I harvested tomatoes, grapes, and peaches from the garden.

My neighbors are moving. They offered me a few potted plants. One pot exactly matches a pot I have had for almost 20 years. With several stabbings and a bit of bleeding (from the massive thorns), I moved the century plant I have in my pot into a large plastic nursery pot (for now). I will plant the two matching pots with euyonomus or boxwood bushes that I will grow as spheres.

My husband came home to visit for the first time in over eight weeks. It was not a frugal visit, as he decided to take the children to do some things we have never been able to do before. We discussed the next time he visits and a less expensive plan for then, but for now, we are glad the children could have some fun adventures with dad and experience new things.

In addition to the activities, my husband took time to play games with the children at home, which is something he used to do with them at least once a week and often two or three times a week.

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary at a dinner out one night (not frugal, but we rarely go out) and at the movies another. I had seen an ad for a jazz concert in town that was a great price (and at my favorite art-deco style venue!) and was planning to buy tickets, but decided to Google the group and see what they sounded like first. I’m so glad I did; I was not at all impressed and we would not have enjoyed it. I saved the money for the tickets, parking, and gas, and we had a date night at home instead, playing the card game Hand and Foot.

My husband and I cut his hair. We cut it much shorter than usual so that he can go longer without needing to get a haircut.

I said yes to some free food from someone who had leftovers from her family reunion, and ended up with many items, all of which my family will use, and some of which I had been planning to purchase (broccoli and cucumbers).

I ordered some rose bushes from Grace Rose Farm using a discount code for 30% off my order that also includes one free rose bush of their choice (one of three different ones). That sale has ended now, but if you use my link, you can receive $20 off your order from them (and I’ll get $20 off my next order as well!) Grace Rose Farm has been carrying some rose bushes (from the breeder VIP) that were previously only available to the trade of professional rose growers (who grow for the cut flower market in Europe) as well as some David Austin roses and others. I am looking forward to all the new roses they are planning to offer for next year (including some from Japanese breeders) in addition to the ones they carry now. The list is long! I have decided that I definitely want to grow more roses in the garden, and I have been figuring out how to fit them in.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. So glad your husband was able to come home for a visit! While maybe not frugal, it had to be priceless in the good memories and rejuvenating power it had in all of your lives! So glad! Sounds like it was definitely worth the cost!! ❤️

    I’ve been getting more client quilts in from both old and new clients. Here’s one I just finished: https://pin.it/QZbv7Nr. It was fun to quilt and it will help build up cushion for the painting/siding jobs on our house that will start this week. 5 more quilts have come in so far, so every nickel of my pay for them will be appreciated! I feel blessed that these opportunities have come along!

    I pressure canned 10 pounds of chicken breast that I got on sale for $1.39/pound. Those will help restock my pantry shelves because we use it often in our recipes! Convenient, tasty, cheap and not taking up freezer space!
    I also canned chocolate cherry jam- https://pin.it/3UKt4qj as well as cherry vanilla jam- https://pin.it/4J337rN. So we now have almost 3 dozen jars of these to enjoy for ourselves or give as gifts!

    I was running out of brown sugar so I made about 5 pounds that will last me for a while! https://pin.it/1jVhxO0. Doing a cost comparison, it was 25.3 cents/pound , using my actual prices when I bought sugar and molasses. Compared to my Krogers, which was $1.09/ pound, I am grateful!

    I harvested 7 more cucumbers and 2 more zucchini, so on Saturday, I shredded up the 10 zucchini I had and will start enjoying all kinds of zucchini recipes!! My tomatoes have started to ripen so we have enjoyed sampling (gobbling) them up as fast as we get them into the house!! Nothing like homegrown tomatoes!!

    I made meatloaf for dinner the other night, using some cheddar crackers with “hidden vegetables” that were needing to be eaten! Delicious! Made potato salad using sale potatoes, red onions from garden, clearance Miracle Whip, eggs from our chickens, home-canned pickle relish and mustard we were gifted after a Church bbq! Can’t get much cheaper than that and Oh, how tasty!!

    We finished our part of the trim painting so the siding guy is coming the end of this week to clad around those windows. That will keep project moving along until the painter is back from vacation! We painted 23 of our windows! Yay!!

    I bought 16 pounds of strawberries at Fresh Thyme and by using their digital coupon, they were 99 cents/pound. I called first to make sure that digital coupon would work for all 16 pounds, not just the first one. They said it would be valid for whatever number I bought! It pays to ask though. I would have been upset if I drove over and it was just for 1 pound with the rest being $1.99/pound! I will be freezing these.
    Since I was going there, I stopped at Meijers that was a couple blocks away and picked up my “especially for you” couponed items. I got a gallon of distilled water for Dave’s c-pap ($1 after coupon), a gallon of milk (free), some flour tortillas reduced to 50 cents, 2- thirty packs of corn tortillas for 50 cents, 2 big boxes of Raisin Bran ($2.99 each) and a bunch of leaf lettuce. The Raisin Bran was free because I had accumulated $6 off my order rewards from Meijers. So that was all worth the extra 2 blocks drive!

    When Dave finished at Dr appt yesterday, he stopped at Meijers that was close by to pick up a 3-1/2 pound package of ground beef using Flashfood. My daughter is getting low and asked me to keep an eye out for some. All the rest they had that day was $2.50/ pound, but this one was $1.49/pound because it had been on sale. At the Meijers I went to this morning, I noticed their ground chuck for $2.99 on sale and looked at their sell-by dates. Several of their family packs are dated tomorrow (July 19) so I will be watching Flashfood in the early morning to see if they come up! She would be thrilled with $1.49/pound but working full time, it’s harder to get deals! So her other sister and I keep our eyes pealed.

    And now, for any readers in Midwest, Meijers has blackberries on sale for 75 cents/ 6 Oz carton with no coupon or limits! Normally- $2.39/ basket!

    Rain last night cooled things down and I’m ready to get to work!!
    Hope everyone is able to keep cool enough and being safe with this heat wave that’s affecting the world!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. My stepmom is a quilter so I really do appreciate all the work that goes into them. She has just finished a “Wedding Ring” one for my niece and a pink & white baby quilt for the latest great grandchild!

  2. I am so proud that your husband got to come home for a visit. Time together is so precious. My sister and I went to a home garden show at the UT Extension Research Center, the admission was free and they had demos and free classes. There was a plant sale, but I resisted. My work provided a free educational event and I learned a lot and received a free lunch. My husband and I worked in our garden pulling out the plants that were through producing. I still have tomatoes, cantaloupes and watermelons. We bought some bell pepper at a farmers market to put up in the freezer to use for cooking. We like it in several dishes and at .75 each we got 5. We are having a heat wave this week with temperatures around 95 -100. Thank you Brandy and everyone that comments.

  3. I am back from my 4 week European vacation-not frugal at all but budgeted for. We really enjoyed our cruise up the French coast and all around Iceland. It was daylight for about 23 hrs per day in Iceland which was neat to see. Back to my frugal ways now. We are watching the neighbour’s house while they are away so I am hoping their strawberries and tomatoes will ripen soon. Our tomatoes are not yet ripe either but we have been picking some Saskatoon berries and apples from our tree.
    We have been staying home for the past week which really limits spending. I have a friend coming to visit for the first 10 days of August and then we are off to Illinois to visit my husbands relatives for a couple of weeks. Plane tickets and car rental are already paid for and we will stay with relatives or at the old family farmstead. I hope everyone has a good and frugal week. Brandy so glad your husband was able to come back for a visit with the family.

    1. Tell us more about your travels! Did you stay in one spot and then do day trips or did you travel from country to country? It seems so long since I got on a plane to Europe – hopefully next year. Any tips for saving money?

    2. I, we live in north central Illinois in a rural farm area…wondering whereabouts you will be visiting? Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation!

  4. Goodness Brandy – the temps you’ve had have been unbelievable! Wishing you and your family well on staying cool and safe. And, praying your beautiful garden can withstand the sweltering heat as well. By the looks of your beautiful peaches, it seems things are faring quite well. Very glad that you are feeling better and that your dear husband was able to return home for a fun visit!

    Hoping everyone here is staying cool! In our area of Texas it’s been triple digit temps and we’re quite parched, … we are in need of rain – please pray for rain for us. Thank you again for the suggestions for filling our cattle trough to convert to a container garden! Much appreciated!

    Frugal efforts this week:

    *Does anyone else enjoy line drying laundry? I truly find it pleasurable and it’s satisfying to know that simple actions are tangible and benefiting my family. I use the time to pray and/or slow down and take a moment to observe nature … the birds singing and squirrels scampering, tree leaves blowing in the wind … those moments of relaxation are welcome!

    *We were again gifted big beautiful garden tomatoes from a dear neighbor … we enjoyed for dinner in the form of tomato soup. This time of year we’re blessed by not having to buy tomatoes!

    *Accepted a beautiful homemade peach pie from another neighbor. Made with fresh peaches from the Texas Hill Country. She’s elderly and we frequently share our meals with her. Hoping she’ll share her pie recipe with me.

    *In the tradition of never returning a dish empty, a friend gifted us oatmeal cookies in our container that we had filled with banana bread for her. I’ll soon return the dish with a baked treat. We enjoy trading back and forth.

    *If anyone would like a Sam’s Club membership, they are offering half off the membership fee through the end of July ($25). https://www.samsclub.com/join/club?couponId=A5R7M&pid=_Aff_LS&siteID=oNzgmgdnuGA-XOxfR5ZWsudfFCLsD9m6lg&ranMID=38733&ranEAID=oNzgmgdnuGA&ranSiteID=oNzgmgdnuGA-XOxfR5ZWsudfFCLsD9m6lg&pubNAME=CBS+Essentials

    *Shopped at Sam’s Club in the city for several grocery items. Since our last shop 26 days ago, there were no extreme price increases. In fact, tuna actually decreased in price by $2 a 12pack and can sizes remained at 5oz ea (Starkist Chunk Light in water).

    *Updated my Price Book (Excel spreadsheet that I print and keep with me) when we returned from our shopping trip. Still grateful to Amy Dacyczyn and her newsletters decades ago … suggesting to create a Price Book and compare prices per unit (ounce, square foot, etc.).

    *Gladly received numerous salvaged bricks from dear son. Costs savings will be not having to buy planting bed border.

    *Week long extreme heat warnings with triple digit real temps. Took usual measures to conserve electricity. Our small town has no electricity savings plans or peak hours discounts, so we reduce usage where we can.

    *A Sam’s Club large rotisserie chicken will again be 4+ meals for hubby and I for only $4.98. Price has remained the same as long as we can recall and we find it to be a good buy for the two of us. This visit they did not have the packs of 4 huge rotisserie chicken breasts for $4 that we buy for our freezer.

    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items (repeating these for anyone new who joins us here) … larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn during this period of extreme heat and drought; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; ate from freezer/pantry except one restaurant meal.

    Wishing everyone another really fun and frugal week, full of blessings and joy!

    1. Carolyn. I also really enjoy hanging out laundry. It forces me to slow down and focus and over the years I’ve come to appreciate that.

    2. I enjoy hanging out laundry, except on the hottest or coldest days. Like you, I find a quiet peace as I stand there. My line is close to a blue cypress tree, and some breezes send the scent to me, which is wonderful. I’m glad to see someone else likes hanging laundry too!

      1. Jo …

        That’s such a lovely thought … a wonderful scent to surround you as you hang laundry on the line. Nice to find a kindred spirit who also enjoys the simplicity and peacefulness!

    3. Carolyn in Texas,

      I also thoroughly enjoy line-drying laundry outdoors! Sometimes I have a busy string of days that keep me occupied indoors, and hanging laundry is my one respite outdoors in the day. There’s always something to observe or listen to!

      Also since I don’t have time to do a full post this week, wanted to tell Brandy that I was so happy to hear about your husband’s visit home. Glad it was a sweet time for all of you, and hope it happens again soon!

      1. Natasha –

        After busy days indoors, hanging laundry outdoors is definitely a nice escape for a change of scenery. I’ve found that even during our bout of triple digit temps, I look forward to stepping outdoors for those few moments. Fun to know others feel the same!

    4. Carolyn, I also love to hang laundry. Years ago, I realized how much more I preferred being outside, listening to the birds, while hanging it, than working more hours to pay someone for the electricity to dry it. I hope you’re managing to stay cool, and soon get rain.

    5. Carolyn – I do some of my best thinking while hanging out the laundry – also practice the hymns I will sing for the next Sunday’s choir performance. Nothing like singing in the great outdoors and the chickens often come around and join in. 🙂

  5. *I am working at summer school, so for the first time in almost 30 years my husband and I each received a full-time pay check for the month of June. It was a good feeling.
    *I read a book for a $25 gift card.
    *We are enjoying raspberries, strawberries and blackberries from the garden. A neighbor gave us plums. I picked an enormous amount of kale and lettuce from the garden.
    *I’ve had to be extra careful about food waste while I’m working full time as my husband is ‘running the house’ and he isn’t as experienced as I am at watching fridge contents.
    *I inherited a laptop from my aunt and the principal at the school I work at is doing the factory reset for me. For free!

  6. I’m so glad your husband was able to come home! Wonderful that he was able to do some things with the children and that you had a lovely anniversary celebration.

    Last week was very ordinary at our house. My husband, who has been sick for 3 weeks, is finally feeling better, although not 100%. We didn’t go anywhere or buy anything except groceries and gas. We were supposed to leave on vacation in SE Idaho last Friday and postponed it for two weeks due to my husband’s illness.

    The lettuce never did head up, but we ate the the outer leaves in salads until it bolted. I got my first picking of green beans last night–about 2-1/4 lbs. I shared some with a friend. I’m harvesting Swiss chard and freezing what we don’t eat fresh. I have tons of yellow butternut squash blossoms, even more buds and two baby squashes on the vine! This is not really a banner year for my garden because none of the zucchini or spinach came up and the beets are real spotty.

    My friend asked me to pick her raspberries while she was on vacation. I got enough for a batch of raspberry jam. I made cooked low sugar jam using Sure Jell pectin (pink box) and it is outstanding! I am sharing the jam with my daughter-in-law (plus a jar for my friend).

    We eat so much better when I plan ahead. I finally redid my meals list and planned menus for the past couple of weeks.

    Frugal fail–when I pumped gas last weekend, I accidentally put premium in my tank. That mistake cost me .40 a gallon (about $6.50) at Costco. Regular unleaded is about $3.80 at Costco and $4.05 to $4.15 at every other station in Coeur d’Alene. Much higher a few miles away in Washington, which has a higher gas tax.

  7. Hello!

    Brandy, I’m glad you and your family enjoyed some good quality time! Happy belated Anniversary!

    Some of my frugal endeavors:
    —submitted Menards rebates
    —returned a grocery item that was full of mold, well before the expiration. The customer service rep refunded my money and said it probably sat on a hot truck too long.
    —made chocolate covered strawberries for a party. I had purchased the dipping chocolate on major clearance. They were a hit!
    —Dollar Tree has a clearance section often overlooked, usually on an end cap by the registers. I found several terrific items we needed for 25-50 cents!
    —Our water rates have increased 21% and we do not live in a drought area! We have had a lot of rain lately, so we have greatly saved on watering our garden.
    —My kids have received several books from various reading clubs and library events.
    —Won a sweepstakes crayola prize pack (will keep for a gift) worth $22.
    —Won a nonfiction book from a sweepstakes
    —Won a $10 ice cream product coupon from RippleStreet, and a free four pack of kids juice bottles from Social Nature. I was also able to submit the latter for ibotta credit as well.
    —Participated in a focus group that overbooked participants, so I was released at the start, but still earned the full $225!
    —Both of my kids participated in university studies, earning money and toys.
    —I started pansies from seed for outdoor fall planting.
    —My husband was given a rewards card inside a Circle K gas station for 20 cents off a gallon. I combined this with a 10 cents a gallon rebate on Upside.
    —My neighbor alerted me to a Target buy-one-get-one deal (still happening) on a uniform skort for my daughter. I wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise, because the category was “swimsuits and shorts,” but skorts counted too.
    —I picked up two new books at the library that may be of interest to you all: “500 Ways to Save for Dummies,” by the Experts at AARP, and “Taste of Home Cool Kitchen Cookbook (recipes for hot weather),” by Taste of Home. I also read (via their online website) the “Taste of Home 100 Pantry Staples You Can Make at Home.”

    Have a great week!

  8. I found 5 of the Air Wick freshmatic refills for $3 in one of my sale groups. I should be good on those for awhile (and for less than one at Walmart)

    I used Walmart pick up to avoid extras.

    Got free fries at McDonald’s on free fry day

    I also used points for a breakfast sandwich another morning

    I mended a pair of my shorts

    Stayed home aside from working out or running errands (which I tried to combine)

    Washed the little dogs ourselves and applied their flea drops afterwards.

    Continue to declutter the house. I might have enough to justify a yardsale before I go back to work.

    The weather has been hot and humid. Try to turn the air off in the morning and just get by with fans as long as we can. The kids sleep half the day so it’s usually just me moving around and I have been fine(granted, I’m mostly glued to the computer doing school work)

    The crock broke on my crockpot and I have been trying to find a replacement for it with no luck. I went ahead and purchased a new one . ($40 Amazon)

    I avoided spending anything on prime day. I seen some deals on laptops but I’m kind of hesitant ordering one to be shipped and it get stolen. I’m hoping I can find one local in a back to school sale(we have tax free weekend coming up so that might be when I venture out to get one)

  9. I am so happy for you that your husband was able to come home for a visit. Just curious and you do not have to answer this but is your husband staying somewhere where he is able to cook?
    I picked our first red and yellow cherry tomatoes. I dried several batches of basil, parsley and swiss chard. Lettuce and swiss chard are still over abundant. I have picked a dozen jalapenos and banana peppers and our first celery. Raspberries are almost done. A friend gave me another zucchini and I gave her swiss chard. My kids have taken vegetables and herbs several times. My youngest gave me a bag of basil that she grew. I dehydrated it for her.
    I had a free snack size bag of chips and a slice of pizza at work that were leftover from a party.
    We had crepes for breakfast one day with leftover pancake batter that I thinned out. They were delicious and I need to do this more often.
    We went to a friend’s house for a BBQ. The are vegetarian so I brought mac n cheese. She sent me home with the leftovers that I have been eating for lunch with a salad for several days.
    I have not watered in over a week. It has been raining tons here. We got 7 inches one day. There has been puddles everywhere in the garden and yard. Hubby drilled some more holes in the garden beds to help with drainage.
    Laundry has been hung inside and out depending on when it will rain.
    I washed baggies and hang them up to dry.
    My sister came over to pick up her dog. My daughter and son were able to come over too. She treated us to cold cuts and rolls. She brought lots of extra so I sent each of the kids home with an extra sandwich. Hubby enjoyed sandwiches for several days. I can’t eat them often because of the salt(I’m on a low salt diet).
    I had my 6 month dental cleaning. All is good and I got a goodie bag. $0 OOP.
    The tide bottle was empty and I put water in it for another load.

    1. He can, but his hours are long. He’s able to eat in his hotel; it has a kitchen.

      He’s found sales on Lean Cuisine meals (some as low as $2 each) and fruit in season. This has kept his costs down and made it easy when he is working 12+ hours a day.

      1. I used to travel a lot for work. I’d also buy a loaf of bread, a jar of PB and a bag salad each time I headed out on the road. And had a small cooler in my car. Also, I stayed at a Holiday Inn one time in a college town where they let guests use a BBQ for free. It was lovely to be able to grill a hamburger or something.
        So glad he got to come home for a visit. Some hotels would also let me use the guest breakfast area in the evening to use their microwave for dinner. It pays to ask at reception what’s available.

        1. The hotel where he is staying has a fridge, a stove top, and a microwave. So he has done really well with those.

  10. My personal money philosophy is that I’m as frugal as possible on all the things that don’t matter as much to me so that I don’t have to be so frugal about all the things I really want to prioritize spending money on, like experiences together as a family or working on financial goals. I know it’s not always possible to have money for those “extras,” but if there is, I think it’s important to do it and fully enjoy it! I’m so glad you were able to create some wonderful memories together, and it’s perfectly lovely to not always have to go the most frugal route every single time. And a very happy anniversary to you two!

    I’ll drop the link to my own frugal wins for the week below. We just had to drop around $1,500 on medical bills (which is just the tip of the iceberg on those, unfortunately), so I was extra grateful to have some pretty significant savings over the last seven days:


    1. Torrie, I just read on your blog that you have Dermatomyositis. I have Polymyositis. We are rare birds! Diet changes alone did not work for me, but I don’t hurt as badly when I’m flaring if I get rid of the gluten.

      1. I’ve actually met two other women with my same condition (which is crazy considering how rare it is), but I’ve never heard of yours. I just had to look it up! I’m sorry diet alone doesn’t work for you, but that’s good that it helps a little. Any muscle AI disease is not easy to live with, so I’m sorry you have to deal with one, too 🙁

  11. I’m happy for you and your family that your husband was able to come home for a visit.
    Those peaches look gorgeous!
    Garden – Picked snow peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, rhubarb, and lettuce.
    Cooking – Made flatbread. Then made half into flat bread pizza and froze the other half for later. Finished leftovers of spaghetti for the DH and taco meat for me. Thawed a pork roast and cut it into chops. They are extremely lean. Will cook this week. Dried another 4 trays of cherries. Froze the remaining spaghetti sauce. Each container now has a container of homemade frozen roasted red peppers with it. The DH loves roasted red peppers with his spaghetti. Blanched and froze snow peas, cauliflower, and broccoli.
    House – Defrosted both freezers. It was a lot of work. Had not been done for at least three years – OOPS! Very little waste. Now all like is with like. I do not need to buy meat until at least the turkeys come for Thanksgiving. Gave DH a haircut. Cleaned another shelf in our hall closet. We have a closet with six shelves in it, about 8 inches deep. It is so handy for many things but has not been sorted out for a while. Shredded and discarded old paperwork. Washed a winter quilt that I got from my MIL’s house.
    Purchases – Not many this week – at the $1.25 store got 2 bags each weighing 2 pounds of brown rice and white rice. I usually use brown rice, but for Spanish rice the DH likes white rice. 2-pound bags of cheese were on sale for $4.97 with a limit of 2. I got one bag mozzarella and one bag of cheddar jack.
    All the other “normal” stuff. Only washed clothes when they were dirty, dried 1/2 the laundry on the clothesline, mended small holes in clothing before they could become large holes, changed into work around the house clothes when I got home from work andwatered dry spots on the lawn with the ice I pulled from the freezers while defrosting.
    Hope everyone has a good and productive week.

    1. Nancy …

      Thank you for sharing to use the ice for watering areas of the lawn. I’ve used leftover or old ice in the past in large container plants but didn’t think to use on the lawn. Love that idea!

  12. Brandy, it brought me a huge smile to read that your husband was able to spend some time at home and that your children had got to experience some new adventures. My husband is taking a staycation with the family this week. We considered visiting the Sight and Sound Theatre but it would cost well over $300 for the tickets for our family. I looked on Amazon to see if there were perhaps DVDs of their productions and there are! Then I decided to see if our library system happened to have any of the DVDs and to my surprise my county’s library system offered one of the productions. I was able to find most all of the other titles from libraries in my state and have them shipped at no cost to me to my library to borrow. I also requested my library purchase the Esther production since I was unable to obtain a copy of the DVD and they approved my purchase request. We have been enjoying plums from a tree in our backyard and green beans and zucchini from the garden.

  13. What a lovely treat to have your husband at home! And I think it’s great (but not frugal) that he could do
    novel things with the children. And your anniversary dinner! All in all, memorable!
    Between the smoke and the extreme heat, it is difficult to be outside as much as desired. We
    had two hail storms within a week. Some neighbourhoods were hit badly — I know of several people
    whose gardens were entirely lost. I feared mine would be too. Fortunately, it survived the last storm. As did my roof!
    I’m really impressed with the resilience of the dahlias (you’ll remember I never wanted dahlias as the deer eat them but
    the deer haven’t visited yet). The dahlias looked as good as new after the hail. I have been reading about dahlias
    and will be taking up the tubers after the first hard frost in an attempt to overwinter them. That will save a lot of money.
    I’ve learned how to tell the difference between old blooms and new buds. I have become smitten with dahlias — they have
    now been in bloom from mid-May and should continue until the end of August. Some of the butterflies love them — I have photos of
    6 species new to me.

    As far as purchases, I was really short of money until we got a grant from our federal government. I am trying to restock
    my pantry which has been greatly depleted. No Frills has soup that usually sells for $2.50 to $3 per can (sometimes even more)
    for $1.67. I am starting with 20 cans of it which should start replenishing the pantry. I save about $1 per can. I have still not given up on my goal to start making my own soup but haven’t found the time yet.

    I am thrilled that the hail did not knock off my tomatoes. I should have a decent crop finally.
    It is still not economical for me to buy the plants but at least this year I’ll have some.

    I had a wonderful visit from one of my groups scholarship/grant recipients. The group went out for lunch with her
    but I didn’t go. She stopped by the next day and chatted for about 3 hours. She is a young nursing student and very dedicated.
    So glad we could help her.

  14. For all i’ve missed in recent weeks; congratulations on fifteen years blogging! Wowzers! I haven’t been here that long but you’ve definitely been a blessing to me and so many others!
    Congratulations on your anniversary! How wonderful that your husband was able to make it home for a nice visit! Spending time with the children, even though not very frugal, will be a wonderful memory for all.
    What a great deal on the roses! You are the queen of plant deals, i do believe. I have a total black thumb when it comes to roses although i do love them. The free food was a nice bonus, too! I love free food!
    We’ve been doing the usual; trying to save on water. The bill just keeps going up. I’ll keep working on it, plus it’s always higher with summer watering, but i think i need to come to grips with rising costs.
    I put some old jar outside with a free sign. No one took them. When the temp. dropped, i used some to cover a few plants, ala Brandy. They’re now put away with the gardening paraphernalia for next time. (Thanks, Brandy!)
    I made hummingbird nectar. We seem to have lost one hummingbird. We usually have two that flit and fight with each other.
    I’ve started some herbs soaking in oils to make some salves. The pain oil is just about ready to use. I’ve kind of gotten away from herbals so it’s time to reacquaint myself.
    We took several bags of items to the thrift store. And, used part of a 10.00 coupon at another thrift store. I still have three dollars left.
    At a garage sale, i found a 100 count box of organic green tea bags for one dollar! So exciting! They were past the best by but dried anything lasts years. I’ve already had some and it’s delicious!
    I found a nice, white sheet at the thrift. I’m thinking i may make some cloth napkins for Christmas gifts. This sheet is a high thread count and organic cotton. Now, whether i follow through….It would be better if i did a little embroidery on them, too…No stress, no stress….
    Our Aldi had the organic ground beef on sale for 3.99lb. which is an awesome price. Regular beef can be that expensive. So, I got the limit of six. We’ve talked about getting a portion of a cow but decided it was too much for us.
    We bought a new car for me. My old one was 13 years old. It only had 150,000 miles BUT, it cost over 8,000.00 in repairs in the eight months before we sold it. We disclosed everything to the buyer and gave her all the paperwork. (The tires had less than 5,000 miles on them, as well.) The new car is bare bones and we put down about half on it. So, that’s our only debt, now. We’ll pay it off ASAP. I hope to drive this one longer than 13 years. That should just about put me into nursing care. 🤗
    Even though i don’t comment as often as i used to, i read every week. This is such a fabulous community and much appreciated! I wish you all a fabulous, peaceful week!

  15. Brandy I think I missed a post about your husband. Did you say why he is away? Eight weeks is a long time. I will say a prayer for you, him, and the children. Sometimes splurges are worth it!

    1. He has a new job and will be working far from home all over the country.

      Eight weeks is just the beginning.

  16. Not the most frugal week, but not the worst.
    Drove 90 min. each way for son’s scout leadership event.
    Picked up preordered blueberries to freeze for the winter. Got my peaches from the peach truck that comes into town. The box was half the size this year due to weather. I’ll have to think some more about whether to get a second batch on their next time in.
    Got fresh corn cob and made a bacon, corn and squash soup that was amazing. Made another couple meals just of peppered bacon, green beans and diced onions.
    Got crushed egg shells for my garden. It is still so very slow to do anything this year, but I’ve gotten a few small squash and a pepper. My husband would freak if he knew how much I’d spent on plants and seeds. 😂
    Taking a family day off work Friday. Will likely go to a museum, which one depends on availability of passes there.
    Ordered 2 of the $10.99 stuffed pizzas tonight. I can stretch the stuffed pizzas for several days.
    Ordered shorts for back to school online. My son didn’t ask for anything else.
    Used my medical savings account to buy an ankle brace when he sprained himself this week. I’d forgotten those were covered.
    Trying to trust in God’s timing in everything else. Still waiting on disability news.
    Have a good week everyone!

        1. You taught me so much. Now I realize I can sub some zuch for some of the potatoes and nobody seemed to notice one I pureed it. I added corn and ham after I pureed it and this soup was really good.

    1. Hi Brandy,
      Glad your husband could be home for a visit and that you were able to celebrate your anniversary. Happy belated anniversary. For a few years in our marriage, my husband was a commercial helicopter pilot and he was gone two weeks, home one week. The home one week wasn’t really correct because he had to drive from where ever he was flying home to Denver, then return in time to start work…so really home 3 days. It was an adjustment, we lived through it. Hopefully this period of your lives won’t last too long.

      1. It will likely be several years.

        I hope you are doing well. Thinking of you in your grief . . .

  17. I’m so happy you got to see your beloved husband for your anniversary Brandy! I’m sure you’ve missed him very much. Glad he got to spend time with your children & do some fun things!
    —I stayed home pretty much unless it was to go to work!
    —always bring my coffee to work from home, rather than stopping at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts as many of my coworkers do.
    —sad to have noticed that Recyclebank re-did it’s website. I could not log in using my email address & could not set up a new account because my municipality doesn’t participate with their new program. So no more free magazines for me. 😟 Had I known they were doing this, I’d have redeemed my already earned points for at least 1 magazine.
    —ate all meals at home using the food we bought from our last grocery haul.
    —took the puppy to the Vet. While not frugal, this new puppy brings us happiness as well as happiness to my in-laws so it’s money well spent to keep the dog healthy.
    —air quality is bad again in NE Ohio due to the Canadian wildfires. So staying indoors so as not to trigger my allergies.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  18. Happy Monday.

    July has not been a frugal month but it has been a responsible one. We made the decision to travel back to my son’s college at University of Michigan and see a football game. We choose not to cut corners since it was once in a lifetime: It is on Memorial Day so tixs, airlines and lodging is all premium. It is responsible because we have the money for it to pay cash after all regular expenses are taken care of, retirement is funded for the month, we have zero credit card debt and I have decided to work two more years instead of one which will drastically increase my pension, keep us in free health insurance for two more years, and give use a little more money to manage. All in all, we are pleased, grateful and excited.

    My next big venture is a serious attempt to lose 15 pounds that has crept up this decade. 50 – 60 is a killer.I have borrowed from the library a book on UltraProcessed food (UPF) In many ways, many of you are already avoiding this health hazard by cooking from scratch. I am going to focus on swapping out the biggies – store bought breads, my beloved low carb tortillas, creamers, ice cream, can soups and any pre made frozen meals. I have taken a 10 day challenge. My instapot will be a lifesaver. I can make ten meals worth of soup and freeze in small portions in 10 mins.I will have to dust off my bread maker. i’ll keep everyone updated.

  19. How wonderful that your husband was home and was able to enjoy so many fun activities with you and the children!

    On the frugal front:
    DD1 took care of a cell phone repair while still under warranty. She also dropped the cell service from her Apple watch.

    I batched errands after work and used in-store pick up rather than paying for shipping.

    We carpooled with another couple to an out of town funeral service.

    We borrowed the neighbor’s carpet cleaner rather than hiring a service or renting a machine. I gave her a small gift and homemade muffins.

    DD2 and I used an old Container Store gift card to purchase a few things for her apartment.

    For entertainment, we spent time at the homes of friends and family this weekend. It was fun to catch up with everyone and have a couple days off from kitchen duty.

    The neighbors joined us for an early dinner at a new to us restaurant. We enjoyed the happy hour specials and used a gift card received last Christmas to pay. Afterwards, we went back to our house and enjoyed the beautiful evening around a campfire.

    A rung broke off of my clothes drying rack and could not be repaired. HH repurposed it as a garden stake.

    We harvested the last of the pea pods and green beans. The neighbors shared cucumbers from their garden with us. We enjoyed them with homemade dill dip for lunch and the rest were crinkle cut and pickled.

    DD2 wants to crochet a tank top. She pinned several free patterns on Pinterest and is now looking online for an affordable cotton linen blend yarn.

    Have a frugally fun and fruitful week!

  20. -I do my own manicures. Found one of my favorite OPI shades at local discount store for only $4 instead of normal retail of $12. They always have this brand but shades vary so I always look. Bought both bottles they had plus it was 10% off senior citizen day. Later got 12 pack of emery boards at thrift store for only $1. They are Christmas print but do not care. -Placed order for Charmin and Bounty from 🎯as usual. It wasn’t exactly time but I love having these delivered to our home and was concerned about potential delays due to UPS strike that might happen. -Our satellite tv is acting up. The signal comes and goes. Repair is covered by insurance but it will be two weeks before our appointment. We are keeping track of days outage to request credit once it’s repaired. Ordered a ton of books from library to keep my mom occupied while tv is quirky. -I cooked for first time in 2-3 weeks. I hate grocery shopping and cooking so we eat lots of takeout. Had been craving Mississippi Spicy Roast so made one of those plus sides today. We had for lunch and supper and my mom and her caregiver can use for lunch tomorrow. -If I have lunch money left from my pet sitting adventures I always place in special section of my wallet. When the kids in our family go on trips I always give them a little cash to spend. Was able to pull $40 from this special section of my wallet and give to niece for her beach trip so it didn’t come from my regular spending money nor require a trip to bank. As soon as she returns from beach she is going on another trip. Hope there is still cash in the special section so I don’t have to go to bank. -Eating peaches from farmers’ market. They were not cheap but are delicious. -Called about missing issues of weekly magazine. They are sending under separate cover and extending subscription date. Weird that have not received for two weeks in a row.
    -My life is much different than some of commenters here (example I would never in my life have a garden or hang clothes outside to dry) but I very much enjoy reading all the frugal things people do each week. It is such a relief from social media postings where influencers are trying to get you to buy from their sponsors. Thank you Brandy for providing a place for such a diverse group of frugalistas.

  21. I’m so happy to hear your husband was able to come home and spend time with you and your children. My husband and I went to a local jazz concert recently, and like you, we were not impressed. We ended up leaving at intermission. A positive is that the money went towards renovating a building in our community. With several days of rain recently, many varieties of mushrooms have been popping up. I was delighted to find many, though small, chanterelles. They’ve been added to sloppy joes, pizza, and a veggie scramble. At the grocery store, I bought honeydews for $2.99 ea., organic nectarines 2#/$3.49. Instead of the usual $2.99, organic celery was $2.69, and instead of $4.49, my husband’s bread was on sale for $2.79, so I got two and froze one. A $5 reward went towards my purchase. From the garden, cucumbers, lambs quarter, blueberries, onions, basil, and oregano were harvested. I pulled a bag of our cow peas from the freezer for a dinner, made rice and a cucumber salad. Blueberries and blackberries from last year’s garden were used to make a pie. All laundry was dried on the line. Banana peels and aloe bits were blended, and used for fertilizer on our plums, and a few other plants. I cleaned the chicken coop, and gathered spearmint to strew on the floor, and add to the nest boxes. Hummus was made with our home canned beans for lunches. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/07/mid-july-on-homestead.html

  22. How wonderful for all of you that your husband made it home for a visit after so long away! I too an astonished that your garden is so productive in the terrible heat – you are truly a wonder!

    It has been a busy couple of weeks at work and at home as I continue moving furniture around and reorganizing things. I spent one afternoon putting two IKEA bookcases together – haven’t done that in a few years but all and all it went well and relatively quickly so I am pleased with the results. I emptied the cabinet that the TV sits on – reorganized and downsized the contents and moved some of my beloved Victoria magazine collection to my bookcases. One side of the cabinet now holds all my work from home related needs and my general office supplies for both work and home. The other side will hold my financial papers and hopefully my gift wrapping supplies. It will make everything much easier to reach while keeping all the clutter behind closed doors! There is still a good bit of cleaning and tidying to do but with the humidity, the return of the forest fire smoke, and the fact that I have had a flareup of my RA, I am having to pace myself. I will take my bundle buggy with me as I head into the office tomorrow so that I can deliver another batch of books that I am donating for our church’s Fall book sale – another box emptied!

    I haven’t spent much on groceries other than milk, bread and fruit and I have continued to use up lots of bits and pieces from the freezer – egg bites, a portion of chili, HM pasta sauce a couple of times and then I cooked up a batch of ground beef in a mushroom cream sauce this past weekend and ate that for a few days. When it is hot I just don’t have the same appetite and can’t be bothered to cook much so it is often just bread and cheese or raw veg and humus – something like that. I give myself a break over the Summer and then I look forward to cooking again once September arrives. I did use up a yellow cake mix – I’m sure it was at least a year past BB date but it baked up just fine and tasted great. I’m looking into getting a sourdough starter up and running and will get my yogurt maker out as well so that I am making more things from scratch. I was at a friend’s for dinner on Saturday night and mentioned that I am thinking of getting a slow cooker and she mentioned that she has one that she doesn’t use so she has promised to look it out for me. Another friend says she has an electric skillet that she never uses so that should also be coming my way! I’m the one who likes to cook so I will have each of them over for meals in the Fall. My apt. is really too hot to entertain much in the Summer as I only have A/C in the bedroom but things will pick up in the Fall.

    Aside from dinner at my friend’s – I have had lunch out once and then coffee meetups twice. My uncle’s funeral was this past Friday and then my cousin hosted all the family at her home for a lunch afterwards. I was ill one weekend and then busy this past weekend and staying at home is a good way to save money. I did not attend a niece’s wedding (travelling was too awkward) but I did send a gift. Eating out is just SOOOO expensive now that I really have to plan for any outings and really think about whether or not it is worth it.

    Take care everyone – especially in the heat and I hope that all your gardens continue to thrive.

    1. Sorry to hear about your uncle.
      We’ve had smoke here again too. Between the smoke, the extreme heat and, unusual for us, high humidity, extra storms
      and the moose family in the vicinity. I’ve had to curtail being outside. At least my garden was not smashed by the hail.
      I must confess that I’ve been hoping for snow – unbelievable to wish our summer — all too short — away.

      I am not celiac but one day did not have my usual pasta. The next day my knees were much better. I never knew
      that it was an inflammatory. I hope your RA gets better.

  23. We celebrated our 35th anniversary by going to Blue Ridge, GA. It was a nice weekend in a bed and breakfast. We walked to a place that had live music both nights and ordered flights of wine/ beer that came with a Flatbread that was delicious, for $20.
    * We went to an orchard and I got a half peck of apples and peaches.
    * I harvested green beans twice. I canned 5 pints and had supper with the first harvest. I made some for a supper tonight and will can the others tomorrow. I harvested lettuce, which is amazing it has continued to grow in this heat. I harvested squash, and a storm knocked 6 apples off my tree so I hope they are ready. And I have bought peaches and canned 11 quarts. I should get another 3 or so quarts with what I got this weekend.
    * My pantry is done enough to move food into and it is amazing! https://www.instagram.com/reel/CunV2XJp7XK/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA== We still have trim and some doors and drawers to do later.
    * I haven’t had to water the garden, but use all canning and washing vegetable water to water plants in pots.

    1. Holly – Your pantry is beautiful. It gives me wonderful ideas for mine (the one part of our house that is still bare drywall with moveable shelves – practical but not pretty.) Enjoy it and hug your husband! 🙂

  24. Brandy:

    Daddy’s Home! My children would run like wild buffaloes when they heard that! So happy you all were reunited and were able to do special things. The children will remember this when they are grown. It also teaches a great lesson.

    So, I weeded my new blackberry patch. Had some berries, but let the birds have them. Next year-not gonna happen! Worked in my garden and cleared weeds and culled plants. Clipped up all the vines and plants they were astray. Picked 3 dozen ears of corn; about 5 pounds of cucumbers; several peppers; picked about 10lbs of tomatoes and a large number of field peas. And squash–overloaded with squash! Will be putting up lots this week!

    Bought a large tube of my favorite toothpaste for 12 cents! Had a great coupon! Saved $5!
    In Ollie’s I found cans of Amy’s Lentil and Vegetable soup for 1.99 a can. Anyone who knows Amy’s products knows how outrageous they are! Bought 11 cans which is all they had. Also, bought an outdoor rug(8×10) for the screened porch that matched the one we already have. Cost $37 using a coupon.

    Ordered the new windows for our upstairs. We have 13 upstairs and replaced 22 downstairs a few years ago. The cost has doubled since then, but it was a “must” project as they are rotten and nonfunctional. I almost threw up when I placed the order. There will also have to be cedar siding and shutters to go with this project. We are really concerned with the economy being what it is. So I guess it’s beans and cornbread for a very long time!

    Hope everyone is enjoying the outdoors despite the awful heat and humidity–and smoke! Take care. Onward, y’all, by all means!

  25. I too was glad to read that your husband was able to have a short “vacation” at home after being away.
    I’m not sure this would apply to your situation (probably not), but it might be of interest to someone out there; my nephew works a job that is 6 weeks at the job site followed by being flown home for 10 days. Hotels and food are paid for by the company. He decided to buy a travel trailer to drive to his work which he uses for living and cooking meals, pocketing the hotel and food stipends. It stays empty at the site when he flies home.
    * I helped a daughter can 22 jars of blueberries to be enjoyed in cobblers and on pancakes over the winter.
    *We are looking after a set of grandkids this week and search for frugal activities. Today they went to a free library event where they built bird feeders which they could then take home!
    *I soaked ancient stained linens in Dawn detergent and peroxide for a few days in a last ditch attempt to save them —and it worked! They are white and usable once again.
    *I noticed that the Walmart 1 lb box (which is 454 grams) of dry pasta is now merely 410 grams, but the box “looks” the same size as before and is priced the same as before. That’s a 10% jump in price, hidden.
    *Similarly, white vinegars have always been 5% acetic acid. Suddenly 4% acid vinegars are popping up without fanfare; you have to know to look for the strength. For those who pickle, please be aware of this issue as 4% is too weak for approved safe pickle recipes.

  26. My new wine colored wool cardigan from Appleseeds.com arrived. I have been looking at the sweater in the online catalog for some time and finally bought one when the price went from $90 to $21. It is a light-weight knit but not skimpy with light showing through. It will help next winter when I’m trying to stay warm with the heaters set at lower temperatures. Free samples of Breathe Right strips I found on moneysavingmom.com also arrived. A family member uses those when the power is out, and he cannot use his C-pap machine. I noticed there is still a great deal on Craftsy memberships and what looks like pretty good on canned tuna at 24 cans for about $16 on there, also. The food pantry likes to get tuna to give to homeless people. I was able to stock up on canned apricots for $1.19 per can. That’s not great, but it’s probably the best I will see this year. I would love to can some fresh ones, but I don’t know who grows them. I figured out how many to buy by deciding approximately how often we would like to eat them between now and the next canning season. If I don’t find them on sale, we just don’t eat them at all. Well, blessings to everyone. I’m glad your garden is still surviving, Brandy. When I heard a forecast that said Las Vegas was expected to have 126 degree weather this past weekend, I wondered if your garden would survive that. Fog rolled in here and we had some lovely cool weather. We are still keeping our potted tomato plant in the car at night to keep it warmer and keep the deer, raccoons, slugs, etc. from eating all the tomatoes before they even start to turn color. We water it with fish fertilizer and set it out in the sun during the day. One day was so cold and gray that we left it in the car where it was warmer. So far, so good.

    1. Some things will make it but we always expect burn damage and for many things, production stops.

    2. Elizabeth H.,
      Putting the tomato plant in your car for warmth and protection is genius!👍👍👍

  27. How wonderful your husband was able to come home! I am sure it was good for the heart and soul of all. 🙂
    *Not exciting but necessary – we finished up our state-required once a year standardized testing last week, as is mandated in our state for home educating families. The on-line tests were purchased with a coupon code and with money made from selling curriculum we have finished using so no extra money required. That box is ticked and we can move on.
    *Ate out of the garden and pantry. Did find a couple of “buy this (on sale) and get that free” items at the grocery store which made for a little variety when paired with what we had on hand. Our favorite was some Italian sausages that were free with the purchase of a package of rainbow peppers. I have red and orange peppers in my garden but they are not quite ready yet so this worked out well and was inexpensive.
    *Boys attended weekly youth group where they are fed and have fun.
    *Harvested honey from my bees and took it to a friend for extraction. I had planned to have my own extractor this year but our car repair costs ate into that savings so I am extra glad I have a friend that is always willing to do it for me. Will reset that goal for next year as it is fun to do ourselves and would save a trip to drop off and pick up. We usually sell a bit of the honey and give some as Christmas gifts as well as enjoy it ourselves.
    *Prepared for our annual family reunion (on my husband’s side) at the beach which is this week. We all bring food and share in the preparation of meals which keeps things frugal and is just fun. I love being in the kitchen with my MIL and SIL and the men do the grilling outdoors (hopefully, some fish they will catch.) My boys also love to go crabbing so we will have those, as well. My FIL is one of 13 children so there are lots of extended family members to see and catch up with. This tradition has been going on the same week every year for over 50 years. So grateful for family!
    *Haven’t been able to concentrate on a book much this week but have been enjoying bits of Peter Santenello’s YouTube channel. He travels around the country visiting communities that, in some cases, have a reputation for being closed off to strangers and gets to know them. He has great interviewing skills and is so respectful, people really open up to him. It is so interesting! He is in Appalachia right now (WVa into Kentucky portions) and it is interesting to see some of the same struggles and victories we have here in our bit of these beautiful and ancient mountains. Marley in the Mountains – I thought of you when watching it. You might be interested. 🙂
    *Enjoy your week, all!

  28. Brandy, glad your husband got to come home. Family time is important and precious!

    -Garden is producing even though we are having to water, we have had an inch of rain total for 2 1/2 months. Grateful we have a well so we aren’t paying for the water just the electricity to pump it. Our grass is a yellow crispy mess, hurts to walk barefoot on it. Farm fields here are ok if irrigated but ones that aren’t are a loss.
    -Canned 18 pints of green beans and 2 half pints of candied jalapeños.
    -I cooked the tops from the strawberries that were cleaned and frozen and the last of my sour cherries. I canned 5 half pints of syrup to use in lemonade.
    -I harvested lettuce. It was washed and dried and then wrapped in paper toweling and put in a ziplock bag. I can keep lettuce for a month when I do this.
    -We are also eating pea pods and cucumbers. We are waiting on the tomatoes.
    -I picked enough wild raspberries from the perimeter of my yard to make a batch of raspberry jelly.
    -I dehydrated basil, Thai basil, cinnamon basil, chocolate mint, parsley, oregano, sage, camomile flowers and thyme.
    -I bought two twenty pound boxes of Michigan blueberries. They were washed, dried, and flash frozen on cookie sheets. They were then transferred to ice cream buckets. I added 5 of them to the freezer. Plus I kept some out fresh for eating. Breakfasts this week were fresh blueberries with half and half, yum! I also made blueberry pancakes after church on Sunday.
    -At the farm market I bought a pint of cherry tomatoes, a kohlrabi, and some broccoli. My tomatoes aren’t ripening yet and I didn’t plant the other two items. I peeled and cut the kohlrabi into sticks. The broccoli will become cheddar broccoli soup this week as it is going to be cooler this week. The tomatoes are divine!! Nothing like a garden ripened tomato.
    -Hubby helped me and we got the whole garden weeded and looking nice. Now I am working on flower beds.
    -I got a $25 Walmart gift card from work for my Bday. I bought a bath mat, some lens cleaning wipes, and a zippered pillow case liner. Things needed that were on my list. Hubby said you should have bought something for yourself. I said this is for myself, I don’t need anything else. At least I didn’t spend it on food!
    -Work also gives a $50 gift card for employee appreciation yearly, we have several places to choose from. I chose the local grocery store because we can always use food and I don’t need more stuff to clutter up my house. Now if a craft or material store were a choice that might be a different matter.
    -I mended some clothes. My least favorite thing to do. But it does save money, I try to do it monthly so it doesn’t get away from me.

    Have a great week!

  29. I haven’t commented in a couple of weeks, but the theme lately seems to be acquiring free items for our home. I was given clothing from four different sources. Now I need to go through everything and get rid of some, since not all of it will fit in my small space. We were given a couch and a chair that were in much better shape than our old ones. So thankful, even though they’re dated…it actually works well in my cottage-feeling home! My husband helped to move some things for an elderly couple and they gave him money and told him to take the kids out to eat, so we were able to go to lunch yesterday as a family. A friend found a good deal on butter and picked some up for me and also gave me a whole frozen chicken. Our church paid for everyone to go bowling and they bought pizza for everyone as well. It was such a fun evening and when it was over, we were given a whole leftover pizza. Our kids are growing like weeds and constantly outgrowing things. We found a bike for a daughter and a pair of cleats for a son to take to camp in a free pile. I used gift cards (some from Christmas, but mostly from my receipt apps) to buy some things for our homeschool this year, including a refurbished laptop. A sweet lady sent us a couple of kindles and a tablet for use in our homeschool. She messaged me on Instagram and offered them to me. What a blessing from someone I’ve never met. Another lady sent us a couple of christian tee shirts for my youngest son.

    I’m so thankful that produce has been inexpensive in the grocery store lately and we’ve been able to eat a lot of it. We’re also harvesting several things from our garden and we’re starting to get enough that we can put some things up in jars for winter.

    We bought a minivan. We have several children who will be learning to drive over the next few years and our full size van is so big for a new driver! Plus this gets way better gas mileage and will save wear and tear on our big van. It’s in very good shape and was under $2000. It seats 7, so we can’t use it all the time (we’re a family of 10) but when I go for groceries or take a child to an appointment it will be very useful.

  30. Brandy I am so glad to hear that your husband came home for a visit!! I will keep your family in my prayers as you forge ahead.
    Our gardens are providing large harvests for us over the last week. I canned 7 quarts of diced tomatoes and froze 6 quarts of spaghetti sauce. I have harvested at least a bushel of okra – some was eaten fresh and some was frozen. The green beans have loads of flowers on them as do the cucumbers, field peas, pink-eyed peas and pumpkins. I continue to harvest fresh basil, parsley & cilantro for use in my cooking. When canning tomatoes I am saving skins and cores along with any tomatoes that don’t make it to give to my neighbors chickens – they love them & this avoids any waste. Plus he gives me eggs on occasion so I feel this is more than a fair trade.
    Our house is being painted inside and out. I chose timeless, classic colors as this is a costly project. We have tall ceilings in all of our rooms which keep me from being able to paint it myself so I want to make this count. I don’t know if anyone has been through this before but it is just like moving except that none of your things are in boxes. Suffice to say that my house is a wreck and I am slowly putting it back together. The paint is beautiful and I am taking advantage of this chance to thoroughly clean everything as all my furniture & pictures are shifted around – no better time to clean those hard to reach, overlooked spots. Given all of the projects going on in our home, we have not been going anywhere.
    I have taken another car load of things to Goodwill as cleaning out closets tends to give way to purging. It is lovely seeing everything clean and organized! And the fresh paint makes a huge difference.
    I took care of my neighbors chickens while they were away and got to take eggs home. I collected a dozen eggs in exchange for time.
    I have really been grateful for batch cooking through this last week as it has allowed me to meal plan ahead of time and still eat at home even while our kitchen/living areas were not usable. Meals were simple things that could be reheated easily or served as a sandwich or salad.
    I took advantage of sales to buy cherries for $1.99/lb – the lowest I have seen them priced in years! I also purchased ground turkey in large packages to use in recipes where you would typically add beef. Turkey is leaner & healthier and the lower cost makes it a great savings. I do find that it is necessary to season ground turkey really well but since I have fresh herbs in the garden that is not an issue.
    I raised the temperature on our thermostat during the days, ran full loads in the dishwasher & washer. I took advantage of a sale to save $5 off of the laundry detergent that we normally buy. I cooked multiple things in the oven at once – meatloaf and baked sweet potatoes, roasted chicken and roasted vegetables to add to a quinoa salad,
    roasted tomatoes and onions while baking focaccia.
    Not the most frugal week for us but we press on 🙂

  31. Thank you Brandy and everyone else for sharing!

    I reminded a thing I do with my hair when I read last week´s comment. I go to hairdresser´s and get my roots coloured lighter (blonde) with permanent colour. It has to stay on for 60 min and then washed off. In order to save time, I started going home with the colour on and after an hour I was it off at home myself. Hairdresser covers my hair with a aluminium foil for warmth and with an old towel i have brought along. For me the savings in time has been the most important, but it´s also much cheaper this way.

  32. One more thing. We went on a holiday (with cars) with some other families. Was not cheap. I had problems with my kids in gas stations, where we often made stops. They always wanted to buy stuff from there, as others did – I thought it was unnecessary, unhealthy and expensive. It created tension and bad feelings. I decided next time they will bring their own money (I have to watch out they will have some for that time) for such expenses.

  33. How nice that your husband got to come home! My husband worked out of town for 12 years, and sometimes it was 6 or 8 weeks between visits, but sometimes he was home every weekend for a while. I hope your husband can get home more often in the future; that his schedule will allow that.

    It’s been very humid, so that the higher-than-normal heat feels even worse. I’m trying to reduce my electricity use, but I already know I’ve used more than last month, all from the a/c. I am doing what I can.

    I’ve earned some extra Swagbucks through purchases for my place of employment.

    I gifted one of my farmers with some cucumbers, since she didn’t get to plant any this year – she was out of town much of June. This is frugal for her, and she’s good to give me a freebie now and then as well, so we both profit in the end.

    I saved a gallon milk carton to make worm casting “tea.” I have worms in a homemade worm farm. The bit of milk clinging to the carton is good for plants, too.

    I thought the crazy weather had killed my thornless blackberries, but two of the three are leafing back out. We’ve had too much rain, then no rain for weeks, then way too much rain, and high heat all throughout, and the leaves had just turned brown and dropped. I’m glad I waited before I pulled them.

    The peacock ginger (kaempferia) that I divided is blooming and thriving in both pots now.

    I harvest cucumbers, and now okra, nearly every day.

    I bought 4 pieces of second hand clothes that I needed for the fall and winter. I didn’t buy some shoes I liked but didn’t need at all.

    I put up a few pickles.

    I hope everyone has a good week and that the weather improves for the many of us having floods, heat, storms, etc.

    1. Twelve years. Well, that’s encouraging!

      He doesn’t really get days off unless he requests them, and then, we won’t be paid for any days off, so we will have to choose carefully.

  34. I am regrowing celery from the end of a store-bought one. I also have 4 onions growing from 2 store-bought onions that sprouted. And I cut some strawberry runners and have them in water hoping to propagate a few more plants.

    I’ve also picked up 10+ books from the library in the last couple of weeks on canning, preserving food and foraging.

    I’ve been picking the berries (blue-, logan-, tay-, boyson-, black-, rasp- and a mystery bush my husband doesn’t remember what it is but intentionally planted and definitely edible) from the backyard and freezing, freeze-drying and making jam.

    I went to the store on the way home from my workout to pick up milk and always walk through the produce and clearance areas. I realized they had some great deals on meat last week (@ Fred Meyer) of $.89/lb bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and $.99/lb ground pork. After recently getting a stand-up freezer for the garage, I was able to take full advantage of these amazing meat deals!

    1. Susan, I’ve never tried to root strawberry runners in water, but I have planted them directly into the ground with near 100% success. Also, if they just stay on the ground for awhile, they will take root and you can just pop them out with a garden trowel and replant.

  35. Brandy, I am so glad your husband got to come home and spend time with you all. I’m not sure if his new job leads him to travel this much permanently, but I hope that you all find a good balance with it if it’s short or long term. Someone else commented on the heat Las Vegas has experienced lately, I hope that that is not too hard for your family. When I lived there I remember running from building to car to building during daylight in Summer. I’m sure you have a plan on how to stay cool.

    Here in Florida we have had a more dry Summer than normal, and excessive heat lately. I just reviewed my electricity costs and nearly 50% of my bill is on home cooling. Our cost of electric went up in the last year. I also replaced all the windows on my home. Between the two things my bill is similar to last year. However, the other portions of usage are so low that me hanging clothes or doing anything else isn’t really going to make a dent in the bill. I know come October things will cool down substantially.

    We continue to do daily things like eat at our home and mow our lawn for overall savings. I have been doing Door Dash regularly to try and chip away at different unplanned bills that I have encountered this year. I am definitely trying to be optimistic even when I feel like there is a large hill to climb in front of me.

    Wishing you all a wonderful week.

    1. The electric company here says that cooling can make up 70% of the bill here in summer. I am looking at over $400 for my next bill and I keep the house at 79°.

      Yes, this is permanent travel for my husband. It’s a complete opposite of our lives from before.

      I generally try to run errands early in the morning or around 8 pm (so I can go home and go to bed after being out in the heat) but that doesn’t always work. I run as few erands in the summer as possible.

        1. Yes. But this is where we’re supposed to be.

          And every area has its challenges!

          I don’t deal with slugs, rarely deal with black spot or Japanese beetles on my roses, don’t have things freezing to death in the garden (and I can grow lemons here!)

          Also, Nevada has no state income tax, and low property taxes.

          1. You are so right! Every place has its challenges and advantages and thank goodness we don’t all want to live in the same place. One common frugal strategy I have never been able to take advantage of is some of the low-cost cell phone services like Mint, etc. as they just aren’t available in my very rural, mountainous region. But, we have low property taxes (and only county tax) with no water or trash removal bills and no heat or a/c costs. I love that this blog and the associated comments have always been about making the most of what you have and can do while always being curious and seeking to learn more and experiment. It reminds me of the saying “Bloom where you are planted.” I think we all do that and we all benefit from everyone’s experience. 🙂

          2. I just found out that our county is raising water and sewer rates 47% over the next five years. My home and car insurance has gone up substantially in the last few years too. I’m starting to feel priced out of where we live in Florida. I often look at websites for states with cheap houses, but I think I would wait until my son is out of high school before I would move. And yes, I often think about moving back to the South West. I loved living in Vegas when I was there 15 years ago. I would try Arizona or New Mexico too.

            1. Our water rates are way up here. Many people have bills that are triple what they were last year.

              Sewer goes up every year, but not that much.

  36. Brandy, I am so happy that your husband was able to come home and spend time with you all. It was lovely to do things you’d typically not be able to do and just as wise to suggest things that you all might do differently next time he’s able to come home. How great to listen to the sample of music first before booking the evening. I hope you all had a lovely lovely time together!

    Here I have almost come to the end of my little tomato harvest. I haven’t gotten enough fruit from them to pay for the plants yet, but they ones I’ve been able to harvest once I’d finally dosed the horned worms with Sevin powder, have been awfully good. It’s a good breed, called Best Boy. I’ve also harvested two of my onions and now have peppers, eggplants, potatoes and sweet potatoes growing. I am still fairly novice at planting so I’m happy that I have a bit of stuff to call harvest.

    We have now purchased all the personal design choice stuff that we need for our renovation. No word from the contractor. I am going to become his squeaky wheel, especially since the delay in starting was fault of his worker and not anything we had to fix, as we were initially told.

    My son continues to supply us with school lunch program foods that is excess for his house. My daughter recently brought in some good staple item that she’d stored after her move in November. It is all welcome. I went into grocery today to pick up mostly dairy and produce and came out with three bags, costing $88. Thank goodness for the $25 in coupons and sales savings! I literally did not pick up anything anyone might call a splurge.

    It is hot here, now topping out at 100F most days. The AC runs and runs but hopefully we’ll not be too horribly shocked. I keep it turned up higher than the family likes and put on fans to help further move air. We do the best we can.

  37. Hi Brandy. I am in NZ and so enjoy your blog and beautiful photography. I seem to have missed your news about your husband. Is he working away from home to gather more income? You must miss him dreadfully but life is full of seasons and I’m sure you treasured his time home. I remember how our 2 girls eagerly hearing for the gate to shut which meant that dad was home!

    1. Yes. He has changed careers and is now working across the country at different places. It will not always be the same place, so there is no point in moving.

  38. Brandy, I am so happy your husband was able to come home and spend time with you and the family. My husband was gone for a year, coming home more frequently than yours, but it was a huge adjustment for me, particularly since we had just become empty nesters. Thank you for this blog.

    1. I can see how that would be huge!

      He’s always worked from home, so it’s a completely opposite situation for us.

      Honestly, I’ve been doing fine. I think it’s harder on him as he doesn’t see the children as much as he used to.

  39. Saw a tip for how to fill buckets from a sink– Use a pool noodle as a hose. I can see how a noodle would probably adapt to many faucets fairly easily if held in place for the needed time. A tall or heavy bucket could be put on the floor.

  40. I’m so glad your husband got to come home for a visit, and you got to go out for your anniversary. * Hubby asked that we take time and go through all of our streaming services and figure out what we watch on what and decided what we want to keep. He doesn’t want to have a bunch of subscriptions we don’t really use. Or really, just a bunch of subscriptions at all. I understand. We decided to let go of Netflix and Apple TV, then added Peacock again (he had let that lapse). It was a good exercise. After we cancelled Netflix, we kept remembering shows we watch on there. Oh well. Haha. In a few months we’ll evaluate again and maybe swap for that. Then, the next day, which was Prime Day, he texted and said he saw Britbox was 99 cents a month for two months so he got it for me so I can catch up on my shows. What a sweetie. He knows every summer, I subscribe just long enough to catch up on Vera, Shetland and Father Brown. Warmed my heart. With the switch, we end up saving about $20 a month. * Our crock pot and rice cooker were on their very last legs (each over 20 years old), so I ordered new ones on Prime Day for good prices. I chose pink for my new crock pot, which makes me smile. * Since I’ve been looking at embroidery pins on Pinterest, I’ve been getting ads for embroidery related things. I saw something called a “needle minder”…very cute little magnetic thing you can attach to your piece (or clothing) to put your needle on when not in use. I wanted one, but the cheapest was $15. I thought “great idea! but, I have magnets. I found a heavy duty magnet that I place on the chair next to me when I stitch that works perfectly. Win! *We finally got a little rain, for which we are so very grateful. It’s a drought even up here in Minnesota, but nothing like you southern and western gals are dealing with. And we certainly do not have your wicked heat. * Hope everyone has a lovely week and stays safe and cool.

  41. Brandy,
    So very happy to hear your husband got to come home for a visit!!
    I was able to pick up a new looking brand-name zip up hoodie at a garage sale for $1. I gave it to my daughter who is an elementary school teacher to use for a student in need. I have been line-drying my laundry which is a nice luxury for me. I can only do that a few months out of the year here in the PNW. I was able to purchase 5 pots of herbs for 75% off!! They are looking really good. I purchased a baseball tshirt for my grandson for back to school along with a couple school supplies all for under $5. I cut my own hair and my husband’s hair. I also gave our dog a bath using warm water from the hose on a 95 degree day. He really enjoyed the refreshing outdoor bath. We have picked about 5 quarts of wild blackberries that we will use to make pies and dumplings this winter. I also picked enough wild red huckleberries to make one small jar of jam. I planted 2 bushes a few years back in my yard and this is the first year I have been able to harvest before the birds ate them all. Huckleberry jam is my son’s favorite so he got a special treat. I took a day off work and went to the beach with my girlfriend. We shared a great lunch and had a nice walk on the beach- felt like a mini vacation for the cost of gas. It was nice to have a good catch up visit with her-sanity saver really.
    So very happy to be part of this community and learn so much from everyone-Thanks!!

  42. Margie from Toronto. Our travels were by cruise ship which is a very easy way to make several stops in several countries. A couple of frugal things I did was get the seniors rate on trains when applicable or admission to the thermal baths. Also travelled with only carry on which is easier and cheaper.
    For those living in central Illinois my husband is from southern Illinois so we will mostly be visiting in that area.

  43. I learned on youtube that I can save my jams and jellies that won’t set. After they are canned (or even not canned!) if they are still too runny I can simply add a 1/2 teaspoon or so of gelatin, stirring well, and then microwave it, adding more gelatin as necessary, until it’s thick. I was amazed. This actually works and my sad peach syrup can now be peach jam! (The syrup is yummy on pancakes, ice cream and pound cake that limits the use of it.) I’m so thrilled with this tip after years of struggling with unset jams.

    1. Next time, use the freezer test when making jam to be sure it’s set. It’s never failed me.

      Pop a plate(s) in the freezer at the beginning of your cooking time. Once you think that your jam has reached its setting point or has thickened, spoon a bit of the jam on the cold plate and tilt it vertically so the jam runs. You are aiming for a slow descent, not a runny mess. If it runs slow, it’s set! If it’s still runny, cook it more.

      You can also let the spoonful of jam sit on the cold plate for 30 seconds and then push it with your spoon or finger. (This is what I do. I aim to have my finger run through the blob and leave a cleanish streak.) If it wrinkles up, you’ve reached your setting point.

  44. I’m glad you got to see your husband. My husband and I celebrated an anniversary as well. We went on vacation and I got to go to the church where I was baptized as a child! We were given a couple movies. Sabina, tortured for Christ: the Nazi Years and Tortured for Christ. I recommend them both. They were very moving. I know Sabina, tortured for Christ: the Nazi years can be downloaded for free. We had a lovely time in Michigan. We tried to save some money by buying food at the local grocery store and eating it. We did eat our a little bit and had a lovely time. We got home and I got our electric bill. Ouch! It was over 40 dollars more than last month. I expect the next one to be more. We are eating from our freezers and pantry. I know I will buy fresh fruits soon. My grand children developed a plan. Buying chickens with their allowance so they can get free eggs. They said they would let us have the chickens. They were really thinking! I am going to have to bring them some eggs. We just have 4 chickens now. But I believe they must want some eggs. I loved visiting with them when we got back. I will be cooking at home to save. The savings is huge when we do that. I made eggs for dinner last night. I was almost too tired to cook. But cheesy eggs was easier than driving to a restaurant. then I opened a can of fruit. My family was happy. I could have made banana pancakes from a couple of bananas we have that need used. But really was so tired I just made the cheesy eggs. I may make banana pancakes today. I know my husband would love that! I also thawed a turkey. I will be cooking that today. I think I will make a nice turkey dinner. I also have some frozen cranberries that I only paid 50 cents a bag. I will make cranberry sauce with one of the bags. I paid very little for the turkey, as it was bought on sale at about 60 cents a lb. I want to make stuffing because I truly enjoy it and then open a couple cans of veggies. I have some potatoes that need used. So I can make mashed potatoes. And a squash that I need to cook. I made pepper soup the other day with some wrinkled peppers that were still edible. They were not rotten. The ones that were, I threw away. I want to use all the veggie that I have left before I shop for more. I need to build up our reserve again. Eating at home is definitely the easiest way to do that. My family loved the pepper soup. When we went to Michigan we did not stay on the coast. We drove a little bit inland to find cheaper hotels. Booked ahead of time also saved money. We bought fruit at fruit stands. Enjoyable. And enjoyed just being on the local beaches. Many were free to visit. Michigan has some wonderful parks. I love free and I love picnics. So eating a picnic at a free park was ideal for me. Michigan cherries and raspberries are wonderful! Our air conditioner is running constantly. It will be over 100 all week where I live. I’m glad our house is small so our bill will be smaller than it could be. The electricity went out before we went on vacation. We were happy that it did come on before we left. I am back to using cloth hankies and napkins. They really are softer on my nose. We are keeping lights off and window shades open for light. Except for the one directly above me when I am reading something or working on something.

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