we are no strangers to being apart for long periods of time due to work. I am happy for you that you were able to see & spend time with him. I wish him well in his new job. Grand Junction is a delightful town; we stopped there once on our way home from a trip to California and it was a beautiful place. Glad to hear that you have a vehicle again as well.

  58. Frugal wins are eating veggies from the garden – chard, yellow squash and zukes. Still waiting – not so patiently – on our tomatoes. Biked to the creek with my oldest several times, it is a lovely way to start the day together. I drink some coffee in the peace and quiet and he gets to play in the water before I start work for the day. Frugal almost fail – I took a beef roast and some other stuff out of the deep freezer and it didn’t get closed all the way. Luckily my husband found it in the morning but it was propped open for over 12 hours. The meat left still had crystals so we let it refreeze but a lot of the bread products were trash 🙁

  59. Congratulations on podcast. Glad that you could see your husband. My sister lives in Montrose, Colorado. She talks about Grand Junction Colorado a lot small world. Also we have the same goal to pay off the house in 4 -5 years. My husband got disability and my health problems were gone.,so we have great news. My garden is doing great we been eating cucumbers, green beans , green peppers and tomatoes. Been doing a lot of canning. Love all the pictures. Thanks for all that you do.

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