Daily games of Rummikub and Ticket to Ride have marked our days lately, along with bike rides and playing in the garden in the evenings.

I found free sheet music online for a song my daughter wanted to play on the piano and printed it for her.

I picked apricots from the garden and canned apricot jam. I also froze apricots to use later in smoothies and to cook in a sauce for pork and chicken.

I harvested a few tiny plums, a few cherry tomatoes, a few radishes, some arugula, and chives from the garden.

I sowed seeds for red noodle beans, butternut squash, parsley, and Swiss chard in the garden.

I transplanted some Armenian cucumber plants, zucchini plants, and pumpkin plants that I had started outside in some plastic pots from the nursery to places in the garden where I pulled out plants that were done. I had trouble with germination earlier but I also have a problem with pill bugs eating my seedlings right as they come up. This method seemed to prevent that, so I tried it again for the butternut squash seeds that I planted this week.

I mended a skirt where the eyelet hem had become torn.

I turned a pair of pajama pants into pajama shorts for my husband.

I hemmed a pair of shorts.

I watched the season finale of World on Fire on PBS.org for free, along with Call the Midwife.

I used up the last of a bottle of lotion by adding water to it and shaking it up a couple of times. It lasted all week that way.

I purchased butter on sale for $1.64 a pound and corn on the cob for $0.01 a cob. They both had limits, so my husband and I each purchased the limit, allowing me to get 4 pounds of butter and 12 ears of corn at that price.

I haven’t bought meat since March. We normally eat a fair number of meatless meals, but we’ve been having even more to stretch what we have. For instance, I cooked 5 cups of black beans in the crockpot. That cooks up to more than double that. From that, I froze a quart bag of beans that I will use in the future for taco soup. We then had black bean burritos twice and black bean enchiladas (made lasagna style to stretch the last of our corn tortillas).

The weather has been cooler than usual, so I have been able to stick to watering the grass three days a week instead of the six that are permitted this time of year. That will have to change next week, when it’s going to be 109, but the cooler temperatures have saved us money on watering as well as electricity. We opened the windows each morning to let in the cool air and cool down the house while that was possible.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Reading these posts always reminds me to look for more ways to save — thank you for that!!
    This week I baked sandwich bread. I also made 4 dozen cookies and put them in the freezer for a camping trip we plan to take soon.
    I transplanted all my squash into the garden beds (under a plastic low-tunnel) and planted my green beans. It’s a little early for the beans, but it’s been so warm – if they fail, I have enough seed to plant again, but I’m hoping they’ll germinate – after that they should be fine.
    We enjoyed lettuce, arugula, green onions, mint, chard, cabbage, and asparagus from the garden. The cabbage is not ready to pick yet, but I cut some of the large leaves off the outside and used them to make a chopped salad that was delicious. I also harvested wild burdock and made carduni (fritters made with burdock, eggs, and breadcrumbs) – we enjoyed it enough that I will make it again. We have a lot of wild burdock on our property.
    We had our chimney cleaned. Having it done in May, we get a 20% discount. We don’t think we’ll be using the wood stove again this season.
    Kroger had butter for $1.99 a pound, my stock up price, so I purchased 5 pounds for the freezer

    1. I found out one of the lenders I do mortgages with will make donations based on points I have earned by sending them business. I was able to send $450 to my church and another non-profit that serves the community and I know will use it wisely.

      Cooked almost ever single meal for my family this past week, using what we have.

      My husband fixed my mother’s computer saving her the $600 to buy a new one, plus she bought us lunch. She is 88 and loves the computer. She is on it every single day. So proud of her for teaching herself how to use it 10 years ago.

      Making the decision to cancel Amazon Prime. We really don’t need it and we need to cut the annual fee. This will save us $131/year. Considering we can still batch order from them will free shipping if we really need some items, it feels like the right decision.

      The free Zoom basketball trainings for my son

      The school district lent my son a laptop for the rest of the school year. Glad I didn’t have to share mine with him or buy him one.

      Hubs and I made the decision to challenge ourselves to live with one vehicle for as long as possible. This will save us so much money. We were spending $600/month on gas, $100/month for car insurance, $130 year on registration not including repairs.

      Driving our electric car for errands. This costs us about a $1-$2 for electricity very $10-20 for gas for every errand.

      1. We made the decision to go to one car over 14 years ago. It’s saved us a lot of money over that time!

      2. Does a family member have Amazon Prime that you could share it with? They allow you to do it. My sister and I share the account. We just use our own credit card for purchases.

  2. In the spirit of decluttering, I found a cute country breakfast table with 4 chairs in our attic. I dusted them off and sold them in a matter of minutes for $50 to a sweet young couple! From the response, I could have sold a dozen at that price or asked more, but I was happy to reclaim some attic space and happy to see a bargain received by a nice couple! Win-win, in my opinion!

    Someone admired a UFO quilt of mine that I quilted this week and finished and asked me if I would consider selling it. It had been another one of those decluttering projects to whittle down my unfinished quilt tops, so we chatted about details and came up with a price that she and I were both happy with! https://pin.it/4zq1ENP Another 20 masks made and out in the post, bringing it up to 540 since I started. And still my fabric stash is not depleted! ? I am definitely on a Use-it-up kick right now!

    Some friends who are moving had this computer desk/table for sale- best offer. https://pin.it/1cLOLai. We didn’t need it but our daughter wanted it for her sewing room. Hubs checked and our friend bartered it to us for some Family Handyman magazines and a dozen of our “farm” fresh eggs (this was our friend’s request for trade!) We were happy to oblige and our daughter is thrilled!

    I pulled out some of our leftover wood pallet support boards(2×4’s)and measured enough to make this planter https://pin.it/7zOb3PP. I just needed to spend $20 on additional longer 2×4’s and I have enough 5 gallon buckets so I don’t need to buy any of them! So for, $20, I’ll have a container garden!

    I went to Meijers and bought a box of corn (48 ears) plus 10 additional ones for a total of 58 to freeze. The corn was 5 ears/$1, which is more than last year but still will give me a good stocking up until next year at this time! Here’s a photo link of the tool Hubs made me to secure ear of corn while I cut off kernels! https://pin.it/2KZVfAd Obviously, it was made using scrappy bits from the workshop! ?
    I used up some overripe bananas and made a big batch of Basic Cookie Mix from my old Make a Mix book and then made several dozen Banana Coconut Delight cookies! And they were delightful! https://pin.it/5RXZH5e. I also, on one of our rainy, dreary days made 2 loaves of white sandwich bread. https://pin.it/dWGfDai We are enjoying those too!

    I trimmed/hacked our barberry bush which had grown huge over the past 3 years without being trimmed. It looks so much better, gave me free exercise and saved the cost of paying someone else!

    Hubs got a $5 birthday reward from DSW (shoe store) and went online and by combining that with a $10 off reward he had, he bought a big package of socks he could use for just $3, with free shipping! He also checked Rakuten (Ebates) before he placed his order! He definitely is a good partner in frugality to have!!

    We bought worms online (Who knew you could do that? ) Hubs built a worm condo after looking at a photo. https://pin.it/NwVR6D6
    He used all scraps for ours and it will just be white since we didn’t have any colorful exterior paint at home like the one in the original photo! https://pin.it/5aYBDZ9 Today the worm condo was placed outside and worms will be transferred into it. They are hard at work eating our food trimming and turning it into rich compost!!
    Hope everyone finds ways to find peace and joy this week and reasons to feel grateful!

    1. My husband made the exact same worm condo! From that exact same pattern. Ours does happen to be green and yellow, but our daughter painted wooden “worm” handles my husband cut out with cute little eyes and things. They are having fun doing all these garden projects while staying home.

    2. Thank you so much for the wonderful masks I was blessed to be able to buy from you. Saturday was the first day I needed to use one. It was comfy and tied on securely. I felt very safe wearing it and have three more so I can wash one after each outing and still have fresh ones to wear.


      1. Thanks, Margaret (Peggy) Brohn! Your masks brought my number made up to 328. Today mask #569 got sent out in the post! And I still have fabric left! How does that happen?? Lol!
        Gardenpat in Ohio

  3. I wish I could get my husband to eat meatless meals, but we are not there yet. ? Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were chicken tenders with french fries, ham with green beans and macaroni, cheeseburgers, spaghetti with garlic bread, frozen pizza, meatloaf with green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy, brownies from scratch, mozzarella pasta with smoked sausage and tossed salad.
    *My husband tore up the old carpet at our new business and cleaned the floors. This will save us from having to pay the new floor installer to do that. There is no power at the location yet, so he took his generator over to run the shopvac.
    *Cooked a ham in the crock pot to avoid heating the kitchen. It turned out great!
    *Filled out a survey to see if our insurance will cover a sleep study.
    *Lowered our automatic savings withdrawal since my husband lost his job, but we are still saving!!!
    *Went through Rakuten to order office supplies at work. Our kitchen faucet broke. Instead of buying a new one, my husband was able to find the part for $7 on Amazon and I ordered the part along with some items for work to get free shipping. Also went through Brandy’s link to order.
    *Worked on Spanish through Duolingo.
    *Did a bible study with friends through FB messenger live.
    *Received free advise from a friend who is a lawyer regarding forming an LLC for our business.
    *Worked out using free youtube videos.
    *Walked with a friend for free exercise and fellowship.
    *Received a free lunch at work.
    *Packed lunches for ky husband and son when they worked at the lot of our new business.
    *Bought ground chuck for $2.99/lb (limit of 2 packs). Also bought corn on the cob 5/$1. I was able to get a box of 50 ears.
    *Redeemed a coupon for a free apple pie at McDonald’s for my son. Also had lunch out at Subway using a bogo coupon on footlong subs. Filled up with gas at a station that is the cheapest and gives a free coffee with a fill-up
    *Earned $.25 with Ibotta and entered all receipts into Fetch Rewards. Did all internet searches in Swagbucks and answered the daily poll.

    1. My husband is the one who introduced me to bean burritos! We change up the beans; sometimes we use pintos, and sometimes we use black beans.

      1. I make enchilada casserole stacked lasagna-style rather than roll up the enchiladas too, but for a different reason than you: rather than stretch the tortillas I use a little extra tortillas to help fill the casserole dish to stretch the filling and cheese. My family never caught on:)

      2. When we married, the only vegetables my husband would eat were green beans, pinto beans, corn, and potatoes. He would eat beans and rice, so that was one meatless option. He also liked Mexican food, so bean burritos were an easy switch. Lentil tacos don’t taste much different from ground meat tacos. I just kept serving new vegetables and he learned to love them. Having a garden with fresh vegetables helped. Now we have a lot of meatless or low-meat meals on our menu. It’s taken over 40 years to get to this point.

  4. Good Morning All! I don’t post often, but read most every week. Things I’ve done to save money during the lockdown: cut my husbands and my own hair, made more meals from scratch, stayed home more (husband was laid off due to COVID for a month and a half) so we saved on gas. My dryer died, but DH diagnosed the problem and with a $45 part fixed it! He also cleaned out the vent which goes under our house and is quite long. It’s like having a brand new dryer! He has also fixed 3 mowers, a tractor and our daughters car. Handy to have him around! I’ve gotten my garden planted and it’s doing well. I was not able to have one last year due to a staph infection in my right knee. It’s taken me almost a year to get semi-healthy again from that. Other than my husband being home more, the lockdown hasn’t affected us much. I’ve been homeschooling our daughter since first grade so that wasn’t anything new. We live in the country and have a small acreage so we are already distanced from others. When I shop, I usually go to the Aldi 10 miles from us. Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone posts and thank you, Brandy, for hosting such a wonderful site! Blessings to all!

  5. I had a pair of jeans that I picked up at goodwill several months ago for 3.99. The legs were wider than I like so I altered them, and really like the fit of them much better. We picked green onions, radishes, lettuce and some herbs from our garden, and I have planted more greens, the peas are up, tomatoes growing, etc. A friend shared her pizza crust recipe with me, and we have been making pizza at home that we are really happy with. It has been fun to try some different toppings, usually items we have as leftovers. Pizza with a white (creamy garlic) sauce, mozzarella, leftover grilled chicken, leftover roasted potatoes, onions, and fresh basil is amazing! 🙂

    I’m mostly working from home, which saves on fuel costs. I was able to get my doctor to prescribe my medication at a 2x dose, 90 day supply. It costs just a couple dollars more than the 90 day supply of the same medicine, and I just have to use a pill cutter to cut the pills in half. It also saves trips to the pharmacy (though I did the drive-up to reduce contact). I used Good RX to pay for the medicine, and saved over half the original price. (I have high deductible insurance that does not cover medication until the full deductible has been paid.)

    We are working our way through a TV series for ‘movie night’, and I learned a little more about the movie streaming services offered by my library. I have a couple of E-books to read as well. We have been playing games a little, and doing yard work as a family to get the back yard ready for summertime, when we expect to be home quite a bit of the time. I’m doing a ‘cooking class’ with my daughter – last week she made her first loaf of artisan ‘no knead’ bread, and it was very good!

    I lost another pound this week, which is good – I have excess weight and this is a long-term goal. We go for a 2 mile walk most days, I do some strength/muscle exercises, drink lots of water, and lunch has become our main meal.

    We are still going to the grocery store, but only about once every 3 weeks. My husband picks up fresh produce and the few sale items that we would want (if they have them) from a single store. We are also eating from the pantry, which we have always done, but are doing a little bit more at this time. We’re enjoying more meatless dishes, and more dishes where meat is combined with other proteins so that we use less of it per meal. I’ve made some meals with cooked wheat berries, and we like those too. My husband was using combinations of sales, rebates, Ibotta, Shop Kicks, etc. to keep our grocery costs very low, but that is not feasible at this time. Still, we are managing it just fine.

    1. Laura: Re: Pizza Toppings: Long ago, I was fortunate to go on a college study trip to Europe. In Paris, a friend and I were stunned when we went to a restaurant and ordered a pizza that came to our table with a fried egg in the center! I’m not sure at what point in the baking it was added, presumably baked on the pizza rather than being fried separately, but I don’t know. Certainly a different way of adding protein.

      1. Hi Heidi Louise
        The eggs are cracked on top and cooked as part of the pizza they’re not fried separately and added. I only know this because in France we used to go to a pizza van who cooked your order on the spot and you saw the ingredients added before it went in the wood fired pizza oven.

        1. I first saw eggs on pizza when I was an exchange student in Paris. You can dip each bite in the runny egg yolk. So good! Of course, it was France, so you would eat pizza with a knife and fork. 😉

      2. Oh yes! I’ve had pizza with an egg cracked into the center of the pie in a pizza restaurant in Geneva (Switzerland). The pizza I had that way was topped with ham, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and mozzarella, and yes, it was eaten with a knife and fork. It was so amazingly good I remember it 48 years later.

  6. We made some frugal investments this last week, upfront we spent some money but it will definitely pay off. We purchased a rain barrel and my husband installed it. We like it so much I think we may purchase another. The rain barrel is a great option for us because we tend to lose power frequently in the area we live (lots of trees that fall on powerlines when it storms, etc) and having the reserve water will help with flushing toilets, watering the garden, etc. We opted for this more inexpensive option over purchasing a generator that would cost several thousand dollars. Our biggest concern when losing power is water. We are in a very rural area.
    We also invested in materials to build a chicken tractor, which we plan to use to raise meat birds separately from our laying flock..again, an investment but will pay off quickly.
    We harvested radishes and spinach and herbs from the garden. I used the bucket method from our friend on this blog and filled it up with weeds several times this week in the garden. I thought of her and the many years i have been reading this blog while in my happy garden space.
    Ive been experimenting with sourdough recipes to use up the discard. We have had sourdough crackers, waffles, and walnut quickbread. Its been fun to learn a new skill (and save my last pound of yeast, which is not available here right now due to shortages). Made all meals from scratch, including a pot roast which lasted two days, and my favorite meatless meals, brushetta and caprese salad, several times. We are also stretching our meat.
    I also learned to make homemade body butter! It was fun, and my sons eczema cleared up two days after he started using the homemade lotion….the materials were an investment but so worth it if we no longer have to use a prescription for his skin! Hope everyone is staying safe….

    1. Bobbi, being a city gal, I have no idea what a chicken tractor is. But I have been delightedly picturing a cocky rooster sitting on a pint sized tractor and driving it around the yard to impress the hens.

      1. Too funny 🙂 its a portable chicken coop, at its simplest. But a tiny tractor would be much more entertaining!

    2. We’re using all our board games, we’re listening to our Spotify music daily and podcasts too. We are using our pool and waterfall for fun,swimming,exercising, and just relaxation.. soo thankful for our home and it’s amenities… especially ,with the heat coming. Just getting to go into the back yard during this lockdown is nice for a change of scenery.Have not been in a public building since March 5!!!

      We do go to our local parks for VERY early morning walks/hikes before people are out, twice a week and about much. It’s easy to stay a good distance away. We feel exercise and keeping as cheerful as we can is good for our immune system. (Easier some days than others..) We ride our 30 year old bicycles other mornings.My husband has extra parts to keep them in good repair.

      We’re stretching out meat.. One fat pork chop feeds the two of us! A small meatloaf lasts through 3 meals!! With plenty of vegetables and complex carbs on the side. We eat a lot of meatless meals,always have. I’ve stockpiled dry beans, lentils,rice.

      I’m going through all my old craft magazines and re reading.. not purchasing anything new at all these days! I also have a room full of art and craft supplies and am using up what I have.

      Love your blog! Thanks for sharing!!! I also love watching Call the Midwife..I am a retired labor and delivery nurse!! It’s not so “sterile” like American shows can be.. it’s the real deal!!! LOVE IT!!

    3. About sourdough starter – I just learned this week from my cousin that he keeps a couple of containers of sourdough ‘castoff’ in the freezer. He says that he’s been able to restart his sourdough starter this way if needed. Just thaw and feed and the starter is ready to use in no time. No need to restart from scratch.

  7. Our accomplishments are as follows
    *we went to visit my dad for his 70th birthday and we had ham and turkey that they had bought at honey baked ham store. We were given 1/2 of each one to take home. We had it for 3 meals and still had a lot leftover so I divided and froze the rest for future meals. We can get another 6 meals out of it.
    *stayed home everyday except for my dads birthday and a trip to the grocery store.
    *got 8lbs of butter from Costco that was $1.72 a pound. They only had 2 packs left otherwise I would have gotten more at that price. I haven’t seen butter be that low ever here. It’s been 2 years since it was $1.99 a pound at its lowest at grocery stores. I also was able to pickup some ground turkey and chicken for future meals. I divided it up when I got home and froze it.
    *worked on our June budget since my hubby is the only one working but has had his hours reduced since this whole thing started. We had used up the little bit of savings we were saving up to pay bills with.
    *I’m pregnant with our second child and due in early August. So I’m trying to stretch everything out and trying to think of freezer meals for when baby is here to make life a little easier. So I have been starting to write those down.
    *cleaned out my sons clothes that no longer fit him and put those away for the next one.
    *cleaned out his toys he no longer plays with and saved those for the next one as well.
    *we got a free ring doorbell camera using points my hubby accumulates at work.
    *we also used his points to get a new set of nonstick pans for me since mine are worn out and don’t work anymore. I wish we could use his points for cash out or gift cards but they don’t do that. When he sells items at work he gets points for that. So they just accumulate until we need something and we go on and see what they have first before we use our own money.
    I think that’s about it. Have a great week everyone!!!

  8. Today I’m catching up on your blog! I have referred several people to you lately as things get tighter for many of my friends, including those with babies (newborn or on the way) who need frugal tips like the ones you offer. I’ve been recovering from wrist surgery since 2/18 so I started lockdown with a fully stocked freezer of post-op meals, which was a blessing. We’ve been working our way through that stash and using our grocery budget to rebuild the pantry. I’ve used this time to try some no-knead bread recipes – one using yeast and one using sourdough starter – since I can’t knead bread at the moment. Both recipes are good but the result is a much coarser loaf than my family likes (I’m gluten-free and can’t eat it). I tried using my dough hook on my mixer for another recipe but it’s too hard for me to manage the process of getting the mixer out. But I’ll keep looking – if anyone had a never-fail no-knead (or minimal knead that can be done with one hand) bread recipe please share it! After an insurance dispute delayed payment on one of my surgery bills, the provider (who was very understanding during the process) offered a 10% discount once the dispute was resolved on the remaining balance if we paid in full – so we did and saved $150, which was helpful! We received an unexpected tax refund so we added it to our emergency fund, bringing us to a full 6 months of expenses, which was our last big financial goal other than paying off the mortgage (which will happen when we are able to move/downsize next year). And all of our everyday expenses are way down as we have adhered to the pandemic guidelines in our state by not going anywhere or doing anything outside the home other than essential shopping. My husband and I have both been able to continue working from home as usual, so we are blessed indeed to have not had interruptions in our income. Therefore, we’ve blessed others by donating food and funds to friends in need. My teenage sons (19 and 15) have been very helpful doing some much needed home projects, which save us a good bit of money over hiring it out – we did pay them but obviously not as much as the pros, so it was win-win for all of us. We’re passing the time by playing games and enjoying each other’s company. My older son (19) left a week ago for his international internship (Mexico and eventually Guatemala if the borders open) to build homes for families in need. We weren’t sure he would be able to go, but the organization (Casas por Cristo) is still building and in greater need of workers since the short-term mission teams have had to cancel their building trips all spring and probably into the summer, so he and the other interns went with glad hearts and a strong faith in God. I sent him with masks, sanitizer and prayers!

    1. Talk about perfect timing for your request, Colleen! I just wrote up a no-knead bread recipe on my blog: http://approachingfood.com/no-knead-shortcut-artisan-bread/. It can definitely be done with one hand, and unlike a lot of no-knead breads, it doesn’t have to sit overnight. Hope your wrist gets better soon! I’ve broken the wrist (along with other bones) on my dominant hand before, and it definitely takes some getting used to doing everything with one hand.

  9. We had a spike in Covid cases in our neighborhood last week so we stayed in more. However, we were able to get make a trip to the market and buy vegetables and fruit.
    My friend is moving and gave me some shirts to use for sewing projects.
    I sold some books on FB and made $100. I listed others that will hopefully sell soon.
    My son needed new shirts but will wear only basketball shorts. I found them cheaper online.
    I finished a sweater to use a birthday present.
    I cooked all meals at home and made loaves of bread and snacks.
    On a rainy day my son invited his friend over for pizza and play date. The boys mom brought snacks and soda.
    Another friend’s cat died and she gave me some kitty litter.
    Recently my chronic progressive condition had gotten worse. I’ve been prescribed a new medication which would cost $5670/month in the US. Luckily I’ve moved overseas and have national insurance and extra private insurance bringing the cost down from $800 to $200/month. While the news was devastating I’m looking on the brightside that my condition is being managed.

    1. I’m so sorry at your health news. I’ll be praying. I must have missed the news that you moved. Curiously wondering where, if you don’t mind sharing. One of my goals is to live overseas for a bit one-day.

      1. I relocated overseas decades ago. I couldn’t handle the US anymore. And seeing how it is now I have no desire to go back. I’m in South Korea.
        Thank you for the offer of prayers but I’d rather you didn’t. My religion does not require prayer. Instead we look within ourselves and focus on change. We also focus on accepting the things that we have no control over. Every aspect of our lives has good and bad. Asking for the uncontrollable bad things to change would mean an imbalance and losing something good.

        1. piggykr,

          Ah…I see that I did not remember well! I’ve always wanted to visit South Korea and experience their culture. Hopefully next decade I’ll travel about. I used to teach world religions, so I understand your beliefs some. Thanks for clueing me in!


  10. We have been enjoying beautiful warm weather here in England and the seeds I planted a couple of weeks into lockdown have all grown so I was able to harvest lettuce, spinach, mizuna and white radish, which I’ve never grown before. Gosh it has a bit of a kick to it! I also found a small mint plant which had self seeded in the middle of some forget me nots so I rescued it and replanted it in a better spot and it’s looking good. I split some chives and made three new plants which filled a spot next to Rosemary I’d planted a couple of weeks ago.
    I made eggless chocolate banana bread using up two very soft bananas and continued to use up all food where possible and have no waste.
    We are starting week 10 of lockdown and expect a little more easing soon, hopefully we’ll be able to visit our parents properly as apart from weekly social distance food deliveries made to them we haven’t visited with them properly since mid March.
    I work in a few paying school and are not required to follow UK government guidelines to reopen on 1st June thankfully. I think this is far too soon to open and it will encourage a 2nd wave, fingers crossed the governors of the school see sense and close until September!
    I’m really enjoying working from home to be honest and find I get so much more done! I could quite happily work from home 3 days a week and get my ‘socialising with colleagues fix’ on the other 2!!

  11. *Replaced the office chair with a new shock, cost $10 and works like new. Had previously recovered the seat and arms with fabric I had here.
    *Replaced one window washer nozzle on my car. It broke at the hose under the hood, don’t know how. It was suggested that the rough roads could have done it. Bought a pair for $11, saved the other one for later.
    *Cook 4 country style ribs in the crockpot. Had pulled pork sandwiches, twice. Then took the rest put them back in the crockpot with salsa. Made a pan of enchiladas. Several meals from those ribs.
    *Used the fandango(monopoly prize) coupon to watch a movie. It was a treat since we never buy or rent movies. Usually get them from the library, which is still closed.
    *Picked up some candy and mixed nuts to fill out a birthday gift. I’ve only been going to the grocery store so shopping feels limited. Though it’s not really as I ordered a t-shirt as the main gift.
    *Have really paid attention to leftovers and made sure we are using every bit.

  12. We are trying to stretch our food budget like everyone else so we decided to postpone our shopping trip by one week and have a eat from the pantry/leftovers week. I made 2 loaves of sandwich bread, 4 pie crusts, and biscuits. The pie crusts I froze to use for chicken pot pie, shepards pie, and quiche this upcoming week. Meals were biscuits and gravy, sausage and peppers with spaghetti, veggie enchiladas, fried rice, and turkey burgers (stretched by adding kidney beans and leftover brown rice). My husband bought zip ties online to fix the trampoline net instead of buying a new one and then the garbage disposal died. Instead of calling the plumber, my hubby looked it up online. It’s not fixable, but we ordered a new (good deal online) and he’ll replace it when it comes in. Thanks for your inspiring posts! They bring me back to frugality when I start keeping up with the Joneses.

  13. Lots of resting up this week with the rainy weather. We even had snow. I love your hummingbird photo. Hummingbirds are just amazing and beautiful!

    I harvested some green onions from the ones on my windowsill (in water). I’ve gone ahead and planted seeds for more to grow in pots for the summer. I’m going to not buy regular onions even after I finish the chopped ones from the freezer and just use green onions and dehydrated ones from the pantty. I did replant the ends of the last bag of onions I bought to see what they do. So maybe we’ll have onions afterall?

    I’m also on a mission to not buy any lettuce anymore. We’re big salad eaters, so I finally bought an aerogarden on sale with free shipping even though I probably won’t need it till the fall. I decided a “bird in the hand” is worth buying it early. I just don’t know what is going to happen this fall.

    Looking at my house and pantry, I wondered how we’d fare if I couldn’t go to the store for a couple months and restocked accordingly. We have used a lot of our pantry foods which is good for keeping things fresh, but I really wanted to get them resupplied before the prices jump or the supplies are limited. I finally had to buy toilet paper. I’ve bought one package since February and it was expensive. It was soft and didn’t last very long, so I opted to buy some online at a higher cost. It will be a lower cost in the long run.

    We rent our house and I’ve been thinking that someday we will have to move again. In that light, I’ve been looking at our stuff to see what we want or what our children will want. I’m not getting far; however I do have a pile started for when the thrift shops reopen. This is my second go-round, so it is more difficult. Moving into a smaller house has been a challenge and we seem to still be bursting at the seams. The biggest difficulty is having essentially a kitchenette. I store kitchen items all over the place and really need to rethink this. Works for now, though.

    *no food waste
    *my husband and son brought home leftovers from work. We ate the pizza and wings, and I used the wing sauce to make a chicken and rice dish.
    *my potholders needed replacing, so I made new ones myself.
    *I spent some time going through the biographies on the Libby app and saving those which I would like to listen to. This will keep me from purchasing anything.
    *put away the winter items and brought out those summer clothes that fit or will fit soon. Since I’m home, I do not have to be concerned about clothing all that much. I just need to get back into my own after such a long time in treatment.
    *continued my free exercises with walking, yoga.mbs, and my home equipment.
    *refraining just yet from coloring and cutting my hair that is growing back nice and thick. Right now I have a beautiful coiffure for a nursing home resident (haha). I just wear a hat if I go anywhere. So thankful and relieved it is growing in so nicely.
    *completed all the paperwork to reorganize my retirement monies to bring in more money. Just need to wait on everything to go through. I’m way too young to retire, but had to choose to from a different state at a reduced rate because of the cancer. I cannot work there anymore and I don’t benefit from waiting, so went ahead and started it. This moving around monies will add 200.00 a month when all finished. Grateful for every little penny. My husband will work for another 15-20 years, so I’ll have to figure something else to do eventually (when I’m fully recovered). I don’t like times of transition anyway and definitely dislike being thrown into one when I’m not ready to stop working, but am forced to reassess what I do. Strange times all the way round.

    Blessings to all as we all navigate these times. Happily reading everyone’s comments on how they are doing and gleaning new ideas. Thankful for this community!

    1. You are doing wonderful and just want to encourage you that yes these are strange times that we are going through. So grateful for every experience and being alive. As someone said here wisely:”plan to be happy”…it does take work everyday…I will be praying for you-Sheeba from Texas

      1. Thank you Sheeba M,

        It’s a long and lonely road (11 months of isolation -minus a two week break at Christmas- and counting). I actually schedule comical movies, funny mems my friends send, and uplifting music into my day. My family loves finding and passing on cheerful things as well. I am discovering that human beings are so resilient! I enjoy reading how everyone is doing and their unique ways of handling the current isolation.

        Your prayers and encouragement are appreciated,


    2. I’m so glad to hear about your hair growing in so nicely. I know it must be a relief to you!

      1. Elizabeth,

        It is such a relief! I know it is a small thing really, but it makes me so very happy to have my hair. I chuckle when I see it all over the place now. When it is long again, I may even keep the lack of color as a reminder of the gift of life and such blessings I have received. But, that is a year off, so best to cross that bridge when it comes.


  14. We had a rainy week here so I wasn’t able to work in the garden until the end of the week. Hail pounded some of my veggies, but they will survive. Once it dried out, I worked out there for several hours and got more planted and things weeded. I harvested rhubarb, artichokes, lettuce, boc choi, green onions, and herbs.

    We are also trying to eat more meatless meals. We aren’t against them, we just need less carbs than most of them offer. Broccoli soup is one we do that is low-carb. We also enjoy a tomato-vegetable soup with every possible vegetable in it. We only put in a very few potatoes, or none at all. We do eat beans quite often, just smaller portions, or mixed with meat to stretch it. We also eat lots of veggies. Thankfully, my husband stumbled upon chicken for 29c/lb, in 10 lb bags. He had gone into the store for prescriptions, and was picking up a few items since he was there. It was a real blessing. He bought 6 bags. That will last quite some time for us.

    I’ve put pictures of the garden on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    1. Wow, Becky! What a beautiful garden! That is a lot of work! No wonder you can can so much! I loved seeing it!

      1. Thank you, Margie,
        It is a lot of work, but it’s work I enjoy. Today, for instance, I went out there 3 or 4 times and just pulled a few weeds here, hoed a bit there, fertilized it all with some organic fertilizer we were given several years ago, picked a bowl of spinach leaves, washed them, picked a few strawberries, and then made strawberry-spinach salad for our dinner. This is truly a hidden blessing of this pandemic–I have more time than ever before to putz around out there, and it makes me feel so blessed that I have this to turn to during this time. When I added it all up, I’m guessing I was out there for at least 4 hours today, and there’s still enough work to keep me busy for days on end. I love having useful hobbies. I keep busy, enjoy my time outdoors, and have something to show for it at the end of the day..

    2. Becky,

      You have an amazing garden! I was raised on such a garden and fully appreciate all your diligence and hard work.

      Way to go,


    3. Your garden looks awesome, Becky!. We are just getting most of our stuff planted I agree about it being harder to find meatless meals that are also low in carbohydrates. I’m diabetic and hubby is trying to lost weight. So all of our go-to fillers (pasta, rice, breads) are eaten in pretty limited quantities. I’ll be glad when the fresh veggies are ready to pick from the garden and we can fill our plates with those!

      1. We found some whole wheat flour tortillas (2 different brands; one at Winco and one at Sam’s Club) that have 5 net grams of carbs each that are only 50 calories each. They are soft-taco sized. We have used these for bean burritos and bean/turkey tacos. Then we use lots of lettuce and tomatoes in them; you can also cook bell peppers and onions with a little spray oil (so very few calories) to add to them, almost like fajitas. We had to compare; not all of the whole wheat ones at Winco were like this; the others had higher carb counts and also were about 120 calories each. These were perfect. Plus, they’re not burrito sized, so you end up putting less in them, which is a win for calories as well. My children like rice cooked with tomato bullion in their burritos, but I have been leaving them out of mine for fewer calories–plus I first learned to eat them without rice, and I like them that way.

        Eggs are another great option; omelets are perfect for any meal, or a frittata, which has eggs, cheese (I only use a small amount of cheese), and vegetables with no crust (so no calories or carbs from the crust–just the ones from the vegetables, and if it’s heavy on greens, it’s not too many).

      2. Lo-carb, lo-cost meals are a challenge for us, too, Michelle. I am also diabetic, and my husband is also losing weight. He’s lost so much, I’m having trouble keeping track, but it’s way over 150 lbs now. He recently went through a time where he gained a few pounds back, right at the beginning of the shut-downs. He could no longer get to the pool for the limited exercise he was able to physically do. So, he’s gone to eating SO many veggies now, lost the weight back, and a few extra for good measure. We can see now that even though it seemed like he could hardly exercise, it was doing him a world of good as he basically dragged his body through the water using his arms, as his hip is so bad he cannot use that leg for swimming at all, or even bump it against the side of the pool without severe pain. Right now, he couldn’t swim anyway as he has a couple of owies that need to heal up before his upcoming surgery and he cannot get the bandages wet. So, it’s been the 29c/lb chicken he found and veggies, veggies, veggies with just a few carbs.

  15. I washed plastic bags and foil and reused them. I closed curtains on the sun side, Opened windows in the morning, AC late afternoon.IF it gets below 80 by bed we shut it off and reopen windows. Laundry is dried on clothing racks, walkers (HA HA) and clothes lines when it’s not raining.

    I started stocking up for winter. I was shocked at the limits (can you tell I haven’t been IN the stores) and the prices. Ended up getting some and then ordering from 3 other places to get the best price and free shipping. Few things we will be going without but that is just life. Used Ratuten, Honey and Swagbucks.

    We are still working on getting the gardens out. The rain put us back about 3 wks but I would rather be late getting everything in that watch the water levels go down.

    I broke my wrist… my own fault for not watching where I was going, not thinking about the sleeping dog that ALWAYS lays in that spot and fell ON him. He is okay. I have another 4-5 wks to go AND then most likely will still have to wear support when I am working.

    I changed our winter bedding and curtains out .

    Blessed Be everyone one

    1. So sorry about your wrist – I checked your blog and you are still very busy – please take care and don’t overdo things.

  16. We had friends over 2 different nights to enjoy the fire pit. We kept ourselves far apart. The first night my friend brought some homemade fudge. It was delicious. We also enjoyed some brownies that I made and a bottle of wine I was gifted at Christmas. The second time(different friends) they brought chips, salsa and a bottle of wine. We grilled hot dogs, I made a chick pea salad and a green salad. It was fun both times. My kale is going nuts so I gave both of them a bag to take home. Each couple has had 1 person furloughed so things have been tight.

    The man I help tells me what to get food shopping for him before I go over. He told me to get him rye bread. When I went with his groceries he already had almost a full loaf. He told me to throw it out or give it to the dog since it was stale. I made croutons out of it. He also told me to take the OJ as it was upsetting his stomach. I cook for him when I am there so I ate 2 lunches with him. We went for a drive, just to get him out. We passed a Carvel and he wanted some. He pays for treats like this so I had a free ice cream cone too. While I was shopping for “P” I found some marked down chickens. They came to 88¢ a pound. I bought 3.

    My son texted me from work, what was for dinner one night. I told him leftovers. He said he wanted pizza and he would treat. I was happy to eat pizza. Had the leftovers the next night.

    Hubby is making a herb garden for me by the front porch. He did all of the brick work himself. It looks great. Now we just need to plant the herbs I started in doors. Hubby listed a bike that he never rides anymore. It was sold in less then an hour. Money in our pocket and less stuff in the shed.

    I have been working on the vegetable gardens all week. I have planted beets, carrots, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, celery and lettuce this week. The kale is going crazy so I have frozen 2 bags already and eaten it 3 times this week. I still need to plant more cucumbers, lettuce, pole beans and bush beans in another garden. Lots of flowers got planted in pots. I started more lettuce seeds in pods to plant in a few weeks. I crushed all of our egg shells and sprinkle them near the tomatoes. I put all coffee grounds in the garden too. I cut clear containers like juice and soda bottles and put them on my small plants.

    I earned a $5 Visa gift card from Verizon. Geico gave us a discount on our car insurance because we are barely driving. We have had the windows open everyday. No heat or AC on.

    I stopped at Aldi for a few items on my way home from P’s house. They had 80 oz. jars of pickles on clearance for $3. I bought 2. They have eggs and milk the cheapest near me so I always try to get them there.

    Youngest daughter had jeans that were ripped in the knee. We turned them into shorts. She then fabric painted sunflowers onto the pockets. They came out really cute.

    Both of our neighbors had gardeners come and take care of their yard work this week. I am thankful that we are able to do our own. I hung all of the laundry outside this week. My daughter did a lot of house work since I spent lots of time in the garden. Hubby is still working from home so we barely use any gas.

  17. Not a bunch of savings last week, but a few…

    Earned $7.02 from Ibotta

    My mom sent over 6 sticks of butter, 2 lb bag of shredded cheese, snack cakes, 4 corn bread mix, carmel corn, a bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and a box of corn dogs.

    Rented a movie free from Redbox using points

    Mended a pair of my husbands shorts

    Husband and the 13yo went fishing and caught 3 fish. They are fileted and in the freezer to eat.

    Made sure leftovers we weren’t going to eat got put in the freezer.

  18. I love Rummikub. So fun!

    My favorite recent frugal accomplishment was a batch of pancakes I made from random ingredients. I combined the rest of a bag of a high protein pancake mix (which wasn’t my favorite), the remaining amount of a package of gluten free flour I didn’t like (too gummy), plus most of an egg I managed to salvage after it got stuck in the carton. Added some water, salt, baking powder and rather old sour cream. Wasn’t expecting too much, but the pancakes were absolutely delicious! Just finished the last few this morning. Yum!

    This covers the last couple of weeks:
    – We are still under stay at home orders (Seattle area), so I stayed at home a lot. Worked out at home, and walked in a local park when the weather was nice. Walked around our condo building repeatedly. Eight times around the building is just under two miles (my guess), so that’s a decent workout, since we are on a hill.
    – Decided to cancel my gym membership, as I don’t see myself going back when they reopen. I loved going to the gym pre-Covid, but for now I will continue my at home workouts.
    – A couple weeks ago, I was so tired of staying at home and said to my husband, “I just want to go somewhere and do something!”. Well, on a gorgeous sunny weekday, I drove to the next down over that has a beach on Lake Washington. The park was open, people were social distancing, and the benches were far apart, so you could sit for a bit and enjoy the view. I was there for an hour and a half, and I truly felt like I had a mini vacation. It was exactly what I needed. Due to the shutdown, we were not able to take the daytrips we normally take at this time of year, and I have really missed them.
    – My nephew (who does not live locally) requested that I make pants for his stuffed bear. My sister sent me the bear’s measurements, and I made two pairs of pants using a free pattern, and mailed them to my nephew. The pants fit the bear, and my nephew was very happy. I love doing stuff like this.
    – Got a few grocery store deals. Bought three 12 oz packages of grassfed beef, marked down to 2.99 from 8.99 (would not have paid the original price). Found organic strawberries for 1.88 a pound. Purchased Tillamook cheese 2 pounds for 4.99 (once a year best deal).
    – Made a big batch of tomato soup. Made two more batches of broth from bones in the freezer. Made sesame noodles for my work lunch from a bunch of leftover random ingredients.
    – Enjoyed roses from the patio rosebush. Made mint tea using mint from my herb garden. Picked green onions from my planter several times.
    – Mixed up face scrub and coconut oil lotion.
    – Made several masks for a friend.
    – Attended a free online watercolor class. This got me inspired and I found someone on YouTube (Jenna Rainey) that paints beautiful florals in bright colors, so I followed a couple of her tutorials. I already have most of the supplies. One of our local art supply stores is open for pickup only, so I called them and was able to buy a few things I needed. I love watercolor painting, but I haven’t done it much in the last few years.

    Have a great week, everyone!

    1. Check out Anna Mason on YouTube! She is my favorite!

      I have not done much watercolor for years, but I love it, and I really love her tutorials!

  19. I love your pictures! They are so calming and peaceful to look at each time I come to your site.
    *It was a good week last week for being frugal. We had so much rain that we turned off our sprinklers. Temps will be in the 90s later this week so we will turn the sprinklers on again. I did turn on the heat once for my kids and husband. They were freezing – but I just turned it on until the house warmed up and then left it off again. I’ve been opening the windows to air out the house everyday. Last year my husband was able to install fans in every room upstairs – even the bedrooms. He does the work himself and we are blessed because of it.
    *I check the babies in my garden everyday. All the potato and onion plants have sprouted above the surface. Nothing has died yet – so I’m grateful for that! Everything is growing and getting bigger. We’re putting fertilizer that we already have on the plants this week and our trees again.
    *Mended bed pillows and a rip in my husband shorts.
    *Picked peonies from my flowerbed to put in my bedroom. I can smell them – especially when the fan is on! Also deadheaded flowers in the beds to encourage growth.
    *Went out to eat and used gift card purchased at a discount on Black Friday.
    *Washed my bedding and let it air dry on our back deck.
    *My husband washed his truck by hand, painted our master closet, added another drip line in the garden bed and installed a security camera in our garage. He also helped my son change his oil in my son’s car. He repaired a broken line in my daughter’s car. He also fixed his mother’s dryer and kitchen faucet for her. He’s amazing.
    *For exercise, I’ve been using the Walk at Home on YouTube, biking and taking walks.
    *Went to the library for books with my daughters. It was wonderful to have it open again and check the aisles for new books to read.
    *Made all other meals at home – baked bean tacos with cheese, chuck roast (from the clearance rack), tomato & macaroni soup, breaded chicken (free from school lunches) salad and fruit, quesadillas, bbq chicken. All sides with meals were from things we already had at home.
    *Entertainment included movies we have at home or have borrowed, sitting outside reading books under our big tree, jumping on the trampoline, walks as a family, talking with neighbors or family that stop by to say hello.
    *Question???? I’m growing potatoes – haven’t done it before. I’ve read that in a few weeks I should hill them with dirt or straw? Opinions or advice would be appreciated. Thank you

    1. Amy, as your potatoes send up shoots you want to cover them (also known as “hilling”) so that you only have small shoots showing. In other words, potatoes grow underground, but vertically, so as they shoot up you’ll cover them, then they’ll shoot up again, and you’ll keep doing that. The fun comes in the fall when you get to dig in to that hill and find them. Also, at least in my experience, they’re not super fussy…years I’ve run low on dirt I’ve missed in straw, etc.

  20. We’ve just entered week 9 of lockdown in South Africa. Unemployment has soared, mothers with babies beg at every intersection, and levels of hunger are unprecedented. I’m thankful to have not only enough, but more than enough that we can share. To be honest, my family has faced an extended season of difficulties in various areas, and I’m tired. I have not been as committed to saving money as I ought to be, and I’m hoping to do better this week.

    – We also had a sale on better. Almost half price! My husband told me to buy 2 cases (30 x 500g (1 pound) blocks per case) and we paid for it from our emergency fund. It is stored in our freezer and should last us at least 6 months.
    – Stores had several other good sales. I took a thorough inventory of our pantry to make sure we used our available funds wisely.
    – My boy and I worked every day on planting out vegetables. We have over 80 Swiss chard plants in, and lots of lettuce, salad onions, brassicas, radish, celery, a few green beans, and leeks. We will start harvesting soon. We also have plenty of seeds planted in trays so that as we harvest we can replant into the spaces. Our grow tunnel is fully planted now. I am hoping to reinforce another area to prevent the dogs getting in and plant more later this week, as well as planting the verge outside our yard (if you’re careful you can grow food all year in Johannesburg). This is important for us to not only have free fresh food for ourselves but to be able to to give to the people who almost daily ask for food at out front gate.
    – I harvested lemons, grapefruit, passion fruit, herbs, salad onions, and cilantro from our garden.
    – I served soup for lunch and oats for breakfast almost daily. These are both healthy and cheap. I’ve stretched stews and curries by adding lots of potatoes and carrots and serving them over heaps of rice.
    – Today is the first time I’ve used heating. A cold front has come in and it is expected to drop below zero (Celsius) tonight.
    – I cut up another worn out pair of pajama pants and serged the edges to make more hankies for blowing our noses.

    This coming week I want to make a knitted teddy pair using yarn and stuffing I have on hand as a gift for an expectant mother in our Church, and sew hair scrunchies for my daughters and I. Hair ties (we call them hair bands here) are expensive and scrunchies just use scraps of fabric and cost only the elastic, which is quite cheap. I need to mend a hole in an otherwise perfectly good shirt.
    I also want to critically analyze the costs of our meals to see what I can make more of and what I should make less of. I want to do better with our finances. Although we have not yet been affected as badly as we expected by the current global circumstances, we just never know when our situation could change.

    1. Tracy, I think it is so wonderful that you are planting in the verge!

      Does it get much below freezing there? I can’t help but think that Swiss chard would be such a good thing to plant there to share with others, and it can take some cold. Even if it is harvested and then covered with a glass jar (like from something you might buy at the grocery store) it will overwinter and then grow back much more quickly in spring when spring returns to you. I know other readers have done this in areas where it gets snow and gets quite a bit below freezing. I know it can handle temperatures a little bit below freezing without being covered.

      The onions are such a blessing to others, too. I love that they just come back if you cut the green tops.

      I am trying to grow more of these too for us. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have people begging daily for food. How kind you are to keep planting.

      1. In Johannesburg, it does drop below freezing but not very often, and if your plants are in a spot that gets the good midday sun while sheltered at night (beside a wall, by other well placed trees or shrubs), they survive. I grow Swiss chard, all the brassicas, green onions, many herbs, turnips, leeks, celery, and spinach all year around. I can also keep carrots and beets growing through winter so long as I’ve planted them early enough that they are about a month out of the ground before the first frost. We are lucky to have warm, sunny days through 98% of the winter, averaging 18 – 20 degrees Celsius I’d guess, and no snow, but we have no rain from April to November, and at our high altitude, it gets very, very dry. But, if you choose your planting space and water/mulch wisely, we are incredibly blessed to have a year round growing climate.
        Swiss chard is a staple of our low-income population. It is usually stewed with tomatoes and onions and served over ‘pap’ (pronounced ‘pup’), which is dried, ground maize cooked with a little salt and water to a thick, clumpy, grainy mush – the staple diet of much of Africa. Swiss chard (broadly called spinach here) usually sells cheaply but it is always gladly accepted for free, and is the vegetable of choice for those lucky enough to have some growing space in our low-income areas (called Shack or informal settlements, or squatter camps). So Brandy, you are 100% right: it is actually the perfect choice to plant on the verge!
        Thank you everyone for your encouragement! Love from South Africa! (Forgive the essay of information – I adore my country!)

        1. Tracy,

          Swiss chard is expensive here in the stores but an easy one to grow.

          I was thinking, too, that rocket/arugula would be another good choice for you for the verges. It also self-seeds readily.

          I like the way that Swiss chard is cooked there! That sounds very good!

          I read today about how cigarettes have become illegal there under lockdown. That’s a hard withdrawal for many.

          I have been thinking about your 80 Swiss chard plants ever since I read your comment. My sister-in-law once told me that 5 chard plants is plenty for a family, but I thought it was not nearly enough. I harvest it much more often than she does. I am not sure how many plants is the right amount for our family, but I could certainly use a large number. Inspired by your 80, I went out in the garden and found more places to plant chard yesterday. I sowed seeds for several more plants.

    2. It sounds very frightening Tracy – but it is very kind of you to think of others as you garden. Please take care.

    3. Hey Tracy
      Your comment caught my eyes… I did not know we had an Afrikaner in this readership. I grew up in Malawi and my parents still live there. Home for me is both Africa and India with all their traditions and cultures. I know what you mean about people starving. Someone from our bible study fellowship here sent us a video of people queuing in a line for miles on end for rice in Mumbai, India. The parishes aren’t able to keep up with the demand as people come to the cities looking for food from the villages. Its heart wrenching to see it…the food is rationed. We cannot help all and it still prods your heart.-Sheeba

  21. Purchased and sent more dried beans to my daughter. Her baby loves beans. She now has a year’s supply for her family. I only have a six months supply at my house….. lol. I made dried red beans and rice. I also bought a package of hotdogs for a dollar, chopped them into cocktail wiener size, and then made that cocktail weenie sauce you see on line using jelly and bbq sauce. I used my homemade refrigerator mulberry jam for the sauce. I enjoyed my homemade “cocktail” wieners. I then got a craving for bbq beans and combined the bbq wieners and sauce with the red beans and rice. I know red beans are not usually used for pork and beans but I thought it worked well. Actually, I liked the rice also. Other places might turn up their nose at this but I think y’all would understand. I have always used whatever meat or bones I have on hand to flavor greens, red beans and rice etc. It does not always have to be pork. I have flavored my greens with chicken or turkey bones plenty of times. I actually have very little meat in my little refrigerator freezer because it is stuffed with mulberries. We had a huge season this year. I am attempting to use beans at least seven times a week. It is just so easy to cook a few for the week in the crockpot.While I have. good six months supply of beans, I only have a solid three month supply of rice, pasta, flour, oats, cornmeal, grits, etc., in addition to about a four month solid supply of canned vegetables, frozen fruits, etc. I need to work on my condiments, salt, sugar, honey, blackstrap molasses, tuna, canned chicken, and chocolate supply. My butter, and my canned milk supply could use some work also. I am also low on otc meds that I sometimes use, as well as rubbing alcohol, which is extremely hard to find here. I have a solid three month supply of vegetable and olive oil.

    1. We needed to replenish our chocolate supply as well. We usually don’t eat many chocolate things and I had thought I had quite a bit of chocolate put by until we were home all the time baking up a storm (and sharing with neighbors!). I remember reading years ago that Brandy noted storing extra chocolate (and oil) because you’ll need more than you think. How spot on that advice was! Still have cocoa and carob powder, but all the chips, bars and candy are gone.

    2. Cindy,
      My husband complains about black beans and kidney beans. He’ll eat pinto beans without complaining, so any kind of bean dish I make is made with pinto beans!

  22. Ways we saved this week:
    We continue to watch our daily use of electricity via my power company website. We have been able to keep our bills down to $79-$95 each month since September. Previously every month we have been living in this house (almost 4 years) had been a minimum of $130. This month looks like it may be over $100. We have had to use the AC as we already have had some temps close to 90.
    This past week we sold several items on Mercari and were able to have $58.50 deposited from those sales.
    Our car insurance company refunded us $20.77 due to less driving during pandemic. This is second month that they have done this refund.
    I worked extra hours the past two weeks at work, so will have a bigger paycheck this week.
    I am doing a “use it up” challenge and am posting about it on Instagram –@mslisabrooks. I am currently working on using up various lotions, makeup, candles and cleaning supplies. I needed to go to the store for laundry detergent today and almost was going to buy upholstery cleaner. Instead, before leaving the house, I dug through my cabinet under my kitchen sink and found three different containers with small amounts of upholstery/carpet cleaner. I will not buy any and instead use these up.
    We are only running the laundry and dishwasher if full. We are only doing 2 loads of laundry a week, unless we are doing extra cleaning like sheets.
    Our container garden is coming along. I was able to pick my first yellow pear tomato this week. My leaf lettuce has given us three harvests, and it look like I may get another harvest. I can’t believe it is still doing so well, even with our temps warming. I harvested several green onions for a recipe instead of having to go to the store.
    I continue to use the Fetch Rewards account and scan my receipts. I had two friends sign up using my referral code. I now have enough points for a $10 gift card of my choice, but I am going to continue to scan receipts and get a higher ($25) gift card to Amazon or another favorite store later in the year. So each to scan your receipts. My referral code is: 2J7XM.
    We watched a free movie on Amazon: Unplanned. It was very good, but hard to watch at times.
    We are under budget for groceries this month. I ordered $55 worth of groceries from Walmart yesterday and was able to use their free pick up and avoid going in the store. This saves me time, is safer and saves money (no impulse buying!).
    My husband borrowed a pole saw from a neighbor to trims some trees. It is so nice to share things in our neighborhood instead of buying tools you would only use every once in a while.
    We ate all meals at home except one and we did drive through for that lunch. Totally regretted it, but we were busy and not going home for hours. We have not been in a restaurant since 3/6/2020.
    I am sure there are more ways we have saved. We are definitely in the mindset of “use it up, wear it out or do without” right now!

  23. Wow, what an amazing price on corn! And butter too. I enjoyed an episode of Call The Midwife as well. Our big Memorial weekend project was painting our great room and bedroom. My husband did the painting, while I did most of the behind the scenes stuff…. moving, cleaning, mudding, etc. We got more than 3/4 of it done. There’s a section of ceiling, and some trim work left, which he plans to work on in the evenings. Peas, lambs quarter and asparagus were harvested, and eggs gathered. I brought all the house plants outdoors for the warm months. I cooked all meals at home, and canned a batch of vegetable broth from scraps I’d frozen. Seeds for kale and turnips were gathered. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/05/our-to-do-lists-frugal-accomplishments.html

  24. I got a haircut last week! I gave the stylist a big tip–she didn’t work for about 9 weeks. My husband and I have decided to use our $1,200 government payments to help stimulate our local economy. I had our truck detailed (and tipped the detailer). I also ordered a Weather Tech back seat cover (made in USA) for the SUV from a local dealer, rather than online.

    Last fall, we sold our boat for top dollar to a friend who is a handyman. The reason we got top dollar is that we are allowing him to pay for it with his labor, which I consider a win for both of us. He was here for half a day last week and fixed a burner on our gas range, got my husband’s table saw running (the engine was smoking), re-did some of my drip irrigation and rearranged the shelves in my pantry so that I have more space.

    I don’t have many frugal accomplishments to report, but here we go–
    * My husband, the oil baron, received a quarterly royalty check of $7.42. It always pays to marry money, LOL.
    * We received a refund check for $25. The eye clinic had collected a co-pay when none was due.
    * I had my big toenail removed (ouch). I have to soak it twice a day in epsom salts and water. When I am done, I water my tomato plants with the solution. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, and tomatoes love it!
    * Besides the tomatoes, I planted bush beans, yellow zucchini and beets. The beet seeds were left from last year. It rained all week, so not the best weather to plant. I have some lettuce seeds to poke into the flower beds.
    * I  was able to use a $2 off any purchase coupon at Fred Meyer. I received it at the cash register a couple of weeks ago.
    * I got a quart of exterior paint FREE at Miller Paint Co. Their testers are a quart of paint for $5, and on Saturdays, through July, they are free! I am using it to paint a porch rocker, which I sanded last week. I picked up the rocker (like the ones you see in front of Cracker Barrel) about 9 or 10 years ago at the dump. (And thus began my scavenging sideline, LOL).

    Beautiful pictures as always, Brandy! Hope your college kids are doing well. I will be passing through their college town in about two weeks, on my way to visit my son and daughter-in-law (and grand dog Rodger!). They live in a small town about 45 miles south of Rexburg.

    1. Maxine, I had forgotten that tomatoes would like epsom salts. I’m going to try it. Thanks. Also, eggshells crushed finely. My mother used to use unflavoured tums (1 tum put just below the level the plant is plnted.

      1. Hello Everyone!
        Our haircut shears arrived and have already paid for themselves. I watched YouTube tutorials on cutting long, layered hair and trimming around the ears for men’s haircuts. My son’s haircut turned out much better than last time and my daughter’s cut was pretty good for a first attempt. She has very thick hair and it was a challenge! Our four chicks arrived last week. They are adorable And quite content in their brooder! The coop is complete, made partially with 46 year old redwood fence boards when our fence was replaced. It was a project we planned for this spring and then the egg shortages made it a must. I drove out to Walmart for groceries and household goods. I do this approximately every 3 weeks. There is a noticeable $1-3 savings on identical grocery items at Walmart compared to our nearby stores! Lemons, broccoli raab, carrots, lettuce and strawberries harvested and enjoyed this week. Finally, we had some necessary plumbing work done. We received 5 bids and saved thousands!! My husband and I discovered a show on IMDb called, “Escape to the Country “ that we have enjoyed. And, I loved my free bouquet of roses, from our yard, for our 22nd Anniversary! ? Blessings to you all!

        1. It’s so interesting that your Walmart is less expensive than your grocery stores. Here, it is the opposite. I buy very little at Walmart, and what I buy there is not food.

        2. I love Escape to the Country too-there is also Escape to the Continent which is equally delightful. I was born in England so I think I also enjoy listening to the British accents-but it is also interesting to see how people live in different places.

    2. My DH always says “the best days of owning a boat are the day you get it and the day you sell it”. This year with marinas closed, we can’t even launch ours and we were hoping for a better season than the last two.

  25. Forgot to mention, a friend and I went hunting for morel mushrooms and got skunked! (Not literally, means we didn’t find any). We saw 3 or 4 other kinds of mushrooms/toadstools, but morels are the only ones we can positively identify, therefore the only wild mushrooms we eat. We need some warm weather to bring them out! (We have had plenty of rain).

    1. We have warmer weather coming. May get up to 90 on Friday. That should bring out the mushrooms

  26. Visiting this site and keeping track of the frugal accomplishments have been helpful to keep a grateful attitude. Although our basement flooded from days of heavy rain – we ripped out carpet and pad, pull out some drywall ourselves. we rented an 18 gallon a day dehumidifier from Home Depot, because we do not have good air circulation down there. I then was able to use our carpet cleaner to get the initial amount of water out (over 15 gallons!) and get most of the water stain out of the rest of the carpet after the dehumidifier did it’s job. .. Thankfully we only had to throw out some wrapping paper and a couple of throw pillows, everything was up just enough off the floor. we also went outside and dug a trench for water to drain away from the house.

    The day after the flooding, our water heater finally gave out- we have continued to fix it ourselves over the last 5 years, but it was finally time to give in. We also bought a bigger tank to fit our needs- we all can take hot showers now!

    We finished our raised garden beds and planted using the square foot gardening method.

    I planted calendula, lavender, and chamomile to both and enjoy and use medicinally.

    I took a free course on productivity– most of these tips I have done at some point, but putting them all together was the trick!! I have seen a change within days!

    Baby boy is now ready for baby food, which is homemade. he was going through many rough nights of being awake (although not cranky) and hubby said he thought he was hungry– the last 2 days and he is sleeping much, much better.

    Our library isn’t open per se, but they are only doing curbside pick up which was such a treat to order some new material! we love the library!

    we enjoyed homemade popsicles and playing with squirt guns around the yard.

    our elderly neighbor lost her daughter in a house fire. I picked irises and greenery from my yard, put it in a recycled glass salad dressing jar and used a card I had in my stash to write a note. I left it on her doorstep.

    1. So glad your baby is doing better with sleep. We did that too, and found that a bedtime ritual of plain yogurt with a spoonful of jam kept them tanked up all night;). It’s still one of their favorite things to have stories, yogurt, and jam. I’ll be praying for your neighbor.

  27. I am five days away from moving so I have spent my time packing and sorting. I tallied up everything we had made selling furniture and items online and it has come to over $4200! We also gave away items–a sofa to my sister, a range to a friend, and several woodworking tools to an artist. We have very little left that needs a home and will take final run to a thrift store later this week.
    I harvested rhubarb, strawberries, and radishes from the garden at my current house. I also get a free leftover tomato plant from a sale and planted it in my community garden plot.
    I finished binding a quilt.
    I’ve been trying to use up items in the freezer to make it easier to move. We’ve been eating pasta with tomato sauce a few times.
    I’ve stopped grocery shopping and am trying to use what I have on hand.
    I’m currently reading “The Verdun Affair” which I picked up from my neighborhood Free Library.
    Although our new home is far from ready, I am preparing a box that has a small crockpot, electric frying pan, and electric tea kettle and basic cooking utensils that I can use to make simple meals for us. I don’t think I will have a working kitchen for a few months yet with construction going on above it (we are putting in a loft above the kitchen and the ceiling of the kitchen has been removed so a beam can go in place, then the new floor/ceiling). But will have a place to sleep and shower.
    I have a wonderful husband who is helpful in making all of these transitions easier for both of us.
    I am grateful for this community and those from whom I learn each week.

    1. I forgot to mention in my post above that I spent the last several weeks making trips to my new home carrying loads of my canned fruit, jams, pickles, beans, etc. And all my extra, empty canning jars. I finished that task last week. I was concerned that those helping in my move wouldn’t care for those things as much as I do. It was a ton of heavy work to get everything boxed and moved, but I feel much more secure knowing that my food and jars have arrived without incident.

      1. I’m with you, Kandace! A lot of people don’t even bother to move their food. I understand this when it’s a pro move and the cost is more than the food is worth, but I have ALWAYS found a way to move my food! I pack my empty jars in boxes, which I label Fragile, but I don’t wrap each jar individually. Too much work when I’ve only ever had one or two empty jars break.

      2. When we made a cross country move, I brought many canning jars with me. Some full of food, some empty. I took my bag of mismatched socks from over the years and cut them in half or thirds (tube socks) to slip over the jars. I had saved all the boxes that the jars came in, even though I stored the full jars on basement shelves. So when it came time to move, I took the jar off the shelf, slipped a sock on, and tucked it into the appropriate box (pint/quart, wide/regular mouth). I also put rings on all the empty jars as I loaded them, to protect the rim of the jar getting chipped. It worked like a charm. Unpacking at the other end, not a single jar had broken.

  28. Happy Memorial Day! (in the US). I am thankful for those who served and are currently serving. I have been greatly influenced by my English upbringing, the history and the closeness of some of the wars. A verse from one of my favorite poems

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them. Remember the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon

    I am the mother of an active duty service member (4 years in!) and I spent some time this week supporting a mother of a newly enlisted service member. If I can use my experience to help someone else, it makes the hardship somehow feel redeemed.
    Thank you, Brandy, for sharing the wisdom that experience has given you. It is such a blessing.

    I have been tending my garden, spraying with Neem oil, spreading a bit more compost, picking, and planting seeds. It takes more energy now that it’s hot. I used water from the water barrels to water the garden.
    I continue to keep an eye on what’s in the fridge, and when it expires. I used eggs that were 6 days past their sell-by-date, making sure they were still good by doing the float test on each one. My husband is the only one that eats eggs, and a half-dozen were more than he would eat at once. So I hardboiled them and made egg salad that he ate over 2-3 days. No waste!
    I am laundering some things that are stained, after treating them with the old faithful blue Dawn-baking soda-vinegar combo. It hasn’t failed me yet. One of the stains is on a white item. If the stain is still visible after the wash, I will spray it with hydrogen peroxide and hang it in the sun.
    My husband painted our garden shed with paint I found on clearance for $8 (someone else’s ‘oops”). I love the color.
    I am sewing busily for my etsy store. I have been so thankful for encouragement and advice from each of my children (all grown and away, so their interest is so special). And a huge thank you to all of you who have visited or bought from my shop.
    I price matched an appliance that we bought through Home Depot and then I found cheaper at Best Buy. I always like a bit of a refund!
    Blessings to all!

    1. The American Egg board says that eggs are good for 4-6 WEEKS past their sell-by date. Keep using those eggs!

      1. Back in the olden days (when I was a kid, and before that) eggs used to be kept in cold storage for MONTHS. This was before scientific egg production and allowed for a supply during the winter months when the girls weren’t laying. A lot of stores, also back in the same olden days (’40s and ’50s and probably before that), didn’t refrigerate eggs. I don’t think we ever cracked a spoiled egg! There is no need to consider eggs “expired” if they are past date…even way past date. If they are more than a couple of months old, I would crack the eggs one at a time into a saucer before using. I am 74 and I have had one spoiled egg in my whole life. It was about a year ago. I cracked it and it was black and awful! Since the rest of the eggs in the carton were fine (and the same age), I am guessing that egg had a hairline crack.

    2. Kara: Thank you for referencing the lines of that poem. When I was young, my (U.S.) family would go to the local cemetery service each Memorial Day. The official from the color guard that attended from Canada would quote those lines when they put their wreath with those of the American services. I grew up about 90 miles south of the border.
      My parents gave us an American flag when we bought our first house, I think for Christmas, and I think of them when I put it out each year.

  29. After we led our church’s zoom servicey yesterday we visited over the fence with a neighbor we have not seen since winter set in. It was lightly drizzing, so we went to the wildife refuge and them finished planting flowers and a few more seeds to start. Today is raining enough so that we cannot go to the community garden to begin planting. . We are thanful for rain to hopefully keep ou fire danger down. When there are fires, it can be miserable to try to keep the house shut up to keep the smoke out. I have only been to the garden nursery 2 times since quaranting in March.
    The corona virus has taught us to buy slightly differently. We are beginning to also buy canned vegetables instead of only frozen. We were too low on rice and pinto beans, but our oldest son picked up some of each at Costco for us. Our leftover potatoes will be used for seed, so we are buying potatoes now. Last yeat we estimate we grew 500 pounds. We shared bags with other pastors, the food shelf, and provided potatoes for a meal at a conerence our church was hosting. We also bring surplus vegetables to share with our church through the summer. People leave a small donation which is used as for hunger projects.
    We find tomatoes grow best in pots, so we have many pots along with garden beds in our front yard. Our long summer days in Fairbanks help with our short growing season. Church members gave us 2 peopy starts. Growing up in northern MN, (yes we like winter!) my dad had one, so i will think of him whenever it blooms.
    My husband went to the grocery store. He found 2 whole chickens for $. 99/lb and 2 beef roasts for $5.39/lb. Thanksful for anything that is sumewhat reasonable and an occasional treat like the beef.
    Stay frugal and safe!

  30. 1. I ordered a birthday present for my granddaughter and the shipping was supposed to be free because I spent the required amount, but the $13 would not drop off the total. I gave up and just ordered it. Then later I thought, what the heck, that’s $13. I realized emailing them was easy and after a couple of days they made the adjustment and credited my credit card. I don’t know why I thought that was going to be so hard.

    2. I can’t believe how very little food I’m wasting. I’m retired and so OVER cooking, but this pandemic has changed everything. I’m throwing almost NOTHING away now and my grocery bill has actually gone down even though we’re not eating out. I also love that I have discovered I can go for three weeks between shops for the two of us. The freezer is crammed pretty full, but I can do it.

    3. I was gifted some frozen salmon, which I dearly love, but have never cooked. I shared some with the neighbors and finally got up the courage to broil it. I was certain I would ruin it but I actually cooked it almost perfectly. I could only eat about a third of the large piece but shared the rest with the house cat and the feral cat that comes by for meals.

    4. Our washing machine started leaking quite badly and my husband said, grumpily, “we need to buy a new washer.” Inspired by other readers I said no, let’s see if we can find out what’s wrong. He pulled it out and looked it over and couldn’t find the problem, but when he pushed it back to the wall, it was working perfect. So this piece of luck was not our doing but I will take good karma from the washing machine gods, any day.

    5. This did not save us any money, but we are doing so well that when we got our checks from the government to help out the economy we spread out some charitable gifts. I gave a large chunk to our vet to help a patient who couldn’t afford a large bill for their animal. We gave some to a cat shelter, the local food bank, and a veteran’s organization. We held some back for a roof repair we discovered that we need.

    6. My little tablet stopped most of its functions, I can only do crosswords and another app on it. But my tiny laptop still gets the internet. Spouse tells me to order a new tablet but I don’t think I need to spend the money. I just switch back and forth between the two depending on what I want to do. Works for me.

  31. Brandy, those mini plums are adorable! I’ve never seen them before.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 4 times. We had spaghetti & meatballs; pork chops with zucchini (home grown) gratin; steak, baked potato and zucchini; and pulled pork, coleslaw, pasta salad and corn on the cob, which I got for 1 cent each. One night our friends had us over for dinner.
    • We took a much needed mini vacation to Cottonwood and Sedona, AZ. Wineries have been growing up there, so there are a lot of tasting rooms there. We went driving around the countryside and I did some wine tasting. I was able to get a Groupon for one of the places. We were there for 2 nights. We used a Hotels.com credit for one of the nights. Arizona is just starting to open up and we are happy about that.
    • Lunches included top ramen with leftover steak; salads with chicken breasts; and soup.
    • Breakfasts have been eggs & English muffins; cereal with strawberries; smoothies with homegrown peaches.
    • Hung 2 of 3 loads of laundry.
    • Walked for exercise.
    • Harvested about a gallon ziplocks worth of peaches and a couple of zucchini.
    • Got strawberries for 88c/lb. Bought 4.
    • Had some apples that were getting soft, so I cut them up and put them in the freezer for smoothies.
    • Had my son and my daughter and her family over for dinner on Sunday. We don’t have a built-in pool at this house, so we bought 2 kiddie pools and relaxed in those. Made us laugh, but it worked in keeping us cool!

    Have a great week everyone!

    1. They grow on flowering plum trees–the ones that flower pink in spring and have deep maroon leaves the rest of the year. They are considered to be sterile trees, so any plums it produces are wonderful! I have been hoping that it would produce plums.

      1. Brandy, I have two of these flowering plum trees. They bloom at the same time as the cherry trees in our area. Last year between the two trees I probably collected 2 quarts and the birds collected even more. Plums the size of cherries… it’s wild.

      2. We had two of these trees in the house I grew up in. As kids, we would snack on them. My father made a batch or two of jam from them over the years. As a child who grew up during the Depression, he didn’t like things to go to waste. They are beautiful little plums!

  32. 1. We did homemade pizza last week, and I made the pizza sauce from a can of tomato sauce + herbs and spices.
    2. Tonight will be dinner #75 at home (along with all breakfasts and lunches). In mid-April I inventoried the meat in the freezers and did a meal plan through September. We eat 1 – 2 meat focused meals each week, a couple of meatless meals, and the rest have less meat.
    3. It got hot so I chopped and cooked all of my stored onions, because they weren’t going to stay good. I also chopped bell peppers and cooked them with the onions. I froze the onions & peppers in meal-sized containers.
    4. I’m still baking our bread, using a sourdough starter from 2018.
    5. My DH and youngest son trimmed our orange tree.
    6. I saved some packaging from a delivery to use to send back a rental textbook.
    7. I ran out of my preferred dental floss, but instead of buying more I decided to use up all of the little sample floss containers we get from the dentist.
    8. I switched to sautéing vegetables in canola oil instead of EVOO.
    9. I baked gluten free pumpkin muffins with pureed pumpkin from the freezer, and oatmeal jam bars with rhubarb compote I made and froze last spring (I needed freezer space).
    10. I cooked 10# of pork shoulder, serving it for supper and then freezing 5 bags for future meals. I ground the pork that didn’t fit into my slow cooker (package was 14#). I saved the cooking liquids as “broth” for cooking bean soups, and the fat for cooking with.
    11. Every night I open a jalousie window in our kitchen nook, and I run the A/C fan to both cool us off and cool the house down. It typically brings the temperature in the house down 6 – 8 degrees (F) which means the A/C doesn’t kick on until late afternoon. I’ll keep this up as long as the evenings stay cool.

  33. Summer seems to quickly have set in here in Southern Ontario. It was snowing ten days ago and now we have the air conditioner on! My husband has been off work since March 18 and will be now until at least September as he works in food services at our local university. We are lucky that he can apply for the CERB here in Canada so he has some income. We have got our garden planted now so I hope that everything grows and we’ll have a supply of tomatoes and yellow beans and lettuce. I have been shopping as infrequently as I can. We have lots of food so I won’t need to go again soon. Our neighbourhood has a new buy and sell Facebook page and I managed to get a big unopened bag of Splenda and some sugar free jelly. I also got a beautiful oak table and four chairs that someone was getting rid of for free. It has two leaves and we are very pleased with the generosity of neighbourhood folks. Every little bit helps! I haven’t had to put gas in the car in over two months and my husband hasn’t had to use any bus fare so we are definitely saving in transportation as we stay home. A provincial program for disabled children that my son receives money from expanded allowable expenses and we were able to get a new tablet, his schoolbooks and some leisure books paid for. It was a definite blessing for us right now.

    Thank you, Brandy, for keeping us all inspired to keep going. It is going to be a long haul as we work through this pandemic and its aftermath.

  34. Brandy I am so glad you were able to water less and save electricity and harvest some lovely fruit and herbs from the gardens to increase food stores in the home 🙂 .

    Brandy as we are coming out of purchase restrictions on groceries here does meat still have purchase restrictions along with other items currently there in the U.S and have the prices risen there considerably like here ? .

    We have had all grocery and all other purchase restrictions taken off here in Australia but still have a lot of gaps in products that we cannot get on the supermarket shelves but it is slowly getting better each week.

    Our savings added up to $845.94 in savings last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Deep cleaning and decluttering –
    – We decluttered, threw out rubbish and sorted the cupboards down in the rumpus room that had tools everywhere. Both DH and I emptied all the tools out of the cupboards, DH brought up the tool boxes from the shed and I cleaned them and DH sorted all the tools into them. While he was doing that I deep cleaned all the cupboards inside and out, doors and door handles, table and skirting boards in the rumpus room, laundry, stairs, laundry and stair rails. We put all the tools in toolboxes into the old kitchen cupboard we removed and put down there from when we put in our new stove in the kitchen.

    This frees up the larger sliding cupboards for blankets, quilts, sheets, towels and tea towels.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 6 new pairs of shorts and 6 new skirts (5 long and one knee length) on clearance from Rockmans for $90 saving $395.94 on usual prices. These will replace 5 long skirts that have worn out after 10 years of good wear in my wardrobe.

    Finances –
    – Paid an extra small payment off the mortgage.

    Earnings –
    – DH earned $50 by doing a mowing job locally.

    In the gardens and firewood cutting –
    – We cut 3 more cubic metres of iron bark hardwood firewood free saving us $450 over buying it in.
    – Trimmed the rest of the tomato vine branches growing too close to the ground.
    – Weeded the sweet potato garden bed and trimmed the vines back that were growing out of the garden bed.
    – Weeded the turnip garden bed and thinned and transplanted turnip seedlings growing too close together.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


    1. Yes, Lorna, prices have gone up here and there are limits. I have seen limits of one of an item in ads and have heard about purchase limits of 2-3 packages at various stores.

      I realize now I misspoke; I DID get a ham at Easter–but just one, which was the limit. It was a gift from my neighbor, who works at the grocery store.

      1. Thank you Brandy and I hope the purchase limits lift on groceries for you soon 🙂 and the prices level out shortly as well .

        We had similar restrictions here of 2 of any group of product for quite some time and as we live in the country DH and I went through separate registers to get what was needed in the home since we live 90 km round trip from supermarkets here.

        Found that now the our lockdown restrictions are lifting gradually that the prices on the groceries are now starting to come back down and there is really good specials on some items or good supermarket promotional codes for discounts. Most people are spending 20% less on everything here and a lot of the stores have been left with inventory they will have to put on specials to clear storage room. Many people are unemployed as well which I know is happening over there too. Keep an eye out for bargains once the dust has settled there too Brandy.

        Hope your week is good and keep up the wonderful work you are doing supplying lovely meals and homegrown produce from your gardens.


    2. I in Michigan and everything is still on restrictions. Burger went up to 8.99 a pound for about 3 weeks. Sam’s Club advertised 3.58 per lb. but never had any burger in stock to buy. Aldi has had maybe 10 packages of 1 lb. burger at a time but it’s about 5.99 lb. and a few chicken drumsticks and pork loin. They allow only 2 packages of any meat. That includes burger, chicken, pork, and link sausage. Our Walmart does not have many restrictions, but they put out only a few packages at a time to discourage over purchasing. They stock this high demand products throughout the day.
      I have discovered that our Walmart has 93/7 burger for 4.06 per pound. We did buy some to make burgers for Memorial Day. I only shop at Aldi, Sam’s Club, Walmart and a local Mennonite bulk/grocery store. Their prices are the lowest for my area.
      I took for granted the ability to buy what I want, when I want, at the price I want to spend. I am grateful for fuller shelves and for the most part prices remaining stable. I was able to buy butter for 1.88 per pound last week at Aldi which was better than Christmas sales. Whatever I am low on I just buy the limit weekly until I have the amount I need. My grocery store visits take much more time due to social distancing and new check out procedures.

      1. Sorry to hear that prices on meat have gone up so much in the US on meat and yes social distancing etc make the shopping trip a lot longer and do here too in Australia. That is the way to go is to get the weekly limit on products until you have enough.

        When the dust settles from the virus and you are coming out the other side of this keep an eye out for good bargains to stock your pantry and freezer with again.

        Have a great week ahead 🙂 .

        1. Lorna,
          I have no room to complain when I have a 20 mile round trip! Thanks for the encouragement. I think right now I’m grateful for the frugal practices I am doing, experimenting with new things to increase my frugality, and feeling an overall sense of gratitude. Take Care !

  35. Hello All! This past week I finally did what so many of you already do, I started washing & reusing aluminum foil and ziploc bags. On the bags we have there is a white area to write on for storage and after the bag was emptied I wrote on it what was previously in it then rinsed it out & put aside to be used again. So far I have a bag for cheese, lettuce, & tortillas. We have been diligent about no food waste, we have a leftover buffet about once a week where we pull everything out of the fridge along with salad & we all just heat up what we want. I made a batch of black beans in the crockpot to take for lunch during the week and froze some for the future. My Mom dropped off 6 caramel apple cupcakes that have been satisfying our sweets craving. I saved $6.00 off my grocery order with points earned on my loyalty card and saved 40% off on my husband’s OTC medicine at CVS with a coupon reward that was on my extracare card. My employer has been celebrating Hospital Week and all employees were able to choose a gift. We had a choice of a backpack, water bottle or jacket. I chose the backpack because when I’ve needed one I have been using my son’s from the 4th grade. Considering he;s now 22, it is not in the best shape!

  36. Like almost everyone, I am fighting hard to avoid wasting any food. I planted some potato sections that had eyes on them. I made Banana Chocolate Chip muffins from one lot of bananas that went ripe rather quickly then put two more in the freezer in chunks to make smoothies or milk shakes. I made pancakes from scratch this morning. I’ve been trying to get accustomed to our social security payments. I had initially planned to just do this for six months or so but we lost a goodly amount of money from our retirement and weren’t able to cash it out as we’d planned. I am so grateful we have social security to live on! As part of my trying to make ends meet, I’ve been setting aside a higher amount for electricity than we need at present. This has now netted me a nice little balance in that sub category which will help pay the higher bills this summer. I’m grateful for the cooler than usual weather we’ve been having. I planted tomatoes, green beans and basil and this week discovered a tiny bunch of oregano had come up in the pot that was killed off last fall during a prolonged spell of no rain. I transplanted it and then found a tiny forsythia had rooted in another pot and potted that up too. I’ll transplant it when it’s a bit bigger. The Kolanchoe that I’d snipped from the parent plant have all done very well and I now have a total of six plants. At the dumpsters I retrieved a Playskool slide from a dumpster that was unbroken. It’s faded but that’s all. I think the grandchildren will enjoy it. I have been looking for recipes to try and was reading one last night that required blending a small amount of items , but it definitely needed a blender. I kept thinking I should look for a small bullet type blender but then it occurred to me I can use a pint or half pint jar on my attachment on my own blender. No need to purchase anything! I’ve been using the bread machine to make bread and this past week made a small loaf of cinnamon raisin oatmeal bread. I’ve topped up the buttermilk with some milk that was about to go sour and have it sitting on the counter to ‘culture’ overnight. I haven’t bought buttermilk since March, just keep topping it up and letting it sit overnight.

    1. Terri,
      Have you tried putting some bananas in your pancakes? They are delicious. And you top them with a little squirt of lemon juice and a sprinkle of plain white sugar.
      I often make banana pancakes and then freeze some for busy days.

      1. I make banana pancakes all the time too. Sometimes I add chocolate chips, sometimes I add walnuts. It depends what I’m in the mood for. Bananas never go to waste in our house.

  37. Greetings! I love the photograph of the small plums! They look almost like hard candies or gum balls.
    I also got butter! I paid 1.99 with a limit of two. This was the second week of the sale price.
    I was able to order grass-fed ground beef for 3.50 lb. which is a good price for any kind of beef here.
    We face-timed with our daughter and her family. This brings us such joy!
    My husband was gifted some fresh caught fish from a friend. He was so happy!
    I made hummingbird nectar when i saw our first hummingbird of the season. There used to be two that would chase each other but one has not come back.
    I ordered myself two pair of glasses from zenni. I like to have several pair because i tend to be a bit hard on them. Plus, at their cheap prices, i can have several different styles and colors.
    One of my walking buddies and i went digging for leeks. We wore our masks and used wipes in the truck. We dug at her BIL’s property which is in the middle of a forest. We managed to get quite a few leeks. The mosquitoes were unbelievable but we got out alive! I sautéed the leeks in butter and froze them for later. I fried two meatless burgers in the same pan so the butter didn’t get wasted. So good! I told my husband that, to save calories, i should skip the vegetables and just eat butter!
    I hung clothes on the line, used my homemade compost, washed baggies and cereal bags, saved shower warm-up water and exercised at home and walked with friends.
    I made soap with dark flat beer. It leaves the soap with a really nice scent. I don’t use scents in my soap anymore so this is a nice alternative. The beer cost a donation to the Moose where they’re trying to get rid of beer that doesn’t sell well.
    I had my husband trim my hair. He does a great job! I’ve told all my friends they should try him but no-ones called, yet.
    Have a wonderful week ahead!

  38. I love the photo of the plums, Brandy! What gorgeous colors.
    Our neighbor across the street had her huge oak trees trimmed and we asked her about the enormous logs left on her property. She said we could have them if we hauled them away, so we did! For the rental price of $50 for a log splitter, we were able to split enough wood to heat our house with our woodburning stove for the next 1.5 years. Our stove has a fan blower on it that does a wonderful job of sending warm air through the house so we rarely have to turn on the central heat.
    A friend showed up with bouquets of fresh flowers from her garden which were beautiful and we are still enjoying them. Another friend offered apricots from her tree, so l was able to can 8 jars of jam from them. She let me know l will be receiving plums when her trees are ripe so l am looking forward to them. I also used 7 pounds of dried pinto beans to pressure-can 27 pints of beans. I used up some overripe bananas to make and freeze banana bread and banana chocolate chip muffins. I also used up the last frozen shredded zucchini l made from a friend’s huge zucchini surplus last summer to make zucchini bread to send to work with my husband. Another neighbor trimmed down their giant succulent garden and gave me multiple large cuttings to propagate. I am thrilled!
    Our lot is almost completely in shade so l have struggled to have any kind of garden except for herbs and succulents on our deck. My wonderful husband surprised me by putting up some deer fencing around a little sunny area next to our driveway and the road where l could put some barrels and pots. I was able to plant 5 types of tomatoes, 2 kirby pickling cucumbers, slicing cucumbers, 2 cantaloupes, 1 sugar baby watermelon and 3 types of zucchini before l ran out of pots. This will be a great supplement to our weekly CSA produce box if everything grows. Wish me luck!
    And my final piece of news…after 9 years of struggling and scraping on a single income, we paid off our very last debt! I can’t believe we are debt-free. I confess l shed some tears when l made the last payment. Now we are putting all the money we can into savings so we can eventually buy the house we are renting. We couldn’t afford to keep our house anymore when l left my job to stay at home with our daughter 10 years ago, so we sold it and downsized to this little rental house. It is a huge weight off our shoulders to be debt-free and moving toward the future instead of paying toward the past. I am eternally grateful to you, Brandy, and to this community for giving me so much inspiration and ideas for ways to chip away at our debt and lower our expenses. I can never thank you enough.
    Have a great week everyone.

    1. Michelle,

      Congratulations on being debt-free! That is wonderful!

      I wish you all the best in saving up for a house! And good luck with your garden! (The wood is a wonderful blessing!)

      1. Thank you everyone for the congratulations! I love how encouraging this community is. Thank you, Brandy!

  39. Thank you, Brandy. What beautiful plums those are! And the picture is just lovely. It makes me happy to see your art.

    I enjoy reading these so much! Here’s what we did to save money this week:
    *planted all our seedlings in the garden – I do hope it will be a good year!
    *transplanted all the raspberry sprouts that came up in the lawn to make a new raspberry patch. The boys will love it.
    *got 100 gallons of manure and 13 bushels of free loose straw at the stables down the road. It took 4 trips, filling up the trunk of the sedan and putting the straw in feed sacks in the seats (looked very funny), but our garden loves its good food. It’s actually a beloved break for me, oddly enough. There are such great worms in the compost! It’s peaceful, and I love the horses. And it’s totally free.
    *caring for my soil block experiment. It was time to transplant my tiny soil blocks into bigger ones. My husband got me a set of big soil blockers for a mother’s day present, but they were used and coming on the slow boat from China, so I needed a solution for bigger soil blocks. I found a nice tutorial here about how to make a tray of them. It’s in French, but easy to figure out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jYHtqIy0QY.
    *left all the nitrogen-fixing things in my soil – all the clover roots, all the lupin roots – to help the soil.
    *tried out a new potting soil mixture that’s less expensive – – 3 units of peat, 3 units of compost, and 1 of perlite. Costs way less than potting soil at least around here in Boston. It makes a nice soil block and seems to do fine so far.
    *rearranged the herb garden to make more room for salad greens. I’m not good at growing greens, but I really want to figure it out. They always tend to wilt or bolt on me – I’m rotten at watering faithfully. I’m thinking of trying ollas or some sort of watering system.
    *tried to do more underplanting and companion planting so we could crowd more plants into the garden beds. My husband really got on the bandwagon and figured out some great combinations to try so that we’ll have less weeding, less wasted space, and more deliciousness.
    *got two friends started with new gardens with my extras. Our soil is ridiculously rich, so plants just get too huge for the space. It’s a lovely problem to have and fun to share. I got to send asters, a few kinds of daisies, honesty, raspberries, dragon’s beard, maximillian daisies, oregano, and iris to their gardens.

    *eating up the freezer as usual. I also organized our small freezer and found a bunch of gems that will save me cooking a bit.
    *eating from home. For us, it’s a matter of course, but it does make a difference.
    *trying to be smart with our meat consumption so that we use every bit of what we have.
    *making homemade popcorn for snacks. Fills up small tummies so well.

    *organizing summer clothes for me and for my three small boys. It’s such a mercy that we’ve been given so many wonderful hand-me-downs, and that I hadn’t yet gotten rid of the excess – the excess is coming in very handy right now! We’re caring for a doctor friend’s son while his day care is closed, and it’s been great to have an extra swimsuit, etc.
    *getting swimsuits and summer gear ready for fun at home. Set up the sprinkler on the hot day last week for some wiggly fun. Grateful to have the water. Brandy, I often think of you and your dry days and am hoping you get some more good rain.
    *found youtube songs for toothbrushing and tick checks for making our evening rituals a little smoother. The tick check song has become a favorite!
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xNMRwZkyAc). It’s been stuck in my ear all day now – they love to sing it.

    *planning with homeschool for next year. We’re doing a lot with learning the states and the US map. I found a map I wanted to enlarge and put on the wall. I found this wonderful site that makes it easy to print posters – https://rasterbator.net/. It takes a bit of taping, but it turned out nicely.
    *had zoom and porch visits through the glass with grandparents.
    *wrapping up my zoom teaching for voice lessons for the year.
    *enjoyed some wonderful breaks reading old Victoria magazines and gardening books.

    Wishing you all a very good week!
    Sarah B. in Boston

    1. Sarah,

      We only get four inches of rain a YEAR here. There will not be any rain this month. Everything in my garden is watered on drip irrigation on a timer.

      I reread my old Victoria magazines, too!

      How wonderful to have good soil. Here, one has to purchase it. When I bought my fruit trees, the cashier at the nursery asked if I had jackhammered holes yet. Our ground here is white, very alkaline (8.2), as hard as concrete, the water is full of salts, and the temperatures are extremely hot with intense sun and few cloudy days. It is said to be 109/111 this Thursday, depending on which weather report you read.

      Raspberries are wonderful! They are my favorite fruit! They are difficult to grow here, as the heat makes them very tiny and they can burn in the sun. I learned a few weeks ago that my neighbor is successfully growing them under shade cloth! I’m not sure where I could grow them (I have tried in several places, only to have them die) but I would love to grow them successfully.

      1. Brandy,
        It’s all the more wonderful to me that you’ve created this lovely paradise for your family out of dirt hard as concrete! No wonder you get your exercise in the garden. Weeding must be quite a workout, not to mention planting trees. I just love your beautiful garden and will appreciate it all the more now. How you manage to grow so many salad greens where water is so tricky is a wonder.
        I wish you luck with the shade cloth! I hope it works. They’re my favorite fruit too. I wonder if anyone’s ever tried raspberries under a grapevine for shade. Wouldn’t that be fun to have two crops? I just thought of it because you mentioned how well your grapes do.

        1. We had to soak the ground for four days before it was soft enough to move with a backhoe. Then we brought in new dirt.

          I grow my blackberries under grapevines for shade, but they are not completely shaded. The grapes are burning in the sun, too–but too much shade, and grapes can get gray mold. I had to spray for it on some of my grapes today, which face west; I had the problem before when I tried to grow grapes on a north-facing wall, but it is odd to have it on a west-facing wall. I hope I don’t lose the vines; the leaves are turning yellow and dropping off and the fruit is starting to mold before it turns ripe. I hope this spray works; it is not the one I have used in the past.

          All of my plants are watered on drip irrigation, so the lettuce grows right where the water comes out. The drip lines have an emitter every six inches, which is perfect for growing lettuce. It is too hot for lettuce now; it is 95 today, and they are now saying it will be 111 in two days. I can plant lettuce again in October, when it starts to cool down again.

      2. I was surprised today when the local (Portland, Oregon) t.v. channel put on a story about how hot it’s going to get in Las Vegas very soon! I though of you, and cringed when they said it might be a record-breaking hot spell for you guys. Stay cool if you can!

        1. It’s record-breaking that we are getting this hot in May, but in July this is a normal temperature. I’ve heard 108-111, depending on the news source. It’s supposed to be this hot with wind, which makes it feel like an oven.

    2. Sarah, my son (now 42) learned his states with a song called “Nifty 50.” He was having a hard time keeping them straight, so we bought him a puzzle that was a map of the US. He learned all of his state capitals that way!

      1. Maxine, I remember that song too from school days – I will have to dig it out for the boys. Puzzles are such a great way of learning! We happen to have a state puzzle too and are really enjoying it. Thank you for the ideas and the good memory of the song!:)

  40. Haven’t commented in a couple of weeks but always read about everyone else’s adventures. As always Brandy, your garden is amazing and your photos are always just lovely!

    I’ve been going into the office once a week for the past 3 weeks – just for a few hours and don’ usually see anyone else. I am able to do some work from home so only go in if really necessary. I have to use the subway so wear a mask & gloves and try to combine this trip with other sorts of errands. Otherwise I go out for a walk very early in the morning a few times per week. I’d like to walk more often as I’ve gained weight but still a bit nervous about going out too often.

    I am actually spending a bit more money than anticipated – both on groceries and on items ordered online. But – I am trying to keep it to items that I truly need, now and for the future. Stores opened last week as long as they had curb side access – no malls. I was able to order a badly needed new bra and then pick it up at the door. Some stores are sticking with ordering online and then allowing pick up at the door or haven’t even opened as yet as there are still a lot of restrictions. I ended up buying a couple of tops for the Summer (work quality), new PJ’s and a rain shell (the one I had from LL Bean finally gave up the ghost after 10 years). More things than I’d really planned but on the plus side – everything was on sale.

    I have been able to add to the pantry and the freezer as chicken was on at a good price, there were a few sale items this week and I found YEAST! But I also hit a very expensive shop in town just for a change and picked up some bits & pieces that will allow for some more interesting meals later. Think I will spend a bit of money each month on items like this when I can as I want to be prepared for a second wave and lockdown come the Fall and be able to make some more interesting meals. These items will not be used over the Summer.

    I’ve done a pretty good job of not wasting food – just my usual bit of salad greens that I never seem to use up in time. I also lost a bit of cheese that had gone very mouldy! I want to search for cheese paper again – ordered a batch years ago and it really made a difference. I held off buying anymore cheese this past week as I want to ensure I use up what I have. If it looks as though its turning I’ll get it into the freezer! I also cashed in $20 worth of Loyalty points which helped a bit.

    I also ordered more masks and gloves online. The company that I use is now advertising on TV so items are selling out fast and I want to be prepared. Masks aren’t mandatory as yet but are highly recommended and I’d say about 2/3 people do wear them. Certain shops and locations are requiring them so it’s best to have one just in case. Our numbers aren’t going down – at least not to where the authorities would like so step 2 in reopening won’t be happening for a bit and the border with the US remains closed now until at least June 21st.

    Meals were all prepared at home – chicken thighs baked in the oven with rice and roasted veg, pork chops cooked in tomato sauce with onions and peppers – chilli from the freezer – pasta with meatballs – and lots of salads. I also made another apple crumble but no other baking.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week and stay safe!

    1. Hi Margie,

      I’m sorry to read your numbers are not going down. Any idea why not? Calgary has been the epicentre of covid because we had more international travellers arriving to begin with before people realized there could be asymptomatic carriers. Also we had a lot of snowbirds returning (that undoubtedly was a problem in Quebec and Ontario too). Then the nursing homes and worst of all the meat packing plants. As I predicted, the meat plants are just a temporary problem. There was such a massive infection that soon almost everyone will be recovered, although sadly with three deaths. It does point out the need not to have 70% of the beef production for the whole country concentrated in 2 plants . I am glad to read that the Canadian vaccine trials on animals are progressing well. And the news from British research about leukocytes is promising as that might result in treatment of severe cases with interleukin etc.

      I’ve been wondering if one of the reasons we were limited to a 30 days’ supply of medicines was that perhaps our neighbours to the south were already buying a lot of their meds online during covid from Canada. After all their leader actually suggested that Americans do so. I think the Canadian government should be looking to ensure that the drug supply is manufactured in Canada for self sufficiency. What happens if a large drug making facility is incapacitated?

      I am a bit sad that I have no way to get out to the country to take swan photos or see the bluebirds but the tanager I saw makes up for it in part. In about 2 weeks, that is the time I’d normally have been asked to go see the wild orchids. I will satisfy myself with memories from past loveliness. Ann

      1. I don’t think much of the Canadian drug supply is actually manufactured in Canada, although I may be wrong. Over 95% of the drugs in the US come from China and India…mostly China. The drug I ordered was sent directly from the manufacturer in India in factory-labeled blister packs. All the Canadians did was place the order, collect payment and make a profit. But for me, it opened supply lines that are not operating at present in the US. I’d say it was a win-win for me and the Canadians.

        If I had to guess, reducing the amount of meds delivered at once from 90 to 30 days may have had more to do with planning for the worst with covid-19 than with the actual supply. Except for the one generic drug, all of my meds come from a US pharmacy, but even they are having problems with the supply chains. I take a drug for high blood pressure and received double the amount of 10 mg. because my 20 mg. dose wasn’t available when I needed it. Also, because of the shutdown in India, it took an extra couple of weeks for my gut medicine to arrive, but they notified me at the outset and it came as expected.

        1. Hi Maxine – I replied to “Ellie’s Friend” ad it covers some of the issues of the drug shortages. Please understand – I really do sympathize with what Americans have to pay when it comes to drug and medical costs in general – but I am concerned that Canadians are now being more affected than perhaps they should be. You make a good point about our reliances on China and India but if you read the reply to Elli you will perhaps appreciate another aspect of the problem from our point of view.

      2. Hi Ann – The high numbers are a bit of a mystery considering how strict they have been – however, a huge number of our cases have been in Nursing and Long-term care homes. We finally went down to just over 200 today but they need to see that this is consistent before they will let us go to step 2. We had some young folks behaving like idiots this past Saturday so they are waiting to see what happens a week or so from now….

        Our early cases came from the US – American travellers and Canadians returning home and bringing the virus with them – that is why people are nervous about opening the border again. Given how many travellers we get from overseas during normal times, everyone assumed it came from China – and while some did of course, most of ours originated from the US. Virus spread is just insidious and I really hope that everyone here does their best to stay safe.

        I actually saw my first bluejay today! There was bird making an absolute racket outside my kitchen window this morning and when I checked – there he was. I’m not sure what all the commotion was about as I didn’t see another bluejay and there wasn’t any nest – he eventually calmed down and flew away.

        I have to see about the antibiotic eye cream that I have to use nightly – have had to accept a substitute for the past two months – which my doctor isn’t too happy about. I understand what you are saying Maxine but what happened with your delivery is not always what happens – before the border was shut busloads of Americans would cross just to get prescriptions filled from our pharmacies and that does affect Canadian supplies. I always carry an Epi-pen and a couple of years back it suddenly became very difficult to get my prescription filled – I had to keep an out of date one for a couple of months longer than I should because there were non available. While I certainly sympathize with Americans who also needed this medication – the reason for the shortage was the fact that the main US manufacturer tripled the cost overnight – for no reason other than profit.

    2. Margie, I use wax paper to wrap cheese in and then put it in a plastic bag. I find that works very well. I get my wax paper at the dollar store, so it’s not that much. The other thing I do, which might help, is to freeze the last bits of lettuce before they go bad and then use them in smoothies. Since greens in smoothies are good, this works well.

      1. I actually find that the plastic is the issue – I should try the wax paper first – thanks for the suggestion.
        I make fruit smoothies but have never tried the green ones – should start to give it a try.

        1. Margaret,
          The organization we volunteer for doesn’t use iceberg lettuce that’s donated, so they’re happy to “let us” have it to keep it out of the landfill. It’s usually organic, as well. I used to compost it, but I realized it would be good in a smoothie and now keep it for that purpose. We use unripe bananas, a few frozen blueberries, and home-made nut milk. Iceberg lettuce is mostly water, so it’s great to keep us hydrated in the hot days we’re starting to get.

  41. I love that photo of the plums, Brandy! Very evocative. And I just realized that you have 7 kids indoors all day, until it is cool enough to let them go outside into the backyard; that must make for a very cheerful clamour! Board games would indeed be the perfect way to keep the family entertained.

    My frugal week:
    – I made No-Knead Shortcut Artisan Bread (http://approachingfood.com/no-knead-shortcut-artisan-bread/), and turned some of it into grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner that night.
    – My workplace had a catered lunch and there was enough that I ate such a big lunch that I ended up skipping dinner, and was still able to bring a sandwich home to my husband. I saved the plastic dessert platter, to use when giving away baked goods. It’s very sturdy, and good quality.
    – I planted store-bought green onions that I had already grown and harvested in water twice. I also cut parsley from my garden.
    – I taped and glued several of my daughter’s books back together.
    – I repurposed a very nice box with a magnetic closure as a catch-all on my bedside table.
    – I made several pitchers of sun tea.
    – I redeemed 750 swagbucks for $10 to my paypal account
    – I made breadcrumbs and froze them for future use.
    – I redeemed a loyalty reward from my Starbucks reward app for a free frappucino, and got an additional 25 loyalty points back.
    – I brought home some perfect condition recycled kraft paper from my workplace. My daughter will use it to do art after I have it sit in quarantine for a number of days.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    1. Margaret – in case you need Yeast – I found Fleishman’s at Longo’s last week and my No Frills had some small jars of yeast from the UK that I’ve never seen before. I picked up 9 packs of the Instant Yeast but would still like to find some regular stuff.

      1. Thanks, Margie! Yeast is like gold these days! I actually bought a 1 lb pack a few weeks ago from an online baking supplier, which should be enough to get me through for a year. It’s not my usual yeast, as it’s made for sweet baked goods, but eh, it’ll do! I appreciate you letting me know about your sources — I’ll let my friends know about them!

  42. I made Dandelion fritters with my grandson last week. It was a lot of fun! We have picked asparagus, lettuce, radishes , mustard greens, radish greens and kale. Oh yes, and green onions for salads. I have utilized the library for books for my grandchildren, saving a ton of money as they love to read!
    We are cooking at home. We try and eat everything before it goes bad and have succeeded on the most part. I will probably freeze some asparagus for soup in the winter. My husband pickled some. We bought some chicks in hopes of getting more eggs in the future. We have been entertaining ourselves at home. My husband has been helping me cook, much appreciated! I have been looking up ideas for teaching 3rd graders.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      How did you make the dandelion fritters? Your veggies sound wonderful. I’ll bet you are feeling great! I suggested to one of our svholarship recipients that she get a job in one of the asparagus fields and I think she’s got it — at least part-time.

      Margie from Toronto,

      It’s good to be prepared for the fall. I fear the second wave of covid especially if it coincides with the seasonal flu. I. too want to b prepared. I don’t really need a lot of food but it’s good to have sources of protein, etc. I too found yeast — finally — and I put it in my freezer. Safeway has portioned the yeast at the bakery into individual containers so my volunteer finally found some. I hope that’s okay to freeze it. Superstore has had Campbell’s Chunky Soups and Habitant Soups on sale. This is traditionally the time of year when grocery stores do put their soups on sale on the theory that no-one eats soup in the summer and then the new supplies will be arriving. Last week my volunteer picked up 10 cans of soup. This week a different volunteer is picking up another 10 cans for me. I apologized to my this week’s volunteer but she said my order wasn’t a lot at all compared to some people’s orders — she thinks they are expecting the apocalypse. I hope to have quite a few soups for fall and winter. I also hope to get some canned chicken. It as difficult to get any canned meats. Up until a month ago I had had no canned soup at all as it was always sold out. I’m not fond of canned soup because of the high sodium but in desperate times… Also canned lentils, dried lentils, dried split peas, pot or pearl barley. This fall I will start baking a bit. My friend brought me a huge tub of Crisco (I’d just asked for a small brick) and I haven’t opened that up yet. I will also be stocking up on first aid supplies, and soap. My brother loved Neutrogena soap and I inherited his sizeable collection (that he would buy on sale) but I will run out in another month or two.

      One other thing I’ve done is buy some dried Nomad soup mixes from MEC — Hungarian goulash (meatless), Irish stew (meatless), Borscht, Canadian Barley Soup. This is for camping or emergency preparedness. The Nomad brand is made in a peanut/nut-free facility so it’s good for my allergy. Also our ladies’ group convention was cancelled and I know some of them were making 17 bean soup mixes so I’m going to ask if they made that and if so I’ll buy some of their kits.


      I love the hummingbird photo you posted — catch light in the eye — just perfect! my neighbour saw the first hummingbird here yesterday. my feeder is up but it was tilted so all the syrup drained out. I’ll start again tomorrow.

      1. Yes, you can freeze yeast. I buy it in 2 1-pound packages from Sam’s Club. I freeze the bags that aren’t open and keep the open one in the fridge.

      2. Ann – both No Frills and Shoppers have had canned hams lately – after not having any for ages and ages – there was even one brand on sale! Might be worth checking out. I did find some small tins of canned chicken but not quite sure if it is bits or more of a pate. Wish there were more protein options – I keep trying to find things like Frey Bentos tinned pies but they are getting harder and harder to track down.
        I do keep some canned soups on hand but prefer the dry mixes to help make my own. I have also been stocking up on Oxo/bullion cubes but I will also buy a jar of that “Better than Bullion” next month (one of those pricey items).
        I prefer canned beans as they are easier for just one person but I do keep things like dried lentils, barley and split peas as well.
        It will be interesting to see what we all end up with!

        1. Do they sell Knorr’s chicken bullion powder in Canada? I know I could get it in a rectangle in France (like a cube, but slightly different-shaped). I buy it as more of a powder here and I can get it in a very large jar, which is only $4.88.

          1. Yes, they do actually – both the powder and the cubes – I tend to buy whatever is handy – Knorr and OXO are the two main brands here. I think I’ve seen the jars of powder but mostly its in the hard cubes. Know also has “jelly” like cubes – but they are pricier.

        2. Hi Margie from T.O.,

          I had never heard of Frey Bentos so I checked it out online — I don’t usually watch Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain but there is a very funny clip about opening (or not opening) a can of Frey Bentos. I, too, prefer canned beans — my favourite beans are Scarpone’s lentils (about $1.39 Cdn per can) — even they have beec hard to find. For canned meat, I’m aiming for the President’s Choice canned white chicken chunks. Not a great bargain but it would be good to have some on hand for sandwiches. I will also try for some canned hams.

        3. Margie,
          No Frills has some really good deals this week. The PC Blue menu chicken chunks (or turkey) are $1 per can at No Frills but are on sale for $2 (reduced from $2.50) at Superstore. Shopper’s has Maple Leaf canned ham on sale for $5.99. Not sure if that’s a good price but think it is.

          Mary Beth — thanks for the tip but we don’t have Aldi’s here. but thanks!

      3. HI Ann!
        I am feeling good! And I am losing weight! I am two pant sizes smaller. My scale isn;t working but I know because of the way my clothes fit that I am losing weight! I found the dandelion fritter recipe online and honestly don’t remember the details of the recipe. But they were tasty! I have seen a lot of beautiful birds the last few weeks. Some I’v never seen before. Almost florescent blue birds, small as well as yellow birds. I saw what think was our state bird, the Eastern Meadowlark, Yellow with a black on the breast. Some I have seen and always enjoy, Cardinals, my favorite!
        Asparagus picking is work, but very rewarding. I love Neutogena soap too! Actually, I love soaps in general. But Neutrogena soap is nice.

        1. Hi Tammy,
          Congratulations on the weight loss! That is great news and I’m sure will help your general health. Loved hearing about your birds. I am wondering if your blue birds might be Indigo Buntings?

          I have almost exhausted my inherited supply of Neutrogena soap. I’ll be looking around for sales on soap and I’ll buy a lot to supply my pantry.

  43. Just looking at my frugal fails and wins over the last few months.
    Frugal Fails:- Planted 6 purple carrot seedlings, which are now been eaten by some dirtbag bug in the garden.
    Frugal win:- I bought basil and mint from the supermarket and have successfully encouraged them to grow in my kitchen. Upside is I can add herbs to my meals even if I can’t add purple carrots.
    Frugal win:- coming into winter here, I have covered my glass doors and window with bubble wrap. This creates an extra layer between the glass and the curtains. It’s reduce the amount I need to heat my home. I was expecting a gas bill in the thousands, because I’m home all through the week working with the heater on. However the bill was only $310. Just for comparison my last quarter bill was $177. There’s an increase, but not as bad as I thought it would be. There’s no shame in having bubble wrap floating around all the glass, as no one has been able to visit. 😀
    I didn’t stock pile a lot of foods, and in another week I will have come to the end of the foods I had in the house. I’m putting together meal plans that involve more beans. Bean’s aren’t something I’ve eaten a lot of before, but change is usually interesting, and sometimes fun.
    We’re coming out of lockdown in Melbourne, Australia next week, but social distancing, hand washing, and hand sanitizing all remain.
    Keep well all.

    1. Jenny,

      I didn’t grow up eating beans; my mom only made baked beans as a side dish, which I didn’t like at all as a child but like now! I learned to eat beans in Switzerland from a woman from Brazil, who made rice and beans with onions and with tomatoes on top. I thought it was wonderful.

      1. Thank you, it’s given me hope. My new to me bean recipe is black beans and brown rice with tomatoes and onions. I enjoyed my first dish of it. 🙂

        1. When I was making this at college after my experience eating it in Switzerland, my roommate’s mother was visiting from Mexico. She watched me cooking it for some time without saying anything, and then finally said, “That would be so much better if you just added a little lime juice.” I tried it and loved it; I’ve cooked it with lime ever since!

    2. Jenny:
      Maybe you can get a set of purple carrots from the store and have starts from the carrot tops…I was surprised mine started indoors sprouted immediately. Wen the fronds(if that is the right word) grow abit u can plant it outside…while growing indoors just change their water frequently. I am told it takes 35-40 days to harvest
      P.s.Brandi-beans and rice is our fav. meal in my house. We make its just like that and its so satisfying.I didn’t grow up liking it either though we were a fan of baked beans with all that added sugar but black beans remains our fav. now living here in the US…

      1. Hey Sheeba Mathew, I haven’t been able to find purple carrots in the supermarket unfortunately, that’s why I was going down the growing route. My new solution, with seeds, involves planting the seeds in egg cartons initially, but then transferring the seedlings to a planter that stays in my kitchen.

  44. I just love your photography, Brandy! I must admit when I saw the the photos, I thought you had been able to purchase cherries at a wonderful price. What a fun surprise to receive from your garden.

    We put up a humming bird feeder this year – we have had them stopping by the last couple of years so I feel comfortable feeding them. My Aunt just loved humming birds so every time I see them, I think of her. My foxglove is blooming this year! I planted it three years ago and it never bloomed. I was thinking of digging it out and replacing it with something else. Foxglove reminds me of my Great Aunt, who was known for her flowers. Now I just have to find a way to keep the rabbits and squirrels from eating the holly hock seedlings that I grow from her seeds and I’ll have two reminders!

    We didn’t do much this past week – we all had so much to do for work and school that we just worked and did school. We did our own gardening including putting weed-and-feed on our very weedy lawn. For the last few years, both of our neighbors have been yard-care workers. Our lawn has looked much worse than it is because their lawns look like a golf course green. We don’t feel the need to have a gorgeous looking lawn all the time, but fewer weeds and more grass would be welcome! I also transplanted several volunteer plants – petunias, lettuce and tomato plants. I also planted seedlings for acorn squash, cucumbers, zucchini and seeds for peas and beans. I also did a LOT of weeding. My new thing this week? Trimming my rhododendron. Wish me luck!

    We also took advantage of some sales to order some new underclothing and a skirt I had been wanting for a long time. I cleaned out another area in the basement. I picked two bouquets of flowers for my kitchen table. Our children made cards to send to our Parishioners at the nursing home in town. We walked both as a couple (my husband and I for a date) and a family at the walking path by our home. We also continued to read books and listen to audiobooks from the library. You can read more at my blog her: http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2020/05/frugal-friday-week-of-may-27-2020.html

    Thanks for sharing your beauty with us! Have a wonderful week everyone, Lea

    1. I did see a few wonderful sales on cherries, but we decided not to purchase any, as I have already spent my grocery money for this month.

  45. Hello!
    This past week was cold and rainy; the grass and garden were well soaked. I was able to transplant some chives and thin out the area. I gifted 2 containers of chives to my Mum and my sister.
    We continue to stay at home, our only outing this week was a trip to the grocery store. I stocked up for 3 weeks and I was able to use $20 in loyalty points. My gas tank was half empty since Mar 17. and I filled up my tank just before gas prices increased. No other money was spent.
    I spent a lot of time on pinterest searching for ideas for Christmas gifts to make for my family this year. I have lots of craft supplies on hand and I made 20 postcards for my daughter to who loves to send and receive mail. I completed a cute Harry Potter cross stitch to sew onto a reusable shopping bag. It was a new free bag and I covered the logo with the cross stitch design. I also made a notebook from a children’s storybook. I have more time than money this year and I am pleased that I have started these projects so early.
    Brandy I so appreciate your wonderful site and all the readers that make this a wonderful place to visit!!

    1. Did you make up the cross stitch pattern yourself from the logo or did you find one somewhere?

        1. I really liked the things on this site so thank you. The Harry Potter crocheted dolls would make lovely Christmas gifts. I liked the cross stitch too.

  46. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments here…It def. doesn’t make you feel like you are the only family on the planet going through hardships.
    So here are a few of my frugals:
    I have been researching what grows here in Texas and what doesn’t. I have even made it an assignment for my 6th grader to design the garden and even use the key that they do when planning it. He hasn’t taken that lesson enthusiastically but I hope he remembers I tried.
    We have been saving bits and ends from the kitchen so all of my cuttings have grown even the carrot top that I thought wouldn’t…love looking at the bright green onions and garlic shoots….plus microgreens of different varieties…Its been raining for a couple days here in TX so we haven’t had the need to water.
    2/ Money Savings:
    I have been looking at online classes available from universities. There are some free ones plus the ones for professional certifications. I am hoping to talk to university admissions to take me at discounted rates. I have a finance certification prep class which starts in July and hoping to get that resolved. I believe there are others like Skillshare and coursera that cover some valuable technical skills as well.
    I have been struggling with getting clothes from online retailers. I have had to cancel some as they weren’t coming via mail and was forced to text few friends from church circles asking if they had clothes that they were going to throw away. My daughter is on a very limited clothes sets n is going through a growth spurt. A huge blessing that I received a friend’s text this morning who said she was going to throw away some of her daughter’s older/outgrown clothes away and it was at the right time that I asked.
    I also probably saved money making ghee from scratch. A friend of mine had showed me years ago when I was at her house but I never bothered until this week when shopping for stuff has been so careful and tight. Ghee is wonderful like butter is for the west and helps make dried breads like chappatis and naans more rich and tasty..Its like $15/11 oz jar savings… I used 2.5 sticks of unsalted butter for it.

    I also made weekly dosa batter/lentil-rice batter but I was short on one of the lentils/dals used. I subbed using a little of flattened rice called poha soaked and grinded instead to make the batter fluffier and it turned out for the best.(lucky me)
    My hubby decided to get RING solar chargers for our cameras but overlooked the tech specs for it. We both realized that our cellphones were not compatible to use it online. So until we upgrade our cells these will be boxed. A frugal fail…maybe…
    I did subscribe to Amazon’s kindle unlimited under their free month trial but when that was over i tried cancelling but they gave me another month free. I have it till June and its a delight to have it. We have been using 10 books limit quite a bit and have gotten materials for the kids to do their science and social studies stuff from it as well some great STEM oriented books.
    I entered our kids in the Summer Reading Program online for our county as well as city library. They are giving our prizes such as free e-books. for reading points earned. I love books is whatever form and so this was a good find as well.
    I got a surprise from my son’s school via mail last week. Before i started full time work I had been volunteering for the PTO sponsored lunches as an organizer/server. His school made $17k from the program this year and they sent me a lovely personally written card with a GC for Sonic. I was there for a month only three times a week for three hours sometimes but it made that experience worthwhile to be recognized for it.
    We have also started using the haircut clippers that I first got from reading this site in 2009. We started cutting each other’s hair. My daughter got scissors to hers and my hubby and son used the clippers. We got lazy in between n pre-pandemic but we used coupons paying for our haircuts from Great Clips. Now back to clippers again.
    For entertainment I watch the free Hallmark Mystery stories and Agatha Christie’s Poirot stories on YouTube plus I still workout to Popsugar Fitness Online and the IGTV episodes of my fav trainers online via Instagram.Also great cooking inspiration from Youtube vlogs as well..
    This is quite alot..Hope it inspires you all..Have an awesome week.

    1. Sheeba, if you become a university student, make sure you check into whatever student discount are available to you, (for shopping, traveling, etc. even though those activities are more rare now).
      In particular, Amazon Prime has six months free for students or school employee, anyone with an email address that ends in .edu (Unless their policy has changed). You don’t even have to use that address for your account, just have to provide it for verification.

    2. Sheeba,
      You might look into getting a grant from P.E.O. International. You can google that name and read about projects. The grant (a PCE grant) is for women who have to go back to school as long a sometime they’ve had 24 continuous months of being a non-student. You would have to be interviewed and nominated by a local chapter.

  47. Hi All,
    It seems we’ve gone directly from Winter to Summer here in Toronto. I turned off the furnace and wanted to turn on the AC but I have resisted. My DH dusted and adjusted the overhead fan in our bedroom and it was on last night providing just enough cool breeze to sleep comfortably.
    I spent a lot of time in the gardens last week weeding and dividing plants. I gave herb starts to both my kids that live in town and gave away other bits of plants to random strangers that commented on things as they walked down the street. Later in the season, I’ll again be giving things to strangers like an abundance of kale that is growing.
    In the gardens I’ve planted early, mid-season and cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, swiss chard, 3 kinds of kale, spinach. Still to go in are beans, peas, and radishes and leaf lettuce. . We’ve had two meals of asparagus so far from my 3 little plants and there’s lots of herbs growing back and from seed that dropped last year.
    It’s amazing what you can grow in around the flowers.
    I’ve received some sourdough starter from my Brother’s bakery that he is shutting down. I haven’t actually made any bread yet as the process seems a bit intimidating. But with the discard I have made Sourdough buttermilk biscuits that were awesome. And I’m going to try making crumpets with some discard as well. I know my brother has used the discard in pizza dough and pie crust as well with good results.
    We haven’t had any cookies here for a while and I know my DH would like some so I’ll be making some Nova Scotia Oat Cakes soon. They are less sweet and we love them.
    We have rediscovered my Soda Stream machine. It’s encouraging us to drink more water. for flavour we just squeeze a bit of lemon or lime into a glass and use the sparkling water.
    A frugal fail but necessary expenditure was my car. It was making a terrible noise and needed a new alternator. It could have been worse. It’s about time to trade in the vehicle so we are following dealerships to see when the sales begin. There should be lots coming up.
    I love reading the blog every week as it gives me ideas to cook. I have a list that I add ideas to and then make a menu for a week or two at a time. This past week we had smoked pork chops over sauerkraut , steak from the freezer with mushrooms , potatoes and brussel sprouts, BBQ burgers, a big salad with grilled Halloom cheese, baked salmon and salad and last night we had our first cold plate of the season with 3 bean salad, devilled eggs and leftover grilled Halloom. I’ve used up the leftover salmon and tarter sauce to make salmon salad sandwich for the DH the next day.
    I do find I’m cooking more vegetarian type meals and we quite enjoy it but occasionally we crave a bit of meat.
    I’ve run out of dried black beans and navy beans so those are on my grocery list that my daughter will pick up for me. She has a fit if I go into the stores myself even if I use a mask and sanitize like crazy. I did sneak into the bookstore the other day and she gave me a stern talking to…talk about role reversals.
    Take care everyone and I look forward to next weeks blog.

  48. I also wanted to add to the savings-that I go through my kids’ closet every summer and update their wardrobe if possible…I know you may have heard of thredup, a really large online consignment store, but if you haven’t here is my link :http://www.thredup.com/r/HAQHMP
    Disclosure:I just get $10 here if you join and earn…They send you a label to stick on your box of donated clothes @thredup which you are also free to send back as well. They may take up some postage off.
    I sometimes get really expensive hand-me downs in shoes and shirts, that’s from my community group in NJ-not tried here in TX yet…brand-new stuff so when my kids are through with it, its always nice to see it have further wear-life plus you can earn money for the clothes you send in or earn credits to buy more which works well…thought i did share.

  49. Every time I read one of these, I’m inspired by everyone’s examples! I thought I was pretty frugal, but you all blow me out of the water, ha ha! I love it <3

    Some things I did last week:
    – used some fresh parsley from the garden to season a soup
    – brought some graham crackers from our food storage to a family BBQ on Memorial Day rather than volunteering to bring something I would have to go out and buy
    – watched a DVD that we own for date night (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)
    – read lots of books from the library
    – didn't stop at McDonald's for a $1 drink on the long drive home from going out of town for the holiday, even though I really, really wanted to 🙂
    – added water to our dwindling hand soap in the bathroom to make it last longer
    – brought our own masks to the hair salon instead of spending $1.50 apiece to purchase some of theirs to wear

    1. I loved “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” – it was filmed here in Toronto – and especially on “the Danforth” which is Greek Town. Of course they changed the names of locals but everyone in the audience would yell out the real names of the restaurants etc. Margie from Toronto- it was quite funny.

      1. That’s funny!

        When I was in high school, my boyfriend and his siblings were often extras in movies. They used the money to save for college. His younger brother sat right behind the main character’s son in class in the movie Apollo 13, so he was on the screen. We went together with his brother and some friends to the movie, and every time we saw him on screen, we all yelled out. It was a lot of fun!

  50. Those plums remind me of the wild plums around here. I never get to pick any, as the animals get to them first.

    On that note –
    1. I saved my blueberries this year by netting the plant. I recently took it off, as the berries are almost done, and put it over the ripening blackberries.
    2. I found a dog bowl and a needed craft item (to make a gift) at a Goodwill for $1.78 total. New price would run close to $12.00. I’m glad our thrift stores have re-opened.
    3. I made another five-gallon bucket of laundry soap.
    4. I continue to de-clutter and I continue to find things I forgot I had. I’ve found re-uses for several of them, saving me from buying something new.
    5. Inspired by Brandy, I underplanted my okra with parsley; both are growing right on up.
    6. I looked up calcium treatments for soils, since my squash showed some blossom end rot and I could find no gypsum at the limited stores I’ve visited. I am trying white chalk, both mixed as a foliar spray and in the soil. It supposedly works. One of the “calcium sprays” I found for sale at one store was nothing more than water mixed with a little calcium carbonate.

    1. When my dad gets end rot he takes several tums and put them in a pitcher of water. He lets them dissolve well and mixes it up. He then pours it on the affected plants. It works great. I do it when the plants are young and I have only had end rot once. Good luck.

      1. Interesting tip, Marybeth. My mother used to put one plain, unflavoured Tums and plant it just under the tomato root’s when she planted the tomato.

  51. I really thought those plums were cherries!!!
    This is for the last two weeks. I went back to work last week after being off for 7 weeks. I am in my mid-60s, so got a taste of retirement. Have to admit, I kind of loved it.
    My DH’s birthday was on the 12th, so I made orange rolls for breakfast. found some in the refrigerator section while I was shopping they were 28¢ for a box of 6. Only got two boxes. I thought they were too sweet, but DH loved them. I also made him a chocolate cake from a homemade snack cake mix.
    We picked all of the green onions from one of our boxes. The box was getting so full of grass they were hard to weed. Cleaned them and put them in the freezer. DH dug all the grass out turned the soil, added a little more, and I replanted green onion seeds.
    When you did your 40¢ a day posts, you had said we could print it for our own use. I printed all 10 articles plus all of the original comments. that was my reading while I was off work. Was re-inspired by many ideas.
    I made 17 egg rolls
    Picked chives and dried 4 trays of them.
    Planted 3 rows of dry beans. These are the great-great…however many times removed from seeds my DH’s grandmother brought from Italy in 1968. They are an Italian heirloom bean, obviously. Also planted 4 hills of zucchini and 3 rows of corn.
    I trimmed my own bangs for the second time since lockdown.
    Picked up all my free stuff from Safeway for the monopoly game, French bread (made French toast) pasta (made pasta salad), salsa, and diced tomatoes. Made homemade pizza
    Got petite sirloins steak for $2.79/lb. These were huge packages. Cut some into stir fry meat and froze, others into stew meat and froze. Got 2 pkgs of Tillamook chees – 2 pounds for $4.99.
    Put a turkey breast in the crockpot the morning I went back to work. It was from the freezer – had paid 89¢ per pound.
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work each day. Had popcorn for snacks twice.
    There was an individual giving away potatoes in front of the Baptist church one day. He had picked up a pick up load from farmers who were not able to sell them. I got a box (Must have weighed 50 pounds). They were asking for donations to give to the farmer. All I had on me was $4.00, so I gave it to them..
    Our Winco had yeast! In the one pound packages! They were $3.63! I got 2 pounds.
    I made baked potatoes with some of the potatoes I picked up. YUM!!!
    Made split pea soup with a ham bone and leftover ham in the freezer. Only took 30 minutes in the Instapot
    Our county has somewhat opened up. It is why I am back at work. My son and his girlfriend came to a BBQ on Sunday. It was so lovely to see them again. My sister, who lives in the same town as my son, sent 8 masks for us. 4 for me and 4 for DH.
    We will be putting the rest of the garden in this week.
    Hope everyone has a good week, and stays healthy!

  52. I’ve been using your idea to catch warm up water in a pot when washing dishes & use the water to water plants in containers. We also have tubs under the eaves of the garage to catch rainwater. The Grand’s are coming to visit & I’ve been stocking up on food for them as items go on sale.

  53. Greetings All! I enjoy seeing everyone’s savings. It gives me ideas. It seems I have saved some this week. 1. The lady that helps me couldn’t come last week. $100 savings. 2. I ordered a kit to repair glasses. My husband’s glasses needed repaired and getting them somewhere was not going to happen. The kit cost $6.00. I have Amazon Prime so no shipping costs. 3. My son just ordered HBO Max on his Hulu account and I got to take HBO off my Comcast accounts. Savings $15.00 a month. 4. My gas/electric bill was $120 less than budgeted. I put it into a savings account for the summer when my air conditioning will drive the bill up. The surprise last week was I have been asked to teach next term. As I might or might not said I teach economics online for Brandman University. This is the term I usually don’t teach. A nice financial boost for the summer. I made the decision today to start building the amount equal to my husband’s social security in the checking account that his auto SS deposit is deposited in. His health is not good, and I want to be prepared when he does pass to have the money. SS will ask back the money out of the account and freeze the account I learned. Again I want to be prepared. I read on FB a quote that I liked – To move a mountain remove small stones first. It is a Confucius saying. I am trying to remove the small stones one at a time in organizing my home. Have a great week!

    1. Judy–As I understand it, SS just takes back the payment made the month in which the spouse dies. Of course then the account is closed. A small one-time death benefit is given the surviving spouse (used to be $250, not sure about now) and, depending on your age, you may be able to apply for monthly benefits to you using his work history. The local SS office is usually helpful with information.

  54. Looked at myself in the mirror with glasses on yesterday and realised I definitely needed to do something about the white hair so I mixed a few different dyes together, added a generous dollop of pink and did it myself. I think it doesn’t look too bad (saved a lot of money anyway).

    I am trying to make something new each week for dinner and last night made spinach, feta and mushroom gozleme (a Turkish flatbread) which the family loved and have requested again for next week. Like many families the boys in mine are not too keen on meatless meals but this one was a winner.

    The avenue of trees near the building I work in are all losing their autumn leaves so I have been out collecting them to take home and use on my roses come Spring. I get a few looks from passing motorists but can’t stand to see this free mulch just blow away.

  55. Brandy,
    Your plums look yummy! We planted a couple plums trees. I’m not sure how long it will be until we get fruit. But I am definitely looking forward to it.

    1. Usually, it’s about 3 years for a 5-gallon one-year-old semi-dwarf tree. If your tree is a full-sized tree, it can take longer.

  56. Finally I got the new frames and my old lenses put into them. Bon Look gave me $30 credit off of the price of the frames so $119. Everything went wrong about it but in the end it worked out. I bought a cast iron Lagostina frying pan with a removable silicone handle for $17.99 The Lagostina 10 inch frying pan exactly the same except without the silicone handle was regularly $99. I do have a cast iron frying pan but want to be able to cook more than one thing at a time.

    Canadian Tire also had the rollator independent living device aka a walker with wheels. It was half price. I decided that is how I will get to my garden plot. I need to sit a couple of times on my way over and there are no benches so I can rest and sit on the rollator. I hope it will work out. Because of the pneumonia I had I still don’t have great lung capacity and need to rest quite often.

    I was given a lovely steak which I enjoyed for dinner tonight. I haven’t had a steak in a long time. It was a lovely treat with baked potatoes.

  57. I just love seeing your latest photographic masterpieces and reading everyone’s posts. Thank you especially to the people who share their sources for things. For me this past week didn’t have any huge savings in it, but we are saving money mainly by staying out of stores. I find myself ordering from a curbside pickup store or online the one or two items I need. I buy fresh produce much less often, although it is sometimes challenging to use what I buy before it has seen better days. We took a little trip over the weekend, the first in I’ve lost track of how many months. We avoided meeting up with people by filling our car with gasoline we purchased for the lawn mower with a discount a few weeks ago and by taking out own food. We drove the back roads, the “scenic route.” The parks are all closed, so we stopped at a closed weigh station with a view of a hay field and wooded hills and ate our haystacks for lunch. I put pinto beans I had cooked in spaghetti sauce in a thermos. We ate them hot over corn chips I had stored in the freezer after finding a good sale months ago. We stacked shredded lettuce and carrots and other vegetables on top of the beans and chips. We brought some of our good well water with us to drink. We had apples for dessert. Then this weekend my husband repaired a bike tire for a child after the child’s parent said she should take the bike to a bike shop for repair. I thought it was interesting that the mother called five or six stores before she found someone who had the right-sized inner tube for the bike tire. This weekend I taught a ten-year-old who said she wants to learn to crochet the beginnings of how to crochet–something I barely know anything about myself. I must acknowledge help from a YouTube video about how to crochet straight edges. This week I will continue helping my granddaughters and one of their friends with schoolwork online. I suppose that saves the cost of a tutor for them since their parents can’t help them as much as they need due to working more than full time in healthcare and at home, but I don’t think the parents could afford to pay a tutor. The parents send me emails with copies of their lesson plans and worksheets, so it is much easier than trying to read what a child is holding up to their camera. It’s only a small thing, but I enjoy doing it and thinking I may be helping a little.

    1. Elizabeth, bike stores are doing 150% of normal business, so it’s no surprise that mom had a hard time finding the right size innertube. No one really knows why business is so good! (My son works in the industry).

      1. In Toronto they have shut down streets to cars and opened them to bikes and pedestrians and the city just announced a lot of new bike lanes only routes as they want people to cycle rather than use public transit (and people feel that is safer) – may be the same mindset where you live.

      2. 150% nationwide, not just their store or their town. The store where my son is a shift manager during the summer is in a very pricey resort area and sells high end mountain and road bikes. REALLY high end. No one really knows what is spurring the increase, but the general feeling is that people want to get out and exercise without getting too close to other people. The store is open now, with masks and social distancing, but for a few weeks they were selling online, over the phone and at the curb…and business was still hot.

        1. It’s been in the news, too: bicycles are hard to come by and there are lines to get them nationwide. Sewing machines, garden seeds, flour, yeast, and baby chicks have also been in demand. It’s a route to self-sufficiency.

  58. The color of those plums is simple beautiful. I really enjoy the composition of that photo.

    I reluctantly have been putting off signing up for a rewards program for my cats litter. I’m glad I did though. 3 boxes will save me $3 on the forth box and right now that is a way to stretch this budget.
    I accepted some pens and toiletries that were no longer needed by the previous owner.
    Been placing 2 buckets in the shower to collect water to use in the garden.
    I used this recipe to make 20 english muffins and a small loaf of english muffin bread.
    I would like to utilize my pressure canner more and have found several soup recipes to try out. My plan is to make one recipe a month – using what will be growing in the garden and pantry items. This might also turn into holiday gifts for the adults.

    Stay healthy everyone!

  59. Jenifer, those English muffins look scrumptious! I’ll have to make some this week. I’ve been making a few masks for family and friends. My husband has been tending to his usual garden: peas, lettuce, radishes, peppers and tomatoes, so far. I planted some veg seeds in planters, but so far they haven’t germinated. It was old seed, so maybe that’s why, or perhaps the birds were watching when I planted them! This morning I made breakfast burritos from a recipe I found on spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu. I wrapped them and put them in the freezer for future use. Often when I get up in the morning I don’t want to cook. Lazy me! We are headed for hot weather this week, so the outside work will be limited to necessities only. We need to pick up a few grocery items, but will wait until we can make ourselves get up early enough for the senior hours at Sam’s Club or Smiths (Kroger). My husband has sleep issues, so we never know what day will be good. Fortunately we don’t have jobs and no need to keep to a schedule. Thank you to everyone, and especially Brandy, for your good ideas for frugal and beautiful living!

  60. I am gluten free and have been eating low carb and wanted to share some things I am eating since others are eating from the pantry.
    I make chaffles for breakfast. I bought a mini waffle maker off Amazon. I mix one egg with 1/2 cup shredded cheese. You can use any cheese. I usually use cheddar but have mixed cheddar and .mozzarella together or used the tr-cheese blend I had. Cook that in the waffle maker. I use a no sugar syrup and it is really good. You can make it with different ingredients and use as the “bread” for a sandwich.
    * I had made a Mexican seasoned chicken breast and had leftover chicken. I sliced it up and the next day melted mozzarella in a non stick skillet so the cheese melt and crisps and forms a shell. I put chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and sweet peppers in it and folded it over. Then ate it with a dollop of sour cream
    *I made Zuppa Tuscana and instead of potatoes used frozen cauliflower. I sliced the cauliflower into smaller pieces while it was still frozen and threw that in the pan. I used the remaining spinach I had instead of buying kale.
    *My big no-no. Two days ago I went and watered my container plants outside. It sprinkled yesterday so I didn’t need to water. Today I went and it was sloppy wet under the water spicket. I have a spray nozzle so it wasn’t flowing, but at the house connector it has a drip and had dripped two days. Then I watered my indoor plants today and came back and under two had water all over the floor. So, I am not doing well at watering things this week.
    *I resisted ordering clothes that come across my feed a bazillion times this week. So many sales for Memorial Day! So many cute things! I am losing weight and need to wait until I have a need not a want.
    * I sold two suitcases we didn’t like when traveling and trying to navigate the airports. I did porch pick up and he left cash. I am just letting it sit out of the way to let virus bugs die. I have some other items I need to list.
    * I am walking with a friend each morning along with doing a weight workout each day. We are doing 2 miles right now and will increase once my body adjusts to it.
    *I have been doing French with Duolingo. I am southern so it tells you to speak a phrase and I am starting to have difficulty. I say it exactly like it says and it will say,” hum, that doesm’t sound right. Try again.” So I do it again and it finally says,”Let’s move on, we will try again later.” I guess I need to look to some other places to correct my pronunciation of the phrases.
    * Just watched Sweet Magnolias on Netflix. It is cute. Kind of Hallmark movie, but with a little more to it. I watch Bosch at night. with my husband. I finished World on Fire. I just realized I didn’t have Call the Midwife to record so need to go back and watch the newer ones.
    * Husband and son replaced the starter on my son’s car. Saved a lot doing it themselves. It took over 8 hours though because it was very hard to get to and replace as it was in a tight area they could barely reach and had two wires to connect in that tight space.


    1. Thanks BamaHolly for these recipe ideas. I am gluten free too and like to expand my options 🙂

  61. I love reading the comments as much as the original post! My garden is finally starting to wake up now that the temperatures are rising and we’re getting tons of rain (we’re in northeast Tennessee). There are pea blossoms, baby squash, and I’ve picked from the lettuce 3x now. Also seeing some little green tomatoes finally. I shared many plants and cuttings with my sister in law, who is now a single mom and learning to garden to save money on food costs.

  62. Brandy, the leaves of that plum are so striking. Lovely photo!

    We’ve had rain for about a week here, and the plants are loving it, but our soil is very wet and we need a day of sunshine. I planted my dwarf mulberyy in the ground so it could get watered by rain, and a few volunteer papayas, too. We eat the papayas green and they’re very good. My sweet potato plants are going crazy and I need to cut them back and add the leaves to a stir fry very soon.

    I’m making almond flour by blanching, skinning, and now dehydrating the almonds. I’ll grind them in the Vitamix when they’re finished. We’re gluten-free, and use quite a bit of almond flour which is very expensive to buy. We also made our own almond butter in the food processor. We use a lot of cassava flour which I get from Azure Standard at a very good price. We highly recommend Azure if you’re somewhere they have a truck route.

    We had too many mushrooms and have quite a few jars of cooked ones in the freezer, so I dehydrated them and ground them to a powder and used about a teaspoon in soup; the flavor they added was really nice.

    Our library is now open for walk-up and drive-up appointments and I got the foraging and permaculture books I’d had on hold. I really believe permaculture is the wave of the future of sustainability. I hope to incorporate more of the principles in my garden.

    Brandy, we also use our dish-washing water on our plants, as well as the water from showers. We keep a bucket in the tub, under the spout and close the stopper while we shower. Afterwards, we scoop the water into the bucket (and use that water on the plants (sometimes it takes a couple of trips) or one could use it to flush the toilet. If you use water on plants, I’ve read it’s best to use a biodegradable, all-natural soap.

    Thank you to all!

  63. I am harvesting blackberries the size of a tablespoon now (Triple Crown variety) and they are so good. Tomatoes popping out on the vine and lettuce/cucumbers growing like mad. Blueberries are ripening but are too tart to eat, so I’m leaving them for the birds. Brandy, you asked me about the flowers on my fig tree and I don’t know that I answered you back. I went out and took a much closer look and instead of flowers, they were tiny, white, fuzz-covered figs which I mistook for flowers in a casual walk-by.! No blooms, just straight to figs. Have had to spray azaleas, Virginia Sweetspire and hydrangeas for black spot and some leaf-sucking insects. When our family visited the Great Smokey Mountains year before last, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center. The front was planted in shrubs that were absolutely vibrating with pollinators. I asked the Park Ranger what they were and he said Virginia Sweetspire, which is a native plant. I immediately planted five in my backyard and they have grown well. Unfortunately, not many pollinators on them yet. I hang most of our clothes outside to dry as it is getting close to 90 degrees. It helps so much on the wear and tear, especially on my daughter’s stretchy type leggings, etc. I have been cooking at home constantly and I really don’t like cooking, but with both college-age children home, it’s a necessity. We opted for pizza one night and with my daughter’s gluten-free pizza, and tip/tax, it was over 30.00 and I regretted it. Most of our neighbors have yard services, but I cut our yard and fill the flowerbeds. We hired an HVAC company to service our AC unit and found out it is a very basic unit (knew that) that is original to the house (28 years old). It was operating at around 8 SERS instead of the highly recommended basic level of 14 SERS for this deep in the south. The service guy was flabbergasted that it was even working. Long story short, we just spent the least amount we could and put in a new one for 6000.00 after getting 3 quotes. All three companies had systems up to 20,000.00 Happy it functioned for so long, but sad we had to spend that money. Hopefully, it will function much more efficiently. Like most of your readers, we try to be water frugal, even through we get lots of rain. We have a rain barrel and I put out large bowls and 5 gallon buckets when it rains. We also use shower warm up water for toilet flushing, which adds up to at least 15 gallons per day. We actually have flooding issues after heavy rains in our backyard and are working with our city to finally resolve those. My husband and I both still have our jobs and are hopeful our oldest daughter finds one soon. Thanks for this blog–it helps center me when so many around me are dismissive of the frugal lifestyle.

  64. Made some small progress on reducing food waste this past week. I put a list of meals made and which ones had leftovers onto the front of the fridge – so I can remember what we ate and when – to use up the oldest stuff first.
    Used up bits of various meals to make a stir-fry last Saturday – that worked pretty well for emptying out some of the fridge of it’s leftovers.
    I kept to my budget for buying for my daughter’s upcoming birthday.
    Most exciting for me was paying off a debt that had been lingering. On to the next one !
    Thank you Brandy for everything you do !

  65. Greetings from Heavenly Houston!
    We enjoyed some nice rain over the last several days. Unfortunately, the wind blew over our basketball goal and cracked the plastic backboard. 🙁 At least nothing was damaged when it fell.
    I found chicken breasts half price at Aldi, so I bought some extra for the freezer.
    We have found some good kids’ shows on pbs kids.
    I bought some bunk beds for the kids from a buy-sell-trade group. I haven’t put them together yet, but am still waiting to find mattresses. They’re full over full, whereas my boys were sleeping on twin beds before. I have an air mattress I could use on them, as a last resort. Or, maybe they’ll just have to sleep on a twin mattress on a full frame for a while.
    Our Taco Cabana restaurants are giving free kids meals to kids 12 and under, no purchase necessary. It was a nice treat for the days we did it, and it’s very close to our house.
    I made cornbread and seasoned green beans with bacon grease that I saved. Bacon grease is my essential oil, lol.
    I cleaned the vacuum cleaner, so maybe it will work more efficiently.
    We cut spiral notebooks in half (horizontally) so we had shorter notebooks to use for two kids. They rarely filled the page, anyway.
    Hope you all had a nice, frugal week!

    1. Now that’s an essential oil I can get behind! 🙂 We always make jokes about bacon perfume at my house. My husband is sensitive to most fragrances (including several flowers) and essential oils are too strong for him, but he loves the smell of bacon!

  66. I’ve been following your posts for several years. It started when my husband lost his job one of several times over the last 5 years he worked. Now I’m back as a widow in this very uncertain time renewing my frugal/thrifty ways. I’m sometimes torn between saving every penny I can, and filling my pantry while I can. So I am trying to find the happy middle of that. This past week I was able to visit my students to say goodbye for summer. We have been online since mid=March it was great to see them. The “bonus” was receiving many gift cards that will be so helpful over the summer. I even got a couple rolls of TP! LOL. I ordered groceries online which saved me time and anxiety- a big pick up order from one store and a couple online orders of pantry items from Walmart. Purchased chicken bones from the butcher to add to what I have to make another batch of broth. Ordered more canning lids as well. Someone gave me fabric so I can make a couple masks since it will be mandatory in stores starting tomorrow. I harvested my first radish from the garden (wooohoo!) and planted more kale, more radish, green beans, and 4 new tomato plants. Purchased some herbs from the local nursery as well. I found bread flour and yeast at the local Amish store and shared with a friend and with my daughter. Got a free meal from a restaurant that was honoring teachers today. I canceled a monthly membership ($25) and put another on hold saving me another $22. I got a $18? “give back” from my car insurance as well. I did splurge on a couple pieces of beef while at the butcher. It was about the same price as the store, but I felt good supporting a local family store. I also researched bean recipes as I am going to try to make one recipe a week with beans – one recipe lasts me 3-4 meals usually.

    1. How nice that your students gave you gifts!

      If you missed it over the years, here’s a post I did on how to eat beans every night: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/how-to-eat-beans-every-night/

      My eldest son is at college; he has his own version of taco soup (a little different from mine; his is more like chili) and he bought black beans in a large bag at Walmart to make it. He is saving leftovers in the fridge and freezer.

  67. LB–I wonder about restocking also. We had an email from a retired Air Force Colonel who had been warned to stock up now. He can be extreme, but it went along with my personal feelings. I had not been to Costco since the pandemic began so I really wanted to go. My adult son went with me to help. They had plenty of paper products. Meat was limited to 3 packages. I bought a package of pork loins which were $2.59 apound with no waste. I also bought 2 stacks of canned chicken. Sign said limit of 2. At register I was told I could only buy one, so I agreed. While I was waiting for my son to pick me up I noticed I was charged for 2. At $10.59 that was an expensive mistake! I went back inside and was given another stack of cans. Very thankful and happy to have the chicken for emergencies and quick suppers. This week Fred Meyers will have Senior Day. I have not been there since the beginning of covid but plan to go, especially for barley which makes a wonderful soup with the canned chicken and vegetables. We always have basics because Fairbanks is the end of the supply chain. If a barge doesn’t come in, we have empty shelves until another one comes in. When this started we realized we were short on vegetables. Hopefully we will be better prepared for the next wave!
    Blessings and hope all continue to prepare!

  68. We picked strawberries here at a local farm this week, was more expensive than in the past but we picked about 40 lbs. and it was way more reasonable than buying pre-picked or at store, which would be really expensive. So far I have made 30 containers of jam and 4 bottles of strawberry pancake syrup (which I froze). We’ve eaten a ton fresh and they are delicious. Today I will slice many to freeze and also one of my girls is making shortcake. I cooked all meals at home, and one really good dish I made with a bunch of leftover veggies, some lemon juice, a tad of cream and some parmesan was pasta primavera. I used all the random veggies I had. Great end-of-week meal!

  69. Alaskan Gram, Because of the mass protests and demonstrations now going on sparked by the terrible, heinous mistreatment and death of George Floyd, it would be a good idea to have a basic well-stocked pantry. Many parts of your country have not got beyond phase I of Covid so your country may have a surge in cases before even reaching a second wave. Don’t panic but yes, stocking up somewhat would be wise. Even if there were no mass demonstrations, it would be wise because epidemics/pandemics do often have more than one wave. I hope it doesn’t happen but wise to be prepared.

    The way I have handled building up a very basic pantry is that starting on Jan 2, as soon as I heard about the virus, I gradually bought a few extra things for 3 months. I try not to use my pantry but keep it in tact for emergencies. If I have to use an item or two, I replace those as soon as I can. I am not hoarding. It is not a huge stockpile but it is enough to get me through a relatively short period of time without my going to a store — and also foresees that my volunteer shoppers might not be able to go shopping for one reason or another. I also try to minimize their trips on my behalf. Some of my volunteers bought far larger packages of items than I had requested (like Crisco, instead of a small brick a big tub). At the end of the three months, we had covid here; shelves were bare of some items I had tried to get, like canned meat. I am allergic to fish so I could not use that. If you are not allergic, canned tuna, salmon, and sardines are great additions. Now those items (canned chicken, ham, turkey) are available again I am trying to buy some but again not a lot. I am glad you were able to get the canned chicken. Somehow I never thought to use the canned chicken with barley to make soup so thanks for the idea. Hopefully the worst will not happen. Blessings.

  70. My BFF’s mom is giving us several bags of frozen apple slices. I’m not sure how old the apples are — probably a year old or maybe older. Can I still can them, and what recipes would you recommend? I was thinking applesauce and apple jam. I’m new to canning so need to stick with simple recipes.

      1. We picked up the food yesterday. Some of it was dated 2012 — most of it dated 2017. Many items were not dated at all; my guess is that it’s from before 2017. My husband threw most of it away because he does not trust it since it’s older and we didn’t preserve it ourselves. I kept a few bags of frozen berries and a few bags of sliced apples that were undated but still had good color. Not sure if I am going to risk cooking with it or not. I feel guilty throwing it away, but really don’t want to take a risk on outdated food.

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