I cut roses and zinnia from my garden to enjoy inside. As the temperature starts to drop, the roses begin to bloom again in earnest.

I sowed seeds in my garden for snow peas and cilantro.

I used water leftover in glasses at the end of the day to water houseplants and potted plants outside. I also collected shower warm-up water and water from steaming vegetables and used that to water potted plants. My water usage came in considerably lower than last summer, so my continued diligence matters, but I am still going over the new for this year allotted amount for the month, which means not only higher rates, but an additional fine. Considering that my garden renovation lowered our water usage by 33%, and I still managed to cut even more water usage this month over the same period last year, this is disheartening. I will continue to look for ways to save more water that work for our family and to teach my children to use less water.

I harvested red noodle beans, peppers, lemon verbena, blackberries, and lettuce from my garden. I have lettuce coming up all over the garden that has self-seeded. Usually, I am just now sowing seeds, so harvesting lettuce right now is fantastic. The rain and cooler temperatures in summer were just right for these to germinate at a time they usually don’t, and my grocery bill will benefit.

My Prime Ark Freedom blackberry plants are making a small fall crop (but also continuing to flower). My older blackberry plants that I have had for decades do not produce large berries like this, and several died this year. I have decided to replace the old ones with this much more productive type that will crop twice a year and produce much larger berries earlier in the season in spring (making them less prone to loss by burning). I found some on clearance on Stark Brothers website and ordered them. I looked at other places, including where I had purchased them from before, and this price was a huge difference in savings.

I purchased tickets to visit my husband for $60 one way and $20 the other (plus carry-on fees of $37 and $42) on Spirit. For this price, I can go. I hear the leaves are changing there, so I am hoping to see some fall color soon! I’ll be sure to post some pictures on my Instagram stories.

We had a video call breakfast with my husband and the family on Saturday morning. He usually has to leave too early to do this, but we sat the phone at his spot and were able to “eat” with him. This cost nothing.

I read a library book using the Hoopla app. It was called The Second Chance Hotel. It read like watching a movie and was a fun story.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Bama Holly, I believe we live very close to each other. I am in Madison, AL. I read last week you might be looking for an elderberry bush. My husband is planning on removing our elderberry soon. If you want what he can salvage when he removes it you can have it. Please, just let me know and we will try to get together.

  2. Your flowers and basket full of garden bounty are lovely. Last week, I harvested dried lima beans, and shelled them. Our intention was to use this year’s smaller patch for seed, as there are still many in the pantry from previous years. I blended up a pan of GF bread ends, for bread crumbs. Seven additional kale volunteers were transplanted, and two chard, which had been started from seed. I made GF pizza crust, and pizza with our pepper, garlic, onion, and oregano, and homegrown sauce. Another night, I made pasta sauce with tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil and oregano. Laundry was dried on the line. Another dinner, we had curry with our eggplant and sweet potato. It’s nice to be using so much of our produce in meals. As part of my fall chores, I washed all windows and storm doors, for nothing but the cost of a few drops of dish soap. My husband helped by removing and washing all the screens, and putting them back. I found a nice patch of wild muscadines, and was able to harvest several pounds from this and our planted one. I haven’t decided what to do with them yet. There’s more than we can eat fresh. We have plenty of jam on the shelves, and rarely use it, and home canned grape juice as well. We’re not really fans of sweet wine. I may make a pie with some, and possibly try drying some. I welcome suggestions. All the floors were vacuumed and mopped, in anticipation of bringing in the house plants this week. Nights will begin dropping into the mid 40’s, and my plan is to always get them in before it drops below 50. Two of the dog beds were washed, and dried on the line. I checked out the clearance section of a Lowe’s, while I was in that town, and found organic maple syrup for $4.50. At Harris Teeter, I received the senior 5% discount for my purchases. I look forward to learning from everyone!

    1. Laurie,

      I grow muscadines. There are recipes for muscadine tarts and pies, and another option is muscadine butter (like apple butter). It’s also possible to make a dry wine with them. Our local muscadines are thick-skinned and have big seeds, so they would not be good dried. I put some through a food mill and use the pulp like applesauce or pumpkin pulp in cakes and sweet breads and to replace fat in some baked items. I’ve also made fruit ketchup out of it.

  3. So sorry to hear about the water fines!! That really is miserable!! Although water is plentiful here, I have decided to be a better steward over this resource. Whenever we are traveling in the car for more than 15 minutes, we bring a bottle of water with us to drink on the road. Often, when we return, the plastic bottle will not be empty. So I’ve started to use the leftover to water my geranium on the front porch as well as my indoor plants so I’m not wasting water! Thank you for that reminder not to squander the resource that we have, even if it is abundant here! And I’m so glad you will be able to have a visit with your husband!

    The fan on one of our freezers stopped working and so, rather than calling a technician which would have cost us time and money (over $500!), Dave got the part at a local supplier and together we repaired it. In the 7 years since we bought this freezer (brand new, well known brand, from HD), the fan had to be replaced twice within the initial warranty period and when it was “out of warranty” even though we had purchased an extended warranty that should have been in effect, we were told it would be over $500- $260 for them to set foot in our house for a service call, $300 for fan and $65/hour labor on top of that, within a minimum one hour charge! That was 4 years ago and we said no! Dave went on YouTube and google and found free videos that walked you through making the repair yourself on that specific model! He found the part locally for $100 and got it fixed and working great that same day! He replaced it again when it stopped 2 years ago. This time, the part cost $157 but was still available locally on the same day I noticed that a few things on the top shelf were not rock solid. To me, this is the best part of technology!! We can learn to do so many things that will make us more self reliant! Freezer is working great and nothing was lost!

    I did take a bag of frozen bananas from that freezer and made a banana cake and 18 mini-loaves of banana bread. I made scrambled eggs for Dave for breakfast using eggs from our hens and bacon bits I had frozen and “lost” in that freezer (found them when we emptied it to replace the fan!).

    The funny thing about our freezer that we just replaced the motor fan again is that we bought it brand new at HD for over $700 at the time (7 years ago). We were given (free) an upright freezer the same size (different brand) 2 years later by friends of a friend because they were moving. Cosmetically, it had some rust on one corner and a couple minor dings. And it was several years old at the time! It has run like a champ without any repairs/parts needed! Crazy!!

    The other thing I noticed with our freezer as we emptied it to do the repair was the quantities and variety of foods it contained. I’m thinking that we will not need to buy more foods to freeze for quite a while. That should be good for adding extra to our savings!

    Our electric came in at about $10 less than last month- $134. And I expect our next one will be even less since Dave and our youngest son took out the 4 window a/c units for the winter. Last month there were still some days that we had one of the units turned on during the heat of the day. We are still running a credit on our gas bill- they lowered our level pay that goes from Aug 2023 until July 2024 to $104/month so the credit still continues to accumulate because our usage is so low. (Right now we just use it for hot water and clothes dryer!) According to our bill, we only use about $3/ month in gas but the “transmission” to get it to us is about $32/month!! So, as we pay $104/ month, we have been adding an extra $69/month in credit to our balance! This will change when we start using our furnaces, but even if we have a frigid winter, that “extra” built up will help as will the energy improvements we’ve been making to the house these past few years!

    I had one of those “Duh” moments on Saturday! Since we were staying in Saturday and Sunday for our Church Conference broadcasts starting at noon , I went to Krogers to pick up milk and treats. I also had 60 cents off/gallon of gas at their on-site gas station and the points were due to expire that day. My van was almost out of gas so timing was perfect! I got my gas for $2.84/gallon (17 gallons) but without realizing it, I took my van keys from ignition and put them on console between the two front seats. I took my credit card from purse and left purse inside van as well! So pleased with myself at the gas savings, I hadn’t noticed that my van had locked every door when I hopped out to pump gas! I was locked out! Dave had taken our car for an oil change so I called him! He told me to call the roadside assistance number that we pay an annual fee for. I did and they said it would be about 90 minutes before someone would get to me. Dave arrived on scene but we only have 1 key for this 2002 minivan! He offered to stay and wait for the service guy. But the day was sunny and warmer and leaning against the car for either of us for that length of time was not a pleasant thought, so instead, he parked our car behind our minivan and we sat inside the car and actually were able to watch most of our Church Conference using his phone connected to car charger! What a miracle this technology is! When it was time for the choir to sing, I got out of car to wait and Dave drove across the street to KFC for some lunch for the 2 of us! He got back a few minutes later and I got in the car and we had a “lunch date” as we watched the Conference broadcast! It may sound crazy, but it will be etched in our hearts as a sweet memory! The service guy came about 2-1-/2 hours after I had reported it (no charge, of course) and had it opened with a couple minutes! Good experience to show us how to better prepare in the future! Also, as a side note, during the time we were waiting, 2 different strangers at 2 different gas pumps asked if we needed gas and offered to pay for it! Despite what the world would lead us to believe, there are still good and kind people outside our circle of friends and family who are willing to help us along on our journey of life! And that is a bit of truth I am grateful to know and try to emulate!

    I had lots of canned goods to put on my basement shelves but I wanted to organize them first. It took me about 2 hours but I think it will be much more efficient for us! The shelves were 2 Cheetos display units in a little grocery store that were being tossed away by dumpster several years ago. I called Dave when I saw them. He brought a battery powered screwdriver to disassemble it and we assembled it in our basement. There were braces for 42 shelves (21 per unit) but no shelves. From another project, Dave had melamine covered wood that he cut into the perfect sized shelves! You can see the Chester Cheetah face on the right side of the first shelving unit! Lol! https://pin.it/2TOHlg9 and https://pin.it/66hsiPg. The shelving units we bought in the Spring are starting to fill up as well, making it much easier to inventory what we have: https://pin.it/2UsAHNj and https://pin.it/7Be9mZW. The investment in those shelves will be spread out over several years now! I still need to organize my bucket storage and canning jar shelves but I figure if I do a bit at a time (the Marivene weeding strategy) that it will get done and I won’t be exhausted for a week or more afterwards!

    Having company over for dinner so I made Beef Pot Pie with sliced peaches and banana cake. All the ingredients were from the pantry/garden and freezer! This is what makes having our pantry so beneficial!

    Hope you and all your readers can find peace and joy in these challenging times! I gain so much from all of you!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  4. Your flowers are beautiful. I got two more rose bushes planted. We went to a cow show with our grandson and he won a ribbon and dinner with our family. The temperatures are changing this week so soup is in our future. I love soup on cooler weather. Our leaves are starting to change and fall. Thank you Brandy for hosting this blog, I always learn something. How exciting to get to go see your husband.

  5. Brandy – your garden is amazing! All those wonderful flowers, plus all the fruit & veg! How wonderful that you will be able to visit your husband at a reasonable cost – and yes, the leaves are starting to turn and Fall is a wonderful time for photographers – enjoy yourself.

    Not too much to report at this end – except to say that I don’t know where September went!

    I picked up a new Epi-pen at the drugstore – no cost so I have enough until I get my prescription renewed – I carry one with me and like to have at least two in reserve with different expiry dates so that is sorted.

    Continued to have some birthday treats courtesy of friends. Took a friend for coffee and raspberry croissants at the Laduree Cafe in First Cdn.. Place Toronto and really – we didn’t find it much more expensive than Starbucks and the coffee was served in a beautiful china cup and the croissant was truly the best that either of us have ever had – a true treat!

    I have managed a bit more decluttering and I went through all the canned food I have in my long term pantry – good thing I did. I now know that I do not need to buy any potatoes, tomato products, lentils, chickpeas, beans of any kind and canned soups! Sticking mostly to fresh foods for the next couple of months as I eat down the pantry and freezer at least a bit!

    I am having friends for Cdn. Thanksgiving this weekend so I have already made the stuffing and cooked turkey legs and thighs and that is all in the freezer. I will cook the breast on Saturday morning – they are coming Saturday afternoon. All vegetables have been purchased except for carrots and I will pick those up tomorrow. Some of the guests are bringing wine and another is bringing the pumpkin pie so that is all taken care of – I am looking forward to it. Luckily the weather is to cool down by then – we are back up to about 25C today – nearly 80F!

    Can’t think of too much else at the moment but I look forward to all the comments.

  6. That is wonderful news that you found such low airfare. I’m sure you both need the visit.
    Hubby and I left Friday to go stay with our daughter and SIL. Her FIL had passed away a few months earlier and they were having a memorial for him. With all of the rain, roads were flooding. It took us double the time to get to her house. We had plenty of food with us. Our SIL had offered us an inversion table that had been his dad’s. Hubby has been wanting one so we happily took it. We stayed at their house the one night. The memorial was beautiful. They held it at a local park. The weather was perfect. I was offered some of the leftover food and took it. They also gave me a mum plant. We had to race home Saturday night because Sunday morning we had a baby shower. Most of the items on the registry were above my price point so I just gave a check. They asked for a used book instead of a card. I tied 5 up in ribbon. It was my first Jack and Jill shower and Hubby’s 1st shower ever. He even won a round of baby bingo and won a prize.
    Prior to our crazy weekend, it had been raining a lot so I have been cleaning and decluttering. I started with the bathroom. It always amazes me how stuff piles up.
    On the dry days I worked in the garden. I collected sunflower seeds and lettuce seeds. Figs are going strong. We brought some down with us to our daughter. My son grabs a bunch whenever he is over. And I gave some to a friend. Lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and swiss chard are still being picked and incorporated into meals.
    Our daughter gave us 2 boxes of cereal that she got in a grocery order that she didn’t pay for. Hubby loves cereal at night before bed.
    I paid a doctors bill over the phone. I could have done it on the computer but there was a $3 processing charge.
    My youngest daughter watched our dog while we went to the memorial. She gave us some dog food that her dog doesn’t like but mine does.
    We paid extra to the mortgage, dreaming of when it will be gone.
    Did all of our everyday things, cut up paper bags for greasy foods, used cloth rags and cloth napkins instead of paper, hung laundry inside because of all of the rain, booked several library passes for the next 3 months, packed lunches to take to work and ate leftovers happily.

  7. For the last three weeks, my grocery store has had some very good sale prices. It is not unusual to have sales right after Labour Day, but the manager of the store tells me the company is having a big push on improving pricing. This last week I bought 10 lb of russet potatoes for $5.99. That’s less than half of the $6.99 5 lb of red potatoes normally cost, and $3 less than what a 10 lb bag of russets normally cost. I bought 5 cans of salmon at $2.79 each, $1.70 less than the full price, and 4 cans of sardine fillets, at $1.99, $1 less than the full price. I bought 4 small cans of diced tomatoes at $1.29 each, which are $2.49 at the full price. I had chosen no-salt tomatoes, which were posted at $1.49 on sale, but rang through at the price for salted tomatoes. I did not question it. Salted and unsalted tomatoes are normally priced the same. I suppose my conscience is slipping.

    I’ve been back and forth on foot from the store several times this week, buying these items and other regular groceries. I did buy coffee. The whole display and selection had changed in the three months since I last bought it. I tried a new house brand, which turned out to be excellent. I’d like to get more. I also bought a kilo (2.2 lb) of Robin Hood oatmeal for $3.50, a very normal sale price. They had a huge selection of oatmeal of all different sizes and types. I didn’t look closely, since I’ve really gone off oatmeal as a breakfast cereal, so I wasn’t interested in doing a major stock-up. I bought enough to use it in baking and as an occasional meat filler. The heat (not the forest fires) has affected grain crops this year, but apparently there is no immediate shortage of oats, anyway. We had bumper grain crops last year, so there may be plenty in storage.

    I received a free $50 Amazon gift card from loyalty points from my phone, internet and mobile account. I’ve placed an order for pantry items, which has used up $42 from the card. The order includes 1 kilo (2.2 lb) each of split red lentils, dried chick peas (garbanzo beans), and popping corn, and 1/2 kilo of green lentils. I also ordered 2 packs each of thin Oreos and an oat cranberry crunch cookie. The thinness makes the cookies quite a bit lower in calories than a regular packaged cookie, while still being very tasty. I can’t get them at my local store. This order is a big addition to my pantry at no additional out of pocket cost.

    A neighbour brought me most of a package of refried bean tacos, and half a jar of tomato rice soup that were too spicy for her. Since I’m adding a lot of vegetarian meals to my menu (in spite of the store of beef in my fridge freezer), I’ve started to check calorie counts before I eat a new dish, instead of assuming that every vegetable is low-calorie. I am glad I did on these tacos, because re-fried beans are very high calorie, and the tacos themselves were made with an indulgent amount of cooking oil. I ate them all, but slowly over a number of days!

    I am just finishing up a new Donna Leon book, the first new book I’ve bought in many months. It is disappointingly short. The only thing frugal is that I bought the Kindle version, which puts it at the cost of a trade paperback, even though it hasn’t been released in that edition on Amazon. I had canceled my Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited for a month, to help make ends meet, and have just renewed the Prime membership — 99 cents for 1 week, and then $9.99 a month. The Canadian Price is lower than the American. I think we get fewer Prime video items and shipping takes longer because of the distances.

  8. This past week I tried to lower my grocery spending. I love to find good deals, but even finding good deals can add up. I had $36 dollars in cash and decided I would only spend that. I did well and came in under budget, but not really because I took advantage of a deal with coupon and sales for Halloween candy at CVS which was $62. We get a lot of trick or treaters and I have started to buy the candy in advance to help stem the shock of the cost. Even candy has gone up dramatically in price.

    I work for the county where I live and they announced they will give all employees a 5% increase this year. They did the same last year, however in previous years only did 3% for an increase for cost of living.

    My car with a bad engine is set to be sold at auction this week by the small dealer I bought it from last year. I am excited to get any money back and also take it off of my insurance, as well as not update the registration this year. Having a newer car with great AC was so nice. But sadly it was not meant to be. I will use money from this to offset unexpected expenses I am still working on this year.

    Hope everyone is having a great week.

  9. I planted free lettuce and mustard green starts in the garden. These were excess that others had grown from seed.
    I spread free compost in the garden, the city gives away free compost about four times a year. We got a cubic yard.
    I sold an item on eBay and an item on facebook marketplace. I have listed the tablecloths that we used for our daughter’s wedding, and must also list the canopies.
    We received a $100 rebate from the city for our gray water system. It cost us about $150 but we have already saved $50 in water since we put it in. We use about 5,000 gallons a month in the summer, there are two of us, sometimes three, we have fruit trees and vegetable gardens, as well as perennial landscape plants. We use much less in the winter because we don’t have to water the garden. It rained twice this last week which is exceedingly rare where we are, we collected about 200 gallons of water in our rain barrels. This will water the fruit trees for the next several times.
    We are harvesting, grapes, apples, green beans, berries, figs, tomatoes and lettuce from the garden.
    Our daughter’s wedding went very well, we found a nice hotel at a great price which included a full cooked breakfast and was a wonderful time to socialize with family that had flown in.

  10. Happy Monday.

    This past week I invested my time wisely by “finding money” that had metaphorically fallen through the cracks of my budget. This is a lot more fun than trying to find money that just ins’t there.

    * Jet Blue sent me a note that if I don’t use up a $1500 flight credit by this week it would expire. How did I “lose” 1500? Oh well. I researched lots of possibilities and decided the most frugal option was flying to the Grand Cayman islands during my spring break. It was nearly free for me. I have an amazing IHG hotel card which I have mentioned before. I put all my expenses on it and have stayed all over the world with free nights. I had enough points to get a beach side hotel ( the fourth night is free) for 8 nights. Hubby suddenly wanted in and could make the dates so I will pay his airfare. The room has a kitchen which will really save.

    * I canceled my Cinemark club membership after I spent my last 3 free tickets. Important because if I had reversed the process I would have lost the free tickets. DH and I went to see Dumb Money which was good. I pre payed a Sunday matinee of Blue Beetle which was just ok but so nice to be at a movie by myself in a nearly empty theatre. it was a treat.

    * I got a notice that my Apple care was coming up for renewal. My computer is getting older so I cancelled it before I was charged 139.00

    * I helped a friend out by letting her store some clothing racks in my garage while her place is under construction. She gave me a new, world map scarf despite my protest.

    * I was down at the ranch office and notice Hubby had boxes of nuts his coop sent him unused from last season. Also there were grower’s gift of honey and ollaberry jam. I brought 5 lbs of both shelled almonds and shelled walnuts. I don’t like to freeze nuts because they lose so much freshness. I can make nut butters in my omega juicer and almond flour in my vita mix. This would be very healthy. Other ideas? I will use honey instead of sugar and make some bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

    * Frugal fail: When I bought my Cinemark tixs I was given an offer of Sam’s club for $25 dollars. I should have remember to have both my computer and my phone out when these “post purchase”offers come up. I went to find a gmail verification code and couldn’t get back to the tab with the offer.

  11. I’m so glad you’re going to get to visit your husband — and at a very good price.
    Those zinnias are so beautiful. What variety are they?
    I combined leftover beef stroganoff with leftover green beans and made a shepherd’s pie. There was enough for dinner and lunch the next day. I canned 13 pints of sliced pears and made an upside down pear gingerbread cake. I also canned 2 ½ pints of pear butter, and we are still eating fresh pears. I made a batch of granola and one of yogurt. We purchased ¼ of a cow from a local rancher who has supplied us with beef for several years now. We’ll be able to pick it up from the processor in a few weeks. Now, at the end of the gardening season, I am finally getting a few zucchini, which we are enjoying. I picked all the green tomatoes and set them aside to ripen indoors, and pulled up my tomato plants, as we are due for our first frost later in the week. I also picked all my peppers and chopped and froze them. I still have peas, carrots, lettuce, arugula, bok choy, chard, and cabbage in the green house. I don’t know if the cabbage will have enough time to make heads, and the lettuce and arugula are very small, but I am hoping we will be able to eat fresh vegetables for a little while longer. I made a homemade card and sent it to a dear friend for her birthday – she loved it.

  12. A question about your water billing- do they take into account how many people live at your house or is it just per property? I know water is tight but getting upcharged AND a fine seems excessive.

    1. It is per property. If you have a .10 acre lot or a 2 acre lot, if you have 2 people or 10, if you have a pool or not, you still are permitted the same amount of water.

      I knew this was coming; it’s one of the main reasons we re-landscaped our garden.

      But the amounts are very hard to meet on a .24 acre lot with 9 people who are home all day.

      I am glad I re-landscaped the garden. It would have been much higher otherwise.

      I’m growing a lot more food and flowers on a lot less water.

      1. It might be interesting to do a test area using a olla to water if you haven’t already. They use them in Africa as a water saving. I use them in my 4’ raised bag beds because I don’t have water to one side of my driveway, so can’t do drip. Given all water goes to roots, it might be something to explore. They are supposed to be, if I recall, 70% more efficient than drip.

      2. I know you are a very private person and probably don’t want to make a fuss, however, if it were me, I would write a very reasoned letter to the newspaper showing that this new law really isn’t fair. I would explain my family size and mention growing my own food as inflation has gone nuts. I can’t help but feel that a lot of people would agree with you. Politicians don’t like to look heartless and your situation would not make them look good.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the paper sent someone to interview you. I know that being in the spotlight isn’t comfortable, but it’s sometimes necessary to be uncomfortable to affect change.

        1. Unfortunately, the laws have been passed. There is not much we can do. As my children move out, our indoor water usage will go down. I can be better about a few more things, like collecting rinsewater from rinsing vegetables and fruits in the sink. Soon we will switch to watering only one day a week outside and the allotment goes down again for that period.

          1. Brandy, Laws can be amended or repealed. We have a friend who was in our state legislature. He told us that they literally put emails, letters and phone tallies regarding how constituents feel about a law or issue so he knew how to vote or what to bring up in session. If he had a higher stack of unhappy constituents versus the happy ones he knew how to vote based on the constituents feelings/opinions. Just because there is a law on the books does not mean it cannot be changed or repealed. This water law discriminates against larger families. You can also call your area representative’s office and explain your situation and all you do to reduce your bill. I would go so far as to invite him or her to see exactly all the measures you have taken as you are an excellent example of a responsible citizen in this matter.

          2. I am in awe of your gardening skills.That back yard is exquisite!! It seems to me that we should be PROMOTING food growing. I live in Arizona and fear we are not far behind Nevada as far as water issues.

            I am working on frugal spending at the grocery: I have a freezer that is over full and need to be eaten down so I am taking inventory and making meal plans accordingly.

            I group my errands and never go out for just one reason. I love being HOME a lot so this is not a hardship.. many of my friends say they “need” to get out of their houses every single day.I love going out on my patio with an ice cold lemonade and reading a book my the pool.FREE entertainment !(Well, we did pay for the house.. now,retired, a paid off mortgage is the BIGGEST IMPORTANT THING, in my opinion!)

            My husband and I love massages, but they are wildly expensive, and not always just the right technique. (I WON an hour massage and the gal came to the house but it just wasn’t very satisfactory.I was grateful but would never PAY 100 an hour or more for that!!) So, we have vowed to give each other 20 minute massage once a week. Focusing on the head and scalp, face, upper back and shoulders, the areas that most need relaxation.. a nice “date” and saves a LOT of $$.

            NOT saving money by having pets: I love our two sister kitties,one of them has a horrible bunch of teeth infections and has to have surgery.She is in pain (We have pain meds and antibiotics right now till tomorrow’s surgery.) It’s pricey but then, pets do cost us $$.. For us, it’s worth it.We were lonely during Covid and after saying we would not have any more kitties, we did adopt these two sisters..and we love them!

      3. I don’t know if you have a YMCA by you but if you do look into a family membership. You could all go there, go swimming and then take showers. Your church should fight the water restrictions on behalf of its members. It is very unfair for large families.

          1. In our city you can take a shower at any municipal pool for $2.00. All the pools also have a couple of evenings( Saturday) or afternoons for “free” swims. I wonder if your city has this option. You wouldn’t need to have the free swim, just the shower:)

  13. I absolutely love all the flowers! So beautiful!

    -Our neighbors down the road are moving. We will miss them. They gave us 2 piles of seasoned logs that they didn’t want to haul to the new place two hours away. We offered to take a load of household goods to the new house for them since they wouldn’t take anything for the wood. Win,win.
    -I took apples to my sister, she gave me a flat of 12 pint Ball canning jars. I stopped at a thrift store on my way home. I found a bag of elastics, buttons, sewing machine needles, sewing needles, bobbins, and thread for $2. I also bought two ceramic coffee mugs for $5 and a fall table runner for $3.
    -I canned 5 quarts of mulled apple cider. I froze 6 apple pie fillings. I canned 6 pints of applesauce. Some of the nicer honeycrisp apples were stored in the fruit drawer of the refrigerator. They will store several months.
    -I dehydrated more parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, and chocolate mint.
    -I made 3 pumpkins from a kit my sister gave me. You use toilet paper rolls. Set it in the middle of a 20 inch x 20 inch square of fabric( plaid fall colored cotton or flannel works great), start at the corner of the fabric and tuck it in the hole. Keep rotating and tucking fabric in the hole. Tie a 12 inch piece of green ribbon around a 4 inch stick and stick that in the hole where the fabric was ticked. You have a really cute pumpkin. Easy to store after you’re done, just take apart and store the fabric and sticks and use the toilet paper. There is no sewing or gluing so easy to disassemble. They are so cute!
    -There seem to be very few good deals on food here and they are mostly packaged processed items, which we don’t eat much of. Glad the pantries and freezers are stocked. I need some spices and bulk items, I am going to my daughter’s next week and will make a stop at a large Mennonite bulk food store in Wisconsin.
    -We split and stacked some of our free wood. This wood was already 2 years old so it will be used this winter.
    -I won a $33 gift card at Crafts Direct, a local craft store for their 33 year anniversary. I used the above card and a $10 credit on two scrapbook albums that were on sale. I do a scrapbook every 2 years for each grandchild. It keeps me busy and out of trouble.
    -I did a 5K to benefit a local private school. I won a soft sided beverage cooler. Is it time to buy a lottery ticket?
    -I paid my clinic bill from my yearly physical and labs as soon as the insurance paid their amount. I went into the clinic and paid it and they gave me 5% off since it was within 30 days of the insurance payment. If I pay online this does not happen. Every bit counts.
    -I am use my bottom drawer in my refrigerator freezer for items that need to be used for meals. I then have a list posted on the front of the refrigerator with a list of possible meals. When the drawer empties, I fill it back up. This helps with turnover of food and meal planning.
    -I made homemade cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, and hamburger buns. Mixed a double batch of dough, split it in thirds and shaped each of these. We had 8 of each. 6 of the dinner rolls and hamburger buns were frozen.
    -We had country ribs from the crockpot. I cooked 3. We ate one and a half. The remaining one and a half were removed from the bone, shredded and I added BBQ sauce and we had them on the fresh hamburger buns for another meal.
    -We had the chimney guy out to clean the chimney before we start heating with wood. It’s an expense every fall but with the new wood stove we had installed 3 years ago it is necessary. There is a chimney liner and it is more delicate and my husband is unable to do it, plus he is over 60 and I don’t like him on the roof. Worth the money we paid to have it done. We burn wood for most of our heat and use the furnace as a backup only if we are gone.

    Have a great week! Fall is in the air and we should have our first frost this week.

    1. Julie, would you mind sharing the Mennonite bulk store name and location in Wisconsin that you go to? I live in Illinois and it may be close enough for me to go. Thank you!

  14. Hi Brandy, this may sound like a crazy idea, and maybe you have already considered it, but would buying those really big jugs of water that fit on a water cooler unit be a savings for you? They are cheap at our local Menards (there are also water services through other businesses). You could use that for drinking and cooking water possibly. I am sure you could calculate whether buying water this way would be cheaper than paying for it through the faucet and with the fines. Just a thought…maybe way off base, but I thought I would mention it.
    Your flowers are beautiful! Gardening is coming to an end here and it’s that time of year where I don’t want to see another tomato! Yet, I know that in a couple months I will be craving a fresh tomato and it will be months before I can have one.
    I ended up going on a spontaneous trip with a friend to Shipshewana, Indiana. We had a wonderful time. Her sister was originally supposed to go, but was unable to at the last minute. My friend and I often do little trips throughout the year. This one was fabulous! Best part was the shopping, believe it or not! It was well worth the trip. Found shoes that actually fit my feet as they have changed with age. Expensive, but the cheaper ones cause pain, and such high quality that they will last for years because I normally wear sandals and sneakers. We actually were in a real old-fashioned department store where they measure your feet! The food sales were amazing at the Amish bulk store. I bought the largest head of cauliflower I have ever seen for so cheap. Huge acorn squash were $1.99 each (minimum here is $5 each or $.99/lb), so I bought seven (a couple for my daughter). Each squash will give me eight portions, since I am the only one who eats it. I also bought huge wheels of cheese for $4.49 or $3.99/lb that was made at their local creamery. Bought two 10 lb. bags of fresh potatoes, $3.39 each! That will easily last until I harvest mine (our son can eat 10 lbs. a week🤦🏼‍♀️ and stay a normal weight). I got a large bag of beef bones and will be making beef bone broth with them. I was thrilled. I did give her sister the money for the concert tickets, but the tickets also came with an Amish buffet. Since we split the hotel room, it was very reasonable. She paid for the gas (though I offered).
    I have a lot of items on my “to do” list, and not getting too many done right now. I need to redouble my efforts as cold weather is on the way (though we are having a spell of mid-80s right now, which I am not liking). Gardenpat puts me to shame! This community really gives me so many ideas…thank you for this weekly gathering, Brandy!

    1. I went to Shipshewana for the first time about 6 weeks ago! Very interesting place for sure, I loved the acceptance of everyone, and yes, great deals at the bulk food store.

    2. Laura S, I live nearish Shipshewana and was wondering if I could have the name of the shoe store? I have never been there but am wanting to soon. Thank you so much.

      1. Hi Marmee! It is the shoe department in the Yoder Department Store! What a find! Hoping you have luck as well!

  15. Hi Brandy,

    That is a magnificent bouquet! simply beautiful.

    I am extremely tired from planning our fundraising tea. Despite my best plans, things became a bit disorganized
    at the beginning but everyone pitched in and a good time was had by all.
    Someone in last week’s blog posted that her daughter’s college had misplaced her paperwork so they are scrambling
    to find scholarships. One suggestion is that they might look up the projects on the P.E.O. International website and see whether her daughter
    would qualify for any scholarships, grants or loans she might be eligible for.

    I am trying to get several things done before the snow flies — first priority is to get the edge of my porch fixed.
    It crumbled because I used an ice melting product on the front porch. Live and learn.
    I will be curtailing expenses this month in order to afford the several repairs, etc. in the house and yard.

    Your photos always bring a smile to me – I love the long-shot (wide angle) photo of your garden. truly making the desert bloom.

      1. Robbie,

        That is great the university has been able to fix the problem with a loan. The advantage of a P.E.O. loan is the interest rate currently 2%
        and there is a fairly long repayment period. It cannot be used to pay off other indebtedness. She would have to be within 24 months of completing her degree but not less than 6 months. Depending on what year she is in, it might still come in handy. She would need one credit worthy guarantor.

  16. P.S. I did not actually go to the tea. Since I’m allergic to two of the ingredients in the
    Pfizer and Moderna last covid 19 booster, I decided it was too risky to go. It felt strange
    having planned the whole thing but then not going but I had decided long in advance
    that it was unlikely that I would go.

  17. Beautiful flowers and thank you for the book recommendation.

    I wanted a specific shrub for the garden bed I built and could get it at an end-of-season discount. I was thrilled. My mom wants a particular shrub, that this nursery will try and contact, and if so, the discount will also be applied. I will give this to her as an early birthday present. Her garden has provided her with much comfort with her grief.

    We are eating less meat and thankfully not missing it. I purchase one chicken a week, butcher it, and use the breasts for “lunch meat” and thighs/legs for dinner. The remaining carcass and bones are then used for broth. That is it for the meat.

    Hope everyone has a calm and productive week!

  18. Those pictures are spectacular! What a wonderful harvest.
    Joining in from the Seattle area.

    My big accomplishment this past week was moving the remainder of my things out of the storage unit I was renting. No more fees! Thankfully, I was able to rent the space for 50% off the normal price for the four months I had it, and it was a blessing to have somewhere to put many of my things when I moved. Much sorting was done and I donated a bunch of stuff to the thrift store. I organized the rest in my apartment and things are looking much more presentable.

    My vegetable share for last week was quite abundant – usually things taper off in the fall but I was happy to get lots of lettuce, various greens, carrots, kohlrabi, turnips, tomatoes, squash (kabocha and spaghetti) and corn. I blanched and froze the greens, and shared the bounty with my sister.

    I needed new slippers and found a nice pair for $10 at Ross, after having looked at several other stores and finding that $30 and up was a common price. It turns out that the $10 slippers were actually the best slippers I have had in ages, so I went back and bought a second pair, as I will certainly need them at some point. In the past, I have stocked up on jeans and other staple clothing when I have found it at a good price. So, now, in a time of low income, I have brand new tennis shoes, jeans and and a few other items for when the need arises.

    I found a few needed items at the thrift store, and was able to use a 20% off coupon. My mom needed a mattress pad, so I found one there at a good price. Our local Value Village (Savers) thrift store has decent prices on bedding, but the kitchenware is priced rather high. I saw that four plain Corelle plates were priced at $24! Even glass Pyrex storage dishes (without lid) are $4 to $5. Sometimes the prices there are higher than buying new on sale.

    I live near a nature trail so I walked there along the river. When the weather was bad, I worked out at the gym. My new apartment is a 10 minute walk from a quaint hotel that has a very nice pool that is free to city residents. So I have been able to swim there a couple times.

    Enjoyed Skype calls with friends, one in France and one in Greece. Got to practice my French, so that was fun!

    Otherwise, I did the things I normally do: cooked at home, used the library, watched videos on YouTube, read books I already own, spent time outside to rejuvenate my spirit, and enjoyed reading everyone’s comments from last week.

  19. Your photos are particularly appealing this week.
    Regarding water usage, perhaps consider airing clothing between wearings and wash only when soiled. ‘Vintage Vixen’ says that she keeps her vintage wardrobe looking new by not washing; just airing and spot cleaning.
    Breakfast with dad at the table virtually. Good to make technology work for you. Kudos.

  20. Those flowers, Brandy! So gorgeous! Also, I love how you make the most of your gardening space, thinking about twice fruiting bushes/trees and yardlong beans and such.

    My frugal week:
    – I used a leftover pie crust (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-vodka-pie-crust/ – when I make a pie crust, I usually double the recipe and freeze one), cut it in circles, added some jam, and make some streusel to put on top, and made cookies to bring to my workplace.
    – I made pizza using my easy pizza dough (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/)
    – I used frozen bananas to make vegan banana muffins for one of my colleagues who is vegan, and then used the leftover batter with some leftover streusel to make mini banana streusel muffins for after-school snacks and to share with my daughter’s friends at school bus pickup.
    – There was even dough leftover to make myself a mini streusel topped jam tart. Lovely!
    – I was able to stay about $50 under my weekly budgeted food budget, but instead of stocking up or simply saving the money, decided to buy some groceries for a food insecure mum. Would have been best to shop my pantry as I had more I could have given her, but once I got her address (help was asked via a mum to mum fb group), it was too far and neither of us had transportation that day. So, I had Costco deliver (fresh fruit, canned fruit, pb and crackers, and lots of granola bars). Consistently price-matching, stacking paper coupons and cash-back apps, and only buying loss leaders, etc., meant that I could have enough give in my budget this week (not usually the case, as I keep my budget pretty low) and will just eat a bit more from the pantry/freezer. It made me feel really good to know that a kid would eat a bit better, even if only for a few weeks of snacks.
    – I price-matched for loss leaders this week, and was able to get 3 lbs of carrots for 98 cents, and 3 lbs of onions, for similar.
    – Instead of serving dinner for a weekend playdate, I did a fruit, veggie, and homemade dip platter, along with kid yoghurt drinks (coupon plus cashback, ended up being under 25 cents Cdn per drink), and mini pb and crackers ($1.77/box on sale, and a treat for my kids, as I’ve never purchased them before). All kid-friendly snack food and all purchased on sale/with coupons/price-matched. I served it on nice cut-glass platters purchased at garage sales, with napkins I traded for many years ago (I only use napkins when we have guests, not for daily use), and it looked lovely. The kids played with toys we already had. Usually I also bake an item that is tailored to the guest, such as dairy or gluten-free, but didn’t have time this weekend. Kids always love coming over for playdates, and never want to leave.
    – re-used a gift bag when wrapping a present (I honestly can’t remember buying a gift bag in about a decade).
    – I took my kids to a pop-up cat cafe downtown, and we were able to spend some time with kittens and get free refreshments. Then we went to a Fall Festival, where we got free pizza/bbq/drinks, face-painting (them), paraffin wax foot treatment (me), a henna hand design (me), and lots of crayons and candy and such (them). A very fun and enjoyable day, and literally the only thing I paid for was one transit fare for me.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. That was a lovely thing to do. My church runs an Out of the Cold program and the need has just increased more and more over the past couple of years – hard to believe in a city like Toronto that has so much wealth on display. I was doing some shopping last Friday and saw a long lineup down by the church in my neighbourhood – turned out it was their foodbank day. Most of the people seemed to be quite elderly with a few students thrown in. This is a fairly wealthy neighbourhood now but I suspect that many of these folks are house poor – their homes are worth a LOT but they’ve lived here for 40 or 50 years and don’t want to leave – but now taxes and general inflation has caught up with them. Most of these people were working class when they first moved here so I assume that many only have the Govt. pension money now. I asked the lady in charge what they needed most so will drop off a few things next payday – it’s not a lot but hopefully it will help someone. Happy Thanksgiving yo you and your family.

    2. It was very thoughtful to send the food to a needy family.
      I tried to do something similar today. I found 5 or 6 jugs of milk in the dumpster behind a store. The milk cartons were cool to the touch & in date for 6 more days. I also found short-dated Hostess baked goods. On the way home I gave one 1/2 gallon of milk & a bag of donuts to a homeless man on the street corner. The rest of the items I gave to the construction workers who are working on the outside of my condo buildings. I figured they don’t make much money doing manual labor. They seemed happy to get the food items. I did keep a carton of almond milk for myself. Americans throw away so many things that could be used to feed or clothe someone. I also found a large pack of Depends Adult briefs. Fortunately, I do not need these. I’ll take them to the local senior center.

  21. Your bouquet at the top is absolutely gorgeous, Brandy. I’m glad you get to go see your husband and got such a good price on the tickets. * We went away for the weekend. It was only an hour away, but it was an Air bnb on a lake. It was a newer listing, without many reviews, so it was a much better price than others my husband looked at. Some might think it silly to go “away” only an hour away, but my husband really needs to get away sometimes and being fairly close saves on travel expenses. We were on a lovely little lake and had a wonderful time. He made sure it had internet so we could listen to the church conference being broadcast worldwide this weekend. We brought most of our own food, read a lot and played games. He went to a used books store before we left and purchased a 500 piece puzzle for $5. He loves puzzling and was worried he wouldn’t be able to finish a 1000 piece puzzle over the weekend. Good problem solving, I thought. He finished and had a nice time. * My college-age son who lives with us asked if I could order something via our Amazon account for him and he’d pay me. I had some extra jobs I needed done, so I asked if he would do some jobs for me instead and he happily agreed. Win/Win! (He would have done the work for me anyway, but I liked this deal). *Block cheese was cheaper than shredded (it isn’t always) so I bought it. I also bought a whole cabbage and a whole head of iceberg needed for recipes and shredded it myself. Much cheaper than the pre-shredded bags. Used the lettuce for two meals and by the time I’m done with the cabbage, I’ll get four full meals out of it. *I didn’t do the weekly shopping trip today. I’m going to try to not go this week. * read library books, finished two more child sized hats for Christmas and one more baby afghan for donation. * I’m being consistent with listing things that made me happy/brought me peace and/or joy in my journal every night before I go to sleep. It helps me be more grateful and appreciate that I have a blessed life even on the days that seem hard. And it’s nice to drift to sleep thinking happy thoughts instead of fretting. *Hope everyone has a peaceful and thrifty week.

  22. Hello Everyone!
    I’m so glad that I bought a turkey breast from Costco before we fell ill last week. It was easy to bake in the oven and gave us several meals. Then I cut the remainder into cubes and made a turkey vegetable soup and a turkey pot pie. Our neighbor went on a low carb diet and gave us a giant bag of Costco frozen mixed vegetables. I used some for the pot pie veggies. In addition, I baked no knead bread and buttermilk biscuits from scratch (I felt up to this over the weekend).

    I’ve decided to move filled canning jars out of the kitchen and into garage cupboards. I’m worried about glass breaking if there’s a large enough earthquake. I will better secure garage cupboards that will contain the jars. Houses here don’t have basements.

    I’ve decided to create some easy prep “meals in a jar” for illnesses and power outages. Our power went out 6x last winter and 3x this summer. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I will vacuum seal these instead of using glass, or home canning soups or stews.After thinking about it, I think it’s safer for my locale. I bought some instant rice and potato flakes for some of these recipes.

    I finished another top from a pattern I already had. I went to JoAnn to purchase some zippers, buy 3 get 3 free. I also picked up some licensed holiday cotton on sale to make scrunchies as stocking stuffers from some young ladies in my life. They’ll cost about a quarter each when finished.

    Happy October! 🎃 Have a blessed and beautiful week.

    1. I make scrunchies for my teenage granddaughters. Two weeks ago my oldest granddaughter was turning 19 and when asked what she wanted she said more scrunchies. I buy a spool of elastic from Amazon and it lasts forever.

    2. I like the meal idea. Thanks. This past year we had more power outages than I’m pretty sure we had in the past 50 years! We even had another two weeks ago when the weather was perfect.

      1. Maria,
        Exactly! Sometimes there is no apparent reason for the outage. I’m trying to plan ahead for this winter. Best of luck with your meal prep! ❄️

  23. I used a $5 off at Mcalister’s coupon on an order.

    My coworker brought me a loaf of homemade zuchinni bread, yum!

    We were cleaning out some old equipment at work and I brought home a decent soft sided Coleman cooler. My husband always has a need for them.

    A friend gave me a few pears. My husband ate them pretty fast.

    Finished all my required training for work and turned in my time(7 hours) to be paid for it.

    Used Upside when I got gas. Should get a couple dollars back.

    Since it’s October, I’ve been checking out new horror movies on the streaming services we have. Some of them good, some utterly ridiculous 😂

    Took my mother in law to the aquarium. We have a pass that came with a couple guest passes. We even purchased a refillable cup with the gift card we also got. My mother in law enjoyed herself. She said she was glad she got to go and see it.

    FINALLY got the results from my teens ADHD evaluation. She has it. Inattentive ADHD, actually. We don’t plan to medicate her, we just needed a confirmed diagnosis to get a 504 set up for her at school. I’m hoping this makes things a bit easier for her last couple of years(she’s a junior this year)

    My husband had to take his truck into the mechanic because of his clutch. It’s SUPPOSED to have a lifetime warranty, so we should find out if it’s just going to cost us a bit of money, or a lot.

    Ate breakfasts and lunches at work.

  24. Beautiful photos and are so inspiring.
    We are enjoying this fabulous warm weather here in the midwest. It is giving us time to prepare for cooler temperatures-continue to harvest the last of my tomatoes and peppers. Will start to dry geraniums before the first frost. We moved equipment around and will winterize before it gets too cold. My dear husband saves us so much by doing all of this ourselves; it’s a blessing that we can be self sufficient as much as possible. We just wrapped up staining the front our our house and want to preserve the wood railings etc.

    Enjoyed a book club gathering and the lively facilitator led converstation. Our club is pretty serious; it is truly about the books and I always walk away in awe of different concepts or themes I hadn’t considered.

    Making cloth table napkins for our daughter and using YouTube learned how to do the mitered corners. Will be seeing her soon so I want to get these completed. I found a hand stitched map of a recreational area near us on an old dirty pillow at a rummage sale. I took the pillow apart, soaked the map in oxiclean for a day and let it dry in the sun. Found some “fish” theme fabric and stitched a new pillow. I look forward to giving it to our relative who enjoys this area.

    Filled up our car using discount points from the grocery store.
    Have a great week everyone and blessings.

  25. Went to going out of business sale at local fancy gift shop. Got 52 items for total of $56. Some had original retail prices of $60-$230. Most I paid was $2. My book club invites library staff to our Christmas party. I volunteered to bring gifts, ornaments, game prizes for all the staff (6) and was able to obtain tons of great stuff at this liquidation sale. I will need total of 21 items to cover myself and staff. By shopping at this sale plus the local 🎯 liquidation store I only lack a few. Now if I can just find gift wrapping supplies I bought on clearance in previous years.
    My birthday is soon so I’ve made a list of all the freebies I have rewards for. I live rural and at least 20 miles from anything so I have to be very strategic about when-where to cash these freebies in. Most will probably not be used this year as my annual birthday trip to big city 60 miles away isn’t happening due to friend’s illness. I will use whatever is available in the towns I will be visiting in October but not make any special trips just to use rewards. I am a big shopper and have way too much stuff so I told my sister some special food items I wanted her to cook for me instead of purchased gifts for my birthday. I hate any and all cooking and my sister is great cook so fingers crossed she has time away from her job to whip up some treats. I am mostly retired but worked 40 hours in 3 days last week which will be great infusion of cash. Everyone have a frugal week and thanks for sharing. I love reading everyone’s comments.

  26. Brandy , I am so happy you were able to get the low cost flights to visit your husband. I’m am using the Hoppr app to track a $19.00 flight to Miami. As soon as I am alerted ,I will jump on that deal. We do very little actual spending compared to most of my previous life. I brought in 15 lbs of ground beef that the store employee had put aside for me. We have several stews ,soups and chili being put together. I rescued to boxes of cat litter to take to my daughter. I feel like I spent my week wheeling and dealing. The dog was out of food and although I had planned for it ,it still is a $100.00 purchase. I checked on Amazon and saw it had a 40% off subscribe and save coupon plus a $30.00 off a $100 dollar purchase coupon. I was astounded that the coupons stacked. My purchase was less than $35.00 . I called both my children and them each do the deal. Sweet Charlotte will easily get 10 to 12 months worth of food from these purchases. I used a $4.00 Catalina coupon to buy 2 lbs of turkey meat from Kroger. ( this was prior to getting the ground beef ). I paid $1.07 for a pair of sandals at CVS after using a $4.00 ECB and 75% summer sale. One of my favorite coupon bloggers posted a deal at Rakutan. Sign up and spend $40.00 and get a $40.00 credit. Both my kids signed up. We used our healthy benefits insurance benefit cards to order $80.00 worth of items and pay for them at Wal-Mart. We always order special eye lubricant ,water , and a few personal care products. The $80.00 we receive back in credit will be used to purchase Sugar cookie a couple Xmas gifts. She has mentioned wanting a Polly pocket village and a Barbie. I think next time I see the discount coupon Target offers for getting a Red card , I will have the kids sign up for that too. I’m loving the fall weather. I continue to creep along the ground and do my yard work. Inch by inch and one day it will be completed.

  27. Thanks to everyone for their encouragement with my husband’s disability claim. We just keep pushing on, and are working on documenting in more detail. We are realizing that on the surface they don’t look bad but the accumulation of effects make life complicated.
    Made homemade ice cream to celebrate my husband walking again. The doctors finally pinpointed the issue with his knee and drained a very large cyst. He’s able to get around now!! It’s a huge relief after the last few months.
    My daughter’s university was also able to get her loan fixed. Praise God we didn’t have to come up with thousands on the spot! I am so proud of her for her persistence and for looking for alternatives when things looked bleak.
    I went to farmers market and stocked up for some things for winter season. Not frugal but I don’t have to go out to get them later.
    It’s supposed to get to 30s for a low next weekend so I started working on final harvesting in the garden.
    Made pickles with some cukes (had to buy those) and my garlic and dill from garden.
    Pulled my beans. Shelled the seeds in the overgrown ones and will make one last batch of stir-fry.
    Pulled mint to dry for tea.
    1st attempt at peppermint extract started with my garden mint. I had vodka in pantry and we really don’t drink so I made a batch to share with my cooking friends.
    Drying a batch of herbs a day. Have basil, oregano and rosemary left to do.
    Roasted the red tomatoes. I’m letting the green ones stay on vine as long as possible.
    Made banana muffins with frozen banana.
    I saved the fronds from the fennel plant I had roasted the other day to make a pasta dish. It was simply Italian sausage, pasta, fennel and a dash of parmesan, so a meal with leftovers for a few lunches cost me $5. I didn’t realize how expensive fennel is.  One fresh fennel bulb (without the fronds) was nearly $4 at Trader Joe’s.
    One of my fennel bulbs went to seed so I’m harvesting that too.
    We went to TJs this weekend after dropping my son off at a scout camp nearby. My daughter picked up snacks for her school day since her classes go through the noon hour. I stocked up on dried mango. It’s half the cost there compared with aldi, and I believe it’s the same company. Bananas were 19c a pound!
    Bought their orange chicken. Sautéed long beans and onions to round out dinner for $5 for 3 people.
    For the scout camp, it was $25 with food or $5 without. I missed the deadline for food, but bought my son a bag of carrots,  poptarts (I know, not the healthiest but we’re talking 2 days, it’s shelf stable and I know he will share with friends), baked a pizza, and made a batch of pretzel bites. He had leftovers and we came in under.
    We got news there may be layoffs after Christmas so I’m trying to pay any bills down that I can. Also making a point to schedule any screenings now.
    So not the most exciting list but maybe someone will get an idea that inspires them.
    Have a great week!

    1. I hope you don’t get laid off, but I am glad to hear you are planning ahead just in case.

    2. Bananas are sold a piece at Trader Joe’s. Just got home from TJ’s and I also paid 19 cents for each banana and my grandgirl that lives with us also buys her snacks to get through her classes that run from 7 am to Noon cause otherwise she’s a bit “pecking.”

    3. Hi Robbie! I’m glad you felt the same way about Shipshewana as I did! As for fennel, it took about three years of my growing it, but it self-seeded and I now have a forest of it! Much cheaper than buying, and I know it doesn’t have chemicals on it. Dill does the same and I finally had to pull most of it out bc it was taking over. I also let my cilantro go to seed and I get a minimum of two crops a year. Do you mind my asking where you are located as we will be hitting lows in the 30s this weekend as well. I am guessing you must be rather close if you went to Shipshewana. We live in north central Illinois, near Dekalb (Northern Illinois University). Praying you don’t get laid off! We are concerned about the government shutdown looming as my husband works for them. As someone here (Cheryl?) posts..onward!

      1. I live around Indy. I think they’re changing the forecast and it only got down to 44 last night.
        I know too well the dill problem!!
        Which reminds me, now that I’m back from my work trip I have more herbs to harvest!!

    4. Clark Howard on yesterday’s ( October 4th) podcast talked about how horrible insurance companies are for issuing disability. If you have a chance please listen to this episode. The long and short is to keep trying, and trying and trying, they want you to give up. He talked about following their weird requests( information sent by fax) and to keep at it. It will be awhile but your perseverance will pay off.

  28. Brandy, I love your garden! The flowers are beautiful and what a nice bounty of vegetables! I also used Hoopla this week. I used it to study Spanish this week. I took a couple years of Spanish in College, but I want to improve my skills. I will use Hoopla to study French as well. I love getting The Great Courses for free! They also offer Italian. I think that would be fun as well, if I could find time for everything. My B.A. was in Romance languages with emphasis in French and a minor in English. I studied Latin, Spanish and French in college and German and French in High school. I really do enjoy studying languages. There are so many course available for free on Hoopla. I love the library! I want to improve my skills.
    The Price of things have really gone up. I have been considering ways to make more money. If I got a job outside of our home, I would need to find someone to take care of my son. I may just see what I can do here at home. Being frugal and cooking at home is very helpful. I am feeling so much better. I believe that in the spring I could garden again. I have taught French on a private contract to middle schoolers before. I taught French to 3rd – 12 grade when I did my student teaching. I’ve also taught Special Education. I have taught piano and voice. I have been looking at local job opportunities. I’m not sure what I am going to do yet. I am teaching piano to two of my great nephews and introduced the piano to my great niece. I really do enjoy teaching French, piano, and English. But I am glad that I am here with my son as well. I have made a little bit of money from writing for publications. We are ok right now. But when I see how much food has gone up, it is a bit unnerving. My husband has a lot of hours now, but that will change in the winter. We paid for our propane contract already. When the propane gets low they should fill it. I am glad that is already paid. I think we have money for our taxes, as long as it doesn’t go up too much from last year. Cooking at home has been the thing that I know I can do to make us feel good and to save a ton of money. Because I am losing weight, I am not buying clothes. That saves money as well. I am watching sales and buying those items. I work our meals around the sales. Because we have gone gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and most processed foods free we are saving money! We also have less trash, not eating processed foods. I am drinking herbal tea that I already have and also drinking tea made from fresh ginger and lemon. I try to shop at the stores with the best prices or the most sales. Sometimes we go to a couple stores. I am taking walks on our land, cleaning house and dancing in the kitchen for exercise. I continue to use cloth handkerchiefs and cloth napkins. I also enjoy using the internet for entertainment and information.

    1. What program are you using for Spanish and Italian on Hoopla? I didn’t know they had classes.

      1. Hoopla offers Bundles. I checked out one called The Great Courses. There are many classes offered on it. I started one on Music Theory and one on Spanish. When I have time I would like to take French or Italian as well. Oh, You could use the classes for your kids if you wanted! Or Yourself. The Instructors are excellent!

      2. It is under Popular Bingepasses in Movies. I picked The Great Courses. The Spanish one even has a book online as well. It has been awhile since I looked at the Music Theory one. After you check out The Great Courses Binge pass you can pick the classes you want. The Spanish class I am studying has 30 45 minute classes and a book to go along. It is a first semester college Spanish class. There is also a Spanish II available. There are History classes, Mathematics, Photography, English. I think you would love it!

    2. Tammy = have you looked into language tutoring online? It might be something that would allow you to work from home.

      1. I thought about developing classes and selling them online or even tutoring. I have also thought about teaching from my home. I have also considered going back to teaching in the schools. But then I would need someone reliable to be with my son. I’ve also thought about teaching homesteading skills during the summer at our little farm. Thank-you for your idea Margie.

        1. During the pandemic I was able to tutor over Zoom. I used the free version and did get dropped after the time limit a few times, but I just started up another meeting. I called my meetings by the name of the class, e.g., Grade Six Language Arts. That may be why I was allowed to keep my meeting (class) going most of the time for free without being cut off. I’m just guessing, but it worked out great. Teams works great for multiple students in the same class. Google suites for education might help you, also.

          I would like to learn to tutor reading, but I don’t know how to learn to teach reading or what tutoring programs are good. I am not a certified teacher.

    3. My BIL claims you don’t need to learn Italian if you know another Romance language–just speak whatever language you know and wave your arms! LOLOLOLOL

      1. I had to laugh at your comment, Maxine. When I was in college, I spent 4 months in Europe. My best friend and I went all through Italy speaking Spanish (me) and French (her) and had no trouble being understood. In fact, I think it may have added to our appeal. The Italian men we met were very…ummmm…attentive. 🙂 I recently saw a video of a man who has taught himself to speak Latin fluently and he has trouble being understood in Italy. You may be able to find it by Googling. Languages are so interesting!

    4. Hi, Tammy. We are a homeschooling family in Virginia and one of our children took two years of French at a homeschool coop. The classes only met two times weekly. Maybe that could be something to look into for extra money.
      We have also hired teachers to tutor in other subjects. Tutoring can be a great income stream. We have paid between 25 and 62 dollars per hour in the past.
      Good luck!

    5. Tammy,
      Have you checked out Outschool for teaching options? When I homeschooled, my kids took several classes through there. I haven’t taught for them, but from what I can tell, you pick your own hours for when you can do livestream classes, or you can record courses in advance and people can sign their kids up to do lessons whenever they are available. I’m betting your language skills would be in demand, especially for those who want their kids to also learn about different countries/cultures.

    6. Tammy
      You would find Italian quite easy, with your background. I loved Italian – for one thing, everything is sounded — pronounced — no silent
      vowels. I loved using DuoLingo to learn more vocabulary. I learned about 5,000 words that way. If I had another 5,000 I probably would be fluent. I would like to take an online course or two — tuition is free at our local university for seniors. I had hoped to do a classsics course but the ones being offered don’t appeal and those that appeal to me are full. I’m so glad to hear you are doing so well.
      I wonder if your local library would hire you to give lessons — maybe your son could be in the library while you taught there.

      1. Anne,
        That is a good idea! I’ve used DuoLingo as well. And Mango. I like the idea of teaching in the library. I wonder if you can get Hoopla where you are. They have The Great courses offered on Bingepasses on Hoopla. There are all sorts of classes available on it. Of course, going to a class is fun! I hope you are doing well.

  29. What gorgeous flowers, and a beautiful harvest. We had a good week.
    Garden – Picked tomatoes, snow peas, corn peppers purple cabbage, beets, and basil.
    Preserving – Made and canned 7 pints of tomato basil sauce. Made and froze 4 pints of pizza sauce. Roasted 24 red peppers and froze them.
    We were out, and happened upon a produce fair. It was supposed to be for a certain wholesaler. However, we got there at the end of the fair and were allowed in. The vendors kept pushing stuff o us. We received, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, romanencu, portabello mucshrooms white button mushrooms, crimini mushrooms, oranges two kinds of pears, Cosmic Crsip apples, green and red grapes, hot peppers, mini sweet peppers, garlic, ginger, sunflower seeds, lettuce and carnations. We couldn’t believe it. They kept thrusting produce on us. We ended up sharing with our son and his family, and my sister and hers.
    Cooking – Made chow mein, used the prtabello mushrooms to make pizza stuffed mushrooms (stuffed with sausage, onions, peppers and sauce and then with cheese on top). Made 2 loaves of herb bread..
    Shopping – Tortillas for 99¢, peanut butter for 99¢, BSCB for $1.48 per pound. Thanks Maxine, for the information regarding Winco and the BSCB.
    Other – Visited son, DIL and granddaughter. Spent the day taking care of GD so son and DIL could get work done around the house. Picked basil for drying. Cleaned all of our buckets used for harvest, to put away for the winter.
    We are getting ready for our first frost, but still not this week.
    Have a good week everyone.

  30. Brandy, all of your pictures are lovely, but the picture of your house and garden is just stunning! I am so impressed by how your food crops blend with your flowers. Also, I’m glad your husband got to have breakfast with the family!

    My family had free flu shots and my husband and I also had RSV shots, courtesy of Medicare. So, not really free…but, you know…. I received seven 10% off coupons from Safeway for having the shots there, but I rarely buy anything at Safeway.

    I finished the first month of my grocery budget/”in my pocket” savings challenge and the results were way beyond what I expected. I spent $308.76 on groceries (against a $300 budget) but I bought 11 lbs. of ground beef, three ribeyes, a 5 lb. chuck roast (cut off over a pound of stew meat), three pounds of bacon, 20 lbs. of apples and cases of peanut butter and canned peaches. IOW, I’m stocking my freezer and pantry and still eating 3 squares a day. I ended up saving $315.14 (goal was $125!) by canceling subscriptions, 2 dozen free eggs, an unexpected refund of $19, the gift of a $100 GC, over $70 worth of OTC drugs, a $25 GC for having a mammogram and, oh yes, I found .33! I don’t expect to do this well every month. What I like best about this savings challenge is that this is money that might have otherwise slipped through my fingers. Not that I wouldn’t have used it for something useful or fun, but it wouldn’t be savings in my pocket!

  31. I planted roses for the first time ever this year. Daddy always grew them (Mother was peonies) They have several buds on them that I hope open before we get a cold spell that kills them.
    Nothing on the frugal front as Hubby had a heart attack (widow maker that got stopped due to his heart deformity, never thought a deformity in the heart would be such a blessing) and That triggered my crohn’s and then between Urgent care, 3 ERs( as son 2 had heart event , not attack) we picked up covid. Not eating out for sure, not going anywhere except to drive around the block with the dog just to get out of the house and not eating much at home. Doctor told us to toss anything we wouldn’t cook before eating. Since it’s been sitting there over 2 wks. I tossed it all. Better safe than sorry.
    Neither of us is over it but at least not running fevers.
    I applied for my medigap through AARP so that’s taken care of. Enrollment for Part D doesn’t start until Oct. 15th. Saw one option that there is no premium, drug costs was zero and the deductible was $545… I was thinking of my drugs being zero I would never pay the deductible…Didn’t make sense to me unless it’s something under the new drug plan Biden signed. They don’t have the star guidelines up yet… yea I know seems like I should be able to read through it and make sure it’s what I want but stars is more of how other rate it. If it’s new there won’t be any stars LOL

    Hubby felt well enough to clean the new to us apple cider press and press the last of the apples off our tree. I still have apples to do for applesauce.
    I caught up laundry and dishes, sprayed Lysol everywhere, opened windows to air out the house , paid medical bills that are starting to come in and washed the red and purple potatoes for storage. Pretty much drained me. I need to get the tomatoes done this week as our cold spell is coming. Get the wood stove cleaned and wood on the porch (Amish neighbor is having his 5 sons stack the wood as Hubby will move it with the tractor)
    Blessed Be everyone
    Prayers for peace and health

    1. I bet that you are looking at a WellCare part D plan. My husband is on a WellCare plan this year with premiums of $11 per month.. Four of his maintenance drugs were free and the fifth was $60 for the year. His 2024 WellCare plan has an annual premium of $6 (fifty cents per month) and all five of his maintenance drugs will be free. We haven’t had any problems with them this year. Quite a few people on another site that I use are considering changing to WellCare to take advantage of what seems too good to be true.
      The unknown factor is how much WellCare would charge if you needed a new drug mid-year. This is a problem with all of the Part D plans, as you can’t plan for what you don’t know.

    2. Juls, you probably already know this, but since you pay a lot of bills, medical and otherwise, I hope you have a credit card that earns you cash back.

    3. All of the PartD plans in my county have the $545 annual deductible for the medigap policies. I chose the lowest cost per month plan. I then bought my prescriptions using GoodRx and not the insurance coverage. As long as I ‘just’ have my normal meds, I’m coming out ahead by using GoodRx and avoiding the insurance annual deductible.

  32. We just got back from Las Vegas late Saturday night, after sitting on the tarmac more than two hours, everyone forced to stay in their seats, seatbelts fastened. (“The paperwork will be here in 5 minutes…”) Does this happen to you, as well, when you fly out?
    We stayed at Excalibur… meh. The buffet was good, but not great. The swimming pool was refreshing, though. We slept in, watched a lot of movies (no cable at our fifth wheel)…and I did some appraising for a client, who paid my way. It cost very little to bring along Husband the Brick!
    Weather was lovely in the early morning…but got a bit sticky toward nighttime. Everything seemed more green than the last time we were here, years ago — but very few flowers on the Strip. I kept thinking about your garden. Are you closer to Henderson?
    Colors are definitely changing here in Colorado. The days are still warm, but the nights chilly. We have bought a house up in the mountains near Fort Garland (close to the NM border), and will be moving there in early November — after I finish working a job at elections that will help pay for the house! Somehow we managed to scrape together enough to pay cash, so we don’t have to mess with mortgage insurance. We did borrow a little from one daughter and son, but will pay them back quickly, at a higher interest rate. Then we’ll start paying ourselves back, with the interest we would have had to give to the mortgage company.
    It may be short rations for a bit to do this, but I am confident we can do it. And we’ll definitely come out ahead. Then in the spring, I’ll have somewhere to plant greens and perennials! And storage…I am dizzy with the amount of storage we can utilize. We’ve been living in the fifth-wheel for nearly 5 years, which helped save money for the house. It’s gone well — but very little storage.

    1. I am not near Henderson or the strip.

      There are some shopping areas near me that have lots of flowering bushes that are in bloom right now, but there are not many places that you will just see flowers.

      If I want flowers, I have to plant them.

  33. It hasn’t been a particularly frugal month to be honest. Last year when we became empty nesters, the transition was more difficult than expected. This year to fight the blues, I made inexpensive but frequent plans with friends and family to fill the void. I attended two author talks (Abraham Vergehese and Ann Patchett), a couple DIII football games (including our college alma mater homecoming), and an upcoming DII hockey game. The real frugal fail has been (as is often my problem) mindlessly eating out. (Why is it so hard to cook when the kids leave home?!) I did a fair amount of food prep today in hopes of reversing that trend. I am thankful to have this space to admit my failings and gather support and ideas to do better.

    On the frugal front:
    A friend and I met at my house to work on crafts instead of going out for dinner.

    I cashed in grocery reward points to receive $0.23 off per gallon of gas.

    Thanks to Brandy and other commenters on the wonderful movie recommendation of The One Hundred Foot Journey. I rented the movie using Amazon digital credits earned by selecting delayed shipping options.

    I enjoyed free entertainment by walking, canoeing, gardening, crafting with supplies on hand, visiting with a neighbor on my front porch, listening to audiobooks on Libby app (Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor, Cultish by Amanda Montell and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomotrow by Gabrielle Zevin), and watching a movie on Amazon Prime (The Big Short, great movie, but fair warning lots of profanity.)

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats!

    1. I’m sorry to hear the transition to empty nesters is hard for you. I think it is hard for many. I’m glad you’re working towards a plan for this new stage in your life.

    2. Julie – My kids are still home but I can imagine the motivation for cooking changing when they are grown and on their own. It’s one of the most instinctual things we do as mothers – feed our young – and so many good things happen around the table. I don’t know if you enjoy cooking as an activity but maybe finding some new recipes (maybe even things your children wouldn’t have enjoyed as much as you would) might reframe the whole endeavor in your mind – more of an adventure and an opportunity to try new things than a loss? Just a thought. At any rate, wishing you peace during this transition. I tear up just thinking about my boys not being here for every meal. 🙂

    3. Hi Julianne, I also found the transition difficult and filled it with friends and eating out. We had nine (plus one who basically lived at our house) children and the last three moved out about the same time. It has been two years and it is slightly easier now, but I have to figure out how to fill my time with things other than cleaning and shopping (food mostly). Canning was always a large time-consumer, but how much do two people eat compared to twelve. I am feeling the stirrings of returning to crafting and sewing for fun (something that didn’t happen in all those years of raising kids), so hoping that will occupy a good portion of the winter to come. Even decorating the house for different seasons isn’t the same because there is no one here to see it except us. I do decorate, though, to a lesser degree so we have a pleasant environment. However, it is far less than before when the kids and their friends were in and out. I have started de-cluttering slowly; I’m still in the mindset that the kids will need something that I get rid of. Ugh! I am thinking of hosting card/game nights during the colder months as many of my friends are in the same boat, and we have the room. Everyone bring something to pass and we just enjoy the time together. If anyone has any other ideas, I would love to hear them!

      1. Laura S: As the season gets closer– Christmas caroling. (Or singing for your religious tradition).
        We did this once with friends, about a dozen of us who drove to the homes of several elderly colleagues in town, sang two or three songs at each house, and then back to one house for hot chocolate. It was inexpensive and rewarding!
        Or if you have someone to “lead”, simply getting together to sing Christmas carols, hymns, oldies, whatever, with a piano, maybe find some YouTube videos, could be great fun.

    4. I thought I was totally ready for empty nest and was completely sideswiped by the amount of grief that hit me when it was done. I understand 100%. Unfortunately I got quite used to empty nest and then had children move in, move out, move in, move out and moved in…I’m dreading and praying for the move out part of that last one.

  34. I’m curious, how do your children manage while you are away visiting your husband? I have a 3yo and 5 month old so it’s hard to imagine leaving them behind, ha! So glad you get to visit and for such a reasonable price.

    Loved your pictures, as always!

    1. My parents live next door and I have an 18yo and several teens who often babysit for others who are more than capable of taking care of their younger siblings. I didn’t leave the children but three times when I had very small children and then they stayed with their grandparents twice and their aunt and uncle once. This is a very new season of life for me.

      1. That’s wonderful! I’m enjoying my time with my little ones now, but one day it will be nice to travel again.

  35. Good morning Brandy,
    I love the flowers and all you are getting from your garden still. If you ever travel to Northern VA you can stay with us for free. Would love to see you.
    On another note, in the past you have stated your grocery bill. I am dropping mine to $100 month next year to help pay off an unexpected huge IRS bill, but curious as to what your budgeted is this year. I sort of laughed because DD is at BYU and I give her $200. She is just learning how to save, budget and go shopping so gave her more then us at $100. Would love to also see Holiday photos like you used to in the past. It is very inspiring what you have done in the past and I have used many of your gift ideas. Thank you for all you do keeping thing beautiful on a dime. God bless you and your family!

    1. I haven’t made many homemade gifts for a long time; my children are older and want specific things now, so I have been looking for those things the past few years.

      The grocery budget: That is getting harder and harder. Food prices have gone up so much and what is really getting me lately is toiletries. My biggest efforts have been working to grow more and to waste less.

      1. Toiletries and cleaning supplies are astronomical these days – and some items are very hard to find. Went to the grocery store on Saturday and bleach was on my list – could only find two small jugs and they were $5.99 each! Many of the No Name (own brand) items that I’ve bought in the past have disappeared and the name brand items are always more expensive. They had ONE can of Pledge furniture polish on the shelf and it was $8.00!!!! I’ll be rationing the one can I have left! I try to only buy toiletries when they are on sale and then stock up for at least six months if I have the money.

        1. YES! And most items I now have to order online because the stores no longer carry them.

          The sales are gone and prices are triple or quadruple what I used to pay.

          1. Hi Margie and Brandy the My Abundant Life blog has a great recipe for a cleaner called Miracle spray and the blog One Good Thing by Jillee has cleaning recipes also. I just use a slightly damp cloth for dusting and soap and water for my granite counter and a homemade spray of vinegar,water and a couple of drops of dish soap for cleaning everything else.It works great.Restaurants just use diluted vinegar in spray bottles for wiping off tables etc.

        2. I agree Margie. In a two week time period the price of dish soap jumped up 50 cents. My new angle is when going to estate sales head for the cleaning and paper products that haven’t been open. I have found plastic wrap, detergent, furniture polish etc. It was great to find a new bottle of shout for .25 and at the store it was $8.00. I also got the dawn concentrated in the spray bottle as a gift, I plan to refill it when empty like I do for foamy hand soap.

          1. I suspect there are many recipes for Dawn Power Wash online, to make your own refills. The one I saw was a lot of water, some Dawn, and a bit of alcohol. The writer kept stressing to pour slowly because it foams up quickly.

      2. I found a Dove Face cream for $1 at Dollar General. I love it! The first one I bought was the Intensive cream. That one was wonderful. The second time I went they didn’t have it so I bought the regular one. It was nice as well. I have been using Dove soap and Dove lotion. My skin is looking great, according to my husband. It could also be that I am not eating processed food or sugar. I found the Dove lotion on their $1 aisle. I hope I can find more when I go back to the store. I bought their last 3 when I was there last time. I used to use Clinique, or Mary Kay or Lancome or Estee Lauder. Although those all work very nicely, I am finding that this inexpensive brand works nicely as well.

        1. That sounds wonderful! Does it have sunscreen in it?

          I use Oil of Olay but it only has an spf of 15. Having had skin cancer on my face, I would really prefer something with a much higher spf for everyday use, but the prices are astronomical. Oil of Olay is already triple what I used to pay for it a few years ago on sale and now there are not sales. I did try a store brand but I did not care for the smell.

          1. I was using Oil of Olay before too. Then I tried baby lotion instead. IT is cheaper. I love the Dove lotion. But I don’t believe it has a sunscreen in it. I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t blame you for wanting a sunscreen.

          2. Hi Brandy,
            I use Oil of Olay as well, but it definitely doesn’t have enough SPF. I’ve also been using Nutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch sunscreen. It comes in high SPFs and works well under makeup. Although a tube costs about $10 now 💰, a dab goes a long way. Hope that helps!

          3. I have skin cancer and when visiting the Dr. asked for sunscreen face lotion samples. They gave me a huge bag which I graciously thanked them for. While I didn’t get to choose brands etc. I have gone months using those samples.

          4. I have used L’Oreal Age Perfect for years (and years, and years), even before I was “aged.” It was always SPF15, but now they have increased it to SPF30. I love it; not greasy, and doesn’t have much scent. That matters SO MUCH to me, because I get fragrance-induced migraines. I buy it at the grocery store, and here’s the shocker — I bought some last week, and the price had NOT increased. I think it’s a unicorn – product improvement, without price increase.

          5. Brandy – I’ve been using Cerave facial moisturizer with SPF30. Not certain if it’s less expensive than the other brands, but it goes a long way and is around $12 for a 3 oz. bottle. They also offer a SPF50. Just a thought!

      3. While I am always open to buying generic items, I have found Dollar Tree to be a surprisingly good source for name-brand full-sized toiletries. They are also often a good source for cleaning supplies and things like dishwashing detergent, but they tend to be smaller. I have also been pleasantly surprised to find full-sized food items like Heinz 57 steak sauce, flavored rice, canned coconut milk, etc. Dollar Tree has raised its price from $1 to $1.25 but they are still cheaper and usually a better shopping experience than the store we like to jokingly call “GENERALLY NOT A DOLLAR’! Of course, every location is different for what they offer. Some locations are much better than others.

  36. One more note. When I grew up living in California we had water restrictions all the time. My mom would put a big trash can next to the washer and when the second rinse cycle came around she would take the hose and put in the trash can and get the rinse off water to water the garden. Dont use the first rinse because it has the soap but it worked and we were the only green lawn and bushes on the block.

    1. My washer has a single rinse cycle. If I want a second rinse, I have to set it specifically.

      I have a low-water usage front loader. I chose one that uses less water on purpose.

      1. “wash”! Oh, and I’ve had great success by using pasta water for making pizza crust and bread …

  37. Hello, Frugal friends from the beautiful fall Appalachian Mountains! The weather has cooled down and the trees are beginning to show their fall colors. This week I was able to get a few good deals at the grocery store. Potatoes were on sale for 5#/.99 and eggs were 18 count for .99. I bought 3 cartons of eggs and froze one carton’s worth. I found an angel food cake marked down from$5 to 1.95. I had an ecoupon for .75 so was able to get it for 1.20. I found 3 loaves of wheat bread for .45/loaf. I spent $19 for food last week. My goal is to spend no more than $25/week this month. We used our military discount at Lowes. I dehydrated kale and green onions from the garden. We ate lettuce from the garden. I have lettuce, spinach, mache and broccoli growing in the garden. I baked chocolate zucchini bread, angel food cupcakes and macaroni and cheese for the weekend with our grandkids. We took them apple picking ($1.40/#). We bought $60 worth. The boys helped peel and slice the apples using my old fashioned apple corer slicer device. We used the sliced apples to make apple crisp for dessert after dinner. We also took them to the new park near us. It is really well thought out and everyone had fun for the 2 hours we were there. We had a lot of fun this past weekend but the boys have more energy than their grandparents:) All meals were made from scratch. With this nice weather we have not had to use any heat or a/c. We did have to drive 200 miles to get my indefinite military ID now that I am 65. On the way home we stopped at Tamarack for lunch and purchased a few items from the shop. We used our military discount and drove our hybrid car to save gas. Tamarack is a welcome station on the West Virginia Turnpike. It is a great place to stop when traveling in that area. All the goods sold are made in WV and the food is by The Greenbrier Resort. We live close to the WV line and the nearest military installation doing ID appointments was 100 miles one way. Happy I will not have to do that ever again. Brandy, enjoy your trip and safe travels. I hope the fall colors are amazing for you. Blessings to all.

  38. What gorgeous photos of your flowers and garden!

    I ordered my free covid tests. Thanks to everyone who mentioned it here last week.
    I also bought cat food and was pleased to see the price had come down a bit since last time. This was the regular price, not a sale.

    Other than that, I’ve been doing the usual things, cooking from my pantry and freezer, using cloth handkerchiefs and napkins, and enjoying free things like library books, streaming video that I already have access to, and taking walks outside. I continue to learn to make things I would previously have bought ready made. Yesterday I made gravy for the first time. It turned out pretty well.

  39. Lovely photos! We have constant watering restrictions here, but nothing as dire or strict as yours. I would have a yard of rocks and sand at that point! LOL!

    Our weather has continued to be warm and above normal, highs in the mid 90s and lows in the 70s. We are getting a strong cold front this week that should bring us down into the 70s and 80s, with rain, which I am excited for. I look forward to the days we are able to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows, which we have not experienced in quite a while. At night the temperatures and humidity do not (currently) cool down enough to open the windows in the mornings. However, the forecast looks like we should be able to do that, at least for a day or two, this weekend! Looking forward to the fresh air and some savings on the electricity. We keep the blinds closed and of course use fans and turn the a/c temperature up as we can.

    The frugal stuff: We have cooked and eaten almost all meals at home. We are waiting on a replacement dishwasher, so meals have been geared toward creating fewer dishes to wash. Lots of deli-style sandwiches on homemade bread and baking in disposable foil pans. We enjoyed meatball subs on homemade bread, baked ziti with meatballs with the leftover meatballs, chicken sour cream enchiladas with rice and beans, grilled chicken fajitas, sliders, and sausage biscuits with locally-made sausage. We used grocery rewards for several free items: tub of sour cream, jar of green taco sauce, box of sparkling waters, granola bars, and a 5 lb bag of potatoes. Purchased milk on sale for $1.99/gallon. Shopped loss leader grocery sales and clearance racks and purchased most other groceries at Aldi. We bought pasta on sale for .99 cents/lb with some marked down to .50 cents. We found pasta sauce marked down 75% on a grocery store clearance rack, so bought a couple of jars for the pantry. Chicken was on sale, but we were out of freezer space for it with the holidays coming up so did not purchase any. Pork butt is listed at .88/lb cents in the coming week’s ad, but we may skip that as well. We reviewed our budget and cut 2 services we were no longer using, for a savings of around $35/month. We decluttered some items out of storage that we no longer use, and they went to good homes. This is an ongoing project, but we are working on it piece by piece as we have time. Once the weather cools down I think we will have more motivation to work on it! I colored my own hair and did a manicure at home. We both take our own coffee and snacks to work, and eat lunch from home or skip it. Our bed pillows were in sad shape, so we bought new ones at Sam’s Club for a nice price. We are starting to plan our holiday menus so we can purchase items ahead and be prepared with no large expenses.

    I hope everyone has a lovely frugal week and all are well!

  40. Last week I harvested mint and dried it – and like you said, Brandy, it keeps the flavour very well! I used it yesterday in a salad where the recipe asked for fresh mint, and it worked beautifully. The recipe was a chickpea-salad from the book ‘Picnic in Provence’, that someone recommended in here – the salad has become a new favourite this time of year, when we have plenty of snack peppers in the garden.

    Cucumber, squash and green beans still give a good crop, as the weather is a lot warmer than usual.

    My husband bought me a new cheap smartphone almost a year ago that I finally got around to use. He helped me install apps and transfer data. The battery keeps power so much better than my 8 year old smart phone that I finally let go…

    Using vegetables from the garden have saved us so much money the last months, but end October it will come to an end.

    In a few weeks I’m giving a talk about vegetable gardening and the local food coop. They can’t pay me any money, but I will get apples, apple juice and maybe some vegetables for the effort.

    Glad you got to see your husband, Brandy!

    Have a nice week everyone.

  41. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How lovely that you will be able to visit your husband and the family shared breakfast with him at a distance. Hope the autumn leaf colour is striking.
    We are enjoying lovely warm autumn weather which is good because the garden is abundant and there’s a lot to gather in.
    This week we picked kale, cucumber, tomatoes, potatoes and flowers. I picked all the pods of borlotti beans and have brought them inside to finish drying.
    We had a load of logs delivered to start drying for future years. This is much cheaper than the cost of heating oil. Our dishwasher is broken and we are not rushing to have it fixed as our electricity use was slightly lower this month and I’m hoping this will lower the bill too.
    I had a dry haircut at the hairdresser’s to keep the cost down. I leave it longer between cuts too.
    We have rental property which is part of our pension and the letting agent we use at tenant changeover has increased their prices significantly. We have shopped around and found comparable service at a lower price. We felt the original agents were taking the Mickey and charging high fees for very little work. We keep our costs down by managing the property ourselves, doing the inventory, decorating and so on. This has saved a lot of money over the years.
    Stay safe everyone.

  42. Brandy your gardens are just breathtaking. I enjoy your Instagram photos very much. I am glad that you will be able to spend some time with your husband.

    This week I have been blessed with 120 pounds of apples. I will be canning applesauce and apple pie filling. This will be a great addition to my pantry. I will also look to purchase and can boneless skinless chicken breast at 1.97 per pound. Last week I was able to put 20 lbs. of drumsticks in the freezer at .99 lb. We also enjoyed your homemade rice a roni one evening for dinner. I am seeking out simpler recipes with simpler ingredients. Making more foods from scratch to stretch every dollar. This year Michigan is providing free breakfast and lunch to all students. This has allowed me to stock up a little bit more on needed food or supplies.

    I am also learning about the pricing cycle of gasoline in my area and scouting out the lowest prices. Today my city was 3.79 but I was able to get gasoline for 3.49 per gallon. My electric and gas use has been lower each month than previous years. We just completed the installation of new windows in our entire house. I hope this will bring significant savings in the future.

    As I was filling my gas tank today I met a Canadian gentleman who was taking a tour of the nearby area. He commented on how amazing it is that we have so much infrastructure in our state. He commented that small towns are close together and that there was a McDonald’s with free Wi-Fi in almost every town and village. We are always complaining about the sorry state of our roads, and he was telling me how wonderful they are! This experience made me stop and realize that although things are more challenging I have much to be grateful for!!

  43. I think your flower arrangements just get prettier and prettier. The colors of this particular one is just lovely!
    *This week was filled with opportunities to be grateful for relationships with other frugal minded folk. I was given a beautiful handknit wool sweater from one of the other Mamas in our homeschool co-op. She said it made her too hot and she thought I would like it. 🙂 A neighbor dug up a big feed bag full of lily bulbs that needed dividing and dropped them off when we were not home – a pleasant surprise. Another neighbor offered me some extra lavender plants which I will transplant soon. Yet another neighbor with a saw mill acquires a lot of wood both for lumber and firewood. He invited us to take as much firewood as we can cut. He has acquired so much at this point that he is running out of space to put it all, time to split it and doesn’t want to see it rot. This is a huge blessing as we are always looking to stay have at least 2 years of wood stored up if not more. My husband has been going every night after work with my boys to cut the wood and they bring it home to split before it gets dark. Making good use of all the available hours of the day gets the job done.
    *Our garden rearranging is going well – tackling a bit each day is going a long way to making a big job seem less so. We have been given permission to take topsoil leftover from a landscaping job from a pile on our neighbor’s property to use in stabilizing the terraces in our new garden. We have one row done and 2 more to go and have reworked all but 2 of the beds in our kitchen garden next to the house. I am exited to have more garden space and easier access to portions of our woods where we harvest a fair amount of firewood. It is also a good feeling to make things better with effort and imagination rather than a lot of money.
    *Had a conversation with my oldest son about leaving his bedroom light on during the day. Apparently, a downside to the room darkening curtains I made him in the beginning of summer is that he feels he needs to turn his light on more often. Getting everyone to work together to keep our electric bill lowered is worthwhile.
    *Still reading “Crow Planet” and started the 4th Inspector Gamache story “A Rule Against Murder” by Louise Penny – so good!
    *Hope everyone has a lovely week and that it feels like Autumn where you are!

  44. Beautiful photos Brandy! I hope you liked the pics I sent you via Instagram 🙂

    Last week wasn’t very frugal for us as we went on vacation to visit my brother in law who lives in Honolulu. We had free lodging which was the biggest reason we could make that trip from our Ohio home. We went to a luau(courtesy of my BIL-he got 20% off using his resident discount). He’d never been to a luau even though he’s lived there almost 10 years now. Went to Pearl Harbor. Visited a waterfall. Ate some excellent food. I could eat seafood every day. Had LauLau, shoyu poke(ahi tuna), mahi mahi, poi, lumpia. Everything was very good!

    It was nice to have our own personal tour guide who knows the best places that are off the beaten(tourist) path. We rented a mini-van. Swam in the ocean numerous times. The best vacation ever!

    Hawaii is beautiful! We had such a wonderful time. The week before we left, I got Covid & was out from work for an entire week. I likely got it AT work since we don’t go out much when at home.

    Ordered some more free Covid tests as I had used all the ones we had during my illness. My husband didn’t get it.

    So, now that I’m back home, time to tighten up the purse strings!

  45. Those flowers are wonderful – I have a gorgeous zinnia blooming right now that I’m hoping to gather seeds from if the weather gives us time to let them get that far. I will cut before frost if need be and hope for the best.

    The water – so challenging! In some areas here where water is an issue they have adopted the ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow’ version in the bathroom – not my favorite but if you needs must . . . I can’t imagine what the people who are not as mindful about it as you are paying! Our water rates here in NY are climbing and will soon skyrocket at well, our governor is requiring wild amounts of water treatment over and above anything we’ve ever done and the investment in infrastructure to make it work is mind boggling [I’m a water commissioner so I have too much info on all this LOL] – I feel badly about the increase in rates which will hurt families already struggling but there’s nothing to be done since we comply with the law!

    I’m eating stock from our freezers more than purchasing which is very helpful.

    Enjoy your trip to visit your husband – I’m happy for you both!

    1. I actually do that already. We also replaced a toilet last year that has a dual flush system in the children’s bathroom so that they can use even less water when flushing.

      1. Brandy, we live off grid and our household water supply is rainwater collected off our house roof. So, water conservation is a way of life for us. There are times, however, when the water level in our cisterns gets really low because of no rain, and we have to lower our household water usage even more. Two areas in which this has been possible for us are laundry and showers.

        We have “inside clothes”, in which the same tops and bottoms are worn all week (or longer) because they aren’t getting dirty, and “outside clothes” which do get dirty in the course of work and play. Outside shorts and jeans can be worn all week, even though dirty, with shirts and tops being changed only when they start to smell. We also have “going somewhere” clothes, which usually don’t get dirty or need washed. Sleeping clothes don’t get washed until they start to smell. Bath towels and washcloths only get washed when they start to smell. The hooks for the children’s bath towels are in their bedrooms rather than in the bathroom. They dry quicker that way, because they are not remaining in a moist room with other damp towels.(And so stay fresh longer.) These measures have worked for us to reduce the amount of laundry being done when more intense water saving steps must be taken.

        Showers/bathing is another area where we have been able to ramp up water conservation when necessary. Washing up (full body) with a washcloth at the bathroom sink uses less water than even a really quick shower. Because of the distance from our water heater to the bathrooms, it takes a gallon of water to get warm water to the sink. So when we take a washcloth ” bath”, it is with cold water. The washcloth can then be rinsed out with a little soap so it is fresh for using the next time. Hair can be washed at the sink using a large cup for pouring the water over your head. The water can be caught in a bowl and reused. The water that is used to wet your hair can also be used to rinse the shampoo out of your hair. It can then be used for other purposes as well.

        Regarding the expense of toiletries , I have not found a deodorant that doesn’t irritate my skin, so I use a tiny bit of coconut oil under each arm. Coconut oil is antibacterial, so even when I sweat, there is no odor. Because such a small amount is needed, coconut oil makes a very inexpensive deodorant.

        I am praying for your family and you, that you will be able to lower your water usage even more so as to not have to pay the fines. You have overcome some incredible challenges over the years, and with the Lord’s help, you will be victorious in all that you are facing now.

        1. Anne your diligence and creativity was astonishing when you are sharing ideas on water conservation. I was sad however that you have to work so hard and give up the pleasure and benefits of water. Following Brandy and yourself and others has made more careful and conscious in my usage. I am a nurse so water is essential in healing and preventing infections, I wish as a planet we had and would protect such a valuable resource but until then your suggestions may help alot of people.

  46. I’m glad you are getting to visit your husband! The flowers are beautiful.

    I have to avoid soybean oil and canola oil, so I usually buy mayonnaise made from olive, safflower or avocado oil. I read those labels, too, because some of the ones touting olive, safflower or avocado still have soybean or canola oil in them. One store had a $2 coupon on a safflower mayo that is rather expensive, so I bought some jars with the coupons. I looked the other day to see if the coupons were back; they were not back, and the price had jumped up by $9.00! Yes, you read that right, nine dollars.

    Where I saved or can save money:

    I answered a satisfaction survey from a local store to get $5 off my next purchase.

    I’m hoping to go on a local farm tour this weekend, especially to a plant nursery that specializes in edibles such as fruit trees. Those who come on the tour get 25% off the price of any plant purchase at the nursery. Most of my blackberries died this year. I’m going to try a new spot and a new variety, and 25% off is a pretty nice discount to try that with.

    For recipes like soups, stews and casseroles that use meat, I routinely cut back on the amount of meat called for in the recipe. I can’t use legumes for protein, as I can only tolerate them in very small amounts and not often, so I am eating meat daily, but not over-indulging.

    I’m cooking tonight’s meal in the crock pot to save energy and avoid heating the house as much.

    The weather has cooled a little in the evenings, so the other night I roasted several winter squashes, that I bought on 50% off sale, all at once in the oven. I scooped and froze some of the flesh and am using the rest in meals this week.

    I almost always “cook once and eat twice or three times”, to save on time and electricity costs.

    I continue to batch errands, look for sales, avoid shopping for wants instead of needs, work on growing my own food, mend things, eat up leftovers, and do what maintenance I can on my own.

    Brandy, I wish we all had some new ideas for saving water, but I think you have probably thought of every method one can use. The only other thing I can think of is turning off the ice maker, and you’ve probably done that already. I hope this legislation gets revised to be more forgiving to people trying to grow families and food! It’s truly unreasonable!

      1. I have made it before, but because of the raw eggs, I don’t like to keep it long, and I end up throwing some out every time, even when trying to make the smallest recipes.

  47. The photos of your flowers and yard are really beautiful. What an oasis in the desert!

    This week has been about enjoying fall. I harvested tomatillos, chili peppers, tomatoes, and herbs. I made batches of chile verde for the freezer and dried the herbs.

    My BIL gave me three butternut squash. My brother had a bumper crop of plums so I am making batches of spiced plum jam to give to my neighbors for Christmas. He also gave me some peaches.

    We hiked through the autumn leaves. We were also invited to a pot luck party in a canyon and drove through the autumn leaves there. The colors this year are astonishing!

    We’ve had rain, which is always a blessing.

    My hope is to cook through much of what is in our freezer during the winter. The freezer is packed and needs to be defrosted–another reason to get it emptied–or at least emptier so that when it is cold outside I can put my frozen items there while defrosting.

  48. There’s not a lot going on in my household this week. My DH and I have spent about 2 years deciding on a new living room couch. We finally ordered one on sale and got a discount of an upgrade material. Now the hunt is on for a couple of chairs. And a rug….I really detest shopping so it takes us forever to buy things. (update: as I am typing my DH just called and has bought a couple of danish modern chairs from an antique market. They are in good shape, a good price and will need new cushion covers at some point. useable for now)
    We had 4 extra dining chairs that we had borrowed from my DD during covid. I finally took them back to her, she put them on her front lawn and they magically disappeared. Next up is the dining table that goes with the chairs. We are just happy that someone took them.
    I had a couple of small binders that I stuffed recipes into. The pages kept ripping so I ordered some sleeves and have reorganized the binders. And I’m putting a pen into the pocket so I can mark the recipe sleeve if I use it. If after a year there’s no mark those pages are getting tossed.
    I’m trying to purge a bunch of things but I find it’s difficult to let things go.
    The weather has been exceptional for this time of year. I scraped and then repainted a couple of windows on the garage. They aren’t perfect but it will protect the wood for another year or so.
    The gardens were looking kind of ratty so I cleared out lots of dead flowers etc.
    This is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and I did a minimal shop for it. My youngest son has 1/2 a turkey in his freezer that he’s bringing over for me to cook. I got 10 lbs potatoes for $1.49 for the mashed; and then it’s the usual brussel sprouts, squash etc. I bought those at a farm stand a week or so ago. I’m going to make pumpkin rolls using the bread machine. And I’ll do a pumpkin pie and make my own pastry. I was going to be lazy and just buy a frozen crust but it was almost $5/2. I can make so many crusts for that price!
    At the grocers I was simply going to buy a can of whipping cream as it seems to last longer and doesn’t take up space. But the particular dairy firm (Gay Lea for those Canadians) seems to be having issues and there’s no product in the stores. There’s no sour cream or cottage cheese from them either. One store worker said they can’t get enough workers for the plants.

    We have 5 separate houses around ours that are undergoing major renovations. It’s noisy and dusty and my windows were filthy. I tried one of those Windex sprayers that you attach to a hose. They don’t do a great job but it got some of the excess off the windows. I don’t think there’s much point in getting a window cleaner in until the spring.
    I’ve started ordering a few things for Xmas gifts. Trying to get ahead of the game and keep costs lower. And the lavender from the garden is drying now so every one is getting a sachet that I’ll sew soon. I’m also thinking of dinner napkins and napkin rings as a gift this year. We’ve started suing ours again to cut down on paper waste.
    I had a couple of big blocks of cheese that I grated in my food processor and put in the freezer. The Cuisinart broke, just a small part that renders the whole machine useless. I’m taking it into the store soon to get a replacement part. I brought a small processor home from the cottage that I used for the cheese and for bread crumbs too.
    There’s so much grated zucchini in the freezer that I tried a chocolate zucchini brownie recipe. It’s pretty tasty. I’ve asked the farm to not include anymore zucchini or kale in the veggie box.
    When we are south for the winters I walk with a Blue Zone group. They do a monthly plant-based potluck supper too. I watched the Blue Zone series on Netflix. It’s quite interesting. And you can get the cookbooks from the library as well as lots of the recipes on Pinterest.
    Still using the library a lot and working my way thru the stack of physical books that are still here. And everyday I do a crossword puzzle or two or more online to keep the brain working a bit better and longer.
    So happy you can fly and see your husband. It will seem like dating all over again. And, what did we ever do before social media allowed us to have meals and other visits with loved ones that live so far away?
    cheers everyone.

    1. I love your idea of lavender sachets from the garden as gifts! That is a fantastic idea!

  49. I’m late checking in this week! That has to be discouraging with you watching your water usage so very closely; it’s how I often feel with our gas usage when it comes through. I just don’t know how it could keep coming back so high! Have you ever considered writing a letter to your local elected leaders and asking them to petition for the water rates to be adjusted to accommodate for family size? I think it’s crazy that that’s not even a consideration right now.

    BUT—let’s talk about how gorgeous this flower arrangement is! Also, I was thinking — have you ever tried growing celosia? I’m sure you already know, but just in case not, it loves the heat, is pretty drought resistant, and there’s this flamingo variety that is in many of the hues you favor: https://www.rareseeds.com/celosia-flamingo-feather. Oh, and you can direct seed it 🙂 Just a thought!

    I had a good reason for being late on my own frugal wins this week:


    1. I have grown celosia. I rarely see the pink one here. It’s usually red and sometimes yellow. The pink one could be fun next summer! I have the two circles in back and I leave them open to changing each year. It’s an easy place to change colors each year.

  50. * I cut husband’s hair
    * Harvested tomatoes, squash, zucchini, green beans
    * Was given a bag of okra- this morning our local produce stand posted a small basket of okra for $7!
    * I got 8 boxes Stove top stuffing on clearance for 39 cents each month’s ago. I used a package of chopped chicken and made a quick meal with the chicken. stuffing mix, cream of chicken soup, milk, and home canned broth. I had garden vegetables as sides.
    * I harvested my sunflower heads and gave ine to a friend with chickens and have the rest if the seed on trays making g sure it is good and dry. I will roast some, and save some for seed.
    * I am listing something daily to sell. Today I went through my closet and found 9 tops that I don’t wear and steamed them and listed them. I also plant, preserve, or weed something in the garden every day. It really helps to just do so.ething daily instead of a big job at one time.
    * I went to garage sales and got books, a needlepoint chair, custom lined curtains, 13 Victoria Bliss magazines, a bag of sewing supplies including seam ripper, and many packs of needles, and an art print, 5 canning jars, and an Alabama hat. I have a list of things I look for to try to keep from just buying.

  51. It’s nice that you and your kids had breakfast with your husband. It’s great that you get see to him inexpensively. I know this season of your life has been hard for you and your family. I love to see the pictures from your garden and can’t believe h how you can grow so much in the dessert. 😊 I just got back from visiting the south. I went to see the Creation museum, the Ark and Savannah, Georgia. I saw my nephew and his family in Tennessee and went to their church and had lunch afterwards. It was so green there compared to where I live in Northern California right now.

  52. Margie from Toronto

    The best deals I have found this week are 400 grams of Armstrong cheese for $4.44 (instead of $7.99 each). (No Frills) I will be putting a few extra blocks in my freezer. Also No Frills still has squash for 99 cents per pound. They have a PC spiral cut ham for $3.95 per pound while quantities last. It may be that they are all big hams but is worth looking into. No Frills has a new policy that if they run out of an item in the flyer they will give you a rain cheque AND refund your points. (Obviously it doesn’t apply to flyer items where it says while quantities last).
    I am also going to buy 2 pie pumpkins for $3. Meanwhile, I’m stocking up on Robin Hood flour from Safeway which is on sale. I plan on making my own bread. They also have the best price on Carnation’s evaporated milk. I have been baking some of the squash I bought previously from No Frills. As I find it hard to cut raw squash, I have been roasting it whole then cutting it into rounds and freezing it.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians here.

  53. Good day, prudent friends! We returned from our two week vacation and had a great time in New Mexico and I’m looking forward to catching up on reading your comments.

    While we were away, we had only 3 restaurant/café meals and took along groceries and prepared (mainly grilled) all other meals in our RV/at campsite. Entertainment was all at the courtesy of Mother Nature – hikes, long walks, and bicycling, star gazing, visiting with fellow campers, and just plain relaxing at campsite.

    Back home, our utility bill (all services combined) was $75 less this past billing cycle, due to less electric/water use – as a result of us not being home one full week in that billing cycle. We’ll take it!

    When we returned, I shopped for groceries and after comparing current prices to our last shop prior to leaving for vacation, was pleasantly surprised that prices had not significantly increased for the items we regularly buy. Only one item had increased, and it is an item that could easily be eliminated from our purchases, if we so choose. I’m so glad that some time ago, I created the Price Book that Amy Dacyczyn (The Tightwad Gazette/Frugal Zealot) suggested decades ago. It’s a real eye opener. It’s also nice to have factual concrete pricing evidence (and not rely on my faulty memory!) on which to base any future purchases, and provides a sense of control for planning accordingly.

    Our long drought ended yesterday with a morning-long thunderstorm that provided lots of rain to our parched area. Such a blessing and so very grateful!

    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items … larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; unplugging chargers and small appliances when not in use; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn during this period of extreme heat and drought; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; continuing to use small batch DIY laundry liquid.

    Really enjoyed my latest read – “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk” – based on her diaries and journals, the true story of a 67 year old mother of 11 and grandmother of 20+ who solo thru-walked the 2,000+ miles of the Appalachian Trail in the 1950’s with hardly any provisions, and wearing Keds! Fascinating story of perseverance, determination, and a true love of walking. Written by her great, great grandnephew, Ben Montgomery. Being a fellow daily walker, I found Emma to be very inspirational.

    Brandy – I’m so glad you were able to visit your dear husband and that your entire family were able to visit over breakfast with him as well!

    Wishing everyone a joyful and frugal week!

    1. I started this book as soon as I read your post, Carolyn. I love stores about the Appalachian Trail and this caught my attention with the first sentence. Thank you!

      1. Okbarb99…

        I’m glad you are enjoying it! So in awe of Emma and I plan to reread it soon … found I was so caught up in her adventure that I tended to quickly read past the historical info that was scattered throughout. Will reread and pay attention to that this time! Enjoy!

  54. Sadly, the comments I submitted on Monday were never published. Hope it wasn’t something I said. 😥 Since it’s Saturday, I’ll try again next Monday. Thanks for all the good ideas you all inspired me with!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. The comments are presented to me in newest to oldest format and I can’t always read them fast enough before more come through! I have been out of town and am just now getting to read more comments. Your comment is published now!

      1. No worries, Brandy! I just worried that my comments were too lengthy and not not giving others the chance to comment!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

  55. I had a decent week this week. I discovered the $15gc with a $50 purchase at Target, something that used to happen every January for two weeks or so at a time. I went online and made up two orders making sure they were $50 before taxes. I did the pick-up order that evening and got the two gift cards moments after the order was loaded. I chose laundry detergent, aluminum foil, paper towels, waxed paper, toilet bowl cleaner, vinegar and something else. I was careful to check prices on other sites to be sure that I was getting a decent price.

    The next day my grandson and I went grocery shopping. I am concentrating hard this month on refilling outages in the pantry. I had a short list and purchased everything on my list: honey, cornmeal, maple syrup, Turkey Spam, kidney beans, green beans, corn, creamed corn. I bought by the case on all of these, though we do not have case lot sales here. Again, I priced things elsewhere (except the honey, I bought that locally because it was locally raised). I spent about the same as I’d spent at Target. I couldn’t be more pleased.

    We had rain last night and the beans, snow peas, carrots, beets all popped up. I have lettuce getting close to ready for harvest. I hope I get to harvest the beans prior to frost days. I should have about six weeks before we have frost but the past couple of years we’ve had earlier frosts so I don’t know.

    I made bread, cookies, pizza, bagels, all meals at home this past week.

    I’ve mixed up my own spice blend that I’m using to flavor my decaf coffee each afternoon. It’s lovely!

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