I cut roses from my garden for my mother for Mother’s Day. These are “All Dressed Up”, which I bought as a bush last year for $20 from the local nursery. The same bush sells for around $60 online plus shipping. It didn’t make many roses last year, but it grew a lot and is really producing this spring.

I received a couple more items for my house from the items of the friend who passed, including some kitchen knives, a small clock, and an antique floor lamp.

I picked blackberries from the garden.

I harvested artichokes and green onions from my garden.

I combined errands to save time and gas. I stopped in to Sam’s Club to get three items, open to getting more things if needed, and only left with a few more (and not a lot more).

I exchanged some items I had bought online for a different size before the return window closed. I had to pay shipping to return the items, but it will be better than having kept some things that were too small and unusable.

My husband came to visit. He found round-trip tickets for $67 total three weeks ago via Frontier. He brought no luggage; they charge for a carry-on, but one personal item is free, so he brought everything in a backpack (he still has clothing at home).

A friend of mine does this same thing when traveling to see her grown children, leaving shoes and a few items of clothing at each of her children’s homes. I mention this as I hope it may help those of you with grown children.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This has been a busy week getting ready for a SFG class I was teaching as well as finding the best price on cheesecakes and picking them up with Hubs to give out to each of the women and young women at church on Sunday (Mother’s Day) I was able to watch sales and get 7 cheesecakes (84 slices) for much less, saving our church budget about $50. I also found another 3 pounds of ground beef on Flashfood and made that into another dozen flash frozen patties for our Memorial Day picnic/bbq for $1.60/pound. This will again save our church budget that will reimburse me well over $100 once I have all 100+ burgers made!

    I got corn in the husk on Flashfood for $2/dozen. It was beautiful when the husks came off! I gave 2 dozen to my friend with 6 kids, a dozen to my friend in the newly purchased house that we gave freezer to and 2 dozen to my daughter-in-law with their 6 kids! Kept a couple dozen for us and have been thoroughly enjoying them fresh! But today on Flashfood I found already husked corn on the cob in two packs for 10 cents each! I bought 22 of them (44 ears) and got out my pressure canner to get them canned! I also got 16 cartons of blackberries to make into jam! The 12 baskets of blueberries I got on sale at Meijers for 99 cents/ carton were canned into a dozen pint jars of blueberries with a very light syrup. That will save freezer space but still give me blueberries ready to use!

    My garden is mostly planted, so now it’s just being patient for things to mature to harvest!

    I got another client quilt quilted cup using FreeMotion quilting: https://pin.it/1Ht0uj3UM, https://pin.it/vG2TMlef9 and https://pin.it/7zW6TmPQH. C

    We were able to buy a replacement for our 2002 minivan with our insurance payout for it being totaled plus about $3300 from our savings and we have a wonderful 2014 minivan that looks and drives like it just came off the showroom floor! ❤️❤️We have scheduled it to have a trailer hitch installed on it so it can pull our utility trailer.

    We have had some “blips” along our path this week, but we have felt grateful for their resolution and realize we could have had a much worse outcome!

    Hoping you and your readers are finding resolution and relief through all those “blips” along your way!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. I am glad you were able to pay less than $5k OOP to get a new minivan. We have been looking at prices because our minivan is a 2003 and our Suburban is a 2001 so I know what prices are right now.

      You are so blessed what you can get on flashfoods! I am grateful for you and others mentioning this app because I have started to use it. Here in Lexington, KY area we get produce bags for $5. Sometimes they have a few bakery item or 1 or 2 pieces of meat– nothing like you can get in a bigger city.

  2. Brandy, I am so pleased to hear your husband was able to visit-and what a great deal on his airfare! My husband and I drove out to Lake Louise for Mothers Day-we planned for an occasional splurge at the upscale Post Hotel for lunch-we have been there before for anniversary’s, company etc. Imagine our surprise to learn they were serving brunch for wait for it-$89 per person!! We politely declined and bought lunch for under $20 per person across the road. We were also able to park for free at the lake-I understand parking will be $36.50 starting next weekend. Insane!
    Got my root canal completed this morning and it was less than the estimate-my share was $760 after insurance pd $600. Got an email this morning offering a discount for buying gift cards with my airline pts-they have been sitting and not enough for a flight so I sent $85 worth of egift cards(saving on shipping) to my daughter and her boyfriend as they both turn 25 in 2 weeks time. This way too there is no risk of them expiring.
    We will be having 3 of my friends boys stay with us for the first week in June-this will be extra money in my travel fund. She also sends more than enough groceries to feed them and us for the week. She has 9 and 13 year old twin boys-one boy will stay with other friends closer to his school whereas 3 of them go to school near our house. The parents are off to NYC for their 20th anniversary-and a well deserved rest!

  3. Brandy, those roses are just lovely! They look so old fashioned! I am sure it was a wonderful day celebrating and having your husband home!
    Gardenpat, those are some wonderful grocery finds!
    I have been trying to get the last veggies in the ground before several days of rain. I dug up 3 layered blueberry shoots and transplanted them in a new bed from our huge oak tree mulch and manure pile. With our tree gone the sun shines on this bed till late afternoon. I planted some flower seeds from our library seed collection in this new bed and hope they germinate!
    We went away to the NC mountains for two days and the family I work for let us use and just pay the cleaning fee. We changed the sheets, took the trash out and paid the minimum fee. We did two days of hiking and read the afternoon it poured. It was a timely getaway and we were thankful for their generosity, I plan to make a gift basket as a thank you!
    I have been picking strawberries from our beds and making kefir and yogurt with some marked down milk. I was excited to find a little country store ten minutes away sometimes mark down the local milk, score!! We have been eating lettuce and using greens in my smoothies. It is time to pick beets and ferment them. I also have some cabbage that grew from a core that I soaked and planted, and will make sauerkraut with it. I also am making more apple cider vinegar from the cores of my marked down apples from to weeks ago.
    I recieived some flowers to plant for Mother’s Day along with a garden stepping stone, a new rake and a coupon for seeds! My kids know me well, that suits me much better than clothing or household items!
    I hope each of you have a lovely spring week!

  4. Your roses are stunning, Brandy. Glad your hubby got to come home. Hope you had a nice Mother’s Day. * Last week I sent a text to all the kids asking if they wanted anything homemade by me for Christmas, to let me know. I gave them a list to choose from. I also said no hard feelings if they didn’t have a need or a want. So far 8/10 have requested something and the other two are still deciding. Ends up being a couple afghans, some slippers, a couple sets of market bags, some socks, dishcloths/dishtowels/scrubbie sets. Those are all knit and crochet. One daughter asked for some embroidered dishtowels for her new kitchen. Joanns had a good sale on yarn so I purchased all the yarn I needed and then got an extra 20% off for choosing curbside pickup. I saved a lot of money. I bought the dish towels and transfers on Amazon. Towels were reduced. I have enough embroidery floss for the project already. I know it’s only May, but since I have a lot of people I need to get started. Glad a good sale coincided with these requests! * I had a nice Mother’s Day. I saw or talked to all of my kids. They went together and got me Storyworth. This year I will receive an email every Monday with a prompt for me to write about my life. After I write it and save it, it goes to all of them to read. At the end of the year, it is compiled into a little book. Very cool! I’m glad they did it as a group gift…not too much for any one of them. I love to write, so I’m really excited about this! My husband got me a couple new dishtowels and a Joanns gift card with the express instructions not to buy Christmas gift materials with it. Haha. I’ll save it for a bit and think on what I really want. * Lilacs are bountiful and beautiful right now so we cut some for the house and gifted three bunches to some mothers we thought would enjoy them. I have extra vases, so it was nice to gift them in vases, and good to declutter them. *My son moved out and seems to be doing ok so far. I put together a box of food for him to take with him so he would not have to go shopping for a few days. * Knit, crocheted, embroidered and read books for fun. We are watching a lot of playoff basketball. Sometimes that is funner than other times. * I hope everyone has a great week. I look forward to reading all of your posts.

  5. Those roses are so beautiful brandy! So glad that your husband was able to visit – I hope it was a wonderful Mothers’ Day for you.

    Most of my savings this week have come from not going near a grocery store! Just made do with what I had on hand and concentrated on using up produce before it went bad.
    .used some wonky carrots, pumpkin puree from the freezer & red lentils to make a pot of soup.
    .made a pot of rice pudding and used dried cranberries & blueberries instead of my usual raisins – also used a can of coconut milk as part of the liquid – tasted delicious!
    .added a small can of expensive sockeye salmon to a larger can of pink salmon and made 9 fishcakes. Ate 2 and put 7 in the freezer.
    .added cans of kidney beans and black beans from the pantry to bulk out my green salads.
    .cooked some chicken livers that had been in the freezer for ages and mixed them with mushrooms and peas and then made a cream sauce – served over toast for 2 cooked breakfasts.
    .cooked a batch of bacon strips – some were eaten in a sandwich with tomatoes, some were chopped up and served with some perogies and the rest was put back into the freezer for future use.
    .made a few smoothies using over ripe bananas saved in the freezer along with sliced peaches that I froze last Summer.

    Received a refund of about 2/3 of the total cost of my dental check up. I’m just putting it aside as I have a cavity that needs to be filled so it can go towards that.

    Friday I met some friends for coffee and a pastry and it was my turn to be treated so no cost and it was lovely to catch up. I have finished reading “The Last Devil to Die” – book 4 in the Thursday Murder Club series (from the library of course) and I have been watching Season 10 of the Brokenwood Mysteries that has just dropped on Acorn for entertainment.

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  6. I have been busy in the garden also, harvesting chives, lettuce, raspberries, and strawberries. Our county has opened a compost hub where we can go get free compost one morning a week all year round. I’m very excited about this. I have been nursing a lilac bush along, and it is going to live. This is a nice savings over having to replace it. Our neighbor has a climbing rose that has climbed right over our fence. I took some cuttings last year and planted them in our yard. This year they have grown to the top of the fence. I’ve never had a climbing rose, and I love them!
    I signed up for an adapted PE class at the community college. It is free, and their weight room is just like a gym. I’m very pleased to have found this.
    I picked up a free yogurt at Lucky supermarket.
    I’ve sold a few things on FB marketplace, including a little side table that I had bought for $15 on FB marketplace last year, used it until this week and then sold it for $25. It wasn’t quite right for the spot I wanted. I love it when I can earn a bit of money from a mistake!

  7. Hello, everyone!

    —-I’ve picking about 2 gallons of strawberries every day for weeks now from our little patch. I will be sad to see it come to an end! We’ve been eating them with all of our meals, and I’ve made several baked goods. On Mother’s Day, I made a strawberry arugula salad with goat cheese and pecans.

    —I found clearance cupcake picks at Walmart for 10 cents a pack. I chose sport themes to add to my stash.

    —I won a prize in a Nature Valley granola bar sweepstakes that included a really nice Melissa and Doug toy that I will add to my gift closet, free granola bars, and a few other small items.

    —I printed some free birthday banners online for my husband’s upcoming 50th birthday. We will be heading to Italy to meet up with some of his family, so I wanted to take a long a few decorations.

    —I made homemade bendable ice packs using water, rubbing alcohol, and blue food coloring. It seems like someone is always asking for an ice pack around my house!

    Have a great week!

  8. Oh, blackberries. My favorite.

    Last weeek was teacher appreciation week so it was filled with goodies. There was breakfast provided one day, and lunch the other 4. Any leftovers (fruit, chips, etc) I brought home. There was also free 7 Brew(free small drink everyday), Chikfila sandwich, free tea from Mcalister’s everyday, and we were treated to Sonic drinks on Friday and I ended up with several new pens and some other odds and ends.

    I also signed up for a $50 credit on Stitchfix, although I had no idea the clothes were so expensive 😬. I’ll only keep one piece on the box they sent, because I can’t afford the whole thing(even though I love it all)

    Mothers day was kind of low key. I had to finish my last paper in my class, so it was mostly everyone leaving me alone, lol. We just had sandwiches for dinner (my request) so there was no dishes. Now I need to get my final done by Thursday.

    I realized I will have one paycheck mid June, so I think I can quit panicking about not saving enough for summer break.

    My manager was out Friday, so I’ll get a bit more hourly for that day, plus I worked an extra hour and a half.

    Used 15% off at McDonald’s

    It was kind of a boring week. I spent most of it writing my paper, so I came straight home from work most days(after making rounds for free drinks, which thankfully all are between work and home)

  9. What a wonderful harvest of flowers and produce. I’m glad your husband was able to visit.

    The Seattle area had beautiful weather last week, so I was able to eat dinner on my patio and enjoy some time outside.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – My mom didn’t want to do anything for Mother’s Day, so my sister brought her flowers and I found her a nice card. We had a nice visit, sat outside in the sun, and played cards. She was happy with that.
    – Bought some toiletries and supplements from Vitacost. They have good prices and I found an extra 20% off discount code online.
    – Read a magazine at the library and checked out a book.
    – Foraged some greens from an empty lot.
    – Found an insulated ice cream container (Sumo brand) at the thrift store for $6, plus I had a coupon for 20% off. I had been wanting to try out one of these. I think they sell for around $15 on Amazon.
    – Looked up a “no churn” ice cream recipe online and tried it out (I already had the ingredients). It tastes good. Will probably make a few tweaks next time.
    – Made iced tea several times.
    – Altered a shirt for my sister that she found at a thrift store.
    – Signed up for the free identify theft protection provided with my AAA membership.
    – Signed up for a free Amazon Prime trial (one month). Will cancel it before I am charged for next month.
    – Visited two parks I had not been to before. One was a rhododendron garden, and was just beautiful.

    Have a great week, everyone.

  10. How nice your husband was able to come home for a visit! Your roses are beautiful!
    Today was the first day I felt like a normal human being after being ill for the last two weeks. I am so grateful!
    I picked up all the seedlings I had ordered several weeks ago and have been hardening them off (acclimating them) to the outdoors, since they have spent their life in a greenhouse until now. I was able to spend time today preparing some much of the ground where they will be planted later this week. I have a few things to buy yet – geraniums, marigolds, petunias and snapdragons – and I should be set until later in the season when the fall planting perennials are ready to go in the ground. I’m using seeds for several vegetables and already have those.
    The children will be home for the summer this weekend, so I have been making sure bedding and towels are clean. It is a bit challenging because we sent most of those things that they used regularly to University with them. We’ll make do and then they’ll bring their things home with them. They’ll be working this summer, earning spending money for the following school year and saving some for a study abroad program in a year and a half. This means they have to work less during the school year and have more time to concentrate on their studies.
    I have two weeks of the semester left at my University (yay!) and I will not be teaching summer session for the first time in 10 years! I’m so excited to have the extra time. I’ve been setting aside mending and planning on what I need to finish several projects that have been sitting around gathering dust for too long! I also have a worn denim jacket that I’m hoping to try a large embroidered panel on. Wish me luck!
    Other than that, we’ve been doing the typical things – eating at home, packing lunches and coffee, combining errands, etc.
    Have a lovely week, everyone,

  11. Glad that your husband was able to fly in for a visit. That’s an excellent idea to keep things in both places to save on airfare!

    I’ve been super MIA lately because spring on a flower farm is insane, especially since this year, everything is about 2-3 weeks ahead weather-wise than the usual. It has made it so that I have more flowers earlier (which is nice), but it’s also made planning and planting pretty intense!

    Here are my own frugal wins lately, most of them related to the farm:


  12. Gorgeous flowers. I so look forward to seeing your beautiful photos. How wonderful you got a visit from your husband!

    This week I got 2 half gallon canning jars for $2, a new to me thermo water bottle in the style I’d wanted and double capacity of my old one for $3, my neighbor gave me a tabletop quick icemaker (the cubes were a great size for the water bottle), and I found another of the same high end pan at a different goodwill. A 3 qt sauté that sells for $180 and was marked $2.49. I think I got it for the joy of cleaning it. I love polishing pans till they shine like new and you could see this pan was tossed because they didn’t know how to clean it properly. I will gift it. I also found a vintage heavy duty copper colander with a wood handle that hangs on the wall for $7 and a large glass hand soap dispenser for $4. I’m going to put my dish soap in instead of the squeeze bottle on the counter.

    My friend volunteers at a dahlia farm and got a free cafe au lait tuber for me and I bought a second at their plant sale as I have two large pots I want to put them in. I got it for half what I’ve seen online. Bought more parsley as mine bolted in a heat spell this week…suddenly it’s spring!

    I haven’t seen any good sales on groceries this week, but I saved 40 cents per gallon with rewards points on gas.

    Got new library books, washed the car, bought a few things via your Amazon links and watched several gardening and cooking free videos. Hope everyone has a great week!

  13. Brandy, my mouth is watering looking at the artichokes. They look so good!

    -Planted my onions and potatoes with hubby’s help. I also got my flowers planted in my planters and I’m working on weeding my perennial bed. Little at a time.
    -Free compost dirt was hauled home from our county site. It is free for the taking. It was used to top off the three new raised beds.
    -Also hauled home free wood chips from a wood hauler. It is a bit dirty with twigs and sticks. That is fine for what we want it for, to heavily mulch around the raised beds.
    -Had one leftover smoked sausage. I chopped that up, added a drained pint of home canned potatoes, rutabagas, and carrots (my soup veggies canned in the same jar) and a pint of home canned chicken broth. Also added half and half and some shredded cheese. Oh my, it was so good and it made supper and lunch the next day for us from one sausage!
    -I read “The Woman” by Kristin Hannah from the library on the Libby app. I was like #200 in line but it popped up available to download. Others must be busy and declined to read right now. I read it in 3 days. It was very good. Historical novel set during Vietnam War. It is a bit grizzly but that is reality. The main character was a nurse.
    -I planted some flower seeds I seed saved from flowers I bought at the nursery last year. I had never seen flowers like this before and they didn’t have them this year. Fingers crossed that they come up.
    -I planted new herbs in my large recycled herb container. It was a large tub my son in law bought and used for mixing cement. He cleaned it out well when he was done and offered it to me. I used it last year to plant herbs and it worked well. I used seeds left from last years plantings instead of using sets.
    -I picked dandelion flowers and dehydrated them. They are now steeping in organic olive oil (I usually do this for 6 weeks). I then will make a salve using the oil and beeswax. It works great for skin irritation, rashes, and inflammation. I have 2 grand daughters that use it on their eczema areas and they love it as it makes them vanish.
    -My daffodils and tulips are blooming. I cut some daffodils and brought them in the house to enjoy and a bundle for my MIL for Mother’s Day.
    -Meals were simple and easy this week-vegetable burritos from the freezer, rice, chicken and broccoli casserole from the freezer, spaghetti, smoked sausage soup, and brats and fries, plus leftovers.
    -$50 spent on groceries, this will last us for the rest of the month with the exception of some additional milk.
    -I stopped at my local thrift store and spent $8 on a small footed crystal bowl (I am using it as a candle holder for a votive candle), 2 shirts, 2 paperback books, and 1/2 yard of red flannel.

    Have a great week!

    1. Hi Julie! I was wondering if you would share the “recipe” for your dandelion salve? I have two grandchildren with eczema and am always on the look-out for something that helps! Thank you!

  14. -Went to church rummage sale and got some brand new crafts kits for girls for 50 cents each. These retail online for $23. Will use these for happies for nieces and friend’s daughter. I’m a big happy giver.
    -Did survey off receipt and subsequently got a BOGO free chicken strip dinner. Had some $ left on gift card so I added some yummy chocolate chip cookies. Out of pocket cost was 2 cents.
    -Local Salvation Army store is great. I have a relatively new cat (we were trying to live trap an opossum but trapped cat instead). At SA store paid $3 for $75 brand new cat carrier for trips to vet.
    -Headed to college town tomorrow for something. Plan to check thrift stores while I’m there as students just moved out of dorms and apartments and often donate.
    -Made list and checked balances on all my gift cards. On a quest to spend them, especially those for restaurants (I don’t cook).
    -Local library always has sales tables with everything for 25 cents. Found friend several cookbooks as a happy and a $40 Christmas decorating book for myself.
    – For those of you who sew, I included some home sewn shoe bags in a recent high school graduation gift. Young lady said it was one of the best gifts she received. It was yard of $8 fabric I thrifted for $1 and some thrifted ribbon.

  15. How wonderful your husband was able to visit. I know your time together is precious. Last week, I dehydrated the last of our onions, which had sprouted, all except three small ones that were still holding on. A batch of GF breadcrumbs was ground, from bread ends that had dried. I harvested lettuce, peas, radishes, thyme, rosemary, chard, and one beet. The beet greens were sauteed with garlic, along with the chard. All the still-potted seedlings were fed with banana peel water, to encourage growth, then the peels were added to the compost. As I use bananas every day in a smoothie, this is easy to accomplish. Three pawpaw saplings were dug, and shared with friends. We had our 7th wedding anniversary this week, and chose to have a quiet night at home. Soon enough, we’ll be having plenty of adventures in the skoolie. After an appointment, I thrifted a new/barely used magic bullet blender for $5, which I regularly use to make dressings and sauces. I also found an immersion blender for $3, and incandescent lightbulbs for $1 per pkg. I use an immersion blender for soups and soap (separate ones), and like to keep a back up on hand. Though it may not be PC, I’ve been gathering incandescent bulbs as I see them, as the light is so much warmer and nicer than LED. I figure these bulbs will be used by someone, and as we get a large portion of our power from the sun, it will offset the somewhat higher energy usage. A neighbor offered J his extra tomato seedlings, and my husband dug him two hazelnut saplings. The tomato plants are much larger than any we had. We’re hoping that means earlier tomatoes for us, as it’s often August before we start seeing any ripen. I made an online purchase through Swagbucks, for 6% back, and used a 15% off code.

  16. It’s crazy to me that you’re harvesting blackberries! They are an August fruit for us over here. We would like to grow artichokes because they seem like fun and they have a nice architectural shape in the garden (and we have the space!) but I’m curious how you serve them. We bought some once and, as I recall it, spend ages boiling them and making some kind of elaborate sauce and then got a scraping of green each from it. Tasty green! But a lot of work.

    I have been reading through your old schedule posts, Brandy, and have made a new schedule for our family. I don’t get up early, but I am finding it helpful to add some focus to my day and to specifically allocate times to do things I was finding it difficult to get round to. I am sure I will make some more tweaks in the coming weeks but I am pleased with it so far. I have also got my children (6yo and 4yo – the 2yo’s job is to not actively get in the way!) to clear and lay the table for each meal and stopped trying to get them to do other chores for the moment. This is something they can achieve by themselves without me encouraging (or berating!) them which means I can get on with doing other chores efficiently during that time instead of wasting my time basically watching them not work and getting frustrated by it. We also all do a five minute pickup twice a day to keep on top of the mess. I allocated two hours in the morning to do one hour of schoolwork, and today it took the whole two hours – so it’s a pretty realistic schedule!

    Brandy, I’ve also been wondering how you are planning for retirement. Our income has increased a lot in the past year and we are in a position to start saving again – but there are also so many things that we’d love to spend our money on. Often productive things, like fruit trees for the garden and fabric to make properly lined curtains to make our heating more efficient. How do you find the balance between wanting to spend on productive things, wanting to live a little when you have the money, and wanting to save for retirement?

    1. It is 95° here (usually 107°), so yes, blackberry season!

      I have a recipe for artichokes in the recipe section of my site.

      Saving for retirement: My husband started a new career at 60. At this point of essentially starting over, on a tight budget (with now 2 households) my main goal and hope is to pay off the mortgage as quickly as possible. Our income varies, so if we make a little extra or the bills come in less, I will pay more down on the mortgage principal that month.

      I do think fruit trees are important now. I will have to replace a couple that broke in the wind storm. The savings on groceries will put more moeny in my pocket over the long run. Your curtains would be the same, so those are things I would invest in now from the within your budgeted amount for those types of things each month.

    2. I live near the artichoke capital of the world, they are my favorite summer side. Like Brandy’s recipe my favorite is to steam them, but growing up we just boiled them (about 30 mins, till a fork or knife in the stem easily goes in). We also never bothered to trim the thorns from the leaves, you just ate carefully! My favorite is still just dipping in melted butter, but many like mayonnaise, and aioli is also great. Once you’ve dipped and eaten the tender leave bases, be sure to remove the thistle like center to reveal the heart, aka the base of the stem the leaves connected to. It’s the best part. Enjoy!

    3. Fruit trees are a great investment in your future as long as you plan on living at your current home for another 5 years. They take a while to grow. We have always put my husband’s company match for the 401K. To us it is free money. We just don’t think about it. Like Brandy we pay off extra on the mortgage when we can. I keep telling myself slow and steady wins the race.

  17. The roses are gorgeous! Prettier than anything I’ve seen in flower shops. And your garden is doing well.
    We had snow, which definitely set my garden back, but it’s doing better this week. We enjoyed lettuce, arugula, turnips, bok choy, chard, and asparagus this week. I cut some parsley to dry.* I made a batch of granola and one of yogurt, and a dozen bagels.* A friend and I went to Moab for two days, camping. We split the cost of gas and both brought food for meals, and used her pass to get free admission to Arches and Canyonlands and half-price camping. The trip was inexpensive and great fun.* I sent a homemade card to a friend who is sick. * I traded books to read with another friend.

  18. What beautiful roses. I am glad your husband got to come home for a visit. We have been working in the garden and continue to walk everyday. My niece and I went to an Ag Day at the fairgrounds and received lots of freebies and got to see some cool equipment. We hosted a Mother’s Day fish fry at our house for our family and had lots of fun. It has been a quiet week, but a good week.

  19. I’m so glad that your husband could come home for a visit. And I love the photos of the artichokes!

    My husband and I volunteered to help hand out food boxes. There were many package of sliced green onions left over, so I brought a box back and shared them with my neighbors.

    We attended a potluck dinner.

    While surfing the channels on my TV, I found a BBC food channel and watched a couple of episodes by Nigel Slater. The point of the show was to use what was on hand to make a meal. I found it inspiring to thing differently about using leftovers. I have also requested a book of his from the library.

    My neighbor was buying large tomato plants from Costco and offered to buy me some, as I don’t have a membership there. I also shared some of my extra tomato cages with her and she paid me for them, although I was happy to give them to her.

    I splurged and bought a one year membership to the New York Times puzzles. It was $50 for a year. I play Wordle consistently. Now I enjoy spelling bee and other puzzles. It keeps my brain sharp and brings me much pleasure every day as I try to solve the puzzles.

    I donated a box of extra clothes and unused picture frames.

    My friend made soup for a mutual friend who is having some health problems. She made enough for my husband and me too. I delivered the soup for her.

    I hope everyone is doing well. Thank you for the continued inspiration that I receive from reading this blog and the comments.

  20. I have been SUPER busy this past month and have missed reading all of your accomplishments. Hope to catch up soon!
    *One thing we have been busy with that has direct relation to frugality is helping a neighbor prepare his farm for sale. We have traded work like weed-eating, organizing farm equipment and supplies, cleaning out a garden, cleaning out animal housing, etc. for things that are very valuable and useful to us including chickens, ducks, a goose, 2 houses for the waterfowl, several planters, organic fertilizers and potting mix, chicken feeders and supplements, fencing materials, vet supplies, tools, 2 animal crates, 4 lavender plants, and hundreds of dollars worth of organic shelf stable food. This has been a blessing on many levels. The items and animals we have received are so very useful for us and we are helping him move on to his new phase of life. My boys are getting yet another lesson in “help they neighbor” and furthering their already strong work ethic. There is more work to be done and more food and another chicken house (and more chickens) coming in exchange. So, busy and good times around here.
    *Have gotten steady work done on my garden. Eating lettuce and spinach from it now and looking forward to the coming bounty.
    *My youngest son, the Artist, was accepted into a Youth Maker’s Market at our local farmer’s market. He will sell his original art (starting in the form of notecards and bookmarks) two Saturday mornings a month. He received some specific art supplies for this project for his recent birthday so no cost for materials. He is very excited at having another venue to sell his art and I won’t mind hanging out at this farmer’s market which happens to be a particularly beautiful one.
    * Can’t remember if I have shared this here or not but here goes! In my continuing quest to never stop learning and to be brave trying new things, I auditioned for a local theatre company’s summer production of The Sound of Music. I inherited a strong love of classic musical theatre from my mom and grandfather and doing this show has long been on my bucket list but life and other things always got in the way. No more! I got the part of Mother Abbess (albeit a younger one than the movie version 🙂 ) I am beyond excited! Rehearsals are going well and it is such fun. Community theatre is a win-win for everyone, in my opinion. Low-cost theatre opportunities for the public and a family-like atmosphere for the performers. Our directors are frugal minded, as well. For example, the nuns habits are being rented from a local college theatre department and they negotiated the rental price down to the budget allowed. My son, the Artist, is also going to be working with the set design team so great experience for him, as well. Wish me luck! 🙂
    *I sold $30 worth of items in my neighbor’s antique booth. Every little bit helps.
    *Boys and I took my mother out for a thrift shopping trip and lunch for Mother’s Day. We all found very useful items and had lunch at a pay-what-you-can restaurant which is one of our favorites. They use food donated by local farms and everything I have ever eaten there is wonderful. If anyone is ever in Boone, NC, please check out FARM Cafe (Feed All Regardless of Means). It is a mission worth supporting and is accessible to all. I wish every community had something similar.
    *Looking forward to being inspired by all of you as always! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mountain Mama Dawn, for mentioning FARM Cafe. Though I’m several hours from the NC mountains, we’ll be traveling more, once we get our skoolie on the road. I love supporting local food, and will definitely check it out.

  21. You mentioned Sam’s Club. I learned that I no longer have to bring anything into Sam’s but my phone. The membership card is on the app. I scan each item in the app before it goes in my cart and then I pay on the app when I am done.. The QR code appears which the door checkers scan and check my cart. It is now the quickest shopping I do. I only buy specific things there: rotisserie chicken, fruit, eggs, and a few bulk items when needed. This stopped me from “browsing” and possibly buying something else I convince myself I might need. This is the second year in a row I have managed to get a free Sam’s club membership. Everything else I buy at Winco.

    It took me two months but I used up 2 lbs of Blue Diamond nut protein powder in breakfast smoothies. I forced myself to not make my favorite yogurt in the IP . Boy, I missed it. So now I am back to my favorite breakfast: greek yogurt, nuts, and fruit spread.

    I have a free people Prairie dress that gets a ton of compliments every time I wear it. I found the same model and zie on Poshmark in a different color. I love this dress because it is cooler than pants, cotton, needs no ironing, and the sleeves almost reach my elbows. I am very particular about my upper arm coverage as I have aged. When I find something that matches these criteria, I buy several. I would rather have fewer pieces that I love that cost a bit more.

    1. I will have to try the app again. I wanted to use it that way, but it kept freezing on me before. That was over a year ago and I haven’t tried it since.

      I also have found that most of my shopping is at Winco and Sam’s Club now. The sales at other stores have become so rare that I have decided it’s not worth shopping there.

  22. Instead of paying for a ride over to the grocery store, I walked to the small discount department store, which has a section of pantry foods at prices that are usually the same as the grocery store. I was able to get some items that will mix and match with what I already had on hand. I can make better use of my supply of pasta, and have more protein and carb choices until my next pension payments come in a couple of weeks from now. I got some snacks, like popping corn, as well. This store gives seniors 10% off every Monday, so I spent $20.20. It would have cost me $20 just for the ride to the grocery store, so I felt I did well.

    I am trying lots of variations on Mediterranean dishes. I have a lot of fresh carrots, garlic, and chickpeas, so I have a couple of Moroccan dishes in mind for the next week or two. Those are favorite foods there.

    I had my lawn cut for the first time this year. I’m glad to have the same person back who did it last year. He was glad to get some cash. It was enough, I think, to pay for fuel and baking supplies for his farmer’s market business when the weekly market reopens for the summer this Thursday. He makes the best sticky buns in town, I hear.

    My neighbor across the laneway stopped his car to talk to me when I was walking home along the laneway. He is interested in buying my house! He doesn’t want the house — he wants the property so he can build a garage. He remodeled his house and garage and filled the property up so he has very limited parking. I don’t have any intentions of moving anytime soon, or selling the property at any budget price, so we won’t be making a deal.

  23. Your blackberries look so wonderful. I tried 3 times to grow artichokes, but we do not have a long enough growing season.
    I worked the last 3 days of my almost 45-year working career as a CPA. I am now retired.
    I took breakfast and lunches for the 3 days I worked.
    On Tuesday, it was senior day at Fred Meyer, where I get 10% off on Kroger brands. This included plants. They also had 15% off on plants, that ended Tuesday. I got tomatoes, peppers cauliflower and broccoli.
    On Thursday my DH went to my son’s house, to help him work on some of his equipment for the yard.
    I stayed home and planted a raised bed of carrots, 14 cabbage plants (10 green and 4 red), a bunch of candy onions, and a bed of thyme.
    I washed the sheets, pillowcases and blankets from the guest bedroom. I also washed the crib sheet for my granddaughter’s crib at our house. Washed three blanket throws used during the winter. Hung on the line to dry.
    Cut DH’s hair. He mowed the lawn.
    I pulled the flower stalks from the rhubarb.
    Made almond joy cookies (thanks GardenPat for the recipe a couple of years ago) for my DH’s birthday. Hardboiled eggs, and made macaroni for salad. Made macaroni salad. Had a BBQ for dinner one night. Had popcorn and fruit for dinner one night. DH BBQ’d ribs and chicken – both from the freezer. Made 8 sausage and cheese biscuits for on-the-go breakfasts.
    I ordered my meds from the mail-order pharmacy.
    Hope everyone has a happy and productive week.

    1. Congratulations on your retirement after an amazing forty-five years career! I suppose you would say you did it by just getting up and going to work one day at a time. But it certainly is commendable.
      Elizabeth H.

      1. Well, there were a few times that as I got off the elevator I would say ” Time to put your game face on.” That was when I knew I was in an unhealthy work environment. Other than that one job, you are right, one foot in front of the other.

  24. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How nice that your husband could come home to visit. The roses are stunning, I bet your Mum really loved them.
    This week I mended a dress, a sock and altered the ties on an apron to make it more comfortable.
    A friend who is downsizing offered me the pick of his poetry books for free. We cook supper for him sometimes.
    I bought a new embroidered Harry Potter hand towel and a new William Morris design travel wallet and purse in a charity shop. Both will be gifts. The towel was £1.50 and the wallet retails at £20 and I paid £8.
    I picked parsley, chives and purple sprouting broccoli and divided up a big campanula, replanted some and potted up a piece too. We planted runner beans, borlotti, French beans and sweetcorn. We gave tomato plants to friends.
    My husband bought 30 lily bulbs for £1 plus postage. The companies cold storage had failed and they were selling them off cheaply because they had started to sprout. It’s late to be planting lilies here but they’re in the ground now and we’ll take the chance.
    I used overripe bananas to make a cake and made ‘use it up’ veg soup.
    British beef mince was half price in Lidl and I used a 10 per cent coupon off all my grocery shop too. I’ve batch cooked some of the mince and frozen it as Bolognese
    for busy days.
    I needed new beach sandals and found some in a sale at 33 per cent off.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Hi PennyP,

      That is a great deal on the lily bulbs. If they don’t bloom this year they will next year as long as the bulb is allowed to get nourishment
      from the stem and green leaves this year

  25. Beautiful blackberries! I ordered some because of your suggestion. I attended our city’s monthly produce swap and gave out seedlings, seeds, air plants, and citrus fruit. I came home with sunflower seedlings, kumquats, flower bouquet, avocados, and some fabric. I harvested my first cucumber and some cherry tomatoes. I shared swiss chard with a neighbor. Another neighbor shared zinnias he started from seeds and I replanted my front patio pots with them and they look lovely. I refurbished my old mailbox by using the product called rub n buff. I used a dark copper and it looks beautiful and was so easy to apply with a scrap piece of flannel. Just refreshing a few of my plants, sweeping, cleaning, and fertilizing really made a difference in a short amount of time for little money. I sent off another box of clothing to Thredup, and went through my closet to reorganize and “shop” to see what to add to my summer wardrobe. A friend gifted me a pedicure and I chose clear polish. Not going to wear colored polish any more, it wears too fast and clear is easy to reapply and matches everything. So much easier. Thank you everyone for your tips and ideas and I wish everyone well.

  26. Inspired by you, Brandy, I planted a Prime Ark and a Kiowa blackberry plant, and I’m watching those berries get bigger and closer to black each day.

    I had to change out some very old curtains at a window and decided to switch from the worn out tension rod to a regular hanging rod. I hung the new rod myself. I sewed on inexpensive ribbon to customize the plain white curtains. It was cheaper than buying printed curtains, and nicely tied the curtains into the room’s décor.

    I repaired some cleaning cloth hems again in new spots that were fraying. I do this with whatever color I happen to have on the sewing machine. I decided that the multicolored hem repairs brighten them up.

    It’s been in the low-90’s and humid, but I’ve kept the air conditioning off. No later than the end of May and possibly before, it will have to be turned on, but I’m holding off as long as I can.

    I made a mistake in the shower and grabbed the conditioner before I shampooed. I already had put it on my hair, so I just “conditioner-washed” my hair and skipped shampooing, instead of wasting it by rinsing it out and starting over.

    I made lemonade with homegrown juice from the freezer.

    I’m going on a trip and an extended family member has graciously offered a free place to stay for the several days I will be at my destination.

    I am not buying any new clothes for the trip. No one there will have seen these clothes before.

    I’m packing lunches, saving warm-up water, cooking from scratch, tending the garden and doing as many of my own repairs as I can.

  27. Oh those artichokes! I could never grow ones as beautiful and big as yours in my cool climate! I’m so impressed! Glad to hear your husband could come for a visit and at such a good price.

    We went to a lovely dinner at the local citizens house, where you can eat a lovely meal every night at a very reasonable price. Funding and redecoration have been made by a local group of volunteers. Everybody are seated at long tables and the idea is, that you get to speak to both someone you know and local people you have never met before. I have tried it once before, where I went with two friends. It was a very good experience – people were so nice and the food was lovely. This time I went with my husband and son and we invited my mother to join us. We all had a lovely time, and enjoyed a free play afterwards by a local theater-group.

    A friend of mine came by with 3 books she had found for free. She lives in an apartment building with a ‘swap room’ in the yard. People can put things here, that are in good condition, but that they no longer want. It was 3 old botanical books, some of them with beautiful illustrations. I was very grateful that she had thought of me. One of the books was a botanical guide I used when I was a kid, that I lost many years ago. I was so happy to get a new copy, and I might try to let my son use it as it is quite easy to use – flowers are sorted by color.

    I gave a friend some surplus bean plants and he gave us 6 eggs from his chickens.

    Have a nice week everyone!

  28. Those artichokes look heavenly. I hope everything is working out ok with your hack and I am happy your husband came home for a bit. I second (or third) the backpack (for us, it is a duffle) and keeping a few items at frequented (enough) locations. With the chances of new fees popping up – any little bit counts.
    I canned more chicken broth from bones saved to create a large batch of broth.
    Took inventory of canning needs and will start adding before canning season starts. My mom commented she doesn’t/isn’t able to go through a pint jar of soup, vegetables, etc quick enough so I will can those in a “single serve” jelly jars.
    A friend asked for help cleaning a large basement out and I offered my time in 2 hour increments so neither one of us is too tired to do what else we need to do in a day on top off sorting through the items. Each visit, she has been gifting me an item or two and told me if I do not want them to sell to earn some cash for my help. I was gifted some beautiful outdoor pots that I was saving to purchase.
    Waited until a art/craft re-usit to re-open to purchase a piece of mat board for 79 cents verses $5 at the local craft shop.
    Swapped smart phones for a slightly newer model with family and friends so everyone could have a “newer” version and sold the ones that were becoming obsolete to Gazelle to put that money aside for when we need to do this again.
    Picked salad greens and fresh herbs from the garden, babied the new plantings and used re-coupe water to water said plants. Used grass clippings in areas that are temporarily dug up to prevent weed growth.
    Used a cloth covid mask to do yard work, as it helped a little with allergies.
    Hope everyone has a calm an productive week.

  29. How nice for your husband to be home around Mother’s Day!

    On the frugal front:
    I used over ripe bananas to make banana muffins. While the oven was on, I baked a double batch of pumpkin muffins for the freezer and honey beer bread for a gift.

    I harvested rhubarb and made a batch of refrigerator jam for my BIL and MIL.

    I did not grocery shop last week in an effort to eat everything in the fridge and pantry that would expire while out of town.

    We traveled south to pack up DD2 and return home for summer break. We took extra time to vacation a bit and saved money by using a free one way companion flight and booking hotels with rewards points. HH was able to schedule several business meetings along the way allowing him to expense several more hotel rooms and a portion of the rental car. Since DD2’s roommates had left for the summer, we stayed in her rental house for a couple days while packing and enjoying the college town. The hotels all provided complimentary breakfast, water bottles and snacks, and we ate in while at DD2’s house to use up the perishables. We enjoyed live music, nature preserves and historic home areas for free or low cost entertainment to offset a few of the higher cost activities. We drove DD2’s car back to MN.

    DD2 was able to store her college belongings at a friend’s rental house for the summer which saved storage fees and the cost of a moving truck.

    DD2 maintained a high GPA and merit scholarship eligibility which pays her full tuition. She was also awarded a $1500 scholarship this week through HH’s industry which will help pay for housing next year.

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal feats.

  30. Your blackberries are gorgeous. I put in 10 plants 2 years ago but only 2 survived. Hoping to buy netting to keep rabbits out of the garden (even though the garden area is fenced) as they or deer have chewed off the shoots that were to set fruit this year. So glad your husband was able to fly home and visit. Priceless really. I imagine the children were thrilled! I have had some very specific blessings this past little bit. We have a gas station 3 miles away that had gas .40 less per gallon than all the stations in our city. They kept the prices low for 3 weeks. As my husband uses a full tank every two days this was a huge blessing. As Garden Pat mentioned Meijer had a massive sale on fruit last weekend! Pints of strawberries and blueberries were .99! Also packages of blackberries were .99. I bought a watermelon for 5.99. I spent around 80.00 and saved 169.00. That was exciting to me. All tucked away for future eating. Our weather has been all over the place. We continue to have freezes, so I have done nothing in the garden except to till and wait for the ground to warm up. Mended a tie that had come apart. Mended a shoe that had its velcro section wear out. Simply sewed a new velcro section over the old one. Also shoe goo’ed the sole on my husband’s shoes. I find that taking the time to mend clothing items and shoes saves me so much money in the long run. I have also stretched our budget by only buying milk and fresh fruit. I love how the internet has a recipe for nearly everything you might want to make homemade. I made homemade goldfish crackers and my children gobbled them up. I’m trying to make more homemade snacks like popcorn, crackers, and the like. I have been wanting to buy flowers to plant but just cannot justify the cost at this time. My sister in law found about 200.00 worth of flowers on the side of the road for free after a plant sale. I came home with white and yellow daffodils, 3 colors of lilies, purple irises, 3 white hydrangeas, lily of the valley, bleeding hearts, bee balm, and a large peony. There are about a dozen others I am not familiar with. I will be able to landscape around my entire house. It will be a busy week of digging and planting, but I am so happy.

  31. The roses look so beautiful, and so do the blackberries. I wish I could eat blackberries, they grow so well here, but they disagree with me.

    I skipped a week of buying groceries. I cooked beans, cornbread, pasta sauce, and a cake from pantry ingredients, and made jello to stretch a small amount of fruit.
    Defrosted frozen leftovers to eat when I needed an easy meal.

    I bought only loss leaders when I did buy groceries.
    Bought gently used shoes, getting much better quality than I could afford if I’d bought new. Bought some forever stamps before the price goes up again this summer.

    I made my mom a mother’s day card from materials I already had.

    I hope everyone has a good week.

  32. My week has been quiet. I brought home mainly vegetables and apples for my outside birds. I did get a large bag of microwavable food for my kids. Pizzas, hot pockets ,sandwiches etc. I replenished my egg supply but it looks like I have to give them up. My thyroid has me smelling like a skunk which means my T4 is off. Thankfully a few extra doses of my thyroid meds will level me out. Endocrinologist says eggs are bad for my T4. I’m eating on the trim healthy mama plan and trying to lower my A1C. It’s not high but slightly elevated. Eggs are a huge part of my menu so I need to investigate some alternatives. I’ve lost 10 lbs. I bought 2 swimsuits and a set of strapless bras at Temu. With coupon they were 12.00. They surprisingly are decent quality. I replaced my microwave and crockpot at Kohls with a 40 % off coupon. I see the discount didn’t come off. I’ll be calling tomorrow to get my 80.00 credited. As a young child ,I enjoyed the book Henry and the mouse. You Tube started playing The Wind in the Willows the other day. I had never heard it and what a lovely book it is. It reminded me of Henry’s mouse. Not sure how I missed this book. My mother in law was a librarian and my kids had millions of books. I downloaded a free copy to my IPad. The story is cute and the narration is very calming. I find it very relaxing to fall asleep to.

    1. I follow Trim Healthy Mama as well. I don’t buy most of their products but I use only their collagen and the essential amino acid powder has been a game changer for me. Helped my inflammation and gives me energy.

  33. I hate to admit how little I know but I don’t garden and I don’t cook. What does one do with fresh artichokes? How do you cook them?
    They sure are pretty.

  34. How lovely that your husband was able to visit! And your pictures are so full of light — just so lovely.

    My frugal week (two weeks, more like):
    – I baked snacks for after school. I try to keep prepared snacks to a minimum, and stock up when I can find really good deals (ex. 20 cents a granola bar). Recently I baked chocolate chip cookies, banana mini muffins, mini doughnuts using pancake batter, chocolate chip yoghurt pancake squares, peanut butter cookies, and more.
    – I cooked from my fridge/freezer/pantry, and put the money saved towards other needs.
    – I recently upped my work hours to a 0.5 ft position, and that meant that I was able to get medical and dental benefits! This will save me so much! I am so thankful.
    – For mother’s day, I took my daughters to a local lake-side park (Marie Curtis park for T.O. locals). I packed a picnic (very simple, just homemade cookies, fruit kebobs, pb sandwiches, veggie sticks, and as a treat for the kids, flavoured carbonated water), and it was so lovely. Perfect weather, blue skies, and just the right temperature. I brought dollar store sand toys that I’ve had for two plus years, and they happily played in the sand, threw food to the seagulls, looked for (and found!) fossils, The girls also found several 4 leafed clovers and even a 5 leafed one, skipped stones, napped in the sun, and played in several playgrounds. It was my best mother’s day ever, and didn’t cost a cent (except for the uber there and back, which was my treat to myself, instead of toting two young kids on public transit for several hours).
    – I had my daughter’s make bookmarks for my mother and their aunts, using a printout from the internet, plus supplies (watercolour paint, paper, stiff cardboard, and tassels) that I had on hand.
    – I cat-sat for a friend (which is where the uber money came from). My kids enjoyed the benefit of having a cat to pet and take care of.
    – as usual, I walked everywhere with my kids, except when we had to use public transit. But almost always, we walk everywhere. Parks, sports, library, dentist, parks, my workplace, almost everything is within decent walking distance. And I do my weekly grocery shop when my mother comes by on Fridays to take care of my youngest while I go into the office. Not having a car can be a pain at times, but it saves so much money. I’m thankful for my health, which currently allows for all this walking.
    – I took my girls to a free Family Math night at school. Great math games, a pizza meal, and then we were sent home with a full pizza as they had overbought, plus a bag of math manipulatives. The pizza came in handy, as I was sick the next few days, so it saved me having to cook dinner. The kids were quite happy with pizza three nights in a row!
    – I made several batches of granola (https://approachingfood.com/clean-eating-cranberry-granola/), which is more affordable than boxed cereal, and just as easy on busy mornings.
    – I made pizza when we needed a portable dinner one night. (https://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/)
    – I got a great deal on sunscreen and stocked up for the summer! I combined a BOGO offer on sunscreen, with a loyalty points offer, and a base points offer, to get sunscreen of 50 spf for just over $6 each (CDN) including taxes. Worth the hour of walking to get to the store and back!
    – my sister went on a fodmap diet and gave me the food from her pantry that she couldn’t eat.
    – I used a coupon code on a new app (Snaplii) to get $12 worth of Starbucks cards for $2.
    – I used the field agent app to get two loaves of bread free, which is a week’s worth of bread, plus allowed me to put up another week’s worth of school sandwiches (I sometimes make homemade uncrustables) in the freezer, plus have a bunch left to make french toast with and also freeze extra french toast.
    – I used price-matching, paper coupons, checkout51, eclipsa, gocoupons, websaver, and the airmiles app to get the best value for my grocery money. One of my best deals this week was 4 packages of sliced cheese, usually almost $5 each, for about $5 total.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Marie Curtis Park isn’t too far from me and certainly has lots to entertain your little ones. But a wise move to use Uber rather than the TTC as it is a bit of a trek. I often walk at Samuel Smith Park which is just east of MC – it’s a bird watchers paradise but no playgrounds or anything like that. I don’t drive so I too walk or TTC it – although the TTC (our transit service) has been driving us all a bit mad lately with constant problems. But – I am lucky in that I can walk to shops and parks if needed and that does make a difference.

  35. I’m happy for you and your family that your husband was able to come visit. What an excellent price! I have a new grand baby! We have been eating at home for over a month until today. We got Taco Bell and a small pizza. But what a wonderful day! Oh yes, we got some salsa on Mother’s Day. My mom loves salsa. We do too really!

  36. Hello,
    The roses are gorgeous, and the artichokes look so clean and big. It’s wonderful that you can keep some kind of new fresh produce coming from your garden. Efforts to improve things are mostly small here. We managed to saved enough to pay off a large-for-us bill from with our tax refund and savings, so that was a blessing. I am finding small bargains here and there at the grocery store. I buy sale items and look for the bargain produce that is $1 per bag. This week we found bags of 2-3 lb. of yellow potatoes that we like but don’t usually buy because of their price in the $1 bag bin and 3-4 pounds of apples and a $1 bag of four green peppers. The green peppers looked like they were trying to wilt slightly, and I almost didn’t pick them up, but after a night in the frig., they looked fine. It is a savings for us if one of the vegetables in a meal costs $.25. I also found a box of mixed salad greens at a marked down price which makes a serving of salad cost pennies. Strawberries were on sale at Fred Meyer for $3.99 for a two pound box. In years past when I bought strawberries by the flat from growers, I found that the boxes had about ten pounds in them. I haven’t paid $20 a flat for strawberries in years. I used to never buy grocery store strawberries from California for freezing because they were not so tasty as locally grown berries. I was told that CA was working on developing a better strawberry when I took the Master Gardener’s class, and evidently they have done it. The berries had a very nice flavor and were appropriately juicy. Unfortunately, there was a purchase limit of five packages, but that gives us a few bags tucked away in the freezer for next winter, and we enjoyed some fresh. Today I am happy because we will be able to replace our damaged bathroom flooring for $20. We stopped by a local building supply store for some screws my husband wanted for a repair job. I was going to wait in the car, but decided to go in and see if they might have a remnant piece of linoleum to fit the bathroom floor. A friendly clerk asked to help me and told me about some closeout laminate flooring that is $10 per box of 28+ square feet. He told me he is going to be installing about 1000 square feet of it in his home. I think that means he will spend $350 for that–which I think is an amazing bargain. I think the original price for the flooring was $120 per box which is about 12 times as much as the closeout price. The clerk asked if I needed paint also and told me where to look for some mis-tinted paint. He said he mixed a couple of gallons together and painted the kitchen at his home a light purplish blue. I would love to see it. I was delighted to hear that he is making such a difference in his home for such a bargain price. He is a man after my own heart. My husband used to install floorcoverings, and I love to paint walls, and I know what a tremendous difference getting those large surfaces clean and nice makes in the atmosphere of a home–that is if the person doing the work is careful about their workmanship and loosens light fixtures to paint underneath the edge and removes outlet and switch covers before painting and tapes off things and fills holes with spackle and then sands afterwards before painting. It’s so easy to make a huge difference. It’s so nice to see a family be able to have a nice home. We have fixed up rental houses we were living in, also. We would complete some small project with the landlord’s permission, and then we found that when they saw the quality of our work and how nicely we kept their house clean and maintained that they were happy to pay for materials. We didn’t mind putting in the labor, so we could have a nice home the way we like it. One landlord replaced the furnace with one that saved us a lot of money in heat bills, built a privacy fence for our backyard, paid for carpet and paint, and reroofed the house. He did that after he asked if I could stain a very small back deck by the back door. I gave it two coats and was careful not to slop the stain on the concrete foundation. He came over to see my work when he thought I wasn’t home. I saw him peeer in the back door into the kitchen while he was there and smile. I wondered what he saw, so after he left I peered in the back door window, and realized the kitchen had clean walls and counters and sink; the curtains were clean and ironed and starched; the stove was clean; the appliances were polished with paste wax like is used for cars, and the floor gleamed with wax for vinyl floors. After that he started doing major work to the house. The day we moved out he listed it for sale, but in the meantime we enjoyed a cute cosy house.

    1. I’m near strawberry country in California and don’t find most commercial growers to have strawberries of much worth. It’s why I started growing my own. Commercial growers want what ships well and are more disappointing each year for me. I’m glad you managed to find decent ones. My favorite June barring is Chandler. Small and packed with flavor. I hunted it down after tasting from a local small grocer. I’m in zone 9b and grows well.

  37. The berries and flowers look amazing.
    I had a wonderful Mother’s Day at my house. My 2 local kids came over and a grandpup. Hubby made me a ham, asparagus and cheese omelet with potatoes on the side for breakfast. My son brought everything over and cooked us all lunch(grilled chicken sandwiches on fresh rolls). My youngest daughter brought chicken pinwheels and lobster mac and cheese for dinner with a coffee cake. Then they cleaned my entire car. Hubby started doing this with them when they were little and they still do it every year. It is my favorite gift. Hubby also sharpened all of our knives. We played Ticket to Ride too. It was a great day. My oldest called me in the morning to wish me a happy Mother’s Day and then at night to see how my day was. We are going to see her this weekend.
    I have been working on the garden with help from Hubby and my YD here and there. All of the beds are ready to be planted. My peas are growing nicely. Swiss chard is growing back from last year. I have baby lettuce and tomato plants popping up everywhere. All of my plants that I started indoors from seed are doing great . I would say I have about a 90% germination rate which I am happy with. I have baby figs and strawberries growing. Lots of blueberry flowers on the plants. I can’t wait.
    Because I have been in the garden a lot, I have been using the crockpot to cook. I throw everything in it before I go out to work. I made chicken thighs, flank steak and sausage with sauerkraut. Always enough for leftovers.
    It is college move out. I went yesterday with my daughter. It amazes me every year how much gets thrown out. I have a midsize SUV and we filled it up. The amount of perfectly good sheets, comforters, decorative pillows, towels and clothes that get tossed always makes me mad. We rescued as many as we could. Most of them will be brought to the church that gives to a lady’s rescue center so I know they will be used. Some of the clothes I kept for us or for resale. I found a Cuisinart hand mixer. My son recently mentioned he would like one for his apartment. Lots of crates, plastic storage bins, vases, perfumes, colognes, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face masks, wires, portable chargers, screen protectors, and phone holders. We found a blow-dryer. I will be giving it to the friend that let us borrow her lake house. She can put it in one of the guest rooms. A pair of almost new sneakers are going to my cousin’s son. She is a recent single mom. He will also see if he likes any of the clothes. Hubby’s favorite was a nice pair of scissors and a brand new roll of gorilla tape. I should be good for another year on laundry detergent and pods…so many. Lots of garbage bags, Clorox wipes, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. I will share with all of my kids. The amount of unopened food was crazy. We are set on chips sacks for a while. Unopened boxes. A friend works at a half way house and I will be giving her a box of ramen and foods that we won’t use. I will be busy listing items the next few weeks. Hoping to go again this week.

    1. I love that you scour the campus and make sure these perfectly good items go where they’re really needed. Like you, it just makes me mad! The university near my daughter actually hires Goodwill vans to be on campus for a week during move-out.

  38. Hello everyone!  Brandy, you’re posts and pictures are always welcome! Thrilled your husband came home to visit!! 

    The past few months have been very, very busy with a couple family members in the hospital. One hospital stay was 19 days, discharged with a picc line and  then at home, another few weeks of daily iv with weekly Visiting Nurse appointments. 

    Wanted to share a few thoughts I’ve had during this time about how being frugal with time and money and being prepared made a real difference for me during the hospital stays.

    Sometimes during a family emergency, the basic rules are the best.

              Shorten the priority list.

              Eat breakfast even if when I’m not hungry now so I’m not hungry later.
              (I thanked myself every time I could open the freezer and dig out servings of soup, cooked chicken, etc. that I’d  warm in the air fryer as I took a fast shower.)

                Bring your own.  I would carry a couple of bottles of water with me, a couple tea bags, peanut butter crackers.  I’d tuck a bottle or two of water in an out of the way place in the patient’s room rather than carry it back and forth.

                 Use wheeled luggage, a folding cart, anything with wheels rather than dragging clothing, laptop, etc. By the end of the day,  I was really glad I didn’t have to jockey car keys, pocketbook and clumsy bags in a dark parking lot. A spare pair of shoes, sox or a spare shirt in your wheeled bag for yourself sure makes a difference when your feet hurt or are cold.  There were a few days, I carried an ice pack for a sore lower back. I was really glad I did. 

                          Speaking of parking lots,  using your car keys to  sound your horn or flash your car lights, sure beats searching if you’ve forgotten where you’ve parked in the dark at the end of a very long day. 
                          I have learned to use my GPS during stressful times as a back up even when I think I know the way. When you are distracted and tired, hearing the GPS was a comfort. 
                          Ask questions.  The night my family member was transferred to another hospital, the ambulance driver had a spare moment and I asked how long a drive the trip would be. Once the driver realized I was unfamiliar with the route, he not only gave me the exit number but also a couple of landmarks that helped me know I was on the right route. 

                         Ask for help. Nearly all of our family lives hours away but most are  computer savvy.  I asked for help updating elderly family members, etc.  If someone can’t help, don’t stop asking others. 

                         Take photos to help you remember later. I took pictures of meds on IV poles, Room numbers, nurses’ names, Power of Attorney documents, you name it. So handy!

    Thanks to you Brandy and everyone else who shares here on the blog!


    1. I’ll add one more tip that’s been helpful, bring a notepad/book and take notes of what drs came in, what time they got meds, any questions you want to ask drs, etc. Leave it in the room for the next person taking a shift to stay with patient. That way no matter which person is the one there when drs show up, they are up to date and record in the notebook answers for the next person.

  39. This comment is for the last month or so. A lot of frugality is just my normal life.

    Anyway- best thing that happened was that when I was collecting youngest from a friend’s I realised I was out of milk. I stopped at a supermarket I usually don’t go to ( too expensive) and when I walked in there was a rack outside with slightly wilted plants telling us they were free ( and to put in car before entering store). I took some and put them in my car , went into the shop for milk ( didn’t find anything else) and when I came out the plants were still there and nobody was stopping. So I took some more! This is an upmarket chain and I think the normal customers wouldn’t really be satisfied with wilted plants. Anyway- my haul was £140 worth of plants when I got home! Probably so much because expensive store but still a lot. This included tomatoes, hollyhocks, a marguerite plant, hanging violas, broad beans, mangetout and strawberries. Also hyacinths for indoors ( with one shorter than others-and same wonderful smell). Hollyhocks now planted between roses in front outside, strawberries, beans and tomatoes thriving and have loved smell in house. Marguerite plant ( that I think made it into that pile because 2 small bits broken off) very happy in a corner ( no broken bits showing).

    I also went to a plant/hardware store for compost ( adult son came as muscle- I find it hard to lift 100L bags). Found plants half price including clematis Montana ( to replace one that died last year). I found a very dried out ceanothus and decided to take a chance. Well-was struggling to put deductions into self- checkout and asked a store employee for help. She gave me the ceanothus for free because so dried out. New green leaves on it now so think it will make it!

    Have worked hard to claim expenses from one of my jobs on time. Including one for £1.90 ( because little adds up). It is easy to let things ride. Will be claiming expenses from other job in next few days.

    Went to supermarket late last Friday and found beef mince reduced. Not a great price ( £2.97 for 500g of 5% fat) but better than no reduction here. Took 11 packs as completely out. Did batch cooking- beef burgers ( with breadcrumbs and onions), bolognaise ( with lentils added), stir fried mince. Also found reduced turkey breast and thigh mince- made meatballs and rice ( huge favourite in our house). I found a pork joint very reduced as well and that went into the trolley too. Everything that not eaten over first few days now frozen.

    Chicken livers ( reduced) making stock for rescue angel ( this only happens a few times a year as usually I use leftover chicken carcass). I don’t pay for tins for him as a vet told me they had very poor nutritional value. He loves this dish.

    I have rediscovered needlepoint ( and deserted crochet- I have no craft loyalty). I have realised a book I have has 2 Kaffe Fassett needlepoint charts that I want to make. So all I need to do is buy canvas and wool. This is a huge saving- the kits go for £140 on eBay.

    Daughter went back to university a few weeks ago ( on train using discounts due to railcard). She leaves clothes here- so not needing to carry huge bags as comes into central London on train and then out to us on tube. While she was home for Easter holidays university flatmate went back to accommodation with her mother and discovered freezer in accommodation had died- so all food daughter had kept to eat for last few weeks of this academic year had to be thrown away- she did check with my daughter ( very grateful to that young person and mother for sorting the food out). I have told daughter to try to claim from accommodation office- not sure she will. I sent her back with a lot of food I had cooked. She is vegetarian so Brandy’s burgers ( a huge favourite) went with her. Also a big batch of vegetarian bolognaise. She will be home for summer soon. I have been stocking up on vegetarian food to see her through the summer. I love having my children at home and they do help a huge amount around the house ( I work 5 days a week usually).

    Youngest was ill and off school for 4 days ( a very long time for her). I saved money- we do not pay for school lunch because my daughter prefers the lunch I make and send in. Everything is bought reduced. Not only did we not use what I had ( I freeze food for her to take in lunch bag) but we also did not pay for a school meal she did not eat.

    I have realised that my buying of clothes has really reduced. Probably because I work from home a lot but also because I work in different venues when I do not work from home. People do not realise I reuse outfits ( while washing them regularly in between-just to be clear) because I see different people.

    Here we pay extra for garden waste removal. I forgot to order this. I could still do it- but an adult child is at home. I am using them as free labour. A wood chipper I bought a few years ago years ago is being used a lot. My grass is being cut. He is also unloading dishwasher and hanging washing.

    Cannot think of anything else. Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

    1. Our local arts council recently set up a little free library for crafts. 18 old metal school style lockers each with a different theme. I try to go once a week and a worker told me don’t even worry if I don’t have donations. They get tons of donations from local artists and local stores. He said they have far more than will fill the lockers so don’t worry a bit about not donating. Anyways the point of this long story is this last week there were 3-4 lockers filled with needlepoint canvas and patterns and thread etc. In my mind someone’s grandma passed and the family donated all her needlepoint supplies. I’ve been getting great stuff and it’s now a stop on my weekly shopping in that town. Tons of art supplies, office supplies and even small toys. Arts council updates social media frequently so hopefully the community is taking advantage of those resource. Free stuff and keeping stuff out of landfill is Win-Win to me.

      1. Oh heavens! Where do you live! For someone like me this is wonderful. Seriously though- will not be flying over to check your lockers ( wish I could). I buy a lot of craft kits and supplies on eBay and always suspect they come from someone’s stash. In a way I really like that as I am continuing a tradition through buying something. It makes me smile. Once I bought a completed ( beautiful) tapestry that was being sold for peanuts just because I couldn’t bear for it to be seen as rubbish. I told myself I was saving it. Now putting markers on stuff I make so children know.

        1. Little Free Crafts Lockers are at Powerhouse in Oxford Mississippi, US. They are so much fun. There are also different little free libraries for books, food and baby supplies scattered throughout town.

  40. I spent a lot of money on groceries but almost all of the items were on sale.
    I bought a linen blouse, some linen shorts ($15) and a pair of linen pants ($20) all on sale and I saved about $50.
    They can be returned if they do not fit.
    Some months ago, I treated myself and bought two David Austin roses to replace two thirty year old roses that died. They came two days ago. They are bare root roses so I soaked
    them overnight. I planted them temporarily into big pots. Because of my knee problem
    I will hire someone to dig the holes.
    I am ordering garden hose for 50% off so I can have a hose in the back and one in the front and so I don’t have to lug them around.

    I saved up some money for buying a limited number of annuals. I did buy perennials for a good price
    from a plant nursery that is going out of business. Tat will reduce expenses in the future.

  41. How lovely that your husband was able to come home for a visit!

    Last week I had carpal tunnel surgery on my dominant hand, so have been off work and at home for several days. The first couple of days were painful and difficult, but I am managing. My husband is having to take on my share of the household chores since I cannot lift for a month while my wrist heals. I am thankful for insurance and being able to cover the surgery copay out of pocket. I originally wanted to have both hands done at the same time, and I am so thankful the doctor talked me out of it – I wouldn’t have been able to do anything at all! Haha.

    We have cooked and eaten almost all meals at home. Meals included chicken and rice baked burritos, pulled pork bbq sandwiches, chicken fried steak fingers with mashed potatoes & green beans, hamburgers, cobb salads, homemade pizza, grilled salmon, and pork lo mein. I did my own manicure and pedicure, and did a home hair treatment vs paying for it at the salon. While I was at home I cleaned out and organized some of my cosmetics and toiletries, and donated/gave away items I will not use. Our weather is warming up into the upper 80s and low 90s. We have had a lot of rain recently. We have to run the air conditioner full time now. The longer it stays below 100 degrees, the happier I am. 🙂

    We have been enjoying several channels on YouTube. Kent Rollins is one of our favorites. He is an old-style chuckwagon cook (he cooks on cattle ranches for the cowboys) and most of his recipes are geared toward cast iron cooking. We are also enjoying Early American’s channel. They are a young couple of living historians who cook and film 1700s-1800s recipes in an old cabin setting in Missouri. She uses mostly old (or old style) cookware and cooks almost everything on the fireplace in the cabin. Very interesting! It is fun to see which recipes work out and which do not, and also how ingredients and recipes have changed over the centuries. Also, Country Life Vlog, which is a couple living on a farm in the mountains of Azerbaijan. The food they prepare is amazing, and the scenery is quite beautiful. It is fascinating to see the different cooking methods they use, and also all the ways they live off the land – harvesting wild herbs, storing food for long term, etc. We are picking up many recipes and ideas from each of these channels.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

    1. I too watch the vlog from Azerbaijan! As a coincidence I recently had my first student from Azerbaijan attend our English conversational group and it was interesting to hear about how they are trying to promote tourism now – that is why he is in Toronto to improve his English.

  42. I’m so pleased you and your children got to spend time with your husband.

    We have set up our spare bedroom as an Airbnb to bring in some side income and had several guests already. It’s been fun and we have met some lovely people.

    We are out of our cupboards this week and only bought milk and veg.

    I am going to London to see my friends baby and found a room in Greenwich which was much cheaper than more central London. I can travel in by train. I will spend my time there walking around the city and going to free museums. I wanted to take my friend a gift and had some baby gifts in my gift cupboard plus am making flapjacks and biscuits for her.

    I sold some chairs and small items on Facebook marketplace.

    I am researching new jobs as am losing mine shortly. We are attempting to live on as little as possible so we are prepared for when our income is cut.

    Sending good wishes to all this week!

    1. We just returned from vacation in London. Greenwich is one of my favorite places. The Queen’s House is now open and it is stunning (and free).

  43. What an amazing basketful of artichokes, and those blackberries! What a blessing from your garden (and a testament to your keen attention to its needs).

    Although I have been a reader for many years, lately I haven’t always been able to read these posts every week. It pains me to know your husband is still needing to be away from home for work. Does he know a timeframe when he might be able to work locally again (or have I missed that you’ve mentioned this?). I don’t mean to pry…just concerned, as I can imagine how challenging this situation must be. I’m so grateful for all that you’ve shared with your readers over the years…helpful information, encouragement, etc. And thankful for your faithful readers/commenters who kindly share with us all!

    1. He has a new career and it requires him to work far from home. We are hoping this will allow us to progress in our financial goals of paying off our mortgage sooner rather than the full-term, but also, we are grateful to have work. Rising interest rates have pretty much killed real estate across the country; we had some of the busiest agents in town working for us, and they didn’t do any deals last year, save one who had a single sale, so closing our company of 22 years was what we chose to do, and start over.

      1. What an incredibly difficult decision that must have been to close the business, but certainly understandable given the circumstances. My husband was a loan officer for many years and was laid off almost two years ago as the company drastically downsized (still unemployed), so I understand your situation all too well. I’m glad your husband has been able to find work and that you are able to continue pursuing your financial goals. Paying off the mortgage early is a fantastic goal! Kudos to both of you for doing what’s needed even when it’s so challenging. I hope that he will eventually be able to work nearby again.

        1. My hudband has met a number of former loan officers doing what he’s doing. Loan officers and real estate agents really took a huge hit with the higher interest rates.

  44. Last week, I went into NO grocery store at all The week prior I went into one store on Friday. I picked up five 2-pound bars of cheddar for $4.99 each. I also purchased 4 18 oz containers of blueberries, one pound of strawberries, and five cans of spray oil for baking. The blueberries went into the freezer.

    Last week I cleaned out my fridge freezer and my big freezer. I admitted to myself that I was not going to use several items, mostly odd vegetables that I prefer when fresh so I took that stuff out to the compost bin. This freed up nearly half a shelf in my freezer. My former daughter-in-law was supposed to bring me newly expired butter but didn’t. Not a loss. I have plenty bought during sales and the space can be used for other things we will eat.

    I trimmed the rosemary and one of my antique rosebushes. I put several stems into a pot hoping to root more. I saw a new technique in a short film earlier today that I think I will try and see which method works best.

    I mended a piece of clothing so that it was wearable once more.

    My mother is older and didn’t want anything for Mother’s Day. We got her flowers and a card and visited for a bit. I had a visit from my daughter and her partner and their children. I heard from the other three children. It was a lovely Mother’s Day. Later this week I received a beautiful silk scarf from my oldest daughter.

    I used flat iron discs to put on the back of a set of fruit plates I’ve had for years that had been hidden in a drawer. I plan to hang them on my kitchen wall.

    Reviewed my Amazon subscription orders to ensure I needed each item being shipped and also checked prices online at various other retailers. I know I can now buy for less elsewhere, but most are still very good value.

    I used gift cards to order three birthday presents. From the last week of May until mid-July, we have a LOT of birthdays in the family. I buy for the kids first and then the grown-ups later. I saved nearly $30 on the gifts for the three children, keeping me well under budget. Only six more gifts to go…

    I love to keep cut flowers in the house. At the moment, I have flowers I can cut from my yard and bring indoors, so that money I typically would spend will be saved to purchase a perennial plant or two for next year, hopefully also flowering plants.

  45. I was able to put my mother-in-law on our phone plan for only $10 more per month. She was paying over $70. We also got her a new phone for free for Mother’s day for adding a new line to our plan. We are grandfathered into a T-Mobile magenta plan that is around $110 per month for 5 phones. Now she can call family in Canada for free. Also my husband found a tool at a yard sale for $5 that he was looking at online for $75. He also repaired our air conditioner for a $40 part. He did most of the saving this week at our house.

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