I sewed a new apron for myself with fabric that I had purchased 6 years ago.

I mended holes in a pair of pants (trousers) and a pair of jeans for my son.

I picked figs, peaches, grapes, and tomatoes from the garden. I cut parsley and green onions from the garden.

I froze 26 quarts of peaches to use in smoothies from the Early Elberta peach tree in my front yard.

I canned two batches of fig jam

I froze and dehydrated figs to use later.

I baked bread.

I gave my daughter a haircut and my husband gave haircuts to two sons.

I collected water from the air conditioner drip and used it to water the potted plants outside. I was able to collect about 3 gallons a day. It’s humid this time of year, but not as much as it usually is, as I am collecting less water.

I put a pitcher under the peaches and figs as I washed them and used that water to water plants in the garden.

I read two e-books from the library, both of which were very good: The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle, and A Question of Us. The second one was hilarious; I laughed almost non-stop while reading it.

What did you do to save money last week?

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187 Comments

  1. I ordered an outdoor jacket that will work for walking in spring and fall weather. It was on clearance, so I was able to save $45, plus free shipping. It is water resistant, with a hood, so it will be good for wet weather.
    The tendonitis in my foot continues to improve. I did take a taxi down to the grocery door three doors away, though, using my July taxi money. I got some heavy items like cat litter and potatoes, and the taxi driver loaded them into the car, and took them from the car to my front step. I normally budget for one taxi trip a month in case I need to go someplace further than I can walk. This coming month I’ll budget for a few trips. The websites are all very clear to not push too quickly to going back to regular activity, since it is an injury that can easily turn into a six-week problem. I seem to be plenty well enough to do housework, so there is no excuse for avoiding that!

  2. You’re so amazing! The Las Vegas water authority ought to have you do PSA’s on how to save water, and teaching classes. You really know how to live and thrive in a desert. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you!

      The master gardeners teach classes. I don’t have the time to put in there but there are classes available for those who want to take them.

      1. Brandy, You have mentioned the term of master gardener but I wonder how to look for one. It is a term that I am not familiar with . I am in Canada, so that might be the reason.

        1. It’s a program through the state extension service in conjunction with a university from each state.

          I have taken most of the classes but you have to volunteer 80 hours a year to keep your master gardener status. I don’t have that amount of time each year.

        2. I live in the metro Vancouver area. When we had adult night school, they would offer a master gardeners course. Your school district might still offer adult education for the community.

  3. The peaches look delightful.

    I have been busy this week. I bottled (canned) french beans, pickled beetroot and made plum jam. My plum tree is 47 years old and dying, it will be mourned as in its prime it gave us 200lb+ of plums a year, this year I will be lucky to get 5lb. We planted a new tree last year but I can’t bring myself to cut it down the old one.

    I have been drying Lime flowers, not citrus, to make lime flower tea. In France, this is given to grumpy children with honey and a madeleine. I dried them in the car as I didn’t have the dehydrator set up. I have done this before on holiday, it works well.

    I de-stalked some cherries and put them in the freezer. I will save them for a horrible winter’s day then defrost them. They are a burst of summer in the mouth.

    I transplanted lavender and verbena which self-seeded in the blocks of the drive, free plants.! I did that last year too, there are evening primrose as well but they don’t transplant well.

    My fruit and nut bushes are beginning to lose their leaves, we could really do with rain but there’s none forecast for the next fortnight. I am watering as much as possible, but I seem to be losing. We have had 1% of normal rain this quarter. I cleared the Broad beans and have sown carrots, beets and lettuce in the free bed.

    I cut hubby’s hair and beard.

    I went to the library for books.

    We have been doing all the usual things, cooking from scratch, drying laundry on the line, doing the laundry on the cold setting but I have been unable to knit as I tripped and bent my thumb backwards so it is badly bruised.

    Have a thrifty week everyone
    Chris

    1. Chris, my granny used her car to dry apple and peach slices in summer. She just kept the windows rolled up, parked it in the sun and popped her screens into the car. I still think that was so clever and I’m happy to hear you say you’ve done the same!
      About the plum tree, the same granny had a big plum tree outside her kitchen door. It was old and provided the loveliest plums, beautiful shade and was huge, big enough that seven grandchildren could climb up in it and sit on the branches without damage. We mourned that tree when it died! So I understand how you feel about your tree.

  4. My fig tree is overloaded with small figs! I can hardly wait for the harvest as I hear about your figs, Brandy!!
    This has been a week of trying new ways to save money. A friend told me about FlashFood- a free app for my phone/tablet, etc that works with a couple grocery chains in my area to sell foods that are coming to their sell by dates at 50% off of their lowest previous sale price. You look through the photos of inventory available and then order and pay through the app. You go at your convenience to the store and tell customer service that you are there to pick up your order. They go to the big labeled (refrigerated)storage and gather your order, bag it and you’re on your way home. I decided to try it out after my friend in another state kept raving about it. I bought a total of 10 pounds of 75/25 ground beef for $1.99/pound, a 16 Oz bacon ranch pasta salad for 99 cents (originally marked $3.99) and a 16 OZ potato salad for 99 cents (originally $3.29). The pasta salad and potato salad were each 4 servings for us and a nice respite from the heat! I grilled 2 pounds of ground beef into 8 delicious burgers (50cents per burger). I will check this app again in the future- it seems like late night/early morning especially on Mondays might find the best bargains. But with it just being 2 of us, it was convenient and way cheaper than takeaway!

    I also tried Azure Standard for the first time. They are located in Oregon and sell all kinds of organic/healthy items- dry, refrigerated or frozen- in “regular” sizes or bulk. They deliver across the country once a month. Their trucks do not go to every town but I checked and there were 3 pick up locations in my city (Columbus, Ohio) and one was only 10 minutes from my house. Hubs loves 6 grain rolled cereal in cooler weather for breakfast and I have been know to use it in baking recipes as a substitute for rolled oats. I can’t source it locally, so I end up going 90 minutes away to Amish country and hope that I can buy it in a larger quantity than 1 or 2 pounds. And sometimes they don’t have what I’m looking for. Azure Standard had 9 grain rolled cereal in small amounts OR 25 or 50 pound bags. It was just over 71 cents/pound!! After I ordered, they contacted me and said 50 pound bags were out of stock until a week after our delivery date so I went ahead and ordered (2) 25 pound bags instead. Also ordered 50 pound bag of corn and 5 pounds of buttermilk powder. My order came to $75 and shipping was only $6.14!! We knew ahead of time what the delivery date and time were for our drop off. About 30 different families had ordered. We all took turns carrying items from truck to place on parking lot next to the ceramic tiles that had each name on it and # of packages ordered. We would carry one thing (according to our ability), place it by tile and go to back of line. It took us 15 minutes to unload it all and Hubs and I only had 3 items each that we unloaded! We were charged for our order until the truck had left Oregon on it’s way here! We will probably order again.

    In my goal to Use it Up and make sure even small bits are used, I picked a small amount of green beans and canned another 4 pints for the pantry! Two days later, an even smaller amount of green beans so after cutting and blanching them, they went into a small ziploc bag into the freezer. https://pin.it/5R4kRme. Little bits will add up!

    Each day I’ve been picking a large handful of blackberries and have enjoyed adding those into salads or as topping on breakfast cereal! Again, not huge amounts on any one day, but we are determined to use and enjoy every bit of harvest we get!!

    Last year’s horseradish, that I harvested and then rooted their leftover tops, has huge leaves and looks like it will be ready to harvest by the end of summer. That was totally free food because I just replanted the leafy top I would have otherwise tossed into compost!

    After making and eating large salad from our garden harvest and pantry, I divided the leftovers into single serve vacuum seal canisters and got 4 extra portions- https://pin.it/294Xzyb. So convenient to have ready to take out and eat for lunch or dinner!

    Before I left for church on Sunday morning, I dumped ingredients into my breadmaker and had it start making a loaf of potato bread. When we came home, the smell of freshly baked bread greeted us! Yum! That’s 3 loaves of bread I’ve made in our thrift store breadmaker!! Each one has been delicious and easy! Definitely worth the $10 I paid!!

    And I finished my granddaughter’s T-shirt quilt! Now I can send it on to her! Lenni’s quilt #257! https://pin.it/1p7VRuS.

    Life is busy here, but that keeps me focused on all the positives!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. GardenPat I wondered if Figs would actually grow here in Ohio.. the guy from Lowes said he thought only indoors. Glad the Azure Standard worked out so well for you all great prices sounds like. I watch Three Rivers Homestead on you tube and she does that Use up every little bit, it’s amazing how she saves and repurposes foods. She is starting in August a Can It Up Challenge where you can something every day for 31 days I’ll be interested in watching that.

      1. Anna in Ohio- I bought this fig as a bare root start in a quart size “milk carton” at Lowe’s 2-1/2 years ago. It gave the variety as “Chicago fig”. I planted it in a half whiskey barrel . The first winter, I did nothing to protect it outside. And it still lived. This past winter I covered it with straw and this Spring it came back like gangbusters! https://pin.it/50Ea5Mt and https://pin.it/1wCD8c4.

        Azure Standard delivery went smoothly and was totally enjoyable! I’ll have to check out that YouTube channel! Thanks for the idea!! ❤️

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      2. I don’t know if this helps, but I used to live in Uzbekistan where there are vast temperature swings. Super hot in the summer, super cold in the winter, much like the Midwest. They grew fig trees there just fine, along with apricot, peach, apple, plum, cherry, almond, and more. You should try fig trees!

      3. I moved into a Detroit suburb with a lot of Italians as a young adult and was shocked to learn fig trees can be grown outdoors here with a lot of care. One grandpa would bury his tree every winter and uncover it in the spring. But he got his backyard figs.

        1. Holly- Last year, in the fall, I bundled my fig tree up with straw, so that even though our winter was cold, it was more protected. Seeing how huge and covered with figs it is now makes me think that may have made a difference! Although when I “unbundled” it this Spring, it looked pretty pathetic! Lol.

          Gardenpat in Ohio
          HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. I have looked into Azure Standard also and have found out they do a drop-off 20 minutes from us. It is nice to hear your take on them. I believe I will give them a try.
      Kathy in Virginia

      1. Kathy- I was skeptical even though lots of online people raved about them. But then a few people talked about them having things out of stock and prices rising, so I wasn’t sure.

        But, if you are watchful about prices, then you can see what prices are good and which you might hold off on. But their communication, both from their HQ to their local drop off coordinator, was awesome!! Very efficient, very cooperative and shipping cost was astoundingly good!
        Hope that if you try them you also have a good experience! Here’s the link to check them out: https://www.azurestandard.com/?a_aid=d59d7374f1.

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    3. Wow, my sister-in-law lived 40 years in Columbus, and I can’t imagine figs making it there! You and your husband are amazing.

      1. Jo- Since it was only about $7, we thought we would give it a try! For us, gardening is a lot of experimentation to see what works!! We try to grow (or at least attempt to grow) something new every year! It’s fun, cheap entertainment and, if it works, another edible to our little “farm”! 😉

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Ava- Buc-ee is such a cute little beaver!! 😉😂😂😍😍

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    4. Gardenpat- I am so glad you tried Azure! I have been ordering from them for years – before they were “cool”:). They are such a great company. Great values, amazing products, and excellent prices for quality food.

      1. Melissa- We used to have Walton Wheat deliver an order once a year for a big group of us, but that stopped years ago. Since then, I watch Sam’s Club, Costco and Amish Country (Holmes County) for things in bulk that I can’t get at our local Home Storage Center. Glad to have a new resource and it was a very positive experience!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    5. I have used Azure Standard before and really like the quality! It’s a drive for us, but to stock up on staples, it’s nice.

      1. Allyson- since they had 3 drop off points around Columbus, I chose the closest one that was only 10 minutes away! What a gas-saver as well as time saver!! 👍👍

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  5. Haven’t been reading any blogs for awhile, but trying to get back to it. Your bread looks so delicious! Other than picking up my niece from her day program I was home most of the time last week. Her day program is in my neighborhood so minimal gas. One day I did some errands and stopped for a sub at Jimmy John’s. My friend told me how good they were. Much more meat than Subway and delicious. All other meals at home. Read books from the library. Watched tv that we have antenna for, also some shows on Netflix. Got a couple of Christmas gifts on clearance at TJ Maxx. Got the 10 % senior discount they give on Monday.

  6. The bread and peaches look delicious!
    • It has been a good week. I have picked many cucumbers and zucchini, passing some on to friends and neighbors. I also picked the first green beans, with many more to come. I would appreciate ideas for using cucumbers.
    • On Wednesday I went to a Master Gardener dinner (outdoors) where I volunteered to be on the clean up crew. I came home with a gallon bag of barbecue chicken, a gallon bag of salad, 20 rolls and ½ pound of butter! Plus a bouquet of flowers.
    • On Saturday I saw a “free items” posting on FB marketplace and since it was only 1 mile away, I went. Often I will find one or two things in a free pile, but that’s not worth the gas to drive very far, so 1 mile or less is my rule. This time I found so many treasures. 29 pint size canning jars, plus rings and new lids, wooden puzzles, like new, for my grandson, lots of books for grandson, table décor for a wedding, kids clothes, and more. I will keep some, give some to grandson and sell the rest.
    • Our county is having a zero waste week of events and I went to the free bike fix-it clinic and took my husband’s bike that needed a tune up. It was done for free. I got a few pieces of clothing at the clothes swap, and I volunteered at the sewing table, where people brought clothes that needed mending (free of charge). There was also an electrician doing repairs on lamps and small appliances. It was a joy to see so many people there.
    • I’ve been listing items on eBay more regularly and things have been selling, after several months with no sales. Also sold a few things on FB marketplace. Many of these things are thrifted or found in free piles.

    1. Can pickle relish! Make dill pickles, sweet pickles, and bread and butter pickles! Make a tomato and cucumber salad. Serve cucumbers in vinegar! Make tabouli.

    2. I use cucumbers on sandwiches instead of lettuce. Adds a nice crunch and the sandwiches don’t get soggy.

      1. Yes! My favorite way to do grilled cheese is to grill both slices of bread, buttered side down, open faced with cheese sprinkled on both pieces until it melts. Then spread a chipotle mayo (homemade), add sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, red onion, and some sort of minced herb. It’s almost like a Schlotzky’s sandwich if you have ever had one.

    3. Your counties zero waste week did my heart good. Cucumber slices and sweet onion slices, interleaved…a dressing of mayo or yogurt with vinegar and sugar, salt and pepper. 1 Tbsp vinegar/ 1 Tbsp sugar suits me.

    4. This may sound odd, but cucumbers can be sliced, breaded and fried, just like they do dill pickles and okra. Salt them lightly and let them sit on towels to draw out the moisture for a few minutes before breading.

    5. Try an asian cucumber salad with rice vinegar, soy sauce, green onion, sesame seed, and some red pepper flakes. Also very good!

    6. I recently tried a tasty watermelon cucumber and mint salad that was so good I had it the next day for breakfast with a fried egg! There are several recipes online for this. The one I made had fresh ginger, so it was sort of Thai flavors.

      1. Cucumber, watermelon and mint salad is one of my favorites!
        You beat me to recommending it. Thanks!
        Lea

    7. If you have a juicer, a blend of 50% cucumber and 50% apple is nice and refreshing on hot days. In lieu of a juicer, you could blend and strain it. Of course, you can make it to your taste, more or less of each. I also make cucumber salad several times a week.

    8. I have chopped and froze cucumbers to use in smoothies during the off-season. They are a terrific topping on Asian bowls, also

    9. chop them up and mix with softened cream cheese, a touch of garlic powder is great also. Use for sandwiches ( a restaurant served this at one time) or as a dip with veggies/crackers etc. I actually smeared in on tortilla wraps and them rolled them and sliced to make pinwheels.

  7. Gas was 3.52 in college town this morning and $4.29 two hours south. I was given more tomatoes and cucumbers. I picked figs. My electric bill was $29 at work house because my air conditioner is broken, or rather the plug where lightning ran into it. But electric was $49.00 at college town so overall my electric is up $29 dollars because my total electric bill in the summer usually runs 54 to $55 because I only turn on air when I am home and it is set at 80, well, sometimes 79. The heat wave is real.

  8. Beautiful peaches, Brandy! This week seemed a little bit better, frugal wise. My husband brought home 35 (!) BluRay discs and DVDs from his work that someone had thrown out. These were newer releases that my son was really happy to get. My son chooses not to pay for internet; instead he borrows a hot spot from the library, but he often has to wait his turn to get one. I’m proud of that frugal choice he is making, and these movies give him something to watch when he doesn’t have the hot spot to use our streaming services. My husband found more marked down meat – chicken thighs and boneless pork chops; these are in our freezer for us or our children to use when needed. These packages of meat are greatly reduced making a meals worth of meat $2-3. We used a marked down ham from our freezer for my Christmas in July dinner along with all vegetables from our garden (mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and cut up cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes). I paid an extra $70 on my mortgage, which is my goal every month. I made sure to check the kiosk at CVS to see if any coupons printed before I shopped and was very pleased that it spit out a coupon for support hose (which I have never bought there, so it was very kismet) that was the very thing I was there to purchase for my mom. It saved her $4. I went thrifting with my kiddos on Saturday and found some cute notecards and postcards to send – I think that now more than ever we need to be connected to people and sending mail to friends and family makes me happy and seems to make them happy, too. I also found some wooden hoops to use in crafts for just a quarter and some great books, including a box full of my son’s favorite western author. We had some rain that enabled us to skip watering a few days. My husband and I cleaned out the fridge, which serves many purposes – it makes me happy to see a clean fridge, we see what we have in order to try and plan better to use up items, and to get rid of anything we may have missed using up; sadly, this time it was some blackberries and blueberries plus about ten cherries that were missed. I hate to have to throw out any food, but especially produce as it seems pricier. We also made a roast when I thawed out the wrong type of meat for dinner and had to use it before it went bad, and then we put the leftover broth and tiny bit of meat in a quart jar to freeze for a future soup. I have four sets of the washcloths made for Christmas presents. Thanks to everyone for always sharing your frugal tidbits; I look forward to this every week.

  9. My husband realized we had a budding mold problem in our basement (it’s been a very rainy summer so far). We treated it with vinegar and sunshine. Last year I sewed pants for my husband. I turned the thick linen left over fabric into 3 kitchen towels. Our electricity contract needs to be renewed in January. The estimation is that the price we will be able to get then is at least 10 fold comparing to the price we now have. We started buying firewood (we have kind of fireplace in every room, as well as a wood burning stove and oven in the kitchen. They were the most important thing I was looking for when we were planning on buying a house) and my husband compared the prices. We bought 4 cubic meters for 240€ delivered (birch first class). Continued to collect water (a bowl in every sink and a big container under the shower). I picked tomatoes, dill, chives, parsley, mint and strawberries from my container garden. I worked on my real-garden-to-be and started planting a raspberry ”fence” using 1st year raspberry plants that are spreading wild on other part of our property.

    1. I have made dish towels with remnants of linen I have found at the fabric store. They are so nice! I bet yours are too.

    2. It is funny that you mention dish towels. For years we have been buying cotton/linen dish towels from a small family owned Italian company. They last forever and the block printing on them is lovely. However I have felt that we really can’t afford them any longer. So recently I purchased enough of the same type material for four towels. I used the Italian ones as a pattern and am in the process of making four of them. I am going to use a Michael’s coupon to get a little fabric paint to stamp on some flowers. They will be less than a fourth of what the others cost.

      1. Elisa, what is the fabric called? I embroider a lot of towels for gifts and the average flour sack towel quality has really declined. Our local farm store used to carry beauties for $1.50 ea. but they changed suppliers. I’d love to know what kind of fabric I might use. I’m no good at comparing!!

        1. Well, the Italian dish towels use a 50/50 linen & cotton twill. I couldn’t find that online although you can find 100 percent cotton twill. I went to the fabric store here in our small town (an adventure in itself as material is stacked often ceiling high). I found a material that was 50/50 linen and cotton but not twill so I decided to try it. $10 per yard and 1 1/3 yards will make 4 good sized dish towels. I haven’t used them yet to see how absorbent they are. The next time I go to JoAnn fabrics I am going to see if they have all cotton twill and how nice it seems.
          Hope this helps a little.

  10. The peaches look delicious!
    We had a wonderful trip down the shore (thank you Chris)! Everything is expensive so we saved where we could. We ate cereal bars for breakfast in our hotel room, brought our own snacks to eat and share at the beach and carried a refillable water bottle. We shared some food out and split one entree. We ate with cousins who had a rental and all met for a pot-luck dinner at my uncle’s. I brought Italian sausages to grill, a rice dish and brownies (made from ingredients on hand). It was wonderful to relax on the beach and to spend time with family including my uncle who built the family’s cottage there in the fifties. We had great weather and missed some dangerously hot days back at our house in the Bronx. (Laura, I hope you have good weather at Cape May)!
    I haven’t shopped yet for groceries and we may hold off until the weekend, continuing to eat what we have along with a tiny bit of lettuce and grape tomatoes from the garden. My sister gave me fresh green beans which will be nice in a vegetable stir-fry and I plan to make hummus.
    Nothing else here, just back to work and back to good habits, I hope. Wishing everyone a great week.

    1. Kay, thank you! We are still down the shore😊 Wildwood boardwalk tonight…we used to take the kids there for the amusements, but hubby and I will just walk for the memories (watch out for the tram😂) and get some pizza and Polish ice. We take snacks and drinks to the beach, and usually grab fresh seafood for dinner (can’t get that in Illinois and it’s such a treat!). Weather has been hot and humid, but just when it gets too unbearable, a cool breeze has come in every day, and it’s wonderful! Water has been more rough than usual but nice and cool. Truly is our place to go for peace and relaxation.

      1. Cape May is my happy place! Been spending a week there every summer for 40 years! Can always spot the Philly/New Jersey peeps because, to my knowledge, no one else goes “down the shore.” Hope you had a great trip!

  11. My money saving was mostly related to food and elbow grease. I’ve recently discovered a grocery liquidator store not too terribly far from the house that’s become a financial lifesaver! 50¢ cantaloupe, 79¢ bins of organic greens and super cheap yogurts, cheeses and random other stuff. I bought an entire flat of strawberries for $3 a few weeks ago and immediately cut and froze them and have been treating my family to delicious smoothies ever since.

    My husband and I have also been working on the backyard, which meant power washing a brick patio, (the neighbors leant us their washer) and disassembling an enormous tree house. We’re using the salvageable wood from the tree house to build a platform deck, which I’m very excited about. Our backyard will never be as elaborate as yours, but it’ll suit us.

    Of course, I wrote about everything here:

    https://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-553/

  12. Your peaches look wonderful! I wish I could grow them here.
    We are harvesting all the greens for salads, green onions, tomatoes and garlic scapes. Plus strawberries and hascap berries and still more rhubarb. Raspberries are just about ready.
    I have challenged my children to a no buying snacks summer so they are making things to use for snacks with the things we have at home. More of a challenge with the older ones working but we are managing.
    Bought several new things for my daughter on clearance online and then had an additional savings code so she is set for clothes for the foreseeable future.
    Visited a thrift store looking for work shirts for my oldest. He is working on a ranch for the summer doing manual labour so nothing nice. Goodwill had their men’s Tshirts marked $8 each! So no shirts from there. I did manage a glass loaf pan for $2 though.
    Baked all of our bread, muffins, and made all meals at home. I’m trying to make more space in our chest freezers for garden produce so doing a mini pantry challenge and saving money by not buying groceries and just eating what we have. We are buying milk though and eggs from a friend along with fresh fruit.

  13. Thank you for the book recommendations. I have been going through my bookshelf and re-reading old favorites. I’m currently listening to all the Lord Peter Whimsey mysteries on audio through the Libby ap.
    My birthday was last week. We celebrated by hiking my favorite trail and having Mexican food out. We bought groceries afterward, since the grocery store is in the same town as the restaurant. Milk was 99 cents a half gallon. I used a gallon of whole milk to make mozzarella cheese (I already had citric acid and rennet.) I used the mozzarella, plus some homemade ricotta and homemade sauce to make a large lasagna, which will provide several meals. I dug my garlic. I got a lot of heads, but none are very big. I wonder if the unusually high temps we had earlier this summer retarded their growth some. I fed the garden with compost tea, pulled all my carrots and added sifted compost to the carrot bed and planted more carrots, which are already coming up. I planted basil to replace a plant that died, and those seeds are coming up as well. We continue to get monsoon showers, which cool things off and allows me to save on irrigation. I did have to run irrigation several days this week, but turn it off whenever possible. I mended a few items and I finished knitting a short-sleeve sweater with yarn I had unraveled from a cardigan I didn’t like.

    1. Cindi,
      Thanks for mentioning the Lord Peter Whimsey books! I love them and will see what our library has for the Libby app. I just bought an Adam Dalgliesh (P.D. James) book for 50 cents at a church rummage sale. I love the old mystery books.

  14. I cancelled services I wasn’t using, made grocery list to but things on sale worked on tax return so it won’t be late.

  15. My Aunt passed away so I met my daughter halfway to return my grandson, then drove to Texas for the memorial. Meeting daughter added 2 hours to my trip as I had to go further south. I got books on CD from the library, downloaded music and podcasts to listen to in the car as I was by myself for 13 hours one way. We used Marriott points and I stopped in Lousiana going and coming, with one night in Fort Worth. Gas was $3.65- $3.89 every place I filled up. Coming home I stopped for lunch with my aunt and uncle in Laurel, MS, and went by to visit with another uncle that lives next door a few minutes. He is 93 and in great shape. I picked up 10 bushels of pre shelled butterbeans, purple hill peas, zipper peas, butter peas, corn, mixed vegetables, green beans, and okra from a produce place outside Laurel. I have been canning these and really filing up the shelves. https://www.instagram.com/p/CgVNM8ipkld/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=. I have the canners going today to finish getting it all put up.
    I had picked up 6 bushels for a friend and she had half a bushel of corn for me, so I shucked it, cut it off the cob, blanched it, and have it to put up today. Then, yesterday she brought two bags of apples she picked and I will can apple pie filling this week. I feel so blessed to get deals and so much to put up.
    ***I have harvested okra daily, I found 3 carrots, one is about 14 inches long. I had let some go to seed and collected the seed flowers. I harvested green beans, just enough for a meal.
    ***My kids came home from Pennsylvania so we all got together Saturday. I made muffin meatloaves, purple hull, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, corn muffins, and a chocolate cake. It is Patera’s Cole Miners Cake and was good. https://www.instagram.com/p/CgXUWURpGen/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
    * I am listening to The Noghtingale on my trip. I had a hard time with mind wandering at first and didn’t think I could listen to books. But, I finally got into it. I ordered a CD walkman so I can finish the book.

    1. Bama Holly, that is a lot of canning! You are a canning inspiration! Hoping to do my share once we return from our vacation as produce is now coming in where I live.

  16. it was a busy week here ! I finally found a GREAT bread recipe to use for sandwiches 🙂 Makes 10 rolls and I can freeze them also! It is a win win when you are trying to feed just two of us (plus he liked them) I grow my own sprouts so I reuse the water that I rinse them with daily and the water goes outside to my herbs. Joined a local gardening group here in AZ and it was only $10. Spent only $12 at the grocery store buying from the loss leaders Eggs were 97¢ a dozen, grape tomatoes 77¢ a clam. Frozen onions and veg’s were 77¢ each so bought a few of those. Made my own yogurt and of course flour tortillas. Decided to make my own salsa as we had all the ingredients here in the house…. And the list was endless.. it was a good week 🙂

  17. So glad your fruit trees are producing so well: 26 quarts from 1 tree — wow!

    My frugal week:
    – made waffles (https://approachingfood.com/pumpkin-spice-waffles/) using sweet potato puree instead of canned pumpkin and a dash more water
    – I picked lettuce, green beans, and snow peas from my garden plot at my parents place, along with mulberries, and raspberries, green onions, cilantro, collard greens, and chives from my balcony garden.
    – I used printed coupons and cashback apps on top of sales when grocery shopping. My best deal was a bag of fries for 50 cents, perfect for dinner on a day when I’m tired.
    – redeemed SB for $10 to my paypal account
    – got a free family pass to the Art Gallery of Ontario from the public library system, a savings of $50.
    – when an allocated expense didn’t materialize, I used part of the set aside money to order more school uniform on sale for my eldest, and made sure to go through swagbucks using my cc to earn loyalty points.
    – got a free presto card (public transit) from a library branch
    – took advantage of a promo on a night I was too tired to cook, and bought several pizzas for $3.99 each. Dinner that night and cold pizza for a picnic lunch the next day.
    – fixed my umbrella stroller when it broke down. Good as new!
    – went to the library several times, as well as the local pool.
    – baked a cake and decorated it with reused candles and cake pics.
    – gave my daughter a haircut
    – used a digital coupon (Circle K) to get a free kinder surprise egg for my daughter one day as a treat
    – used a Mr clean sponge to get scuffs off of the shoes of my daughters (it makes them soooo white again), and used some shoe polish on my leather sandals. My sister said my sandals (at least the leather part) looked brand new again.
    – I called to renegotiate my cell phone bill and brought it down by $30/month, while still keeping all the features that I use. I was pleased about that!
    – my husband brought me back a few freebies from his work trip: a charger, a powerbank, and a little doodad that goes over the camera on a computer (for privacy).
    – went to a Toronto History Museum, and took advantage of a free tour. It ended up just being us, so it was a free private tour! I love being able to show my children historic places!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Margaret, I checked out your recipe and noticed that you have a type of waffle maker that you “pour into from the top”???? Can you tell me which make it is please as I don’t think I’ve seen one like that. Thank you

  18. What a fantastic harvest from your peach! We’re lucky if the squirrels leave us one or two! Last week, I planted seeds of beets, cabbage, kale, broccoli, and collards. While using a $3 off $20 produce coupon, I found organic peaches for $2.49/2# (usually $3.99), and found cherries at another store for $3.99/#. Some of the peaches were frozen for future smoothies. A bin of shredded paper was emptied into the compost. The pups were bathed in the outdoor shower with homemade dog soap. Their beds were washed, and dried on the line. I sold a set of antique dishes for my friends on ebay. There have been lots of apple and pear drops, so I’ve been gathering many of them. Some of the damaged apples have been chopped for the pups and chickens. I’m thinking of making a batch of applesauce. Eggplant, stewed tomatoes and tomato juice were canned. I harvested cucumbers, yellow squash, eggplant, tromboncino & cucuzza squash, tomatoes, basil, blueberries, and green beans. I went through Swagbucks for a purchase, which will give me $5 cash back, used a $12 reward, and will get another 10% back in rewards. I mended a small hole in the watering can with epoxy. Chanterelles were gathered, and used in a veggie scramble. I figured out what was making holes in our peppers, and causing them to drop off… slugs. We have a bottle of beer we were given that we don’t care for, so it will be used as slug bait. I may also crush egg shells, and place them around the plant. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/07/the-summer-garden-cucuzza-squash.html

  19. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your week sounded productive Brandy and the photo of your loaf looks great, pity we can’t smell newly baked bread through the internet!
    This week we picked broccoli, cucumbers, beetroot, lettuce, courgettes, French and runner beans, carrots, potatoes and plums. We brought inside the garlic crop, shallots and onions which have been drying outside and my husband plaited some of the onions. I have prepped and frozen veg for the winter.
    Inexpensive meals were courgette, onion, bean and cheese crustless quiche, cheese omelettes and salad, smoked mackerel salad and I made broccoli and blue cheese soup which I’ve frozen. Eggs feature often because they cost 11 pence each which is very cheap and tasty protein for us. I also made keema curry ( minced beef), usually it’s made with peas but I padded ours out with courgettes and French beans and froze an extra portion. This can be used to top jacket potatoes or be the start of mulligatawny soup in cooler weather.
    I used a coupon for money off my Lidl grocery shop.
    We need to replace a pillow and during a partial clear out of a big cupboard I found one I’d stashed away and forgotten about. I also cleaned out two undersink cupboards and was pleasantly surprised at what I found! I won’t need to buy cleaning supplies for some time.
    The best money saver this week has been talking myself out of things- I really wanted to buy a maxi dress but didn’t, then I ‘needed’ crop trousers but didn’t buy them and so on. This blog and others I follow are helping enormously to curb my desire to spend on things we don’t really need. Thank you Brandy and readers!
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Great job not buying stuff, PennyP! One of my favorite ways to do this is to “shop” through a catalogue buying this and and that in my mind and then putting it down and not ever buying the things. Have a good week!

  20. Those peaches look delicious!

    The great house declutter continues!!! No frivolous purchases and I’m so incredibly happy to have a better handle on what we have in our house 🎉
    A few accomplishments:
    *paid an extra $200 towards mortgage principal
    *daughters went to a graduation party and came home with veggies, dip, and cupcakes
    *daughter went for pizza with a friend and received the wrong pizza so got one for free that she brought home
    📍Grocery store: picked up a few odds and ends and found bacon for $2 a package marked down! Otherwise, still eating out of our freezer and pantry.

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

  21. You never cease to amaze me with all you do! Thank you for the ideas and inspiration.

    We are getting some things from our garden now – the last of the strawberries, peas and lettuces, some spinach, dill, cilantro, sage, oregano, zucchini and kale, green onions and beets…and my most exciting development – oyster mushrooms! My husband got a free mini grow kit for oyster mushrooms last winter, and we did them in our basement. I read online that with the right conditions, they can be cultivated outdoors, so I decided to give it a try. I crumbled the mycelium block, mixed it with ‘spill’ straw (the straw that falls off the bales) I got free from the feed store, and put it all in an old piece of a honeybee hive. I kept it moist, watched the mycelium grow, and this last week we picked enough oyster mushrooms for a meal. I left a few to go through the entire cycle, in hopes that will replenish the spores. I’m going to continue and see if I get more. So fun! My small strawberry bed is growing – the plants have sent out runners, and yesterday I shifted the mulch so each runner has contact with the soil. There were three that had already found a soil spot and were already rooting, which I was really happy about. I sowed more seeds for sugar snap peas, lettuces, kale, and green beans.

    My kiddo used to get me a geranium every year for mother’s day, and I had them all in a pot that I would move in and out for winter. They had gotten really leggy and tall, and the pot has gotten to big for me to easily move (I’m sure I’ll break it one day), so this year I cut the geraniums way down and potted them into a smaller (but still big), easy to carry pot. I moved the big pot outside for annuals only, and planted seeds for zinnia and marigolds, a morning glory, and some vinca and marigolds that were on clearance at the store. I took all the stems I’d cut off the too-tall geraniums and put them in water. All but one of them rooted, and this weekend I transplanted all of those into a second smaller (but still big), moveable pot. Now I have about 12 geranium stems, and a few of them are blooming right now. They are pretty next to the big pot with the annuals. I’m probably going to move the vinca to a smaller pot and try to keep it indoors over winter.

    Other than that, we borrowed books and videos from the library, I took my lunch to work, and hung clothes between wearings. The items that needed to be laundered were hung out on clotheslines to dry. It gets cool here – high 50s or low 60s – at night, so we put a fan in one window and the house is 65 or less degrees when we wake in the morning. We then close the windows until early evening and the house stays nice with just the ceiling fan on low. Many of our neighbors have air conditioning, but we have not needed it.

    We shopped for the things we needed using Ibotta, some other rebate sites, coupons, and sales. We had won Safeway rewards with the online game they have going and got free cucumbers, lemons, sour cream, $7 off of meat, canned tomatoes, whole wheat bakery French bread, and I don’t remember what-else. They also had a limit 1 deal for whole chickens at 67 cents a pound. Happily, the $7 off meat worked for that too, so he got the chicken and a pound of grass fed ground beef for less than two dollars. We planned our menu for the week around the garden and sale items. We combined errands to save on fuel, too.

    Our kiddo had a friend over and we made lemonade, popcorn, and brownies for them to enjoy, along with some air-puffed Starburst candies my husband got free with Ibotta. They watched a movie from the library, then did some drawing and art activities, and had a really nice time.

  22. How rewarding to get so many peaches from your own tree! The only fruit that survived the frost is 3 apples on a liberty apple tree we just got this spring. We might get some figs yet. Elderberries are slowly ripening and the ever bearing red raspberries are slowing down as well as the blackberries. I’m happy with being able to freeze a few quart of those this year. Also got a few quart of blueberries of our own. We are blessed to have a Upick blueberry patch close by for only $8 a gallon so we picked 9 gallon. I harvested tomatoes, sweet corn, potatoes,green beans, cucumbers, squash and basil from the garden.
    I renewed the library books so I didn’t need to make a special trip to town. I haven’t gone grocery shopping for 3 weeks so I’m saving money that way.
    A friend invited us for a meal and sent enough leftovers home with us for a meal. As a young mom with littles, that is such a gift!
    I ordered some curtains to replace old shades on prime day and my husband put them up. It’s amazing how much better it looks!
    We got to spend a day with friends at a saltwater pool and we loved it!
    I moved the chickens out to the chicken tractor so that should save on feed costs. I’ve also been giving them the extra big squash and swiss chard as they love it! A hen hatched 3 chicks so I’m grateful for more free chickens.
    My husband ordered a part for the weed eater and it works better than ever without having to get it fixed at a shop.
    My sister found like new rain boots for my daughter at a thrift store so I was thankful we didn’t need to buy them at new price. I bought some books for homeschooling on Mercari for a great price.
    I thought I had just planted enough green beans for fresh eating since I had canned 100 quarts last year so I wouldn’t need to this summer with a little baby but I couldn’t find someone to pick them (and I had plenty for fresh eating) so I picked them and the kids helping me we did 7 quart. I’m sure I won’t be sorry I did them🙂
    I planted a fall crop of potatoes.
    I made one batch of pesto and want to make more yet to freeze.

  23. I’m reposting because I originally commented on the wrong week. I’m sorry, Brandy.

    Last week Miriam in Finland wrote about drying lady’s mantle for eating in winter so I decided to try the lady’s mantle growing in my garden. I tried it raw and cooked and found the flavor very nice. I’m very happy to be able to count this as another perennial vegetable in the garden.

    I harvested raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, greens, and herbs from the garden.

    I purchased a marked-down bag of lemons and limes and ended up with more than I could use in the week so I juiced them and froze the juice in individual servings to use later.

    Each morning, I moved the coffee made in an electric drip coffee maker into a thermos. This saves on electricity and contains the heat.

    I made a batch of garlic scape & basil pesto based on a recipe I found online. It was intended to be a pasta sauce but unfortunately it was way too strong for my liking. Rather than throw it out, I portioned it into tablespoon spoon size servings and froze it. Now I have garlic and basil flavoring to add to other dishes.

    I vacuumed out my car using my own hand-vac rather than paying to use a vacuum cleaner at a car wash.

    I had a couple of frugal fails this week which got me thinking about some habits and practices I’ve let go over time and need to reinstate.

  24. Brandy that is amazing that you were able to get so many peaches I absolutely love them sadly in our neighborhood people will strip your trees clean when you aren’t looking such a shame. I can’t think of much different that I am doing just the regular getting books and movies from the library staying out of the thrift stores so not spending money. I did go in last week for bathroom guest towels that I use in my kitchen they are so much more absorbent than kitchen towels and my old ones were stained and tore up from the puppy stealing them off the counter. I bought 2 at 99 cents each and one reduced I think 59 cents? And found a silicone mold to use for the leftover juice from my home canned fruits that we use to add sugar to Koolaid using less added sugar husband loves it. I freeze it till needed.. the mold was 90 cents. I am collecting a couple handfuls of green beans from my garden daily and freezing them till I get enough for a canner load full to Can them up.

  25. Got some NWT $60 earrings for only $1.50 at local liquidation store. Paid $2 for leather travel jewelry box I found later online for $85-$200. $1 for different pink velvet jewelry box, online $59. I cannot imagine there are people that would pay $200 for a travel jewelry box. Extended my few day trip to friends’ university town condo to 7 days. Had a great time. After 3 postponements I was able to deliver birthday gift and take friend of 45 years to birthday lunch while I was there. Most lunches I bought were large enough to have leftovers that night or next day. Had a few restaurant items free from downloading apps. Nephew lives in university town so I invited them over for swimming and snacks. They brought their 4yo and he had great time. One of pools for this condo complex is only about a 60 second walk from friends’ unit. University town has 4 great thrift stores and I went to at least two each day except Sunday, got great deals each time. Condo tv package is much better than mine at home. I watched channels I don’t get the entire time I was gone. (+ a few Netflix shows). Because it’s a university town and almost August there were tons of people moving in and out of condos/apartments. Lots of stuff left cutbside near dumpsters but I’m not really a curbside shopper. Pleased to see that most of it was retrieved by someone before weekly garbage service. I even see some folks driving around to the different dumpsters at complexes daily “shopping” for discards. Save the planet. Home for a few days again before I go for 4 days to house and dog sit. My homeowners leave me tons of cash and gift cards to spend while I’m there. So I basically get a free vacay in a city and all I pay for is gas. (I live really rural, like no stores for 17 miles rural.). My homeowners try to get me to accept gas money but I don’t want to be a total mooch. They also have great tv package which I will enjoy. Plus lots of nearby stores and restaurants that I really like. In my normal life I would never wake up at 6am but that’s what time for my morning dog duties. A small price to pay for practically free vacay.

    1. When I first moved to this area in Florida I lived in a gated rental community and at the end of the month when people moved out they would leave tons of items near the dumpster, but not in it. They didn’t have the want, time, desire, or strength – or some combination to bring the items to a second hand store to donate, so the items were left like that in the hopes someone might take them. I have never in my life found so many treasures. People would take items all the time. Coffee table sets, art, dishes, sports equipment. It really said something about our culture.

  26. Hello Everyone!

    I can’t say it has been the most frugal month. Covid last month caused inflammation which led to a surgery removing some intestine due to an obstruction. Thank God it was a non-cancerous obstruction because up to 95% are cancerous!! 🙏🏼 Because of this our grocery bill has been higher as my family needed more convenience foods. However, insurance will be a financial lifesaver as the bill will likely be beyond imagination.

    Now that I’m a bit more mobile, I’m trying to prepare more foods from scratch. The bread machine has been a great help. I’ve made a few easy dinner meals as well as pancakes and French toast.

    My dear hubby has been keeping up with my veggie garden watering. We’ve got cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, peas, chard, carrots, parsnips, celery, plums, and peaches overflowing from our garden right now. I did lose all my perennial starts as they were forgotten while I was engulfed in medical issues but that can always be easily re-done. Priorities!

    I made a very nice sugar scrub from a You Tube tutorial. I had all the ingredients on hand. My skin has become very dry since becoming ill and undergoing surgery. It’s helping! I’ve been sitting and cutting out patterns for projects that have been on my list for awhile. The first of which will be an embroidered cotton nightgown from my fabric stash. I’m trying to be productive and keep my mind engaged.

    I’ve started briefly walking outside and gently strengthening my upper body using a Theraband. I’m thankful for my former fitness profession training because I can build my strength and stamina back up safely for free. I knew that “health is wealth “ before and regularly exercised, but now I truly grasp it’s importance and the priority it must have. Without it I can’t help myself, or others. It was eye opening! Poor health has a high financial cost, especially as we age and more health issues arise.

    A blessing from my ordeal is the realization of how much I am loved by friends and family. The outpouring of caring has been overwhelming. There is no price for that! ❤️

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! I enjoy your money savings posts and look forward to resuming my frugal ways. 🌸

    1. prayers for your healing. I had a ruptured colon so had to be opened and have part removed. My tummy was full of infection feom the rupture and I was septic. So I know the pain and how bad it is. I am glad you’re on the mend!

      1. Bama Holly,
        Thank you! 😍 It has been a difficult month. I’m sorry to hear that you went through something similar. Thankfully mine was detected before a perforation or rupture occurred. Your recovery must’ve been tremendous!! I’m glad you’re well now. 🤗

    2. Glad you’re on the mend!

      For a super-moisturizing sugar scrub, just mix white sugar and coconut oil. Exfoliating and moisturizing in one go! Or for a fancier scrub, you can mix (used, because we’re all frugal here) coffee grounds with just enough honey to make it all stick together, and a dash of cinnamon. The caffeine in the coffee grounds will act as a temporary cellulite reducer. Start with a milk bath (literally a few splashes of milk or milk powder in the tub), then the scrub, and then follow that up with a vanilla-scented lotion, and you’ve just given yourself a high end spa-worthy Latte Treatment! Very good for the skin. But for me in this time of my life (parenting littles), all I have time for is the coconut oil-sugar scrub, and it’s super effective as a combo exfoliant-moisturizer!

      1. Margaret,
        Thanks for the homemade suggestions! I never considered coffee grounds. I love the sound of a home spa treatment that nourishes the skin. 😍

    3. I’m so sorry you have been ill. I hope you get well soon. Thanks for the reminder about fitness.
      I will have to check into a Theraband.
      Elizabeth H.

      1. Elizabeth,
        Therabands, resistance tubing with handles and a door anchor, and resistance band loops are all inexpensive ways to strengthen our bodies. They offer a wide variety of exercises for the entire body and take up little storage space. 💪🏼 I hope you find something the bed option for you!

    4. Wonderful to hear you are getting well Julie. I can relate as I too have been struggling with some long Covid issues the past 3 months- which are still getting sorted out. Thankfully I have not required surgery though.

    5. My goodness! It sounds like you’re doing great after such an event! Some years ago my appendix ruptured and I spent 12 days in ICU. Even though I was a chubby, I bounced right back because of my swimming for so many years. Even though I was forbidden to swim for 16 weeks, I was mentally ready at 8!! Exercise makes such a difference in illness recovery! Keep up the good work!

    6. Julie, I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend. Take it slowly and take care of yourself! Wise words from you; ones I’ll journal as a reminder.

    7. Julie, so Thankful they caught it early enough! Glad you are recovering well and hope you continue to recover rapidly. You are so right…Health is wealth! Take care!

    8. Julie, sending prayers your way for continued healing and regaining your strength. Bands are great to use for both upper and lower body work – a class friends and I attend each week utilizes different color bands for a strength-building low impact workout.

    9. Thank you all for the prayers, well wishes and encouragement as I recover. This is such a warm community! 🥰

  27. Your garden is so productive! My fig tree is in its first year and the fruit quality and quantity isn’t isn’t great but I know in the years to come it will be really good. It’s a Peter’s Honey Fig, which is so sweet. I also appreciated your advice on peach thinning on Instagram, Brandy. I’m eying a peach tree as a neighbor gifted us bags of tiny peaches (now I know why they were so small) but oh, they were so delicious. Peaches just aren’t a fruit that travels well and the ones in the store never taste as good.

    We are saving money this week by eating out of the freezer. I am seeing signs that our refrigerator is beginning to have compressor problems and I want to eat up all of what we have before it goes out on us for good. They are too costly to repair if not under warranty, I’ve unfortunately learned. I would appreciate recommendations for a reliable refrigerator, if anyone has one they can depend on.

  28. My husband is now on Medicare and gets $50 every quarter in pharmacy items. I ordered cough and cold medicine, dental items, vitamins, etc. The prices were as good as what is at the store, or better. It will be a real help for us using this going forward.

    I went with a group of friends to the bargain matinee of “Mrs. Harris goes to Paris.” It was a delightful movie and fun to go with friends.

    I participated last week in a stress less challenge, learning simple ways to keep my life simple and less stressed.

    We went to two free outdoor concerts, one of which provided dance lessons for an hour before the music began. The other concert was an army band and we brought a picnic dinner to enjoy.

    I pulled out my essential oils that I haven’t used for a while and am now trying to use them up, particularly the lavender and citrus oils on my dryer balls.

    I helped with a funeral luncheon and not only got a free lunch, but was able to take home the ham bone, a half dozen rolls, three cupcakes and two slices of cake.

    I was passing a discount store on my way home from an errand and got strawberries for .99 a package, red grapes for .33 a pound, and 10 pounds of Barilla penne for $6.99. I bought a few other things but those were the best bargains.

    Have a blessed week everyone! Thanks for all your positive comments.

    1. I read Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris years ago and absolutely LOVED the book. I want to see the movie and I’m glad to hear that it’s a good one.
      Are you in US and if so where do I find out about the medicare pharmacy items? My husband’s on Medicare and if we can use to purchase over the counter items it would be a big help.

      1. My husband and I are both on Medicare. I believe that the $50 a month benefit is from a Medicare Advantage plan, not from traditional Medicare (parts a,b and d). We have a Medicare supplement plan (also known as Medigap) and we do not have this benefit.

      2. Terri, if your husband has a Medicare Advantage policy, he likely has an OTC benefit. Check the policy–they vary.

        My husband is on a Blue Cross HMO policy (also MedAdvantage) and gets $40 per quarter, mail order only. He is allowed to make one order per quarter, the benefit expires at the end of the quarter and all of the products are massively overpriced. Still, it is better than nothing. My daughter is on a similar Blue Cross policy for special needs people in Idaho, but she gets $80 per quarter.

        I am on a United Healthcare MedAdvantage PPO (can go to any doctor) policy this year and it has by far the best OTC benefit I know of. It is $175 per quarter and carries over until the end of the year. This works out to more than I pay for my entire medical policy, which is $36.50 month. But the best part is that I have a debit card (reloaded quarterly) that can be used at chains such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc. I not only get much lower prices in the store–meaning the benefit goes farther–but sale prices, too. I bought magnesium last week on B1G1F at Rite-Aid. You can even use it for toothpaste! We have also bought grab bars for the bathroom, a cane, etc., right at the drugstore.

        A couple of years ago, Gardenpat recommended going through an insurance broker for the annual Medicare signup that starts in October. (There is no charge for using a broker). I did this last year and he showed me the cost of all of the meds I take at every pharmacy in town. This was why I went, because I was on a very expensive medication that wasn’t covered by most insurance companies. It’s why I chose United Healthcare–they covered it. (Remember when I posted about potentially saving $30,000 a year?) Also, I go to a chiropractor weekly (on medical advice) for arthritis treatment and it is also covered with no limits on the number of visits. Many policies limit chiro to 18-20 visits per year, which for most people would be plenty. I learned all this from the broker. The huge OTC benefit was just a bonus. I don’t use all of it. I’m not recommending United over any other company, although I’ve been pleased with their service. You don’t have to be an AARP member to buy it. Everything depends on what you need and which company benefits you most. This is where a broker can really help.

        1. Thank you for the information. Hubby goes on Medicare next year and it’s been worrisome . My life insurance company has a broker and made sure he knew it didn’t matter if he was a policy holder or not and to bring ALL his meds and list of doctors even in only once a year.

  29. I harvested yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, basil, thyme and cucumbers from the garden this past week. I have enough cucumbers to make a batch of sweet pickle relish and will make baked cod this week with red onions and fresh tomatoes…this is favorite family dish.
    I am
    Planning a trip to the state farmer’s market which is only about 40 minutes from us. I usually make a few trips a season to score deals on fresh produce that I can or freeze for use during the year. This is a huge saver for things that we can’t grow or grow enough of to last us through the year. This is in consideration of the cost/space/ and time investment to grow.
    I added Miracle Gro dirt to both of my gardens this weekend and well as organic fertilizer. The harvest we are getting this year is much less than we are accustomed to and I believe this is due to the health of our soil. This is our first year in this house so this was expected. I have plans to amend the soil before fall plantings and again before the spring. We will add Black Cow for sure as well as a solid organic fertilizer and organic composted soil. All of these will be filled into the soil.
    I purchased the required items for my son to head back to school in the next couple of weeks. All week purchased on sale and I took advantage of the sales to stock up on items that we use throughout the year such as crayons & markers. My son will use the same backpack again this year as it has held up very well. I invested in this backpack and it has lasted 3 years making it less than the cheap backpacks cost so I consider this a win.
    I cooked a whole chicken in my crockpot last week and used the meat to make a large pot of white chicken chili. This fed us dinner all week long. I pulled a corned beef from the freezer purchased last March on sale and cooked it in the crockpot as well along with some potatoes and cabbage for several
    More meals. The heat has been high lately so I am loving my crockpot for easy
    Meals that don’t heat the house too much. I also baked a double batch of blueberry muffins late at night using frozen fresh berries that I put up last summer.
    I purchased 90 eggs when they were on this past week for $1.79/18. I froze a loaf of bread to be used for a French toast casserole down the road. I purchased dog food from Costco saving $24/bag off the price that we usually purchase.
    My zinnias are blooming and I will take the first cuttings from them today to encourage them to thicken and produce more blooms. I will also cut hydrangea blooms to encourage the bushes to flower
    more.
    I hope everyone enjoys the week ahead.

    1. Your son deserves a lot of credit for keeping his backpack safe from misadventures for three years, so far. Not everyone could do that! 😊

  30. My husband fixed our dryer. At first he ordered a part from some website that he realized seemed sketchy so he disputed that charge and ordered the part on Amazon. What he replaced was not the problem. So, he replaced another small part. First he found it on Amazon for about $4 which he ordered but then found it locally for $12. Since we’ve been without a dryer for a couple of weeks he went ahead and bought the local one and put the other part aside when it arrived. (We’ve been drying stuff on the line outside, and two inside racks but it’s very humid here so it takes awhile to dry stuff this time of year.) Meanwhile we also found a dryer that would work for us. (We have propane and it needs to be a gas dryer that we can easily convert to propane. It was very similar to what we have.) Since it was only $35 we went ahead and bought it in case something happens to ours. We put it in the barn. So, I think he spent about $70 on fixing the dryer and buying the new one. I’m sure that’s not bad compared to having a fix-it guy come. One local person recently said that she couldn’t get anyone to come for like 10 days or something. I’m grateful that my husband will keep fixing it. I told him that I like our OLD washer and dryer. I really do. (We also bought the old washer years ago for $35. It was during detasselling. This is an ag job that kids do and they get so dirty and muddy that clothes must be washed each night. Our washer broke and we found one on craigslist and my husband had it installed with a couple of hours. It was great.) I told my husband that I hear about people having such trouble with new machines and stinky smells (having to strip the laundry every once in awhile etc.) My husband said that the lady who sold her dryer told him she actually liked the old one she was selling better than her new one!

    Also, we have been bringing in the produce from the garden and trying to not waste it. (Although it goes to the chickens if we can’t keep up.) We shared produce with friends who were so excited. I made a delicious corn dish that I will make again with mayo and sour cream, peppers and other yummy stuff. I like that I could make it before company came and then serve it knowing that it was made and also delicious.

    One frugal fail is that I bought several summer sausages from Aldi. I thought they lasted a long time and were good for longerish food storage. We had one yesterday and it was nasty and even squishy. Gross. Most still are not expired so I hope to take them back and get some money back but I didn’t keep the receipts. I am kind of done with Aldi. The quality at most stores has gone down hill but especially Aldi.

    1. We’ve used ereplacementparts.com to buy parts for older appliances with good success. I highly recommend them. Like you I prefer plain old-fashioned appliances. I bought a basics only model dishwasher after my old one died after 26 years. Ditto with the washer and dryer. We’d repaired all of these items over the years and were just at the point where it was necessary to buy something new.
      I’ve also had summer sausage go bad as well as the turkey snack sticks. I find it’s best to keep them in the freezer or fridge.

      1. Terri: My DH and I are both on Medicare and we get the free OTC . We have Medicare Advantage plans, and it is through that plan that we receive the OTC. If you are on a regular Medicare supplement, then I believe you don’t get the free OTC.

  31. Your photos always make me so hungry Brandy – those peaches are amazing! Ontario peaches aren’t usually ready until August and I find the ones that are in the stores now to be a bit tasteless so I’ll just have to be patient.
    I did spend some money last week – bought two identical laundry hampers – very compact in width, divided into 3 compartments and with a lid – one is for clothes and the other for linens. They are well worth the money as they have freed up space in two areas and gave me two “metal garbage bins” for other storage. The bins were from IKEA, are about 2 feet high and are a cream colour so now one is holding all the paperwork and shredding that I need to sort through (making my bedroom look a lot tidier), and the other has been added to my long term storage cupboard to hold more things. Sometimes spending a bit of money does work out for the best.

    I received an unexpected refund from the Govt. so I deposited some to my savings, paid some onto my VISA bill and then allowed myself a small amount to myself. I purchased the latest “Victoria” magazine (the one and only magazine I buy) and the latest hard cover book in a series that I collect. This is the first book I’ve bought all year!

    It was so hot and humid last week (and the A/C was out at the office) that I really just ate nibbles, fruit and sandwiches – didn’t even have the energy by the end of the day to put together a salad! On Friday I ended up out with a friend and we ate lunch at a favourite Greek restaurant – had the special – Moussaka. I had been feeling a bit woozy so it was nice to eat a proper meal – without having to stand in a hot kitchen – and I was able to bring some home. I only bought some loss leaders (Canned corned beef at 50% off – some for me and some for my office mate as this deal was only at my neighbourhood store) – 2 large jars of peanuts (1 lightly salted and 1 honey roasted) both at 50% off – these have both been put away for Christmas – and some bags of frozen broccoli – on sale at the drugstore for nearly $2 less than at my grocery store (same company)! Took snacks and my water bottle to the office on the 3 mornings I went in.

    Saturday morning – early – was when I went to the grocery store & drug store – and then I found the laundry room empty so managed to get 4 large loads of laundry done – finally! Sunday morning it was cool enough to turn on the stove so I cooked up a batch of all different veggies. boiled some eggs, prepped some raw veg and cut up a bag of lemons I’d found on sale. I sliced them and added them to the freezer for my water bottles – so refreshing. I even warmed up one of those bits & pieces ziplocs from the freezer for a late breakfast (some bits of chicken, a few spoonfuls of black beans and some cooked onions & peppers) – had it on a toasted English muffin and it was delicious. There is another bag in the freezer for next week. I sometimes make up little bags like this for a cooked breakfast or quick lunch when I’m making other meals – a great way to use up all those bits & pieces that might not be enough for a dinner. Once I’d finished ironing the clothes from the day before that was it – too hot to do much but a few odd jobs when I had the energy.

    Got my electric bill this morning – $78, including tax – but – the frustrating part is that I actually only used $30 worth of energy – the rest is all my “delivery fee” – I think you call it the “standing fee” in the UK. I have no recourse on this amount and the maddening part is that a lot of it is to do with a really bad deal from a previous provincial Govt.!

    Thank goodness some storms rolled in last night and we have some gorgeous and cooler weather (around 25C) with a beautiful breeze for the next few days! Have a good week everyone.

    1. I had to laugh at your weather lowering down 25 degrees C because I was rejoicing on finally achieving 25 degrees here in Vancouver! (It’s been very cold and rainy here. We were wondering if it would ever be summer!)

    2. Margie, Nice that you were able to treat yourself a bit with your windfall-I am guessing you received a carbon tax credit-we did too. I really like your idea of bits and pieces bags to toss in the freezer-mind you I would have to designate and package the leftovers before my hungry husband spies them!!!

  32. Mended a pair of shorts

    I wasnt going to order, but I had a 50% off Misfit Market order code. That, plus a credit from a few weeks back, got me a box of veggies for just under $19.

    Received a free movie rental code from Directv

    Gas down to $3.84 or less at most stations here(SW Mo)

    I used 2 20% off codes from Shein ordering school clothes for the teen

    My teen is down to one more physical therapy appointment this week, so I’ll be out less gas.

    My husband’s cousin came to town(in the military, stationed in Spain) and treated us to lunch.

    Mostly been staying home(so hot) and catching up on TV shows and movies since I’m off a few more weeks.

  33. My neighbor said the crows got every single peach off of his tree this year. I am watching and waiting on my immature pears to see if I get any of them.

    We went from too dry to too wet – I’m dealing with mold on my little squashes and the cucumbers aren’t fruiting well at all in this rain. A garden is always a gamble. I got one nice summer squash, though, and I had it and okra from my garden as a nice meal, no meat at all.

    I’ve had some nice figs, but the rain is hurting the new ones – they load up with water and fall apart. I keep an eye out for any I can grab before the afternoon storms or the birds beat me to them.

    In spite of some ferocious storms, I managed to hang out most of my laundry.

    I finished some drywall patches in two rooms and have them painted with paint I bought to match my existing paint. I had a quart color matched and use it to touch up spots; it’s a lot cheaper than repainting an entire room.

    I’m sewing on a Christmas gift for a relative.

    I did my housework upstairs first thing Saturday, while the upstairs was still cool. During the day the program on the thermostat lets it get warm upstairs, which would tempt me to turn down the temperature while I’m working if I waited till later in the day.

    I used some frozen blueberries from last year to make a dessert.

    I made a big pot of thick soup and put up three jars in the freezer for future meals.

    I made some sewing repairs.

    Here’s to more savings!

  34. Brandy, I just read “The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle” as well. It was on hold for about 6 month and I finally got it. I enjoyed it as well, read it in 3 days!!

    -Picked green beans and cucumbers. Ate 2 pickings of beans fresh and canned 4 pints out of the third picking. Also picked lettuce and pea pods. I took out all the beets and canned 4 pints of pickled beets. Not bad for 2 year old seed I threw in the garden. Plus I blanched and froze 4 pints of beet greens.

    -During the weekend of camping I finished 2 beaded cross stitch ornaments- an angel and a snowman. When I get the felt backing on and the ribbon hanger they will be added to my Christmas gift basket.

    -With garden produce coming in, we are in a spend very little on groceries. We are trying to cut back and use up freezer stuff from last year. Helps not to waste food and it saves money. Only purchased milk, a watermelon, and a loaf of bread. It has been too hot to bake bread!

    -I got my 2 cases of Michigan blueberries. I ordered them in April and paid for them then. I freeze them on cookie sheets and then put in ice cream buckets so I can scoop out what I need. I froze 4 ice cream buckets of blueberries. Plus we ate some fresh, so sweet almost like candy! I also made a batch of blueberry and cream muffins. I did not have the vanilla yogurt called for in the recipe. I used sour cream and vanilla extract instead. Quite good, we could not tell I substituted the sour cream.

    -I ordered a 25# bag of flour I use from Sunrise Mills. It went from $60 to $65. This is the only flour I can use as I am gluten intolerant and the ancient wheat does not bother me. The box it came in was crushed and the flour bag was open and there was flour inside the shipping box. Sunrise Mills told me to keep the open bag and they sent me a replacement. I now will have enough flour for 9-10 months. Grateful they replaced the bag as about 5# was lost. Grateful they allowed me to keep the open bag as well.

    -I drink a lot of iced sweet tea in the summer. I put the water in a pitcher with the tea bags and set on the counter for a few hours (no need to put in the sun, on the kitchen counter is fine). I was then heating slightly and adding the honey then refrigerating. But I added the honey this week to the room temp tea and just whisked very well with a whisk. It incorporated in well. So this technique saves money by not using propane to heat it up and extra refrigeration to cool it down.

    -We had our 5 grandkids this week. We stayed home and had picnics, went to the park and playground, went to the splash pad, and the beach and picked raspberries. All free things to do except for gas, but everything was within 10 miles. Cousins had fun playing together and we didn’t spend any extra.

    -Friends called and asked us if we wanted to pick raspberries. Yes please, we took the grandkids and picked a couple of ice cream buckets. I made 8 half pints of jelly, made a raspberry pie, and froze a couple of pint bags. I will send a thank you card and a couple jars of horseradish pickles as I know they love them as a thank you. Love free!

    Have a great week!

    1. I think I only had to wait three months, and I read it and returned it right away so the next person could read it!

    2. I love the idea of storing fr0zen blueberries in buckets for next year. I am thinking frozen corn would be easier to store that way too! Thank you.

  35. -I bought blueberries at CDN$2.50/lb direct from a grower, saving more than half at the best price at stores and markets. I bought 40 lbs and canned most of them to share with my daughter’s family and ourselves. They’ll be wonderful in winter thickened with cornstarch on pancakes and waffles.
    -I found 5 lbs of lemons for CDN$10. I brined a big jar of slices for future use, and we enjoyed lemonade with the rest. A bit of preserved lemon adds a delightful gourmet flavor to many foods which I appreciate as I cut back on meats and other expensive ingredients.
    -I was overcharged $4.50 on a purchase, and had it made right at customer service.
    -The weather here is warmer at last, which is great for my vegetable garden. Zucchini is thriving and bean plants are in bloom!
    -I looked at a jar of commercially made berry jam at the store that was sealed in a pint mason jar to look homemade. This jam was made in June 2022, and its best before date was June 2027. Five years! I made a note of this in regards to my home-canned jams!
    Enjoy your week, everyone!

  36. I have never had such a productive harvest of peas and raspberries! For a few meals we ate only peas with butter, and raspberries for dessert. I have also frozen a lot, but we need to leave freezer room for other garden items. It was no hardship to eat a vegetable and a fruit an hour after harvesting. We have spent no money on groceries this week because the garden and freezer are providing us with all we need. I have sold several items on the local FB marketplace site, as they were too big to mail so could not list them on eBay. Did sell one book on eBay, though. Other than eating without going to the store, there have been no big savings at our house, just the usual of reusing or repurposing things rather tahn buying new. The little savings add up.

  37. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    My aunt and uncle babysat the kids for me for a few hours. I hadn’t cooked anything, but picked up a couple of Sam’s rotisserie chickens ($5/each), a bag of salad, and took some bread to be made into garlic bread. This was cheaper than fast food would have been, and I can’t really show up empty-handed when they’re kind enough to watch all the kids. This allowed me to visit a family member in the hospital nearby.
    I paid a babysitter to watch 3 of the kids while I took the others to a church garage sale that I paid $20 for early admission into. Yikes, pricey, but I got a lot of good stuff, and within a day, resold enough to cover the babysitter and admission, as well as what I spent. Things I kept for us: gallon bag of small containers of floss ($1.50), several clothing items ($1/each), a kitchen knife (.50), unopened birthday wrapping paper (.50/roll), which I never find on clearance, and several brand new razors (.50), several pairs of shoes ($2/each). All books were 5/$1, so I bought several to resell in sets (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Babysitter Club, etc.) as well as some homeschool books for my own children. All in all, I’d say it was worth it, and I’ll probably do it again next year. Also, it was air conditioned, which was nice in our triple digit heat. The kids I took with me to the garage sale were the ones who could help me, and not get in the way. I got some things for them in return for pushing the baby around in the stroller while I shopped.
    I combined a trip to campus to pickup a textbook with the garage sale trip (above), and also tried to combine other trips.
    I found some shoes in the hand-me-down box for a child who needed them.
    I cut a daughter’s hair.
    I made simple, easy meals. $5 or less meals were: BLTs with clearance bacon and homegrown tomatoes, with lettuce leftover from aunt and uncle’s house, chicken noodle casserole made from rotisserie chicken carcasses and leftover meat, tuna noodle casserole, and breakfast for dinner.
    I took the kids to a Chickfila family night, Christmas in July. One .99 package of lei’s got the kids each a free kids meal. I ate the one they gave to the baby. 🙂 I loaded up on Chickfila free sandwich cards, which they gave for school supplies donated. Basically, $1/worth of loss leader school supplies got us one card. I got several and will save them for later.
    Not much else happened. Our $100 secondhand dishwasher finally got installed, as I’ve been without one since October. I keep forgetting we have a working dishwasher again! It may be more expensive than handwashing them, though, as I think washing in the sink probably takes 8-10 gallons of water (half a sink to wash, half a sink to rinse) and minimal electricity for the water heater, whereas the dishwasher likely uses more. Oh well.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  38. -I harvested the last of the mulberries. Also we’ve been enjoying lettuce, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers and garlic. After several years of squash vine borers that decimated the squash- I added a lot of manure, cedar mulch, and changed the watering schedule and we finally have squash. Plus there’s squash popping up everywhere from the compost. We are being bombarded with zucchini again plus pumpkins and winter squash. I tried sun drying the shredded zucchini and it made baked goods that weren’t so runny. We also made quinoa taboleh and sourdough. Running low on eggs means we had more sourdough waffles for breakfast. I’m also moving back to more vegetable/bean based meals both for cost and health.
    -I just got a fig tree this year and it looks like we will have a few figs. It will have to come inside for the winter though.
    -No grocery shopping for the week
    -Sold items on eBay and marketplace
    -We hosted a yearly party. I made a taco bar and a few pans of brownies, everyone brought a dish. I did have some extra paper plates but used items we had on hand. It gave me some motivation to get my yard under control. I took out some bushes last year and I finally planted some hydrangeas and hardy hibiscus, my favorites.
    -We’ve been spending tons of time at the beach. Also eating way too much ice cream.
    -Restained my kids swing set. We bought it used a few years ago but now it looks brand new.
    -Continuing to run and swim for exercise. It’s too hot for me to ride my bike to work now

  39. Hello all 🙂
    *My husband found 4 tires for our new to us vehicle. 2 were from a “you wrench it” place and were brand new and the others were lightly used. We paid just over $200 for all 4 tires. It was a needed expense unfortunately. My husband also asked the “right” people (the one who mounted the tires – a little hole in the wall place) about getting a new or used engine put into our other “stabled” car and it will save us close to 4k. Now we just need to save up for it. We already put our pontoon up for sale and I am working on gutting what was going to be my little camper in order to pay back the loan for our working vehicle (while we are still paying the loan on the dead one grrrrrrrr!!!!!!)
    *I am harvesting cukes and zucchini from the garden and just picked the last of the cilantro. My tomato plants are over 5 1/2 feet tall now and I am running out of things to stake them with LOL. I put banana peels, egg shells and a bit of the quail’s manure in each hole when I planted them – obviously they like it but I am still waiting on the first ripe tomato! I have small peppers growing and the eggplant is blossoming. Thank you to whoever mentioned slugs getting your peppers! I have never had to deal with them much until I moved to this place so I didn’t know they’d eat peppers. I planted seeds for Swiss Chard and some perennial herbs. The chard is just starting to come up – this will be my first time growing it. My blueberries are just starting to get a blue cast so hopefully, we will get a few and the darn chipmunks won’t get all of them. They do seem to need quite a bit of water but that could be due to being uprooted and transplanted when they were coming in to blossom. Next year I am definitely going to have to treat for the Gypsy moth caterpillars – they left quite a few bare branches before I figured out what was actually eating them. We let our front lawn go and I haven’t watered it at all – they aren’t very picky about that on our road. It is looking more like a meadow now and has given me several bouquets from what most would consider weeds. I moved around many of my perennials – what worked in the sun at our previous house doesn’t seem to like it here so I am trying to find new spots for plants that are struggling. The soil is basically sand and acidic so it may just need some compost and lime.
    *We finished wiring our garage ourselves mostly with parts we had or my dad had. We also had to repair the shut off valves to our washer which we also had the parts for. I keep everything and it is divided into big totes and labeled. I even keep all the extra screws and any that are still good when I take something apart.
    *I am slowly working my way across our deck removing the planks, pulling the rusted screws (they used drywall screws), then cleaning all of the built up debris and flipping the plank to the backside. I am putting the ones with the most wear or ones that have cracked closest to the house where they don’t get walked on. The planks look almost new again and we are budgeting for a couple gallons of sealer so I can get it done before snow season. I also started to build a new larger step into the house. We have both fallen off the one there more times that I care for and before one of us rolls an ankle, I want to fix it. I built a large rolling platform for one of my apple trees – I already had the casters and my Uncle brought me a load of scrap wood after I mentioned I regretted leaving my scrap wood pile behind at the old home. He also has handles for my wheelbarrow with a broken handle and I gave him the fitted wood top my Dad had made for a half door at our previous house.
    *We hooked up our little enclosed trailer and dragged home a bunch of free furniture to refinish. A couple pieces I will refinish to sell but the secretary desk that closes and locks will be for my upstairs sewing and meal planning area and the huge dresser (it must weigh 200 pounds cause I can’t hardly push it to move it!) will become our master bath’s vanity. It is almost the exact size as what is there and we can reuse the sinks and plumbing. I also already have all the items I need to strip, sand and refinish it all.
    *All meals but one have been at home. I am trying to make meals closer to vegetarian but hubby is a bit resistant to the idea. But, if he doesn’t see how little meat goes into a dish, he never complains LOL. I made an Angel food cake and then found a lemon quick bread recipe to use up all of the egg yolks. Does anyone have a tried and true gluten free bread recipe for a bread machine? $6-8 a loaf for gluten free bread is just not a sustainable expense but there are times that I would love to have a decent bread to go with a meal. At our Meijer store they always have marked down grocery items by the bottle return – I hit the jack-pot for gluten free bread, rolls and bagels. I put them all right into the freezer along with all of the marked down specialty gluten free flours I found at the discount grocers. The “everything” bagels make a decent stand in for hamburger buns. We are really enjoying have a grill again (it was free on Marketplace). We also make sure we check the Flashfood app for marked down produce. Much of it goes into the freezer. I’m still afraid of the pressure canner but I am thinking I need to “get over it” already.
    *I made new curtains for my “girl cave” from curtains that hung at our previous home. I altered a jacket and pair of jeans. I painted matching cardboard boxes with paint I already had and then attached hardware to the front that I also had. I use scrap wood pieces on the back side to put the screw thru and give it a bit more structure.
    I hope everyone has a good week!

    1. Check out the blog Canelle et Vanille. She’s a Spanish pastry chef that had to go gluten-free over a decade ago and she posts bread recipes quite often.

      1. Your furniture refinishing projects sound great! I love the dresser turned into a bathroom vanity. So creative and it will be a custom piece.

    2. We’re flipping our deck boards too. We did have to replace a couple as well. We’re hoping to stain it this weekend.

    3. Try using your pressure cooker outside. That’s what my grandma always did with her cooker. She said it was safer and less mess to clean if things went wrong.

  40. My mom gave me two receipts to scan into Fetchrewards. It got me .50. My code is K9YTB if anyone wants to sign up. I think you get $2.00 worth of points right now.

    We made fried zucchini one night from a zucchini in our garden. I picked a several more zucchinis and 8 peppers. I sliced and froze 5 of them. I shared a couple zucchinis with my mom. She gave us a loaf of zucchini bread in return.

    Our peaches are almost ready, so we are watching them closely.

    I got 4 peaches and 1 cucumber for free from someone giving them away.

    I charged my computer at work a couple times.

    I made a new digital download for my online business. I hope it sells well!

    I used my work benefits card to pay for a dr appointment. I still should have about $300 left on the card. Hopefully that will get us through the year!

    I made chicken burrito bowls one night this week. I substituted chicken thighs for the breasts. Otherwise, it’s just tomatoes, corn, broth, rice, and some seasonings. We ate it for 3 suppers and one lunch – making a total of 10 meals. We had a little left, so I threw it in a pot with some leftover broth, 1/2 a can of leftover tomatoes, some seasonings, and the remnants of an onion from a previous meal. It made enough soup for me to eat for lunch two days.

    My husband had been building some shelves and cabinets for our library. He has returned and picked up books for me while he was there – saving me a trip.

  41. Brandy, I admire the slashes on your bread! I’m still working on mine, and they look frankly pathetic. I’m thankful the bread still tastes good, but I hope to improve! I do really like the way you put in the time to learn how to make things pretty.

    This week, I baked bread in a Dutch oven on the grill to keep the house cool and then tried another loaf in the crockpot. The crockpot version worked the best, as my grill experiment scorched on the bottom.

    I also tried out using powdered milk more often in baking. You’re so right, Brandy. It really does work, and the taste is just fine. I do need to learn more about how to adjust the fat to make up for the whole milk I previously used when baking.

    I arranged flowers for the house. I did a bunch of scrubbing. I enjoyed clothes sent to me by a lovely neighbor. I put my sons to work cleaning in exchange for time on favorite computer games.

    I resisted buying a bunch of ebooks that I really wanted for fun, which let me buy two that I actually needed.

    I planned meals a little further in advance, so I could thaw meat slowly in the fridge rather than dashing through lots of microwave time and hassle.

    We used a beach pass that we get every year both days during the weekend, made meals to eat beforehand rather than getting takeout (a favorite beachy pleasure in this spot), and even enjoyed homemade doughnuts made by my husband. Homemade doughnuts eaten at an empty early morning beach are scrumptious.

    I watered the apple trees we planted in the spring carefully in our drought. It would be so sad to lose them.

    Thank you for the lovely inspiration, Brandy, and for all the helpful comments, everyone!

      1. Thanks, Brandy. That’s good to know, especially because you bake so many different things using it. I’m looking forward to trying it out in more recipes.

  42. I do enjoy your reading recommendations. I go straight to my local libraries catalogue and reserve them after seeing them here. It’s always exciting getting the email telling me one of my reservations is available as I have so many reserved I never have any idea what will come up next.

    I am starting a free urban food growing course next week with my local college which runs one morning a week for 15 weeks. I am looking forward to it and the other good thing is the day it is being run is the day I normally drop into my local opshop/thrift shop so I will also save money as well.

    My daughter has gone to Europe for 7 months for some travelling and an exchange program with her university. While I will miss her a lot I have already noticed the difference in my grocery spending as I don’t need to stock up on the gluten free and dairy free food she needs to eat.

  43. We did lots of home cooking, using leftovers. We turned up the temperature to a higher setting and turned off lights to save on electricity. We are trying to eat healthy to save on medical care. We checked out books from the library. We had a date reading and discussing poetry and some other books at the library. We use cloth instead of paper products. It rained last night! I love the rain and that will save us on watering the plants. I stayed home most of the week, saving on gas. We try to do several errands in one trip or on our way to something or back from something. We use YouTube for entertainment and information. There are lots of music lessons on YouTube as well as the tutorials. I only use the light over me instead of lots of other lights in the house. We are trying to save for some necessary expenditures. As everyone knows, things are more expensive. So we are watching every penny. There are so many free things to do for entertainment. Entertainment at home includes the internet, YouTube, library programs, blogs, musical instruments, singing, board games and card games, talking. Entertainment out costs in gas but can include free activities at the library or at parks. Sometimes colleges have free musical events as well as music in the park.

  44. I love your posts! Thank you for sharing.
    I made salad dressing from scratch instead of buying my usual salad dressing. I made carrot- ginger-sesame salad dressing- it is delicious.
    My garlic has been harvested, I have 20 some bulbs, and some of them will be used for seed in the fall. I am planning to make garlic infused oil, dehydrate some and keep fresh ones for cooking.
    I made herb salt last week; I dehydrated some and I left some “wet” for the fridge. I will make more, as I typically need to increase my salt intake and it really flavours the food beautifully.
    I bought red cabbage starts at the hardware store, 6 for 1$. Some of the heads, if they survive the cabbage worms, will go to the food bank as our community garden grows for the food bank.
    I am most definitely planning to pick blackberries when they are ready- they are free and abundant over here. I picked wild raspberries earlier this year and are in my freezer- I made mango-raspberry sorbet with some of them and it was delicious. I dehydrate them and bake them with banana or zucchini breads, I eat that for breakfast.

  45. Your peaches and bread look delicious! One of my favorite treats is hot-from-the-oven fresh baked bread “smothered” in butter in the cooler months and in the summer with ripe tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Yummy. Now I need to bake a good yeast bread! I would love to see a photo of the apron you sewed. Did you use a pattern or make your own pattern? My sewing skills are basic (I can do a hem, mend, secure loose buttons, etc) MIL recently gifted me one of her sewing machines, and, once I learn how to use it, I would like to do some simple projects, and improve my sewing skills this winter.

    Our 2 oldest grand kids stayed with us from the end of their school year to the 4th of July, so we (they and me, dh worked most days) enjoyed lots of fun activities – the beach; horse back riding; visited a llama farm; another farm to feed the baby goats and also pick blueberries; visited the aquarium on the mainland; enjoyed rides in a nearby town’s boardwalk; did a nature walk in a county park led by a ranger; dh took them on jet ski rides. Granddaughter, nearly 9, loves to bake so we made blueberry lemon muffins; blueberry scones, zucchini bread, peach cobbler, a mixed berry tart, peanut butter choco chip cookies, rice krispies treats. Her grandpa, parents, great grand parents (dh’s parents), uncle & aunt and our neighbors/friends were all impressed and enjoyed her baking. Not really frugal but great bonding; this did save dd and sil nearly $900 since they would of have had to hire a baby sitter for those 8 work days as they both had to work and the kids’ summer day camp had not yet started.

    Our supermarkets are well-stocked; prices for food continue to go up but there have been some good sales: name brand canned solid albacore tuna for $1 each when you buy 10 with a limit of 4 offers per shopping trip (I bought 80 cans total – 40 cans for dh’s parents and 40 cans for son#2 and dil who visited us 4th of July week as we don’t need any more tuna); rice krispies cereal $0.99 large box limit 4; large hass avocados 4 for $3; mangoes $0.49 each limit 4; Italian sausages (I prepared them fried with peppers and onions) $1.49 lb; wild caught salmon; wild caught cod $10 lb. Butter is anywhere from $2.50 to $3.89 a lb depending on the week/store. Did a big shop at BJs with the grandkids and a friend prior to our guests arriving for the usual items I purchase there (Dove soap, Bounty paper towels, etc) and the cost of each item is now 10 to 25% higher than a year ago. An 8 oz bag of pine nuts is now $16.79 at BJs! I did buy them as I want to make cookies for my mom as a special treat for her and she is definitely worth it! Gas went down to $4.49/gal which is $1.50 higher than last summer.

    From the garden: harvested cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, Italian flat beans, basil, mints, oregano, parsley, thyme. Drying and using fresh all the herbs. Our blueberries did not do very well as there was a cold spell in April when the fruit was set so there are less berries and they are also smaller. This occurred in all of Southern NJ and many of the blueberry farmers are very concerned as it affected the variety of blueberry that fruits early; other varieties fared better. Blueberries are a $78 million annual crop in NJ so this was a serious set-back. We had to travel out of our county to berry pick. Son#2 and dil brought us a bushel of peaches from a farm in their area (they live 4 1/2 hrs south of us); we all enjoyed them fresh, in a cobbler, froze some; made preserves with help from mil, dil and granddaughter; everyone took some preserves home.

    Walmart made an announcement after the market close this afternoon, cutting its quarterly and full-year profit estimates because of “rising food inflation. It said higher prices are spurring consumers to pull back on general merchandise spending, particularly in apparel.” Walmart stock price fell 9% in after hours trading, bringing down other retailers like Target and Macy’s, down with it. I don’t shop at Walmart/Target for apparel, but I do at Macy’s. Macy’s has had some excellent sales on clothes and I’ve purchased some lovely summer dresses that fit well at a very good price. I’m sure there will be more good sales to come after this announcement (good for shoppers, but not good for the economy as a whole). On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will commence its two-day policy meeting. Traders are expecting a 3/4% point hike in the Fed Funds rate. The Case-Shiller Home price Index and the consumer confidence report and new home sales data are due out too. I’m sure you follow all of these data releases since your husband’s work is affected by these.

    1. Yes; they announced the rate hike was coming a month ago when they also raised rates by the same amount.

      I used an old apron that I had previously made as a pattern, which was patterned after an old purchased apron. I have still struggled with having my aprons too long in the waist, so I made some adjustments, and I think it’s right now. I want to make some more aprons first from the new one before I use the new one.

      1. Mari, thank you for the information about blueberries. We barely have any and those are tiny. We are in the Bronx (NYC) so it was likely the same situation here. Especially disappointing after last year’s bounty.

        1. Kat, my family and friends who live in NY ( north shore of LI) had similar results with their blueberries. Hopefully we will all enjoy a great harvest next year. I’m glad to read that your family had a fun vacation here at the Shore. We love it here.

      2. I’m so glad for you Brandy that you have been able to make an apron pattern that suits your frame perfectly; I’m in awe of your sewing skills not to mention gardening, photography skills, etc! I plan on working on my sewing skills and learning to use a sewing machine this winter when I will have more free time. MIL (who lives 2 1/2 hrs away) will do all she can to teach me as she is an excellent seamstress.

        For those who shop at Family Dollar (we do not have this chain near us) there is a recall of over 400 personal products due to their being stored at the wrong temperature. Here’s a link
        https://www.businessinsider.com/family-dollar-recalls-400-products-improper-temperature-storage-2022-7

    2. Mari, we are enjoying our last day at Cape May before heading back to Illinois, with a short stop in PA to see my MIL. It’s been wonderful! Sad to leave but excited to get to my garden and canning.😊

  46. I didn’t leave a general comment last week, and I wasn’t going to this week. I have been sick most of the summer, first with a really nasty cold, then a fall that caused knee problems and, most recently, a mild case of Covid. Being ill has actually been my biggest frugal accomplishment, because I haven’t gone anywhere or bought anything. We have mostly eaten from the pantry and freezer. Tanks of gas have lasted 4 weeks for the past couple of months. Also, we ate up ALL of the leftovers when my husband and I were too sick to cook (he had Covid at same time). But, it occurred to me that I have a few things to report–

    I read 3 library books this week, have one more on reserve and asked the library to buy another book I’d like to read. One thing about not feeling well–I’ve probably read close to 20 books this summer, all from the public library.

    My son and daughter-in-law sent us a fabulous picture of them in their canoe on the Teton River in eastern Idaho. It was taken by friends behind them. Besides the beautiful scenery, there are two bull moose in the photo–one on each side of my DIL. The one purchase I made was a framed enlargement from Shutterfly for 50% off that I will give to them as a gift.

    As mentioned above, we ate every morsel of all of the leftovers. I cleaned my refrigerator today and the only things I had to toss were 1/3 of a small tomato and a couple of green onions that went slimy. I would have preferred not to have to throw away anything, but I hadn’t cleaned the fridge since Memorial Day…so this wasn’t bad!

    I moved all of my houseplants outside for the summer and attached a little sprinkler part to the drip system. I already had the parts and didn’t have to buy anything.

    I will be harvesting my first zucchini and beans in the next few days. We have been eating parsley and lettuce from the garden. With this hot weather (99F today) the lettuce is going to bolt, if it hasn’t already. I’ll compost it or offer it to friends with chickens.

    We like Crystal Lite cherry-pomegranate. When we finished a quart of canned Bing cherries, I poured the juice into the Crystal Lite with a little shot of lemon juice. Very refreshing and stretched the drink. Someone above mentioned making sweet tea with honey. It reminded me that I have a bottle of blue agave here that needs using, so I’ll use it in iced tea tomorrow.

    I hope everyone has had a wonderful week. I’m jealous of Brandy’s canned peaches!

    1. Sorry to read that you have been so ill – but at least you have a great attitude about the inadvertent savings. I love my library! It has been a real Godsend during the past couple of years. Hope you continue to mend.

  47. What an awesome number of peaches you harvested from your tree!
    We ate plenty of zucchini and tomatoes from the garden. Many chiles were ripe so we harvested and dehydrated them for winter. In the supermarket, peaches and apricots were low priced, so we bought some and made jam. My husband and me found that preserving food is something we’re interested in and have fun with it, so a few weeks ago, we introduced the “canning Saturday”. It works great for us, as because of our jobs, we have little time on weekdays to cook or do something together. Now we talk while snipping something and are both happy to see the results.
    Last week, I went shopping late at Friday evening. The florist in the supermarket had already closed, and next to his shop, he had a rack with a “for free” note and some houseplants on it, so I took one. I don’t know what it is, probably a kind of spathiphyllum. I’m happy every time I see it.
    A friend invited me last weekend, and I had a beautiful evening with nice people and a delicious dinner. Later we played a board game which reminded me that it doesn’t need much to have a great time.
    Whishing everyone a great week!

  48. Brandy, Enjoying all your lovely harvest pics-and that bread looks good enough to eat through the screen-lol. I must be hungry! No major savings this week-just the usual.

    I enjoyed a handful of Saskatoon berries from the backyard with breakfast. The raspberries are just starting to turn red and the smallish crop of apples should be ready in a month or so.

    I like others have been using the Flash food app to occasionally buy things from the store. When we are going to be in that area I check my phone and order. My store has produce boxes for $3, $ 4 or $5 which can be a good buy.
    I have spent a bit of time this week reviewing any extras that might be covered/needed in my current extended health care plan with Alberta Blue Cross. I will be switched to a free senior extended coverage next spring-which is wonderful but I will have to learn what the new coverage will and won’t cover. I just want to ensure our family is taking full advantage of the plan we are currently paying for now( also includes our daughter up until age 25). No savings yet but hopefully the research will save money down the road. Wishing everyone a good week.

  49. Peaches! I am still working through some I had in the freezer from last summer and friends from off the mountain just gave me some more. I need to get busy eating. 🙂
    *My boys and I were at the beach with family last week. My husband’s family has been going to the same beach the same week of July for over 50 years. My FIL is one of 14 children so it is quite a family reunion. I have known my husband since I was 16 so I have been going for quite a while myself and my boys love their yearly trip. It is a great opportunity to see family we may only see once or twice a year. My husband stayed home to work and take care of our garden and animals. We live in the remote NW corner of NC and drive to the farthest SE corner of the state (about 5 1/2 hours) so we get to see the diverse terrain we are blessed with in our state. We left on Sunday and came home Friday which helped us avoid traffic around large cities which helps my stress level immensely. I was interested to see gas prices range from $3.85 to $4.29/gallon in the course of our trip. Frugal aspects of the trip include the generosity of my in-laws who pay for the house and will not accept any contribution so our only costs are gas and one grocery trip there. We all bring food and share in cooking so it is fun and frugal for all. I brought some food from home so only needed to buy ice cream for our annual ice cream sundae party for my oldest son’s birthday. His birthday falls in the week after we get home but he likes the chance to celebrate with the family while we are all together and it has become a fun tradition. Totally unplanned but a nice surprise was the large amount of points I got from Fetch for purchasing the ice cream which was on sale anyway. I also used the Upside app to get money back on gas both directions. My youngest son used money he was given from a neighbor to go to the planetarium at the beach. We have been a few times and he enjoys the Imax movies about space. The cashier asked us if we had any military family members. I told her both my father and FIL are veterans and she said, “That counts!” and gave us the military discount. I wouldn’t have thought to ask since I am a little old to be considered a dependent anymore but it was a nice gesture on her part and saved us $6. All in all a fun week filled with good food, good conversation and lots of fun in the ocean and walking on the beach.
    *My love for CanadaPetCare.com continues! I ordered my cats’ monthly flea/tick/worm, etc, prevention medicine. By stacking coupons and rewards I saved $20 on their already lowest-prices-on-the-internet I can find and also got 2 does for free. I highly recommend them for your pets’ needs.
    *A neighbor is adding a bathroom onto their home and had to remove some probably 80+ year old boxwoods. They hated to do it but they are not in the greatest shape and needed to go. They offered them to me and I decided the best option would be to take cuttings from the healthiest parts. I took 8, stuck them in some root hormone, and potted them up. Fingers crossed they will grow and thrive.
    *Still reading “Bullet Train” from the library. Very suspenseful and an intriguing read.
    Wishing everyone a lovely week, as always!

  50. Your bread looks wonderful and what a great peach harvest! We are beginning to see GA peaches at roadside stands in our area. We are in the dog days of summer when it is hot and humid, with a brief thunderstorm that rolls through in the afternoon. I so much enjoyed Kristen Harmel’s last book, that I am now reading another one of her books, The Winemaker’s Wife. Thrifty action: I had lunch with friends scheduled across town, so I intentionally planned every errand for the week into this one trip.

  51. Thank you again for sharing your weekly updates with us Brandy! You’ve been an inspiration for years. 🙂 I don’t know if you recall that a couple weeks (?) ago I commented that my husband is in the mortgage loan industry and business has tanked (just like for your husband in real estate). Well, I have more reason than ever to revisit your information once again as he just got laid off this morning. He worked for a very large company that did a huge round of layoffs today…so many people are affected. I will put the penny-pinching into overdrive once again as we weather the current storm (he lost his job during the previous housing market crash as well). Blessings to everyone on this wonderful page! I enjoy reading everyone’s “doings.”

    1. Christina – I think anyone who regularly reads and comments here is well positioned to handle a lay off as scary as it can be. My husband was laid off 10 years ago. We sold several items and brought our spending to the bare minimum. Fortunately, he found a new job (his work-from-home job he still has) within a month. I remember the mixture of confidence with our frugal ways and underlying unease since we didn’t know how long this time of uncertainty would last. Hang in there! Will be sending good thoughts your way. 🙂

    2. So sorry Christina that your husband has lost his job. Will keep your family in my prayers during this difficult time for your family. Sincerely, Penny

  52. Brandy: love your peaches and bread pics!

    Have been experimenting with bought cheese pizzas(on sale) as a way to use up leftovers. Working out nicely! My son loves them!

    We have gotten lots of much needed rain, but temperatures are still very high. My poor garden doesn’t know what to do! The squash looks like it did weeks ago. Hope it produces in the same way.

    Called my great Aunt in the low country of South Carolina, where she still owns what’s left of our land. She is 98 and knows all things concerning farming. I asked her how they ever had any food crops with squirrels, rabbits, deer, etc. eating everything. She laughed and said, “Why honey, we learned to share!” I will leave you with that bit of Southern wisdom to ponder.

    Stay frosty out there! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

  53. I picked two dozen of small gala apples from our tree (thankful that after 5 years of planting we get more than a handful of apples). Made apple pie filling. I tried to make apple jelly but it never jelled so I ended with 2 cups of extremely sweet apple juice. Picked some blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries enough to make a berry pie. I cut some rosemary branches and put then in a vase to adorn our dining room table. I picked a couple of figs. One was dried but the other one was delicious. I trimmed our cherry tomato plant. It gives us lots of tomatoes in June but the plant is looking dead. I decided to cut the dead branches and it looks like it’s coming back. Gardening is definitely a long term game. No instant gratification.
    I walked to a couple of stores instead of driving.
    Borrowed a couple of books from the library.

  54. I received notice this past month that my phone bill was going up by $15 a month. When I looked online to see what went up and why, I found they’d added a ‘new’ insurance to my phone. I called and asked that they remove that as I don’t want the insurance. Bill this month should be $15 lower. Received our electric bill and while it had increased, I wasn’t too upset about the increase. It is lower than our highest bill last year. I’m sure that switching the water hoses on our washing machine (somehow reversed so we had only hot water and it took a year of arguing with husband to get it corrected) helped that stay low, especially since we had many 100F days during that billing period. The town house needed a new faucet. We were going to Lowe’s to get one, but daughter looked for one on Amazon that was $15 less. I was gifted a lot of produce last week. I got a green tomato and two big ripe ones, a lot of okra, peaches, bell peppers and yellow squash. I shared the peaches and okra with a son, put half the yellow squash in the freezer and then made a big squash casserole to go with our Sunday dinner. We’ve been eating peaches fresh all along. I took a lonely ripe banana and made a small banana pudding with it. That too was part of our Sunday dinner. I went into my favorite women’s clothing store and searched the clearance racks for new t-shirts to wear about the house. I found several for less than $7 each. I also picked up two pieces of costume jewelry from the clearance rack. I wear these costume pieces for years, as they are really good quality, but they cost me about the same as the t-shirts. I’ve tried several new to me recipes to help stretch food. I made my first ever chicken patties with minced cooked chicken. The recipe needs a little something more, but they weren’t bad. I read an article recently that said you could plant for one season in cardboard boxes. I’d just received several items from Amazon, and I’ve saved those boxes to use as planters. We’ll see how that goes. I’m curious to see how it holds up in the rain. Surely it will last a season. I’m planning to have fall crops in mine. Went into Kroger last week (a combined trip to see my mom, go to the women’s clothing store, stop to have eyeglasses adjusted and pick up at grocery) to take advantage of the digital coupon on Eggs. I came out spending $20 for 2 bags of groceries, including the limit of 5 on 18ct. eggs, a pound of cheese, sour cream, grape juice and something else, all food items. I was very pleased with that bit of shopping. I’m finding more and more that Kroger is competitive enough with their digital sales to cost less than Aldi and it’s almost always on produce or dairy items. These days, I’m looking all over for the best price on common everyday items.

  55. Greetings from the sweltering Midwest! We’re roasting here and it just makes it difficult to do anything! I’ve been doing my regular chores, but nothing else. The grass isn’t even growing so there’s just watering outside.
    In the saving quest, etc….
    * Ate meals at home. But for a nice weekend breakfast, the oven wasn’t used. We had salads, sandwiches, and meals previously frozen. I do confess to a couple of Sonic Iced Teas when we had errands BUT it was happy hour, half price, and they have the most bestest ice ever!!
    * My best friend sent me the new Downton Abbey movie as a gift so that was our Saturday Night Picture Show.
    * I made a bunch of Christmas cards for our church greeting card ministry. They’re taken to shut ins and nursing homes so people can send free cards to their families. The envelopes and stamps are provided.
    * I “attended” a Zoom class for free on card making from a church friend.
    * Made a delicious little salad from our garden cucumbers and tomatoes. Yum!!
    *Plus the regular stuff like hanging laundry, catching water, and combining driving trips.

    Reading…
    On my nightstand – Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron. This is a series I read as my friend sends them to me.
    I’ve had The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle on hold at my library since early June. The same person has had it all this time!
    I thought they might have skipped me lol, so I asked. It’s due back this week.
    In my craft room CD player – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. A young adult book that a friend loved.
    With my Bible study – Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George.
    By my reading chair – Foxfire. I’m on the section about families. I am so enjoying the little stories from ‘back when.’
    I was reading about their walking 4 miles to school through the mountains and I told my husband, “They really did walk uphill both ways!!”.
    Enough of my jabbering. Drink plenty of water and watch the heat!

    Brandy, I could’ve made a wonderful meal of just that beautiful bread and peaches!!!

    1. I think it is rude to keep extremely popular books for the entire checkout time (one month here). You know she’s read it–just too lazy to take it back. I borrow a lot of reserved books. As Brandy mentioned, I immediately return them when I’m finished so the next person on the list gets their turn. If someone lives 27 miles from the library and never goes that way, I guess they could make a case for keeping the books to the bitter end. I live about 2 miles from the library and am in that area every week or so, anyway.

      1. I appreciate people returning books with long hold lists as soon as they can. It is wonderful to see the number of days drop quickly when it is something you are anxious to read. But I wouldn’t hold it against another library member if they kept it the full borrowing period. I used to work in our local library. People generally had a schedule of how of often they came – some weekly, some every three weeks – and it wouldn’t necessarily be easy for them to get to the library again in between. Some people need a ride. Extra trips aren’t affordable. So please let’s not call each other lazy or rude when they don’t get books back as quickly as our lives allow. Libraries are kind places in a world that doesn’t always feel kind.

        1. Well, of course you’re right…but still! I know it’s hard for some people, and I don’t hold it against them. For many of us–myself included–it’s not hard to stop and put the books in the slot if I am in the neighborhood, and I frequently am.

  56. We had two birthdays in our home last week as well as two different viruses! So, between birthday treats and food purchased because I wasn’t well enough to cook, it didn’t seem like a very frugal week. I did remember to scan all receipts into my apps (coin out, fetch, and receipt hog) and I used the get upside app when I got fuel. All of those little things are adding up and I’ll use my earnings toward Christmas. We decided that with the rising costs of everything, the only way we will survive the period this winter when my husband is laid off is by paying off the last of our remaining debt from our failed business. In order to get it paid off this fall, we have to find an extra $500 per month in the budget. It seems really insurmountable, BUT we were able to deposit the first extra $500 payment this week. I’m very proud of that and excited to get that $442/month payment GONE!

  57. *Thank you for your beautiful post. I’ve been buying peaches at the store and enjoying their flavor alone, over cereal (like Cheerios) or with yogurt. How wonderful that you have had such a big harvest!

    *It’s been so hot here – high 90s every day. We had a very small rainstorm hit for an hour last week. We’ve had issues with dust storms because of wind and high levels of building construction going on. But I will be grateful for every rain drop that comes our way. We’ve been put on a fire restriction – but of course they waited until after July 4th and July 24th – Pioneer Day. But the fireworks were fun to watch.

    *I’ve picked green beans, 1 cucumber and several zucchini from our garden. I’ve weeded several times. Everything is green and growing. My green bean plants are about ready to be pulled because of the heat. I will plant more seeds and hopefully get some for the fall.

    *My week was very quiet and nothing new was done. Library books, exercise at home, combining errands, trying to find good food deals, watching movies we already own or using our streaming service. I did receive a free stroller from my Buy Nothing Group. I cleaned and sanitized it. I was able to take my granddaughter for a walk. One of my sons came to visit and enjoyed eating leftovers. I joined a Vintage Recipe group on Facebook. Another group I’ve been enjoying is LDS Food Storage Adventures. I followed a group called Prepping Deals as well that post food storage deals on Amazon. I’ve found some things to buy that I didn’t even know existed in food storage world.

    *My husband and I bought cling film to use for our east/south/west facing windows. It is rated highly to reduce heat/cold and UV rays. We will install that next week. I’m hoping it well help with our A/C bills. Our front room gets so hot or cold in the season. I still might purchase some heat reducing curtains for that room as well. I’ve been keeping the fans running to help keep air circulating. I’ve also purchased those keep cool cloths that stay cold and use those to help me cool off. I bought Cherry Mango popsicles on sale at Kroger and eat those every day. So refreshing and cool.

    *Have a wonderful week.

  58. Hi friends! Long time no post. I read every post and every comment but I don’t usually have time until Friday and it seems silly sometimes for me to post when surely everyone has already read through it already. So here are some frugal things I have been up to lately:
    -My garden is doing very well which makes me SO so happy! I have already pulled the daikon radishes and made pickles with them, pulled out the snap peas and shelling peas after I got as many as I could, made lots of pickled carrots and cauliflower, had hundreds of carrots etc. I go out every single day to pick something, even if just a few berries. I have blueberries going wild right now and find a few remaining strawberries though my raspberries are done. I got a total of four cherries haha. I have just started getting cucumbers and lemon cucumbers, some cherry tomatoes, the first of the beans, so much lettuce, and many other things I am surely forgetting. I tend to go a little overboard planting and can find myself overwhelmed trying to preserve it all. But I am so proud of myself for trying again and again, and for providing for myself and my family/friends/neighbors.
    -I hope to get 25 lbs of peaches from a local farm this weekend to can peach pie filling, as well as make strawberry peach pie.
    -Any produce I can’t grow myself I buy from the local farmers market. I’d much rather contribute to them as part of my community, and we all know how much better fresh produce tastes. YUM
    -I have been making all my meals from scratch with items on hand, very minimal grocery shopping based on what is needed and what is on sale.
    -I found my favorite yogurt at Grocery Outlet for 50 cents each! Normally this greek yogurt is like $1.59 each! So I bought all they had and froze most of it. The individual serving sizes make it easy to pull out one at a time. YUM
    -My neighbors have an above ground pool. We are experiencing triple digit heat here in the Pacific Northwest which is brutal for us. I am happy to cool off floating with them and catching up on our days (before I have to get back to tackle the produce!)
    -I have been keeping the thermostat set at 78 during the day at 76 at night.
    -I read library books for entertainment, as well as listening to audiobooks, watching DVD’s and Netflix.
    -I have spent time with some dear friends which is so good for the soul. We have had picnics in the park, and wandered through the farmers markets together. It may seem more frugal to stay away from these outings all together but I live alone (well with three animals) and spending time with the people I love is necessary to my mental health. Big hugs go such a long way.

    Thank you all for continuing to contribute to this community and for sharing your successes with us! It really is always such an inspiration to me.

  59. Thank you Brandy for all the work you do on this website. The few things we ordered at Amazon we ordered through your site.

    I loaded 27 trays of basil, dill fern, marjoram, lemon balm, winter savory, French tarragon, parsley, lavender, purple sage, sage, rosemary and bolted lettuce (for ground up greens) into the dehydrators TWICE.

    I harvested onions(now curing), cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, green tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, lettuce, turnips, blackberries and a few red raspberries.

    I replanted turnips, carrots, onions, beets, and radishes.

    I use my Kindle unlimited for free books to read.

    We went to a grandson’s graduation party that is 4 hrs. round trip, dropped off 3 birthday cards on the way.

    Hubby bought a trash pump (think septic tank pump for a pond) to remove the cow poo from our pond from the Amish neighbor’s cow. (Lesson learned is do NOT let cows around your pond or streams). He got 40% off of the price due to the store not being able to get it sold due to it being BIG. One neighbor asked if he had problems with his pool pump again if he could “rent” it from us or pay Hubby to come clear the pool. Another asked if it would work if his basement floods again next spring. I think Hubby just added to his business of hauling and odd jobs.

    We don’t turn the AC on unless it’s closer to 85 degrees and that’s only if the fans don’t cool it down. I noticed a drop of $10 in the electric bill since we started that.

    I reused the containers fresh mushrooms came it for odds and ends then they go into recycling.

    M sent over a red raspberry pie and 1 1/2 dozen eggs.

    We stopped at an Amish produce sell (at their home) to get zucchini and beets. She gave us cucumbers and cabbage also since we had shared asparagus plants with them. We now have 3 Amish families wanting starters off ours. We would like to only have 50 ft of asparagus (double rowed) instead of the 100 ft (double rowed) we have.
    Blessed be everyone one
    Prayers for peace.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2022/07/ugh.html

  60. We had a party for my daughter’s 21st birthday. This is the first time we have had (almost) everyone together since before Covid. I borrowed an extra folding table and chairs from a friend. My daughter’s boyfriend is a volunteer fireman. One of the perks is unlimited free ice. He got 2 huge coolers worth. Hubby smoked a pork butt the day before for 12 hours. I made a taco bar. We had pork or chicken, white rice or cilantro lime rice, black or pinto beans, salsa, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and tortillas were from Aldi. My parents offered to buy her a cake. Sister #1 brought chocolate chip brownies and walnut brownies. Sister #3 let us borrow her cornhole, picked a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her yard and did a charcutier platter. Sister #5 made a veggie platter. My oldest daughter made a balloon arch that came out beautiful. Everyone was taking pictures in front of it. We had lots of leftovers for several meals.
    My stove is still broken. The $17 part did not fix the problem. Hubby is looking into it. Thank goodness it is summer and we are enjoying using the BBQ.
    The garden is doing great. I am picking tons of cherry tomatoes, purple and green string beans, swiss chard, beets, the last of the peas, eggplant and zucchini. Several friends have given me cucumbers and yellow squash. I have been giving out herbs and tomatoes. We have been eating what needs to be used up first from the garden. We have all been snacking on string beans, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes.
    Hubby got a bonus from work. 4 people were supposed to move the Boston office. 1 get an injury and needed surgery, 1 had Covid and 1 got picked for Jury duty. He ended up doing it all by himself. He didn’t complain and just did what needed to be done. He worked 5 days pretty much around the clock so that the office could open Monday morning. His bosses appreciated it.
    My son got $1 raise and he is up for a promotion. If he gets it he will get a $2 raise.
    My youngest(the birthday girl) and her boyfriend got a puppy. He is so cute and living mostly at the BF’s apartment. We let them borrow our dog’s cage and bowl set that attach to the cage. I got lots of puppy kisses and it doesn’t cost me anything.

  61. My garden is a bust this year. In the past 6 weeks, my sunflowers only grew an inch — first it was too cold,now it is too hot.
    A slug or other creature ate the chard, now some have germinated. A bit late in the season. It’s very hot outside by our standards.
    I sat in the shade and washed and cut fresh peaches and apricots. I ate a few. Actually, quite a few. I put them inn ziplock bags for the freezer.
    I will finish the peaches tomorrow. Apricots and blueberries are done.

    I’m glad I have a whole box of jars which I use for other purposes. Down the street, neighbours have a moose in their backyard. I’m sure she (moose) ate my apricot tree (now very small bush). It was doing so well, too. The wild asters I didn’t weed out of the peony bed are in bloom and the butterflies love them. One fritillary keeps charging me. back to proofreading…almost done! The inexpensive pants that I ordered came.Two pairs were $14.99 reduced from $29.99 each and the third was $29.99 reduced from $60 so I saved $60 total.

    As usual, I enjoy and admire your photos, Brandy. My hummingbird seems to have disappeared. I got one photo but was hoping for
    a better angle. I”m not sure where she’s gone….

  62. I have spent the last half hour catching up on this week’s reading, it always blesses me! This week I have been putting up apples and peaches. My neighbor has been bringing 5 gallon buckets of apples from his farm up in SW Virginia. He just brought four more this week. I am canning applesauce, drying apples and making fruit leather. I have three more buckets to deal with this weekend, it is a gift to have so many free apples. Another friend has an peach tree that they don’t eat off of, so I can pick to my hearts delight. I have gotten about 20 lbs so far and have been freezing them for the most part. I have also shared with another friend who told me to start picking from her fig tree. My fig tree is one year old and has no figs yet, maybe next year. Our pear trees are starting to ripen and will be making pear jam with them. My granddaughters are coming to make blackberry jam next week. They have canned applesauce with me but haven’t done jam yet. Their mom, my daughter is due with baby #5 in 10 days or so, so we need to get going before the baby arrives.
    Brandy, your previous picture of the lemon verbena got me hopping drying mine. I have stepped up the stevia, basil, oregano, lavender and such. I don’t think putting off doing things is a good idea with the way things are going. Between having my own berries,cantaloupe and pears, and swapping with friends we have been blessed with fruit this year!
    My cukes and peppers are doing well, the tomatoes are just starting, the
    Zucchini are going belly up due to borers. I have volunteer kale and Swiss chard that will be enough I won’t have to plant any, just transplant them to their beds. My lettuce seedlings are popping up. Hopefully next week I can get more fall stuff planted.
    I am reading library books and love getting notifications that new books are in, someone mentioned that above and it is like getting a gift. We are walking for exercise, and doing weights and core at home. We are eating simple food, lots of salads and sitting on our porch with the fan going each evening! It is a lovely way to end the day, listening to all the insects !
    Blessings to you all this week!

    1. Definitely do the lemon verbena! I didn’t pick my peppermint yet and last week it all burned to a crisp in the hot temperatures. The roots are alive, but the tops are dead. Next year I need to cut it all back in June and dry it so that it doesn’t get wasted when it gets above 110°.

      I should go cut some lemon verbena today . . .

  63. Brandy: You ok out there? Saw the flooding on the strip.

    Also, “TENNESSEANS”: remember that there is NO FOOD TAX DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST!!!

    1. The strip is 45 minutes away. The storm showed up a day earlier than predicted the morning of thr storm. Check out my Instagram post to see the video.

    1. The flooding was downtown and not what you think when you hear about flooding. A few intersections, a hotel or two, and a parking garage were the main casualties. We do not live in a flood zone; we made sure when buying our house.

  64. I’m so happy for you that you got a bounty of fruit and other items from your garden. The changes you made to your garden have paid off in a big way! How long have you had your peach tree to get that kind of harvest?
    Teachers had to go back to work this week, and it’s been so long and busy that last week feels like a lifetime ago.
    *I sprouted some old carrot seeds on a paper towel inside a ziplog baggie, not expecting them to germinate. Pretty sure they all did! So I got those planted in the raised beds. It has been raining almost daily for a week, so the carrots will love that. Bonus is that I have not watered the garden at all, and the pool has not needed water added.
    *Got some cherry tomatoes and green beans from the garden. Planted more zucchini seeds — still hoping for a good harvest to stock the freezer.
    *My hummingbirds are finally back! I made some nectar to hang in the feeders, and stored the extra in the fridge for refills.
    *My husband and I went to a local cemetery and did our funeral planning. Felt morbid, but we wanted to get started paying on it and have it planned so the kids won’t have to deal with it. The funeral home has monthly payment plans at 0% interest, plus we “lock in” the cost, receiving the same services at today’s prices no matter when the time comes. They were telling us that one woman started paying for her funeral plans in 1987, and paid $1200. She died this year and her funeral cost $13,000. Her family did not have to pay anything additional! We both chose modest options; it cost less than we expected overall.
    *I had the chance to get reimbursed for purchasing The Nurse’s Secret new release. Submitted all the activities and just waiting for reimbursement.
    *My son requested 2 books that I found on ebay for much less than Amazon or a bookstore.
    *Caught an unauthorized charge ($615) on our credit card. The card company took it off and issued me a new card.
    *We ate most meals at home, including some that came from the freezer.
    *Purchased books for $13, sold for $45.
    *At a yard sale, I got a brand new curling wand for $3, some storage drawers for $7.50 to put in my classroom, more storage drawers for $4 for my daughter to use in her dorm. At another sale, I found 2 very nice hoodies for my daughter for $1 each, brand new ankle pants for $1 (Liz Claiborne NWT, the tag said $49 retail).

  65. Brandy, so glad you put those videos of the rainstorm on Instagram…I keep reading about Las Vegas flooding, and hope you and your family are all right. Obviously, you are.

    This week, we got one of the worst rain/windstorms I have seen in summer here in Colorado. We live in a fifth-wheel, and the trailer was literally shuddering as the rain and wind smashed against it. Thankfully, we paid extra for a roof replacement in the spring that’s guaranteed for life. We needed it that night.
    Some other nasty storms have been coming through. Sometimes they drop rain — more often, they just keep going overhead. It continues to be very dry here. Which makes looking at your garden photos a pleasure. (Ours has been munched to bits by grasshoppers.)

    Would you consider writing a monthly Goals post again? Plus a ‘What I’m Buying This Month’ post? I’ve really enjoyed these, as well as your weekly sign-ins.

    1. Cindy,

      Right now I am trying to buy next to nothing. The sales are no longer the way they used to be, and I am trying not to shop at all.

      My goals have been hard to achieve as of late, but I may be able to do a post for August!

  66. One of my children and I received three days of all meals, snacks and drinks. In addition we got fourteen cookies and a strawberry milk. The cookies are being used as a treat in the childrens school lunch boxes.

    We went to a bmx pump track one day and a childrens bicycle and scooter track another day which was comprised of traffic signs, pretend gas pumps etc.

    We went to the library.

    All washing was line dried.

    There was no need to water the garden with the rain we had.

    Huge multiple increases in the cash rate means mortage repayments are increasing due to interest rate rises. That, together with over 6% inflation means we are trying our best to spend the absolute minimum on necessities only.

    We went to a university open day and received free buttered popcorn and fairy floss, live music, material tote bags and some interesting faculty tours (labs, clinical simulation centre, education etc).

    Food from home consisted of pizza wraps, frozen fish and steamed vegetables (fish we previously caught), fruits and soup (previously made and frozen).

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