I made a pair of shorts for my son from the bottom of a pair of worn-out trousers that used to belong to my husband. The fabric in the legs was fine, but the fabric at the top had worn through in a couple of places and was past mending. I used elastic that I had bought in bulk a couple of years ago for this purpose. I used an existing pair of elastic-waist shorts as a pattern.

Agapanthus, aka Lily of the Nile

I mended a hole in a shirt.

I hemmed two pairs of shorts.

I replaced the elastic in a pair of hand-me-down shorts. The fabric was still good but the elastic was not. It took a long time to remove the six rows of triple stitching, so I multi-tasked whenever possible by listening to French language videos and helping my children with their schoolwork while tearing out the stitching.

I picked tomatoes, blackberries, basil, New Zealand Spinach, parsley (including a lot that I dried), green onions, raspberries (just a couple again), and figs from the garden.

Lettuce seeds and flowers

I collected seeds from two kinds of lettuce from the garden. I will plant these in the garden in the fall and spring.

I took cuttings from basil, New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia), and creeping Jenny from the garden in hopes of making more plants. I know the basil will root in water; I am hoping the others do too. The creeping Jenny has already started to put forth roots.

I sowed seeds in the garden for roselle hibiscus, Armenian cucumbers, and vincas. I decided to plant Armenian cucumbers in part of the front yard rather than zinnias to have more food to harvest. While I usually trellis them, I have also grown them on the ground without a problem.

For Christmas 2020, our neighbor gave us a $75 gift card to a restaurant. This was a rather unexpected gift, as we have lived next door for over a decade and a half and do not usually exchange gifts. We finally went to use it, combining it with an errand that we needed to run that was in that part of the city. The restaurant (Maggiano’s) is the kind of place where no side dishes (such as a salad) are included with the price of the meal. We ordered water to drink, split a small side salad, and each of us ordered a main course. The restaurant has a deal where if you buy entrees in person, you can purchase boxed meals for $5 each from one of six of their pasta dishes (these meals are $17.50 each at the restaurant). We used the gift card to purchase five meals to go along with our dinner, which we brought home and put them in the freezer. We will split each meal and have them later for at-home dates. Since it’s so hot right now (113 F/44 C), we can enjoy them in our room where we will set up a little table for a date while the children eat dinner at the kitchen table.

I really enjoyed the food, the decor, and the general atmosphere of the place as well as the music. There were black and white candid photographs on the wall of famous people such as Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. The music was my favorite: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, among others.

Bells of Ireland

The errand we ran was going to purchase a suit for my husband. The other two suits he ordered online ended up not fitting well, so he returned them. He found a local, family-owned business in town that had some suits on sale. We were happy to get him one suit for 62% off. The business is called Mastroianni Fashions. We were really impressed with their service; they were SO nice! (They have three locations in town but they also ship!) As a small business owner and the daughter of a small business owner, I feel strongly about supporting family businesses.

I read three e-books from the library: Finding Love in Positano, Honeymoon for One by Portia Macintosh, and Snowflakes Over Holly Cove.

We had several meatless meals this week, including pasta salad, vegetable soup, tomato sandwiches, and quesadillas.

What did you do to save money last week?

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219 Comments

  1. Thank you for the book recommendations Brandy. I added some audiobook titles to my Hoopla account.

    Last week we drove an hour each way for doctors appointments twice. I took the car with the best gas mileage to save. I had to fill up in San Jose and went to the Safeway gas station. I was able to save $0.50/gallon using my club card rewards. We don’t have a Safeway gas station near us, so I was happy to put those rewards to use (even though gas was still no bargain at $5.69 with the discount!!).

    We’ve been having a heat wave, which is unusual on the coast this time of year. Our berries are ripening nicely. I canned 8 jars of raspberry/boysenberry jam. I found an old pouch of Certo in the cupboard and used it for the jam. It expired in 2020 but worked just fine! My new Tattler lids sealed perfectly.

    I used home canned pears and applesauce to bake two loaves of spiced pear quick bread. I also baked some oatmeal bars using home canned pear mincemeat. I’m trying to use up our canned fruit in preparation for this summer’s harvest.

    Last night we stretched our propane by grilling some chicken, London broil and zucchini. I also made a 3 bean salad. It’s enough for 2 dinners. No cooking tonight!

    Now that school is over (and we have a high school graduate 🎓), I have a bit more time. I made a pattern for a window seat cushion and have begun cutting out the pieces. We also cleaned out my daughter’s closet and dresser. We have some items to take to Plato’s Closet this week.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🍓

  2. Sounds like you had a busy week Brandy!
    A few of my frugal accomplishments for last week:
    *bulk cooked a few meals so had leftovers or recreated meals several nights
    *went for my free dental cleaning included with insurance plan
    *gratefully accepted some sunflowers and evening primrose from my mom; had a fun free time together playing games and eating food at her house
    *used sales, coupon, store cash, and free shipping code to get a 4 pack of razors (regularly priced $8.49) shipped for 15 cents (Walgreens)!
    *watered from our rain barrel for the first time!
    *kept adding to the compost
    📍Grocery store: bought 2 roasts on clearance, bacon was on sale, bought a sale bag of ripe bananas (chopped and froze bananas and made fertilizer with the peels), and used a $5 off coupon for groceries from pharmacy
    📍Buy Nothing Group: bear naked granola, individually wrapped Easter candy
    📍Facebook Marketplace: reel mower for $15 (any little bit that saves on gas right now is much appreciated)
    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

    1. That’s a great deal on the reel mower! We live ours. Sharpening it once a year keeps it easy to push.

  3. I’ve been incognito for the past 2 weeks from commenting here- life got crazy busy here! After a week in Houston for granddaughter’s graduation, we had 2 grandson’s HS graduations to attend- 1 virtually (out of state) for our severely autistic grandson. Since he doesn’t function well in large groups, they arranged for his graduation to be separate from the regular event. Our 2nd grandson’s graduation was local a few days later. The day after that was Memorial Day so we helped with our Church picnic and BBQ. 4 days later, one of our daughters was getting married. 9 of our 11 children were there- https://pin.it/3zXlnWs.

    When I posted my comments today, I realized that most of it had been deleted accidentally (my chubby fingers apparently hit the wrong button! 🤪🤪)
    I got ground beef on sale for $1.99/pound on Memorial Day week and Hubs went with me so we could each get the allotted amount. I saved $70 over the “regular” price and immediately made them all into Burgers using a burger press I bought end of season about 6 years ago! Our daughter was married on a Friday and on Sunday we hosted a bbq for the 42 of our kids/grandkids who were in town! Those burgers came in handy and were added to the leftover hot dogs from the Memorial Day picnic at Church! Our kids are like a well organized group and all the side dishes, desserts, even leftover soda and bottles of water from wedding reception found their way to our family bbq!

    I found outdoor games for the younger kids- giant checkers with a plastic mat to lay out on the ground, giant jenga, giant connect 4 games. They were 70% off at JoAnn’s so we figured that we would invest in these for future family and Church get togethers!

    The next day (Monday), I was up at 3 AM to chauffeur newlyweds to airport and then Hubs picked up an enclosed Uhaul trailer to drive us and our daughter, SIL and 2 younger kids to NC to look at and purchase a used longarm machine to set up at our daughter’s house to expand business and cut down on some of her driving back and forth (an hour each way) to do some of our client quilts at our house with Lenni. Sadly, the machine had problems that had not been disclosed and we had a really bad feeling about buying it. It was a large investment that they would have used tax refund to pay for. But our unanimous decision was that it would be better to cut our losses (expenses for trip) now than to spend so much more and regret it.

    I have a twin size quilt top I made years ago that I got out to quilt. I had batting scraps I sewed together and the backing was leftover from another quilt. I’m almost finished quilting it now and it will be nice to see another bit of clutter being turned into something useful! https://pin.it/5v7ZE8g.

    I tried a new recipe for Freezer Breakfast Quesadillas. It is now a favorite! It illustrates what I think we can do in these challenging times rather than moan or blame or feel powerless. There were 4 variations on this recipe, but I turned it into a unique one using ingredients I already had- tortillas (remember a few months ago I got some for 19 cents/package? ), eggs (our chickens bless us with over 4 dozen a week) , ham (i got those boneless half hams for 60% off a month ago and sliced thick to cut into cube, sliced deli thin for sandwiches and with the rounded butt end, I tossed those into food processor for chopped ham. I froze all these kinds) , cheese (when Krogers had their cheese sales (limit 5) and they were under $2.50 pound, I would buy 5. So I have a good reserve and shredded some for the quesadillas. https://pin.it/qAqu3RX. Someone else might have all the ingredients in recipe and make it exactly as written. Someone else might have different ingredients and make their own tasty version!

    But my thought that keeps coming to me is the old axiom: Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without! If we focus on what we CAN do, rather than what is limiting us, I think we will get through these challenging times well! JMO!

    I hope everyone is finding ways to stay hopeful and actually enjoy the positives around us!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. So glad you are back! I (and others) were worried about you as you regularly comment. Glad your absence was due to a busy and filled life and not illness.
      I personally always enjoy, and learn from your comments. Thank you.
      Much grace to you,
      Patricia

      1. Yay! You are back, Gardenpat! You were missed! What a beautiful picture of your family! It is lovely to put a face with your wonderful comments each week.

        1. BeckyH- Thank you! The one thing I hadn’t noticed until I saw this and other recent family photos is how much shorter I am than Hubs and our kiddos! Lol! We were just grateful that the weather cooperated and was in the high 70’s rather than the 90’s we’re getting this week! 😱

          Gardenpat in Ohio
          HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

          1. Lovely bride and a great family photo! Missed your comments, your quilt photos and all the wisdom you share. It sounds like you packed a lot into the past couple weeks!

    2. So glad to see this post Garden Pat and to know that all is well – you had us worried.
      What a wonderful time for your family and you show us once again that you don’t have to spend a fortune to create wonderful memories!

      1. Margie from Toronto- it warms my heart to know I was missed! All’s well here and we plan to hunker down inside the house and not go anywhere while the weather is so hot and volatile this week! I missed reading everyone’s comments the last 2 weeks too, so I’m going through them now and getting inspired!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    3. I ALWAYS love reading about your adventures and that saying ” use it up etc is my all time favorite
      Thank you for sharing

    4. So glad to see you back and happy to know the absence was because of good things happening in your life! What a beautiful family you have! We have nine kids…weddings are a blast! Not surprised how everything found its way to the BBQ…they must have picked up a lot from you and your hubby😊 The phrase “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” is one of my favorites. First came across it when my WWII homefront interest began. One that haunts me since the sixth grade and came from a Betsey Clark book I had was “waste not, want not”. How often I have thrown something away, even a few grains of rice. Now, all of this is really coming into a reality focus with what is going on, but I am happy we are well prepared and able to adapt with the knowledge I have gained through the years and all the information from this blog which Brandy has created and which has helped all of us so much! Having a positive focus on all of this is crucial, and it is an adventure of sorts (a new type of pioneering).

    5. The daughters wedding dress is gorgeous
      I too loved the picture of you and your family
      Very fun to see

  4. We went with another couple to see Top Gun, Maverick. On Tuesday the price is $8 a ticket.
    ***I have been on an acid blocker that did not have a generic available and it is $300 a month, but with coupon I paid $132 for 3 month supply. A generic has come out so there is no longer a coupon and my insurance will not pay for the generic. My doctor has prescribed a different medicine to try and it was $6.18 for a month. It is not working as well so far, but I can’t pay the other price and would love to able to get off the medicine. I can be sitting upright and bile comes up in my mouth. One thing I am going to try is make dill pickles and eat a pickle every day.
    ***I got two pecks of peaches last week that were 2nds for $10 each. I canned jam, froze diced peaches, froze 4 ice cube trays of juice to add to tea and smoothies, and composted the skins. I have saved 5 pits to try to grow trees.
    ***A friend gave me 6 tomato plants. two pepper plants, and two eggplant plants. My husband’s coworker gave us a bag of yellow squash.
    ***I got a pail of strawberries and froze half and put half in a contrainer for fresh eating. I also got a quart of local blossom honey
    ***At garage sales I got 4 plastic canning jar bins so you can protect and stack jars. I got 3 dozen jars. And 7 skiens of yarn for $1 each.
    ***I have been wanting a nice upholstered arm chair for our bedroom in a natural color. I got two off Marketplace for $150. I put one in the guest room.
    ***I have groomed the two dogs myself saving $130 each th3y charge for Goldendoodles.
    ***My husband built a platform and connected two rain barrels to the drain pipe. Our lawn water bill was $80 last month. It is on a seperate meter that doesn’t charge sewage, so this was outrageous.
    ***I have made smashburgers, lasagna I had frozen. grilled pork chops, grilled chicken, and pizza this week, trying to use what I have. I vacuum sealed pecans from Sam’s in small portions and froze.

    1. Your water rates are much less than ours! It’s good that you can use rain barrels.

      I am sure you are loving those chairs! How nice!

    2. I have also been on acid blockers for years. One thing that helps me immensely is drinking alkaline water regularly. I especially make sure to drink it with things that I know cause issues for me (pizza, pasta with red sauce, spicy foods -which I LOVE and eat often – etc.) It has made a huge difference for me. I buy mine from a local source, but you can make your own by mixing 1/3 tsp baking soda in 8 oz water, or by purchasing alkalizing mineral stones.

      1. Baking soda in water is such a handy heartburn relief tool! I’ve used it for middle of the night heartburn before, after learning about the trick 20 years ago from an old black and white movie. But it can raise sodium levels, so I wouldn’t drink tooooo much of it, just FYI.

    3. Bama Holly,
      I know this is going to sound strange but give it a try. I was having SERIOUS issues and on an acid blocker as well. I read online somewhere that drinking homemade (not store bought) milk keifer would help with the reflux issues. I ordered some milk keifer grains and made it(it’s super easy). After about 10 days of drinking keifer smoothies daily I no longer needed any kind of medicine for my issues. I have been doing this for about a year now and haven’t looked back! It’s a true miracle for me! Try it!!!

      1. Brenda, would you be able to share your recipe and where you get the milk kefir grains please? Thanks!

        1. I’m not Brenda, but I have bought kefir starters from Cultures for Health. The website has great step by step instructions on making all sorts of fermented foods.
          https://shop.culturesforhealth.com/
          Although they appear to be sold out of milk kefir grains at the moment.
          They also sell them on the Kombucha Kamp website, although the price seems rather expensive to me:
          https://www.kombuchakamp.com/milk-kefir-grains.html

          You might also look for a local source, maybe Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor or Freecycle. Years ago, I bought some on Craigslist. When I was making milk kefir regularly, I would give away extra grains for free to anyone who wanted them.
          Good luck!

    4. Have you checked with GoodRx, Costco or Sam’s for their prices on your medication? I always cost-compare between three to see if I can get my husband’s Rx’s cheaper than a traditional pharmacy.

    5. Holly, if the drug happens to be Dexilant, you can order the generic version through affordablerxmeds dot com (be sure to include rx in the URL) for about $85 plus postage for 100 capsules, which is how I get it. Also, did you find out how much the generic would cost if you didn’t run it through insurance?

      1. it is Dexilant! The generic was $289 for 3 month out of pocket. If I can’t get relief through the one I am trying I will see about getting it through where you mentioned. thanks

        1. Don’t laugh…I just knew it was Dexilant! You will need a written Rx to order and, if you wish, you can have the entire prescription–including refills–filled at one time.

    6. Bama Holly,
      You can save the pits and skins to make peach jelly! You put all pits and skins in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Cover and leave to sit at least 8 hours or over night. Press the peels lightly through a strainer after you take them out of the liquid to give it more flavor.Then you use this liquid to make jelly. It is easy and delicious. I make it every year.

    7. Baka Holly, would you mind sharing where you got your peaches? My DIL and family live there in Madisonand she would gladly drive to get some at that price!

    8. My son had acid reflux and they put him on the RX for it. Not covered. A friend suggested Aloe Vera Juice and Capsules. The juice worked right away, but he disliked it so much. I found Capsules on Amazon for $10 and they worked great. His Acid Reflux is gone, ulcer healed.

  5. The agapanthus are so pretty. I’ve been thinking of you, with the heat dome that is occurring, and saw Las Vegas had broke a record, among other places. It’s arriving here this week. Last week, I canned vegetable broth on a cooler day (low 80’s). While stopping at a thrift store, I found a lovely vintage gateleg table. I’d wanted to find narrow tables for two spots in my home, and this one will be perfect, plus add seating for 6 when needed. I bought beets at a co-op, which had lovely greens on them. I bought the beets to make apple beet salad, but then sauteed the greens with garlic and broth. I haven’t always been good about cooking the greens. Though they’d previously been added to the compost, as they’re food we can eat, I’m wanting to decrease any waste I can these days. I found sales on organic peanut butter and raisins at Harris Teeter, and topped up the pantry. My husband and I strung up the tromboncino trellis, and the part of the bean row that has beans growing nicely. The rest of the row has now been planted three times, deeper this time. Apparently something is eating them, as there is no sign of the beans. We now have little cucumbers, some peppers, and lots of tomatoes. We’re so looking forward to beginning the harvest. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/06/flowers-of-june-vintage-treasure.html

    1. Pill bugs will eat green bean seedlings within two hours of germination. I have seen it happen in my garden and I know others who have the same issue. They’re a real pes, no matter that they’re supposed to only eat decaying matter. They treat green bean seedlings like they are a delicacy.

      1. I cut the cardboard tubes from TP into thirds. Then I put the tubes into the ground with about an inch above ground. Then I plant my pea seeds inside the tubes. The pill bugs don’t seem to want to climb up and over the cardboard. YMMV

        1. I have heard of this.

          I covered mine completely with glass jars but they still ate them so I don’t know.

          I now treat them like squash bugs and kill any I see.

          1. Ant powder seems to kill them, they eat our cucumber plants and are a real pest in the greenhouse

            1. I have used diatomaceous earth for ants but have has no luck killing pill bugs with them.

              I don’t know what product you mean by ant powder but the poisons I have seen for ants and used for ants with no success is what I think you mean.

              Thankfully for me, the garden renovation cut down on the problem, save in the beds we left in place. I am judiciously smashing any I find now.

  6. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted but we’ve just been keeping on keeping on. Our van is diesel and we’re paying $5.69/gallon here in Western Maryland. That makes frequent trips out much more rare (especially since we live in the country and it costs a gallon of fuel just to get to a store or church, etc.) There are still some deals to be had, but it seems like I’m working harder for them! My husband purchased barrels and installed them for rainwater catchment. That should allow us to use less electricity in running the pump to water the garden. I’ve been line drying laundry whenever possible. I’m working on canning as much from our freezers as I can so that I can turn one of them off temporarily. Friends of ours have seen a 40% increase in their energy prices and I assume we’ll see something similar soon. I used all of my gift cards earned through Crowd Tap for more jars and canning lids. I also used the cash back I earned through instacart to buy (4) 12 packs of toilet paper and a 6 pack of paper towels for only $5 out of pocket. The garden is coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to seeing a decent harvest soon (so far I’ve harvested some lettuce and radishes). The chickens continue to lay, though they’re getting older and laying as well as they used to. We’ve been averaging 8-10 eggs a day from 19 hens. We’re rationing eggs more than usual but I’m still thankful to have what we do. My husband has been very helpful in encouraging me to avoid food waste. And he’s been happily consuming more low/no meat and frugal meals. One thing I want to learn this year is seed saving. If anyone has any recommendations or resources, let me know!

  7. The last week has been all about working in the yard and in the garden. I love both of these tasks but they are exhausting especially when it is 90+ degrees outside. We accomplished quite a lot and I am very happy to see the progress being made. We cleared all of our flowers beds of old pine straw and added dirt and mulch back to the beds. The pine straw we moved to a section of the yard where grass is no longer growing as the trees have now matured. This particular area already has a wooded bed so adding the straw expanded that area and improved the overall look of our yard without much cost. We pulled out several dead bushes and pruned/weeded several areas – all of the dead branches went into the firepit area rather than being hauled to the dump where we would have to pay to dispose of them. We installed flower garden areas along the backside of our home and I sowed seeds for a variety of Zinnias, Snapdragons, Marigolds, Stock, and Bells of Ireland. The plantings look lovely on the back of our home and I am excited to grow flowers that will drive pollinators to our garden & have fresh flowers for our home. Many of the seeds germinated within a couple of days and I am so excited to see how they do!
    We have a crape myrtle tree on the side of our home that someone brutally pruned last winter. It has put off at least 8 shoots for new trees and the blooms are purple which is my favorite! I will be pulling those new shoots and replanting them in our yard for lovely free trees and color.
    I am delighted to say that almost all the seeds we planted in our garden have germinated and our growing beautifully. We had a large rain storm come through which caused some seeds to wash out so I will reseed some of our okra and green beans to make up for that. I also planted two rows of corn this weekend – I have never had success with growing corn but I am trying again. We fertilized the garden early last week before the rain came and I also fed the plants this weekend and watered it well. We harvested the first few Sun Gold tomatoes from our garden as well as a few green peppers.
    Although I knew that higher prices and inflation were coming I continue to be astonished at the grocery stores. I admit that I find grocery shopping to be a very stressful experience now and I typically love grocery shopping and meal planning. I found 18 eggs for $3.40/each and as that is the lowest price I have seen in more months than I can count, I stocked up. I cooked the last turkey from our freezer which gave us several meals and we put some in the freezer for later. I made chicken tacos for us this weekend as it was an easy meal that we could grab as needed and made a lot from a little. I supplemented the chicken with black beans and rice and this had fed us plus extended family over several days. I am a big fan of batch cooking as I find it stretches ingredients and time.
    Gas prices continue to soar and we are staying home. I am combining all errands and trips to ensure that when we do go out we are as efficient as we can possibly be. Our electric bill doubled overnight with the summer rate increase. The thermostats were adjusted and we are trying to keep everything turned off as much as possible.
    I hope that everyone enjoys the week ahead!

  8. Beautiful photos! I’m glad you enjoyed a date outing and made smart use of the gift card.

    This week I mended and hemmed.

    Small gifts I wish to make I sorted out each and project and placed each in a small box so it’s ready to grab and work on when there is time.
    I picked kale, salad greens and herbs from my garden.
    Making iced coffee at home to enjoy on my work days. I had a bunch of free iced coffee coupons and have now run out.

    Our utilities have once again raised rates or added a fuel surcharge. I’m still able to put money into savings and count blessings each time I can. I am truly grateful for this post each week.

    Wishing everyone a calm week.

  9. I found tw0 books at the library that may be of interest to others. “The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle” is by Jennifer Ryan, author of “The Kitchen Front.” It follows several women in England during WWII, (the format she has used before), focusing on the challenge of finding clothing when everything was rationed or just plain unavailable and the varying ideas of what fashion could be.
    “Bloomsbury Girls” by Natalie Jenner is set in London, 1950, centered around a book store and the people who work there. Lots of insights into being a woman at that post-war time and surprising appearances by real authors and historical characters. It follows one of the characters from “The Jane Austen Society”, which I hadn’t read, but stands alone.
    Looking forward to tomorrow, as I have saved “The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker” to read in the waiting room. I am the driver for someone having an outpatient procedure. Am in awe of what eye surgeons can do!
    Remembered to call the insurance agent and drop the annual driving mileage on my husband’s truck to only a few thousand miles. It is close to twenty years old and still runs well, though we don’t take it out of town. Might get a few dollars discount. We already have discounts for multi-vehicle, multi-policy (same company has our house), accident free, vehicle safety, and length of time with the same company, which cut our three premiums (car, truck, house) down by about a third. I sometimes think of that when I see the “compare your insurance rates” commercials: would another company meet that?
    A friend sent me a video about what to do after being exposed to poison ivy. Using soap, Dawn, or Technu (commercial product) to get the oil off is important, but the key is to scrub, long and hard with a washcloth, so all the urushiol oil is removed. The comparison was to washing off black motor oil, and do so at least three times.
    My Ukrainian nephew, (married my American niece when they were both doing mission work there several years ago, are living in the US now), is going to Turkey to help with a Christian summer camp for Ukrainian orphans. How important it is to make special times during crises!

    1. My husband must have watched the same video about poison ivy this week! He was telling me about that too!

    2. I have the Bloomsbury Girls on hold and I have just added “The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle” so thank you for that suggestion. The new Dahlias still isn’t in at my library – I’ll wait for a couple of more weeks but if it doesn’t show up I may need to buy myself a copy!

    3. I really enjoyed the Wedding Dress Sewing Circle. That author seems to specialize in a period I am interested in reading about.

  10. Good morning! Brandy, I had no idea those purple flowers are Lily of the Nile. We had those in one of our backyards in Cali around the pool. They were so pretty and hearty. Can’t imagine how many times they got hit with a wayward ball! And the Bells of Ireland….just gorgeous! We have quite a wait for tomatoes yet.

    Let’s see…
    * We had 50¢ off per gallon of gas at the market station so we took both cars and filled them. Paid about $4 per gallon but that’s already jumped again quite a bit.
    * We had another partial week of rain and cool morning temps so that was great. Our water bill was at the base charge this month, which is about $50/3750 gals. for anyone interested. We buy our water from another city so it’s expensive.
    * Bought the limit of 5 of the loss leaders we use, including pasta sauce, blueberries, vine tomatoes, milk, ànd brownie mix.
    * Our church did a trivia night so we had a fun date out.
    * Husband got a free burger text from a local place and used that between jobs so he could take a smaller lunch.
    * Found 25¢ bottles of hand soap in clearance. Bought 10. They were giving away big bottles of sanitizer to each person so we got 2.
    * All the normal stuff I’ve told you!
    Still decluttering from everywhere. Gave some Cabbage Patch doll clothes to a little girl at church and she was thrilled! She especially loved the purple ‘fur’ coat! We’re expecting 100s all week so we’re gonna start on the basement since it’ll only be about 70 down there. We’re turning my former craft room into the guest room that used to be upstairs.
    Reading:. I’m in between some stuff and have library holds.
    On my nightstand: finishing up a Midwest Living magazine.
    In my craft room CD player – First Family by David Baldacci.
    With my Bible study – Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George.
    By my reading chair – ??? So it’s a NYT Sunday
    Good week to all! Looking forward to seeing what everyone is doing!

  11. Hi Everyone!
    Started using Upside thanks to another reader! We drive a lot of our business so I am looking forward to the savings.

    Trying to use up some close to expiring or recently expired things in our food storage including peanut butter and graham crackers. Made Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars and my family is in love with them. In addition to tasting great there is no cooking involved so it’s perfect for hot weather! Here’s a link: https://insanelygoodrecipes.com/lunch-lady-peanut-butter-bars/

    Eating mostly out of our food storage and only spending $30 per week on groceries to fill in holes. This week I was able to get a box of fruit and veggies from flashfood for $4. Keeping recipes and meals simple is helping the budget as well as accepting dinner invitations from my parents and in-laws. They are both inviting us weekly and it’s nice to share a meal and visit.

    We have been able to keep the AC off last week. This week we will hit 90 so I am unsure how long we can hold off but a whole week in June with no AC is great! Our electric company charges more in the summer for electric M-F 2-7pm. So I have been making sure not to use the dishwasher, washer, dryer, etc during those hours to keep the bill low.

    We changed cell phone carriers from Republic to Mint Mobile. Republic is low cost but the service has become very spotty. Mint is working so much better and it’s only $15 per month per line. The catch is you have to pay upfront but that’s ok. If anyone wants to switch you get $15 free with this link: http://fbuy.me/tM9aP. They also have a free 7 day trial. My parents told me they paid $40 per month per line and I was so surprised people still pay that much!

    Using the library a lot these days! Signed up for summer reading for me and both kids. We’ve been going once a week and putting lots of books on hold during the week so we are sure to get everything we want/need in one trip per week to save gas.

    Kids have summer camp this week and we are sharing the driving with friends to save money.

    Meijer has shoes BOGO for a $1. My husband needed new tennis shoes so did my daughter so they were able to both get a pair of name brand shoes for the cost of one. Meijer also had winter clothes 90% off. I purchased about 8 items each for less than $2 each!

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. Corey- We always keep 3 pairs each of tennis shoes. But before you gasp- 1 pair for wearing out in public to “nice” events. 1 pair that are “good enough” for public things like grocery shopping. And the final pair are only worn outside at home for yard work and “mucky” jobs!
      So when we saw that Meijers was having their annual shoe sale this week, Hubs went over and bought 2 pairs of Sketchers for himself and 2 pairs of Sketchers Foamies for me. Only 1 pair will be rotated into the queue for each of us because our “ mucky” yard work pairs are literally falling apart! The second new pair will be in the closet for the future.

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. I love that. When I was in high school, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we used the term “tennies”. But I haven’t heard it used in decades.

      1. That’s a great idea Gardenpat! We currently rotate two pairs one for going out and another for work. We should add in another pair as funds allow. Glad to see you back!

      2. Similarly, we rotate our workout shoes. New trainers are for higher impact workouts while the shock absorbers cushion joints. When that wears out they are used for weightlifting workouts because those are low impact and then they finally become garden shoes.👟

  12. Gas at the cheapest place was $4.48 gallon in college town (and went up one cent the next day after I filled up) to $4.89 gallon two hours south. I signed up through a grant program in my work town, available to all residents, to have my sewer lines replaced for free. The town is very flat, and when it rains it floods my back yard, as well as most of the town, the smell from the sewer is awful. I am hoping this will fix or help reduce that problem. I boiled eggs, and ate a tomato and sliced egg sandwich with mayo for breakfast in the morning. I will be eating tomato sandwiches, at night this week, alternating using up the last of the hot dogs (and using sandwich bread I have as a bun) along with coleslaw I made. I will be eating peanut butter sandwiches at lunch during work week. I walked last week at the local parks and in the neighborhood. I made my middle son a large hamburger, onion, cheese, and rice casserole, and he ate that the entire weekend. He ate most of the spinach as sauteed spinach. I ate a fried rice with one egg, spinach, onion, and tomato dish. I bought bananas. It is supposed to reach heat indexes of 110 to 113 this week. I try very hard to keep the air off, or to a minimal, during the summertime, since my house is shaded. I can tolerate heat fairly well if I have shade. Since I have a lot of work this week to do before I fly to see daughter next week, I will probably be working my part time job almost full time this week, and turning on the air for a couple of hours at night only at home. That should save some money during this heat wave. Y’all have a great week!

  13. Brandy, I love the bells of Ireland. I had never seen them before the photos you posted today (and previously) from your garden.
    We have flowers on the tomato plants and small berries on the blueberry bushes. The spinach has not taken off and we have only a little lettuce. Sigh.
    I bought blueberries at $1.88/pint and strawberries 2/$5.00. Olive oil was on sale, 48 oz. for $6.99 so I got 2 extra bottles. It’s hard to guess how long it will keep during the summer, although I put it on the basement shelves where it’s a little cooler.
    I bought 2 dinner plates ($1.80 each) and 2 little bowls ($1.20 each) at BB&B. They are lemon-patterned. Frivolous, but they will inexpensively brighten our summer dinners.
    I am reading “The Bangalore Detectives Club” by Harini Nagendra on my library app. So far, I really like it.
    I am trying out some free livestream exercises on Senior Planet. The classes are geared toward 60+ and the morning stretch is good for me. I hope to log on for Feldenkrais to see how that goes. It’s described as “gentle movements for life.”
    I look forward to reading all the comments and wish everyone a good week!

  14. Beautiful pictures, as always!

    My adult daughter is developmentally disabled and lives with another family (to build independence) for half of every week. She was gone all last week on an Alaskan cruise with them.

    On Tuesday, I came down with a virus (fortunately, not THE virus) and was sick all week. The sore throat morphed into a bad cough, but the real issue was that I have been completely exhausted…and still am. I follow Annabel’s “The Bluebirds are Nesting…on the Farm” blog and she really encourages preparedness for reasons big and small. Last fall she did a series that encouraged me to make and freeze 7 ready meals. I eat one occasionally and rotate fresh meals in. I was really glad to have ready-to-eat food last week when I was too sick to cook. I made my first real meal Sunday and cooked double so I could start replacing the meals we ate. I also love having a cooked meal available when I just don’t feel like cooking!

    We had a few 70-ish days and rain off and on. My garden is finally up! I haven’t had to water at all.

    One thing about not feeling well–I was too sick to go anywhere, do anything or buy anything! Very frugal!

    1. So nice that your daughter went on an Alaskan cruise. I hope she saw wonderful new places and wildlife! And the timing with you getting sick was probably better for both of you. Wishing you good health and lots of rest.

      1. Thank you. Our family actually made this same trip on the Alaska Marine Highway (state ferry system) when she was in high school and it’s one of the best trips we ever took. You can also buy tickets point-to-point, get off one ship and get back on another to continue the journey (we did this in Juneau and Skagway). It was a great trip and a cheap way to “cruise” to Alaska. Of course, you don’t have unlimited buffets on the ferry…but the scenery is exactly the same, and it’s spectacular!

        1. I had never heard of the Alaska Marine Highway. Just bookmarked the website for further exploration. It sounds amazing and BTW, I hate buffets.
          Thank you.

        2. Thanks for mentioning this ! We’ve been wanting to see Alaska and we’re planning a cruise before Covid. This sounds like a great option that I hadn’t heard of before!

  15. My green onions I had in water pretty much came to their end of life. I chopped them up and put in my freezer bag of veggie scraps to make broth with.

    I used only half a pound of fettuccine noodles for Alfredo. Everyone prefers it saucy, so now I’ll have noodles for another time.

    Used a code for a free redbox rental

    It was kind of a slow week, mostly was at work, so we saved money by not spending anything and staying home.

  16. Beautiful photos as usual Brandy! How generous of your neighbours and how wonderful that you and your husband could enjoy a lovely meal out and still save with the meals now in the freezer – that was great planning.
    .Worked from home two days last week so saved on transit fares
    .Was stuck at home over the first weekend in June as the subway was closed at my end of town due to scheduled repairs – saved on transit fares
    .Switched things up with my cable co. to save money – although this has not gone smoothly and will require more phone calls this week!
    .Groceries for the week were just a bit of fruit & veg, a loaf of expensive but delicious bread from Cobb’s and a litre of milk

    .Pantry was added to with sale prices on tuna and Staggs chilli (lots of varieties) plus finally found a Fray Bentos tinned pie in one store that stocks British foods. I used to love the steak & kidney pies but this is the cheese & onion one. I’m going to ask the British readers for their opinion on whether or not it is worth stocking more (of any variety) as I have heard that the quality is just not the same anymore. They are quite pricy here but thought that they would make an interesting addition to my long term storage.

    .Enjoyed a lovely tea after church yesterday as one of our staff is retiring. I had ordered a veggie tray, a variety of small sandwiches, cookies and squares, along with a cake and there was plenty. It meant that I settled for a bowl of cereal and fruit for my supper last night – no need for anything more.

    It was a bit of a spendy week socially as I treated two friends to belated birthday lunches and went half in with another friend to treat a third to coffee and dessert for her birthday – can’t begrudge it though as it’s been so long since we have been able to do this and I did have the funds set aside. It just seems strange spending money on this sort of thing after not doing it for the past couple of years. I have some other social engagements booked over the next few weeks so will put the money aside for those days, enjoy them, but try not to overdo it. I am not taking any kind of vacation this year (other than maybe one overnight trip later in the year) so I am counting these days as mini vacations.

    We just received notice about our theatre subscription for next season (we have been on the one we paid for in 2019) and the price has certainly jumped! But – again, this is something that I budget for each year and I will continue as long as I can manage it. I’m not a big clothes or shoes shopper and my furniture is all something I’ve had for years or small things that I save for as needed. I am very much someone who will pay for experiences over stuff.

    I have filled the two bins I bought to contain canned and packaged food post 2024 so I am now going to concentrate on using up the 2022 and 2023 items in my main pantry – I want to be sure to use things up properly and not waste anything. This will allow me to save money out of my current food budget to go towards those future increases. I will continue to keep my eyes open for really good deals (still some available) but will cut back for now.

    Stores here are still well stocked – there might be the occasional gap on a shelf for a day or two but then the item seems to turn up with the next delivery. Eggs still seem to be fine – bought my usual organic dozen for $4.49 yesterday and this hasn’t changed at the small store I buy from in the past six months. The Milk Board has apparently lobbied for another increase on dairy items so I expect this will show up in the stores shortly. I will continue to mix powdered milk with regular (there does seem to be many more packages of dried milk in my local store these days so demand must be up) – use up one or two varieties of cheese before buying anymore, and use butter judiciously (I don’t use margarine but I also eat limited amounts of bread) so I can stretch it and I have about 5# in the freezer so I do stay ahead of the game.

    I hope that everyone has a wonderful week and I do hope that we hear from Garden Pat soon.

    1. Margie from Toronto- that’s so sweet that you were worried about my absence. With all the commenters, I didn’t think anyone would really notice! We’re home now and with the incredible heat wave that began today, I suspect we will be homebodies! I’m trying to find indoor things to keep me busy now!

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. Hi Margie
      I used to eat Fray Bentos pies at uni before Noah came off the Ark but haven’t eaten any since. Hopefully another reader from the UK might be able to help.

    3. We used Fray Bentos meat pies in the caravan, there is not a lot of meat in them but they are good for a quick dinner. Fray Bentos do tins of stewed beef and minced beef both are OK and good as a filler if you can’t wait for a meal. Al are a £1 here so fairly cheap

      1. Thanks Penny & Chris – I’ll try to pick up a couple of the meat ones if I run across them. They are around $8 here!!!!!!!

  17. My husband and I budget every year to take our small travel trailer on a summer road trip. We begin planning our trip in January which allows us to pay for part of the trip in advance. Our original plan this year was to travel from our home in CA to Tennessee, but with some home repairs on the horizon, we decided to stick to the west coast and travel to Oregon instead. With gas prices so extremely high right now, we are grateful that we planned a shorter trip! One benefit of traveling with an RV is that we can make all of our meals and not eat out. This saves a ton of money. That being said, I’ve spent this week preparing meals for the trip. I made and froze a batch of breakfast burritos, hamburgers, and chicken. We’ve recently had a Super Walmart open close to us which has helped save on gas when running errands because I can pick up more things in one place. I opened windows in the morning to cool down the house. I groomed the dog myself saving about $65. We replaced 20 year old carpet in our bedroom and saved by tearing out the old carpet and pad and prepping the floor ourselves. We also used a voucher from the city to make a free dump run to dispose of the old carpet.

  18. • We are now harvesting zucchini from the garden, as well as kale, lettuce, swiss chard, herbs and blackberries. We are still watering with rainwater from our rain barrels. That feels amazing for June!
    • We picked up free pizza at Safeway doing this errand by bike.
    • I did a whole bunch of ebay listings. Sales have been super slow. Does anyone else sell on ebay and if so, have you noticed this?
    • I spray painted a free patio table for our kids new house.
    • We walked to the mailbox to do a return and brought home a sheet of pegboard that someone had put out for free.
    • I rearranged the living room and ‘styled’ the double bookcases we have. It feels so fresh and new for absolutely no cost. I’ve also done some extra cleaning. My husband is a high school teacher and he’s on vacation for a month so he helps more in the house which frees me up to do some additional maintenance tasks. My husband is also getting the oil changed in both cars, using coupons, it’s actually cheaper than buying the oil and doing it himself.

    1. Kara, I sell on Etsy…Halloween costumes. The last couple of years have been tough. I have noticed fewer people even looking at my shop this year. I have been selling well for 10 years. It is scary.

  19. Beautiful photos, Brandy! You have a great eye for photography.

    We have been dealing with very intense heat here in north Texas. This type of heat is typical in later summer – maybe late July or August – but it is very early this year. We are over 100 on a daily basis with humidity around 60-80%, cooling down into the 80s at night, with heat and extreme heat advisories almost daily. We are doing what we can at home – keeping the blinds and drapes closed, turning the central air up to 79 when not home during the day, 76-77 when we are home in the evenings, and using fans. I am trying to use our oven less and make more meals in the slow cooker and air fryer oven to avoid heating up the kitchen. We switched our electric plan over to a lower rate plan not long ago, so hopefully that will make a difference in the bill.

    Frugal wins this past week: My tomatoes are going crazy, I’ve been harvesting several each day. They seem to love the heat so long as I keep them well-watered. I’ve made pico de gallo and enjoyed them on sandwiches, and am going to try some no-peel marinara sauce in my slow cooker. We purchased a Sam’s Club membership – they were running a special that if you bought the membership, you got $45 off in-club, which basically made the membership free. We used to have a membership there, but had let it lapse for a couple of years. We also have a Costco membership, but Sam’s carries a lot of grocery items they do not, and with the way inflation is going we wanted to be able to access the best prices. We purchased several items there, and found several prices much better than what we’ve been paying elsewhere. We found lean ground beef on markdown (I had forgotten that Sam’s marks down their meat!), so purchased 6 lbs and put in the freezer. I filled up my car with gas there and paid $5.01 for supreme. We get all of our gas at Costco or now Sam’s, because they are cheaper than everywhere else in town. We found canned chili (no beans) on clearance at another grocery store, and picked up a few cans to keep in the pantry. We paid off all of our credit cards. I did a manicure and pedicure at home. We cooked and ate most meals at home, and took our lunches to work. I received a nice raise at work. We enjoyed seeing a bluegrass trio at church.

    1. Pam, I’ve never seen marked down meat at Sam’s. Where do they hide it?! Any particular day? Ours doesn’t even seem to have a markdown section of any sort that I can find.

      1. Hi Debby,
        Sam’s marks down meats early so you have to go when the first open. You will see it on ground beef more than other meats. At our store, they leave it where it usually goes and not in a special location.

  20. Brandy, I love your pictures! I’d love to see the shorts you made for your son out of your husband’s trousers – how inventive! Not much on the frugal front this week. We worked in the garden; neighborhood rabbits are a menace! Any suggestions for how to deter them from eating our tender new plants? I’ve had a few strawberries from our backyard plants. My husband and son went to an Order of the Rainbow work weekend, so I was home alone. I made a pot of chicken Alfredo on Friday night; my son had some before they left, and I ate it Friday, twice on Saturday, and on Sunday for breakfast! LOL No waste, and now I’ve had my fill until their next trip. I did go to the movies with my daughter and her husband on Saturday. They bought candy at the Dollar Tree to take, and I bought the snacks there since they bought my ticket. I used rebate cards that I had received back, so it was just $6 for all of our snacks OOP. I found some riced cauliflower on clearance, which I will use to make cheeseburger soup for my son and I. I finished three books over the weekend and got quite a bit of straightening done around the house while I was home alone. Possibly because our TV died on Friday night, and we didn’t replace it until Sunday, but we did manage to find a Roku tv on clearance for less than $200.

  21. What a great deal you got from buying the to go meals. Your neighbor blessed you again and again 😊

    My husband likes to add frozen blueberries or strawberries to yogurt, along with granola, for breakfast on occasion. I realized we’d reached the last of the frozen fruit, and this weekend I stumbled on strawberries on sale for $.99/pound. I bought 10 pounds and finished putting them up this morning. I was hoping to harvest blueberries (from property we help tend and is owned by my mom 2 hours north) but learned that she’d offered them to her cousin who lives in the area. I’d rather they go to people as opposed to the birds getting them first, but I do hope there’s a few left (there’s 6 huge shrubs about 8 feet tall that are basically left to fend for themselves as no one lives there full time). This morning I did harvest onions, bell peppers, some green beans, about a dozen tomatoes and a lot of cherry tomatoes from our garden (which we planted a week before we realized we’d be moving).

    We bought a house that sat empty for the last 3 years and are doing much of the work ourselves to make it livable again. Our plan is to move our things to the garage of the new house in the next couple weeks and basically camp out, in the a/c but on concrete floors for a few weeks, while selling our current house. Kitchen cabinets won’t be in until mid-July but I have a crockpot, electric skillet, toaster oven – several appliances that can be put to use (plus access to our current oven if necessary until the house sells – the two properties are about 10 minutes apart). There’s lots of painting to do, a couple of bathrooms to reconfigure, and flooring to replace. We’ve also found several ways to repurpose some things to help maintain the character of the new house. And it helps greatly that we have a plumber son and a roofer DIL to get free or family-plan pricing on repairs and labor. After 2 knee surgeries I’m so excited to be back in a one-story house!

  22. It’s been surprisingly cool here and I’m still harvesting spring crops, but the heat index is supposed to be 110 degrees tomorrow. It was 55 when I got up this morning, so major changes over the next 24 hours. I’m trying to plan meals for the next few days that won’t heat up the kitchen. Probably lots of salads and grilling.

    I’m picking anything that’s likely to bolt, like cilantro and mustard greens. I’ve also harvested lettuce, arugula, kale, green onions, dill and mint. The mint is being dried for tea. I also picked exactly 3 strawberries, then the rest were ruined by chipmunks. They take a single bite from each berry. So annoying!

    We tried the Too Good to Go app and got a bag of rescued baked goods for $5 from Panera. It was a great value – almost $20 worth of bagels and pastries. My daughter froze the bagels and has been using them to make sandwiches for her work lunches. Panera donates the money they get for these bags to the local food pantry, so I feel really good about doing this as an occasional treat.

    My husband decided to sell an old guitar and got a good price for it through an online musical instrument marketplace. He plays music for fun with friends at a couple of local spots and we use any tips he brings home for date nights.

    I set up the free worm bin I received last week and used torn, dampened cardboard for the bedding. The worms are eating the kitchen scraps I gave them and seem very happy!

    Stay cool, everyone!

  23. Beautiful photos, as always, Brandy. Glad you and you husband got to go on a date and super smart way to utilize that gift card! * I had a cold at the beginning of the week that got on top of me at the end of the week. Spent hours in the urgent care, but was able to get some antibiotics for very little out of pocket. I’m starting to pull out of it. Being under the weather led me to stay home more than usual (which is saying something for me..haha). I wasn’t able to cook dinner, but we were able to utilize many of the leftovers I’d frozen for exactly this reason. Hubby did great microwaving things and adding some veggies and fruit. We did have corn dogs, leftover from the grandkid visit, for two nights. Hopefully, I can start cooking again soon. *my team teacher at church dropped off a loaf of banana bread and get well cards from our class (5 & 6 year olds). That was sure a brightener.* Remembered to water (or remind another to water) our little deck garden. Things are growing, so that is good. It was cold so long that we planted late, so I was a bit worried. * To help my son arrest his excessive spending problem, he and I are doing a “no spend June”. He’s bringing his lunch to work and eating dinner when he gets home. This is revolutionary for him. It’s good for me to be more mindful of my habits too. *And, all the other usual things: library books, staying home, knitting and crochet from stash, watching comfort shows. I hope everyone has a safe and happy week.

  24. I gave myself a haircut, short with soft edges for summer. I’m very happy with it.

    I was disappointed with my electricity bill, which was $10 more than last month. I used a lot of hot water, I think. It was a couple of dollars less than the same month last year, and 5% less electricity used, so I am happy with that. The best news was that my annual property taxes have only gone up $6. My village utilities, including water and natural gas for heating, cost $24. more than the same month last year.

    No progress in stocking up groceries any more or getting really good deals. I am buying groceries each week when I can, just so I am not using up the grocery supplies I have. This week, I got chicken thighs at $3.98/lb (Cad.), striploin steak for my birthday at $5.98/lb, and cheddar and Monterey jack at $4.97 for a .85 lb.

    As Margie reports from Toronto, the grocery shelves are well-stocked here in northern Alberta. Locally, someone has bought up most of the frozen sole and the cheapest brand of butter. I will not panic, though. I have fish once a week and can keep going for a couple of months. Many alternatives exist to both if the store cannot restock quickly.

  25. The new Zealand spinach has two seeds next to each other on the stem(nes of the plant in every sprouting part, which either grow offshoots on the plant or drop seeds that form new spinach strands if all goes well.

  26. With the price of almost everything higher…I am struggling to make ends meet.
    I have cancelled most of my “extras”. I no longer pay for Audible. It is over $16.00 a month. It is worth the price if you read a lot which I do, but I can listen to the 58 books I already have.
    I don’t pay for extra TV channels anymore. I, also, cancelled my Prime books to read not listen to.
    I used Swagbucks to buy 2 gifts.
    I eat meat once or twice a week. It is too expensive for more often than that.
    I am canniblizing fabric from items we no longer want or use. I sew for a living and fabric is too much for quilting and small items.
    We are teaching the 2 grandkids some of the “old ways” to do things. Fix it yourself, if you can, is our new mantra for them. This is a good idea for everyone, but it hasn’t been something they were interested in before. Seeing that things aren’t getting any easier the kids are now willing to learn. The kids are 17 and 14. The youngest, Zayne, came in the other day and told me he had a job. He is working for a man that remodels homes. The man is teaching him everything he wants him to do. Salem (17) has come home to save money. He got my car inspected the other day and asked the owner of the garage for a job. The owner said if he would always show up for work and didn’t mind getting dirty he (the owner) would teach him what he had to know to work there. Both of these men know my husband and have seen the kids since they were small.
    I cancelled a short trip because gas is crazy priced.
    We sold our above ground pool to our neighbor. Not only do we no longer have to take care of it…the kids can still use it.
    I am still going through things I own. I haven’t gotten to my glassware yet…probably because I am finding it hard to sell them.

    1. Becky, the library has free e-audiobooks.

      I don’t have Prime, so I only order from Amazon when I meet the minimum for free shipping.

      YouTube (not subscription, just regular YouTube) has lots of television shows and movies that you can watch (check YouTube movies). Your library should have many more options, including ways to watch things online (so no gas to check out free movies from the library).

      I am happy that your sons found work. That’s important.

      We are limiting meat to only a couple of times a week too.

      1. Brandy, I live in a village of about a thousand…no real library.
        I do watch YouTube just not as much as I could.
        My grandsons are great guys and I am proud they decided on jobs.
        I am still hoping you will sell me some of your photos.
        I want to thank you again for all you share with us.

        1. Becky,

          I don’t have much time for television myself, so I don’t mind it much for me.

          But my husband uses YouTube movies and we have occasionally watched an old movie that way together.

          The youngest children watch a lot of shows that way. I particularly like:

          Numberblocks
          Alphablocks
          Rolie Polie Olie
          Stanley
          Backyardigans

          and there are some other shows too, such as

          Charlie and Lola

          Pbs.org has shows too. They are usually available one day after airing and then for 3 weeks after that.

          PBSKids has shows for children. They don’t have a lot at once but many can be found on YouTube.

          Last year, due to Covid, our library finally allowed people to sign up for a virtual library card online.

          Your closest city might have the same thing and allow you to sign up from home. Then you could access free audiobooks and television shows at home.

          Our library has changed offerings; they used to offer subscriptions to other programs than they do now, but I just found out yesterday that I can get subscriptions to several large newspapers online if I sign up through them, and these are ones I like to read but am always reaching the free limit. I am going to look into this.

          One of my children has a free account on Education.com from using the library’s sign up. The librarian just has to create the account and it’s
          all set up by email.

          I would see if you can sign up in the same way!

          1. Thank you for the library idea. The library is an hour away, but I will see if they allow out of towners to order.
            I reach the free limit on newspapers quickly also.
            The grands used to watch all of those shows.
            We are gardening again this year…and are planning an autumn garden too. I fear the food problems will only get worse.

            1. I think a fall garden is very wise.

              I definitely think food problems will get worse.

              I read today that a company that makes Sriracha sauce had their crop fail and there likely won’t be any sauce this year.

              It just takes a few crop failures.

            2. Becky, it distresses me to think of not having access to free books! So I started looking up ways you could get library books. Apparently Broward Co. library allows a card for digital items — I just tried it and was able to get one. https://broward.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default/search/registration/$N/SYMWS
              Once you get your temporary card number, you can use it to get books on Libby (there are so many!)
              If you don’t feel comfortable with that, and you have a friend/family member in another area with a good library, maybe they would allow you to share their login info.

              If by chance you live in TN, there is a TN Reads program where most TN libraries participate. Basically it’s like a shared database of free books — so the books don’t have to come from your local library. I find it especially helpful when I’m looking for a book or author my local library doesn’t usually have. Our city library is open to anyone who lives within a 50 mile radius, which is generous! The cities near us have similar policies, and some offer a card to anyone outside the area for a fee. Nashville offers a digital card for $10. https://library.nashville.org/get-card You might also be able to find a library within your region (or even your state) that can issue a free digital-only card. I used to do that for my 6th grade students…the card was valid until they graduated high school and could be used on ebooks, emagazines, etc. Anything digital. They did not have to go to the library to activate it, I just had to get parent permission. I looked on our city library website and it’s now available to anyone in our area. A library near you might offer something like that.

              Also, do your grandsons attend public school? Check out the school’s library to see if there are ebooks. Our school system has an excellent selection of ebooks and audiobooks available for students (and parents, if they use the student’s login).
              If you attend church or have a network of friends, maybe you could set up a book swap. Our little church also had a great library with books donated by members.

              I am passionate about books, can you tell? 🙂

              1. What great info, Dianna!
                The Brooklyn (NY) public library offers free a free “card”, with access to audio books, e-books, and online databases, to anyone in the U.S. between the ages of 13 and 21.
                For people of any age, holdings are open to anyone who lives in, works in, pays property taxes in, or goes to school in NY state.

  27. A busy and productive week! I love that you model to your kids that it is important to nuture your relationship with your husband, and that you can find inexpensive ways to do that.

    My frugal week:
    – ate lots of smoothies (http://approachingfood.com/raspberry-dreams-smoothie/- I harvested chives, basil, and cilantro from my balcony garden, and lettuce from my garden at my parent’s place. I planted more lettuce seeds.
    – did lots of the usual summer fun with my kids: picnics, playgrounds, splashpads, dandelion hunts, watching local construction, homemade popsicles, and running through the sprinkler.
    – took advantage of EarlyON programming (like free preschool where parents attend too) both indoors and out
    – made lots of homemade Uncrustables type sandwiches using my sandwich cutter (but I use high protein bread bought with a coupon, plus pb and ground flax). I stick them in the freezer and pull them out as needed.
    – contacted Indigo about an order I wasn’t happy with, and got a partial credit back.
    – used the FlashFood app to buy yoghurt tubes at half price, and then froze them as treats for my kids
    – I baked copycat Levain bakery chocolate chocolate chip cookies, and carrot muffins. I used fewer than recommended choc chips for the cookies, and made my own cake flour (regular flour less a bit plus a bit of corn starch). For the muffins, I grated up the last few baby carrots I had in my fridge, and bulked it up with grated apple (purchased at 50% off), and I used one less egg than recommended. I topped the muffins with turbinado sugar traded for a few years ago. Both turned out fabulously, and I gifted some of each.
    – got a free bar of chocolate from ikea, when my daughter did their 35th birthday scavenger hunt.
    – got a free photo enlargement (of him with his grandkids) from walmart using a promo code, which I will give to my father as part of his father’s day gift, in a nice frame from the Dollar store.
    – purchased peppers on markdown, 4 smaller ones for $1.50, which is pretty good. They’ll be great for veggie sticks for my kids, and if they start to turn, I’ll just turn them into stuffed peppers. I also stocked up on cheese on sale, which I freeze and defrost as needed.
    – I combined sales, coupons, and $20 worth of AirMiles redemption, to get two large cartons of milk, a package of cheese, 3 large yogurt drinks, and a 6 pack of kids yoghurt drinks, for $2.35 oop.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. My husband LOVES the Levain bakery chocolate chocolate chip cookies, which we made the mistake of trying once when we were in NYC. Nothing else compares. I have tried to find a copycat recipe, to no avail. I would be most thankful if you would share your receipe, as his birthday is in July and I would love to surprise him with some. At $69 to ship them here, I cannot afford to buy them from the source.

  28. As any teacher will tell you, this 2nd school year of pandemic was ROUGH. I needed a break, so took an impromptu trip to the beach. I found a condo for less than a hotel room, convinced a friend to go (that was easy!) and she paid the gas. It was a much needed refresh.
    On the homefront:
    I have been throwing vegetable seeds into every nook and cranny in my container and raised bed garden areas. I just finished the 2nd side of my raised bed garden (4×4 ft) and will plant it out either in the morning or evening in the next few days.
    Went to the farmers market on Saturday and got beautiful fresh veggies much cheaper than the store. (my garden isn’t producing much yet). The food bank was there collecting food as well, so I bought some for them as well.
    Combined errands this week. Got a few deals at the grocery stores. I have dehydrated frozen veggies from my freezer to make room for any meat deals I can find.
    Got gas at the local warehouse store station saving 30 cents a gallon.
    Keep up the good work ladies!

    1. I envy your farmers’ market prices. Our farmers’ market is wonderful but the prices are much higher than those at the grocery store. I try to buy there once a month to support local farmers, but that is about all I can afford on our retirement income. I know the prices are fair for their work but I have to balance trying to do things for the community with our budget.

      1. I saw an article yesterday that said that Farmer’s Markets are less expensive, and I thought no they are not!

        1. Completely agree with you and Mable & Brandy – Farmer’s Market’s here are always ridiculously expensive plus you do have to be careful. One of the investigative TV shows up here did a program about where some of this produce actually came from – especially things that are out of season when some of these markets are running. Turns out that many of the booth owners were simply going to the Ontario Food Terminal (the big central place close to where I live where all the produce gets distributed to the warehouses and stores) and buying their stuff there like any other store and then marking up the prices. Some outright lied when asked while others simply didn’t disclose where their veggies came from. I believe it can be found on Youtube.

          I will occasionally go to the Farmers Market down at St. Lawrence Market (they are still in the tents down on the Esplanade until the new building is completed) and buy from them. I find that a lot of the Toronto markets are very “yuppified” – no way am I ever paying $8 for a muffin – I don’t care how “healthy” it’s supposed to be!

          1. That is here. The sellers buy produce in bulk from California and mark it way up.

            Our farmer’s markets are mostly craft sellers, not food, too.

            1. Yes, that’s how our Farmers market has become too. Lots of craft vendors, a lady who dresses in crazy costumes selling very expensive cookies, breads and other goodies and not many people selling actual produce.

          2. I noticed this at our farmer’s market too — you could even see the wholesale boxes behind the tables of veggies. I always tried to buy from sellers who had obvious homegrown produce (think: the little old man in overalls with a table of bumpy squash and misshapen cucumbers). My husband told me that there are new guidelines about that now. We haven’t been to the farmer’s market in ages.

    2. Our Farmer’s Market has good prices also. I try every year to freeze or can something I haven’t done before for variety. The last couple years there are some farmers that are selling new to the market fruits and vegetables which have been good to try and put up. It has been helpful for me to learn to freeze some things at the height of the season and can them later when I have more time.

  29. The flowers are as lovely as always!

    I stopped at a thrift store and bought a few casual items of clothing to replace some that are just no longer wearable in public. I keep one old tee-shirt for painting, though. I don’t know how old it is, but my husband has recognized it as a freebie he received from a vendor when still working at a job he left in 1998.

    I made a double batch of kombucha, using the full amount of tea leaves on the first batch and adding half again that amount to the used tea leaves on the second batch. I try to do this every time.

    I finished moving the earthworms to their second bucket and I’m drying out the castings in the first bucket to use in my raised beds.

    I shredded some old white documents in my thrift store purchased cross-cut shredder, and added the shreds to the leaves, dirt and scraps in the worm bucket that the worms now occupy.

    I “baked” some pork chops in the Dutch oven on the stove top to keep from using the stove’s oven. I also used my toaster oven and slow cooker.

    I visited a family member in the nursing home after church, through the lunch hour. I made sure to bring a few snacks, so I wouldn’t be tempted to stop for food on my way home, which is an hour’s drive.

    I provided a link for a family member on a restricted income, so she could look at getting an MVNO phone plan for less than her current plan.

    We had a lot of sudden showers on the weekend, but I was able to hang dry over half of my laundry outside.

    Pet food has gone up, too. I always put half of the medium sized bag in a covered container then freeze the other half till later — this time I bought the largest bag as it was the lowest per pound price, and made room in the freezer for the 2/3’s of it that I’m not using right away.

    I made an order for my office through my Swagbucks account, but didn’t get Swagbucks credit for it. I filed a help ticket with a scan of my order receipt, and was awarded my Swagbucks . I’ve found I have to watch or I won’t get credit for some of my purchases. Since I had ordered almost $700 of logo work clothing for work, that was a lot of “bucks!”

    1. Jo, I love your tee shirt story! We’re the same way wearing our tees while there’s still goodness left in them. I washed some running clothes my daughter left after her last visit and one of the shirts was a “Mathlete” tee from an 8th grade competition about 15 years ago. I often see people running in the neighborhood wearing shirts from races in the past decades. It makes me smile to see kindred spirits. Hope your last-century tee shirt keeps serving you well!

      1. There’s no point in ruining another shirt with paint, right? It’s a poly-cotton blend and it’s hanging in there without tears or holes. I wore it this week in fact. I see people wearing old, dated tee-shirts, and it always makes me smile, too!

  30. Took another 5 day getaway to friends’ condo an hour away. They have cable channels I don’t and Netflix so I watched lots of tv at night. They won’t accept any money and I don’t want to be a total mooch so I loaded the condo up with paper products and left a gift card for a restaurant they enjoy. Total cost was less than one night for a hotel in this town. The condo is super insulated with ceiling fans in each room so I rarely used the a/c. Went to see and loved Top Gun Maverick. Senior price was an odd $8.03 and I had gift cards from pre-covid so it was like free. I had planned on going to see Downton Abbey the next day but had an afternoon nap instead. IMO Maverick would be more enjoyable on the big screen but Downton will be ok on dvd from library eventually. This town has 3 great thrift stores and one seems to get lots of brand new items donated from the local WM. I have never purchased any diapers in my life but one of the thrifts had brand new $9.50 packs of diapers for only $1.50 and they are exact size my grand-niece will wear soon. So after checking with baby’s parents I bought 3 packs for her. Condo is in college town and I was only person in residence in a building of 8 units so it was very quiet. I love greeting cards and continue to find great Hallmark ones for only 50 cents at $Tree. Checked out brand new Nora Roberts who is my favorite author from library. Hope to finish it today. Won a prize from summer reading program. It’s a backpack filled with art themed items. I’ll give the entire thing to my 11 yo niece as a happy.
    Even though I hate/rarely cook, would never garden and am child-free I really enjoy reading about the adventures in frugality that those of you who participate in such post about. Learn something new almost every week.

    1. TCR – I am so glad you commented. I am also childfree – on top of that, we are DINKS and live in a condo in a downtown metro area with 2 cars and 2 full-time careers. I feel like we definitely don’t fit in with a lot of the frugal lifestyle, but we do some gardening (patio, aerogarden), we shop sales/stock up, and we live frugally as much as we can. I grew up in extreme poverty, and my life has been a mix of “frugal out of necessity” and “frugal out of common sense.” 🙂 I love reading about everyone’s frugal adventures, even when they do not always align with my lifestyle. I get so many new ideas, or things I would never have thought of trying. One thing I love and appreciate about this blog and the comments section is that there is a place for everyone here. We are all at different stages of our life with different needs and lifestyles, but we all have in common that we love a good bargain and are trying to do the best that we can with what we have, and that crosses a lot of boundaries. 🙂

      1. Pam and TCR. My husband and I both had careers. We choose to live in the country as that is where we grew up and what we know, we both commuted to jobs ( thank goodness we aren’t now). But because we were diligent and frugal we both retired at 59. I encourage young people when I talk with them to put money away for retirement. There were times groceries bought were slim for the month because we made sure we put away our retirement money. This may sound drastic but my kids didn’t starve, actually they don’t remember times of cheaper meals. But they did see what we did and they are saving as well. Now I have more time for gardening, canning, sewing, reading, and whatever I want to do. Sometimes I think young people want their kids to have everything and they don’t save for the future. This is one thing I am passionate about! Can you tell?

        1. JulieT,
          My husband wants to retire early also but what about insurance? I have been doing research and man getting your own insurance is so expensive. Would love to hear your thoughts?

          1. Jenn: My husband and I are retired, in Indiana, and I have good health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, healthcare.gov Our income is low enough that I get significant credit each month for premiums. The cost is figured out when you apply and paid monthly like any other health policy, with any necessary adjustments made the following year when you file your taxes, (if income went up or down greatly from what it was when you applied).
            We are frugal and have no debt, so we haven’t tapped into all of our retirement income, (retirement plans, social security, IRA). The health insurance premiums are figured based on income, and pay no attention to assets, savings, investments.
            For tiny income, look at Healthy Indiana, which is Medicaid.
            This all stops at age 65 when Medicare kicks in, (husband is on Medicare), and Medicare is not free. Don’t be put off, though, by statistics like “A married couple will need $300,000+ for health care costs in retirement.” If that is divided over 30 years, it is $10,000 a year. which is still horrible, but something to plan for, rather than taking one giant hit all at once.
            Good luck!

            1. Heidi,
              Thank you for your answer. I called and talked to 3 different insurance brokers and felt like I got 3 different answers. It’s very frustrating. I asked the one man about your other assets like retirement accounts and he said they will take that into place. The other issue is that we still have a child in high school and one in college, that we obviously still cover and will for awhile longer until they at least graduate college. The rates they quoted seemd high. For right now my husband wants to leave his long time job and I was seeing what insurance options would be until he can get new insurance at a new job. This whole insurance thing is frustrating and confusing, especially when I feel like I cant get a straight answer.

              1. Jenn: I am sorry this is so frustrating for you and for us! Brokers should not make things more confusing. We got the name of one from our HR office who the director had worked with.
                Our biggest mistake was presuming that COBRA would be the least expensive option when our employer closed, (paying twice what our premiums were when employed). It was not, was comparably very expensive.
                Also, we were fortunate to have an HSA account while working to save to pay some expenses later.

              2. Jenn-my understanding is your payment is income based. Yes retirement pensions count at least in Minnesota. Our payment is based on gross income for the year. We are able to do this because savings aren’t income and we supplement this way until we file for social security. If you go over your estimated earnings you will pay it back at tax time. But be aware there is an amount you don’t want to go over because then the payback is increases greatly. My advice is to ask around and get some recommendations on brokers, make an appointment and actually have them plug the numbers into the computer. You will have a more solid answer. Good luck,

          2. I second what Heidi Louise said. We went to an insurance broker (free of charge and they lay out what your options are based on income, what drugs you need coverage for and what size deductible you want. Because of Affordable Care Act there may be some insurances that are more reasonable. My husband worked for the state but we got private insurance for a cheaper monthly price that what was offered to my husband upon retirement. We also both have HSA accounts. That is how we pay for the premiums. This will bridge the gap to Medicare coverage. Hope this helps.

            1. A quick chime in for visiting a health insurance broker. As a teacher, for years I had been “buying up” to premium health insurance wanting the “best” for my family. This year the increase was going to be outrageous. I would have been paying 1300 a month on top of the district paying $1100 for me. The broker showed me the savings of the HSA. Now I just pay $435 a month. same great coverage and I don’t have to worry about Out of Pocket Maximum because that is in a bank account with checks and a debit card waiting to be used. It is hard not to beat myself up about NOT doing it earlier.

  31. I am so looking forward to tomatoes. It has been so cold and rainy here, I hope we get some this year. Yours look delicious.
    We did finally get the garden in. Planted it between the raindrops it seems. Some things have come up. The dry beans, onions, chard and carrots all look great. Biggest concern, with seeds, is corn, cucumbers, squash, and green beans. Plants – peppers and tomatoes. We need some warmth. Our high is supposed to be 48 degrees today.
    We had a ham dinner this past weekend, with a spiral ham that I got at Winco about 6 weeks ago for 78¢ a pound. Had home canned pineapple, cauliflower and corn (from last year’s garden and in the freezer) to go along with it.
    Safeway has celery for $1.00 a bunch through tomorrow. I bought four, and chopped up the stalks. They are in the dehydrator for soup this winter when it is more expensive than $1.00. I chopped the leaves up and put them in the salad I made yesterday.
    I’m still going through things from my Mom’s house that I brought home with me. For example – I found the tax return my parents filed the year I was born. And I am 68 years old. since I am a CPA – I find this interesting. I also found a whole box of letters between my parents when my father was a pilot in the Army Air Corps during WWII. I am finding out things about my parents from when they were young. It is fascinating.
    Hope everyone has a productive and blessed week.

      1. Finding those letters and tax return is so wonderful to have. We found a 13 page letter our mother wrote to our dad when the were engaged during WWII. She kept adding to the letter until she got his mailing address. She scandalized us by mentioning it would be hard to get more hairpins due to rationing!

  32. I hope each of you are finding some great blessings.

    I was able to gift a daughter several plant starts.

    I utilized the entire oven the few times I did use it.

    I was able to redeem a few free items through Safeway rewards and also won $40 off by playing their new flavor adventure game on the app. There is a free alternate entry on the game by watching recipe videos.

    We watched any use of gasoline very carefully, even walking each day to our mailbox that’s 1.2 miles away.

    Have a wonderful week in spite of the craziness around us all 😊

  33. Hi everyone,
    Brandy, this week’s photos are gorgeous! May I ask which French language videos are you using? Do you have any others recommendations for learning French? Also, which hotels and restaurants would you/ the readers recommend in Boise, ID that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? We were planning to visit Idaho, and the prices of hotels have skyrocketed!!! Thank you, in advance, :).

      1. Thank you so much, Brandy, for taking the time to share it. I’ll start with the blog post, I find IG to be rather distracting ;D. Thanks again.

  34. Has anyone had luck starting ornamental grasses from seed? I want to cover a hillside (mowing it is dangerous) with blue fescue, but the plants are too expensive to cover the entire hill. Thought I’d try starting some flats next year to set out in the spring, but I’ll need to invest in grow lights, so I’m wondering just how possible it is!

    1. Have you considered honeysuckle or jasmine? My neighbors did this on a hillside when I was a child. It was wonderful.

    2. I have started blue fescue by seed twice. The first time I used the greenhouse Jiffy peat tray. The second time (right now actually) I am starting them under grow lights because I have them. Both methods have worked! The cheapest option might be to use some type of plastic produce container with a lid (strawberry or salad mix) and seeds starting soil. It acts like a mini greenhouse. Good luck with your project!

  35. Brandy your pictures are stunning!

    -I have the local grandkids this week as they are attending VBS at my church. So we are doing more baking and making more kid friendly meals, although these kids LOVE fruits and veggies. We just have to deal with lactose intolerance with all 3 and gluten intolerance for the oldest grand daughter as well. We are used to this and plan accordingly.
    -I spent time in the garden each day last week so weeding is all caught up and I will not need to be in the garden this week. Picking rhubarb, chives, asparagus, spinach, and baby onions.
    -Made a gluten free strawberry rhubarb crisp, rhubarb vinaigrette dressing for salad, doughnuts (not gluten free)-used up some applesauce and the two youngest grands loved them. We made gluten free strawberry scones for the oldest grand daughter.
    -I pulled 6 bags of strawberries from the freezer and canned 8 half pints of strawberry syrup. That leaves me 2 bags, made some gluten strawberry shortcake and some lactose free strawberry ice cream. Should be picking fresh strawberries in a couple of weeks.
    -Had leftover hash browns, scrambled eggs, and a sausage patty left from breakfast Saturday morning before the kids left. Made a couple of breakfast burritos for Sunday morning breakfast.
    -We had 4 meals of fresh caught fish this week. Enjoyable time fishing and something to show for it!
    -Only bought food items that were good buys- a large watermelon for $4.99, family pack of chicken legs for $0.79/lb (12 legs for $3.17), clearance ground beef for 2.75/lb package x 3, and a head of lettuce for $0.99.
    -I bought a 25# lug of Georgia peaches from the fruit truck to can. That will be done next week as they ripen.

    Have a great week!

  36. I love seeing the Bells of Ireland, I haven’t been able to find plants here and haven’t had luck starting from seed.
    I’ve been biking to work 1 day a week to save on gas and get extra exercise.
    We celebrated our wedding anniversary at home with steaks and fancy beers. Kids didn’t nap til it was too late for dinner. I did splurge on some locally made cupcakes. We also took some homemade cake to a party.
    My garden is planted for now, there are some bare spots I need to reseed. I’m using cedar wood chips this year, as was recommended to help with bug control. We’ve been enjoying some fresh lettuce and asparagus. I moved some asparagus that popped up from seed.
    Sold something on eBay and FB marketplace.
    I was able to find some grocery items on clearance- marshmallows, granola bars and unsweetened coconut. We’ve been enjoying the last of the green beans, peaches and pears we canned last summer. We’ve been baking sourdough, muffins and fruit bars. Tenants moved out of a rental and left a lot of canned goods, so I took them and kept some for myself, and gave some to family and friends.
    We went on vacation to a rather pricy spot. We stayed with family on the way but splurged to stay on the island for 2 nights. We packed a lot of food and drinks as we had a fridge, I even brought instant coffee to avoid the coffee shops. We didn’t buy any souvenirs and mostly enjoyed walking around exploring. I am happy to save on most things so I can travel to amazing places with our extended family.
    We met with a new accountant, which will hopefully save us some money and headaches. Our previous accountant was bought out by a huge conglomerate, and the service has gone downhill and the prices have skyrocketed.

    1. They need cold stratification. I planted seeds in the garden in January.

      Our accountant sold out to a new company and the prices quadrupled. We found someone new but had to wait to meet with them until later because they were full. They’re of retirement age too, so I don’t know if this is the right new solution for us for a long period of time. Our previous accountant, two accountants ago, was wonderful (and a previous IRS agent), but he retired and left the business to his daughters, who don’t do business accounts.

      1. Brandy, the long term solution is to get one of your kids interested in accounting. Ha! Ha! That is what we did with my husband’s son!

  37. Kudos Brandy and everyone else on your money saving ideas posted today. Thanks to all who post.
    -I was finally well enough yesterday for a quick trip to two grocery stores with my DH to stock up on sale priced eggs, pasta sauce, pasta, fresh veggies and fruit, dairy items etc which definitely was a savings for us. Some of my stockpile was running low and best prices I have seen in quite awhile. Used up $10 in loyalty pts at each store to lower the total. Also found a grocery gift card in my wallet with $34 credit on it that I had temporarily forgotten about while ill-so it felt like my groceries were free!
    -my sympathies to all fighting illness and high drug costs at this time.
    -yesterday I cooked a lasagna( freezing several individual portions) and cooked a pot of homemade soup today-healthy, home cooked meals are ready in the fridge and freezer.
    -I have lost some weight so sorted my clothes-leaving only the items that now fit well in my closet. Once I reorganized them, I had more than I thought in my current size-this saved me the time, $ and energy of shopping.
    -able to get out and ride my bike for a few minutes of free exercise today just before the rain started. Unlike many of you we are very cold and rainy right now and our general area is on alert for high water levels as I type.
    -had to turn the heat back on today- not very frugal but it has definitely been a cold spring.
    -wishing everyone a good week

    1. Glad to hear that you are finally starting to feel a bit better. There seems to be a bad virus making the rounds (not Covid as everyone I know who has come down with it has tested negative repeatedly) and they’ve all said how much it has taken out of them. Take care of yourself.

  38. I haven’t had to water the garden since we planted it, so that’s been nice. While our water is very cheap (the year we had a drought, it only went up about $4 per month when I had to water frequently), I appreciate not having to take the time and energy to do it.

    I picked up a prescription and paid for it with the benefit card my work provides. I still have about $600 left on my card for the year. But I have an ultrasound and an X-ray that I haven’t received the bill for yet.

    I found boneless, skinless chicken breast for 2.49/lb. It’s been about 3.29-3.99 per pound lately. So I was excited! But then I remember when $1.99 was my buy price. I wonder if I’ll ever see that price again. I’ve been seriously considering getting chickens lately. Egg prices have more than doubled, too. I used but eggs at .79 per dozen all the time. They were 2.12 today.

    I had to buy gas for over $5/gal for the first time this week. I keep using all my gas reward apps to help. Upside has been the best for me. I have a code if anyone wants to sign up. It’s JESSICA338779. I think it gets you an extra .15 per gallon cash back. I also use shell fuel rewards and Murphy.

    My mother in law brought over some zucchini bread and some diced cantaloupe that she said they wouldn’t eat. Then my mom brought 1/2 a watermelon over. The one she bought was too big for her and dad to eat. I was so excited. Because I stocked up on the sale chicken, I didn’t have room in my budget for fresh fruit. My son loves fruit, so I was a little sad that he wouldn’t have much fresh this week. He doesn’t mind eating canned, but my mama heart was hurting that I couldn’t give him the fresh. Now, he has plenty for the week!

    The strawberries are only giving us 2-3 per day now, but we combine them with other fruit to make a whole serving. We get enough asparagus for a meal every 4-5 days now. I’ll be glad when other areas of the garden pick up production.

    We still have a ton of rhubarb. I made some rhubarb sauce this week. My husband made a rhubarb and peach cobbler.

    We are planning on taking our son to a local fair later this month. We try to give him fun experiences, but it’s hard on a budget. The fair is having a tractor show, truck pull, and their steer show all on the same night. These are all things our son loves. Admission is $10/person, but we can ride the rides and do all the shows for that. I think our son gets in free because he is under 5, but I’m not sure. I’m sure we’ll buy some fair food, but we also plan to take some snacks and drinks in the diaper bag.

    1. You might check with your local public library. The ones here have great summer reading programs a few times each week for free. All sorts of different activities.you might also ask if they have free tickets program. Libraries here sometimes have free tickets available to local fun and cultural activities. Lots of kids here go to multiple vacation bible schools but I guess that is totally dependent on your faith and beliefs.

      1. I just did this. I booked tickets through the library for the local planetarium, flower garden, state park pass and 2 museums. We will pack a picnic for all of them. One does charge parking but otherwise it will only cost us gas.

  39. I love agapanthus and did not know they were called Lily of the Nile. What a great restaurant date and deal on the take home meals.

    I earnt $100 (tax free) for one hour and twenty minutes on my computer responding to a market research topic.

    The new normal for groceries appears to be $90-$100 per week. We tried to keep it around $50 for as long as we could, bringing it down from it’s highest it has ever been due to inflation. I am happy with this new normal as it is still under what we used to spend.

    Went to the thrift shop and got, for my children, a long sleeve rash shirt for swimming, two sets of flanelette pyjamas and a board game. I also got a birthday card for 30 cents. Total cost was just over $11.

    I line dried all washing, buried fruit and vegetable scraps in the garden, harvested fruits and vegetables, ate meals from the freezer including fish and cooked spaghetti with lentils, went biking, finished every single Christmas gift and organised them neatly in one spot, went to the park and read a book. Happy to report my targeted $150 budget for all gifts this year (birthday, Christmas etc) was met. I have all gifts for the remainder of the year ready plus a few extras that I can use for next year if I do not require them this year. This target included provision to donate toys to the Childrens Hospital at Christmas time which I do every year.

  40. It sounds like you had a nice date night! And how smart to plan for some at home date nights as well!
    We had a date at a pizza shop sharing a small pizza and brought some home to eat tomorrow. We enjoyed listening to the music they played. We also talked about watching Little House on the Prairie as that was playing on the television. We both watched it as kids and loved it! We got our electric bill and although we have been very careful they tacked on some fees, one for usage and another because they had to buy it elsewhere. About 50 extra in fees. I was glad to have electricity, as it has been getting very hot outside, upper 90’s feels like 105. I have planned our meals for the next two weeks using what we have and any garden veggies we have. Our water wasn’t working today. At first I wondered if we remembered to pay the bill then when my husband called we found out they were working on the line. I was glad I had a little bit of drinking water in the house. The water is working now. I may boil our drinking water for awhile. We are still tracking everything. I think I’m going to see how long I can go without buying anything, eating what we have, unless we need some fresh groceries. There is so much we can do at home and I want to save money on gas and everything else. Besides, I want to eat the food up that needs used. My husband and I drove somewhere and brought the cooler. We bought some fruit and had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the park. We did stay in the cool car rather than go out in the heat. I was happy to not spend money on a restaurant. We both enjoy peanut butter and jelly anyway! We put water in our lotion. Thank-you for the idea Brandy!

    1. We are doing this right now. I spent more the first three months of the year stocking up on staples includingmore beans, oats, flour, and sugar, and I am trying to limit purchasing to milk and eggs, with the milk being limited. I may have to buy a couple more items but I am trying not to.

      My son can bring home the milk and eggs from his job at the grocery store. That saves me gas and the temptation to buy more.

      I am planting more seeds in the garden too to keep everything fresh going.

          1. Our neighbors kept the baby seat on their bicycle long after their children were grown, because they could buckle a gallon jug of milk into it for the ride home from the grocery store. It was just the right size.

  41. Small things I did this week:
    1. Repaired a pin hole in a tee shirt using a very small piece of dryer sheet. I hand sewed the patch underneath the hole w/ thread the color of the tee. The repair is practically invisible.
    2. Found 2 mangos on my walk. (They were on the outskirts of a yard w/ a mango tree. There were other mangos rotting on the grass so I am hoping the home occupant did not want these.)
    3. Used some Walgreen’s Cash Rewards to buy toilet paper & shampoo.
    4. Got a large frozen hen for 88 cents/lb. However the cashier charged me for 2 chx. I went back thru the line to get my credit card credited for 2nd chx that I did not buy.
    5. My next door neighbor lets me use her internet connection. Since we are in a condo the signal travels thru my (concrete) wall. I took her to the airport & will pick her up in one week. I am picking up her mail also. I suppose you could say we are bartering.

  42. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’ve never heard of the idea of buying boxed meals when you eat in person at a restaurant but it’s a great one. Lovely that you have some easy meals ready for at home dates. Your mending this week is reminding me I should get on with mine.
    I cut the end off a tube of handcream, so much left inside it will last another week.
    At the charity shop I bought a wooden shortbread mould for £3, a printed cot quilt panel for £1 and several packs of knee highs. Sadly we have needed a couple of condolence cards recently and this charity shop sells nice new cards for £1.
    I found deals on coffee and tea so stocked up. The prices on just about everything have gone up and even if it’s only a few pence on each item it adds up. We try to eat oily fish regularly and I am substituting mackerel for salmon and trout. I am reviewing everything I buy now.
    We bought a replacement flexible hose for the vacuum cleaner online, it’s a cheaper ‘lookalike’ than the branded one and it fits and works well. We’ve had that vacuum cleaner for more than 30 years.
    We visited a lovely open garden and bought a homegrown plant from the plant stall, much cheaper than a nursery. The plant can be split in two.
    Talking of plants……… we picked peas, carrots, radishes, broad beans, strawberries, sweet peas and Sweet William. We planted out leeks and sowed seed for stocks and honesty, swede, cabbage, kale, more carrots, peas and broad beans. Our rhubarb has not cropped well this year so we gratefully received rhubarb from a friend and gave them carrots and flowers.
    I cooked once, we ate twice and I pulled leftovers from the freezer on two days.
    Stay safe everyone.

  43. Another beautiful photo of a hard-working bee. I love it! Our bees have been hard at work, too, and I have spent much time in the apiary just checking them and trying to help them succeed. I am grateful I live in the hinterlands where there is plenty of food for them to forage and little to no pesticide or chemical usage that would affect them in their foraging range. Bees are having a hard time in many places due to these problems so, even if I didn’t enjoy them so much, I think I would keep them just because if I can, I should. Watching them is very cheap therapy, too. 🙂
    *Given the current situation with the economy and the challenges to come, it seems that the little frugal acts I have spoken of before have become even more important. And being vigilant in finding new (or old) ways to do things helps, too. That’s one reason I love reading the comments from you lovely people every week. Always something to learn and encouragement to be found.
    *I made a triple batch of laundry detergent with ingredients I already had (some bought on sale a while back.)
    *I cute my oldest son’s hair as well as my own.
    *I embroidered a floral design to cover bleach spots I had somehow gotten on the back of my favorite pair of jeans. All the embroidery floss was in my stash and was purchased years ago at a thrift store. I got compliments on my flowers when I wore them. A fun way to keep something useful going.
    *We attended the wedding of a family friend this past weekend. The couple are in their early 60s and have all the household things they could need. But, I came up with what I thought was a nice gift – certainly one I would love to receive. I had a white leaf-shaped plate/catch-all type bowl (like what one might keep jewelry in on a dresser – which is what I do with the identical twin to this one I am keeping.) I got a pair of them at a thrift store a few years ago but have never used the second one. I cleaned it up and put two bars of locally handmade soap in it so it can be used as a soap dish. The cost of the gift itself then was just $4 for the soap. I wrapped it in a plain gift bag (which had come from our library’s summer STEM project program) which I decorated with left-over tissue paper cut into a flower shape. I used the flower to cover the remnants of the library sticker on the bag. (Can you tell I am into covering things with flowers? 🙂 ) The gift inside was wrapped with more tissue paper saved from gifts others have given us. I tied the handles of the bag with a bit of lace seam binding (again, from a stash bought at a thrift store who knows how long ago.) The whole effect was really pretty and unique and I hoped the bride would like it. She did and was most gracious in complimenting the wrapping and the wonderful scent of the soap. I am glad to have this reminder that it truly is the thought (and time) that counts in a gift – none of which has to cost much money. The wedding itself was lovely – down by the river on her family’s original homeplace – with a bluegrass band and lots of yummy food. The couple insisted everyone take food home which we gratefully did and ate off of for another meal.
    *We are having a few days of hotter than normal weather for us (low to mid 80s) and we are spending time in the pond and on the porch where the breezes are best. Grateful for the rain coming down now as I write as it means Mother Nature is watering the garden this morning. Even though we have a well and don’t pay for water, it saves me time.
    *Continue to sell and barter eggs for other produce and canned foods from neighbors. Sometimes I wish the whole world operated on the barter system.
    *We continue to eat out of the garden as much as we can – salads every night. Yum!
    *I sold $79 worth of items in my neighbor’s booth at the antique shop. So grateful she allows me to do this as it helps me move along things I am no longer using (or find at thrift stores and flip) and provides a little extra in the wallet for needed things.
    *My oldest son went to visit his grandparents for a few days. They live about 2 hours away from us and the boys and I visit them about once a month but this is the first time he is going by himself. It was hard for Mama but good for him to have this independence and a bit of one-on-one attention from his grandparents. He and his grandfather will go fishing every day and have a great time. It is like camp without the cost! Though, we have been told our life here is a lot like camp. We are glad as it means friends and family enjoy coming to see us.
    *I so appreciate all the comments every week. You can’t put a price on the encouragement and wealth of knowledge here. Have a lovely week, all!

    1. I love the gift idea!

      I am trying to come up with a gift that price or less for Father’s Day for my father right now. I have an idea in mind but I am not sure yet. He mentioned wanting to make pesto. I am thinking to gift him some basil or possibly pesto and some homemade giardinera. We are inviting him to dinner as well.

      1. Thank you, Brandy! I have often referenced your gift-making ideas on the blog and have gotten great inspiration. Your homemade pesto idea is wonderful. I know I would love it. I have never made pesto with pine nuts as they have always been expensive substituting almonds or walnuts instead. Are you able to source pine nuts frugally or do you make a substitution, too?

            1. I’m not sure there is enough yet in the garden so I am probably going to have to do something else; we’ll see!

              1. You’ve undoubtedly seen how to make pesto with other greens, mixing in carrot tops, spinach, etc., with the basil.
                I really like pesto but don’t have a food processor and am not sure how well I would chop and pound it to make it by hand.

          1. I’ve been toasting raw sunflower seeds to use in muesli and in pesto. They are super cheap and toasting (gentle warming in a frying pan) really improves the flavor.

  44. Your tomatoes look wonderful. We still have a while until ours will be ready. I did pick several heads of lettuce, a handful of peas, and 2 quarts of strawberries. I pulled out more pots from the shed and planted more lettuce, basil, dill and parsley. I think every little bit extra will help. If we don’t need it, I can always give it away. It has rained 4 nights this week so I didn’t need to water. My youngest daughter picked lots of flowering pineapple sage (purple flowers) and put it in a vase in the dining room. It looked and smelled wonderful.
    My sister dropped off her dog for the week. She is visiting a friend in Salt Lake City. She brought some lettuce, tomatoes and milk that wouldn’t last while she is gone.
    I worked 5 days last week. Everyone needed extra help this week. The kids each cooked dinner one night to help me out. One made waffles with strawberries and one made chicken tacos with leftover chicken.
    I have been making 2 containers of iced herbal teas almost every other day. I have been using all of the tea bags that I got from college move out. I think we have enough to last all summer. There was a crazy amount of food thrown away this year.
    Hubby and I went on a date on Saturday. We went to Chick fil a and used the rewards I earned taking D. His mom always reimburses me. We both drank water. We then went to Lowe’s to get mulch. We looked at the vegetable plants and couldn’t believe the prices. It made me happy that I start them from seed in February.
    We house sitted for my neighbors while they were away. They bought us a dozen bagels and 2 GF bagels for YD. I froze half and we have been enjoying them all week. Good neighbors are priceless.
    We have been doing lots of yard work. Hubby asked me to help him cut up peach wood we got free last year from a peach farm we go to. I held the logs while he used the saws all. They let you take braches that break off. Hubby will use it in the smoker. We have been doing lots of weeding and then laying down more mulch.
    I cleaned the toaster oven inside and out. It looks brand new. Hubby saw me doing it and cleaned the oven door for me. He used s drill with a special pad and it gets so clean in 5 minutes. It would take me an hour of scrubbing.
    We did our first fire pit of the season on a dry night. We roasted marshmallows. It was a nice quiet night.
    D had a birthday party and we were all invited. They had a food truck come. His mom said to get extra and take it home since people didn’t show. So we did. She sent me home with some leftover desserts too.
    Did the usual things: scrapped out the peanut butter jar and then let the dog lick it, hung laundry outside in between the rain, using fans still, doing errands when we are near the stores, using the car with the best mileage for driving, washing baggies, doing Ibotta and Fetch.

  45. This week we cooked all meals from scratch using Remoska, pressure cooker , microwave and gas hob. Washed clothes at 20C and dried them on the line. I washed a couple of blankets while the sun was shining
    I made a bread pudding with bread that had started to grow mould, cutting out the mouldy bits. I cooked it in the Remoska to save electricity.I split it in 2 , 1 went in the freezer the other I took with me when looking after my grandson while daughter and granddaughter went to look at a University .
    I bought a pyrex dish 1/2 price good for storage in the freezer. I used my old persons bus pass to get to the shops, so a cheap morning out.
    We are harvesting peas, broad beans, strawberries, lettuce and sport potatoes. Carrots are almost ready. I will sow late carrots as the peas finish and cover them in the autumn if necessary. Carrots here can be left in the winter here. Lawn mowings have been used as mulch. I also did out the greenhouse and shed. So much easier on find tools.
    It is supposed to be hot this week 30C so I have cleaned the fans .I have also invited friends for a picnic, I will cook a chicken outside and make a baguette into really dangerous sandwiches and have home made ice cream to follow.
    Have a good week everyone

      1. 1/2 a french stick containing salad, coleslaw, and chicken and beetroot. When you bite into them, you need a plate as the filling oozes out. Named really dangerous by my children when they were little. But very good.

        1. Those sandwiches sound wonderful. The messier, the better! And I adore beets. Can’t wait till mine are ready in the garden. Thanks for sharing!

  46. I put some more meal items in the freezer last week: taco meat, sloppy joe meat, a small meatloaf, chicken pot pie filling and something else I can’t remember at the moment. I also made bread and bagels and used two bananas to make a dozen muffins. I laid 9 bags of mulch at the house in town that we own and maintain on our own. I brought home bricks to use as edging about a long flower bed and found two tall shepherd’s hooks for hanging baskets in a corner of the yard. These items do not belong to our daughter who lives in the house. They were the former owners. Here at home, I planted some coleus that I rooted, and noted that the portion of sweet potato that had eyes has sprouted and is growing. It’s a real slip not just a vine so I hope that come autumn I get to harvest some sweet potatoes off this. I cleaned our front porch siding and rails, a big task but again, we are maintenance for our home as well as the other house. It’s hard work and it’s very tiring but it’s free labor so to speak. We got new chairs and needed arm covers. I decided to order navy guest towels. These are bigger than the usual guest towels and I am planning to cut them in half so I have two complete sets for each chair. I also ordered pillow covers for $4 a piece and recovered pillows I already had on hand. It was so hot last week and we were so very busy that I did something highly unusual and went to pick up take out for dinner. That is a 40mile round trip and not one I undertake lightly! We are very diligent about combining errands especially as gasoline is so high now, but this time it was the convenience of having food ready to eat without messing up dishes after a very busy week. We had some leftovers which we ate for lunch this weekend. Enrolled my grandsons in the summer reading program at the local library. They are enjoying the activities and it gives us all something to look forward to each week. I am so disappointed in the adult book selections at this branch. There is another nearby branch 15 miles away in our region but the others are anywhere from 45minutes to 2hours and 45 away from us. I reached a financial goal this past week and plan to now start purchasing Christmas gifts and setting funds aside for a vacation this fall.

    1. I would like to know where you ordered the pillow covers ($4.00 each) from? I need some new ones also. Thanks Penny S.

  47. It’s been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    We just got back from our annual camping trip. To deal with the triple-digit heat, I rigged a couple of garage sale air conditioners up to our tent. It didn’t keep the tent cool, but having the cool air blowing on you made it more bearable. The kids swam in the river, hiked and explored caves, played putt putt golf, and we splurged for horseback riding one day. I heated up food I’d cooked at home to make meals easier. We were at Garner State Park; our TX state parks are very affordable. It was a great trip!
    There were lots of grocery deals upon our return: 2# strawberries for $2/each (I bought a lot to freeze), .33/# angel hair pasta, pork chops .87/#, milk $1.49/gallon (bought extra to freeze), 3# gala apples for .97/bag, and .87 pints of Blue Bell ice cream, $2/# marked down bacon, always a favorite. The freezers are mostly full.
    I made an offer to the concession stand volunteer at the kids’ swim meet, and bought all the remaining chicken nuggets and sandwiches at the end of the night. Now they’re all in the freezer. Most of the swim meet concession stands sell Chickfila for $5! at the meets, which gets pricey fast when you’re buying for hungry kids (I have 4 swimmers). Now, they can take a leftover sandwich or two and enjoy them, like their friends. $1.50/each I can handle.
    I found a box of size 3 Huggies for $4.99, marked down due to change in design. Baby will grow into them eventually.
    I’m combining trips to save gas (as usual), searched for and found a promo to buy some school workbooks they have to do this summer, and sold more thrift store items. Cash in, junk out!
    I’ve been making homemade snacks and treats to take to playdates with friends.
    Hope everyone has a wonderful, frugal week!

    1. Leigh Ann! I need you to mail me some of that Blue Bell ice cream! It is hands down the best ice cream that we have ever tasted! It is so expensive here. $8.99 a half gallon! Enjoy!

      1. Is it really that much now?

        Wow.

        The new sale price of the giant tub of store-brand (Kroger) ice cream is the old regular price. I used to get it at 40 to 50% off that price, so I would pay $3.99 or $4.99 for a gallon of store-brand ice cream. The new sale price is $5.99. The rgaular price is now $6.79. Our family will eat most of the pail in one sitting if everyone gets 2 scoops.

        We won’t be having ice cream as much at that price. I will need to make other desserts. I like ice cream the best, though, and I think my family does as well.

        1. Brandy have you thought of making ice cream? Of course it depends on the various prices of eggs/ cream/ milk ( depending on recipe) and I appreciate you have a large family. Just thought I’d ask. Of course the problem with above ingredients is that even if one is a fantastic price the others usually aren’t. The benefit is that if the yolks are used in the ice cream the whites can make meringues. However- sometimes it is more frugal to buy than make ( time versus cost of time) – I buy discounted ( yellow sticker) scones for a child’s breakfast because they are cheaper than I can make. A bit similar to the dangerous sandwich comment above- some of our scones are ‘suspicious scones’ because daughter noticed some said ‘ plain scones’- she felt it was suspicious ( only 9).

          1. I have found it is much more expensive to make it as cream is very, very expensive. I have made it before but it is always more money.

            1. Brandy: have you churned ice cream? My parents made it when I was a child(back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) and I did it for my children. You can make the mix many ways, but we used canned milk and whole milk plus sugar, vanilla and fruit if desired. You need Rennet tablets to help it set up. Delicious!

      2. I’m in north Texas not far from where Blue Bell is made and we are seeing it around $4-$5 for a PINT now! (We typically keep pints in stock for just the 2 of us.) A couple of weeks ago one of our stores put pints on sale for .88 cents with a limot of 2 and you can bet we bought them! Even the store brands now are $5+ for a half gallon. I can’t believe how expensive ice cream is getting!

      3. I’m in north Texas not far from where Blue Bell is made and we are seeing it around $4 for a PINT now! A couple of weeks ago one of our stores put pints on sale for .88 cents with a limit of 2 and you can bet we bought them! Even the store brands now are $5+ for a half gallon. I can’t believe how expensive ice cream is getting!

        1. Pam B: yesterday a local Southern chain called Ingles put it on sale for $6.28 a half gallon! We will be stocking up! I live in East TN.

      4. When I moved back to MS from Texas I did not eat ice cream for 5 years because no Blue Bell in MS. Then one glorious day I saw a Blue Bell truck exiting the freeway. I followed him to the loading dock of my local Piggly Wiggly to make sure he was leaving plenty of my fave flavor. Our Kroger has 1/2 gallon on sale this week for $4.88. It’s always in regular spot plus tons of extra on end cap. If you’re ever near Brenham TX tour the factory, it’s fabulous

  48. Brandy, I believe these photos are my favorite so far. The colors and contrasts are gorgeous!

    I harvested approximately 25 lbs of squash and 10 lbs of cucumbers this week along with several green peppers. My grape tomatoes are beginning to ripen. I have frozen the excess cucumbers. I have never done this before. We shall see!

    The heat and humidity here are preventing us from doing most projects we had planned. Praying for a change soon.

    Hope everyone is well. Onward ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

      1. I have. Just been so busy with the garden upkeep and harvesting, plus the flowers and dogs that I was afraid that they wouldn’t keep. I have read about freezing them and I saw an article that Martha Stewart posted about freezing them. I hope it works!

  49. Hello!

    This week we have stayed home as much as possible, and ate meals at home. I make my husband’s breakfast and freeze them- so in the mornings he has a hot homemade breakfast and homemade lunch for work. Saving us money so he isn’t stopping at the Maverick gas station for breakfast and snacks. I hung laundry to dry. We got baby chicks which our kids are very excited about- this feels like a blessing as we usually buy 5dozen pack of eggs every two weeks and they went from 8.00$ for the pack to 19.00$ at our local grocery store and the closes Walmart or any other grocery stores are and hour to 2-1/2 hours away. So we did research and hopefully have ended up with friendly good laying hens. I have been keeping the AC and heat off (spring time in Wyoming can’t make up its mind) as much as possible- with the hope of keeping those bills a bit lower. I got more plants on sale to throw in the garden with hopes of getting more veggies. We water everything with irrigation water which is cheaper than the city water. I did some mending of blankets and clothing with items I had on hand. I have been doing some hand embroidery with stuff I have had on hand for years. I am thankful we have been able to stay home and our kids have plenty of things to do and we have food to eat.

    Thank you for your blog post! They are such an encouragement! My husband always loves to hear what my prudent homemaker friends are doing!

    P.S.
    I remember several years ago when you did a blog post on orchids being a frugal flower- I love orchids and my dad does as well. I have two orchids and both are getting ready to bloom- I am very excited about this because one has not bloomed in a couple years after we repotted it!

  50. I had the hearing with the appraisal review board on our farmhouse in Texas last week. They agreed with my suggested value based on the evidence. I have had to appeal their appraisal the last two years and have been successful. This will save a huge amount on taxes.
    Our food pantry had extra fruits and vegetables last week so asked anyone in town to take advantage. I picked up blueberries, grapes, asparagus, and a whole bag of sweet potatoes. Also, received onions, salad mix and some carrots. Such a huge blessing.
    I met my daughter in the middle of Texas to pick up my youngest grandson for the summer. 600 miles round trip for each of us but I had planned for the expense. One of my older local grandsons helped me set up the pool and so we have good entertainment. I did purchase an air tent from Amazon for him to play in and sleep in. It is big and velcros to a box fan so it allows me to turn off the screen at night and he still sleeps comfortably. He has a blast in it playing with his dinosaurs.
    I found some grated zucchini from last year’s garden in the freezer and made zucchini bread.

  51. Thank you to everyone who commented and shared advice on our Quebec trip – I was very touched by the interest and the kindness. The vacation was lovely and offered plenty of thought on a differing worldview of that part of Canada. And isn’t that the point of travel ?- to understand the world slightly differently?
    We’re back to our usual frugal lives. I march on with the food storage, with an eye on all the impending warnings for later this year. Using my pressure canner has become straightforward now, and I am canning whatever I can.
    I was in a store considering getting more canning jars when a lady began speaking to me. She was 73, on a pension, and worried sick about how she could negotiate the possible upcoming food shortages plus inflation. She spoke at length and ended by thanking me for listening. Oh, there are many people who will be hurt if the situation gets worse.
    I was pleased that my daughter and her husband gifted one another a pressure canner for birthdays and Christmas this year. It was inaugurated with processing 18 pints of chicken for their pantry. We also converted 60+ lbs of tired apples (bought at 25 cents/lb) to 40 classico jars of applesauce. Many hands made light work.
    What a strange time we are living in!

  52. If you have planted your saved lettuce seeds before, I would love to know. Do the seeds grow the same as the plant you harvested them from, or do they interbreed to end up with a new variety combined from the lettuces you have growing at the same time?

    1. I have each kind in a different area so no worries; they are the same kind (and yes, I have done it before).

  53. I ordered from Amazon through this site the items I had on my wish list using my cc points to pay for it. I reread several articles on this site of saving money etc.

    I gathered pinecones after the storms went through, they can be dried and lightly coated with candle wax with a “wick” wrapped around it to use as a starter for our wood/coal stove. Daughter 1 and Daughter 2 are doing the same for their fires they do in the firepit.

    I planted summer veggies (tomatoes, peppers, scallions etc.) I harvested spinach, lettuce, scallions, turnips, radishes, cherry tomatoes, a few asparagus that just popped up, snow peas , garden peas, garlic , and strawberries…. now at 6 gallons in the freezer 1/2 gal in dehydrator, 1/2 gal in pie and 1/2 gal in frig for snacking and another 2-3 gallons to prep. Between the storms and the heat being around 100 the strawberries are done, at the moment we are both tired of picking them. Give us a month and we will wish we had more. I made strawberry ice cream. I froze eggs, as the Amish neighbor said her chickens are running over her and the 3 neighbors( includes us) she gives eggs to. I told the other two neighbors they could beat the eggs up and freeze them for baking or scrambled eggs later. I shared some with Son 2 as he doesn’t like eggs but needs eggs off and on for baking. Frozen works for him very well.

    I am monitoring a couple areas in our yard to put planter pots to grow lettuce etc. through the heat of the summer that is close enough to water hose to water.

    I used the grill, air frier and electric water kettle for our meals. We had tomato, cucumber and onion with Italian dressing for a side, I tossed what was left with pasta and diced some pepperoni for another salad.

    Hubby bought some chicken salad and ham salad from our local little store that is owned by one of the community. They make the ham salad and chicken salad in house. Serve a hot lunch for take out Mon- Fri. Just reopened after Covid this year. A lot of Amish go there for ice cream. Sort of a small general store. They also sell Amish baked goods and buy their meat from local farmers. We try to get something at least once a month.

    We stopped at a local dairy/ pizza shop (locally owned) to get meal basket for $7. One basket feeds both of us. They told us they were having BIG issues getting supplies in, especially meat of any kind.

    I mended two pairs of pants and one shirt for Hubby.

    Hubby’s parents and my brother’s family (his parents in their mid 80s , Brother is early 70s) have been with out electric since Monday night . Both have generators but not big enough to run their AC (220 amp) also. Surprised they didn’t get big enough generators but they were lucky as we had kept Daughter 2 and Son 2 old window ACs that run on 110 amp. Electric isn’t coming back on until Thursday or Friday so at least they can get 1 room cool to stay in. We also took fuel to them to keep their generators running as the gas stations have no power to run the pumps.

    Made it clear we needed to stay focus on being off the grid and I need to kick it up on canning meat.

    Blessed be everyone
    Stay safe, pray for peace

  54. Brandy, I have to decided to pull out my freakishly tall hollyhocks this summer and then plant shorter ones. Do you have a recommendation for seed purchase?

  55. We have had a bad storm for the past three days. The very heavy rains were followed by extremely strong winds. Sadly, my neighbours’ sixty year old spruce tree unexpectedly fell, totally blocking the street. The fire department came, marked off the street, and an arborist cut it up – it took 3 hours by chain saw to cut the tree up totally. I had grown up with that tree so am sad but relieved no-one’s house was hit, no-one was passing by or parked there when it fell — so no injuries or deaths — and also relieved it was not one of ours. As “I” mentioned, it was so cold we had turn the heat on again.

    I bought ice cream for $2.99, usually $5.49, toilet paper for $3.99 (save $8 per package). I have never understood why toilet paper goes on sale in the summer. It is certainly the time to stock up.

    I planted 12 chard seeds, only 3 came up. Out of the 100 crocus bulbs I bought on sale last fall, only 8 came up. I am also planting cabbages.

    1. So sorry to hear about your neighbour’s spruce tree. I always worry on very windy days about my neighbor’s row of old spruces coming down, though I think they are too far away to hit my house.

  56. Beautiful photos Brandy! I love the one with the bee.
    I purchased 8 lbs of strawberries for $5.99 at the discount grocery. Some went in the freezer, some for eating fresh and a bit into canned rhubarb strawberry sauce. I also canned rhubarb pineapple jam. I’m hoping to get more rhubarb and make another batch.
    I’m getting concerned about the price of produce. I saw cherries at Hy-vee for $7.99 lb! That is more than I would pay for meat. I told hubby we may be eating strictly canned if this continues. I’ve always been a buy what is in season shopper but those prices have at least doubled on produce.
    We are trying to pay off the mortgage by the end of the year. Hubs is 65 , I turn 59 this weekend. We were both married before. He started over in his 40’s with nothing but debt. We are both trying to work hard to meet this goal.
    Thanks to Brandy and everyone for all the frugal tips each week. I have followed this blog for a number of years now and look forward to everyones updates every week.
    Have a wonderful week.

  57. Brandy the tomato picture is so beautiful and your words encouraging.
    My husband recycled cedar deck boards, removed the stain, cut and created a stand to hold a glass beverage dispenser. We screwed wooden thread spools in the corners to hold the dispenser in place.

    I sewed 3 baby bibs from stashed fabric and am giving them to my friend to deliver to her daughter. This saved me the cost of mailing.
    Repaired a garden flag by restitching the hem.

    Had a major repair done and because we had asked a few questions of the truck company saved $1K. It took us months of work but was well worth our time.

    Sharped all of our garden tools.

    Will facilitate our book club and got the book from the library.

    Traveled to visit friends. Made a cold lunch for the road trip and enjoyed complimentary coffee and granola bar for breakfast. It was so fun to laugh and enjoy time together.

    Detailed our car and applied ceramic wax. (It is the BEST) Our 9 year old car is looking great and I believe in keeping it as nice as possible.

    Tracking when I fertilize and prune the gardens and flower pots.

    Each day holds many blessings. I feel that during challenging times recognizing and celebrating a daily blessing can bring comfort and calmness.

  58. Ah, I used to love going to Maggiano’s! We had one at Tyson’s Corner when we lived in the DC area. We used to meet up with all of our college friends once a year for a mini-reunion there. The food was divine, and they certainly did not skimp on portion sizes!

    It seems we have reached the end of our big losses to grain beetles. I haven’t seen any in several days. I bought a few pounds of rice and flour and am storing them in the freezer until I’m sure the little pantry pests are REALLY gone.

    Strawberries were on sale here, so I stocked up. They were very ripe and juicy. Some very bruised berries went into smoothies with almond milk I found on sale (no one in my family can handle dairy). My chickens love strawberry tops, so not even the leaves were wasted, which I kind of loved!

    It’s been awfully hot and humid here. We’ve had heat advisories every day from mid-morning until close to sunset. This Saturday is set to be our first 100-degree day. Our local library started a program this summer that lets us check out a State Parks Pass for five days, so we’re planning to borrow one next week to visit the beach and a nearby cold spring.

    They will not be “free” trips per se as gas here is currently running about $4.50/gallon. For comparison’s sake, because I know some like to see how different regions are doing, five pounds of flour was $1.96 and five pounds of rice was $2.96 at my local grocery store. A gallon of whole milk by me is $5.98, and butter is $4/pound. Eggs are now $2.78/dozen. (I didn’t buy the last three items, but I took notes because the price increases have me in planning mode.)

    I keep chickens, and the price of their feed is up some. I haven’t run the math on as they’re really pets that lay eggs, LOL! But they’ve been laying about 4-5 eggs a day, and that’s been plenty for us.

    Thank you to everyone who offered advice last week!

      1. Just back from the grocery store – 1 litre organic milk $3.99 2 litres for $6.98 1 litre of regular milk $3.69 – butter is $6.19 per pound and my usual extra large eggs are $4,49 per dozen!

    1. ‘I saw the same price for the cheapest eggs at Aldi at $2.78 here in NC. That is wonderful that you have chickens. Maybe I can talk my husband into getting them!
      That was helpful to see the price comparisons, everything is climbing very quickly!

  59. Brandy,
    Would you mind sharing your homemade ranch recipe? I know you have mentioned making homemade ranch dressing but i couldn’t find a recipe.
    Thank you.

    1. Pinterest has a million and I haven’t written one down, but it’s parsley, dill, onion powder, salt, pepper, whole milk and mayo (or Greek yogurt) for the ingredients.

    2. Tiffany: A blog Strangers and Pilgrims has many recipes for homemade mixes. I have made her Ranch dressing and am very happy with it.
      Patricia

  60. My big find last week was a 30# box of produce for $7. I saw the produce man pulling things and the box was full of older produce. I asked him if I could buy the entire box for $10, he said he would give it for $7. I got pears, apples, grapefruit, grapes, avacado and more. I dried, froze and ate some, made apple cobbler and chocolate avacado pudding. I had asked the bakery worker when she was out about buckets and she called me later with 5 food grade buckets. These are used for storing my stash of dry goods. It never hurts to ask, and I have become more bold in just asking!
    My husband got a free $10 offer from Panera and got a sandwich/ salad combo and we had a free dinner one night.
    We are picking kale, zucchini, beets( they are done now), lettuce bolted in the heat, blackberries and blueberries. After you mentioned drying oregano, Brandy, I started my new stock of drying it! My neighbor has dropped off squash and cukes. Mine aren’t ready yet, so I fermented beets and squash. I created a new bed for a fig tree my neighbor gave us, and planted some salvia from my daughter. I will transplant some bee balm and lantana to this spot. I am making one more new bed after we cut back a magnolia and a bunch of poison ivy. We cleared it thoroughly and we added another 20 x10 bed. I put free manure, dead weeds and some twigs under it and will try planting some sweet potatoes soon.
    Thank you all of you for your wisdom, courtesy and joy in the simple things of this world!

  61. All of you make such delicious sounding food! I am at the stage in radiation where most things taste like metal or chemicals, and it’s a chore to eat. Can’t wait until that clears, but it will probably be a month or two.

    Worked from home (saved on gas). I am tired enough now that friends are taking me to treatments about an hour away. They will not accept $$ or me filling their tank, but they will accept eggs – so all my eggs right now are going to friends – and I am so good with that. I told them when the garden comes in, I will also load them up with veggies and melons. The cancer center sends me home with 2 ensure a day, so that is an expense that I don’t have at the moment.

    Garden is coming along – slowly.

    1. It’s wonderful that your friends are able to drive you to treatments. I imagine the company is helpful as well as the drive. I guess the gas money can help pay for chicken feed! Take care!

  62. I was wanting an herb drying rack but remembered an old chandelier I had converted to a solar light for the garden. I left it in the shed this year so I have decided to reinvent that piece once more into my drying rack. I have been processing fruits and vegetables in th3 dehydrator and or canning as much as possible. Increasing my own “grocery” shelves as I can. I do think we are in for a bit of a long haul until economies can stabilize.
    I continue to succession plant in the garden and water from rain barrel as I can. I do anticipate higher utility bill as we have had to run ac and I set up pool as grandson is here for 1 month.

  63. Brandy: Kroger in East TN has Choice Beef Briskets for $1.99 lb. Thought this was worthy of a post. I believe the sale is through Tuesday.

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