It’s been a busy week of repairs and organizing.

My husband made several large repairs at home. Most of the sinks in our house had fallen (due to the installers not installing them properly) and needed to be fixed, and all of the faucets have been leaking from the handles for some time. He needed some help with the faucets, so we hired a friend who is a handyman. He charged us much less than the professional installation would have been from Lowe’s (and I have no worries this time that the installation is done incorrectly, as it was last time by the professionals).

I did not know when I bought the previous faucets that the company had a lifetime warranty if I had registered them or kept the receipts. I did not have the receipts from 2006. This time, I will be registering all of them and scanning the receipts so that when they wear out, they will be covered.

I mended my husband’s leather apron. Almost all of the stitching was coming apart, so I stitched it back together with heavy-duty thread and a leather needle that I had on hand. I replaced the twill tape that was tearing on it with stronger twill tape that I purchased 50% off at Hobby Lobby. The leather apron protects his clothes from being burned by sparks when he is welding. He is wearing old clothes while welding, but they will still last longer this way.

I picked up two library books that my daughter requested from the library. There was only one librarian and a guard there when I went. I saw no other patrons or librarians. I picked up the books from the hold shelf and checked them out myself (it’s a self-serve style checkout) and left. I’m grateful we can still get books.

My eldest sent us a bag of clothes that she was no longer wearing. Some things went to her next two younger sisters and two went to me. I ended up with a dress and a cardigan in my size.

Two daughters and I went through some clothing that we had in boxes. We found a pair of shorts and two skirts for my youngest daughter that were just her size. We organized and put up several outgrown clothing items to be passed down. I store all our outgrown clothing in clear 12-gallon totes in my closet on the highest shelves (one box per size). I passed down some outgrown clothing to someone who has daughters.

I gave one son a haircut.

I harvested an Armenian cucumber, tomatoes, and basil from the garden.

I made grape juice from our grapes.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. A busy week as usual for you! And yum, homemade grape juice! I find homemade grape juice is much less sweet…and I like it that way!

    My frugal week:
    – I’ve been trying to eat and serve more vegetables, so I made Sesame Garlic Ginger Broccoli over Shortcut Cauliflower Rice ( Packed with nutrients and cheaper than meat.
    – I redeemed SB for $5 to my paypal account.
    – I bought peaches on sale and made peach jam.
    – I used some leftover peaches and syrup to make copycat peach Yoplait (
    – I read 9 library books on my phone using the overdrive/libby app.
    – Using the flash food app, I spent $35 Cdn and bought a package of provolone cheese a package of individually wrapped boccocini (perfect serving size for my toddler), a bbq pork roast, 2 sirloin medallions, a maple apple butter pork loin, two packages of beef au jus fresh ravioli, a large container of sliced apples, and a container of fancy prepped salad. I meant to can the apple slice as apple pie filling, but before I could, it turned into easy snacks for my husband and daughter.
    – My daughter ate several types of beans, as well as tomatoes and red peppers from my parents’ garden.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Thanks for sharing that Yoplait recipe! This will be great use of that leftover liquid from the jars. Can’t wait to try it will liquid from strawberries too.

  2. Gorgeous day out! We were outside after dinner until dusk getting containers ready to start blackberry cuttings. We’ve harvested all the blackberries so we watched some tutorials on how to propagate blackberries from cuttings! I had no idea that we could get several cutting from a single long branch!! We got 25 ready before sunset! Lots more to do today! In the meantime I went to the nursery for some root promoting hormone to encourage them along! We are thinking that some of the cuttings will become a cash crop for us! We anticipate having over 250 blackberry starts rooted by Early September- ready to be planted! We will give some to our kids, if they want, but that still leaves a lot ready to sell! Any we don’t sell, we will overwinter and market in the Spring!
    My daughter-in-law brought over more carrots (25 pounds) and celery (15 pounds) for me to chop up and dehydrate for her. It amazes me how so much can reduce into such an easy-to-store amount that can fit on the shelf!
    Hubs loves the non-chocolate Nature Valley fruit and nut or Sweet and Salty granola bars and they were $1.49/box + a Catalina from the first 5 last week for $3. off my next grocery order which I used. That made these 5 boxes 89 cents/ box! Also got 5 free boxes of Kashi for Kids cereal and 5 boxes of Sunbelt granola bars for 29 cents/box after ibotta !
    Plus, I finally figured out the Kroger cash back thing and was able to use my $16.75 accumulated on that to reduce my total bill!
    So this was a good shop! Actually, I sent my son – first to PO to send out order, then to bank to deposit cash from another order, then to Kroger (all on same street, so good combining of trips). He has become a very aware shopper and when he checked out and cashier gave him his receipt, he asked her to check for his $3 Catalina from these granola bars. She looked startled and glanced over at the separate little machine that prints those and there it was! If he hadn’t reminded her, she would have left it there! $3 may seem like a little bit, but it’s still $3 to us, so I was proud of him for asking (He has Aspergers)!
    I went to JoAnns (not as frugal as shopping my stash) because a “daughter” (during her teenage years she pretty much lived with us because of her unstable home life)of our asked if I would make a quilt for her 10 year old son with special needs. I found a photo of a quilt I more this week to those and find ways to lighten their days, if even for a brief moment. A text, a call, a more patient response, more of a listening ear. Those are things that don’t cost me anything but a few brief minutes. But, maybe it will be worth something to those I reach out to.
    Have a great week preparing but not panicking! Be safe!

    1. Reaching out to your “daughter” and her son in such a loving way gave me pause for thought…we are raising our 9 yo grandson (we are in our 80’s) and know how difficult it can be to be loving patient and kind…your remarks give me hope that we can make a difference also…you are truly a blessing to those around you!

  3. My husband is a welder, so I know all about spark holes. No leather apron for him, though most of his work pants and some shirts come from thrift stores. Our garden is beginning to slow down, but there’s still lots to harvest… cucumbers, noodle beans, tomatoes, tromboncino squash, apples, figs, basil, oregano, eggplant, carrots, beets, the first hazelnuts, and elderberries. Tomatoes, beans and squash were canned. Basil was frozen. More lettuce was planted. A library book was picked up. A new way of keeping watermelon fresh was tried, which works very well. I found a linen shirt on clearance for $10.

    1. -Haircuts for my husband and 3 boys were done at home; our 8 month old got his first haircut.
      – Made two batches of vegan pesto using garden basil, one went into the freezer.
      – finally found a hummus recipe my family enjoys! A LOT cheaper to make at home!
      -thanks to stockup sale last month on diapers and wipes I received $20 giftcard via target, used that along with the baby budget for school supplies. The kids are extremely excited to start homeschool already.
      -we used less water for the garden this month thanks to cool weather and rain… it showed when I recieved our bill.
      -replaced rear brakes on my van ourselves.
      -packed up a picnic, water, and bikes and enjoyed nature trails.
      -listed items on Ebay.
      -we have continued to pay regular student loan payments despite forbearance, but focused on one loan at a time; one has been paid off and another will be paid off next month. Saves of course in interest, but also gained us months of traction towards debt freedom.
      -I have lost ALL of my tomato plants due to some disease 🙁
      -I am planting a fall garden for the first time. I am only using seeds that I have this year.
      – air drying lemon thyme, sage, parsley, and german thyme from the garden.
      -I have enjoyed cutting zinnia (I bought a variety pack,but they somehow are all yellow) and calendula to enjoy in my kitchen.
      – I sent in my Dyson vacuum to get worked on, it was sent back but not fixed… when I called back they ended up exchanging it for a brand new one due to the repair shops not not answering phones and few people on shifts to look into my issue further. Grateful for my vacuum!

      1. Hi Faith,
        I moved from Philadelphia to Fort Wayne a year ago. It’s great to know there are others here who love Brandy’s blog. Where are you in Indiana?

            1. Hi Faith, thanks for sharing! We made it and it was absolutely delicious (I tried the roasted red pepper hummus using green peppers). My husband actually liked homemade hummus, yay!!!! Thank you!!!

        1. Hello my Indiana friends!
          Our family lived in Fort Wayne for five years. I miss the fireflies, the antique stores, and Indiana glass.

      2. Hi Faith, would you mind sharing the hummus recipe? I’ve tried several, and also none of them have been a tasty success. Thanks.

  4. Sorry for the part of my comment that got deleted as I was typing it! In the last paragraph, where it says “ I found a photo of a quilt I….” it should have continued “a quilt I liked and was able to decode as far as defining blocks and figuring out sizes of pieces and fabric requirements. Here are the first three of the 5 rows: I’ll get it finished tonight and get it quilted tomorrow! I had $5 in JoAnns Smile credit and coupons for another $5 off, so it wasn’t as expensive as I thought it might be! It seemed like there were less fabric aisles and the selection was much more limited! Glad I have a good fabric stash!
    The other part of my last paragraph should have said that Hubs and I are doing fine through the current challenges around us but that I’m aware that there are so many that are in precarious and frightening situations with financial and mental health stresses. I feel like I need to stretch myself and be more caring. This week I am challenging myself to seek out those who need extra caring and will reach out!

  5. Good for you for getting all of your leaks fixed!

    I think I’ve got what someone on one of the Aussie blogs tagged “crisis fatigue.” We are retired, haven’t taken a financial hit and my life is actually not much different than it was pre-Covid…but now I find myself mostly just going through the motions. I admit it would help if I had an overall goal or plan (you know, the big picture), but I don’t. Half of the things I want to do don’t work out for reasons beyond my control.  (I am definitely not depressed. BTDT, and this is completely different). I’m betting I’m not the only one here who feels this way.

    Here’s how I spent the week–
    * I had two pickings of green beans. I canned 3 more pints = 6 so far this year. This hasn’t been a good year for beans.

    *I re-stitched the zipper on my daughter’s favorite tote bag.

    * I made another hanging dish towel and a hot pad/trivet. I used the embroidered motif from a T-shirt for one side of the hot pad and scraps from my stash for the other side and the binding. Making things for my home is bringing me some joy, but it’s hard to get too excited over a new pot holder!

    * I bought two Duracell deals at Office Max for a 100% rebate in Rewards = $34 worth of free batts!

    * Two days later, my husband bought a computer monitor online from Office Max. It was on sale for $149–a $100 saving. We were able to apply the $34 worth of Rewards from the battery deal, plus Honey came up with a $13+ saving if we bought and used an Office Max GC. Which, of course, we did!

    * A neighbor dropped off a bag of plums–twice. They are small, with big pits, so I think she has a flowering plum that didn’t get the message about not fruiting. They aren’t worth the effort of processing, but they are delicious for eating fresh.

    *I was given big clumps of three different daylilies (two were mine at the other house!) and a clump of something that has beautiful leaves and the blooms are pink spires. I am planting them tomorrow and passing some on to my daughter-in-law, who is coming to visit next week.

    * Stocking up–I got about 10 lbs. of boneless pork loin for $1.59 lb. (had half sliced into chops @ no extra charge), plus a 12-pack of Scott’s 1,000 Sheets.

    1. Maxine, sorry to read you’re suffering from Covid fatigue. I wish I had words to cure it, but don’t. However, that sounds like a pretty cool pot holder. 😁

    2. It’s ok to get excited about making a pot holder and dish towel (which sounds lovely). I got excited about washing our 2 cars and then getting together every rag, chamois, micro-cloth, sponge glove car wash thingy, old gloves and washing them all! I then emptied an old milk carton full of stuff and repurposed it and put my clean rags and such organized back in the garage! Such satisfaction from doing that. So yes, yay for your creativity.

    3. You can download a free app called “Picture This” for plant identification onto your phone. Take a sharp focused picture and in a few seconds it tells you what it is. I’ve used it all summer in my yard for random weeds and shrubs and it works great!

    4. Maxine,
      You are not alone in your crisis fatigue. I have been fighting it myself. I think trying to do any little thing is a big challenge and becomes draining. For instance, fueling up my car requires me waiting in line for the drive thru banking to get cash (I don’t use debit card) then masking up and pumping my gas all with no human inter-action so it falls flat for me. I miss visiting with my favorite tellers at the bank and visiting with the clerks at the gas station.
      Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that we all have good and bad days.

    5. Totally get how you feeling. I had to go to Wal-Mart and I struggle with my mental health for days after. No one talking to eachother everyone walking around like robots.

    6. I know how you feel. During the quarantine I tried many new patterns that have been stacking up. I made the items-placemats, runners, quilts and they sit there unquilted! I guess I felt like I wanted to try so many new techniques and now I have a huge quilting pile I won’t be able to quilt until my grandsons go to school and that is if they do. I tend to finish all my projects but I’m not myself this way.
      As for frugality-I continue to bake our bread and I’ve started making our own tortillas which we enjoy tremendously. I’ve been working with sourdough and love the process,
      I hope you can overcome the Covid fatigue and maybe work on your Christmas list.
      By the way, my hair has been falling off for months due to the Covid stress. News says I’m not alone.

  6. This week

    -Meals-homemade Canadian bacon/pepperoni pizza; chicken rolls stuffed with Gouda and a mixture of sautéed eggplant, zucchini, and onions and topped with Gouda and roasted poblano peppers (all the veggies from the garden); turkey noodle soup (left over turkey and gravy from last week, added a jar of canned broth to make soup,sliced up the last baby carrots, chopped onions from the freezer, and the last of my GF noodles), vinegar cucumbers; brats with buns, sauerkraut-homemade and canned, Asian cucumbers, and tomato basil salad; pizza takeout from a local bar and grill; grilled pork chops, corn on the cob, vinegar cucumbers and caprese salad.
    -Still picking from the garden-zucchini, green beans, cabbage, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, basil, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, onions, and some tomatoes.
    -Putting food up continues-more beans-8 more pints, blanched and froze kale, chopped and froze a cabbage that split, and canned 8 pints tomato sauce.
    -Only groceries bought this week were a large bottle of silk almond creamer $5, cilantro $1.00 each, bought 2 bunches, and Gouda cheese slices $2, a total of $9. Trying to eat out of the garden and freezer as much as possible. I need to make room for 1/4 beef coming end of the month.
    -At farmers market I bought 4 dozen ears of corn (each bag had 13 ears) for $20. I saved out 4 to eat fresh. I canned 24 pints of corn. I also bought 3# tomatillos for $4. I made salsa verde with these, the cilantro, garlic, onions, vinegar, and seasoning. I canned 6 half pints of salsa verde. Plus we have some in the fridge for this week.
    -I have a gluten intolerance as well as both my daughters and one granddaughter. I am having a hard time finding organic brown rice flour. I found it at Bob’s Red Mill website-$65 for 25# but the shipping was $30. I know that it is heavy but half the price of the flour!! I asked a local food co-op that I am a member of, if I could special order some rice flour? They said yes as they put in a regular order with Bob Red Mill, they could order it (25# bag) and I could purchase it for $75-saving me $20! I also ordered a 10# bag of tapioca starch. I combine brown rice flour and tapioca starch 2:1 for my gluten free flour. That will come in next week and I will pay for it then. I will need to keep the bulk of the rice flour in the freezer as well so it doesn’t go rancid. This should last over me 6-9 months. I pay $6 for 24 oz at the store, so $4 a pound. The bulk comes to $3 a pound so I saved $25 buying in bulk over the grocery stores small bags.
    -Made a pan of gluten free apple crisp (used zucchini instead of apples. Peeled zucchini, split in half. Scooped out the seeds, then sliced. Looks like apple slices. Zucchini has a bit more water than apples so I tossed the zucchini in gluten free flour to help absorb the extra water.) It turned out wonderful. I took it to a family get together and had several requests for the recipe. The best apple crisp they ever ate! Is what I heard. I shared it was actually zucchini. People were amazed.
    -Pulled bananas from the freezer. Made 3 loafs banana bread and with shredded zucchini from garden made 3 loaves zucchini bread., baked all 6 loaves at once in the oven (only took about 10 min longer than normal).Wrapped in plastic wrap and froze. Then removed from freezer and inserted into vacuum seal bags and removed air and sealed. I find this keeps the bread very fresh this way. And you have to freeze the bread before you vacuum it.
    I look forward to everyone’s comments!! Keeps me motivated to keep the frugal train on the tracks!!

    1. Wow, Julie! I’m so hungry now I’ve read your posting! And it is just inspired to use the ubiquitous zucchini as a crisp! Also a critter ate all my zucchini blossoms! Ann

    2. Question for you, Julie T: do you mix the tapioca starch with the flour before it is stored in the freezer or do you add it as you go? If so, how
      Do you keep it fresh?

      1. I mix a small batch at a time. 2 cups rice flour to 1 cup tapioca flour/starch. To fill my canister it is 6 and 3. I usually use this within 3-4 weeks and it keeps fine. When I need more pull from the freezer and mix another batch. But if you want to mix it and then freeze it that works too. Hope that helps

  7. Finally luck came my way in the blueberry department, and I was able to buy six lb at a normal summer stock-up price. I am packing them in two cup bags for the freezer. I use them in oatmeal and blueberry muffins during the winter (also an occasional blueberry crisp). This won’t go all winter but I’ll try to delay using them till later in the fall.

    Butter was also on sale. I bought the limit, which was four, to put in the freezer. I have hope now we’ll see another sale before the holidays so I didn’t go back another day for another round. With just one person in the house, this will go a long way.

    My bank has verbally approved changing a high-balance, high-interest credit card to a loan with an interest rate that is less than half of what it is today. Just waiting for the papers to come to my local branch. I had asked the bank to do this a while ago, but they had said no, because they wouldn’t include any contract work that was less than two years old. I paid down the balance quite a bit last year, and didn’t ask for any Co-vid deferral on payments, and all my income is now steady pension income, so it looked better to them. They are trying to clear up as much debt as they can, so they called me to see if I was interested.

  8. I was gifted 10# of potatoes but I had enough for now, so today I sorted though them, saved the best to eat fresh, and baked the rest off in the microwave then peeled and cubed them. A bit over half a gallon bag ready to be used for fried potatoes soon, waiting in the freezer. We like them fried with onions and green peppers.
    I also cooked up some beets that DD brought me from the farm market–a couple meal’s worth. In the meantime, I am eating delicious fresh peaches for breakfast every morning. They are my favorite fruit.
    I also received a 3# bag of apples that wouldn’t fit in the fridge, so they became an apple pie. It was a good one and my husband finished it off in no time flat! I already had apples in the fridge, as usual.
    Small quantities to take care of these days, but enough to keep me busy!
    That was probably all we saved this week, as I needed to hire a landscaping company to take care of the overgrown yard, which we can’t keep up with ourselves any more. It was not cheap but it is a huge improvement. The boss didn’t do a great job of preserving all the plants I wanted preserved, but they are perennials and I think some of them will come back in the spring. I will find out. We are also having a new roof put on before it gets cold, and last time they did that, I also lost a lot of landscaping. If I have to replace some, I will try to find shrubs that need less care than some of the flowers did. In the meantime, maybe I’ll put some mums in for fall.

    1. Marcia, that’s a great idea to cut and freeze the extra potatoes. Do you add anything to keep them from turning brown?

      1. No, they are already cooked and frozen, so they shouldn’t turn brown in a zip lock bag. When microwave ovens first came out in general, I made an effort to figure out ways to use it for more than reheating a cup of coffee. I have a recipe for green beans with crushed red pepper which are cooked entirely in the microwave. It has cooked roast pork from raw, and I also use it to heat up an already cooked ham. Many people don’t think of doing real cooking in it,but especially if you are cooking for quite a few, it can free up the oven space.
        Another thing I do is just lazy–I love homemade cooked puddings from scratch but I hate to stand there for 5 minutes just stirring while the milk comes to a boil. So when I start measuring the ingredients I put the milk into a glass measuring cup and heat it to almost boiling while I do the other mixing. Then when it’s time to put the milk in, the whole thing boils quickly and I don’t have to stand there feeling like I’m wasting time (and getting bored) stirring it. Also handy because I’m on a low salt diet and make a white sauce extremely often instead of using canned soups in casseroles, and it saves time then as well.

  9. I love your little lizard. Sometimes I find a snail in my bedroom. I’ve never discovered how he enters. I pick him up and sit him back outside of my bedroom window. This week I heard a strange noise. I quickly discovered it was my refrigerator once again. I un plugged it and went back to bed. My instant thought was to just order a new one , after all I’ve had several issues with it. Then I decided that was a really stupid thought. It’s only 7 years old and it wasn’t a cheap one. I forced myself out of bed and removed the back cover. There was a ramein noodle plastic sucked up in the fan. Not sure where it came from , but happy I looked . I’ve spent most of the week in bed. I’m thinking I am going to need a trip to the ER soon as my doctor won’t see covid patients. We made a trip out twice this week to the dumpster. There were a trillion lbs of onions . I’m happy I saw they were recalled on the news. I check a daily recall list now. I pulled out 70 lbs of rice in 5 lb bags. More dog food and 5 higher priced candles. I dropped off stuff for my mom. I pull smack dab in the middle of her yard and toss items to her front porch. I double checked out streaming accounts and canceled anything going past their free trials. I’m seeing some
    crazy payment errors. Payments being taken twice. Late fees on accounts that are on automatic payment. Overdraft fees when there’s overdraft protection. I’ve had to go back and scrutinize accounts. I have at least one recurring charge for some unknown company. At 50.00 it’s been billed at least 4 times. Exhausted here. Off to sleep. Please be safe. Have a great week.

    1. I don’t know where you live, but if you could find someone who knows how to do hydrotherapy treatments, it might help. Fever treatments helped me and fomentations and my albuterol inhaler. To be specific, fomentations helped me get the fluid out of my lungs and I think kept me out of the hospital. I had someone listening to my lungs who could hear wheezing and small amounts of fluid in my lung one day and none the next after I had been having fomentation treatments. You can find instructions for how to do fomentations online. The site Ariseandshine has a dvd you can get that is very good. But simply all you do is fold a bath towel in quarters, roll it up like a burrito shape, wet it with water until it is almost dripping wet. If you get it dripping, wring it out. Put it inside a plastic grocery bag; twist the bag so it will stay closed, and put the whole thing in the microwave for about 6 minutes. You need to fix up three towels like this rolled, moist and ready to go in the microwave if you have three. After the six minutes is up, take the towel out of the microwave while wearing oven mitts. Put a second burrito towel in the microwave to be heated for 6 minutes. Unroll the hot burrito towel out onto another dry towel you should have already laid out ready for the hot burrito towel. Use oven mitts and watch for steam when you take the burrito towel out of the plastic bag; it will be hot. Make a fomentation pack like a towel sandwich–fold the dry towel over the wet, hot unfolded burrito towel. Fold another dry towel in fourths and lay that over your chest. Then lay the fomentation pack towel sandwich on top of the folded towel on your chest. Let the heat stay on you for three minutes. (If it’s not hot enough, put only two or three layers of dry towel on your chest.) If it’s too hot (you don’t want to burn yourself.) Add another dry towel layer. After three minutes. Rinse a small hand towel soaking in ice water out and rub that on your chest. Then dry your chest thoroughly. Then get the second burrito folded towel out of the microwave and put it on your chest that has the dry folded layers of towel. Leave it for 3 minutes . . . Keep going like this. I also bent forward from the waist and coughed to try to cough up the mucus in my chest. I also used an albuterol inhaler I had for my asthma. A doctor told me she would have no problem ordered a one-time prescription for someone who needed it for COVID who didn’t have asthma. I always need a spacer (also a prescription item) to go with the inhaler. Otherwise I end up only spraying the back of my throat with it. I have also heard that albuterol can be given in a nebulizer machine (a very simple, small little gadget) and will get deeper into the lungs this way. I tried it and thought it helped me breathe better. Your doctor might be willing to order this up for you. Fomentations are a very old-fashioned home remedy, also used during the 1918 pandemic, for respiratory infections, and I have used it for years at home. I wrote another comment for this blog, if you’re interested.

      1. Elizabeth H , My water and electric bills were higher this month. My main struggles are out of breath , chest pain and hard to breath. But not at a level I would deem dangerous. I have inhalers in the house along with a nebulizer. The hot steamy showers really help. I have prednisone and antibiotics and watch my symptoms closely. I picked up a large supply of medications in Mexico in February and am grateful to have them. My neighbor just brought me back additional supplies after returning home from her 6 week visit. As a child w asthma, I am cautious anyway. The simplest infection can lead to pneumonia for me. The doctors always ask me how many packs of cigarettes ,I smoke ?. I’ve never smoked. This is worrisome for me. It’s scary. I was sick 8 weeks. Clear about a month and then it returned. The exhaustion is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Some days ,I can literally do nothing but just lay there. I don’t even lift my head to watch tv. Just listen to it. My cough is mild but I need this to all pass. I appreciate your tips. I’ve added in Vitamin D and started sleeping on my stomach. Or at least trying too. I’m grateful I’m not in the hospital. My nurse practitioner is a neighbor so I can contact her if needed. My other two neighbors are a surgeon and nurse. Thankfully , all my children can check temp, blood pressure and respiration. Having a doctor for a father gave them all good life skills. Off to bed now. I haven’t slept in a day and a half. This stuff seems to be messing with my thyroid. I simply have gotten old and I forget that sometimes. Hugs to all

  10. Our library is still closed to the public, but you can now do curbside pickup for your holds. I was able to return a book I checked out back in February, although it took me three tries (the book drop was full/not available the first two times).

    That’s great you mended you husband’s work apron. I like mending/altering clothes to give them a new life. In that vein, I hemmed and cuffed two pairs of my neighbor’s pants. In trade, he brought me sushi from where his wife works. I also redid the hem on some pants I had previously hemmed, as they were still a little too long. Now I will wear them.

    My maternal aunt died after a brief illness. My mom was very sad and I offered to drive with her to see her family in the eastern half of Washington state, near the Idaho border (we are in the Seattle area). The memorial was being held over the border in Idaho so there would be no size restriction on the gathering or any requirements with regard to mask wearing or social distancing. My mom decided it was not worth the risk, so we stayed home (I was relieved, but her sister died and I wanted her to have the opportunity to see her family if that’s what she needed). I have one cousin that lives locally, so on Saturday my mom, my sister and I all went over to her house for a mini memorial. My cousin has a large covered patio, so we sat outside, socially distanced, and shared memories. It was so wonderful to be able to do that.

    Other things I did to save money:
    Returned an item at Kohl’s. Looked quickly through the clearance section, and found a pair of jeans and a top for less than $7 each.
    Returned an item to Eddie Bauer Outlet that I had purchased online. It was a good deal, but if it doesn’t fit right, there’s no sense in keeping it.
    Stopped by Target (which is near Eddie Bauer) and got two school supply items for 25 cents each. The total, plus tax, was 55 cents. Made me laugh.
    Needed to clean two bud vases I have had for several years (which were thrifted originally). I didn’t have anything that would fit inside to scrub them, so I wrapped a pipe cleaner around the end of a chopstick, and used that. I was pleased that it worked so well.
    Picked extra greens when I picked up my CSA vegetable share, and froze them for future use. Shared extra vegetables with my mother. She gave me a jar of artichoke hearts (Costco sells them in a two pack).
    Picked blackberries. Bought tomatoes at the farm stand and they are so good. I have eaten many open face tomato sandwiches. I love tomatoes.
    Did all the stuff I normally do: cooked at home, used food from pantry/freezer, made my own iced tea and water kefir, watched DVDs/streaming content with my husband, enjoyed listening to him play his ukulele, brought my lunch to work, and exercised by walking outside and using Youtube videos.

    I have this week off from work. Life has been so busy for the past few months, so it will be nice to have some time to relax and work on a couple home projects.

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. I’m glad you were able to have the little memorial for your aunt. I’m sure it was a great comfort to your mom.

    2. Try using denture cleaners to clean your vases. I have found it great for antique vases. Buy an off brand.
      Sorry to hear of your aunt’s passing.

    3. Hi Tina,
      Try putting a few grains of rice in the bottom of the vase, fill up with warm soapy water. Cover then swirl the rice and water around for a few seconds. The rice is slightly abrasive and swirling it around gets it into all the nooks and crannies with out scratiching the glass. Hope this helps you.

  11. My mom sent over a pack of cookies, and my mother in law sent home 2 boxes of cereal, half a large cantaloupe, and some ramen noodles home with me and the 13yo after we delivered her bookshelf.

    I decided not to renew a couple magazines saving $15/year.

    Canceled my digital newspaper subscription. I didn’t realize it was $9 a month after the promo period was over.

    My neighbor sent over tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers, and zucchini. I made a batch of salsa and sent her a pint jar of it when I returned her bowl.

    Sold an item and made $3

    Received a sample bag from Sam’s when I picked up my order. It had a full size Ice drink, full size Monster(gave to the boy), a fig breakfast bar, and a bag of cheddar rice cakes. I put the reusable bag(and the smaller ones from Walmart) in the gift bag closet to reuse for gift giving.

    Cut my son’s hair for him

  12. I ordered an oil filled radiator styled electric heater for $40 off . Buying in off season helps. I ordered a sleeping bag rated for -10 degrees. l will use it inside if the electricity goes out in my all electric house. We generally have very mild winters in south central Alabama, but this year has not been typical, so I wanted to be prepared. This seemed like the cheapest and easiest way to stay warm for a couple of days during a cold snap, if the power goes off. I ordered more cheese powder. We have horrendous Covid rates where I work, and I truly feel I have to be stocked up enough on everything to last through next May, because I think it will be worse in the winter. I have stocked up on more canned tuna also, for my two youngest sons. I am also stocking up on pickles and mayo. I bought blackstrap molasses at the farmer’s market. My grandma used to tell me it was good for you. I managed to get my hands on a couple of bottles of rubbing alcohol on line. I am attempting to concentrate on stocking up on otc meds for the winter. Nyquil, and its generic counterparts, are hard to find here. I am trying to social distance and stay healthy. Masks are required here, and they were required in the courthouse before the mandate. I know so many folks with Covid, who are really ill, that it is scary. I am debating on buying even more dried fruit. I usually eat dried mangos and dates at work every day, but I may need to stock up at home also, in case of power outage. I have 14 gallons of drinking water and seven gallons of water for dog and cat. I need to stock up for my youngest kids and take to them. I already took them a gallon a piece. I also took them a lifestraw. Water and tuna are what I am concentrating on the most along with otc meds.

    1. I think your plan to be stocked until May is very wise. I was thinking it may be a long time and I just heard about the shrimp packing plant Covid outbreak being bad there because they keep it colder inside, and that in colder temperatures, they found that the virus lingers in the air more and can travel 24 feet instead of 6. None of us knows what is coming, but if the winter does prove to be more dangerous, it would be prudent to not have to go to the stores at all for months in the worst of it.

      1. our doctor told us that cold weather will make things worse… CDC is also putting out that they expect AFM that mimics polio in children this fall/winter on top of the covid.

      2. I am thinking like you, Brandy. Scientists are predicting a bad flu year on top of Covid, and with the weather so wacky this year (We live in an area where blizzards aren’t uncommon) I’m trying to stock up so that if we need to stay home all winter, we can do so.

    2. Cindy in the South – I stir a spoonful of blackstrap molasses into plain yogurt and eat this as a simple dessert.

    3. I was miserably sick but not terribly, scarily sick with COVID. I am still not totally recovered, but I have quarantined for weeks, and the doctor says I am no longer contagious. At first I had a hacking cough and then a high fever (102 ish) and then nausea. Even water made my stomach feel upset. Someone told me that tiny drops peppermint oil (Now brand tastes better than a grocery store brand I had before) under my tongue would help, and it did almost instantly stop the nausea. It’s okay to swallow it; it burns the lips and must be wiped off. I found that I could sip orange juice and eat a little pineapple. I didn’t actually vomit much, but just felt like it perpetually. I was told that eating only fruit and no animal products were a good idea and that sunshine and fresh air are good, so I did that. I rested a lot. I got some fever treatments which are also known as hot tub baths ( About half way through the illness, I could hear the wheezing in my lungs. I have asthma and happened to have a new albuterol inhaler my primary care provider prescribed just before I was to lose my health insurance because my husband was laid off work because of COVID, but I had forgotten to use it because my asthma is so seldom a problem. My daughter mentioned that it might help, so I started using that and found it very helpful. I was told that albuterol can be put in a nebulizer, and that will reach the lower parts of the lungs better than an inhaler. A doctor could prescribe that or a one-time use inhaler for someone who does not have asthma, but they would want to see the person in person. I found it helped so much that if I had a family member sick, I would ask their provider about this. For one thing, the albuterol opened up things, so that I could breathe better and helped me cough up the mucous. I was told that bending over at the waist and coughing would help clear that, and I found it helped. I also had fomentation treatments (see the site mentioned above) on my back, so they would reach the lower part of my lungs. That helped tremendously, and they are easy to do at home. There is a moist heating pad called a Thermophore you can buy online that mimics these treatments to some degree, but I think the old-fashioned fomentations work better. My mother-in-law first taught me about fomentations when I first got married. She was born the year of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. We asked her if her mother ever told her anything about it. She said, “Oh, whenever anyone had the flu, mother gave fomentations.” This was used with some success during the 1918 pandemic. Drinking lots of water is good. I have heard of people having some kidney damage, but I am not a medical person and do not know, but I thought drinking water would help protect the kidneys, so I tried to drink water. I also took some Tylenol after the fever treatments/hot tub baths did not break the fever. I have a history of respirator infections, and I wanted to make sure my lungs were clear and I was not getting fluid built up. Albuterol treatments, steam treatments, fever baths, and especially fomentations will help prevent it and help if the person starts to get a little fluid in their lungs like I did. The person needs to be watched, and if fluid starts to build up, they need treatments to correct it immediately, I think. This is my experience with treating COVID to keep it from becoming dangerous and deadly. There is no guarantee that the person will not have life-threatening complications even with care, but these home remedies did help me. The idea behind the fever baths is that is stimulates white blood cell production to kill the virus, and the idea behind the fomentations is that it brings fresh oxygenated blood to the injured area. Cold water is used after the hot to send the blood back to the body core. Alternating between hot and cold stimulates the circulation. There is information online about how to do these yourself. There are some circumstances where you couldn’t use it, like if the person had neuropathy and couldn’t tell how hot the water was–or if their heart was beating too fast (the fever treatment), and you have to keep a towel soaked in ice water on their head to keep it cool. You couldn’t do it very well if the person couldn’t explain how they are feeling. Before you try these, especially the fever treatment which could be dangerous, you need to research how to do it properly. The fomentations are fairly easy to do and you are not likely to harm the person. You just want to make sure the fomentation packs aren’t too hot so they burn someone, make sure to keep the person’s head cool, and make sure to wipe the treated skin off with cold water and dry it thoroughly after the hot part of the treatment. I have used fomentations for respiratory infections for years and never had a problem, and they really helped me with COVID. I don’t know if this will help, but here it is for what it’s worth.

        1. Thank you so much! My husband is also recovering from it in almost the same way with the same treatments I have had. Fortunately, we did not give it to any other family members. It is scary, but I think it is good to know there are things we can do to help ourselves at least possibly avoid severe complications.

      1. Elizabeth H , thank you so much for posting about your experience of Covid. I am glad to hear you are recovering and will bear in mind what you have said. Thank you.

      2. Wow, Elizabeth, thanks for sharing your experience. Glad you made it through! You’ve given us lots to look into more deeply here.

    4. Cindy in the South, We are talking over a variety of scenarios and planning how best to meet them…We have heat and a stove but running water and keeping the freezer and fridge going are the concerns we’ve discussed most. We do have a small generator but as you said, looking at the year overall, it seems wise to plan more deeply. We are in rural Southwest Georgia so weather can be of all sorts here too.

      1. Terri, if I were you (and I’m not) I would use the generator during the day to pump water and switch it over to the freezer at night, then back again in the morning. Keep the freezer full (you can fill spaces with milk jugs filled with water) and your food should stay frozen enough not to spoil. Just make sure that you have plenty of fuel to power the generator. For cooking, if you have a gas range, you can light the burners with a match. If electric, use a propane camp stove set right on top of your range. Again, have fuel on hand. When we were younger and camped a lot, we had our stove converted to operate on a 5 gallon propane tank–much cheaper than the disposable canisters and we weren’t always running out of fuel while cooking a meal. When the power is out, it’s all about make do, right?

  13. I am so grateful to have this site to come to and read everyone’s efforts and accomplishments each week. It is a welcome, positive respite from so much of the strife and difficulty in the world around us. This week, I made a batch of Greek yogurt and some sandwich bread. One night I made a very large batch of French Market soup. We ate some, and I canned 3 quarts for future meals.
    Thanks to Brandy and others who mentioned this, I was able to sign up for Kanopy for free through my library and watch some Great Courses lectures. While I listened, I knit a pair of socks, using up scraps of yarn leftover from other socks. I now have a pair of crazy striped socks.
    We enjoyed tomatoes, carrots, celery, chard, a little broccoli, onions, zucchini, and fresh herbs from the garden. I canned 5 pints of carrots from the garden and roasted and froze two jars of tomatoes to stash in the freezer for this winter.
    We cut a cord of firewood in the national forest. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the outing.
    One evening while walking our dogs, we passed a house where the people were moving. They had set out half a dozen boxes at the end of the drive with a sign saying FREE. I came home with half a dozen antique blue Atlas and Ball jars – two with zinc lids. I washed them and transferred some of my dry beans and pasta into them, freeing up some quart jars to can in. Plus they look so pretty on the shelf.

  14. I finally got to see my parents. I haven’t seen them since the beginning of February. We all met at my sister’s house which is about half way between our houses. My other 2 sisters were able to attend too. We did a BBQ in the back yard. She has a pool so most of us went swimming. I brought a veggie platter (everything was from the garden) with some ranch dressing. We all traded things that we collection for each other. I received 2 large zucchinis, 3 eggplants, 10 boxes of tissues, 2 pillows, 4 Terra cotta planters, 2 sunflower plants, a pair of shoes, several empty jars, a puzzle and several succulents. I also brought home a dozen GF/Dairy free cupcakes and cookies that my sister got for my daughter.

    I had a coupon for a free Venus razor. I waited until CVS offered ECBs for the purchase. I got $4 in ECBs for my next purchase. I was there to pick up a prescription.

    I got 2 packs of colored peppers marked down to $1.50 each for 5 peppers in each pack. We used some for sausage and peppers and the rest got chopped and frozen for future meals.

    A co-worker of my husband’s gave him a slab of uncut bacon that they weren’t going to eat. We will happily eat it.

    My neighbor called and asked if our dog is allowed steak. They had overcooked a steak and didn’t want it. I chopped it up and mixed it with her food for several days. She loved it.

    I canned 6 more quarts of dill and garlic pickles. I also canned a pint of peppers.

    We were lucky with the storm and didn’t have any damage. We cleaned everything up ourselves and we kept a lot of the sticks for the fire pit. As I am driving around for work I have picked up lots of wood to use next year. Hubby will chop it. We also helped our neighbors out after the storm. They are older and had a lot more of their trees come down then we did. After cleaning up we sat in their yard having drinks.

    I made iced tea twice with tea bags that I had.

    The man I help and I have been decluttering his house. He had tons of pads. He told me to get rid of them. I brought a bunch home and gave some to my mom, sisters, neighbor and kept some for myself. I have been asked if I could help more days for longer hours. I am happily taking the extra hours. More money to put towards the mortgage.

    It rained twice this week so I didn’t have to water several days. All laundry was hung up. On the day of the storm, I hung it inside. We had a few days of lower temps so the AC was shut off every morning.

    My garden is still going strong. I did have some tomatoes fall from the storm but they are sitting on my window ledge. I picked tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, peppers, and lots of herbs.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  15. Glad to hear of all the home
    Repairs going on in your house Brandy. I always find it a comfort to be able to mark something off the project to do list.
    It has been a busy week here as well but I am grateful for the gift of time COVid has bestowed on my family. No commute to work means more time at home!
    We continue to add to our storage to prepare for the months ahead. Our state is now a hot zone so I find myself more concerned about the winter ahead.
    I picked up 7 pounds of jalapeños and 12 pounds of fresh cherries at the farmers market this weekend. I canned 7 pints of cowboy candy and put one gallon of seeded halved peppers into the freezer. We will use the halves in lots of beans, chili’s, etc. this fall and winter.
    The cherries were made into four large gallons of cherry pie filling that we froze which I will use for pies and cobblers In the months to come.
    I scored 50 lbs of black beans for less than 0.70 cents a pound. This is less than half of what I saw them for at Walmart and neither Sam’s or Costco carry them. Also added 20 pounds of rice at a great price, bouillon, brown sugar, and a few other items which escape my memory at the moment.
    I also began stocking up on some basic cold medications, zinc, cleaning supplies and toiletries to carry us through. We found dog food at a great price too and bought extra.
    I’ve ordered a bushel of tomatoes and they will be canned as diced tomatoes this weekend. Pink eyed peas will be shelled for the freezer as well.
    I’m ordering some clothing items for my son while prices are rock bottom for back to school and using a coupon from a previous purchase.
    We’ve enjoyed all meals at home including smothered pork chops, kielbasa and fresh okra, pasta and homemade tomato sauce, roasted chicken and chicken Caesar salad. My little one was delighted with sheet pan pancakes before school on several mornings.
    I’ll begin sowing seeds for fall in the garden in the next week or so. This will be my first fall garden so I am excited to see what we are able to grow well.
    We are swimming in banana peppers over here…if anyone has any recipes please share. I have pickled so many we won’t be buying them for years.
    Have a blessed week everyone!

  16. I bought 10# of very inexpensive potatoes and like the idea of microwaving them before peeling, cubing, and freezing them. We have been gifted cabbage, cucumbers and squash (along with a few potatoes and some lettuce). I added zucchini to a brownie mix and left out the water and added a third egg for extra protein. Mom liked them. Another zucchini went into a pasta salad. I diced it and an onion and cooked both with the pasta. I added some leftover black olives and mozarella cheese (I won’t add the cheese next time until the pasta has cooled) and, lazy girl here, just used some bottled Italian salad dressing from Aldi. It was good. One cucumber was shredded, salted, and drained and then tossed into half a carton of sour cream with a single-serve packet of Greek dressing and used to top crackers. Another cucumber was seeded and diced and tossed with more of that bottled Italian dressing. I saw a photo of cucumber and tomato salad that.looked delicious. I might be adding a can of diced tomatoes to the diced cucumber tomorrow. I still have two cucumbers, two yellow squash, and three or four zucchinis. I know one squash is destined to be shredded and added with hamburger and onion to canned pasta sauce. And another will be added to a spiced wacky cake. A third will be battered and deep fried. But I am running out of ideas…. The green cabbage will be shredded either tonight or tomorrow and made into long-lasting refrigerator cole slaw. But because of the onion recall, I think I will be shredding and cooking the onion briefly until it is very hot before adding it to the cabbage.
    When I get nervous, I add to my collection of sewing and craft sewing books. I’ve been nervous so…. I bought a complete set (except for one instruction card of the 1080 cards in the series containing the cutting diagram for a doll ‘s bassinette) of a vintage (1992,/1993) sewing series entitled Step-by-Step Sewing. It would have cost $900 back then. Now, including all 30 multi-sized patterns, it will be about $200 for seven full binders of sewing instruction and four pattern holders containing the 30 patterns that can sit neatly on a shelf. Unfortunately, I bought some duplicate patterns. I think I might attempt to sell the duplicates on eBay although I am thinking that perhaps I will keep them so I won’t have to trace those patterns before cutting them out in my size.
    Mom is continuing to get stronger. We actually left the house Tuesday for the first time in her car since before she broke her hip the first Sunday in February. I had felt so vulnerable for so many months when I knew we were trapped at home because I couldn’t get her into or out of the car. In addition to visiting the doctor, we visited several of our favorite parks. It felt so good to do something I had doubted we’d ever be able to do again.

    1. Holly, what sweet relief for you and your mother to be able to move about again! Here’s hoping you’re able to continue for a good long time.

    2. Oh! And, you can thin-slice several zucchini, sauté them with onions and garlic (as much or as little as you like) til tender, then dress with lemon juice and chopped basil leaves (a dollop of pesto if you’ve got it). Use it to top pasta, rice, or another cooked grain. Simple, delicious, and uses up *lot* of zucchini.

    3. We make latkes with zucchini; if you don’t like those, then make potato pancakes but sub in about half zucchini and you won’t notice the difference. Also, the blog Food in Jars has a recipe for zucchini butter that freezes well. We use it much like pesto on hot pasta. Speaking of pesto, I make our recipe with zucchini subbing for about a third of the basil. No one notices when they are ground together in the food processor. I freeze a lot of it for winter.

  17. I so enjoy your blog each week. I refer to recipes several times.
    Ways we saved: Due to circumstances of these days and the virus our finances changed. We’ve been blessed many days of needs being met.
    We use a protein from the freezer and divide in half then add beans..rice..breading to stretch.
    Tomatoes from our garden n herbs add to our meals.
    Meal plans help ahead.
    We use popcorn for snacks if needed or veggies.
    I use flowers from my yard or greenery to brighten a table.
    I haven’t been shopping for much except groceries ..meds..and occasionally thrift sales.
    I tried to make this summer more about home and family and enjoy what we have.
    Ridding out and reorganizing helps me to bring a freshness each month💕. Take care

  18. We were given 15# of peaches by a lovely neighbor. We are still eating the free apples from 2 weeks ago. I’m putting my excess zucchini in a box at the end of the driveway, with a free sign. My husband picked up some pears that a neighbor had set out. So produce is in abundance here. I’ve got lettuce, arugula, kale and broccoli seeds planted.
    My goal is that this week I will call our insurance and go over our coverage line by line. My aunt saved $1200 a year by doing this!
    I gave a friend a collard tree and she gave me rhubarb crowns and let us pick blackberries and raspberries. They were delicious. I divided and planted the rhubarb crowns.
    There was an online course that I wanted to take through a local organization. I emailed and asked if I could work instead of paying the course fee. They said yes! I’m thankful.
    I found $1 on our front yard. Into my savings it went!
    I have returned 2 supplements that did not work for me. I will be refunded. Returns are low on my pleasure list, but I DO like the refund. So the pain pays off.
    A coworker of our son tested positive for Covid. Our son is sick now. He got tested today and has to stay at home until results come. Prayers for him are appreciated.
    Blessings to all.

      1. Thank you all for good thoughts and prayers. He is no worse over the last 3 days. He’s grown (23) and married and lives across the country. I wish I could be there to check on him!

  19. I finished a slouch hat made from cute wool self-striping sock yarn that I bought at a discount store for $2. I don’t know if I will keep it for myself or donate it.

    I finished a baby afghan with donated yarn and started another with more donated yarn.

    I harvested a few tomatoes, plums, and peaches from the community garden plot. I pulled basil and made four tubs of pesto for the freezer. Another friend gave me excess tomatoes from her garden.

    I blanched and froze about 20 pounds of broccoli (bought at .25 a pound) and a head of cauliflower. I found outdated frozen bacon for $1.99 a pound and bought four packages of it. I like to have bacon on hand for adding flavor to food.

    I bought brown rice and soy sauce from an Asian market to fill in some gaps in my pantry.

    I made blueberry and ginger shrub from ingredients I had on hand. It tastes refreshing and delicious on hot days!

    I got two packages of onion seeds for .10 each. I plan to sew them in my garden this week and hope to get a crop before the end of the growing season. I

    I read two library books and requested more that look interesting.

    My husband and I were invited to attend a private outdoor concert that was being streamed. There were about 10 of us in the audience social distancing. It was wonderful to be outside and listen to live music!

    I am counting my blessings, particularly on days when I feel down, and it’s helpful

  20. The photo of the zinnia is beautiful.
    This week we saved doing the following:
    -I am pushing to save plant matter from the kitchen for our compost pile. My tendancy to throw things in the garbage was a habit I am breaking. I was amazed how much I could save from watermellon rinds, coffee grounds, cucumber peels, onion peels etc. I did some reading, made a simple wire enclosure and started stacking green and brown matter. I hope to add to my garden next spring and decided I could use compost to my advantage.
    -A neighbors’ large oak tree limb came down. We offered to remove it and he said we could have the wood. I think there -is at least a face cord with value at about $100. Very appreciative.
    -My sick looking cucumber plants are greatly improving with fertilizer-who knows maybe I will have cucumbers before winter.
    -Continue to stock up with weekly specials and freeze for the future. I pop peppers, tomatoes in the freezer if they aren’t as fresh and use in spagetti sauce, pepper steak, sloppy joes etc.
    -Popped pop corn on top of the stove. I have found good quality popcorn for .89/bag, tastes great, and has a good shelf life.
    -I made masks for my son and used cotton/flannel. I had spare shoe strings that I saved from old shoes/spares in the boxes and used for the ties. I also had 1/2 inch elastic and cut it down the center to make 1/4″ and used with some of the masks.
    -Washed our cars by hand-no car wash necessary.
    -I finished stitching new dish towels.
    -Husband installed a new exterior door. It allows sun into the room and is such an improvement. He did a really nice job and I am his side kick helper.
    -Our son spent time with us during these covid times. Went fishing, took a boar ride, made special baked goodies, and now more than ever am so appreciative of the love of family.
    -Removed window air conditioner to save on electricity.
    -Cut up large mailing envelopes that we got in our mail box. I slice and dice these and make little memo pads.
    Stay frugal and safe everyone.

  21. The photo of the zinnia is beautiful.
    This week we saved doing the following:
    -I am pushing to save plant matter from the kitchen for our compost pile. My tendancy to throw things in the garbage was a habit I am breaking. I was amazed how much I could save from watermellon rinds, coffee grounds, cucumber peels, onion peels etc. I did some reading, made a simple wire enclosure and started stacking green and brown matter. I hope to add to my garden next spring and decided I could use compost to my advantage.
    -A neighbors’ large oak tree limb came down. We offered to remove it and he said we could have the wood. I think there -is at least a face cord with value at about $100. Very appreciative.
    -My sick looking cucumber plants are greatly improving with fertilizer-who knows maybe I will have cucumbers before winter.
    -Continue to stock up with weekly specials and freeze for the future. I pop peppers, tomatoes in the freezer if they aren’t as fresh and use in spagetti sauce, pepper steak, sloppy joes etc.
    -Popped pop corn on top of the stove. I have found good quality popcorn for .89/bag, tastes great, and has a good shelf life.
    -I made masks for my son and used cotton/flannel. I had spare shoe strings that I saved from old shoes/spares in the boxes and used for the ties. I also had 1/2 inch elastic and cut it down the center to make 1/4″ and used with some of the masks.
    -Washed our cars by hand-no car wash necessary.
    -I finished stitching new dish towels.
    -Husband installed a new exterior door. It allows sun into the room and is such an improvement. He did a really nice job and I am his side kick helper.
    -Our son spent time with us during these covid times. Went fishing, took a boar ride, made special baked goodies, and now more than ever am so appreciative of the love of family.
    -Removed window air conditioner to save on electricity.
    -Cut up large mailing envelopes that we got in our mail box. I slice and dice these and make little memo pads.
    Stay frugal and safe everyone.

  22. Hello everyone!

    I look so forward to Brandy’s inspiring posts and all of the comments! This week, I saved by canning dill relish with cucumbers from my container garden! I saved the leftover brine and am waiting on more cukes to ripen. Also I used zucchini and yellow squash to make pineapple/zucchini jam. It has jello in it but no pectin so was a little cheaper that way since surejell is pricey. Will be good on bread, toast, and w/ my homemade yogurt and granola or ice cream. I made zucchini bread for my freezer, yeast rolls, biscuits, and homemade ice cream this week in addition to homemade suppers, lunches and breakfasts except once we ordered pizza which we hadn’t done since March so it was a real treat. I’ve been getting grocery pickup every few weeks and really find that is a savings. I love comparing brands and even comparing between the stores easily that way. So easy to stay on budget with the totals right there. Plus- finding homemade solutions and waiting until the next pickup is a fun challenge. I am trying to stock up on essentials in case times get tough though. This whole virus thing has me worried about what will happen in the next several months.

    I’m collecting seeds for my 2021 garden, especially zinnias and Cleomes. Working to grow food we really eat and that I can preserve. Already dreaming about next year’s gardening! I have a huge watermelon and a few babies growing from a vine in a small raised bed area and I’m very excited for that. First time growing watermelon! Lots of squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We’ve had rains often in MO this summer and so much time at home has allowed me to really baby my plants. I started everything from seeds except two tomato plants. Definitely seed starting again next yr!

    Have a good week! Stay well!

  23. I love the Zinnia! I just snipped some from my flower beds tonight. I also picked some gladiolas for another vase. They brighten up my bedroom so nicely.

    *My best savings this week was finding corn on the cob on clearance at my grocery store. They were priced 4/25c. I bought all 10 packages that were left. I blanched the cobs cut it from the cob. Filled (really full) 6 quart freezer bags for this winter. My mom gave me her extra tomatoes. I canned those with my tomatoes and got 3 quarts canned.

    *A food blog I follow posted her 15 most popular zucchini recipes. I print off they recipes after I try them to put in my permanent recipe file. My zucchini plant is going crazy. I’ve been picking them small. I’m planning on making zucchini lasagna and mock crab cakes this week to keep using it up. I will also make more zucchini bread to freeze. The recipe using zucchini tonight was a Summer Vegetable Soup that was a winner for us. It used my garden tomatoes, zucchini, corn and onions and a can of evaporated milk and chicken broth. Wonderful pantry meal. My kids liked it and I’m looking forward to lunch this week.

    *In my garden, I picked zucchini, cucumber, sunburst gold tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, roma tomatoes, the rest of my onions and all of my potatoes. The potatoes were so fun to harvest! I would like to try to grow these again next year in buckets. I have lots of small new potatoes and a good amount of larger potatoes. Not enough to get me through the winter, but enough so I won’t be buying any for a good long time. I put fertilizer on my pepper and cucumber plants. Cleaned out plants that were done producing and left them in a pile in the corner of my garden. Will break down nicely and can be used for soil improvement over time.

    *I got 25c school supplies at my local Kroger. We didn’t need them this year so I tucked them away for next year. My youngest starts school next week. She’s completely prepared to start full-time. I’m worried about her wearing a mask all day. We’re going to take it day by day.

    *I dropped off bags of clothing/miscellaneous off at our thrift store and made sure to get a tax receipt. I stapled it to my list of items immediately and filed it with our tax receipts. I already have another bag of clothes to drop off from my son. He moved into his own place and finally cleaned out his chest of drawers. I’m thrilled he took the drawers with him.

    *Made all dinner at home last week except for our date night. I found hawaiian rolls and deli ham on clearance at the store. 75c for each item. I used 1/2 of the rolls and meat and made Hawaiian Ham rolls. Froze the other 1/2 for another meal. Made baked tacos with refried beans and cheese, french bread pizza, Oriental Pasta Salad with Grilled Veggies and Chicken with Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and pizza.

    *Exercise was YouTube videos and going for walks in the neighborhood. Gardening also provided exercise. I make sure to stretch really well after exercise. I started a light strength training routine 3x/week as well.

    *Reorganized several shelves a new way and moved a few display things around to give me a fresh new look. Also organized and cleaned the upstairs and downstairs food pantry, plus all 3 freezers to keep what I have in stock fresh in my mind. I also stocked up on medicines for my medicine cabinet for this next winter. The cupboard is full and it was in budget.

  24. I smiled when I read the term ‘crisis fatigue’ in Maxine’s comment. That sounds exactly like my lack of enthusiasm and general fatigue. My husband and I are retired, and so our lives, thankfully, haven’t changed too much. Due to our age and his complicated medical history, we are staying at home. But this is summer time in Arizona so normally we would do day drives to get out of the heat…now we just stay at home. Clearly more frugal ;). We used to eat out once or twice a week, that is down to once a month if we can find a restaurant patio. All our savings from not eating out went to help pay medical bills this summer (I am halfway through cataract surgery). I have been noticing some crazy prices…sale price last week on chuck roast of $6 a pound! Yikes! I know our Australian friends would not find that price crazy but six months ago the sale price was $2.75/lb. I did manage to buy hamburger and chicken breasts last week for the freezer. Otherwise no other shopping done.

  25. Well, you have to tell us about the lizard. A visitor from out of state? A pet the kids smuggled home? A bonus for spending over $100 on groceries?

    1. A baby lizard from the garden that climbed in the window three mornings last week and hung out at the top of the curtains! We kept putting it outside and finding it inside every other morning.

      1. Staying in Hawaii, I found that even grown geckos come in over the top of a door. One of them liked to hang upside down on the kitchen cupboards to watch me make supper or a snack. I never minded, but the person who owned the house had spent a fortune trying to gecko-proof the house and was quite frustrated.

      2. It looks like a Western Fence Lizard. I found a similar one here in my garden and looked him up as I’d never seen one like him. I suspect mine was the Eastern variety though, lol.

    2. I dehydrate some banana peppers and then crumble them to store. Add them to salads, pizza, etc. It is so good!

  26. * Did some baking
    * made some more “yoo-hoo” mix. Love the yummy drink, and it uses dry milk powder, of which we have a lot.
    *picked and ate okra from our garden
    * Given several nice dress shirts for my husband & oldest son
    * Now that my husband is back to work I’m looking for great deals on the food he is allowed to bring into the plant. Found a few items, and stocked up. It’s was only 25% of the price on the job. We have a special budget category for his work food; it can be hard because only certain things are allowed.
    * Bought the school supplies we needed for $1
    * Cut hair; cleaned our pool ourselves
    * visited some friends in a parking lot
    *Sold another item online
    *Visited a library in person; the staff does an excellent job on proper precautions.
    *Took the week off school
    (next week too)
    *started planning a budget friendly and safe mini vacation
    for the cooler fall weather. Camping nearby is an excellent choice.
    *our life is boring compared to most people. We always eat at home; we homeschool; we rarely go anywhere.

    Hope everyone had a safe and healthy week!

  27. We had just bought 10 lbs of onions when Costco called and announced the recall. My husband returned the onions. Just in case, we bought 2 bottles of dehydrated onions at Costco. I can’t imagine soups, stews, and roasts without onions, so we are covered. I have plenty of clothes, especially since I am normally home so much, but I found Sweat shirts and bottoms at Costco that were heavy weight. I did buy them as we have a long winter in Fairbanks! Our gardens are giving us fresh vegetables which we are enjoying. We have had more more rain than normal which has made the gardens thrive. The weather has been cooler which is wonderful for us, but not so great for growth in the gardens.
    We are continuing to stay home a lot. My husband is a pastor but only goes to the church building on Weds. and Sun. Services are still by zoom. It is a hard time for small churches. He also writes and sends out a sermon on the Old Testament lessons. He has enjoyed the challenge and gets positive feedback from a few people. I have not traveled to Kaktovik because the native villages are isolating. The 1918 pandemic almost obliterated Native villages. The airline went out of business during the pandemic. It is being served by 2 airlines but I haven’t heard their schedules or luggage limits. It will soon be polar bear season, when tourists normally travel to see the polar bears and take pictures. I doubt there will be as many this year. We usually have church meetings during this time which give us an opportunity to get out of town before deep winter sets in. Those meetings will be by zoom this year, so we will not have that opportunity. Anchorage has high covid numbers so we will not be going for any reason.

    1. Alaska Gram—I live in Fairbanks, too, and one thing the rain has done is give us a bigger raspberry crop than ever before. As of today I have 19 quarts in the freezer, and that is despite eating them fresh by the handfuls when I go out to pick.

  28. I’ve been preserving food like crazy. It’s taking several hours each day, most days. I guess it stands to reason that since I planted such a large garden, I will have a large harvest to preserve! Today, my sisters and aunt got more beans picked and snapped for me while I was at the dentist getting a cracked filling fixed. They were extras from my sister’s garden, and yes, thank you, I wanted them! But, there’s one thing about a garden that is so true–the produce won’t wait. When it’s ready, it’s ready. My sister’s garden has yielded over 150 quarts of green beans, and it isn’t even finished! Wow! Of course, she gives many of them away. Then, my husband and I canned ours this afternoon. I got 7 more quarts and 18 pints. I also froze a few from that batch and made wild blackberry jam with the berries my husband went and picked early this morning. I’ve been pulling onions, carrots and picking tomatoes and other veggies from my own garden. I’m cleaning up the areas where the crops are done, and replanting with fall/winter veggie crops, such as cabbage. Pictures are on my blog:
    My husband made me screens to dry onions on. He picked up the wood alongside the road for free and only had to purchase the screen material. I was able to use my insurance to get my cracked filling fixed today. I don’t like dental work. At. All. But, I’m super glad to have it done and over with before it became a big problem, and very glad it was paid for.
    With all the garden produce, I haven’t needed to go to the store for 10 days, so far.
    I cooked several recipes this week. I made large batches and we used the leftovers on other days for quick meals. I also opened one of my home-canned soups today for a quick lunch. I don’t use them often, because canning anything with meat in it takes a very long time, but it sure came in handy today to have that option.

    1. How amazing! Our beans just stopped producing; it is just too hot. I enjoyed them while they lasted.

      1. My pole beans won’t produce because the weather keeps going up to upper 90’s and 100. I just have 1 row that I planned to eat fresh beans from until fall. The blooms drop off at those temps, and just when they grow some more, it gets hot again for a couple of days….like today. And tomorrow. Those were the ones I wanted to eat fresh until fall–so we’ll see if they grow more blooms again, or if my big plan isn’t going to work this year. I’m sorry yours stopped, too. Thankfully, we were able to get over 40 quarts from our backyard garden, but my sister can really grow the beans because her garden has better dirt, and is much, much larger than my backyard.

      1. We all plant Blue Lake Bush beans for canning. There are several strains from different seed companies. I usually get mine from Territorial, although they change the name now and them–I just look for the description that says something like, “this is a Blue Lake strain” or something like that. The bush ones give a lot of beans in a short amount of time–like over a 2-week period or so. The pole ones are supposed to keep growing and blooming until frost, so I did plant a few of those this year, as well, as I am short on space. But, none of them produce well when it is in the upper 90’s/100’s. The blossoms drop. One thing we do if it’s a short-lived heat spell, or borderline hot is run a sprinkler over the bushes during the hot part of the day to cool the air a little bit. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes not.

      2. It’s a TON of beans. That’s a lot of snapping and pressure cooking. She grows extras for so many of both sides of her family–us and her husband’s mother, etc. But, we all work together and help get them snapped and processed. After the 150 quart tally, she’s still been canning more….I wouldn’t be shocked if there were 50 more quarts there, at least. I was just reminiscing this morning with my autistic son (1st time we’ve seen him since Covid started so we went to a park and sat over 6 feet away and visited.). He still remembers the year he and I did most of 150 jars for our family when he was a kid….everyone else was busy at VBS and he and I were home)–those were the days when I was feeding 11 (kids, us, 2 grandmas, my parents), and it wasn’t anything to use 2 jars at one meal, and we had beans more than once per week during the winter…..I guess those were the “good old days” but what a lot of work that was! He still remembers it vividly:)

        1. What sweet memories, Becky! 17 years ago my mom moved in with us, and with our 4 children, that made 7. Our youngest was 9mos, and we were (and still are) homeschooling. How did I do it all? But now that I think about it, our oldest and his family lived with us for 4 months this spring/summer because of Covid (they were in NY), and our daughter was married in our backyard (because of Covid). How did we do it all?? But of course, we wouldn’t trade these sweet times for anything, and will look back on them fondly.

  29. Menards told us to always scan receipts for anything with warranties due to them fading. To Date the warranty, list on the front what it is for and file it in a container or file cabinet.

    This week the blackberries are pretty much ending. Sweet corn is on, ours are little but the Amish neighbor is sharing and giving us 6 every two weeks.The other day she sent over 8 lbs of hamburger (a friend butchered and no one wanted the last of the meat so they took it and shared with us and the other neighbor) and 5 cantaloupe as she was being over ran. Herbs have done well , I am almost over ran with them and running both dehydrators full every other day with herbs and greens.Tomatoes might be pulling out of the blossom rot. I do have some money put back that I can buy from the Amish grower around the block if mine doesn’t get better.

    We cut the budget. Decided to pay off the mortgage early , we have 28 yrs and we are soon to be 62. I warned Hubby it was going to be tight He updated his business accounting system and found he is not only breaking even but making a small profit (rolled back into the business for slow times).We did lower what we were pulling from our IRA’s…. by $33,500… No projects on the house will be bought this coming year. We have what we didn’t get to finish this year here so that can be done first anyways. I will be getting withdraws from Daddy’s IRAs and both of us will be filing for SS, Hubby now and me in a couple months.

    We are stocked… at least for a year for most of stuff. We might buy filters once a month just to keep things stock. I asked the Amish lady next door how they handle no fresh garden during the winter. She said she starts buying in Dec celery, iceberg lettuce , carrots if she’s out, bananas and cool whip once a month or every 6 weeks and only if they have extra money . She stocks apples and pears in the fall for fresh fruit, when they start getting soft she makes apple/pear sauce or apple/pear butter out of them. She uses pumpkin and acorn squash during the winter. Her hubby doesn’t like butternut. Going to follow her guidelines and keep eyeing those bills coming in.

    1. I buy like your Amish friend, though I find the best sales on celery in November. I’m also trying to plant extra Swiss chard this fall. It grows very slowly in winter, so if I had more, I would have plenty to harvest.

  30. I have noticed that several regular commenters have been silent for awhile. I hope this is due to life getting busy and not due to illness, or other challenges. Know that you are being thought of and prayed for.

    1. Hi Patricia,

      I’m still here. I’ve been very ill from a digestive thingy I caught at the last Dr. Appointment (probably from the patient housing I stayed in…I plan on camping in September as the tests take 2 days). It’s finally getting better after 2 months. Just here doing what I can to prepare the family for some truly difficult times ahead.

      Praying you are well. Happily reading everyone’s encouraging and productive posts.


  31. Gorgeous day out! We were outside after dinner until dusk getting containers ready to start blackberry cuttings. We’ve harvested all the blackberries so we watched some tutorials on how to propagate blackberries from cuttings! I had no idea that we could get several cutting from a single long branch!! We got 25 ready before sunset! Lots more to do today! In the meantime I went to the nursery for some root promoting hormone to encourage them along! We are thinking that some of the cuttings will become a cash crop for us! We anticipate having over 250 blackberry starts rooted by Early September- ready to be planted! We will give some to our kids, if they want, but that still leaves a lot ready to sell! Any we don’t sell, we will overwinter and market in the Spring!

    My daughter-in-law brought over more carrots (25 pounds) and celery (15 pounds) for me to chop up and dehydrate for her. It amazes me how so much can reduce into such an easy-to-store amount that can fit on the shelf!

    Hubs loves the non-chocolate Nature Valley fruit and nut or Sweet and Salty granola bars and they were $1.49/box + a Catalina from the first 5 last week for $3. off my next grocery order which I used. That made these 5 boxes 89 cents/ box! Also got 5 free boxes of Kashi for Kids cereal and 5 boxes of Sunbelt granola bars for 29 cents/box after ibotta !
    Plus, I finally figured out the Kroger cash back thing and was able to use my $16.75 accumulated on that to reduce my total bill!
    So this was a good shop! Actually, I sent my son – first to PO to send out order, then to bank to deposit cash from another order, then to Kroger (all on same street, so good combining of trips). He has become a very aware shopper and when he checked out and cashier gave him his receipt, he asked her to check for his $3 Catalina from these granola bars. She looked startled and glanced over at the separate little machine that prints those and there it was! If he hadn’t reminded her, she would have left it there! $3 may seem like a little bit, but it’s still $3 to us, so I was proud of him for asking (He has Aspergers)!

    I went to JoAnns (not as frugal as shopping my stash) because a “daughter” (during her teenage years she pretty much lived with us because of her unstable home life)of our asked if I would make a quilt for her 10 year old son with special needs. I found a photo of a quilt I liked and was able to decode as far as defining blocks and figuring out sizes of pieces and fabric requirements. Here is what the quilt top now looks like. In the next day or two, I’ll load it on my longarm and get it quilted and bound.

    Our circumstance are so much easier than so many others through these challenging times. Being retired, we don’t have to worry about job insecurity. Having a more than adequate food storage means that we aren’t dependent on availability or prices in the stores.
    And we are not at a point in our lives where we have children at home to balance remote learning while working from home.

    I have challenged myself this week to seek out those who are not as blessed and find ways to lighten their days, if even for a brief moment. A text, a call, a more patient response, more of a listening ear. Those are things that don’t cost me anything but a few brief minutes. But, maybe it will be worth something to those I reach out to.
    Have a great week preparing but not panicking! Be safe!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. GardentPat,

      We too are trying to be thankful for what we have and be thoughtful of those less fortunate. We have been consistently donating to the food banks once a month during the pandemic. It is shocking and heartbreaking to see the line of cars around a huge city block waiting to pick up food. I worry about kids who typically get two of their daily meals from school that are now remote.

      Stay safe!
      Amy in Phx

      1. Amy, we have over 12,500 homeless students here. I wonder what they are going to do now for school. I know the schools have been handing out two meals a day of food and you can pick it up by car or on foot at certain locations.

        1. I’ve been donating to local food banks as well – it has been very hard on the homeless and low income people who often rely on feeding programs (like the one that my church runs) and with those shutting down food banks have had to take up even more of the slack. Our Federal Govt. has done a great job with streaming the ways that people could get money – but some always fall through the cracks and I feel that if we can donate we should.
          But those lines of cars we see on the news from the US has been very scary – the people who have organized those programs and the volunteers & your National Guard who have helped to distribute the food are truly angels.

  32. I picked green beans, cucumbers, basil, cilantro, onions, green onions, lettuce, greens, and parsley from the garden. Still waiting (not so patiently) for my tomatoes to ripen! My dehydrator has been running almost nonstop since I got it – I soaked cucumber slices in white wine vinegar, water, salt, and pepper and dehydrated them to make pickle chips. I also dehydrated plain slices for snacking or water flavoring. I dehydrated green beans, onion tops, and vegetables that have been in my freezer for a long time and were in danger of being freezer burned.

    I saved seeds from snow peas. I planted swiss chard, kale, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, zucchini, kohlrabi, and broccoli.

    I went to Winco early and found discount meat. I had no idea they did discount meat at Winco – I’ll have to go early more often!

    My daughter and I went camping with my sister-in-law’s family for two nights. We went to the state forest so it was free, except for the gas to get there. Except for a few fill-in items, we took food we already had in the house. We already had all our camping gear, collected over the years.

    We got a free kitten. Outfitting her has not been our most frugal venture, but she is a sweetie and has provided hours of entertainment.

  33. Getting back in the swing of things as we returned to both full time in-person classes AND virtual classes last week. I have been stressed as I am teaching 2 new-to-me courses and had to create in person and virtual forms of those in 3 days plus I am finishing a semester of graduate school (I have a doctorate, but am approaching retirement and thinking about a second career). Also just found out my husband will be deploying again in October, so more preparations for that.
    We redid our wills, durable power of attorneys, and living wills this week. Reviewed our hurricane/ emergency prep and we’re in good enough shape we need not act until another storm is named (fresh fuel and topping off propane). The pandemic has shown us some holes in our storage which I am trying to fill in my week to week shopping.
    Pandemic meant our winter, spring, and summer travel plans were all cancelled. We took the monies budgeted for them and paid off our credit cards and my car.
    Transferred my husband onto my phone plan with Cricket and it dropped out phone bills by over $100 a month. Called the cable/internet company and got faster internet, kept out TV channels and they dropped the bill by $5.
    Reviewed the budget. Over his deployment we will pay off his truck and – if we are really really careful – the house. We still have massive student loans from his medical school, but if he stays in public service for a few more years, they get waived, so they are the lowest priority.
    Deep cleaned, polished and sealed my granite countertops myself rather than calling in a service. Cost – $0 – I had all the materials on hand. Cleaned the dryer vent and soaked the ac grates in an antifungal as we always have water drip from them in the deep summer. Once the heat breaks, I will spray the insides of the ducts with antifungal – my AC company charges more than $400 to do the same.
    This summer, we repainted the interior and exterior (except the master bedroom). OURSELVES – as we were stuck working from home anyway. This week we will do the touch-ups inside as we saw some missed spots. Master bedroom is on plan for September with new paint and woodwork.
    I am not going to do a fall garden this year. With his upcoming deployment, I just don’t eat enough to make it worthwhile.
    We’ve been considering purchasing a vacation home/condo in Vegas for a while, but wanted to wait until our house is paid off, but if the market goes south and condos in the area we are considering start showing up at good prices, we may jump before (we will definitely contact you Brandy when we are ready).

      1. I scrubbed with barkeepers friend, then wiped with water to deep clean and polish (gets the hard water residue and any food, or cleaner residue off)
        To seal, I used fluorocarbon aliphatic resin sealant (I had extra in the laundry room)
        then I sprayed it down with
        2 cups water.
        2 tbsp. liquid dish soap.
        1/4 cup rubbing alcohol.
        1/4 cup baking soda
        They look brand new – but mine are dark green/black so they hide a lot anyway!

  34. Wonderful week! I found a $5 bill on the street where I had parked while visiting a friend. Had also found a penny at a gas station restroom. I picked it up because they say you’ll have good luck, which I guess I did when I found that $5 bill!
    ~I got my weekly People Magazine that I got free with my reward points from my cell phone company (Verizon)
    ~Got my son a haircut at my Mom’s. She’s a hairdresser and I would totally mess it up because I’m not crafty like she is.
    ~Got a free pizza with a coupon that came in the mail from Pizza Hut
    ~Ate most meals at home. I get fed at work because we are not permitted to bring in our own food due to where I work ( a prison as an RN)
    ~Read Country Living thru my free subscription thru Recyclebank.
    ~Watching TikTok videos because it’s a good distraction
    ~hung loads of clothes on the line in the basement
    ~Reading your blog for awesome tips on saving money

    Hope everyone is well and has a wonderful week~

  35. I’m learning some much from all you guys and what you are doing to save money. I am working on our spending habits but wanted to mention 2 things that we do that save us a lot and possibly some of you as well. We live in an agricultural area, and I would suggest to deal directly with the farmer. For example, I see many of you buy wheat kernels. Here in SW Ontario, we grow primarily a Soft Red Wheat, which is a pastry flour (low protein). In Western Canada, you would run into primarily Hard Red Flour (a high gluten, bread flour), or Durum wheat (a high protein, low gluten, pasta flour). These sell directly to the elevator for around $7/bushel (a bushel of wheat is 60lbs) depending on type of wheat. As harvest season is upon many of us, and if you don’t mind a few hundred lbs, & dont mind cleaning the grain yourself from weed seeds etc, then this is a way to have very cheap flour. I grind a lot myself since I work with grain farmers on a daily basis. My parents are also broiler chicken producers, and because of the super low demand right now, have had to cut production. Even though in Canada we are on a quota system, the USA’s super low chicken prices are seeping their way into our market. We process our own chickens, and would recommend to anyone that lives by ag producers to buy direct. All of agriculture is suffering from super low prices but not being seen by consumers. I am always amazed at the huge margins associated with all the steps between producer and consumer. (It is not allowed to buy direct in Canada from large scale dairy, broiler & eggs bc of quota btw, but USA does not have these protections in place).

  36. I pulled out our zucchini plants today (we had 2) because they were completely covered in little white bugs, black specks, and a shiny coating. I’m not sure what it is, but they haven’t produced anything in about a week. We were getting lots before this happened. I noticed some butternut squash leaves (that were touching the zucchini) were starting to have the little bugs on them too. I ripped out the zucchini and cut off the stems of the butternut squash that looked infected. I’ll do some research to find out what to do now. I want to plant some things for fall, so I need to make sure the soil is okay to plant in now.
    My mother-in-law gave us some picture books that she had been given. I took 2 and a game and I’ll give the others back to her to see if any of the other grandkids want them.
    At the beginning of the summer, my husband’s work gave us a few packages of pork products. They have been a blessing. We cooked up the pork chops over the weekend and I used the chopped up leftovers to make green chile. Unfortunately it totally burned since I fell asleep while reading a book and although I set a timer, I don’t think I put enough liquid in it. Very sad! We still ate it though (just didn’t scrape the bottom!) It wasn’t too bad. My husband said we’d have to pay extra for over charred meat at a restaurant!

    1. Lisa,
      I loved your husband’s comments about having to pay extra for charred meat at a restaurant! so true, very philosophical, too!

  37. Hi Brandy and everyone
    You must feel so satisfied that the taps and sinks are sorted Brandy and lovely that you received some clothes from Winter.
    We have had exceptionally hot weather for the UK which has made me feel sluggish and headachey. However some things did get done.
    We celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary at home with a simple meal and a lovely dog walk in the woods in the cool of the evening.
    Someone in our nearest village advertised wooden pallets free so my husband picked some up and has been building new compost bins alongside the two we already have. Homemade compost is such a bonus and free!
    I sewed a double sided flannel baby blanket for a great niece. I need to rethink my baby gifts as the flannel was quite expensive and even when I make baby quilts with fabric from my stash the wadding inside isn’t cheap. I want to be generous to new parents but babies seem to be arriving thick and fast in our lives and on a retirement income I can’t splash out too much. I will keep an eye on fabric sales and try to buy some cheaper flannel perhaps and consider some other ideas.
    This week I stocked up on sugar, vinegar and bought extra eggs which I froze. The teabags I prefer to drink were also on a deal so I bought extra.
    I take part in a consumer research panel and receive points. I redeemed some this week for a £50 Amazon voucher.
    I bought a couple of Christmas gifts, one was a brand new item in a charity shop. I also found a beautiful new piece of linen there at a great price. I don’t have a specific use for it currently but I know I will use it sometime.
    A friend gave us two perennial plants she had dug up and divided from her garden, we gave another friend some cooking apples and my husband gifted some leek and kale plants to a client. He planted them out in their garden.
    We picked courgettes, runner beans, broad beans, lettuce, chives and spring onions together with a few of the first cherry tomatoes.
    I picked crocosmia, honeysuckle, feverfew, sweet peas and zinnias from the garden.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Perhaps instead of quilts, you could make large bibs that will cover a toddler. I have made them from old pillowcases (my mom gave me some burgundy ones, so I never have to use stain remover). These are so useful and helpful for many years. I close them with an old button from a button jar at the top. It’s just two layers, so one pillowcase makes one bib. Old sheets can be used as well. I topstitch them after turning them right side out with a decorative stitch.

    2. I’m not a quilter, Penny, but I remember from The Tightwad Gazette, that, to save on batting (wadding), Amy Dacyczn would buy comforters at the thrift store (charity shop) or yard sales (car boot sales), and either remove the covers or quilt over them.
      Just a thought.

      1. Try looking for flannel sheets at a thrift store. They should be much less per yard of fabric than purchasing new.

    3. Hi Penny,
      Try looking in Aldi’s or Lidl’s when they have their baby events on. I have bought baby Fleece blankets from them and used them to back things. Also Ikea do reasonably priced fleece blankets too, which would work.
      Hope this helps
      Kim in Uk

      1. Thank you Kim, that’s a great suggestion. Even having a cheaper backing to the double sided blanket would help keep costs down. It’s so great to have other people’s input, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before!

  38. Hello Prudent Friends! It’s so refreshing to hear the efforts of like-minded people as a consumption lifestyle is the norm in my area. I look forward to reading Brandy’s posts and reader comments each week!

    I gave myself a trim and it looks okay for a second attempt! I wonder why I haven’t saved myself the time and money all these years?!?!

    In the garden, green beans are prolific! We eat some and freeze some. I have a pressure canner, but have never used it. I’m not sure the county agency is even open to check the pressure gauge. So, I freeze the green beans. We’re finally getting some green tomatoes. Our Gala apples are perfect and gorgeous! I dried 4 pints of apple rings and made a batch of 7 jars of apple cider butter. The house smelled like fall!

    I’ve been making an effort to include healthy fats in our garden. Last year we planted an avocado tree. This year we planted a semi dwarf almond, but it died (the nursery doesn’t guarantee past 3 days). We will have to replant another. I ordered a small arbequina olive tree (Self pollinating) and sunflower seeds.

    Our dog’s floppy ears have reoccurring ear infections. His ear is looking irritated again and so I am putting medicated ear wash in it before calling the vet yet again.

    My hanging baskets are blooming with petunias and alyssum that I started from seed. It really warms up the outdoor space. I bought two indoor plants to brighten our home. They’re a much better deal than silk! I just have to make watering part of my routine.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  39. This month is anything but inexpensive for us, but like Brandy’s situation with the sinks and faucets, some things just need to get done, and in the case of contractors, you have to grab them while they have a free moment. So in just this month, we will have a large section of destroyed fence replaced and our porch re-screened and some needed woodwork done on it. As well, our steel exterior doors have almost rusted through in spots, so they have to be replaced, with fiberglass, this time. It will cost us, but what a relief it will be to have it done.

    To save money, I’ve been diligent about using or freezing leftovers, and have our food waste down to pretty much zero. I keep a list of what’s in my freezer, so I won’t let it go to waste in there, either.

    When my local organic farmer started getting rid of the spring sausage to make room for fall’s meats, he dropped the price down to 1/4 of his regular price. I bought eight packages, since this is the only sausage I can find that has none of the spices I shouldn’t have.

    I picked a few grapes from our vines, as they are just starting to ripen. I also picked a handful of olives from our tree, with another handful still ripening on the tree. This tree is finally starting to produce, so I hope to see a little more each year. The simplest way to cure olives is with a dry salt cure, so I will probably do that. I also happen to love dry cured olives.

    I finally managed to get a stain out of a good white shirt that I wear to work, so it’s back in rotation again.

    I found super-clearance items in some clothing a birthday girl had asked for. I was able to get three items for half of the price of one normally priced item, and free shipping.

    I used Swagbucks to get a training collar for our dog. It is very lightweight and only beeps or vibrates, no shocking and no prongs. My husband is training our dog to obey his commands and since it gives him something to do even though he is disabled, and the dog loves the training sessions and gets exercise, I thought it was a good “purchase.”

  40. We met with the financial planner last week and are now all square on getting the retirement funds into an annuity. Praises be! We drove from there to the peach shed and bought last of the season peaches. I would love to have gotten loads but no freezer space and no pressure canner. Also on Wednesday, prior to our meeting I canned one pint of pickle relish and one pint of salsa. It’s not much but it’s that much more on my pantry shelf that I don’t have to purchase.
    I kept my grandson two days as he had a stuffy, runny nose. I took him to the doctor and they said he had double ear infections. This is not the pandemic virus but something else going around. My mom has it as does her cousin and so do I. None of us have been in contact. I haven’t seen my mom in two months.
    On Sunday we went grocery shopping and bought for the month. I’d planned to go to weekly shopping trips but with the rise in C-cases we decided to stick with our once a month approach. I do watch for excellent sales (not many of those) and we will go to the store after church when in the area. This was a huge undertaking to just do it all in a big haul. I noted that prices were higher on many things, especially meat. Because I had checked our meat inventory last week I knew what I could/should buy and at what price points.
    In the meantime, I’m having a crazy amount of luck in rooting things. Rosemary, basil, stems of flowers. I’ve decided that I’ll just root it all and grow it if that’s what is going to grow for me, lol. I harvested a small handful of tomatoes from my yellow pear tomato plant. The zinnias are coming in strong, but the cosmos is not doing well.
    I’ve saved dishwater and cooled canning bath water to water plants with.
    Plans this week are to make bagels, yogurt and English muffins…

    1. Terri – You don’t need a pressure canner to can peaches or peach jam. The hot water bath method is sufficient.

    2. Hi Teri,
      Peaches are water bathed. Many people think they need fancy canning supplies – not true. If you have a large pot with lid you can water bath. Make sure to have something on the bottom of the pot so jars are not in direct contact of the bottom (canning rings twist tied together works great). Jars just need to be covered by two inches of water. A person may even use their pressure canner as a water bath canner. Just finished up 20 quarts and 9 pints of peaches yesterday. Peaches are a very easy fruit to preserve; perfect for beginners.

      1. I make jam and put to clean jars. That is it. I boil jars and lids before to clean them or put empty wet jars to oven before for some time for cleaning them.

  41. Realized a spot on my toenail is fungus, so I decanted some listerine into a smaller container and have been dabbing it on with a qtip throughout the day. It’s not looking better, but this has worked in the past.

    My houseplants became home for some fruit flies. I researched what to do–remove top layers of soil, mist with water & Dr Bronners, and made a vinegar/soap trap. Hopefully this works quickly.

    Hand washed some laundry with the Dr Bronners while it was out. I often take my clothes into the shower with me to give them a rinse, then hang them to dry. I look at that as kind of a pre-wash, hoping that when I do wash them, they aren’t as dirty. My building doesn’t have a laundry so it’s about $6 every time I go to the laundromat. I’ve only been once since quarantine.

    Used bleach, water, and dish soap to clean my air conditioner. I’m having trouble breathing at night with it on and lint or something was coming out of it. My roommate bought the bleach, since items like that are rolled into what I pay him for rent.

    Decided to try to drink less coffee. I love my morning coffee ritual of slowly waking up with a few cups and this has been a luxury of quarantine. But I have a huge stockpile of tea, so I’m switching to two cups of coffee then one tea bag refilled with as much hot water as I want. As part of my coffee brewing process, I do something that I believe I learned here–I keep a bit of the grounds from the day before to mix into the current day’s brew. I start fresh again after a few days.

    Picked up free drinks at 7-11 and Panera, and free onion rings, a fried egg sandwich, & a toasted bagel with butter from the Allset app. Cooked all meals at home, except for free school lunches. Traded the apples for other produce at the free community refrigerator. Picked up Bob’s Red Mill protein powder new from someone’s stoop. Used free manufacturer’s coupons to get a flatbread and GF rolls.

    Refilled my Metrocard with a $25 Visa gift card I received a while ago as compensation for a focus group. I know businesses sometimes have trouble taking these, so I was very happy to successfully use it & use it on a necessity.

    Even though I am on unemployment, I decided to keep my New Year’s resolution to myself to save 10% of my income. With the extra pandemic unemployment money, this was very easy and I actually saved about half of it each week. Now without it, I’ll be putting $15 a week into my long-term savings. I feel good about keeping this promise to myself and keeping frugal living in the forefront of my mind. Many thanks to Brandy for this inspiration and motivation.

    1. The flies on your houseplants may be fungus gnats. If so be wary of keeping the soil too moist; let the plants dry out before watering. That should discourage the fungus that you wouldn’t have noticed and eliminate what draws the gnats. Best wishes.

  42. My husband had oral surgery this week, and my son also had some dental and orthodontics work done. So, I didn’t really plan meals this week, just made some soft foods that the boys could eat. The bill (after insurance) for my husband’s surgery was $3600. That amount will go up because the surgeon could not complete the first part of the process in one session, he will need an additional surgery session. We are closing on our house in a couple weeks, so this bill is coming at a bad time. The good news is that we found out we could use the money we have in our health care account to pay part of the surgery costs. We haven’t been sick much this year due to staying home and no school, so we had a large amount built up in the health care account.
    -A friend gave me a bag of 700 coffee filters. Very thankful to have those for my coffee and to use as filters in the cloth masks that I make.
    -Had to throw out all my onions due to the recall. How I wish I would have frozen or dehydrated some earlier in the year!!!
    -I’m still working to organize my mom’s storage and garage. She gave me 2 more pot holders, some new zippers and
    a jewelry box that she no longer needed.
    -Today is refrigerator clean out day and food prep day. I know that I have lots of fresh veggies lurking in my fridge that need to be used.
    -The Kroger here (Fred Meyer) has Kroger peanut butter on sale for $1 this week. That is the lowest sale price, so I ordered enough to last 6 months. Trying to stock up on one sale item each week.
    Have a great week! Stay Safe!

    1. We are doing the exact same thing – stocking up on one item per week. This last week it was pasta, as Safeway had one pound packages of pasta (including whole wheat) for .79 each. The week before it was a dishwashing detergent
      that we use. A fairly pain-free way to accumulate a stockpile.

  43. It has been a busy two weeks. The end of July, beginning of August, was so busy, I didn’t even write in my calendar. I know there was a lot of weeding involved though.
    Each day I worked, I brought breakfast and lunch to work with me.
    Was able to find sirloin pork roasts for $1.49 a pound. There was a limit of 2, so I got 2. One was cut into pork chops and the other frozen whole. We had pork chops for dinner one night, with enough for leftovers another night or two. We picked cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, onions, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, beets, chard, zucchini, the last of the snow peas, and dug some potatoes, as needed.
    I made focaccia bread, using fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley on top for the herbs.
    Our green beans are not ready yet. A friend gave us 4 pounds of green beans. I used these and broccoli, carrots, peas and corn from last year (that I had frozen) to make homemade mixed vegetables. Ended up with 24 cups.
    Froze 4 cups of cauliflower and 7 cups of snow peas.
    I weeded our 3 rows of dry beans. These are an Italian heirloom bean that my DH’s grandmother brought back with her from a visit to Italy in 1968. We got some from my MIL many years ago, and have been planting them every three to four years since. We grow a different dry bean each year. We have grown pinto beans, black beans and small white beans in addition to the Italian beans. I know beans aren’t terribly expensive, but this way we know how they have been grown,
    My DH really wanted some stew – so I pulled a small pkg. of meat from the freezer, cubed it up, and used potatoes, carrots and onions from the garden. I don’t care for stew, but he loves it.
    Baked some of the potatoes we dug, and steamed broccoli. Lunch last week was broccoli stuffed baked potatoes.
    Visited with my mother outside her window on Saturdays. A little over a week ago, my son and his fiancée joined me, and visited with her talking about wedding plans, showing her the engagement ring, and generally just have a nice visit. I think it really pleased my mother when they showed up while we were visiting. My mother live in an independent living community, so have not been able to see each other in person, except through the window, since mid-March. My state is discussing about letting one person outside visits with people in communities such as my Mother’s as long as you maintain social distancing and wear a mask. I am really hoping it will happen.
    Hope everyone has a positive week.

  44. We were gifted with a bag of fairly large zucchini. I grated them and froze them in cup size portions. Then I just pop them into vegetable soup.

    My brother, with ALS, just got an electric wheel chair. The back goes all the way down so he can sleep in it at night. I am crocheting him a wool blanket. Not the cheapest project as the only place in town with yarn is an artisan type place with hand dyed yarns. It is okay though because I figure it is a good project for me and I am helping a small, struggling business.

    I picked two more quarts of blackberries. Last week somebody mentioned making compote with them so I will try that.

    I have gotten some ripe tomatoes from my plants and lots of herbs to dry.

    One day I felt a bit of fatigue – I think due to all the restrictions. My husband loves being around home but I am more social. So we sat and made a list of new and interesting things that I could try from home. Like online courses, etc. We still do go for walks and picnics every week.
    I saw a wonderful, sweet movie through Amazon Prime this last week called, The Gardener. Highly recommend it!

  45. This week has been terrific for produce, 1st time I have planted a garden in many years so I did plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and a large one unknown
    / can’t remember name but like a beefsteak and they are all producing a lot, cucumber are coming slowly but they are beautiful, firm and taste delish. I found a farm market that has ” imperfect” fruit and veggies today 2 large cantaloupe, a rectangular basket of peaches and nectarines, yellow squash and zucchini – basket piled high with imperfect produce for $2 a basket I grabbed all 3.
    I cut up the melon to use immediately giving a large bowl( lock and lock) to daughter/SIL, granddaughter and kept one for contractor ‘s team working on her house in the heat, I found large 32oz Gatorade at Target for 99cents I pack the cooler with these and ice daily to get them through this hot muggy weather.I also found big heads of leaf lettuce in red and green for 1.99 so I wash it, lay it out on old clean towels overnight as we shut off ac but the house stays cool till about 12 noon next day- dries beautiful and lasts beautiful

  46. Hi everyone: one reason I love this blog and commenters is that sometimes I feel like the “frugal weirdo” compared to other moms in my social circle. Our lifestyle of hand-me-downs and leftovers would seem normal to many of you, but is probably pitied by others in our neighborhood, school, and church.
    Anyway, this week:
    I sold some office furniture, so make more room. It was nice furniture, but we need the space more than we need that furniture right now. It’s nothing special, even though I really liked it, but I could probably replace it if we ever get to move to a larger house.
    I cooked bacon and drained it on the grocery sale ads that come in the mail, instead of paper towels.
    I sold more kids clothes on Mercari and Facebook marketplace. Cash in, junk out!
    Our Chickfila is doing a school supply drive, so I picked up some loss-leader school supplies, and I received several coupons for free chicken sandwiches in return for the donation. We will save these to use at a different time.
    I combined odds and ends into a rice-based casserole, which we enjoyed for dinner. It was very inexpensive to make.
    I put together a basket of items to take to the consignment store.
    I bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    Instead of boiling the corn on the cob, I put it in a covered casserole dish with a little water in the bottom, and stuck it in the oven once the prior dish was finished cooking. It steamed it, and tasted fine. The corn was 8/$1 at Kroger, which is a good price, as one son ate 3 ears by himself.
    I treated some stains using Dawn, baking soda, and peroxide, then sunning them after washing.
    Hope you all have a nice, frugal week!

    1. Leigh Ann, I know what you mean about feeling like the “frugal weirdo”! The sad thing is that most of the people who have judged me live above their means and are “fake rich” living paycheck to paycheck with a large amount of debt. This blog is so wonderful because it brings like minded people together to form a community of support!

  47. Hi Brandy and all.
    Brandy, I am glad you were able to get some home repairs accomplished.
    I had a few frugal wins. I cut my husband’s hair-I had never done this before
    Covid and now I feel confident in my skills and he actually likes it better than
    when he paid to have it cut. I colored my own hair which made me feel better
    as the sun had really bleached it out.
    We washed our car and cleaned the inside.
    I am planning to provide my grandson with some fun home school things to
    supplement his public school on-line only education this fall. I planned to
    include some Sunday school lessons. A couple years ago, we were helping clean
    out my FIL’s farm house to get it ready to sell. They put a large pile of really old
    Sunday school workbooks in the throw away pile. I brought them home and now
    I have everything I need for my Sunday school lessons. We had the first lesson
    this weekend and he really enjoyed the workbooks. They are almost 70 years old.
    He loves vintage and old things so I think these will be a hit. I made what I call
    lunch box apple pies which are just small (think McDonald’s apple pies) hand-held
    pies that are perfect for office lunches. We got a couple loads of fire wood from my
    daughter’s large fir tree. We have been enjoying fresh tomatoes from our garden.
    I have tons of ideas for food storage but I am lacking the motivation. I am starting
    small this week by making my own baking vanilla using vanilla beans and vodka.
    Thanks to everyone for all the good ideas.

    1. Hi Kim, I have the same motivation problem sometimes, especially during this time. My husband is steady and slow like a turtle and he says just start with something small to get the ball rolling. I made my first batch of homemade vanilla in February. It is amazing. I have a couple of tips: slit the beans lengthwise. When the vanilla is ready, strain it through a fine cheesecloth because there will be residue in the bottle. I also read not to throw away the beans. They can be used for more vanilla, adding in a new half bean to help the flavor, or frozen and then ground up to use in ice cream!

  48. Hi, Brandy, and fellow readers!
    I saved money this past week by the following:
    – Reading library books on my phone with the Libby library app.
    – I was gifted zucchini from a family member’s garden and made several batches of zucchini muffins to eat, freeze, and gift to others.
    – Looked at our monthly budgets for the remaining months of 2020 to see where we can cut back, save more, and give more as well.
    – Lowered my grocery budget by being consistent with meal planning, using what we have, and only shopping at the most affordable stores.
    – I tried negotiating with Comcast/Xfinity to lower our bill for the internet and while I got it down $10 a month, it’s not what I had hoped. They are the only choice in our region for the internet.
    – We canceled our $12.99 Amazon Prime monthly membership. This prevents me from ordering things that I don’t need and saves us the $13.00 a month as well.
    I hope that you’re all healthy and safe!

  49. 50% of the state of CT lost power with Tropical Storm Isaias. One thing I learned to do years ago before a hurricane is to make blocks of ice by filling my largest saucepans with water and putting them in the freezer a few days before the storm is set to hit. Also covering my chest freezer with blankets/comforter helps to insulate the appliance – just keep the fabric away from any coils or electrical connections.

    Before the storm hit, I was the winning bidder on for a lot of older Ball and Atlas jars as well as two director’s chairs. I’m finding this site can be a little addicting so beware! I’m using the jars to store beans, wild rice, brown rice, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc.

    Meals included quinoa Greek salad using several cukes and tomatoes, glazed pork chops with broccoli puree, and a pavlova with peaches. Several of my friends had power out longer than I did so I had them over for an outside, socially distancing dinner and offered the use of my shower. The majority of homes in my town are on well water so when the power goes out, so does the water.

    1. There is a local auction site and I just heard some people find it addicting. Our neighbor works there and I asked him about it this week. He said the same people come to buy stuff every week and sometimes every day! They just scan the credit card on file (!!!!) when they come to pick up their items. He said to me he has no idea how people can afford to buy so much stuff every day.

  50. Thanks for a great post Brandy.
    We are finalizing the sale of our rental property. This will give us more financial flex heading forward.
    My whole budget underwent overhaul to reflect these changes. I also made a change in my budget that I refused to believe for some time. My grocery budget of 550/mo is now completely unrealistic and I haven’t been able to stick with that for awhile now. So we raised it to 700 (Canada, STILL lower than the Canadian average). I don’t even buy much meat, no ready meals or anything frivolous outside of some nice cheeses. I’ve been reading this blog for years and I would really like to be lower, but, it’s time to face the facts.

    My question to brandy and readers: many of you are stocking up now to weather these uncertain times. How much $ per month are you dedicating currently to stocking up? I could easily spend double my budget on food, but that seems excessive. Any advice would be appreciated!

    1. Meg,

      Because I stock up, it becomes really obvious when companies change product sizes. I noticed the dishwasher detergent stayed the same price, but changed from 125 grams to 75 grams per box. It gave me pause and made me think about how much more it is going to cost for things; I think we’re all going to have to increase the budget for the same amount of food. I don’t know how we’re all going to do that, especially with so many people unemployed and underemployed. I increased my budget to $400 a month this year and I still seem to be buying mostly non-food items with that! My garden is feeling more important than ever.

      I always stock up as part of my buying. I don’t differentiate part of the grocery budget to stocking up. I don’t dictate part of it to non-food items, either (though I did in 2013 when I spent $100 a month on food and $65 a month on diapers, cleaning supplies, and toiletries). I’m just buying extra of items on sale, buying the normal 25-pound bags of beans, rice, etc.

        1. Sam’s Club, Costco, and Winco all sell 25-pound bags of pinto beans. Winco also sells bulk beans of other kinds, and you can buy them in small quantities or in the 25-pound bags. That’s where I buy my black beans and Great Northern beans.

    2. Meg,
      Thank you for your comment about Canadian grocery prices. If it is any help, I make all our meals from scratch, have a garden, buy staples on sale etc and we are averaging $800.00 per month for three of us. We have decided that we will have to cut in other areas because of food prices. We live north of Toronto. I can imagine that people in the States would be appalled by that figure but unfortunately it is true:(

      1. Thanks Brandy and Wendy,
        I will start to stock up as part of my monthly big shops as Brandy says. I’m becoming Much more in tune with actual monthly food amounts of what my family eats when I shop this way. I have been making sure I don’t run out of things, but not necessarily stocking up enough.

        Nice to see I’m not alone in the struggle with my grocery budget. Wendy we are a family of 4 in Manitoba. I have a garden, cook from scratch, same as you. As Brandy points out too it’s also the price of dish soap and dishwasher tabs and garbage bags that add to my increased costs. I hadn’t really considered that!

        I think I need to get back to basics….. make more soups as Brandy has recommended for years….. I’ll get there!
        Hope we can all make it through this!
        Take care all.

      2. Wendy and Meg – I also live north or Toronto and our budget is $600 a month for 3 of us but the last two months we have spent almost $700. I am thankful our daughter works in a restaurant and once or twice a week when she closes she brings home food that would be thrown out at the end of the day. We make most of our meals from scratch, we do not garden but we do follow the sales. Due to Covid we only shop biweekly and we menu plan monthly. We do have a Costco membership and buy all our meat every other month. We have a pantry and I am doing my best to ensure we have it stocked for the fall and winter. Thank you to everyone for all your incredible comments and tips 🙂

        1. Wendy, Meg, and Camille, I’m right with you on the Canadian grocery budget! I think we all spend roughly around the same amount. Pre-pandemic, I budgeted $150/week for groceries/toiletries/diapers/etc. for two adults (one of whom is a big eater) and a toddler, with an occasional very small stock up from Costco a few times a year. I am VERY good at combining sales with loyalty points to maximize value, shopping seasonally and in bulk, use coupons, and price comparing, and can’t really get my budget any lower, unless I cut down the amount of fresh fruit that we eat, which I really don’t want to do. I can some, I freeze lots, don’t cook a ton of meat, cook all of our meals from scratch, make my own bread, jam, granola, and yoghurt, and grow herbs, peas, tomatoes, and such on my balcony. I also meal plan based on what’s in my pantry combined with whatever is on sale. As far as I’m concerned, it isn’t really possible to lower our grocery bill that much without significantly changing our diet (which I don’t want to do as long as we have the financial wherewithal to keep to our current budget). That said, it brings me a lot of comfort to know that in theory we could cut our budget a bit using Brandy’s advice: oatmeal for breakfast, soup with homemade bread or homegrown salad for lunch, beans for dinner every night, etc. My husband wouldn’t enjoy it, and I would be dreaming of unlimited fresh fruit, but it could be done! But in general, given that our budgets are all below the Canadian average, I think we’re all doing pretty well and all deserve a pat on the back!

          1. Margaret,
            Those really are the lowest costs food choices, but just know that I don’t choose those options for every meal every day! We do eat meat for dinner (usually chicken or pork because of price) in addition to beans. For instance, so far this week we had pork chops (I cut the boneless roast into chops); chicken drumsticks; pasta with tomatoes, basil, and leftover pork; and bean burritos. We’re skipping on the soups right now because it’s so hot, but come cooler weather, we’ll be having them a lot again for lunches. I had yogurt for breakfast this morning.

            1. Yum! Your everyday meals always make me drool, Brandy! Sheet-pan pancakes with homegrown stone fruit, pasta salad with produce fresh from the garden, pork loin with homemade fig sauce, homegrown yard-long beans with caramelized onions, homemade meringues served with homegrown berries and homemade lemon curd (from homegrown lemons!) — your family eats better (and healthier) than the average North American. I just really appreciate the knowledge you shared in your how-to-eat-for-40-cents-a-day series (and all your writing. I’ve read your entire website including all comments several times). It’s just nice to know that it’s possible to tighten the belt further if necessary. Random fact: I actually dreamt about your rosemary white bean soup last night. Literally!

          2. I spend $500 per month for 2 adults in Calgary and I do generally buy what is on sale, very little processed food, marked down meat etc. My closest store allows price matching and I do spend my accumulated grocery points. We do not have a garden.

            1. That is a really reasonable amount per person. I spend about $200. although it’s going up while I restock my pantry. I usually eat very little processed food but my emergency supply pantry has quite a bit of canned food. I am just starting to go back to my normal spending habits. Still, I. I think you do well on that budget!

          3. Margaret – I did forget to mention I do collect loyalty points. I save them until they have a bonus spend event and $200 becomes $300.

    3. Hi Meg,

      Up to now, my priority has been restocking a pantry. I wish I could afford more in that regard but I need to call it quits. If I were you, I think I’d make a one-time expenditure in the next week or so and stock up. You said you could afford to double it so I might do that for this month. Then see what else you need and take it from there. they say covid will get worse with the cold weather so since you are in Canada, I might stock or restock a pantry sooner rather than later.

    4. Meg, I live in Toronto so prices are high – I often can’t believe the prices that our American friends quote and I am often envious. But – we all have to work with our own limitations.

      I have a general amount to spend on groceries each month – and I include non food items. I don’t always do a huge haul type of shop as I don’t drive – use public transit and often rely on a bundle buggy.

      I also have a decent pantry so that can also effect what I need to purchase. It might help to divide your purchases into certain categories – non food, baking, canned goods (all areas that you can really stock up) as opposed to produce, meat and dairy that you may be consuming on a more regular basis. With the regular food it might be easiest to just add one or two items per shop (an extra bag of frozen fruit or veg, some butter for the freezer, an extra pack of meat that might be on sale). With the other items I would first check the sale flyers (and sometimes in store offers) and add those when it makes the most sense economically.

      If you are really just starting out it might help you to take a percentage of your overall monthly allotment and devote that to creating a deeper pantry. If you could manage that for even 2 or 3 months it would give you a good start.

      Hope some of that helps.

    5. Meg, I keep a list of things I know we eat regularly and when I see a good sale I try to buy 3-4 months supply. I have 15 pounds of butter in my freezer because every time the stores put it on sale, I would purchase the limit (which might be from 2 to five pounds). Exceptions are things like sweet corn, which is only in season once a year. Recently I purchased 5 dozen ears — enough, when frozen, to take us through next season. Since produce is least expensive when it’s in season, this is economical. Some things I use regularly, like oils — coconut, avocado, and olive — don’t really go on sale, so, while I always keep a three months supply, I’m trying to build up more. I’ve been trying to buying one extra every month until I have a year’s supply. It takes a while. In order to afford this, I am cutting back in other areas — eating more meatless meals and eating from my garden, eating more soups, cooking more from scratch. A store near me is having an anniversary sale this week and Dr. Bronner’s soap — which we use in the shower and for cleaning — is on sale for half price. The limit is 6 and I plan to purchase 6. Buying in bulk is also often cheaper for me — a 25 pound bag of dried pinto beans or rice is less that buying 1-pound bags. We did take part of our stimulus payment and purchased bulk wheat berries and a grain mill and some meat. You could try selling things around the house and dedicating that to stocking up. I think the key is to buy things you know you will eat and that keep well, and doing a little at a time. It really does add up.

    6. I keep about $200 of my monthly grocery/non-food budget for stocking, but I usually have a 6 month supply of any frozen, cleaners, medicines and shelf stable foods, so we are usually only buying cheese and fresh vegetables to eat that week, the rest is stocking while things are on sale.

      We did find some holes in the stocks and went through some things much faster than expected during lock-down, so I am adjusting my lists.

      I keep chickens for our eggs and twice a year raise a batch of birds for the freezer. I have a Sam’s club membership and my friend has a Costco, so most dry staples, cleaners, trash bags, some chicken, and frozen items etc I get in bulk there.

      My budget is probably bigger than most, as my husband eats a low carb diet when home (when he’s gone I eat a lot more risotto, rice and beans and pasta).

      We also belong to Butcher Box, which is terribly expensive, but as the budget allows we do grass fed meats and theirs is cheaper than our local store. He also prefers Mrs Myers cleaning products to the less expensive brands. Those are things that, in a crisis, we would cut immediately.

    7. I’m in Alberta. Like you, I’ve had to increase my monthly spending on food and household supplies — at this point it has probably gone from $150 up to $250 a month for one. Sales have started again, so it is possible that will drop again a bit, but I am not optimistic.

      For stocking up, I am not planning a full stock-up, but simply what I can afford in items I use regularly. I normally do stock extra supplies for winter to save me having to go out in very bitter winter weather, so it isn’t too different from that. I am finding even that difficult, because prices of many items are not going down. I will probably have one to three months of the items I use the most by November. I expect to put another $100 a month into this in September, October, and if I am lucky, December. But that is only another four to five weeks of food by my grocery budget. I am focusing more on meat and vegetables for the freezer than I am on pantry items, though I will start to stock pantry items more after the growing season ends in early September.

      That being said, I am not feeling the fear for myself that many people are about food shortages and Co-vid. Both grocery chains in my town were able to keep good supplies of food and household supplies in the spring, though not perfect levels. They have very different supply chains, one from the West and one from the East, so they were able to get different things and at different prices. They have learned a lot about how to manage these issues now, and higher prices is part of it in Canada, as are early limits on how many you can buy. This is a problem for a large family, but no consequence for a smaller household. They have also learned what customers won’t tolerate. They seemed to be very adept at finding replacement suppliers, and having alternatives available. No big bags of fresh potatoes, but little bags of new potatoes, frozen French fries, and as many frozen perogies as you could wish, and more. No flour but as many pre-made cookies as you could ever eat. (I guess the flour got diverted.) Also, manufacturers have also been stocking up on ingredients. For example, Pepperidge Farm has many more months supply of Gold Fish ingredients than they did in the spring. Downsizing the food in a package is the most irritating approach to me, since I simply end up with not enough of a particular food at the end of the shopping period.

      It is very, very rare for people to have been forbidden from shopping for food during lockdowns. It is whether you can shop safely, and that will vary dramatically from place to place, and whether they have the food on hand. As a senior, I can shop the first hour of the day, and am often the only customer in the store. I live three doors from one of the stores, and can see when the delivery trucks leave, so I can go an hour later when the shelves are freshly stocked. If I weren’t a senior, I would figure out quietest times to shop, when trucks arrive, and avoid the store on days when there have been more shocking announcements. I also think my mother’s determination that we would eat what we were served may turn out to be a useful life skill. (She didn’t deliberately feed us things we didn’t like, but everybody’s favorite is someone else’s least favorite.)

      1. That would explain all the sales on Goldfish crackers in my ads this week! I figured something was up!

        1. Thank you to everyone for your advice.
          I’m making my stock up plans according to what everyone has said!
          Very grateful for this blog today!
          Love to all

          1. Hi Meg,

            I have been keeping track of every single item I purchase for the past three years in an Excel spreadsheet. I, too, cook everything from scratch, eat less meat, combine sales with coupons, etc. I have spent 18% more YTD 2020 than YTD 2019. Prices have definitely increased across the board for me.

            One lesson from reading The Tightwad Gazette books is to look for food in places other than grocery stores, which you might already be doing. I have an Asian market about 40 minutes from my home and they have the best prices on produce and Asian products such as bulk sesame seeds, sesame oil, etc. I combine a trip there with other errands about every three months to stock up.

            Facing reality is hard but gives you a sense of power! I love the acronym for DENIAL = Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying!!!

            1. Another non-grocery store place to get food is through a buying club. I’ve been in one for 30+ yrs, and it has saved me tens of thousands of dollars over retail. It also allows me to get smaller quantities of more expensive or less-used items at much better prices, since I can split a bulk pack with other members.

  51. Your zinnia photo is lovely! My dad was a pipeline welder for years, and one thing he and the guys he worked with did to save their clothing was to have their work shirts and pants heavily starched. My mom spent a lot of time ironing, but it did help the sparks roll off rather than burning his clothing.
    Our money saving activities this week included picking and processing our garden produce: green beans, bell peppers, green chile, zucchini, okra and jalapenos. And a few tomatoes for fresh eating. We canned my hubby’s favorite thing: Cowboy Candy.
    I stocked up on dry goods for our pantry. Next I will begin hunting deals on meats for the freezer. I’d like to stock as much of the things we use as I have room for in our little house. I’m finding spaces to store things I hadn’t thought of before!
    Photos and details of our week are here on my blog:
    Have a wonderful week!

    1. Michelle, I went to your blog and looked over some of your posts. I enjoyed them very much. I just subscribed for your emails.
      Brandy, I look forward to your posts and all the wonderful comments every week. The only thing I did this week to save money was combine errands on Tuesday. I’d made an appointment to get my drivers license renewed, so I went ahead and scheduled my oil change for the same day. The Adventist Church has a thrift shop in town to raise money for their school so I stopped in there and purchased 3 books. I didn’t find any clothes I needed. I stopped and had a socially distance visit with a friend I haven’t seen since December. I also went to Walgreens and got some more otc meds with my Flexible Spending Account. It was a full day, and I enjoyed it very much. We live over 30 miles from town so I don’t just go to be going. Hope everyone has a good week.

  52. My son got married Saturday. We hosted a rehearsal dinner at the neighborhood clubhouse. We set up corn hole and spike ball outside. I have never played corn hole so I got to surprise everyone when it turns out I am pretty good. I had a BBQ place deliver food. We had a lot left over so I sent some home with the bride’s family. I had 12 guests at my home and we were able to eat it for the next nights meal. I added some southern peas, and a tomato cucumber salad.
    * I had about 15 smoked chicken breasts leftover and removed from the bones and froze packages of meat and then froze two bags of bones to make broth later.
    * My son is moving out of state when they return from their honeymoon. They are taking our couch and love seat. I removed all the covers and washed on delicate cycle and laid flat to dry.
    *I reseeded green beans, squash, and zucchini. They are coming up. My tomatoes are not flowering. I hope I can get some more tomatoes this season.
    * I had bought a formal for the wedding at Belk on clearance for $52. I couldn’t try it on, and it needed hemming. So I ordered a petite off Amazon in the same brand and wore it. It said to hand wash, so I washed on delicate and it is perfect. I listed both dresses on yardsale sites and should get my money back. Here is a photo of the dress I wore..
    * My best friend came up and did my hair and make up. It was amazing. I am overweight, so uncomfortable in the spotlight, but she made me feel pretty.
    *I am preparing to move so selling items I don’t need. I sold 3 baby quilts from my embroidery business and a headboard,
    *My daughter gave plasma and they gave her a $200 visa card. I gave her cash for the card. I used some of it to order a few magazines I like: Cottage Journal, Veranda, and a quilting magazine. I found a site where the magazines were discounted very cheap. Then Southern Living sent an offer for $10 instead of the normal $22 subscription price. I love magazines!
    I bundle the ones that don’t have a lot of pictures I like and sell on the yardsale site and usually get about $1 each back.

    1. BamaHolly – I love magazines too! At one point I was getting 12 a month! That doesn’t include the two weekly magazines I subscribe to!
      I’ve received most of my magazines, including Garden and Gun (another “southern” magazine), Country Living, Martha Stewart, etc. through RecycleBank. It is surprisingly easy to accumulate points to get subscriptions. Thank you for the idea of posting on FB. I used to work in a hospital so would take them to the volunteer staff who distributed books and magazines and to my hair stylist and doctor’s offices. Now they can no longer accept them so they are stacking up. I found I tend to keep my Country Living, Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens as I find so many ideas in each one. I guess I am a frustrated southerner! I went to college for two years in VA and fell in love with the architecture, home styles and food.

      And finally – you look lovely! Your hair and dress are so elegant.

    2. BamaHolly, you are such a beautiful mother of the groom! I clicked on the link you supplied, and was all, “where is BamaHolly? All I see are these young twenty/thirty-somethings!” I really had to scrutinize and compare pictures to figure out which one was you. And great deals on the dress and makeup! What a savings!

  53. It has been hot here and the AC just isn’t keeping up – despite closing off bedrooms, curtains and blinds closed to sun, etc. I’ve been keeping it at 74-76 but that is hard sometimes as health issues have both my SO and me with poor ‘heat’ coping bodies. Then we got the local (Black Hills Energy) bill and it was almost $600! I checked and the usage was the same as last year, we now have a much more energy efficient fridge, line dry almost everything, etc. So now to wrestle with them – as the bill is twice what I expected. We’ve had them out to do an audit, check the meter, etc. six months ago – ‘nothing found’. What I don’t understand is that for May and June, which were hotter than normal – the monthly bill was about $200.
    Cousins brought 3×18 packs of eggs from their chickens, a box with a large zucchini, three calabacita squash (sometimes called grey squash) a lot of cucumbers and some raw green chiles. I am roasting the chiles in the air fryer and it is working great! We froze the eggs in ice cube trays so we can just pull them out.
    Went to the library used bookstore. Found dvds for $1.00 – we take these with us in the RV so have something to watch. Two were full seasons of Law and Order (old series) so lots of shows. They still had their cookbooks for $1.00 each. I found Alice Water’s Chez Panisse Cafe cookbook – like brand new and the Pasadena Women’s Club cookbook. Surprisingly that one has a ton of good recipes and not “take three lobster’s, a ounce of osetra caviar and truffles” variety! I also found a lot of mysteries – including new editions of Georgette Heyer’s mysteries and the big find – a Ngaio Marsh mystery published in 1943. I looked online and it can go for up to $20.00! This copy is in great shape – no staining, original dust jacket (with “Buy War Bonds” on the back cover!). And – it was free! They had a huge stack of books that they didn’t think would sell and they didn’t want to discard or tear up. So for $40.00 I have a huge box of books – I think I counted 20 and the dvds.
    Went to the farm stand store and bought milk for $1.00 a gallon and eggs for $1.00 a dozen (before the cousins brought their eggs). Tomatoes are slow this year – our ‘big tomato’ plants are not doing at all well but the plants for the small cherry and yellow pear are huge and have a lot on them. I want to put up a lot of salsa and pasta sauce so will have to keep an eye on the farm stands over the next month or two.
    Finally – I too have been struggling with Covid-19 fatigue. After reading a long article in Time about why we are looking at a depression, not a recession, and what that could mean I was really down. SO had a doctor’s appointment and found out that surgery may be needed, I know there is surgery for my hips in my future (but feeling better with more exercise, better shoes and a daily Aleve). After the appointment we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch. It was late and there was almost no one there – tables spread out and everyone with masks, except customers when they were eating. We had a great heart to heart about the future. We’d bought an almost brand new Ford 350 pickup with a lot of bells and whistles and a huge 5th wheel RV in anticipation of doing a lot of long term travel. That was two years ago and so much has changed – both for us with health issues and for the country and the world (we had hoped to spend several months in Canada visiting where my maternal grandfather was born). We decided to sell the big diesel truck and the RV and find a small Class C (RV sits on a truck chassis and is all in one) and a small car to pull. Neither of us can do the type of physical work to get our big unit set up or do the repairs/maintenance needed. I can’t drive the big truck with the big RV (I know many women do but I just don’t have the confidence or the good depth perception required). I could drive a Class C and setup would be a lot less hassle. We would save so much money on insurance and the truck payment. That is a huge relief for me as we can put money in the bank and save over $600.00 a month (money we truly don’t have now – we bought this all when I was working). We don’t want to give up the dream but have to be realistic. The small car can also be used to do the running around and we would still have the 2010 Ford 150 that is my SO’s treasure. That pickup is needed for towing a small trailer that we use for hauling when needed and for bad weather.

    So all the best to everyone! Oh – and I. Baked. A. Cake. And A. Pie. I don’t bake but had run out of dessert stuff in the freezer so had to resort to remembering my home-ec and grandmothers/mother teaching me so very long ago. Really! My two sisters and my two brothers all bake. My sisters don’t like to cook but will make things like all day NY Style Cheesecake and Sacher Torte. I like to cook but not bake. But I did – and it didn’t hurt at all! LOL

    1. Mary,

      If you were running it more at 74 than 76, that could be $200 more right there. I found the difference between 76 and 78 was about that much at our current house, and we keep the house at 78-79 now. I have to run ceiling fans and be under the fan, though, or it will feel too hot. Make sure to turn off fans when you’re not in the room, since fans cool people and not rooms, or that will be another $150 right there (I made that change and my bill dropped by that much). Also, dress in cool fabrics and don’t wear socks! I wear sandals (the rest of my family prefers to go barefoot) and a thin cotton or linen dress. My husband wears shorts.

    2. S.Co. Mary: I would have taken the mysteries as well! Ngaio Marsh disappeared from my public library, and I would like to re-read several of her Roderick Alleyn books. And Georgette Heyer’s mysteries are some of my favorites ever and I re-read my old paperbacks often. She has lively characters and very creative plots, (most of the time; one or two are bafflingly bad). I like her Regency books, though have never read her true historical-novels.

  54. I find leather aprons for men to be way cool! I wish my love was welding, so that he could have an excuse to wear one😊

    This week we went on vacation! We drove 2 hours to the summer cottage which belongs to my praents in law. For most of the summer the place is occupied, but now there was 2 weeks free for us! We love to be there and enjoy the simple life (carrying water from the spring and heating it to wash the dishes, outdoor loo and all that fun stuff). Because we are the last ones before the end of summer, my mom in law asked if we’d mind eating out the freezer. This made for most of the meals we ate this week! It was amazing. We enjoyed eating some foods that we normally never eat, such as frozen pizza, hot dogs and steaks. Oh and ice cream for dessert a few times.
    I brought with me lots of salad, zucchini and sugarpeas from our garden and some broccoli from sale, so the veggies were taken care of. When there, we picked wild plums(so deliciously sweet), wild blackberries and some apples fallen from the neighborhood tree, so the fruit was taken care of. I popped some corn which I bought in bulk and brought with me. I also transported all the things to put on sandwiches, which were opened at home. So this week I bought a piece of fish on sale and two breads!
    But I did not skip the shopping. The post about preparedness really gave me a lot to think about. I decided to stock up on things. I bought the school supplies on back to school sales(here the school starts next week). I bought the next size clothing items for the kids. I saved massively on wool because they had 3for2 on all underwear. The poster was spread above bikinis and stockings. I asked if ‘super underwear’ (woolen longjohns) was also on sale. The lady raised her eyebrow because it is hot here now (well, 27C is probably cool weather where you live, Brandy), but she checked and it was also on sale. The choice was not great but I got both my boys set up for winter and saved 60$ on this most expensive purchase of the season. I am so delighted about that!
    I also went to a sportshop which is not making it trough corona and they had all things 70%off, so I got my toddler a pair of snowpants, a jacket for my 8yo, a jacket and rain pants for me.
    I worked on our homeschool curriculum in the evenings. The book you recommend here , “The well trained mind”, was very helpful and inspiring. Thank you.
    I also opened an instagram account. It is shameful to admit but I am a complete zero at computer things. I have an email and that’s all my online presence until now. I have not considered online work for myself, but shall the need arise I want to be digitally literate! I decided to start with instagram to learn to share pictures and participate online. I am sure I will figure this out at some point.
    Great to read all of your comments here. This really keeps me motivated.

    1. Kinga,

      Are you going to share photos of the things you are picking wild? I would love to see that on your Instagram account! I’d love to follow you.

      27 degrees Celcius sounds like a beautiful day. We usually see those temperatures in October. It’s going to be 44C here in a couple of days. It seems to be a cooler summer. 43-46 is what I usually see most summer days. I read there is record heat for the number of days above 100 (37,78C) but it is not as hot as it is most summers. I even opened the windows early this morning for a bit of fresh air because it was cooler than normal (around 26C right around dawn for about an hour).

      1. I can’t imagine such temperarures. The hottest I have been was around 38 in very moist part of Italy and when I came out of the plane I thought that I have fever and can’t breathe. My husband is still making fun of that, even though it was 10 years ago.
        I would love it if you followed me. I am not quite sure how to recommend myself…my name on instagram is tantekinga😊

  55. I love People magazine. By stacking some survey rewards my subscription now expires in 2026. For free!
    On Saturday I did two things I never do. Got up early, 5:30am to go to a yard sale. Only my second yard sale in my life and I’m 60. It was held at local church, postponed from March. Got tons of new hardbacks for 50 cents each. Best find was plastic shoebox of jewelry for $1. Inside were tons of Pandora bracelets and beads plus several items from Premiere jewelry. My mom said the plastic shoebox would have been $1 retail so the $100’s of jewelry was free. That was worth getting up early for. I was home by 9 and back in bed. Can’t wait to go again next year.

  56. It is so beautiful here — I woke up early and went outside and started picking the Nanking cherries. It is almost chilly outside and fall is definitely in the air. It was a smart move to pick early — none of the hornets/wasps or yellowjackets (which are really plentiful this year) were awake yet — it’s too cold for them. Yesterday, I got 10 jars of apricots pitted and frozen in jars. I am working on blueberries, then will be doing Italian plums and peaches. This is not for an emergency pantry but for treats in the winter. When it gets warmer during the day, I have to watch out for bumblebees falling out of the sky. I think they are so heavy-laden with pollen and nectar that they are temporarily too heavy to fly and they drop. I accidentally put my hand on one the other day — I moved my hand quickly — I was at eye level with it and will always remember the look in its eyes! It wasn’t hurt and I did not get stung.

    My “gardener” brought over beets to me. And a friend is bringing some of her home grown potatoes. She says I have about 40 beets left. The last time she brought some over they were red outside but golden inside — she had planted that kind of seed — I myself supplied seed for beets that are red and white inside. The golden ones were delicious. I’m not sure what I’ll do with 40 beets but I’ve offered her some of course — and of course I can store them in my fridge.

    I am spending my monthly food budget on fresh fruit that I can freeze. And enjoying some fresh. Although some of the Alberta corn (a specialty crop grown near the LDS Temple) was wiped out by hail, I got some lovely corn from B.C. but it was expensive — 5 ears for $6.50. Co-op is now advertising 10 ears for $5 (a good price in Canada) and it’s Alberta grown — in fact it’s Taber corn! Yay.

    Superstore has a good price (I think — I’ll have to check on peaches — 10 pounds for $15.99 — Western Canada freestone and some decent prices on canning supplies.

    I love your lizard photo, Brandy. I’m glad your sinks are fixed — I never heard of sinks falling just sinking feelings (sorry I just had to say it!).

    1. Hi Ann,
      Your morning sounds nice. I am looking forward to when we get Nanking cherries. We have beets that I need to process too. I am considering pickling them. I really enjoy pickled beets. Have a nice week!

  57. I just adore reading all the ways you save and have a frugal and full life!
    This week hubby fixed a seat that broke in the car…a bolt had fallen out and he was able to find it and fix the seat.
    *I put two snaps on dresses and moved the buttons up on one on some dresses that were a bit too low cut for me to wear. Now I have three new to me dresses to expand my wardrobe.
    *I was able to trade a homemade meal and some treats for a 2 hour pool rental for my sons birthday so we didn’t have to pay the $200 pool rental fee. The dinner and treats were under $20 to make.
    * I have a friend a bottle of homemade peach jam as a gift. I had all the supplies on hand besides the peaches. I was able to get a deal on a giant box of peaches and canned 14 pints of peach jam.
    *I threw the hot canning water on some pesky weeds in my yard. Hope they wilt and disappear.
    *We combined a few errands together to make sure we only went out once this week for shopping/picking up school schedules/picking up things.
    *My sister returned the baby clothes I had let her borrow, now that her baby has grown out of them. Since no one needs them anymore (we are all done having babies) I sold them to a second hand clothing store.
    *While getting groceries I found some clearance jeans in my sons size and was able to pick them up for more than half the original cost.
    *We turned our AC up by three degrees and have been keeping it off in the morning by opening the windows and letting the cool air in.
    *We used a free coupon for a car wash we received last month when we got an oil change for the car.
    *We planted more peas and carrots, lettuce and spinach for a fall garden.
    *We picked long beans, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cherry tomatoes, Carrots, tomatillos and basil from the garden.
    *We gathered eggs from the chickens and gave them the veggie scraps we had.
    I feel like we need to really buckle down and cut spending and focus on food storage, the garden and just be prepared for the winter months. This blog and all the comments help me so much. Thank you!

  58. Hi Brandy!
    You inspired me to plant Armenian cucumbers and I have many growing now. I am looking forward to trying them! We planted a few Thai melon plants and already have harvested 8 melons! They are juicy and sweet, orange on the outside and green on the inside. My husband helped me save seed from some of them already. We have gotten much better about cooking at home lately. I am going to plan some slow cooker meals when school starts. I will be helping teach my grandchildren as they do school online and at my house. I am looking forward to it but I know I will be busy. I love my grandkids! We just don’t want them at the schools right now. I am glad my son and daughter-in-law asked me to teach them and supervise their online learning.

    We have been saving seeds for next year. I’m worried about what we may not be able to get in the future. So I am being careful. I’ve enjoyed staying home and harvesting and cooking our own produce. I’ve enjoyed playing the piano for relaxation some evenings and sometimes I just read. I’m glad I have my one son here and I get to see my other son regularly as well as his wife and our grandchildren. We haven’t got to see the rest of my family the way I would like, but I keep in contact with them on the phone. My son’s dog entertains us as well.
    My thoughts have been with the people without power in so many places and those who have been dealing with flooding or locusts or drought.

    I know I need to prepare for the winter months. There is so much to do. Yet , I enjoy sitting on the back porch at the end of the day, harvesting our produce, looking out the window at the sunset. I enjoy the family I do get to see. I’m glad to have this blog. It is relaxing to read, although I sense an urgency in much of what I read. I understand it, the need to prepare. I also understand the desire to return to normalcy. My granddaughter asked if we could go to the park the other day. I was so sorry to not be able to take her. I listened to them playing with her doll and giving her doll a Coronavirus test and telling her doll to stay 6 feet away and wear a mask. It made me laugh, but really it is awful. I miss things being normal. But, I know they enjoyed picking tomatoes and feeding some of the ugly ones to the chickens. My grandson enjoyed eating tomatoes. And Earlier when we had strawberries, my granddaughter declared it to be her best day ever! So I am glad that there are good things here on our little farm for them.

    1. You can collect seeds from those cucumbers. Just let them grow about 2 feet long first so they are ripe.

    2. Hi Tammy!

      Your lucky grandchildren to be homeschooled by you! I was very touched by your recounting them playing with the doll.

      I need to pick more of the Nanking cherries. Not a bumper crop but I was interrupted the other day. I bought a case of peaches which will be delivered on Sunday by my volunteer. At the same time, I’m going to restock my pasta supply as my volunteer lives very close to that store.

      Sounds like you have everything well under control, Tammy. I love that you are on your farm now — so much better than before. Take care!

  59. Brandy, you would love the blackberries here. I’m in the Pacific NW and I just can’t pick them fast enough. Today we picked enough in about 20 min to fill a 9×13 pan, I then made a crisp. Photo: . I haven’t been great about saving money lately, but we start homeschool again in 2 weeks and I’ll be much busier and not out and about as much either. That will help a lot.

    1. That’s 1/2 or more of my harvest. I can’t imagine having enough to do that! It would be wonderful!

      1. It is. And they have such a distinct texture/taste in comparison to other varieties. They are incredibly fragile and very sweet, with a flowery flavor. Wish I could send you some!

  60. Greetings from England! What a wonderful blog Brandy! I discovered it recently and ‘binged read’ all the past blog posts with much enjoyment. I have learned so much and am very grateful for this community!

    Frugal wins this week include:
    -purchasing cheap in-season fruit and freezing lots of it to use in the winter season.
    -Eating in and making soup, chocolate refrigerator cake, peach loaf, salads.
    -walking and cycling everywhere and using the car only once.
    -am currently working from home due to covid which saves time and transport costs.
    -giving away several items I didn’t want on Olio and obtaining some free fiction books and body lotion.
    -going to the supermarket at ‘yellow sticker’ Time and getting lots of bargains (from M and S no less, the food there is delicious but pricey -but they do great yellow stickers which makes it so much cheaper !)
    -finding ‘lost clothes’ at the back of my cupboard-a nightdress, top and skirt I forgot I had, and all fit well.
    -cross stitching two cards for a 30th and 40th birthday, which has saved me money and was great fun to make!

    I am loving hearing about everyone else’s weeks! With best wishes Jenny

    1. Welcome Jenny!

      Am I guessing correctly that M & S is Marks and Spencer’s? I hear they have good clearance sales! What is Olio? And what is chocolate refrigerator cake? Is it made with gelatin, like a mousse? That sounds delicious and I would love to try it!

      1. Thankyou so much Brandy! Lovely to have found your site!

        The recipe for chocolate refrigerator cake is on the excellent Good Food BBC recipe site, highly recommend. Here is the link It’s great because apart from melting chocolate and butter there is no cook. Not terribly healthy but nice for a treat! I recommend adding marshmallows, glacé cherries and meringue! There is probably another name for it in the US.

        Yes, it is Marks and Spencer, who do quality gorgeous food but even nicer when reduced! I also got a skirt for £1.20 and two tops for £1.80 each in the clearance sales you mention! Excellent stuff! I also buy things full price from them as I used to work for them as a student and they really care and look after their staff. is a sharing app. I’m not sure if it is available in the USA as well. It was initially set up so people could share extra food they didn’t want, for free eg from allotment, But they extended it to be any items. We take photos of unwanted items, upload them, people message and pick them up. All free, no money to change hands. Usually leave on doorstep because of covid. I think it’s great, especially if you are having a Marie kondo-type clear out! Also charity shops haven’t been open for donations during the pandemic so it’s been a good way to exchange things.

        Thankyou so much for your site, it is a joy with the beautiful photography and so inspiring! Jenny

        1. Thank you Jenny! I have a number of readers in the U.K.; if they don’t know about that app already, they do now! I’ll check out the cake! And those are FANTASTIC clearance prices! I bought something for myself and a daughter last night on clearance but the percentages weren’t that low.

        2. Hi Jenny,
          I am also in England and gave to agree that M and S can have brilliant bargains, especially gratifying when at the till a ‘50% off’ item has been further reduced to next to nothing, as happened to me last week on a pretty dress. Yay! We use ‘Freegle’ in our area, a very effective way of passing on things to somebody who may really need it.
          Brandy, I so much look forward to your posts, but have never commented before. Thank you, S.

  61. My husband also fixed a sink faucet this week! Unfortunately, we were unable to save the refrigerator full of groceries we had just bought when derecho hit the Midwest on Monday. (I live in Iowa. We have terrible devastation here, with farmers losing millions of acres of crops.) With no power until Thursday eve, we lost a lot of food. Without internet, I also lost four days of work. I used the time to organize especially inexpensive recipes for the coming weeks and paint a cupboard and schedule my upcoming days so as to make up for the lost work hours. I cut out a crib skirt for my son and daughter, who are expecting a baby this month. They were (correctly) concerned that when they put the mattress lower at a later date, a skirt they were thinking of purchasing would be too long. So I’m making an adjustable one. (Fingers crossed.) Now that we have power again, I can sew it. Looked for your post in my email for inspiration when I turned on my computer! Thanks!

    1. I’m so sorry you lost your food! I hadn’t heard about the storm, and I read the news every day! That should have been in my headlines but I had to go searching for it. That is major news! I think you did so well making use of your time when you were without power. How smart to cut our your sewing projects while you waited for the power to be back up. It sounds like you’ve made some good plans for next week!

    2. I’m so sorry you lost all that food. Check with your homeowner’s insurance. Depending on your deductible, you may be able to get some of the cost of the food back.

    3. Karen Mary, my heart goes out to you. I admire your beautiful attitude. Millions of NY/NJ/Connecticut residents lost power. My sister and her husband were without electricity for 6 days. Sis worked remotely (6 feet away) in my living room since we live nearby. It was very hot in the Bronx and the only thing my brother-in-law asked for was ice! 😊. I hope you can claim lost food to your utility company and get some reimbursement!

  62. And, Karen Mary, I’m sorry for all the other areas affected, too! I had never heard of a derecho before!

  63. Today I woke early and went outside to pick the Nanking cherries while it was still cold and the hornets were not active.
    That’s what I thought. All of a sudden I was surrounded by hornets. My friend came along at that time. She had picked up groceries for me. I gave her the Nanking cherries I’d picked. She picked some of my sour cherries. Not all of them are ripe. She couldn’t believe the hornets. We cannot see any nests. My friend is going to give me more of her potatoes which are lovely. My “gardener” dropped off some beets and the first of the carrots to me. I’m thinking of what I should do with them. I also was given fresh peas. I love all of the fresh fruit and veggies — I only wish I had a stand-alone freezer.
    Note to YYC-ers: The corn from Co-op is lovely! Back to working on the book!

    1. We have paper wasps here that make little nests in the bushes. They have also been hanging out in the edges of the grass. Soapy water sprayed on them will kill them. I sprayed my hedges this week with Neem oil (because I also have spider mites) but I have killed them before with soapy water and watched a beekeeper kill African bees with soapy water in my garden.

  64. great tip. So far I haven’t seen any nests. I don’t think ours have little nests. I’m going to be wary of going into my peony bed — it’s such a jungle that they might be there.

    do you make pickled beets?

    1. I do make pickled beets. I think I’m the only one in my family who likes them, sadly.

      1. What lovely photos! The zinnia is especially pretty.
        A friend of my grandma’s sold her second home and gave us a beautiful bedroom set.
        I harvested a bit from the garden, but production is WAY down right now–i’m pretty sure our soil is depleted. Hoping to get some free fertilizer from a local farm this fall. Maybe we can add some from our compost heap in the spring, too. Does anyone have ideas for fertilizing rocky soil? I have more food-related savings from this week on my blog! 🙂

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