Note: All photos in this week’s post are from the garden at my children’s university, which we visited a couple of weeks ago.

Last week we were invited to stay on a houseboat on Lake Powell. All we needed to bring for food was enough for us and the houseboat owners for three dinners. They provided the rest of the food. I am sharing cell phone photos on my Instagram account.

We were able to go swimming, build sandcastles, go jet skiing, go fishing, and get pulled on an inflatable float in the water. We caught catfish for dinner one night.

Our largest savings was a huge one: We refinanced our mortgage! Our interest rate is now 2.875%! We will save tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the course of our loan.

I downloaded a free photography guide from an award-winning photographer.

I read several e-books from the library: Until We Reach Home, A Woman’s Place, Wonderland Creek, The Girl From Venice, Fly Away, All Things New, All She Ever Wanted, a Proper Pursuit, and Paris for One.

My husband worked on an arbor from steel for roses to grow on in the garden. It will be a huge arbor (10 feet tall and 5 feet long) but the climbing roses (David Austin’s “The Generous Gardener“) that I have planted to grow up it are supposed to grow 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide, so a few years from now it will be completely covered in fragrant roses.

I harvested mint from the garden and used it to make an herbal mint tea (mint, water, and a little sugar), which I then refrigerated to enjoy cold. I found it interesting, as I have been reading WWII books, that many people drank things such as carrot tea during the war, but not one book so far has mentioned mint. As mint spreads quickly and roots easily in water, it seems like it would have been an ideal choice for growing. It would have been easy to make new plants and share them as gifts with others.

I harvested a few tiny cucumbers from the garden.

I sprayed several plants in the garden for whiteflies and aphids, which will hopefully save my plants from death and I will get something of a harvest from some of them.

I remembered to cancel my son’s online GED math prep class before it was renewed this week. He passed the test just recently and is now looking at course options for community college classes. He interviewed for two jobs this week, was offered both, and is taking one. It is close enough that he can walk or ride a bike, so he can save his earnings for tuition and living expenses at other schools in the future.

I mended a pair of shorts and a dress for my children and mended a hole in a tote bag. I turned a hand-me-down swimsuit from a cousin into a tankini top for a daughter to go with some high-waisted swim shorts that she already has. I cut it straight across right above the leg holes, folded the bottom two layers (it was lined) up, pinned them, and stitched across them.

I purchased a used dress for myself online for $15, including shipping. I can wear it this fall when it cools down (it’s still above 100 degrees here) (not the dress in the photo).

Smith’s had their case-lot sale. I bought two cases of tuna fish, two of green beans, two of pasta, one of ketchup, and one of peanut butter. The pasta was the American Beauty brand, and they were $0.69 a pound. My stock-up price for these is $0.49 a pound, but that sale only comes twice a year, and I’m not sure when or if that sale price will continue to happen, so I bought a little bit of pasta at this price for now (the regular price is $1.25 a pound).

A necessary reminder to readers this week:

Please keep your posts to the topic of how you saved money this past week! There is enough debate elsewhere online. I want this to be a peaceful place for my readers from all over the world. While lockdowns in various parts of the world may affect your shopping and are fine to mention (as you stock up before a lockdown, for instance), debating about the vaccine and masks is not helpful and has nothing to do with saving money, nor do comments detailing personal medical issues have to do with saving money. My readers come from all over and have many different opinions and beliefs, but are united in saving money. Let’s talk about that in the comments.

Please keep your comments positive, uplifting, and helpful to other readers!

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  1. The garden is flourishing. I made potato salad the other night to go with dinner using some little potatoes (I harvested 3 of the scrawniest potatoes from our first bucket but I was determined to add these to the store bought Russets! 🤪), red onions and home canned pickle relish from my garden! We ate some cold-from-the-fridge pears that we picked from our pear trees. We snacked on fresh carrots from the garden and put blackberries on cereal for breakfast! I love our garden this year! We are trying to make use of everything we harvest, no matter how small and it’s become almost a game!

    With Labor Day weekend, I was able to find 80/20 ground beef for $1.99 a pound so I bought 20 pounds. When I got home with it, I took 20 pounds of frozen ground beef from the freezer to thaw and replaced it with the new 20 pounds. Then I got busy and cooked, crumbled and bagged up 10 pounds of the older beef in 2 cup amounts for freezer the other 10 pounds were divided in half for precooked meat loaves and precooked meatballs! https://pin.it/1lgflWY and https://pin.it/6sSA8dv. It will be such a convenience and money saver to be able to pull any of these out in a hurry to put together a meal! I’ve always said that I’m lazy and cheap! Willing to put in a little time ahead when prices are low (investment cooking) to have the luxury of convenience at a lower price! 😉
    I was able to can 12 pints of salsa and 4 more pints of sweet pickle relish using ingredients from our garden! https://pin.it/1Q37Zyl
    I also bought BLSL chicken breast for $1.79/pound and cut into chunks and individual portion filets and repackaged for freezer. I also found boneless pork loin halves for $1.49/pound so I picked up some for myself and 2 daughters. I had the butcher cut most of them into pork chops (free)! Looks like we will be well fed during the winter!

    On the business front, I quilted Quilts #179 (a Kingsize quilt top that client bought at Amish Charity Auction) https://pin.it/4HZNe2e and https://pin.it/33MbtXq and also a smaller wall hanging- #180- https://pin.it/uEsb65X. Since Lenni didn’t have any other client quilts in the queue, I pulled out a 13 year old UFO of mine and quilted it up today. It is a nice twin size or long lap size quilt (64” x 84”). I’m pleased with how it turned out. No idea what I will do with it! 🥴 But now it’s now just sitting, unfinished in my sewing room! https://pin.it/7q0R5Dl. I just need to bind it. So that is Lenni’s #181!
    #182 and #183 just arrived yesterday morning and this is #182 quilted and trimmed https://pin.it/5SCOrk4. Here is #183- https://pin.it/1iZMuGe. These were small – 43” square, so it took very little time to quilt.

    I must admit, I’m a little envious of all these quilts that clients are getting finished as Christmas gifts! I did find this free downloadable pattern that I printed off- Liberty Star Banner by Kim Diehl- https://pin.it/7x5EogN that I think I will make for my son and DIL for Christmas. He’s in Army and due to come home just before Christmas this year. I think they would like it!

    One of my friends just returned from family reunion out West and she visited with quilt shop owner/friend who oversees donation quilts for Mothers Without Borders charity. I have donated my quilting on a few of my friend’s quilts that she donated there and the owner sent back a jar of home-canned blackberry jam as a thank-you to me! Certainly unexpected, but oh, how sweet the taste!!

    Hubs and I (mostly him for the skilled part!) have been continuing on with patio area paver bricks. There is now an end in sight to the stacks and stacks of free paver bricks we were given! https://pin.it/b83bYoj. Little by little we are seeing projects finishing up and the stacks of project materials diminishing! We are really liking that!

    It seems hard to believe that summer is coming to an end. Our electric bill reflects it though- I budget $200/month for electricity (please- no judgement, we live in a 5000+square foot house that is 130 years old and we are still working on making it more energy efficient. 🥴). Even with our granddaughter here for the summer and window air con units turned on during the worst of the heat, we never went up to $200. 🎉🎉 And this month, we are down to $143.

    We filled up our car by using Gas Buddy locator for $2.52/gallon while most other stations were much higher ($3.09/gallon just a block away!) We combined it with shopping trips that we had on our list (we typically wait until we have a few that are in the same area). So, within a 1-1/2 mile radius of gas station, we stopped at Lowe’s, Dollar Tree, Office Max and WM! We rewarded ourselves by sharing a meatball sub from Subway which is when I decided to make and precook the 5 pounds of meatballs for my freezer. The taste was SO much better!! Here’s the recipe I used. I doubled the batch but instead of 60 meatballs, I got 106!! https://pin.it/7i6NbRW.

    Hubs and I have decided that in these tumultuous times, rather than insulating/isolating ourselves from all the people/conditions that are concerning and disheartening, that we would actively pray for opportunities to extend ourselves to others around us (friend, acquaintance or stranger) with kindness and helpfulness. We truly believe that while it may be viewed as “the worst of times” that if we look more closely for opportunities and goodness, that these are also “the best of times”!

    Hope everyone is able to recognize opportunities and joy in abundance this week!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Our electric bill is much higher than that and our home is half the size. I think you’re doing great!

      1. Brandy- You have to remember that, unlike you right now, our family is down to just the 2 of us (rather than the 13 from years ago!😳🤪). We use window a/c units and only put 1 in our bedroom, family room and sewing room now that our granddaughter has gone back to college after staying here all summer for a job.

        So, literally, the most a/c units going at one time would be 2 IF we were in different rooms . The bedroom one only goes on 20 minutes before bed IF the overnight temp will be above 79 degrees. Otherwise, windows open with ceiling fan.

        The new windows we have been installing have literally saved us hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling bills!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. I was just watching a seminar about this-how can we still respond in some way, even though so much seems overwhelming and it’s easier to turn away. It was presented by the humanitarian organisation my daughter works for, they have an ongoing response in Haiti, and they are active in resettling current refugees. It was really wonderful to see the work being done. It made me look up what organizations are part of refugee resettlement where I live.

    3. You are doing awesome with the electric bill. Our home is smaller and we budget 240 per month. It’s increased dramatically with extra people home!

    4. Hi Gardenpat – I love the positive attitude shown in what you wrote “that if we look closely for opportunities and goodness, that these are also the best of times.” I totally agree with you and believe it to be true. One random act of kindness that I have practiced for many years is to weekly, from spring thru autumn, bring a bouquet of fresh flowers, flowering branches, etc., from our garden to our library. It’s much appreciated by the staff and since many visitors have inquired of the staff the names of the flowers (interesting for me to learn that apart from daisies and roses, many people don’t know the names of flowers or plants even though they may look familiar to them), it has also turned into a learning feature as the librarian and staff display books on flower gardening and on identifying plants/flowers. I am also an active member of our library’s Friends group and do fundraising.

      You might find interesting the October 2021 issue of Country Living as it features quilts in several columns. In the “what is it, what is it worth” column a reader’s Victorian era crazy quilt that was inherited from grandparents appraises for $2500 and another reader in the column “fabric of a family” on pg 104 writes about her emotional connection to her grandmother/mother’s nine-patch quilt.

  2. We refinanced our mortgage to not only getting a lower rate but also going to a shorter term .. so we pay the house of twice as quickly !

  3. You did real well this week! Congratulations on your son getting a job.
    We went to Meijer this week and bought pork chops for .99 a pound. We were so happy for that deal. We thought we would never see a price that low.
    I finished canning tomatoes this past week. The garden did real well this year and the canning shelves are full of vegetables. We are trying our best to eat healthier so they will come in handy.

    1. Wow! Our little store had pork chops buy one get one free at 6.99 pound. They had a few packages of the thick sliced, which my husband loves, so we got them. It worked out to 3.50 lb. I went to Aldi’s website and their ‘sale’ was over 4.00lb; 4.09? So, we were okay with the 3.50. What a difference!

        1. Laura S.- I usually buy the boneless pork loin half or whole when it’s on sale and then ask the butcher in the meat department to slice it to my specs. They always do it for free!

          Gardenpat in Ohio
          HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Mari J.- Thanks for your kind words and kind actions! Years ago, I looked out my 2nd floor bedroom window across the alley to our neighbors green wooden fence and saw some bright yellow markings all over a portion of it! Indignant at the fact that some malcreants had “tagged” the nicely painted fence, I got dressed, put my glasses on and went outside to the alley where I saw (in yellow paint) what my neighbor had stenciled on to their fence: “Small acts change the world.”
        It certainly changed my perspective and in the years since, I try to reserve my opinions until I’ve had a better look!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  4. We avoided the store for most of last week which helped us save money. When we did shop we bought green grapes for 99 cents per pound, a gallon of orange juice for 1.99, and eggs for 1.39 for 18 eggs at dillons which is our Kroger affiliate.

    We are getting a new freezer to be able to stock up on sale priced meat which will save us money in the long run.

    We used the library this week. I borrowed a book called The Year Without A Purchase by Scott Dannemiller. It was very funny and inspirational and has prompted us to go the next year without making any frivolous purchases. We will buy only necessities starting October 1. I’m excited about it. I can’t wait to see how creative we become.

    I finished ration book pocketful of dreams and ration book Christmas by Jean Fullerton. Both were a fascinating look into World War II. I don’t normally read fiction but these were both good. I also checked out No Ordinary Time and Leadership in Turbulent Times both by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Both are great books.

    1. Hi Sandra in Kansas. I am in Kansas as well. I love Doris Kearns Goodwin.
      I have planted a fall garden, but so far I haven’t seen any sprouts. I planted carrots and lettuce which I discovered last year I can cut off and on all winter. I didn’t get any peas in, but it has been so hot, I decided not to try and get a fall crop. We have a green house my husband built with used windows, so I will try and get more plants going in there. I hate to admit I am tired of canning. I still have tomatoes coming on and I KNOW I will enjoy the fruits of my labor all winter, but things rachet up in the fall at church and my associate pastor will be on maternity leave starting late November. I cooked down a wide variety of tomatoes in the crock pot for sauce and just froze it in zip locks. I still have apples to deal with, but My shelves are looking pretty good. Currently I need to inventory the freezers to figure out what we will need come winter. I want to be well stocked. I really appreciate reading your blog Brandy and all the comments as well.

  5. Welcome back! We used to take houseboat vacations in Canada when our kids lived at home, and they were a blast! I am sure your family loved it! To save money (because houseboating is expensive), we always went the week before or after the high season, and we only went in the years when the monetary exchange rate was in our favor.

    Week 1 was pretty ordinary at our house–just the usual frugal stuff. It wasn’t a great week at the grocery store, which was surprising because Labor Day specials are typically among the better sales of the year. I harvested and canned a few more pints of tomatoes.
    I fulfilled my goal of freezing 7 ready meals (although one is a duplicate). Plus I made and froze bone broth along with the chicken bits as a soup starter. I cleaned and organized the freezer underneath the fridge so all of the ready meals are in one place and my husband knows where they are! (not necessarily a good thing, LOL).

    I received a notice from Amazon that my Country Living subscription expires in October. I searched for “cheap subscriptions Country+Living” and found a price of $8.99–half the price of Amazon–from an agent/reseller on Ebay. I subscribe to two magazines and buy both through resellers (Amazon is a reseller). I have never had a problem with any magazine extending my subscription when done this way.

    WEEK 2–Very disappointed in the one case lot sale that’s likely the only one we will have in this area. The selection was very, very sparse…and no canned fruit. I didn’t buy anything. However, I was able to purchase Tillamook cheese for $5.99/2 lb., Skippy peanut butter for $1.49 and two 18-packs of eggs for .99 each.

    I asked the Buy Nothing group for Italian prune plums. (My dwarf tree should have started producing this year, but didn’t). This was sort of the urban equivalent of rural foraging, and I highly recommend it. I got two immediate responses, picked a small box the next day and canned 12 pints…except that 3 jars broke in the canner. I have no idea what happened. I’ve only ever had 3 other jars break…over several decades. I picked tomatoes, zucchini and Swiss chard and canned a few more tomatoes.

    I read two books from the library. I saw a book review on TV and immediately went online and reserved the book at the libe. My husband wondered why I didn’t just buy it. “Why would I pay for a book when I can read it for free?”

    But I DID buy a book–a comprehensive first aid reference for dogs and cats. (I’ve had a little pamphlet for years and used it several times). I ordered a used copy in very good condition from bookfinder dot com for $4.51 including postage. I was so pleased with myself that I ordered another copy for my son and daughter-in-law.

    I made rags with an old cotton mesh polo shirt.

    That’s all folks! Hope you’re having a great week!

    1. Maxine,

      I would give your tree some bone meal this week. That should help it to produce some flowers in the spring for fruit.

      1. Thanks for the bone meal suggestion. I believe I didn’t get plums or apples because we had a big windstorm that blew off all of the blossoms. But bone meal is always a good idea, and I’ll do it!

        Forgot to mention, Idaho has a huge budget surplus and we received a $100 extra tax refund last week. Going forward, Idaho is going to reduce income tax rates.

        And then there are your lovely pictures of the university campus. I didn’t think it looked ANYTHING like that when I was there. Then I remembered I was there in DECEMBER. DUH!

    2. What is the name of the pets first aid book? Does anybody, especially in the western part of the Phoenix metropolitan area, have suggestions on reducing the cost of grooming for two standard size Labradoodles down from $20/week (and that is with professional grooming every 8 weeks). I knew keeping dogs isn’t cheap but my sister shocked me with the price for doggy haircuts now that she has moved.

      1. As a retired groomer I can say
        1} it is hard physical work and the groomer is lucky to make a decent commission on the work but deserves every penny
        2) there is a talent involved- But you can learn to do it!
        3) Buy good professional equipment-not the cheap but not the high dollar stuff
        4) there are excellent videos online as tutorials for free
        5)accidents happen-to all of us-mostly just little nicks but it does feel awful when it happens
        6) Go for utility/short grooms, and put sweaters on for out door winter walks
        7) NEVER bathe knots-they tighten up and will cause sores
        8) Keep trying-you will get better at it!

      2. If you have an Aldi near you, once or twice a year they sell a home grooming kit that includes clippers, several guards, and all sorts of accessory tools. Comes in a nice compact carrying case for around $10 or $15. We don’t have to use it too often so I can’t speak to extended quality, but it be a good “starter set” to see how you handle home grooming. One of our cats requires grooming (she has an extremely thick triple coat and is prone to mats). Also, a de-matting comb off Amazon works well (although she despises it!) Mats are a problem for her, and you have to deal with them quickly as they will turn painful for the animal and cause skin irritation. I end up taking her to the groomer a few times a year for a very short “lion cut” with shave down (I agree with Blessing Creek’s comment about short utility cuts!) and while it is very expensive, it is worth every penny! She loves her short haircuts!

      1. I bought The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats. It hasn’t arrived yet, so I can’t tell you if it is any good…but I’m assuming the book knows more than I currently do. This book has been around for a long time, so I’m assuming it’s good. I bought mine used through bookfinder dot com, which I highly recommend. If you want a recommendation from someone who knows something, you might ask your vet. You could also go to a big pet store, such as Petco andor Pet Smart, and look through what they’ve got. You might like the way one is arranged better than another.

      2. Many years ago we bought a textbook for veterinary technicians and found that really helpful for assessment at home of different issues with our pets. We saved a lot of vet visits by researching in the textbook first and knowing what to look for.

    3. Maxine, I love print magazines and have used discountmags.com for years …this past week they had a sale: 4 magazine subscriptions for a total of $16, from a list of about 80. Country living was among that list, along with Vanity Fair, Living, Southern Living, etc. Only adding this in case you might want to check them out for others. I renewed a few, and got a few gifts. Additional ones were then $3.75 and $3.50. One week the price might be high, but I wait for them to email the Great sale deals, and sooner or later they have the ones I like. Others I read free digitally from the library.

      1. Another option for magazine subscriptions, for those who are members, is through AARP. Their AARP Rewards program offers several magazine subscriptions as one of the Rewards you can exchange your points for. If you were paying cash, it’s probably more expensive than some of these other options: a one-year subscription is 10,000 points, which equals about $10 — but if you can rack up the free points, it might be worth it to you. (You can get free points by playing certain games, like the crossword puzzles, on their site, taking quizzes, and inputting codes from their newsletters.)

    4. If you check out Recycle Bank (recyclebank.com) and take some online quizzes about recycling, you can collect points to go towards magazine subscriptions. Country Living is frequently offered as a reward (it’s how I got mine free for years), so it’s worth checking out if you want to get your subscriptions for free next time!

  6. Beautiful photo of you, Brandy! Sounds like a wonderful trip.
    * My Mother in Law went to her brothers in another state to close on their deceased brother’s home. Peanut harvest is now so they picked up 60 pounds of fresh green peanuts for $27 each 30# sack. I went halfway to meet and pick her up so went by the big Alabama produce market in Birmingham to see if I could find deals on produce. This is where all the produce stands go to get produce they don’t grow. Well, I found they have a wholesale section and a section where people can go buy. A 25# bag of peanuts was $54! So the ones our uncle got were a much better deal. We cooked the peanuts in our large outdoor kettle and then bagged in gallon bags to freeze. We then have boiled peanuts throughout the year, which are only available fresh a short period in September. We take the frozen nuts and put in a pot of water and boil about 10 minutes and they thae and heat up and taste like fresh boiled peanuts. Here are photos https://www.instagram.com/p/CTrJTPSrCd-/?utm_medium=copy_link

    * My husband is almost finished with my 2nd terraced garden bed. We tried to find a good vegetable bed mix by the scoop load, but noone had anything but topsoil, which is clay, and mulch. So, we used his military discount at Lowes and got 20 bags of organic topsoil, which was dark brown, 4 bags of composed manure, and 16 bags of vegetable bed soil. It filled the two 4×8 beds with more left over. I am hoping for a 3rd bed, but he may be done with them for a bit. I planted broccoli, cauliflower, and collards in one bed, and lettuce under my okra in a whiskey barrel planter. I will be planting the 2nd bed with turnips, spinach, and beets. My husband has to get one board for the side so I didn’t plant yet. photos https://www.instagram.com/p/CTvdCF7lrHC/?utm_medium=copy_link
    * I have harvested okra and put up 8 quart bags. My tomatoes are almost done, but I harvested one and have 3 more ripening and then I will pull it. I harvested zinnia, coneflower, okra, banana pepper, and jalapeño seed.
    * We have had just enough rain to keep from having to water everything. I take warm up or cooking water to water my potted plants and starts. I have picked zinnias and made arrangements every 5 days.
    * I have made some new or rarely made meals trying to keep from becoming bored. I made muffin pan meatloaves with cheese, then topped with BBQ sauce. I made a chicken that was new. I first put mozzarella on top of chicken and them mixed sour cream, parmesean, garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and topped the chicken. Then more parmesean and bake. My husband liked it. I think cheddar would be good to add on top rather than a 2nd parmesean.
    *I have been watching Seaside Hotel on Amazon Prime. It is Dutch so I have to dub in English. We also watched the 2nd season of Chosen.
    * I have been working out. I kept putting g off doing my workout tapes because I knew 30 to 45 minutes and I would be half doing it, so I decided to just go do some reps with 5 and 8 lb weights for each body part. I am trying to let this become a habit then can do the tapes. We have been walking at night, and of coarse, all the yardwork is very hard work when you’re fluffy.

  7. I walked at park. I took my lunch to work, this week it is homemade hamburgers! I had bought the meat a while back. I am trying not to spill ketchup on my work clothes….lol. I just grocery shopped for fresh salad greens, apples, cheese, and carrots…..things I was running out of, but I did get upset when I saw the prices. Carrots used to be 99 cents a bag at Aldi just two weeks ago, and now they are $1.05. I do not know why it bothered me so much but it did. It seems I am repetitive every week but oh well. We are having rain and it is helping to keep the air conditioner off. Nothing new here.

  8. Loved all your pictures, Brandy. So glad you got to get away frugally with your family and that you had a great refinance!
    I started a new semester of my online college yesterday and I gathered supplies from things I already have. Tore out used pages and am re-using the notebooks from last semester. My husband ordered me a new laptop with some of his rewards points from work, so it was no out of pocket. It is muuuuuccccchhhhh faster than the lap top I had been using, so that is really nice.
    A gal my daughter went to junior high with ten years ago contacted me out of the blue. She is in a wedding late in the month and asked if I could hem her dress. She is a preschool teacher and money is tight and professional hemming can be expensive. She remembered that I was always making something, so she thought of me. I was happy to do it for her. It’s nice to be able to do something kind (especially for free).
    We haven’t had the A/C on in ages and it is magnificent!
    Other than that, we are just doing the usual things…shopping with a meal plan and budget, staying out of stores, using things we already have, reading library books and working on projects at home. Simple but gratifying. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  9. We went camping at the beach as a family! This makes a vacation to the shore doable while paying $38 a night for a rustic campsite instead of hundreds or thousands for a beach house. We took our own food and used the state parks free borrow a bike program. We hiked to a tower and climbed it and visited a free beach. Earlier this summer we stayed at a beach house free in exchange for cleaning it for a friend who had other guests coming in. I also got to take my family camping at a local campground with all expenses comped and a $100 payment for doing a mystery shop of their location. This was through the company marketforce. Other companies do hotel shops but I haven’t been able to find an available one that worked for us this year. We enjoyed an extended weekend that would normally have cost $500 and actually got paid for going which more than covered our food and gas expenses!

  10. Hi all-
    I used to post here often, but I fell off the bandwagon. I’m finding myself frustrated with how much we are overspending every month, so I’m back here to help me be accountable again. Here are my frugal accomplishments for the last month or so:
    – found some summer clearance at Walmart. They had a large dinosaur sprinkler for $5. I purchased it and put it back for Easter or my son’s birthday next spring. I haven’t decided which yet.
    – Gas prices are skyrocketing here. A friend told me about an app called GetUpside. It doesn’t give you a discount on your gas, but it does give you cash back per gallon. I used her referral code, so I got an extra 15 cents back per gallon. Since then, my sister signed up with my referral code and we each got another 15 cents back per gallon. My code is: JESSICA338779 if anyone wants to use it. It doesn’t help on the actual purchase, but I figure I have to buy the gas anyway – especially working 45 minutes from home – might as well get some cash back.
    – I’ve canned 23 pints of green beans the last 2 weeks. And 5 quarts of crushed tomatoes. I have some more tomatoes to can. I’m trying to decided whether to do more crushed ones or some juice for soups.
    – We’ve eaten a lot of cucumbers and peaches from the garden over the last two weeks. I haven’t bought any fruits or veggies for lunch because I’ve been taken them in my lunch. Our peach trees are still young, so they aren’t producing enough that I have some to can or freeze. We can eat them as fast as they are ripening! Haha! My son especially loves them.
    – I’ve been scanning all my receipts into fetch rewards. I’ve also been scanning my husbands business receipts. That has been helping us stack up some points quickly.
    – We used coupons on a recent trip to steak and shake.
    – We made a trip to a bulk food discount store. I got lots of quick, easy breakfasts for my son. I think I got about 60 days worth of microwave breakfasts for $12. We also got some Oreos (a treat for us!), shredded mozzarella, granola bars (4 packs of 8 for $1), yogurt (12 for $2.00), and orange juice (another treat!). The orange juice ended up being $1 for 2 gallons!
    – I needed a pair of work shorts, as I ripped my other ones. I was able to find a pair for $2.50 at Goodwill.
    – I accepted some free ziploc bags and trash bags from a coworker. Her husband gets them for free often because he works at the factory. They had quite a stash and were moving, so they didn’t want to pack it all.
    – I’ve made about $200 extra from my side business this month.
    – My mom gifted me 4 boxes of greeting cards. She was going through her stash at home and realized she had way too many. It probably ended up being around 100-125 cards for all kinds of occasions. And lots of blank ones and thank you cards. She just wanted them out of her house, so they were free to me.
    – I had to get new tires on my car. Which isn’t exactly cheap, but I had to have them. I shopped around for the best deal. We had saved up, knowing that I would need them before winter. I ended up with a leak in one, so we just went ahead and had them all replaced.
    – I used hardware I already had at home to fix a cabinet so I could use it how I wanted.
    – I got two trash bags of clothes for my son for $40. It ended up being around 100 pieces of clothing and a few pairs of socks. Less than 50 cents per piece!
    – I did a Walmart pick up. I had asked for a dozen eggs. They were out, so they substituted an 18 pack for the same price. I also wanted a 10 pack of the generic swifter duster refills. That should last me well over a year since I don’t use them often. But they substituted the name brand 18 pack for the same price! So I’m set for awhile!
    – It’s been cooling off at night here, so we’ve been opening the windows to cool the house down. Then closing them before we leave for work in the morning.
    – I used credit card cash back to buy a tot tower for my son. He likes to see what we’re doing when we’re cooking, so that will let him be involved, but safely. We pay the credit card off every month. We just use it like a debit card and record our purchases in our budget app like we would any other purchase. That way we have the money when it’s due. So it’s like free money for us!
    – My moms work is going virtual permanently. They moved all the stuff they were keeping out of the office building and then allowed people to buy the rest. Furniture was $5 per piece. I got a new bookcase for my office at work, a nice wooden bookcase for my sons room, and a metal cabinet for garage storage – all for $15. Then they had a large “free table” for people to put stuff they didn’t want anymore. I got a ream of white copy paper, a ream of pink copy paper, a label maker, a pack of sharpies, two board games, five binders, a pencil box, a large Rubbermaid tub, 3 rolls of unopened masking tape, a pencil sharpener, a box of pens, a ruler, some staples, and a hole punch. Another person found 17 Rubbermaid shoe boxes with lids in the dumpster! I couldn’t believe all the waste!

  11. Oh what a absolutely LOVELY college campus!!!! What a beautiful place to learn!
    The past two weeks we have been busy!
    *I was able to go for a short hike with my daughter. This is a shared hobby, but she strained her knees the end of the summer when paddle boating, so we have been trying to give her knees a rest so the strain can heal. She still feels a twinge of pain some days, but it is improving so we ventured out on a flat trail just for a short walk. It was very wonderful to be back in the woods!
    *I made some home made soap. This is my hobby, plus I give away home made soap for my Christmas presents to family. I figure they use it up, so I can always give soap again the next year! 🙂 My daughter and I also sell some around the holiday time. Since the soap needs to cure for four to six weeks before it is ready to use, I need to get what I am going to sell made early in the fall. I have pictures of my soap on my blog here if anyone wants to see what it looks like: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/09/frugal-friday-week-of-august.html
    *My violin bow fell apart when I was getting it ready to play, but when I showed it to my daughter’s violin teacher the teacher was able to fix it for me! I was DELIGHTED to say the least! I had been so afraid that it was going to cost me another bow, and this one was $200! It was a small screw inside the bow that had stripped out (called an eyelet), and the teacher happened to have a spare one and knew how to do that minor repair.
    *I used a $10 off of a $20 purchase coupon that I had at Staples. I choose carefully to take advantage of some of the last back to school prices, which made my coupon stretch even farther.
    *I ordered a new sundress from LLBean, and paid for it entirely with the “Bean Bucks” that I had, so it was free. Free clothes are always my favorite, whether they are free new clothes or free used!
    *A friend shared home grown tomatoes with me, which was wonderful since our garden tomatoes are long gone.
    *And the hardest thing of the past two weeks, I sat with a friend as she had to have her precious cat put to sleep. When she texted me that morning, she expressed fear that the cat was having difficulty breathing and she was afraid this might be “it.” I knew she is all by herself, as both parents have passed away, both of her siblings have as well, and she has no husband or children. So I immediately offered to meet her at the vet’s office which is inbetween her apartment and my house. That way whatever she did need to face, she would not be by herself. I had no idea the kitty really would be so bad off, but sadly she was. That made me even MORE glad that I had offered to meet my friend and be with her. I am counting this as a frugal win, because I decided it does not need to cost anything at all to be kind, so let’s look for opportunities to all be kind. We all need more kindness in our lives, that is for sure!
    I have pictures and more things for this past week on my post here: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/09/frugal-friday-week-of-september-5-11.html

    And speaking of kindness—a big “thank you” to YOU, Brandy, for creating this supportive and kind place for all of us ladies. I have learned so much, and lift up all those who are struggling in prayer.

    ~Susan M. In Chattanooga, Tennessee

    1. It was wonderful that you were there for your friend while her beloved cat was being put down. It was not a frugal win or loss – it was an act of love for you to be with your friend during a time of loss.

      1. Thank you, Melonie!
        I was hoping for that exact thing—for her to feel wrapped in love. She texted me yesterday, and has received the ashes back of her kitty. She asked if I would be willing to meet with her for a short little ceremony—share a few words about what I remember about Strelka, etc. I told her I would be honored—and so next week I will attend my first ever pussycat memorial. I think it is a lovely way to both remember the loyalty of her pet, as well as being a bit of closure to her.

      1. Thank you Mable!
        Truthfully, the thought only occurred to me because a different friend offered the exact same thing to me, when I had to put down my son’s service dog. We were all very bonded to this dog, who had literally gone everywhere with us for years. This friend had been the one to help watch the dog on the few occasions the dog could not go with us, and she also had become a volunteer puppy raiser for the service dog organization. So she was very familiar with my son’s dog, the training involved, etc. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it emotionally, and she offered to go meet me at the vets when that time came (the dog had been failing for some months). She did—and I was ever so grateful. And so it was because of HER, that I even thought to offer. And so the first friend’s kindness lives on, touching more and more people.

  12. Welcome back! missed your posts but you had a well deserved vacation, Garden is almost gone except turnips and sweet potatoes it did very well this year and the freezer is packed and canned quite a lot also, only two of us so doesn’t take as much as with a family but like to save what I can.

  13. I do not comment often, but speaking of paying off houses and refinancing I paid my house off in April at the age of 49. I have never made more than $50,000 and have raised 2 daughters by choice as a single mom. I am not as frugal as most of your readers, but have very much sacrificed to be where I am today. I have no other debts also. I have a senior in high school and the goal is for her to go dent-free for 4 full years away from home living on campus. She is going to be a dental hygienist with a Bachelor’s degree. My other daughter is 14 so I have some space in between the two. We were never poor or went without. I turn 50 in December. God has blessed us so greatly. I hope my story is an inspiration to those who are also working so hard to get ahead and someday become debt-free.

  14. It was a great frugal week in Houston, Texas!
    I returned some tile to Home Depot that didn’t match what I ordered and tried to replace.
    The kids have several upcoming birthday parties to attend. I was able to gather gifts for 5 of them from the gift stash. The one last weekend was a reptile party, where someone brought snakes. I think they must have invited the whole first grade, as my son was thrilled to see so many of his friends. The kids got to pass the snakes around, which was really cool!
    Another party was an art party, which my daughter who loves art got to attend.
    A party this weekend (inviting all of my kids) is at Chuck E. Cheese. I usually don’t take the kids there as it get pricey quickly, but they will have a great time this weekend at the party.
    The storm (Nicholas) came through last night. School and work were cancelled, so the kids helped me pick up the sticks and branches from the yard this morning.
    I’m outfitting the kids for soccer with hand-me-down and used cleats and shin guards, which is cheaper than buying new. I learned my lesson about buying pink sports equipment (and cowboy boots), and mainly buy boys or gender neutral now.
    I’ve been sticking to the household budget, which is good. August was very expensive, with activity fees (even Cub Scouts is over $100/child here!) and school expenses, and I know things will get expensive closer to Christmas. I’m in the very early stages of planning Christmas presents.
    I’m casually shopping for a new van. Ours is a 2007, high mileage, and I know it won’t last forever. Used cars seem so expensive right now, so I’m hoping the old gal can limp along a little longer until I find something in my price range. Repairs are starting to get more and more expensive, though, and I don’t want to put too much money into it if her days are numbered.
    Our church had free coffee and donuts after the service, and the fellowship was nice.
    $5 or less meals included: bean and cheese nachos, meatballs with noodles, chicken fried rice, chicken Caesar salad with breadsticks, and breakfast for dinner.
    It was painful to pay $2.49/12 oz package of bacon in the markdown bin (we usually eat two packages/meal), but bacon has gotten expensive here lately!
    We shared some chocolate chip cookies I made with some neighbors.
    I took the kids to the neighborhood pool on Sunday, which was the last day it was open this year. We were the only ones there, as usual. Our neighborhood has quite a few elderly (original) homeowners who don’t use the pool much, if at all, so I’m thankful the HOA still pays to staff and maintain it for the people who go.
    I used a Bath and Body Works coupon from the mail for a free item, which I let my oldest daughter pick out. She love that kind of stuff.
    I sold a few more things on Facebook Marketplace. Cash in, junk out!
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  15. Our area has not really had loss leaders at the grocery stores up here (Northeast) and 2 grocery stores today had lots of empty shelves, one in the deodorant/toothpaste aisle and also laundry and dairy aisles. One had empty shelves all over the store. I asked a clerk if they were closing and was told they are having trouble getting deliveries as companies can’t get drivers. The prices of sale items aren’t really what I consider sale prices, for instance pork chops on sale for $3.10. I’m going to try to wait it out as I’m pretty well stocked up.

    1. I am seeing lots of holes for nylons and women’s underwear at multiple stores.

      I agree on groceries. I was hoping for a sale on pork, which usually happens in September. I haven’t seen one yet.

  16. I have missed this wonderful place.
    I am so happy that you had a vacation. It looked lovely except for the depth of water loss.
    I was gifted $500.00 last week. My oldest daughter and her husband sent it to me to make things easier. It has been really tight here for the last few months.
    It is cooling here at night and that is a big savings in my electric bill. I have been able to turn my a/c off for part of the day.
    I bought a few items for my sewing business using Amazon money. This gave me what I needed to finish some masks with n0thing out of my pocket.
    All of my bills were paid on time. This saves late charges which can be a lot.
    We bought my daughter, Lyric, a dog bed at a thrift store for $14.00. The same bed was online for over 300 dollars. I paid for half of it. Tank, the dog, is so old he can no longer get on the couch and was laying on the hard floor. He is almost 100 in human years.
    Lyric often takes me “shopping” with her. We face time and enjoy one another while shopping
    My grandson, Zayne, needed a new computer/school desk. His desk is falling apart and I was afraid it was going to fall over and kill his computer…or him. I started looking at computer tables and after a few hours found one on sale. It was at Home Depot and it was the only sale I saw. The same table was for sale for the full price on the same page. Shipping was also free.
    We are still keeping the garden alive hoping that as it cools more that we may get a few more items. I did get another tiny misshapen green pepper.
    Still purging this over-stuffed house.
    Bless all of you.

  17. I recently finished a new book called All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, by Rebecca Donner. Because you enjoy WWII novels, you may be interested—it’s about an American woman named Mildred Fish-Harnack, who was a leader of the resistance in Germany before and during WWII. Your public library can probably get it for you!

    My household’s money saving activities this week have included:
    *Reading library books
    *Borrowing a friend’s bouncy house for the week because we are confined with COVID-19
    *Eating lasagna and enchiladas that were stored in the freezer instead of ordering takeout
    *Using our quarantine time to declutter papers and other unused things to help our home feel more tranquil

    Happy money saving!

    1. Our public library now has a large variety of items to borrow that are way beyond books, such a bounce houses and camping equipment and character cake pans and pressure washers – the list goes on and on! You can’t necessarily ask to reserve an item for a certain weekend, for example if you had a camping trip already planned for a particular date, but instead they offer it on a first-come, first-served basis. Regardless, what I saw available was incredible! Check your area libraries to see if they offer similar items.

  18. We were thrilled to find leftover food from airbnb guests-
    – 3lbs ground taco beef
    -9 x 13” pans of the following: cilantro rice, shredded chicken, corn tortillas(3), flour tortillas(3), queso, shredded cheese, fresh salsa
    -3 gallons of tea
    -25 wedding cake pops
    -Box of pancake mix
    -Large bag of ice

    We kept some out for dinner and froze the rest for later meals.
    Then I found a garbage bag with four containers of tortilla chips in the laundry room!
    Since we’re avoiding processed foods and sugar, I took chips, salsa and queso to friends. That was my daughter’s idea!

    – Purchased food according to meal plan for month
    – Free lipstick via Ibotta
    – Earned a Lowe’s gc from Ibotta- bought items for repairs to DIY
    – Listed our cabin on AirBnB and Zillow
    – Took my daughter and her best friend thrifting. They shared the purchase cost of a sack sale bag(fill a bag for $5). I am so proud! I bought a few items to flip and put back quite a bit that we just didn’t need.
    – Said no to eating out several times- why is this so hard?
    – Made sure to have iced water and a mason jar of almonds in the car. We call them “safety water” and “safety almonds” bc no one is safe if I’m hungry! Well, that and it’s safe for our budget? They work!
    – Sent my sister a thrifted birthday card and two smocked dresses to flip. She’s really good at reselling high-end children’s clothes! She is a frugal inspiration to me- Hi Ems!
    – As for frugal weight loss, I monitored what I ate and continued to work out in our garage in the mornings and try to walk the trail at the university at night. Pounds are coming off slowly, but the scale is going down, not up! Looking forward to fitting into clothes that I already have and not buying anything new.
    – Brought leftovers and snacks from home to eat while at work.
    – Husband and I had a budget meeting.
    – Husband met with our broker regarding changes to our employer’s retirement plan. I usually go, but had to teach class.
    – Volunteered our home and yard for the semester for use of our church’s university ministry for an outdoor service. Our Covid numbers in west Texas are quite high, but the students still want to worship.

  19. Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing.
    I’ve been enjoying my time on campus while my granddaughter attends preschool. I’m saving money by staying on campus while she’s in class, less fuel used, less wear and tear on the vehicle, less time commuting. I take my water bottle so I have plenty to drink and there’s plenty of places to refill for free. I take a small crochet project with me so I always have something I can do. I’m spending Mondays observing the preschool children and their teachers; it’s fun to watch my granddaughter making new friends and playing. Tuesdays I go to the Harold B. Lee Library and index. There are missionaries at the library to help when I run into problems and I’ve been shown how to scan documents and photos into my family tree. Every other Wednesday I am meeting up with my former co-workers to catch up and have lunch together. Alternate Wednesdays and Thursdays I plan to continue indexing or I can go to one of the museums as their exhibits change. I’m not sure who’s having the most fun.
    I bought a pork loin for $1.75 a pound. I cut 2 roasts and many chops, enough for 7 different meals, plus leftovers from those meals for lunches. It’s all been cooked and packed into the freezer. I’m grateful for the freezer so I can take advantage of sales. My son’s grateful because he has something good for his lunches and doesn’t have to scrounge around to find something to eat or go to the store.
    Have a fabulously frugal and fun week!

  20. Hi Brandy and all your lovely readers. A wonderful post and photos as always Brandy – thank you.

    It is Spring here in NZ and exciting to watch the 20 plus fruit trees at our place coming into blossom along with some others like the weeping cherry, plus some very old camelias, rhododendrons, a snowball etc. The daffodils always cheer everyone up!

    I am planning a large garden this year and have 12 kg of seed potatoes sprouting plus I will be planting the usual things like lettuce, beans, sunflowers, courgettes, corn and so on. In the supermarket here a lettuce has been $6.50 this week and tomatoes $15 a kg! Prices seem to be rising a lot and there are also a lot of shortages but they seem to be trying to keep a lid on it. If there was ever a time to grow your own food it is now!

    We are so blessed to have lots of raspberries, gooseberries and grapes plus a very productive old walnut tree. I also have a small number of boysenberry canes, blueberry blushes and strawberries but I plan on getting more planted soon.

    I’m also planning on buying some more pullets – 20 week old laying hens – very soon.

    From last season we still have lots of frozen fruit and I am still enjoying last year’s plums for breakfast! God blesses us with such incredible abundance. Even when we give a lot of fruit and produce away it seems like we always have so much ourselves. What a wonderful God we serve.

    I am continuing to add to my stores of tuna, salmon, pasta, sugar etc while they are readily available and before the prices go up even more, not just for ourselves but the community around me if they need help. It is an honour and joy for me to serve others in whatever way I can, however small, especially to make time for the elderly and other vulnerable people in these sad days of lockdowns and for many – loneliness.

    Thank you all for your inspiration and sending love and friendly greetings to all. Kia kaha (stay strong).

  21. I thought of something else that was very frugal! I passed a table of books that had been donated to the library at the university where I work. I asked the dean of the library if they were up for grabs and he showed me an entire area from which I could choose from now on! I chose a few books- a vintage copy of The Wizard of Oz, two ancient Bibles(I collect them) and Night by Elie Wiesel. It was fun to “shop” at work.

  22. Brandy: You look lovely in your picture. Was that your Temple dress you wrote about?

    A blogger on another site I frequent, who works in the meat industry, posted that meat prices are going to jump drastically in the coming months! So stock up, Ladies!

    I have planted spinach, collards, carrots, cauliflower and soon, garlic, in my fall garden. Plants are growing! Fingers crossed!

    1. My temple dress is white with long sleeves. I bought this dress and combined slips to make a long slip with sleeves rather than lining the sleeves on the dress. The dress is lined, but only partway down, and it’s still thin enough to need a slip.

      The dress is really beautiful and comfortable. It comes in a LOT of other colors. I am tempted to buy in in a nother color from them, or buy another dress from them, as I was so impressed with this one!

  23. Received a $1.25 off redbox rental code in an email. Only cost .81 to rent a Blu ray.

    Added my Starbucks account to Receipt pal and earned 500 bonus points.

    My mom sent over potato salad,oranges, pastries, sandwich meat, mozzarella, TV dinners, USB cable, and dryer sheets.

    I sold a desk my mom no longer wanted for $30.

    Earned a $10 Amazon shopper panel rewards for August, $5 Amazon gift card from Verizon rewards and $3 Amazon gift card for doing a survey.

    FINALLY got the P-EBT I applied for through the school. Received $544.25, which will be used to restock mostly meat.

    Added 11.40 in change from the truck to the change jar. ( when the gallon jar is filled, I use it for teacher gifts and stocking stuffers at Christmas)

    The 14yo found a dress she wanted from Shien for homecoming. Even after paying for rush shipping (she needs it by the 24th 😳) it was still cheaper than what we would pay in the mall(under $30 total. Plus saves time)

    Finished 4 audiobooks that I had purchased a long time ago. I made the mistake of trying to work on The Terror (which is over 28 hours long) first. I switched things up, taking a break from it, and knocked out some short ones.

    I finished 2 books I found around the house that hadn’t been read, promptly listing them on a buy nothing site. If I have no takers by the end of this week, I’m going to find a Little Free Library somewhere to add them to.

  24. Hi Brandy, how wonderful to get some time at a lake at a reasonable price! Glad you had the time and the weather was good. Also, thanks for the comment about topic selection here, your site is indeed a calm, peaceful and uplifting site. From what I have seen of Kroger sales, they are still having some but prices are up. I used to buy Classico sauce at 0.99, now their special sale price is $1.49. I fear the same price changes for pasta, we haven’t had a sale recently in Phoenix (at least that I remember) so $0.69 sounds like a good price now.

    1. I am seeing it everywhere. I am looking forward to cooler weather and more soup making. Tonight we are having bean and rice burritos.

    2. ooh. that reminded me. I took advantage of the Publix Ragu buy one get one sale last week and it was $.88 a jar. I got 8 jars.

  25. Can’t remember if I saw this recommended here or elsewhere: “A Woman of No Importance”, by Sonia Purnell. It is a biography of the most important U.S. spy in France during WWII, Virginia Hall. Very interesting, well-researched, and as always, brings up the question: Could I do that if I was in such a situation? I fear not.

    1. Heidi Louise et al: I may have mentioned that book, as one of my book groups read it in the past year. Very interesting, and it is the subject of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts book tour for September, in which a representative of the museum discusses pieces in their collection thematically related to the book. The tours are (always) free; currently offered via Zoom; September’s tours are next week: Tuesday during the day and Thursday evening (Central time zone). More info here: https://new.artsmia.org/event/inspired-by-books/

      Another nonfiction book about WWII is The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone. It’s about a woman and her husband who both essentially invented the U.S.’s cryptography. (My other book group read that one.)

      1. I have read both A Woman of No Importance and The Woman Who Smashed Codes, and both were outstanding! I also liked The Rose Code, about codebreakers at Bletchley Park.

  26. Where should I begin. Work and garden. Garden and work. That has been my life the last month. Love the garden, but am really thinking more about edging toward retirement.
    I’ve canned a total of 16 quarts of dill pickles and 12 pints of bread and butter pickles this year. The cucumbers have pretty much ended, maybe will get another 2 quarts of dills. Also made 9 pints of zucchini relish.
    Made cauliflower soup, chicken corn chowder, chicken fajitas, zucchini bread, rhubarb crisp, zucchini about 4 different ways, BLTs several times, rosemary roasted potatoes, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, lots of cucumber, pepper and tomato salads, BLT pasta, cole slaw, homemade pizza, spaghetti sauce, chard with garlic cooked in olive oil and zucchini muffins.
    DH clipped the dry bean plants (we did both black and great northern beans this year). They are on tarps in our shed, waiting to be shelled.
    I made 8 small pizza crusts and put them in the freezer, when we are hungry for pizza.
    Made broth in the crockpot twice. Used some for the soups I made, and the rest is in the freezer.
    Dried thyme, rosemary, basil and parsley.
    Made a huge batch of salsa. Got about 16 quarts. We eat a lot of salsa, plus use it in cooking, and give to friends and family for gifts.
    One of the rhubarb crisps I made went to the friend as a “thank-you” for giving us the plant.
    Best deals I got at the store included $3.99 for 2 pounds of cheese, 16 oz. containers of sour cream for $1.00 each, 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese for $1.89 and fryer hindquarters for 48¢ a pound.
    My doctor has been having me try a new medication this summer, and has provided me samples all summer long. It has proven successful, so she gave me 5 more weeks of free samples, and then put the order in with my mail order pharmacy. This new medication is 1/3 the price of the one it is replacing, and seems to be doing a better job.
    We have picked beans, corn, cucumbers, chard, tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, beets, and kohlrabi as we need them. Also dill, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley and chives.
    Planted another round of lettuce and snow peas, and hope to have some before a frost.
    Brandy, I am glad you got a chance to visit your son and daughter in Idaho, as well as the vacation. They both sounded like wonderful adventures.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  27. The photos are beautiful! Congratulations on refinancing the mortgage. That is huge.
    Today I gave away a small bush that I didn’t care for the color. The woman who took it came back later and left rhubarb stalks and a whole grocery bag full of homegrown golden delicious apples. I am so pleased.
    I’m working on altering a quilt my grandmother made. It was a twin, but I didn’t need that size at all, but I did need a queen size. I’m adding a “frame” around the original quilt, and then borders outside of that, to make it queen size. It’s going well so far!
    Target is having their car-seat recycling program this week. I dropped off a used car seat (it was in very poor shape and someone from my Buy Nothing group could not get rid of it. I took it and kept it in the shed because I remembered the car seat recycling program from previous years). Inreturn, I received a 20% off coupon for a new car seat. This will go to my daughter-in-law, as our grandson is about to grow out of the infant car seat.
    Our neighbor gifted us with fresh figs. Our tree is tiny, so these were so appreciated. I always accept free food, even if I don’t want it. I know that I can pass on an unwanted item to someone else who does want it, and this way people remember that I ALWAYS take food that’s offered.
    My neighbor asked to see how we drain the graywater from our washing machine out to our fruit trees. It has kept our water bills $30-40 lower each month than the same time last year. Plus, the trees are bigger this year so they would have cost even more to water.
    I picked up a free cotton curtain from a free box. It’s a lovely color and will be used for some sewing project!

  28. So glad there was a post this week and the pictures of the campus are lovely. I love a beautiful college campus. And thanks for the reminder to keep on topic. Congratulations on the refi of the house. Housing and cars are really the biggest expenses, and researching for savings in those areas gives the most bang for your buck, in my opinion.

    I was considering buying yet another bookshelf for my ever expanding book collection, but culling the ones that I will never read again did the trick. Why keep things you’ll never need again? I donate them to the thrift store which supports the food bank at which I work. I feel good about this.

    I sometimes get bored with the art work on my walls and recently I have moved a number of things around. It feels like new purchases
    when things are rearranged.

    I realize that this is not an issue when you’re feeding nine people, but I have been so guilty of tossing leftover food from the two of us. But between the worry about food supplies and encouragement from another blogger I have really tightened up my no waste game. I have found it fun to figure where I can stash my bits of leftovers into the next day’s meals.

    Your large rose arbor sounds stunning. What color are the roses that you will be planting around it?

  29. There were some really nice produce sales in our area recently. We picked up pineapples for .98, limit 4. We got 4. One is in the fridge, cut up and ready to eat, and another is already cut up and in the freezer. The last two look ripe today, so I’ll be cutting those up and freezing them this evening. If you take frozen pineapple cubes and put them in the blender with a little water and some lime juice, it makes a really nice ‘sorbet’ that’s basically pure fruit! We also got grapes, apples and pears for .98 a pound. We are ripening the pears one at a time on the counter (we usually share one fresh fruit between the 3 of us at our evening meal), enjoying the grapes in between, and leaving the apples for later in the rotation. Meanwhile, I discovered some apples on our trees that the deer cannot reach, so we may get a few from our trees at home as well. I picked a watermelon from the garden, and there are more of those, plus some cantaloupes.
    We’ve also gotten green beans, zucchini and chard from the garden. The chickpeas are drying on the plants, and I’m hoping they will be easier to shell than the ones I picked green last year.

    I chipped a filling on my front tooth, and went to the dentist to see about it. He suggested we keep it intact rather than replacing it. He smoothed the sharp spot, and charged me $5. I was expecting to pay about $160, so this was a happy surprise. Also, it only took about 5 minutes, and put me in town close to Costco (filled gas in my little truck), and Goodwill. I had some time, so I tried on jeans at Goodwill, and I am down to a size 14! This is an accomplishment for me, as I used to be a 22/24 – I’ve been losing slowly, over time. I didn’t buy any jeans (I have altered some larger ones I owned, and will keep wearing those), because while the Goodwill jeans fit me, I didn’t fall in love with the ones I tried on. I did, however, get two shirts I can wear for work, along with a pair of the cushioned walking shoes I wear for walking and exercise. The shoes are brand-new – white soles that were still completely white! I was so happy to find them for only $10, because they run $50-ish on clearance at the shoe stores. We live kind of far from town, so I try to go a few places whenever I get the chance, and the dentist savings, saving on gas, and getting the 3 items at Goodwill worked out really well for me.

    We’ve been cooking from scratch like we do, and I’ve been taking leftovers for my work lunch like I do, reading books and borrowing e-audios from the library, and generally just doing all the things we do.

    1. Congratulations on your weight loss!

      I always regret when I buy clothing I don’t absolutely love. Good for you for not buying the jeans!

  30. Your photographs, as ever, are beautiful. I’m glad you had the opportunity to stay on a houseboat! How fun!

    I was encouraged to hear my son tell me (on a Google Duo call …. which is free …. remember the days of long-distance calls?) that he and his roommate are taking advantage of activities on his college campus which are free. Hopefully the frugal-minded awareness will be a long-term thing for him.

  31. How wonderful you were able to refinance, and will save so much in the coming years. You’re right, in all the shows and books about WWII I’ve seen and read, mint is not mentioned. It does seem such a logical plant to grow and use when times are difficult, it’s interesting. From the garden, I harvested tomatoes, yellow squash, yard long beans, figs, pawpaws, eggplant, a tromboncino, hazelnuts, peppers, and a small butternut squash. My husband had heard that tires may become difficult to get, and my car will soon need some. He found a sale, and I purchased them. It ended up the tires he bought were actually out of stock, and they offered an upgrade for the same price for their goof. Chanterelles and dock seed were foraged and dried. At Marshall’s, I found packs of organic spirulina, which I use in my smoothies, in the clearance area for $5. They came to $1/lb, much less than the $3.41/lb I’ve been paying. I took advantage of a 25% off sale, and went through Swagbucks for another 3%. I’m very much looking forward to reading what everyone has been up to. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/09/a-road-trip-for-j-dwindling-garden.html

  32. Beautiful photos! I especially love the flower close-ups and the dancing water. I’m glad you and your family were able to take a vacation! I’ve enjoyed the photos on IG!

    My frugal two weeks:
    – picked chives, green onions, cherry tomatoes, garlic, pears, and snow peas from the garden
    – made lots of pizza using homegrown basil and my easy pizza dough (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/)
    – made yoghurt melts for my daughter out of leftover mashed fruit and some yoghurt, frozen
    – made sensory bins, STEM activities, and arts and crafts using items already owned. My 5 month old was super happy to play with a mixing bowl filled with water and various plastic kitchen implements; no expensive or fancy toys needed!
    – sent a friend a shower gift: bubble mailer was traded for, baby outfits were brand-new ones given to me that I hadn’t used with my youngest, pink and blue jelly beans were purchased from bulk barn with a coupon and packaged in an adorable container purchased using money earned from Swagbucks. Card was from the dollar store. A very affordable gift and it really brightened up my friend’s day.
    – made zucchini pancakes (and added in cottage cheese, half a leftover banana, and some ground flax). Great to use up leftovers and make a wholesome and rounded meal. I also made pumpkin spice pancakes (http://approachingfood.com/pumpkin-spice-pancakes/) with homemade pumpkin spice and canned pumpkin from last year.
    – got a bottle of laundry detergent and a dozen eggs free by adding the coupon to my loyalty card on the Optimuum points app. Saved over $13! It’s almost unheard of in Canada to get free items like this, so I jumped on the deal, especially as it was my husband’s preferred detergent. The following week I got 4l of milk free. There’s been an issue with the app every time I’ve used it so far for the free items, but hey, free is still free!
    – took my toddler swimming for the last time for the season at a local outdoor pool. It’s been great to have free access to an outdoor pool this summer; free entertainment and physical activity!
    – baked several loaves of soda bread, batches of cookies, and apple muffins
    – I cooked a lot from my freezer, including chicken fried rice (using leftover rice I had frozen and frozen veggies).
    – sold outgrown kids clothing and toys to a secondhand store, and got about $25. I also gave a box of baby and maternity clothes to another pregnant friend.
    – redeemed sb for $10 to my PayPal account, redeemed $3 from a diaper loyalty program for Amazon credit, and got $5 in “tips” from posting book reviews on Reedsy. Small amounts, but they all add up.
    – found someone to rent out our parking space that we don’t use, for $100/month
    – made quickie crackers by using cute mini cookie cutters to cut out shapes from whole grain pita, then toasted in the oven. Toddler approved!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

  33. I filled in a survey from a pharmacy and using rewards points got a fitness watch for 7$ I found someone to install our fence for 180$ I have been trying to find some one and this was a landscaper who came over on his day off. I was amazed how fast he put the fence up- I assisted as much as I could to save money. My adult child and I started a business in my kitchen which we are both enjoying. I have been making more food from scratch homemade yogurt and homemade stock. Been cooking all food at home have been making a game out of it. I purchased pre pandemic ‘some large quantites of rice ,sugar and flour things I don’t eat but my family does if I cook something different for them. I normally only cook things we all can eat so I am not tempted- but I may start using them to make room in the pantry. I may donate them to a family in my neighborhood. I have been checking dates on my pantry stores so I can know what I should use up sooner than later. Went for a sail with a friend who will help me with some small repairs on the boat. I will make them a nice meal as a thank you. Have been diligent about returning things to amazon that did not work out as expected. Finding new ways to save on energy cost. I bought a new air conditioner and it is saving me money over last years bills and keeping the house cooler. Put the old ones on the side of the road with a “free it works” sign on them. I live in low income neighbor hood with a lot of elderly. I put stuff out and generally it goes pretty fast makes me happy. Been recycling bath water as always. I found a nice metal toolbox at a yard sale for 3$. I am thinking of having a perennial sale next spring to get rid of some plants – have way to many so I can buy some shrubs to make the yard simpler and less busy and to my eye more beautiful. Cut some flowers for the kitchen. Had a simple birthday party for the service dog – just doggy play date. One antler I got at the farmers market which should last for a few years. Hope everyone has a great week with frugal successes!

  34. I wonder how many men read this blog. Comments always seem to be from women but there must be many men who are interested in saving money in the home and are involved in many activities at home. It would be interesting to know and hear some of their ideas too.

  35. Your trip sounds wonderful. So nice that you were able to get away.

    My mom fell and broke her arm. Due to this and some other health problems, she now needs caregiving at night (this situation will likely continue for 6 to 8 weeks until her arm heals). My sister has been staying with her every night since she fell, and I have spent many hours trying to sort out things with insurance and find caregiving options. After pricing various agencies (which charge $400 to $500 for a 12 hour night shift), I started contacting friends and family members to see if anyone could recommend an individual caregiver. Thankfully, a cousin was able to recommend someone, and we hired her. She starts tomorrow. Her rate is $25 an hour, which will still mean $300 a night, but this is still much less than an agency. My sister will stay with my mom one to two nights a week. I will handle all the arrangements, financial matters and phone calls, and spend time with my mom during the day as often as I can. We realize my mom may need to move to assisted living, so I have started research on that. I am happy to receive ideas/advice from others who have been in this situation.

    Ways I saved money:
    – To my great joy, a family friend gave me 12 pounds of rhubarb. I made blueberry/rhubarb compote and jam, and froze 4 quart bags for the freezer. I love rhubarb!
    – Bought several pounds of poblano peppers at a vegetable stand. Sliced and froze them to use during the winter.
    – Made water kefir and kombucha.
    – Made a large batch of tomato soup. Made meatballs and tomato sauce and froze them for future meals.
    – Packed my lunch every time I was out of the house (which was frequently).
    – Had a small birthday party for my twin sisters on Monday when we were at my mom’s. My Las Vegas sister attended by FaceTime. I gave them simple presents I had made.
    – Bought greeting cards at the dollar store for 2/$1.

    And…I found a part time job! I will do admin work for an acupunturist two days a week. It’s not a lot of hours, but I am excited start on Thursday.

  36. Sorry, Brandy, I missed the comment about not talking about medical issues. If my comment about trying to find caregivers for my mom is not appropriate, please delete it. My apologies.

  37. Proof that perseverance will out: three years ago I had to take an ambulance from one hospital to another, two hours away. It cost $3,000 and insurance refused to pay it, saying I could have driven myself, even though the releasing hospital insisted I go by ambulance and not slow but with alarms blaring because I was that ill. We went back and forth, and each time I went up a step. I finally contacted our state’s insurance regulator, who got involved. This week, I received a check for $3,000 from the insurance company, as I had paid the ambulance firm so my credit would not be ruined for non-payment of a bill.

    As I drove by the back of our grocery store, I saw a guy heading for their dumpster with several boxes of what looked like vegetables. It turned out to be the parings from when they slice off rough looking leaves and such so that the produce they put out looks its best. I asked if I could have the boxes and he said he didn’t see why not, so I came home with three boxes of items for the chickens. There were also bananas in one of the boxes, turning brown, so I salvaged them for future banana nut muffins. The rest did go to our chickens, which reduced our feed costs for that week.

    A friend bought some of that fake meat and did not like it, so offered it to me since “you never turn down free food.” (She is right!) My husband does not care for it but agreed that he probably would be okay with it mixed into chili, so I made a batch with half meat and half fake meat. Turned out fine so that was quite a savings.

    The local electric company periodically comes around every neighborhood and chops down trees that might fall onto powerlines if there is a major storm. They brought in this giant chipper and fed a lot of trees from our property into it. I asked if we could have the chips, so he dumped them in our side yard. It will take some work to distribute them, but in exchange for giving half to a much, much younger neighbor, he is going to spread my half for me. We both came away thrilled with the deal!

    Otherwise, it was just the usual of making the most of what we already have, especially when it comes to food.

    If anyone has Apple + streaming or wants to take advantage of their free trial, the musical Come From Away is now on there. It is the story of Gander, Newfoundland, where all the planes coming into the U.S. the days after 9/11 were diverted to while US airspace was closed. It is a wonderful, life affirming musical and leaves you feeling good about humans.

  38. We stayed home except for a couple pharmacy runs, a run to the farmer’s market and for pet food – we still have not managed to get both of our scripts on the same refill schedule. We’ve had rain every couple days it seems with some severe storms mixed in – one of those we had to really scramble to get cars moved as they were calling for baseball size hail!! Our daughter has a brand new car (a used car was actually only $30 less than a new to finance?!) so we had to get the boat hitched and moved out of the soft sided shelter so her car could be under it instead. Getting hit with inch size hail hurts but luckily, we did not get anything larger. It did make a mess of my plants though including my new lettuce seedlings in the hydroponic tower. I am hoping they’ll recover.
    We are almost out of meat and have discovered that neither of us can tolerate a bean heavy meal anymore. I am planning on seeing if lentils will be easier on us. Hopefully, things will improve and we will be able to take advantage of the discount grocers where meat is closer to our price points.
    We did make a trip to the farmer’s market near the end of the day (someone here mentioned getting deals then) and we got: sweet corn $2 for as much as you could stuff in a grocery bag, grocery bag of tomatoes for $5, bunch of bananas for .50, a head of cauliflower for $1.50, grocery bag of mixed apples for $3, kale bunch for $1. The tomatoes are in the freezer – I’ll pull those out when it cools off and make tomato soup, bananas became gluten free muffins, sweet corn is in the freezer, cauliflower was made into AlooGobi (Indian spiced veggie dish) and the kale was dried and apples will be made into sauce. It was rough on my knee to stand that long but it all got done :).
    I sold 2 things on Marketplace which went towards the farmer’s market and more dog food. We really should have thought about the cost of having such big dogs before we went ahead and got the newest one……I do a lot of “what were we thinking” lately and not just about the new pup but other decisions we’ve made that just were poor choices.
    I decided to move almost my entire “studio” into the basement where my husband has his hobbies. That way everything will be accessible in one place. I have reused and repaired or repurposed shelving for all our needs as well as picking up some free workbenches (and vinyl siding I will eventually use for the quail housing).
    We both canceled our game subscriptions to World of Warcraft – it is something we have done together for years. We will transition with some of the friends we have made to something that doesn’t have a monthly fee – we aren’t the only ones struggling. We continue to to play D&D with a few of those same friends once a week (also online – it is exactly like the tabletop – your dice just roll virtually).
    It is starting to feel a bit more “fallish” and the start of the leaves color change is noticeable but only on a couple types of trees. I hope you all have a great week! And thankyou Brandy for this wonderful gift you have shared with all of us.

    1. I think we have all made financial choices that we regret later. I know I have. We can only learn from them and continue to move forward.

    2. Melissa,
      Have you tried Beano for helping with bean digestion? I don’t have any trouble with beans, but a friend who’s Cuban and loves them swears by Beano so she doesn’t get discomfort.

      1. We have – we both suffer from IBS so Beano didn’t solve anything unfortunately – it would have been a very cheap fix too as we can get it thru our over the counter benefit thru our insurance. 🙁 We both like beans too – it’s just our guts no longer do.

    3. I understand the big dog thing- Ours is 65 lbs and grateful its not a st bedard. Things I have done to save on dog expenses- buy food in bulk on chewy auto ship, I get little stuff animals at a thrift store for 25 cents, I buy antler or water buffalo horn chew toys – they last forever. Check out dog training books at the library and through the inter library loan service. (it makes a lot more books available than what are small library has) Pet insurance – love trupanion- and learn how to do your own grooming. I recommend a vet that works out of their house -less overhead. E
      njoy your dog!!!!!

      1. LOL 65# would be small to us – we have Great Danes – 6 year old and 10 months old – and both are around $140#’s. The younger eats 12-13 cups of food a day. He goes thru around 80 pounds a month right now. We just recently decided to try a cheaper food and discovered that he is eating the same amount whether it is the expensive stuff or the cheap and his body condition has remained the same. I am hoping once he is neutered that amount will go down some. Training is not new to me but the book suggestion is excellent for those who are not familiar with the how to’s of positive training. He is a very rambunctious pup and I am not so young anymore. We don’t give ours chews – it causes massive fights and treats are only used when they come in from outside so no big expense there. I love Chewy for the convenience but prefer to support the local stores that are really only a couple dollars more. Vet cost…….most insurances I’ve looked into won’t cover the most expensive problems, especially if they are breed specific (such as bloat and/or torsion) and you have to pay up front and be reimbursed. We just keep a card for vet expenses that are extra and save up for the yearly shots and meds.

  39. Brandy, your family’s trip to Lake Powell sounds like so much fun! Congratulations on the refinance, you son passing the GED and being offered the jobs he applied for and accepting one, and for finding case lot sales! You look serene, beautiful and happy standing on the bridge; the photos of the roses, dahlias and the gardens at your kids’ university are lovely.

    We had our annual Labor Day BBQ where friends, family, and neighbors are invited to pop in for a burger and hang out. We hosted about 70 + people in between noon – late evening (some stayed for a little bit, others hung out till late night) and served ready made beef and also turkey burgers bought at BJs; grilled fresh corn at $0.20 an ear x 40 and seedless watermelons at $3.99 each x 4 as the grocery store ran the specials on the fresh corn and watermelons the week prior to the holiday and the week of. Our sale circulars run Sunday to Saturday, so both DD and I were able to get the limits on the corn & watermelons. Also served beef franks that had been purchased on sale and frozen and veggie burgers that I had made from scratch and frozen; bowls of potato chips bought on sale; platters of sliced beefsteak tomatoes from our garden and a friend’s; various homemade relishes and store bought condiments and pickles; chopped lettuce and coleslaw; homemade chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies and lemon/blueberry bars (blueberries that we picked and froze). Our oldest son, his wife and 9-month old baby boy visited us for the week so many neighbors and local friends popped in to meet the baby for the first time as the little family lives out of state. Many brought gifts for the baby (totally not expected) and DIL asked me for their addresses so she can send thank you cards. DD’s hubby, who is into music, prepared the playlists and music streamed.

    My main grocery store, that usually would of have had their autumn canned good sale this week, did not have it. I was there today, and the aisle where sales items are amassed, usually without price stickers, was filled with pallets of Halloween candy and lots of mayo and not a canned good in sight. The asst store mgr that I know well was not in today so I did not inquire. I will be in the area later in the week and will stop in again; hopefully they will have the canned goods sale this month. A good buy – with digital coupon that can be used for 4 offers – Blue Diamond whole natural almonds, 19.2 oz bag for $4.99 bought 4 bags (which now ring up with an original price of $8.99 each; last month when there was a digital coupon for this item, the original price was $7.99). Last week at this same store, I bought black plums reg price $1.99 lb, this week the same plums are $2.99 lb; gala and fuji apples that were reg price $2.49 lb last week are now $3.99 a lb.; celery that was reg price $1.29 stalk is now $1.69.; honeydew melon for $5.99 each and cantaloupe for $3.99 each -I didn’t buy them – they are both $2 each more; fresh pineapple was at $2.09 from $1.89 (bought 1); the store brand 5.75 oz green olives that were $1.29 are now $1.49 (prepandemic the reg price was $0.99). These are just a few examples of the crazy jump in food prices in just one week.

    Very perceptive of you to note about mint not being mentioned used in a tea in the WW11 era books you have read. I do recall reading a long time ago that mint was used to protect one’s home from rodents and other critters as they do not like the smell so mint was planted around the perimeter. I’m currently rooting in water peppermint, sedum “autumn Joy” and spider plants to give out as little gifts to several members of our church. Dahlias, asters and mums are blooming in the garden and I have ordered my fall planted bulbs from Holland Bulb Farms. Harvested zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, a cuke and herbs from the garden. Dehydrated oregano and basil; made pesto using walnuts. Harvested more lavender and are air drying it; the lavender harvested in late July is air drying really well and will use it with an upcoming project with 8 yr old granddaughter.

  40. Hello Everyone!
    That university campus looks beautiful! My son also recently got his first job. It’s within quick walking distance and will also help him save for college tuition. I’m so proud of him! It’ll teach him important skills and help him stay out of debt.

    I’ve been cleaning up the garden as many plants have stopped producing or got powdery mildew to the point of no return. I was able to dehydrate 2 quarts of apples and 5 pints of pizza sauce from our tomatoes. I’d like to try canning salsa from our next big batch of tomatoes. I will amend the soil soon and do a fall planting. My seedlings will be ready to transplant in about 2 weeks.

    I took a free online seed saving class through UCSC. I didn’t get the information I had hoped to, but did get some book recommendations on the topic.

    Kitchen Front was a nice read. It did make me realize how much plant knowledge has been lost, especially for foraging and home remedies. I appreciate all the book recommendations here. I just finished “If I Were You” on audiobook. It was excellent! I’m currently listening to “The Lost Apothecary “. It’s fun to listen and garden! I always search up recommendations in Hoopla or request them from the library.

    I cut my son’s hair, colored my hair, waxed my own eyebrows and gave myself a pedicure. I baked sandwich bread, wheat dinner rolls, some mighty delicious pumpkin scones, and a triple layer chocolate cake for hubby’s birthday. The Shutterfly birthday book (1/2 off) full of pictures and birthday wishes from friends and family was a big hit!

    Congrats on your mortgage savings Brandy! That’s a great rate. Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🌻

  41. What is the GED prep program that you used for your son? Also, have your children taken the ACT or did they use a different method to get into their colleges. Thanks.

    1. It is on Aleks.com. It is just for the math portion. They also had an ACT math prep class. We had my second son use that as well; my eldest had already taken the ACT when she was 14 and she used that score to get into college.

      My son who is at home is planning to take community college classes and transfer to another school.

    2. My kids use the GED website and some books that our local junior college uses in their GED prep class. I bought them used on Amazon for a few dollars each. Khan Academy website also has a lot of free classes.

  42. Congratulations on the refinance! Paying off our mortgage 3 years ago has been our biggest money-saver by far. I also find it gives us an enormous sense of freedom. Knowing you will always have a roof over your head (as long as you can pay the taxes and keep your property in good condition) is a very comforting feeling.
    On the subject of reading, I read The Kitchen Front and it was worth every bit of the wait to get it from the library – 3 months! I have written down a few of the recipes within to try but don’t think I will be making the sheep’s head roll! Also finished Little Heathens, which had been on my list to read for years but I was encouraged here to finally put it on the list. What a delightful book! Reminds me so much of my grandfather’s stories of growing up on the family farm in Ohio during the Depression. Thank you to all who give book recommendations here. I have enjoyed them all and also pass along the suggestions to my mother who is in a book club and is always looking for new ideas. Apparently, they have read so many books on WWII that many members have started saying, “Not another WWII book!” But, they have enjoyed many of the ones I have learned about here. Tomorrow, I will start A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley – another suggestion from a fellow reader here.
    I saved $28 on a grocery trip using sales and coupons. Still eating a lot of things from our garden so just filling some holes here and there in our meals. Enjoying a little cooler weather so I made soup this week. Somehow, I find cooler weather easier to meal plan for as I could eat soup every day. I often eat it for breakfast! I made a great soup out of home canned tomatoes, homegrown cabbage and onions, leftover chicken shredded up, white corn I bought on close-out, and northern beans. Yummy, easy and frugal.
    I cut my oldest son’s hair and helped my husband with his haircut.
    I made a triple batch of laundry detergent.
    We made a new firewood rack out of pallets and lumber we already owned. We have enough firewood to last for about 4 years but are always on the lookout for more. We have two trees down in our woods that will be split this winter for seasons to come. We use a lot of kindling and normally have enough on hand but have found ourselves short this year. My husband learned of a sawmill about 30 minutes from our house that sells cut-offs which people buy for all sorts of projects. He got a huge pallet full for $25. We have started splitting it and it will easily provide us with kindling for probably 3 years. A pretty good investment when your home is heated by wood. My husband traded some cattle panels for some tin roofing he needed to finish this wood rack so the whole project was essentially free.
    We are fostering 6 orphaned kittens which were found on a neighbor’s property. They appear to be related to the kitten we found on the same property in June and who has joined our family. The frugal aspect is that, instead of trying to do everything myself and taking all responsibility for all the homeless animals of the world (I have a tendency to do that), we registered with our county’s Humane Society as an official foster family. We have taken the kittens in once already to be wormed, will take them again this week for another worming and then in a couple of weeks for shots. They will go to the HS at 8 weeks of age when they will be placed in their adoption program. By working with the HS, they have provided us with all the formula, canned food, pee pads, probiotics, nutritional supplements, and electrolytes we needed to help these little ones – all for free. Yes, it takes time and effort and we are getting up in the middle of the night to feed them but we love doing it and feeling like we can do something positive in this world. It has been a great experience for my children who, as a result of this experience as well as raising the animals we own, have a wealth of practical knowledge. I mention this as encouragement to those who might consider fostering animals but are concerned about the cost of doing so. Finding an organization who does good work and supports their volunteers can make it possible to be involved in something so important.
    Thanks to all for the continued inspiration and encouragement!

    1. Bless you and your family Mountain Mama Dawn for taking in and caring for these kitties. The local animal rescue group that we support and volunteer at does the same to support people that foster — we provide formula, food, medical care and the cats and dogs in turn receive loving care and socialization from the foster parents. In your earlier posts where you mentioned that your young son raised money by doing odd jobs, etc. to help with the cost of the cat you rescued, filled my heart with joy to read about such a caring and smart youngster. If we didn’t live so far away from each other, I would hire him in a heartbeat to do some age appropriate garden chores like water my flower containers, maybe pull weeds (he would prob do a better job than DH who still can’t tell a weed from a veggie/flower plant), chase away the geese, etc. You must be so proud of him. Best wishes to you.

  43. Hi from England! We recently moved house to a much smaller property as our children have left home. The house was filthy when we moved and had to spend a lot of time scrubbing it out before we could unpack. It upset us as we had left our old house immaculate and were already exhausted from that. Anyway, one of the carpets smells of “wet dog” and despite deep cleaning we cannot get rid of the smell. We decided that we would replace it with engineered wood flooring. Visited the shop and we were told that the wait for wood could be 5 months! A world wide issue with wood supplies strikes again. My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and that time scale takes us to when he would be having major surgery so after much thought (2 minutes!) we decided to go for good quality laminate which also happened to be on sale at £15.99 per m sq rather than £32.99! Chose it on Monday, chap came to measure up Tuesday and fitting booked for October! Fantastic. Completely new floor fitted for £700 and no hassle. Happy!

  44. Hi Brandy and everyone
    How wonderful that you could all go on holiday and enjoy watersports etc. Lovely photos of the university gardens and great news on the mortgage refinance. That’s a big win!
    A client sent over fresh figs because they know I like them and also a big bag of damsons which I’ve stoned and frozen in portions for stewing in the winter.
    We picked runner beans, Swiss chard, tomatoes, potatoes, beetroot, a few cucumbers and cooking apples. Just about every meal features tomatoes and I’ve bottled some too. We gave some away to a friend too.
    My husband planted more leeks for the winter.
    I found a deal on chicken thighs and bought several packs to freeze.Also bought eggs at £3.30 for 30 eggs which is a good price here.
    A friend and I swapped books, we enjoy most of each others choices.
    One weekend recently we went from catering for just us two to catering for six people for both days. I initially went into a bit of a spin and thought I needed to rush out and buy more food but when I calmed down and reviewed what’s growing in the garden, freezer and pantry food I realised I could feed us all. We did buy more milk. In fact I used the opportunity to rotate some jelly, evaporated milk and chocolate buttons from the larder and made a sort of flummery/ whipped dessert they all enjoyed.
    I bought our Christmas cards on an earlybird deal. We choose to spend money on cards because we enjoy sending and receiving them and proceeds go to charity so we count it as part of our charitable giving.
    At our flower arranging group the demonstrator told us that the stem and seed heads of crocosmia she was using cost £1 a stem at the florist. We have lots in our garden for free.
    The second series of the new All Creatures Great and Small starts this week on TV. A new series of Grantchester has also started. It’s a period drama set in the 1950’s in a village near Cambridge. Two clergyman live in the vicarage presided over by a feisty housekeeper and they help a Geordie policeman solve crimes. Nothing gory or scary.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. What an accomplishment, to have paid off your house. I hope you had a little celebration to reward yourself for a job well done. And what a great example to your kids!

  45. Stunning photos, you are very talented. I’m currently altering 3 pairs of trousers, that are now too big for me. Also repurposing thick scarves to make neck warmers that will tuck in the neck of jumpers so there’s nothing loose, ready for my daughter to use at lambing time.
    Made an Autumn door wreath using items I’ve had for years plus some dried corn and other grasses that sprouted under the bird table.
    By adding a little extra and a bit of imagination I turned 2 meals into 4. Have a go at adding some beans and herbs to an already cooked dish, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by the result. Used an out of date bread mix(always have a couple in for emergencies) to make rolls for sandwiches and a thin crust for a leek and butter bean casserole. I am struggling to get chicken and other meat on my home delivery order, so will have to go to the stores to try and stock up. I’m also looking out for items for Christmas which I feel could be hard to get nearer the time. I’m finding that gifts are expensive so I have a list and keep checking online for any offers that appear.
    Now the temperatures are dropping I’m opening curtains to let the sun’s warmth in, it was only 2 weeks ago I was closing them to keep the heat out. Also closing curtains just before sunset to keep the warmth in. We had a new boiler fitted last week ready for winter but we hope we don’t have to use it for a few weeks, so I’ve left a couple of wool wraps in the lounge so if anyone feels a bit cold they can use one of them.
    Collected seeds from pansies and potted up various self-seeded plants to use next year. Still harvesting cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and chillies. Also growing winter purslane to add a bit if interest to winter salads.

  46. I am so happy that you have had an unexpected holiday. It sounds delightful.

    I am doing my version of shelftember and a challenge to see where gaps exist in my food supplies. My exception is milk. I drink lactose free milk and truly do not like long life milk. If things were dire I would do without. My granddaughter turned four last week and there were a number of gifts waiting here for her. She was happy to have homemade dolly sheets and quilts and some other small items rounded out her surprises. Keeping a stash can be super handy at times.

  47. In case anyone doesn’t know, the power companies will completely cut down and take away trees that they would normally just trim if asked. It is a win win situation as the homeowner doesn’t have to pay to remove a tree for whatever reason and the power company doesn’t have to continue trimming the tree each year.

    1. Linda,

      That depends upon the power company — ours will not do that. But it never hurts to ask, so thanks for reminding us of it! I certainly wish ours would!

      1. We had the same thing – no go in our area too unless you pay through the nose. A regular tree service was about 1/3 the price of having the power company/phone company do it.

  48. Wow a week on a houseboat sounds amazing! I hope your family enjoyed the time together.

    I am working on stocking up my pantry and freezer for the winter months. Pumpkin was back at Aldi for 95cents per can. This is a good price around me so I bought a dozen. My son enjoys pumpkin everything so I like to have lots on hand. I am also freezing anything and everything I can from my garden. I have lots of mint and herbs that I need to work on this week (either freeze or dry).

    My children take piano lessons. The studio where they have been taking them for the past couple of years increased their prices by 20%. We switched to an online teacher that a friend recommended and it is less expensive than we were previously paying and my kids are enjoying the songs much more (they actually want to play now!).

    My mom was looking for a piece of furniture at hobby lobby so I tagged along. In their 90% off clearance aisle they had a huge cow painting that I absolutely loved. Originally priced at $50 so I only paid $5! I hung it up and didn’t say anything to my husband. He didn’t even notice until I pointed it out…lol. I smile every time I look at it. I never would have paid $50 but it brings me a lot of joy for $5.

    I continue to pack my husband’s lunch daily. This ensures he eats something instead of skipping lunch and doesn’t go to a fast food place either.

    I always miss your posts when you skip a week Brandy, but I am so glad you got a couple vacations this summer! Have a great week everyone!

  49. Fantastic about the refinancing! It’s exciting to be saving in big and little ways!
    Love the pictures. Thank you for sharing your talents, Brandy.

    I wanted to share what was a new idea for me on the frugal, garden front. After removing corn from the cob for freezing, you can take the cobs like you would chicken bones, cover with water and simmer in crockpot/stove to make corn broth!
    Great for potato soup, bean soup, corn chowder. Even cabbage soup would be delicious.
    This may have already been discussed previously, but was a new idea for me!
    I find this site so motivating and positive. Thank you Brandy

  50. Lovely vacation! The mortgage refinance is wonderful news. Before Labor Day ground beef was on sale for $1.99 a pound. My husband went to the store twice on his way home from work and I went to the store once to get ground beef. We purchased enough to last us a few months. I also did an inventory of the pantry and stocked back up on some regular used items. My oldest loves to cook so he is cooking a couple of dinner meals each week. He has been preparing breakfast and lunch for years. I am refocusing on making sure we eat what we have. My kids and I have started walking with our next door neighbor and her dog. Exercise is so much more fun doing it with other people. I keep making the time to cut our grass; it saves us a lot of money and bonus I get exercise. We are spending as much time as possible outside now that the weather is cooler. It is a bonus play room for the kids.

  51. Your houseboat vacation sounds wonderful.
    It has not been very frugal here the past couple of weeks. We had to make an unexpected trip to Texas and the cost of gas taking our camper down there was high. But the Lord provides. We came home to a refund check from our former insurance company that will go a long way toward paying for the gas. While in Texas I visited a farm stand and purchased 5 pounds of purple Hull peas, which we can’t get in Colorado. I shelled them on the way home and we ate some then I froze three batches for later. While we were away friends took care of the garden. They were able to enjoy all the green beans, tomatoes and zucchini that were producing like crazy so at least they didn’t go to waste. I did freeze a large zucchini when we got home. The rancher we buy beef from contacted me to tell me they are butchering two extra cows this fall, did I want more beef? With prices going
    up I reserved another quarter which I will pick up in December. I will save a little each week to pay for it and figure out where to put it.

  52. The week on the houseboat looks wonderful-I am sure many happy family memories were made there. Excellent that you got a lower rate on your mortgage too. My aunt is visiting from the East so my sister and I are taking she and my Mum to Jasper for the weekend. We will split the accommodation costs 4 ways, we have a kitchenette so can cook and I already have the national parks pass. Jasper is never frugal but this is as cheap as we can do it-other than camping! We are hoping the larches around Banff have started to turn golden and that we might spot some wildlife.

    I took the triplets and big brother to a free playgroup at a playground yesterday and since they really enjoyed it I think we will be attending every week-once the weather gets too cold we will move indoors to the gym at the community centre. Big brother has just started preschool and now the triplets think they are going to school too-so easy to make 2 year old’s happy.

    I have been taking my husband to his 7 free physio sessions covered by the govt after his surgery and our closest provider also has free parking which is a bonus. My friend in the US alerted me that she has applied for a Chase credit card with 70,000 bonus United airmiles if you spend 3,000 in the first 3 months. I also see if she refers us she gets a bonus 10,000 miles so we are both getting it as the miles are quite generous.

  53. I feel like I have had more failures than successes. I have planted cucumbers and Seminole Pumpkins, and the plants have put on nothing but male blooms and are now dying. I have grown both of these very successfully before, and these were good, new seeds, bought from a reputable company. I’m going to contact them and ask them what could have happened.

    I also planted native flowers on both sides of my walk; one side is doing well, the other side is dying or dead. I have to talk to the folks at the native plant nursery as well.

    The wild beautyberry crop is less than half the normal crop this year. I had noticed so many of the plants didn’t even bloom this year. Luckily I have some in the freezer from last year, which I will use.

    On the plus side, a nice young man repaired a couple of small things at our house and refused all payment.

    I used Swagbucks and bought two more Christmas presents with zero out of pocket expense.

    My sister and I are splitting expenses to go to an out of state funeral, and friends of the out of state family are opening their homes to attendees, so we won’t need to book a hotel.

    It didn’t actually save me any money, but I ordered from Amazon through Brandy’s links. 🙂

    I mixed up a new batch of homemade Ranch dressing. I haven’t bought salad dressing in years. We make Ranch, Green Goddess, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Honey Mustard and Red Wine Vinaigrette. The Red Wine Vinaigrette recipe was kindly given to us by a chef, and is truly delicious.

    I was able to pick some grapes and make more grape juice to freeze for later use. The heavy rains from Ida knocked a lot of grapes to the ground.

    Although it didn’t help me personally, I was able to give a friend some good yard sale tips to help he and his family with a yard/estate sale they were having for his mother’s home. She has moved to assisted living and they are selling her house, so needed to get rid of the contents she no longer needed. They had never held a yard sale, so this was all new to them. They had a good sale.

    I’m looking and longing for cooler weather, and praying for those in the paths of the recent storms.

    1. I have some pumpkin plants that are now dying that have never set fruit. You may want to add more phosphorus to the garden wherever you plant them next year (bone meals is an easy way). Manure mixed in this fall will also add nutrients to the soil but assuming you are going to want to plant them elsewhere in the garden next year for crop rotation, I would amend both places.

  54. This community always inspires me.
    –Our thrift store reopened and I found clothes for our grand babies in great shape and affordable. The cost of winter coat for our granddaughter is over the top expensive; the search continues.
    –Harvested the last of our peppers and made pepper steak.
    –Put new feathers in my husbands pillow using from an older pillow. I washed and dried both pillow and opened the seams and transferred while outside. It worked great.
    –I am painting a side door of our garage; better to be proactive and keep it in good shape.
    –Husband went fishing and caught enough for a meal.
    –Making baby bibs to send as a gift. The postage is what is crazy over the top however, with my left over sewing supplies it is very economical and hopefully a welcomed useful gift.
    –Have been walking every evening and that’s good for body and soul.
    Have a great week everyone.

    1. I know you used an old pillow but thank you for the thought that I could order feathers/down for pillows (just looked). No one sells them here now and I love them.

  55. LL back on-how do I get spaces in between my thoughts. I would rather have a list than paragraph format. Thanks for your insight.

    1. I’m not an expert, but if you are trying to make a list with bullets, I haven’t found a way. Even writing the list with bullets in another program (Word or Gmail) and then cutting and pasting, does not work–the bullets simply disappear when pasted. I don’t think anyone else has has figured out bullets because I have never seen them here. Sometimes I will start a list with an * or numeral, then space, and begin writing. The other thing is to double space between paragraphs–just hit Enter twice. I am one who has trouble reading long posts that are all one paragraph.

  56. I have recently committed to the following three things as goals for everyday:
    1. Pick something up from my buy nothing group that I can use, repurpose or flip. (we are allowed to resell as long as the giver doesn’t state otherwise, I also giveaway a lot on this page as well)
    2. Sell something I own or have thrifted for the purpose of reselling for profit.
    3. Get something for free through couponing, rewards or rebate apps like Ibotta.
    I am going through a divorce and this process is serving me in two ways. It allows me to remain busy when my girls are with their Dad and it has become my second “job” to help financially. I am seriously considering a no spend year in 2022.
    In the past two weeks I have done so much and I am still working on my nonfrugal habits. I said yes! to multiple offers of free snacks – leftover cracker jack snack bags from a birthday party, 11 ct box of grain bars someone tried and didn’t like and a grocery bag full of kids snacks.
    My lovely sister (Hey Rachie Hey) thrifted for me and found some beautiful shoes for one of my girls that were brand new for $3 for Easter next year as well as another pair of boys shoes to resell. She is always so wonderful to look for me and I repay her in items I have couponed for.
    I picked up so many free items from stores using coupons, extra care bucks and Ibotta: panty liners, Danimals yogurt, razors, lipstick, nail polish, face wash, 2 bags of pull ups, granola bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, detergent, cookies, hummus plus I am sure more I am forgetting. My oldest daughter (6) asked me at one store why I didn’t use any cash or my card. When I told her I was able to use coupons to make the items free she was amazed and asked me to teach her!
    My mom came to visit over the weekend and brought my girls some beautiful doll bedding she made to go with a doll bed our retired neighbors passed on to us. She also brought two bags of pull ups for my youngest that still needs to wear them at night.
    I picked up an adorable doll table and chair set from my buy nothing group that I am going to put up for Christmas. Along with a few clothing items for the girls.
    I said yes to a birthday party at a local indoor waterpark at the end of the month I have been wanting to take my girls to but the cost is pretty high. This will allow us to try it out and celebrate a neighbor/friend for the cost of gas and a birthday present I found on sale.

    1. I just wanted to say how positive your actions are in response to this huge change in your life. I am so impressed at you filling your time with productive, and money saving activities, especially when the girls are with their father. There is nothing easy about divorce. It also sounds as if you have been blessed with a great sister and mother. Best of luck to you.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It is part of the healing process for me! However, without my supportive family it would be extremely difficult.

  57. -I need some jeans for winter (both pairs from last year were cut up for patches and a project) so I have been looking for several months. I found 2 pair of the brand I like this week. Each at thrift stores. One pair for $4.99 brand new with tags and the second pair for $6.99 (looked very new) but I had a 20% off coupon for donating a few boxes of household items. So I paid $5.59. It pays to be patient, although it is hard to do!!

    -I continue to harvest and can. 7 quarts spaghetti sauce, 5 pints tomato sauce, 20 pints applesauce, 9 quarts apple cranberry juice, 5 quarts Bloody Mary mix, 7 pints tomato soup, 10 quarts apple juice, and 10 pints tomato sauce. I am tired of canning but we still have 2 more apple trees to harvest and tomatoes continue to ripen. Bumper year for tomatoes! I did pick another watermelon and we ate it this last weekend. I spent $4 for the 4 pack of plants this spring. We have harvested 2 melons. And there are 4 more on yet. It is a race with Mr Frost, we shall see.

    -Bought two lugs of pears. Canned 10 quarts of pear sauce, 7 quarts of pear juice, and dehydrated 2 quart jars of slices.

    -My daughter asked me to make them 6 pillow cases. I was able to pull cotton fabric from my stash to make these-so no cost.

    -I stopped at a new to me thrift store. I found six 1 yard flannel pieces in kids prints for $1.25/each. This will make 3 receiving blankets for baby gifts for $7.50 for the three. I like to give on of these large flannel blankets and a fabric book or some type of small item.

    -At the same thrift store I found a red long sleeved knit shirt for my grand daughter for $3. This will go with her new jumper I sewed from a denim wrap around skirt I bought a while back from the thrift store. This was part of her birthday gift.

    -I traded a 5 gallon bucket of apples for 3 dozen eggs. Love when barters work out.

    -Finally got The Kitchen Front from the library. I have been on the wait list for 5 months. I read it in 1 1/2 days. I enjoyed it. I continue to either get digital books or regular books through the library. I used to spend $50/mo buying books. I haven’t bought a book in 9 months!

    Have a great week!!

  58. Glad you go to go on vacation.

    During WW11 in our family carrot tea was made with the tops (it can be made with the root also) Carrot tops were for tea, raw salad or cooked greens. Roots were ate . Mint was not grown as it could not feed you as well as carrots and is very limited in what it can be as it’s only for tea or seasoning though both can be used for medical. Mint can also trigger asthma. Also produce was encouraged to be raised in Victory gardens which included carrots not mint as you wanted to raise what you could process for winter eating. Sassafras and dandelion tea was very common as it’s grown wild.
    Strange but true, England bought up all the black tea in Europe during WW2 to send to their troops for morale support.

    We used the empty dog food bag and 2 empty water softener salt bags for trash this week.
    My doctor scheduled me for 3 different test(no costs as my hip surgery maxed out my out of pocket with my insurance) but in the same hospital on the same day to help keep our costs down as we have to drive over an hour (was closer to 1 1/2on way) to stay in network with our insurance with the tests. Long day but well worth the savings with only 1 trip and Hubby didn’t have to work so he drove me.

    We had a concrete step for the front porch that weighed over a ton. Our tractor can’t lift that much. Hubby worked out a deal with another person to move it for us for half price of what we were quoted by another. W are having the front porch redone with a wheelchair ramp, saved Menards rebates to pay for the material needed*material bought on sale with another 11 % rebate back to us* and worked out a deal with an Amish guy for him to do the work.

    I planted 36 different types of seeds in the garden (zone 6) most should produce before the first frost (Oct 10th around here) but Hubby has already installed plastic pipe to form hoops for me to cover with row cover if needed. I am having to water the seeds nightly. I am doing it by hand and only watering where I planted. Most of the gardens have burnt up.

    Our pond is so dry that the aerator connected to the windmill is seen very easily. It was placed 8 ft. below water level when we put it in and connected it to the windmill. Our Amish neighbor has moved his horses from his pasture(they water at our pond) back to his barn and is feeding them hay as there is no grass in any of his pastures now. We got a half inch of rain through the night and you can’t even tell it. I can’t imagine the horror of out west where I have family and friends.
    I love everyone’s comments and the photos Brandy.
    Blessed be
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2021/09/savings-last-week.html

    1. I still don’t know why you can’t grow both mint and carrots. Mint is a perennial and will come back, plus it can be harvested multiple times in a season.

      1. I agree. Also, what about growing it in a container if you don’t want to use garden space? They could have made mint jelly and maybe dried the leaves for later use. Can it be dehydrated?

        My impression is that someone in the war time government was assigned a job of maximizing productivity and calorie count/ nutrition per acre and then came up with a recommended list. They most likely used current science of the times and maybe did not have any personal knowledge of gardening. They were trying to feed themselves and their soldiers, and so many imports were lost in the Atlantic. There was probably nothing extra to export from the European continent. Do you know more about this from your reading?

        1. Yes, the leaves can easily be dried.

          There was definitely knowledge of gardening, but regional areas could grow different items (and some areas could not grow certain things). One of the things I learned was that onions were usually imported into the U.K. from France, which is why there was such an onion shortage during the war. Leeks grow in many places, and so I think I would have grown more leeks as well as green (spring) onions.

          I am looking at my own garden in the same way, especially as prices continue to rise. One of my goals in gardening is to always have something ripe, and there are some things that can be ripe all year in my climate.

          1. Gardening here is definitely seasonal, and the season is not very long. Juls is right about losses due to snow and extreme temperatures. Because of this I tend to focus more on bulk buying and long term storage when possible. I’m curious about hydroponics or some other kind of indoor growing for year round herbs and greens. Maybe strawberries or little tomatoes? Does anyone have experience with indoor produce?

            Your comment about the onions reminded me to try to think of substitutions for ingredients when certain things are hard to get or unavailable.

          2. I’ve just looked through my book Eating for Victory which reproduces official WW2 instruction leaflets from the UK government. Nothing about herbs used for tea but using them was encouraged particularly to liven up salads ( a salad each day was recommended). Mint, chives, parsley, dandelion leaves, nasturtium were all mentioned.
            It is unlikely mint jelly would be made because of the sugar rationing. Mint jelly in this country would be a condiment to go with meat ( also rationed) and would be a waste of sugar. Precious sugar would instead be used in puddings to fill families up or in fruit jams to eat with bread.

          3. I am wondering if it also may be a case of it being a “given” that everyone knew mint and it’s uses. Many, many processes were not written down because everyone knew how it was done so they never thought to document it.

            1. I don’t believe so. Several books now have mentioned the different tea substitutes, and none are herbal. Most are from carrots.

            2. Perhaps mint was something that was foraged ( at least for those living in rural areas) and not considered as a plant that needed to be grown in a garden. It also could have been considered as medicinal and mint tea was used as a treatment.

      2. Space? The Brits began tearing up their ornamental gardens before WW2 to plant vegetables. They mostly lived on root vegetables throughout the war because they got more food per square foot and the veggies could be stored without canning. I think mint, and herbs in general, were considered low value. Onions don’t do well in Britain, so they mostly did without or substituted leeks. Do you remember the episode in Foyle’s War where they raffled off an onion at the police station?

        1. I very much remember that episode. They spoke about onions in Wartime Farm and also in the Home Fires book.

          I think herbs are important; they give flavor to so much.

          1. Well, the English were never known for gourmet cooking, LOL. When I was growing up in the US, the main flavorings were salt, pepper and bacon grease.

            1. My Mum lived through WW2, I remember seeing a picture of my Grandma’s garden, in it there was all the usual root vegetables, beans, peas, cabbages, Brussels sprouts and enormous onions. There was also a greenhouse full of salad items. At that time they lived in a town with just a small garden. I know us English are known for not having an adventurous palate, but I grew up with wonderful varied meals and the baked goods were amazing. My Mum and Grandma used to preserve fruit and made chutneys for added flavour. Money was tight so nothing ever went to waste, I believe there was always homemade soup and fresh bread for anyone who needed a meal. They believed in sharing what they had.

              1. Thank you for your comment! I love learning more about vegetable gardens during the second World War.

                There is a photo of one of my great-grandfathers in his garden with grape vines. He lived in a place that got very cold during the winters. I don’t know if the photo was taken during the 30’s or 40’s. I believe my father has scanned it. I will go ask.

              2. Hello Brandy, I hope you get a copy of the photo. Thankfully I asked a lot of questions about WW2 while growing up. One thing I did learn was be grateful for what you have. I was also taught to repair and alter clothing, I must have saved thousands of pounds over the years.
                I was four when I had my first patch of garden to cultivate. We grew lots of vegetables and fruit in our little garden. Under-planting taller crops with low growing crops was something they did in WW2. Saving seeds was important not just to save money but seed was not always available.

  59. I’m wondering how people store items for the freezer. I use glass jars for nuts, soup and many other things but meat can get freezer burn and doesn’t fit into jars. I usually use plastic wrap then put into a plastic clear bag that I label with date and what the item is. Has anyone used a vacuum sealer? I understand the bags are expensive. I reuse plastic containers until they crack or fall apart. Ideas welcomed please.

    1. Lately I’ve taken to wrapping meat in parchment paper – especially if I’m doing it in portion sizes (I have a ton of parchment paper and at the moment foil is very expensive) – I then pack it tightly into Ziploc bags. Seems to work well.

      A friend has offered to give me her sealer but I did hear that the paper was very expensive – not sure what I will do.

    2. You can look at thrift stores for vacuum sealers and sealing bags. My sister-in-law finds unopened boxes of bags for around 3.00 each . My mother-in-law found some bags on clearance and bought me 4 large boxes for my birthday. The meat stays much nicer in the sealing bags. It takes time to seal all the packages, but I am thrilled with the results. I even freeze pre-made uncooked meatloaves to thaw and cook. It is tricky to store these bags as they slide around. I use large. shallow baskets to hold like items in the freezer.

    3. I love my food saver. It was given to me by my MIL when her husband died, he was the one who put up food. I also use ziploc bags and take a straw and suck out all the air. I use cottage cheese. sour cream. butter cartons, and glass jars to freeze soups.

    4. Vacuum sealed for years. Would replace my Food Saver in a heart beat and that’s only if Hubby didn’t beat me to it. Even in a freezer bag I wrap with freezer wrap first to keep the air off the meat, veggies, fruit. I do freeze my veggies and fruit on a cookie sheet/half sheet before using the vacuum sealer. They don’t smash that way.

    5. I have a food saver vac sealer – it has been one of the best food saver purchases we’ve made. We do not buy the name brand bags! We buy rolls from Amazon that are too big around to even fit into the spot in the machine for them and have rarely had a problem with failed seals. If it does, it’s usually due to it being a very wet meat or veggie I am trying to seal. I can cut the bags to whatever size I need. We specifically got one that will also seal jars with the attachment. It was extra but worth it. I have a mason jar of dried blueberries sealed that is from 2018 that has not failed yet and berries are as dry as when I put them in there. I don’t put glass in my freezer – it’s an upright and we have ceramic floor so it would be a guaranteed smash. I save mayo jars for use as freezer jars.

      1. My husband brought home a really nice Cabela brand vacuum sealer, new in the box with a couple boxes of bags, that someone threw away at the transfer station where he works. One of the best things he’s ever brought home!

    6. I use a vacuum sealer for all my meat. Saves them from freezer burn. I’ve bought the sealer bags from menards sometimes, which is much cheaper than brand name.

    7. I have a food saver. Before the pandemic Lidl had the plastic for them at a very cheap price ( sorry can’t recall amount but cheap enough that I stocked up). However I have to confess that I generally reuse food bags in the freezer ( the bags that pasta/ spaghetti/ wraps/ noodles etc come in). Here I can buy 500g spaghetti for 20p and pasta is very cheap as well in that weight. The bags are perfect for freezing portions. At the height of lockdown when I was not shopping but we were using stored food the drawer I keep these bag is in began to bulge. I have now started using them and have also put them aside for a child to use in university accommodation. The drawer is back to normal.

  60. Brandy,
    So happy to hear your family was able to have a summer vacation. I was even happier to read you were able to re-finance- that will save big time! Congrats to your son for getting a job.
    I have been reading your blog and following all the great suggestions for several years now. I am happy to say that I am finally at the point where I have enough supplies for my family and can now share with others. It has taken a lot of consistent work but it feels really good. This week I plan to share jams and jellies with my single mom neighbor who has 3 school aged kids to feed. They are some things I know but the bigger thing is just letting her know I support her.
    I was able to purchase 3 sweaters at the thrift store which should be enough to keep me warm and looking good thru the fall and winter. Total cost for the sweaters was under $20.
    Looking forward to the support of this blog.
    Thanks to every one of you.

  61. Here’s some things I’ve done this month:
    Over Labor Day weekend, went to a state park for a DNR-led cave tour that my daughter had wanted to do and purchased an annual state parks parking pass. If we had purchased a day permit, it would have been $7; the annual pass is $35 and is good through the end of next September – so a lot more options for state park visits.
    I let my ibotta account lapse; I never seem to buy anything that’s included in their offers – or at least not when they’re live – and have never earned enough to cash out. Plus, if you are inactive for a while, they take what amounts to a maintenance fee out of any points you have accrued, so I’ve actually been going backwards. On the other hand, the Checkout51 receipt app added gas offers a while ago, and I’ve been inputting those – and basically nothing else – and now have a nice little sum of cash in that account.
    I used Labor Day sales to stock up on tea (from Celestial Seasonings, cheaper than I could have purchased in the store) and some Christmas presents, which I am continuing to collect early.
    Bought sweet corn from a local farm market stand, cut it off the cob, and froze the kernels for winter.

    1. JoannaT you can purchase a state park license plate in Minnesota and it allows you in all state parks. I have one and love it!

  62. So glad to hear that you and the family had a lovely vacation – it’s not easy with a large family. And what lovely photos – that campus is amazing. Your children are such a credit to their parents – congrats to your son. It’s funny that you mentioned mint – I met a friend at a coffee shop’s patio last week and decided on mint tea. I went in to get it and was amazed to watch them muddle some fresh mint leaves in the cup before adding the water – we both just expected a teabag. It smelled amazing!

    I go into my office two to three mornings week so I always take my water bottle and a snack. I haven’t done a lot of grocery shopping the past couple of weeks but what I did buy was purchased with $50 worth of Loyalty Points. I noticed a couple of price increases in particular – aluminum foil had almost doubled in price and the thick cut old-fashioned bacon that I like has gone from $12 per kilo ($10 on sale) to $15,50 per kilo! I was just checking the flyers that come into play tomorrow and foil is on sale (still more than it used to be) – I have a couple of spares and it’s not something I use a lot but I’ll pick up at least one or two more rolls – just in case. As for the bacon, since it is a large and thick cut strip I have portioned it up into 1 1/2 stripes per serving instead of my usual 2 to 3 per serving and it is into the freezer. I also found a few packs of peameal (Canadian) bacon on sale so that has also been divided up and put into the freezer. I cooked up a couple of packages of ground beef – mixed it with lentils and then divided it up. I used some as just mince (ground beef with veg – like the filling for a cottage pie), some to stuff peppers and I’ve frozen another batch as I’m thinking about inviting a friend up for tacos one night next week. The meat is ready, I have salsa and cheese – I can slice up some avocados and and just pick up some sour cream and taco shells (on sale this week).

    I chummed this same friend to a furniture store on the weekend as she has been looking for a new couch – as we left we were gifted a bag of chips and a bottle of water – I put both into the pantry.

    I have a lot of friends who have birthdays this month so I used my online subscription service to send e-cards. I washed and reused Ziploc bags, did 4 loads of laundry and only put the sheets & towels through the dryer – hung up everything else. I also spent some time last weekend moving around my Summer and Winter clothes. It is still quite warm but Fall is in the air. We did a few walks in various locations last week and it is quite noticeable that the leaves are starting to turn colour already.

    Oh – and this morning we were all informed that we will be getting a small raise starting next month! Given that we have been paid all through the various lockdowns (and there wasn’t as much to do even from home) it was both unexpected and appreciated.

    So happy to read about everyone’s adventures this week!

  63. * My neighbor brought over a bucket of plums from her tree. They are small but taste amazing! I made plum chutney from the Ball Canning book. It made 6 pints. The bit leftover I refrigerated. I used it on grilled ham and cheese and it was quite good. I’ve never made chutney before. But I had all the other ingredients on hand and didn’t need anything from the store.

    *I canned 25 quarts of peaches and 19 quarts of pears. I’ve just started canning tomatoes and have only had enough for 2 quarts. I’ve been picking greens and froze 5 quart bags. I picked some peppers from the garden and chopped them to put them in a quart bag for the freezer. My sun gold tomatoes and cucumbers have been used for snacks, family dinners and salads. My potatoes look to be growing well. Hopefully I’ll have a good harvest of those in the fall. I made raspberry jam and also a Nectarine Orange Marmalade.

    *I’ve been continuing to supplement my DD’s wardrobe for school with deeply discounted sales/clearance. My local Kroger’s marketplace has also allowed a few finds.

    *I’ve been reading library books. I just finished one by Susan Wittig Albert called Hemlock. It’s interesting to me because of the herbs used and the great descriptions. Her website has quite a bit of information on herbs and their uses. Resources are listed also in the book. I don’t grow my own herbs – but it has me thinking. I started a new J.A. Jance book.

    *I made more banana bread from leftover bananas. All meals have been made at home and we’ve been using our freezer. I’ve been able to get several items for free. I watched a video about possible deals at Dollar Tree for the month of September. I went to my local store and spent $16 on canned goods and small storage containers that I needed. I’ve been able to get cash back points from Kroger and that has been taking $ off my weekly grocery bill. Also been using Ibotta and Fetch to gather points for gift cards for Christmas.

    *Gas is almost $4/Gallon here. I’m staying home and combining errands.

  64. Sounds like a fun family vacation!
    A few frugal accomplishments this week:
    *made meals at home
    *packed snacks and drinks while out
    *went thrift store shopping and was able to find some good gifts for birthdays and Christmas
    *made all purpose cleaner
    *went to library for books
    *used what I had creatively instead of purchasing
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  65. I have really been restocking my pantry. I have bought a lot of canned soup for $1.48 per can (normally $3), bought flour and sugar on sale,
    bought apples and pears for bargain prices, given myself my ninth covid haircut. My freezer is full of peaches, blueberries, plums, all bought on sale. I bought three blouses from the Bay greatly reduced.
    I was ill and relieved that my antibiotic drugs only cost $1.49. Our province has subsidized drugs for seniors.

  66. This last week has been all about saving seeds: I picked dried broccoli pods and crushed them to save the seeds. Ate the last butternut squash from the 2020 harvest and saved those seeds. I am using up the 2020 harvest spaghetti squash and saving those… watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumber. Cucumber seeds (like tomato) you need to ferment to get rid of the jelly-like seed coats. This process is kinda smelly, so they are in the green house with the beet greens I”m drying to add to soups in the winter.

    Trying to keep up with garden harvest is at least a part time job here!

  67. Congratulations on refinancing your mortgage! It’s such a great way to save money.
    * From the box of peaches I picked from a friend’s house, I made a double batch of peach salsa, several small jars of peach preserves that I will use as Christmas gifts, and dried a huge baking sheet that turned into a pint.
    * A friend gave me nearly five pounds of plumbs and I made spiced preserves, which will also be used as Christmas gifts, if I don’t eat it all–it’s delicious.
    * I was also given beans and two summer squash, some chips and salsa.
    * A friend gave me three skeins of beautiful yarn–perhaps a wool/cashmere blend. It’s super soft. I am making me a hat and scarf for winter walking.
    * I finished knitting a baby blanket for a gift.
    * I attended two potluck dinners, an outdoor concert, and hiked.
    * Two of my favorite WWII novels are “Mrs. Bird” and the follow up novel that just came out “Cheerfully Yours” by A J. Pearce. You could read the second one without having read the first. Based on readers’ suggestions I am currently reading “Little Heathens” and enjoying it immensely.
    * I also sorted through my yarn and craft stash and donated what no longer inspired me. I was happy to let someone else find joy in it.
    Enjoy the transition of the seasons!

  68. Over the last two weeks I have finally been able to get seeds planted for the fall garden…hooray!!
    I sowed seeds for peas, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, Swiss chard, celery, carrots, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, two varieties of pumpkins, spinach, and butternut squash. I am very happy to say that all the seeds have germinated and I am hoping for a great crop this fall and winter.
    I still have green and red bell peppers in the garden and banana peppers. I left those plants as they are still producing and are showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.
    I found a recipe for a new soup called Three Sisters soup and made a large batch this week. Yum! If anyone is interested google the name and a host of recipes will come up. I found it to be a great use for lots of garden veggies we have harvested and put away. It is also a meatless meal that I loaded with veggies and my five year old ate several bowls.
    I used some leftover rice, the remains of a lingering bag of frozen veggies and some spices to whip up a batch of veggie fried rice – no waste and another meatless meal for us.
    We found ground beef for $2.77/lb and purchased 10 lbs. My cousin recommended a local butcher he knows that we can use as a resource to stock the freezer. I am in the process of reaching out to him to see if we can purchase a whole animal for cost savings as well as quality.
    I purchased a bushel of apples from a family owned orchard. I intended to purchase three bushels but the apple crop was affected by a late season frost so I settled for one. I canned 12 pints of apple butter, 12 pints & 4 quarts of applesauce, 8 pints of apple pie jam, made one apple coffee cake, and cooed up a batch of fried apples to go with pancakes. We enjoyed many fresh apples and shared some
    with a neighbor. No apple was wasted!
    I called our power company to talk to them about trimming some branches that were near power lines after reading a comment here. I called today and we had a gentleman come out to inspect and schedule the trimming and he will repair our outside light as well at no charge to us. This is a blessing as I had been looking to hire someone to trim many branches that we simply cannot reach. Thank you for the tip!
    I picked up two more food grade buckets and lids for $4 total from the bakery at Sam’s. I will use these to store rice and flour.
    I have used my flex spending account to cover the cost of several otc medicines that we need including allergy medicine and basics like Tylenol. This is frugal as this is a pre-tax spending account that I contribute to and funds expire if not used within the year. I am watching my balance carefully to make sure that I use this dollars up.
    Enjoy the week everyone!

  69. Thank you for the lovely photos- the fountains look so refreshing. In my imagination I can hear the water.
    We have been enjoying our garden produce daily. I haven’t had to purchase much fresh at the store.
    Thanks to your sharing your Armenian cucumbers through the years, I bought seeds and planted two rows this year. Each one seems to have a different personality: some grow long, others curly, and a few oddball fat curves that look like smiles.
    My sister came to visit from far away, and we made delicious Gyros with these perfect cucumbers and warm pita bread. They add a refreshing crunch and flavor.
    She enjoyed our garden tour and picked 3 lbs. of our heirloom cherry tomatoes to take home with her.
    She started the seeds for basil in a little pot at my house ( as I keep two little pots in my kitchen window for Caprese salad and garnish), and now she wants my help to start a little patio garden.
    In my classroom, it is always easy to spend my money to cover the gaps and needs that aren’t always provided.
    I decided to try really hard to not do this going back in person after 5 semesters ( counting 2 summers) online.
    I had to move classrooms, and it has been bare bones. Without a projector screening this new space, I creatively covered a bulletin board with the glossy side of 4 poster boards from home.
    The speakers I connect to my laptop gave up the ghost. I asked for new(er) speakers as my laptop volume isn’t loud enough for a whole class, but it has been a few weeks with no response yet. I tried to connect a beautifully tie-dyed shower speaker my daughter gifted me for my birthday by Bluetooth as an improvisation.
    It works if I walk around the classroom at full volume! The students smile, and we accomplish our listening activities. Frugal win, as this is an easy, portable option.
    A good attitude is also a frugal accomplishment for me. If I sow patience and kindness with my words, it costs me little but effort. My days seem filled with brighter sunshine.
    However, if I discard grumpiness easily, it costs me time in needing to take them back or having to apologize. I find satisfaction at the end of the day to not have wasted a precious day in a moment of bad attitude. I find that satisfaction priceless.

  70. What lovely photos and also lovely friend to provide the houseboat vacation. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Inventoried my Fall clothing and need nothing although two things on my want list. Library and Little Free Library books to read. Using my Medicare and supplemental insurance provided physical therapy to recover from foot surgery as quickly as possible by making sure to do prescribed exercises at home between sessions. Cooking at home with just occasional meals out with friends for special occasions. Great weather keeping heat/AC off. Washing Ziploc bags, little or no food waste, and all the usual.

  71. Brandy your vacation sounds wonderful. That is something I have always wanted to do and hopefully get to do it someday. Thank you so much for always having such a welcoming and happy blog. I know life isn’t always happy but it is so wonderful to have a place to escape to.
    This is for the last month which has been kind of crazy.
    P passed away. Hubby and I were treated out to 2 dinners with his family. I brought home the leftovers both times. His daughter and I have gone through some of his belongings. We went through his fridge and freezer. I came home with 2 grocery bags of food. We went through his medicines and vitamins. I took medicines for my dad that P was also on. I was given the puppy blanket that I had bought him back. He loved it. I took several flannel shirts that no one wanted too. I am still getting a few hours here and there helping his daughter where I can.
    We paid my daughter’s fall college tuition in full!
    At Stop & Shop, I got 10 pounds of chicken thighs for 89¢ a pound. Blueberries were a$1.99 a quart limit 2 so I got 2. Breyers ice cream was $2 after coupons so I got 2. I also had a $5 off my order over $25.
    I had potatoes going soft so I cooked them all and made a large bowl of potato salad. I gave some to my neighbors and we ate the rest.
    Hubby got new eyeglasses for $35 online. He looks great in them.
    We did a free financial seminar online. We learned a few things.
    Aldi had butter on sale for $2.24, so I got my limit of 4. Eggs are up to 60¢ a dozen but I will take it. They had a GF pizza marked down to $1.99. I threw it in the freezer for an easy dinner for my daughter one night.
    Hubby and I went to visit our oldest daughter for a few days. We then stopped in Pennsylvania for a few nights on the way home. We got an amazing deal. We did eat out one night but everything else we cooked. We did lots of free activates at the resort, hiking, mini golf, swimming.
    Hubby and his dad went upstate one long day to get apples. The farm they go to get the apples are $1 a pound. Hubby got 70 pounds and so did his dad. So far we have canned apple sauce and apple butter. I have made apple juice, apple cinnamon syrup, apple crumb and apple cake. I have ACV sitting in jars. I need to can more apple sauce still.
    The garden is still going but slowing down. I dug all of the potatoes. I got 16 pounds. The peppers love the cooler weather so they have been turning red. Eggplants and cucumbers are still going strong. Tomatoes and string beans are almost done.
    My friend ordered lots of fun masks. She gave me several when I was dropping off some garden veggies.
    I dehydrated lots of cherry tomatoes, apple slices, and herbs.
    CVS had my cranberry pills on sale for BOGO. I also had a coupon for $5 off vitamins.
    I made chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. When I add the walnuts I cut the chips in half.
    My youngest and I decluttered the office one day. Hubby took some stuff to his jobs free shelf. Some got donated.
    My sister came over to drop her dog off. Hubby smoked a chicken for dinner. I made a cucumber, tomato salad and baked potatoes as side. She brought 2 containers of ice cream, cones and sprinkles. It was a nice day. She is renting out her apartment in the city. She brought me lots of cleaning supplies that were partially used.
    We have been going on lots of walks as the weather has been great. Recently I have garbage picked an almost full roll of baby wrapping paper, 3 books and a nice 3 tier wire shelf. I have also found lots of coins.
    I got what my oldest wants for Christmas at 75% off. I cannot believe it. It is stored away in my closet. I also told my sister about the deal and she got herself one.
    My youngest and I went to game night at my friend’s house. We had a great time and it cost us nothing. I really needed a good laugh.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  72. We have had a garden of some sort for the past 20 years, but my husband has almost always seen it as my thing. This summer he helped me transplant some squash plants, and he watered one week while the kids and I were away. He fell in love with “his squash babies” as he calls them.
    Recently, he has been sprouting alfalfa seeds, and we are enjoying delightful Armenian cucumber and sprout sandwiches with a little ham and salami.
    I also bought a giant organic cabbage from a road stand, and he is fermenting sauerkraut.
    He has been talking to me about these new skills and finding new hobbies to enjoy. He likes that all our squash harvest has come from 2 packages of 50 cent seeds ( plus the water bill).

  73. We are having lovely fall weather here and the AC is shut down. We rarely use our heat so I’m hoping to have many low electric bills for several months. Perhaps until April. I do most of our shopping at second hand stores. Thrifting is wonderful but after many years of this we have many items that are thread bare. The Amazon returns outlet over the state line from me has become such a blessing. I have been able to purchase , pillows, duvet inserts and all new mattress covers. We have bought a new comforter and a duvet along with a towel set. Each item was generally bought on a $5 or $7 day ,so the savings is substantial. I picked up multiple items for my college daughters kitchen on $3 day. Yesterday my daughter and I traveled back to the store for $1 day. She was delighted to replace her Mac cover , phone and iPad covers with new ones. We also found several new charging cords for our devices. She found a bottle of lotion that she went nuts over. At Sephora and Amazon, this product sells for $60.00. I simply cannot fathom that kind of price. I bought several food products including a bag of Swerve confectioners sugar. I believe that we will be able to bake during the holiday season with keto type desserts in our journey on better eating. We filled our car up with gas while in town. Alabama gas is 50 cents cheaper than in Georgia. I had my tires rotated and balanced at my local tire shop for free. I used a coupon to align my car at the dealership. It took a few extra moments to go to two places but saved me $40. I have tons of time but a little less money. No need to spend extra. I’m hoping everyone is well.

  74. I have a small frugal fail:

    I went to the local thrift stores today, and bought 2 sealed boxes of ‘flatware’. One for our youngest, who is moving to an apartment and one for our picnic pack.
    Came home and opened one package.
    I expected 4 spoons, 4 forks, 4 knives.
    There were 16 spoons in the package.
    Opened the 2nd package, hoping that there would be forks.
    Nope. Another 16 spoons!

  75. Also some frugal successes:
    Almost all meals at home this week. We did pick up Chick Fil A after a medical appointment.

    Our Kroger had marked down a bunch of frozen dinners. I picked up 7 or 8 for busy-day suppers.
    The fresh broccoli was getting old, so I made broccoli-cheese soup for tonight’s supper. It was a real ‘stone soup.’ I added a bag of frozen mirepoix. I added a few mushrooms. I used homemade chicken broth. And I added a leftover baked potato. The immersion blender took care of all the miscellaneous veggies.
    I kept wanting raisin bread, but I could not make myself pay the prices ($4-$8) !!! at the grocery store. So I hauled out the bread maker and experimented.
    The 2nd recipe turned out pretty well (https://www.food.com/recipe/cinnamon-raisin-bread-for-the-bread-machine-47111)

    To fit the frozen dinners in the freezer, I took down several of my pre-frozen dinner components to use for the rest of this week’s meals: grilled sausages, lamb meatballs, and smoked ribs.

    This recent case lot sale was a disappointment for me too. I was hoping for a good price on canned tomatoes, but Sam’s Club price was better.

  76. I took Thursday and Friday off work and had Labor Day off. I only left the house on Thursday. It is amazing how much can be done at home when I don’t go anywhere.

    My Frugal Accomplishments:

    I made a double batch of laundry soap.

    I made spaghetti sauce from scratch, black bean brownies using black beans from the freezer, fruit salad using canned pineapple bits in juice, with peaches and banana, chicken thighs with sweet potatoes, and chicken sandwiches from a rotisserie chicken from Costco (I can’t make a whole chicken for less). After removing the meat from the bones, I made chicken broth and soup from the broth for our oldest daughter and her family who were sick. I also added a loaf of homemade bread to go with the soup. I made roasted zucchini from our garden two times. I made bagels for the first time in many years. We enjoyed those a lot!

    I sewed a button on a blouse. I made some curtains from a sheet bought at a thrift store a couple of years ago.

    I found several books at the thrift store. I found a 1953 Betty Crocker cookbook for 50 cents in excellent condition. I also bought 2 blouses and a sweater that I can wear to work.

    I found all of the Little House books at Costco for $18, which was a splurge but other places want at least $30 for them. I had given my second-hand set away to my granddaughters several years ago and I found myself really missing those books. I will be reading them all over again in the next few months.

    We saved $160 on my car’s tires at Costco over where we usually go for tires. Our membership cost has more than paid for itself. We had been thinking about getting rid of our membership but now we are considering keeping it.

    I gave my husband a haircut and colored my hair myself.

    The best news of all is that we paid off our car! We now only have our small mortgage to pay off before I retire.

  77. Thank you all for your input and support last week.
    I feel compelled to stock up, and I managed to make great use of HEB coupons last week to add more pasta and pasta sauce to my pantry. Even though these were not on my list of groceries for the week. I keep running into this issue, where I go in with a list, but end up buying extra due to the coupons and fear of missing out on them. So my bill is always higher than I planned. I discovered that Aldi has even more of the products I normally buy so I will be switching to that.
    COBRA subsidized insurance expires at the end of the month and I will not be able to cover the full premiums for my family so I am dropping some insurance, keeping only what I think is essential through year end and hoping to find a more affordable plan on the Market place. Health insurance stresses me out. Cannot imagine how people manage to pay for it.
    I kept veggie and mushroom ends and bits and stored in the freezer to make stock later on. I cooked beans and kept the last of the boiling water for soup. I made something else with the beans. My son continues to get free school lunches and that is helping quite a bit. Still, his extra curriculars continue to be a large expense.
    We got baby chicks but now the coop and run expense looms large. Still looking to find something less expensive. I am not handy at all. Sometimes I wonder if it even makes sense financially, but I find many other benefits to raising chickens (mental, manure etc.).
    Still pondering which certification I want to go for, as I am at a crossroads.
    Temps went down this week and I was able to turn the AC off completely and even open the weekends. We are very diligent with water and electricity use.
    Wishing everyone a good week.

    1. You may be able to find a more affordable plan on the Marketplace as the new rules are that the premium for the second lowest cost silver plan cannot exceed 8.5% of your income with no top cutoff for income. Previously if your income exceeded 400% of the poverty level you were not eligible for any subsidy, no matter how expensive the policies were. When my husband was laid off at age 60, COBRA (unsubsidized) was actually less expensive than the unsubsidized ACA plans available to us. In addition, the COBRA plan was a nationwide PPO plan and the ACA plans were a mix of PPO and HMO and limited to a narrow geographic area. Fast forward to 2021 and the ACA plans available to us are only narrow network HMO plans with no out of network coverage. Anyway, you might be able to find a cheaper ACA plan but don’t expect the coverage to be as comprehensive as an employer plan.

    2. Hi Danielle,

      I am not sure you saw what I posted last time about a grant for women who need to go back to school. It is called the Program for Continuing Education for the P.E.O. ladies. If you go online search P.E.O. International then go to projects. and the PCE project. You will see about the eligibility requirements. You will need to be interviewed and nominated by a local chapter. The grant is up to a maximum of $3,000 — not everyone gets a grant or the maximum. Best Wishes, Ann

      1. Hi Ellie’s Friend,
        Yes, I did see your post about PEO and did check it out. Here’s what I see ” providing one-time financial assistance to women whose education has been interrupted and who find it necessary to return to school to complete a degree or certification that improves their marketable skills for employment to support themselves and/or their families.”. This is not my case. I already have a PhD, and have been continuously employed for the past 14 years. I am looking to get a certification to be more marketable in today’s environment, to a broader range of employers. Although financial help would absolutely help, this doesn’t seem to be the right venue. I do very much appreciate your follow up and thank you again for the info. I am sure PEO serves deserving women well.

  78. Hello, frugal friends,
    It has been a few weeks since I have commented. First, I would like to thank everyone for their book recommendations and what to see and do in Idaho Falls. I am planning a month long trip out west for next September for my husband’s retirement and I have added Idaho Falls to our trip. Brandy, your photos and suggestions about the river walk are what convinced me we needed to add the stop. Walking along a river and seeing gardens is right up my alley. I find getting suggestions from others who live in or have traveled to a place helps keep costs down when traveling. How many times has my family gone some place because it had a good write up only to find we had wasted money and time because the information was not accurate.
    *Secondly, I want to thank the reader who mentioned the Kroger sale on sugar a few weeks ago. I would have missed it if not for her. I bought the limit of 5 for $.99 each. I had been waiting for this sale for a year but it was never advertised.
    *For the frugal friend looking into assisted living for a loved one: We went through that this past year and here is what we learned (I may have mentioned some of this in a previous post.): When researching a facility be sure to ask if they allow the patient to “age in place” and get it in writing for the facility you choose. This allows your loved one to stay in the facility once their financial resources are depleted. Medicaid picks up the cost at that point…Check to see what is included in the facility fees. Do they include transportation and if so, to where? Is medication management included? Some facilities charge as much as $500/month for this service. What is the patient to staff ratio and who is included in the staff number? Some places included cleaning staff, on site social worker, chaplain, etc. These people do not actually interact with patients on a daily basis. Do they charge extra for incontinence care, and if so, who provides the disposable products? What activities are available for the residents? How often are group activities held? What are the qualifications of the activities director? Are pets accepted? How often is laundry done? Rooms cleaned? We have learned the hard way that things we took for granted, ie, laundry, room cleaning, shaves, haircuts have become issues for my father…As for help while your loved one is still in home try contacting schools of nursing or CNA training. Our local high school has a CNA training course. A friend contacted the high school CNA instructor and asked permission to contact the three top students in the course and see if any of them would be interested in working part time at $15/hour to help with caring for her elderly father in his home. All three students were interested and so between them they worked out a rotating schedule to cover the bulk of the weekly care. This arrangement helped everyone. The patient received care by trained students. The students received experience, and my friend was able to keep working knowing her dad was being cared for when she was at work. Other nursing schools would be good possibilities. We learned how expensive in home care can be. We paid $25/hr for untrained help through an agency. I wish I had known about checking with nurse training schools at that time.
    *As for Frugal savings:
    *I was overcharged for an item at the grocery store so I called the store and will get a refund next time I go there. It was a $20 item so worth the effort.
    *Found canning lids for $1.27/dozen while in another state. I bought 10 boxes. I left plenty for others.
    *Went to the orchard and picked 73# of apples of different varieties. I canned applesauce and dehydrated a bunch and still have lots of eating apples of my favorite variety which are unavailable at stores. I will be getting 3 boxes more from a farmer down the road in 2 weeks. These I will can for pies and dehydrate.
    *I did the usual cooking at home from the pantry, freezer and garden.
    *I grouped errands to save gas.
    * I walk for exercise.
    *I used coupons, digital deals and shopped loss leaders. I believe I have plenty of food for the next few months and hope not to go in to a store of any kind for a while.
    *I canned 20 pints of bread and butter pickles. With supplies the cost was .80/pint jar.
    *Finally, I want to recommend a show called US Farm Report on tv. If you want to know what is really happening in the world of agriculture and how it will effect you it is the show to watch. It is well done and gives facts from agronomists, farmers, and people actually in the field of agriculture.
    Thank you to everyone who posts here. It is always a happy place for me to come.

    1. Marley, I’ve heard the Museum of Idaho, which is located downtown in Idaho Falls, is excellent. My son lives 65 miles from Idaho Falls and I feel sure we’ll get to the museum…sometime! Also, Snow Eagle Brewing Co., which is right across from the falls, has excellent food and also brews its own root beer!

  79. Brandy, it sounds like both your trips were lovely! The best thing I did in the last week to save money was to get my stockpile organized! I marked the expiration dates in large print so it’s easy to see, made sure all food was rotated. It’s amazing how fast it gets our of control. I help my visually impaired Mom shop, so after grocery shopping I am usually too worn out to put mine away properly. I took everything that needs to be used up in the next month, and put it all together in a separate cabinet. Then, I made a meal plan, being sure to use those items. I found some wonderful food items that I forgot I had bought. I was amazed to find only a few areas that I need to fill. I was thrilled this week when I came in under budget for groceries, buying only meat, vegetables and marked down items. Deals included a dozen eggs for 99 cents, 18 count egg for 49cents and 48 cents green peppers.

    *While I was on restricted duty after a surgery, my vegetable garden took a turn for the worst. White Powdering Mildew is now all over my Zucchini plants and cucumber plants. I need to spray with soapy water, but I might just pull them out because they may have stopped producing., and it’s spreading to the pumpkins and squash! Ughhh! I’m wondering if there is anything I can put in the soil over the winter to help that?

    *Tomato plants are still producing well. I have lots of green tomatoes, hoping that they all turn red before the weather turns too cold! Growing tomatoes has saved me so much money this summer! Not only did I not have to buy any tomatoes, but my husband has been eating them for an after work snack instead of CHEESE! Our cheese consumption has gone down a lot, saving lots of $$$$$!!!!

    *My son needed a scientific calculator for math. I already had one that I bought several years ago at the Goodwill Outlet where you pay by the pound, it cost me around 20 cents when I bought it! I always try to think a couple years ahead when I am shopping at the outlet. You have to dig through a lot of stuff, but I have found many great items and saved so much money.

    *Just received a coupon in the mail for a free pet Halloween Costume at Petsmart. This will be a fun entertaining outing to pick out the costume for our dog!

  80. Hi Brandy, I really enjoy mint tea to! I have finally gotten a pot of it to grow here on Guam I’ve been very excited to use it with a citrus fruit here called Calamansi. Looks like a small lime and is orange on the inside. Our big news for the week we sold our 2nd rental property for this year. We move every 18 months as military and over the years we have bought and lived in and fixed up houses as rentals. It’s given me a great career in managing our 4 properties as we have moved around the world. My husband is at our final duty station and we’ve moved back into our house that we bought in 2004 here on Guam it will be our retirement home. I put an addition on last year and am still deep in the DIY aspects. So we decided this was the right moment to sell our rentals across the country. I sold Tampa in July, Norfolk this week, and hopefully our Washington state house next month. We’ll take all the proceeds to pay off our current house and not have a mortgage while still in our 40’s. My other big accomplishment I did my own drywall in one of our bathrooms install, tape, mud, sand, primer paint. I have lots of puddy and paint touch ups through out the house and it will save us alot of money on a painter. Mangoes are still going 4 months later. I’m down to dehydrating a batch a week. I had a bunch of bananas ripen this week there were over 120 on the bunch. We are eating many bananas. I’ve been trading with neighbors for other fruit and as the stalk continues to ripen I’ll start freezing for cookies, breads, and smoothies. Their small local bananas about 4 inches long. I finally was able to go to our one thrift store on island at our base this week. House remodeling has kept me away. I found some lovely polish pottery for a $1 a piece I collect it so a great find. 3 puzzles for $1 and 20 books for $4. Many I bought for gifts for the holidays. I was also able to get several fabric remnants for .50cents each. I use to make grocery bags or for quilting. My best find was two beautifully framed paintings of a banana tree and palm tree that will grace my guest room here on Guam. 18×36 $5 each. Have a lovely week. I need to try converting several old bathing suits to takinis. We go through them fast on an island.

  81. Hi friends! I hope this last week of summer has been lovely to you all. Fall is by far my favorite season, and this morning I could feel the cool in the air. Summer has been wonderful and a great learning experience with my garden but I must admit I am ready for it to slow down a bit. I pulled out the rest of my potatoes and carrots today, and over the next few days will prep them for storage. I definitely have enough potatoes to get me through the winter. Fingers crossed I store them properly. I eat a LOT of potatoes, so I am super excited at the possibility of having grown my own! I also shared extras with neighbors and family.

    I picked up some new to me library books and returned ones that I had read through. LOVE the library.

    I have definitely not done my best at cooking for myself the past few weeks. I noticed I have been getting a lot of take out and having groceries ordered. I am immune compromised so I have really been trying to stay home and out of the stores just for extra safety. This morning I made a trip to Winco to stock up on staples so I should be set for quite some time. This is definitely a load off my mind.

    Funny story for you all: a friend of mine was passing through on her drive from California to Washington and stayed over one night to break up the drive. I gave her a quilt to use in case she got chilly, a quilt that I typically keep displayed on a chair in my living room. My grandma hand sewed the entire thing probably 50 or so years ago and it is beautiful. In the morning my friend commented “do you use this quilt often? Because there were a few needles in it…..” I just had to laugh. I use it as a lap blanket so I had not come across the needles before! My mom did tell me that when she got the quilt from my grandma there were some 20 needles in it that she found! She would stop sewing and just leave the needle in the quilt! I got such a kick out of that.

    I dried my laundry on racks inside, watched Netflix, reused ziploc bags, stayed home, used what I had on hand. I try to remember that even though I make mistakes there is always room for improvement. Thank you all for always being such an inspiration during these strange and trying times. Take care.

  82. Not a great frugal week, but some things to share:
    * we had used my MIL’S credit card last year to buy some larger items for the house we fixed up for our daughter. We finally paid her off!
    * I made cheeseburger soup. It calls for cheddar cheese, but I used Velveeta plus some pepper jack that was leftover from a cheese tray that I had tossed in the freezer. Even though there wasn’t much of the PJ cheese, it added a nice hint of heat to the soup. I also used chicken broth that I had made from the bones of a rotisserie chicken in the soup and ground venison that a friend gave me instead of ground beef.

  83. Looks like your family had a fun time together on the lake. Glad you were able to go and so frugally!

    I went in for my 6 month check-up after the stem cell transplant and all is going as well as it should. The place I usually stay was having some sort of basketball hosting and a room was over 300$ for the medical rate! I found another place on the university of Utah campus that was a third the price (also medical rate). I’m still fatigued, but it gets better weekly. 🙂 Endurance is my main challenge at the 2.5 year point. I like to think that I’m saving a ton of money staying home and cooking all our meals. And I’m not in need of new clothing very often either.

    These past two weeks I have been ordering or buying locally to fill in gaps in our pantry that we’ve eaten. I also ordered canned and dried foods for my daughter to have on hand. We were able to buy a smaller freezer to help store meats and veggies. I didn’t want a freezer, but gave in and bought one. We’re storing it in the outside shed and will unplug it for much of the winter. I’m really shopping bargains and putting by what I can. I’m a bit skeptical, but I read that our food prices could double by year’s end. Than I go to the store and watch the prices creep up each time. I figure we cannot lose money as we’ll eat the food. I’m excited to be able to get out and shop each week.

    I signed up earlier this summer for a Medicinal Plant Certification through Cornell University saving 1,000$ off the cost. (One of the courses is all about immune building which I really need) Two weeks in and it’s going well. Our high and cold location is just not working for growing many plants – even with the greenhouse. Besides, I found I can buy fruits and veggies in bulk straight from the local(ish) farmers. I’m hoping to put my greenhouse to better use next year growing medicinal plants and herbs. Keep learning and growing is my motto. It may even turn into a business at some point.

    Wishing everyone a blessed week.

    Trish

  84. Trish!! So glad to get an update from you! I had been wondering about you, and hoping you were doing well. Sending you much love.
    Patricia

  85. Have you read A Bridge to the Sun? (do not remember who wrote it; I saw it as a movie a long time ago. It was a good movie but the book I think was excellent.
    I am almost 70 now and just recently returned to working. I had to get out of my house to escape my husband’s depression. So sad, but true. We have been in our new home now 8 months. Still working on getting the garden in and setting up things like my out door clothes lines. Things go slow when your husband has been disabled and you are slower. I have not seen near as many good sales as I used to enjoy. I have been going to work ‘early’ to go to the local (small town) grocery store. I shop their marked down meats. The past few days I have got some great deals. Savings over 50%. I must pass the store on the way to work so going is not a big deal. Just a few minutes of time to go in; look around the discount area and see what is offered. I now have some nice pork chops, round steaks, and ground beef in my freezer. I have a refrigerator in my office so I take my buys in with me (along with my lunch) and bring it home the end of the day.

  86. Trish, thanks for the update. When you went MIA for awhile, I got worried! Life seems to be going well for you and I am glad for that.

  87. I agree with you about watching our comments more closely but I also laughed because of an event that got me seriously in trouble when I was about 13 (back in the dark ages)! No bells and whistles on the phone and didn’t know who was calling. I lived with my grandparents and my grandfather was on the board of the local small-town bank. The girls were answering the phone with, “Heaven, which angel would you like to speak to?” I answered the phone one day when the bank president called my grandfather and got my cheery greeting. Needless to say, he and my grandfather were not amused and I was in trouble!

  88. Brandy, I am so happy that you have been able to get away for some fun!

    We looked at our spending pattern of late and realized that we have been spending a ridiculous amount of money eating out. It adds up quickly. Together we have decided to go back to what we were doing..eating at home or bringing a picnic when we go places or buying something from the grocery store. Then bring along a cooler for leftovers for later.
    I took a break from harp lessons for a few months, trying to save money. But started them back. It is something I really enjoy and it increases my skills. My family enjoys listening to me play as well, and I am just learning! I’ve also been playing the piano, free entertainment. My husband downloaded an app that records you. We have been making up songs and recording them for our own entertainment. Maybe we will do something more with them. My son has been saying poetry and I type what we says. Eventually we should have enough for a book. It is a goal of his and it is fun and free! My son and I are going to exercise together at home. We thought about doing youtube dance exercises. I’m going to search the internet for free videos. I’ve done it before on my own. But it should be more fun to do it as a family. My husband can join in when he gets home if he wants. Our car gets dusty as we live out in the country on gravel roads. My grandchildren had fun writing with their fingers on the dust on our car. They had so much fun! My grandson said, “And it’s free!” Made me chuckle. The child likes free stuff like me! My son’s dog brings us lots of enjoyable entertainment. Did some cooking at home, soon to do all cooking at home except for picnics. I think our health will improve and energy level which saves money on medical bills. Now I am going to clean house, also free if you want to call it entertainment. It does give me peace of mind to have a clean house. Have a great weekend!

  89. Mari – I work at our local library in my town. What an excellent idea with bringing in flowers!

    For anyone that is paying for magazines, please check with your local library first. They have digital options that are FREE with your library card. Almost all magazines and then some are included. You can log in from your home computer and read the magazine online. They also have books in digital form for FREE. Everything from adult, teens, kids, cookbooks, how to books. So many!!! They have similar digital offerings for FREE movies, tv shows, audiobooks! So much more….

    1. Our library system no longer has hard copy magazines. 100’s upon 100’s online via Overdrive/Libby but no local’ish magazines which I love and are rarely discounted. Heard from library staff member today that hard copy mags should come back in January. I’m thrilled because I miss reading Memphis and Mississippi magazines.

  90. I’m glad you got to enjoy Lake Powell. I tried to work it in to a trip out west we took several years ago but just couldn’t fit it in. SO much to see in the area.

    We did have a can sale of sorts here–vegetables of the store brand were on sale for 49 cents a can. DD and I both stocked up on diced tomatoes (mine are salt free) which was a break, since I am not gardening any more.
    She also picked out a couple things in the Land’s End catalog she would like so I ordered them for Christmas while they were 40% off. I haven’t cared much for the colors of many of their things this year, so I didn’t see anything I really wanted for myself.

    Was totally turned off by the “senior care helper” who tried to help me find a memory care for my husband. She wanted me to look at a place which she insisted was “at my price point.” I had just toured a different place that morning and was very impressed. The price difference was $1054 a month–he will be admitted to the less expensive one next week. Unbelievable!! I only need to buy him a laundry basket, and put some cash in his spending account for haircuts and such. I’m glad that time-consuming search is over.

    Rummaging in the freezer turned up some beautiful sliced, cooked roast beef that I had forgotten about. I was in the mood for beef stew–a carrot, potato, onion and celery made it into beef stew that I ate for three days in a row. Low sodium bullion made the liquid! Supplemented those meals with fresh grapes and a pear which were my fruit choices for the week.

    Loved the pictures of Winter and her family–what a beautiful baby! I remember my first meeting with my one and only grandchild–I could hardly wait to get my hands on her. She is now 29, and I still want to see her more than our schedules allow.

    1. Marcia: Your text is spaced apart on my computer screen/laptop with a line between paragraphs.
      So perhaps it is the viewing as well as the composing screen that affects the layout?
      (Thus one more reason to admire bloggers who deal with this kind of stuff!).

    2. Did you write your second message before or after Brandy moderated? When you first hit Post Comment, your comment immediately shows up on the screen without spacing, etc. It disappears when you close out, then posts after it is moderated with the spacing you originally entered. Your first message has spacing here, but probably didn’t when you first hit Post. Where your message shows up in the queue depends on whether you were responding to someone else’s message or posted a new one. Clear as mud?

  91. On Labor Day, we went camping with my daughter and nephew, with the intention of doing an “Outdoor School” with them for the start of school. I’m going to homeschool my nephew part-time (his parents will do the rest), and my daughter is in her last year of school. Sadly, she’s missed out on most of the “fun” part of homeschool, due to Covid, since this is only her 3rd year being schooled at home, and I’m determined for her to have some this year, regardless. We’d planned this for months, so gathered lots of fun activities, such as making sand candles (pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com), planned bike rides/walks, a sand castle contest, and more. We used items I already had at home, some from yard sales or purchased on sale, and their regular school curriculum for some of what we did. We used our park pass to pay for the campground fees and our Oregon Coast Aquarium membership, purchased last spring, to make our visit there. I took lots of food and we mostly cooked at the camper. There were no fires allowed, even in the campsites, so it was all indoors or on the tabletop propane grill. As we left, my sister handed me a few $20’s for “fun money” and so we used that on things McDonald’s, candy, etc. I spent the mornings doing school, reading aloud, etc. and the afternoons we did activities.

    The 2 weeks before we went were filled from early morning until late at night with food preservation and normal life (work, babysitting grandsons more than normal, trying to keep a handle on the garden and packing the camper). I’ve rarely had as much produce get ripe all at once as I had this year. I wasn’t sure I was going to get the last thing in the jar before we left, but finally did about 9 o’clock the last night before we left. I gave away the tomatoes and other remaining produce on the bushes to my sister, who picked it when she brought my nephew over so we could take him camping. No shortage once I got home, and I picked 6 boxes and bowls of tomatoes once I got home.

    It’s important to me to preserve as much as I can this year.

    I am finding that it’s harder and harder to stay within the amount I’ve set for myself for groceries, and it’s higher than many I read about here ($300/month). Some reasons for that is that I buy gluten-free (think $$$), diabetic friendly foods (think protein, protein, protein–low-carb), and feed 2 special needs kids several days per week. They are very food-specific and will eat only a certain list of food. My grown kids drop in and eat. My baby grandson is starting to eat quite a bit whenever he’s here. The last couple of months I’ve managed to stay within my budget but that’s due to the large garden I grow. I want all those people here. I love feeding them. I love taking food to people who need it. I’m not planning to change any of the things I love. I am being more careful with what I buy–starting with the basic foods I really need and only buying those snack/luxury items if there is money left. I unashamedly serve/take plain, basic, but tasty, food and everyone ends up full. At least I assume they do. They keep coming back for more:)

    On the day before we went camping, when the girls and babies showed up to eat, I simply said I hadn’t planned anything as I was getting ready for camping, but we could whip something up. But, they went and got take-and-bake pizza instead, and I was super grateful for that, as I was still canning. And canning. And canning:)

    I canned salsa, tomato juice, crushed tomatoes, and dilly green beans from what I picked since I got home. There is still a bowl and box on the table to work on soon, and more on the bushes. I froze hot peppers and sweet peppers for winter (chopped up). We thawed and cooked a turkey from last fall. I made broth and canned 6 quarts and 1 pint. I decided to can the meat and got 18 small jars (1/2 pints). My freezers are crowded. I’m pretty sure there are 2 more turkeys in the bottom of the chest freezer, so we decided we can cook another one soon if we want to eat more turkey since I only have a small amount I didn’t can.

  92. Hi Brandy, second time commenting but more happened last week and I don’t want to forget ;). My car needed maintenance so last week bought four new tires (FYI, discount tires offers a 10% online only veterans discount), rear brakes and an alignment. Costly but should keep my going for another few years. DH used to do my car maintenance but at 74, those days are past. I went over our spending this year and noticed I had overspent in some areas, not offset by other savings. DH has agreed to sell two of his motorcycles (he has five) so that will be a good source of savings and create much needed space in the garage. As we both get older, I am trying very hard to go through our things and unclutter! This week, I have high hopes to go to an Aldi store, just saw two had opened in Phoenix.

  93. Such lovely photos as always. Glade you got out for some fun on the lake!

    I got to see a local Broadway musical production for free in trade for babysitting.
    Made my own apple chutney.
    Been picking up free children’s books all year in prep to give out on Halloween instead of candy. Been shopping the free groups and a few sales for outdoor Halloween decor to theme with the books.
    Finished planting garden transplants; found hydroponic stores had best price on large garden containers here.
    Got bagged organic potting mix for 1/2 off nursery prices at a landscaping supply.
    Got a dress for $6 at a thrift store to wear to the show above.
    Planning a trip to visit a friend and save $50 on shipping by getting fabric grow bag beds from the source, which happens to be in her city. After 10 yrs mine are looking shabby.
    Found a city program that would help fund most of the cost of a new roof, but they weren’t taking any new applications. I did get on the list, but not sure what to do now as I found some actual holes.

    Mint! I moved mine to a bigger container, at first it took off, but now it’s covered with brown spots. Any ideas? I didn’t think anything bothered mint.

    1. A lot of things have been eating my mint, including caterpillars!

      Thankfully the roots usually manage and come back later, but later may not be until the next year, depending on how close you are to a frost.

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