Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money the First Week of July

Lemon Boy, Black Prince, Early Girl, Chocolate Sprinkles, Yellow Pear, and Supersweet 100 Tomatoes

I harvested tomatoes, basil, chives, green onions, red and green beans from the garden.

My parents went to a garage sale the week before last (everyone wore masks). They found a few items of clothing for my children and an outdoor game of Ladder Ball, which the children played several times early in the morning and late in the evening when it was cool enough to be outside. They have found it to be really fun!

I turned a pair of pants they found for a daughter into shorts.

We renewed our pass to a local park where I photograph clients, rather than paying the $6 entrance fee each time. Because my husband is older, we qualify for the senior discount, so we have a year’s membership now for $25. They gave us two small cloth flags when we were there that I added to our decorations.

We celebrated the Fourth of July simply at home. We watched fireworks from our yard that neighbors set off, ate food we already had on hand, decorated with flags that we already had, played ladder ball as teams as the sun was setting, lit sparklers that I had purchased in bulk at Sam’s Club in a past year, and watched Captain America.

Our neighbor said he had just been told by his doctor that he had to cut down on his sugar consumption, and he asked us if we would like some ice cream that he could no longer eat. We said sure, and he gifted us a large box of ice cream sandwiches and another box of ice cream bars!

I took advantage of a Fourth of July sale to purchase some digital files that I had been wanting to have for my business.

What did you do last week to save money?

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132 Comments

  1. -Well what a difference a week makes! We are in a heat wave, 90’s with high humidity. Watering flowers daily and the garden every other day. No major rain in the focus for the next week or so. Peas are still blooming but with this heat I’m sure they will soon stop. Beans are loaded with tiny beans, I will be canning in a week! Harvesting lettuce, kale, onions, last of the radishes and kolorabi. Waiting impatiently for tomatoes!
    -Meals included-home canned tomato soup with tortellini and salad; pork chops, hash browns and green beans; potato hash, fried eggs, and sausage; grilled hamburgers, German potato salad, watermelon, and 3 bean salad; grilled steak with mushrooms and onions, corn on the cob, potato packets, and bacon wrapped asparagus. Plus leftovers twice.
    -Pretty quiet week with the holiday and time off work. Stayed home and had simple days.
    -Saved money in several ways-found several things on my need list at a couple of garage sales: a small mesh handheld strainer for 50 cents, quart canning jars (dozen) for $3.00, a brand new water bath canner for $3.00-will pass onto a daughter as I already have 2. Also some clothing items and a couple pieces of material.
    -Got my hair ends and bangs trimmed (first time in 3 months). I had a friend do it, she has an in home salon and does this for me in exchange for canned goods. Win-win for both of us. It cost me 2 jars of dill pickles and one jar of spaghetti sauce.
    -Bought a couple of heavy duty Rubbermaid containers at Menards with a rebate certificate (no money out of pocket). Able to resort and repack canning jars. I store them outside in a shed. They are stacked up and I wrote on the side of the container. So I have regular pints, WM pints, regular quarts, WM quarts, 1/2 pints, and 2 quart jars all in their own labeled bins. Now I won’t have to sort through multiple bins when I need jars to can. I can just bring the appropriate bin in the house.
    -Made homemade granola, GF strawberry cupcakes, and banana bread (bananas from the freezer). If the bananas get too ripe I just throw them in the freezer peel and all. When I want to use them take out, thaw and squeeze out the banana. Baked all in the oven at once to save energy. Especially with AC running most afternoons and evenings. I usually can wait until about 1-2pm to turn it on.
    -Stained an old wood wagon I have flower pots in-using leftover stain from our deck.
    -Trimmed Spruce trees and cleaned up pine needles in the yard. Mowed lawn.
    -Have a great week!!

    1. I recently organized my canning jars as well. I keep mine in a cabinet in my shed also, as our house is pretty small. It does make it so much easier to find what you need when they’re organized. I found I had a lot more quart jars than I thought I did, and few pint jars. I’ll be looking for pint jars at garage sales.

    2. If you slice bananas thin and freeze on a cookie sheet. then put them frozen into a bowl with a little milk, it is like the yummiest ice cream ever. We always have bags of sliced bananas in the freezer for this. OMG. So good on a hot day.

    3. Hello, my name is Ronni. This is such a lovely and wonderful page. I’m so glad I found it. The picture of those tomatoes is gorgeous (as are all the pictures you have taken and shared here!) I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past 27 years. I have four children ages 27, 24, almost 20, and almost 18. Sadly I don’t garden (unless you want to count the basil I grow) nor do I sew. I would love to do more gardening which would hopefully lead to canning/preserving. However, I’m still very frugal. This week I prepared all meals at home (this is something we always do). I meal plan around what is on sale. I have 4 different meal-plans (by season) to take advantage of things in seasonal as well as certain sales and promos that happen during the year. My weekly menu normally includes a leftover and breakfast for dinner night, as well as a meatless night or two. In the warmer months, there is also a salad or salad and sandwich night and in the cooler months, we have soup instead of the sandwich. I make most of my own cleaners and finally found some rubbing alcohol this week as I was running very low on floor cleaner) I coupon (mostly for toiletries/household items to offset my food budget). I have a healthy stockpile of these items so during the COVID lockdown I was able to live off of those items (as well as share with people who were unable to find necessary things). For obvious reasons couponing has come to a halt, however, this week I was able to get 4 tubes of toothpaste for $1.35 using a store sale coupled with a digital coupon deal. I went back to get 8 more as it will allow my family to brush their teeth for a year at less than $5. To most, this would be an incredible deal but when you are spoiled by free toothpaste for the past 15 years, you are thankful but not impressed! From an online garage sale, I was able to find a large oval pyrex casserole dish (the size I’ve been looking for) for $15 (they retail for over $30). I personally know the lady who was selling it and she has been raising money during COVID to feed the healthcare workers at our local hospitals so I was happy to pay a little extra than normal garage sales prices. I had a gift card from Pier I in my wallet for over a year and when I learned they were going out of business I went online – right to their clearance tab (the only section I shop! LOL) and found some beautiful buffalo check placemats. Dishes and tablescapes are my passion – I collect it frugally! Since I did laundry this week, I’ll include how I saved here as well. I normally hang 80% of our clothes, wash in cold water, and use vinegar as my fabric softener. Additionally, I put a few safety pins into an old fuzzy balled-up sock which eliminates the static. My static is low, to begin with, though as I dry only small loads. Well, that’s enough of me, I hope to learn all about you and your readers as well as ways to add more frugalness to my life.

  2. I love your photos! Just beautiful. Congrats on having another great frugal week!

    *I’ve been hunting high and low for cleaning wipes – not frugal but needed for us. I was able to find some at my local store on Friday early in the morning. Such a blessing for us.

    *Bought 20# if strawberries for 94c/lb. Half was made into strawberry jam using my own sugar and Ultra Set instead of pectin. Made up 15 containers of jam. Also froze the other 10# for use in the winter. I would like to go get more today to freeze. The jam tastes amazing! One of the best batches because the strawberry flavor comes through so strongly.

    *Our 4th was spent at home. We had hamburgers, hot dogs and watermelon. We spent the day working in the yard and it was hot. We watched National Treasure that night and enjoyed free fireworks. Our neighborhood went crazy setting them off – every window I looked out had a show. We enjoyed watching and celebrating our country. I listened to Lee Greenwood’s version of God Bless the USA all day.

    *My husband had bought a small shed last fall and left it on our back patio over the winter. He moved it into our yard this past week. He moved sprinkler lines, dug out grass and 6 inches of topsoil. Our neighbor was gifted the top soil and grass for her yard project. He built the forms. We did have to rent a cement mixer, but our neighbor came over to help pour it in and smooth it out. My husband also poured cement into each of the corners of our yard to make it easier to mow. It was a solid 2 day project with one day spent on cleanup. But he saved us so much money by doing it himself. All of us went out to help. My daughter edged the corners. We cleaned out the cement shoot and machine. I sprayed off any splatters and helped keep the cement damp. It turned out so wonderful! We’ll move the shed after it has cured for a while. It will take 4 people to move it – but we have some nice neighbors.

    *I made 2 loaves of banana bread and gave one to the neighbor that had helped us. It was still warm and he was thrilled.

    *We had all meals at home except a date night. We had a buy 1 get 1 one free.

    *I’ve picked lettuce, zucchini, and pea pods from the garden. I shredded and froze the zucchini. This week I’m going to make zoodles with my zucchini and freeze those to use these winter. I weeded my flower beds and garden and used my Marivene bucket routine.

    *I hand washed and vacuumed my car to get the dust off. With all our dry weather this past week it had gotten very dusty. It was a good workout for me and the cool water felt amazing as I sprayed my car down. I cleaned my car windows inside and out.

    *I did buy a few items this week on a deep discount and tucked them away to use for Christmas gifts.

    *I hope everyone has a wonderful frugal week. It’s such an inspiration to read your posts!

  3. This week, I’ve been gardening, remembering Marivene as I fill one bucket each day when I weed. It’s surprising how the weeding has become so simple and less time consuming that way! And harvesting! I’m getting a full quart or more of green beans every couple days! https://pin.it/lQ82otZ. So far, in the past 5 days, I’ve been able to blanch and freeze 4 quarts of green beans from our little garden!
    I pulled out my bolted Romaine and replanted that space with 284 carrots! They were on a seed tape. I’m anxious to see the harvest!! The potatoes I planted a week ago as already started to come through the ground with it’s leaves! This year, i am trying to be more organized in succession gardening- as one bed opens up, I am trying to replant something quickly! I will plant peas again in a couple weeks!
    The lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes and strawberries are growing well in my bucket garden!
    My blackberries are starting to turn pink so with the heat we’ve been having, I anticipate black blackberries within a week! And there will be plenty!! It is covered in berries!
    One of your followers sent me 3 of her quilt tops to quilt for her this past Wednesday. 2 are finished – https://pin.it/kb14Qmg and https://pin.it/5AsoKD4. The third one is on Lenni (my longarm) and I’ll get it finished today! https://pin.it/VQ7iNpK. It has been a joy to see these quilts and their color choices! Hopefully, she will be pleased!
    I bought 30 pounds of peaches on sale for 77 cents/ pound and I will be putting those up today too! I may dehydrate some and can some. Haven’t decided yet!
    Apparently, we still had one more rooster with the 4 new ones we bought. If you remember, we returned one last week and got a new hen of a different variety. On Sunday morning, I heard a distinct Cock a doodle doo coming from the henhouse while I was taking my bath inside. We looked at the final 2 RIRs that we had left and could now see a very definite difference in their comb size and waddles and one of them was strutting more and pecking and chasing some of our hens even though he would have been at the bottom of the pecking order! So we took him back to the farmer who was so sweet and insisted that he double the price we paid for that chicken! We will definitely order from him again in the Spring!
    For the holiday, ground beef (80/20) was on sale in the family packs (3+ pounds) for $1.89/ pound. I ended up getting 36 pounds so that will help replenish my freezer supply! I’ll precook several pounds and bag in 2 cup increments into freezer bags for easy use when I want to make something that calls for ground beef! I’ll use my hamburger press to make about 5-10 pounds of patties to freeze too.
    At the same sale, we bought a watermelon for $1.99, cherries for $1.29/pound and some Miracle Whip for $2.49! With sale, coupons and ibotta, I was also able to buy more shampoo/conditioner, body wash and deodorant for 49 cents/28 ounce bottles. Deodorant (Brut) was free! That’s the second time for that in 2 weeks! And free for something essential is a good price to me! They also had butter for $1.99 so I bought 10. Glad I bought a box of fresh corn over Memorial Day weekend, because the price was double that amount this past weekend! But my corn is stocked in the freezer for the winter and beyond now!
    I bought 2 cases of TP and ketchup from Sams club- one was shipped and the other was store pickup. We are set for the winter now.
    With the 21 jars of orange marmalade I made: https://pin.it/1Asf5Uw and the 24 jars of chicken and kidney beans that I canned https://pin.it/DdfWOiA, almost 4 dozen of my pint jars have been called back into service! As I put them on the shelves in the basement, I had to rearrange them. I have a definite rotation system so I’m always using the oldest jars first! In doing this, I noticed that I had a half gallon jar of pecan halves on the shelf! I had run out upstairs in the kitchen and didn’t know there were still more down there!
    Hubs had a friend of ours ask him to make a couple stars out of pallet wood that she will paint red,white and blue. So our free recycled pallet wood was turned into some unexpected cash while we decluttered a bit more!
    I was able to give a friend about 120 pounds of wheat that we had been given and don’t need (we have plenty). So more decluttering plus adding to someone else’s pantry!
    Well, I better get on to those peaches!! Lol!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Wow on the cherries! They were on sale for $3.99 a pound here. If they were $1.29 I would have bought some!

    2. Hi Pat! I am up in Michigan and some of your sale prices were better than ours! Peaches were .88 a pound and cherries were $1.59 a pound! As I cut up and froze the peaches and pitted and froze the cherries, I thought about how much energy you must have to accomplish all that you do each week! I was exhausted after processing all of the fruit! I have learned a lot from your comments each week along with Brandy’s posts. Have a blessed week!!

      1. Sarah from Michigan- our Meijers here in central Ohio had the cherries for $1.29/pound and peaches for .88/pound. But Fresh Thyme had Georgia peaches for .77/pound. 11 cents a pound difference may not seem like much but both stores are near each other and buying 25- 30 pounds of them adds up to around $3. and for me, that’s real money! ??
        First 7 quarts of peaches are in the steam canner. I’m going to sit down and relax for the 30 minutes!

        1. Pat, I see that our Kroger’s has peaches for .77/lb this week! I didn’t get to can any of mine last week and froze them instead. I will grab another 20lbs this week and can them.

    3. Pat
      I was excited to see your quilts in my pinterest email. I felt like this is someone I know Love the quilts you do. You have inspired me to work on my quilts I have started years ago. You seem to work hard I wish I had some of your energy

      1. You just fill one bucket a day with weeds and then you’re done for the day. You just need to make sure to do one each day.

  4. We received word this week that our 31-year old nephew in Houston contracted Covid from a co-worker. Before he knew he had been exposed, he visited his mother, my husband’s sister. So she had to quarantine for 2 weeks. She’s the primary care-giver for her 89-year old parents and couldn’t risk exposing them. So we made an emergency trip to Houston (two 11-hour drives, pulling our camper) to look after the parents. They are quite frail and his mother has dementia. We’re grateful that we have our trailer to stay in with our dogs. I’ve been cooking and cleaning and trying to stay out of the heat. Fortunately, our nephew is recovering and his mom has shown no signs of symptoms. We are trying to stay home and stay safe. We will be here at least another week.
    Before we left our home I did purchase 6 pints of strawberries for 97 cents a pint. We ate some with ice cream and I froze the rest. I also harvested all my carrots, two cabbages, and some chard. I froze the chard, put the carrots in the garage refrigerator, and made a large bowl of cole slaw with the cabbage and brought it with us. A friend is looking after the garden while we are gone.

    1. Oh my goodness – what a week for you! It is so good that you were able to help out in this way. I do hope that everyone remains safe & well.

  5. The tomatoes are gorgeous! My husband said he wished there would be a tomato to eat on the 4th. His wish came true, and we split a cherry tomato :). We also took advantage of a 4th of July sale, and bought a new refrigerator. I’ve been harvesting cucumbers zucchini, yellow and tromboncino squash, lettuce, purple pole beans and noodle beans, as well as basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Parsley plants were transplanted into pots. I’m going to see if they like it better in the mostly dappled light on my porch than in the direct sun of the garden. I planted three varieties of lettuce, and harvested mint for iced tea and ice cream. A bouquet was gathered for the house. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/07/beans-berries-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Parsley likes shade in our climate. It usually grows best for me during the winter months.

  6. Your tomatoes are just beautiful. I am starting to get a very few from my bushes, but am harvesting quite a few other things from the garden in larger quantities. This week, I picked zucchini, kale, chard, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, snow peas, green onions, beets and 1 Lola pepper and 1 little Serrano pepper.

    I shopped a week ago Friday, before Rob’s surgery, and we are still not out of anything I need. I plan to go a few more days on the groceries I got, coupled with the garden produce. We were given 3 meals this past week, due to Rob’s surgery.

    I’ve been reading library books on my iPad. I would sincerely, absolutely love, love, love to take back the bags of book we got before the library shut down for Covid, but they are offering services on an extremely limited basis. So, I guess I have to keep my “decorations” a little longer. I even e-mailed them asking if there was any way to return them…..

    We had a very quiet 4th of July. The small circle we spend time with came over and we had some of the chicken Rob got for 29c/lb a while back, plus hot dogs for the kids. My sister took our daughter to some fireworks. They had to take their pickup, put lawn chairs in the back of it, and stay in it in a baseball stadium. They had a blast. My nephew, Jake, absolutely hates fireworks, so he stayed the night with us. We ventured out a couple of times to see what people were lighting off next door, but were soon chased inside by the big booms. I ended up with a very unhappy little boy on one side of me and a shaking, trembling dog on the other. Rob finally dug up some earphones from the shop, and I loudly turned on the OPB special with singing from Washington D.C. and life improved, for Jake anyway. The dog’s still upset, I think!

    I put pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

  7. DH replanted a living lettuce we bought at the grocery store and I think we can keep harvesting from it. I picked our rhubarb yesterday and froze it. I applied for my govt benefit CERB this morning- which has been extended another 8 weeks. I am back to work very part time but not earning enough yet to impact it. We got away last weekend to a lovely cabin in the woods 3 hrs away with my brother and SIL. We cooked all meals there so little was spent out of pocket.
    Today I have taken our knotty pine table top out to the deck and I am resanding and restaining it-the top is very thick and I have done this a few times over the last 40+ years. Later today DD and I will collaborate on applying online for her student grants/loans for fall. She needs our income etc to do so.

    Like Becky my DH has a hip replacement coming up so we went on Amazon and started ordering the equipment needed-it could be several months yet but if he gets in on a cancellation I want to be prepared. We have up to $250 coverage on our Blue Cross plan.

    1. We had a hot, busy week here!
      I dried as much laundry on the line as possible, and turned some things inside out to prevent fading.
      While grocery shopping, I scored several bags of clearance produce, meat, and other things. I was able to use the clearance chicken (organic, and still had time before the sell-by date!) in a Crock-Pot chicken Alfredo dish for a friend who just had a baby.
      I borrowed Brandy’s method of cooking a whole chicken, as follows: cooked a whole chicken in the Crock-Pot breast-side down, then let it cool and cut off the leg quarters for that night’s dinner. The rest of the meat got shredded and put in the fridge for another day. The carcass went back in the pot with some veggies and water and cooked on low for about 18 hours. I strained the broth and gave the cooked-down bones and spent veg to our hens.
      I used my Instant pot to make homemade yogurt. It’s super easy and delicious! My original starter was from store bought yogurt, but now I just reculture it each time with last week’s batch. Will try to get a blog post up this week with full method.
      I used frozen bagels from a clearance find for breakfast sandwiches.
      I harvested peas, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, and cilantro from the garden.
      I also used a gift card from my husband’s co-workers (a gift when we had our second baby in May) to get some new PJs and socks for the girls, and some kitchen items for myself.
      We met up with our oldest daughter’s godparents and their children for a picnic and games at a nearby state park during the 4th of July weekend. We had hope to swim, but the beach was full and it would have been $25 a car, anyway, so we stayed in the free part of the park with plenty of shade and a nice breeze.

  8. Your tomatoes are beautiful! Gardening and harvesting has been the name of the game here in Alabama. Our tomatoes are slow coming in and turning red, but the peppers, squash, canteloupe, cucumbers and green beans are taking off. Just the past three weeks I have frozen 96 quarts of green beans for the next year. We had so many I invited friends to come pick this morning and one took me up on it. She picked at least three five gallon buckets. I know I will be thankful this fall and winter for the beans, but right now I’m a little tired of green beans :). Other than that I have been doing the normal things I do to save money. This week I will be trying to use up all the 4th of July leftovers in creative ways for our suppers for at least three days.

    1. Wow! I can’t even imagine that many! I am growing the long ones (so more per flower) and just get a handful at a time with three rows that are four feet wide and six feet tall. I added two more rows and they are catching up quickly in height, but it’s going to be 108-113 this week and they will stop flowering. I’m happy to have enough for a meal one a week; I would love to have more, but that’s all I can fit in the garden.

  9. Wow, you are early this morning, and so are your followers! I had a good week last week–felt great and had some frugal accomplishments, too–

    * I picked another 2-1/2 lbs. of strawberries Thursday, and I will be picking again today. I made my mom’s recipe for glazed strawberry pie. My mother wasn’t much of a cook, but this pie is divine! It is the only recipe of hers I ever asked for! I also used Egyptian walking onions from the garden in pasta salad.

    * Fred Meyer (Kroger) had strawberries on sale for $1.88 for 2 lbs. A killer price! (The berries were good, too). I bought 10 lbs. I made two batches of freezer jam, another strawberry pie to take to the friends that invited us to dinner on the 4th, and reused sour cream cartons to freeze 7 pints of sliced berries. Not bad for $9.44 worth of strawberries!

    * From the sound of things, most of my neighbors spent a fortune on (mostly illegal) fireworks. We spent $0. I realize people want to celebrate (and our country’s independence is worth celebrating), but fireworks seem like such a waste of money, especially when everybody’s doing them…plus I am afraid of fire. I won’t even strike a match if I can help it.

     * I made 10 cloth napkins from the same fabric as the binding on the table runner I made last week. I’ve had the fabric for 15 years and used up odds and ends of thread. I am going to keep 6 and put the other 4 in my gift stash.

    * My husband is an oil and gas baron. (I married him for his money, LOL). Just got a royalty check of .02 for the entire last quarter! Yep–two cents! (We might frame the check).

    * I re-stitched about two inches of elastic on a pair of his undies. He may be heir to a fortune in oil and gas (which he shares with 400 or so distant cousins) but he wears mended underwear, LOL.

    * I ordered $40 worth of OTC products for my daughter at no additional cost through her health insurance. This is a quarterly benefit and I claimed it on the very last day of the quarter.

    * We turn on a lamp each night that has to remain on until after we’ve gone to bed. It usually just gets left on all night. I put it on a lamp timer that we already had, so it turns off at 1 a.m. (the latest we would ever need to have it on).

    That’s all, folks! Looking forward to learning from all of you, as always.  

    * I searched for unclaimed property through the state. Didn’t find anything in my name, but two for my son! Now to see if they really are his–there is at least one other guy in this area with the same name, although not sure about the middle initial.

    1. Your husband’s oil money makes me laugh! My husband has, I don’t know, a 1/124 share of a supposedly gold-mine… so we’ll see what comes of that! ? And I’m the same with fireworks! Our city did a firework show and ended up having at least 6 fires break out around hothead hillside where they were going off. At least the fire department was right there on hand, but my kids enjoyed the fire truck show almost more than the firework show. Scary though

    2. Maxine:
      I have to comment on your sense of humor. My grandma when she was alive used to tell us that having humor makes life a little lighter to bear… God Bless!!Sheeba

      1. Thank you for the kind comments! A sense of humor really does make life easier! I am NOT happy all the time, but I’m a glass half-full person and I have a self-deprecating sense of humor. I once had a shrink tell me that I laugh at things that would make most of his patients cry. I told him that’s why I wasn’t one of his patients. Life isn’t always easy, but it’s a lot better if you don’t take things too seriously. SH** HAPPENS to all of us, and if you let it demolish you, you’ll never get anywhere.

    3. Maxine, the comment you made about marrying your husband for his money made me laugh out loud. I am always telling my husband that- as a joke, of course. He works in social services so money has always been tight. It’s one of our little jokes. Well, one day we were in Sam’s. I was looking at jewelry and waiting for him. He walked over and said, “Well, did you find what you wanted for an anniversary gift?” I said, “Well, I really like the peridot ring, but it’s not very expensive. Since I married you for your money, I think I should go with the big diamond ring.” He said, “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind.”
      As we walked away, I heard a woman comment to the clerk with a gasp, “I can’t believe she would actually tell her husband that! That’s awful.” Hubs and I strolled away trying not to giggle.

      Speaking of big money in the mail…. Years ago, he got an envelope from a union he had to join for a PT job. He opened the letter and a ONE DOLLAR BILL fell out. The letter announced proudly that they had won the class action lawsuit for something and proud to pass on his share.
      He shouts, “We’re rich!!” I’m pretty sure it cost them more to print the letters and mail them….. oy.

  10. Much larger grocery spending than normal, with five weeks between one set of pension payments in June and payments in July. My shelves were pretty bare as well, so I have had to buy quite a few basics just to put meals together. Sales are just beginning to start again, and nothing exceptional, so it will be a while before I can get the grocery budget down again by much.

    I had to go to the next town over to get a new bank card, since our bank branch in town was still closed. I took advantage of being there to stop at a grocery store we don’t have to get specials and food items that the stores in my own village don’t carry. The best buys were on hummus, which I am using for lunch and snacks, and on a large bag of sole fillets. I had planned to buy haddock, but found the same brand of sole fillets was a much bigger bag, with 40% more fish for the same price. Locally, I have been able to get pasta at a great price, split chicken breasts on the bone, and feta cheese, which is rarely on sale at a price I’ll pay. So, there will be Greek salad in my future this summer.

    I am eligible now for a regular quarterly rebate of $112 Cdn ($83 US) of federal sales tax, which I received at the beginning of the month. I am planning to use this quarter’s payment to supplement buying fresh produce while it is in season, both to enjoy now, and to freeze and store. Good for my health and morale, and good for the local-ish economy. A lot of our in-season produce comes from British Columbia.

    I bought half a tank of gas, to get over to the next town over. It is only the second time I have bought gas in all of 2020. I can’t tell anyone in town, since our economy is very reliant on the oil and gas industry, so it is our little secret.

    My GIS for low-income seniors has been approved automatically for a payment starting July 1, which I’ll begin seeing at the end of July. I am still waiting to hear about the January through June payments for 2020 which are done in a separate, manual assessment.

    1. Elizabeth M.

      I’m hoping you get the $500 one-time payment ($300 if you receive OAS) and ($200) if you receive GIS. Here’s hoping! I spent my $300 for food and saved some for an insurance payment that’s coming up. If you don’t get it this week or next, it might pay off if you phone and ask them. NOthing ventured, nothing gained.

      1. I got the $300 for OAS recipients after I posted here this week, but the $200 extra is only going to GIS recipients who were eligible for GIS in June. They will have to okay the January to June GIS before I can argue for the $200. I called again this week, and customer service has sent an inquiry off to processing, and they asked me to call back Tuesday next week if I haven’t heard from them. I am doing my best not to let it frustrate me.

  11. Forgot to add, I bought 10 lbs. of butter at Fred Meyer for $1.99 lb. (no limit). Check your Kroger ads–I’ve noticed Smith’s, for example, has many of the same deals. The ads run through Tuesday, so it may not be too late.

    1. Our King Soopers (Kroger) had butter for $1.77 no limit. That’s the best deal on butter I have seen in a long time

  12. In the containing practice of staying at home to avoid the virus, we have been adding new recipes, some work, some don’t ;(. But even the ones that aren’t very good have provided us side benefits (first time making carne asada, the meat was tough but the salsa was excellent….new recipe for ribs, meat wasn’t tender enough but the sauce was also excellent). So both recipes offered a rainbow after the rain 😉

    Due to my concern that this fall might be difficult, i have replenished our pantry as best I could. I still have a few items on my list to buy. I was happy to find bleach, isopropyl alcohol ,and TP in the past two weeks. Although we don’t eat much red meat, I found hamburger on sale so bought enough to last though the fall. Also found boneless skinless chicken for $1.47 so snapped up two Family packages of them (then separated into single portions for the freezer).

    Normally I cook (and freeze portions of ) four or five different soups, but this summer I didn’t do that in order for us to try out different lunches and also not get tired of the soups. I miss having the freezer full of different soup choices…my homemade “to go” section. I have found one batch of chicken noodle soup makes five meals for two people, and that is a great savings of time and effort! My beef barley and chili recipes makes three meals for the two of us. So by cooking three times for those recipes, it makes 11 meals for us! I know most on this blog know this secret, but for anyone new, it is a huge time and money saver 😉

  13. It has been a quiet few weeks here.
    No traveling. My car isn’t working at the moment and I need to have a mechanic look at the problem.
    We found brisket for $1.29 a pound. That is an unheard of price for us. My daughter, Lyric, works in the bakery of a grocery so she bought me the brisket and with her discount it was a steal.
    I noticed my cable bill had gone up $8.75. I called to see why and she said they had upgraded me. Nope…there is no difference in the service that we can see…please take me back to where I was.
    All bills paid on time.
    A $27.27 discount on my insurance. It is the Covid-19 discount.
    I bought elastic and the metal for noses in the face masks. I got these for nothing using my swagbucks/Amazon “discounts”.
    I am making a bunch of face masks since they are now mandatory. We have been wearing the paper ones, but doing this will save me from buying more masks for all 5 of us.
    We have picked no end of tomatoes this year. It has been wonderful. The taste is amazing.
    My green peppers are not doing well. I have gotten 3 smallish peppers from 2 plants. I’m not sure why…or what I could do differently.
    We have had rain a few times in the last month. It is very welcome for a lot of reasons, but that keeps me from watering our garden areas.
    I have been making Dresden plate table toppers for the 4th of July and Halloween. They are so cute. I’m using fabric I already have so no out of pocket there.
    My Etsy shop is “dead” for this time of year. I am usually already taking orders for Halloween costumes. So far it looks like it is going to be a horrible year for me. It usually brings in money I use for Christmas. I am trying to re-think what I will be gifting this year. I am so much better off than many people in our world right now that I’m not complaining. Thank God and his mercies. I am looking for more ideas I can make for my gifting.
    Blessings on all of you. You have no idea how helpful your ideas are for me.
    Thank you Brandy.
    Thanks to all of you who are reading this too.

  14. Hi Everyone!

    Brandy, I love seeing all of the stuff you are able to grow for your family.

    Last week was busy for me as the stores had some really good sales on things we needed.
    *I purchased 20lbs of peaches @ .88 per pound. I made a batch of peach jalapeno jam (8 half pints) and cut up and froze the rest of them.
    *I purchased around 5lbs of cherries on sale for $1.59 a pound. I pitted and froze those for my husband’s morning smoothies.
    *I purchased 10lbs of BSCB at $1.88 a pound. I had purchased 10lbs the week before and froze them whole, so this time I diced them up and froze them for quick meals.
    *I purchased 7lbs of ground beef at $1.89 a pound and repackaged it into 1.5lb packages. The limit was 2 packages or I would have purchased more. I had also purchased 2 packages last week so our hamburger and chicken is back up to stock in the deep freezer. My dad let me borrow his food saver, which helped me a lot!
    *I found 12 quart size canning jars for $6 at goodwill so I grabbed them up!

    I can’t think of anything else right now. I hope everyone has a great week!!

  15. * We celebrated the 4th at home and made grilled baby back ribs, grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes. I can’t remember the price I paid for the ribs but I bought 2 packages of them a couple months back and they had to have been a really good price or we wouldn’t have them in the house. We were saving them for a special event. We have one package left. The asparagus was free and tasted amazing! The potatoes were also free.
    *Later that night we drove down the road to a clear spot to see all the fireworks being lit up all over. Best display we’ve ever seen. My boys said it was the best Independence day they had. It’s so funny because we didn’t do much of anything special!
    *I bought strawberries on sale for $1.89 for 2lb package.
    I bought 14 lbs of ground beef (80/20) for about $21.50. It was on sale for $1.89/lb and I used a $5 off coupon they had given me.
    *I used two coupons I got in the mail from Kroger for a free box of cereal and a free package of cookies.
    *I harvested romaine lettuce and a zucchini from my garden.
    *My son received an older Dell laptop from a friend. This will come in handy if we go back to online schooling in the fall.
    *My parents have a campground timeshare that they added us to. This week we did a day pass (free to us) to use the pools. We brought along a friend and my nieces and sister-in-law. We brought along our own snacks and drinks. It was a great time on a hot day!

  16. Picking a few parsley, lettuce, and chard leaves for my salads each day, as well as some skinny green onion shoots. I don’t know that I am precisely saving money, as these are only a few plants in pots, but I can pretend I am. The pots are mostly from yard sales.
    Have two, maybe three, nasturtium seedlings that the squirrels missed from seeds I planted. This is twice as many as last year, when I had only one avoid the squirrels’ vandalism!
    Waiting for sweet pea blossoms. I have two large potted plants with supports that have lots of leaves and vines, but no blooms yet. I suspect thievery is going on, as they are a couple of months old, but I can’t clearly see that the squirrels are nipping them off.
    Yard sales are slowly starting. I am being very careful to buy only useful items to not clutter my house. So far, that was just a 25 cent bag of giant rubber bands, as we put those around bags of frozen stuff in the freezer, etc.
    Grocery prices continue to inch up, though I think the loss leaders are better to get people into the store.
    Really really missing the huge tree the neighbors had removed. It shaded the part of our house that used to be the garage and doesn’t have great duct work. That space is now clearly a couple of degrees warmer than the rest of the house. Go, trees!

    1. We were blessed with beautiful weather over the weekend. We typically get our summery weather August through early November. I spent hours working in my veggie garden, pulling out overgrown herbs, amending soil, planting seeds and transplanting some flower seedings. This week I harvested my first green beans, lettuce, strawberries, Swiss chard, green onion, carrots, leek, snap peas, and plums. Beaches were closed and fireworks shows canceled to prevent crowds as we live in a tourist area. We had been planning a beach day for the Fourth, but a few sparklers and a backyard bbq made a lovely celebration. I made a trip to JoAnn for sewing supplies and used their holiday coupons. The closest one is 30 minutes away. I finally found elastic there to make more masks. It’s kept behind the cutting counter. I was shocked to see that their fabric stock appeared to be 1/4 of what I typically see offered. I assume it’s a supply issue. I was able to book a virtual doctor appointment for my daughter. Kaiser isn’t taking non-urgent in-clinic appointments right now. We’ll get her school sports form done, just in case schools re-open in August. This saves a lot of time and gas. Yesterday, I combined 3 errands when I drove out to Walmart. Happy 4th everyone!

  17. I think the biggest win for the week is I applied for the states pandemic PEBT for free/reduced lunch kids and received $302 for food. I spent some on snacks things for the weekend and plan to use the rest to stock up on meat.

    I picked up my order at Petsmart and received a goody bag. In it was a sample of cat food, a sample of crunchy dog food(both will feed the cat and small dog 2 meals), coupons, and a chewy treat toy (I looked up the price in store, $12)

    Hubby smoked a pork roast and country style ribs Friday night and we ate on them all weekend. I have enough of the pork roast left to use for pulled pork nachos this week.

    Hubby and the 13 yo sat outside and watched fireworks. They are illegal in the city but it didn’t stop everyone.

    Sunday they did go buy a few fireworks at a discount.

    Had 3 bananas that we getting mushy fast to I peeled them, cut in half and froze for smoothies.

    I typically get up at 6am so I start washing a load of laundry , get it in the dryer, and wash a second load before I leave for work. I then put it in the dryer before bed to minimize heating up the house.

    Sold 2 items and made $10.

    1. What state are you in? This could help my readers in your state.

      Here in Nevada, they have extended free lunches and breakfasts for the children since March and they are given out each day (you have to drive to get them) and the city has announced mobile food banks, where you can pick up food items once a week.

      1. Here in NH most school districts are delivering breakfast and lunch, there are not income requirements and they’re heavily encouraging people to take advantage of it so they can continue to get funding in the future.

      2. I’m in Missouri( I think the last day to apply was June 30th) . Ours still offer the breakfast and lunches but this was through the food stamp department. We normally don’t qualify for them, and I’m not 100% sure how they determined the amount, but our school system sent out the link to apply and I did. It’s just a one time thing.

      3. Here in Austin, TX they are giving out free lunches everyday. You have to go to the designated school but the kids don’t have to be present. Runs until the end of July.

  18. What a tomato harvest! A feast for the eyes as well as the tummy. I’ve never heard of ladder ball before, it sounds fun!

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks (I was too worn out last week to post anything, but read all the comments):
    – I created Starbucks Copycat Oat Fudge Bars (http://approachingfood.com/copycat-starbucks-oat-fudge-bar/), to bring to my manager who loves them, as a good-bye gift.
    – I made pizza Margherita using basil from my balcony garden.
    – I made 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies, wrapped them all up in cellophane wrappers that I traded for previously, plus reused ribbon, as good-bye gifts for my workplace.
    – As a thank you gift for my daughter’s caregiver on her last day, I baked an egg-less vanilla cake, decorated it using sprinkles that were given to me, and plated it on a silver cake tray that I had traded for previously. I used birthday cake-flavoured sugar that I had traded for.
    – I baked a batch of brownies and froze them to eat as my evening snack for the week. I iced them using icing leftover from the cake that I made.
    – I made a batch of my grandmother’s German meatballs (http://approachingfood.com/german-meatballs/) for dinner, and using the leftovers plus a loaf of bread that I baked, made sandwiches for the week. I used breadcrumbs in the meatballs, and naturally those were made from leftover homemade bread!
    – I planted the base of a purchased celery plant, as well as the base of some green onions, in my balcony garden. I picked a handful of snow peas for my daughter to eat, which was very satisfying.
    – I found a bunch of service berry bushes/trees as well as a mulberry bush/tree in my neighbourhood, and picked at least 6 cups of berries. I froze them to turn into jam at a later date. I was excited to be able to go berry-picking with my daughter despite the pandemic!
    – I made a slushie several times using pop that had gone flat (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-ever-orange-crush-slushy/) This is such a nice treat after being out in the hot sun during the summer, plus it’s cheaper than even a corner store slushy on sale.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a dozen chocolate cupcakes icing with homemade buttercream icing, for a bag of organic turbinado sugar, 4 packages of themed cupcakes wrappers and picks, and a 6-popsicle mold.
    – I moved to my parent’s place for a few weeks, as they have a large garden and my daughter can play outdoors a lot. It’s also a bit like a free vacation for me!
    – I picked service berries, mulberries, cherries, and green beans from my parent’s back yard, for my daughter to eat.
    – I made popsicles from yoghurt, apple juice, and berries, which my daughter loved.
    – I redeemed SB for $5 to my paypal account.
    – I earned $100 in ad revenue from my website. I plan to reinvest this in my blog.
    – I printed out some free dot art for my daughter to do, using a bingo dauber from the dollar store. I had seen packages of dot art templates sold online, but figured it was the sort of thing that I could find a freebie for, and indeed a google search found some free educational templates.
    – I gave my mother, father, and husband a haircut. That alone saved almost $100!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

  19. Hello, everyone! Brandy, your tomatoes look wonderful! I’m taking notes on the varieties you planted. Maybe my husband will try those next year as our climates are similar.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate dinner in 7 times. Dinners were steak, baked potato and roasted veggies; stir fry made with leftover steak; quesadillas and corn; turkey and gravy over rice; spaghetti with Italian sausage; hamburgers and hot dogs with Hawaiian coleslaw and corn on the cob; bbq chicken with baked potatoes and leftover coleslaw.
    • Worked 21 contract hours, from home.
    • Lunches were salads and leftovers from dinners.
    • Breakfasts have been smoothies and eggs with toast.
    • Hung 2 of 3 loads of laundry.
    • Walked for exercise.
    • Hubby worked from home 3 out of 4 days last week. He plans on working from home a lot more often, which is good because we save on gas and eating out.
    • We’ve harvested quite a few tomatoes too. We even got 2 apples from our apple tree! Our zucchini is done for the summer though, unfortunately. We have basil growing too, so tomatoes with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar is a go to snack for us right now. Yum!
    • In this time of uncertainty, I have begun to rebuild my stockpile of food. I bought a 25 lb. bag of beans and a 25# bag of rice, some canned meat (chicken and tuna) and canned veggies. Also bought a few cans of spaghetti sauce. So I have spent more on groceries than usual, but I guess in the end it all evens out, as we are also eating out so much less! We had started to get back out, but we live in Arizona, which is spiking again, so back in the house we go.
    • Got 20# of chicken quarters for 59c/lb. I removed all of the skin and fat and vacuum sealed it, 2 quarters per bag, which is perfect for my husband and I. I also got 6 lbs. of ground beef for $2.47/lb. I froze 4 lbs. of it in 1 lb. bags. Our freezer is getting full, so I am going to start canning some of what is in there soon.
    • Our financial planner sent us a $25 gift card. And we got a $5 loyalty gift card from Ace Hardware.
    • Found out this week that the entire amount of our flight to Germany for the trip we were supposed to take in March has been refunded to the travel agency we used. That is great news because when we first had to cancel our trip, they were going to keep $320 per person as a cancellation fee! Now all the money we paid for the trip is being held by the travel agency waiting to rebook. We have until December 31, 2022 to use them, so we feel pretty good about that. It would be better if we had the cash back, but we know we will be traveling again as soon as we can, so we are ok with it. The money was spent a year ago, so when we are able to go, it will seem like a free trip in a way!

    Have a great week, everyone!

  20. Not a terribly frugal week but at least I got more things into the pantry. The first trip was to our No Frills store so I was able to pick up paper towels, kleenex and some canned items to put into longterm storage. The second trip was mainly for fresh fruit & veg which will last me well into next week. I was also able to get non GMO Baking Powder – BP has now become a bit scarce here although yeast is now in good supply! I have BP but decided to stock up now – I’ve also been adding bits & pieces of other baking items to the pantry – nuts, dried fruit etc.

    I did have my hair cut last week – prices have gone up 10% plus there was a $5 charge for all the PPE but they were so conscientious about everything that I couldn’t begrudge it. I felt very comfortable being there and just the relief of having 4 inches taken off and having it thinned out for the summer made it all worthwhile! It was my day of living dangerously as I ventured into a coffee shop afterwards and bought my first takeout coffee since March 17th! It was a big Tim Horton’s that normally would have been mobbed at that time of the morning but I was the only one there. The people who occupy the office towers in this locale are working from home until at least Sept. so it will be difficult for so many of these places to make any money. I was glad to hear my hairdresser say that she is pretty much booked up – people have booked appt. for the one day during the week that they might come into the office and there are enough people who live downtown who have also ventured out so she should be ok.

    Only one trip into the office last week (just walked over from my hairdresser) so that saved on transit costs. I paid all the first of the month bills – did most online so that saved on stamps and the only thing I ordered online was a gift card for a friend’s birthday (really cutting back on spending on anything not food related). I found a lot of toiletries on sale last week and was able to also collect Loyalty Points on them so I have a few things to donate. My church runs a boutique for the homeless and they are now accepting a few donations again and have asked for toiletries and face masks so I’m happy to be able to do that frugally. I have over $20 in Loyalty points saved up at the moment and I’m going to try and build them up over the next few months – so back to shopping a bit more strategically.

    My church – where I work – has decided to stay closed until Sept. so we will continue with Youtube services. Those of us going into the office are trying to do some clearing out and sorting – things we wouldn’t normally have time for so at least we can stay productive that way. We are lucky that we continue to be paid our regular salaries due to the Govt. covering 75% – I believe this will continue over the summer and hopefully we will be back to more normal hours come Sept.

    Canada Day was very quiet – but some neighbours did have a few fireworks going down in the park – but it didn’t last long. One or two beaches had access restricted due to a lot of people but there didn’t seem to be any horrendous scenes so that was a relief. We’ve finally got our infection rate under 1% in this province and we’d like to keep it that way! I hope that none of your readers experience any problems after July 4th celebrations – but it sounds as though you and your followers have all erred on the side of caution and had a good time with just family or a small circle of friends. Stay well everyone.

  21. In about a week I will have lots of Organic Tomatoes ripening. I planted three plants in a raised bed with mostly amended soil and a small amount of native soil mixed in. I planted 4 other plants in the ground with a small amount of amended soil. The plants in the boxes are shorter but loaded with healthy fruit. The plants in the ground are tall and not as much fruit. Next year I will plant all my tomatoes in boxes.

    I have a spiral notebook I keep in my garden shed to make notes or locations. Anything I want to remember that I might forget. My phone has limited storage so I just write it in there. Old School I guess.

    I compare things online and it seems some of the things that were unavailable are now available online again. Usually at a higher price. I am taking advantage of things I know we won’t want to do without, even at a price increase. As we head into fall and winter I think we will see empty shelves again.

    As I go through my day I think what am I using today that I could not make due or do without. Clothespins were one thing that I realized I need to get.

    I enjoy reading everyone’s progress on building up their homes.

    1. Lynd: I saw a demonstration video once about how to make clothespins from willow sticks. So you might not even need those!

  22. I faithfully read everyone’s posts weekly however, it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted myself. I always get such inspiration from reading everyone’s successes! My husband and I decided we would do a grocery shopping free month and eat from the pantry for July so I figured this would be a good time to start posting again. We also have kicked our plan to pay off debt and move out of Maryland into high gear and this will help keep me focused. And… my husband works in IT for the local school system and will be on reduced pay for July and most of August. He is working Summer school so he will have a small income for July but not near what it is usually. So, like I mentioned, now seems like a really good time to participating in the wonderful group again.

    Here is what I did this week to save money:
    -I hung all our laundry on the line to dry
    -make homemade spaghetti noodles, fettuccine noodles and mushroom ravioli. I have 7 dozen duck eggs that I need to use up and I was able to use an entire dozen to make 3 batches of pasta
    -made 2 loves of banana bread using more duck eggs and bananas that have been in the freezer and put one loaf back in the freezer
    -I cleaned out and inventoried our freezer and pantry.
    -we spent Independence Day at my cousin’s house. We brought a pasta salad made from pantry items and my uncle brought dessert. My cousin barbecued chicken on the grill and had a vegetable tray. It was simple but nice and didn’t cost us much at all.
    -This same cousin’s daughter has a produce delivery business. She contracts with local farmers and small producers for produce. People can order a box of produce each week valued at $30 which contains whatever the farmers have available and some extras. This is delivered to the customer’s door. She can have anywhere from 250-400 customers on any given week. Well, she had left a complimentary box at her mom’s for me to pick up on Saturday! It was wonderful! We got a very large head of cabbage, a kohlrabi, 4 large red onions, 2 green and 1 yellow zucchini, a cucumber, 1 crook neck squash, 2 tomatoes, 4 ears of corn, garlic, a 3 pack of homemade cinnamon rolls, a loaf of jalapeno bread and 2 dip mixes. It was a great addition to our pantry this month and we were so grateful!
    -harvested green beans, kale and lettuce from the garden.
    -used points from my grocery store customer loyalty card for .50 cents off per gallon of gas
    I hope you all have a great week!

  23. I don’t have too much to report this week, except I harvested a couple of small tomatoes, a few beets, a few community apricots, and some peas from my garden plot. I picked up my CSA order and got dried beans, kale, more peas and apricots, and some garlic.
    * We moved into a one-bedroom temporary stay furnished apartment from a studio. Although my husband and I love each other, we needed just a bit more space. I have cable–which is a luxury for me! We are paying for it using reward points from my husband’s American Express account for this business.
    * I bought cherries today at Winco for $1.68 a pound and they had much better flavor than the ones I previously purchased for a higher price.
    * We walked up to our state Capital and watched the fireworks across the valley. There weren’t any formal events, but plenty of people had purchased them and were lighting up the skies.
    * I went to an exercise class twice last week. It’s offered at my local church and I am going to make it part of my regular routine.
    * I also finished a baby afghan to donate that I made from yarn at a resale store.
    * I read a book that was given to me and also worked on my watercolor painting skills.
    Enjoy your summers!

  24. I gathered my first batch of green beans from the garden!
    Gardenpat- How do you blanche your green beans?
    Last week I had a major dental cleaning. The plan was 4 weekly visits that took 2 hours each back in March. Then the shutdown happened so it had to wait. That whole time I was brushing with water/povodone iodine mixture. It weakened the junk enough it all came off in one visit!! I go back in a month to get a deep gum pocket cleaning. I am on their monthly wellness plan so I got a 20% off. With less visits that is really a savings. I precooked a big batch of garlic onion soup that I ate for three days. I also had easy to cook meals ready for the kids. One of those meals was Becky’s taco lentils. This weekend was low key as I was recovering. Our city had their annual fireworks go higher in the air so we were able to see them from our house. We also watched fireworks some of the neighbors set off.

  25. You guys! Our first community free food distribution was a huge success! We had 74 families in 45 minutes and gave away everything! How amazing is that!!

  26. Brandy I am glad you were able to harvest so much from your gardens and the tomatoes look lovely 🙂 . Lovely of your parents to think of you and your family while going to garage sales and sounds like the children loved the game and it kept them occupied and happily playing.

    Our savings added up to $262.23 last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Cut up our 2 capsicums picked from the gardens and packed them in two meal sized portions for the freezer for more meal ingredients.
    – Sliced our whole rump up and bagged into meal sized portions in the freezer.

    Home organisation –
    – Dated, rotated and packed our big top up order of groceries we purchased to replace items that we used in our pantry during previous purchase restriction times into the walk in pantry room.
    – Did a walk in pantry room stocktake and reorganise of items into dates with oldest grocery items on top and newest items to the bottom and furthest away from the door in cartons.
    – I marked further grocery items we needed on our perpetual shopping list for the next time we go shopping next week.
    – I looked in the kitchen pantry and topped up items that we had used from the walk in food pantry room.

    Purchases –
    – Bought a 5.26 kg whole rump on special for $10 kg saving $63.12 over buying it in other local supermarkets.
    – Filled up 5 jerry cans of fuel we had used for $1.077 per litre saving $11.61 over prices elsewhere.

    Finances –
    – Paid an extra part payment off our home mortgage as I noticed that our variable home loan interest rate jumped up by .58% as of the 22nd of June. Heads up and note to NAB home loan customers check your variable interest rate in your transactions online.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked 2 large capsicums from the gardens.
    – Spot sprayed for weeds in the lawns around the home.
    – Cut another 1.25 cubic metres of free firewood saving another $187.50 over buying it in.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15

  27. Thanks Brandy for the inspirational words and photos.
    We have been having a heat wave here in the midwest. My tomato plants have set tomatos so I am excited to harvest.
    The best finds of the week were when we went to the local dump with our trash and recycables. It was overflowing with things people were getting rid of and left for others (free of course). We found an electric filet knife, insulated cake pan with lid, croquet game in original bag unused, Christmas garland-new, extension cord, plastic sand toys, googles for swimming, over the door wreath hook, and snowman Christmas lights in original box.
    My husband and I felt so blessed coming home with these treasures that we will use and save from the landfill.

    Have a great frugal and safe week everyone.

  28. My grown daughter is visiting from Baltimore (with many precautions to make travel safe). I was happy to see that she brought a dress that she wanted altered, and she asked me to cut her hair while she’s with us. Even though she has a good job, she’s still careful with her money. She brought her kitten, who did not like the liner in the travel litter box. I asked my Buy Nothing group if anyone had a spare, and we picked it up the next morning. Gave it a good clean and set it out in the sun. Kitten was very happy.
    I cut my mother’s hair. I joked that it was a “cut by committee” because she held up a mirror and pointed out what she wanted done, and where. I’m glad I have a ‘give it a try spirit’.
    Joann accepts competitors coupons, and Michaels had a 20% off entire purchase coupon. I also used a 40% off one item coupon on the app on my phone, and found another 40% off coupon online, which I printed.
    I bought beans and rice in bulk, as well as 2 food grade 5 gallon buckets from the same company. I wanted the gamma seal lids so I didn’t have unwelcome visitors in my stored food, and it was cheapest, per lid, to get a set of 12. I need 2, and I’m selling the rest. I have sold 3 already on Facebook marketplace. I should be able to recover the whole cost of the 12, by selling 9 individually. So I hope to end up with 3 free lids for myself. I need 2 now, but I suspect I’ll get another bucket at some point, so I’m keeping an extra.
    I have spent the rest of today sewing and have some new cloth napkins in my Etsy shop. https://www.etsy.com/shop/FabricSpeaks They are so perfect for summer dining outside, since they don’t blow away. We spent the ENTIRE day outside yesterday because my 74 year old mother wanted to see our daughter’s who are visiting, but we wanted the visit to be safe. It was lovely, though a little bit hot.

      1. She’s not old, we went kayaking first that day and she was out longer than anyone! But she’s so thin. And has some health challenges. So if she gets sick, it’s pretty tough.

  29. We have had our many travel plans changed by this year. Our month long trip to England, Wales and Scotland was first rescheduled from May to September. Now it looks like September is not possible as I don’t think the U.K. wants Americans to visit right now. At least we will get refunds and vouchers and we’ll try again next spring, we hope Our July trip to Jasper, Banff and Calgary is out because the Canadian border is closed. And our plan to visit the U.S. national parks around the Great Lakes – Voyageurs, Grand Isle, Apostle Island, etc. is being cancelled because the boats to the areas of these parks are not operating this summer. We did get to take a trip to northwestern Washington about a week ago and we had great weather and great scenery – the San Juan Islands, North Cascade National Park, Lake Chelan, Grand Coulee Dam, and more. We were very careful and wore our masks in all public places – but it was interesting traveling during this time. We took a lot of food in a large cooler and food boxes. Our motels and hotels had refrigerators and microwaves but none of the usual services. Swimming pools, hot tubs, work out and breakfast rooms were closed. Most of them had a seal on the door saying the room had been cleaned and sanitized, but no room cleaning available while you occupied the room. Most of the motels offered grab and go breakfasts but items available were limited. Some areas had only carry out food for purchase at restaurants or drive throughs. But I only purchased a meal one time out of 24 meals on the trip and that was through a drive thru

    This year I am doing a No Buy year so I have been remodeling some of my unloved clothes – making a pair of black jean capris into a skirt and shortening a pair of khaki capris to a more flattering pair of bermuda shorts. I took apart a skirt made of beautiful wool (from Austria) that was a truly unflattering shape and will make it into a new jumper. And I have been crocheting up a storm with scrap yarn and my now small yarn stash, making 5 pairs of mittens, 3 scarves, 4 hats, 4 shawls, a blanket and more.

    1. So sorry all the travel plans to be cancelled! You will be most welcome to come visit Calgary, Banff and Jasper once the Covid has been contained. It is absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately a few US travelers did try to come through and they have all been fined $1200.oo each.

  30. I am stocked for the year except for tomatoes. Mine are not ripe today but with 90 plus heat for over 7 days and looks like another 7 days and no rain, I should see some turn red soon as long as I keep watering them.

    Hubby found canned cannellini beans , canned spinach and 8 oz canned mushrooms CHEAP and called me to ask what amounts I needed to finish stocking… DONE. I have been cooking down tomato juice from last year for tomato sauce for this year so I can use the paste tomatoes I am growing for sauce and diced tomatoes.

    I had started a cart on Walmart of non food and was letting it set until I got enough for free shipping, M our Amish neighbor had her baby eighth in their 12 yrs of marriage. needed 0 size of Mam baby bottle nipples (she struggles to nurse enough). We couldn’t find them local so I checked to see if I could order them from Walmart… her “order” gave me enough for free shipping and it came in 2 day earlier than they thought it would. Win for both of us.

    We have pretty much stayed home and ate from the pantry. Worked on the projects and the odd jobs that got ignored that needed done.
    Blessed be Everyone.
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/07/last-of-june-first-of-july-frugal.html

  31. What beautiful tomatoes, Brandy! And what a lovely basket to see them in. I do love a good basket.

    *We’re harvesting radicchio, swiss chard, arugula, peas, and raspberries right now. The blueberries are just starting. Shaws had lovely big plants for $20, which is a good deal here in Boston, so we rounded out our line of bushes with as many as could fit in the trunk. For salad, I’m still loving taking my pretty basket and scissors to go cut salads. What a luxury! I’m so taken with underplanting that I sowed 100 more lettuce plants – I’d like to have salad instead of weeds, every inch that I can.

    *Just normal food frugality, except for one joyous thing. Our 1/4 of a cow came all packaged and ready for the freezer. Thank goodness, we did have enough freezer space, thanks to all the kind wisdom from you all here. It’s the tastiest beef we’ve ever had. We’re sharing it with my mom and my husband’s mom, and everyone’s agreed.

    *I also made marmalade with frozen peels. Whenever I juice any citrus, I put the peels in the freezer until I have a big batch. Either we use them for zest or I’ll make marmalade. We were given a soda stream, so the zests turn into extracts that make the water very lovely.

    *Enjoyed a few days visiting our local beach. Brandy, it’s the one referenced in “The Orchard,” the book you mention on your favorite books page. We enjoyed reading it so much. Good prose, and we love the local reference.

    *Printed our state maps on https://rasterbator.net/ so that we could have giant ones. They are easy to put together, and the kids like being able to mark them up.

    *Tried pruning the grape vine, even though it’s green. I saw this tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQRXhPDBom8) and thought of my overgrown, huge vine. It needs some love. It seems to love it so far. I’m also working on our small green grape that sprawls through the herb garden. I’ve never gotten it properly lifted up to get the sun, but it’s worth a try.

    *My husband fixed our cracked tile and rotten subfloor. Not exactly the most pleasant job, but I’m grateful he did and did such a lovely job.

    Thanks for the inspiration, everyone! I learn so much from you.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that about the beach from The Orchard! I appreciate it! How interesting!

  32. We sold our house the same day we listed it, so the last two weeks we have been feverishly house hunting. We made an offer on a 15 acre farm and it was accepted! During the home inspection the sellers came home early (they are elderly and it was very hot that day). We got to spend some quality time with these lovely people. I’m so grateful we were able to meet them and learn about their home firsthand. They were so kind….and the lady sent me home with a giant bag of magazines! They also insisted that they will leave us a generator and several tools. We feel very blessed to have crossed paths with them.

    This week has been full of packing, sorting, organizing. My MIL was so kind and sent us with all of the July 4 leftovers….which was wonderful. We had two meals free! And I got a little bit of a break which was much needed.

    We have been harvesting cucumbers, summer squash, and carrots from the garden. We move out on August 3, so our giant garden will be a nice present for the new owners and their goats ?

    Still looking for someone to gift our chickens to (we will have to build a coop at the new house and will not be able to take them with). They are 8 pullets, only 2-4 weeks away from laying. If anyone is in the Roanoke or Lynchburg Virginia area and wants them, let me know!! bobbien16@gmail.com

  33. Your basket of tomatoes is beautiful, Brandy. I have one patio tomato plant that is filled with green tomatoes. I check every day to see if I see any sign of red yet. One of your readers kindly sent me some vegetable/herb seeds awhile ago. When my grandson was visiting I had him plant some of the tomato and basil seeds in pots. He lives in an apartment and I want so badly for him to understand the process of watching a seed grow into something healthy to eat. We now have 3 thriving tomato plants and 4 basil plants in the garden from his first efforts. He lives in another state so I am keeping him updated on the progress by sending him pictures. I also planted cucumber seeds from your reader (Jenny) and the first little cucumbers are forming now. So exciting. We also planted one bush bean plant. Today I noticed the first beans on the plant. On the 4th of July I used the first basil harvest in a cucumber tomato salad I made. I look forward to making this salad again with my own cucumbers and tomatoes.

    I just took a batch of banana muffins out of the oven. I used the recipe on Brandy’s sight. It calls for 6 bananas so I rounded up two overripe ones from the fridge and 4 more that were in the freezer. I love this recipe because it uses honey instead of sugar and a very small amount of it. Most of the sweetness comes from all of those bananas.

    I received an email that our local department store, Belk’s, had everything 50% off with free shipping. I ordered 2 tops and 2 pairs of capris for under $85. I was very happy with them when they arrived.

    I have grown swiss chard before, but haven’t always done the best job of using it. The other night I was wondering what vegetable to serve with the pasta I was making. I found a simple recipe for swiss chard and garlic on the internet. It was delicious. I look forward to making that again.

    I have been enjoying bouquets from my garden. Sometimes when I am short on flowers I check out the offerings in the woods behind my house. I found something with a pretty red berry. I put some of it with the few white hydrangeas that were in bloom. Put them in a blue vase and had a lovely and frugal 4th of July centerpiece..

  34. Hi Brandy and everyone
    This week we picked raspberries, blackcurrants, lettuce, rocket, chives and parsley and a handful of early plums.
    My husband planted out more French marigolds and took cuttings from several shrubs. I picked zinnia, calendula and cornflowers to bring in the house. One of the cornflower plants has the most gorgeous deep purple flower so I have put some heads to dry to see if I get seed.
    Used the tail end of a piece of blue cheese to make broccoli and blue cheese soup.
    Used two over ripe bananas to make banana and nut loaf cake.
    I carried on decluttering the house and sold a few things on eBay , even small amounts add up.
    My husband took early retirement from his very stressful job because we were worried about the effect on his health. Now he gardens for several people and loves it, he is so much happier and that’s worth more than money. He picked up a few more regular hours this week and thinks that’s enough now, he still wants time at home in our garden.
    I have been researching the best way to buy larger quantities of nuts at the best price and bought walnuts this week to stock the larder. I know nuts are expensive but I justify it because we don’t buy fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets etc and nuts are good for you and we like them.! Also found a great deal on eggs with a long use by date so snapped plenty up.
    Most weeks I grow cress in a container on the window sill . This isn’t particularly frugal but it saves bringing single use plastic in the house every week and I like having fresh cress on hand to top salads or for egg and cress sandwiches.
    I think that’s all for this week.
    Love reading your posts Brandy and everyone’s comments. Stay safe all.

    1. Penny, May I ask what you found with the nuts? I’ve been looking into the same thing. We usually buy bulk packages on Amazon and freeze them, but we’d be glad of a recommendation!

      1. Hi Sarah
        I live in the UK so may not be applicable if you’re in the US. It’s quite difficult to buy in bulk in the UK ( at least in this area) unless you’re a business owner. Actually my research showed that the lowest price for us was at Lidl so I bought several packages and put them into one big container in the larder.

  35. It has been an expensive week here. My daughter married on Friday and another car cam home on Tuesday.

    In my part of Australia winter is a better time to garden. I am never good at gardening but I am excited to see my ginger and peas have taken off some I am pleased. I have managed to find some cheaper meats and cake decorations at the supermarket.

  36. Hello. I brought the cherries and the watermelon at Meijers , but I went cross the border in Indiana and I got strawberries for 50 cents so I brought 50 packages now making jam and freeze some. Also I got bananas for 15 cents so I got six bunches, Then came home my neighbors handle me 16 steaks and a 2 packages of chicken thighs. So I am glad I didn’t buy more in Indiana. My freezer and refrig is full. From the garden we have zucchini and cherry tomatoes. I been picking up food and building up my storage encase of a open shelves in the fall and winter. Also I am picking cold and flu medicine when I go to the store. I enjoy reading everyone comets and this blog. Thank you for all that you do.

  37. I read here every week, but haven’t posted much lately. I have a knee injury that has left me on my rear end so I haven’t gotten a whole lot done in the way of gardening, cleaning, etc. My husband has been doing EVERYTHING, bless his heart. I love reading all the ideas and accomplishments and storing them up for when I’m all healed and ready to go again.

    Our salad garden is finally producing tomatoes and cucumbers regularly. They’re so delicious. I’m making a little salad with Balsamic for lunch today. When the weather cools, I’ll plant some more lettuce. Way too hot right now.

    I’ve been concentrating on organizing and anything I can do sitting down. I have a big pile of fabric awaiting tomorrow. I decided that Christmas themed masks will be this year’s gifts. I have N95 fabric so they’re entirely safe and it’s always nice to have extras. I doubt that I’ll get much shopping done in the stores and I’m not an online shopper, except in certain cases. My male relatives are thrilled with masks because they don’t sew and don’t want to try anything on at the store. Odd gift, but totally needed these days. I might make some soup cozies, as well. I definitely have enough fabric lol. I could probably make enough for everyone in the state of Kansas lol!!

    Have a good week!

    1. I love the idea about the Christmas themed masks! I have a few odd scraps of fabric that were given to me; that would be a great idea!

      1. No fabric does that. But there are some fabrics that will have a higher protection for you: a tighter weave, a higher thread count, a double layer, inserting a filter, etc. There were even some articles about certain types of fabrics being tested as being better at letting less pass through. A mask also helps keep you from spreading germs while you talk, which can be sprayed 6 feet away from you just in normal speaking.

  38. Your tomatoes are gorgeous! Our whole family loves ladder ball, it is a fun game for all ages.
    Another frugal week, spent close to home and doing all the normal frugal habits. All meals prepared and eaten at home, laundry hung up to dry, a quick trip to the Grocery store to purchase the sale items.
    We had plenty of rain here and there so I was pleased I didn’t have to bring out the hose/sprinklers.
    I purchased a small gift for 1 of my daughters for Christmas, I am starting to have a few things for each member of my family. I also made a cute tote bag for my sister with fabric I had on hand.
    I made lots of cards this week for July and August Birthdays.
    I gifted several items on my Buy Nothing group and I was able to pick up a brand new hand lotion which I will tuck into my Mums Christmas gift.
    I received some good news from my employer; I will most likely be getting more hours. I only worked 12 hours in June, so I hope things will improve. I will be able to work from home; my manager has kindly offered to drop off a weeks worth of work for me on her way home as she drives right by my area. I will have to drop off work at the office once per week, but I will be saving on fuel. (Gas is $1.00 /litre so it adds up fast)
    Thank you for hosting this AMAZING site, Brandy!
    Thank you all for your wonderful, positive comments. It really is a joy to read them all.

  39. Nice tomatoes!!
    This week – * car insurance refund
    $1.99 butter, pork roast for $1.19 lb if you bought 2. That’s no problem for us!
    * I found dark velvet apricots on sale and made a half batch of your apricot/vanilla jam. It was so good, and my husband was very impressed!
    * For the 4th we stayed home. I grilled a little meat, and we watched the fireworks around us. It was a regular day for me with chores and everything.
    * someone gave us yellow squash which we enjoyed sautéed with onions in chicken broth. My squash plants finally started to grow!
    * We had a torrential downpour for 30 minutes that kept our garden moist for 2 days. Plus I put out buckets to catch water For another day.
    * Continue to hang up clothes to dry. Our dryer still not working and my husband likes the $6-8 a week savings.
    Have a great week!!

  40. Brandy,
    Thank you for another great post this week!!
    I just wanted to give an update that where I live in a somewhat rural area of Washington State we are still experiencing empty shelves. This week there was very little milk to be found. I did find strawberries at $1.88 for 2 pounds so I bought 4 pounds and made them into jam.
    For the first time since February, I went into a Goodwill and bought a nice, brand name blouse to wear to work for $1. I also bought a piece of fabric to use as a throw over my sofa for $1. Now that my husband works from home, my dog likes to lay on the back of the sofa and look out the window during the day. For $1, I hope to extend the life of my sofa. We have been having a lot of rain showers which saves me from having to water my plants. We picked a quart of wild blackberries and hope to get more once they ripen. We use them for pies and dumplings.
    Have a great week everyone and Brandy thank you for hosting.
    I appreciate everyone’s comments as they always give me new ideas.

  41. I read but did not comment last week. So this is for two weeks.
    I took breakfast, lunch and all drinks to work every day I worked the last two weeks. (I work 4 days a week ,generally).
    Planted two rows of cucumbers, as the ones planted previously had not germinated. They have now all come up. Just need that warmer weather and soils. Planted cilantro and basil. Picked broccoli, one cauliflower some beets, lettuce and snow peas. We are finally getting a few things from the garden. The next two months are our big harvest months. We plant most of the same varieties of tomatoes as you do, Brandy, but our reasoning is we need short growing season tomatoes due to frost. We had snow in September last year. Weeded onions, garlic, beets, chard and carrots.
    Took former neighbor the lettuce thinnings and carrot tops from thinning the carrots for her chickens. Also a couple of empty egg cartons. She gave me a dozen eggs.
    Most of the laundry was dried on the line the last two weeks. Just one load each week in the dryer. Oh, plus the load of towels. Cleaned out the china closet. Removed everything from it and washed. Am going through it to see if my kids want anything.
    Washed 10 tablecloths. Didn’t remember I had that many. Also washed an entire load of cloth napkins. Made some old ratty ones into rags. One son took a set of eight napkins.
    Visited with my Mom through the window of her apartment. Tooke her things she had requested and some snow peas from the garden. She loves them, so during the harvest of them I try to take her some each week.
    Made Budget Bytes No-knead focaccia bread. I love that bread. Nice and chewy. Made another batch and used for pizza crust. Yummy.
    Had popcorn for snacks a couple of times. Had chicken quesadillas a couple of times. Made broccoli beef with snow peas, broccoli and onions from the garden. Also the beef was from the freezer- purchased awhile ago and trimmed for summer stir fry.
    Got Tillamook cheese – 2 pounds for $4.99. Got 2 – the limit. Got two loaves of multigrain bread – 99¢ each. Got 5 jars of peanut butter for 99¢ each. Peaches, nectarines and grapes were all 99¢ a pound. Got some of each.
    For 4th of July I made a couple of pasta salads – One was a dill pickle salad that had dill pickles fresh dill cheese, pasta, and green onions. The dressing also had dill pickle juice in it. I was surprised – but it was a hit. Also made a pasta vegetable salad. It had snow peas, broccoli, cucumbers, Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts in it. One thing I liked about these salads is that neither of them had mayo in them. Also used the broccoli and cauliflower picked and roasted them to go for the 4th. For desert, we had cherry bombs. These are cherries, dipped in melted white chocolate, and then dipped in blue sugar. Then they are cooled and you have a red, white and blue desert.
    Didn’t think I did much – but now that looks like a lot.
    Hope all have a good week.

    1. We have a short growing season due to heat! Soon the tomatoes will stop setting fruit because it will be too hot for them to flower until mid-October.

  42. We have had a good week. My grandson and husband picked a pepper and tomatoes. We picked raspberries and greens. We dumped a bucket of dirt and dug to get the potatoes. We will dump the other 4 buckets tonight or tomorrow morning. We enjoyed watching fireworks that other people did. I let my grandson pull a few carrots( too early) and some radishes to munch on. We harvested green onions. We went to a restaurant a couple of times.. I will work at cooking at home and bringing snacks when about this week. Enjoyed watching my son play with his dog. His dog loves to play with the rest of the family too. Enjoyed spending time with our grandchildren. We have enjoyed sitting on the back patio and watching fireflies and talking.
    My husband called the library and they checked the shelves for books that we received an over due notice for. I was happy that they found the books on the shelves. I thought they were returned and felt terrible when I received an automated notice of the cancelation of my library card. The nice librarian was happy to reinstate it. And that made my day! It was nice that they were willing to check the shelves. They have been so helpful finding books for my grandchildren to read as well as movies and books for my son and husband and me.
    .

  43. Thank you for captioning the tomato varieties! I love learning about different types. Supersweet 100 are some of my favorites. I haven’t tried the other ones you have. Our tomatoes are finally ripening and it’s like Christmas daily, going out to see what’s there.

    This was a busy week for us. My daughter had all 4 wisdom teeth removed. Thankfully we have a Flex Spending Account so the money was already saved up for it. It drained my account but worth it. She’s handled it all really well and is feeling almost 100%. I purchased a Nutribullet to make smoothies for her to enjoy while she recovered. We’ve all had fun using it.

    *We went to a few yard sales and estate sales (my favorite weekend activity). I’ve been looking for an electric roaster for months — hoping to use it for big tomato batches this summer — and the cheapest I could find was $20 on FB Marketplace. Happened upon one at an estate sale, and since it was the 2nd day of the sale, it was 50% off. Got it for $5. We’ve also been looking for a bike for my son. His old one is just a bit too small, and the next size up is just a hair too tall. Also, no bikes to be had at Walmart. My husband happened to spot one at a yard sale on our road as we were driving home. It is the perfect size — for just $12. My son says it’s the best bike ever. It’s been broken in, so it’s easy to ride.
    *My son is 11 years old, but now wearing men’s clothes and shoes. It’s so much easier to find clothes for him now! We got him some shorts and shirts at yard sales.
    *We live quite near the mountains, so we often drive up and have an outdoor supper at the state park. We did that twice this week, including on July 4, mostly with food from home.
    *Cut open 2 toothpaste tubes to get extra days from them.
    *Ate out using gift cards. It was the first time we’ve had a family meal inside a restaurant since the first week of March.
    *I’ve stopped drinking soda. Coke has always been my favorite, but I’m officially diabetic now so no more. Not buying soda is saving me money.
    *Got several books from my Paperbackswap wishlist. Also swapped for a copy of the book my son chose for required summer reading (Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen.) He hates reading so I also downloaded the audiobook from the library website so he could listen while following along.
    *I rejoined HelloFresh this month after getting an $80 coupon. We’re in a meal rotation rut and we love the HF meals on busy nights. They’re about the same cost as eating out. We always have to supplement with extra meat, though, because it’s not usually enough for my carnivores. My teen can cook them herself, so bonus. Anyway, this was my 1st week back on the plan and they sent the wrong meal for one of my picks. Customer service was super quick to offer a refund….but luckily I’d calculated the price of the meal, and they’d only offered 1/3 of the refund I was owed. After I politely but firmly requested the amount I was owed, the customer service rep finally credited me the full amount.
    *Planted a couple new plants, including another zucchini. Mine are almost zapped. We are moving in 3 weeks, but the new family will enjoy the garden we leave behind. The snow peas are still going strong, which shocks me. I’ve picked at least 5 times!
    *I got a $5 Amazon gift card through Verizon, used it to buy an electric toothbrush for my tomato plants. Google it!!
    *Put leftovers in the freezer instead of letting them go to waste in the fridge.
    *Started blogging again, and entering giveaways to restock my gift closet. I haven’t done this since Covid shutdowns. Not sure why, since I had way more time to do it in those off months.

    Becky — will your nephew wear earplugs? My kids are sensitive to loud noises, so I usually keep a pair of foam earplugs with me. We had so many neighbors setting off the BIG fireworks here. Couldn’t see them because of the tree canopy, but mercy it was loud. I felt like I was in the Hunger Games arena.

    Debby, I love the idea of Christmas masks! What a thoughtful gift.

  44. This is the first week our garden felt like it was really producing: lettuce, spinach, and daikon radishes. Flats of 30 eggs were on sale for $4.99 each, so I bought 60 eggs. I’m trying to use up all my frozen saskatoon berries from last year before this year’s crop ripens. This means pies and muffins, yum 🙂 I can’t believe the great prices on peaches and strawberries some have found! Peaches are more like 3.99/lb up here, and not even ripe. The price will fall later in the summer, but not that low. Enjoy!

  45. Dear All,
    I love the community on this website. I have been reading Brandy’s posts and all of your comments for years. First as an onlooker, just out of curiosity for all those thrifty people out there. Myself I was a rather spoiled brat with no responsibilities and little faith. My husband went on to become a diplomat and we had a carefree life full of adventure. But seven years ago my son was born and the ideas on this website penetrated me in a somewhat deeper way. Little by little our value system was shifting. I could not send my child to daycare at 3 months old in order to keep my position at the University. One thing led to another, God took us under his wing, and now I suddenly noticed that I am a part of this group of yours and should start posting here and maybe incourage outhers. We are a family of four, living on an island in Norway (although each one of us is born in a different country!) We homeschool, grow whatever food we can and thanks to our new, more thrifty ways, we can now live a life we are proud of. I am a clumsy homemaker, but a homemaker nonetheless!
    In march we were moved back to our house in Norway from Austria where we were stationed for the past two years. It was wonderful to come back to the countryside and the children are so happy to be outside in the garden instead of locked down all day in a small apartment! The renters trashed our house, so most of my accomplishments have to do with renovating the house and rebuilding the food storage for winter.
    So here are my accomplishments for the week:
    -we ordered 20 kg of a beef from the near by farm, 10kg is only bones for soups, but it was an amazing deal and this is all of the meat we will have in the winter.
    – Our Neighbour offered to order renovation materials for us with his 30% discount!!! It all arrived now at the house and we are ready to do all of the work ourselves with youtube (hope I will have good stories to tell about this)
    -We went to a summer house that was sold in our neighborhood where it was opened for all to come and take what they want. We found some good books for us and my older son, nice baskets, and a small rubber boat which my boy can take out on the lake in the forest.
    -we ate bok choy, romaine lettuce, green onions and snap peas from the garden (what an amazing thing that we came in March, just in time to be able to start a garden!!!)
    -I found some time while baby was sleeping to sit at a sewing machine and make sun hats and shorts for everyone out of my fabric stash (yes, I learned to sew by Brandy’s inspiration)
    -I bought Lego on sale in a shop for 40% off, which will be a Christmas gift. And some thin wool underwear (yeah, that’s Norway’s must have) for 70% off, which were items ment for January sale but were left in the closed shops and now ‘everything must go’.
    -I didn’t buy many nice things on the mega sales, because we didn’t need them and that was great saving!
    Thank you all and can’t wait to read more of your good ideas.
    Kinga

    1. Welcome Kinga! Thank you so much for sharing your savings from Norway! I’m so glad you commented today!

    2. My grandmother, who passed away in March of 2019, was Norwegian so I love to hear of anything and anyone related to that beautiful country. I have three great-aunts who still live there and a few cousins. They were just sending me photos of them enjoying their summer at the family ancestral home on Hanko. I was there when I was a teenager and have so many fond memories of my travels throughout the country. Gad to hear of your adventures and sucess. God Bless!

    3. So glad you commented, Kinga! Very excited to learn about life in Norway; my sister’s mother-in-Lane came from there a long time ago. It is the place I would most like to visit and I often read how much healthier it is for children there.

  46. My husband and I finally celebrated our April anniversary by going to our favorite lake. We took sandwiches and fruit to eat for our lunch and went swimming. The water was so refreshing in our mid 90’s weather. We stopped at a farm stand and bought our first summer tomatoes. We also stopped at a huge garage sale with great prices. My husband found some tools. I found some shirts for work, a handmade towel for the bathroom, a Christmas tree skirt, and a manual ice cream maker all for $5. It was a great day. As a special treat we stopped and got some dinner at a local restaurant.

    For the 4th we went to our daughter and son-in-law’s for a cook-out and swam in their pool. I made coleslaw and zucchini casserole to share. Two of our other daughters and sons-in-law were also there along with our 4 grandchildren. Another great day!

    I harvested green beans, the last of the lettuce and radishes, zucchini, and herbs. What a blessing to have the room to grow some of our food. I have started drying some of the herbs so that we won’t have to buy them this winter.

    I made lentil vegetable soup, green salads, and tuna salad for work lunches.

  47. Impressive tomatoes!
    Still doing house projects here, including refurbishing (stripping, re-glazing, painting) old windows. We’ve had rain, so we’re washing with collected rainwater, as well as using it to water plants.
    I’m making fruit vinegar from scraps of fruit, and a ginger bug for fizzy drinks. They’re still in progress, but I hope the ginger bug works to have another healthful, refreshing, flavored drink besides home-made kombucha. I got the instructions from xerowastechef.com
    We rented the house next door for a month which is wonderful. It’s difficult to find decent people to stay there, unfortunately, and our seasonal rentals were shot by the SARS-cov-2 virus.

    Have a good week, everyone.

  48. I’m late to comment, but I wanted to chime in.
    I picked more tomatoes, a couple of squash and finally, a few okra pods this week. We’ve had rain every day lately, so I can’t spray, and I see the borers are back. I finally got a few dry hours to spray, so I hope that helps again. The heavy rain is not doing some of the plants a lot of good — it split some tomatoes and rotted a few of the squash, but it has slacked off some this last couple of days.
    I bought another present using Swagbucks.
    I hung much of my laundry on my drying rack and the shower rods.
    I paid my bills and our tithe through bill pay at my credit union. That always saves on time, check, envelopes, and stamps.
    I’m having a telehealth appointment today, to avoid the 2 hour drive to this doctor’s office just to discuss follow up lab results..
    I recently picked up a nice bag of organic clementines for a flash sale price of $2 for the whole bag.
    I’m faithfully carrying my lunch to work, staying out of stores when I can, and even picking up pennies. I’ve picked up two in the last few days.

  49. The tomatoes look delicious! Ours are still tiny.
    How we saved this week:
    -We organized and inventoried our freezers. I love having a list. I’m going to try to keep it up to date as I can meal plan much easier.
    -I canned seven quarts of bone broth made from chicken bones I’d saved in the freezer.
    -I’m picking strawberries and raspberries but no vegetables yet.
    -I’m finding things to decorate with as I’m continuing to declutter our sheds and home.
    -I found shorts and pants at the thrift store. Now I can throw out my old raggedy shorts.
    -My daughter gave me part of a plant she was given. It’s nice to have something green in the house.
    Details and photos of our week are on my blog: http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-10/
    Have a great week!

  50. Brandy, that is a beautiful mess of tomatoes! Mine are just starting to come on in here in NC. We are picking cukes, squash, beets, chard, lettuce and basil, parsley and oregano. I also have been picking blue and blackberries and made a triple berry cobbler for the 4th with them and frozen strawberries from the garden,was a hit!

    I have been swapping with friends, I have greens galore and cukes too, so I have gotten peaches and some dried pumpkin seeds and goji berries. I hope to swap my stuff for figs soon,too. I also got marked down limes, organic apples, diced ham and pork today, earlier this week I got 8#: of organic bananas marked down for $1 and made banana muffins and skinny monkey cookies.

    All laundry has been line dried and meals eaten at home. We have kept the ACmuse to just at night and using a house fan first thing in the morning and then closing up the house for the day. I walk in the morning before work and picking the garden, and my husband and I walk in the evening too. We usually see a few neighbors and catch up while we are out.

    My sister is coming next week for a birthday visit on the lawn under the shade of our pecan tree. I have a puzzle from discard pile at work, some lotion and salve I have made and will send her home with a bag of produce, as she doesn’t have a garden.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week and am grateful for each of you.

  51. I enjoyed reading all of this week’s posts. My husband and I had a discussion about an organized stockpile of food because this pandemic has really opened our eyes to the importance. Even though, Brandy, we are not LDS, we have always thought the idea of food/supply storage to be very smart and just plain common sense.

    This week I:
    – made banana bread with over ripe bananas.
    – cut my husband’s hair
    – ripped out the frayed collar on my husband’s favorite shirt (turned it over and resewed it on, so it was like new)
    – picked more wild fennel and added it to some smoothies.
    – scoped out a great secret place where I will be able to
    pick blackberries in a month.
    – am watching Poldark for free on Amazon Prime.
    – reading free books on my Kindle (the Brother Athelstan
    series – a medieval friar who solves murder mysteries).
    – found a free cookbook at a Little Free Library
    – all meals cooked at home, of course
    – we went on two picnics as we have discovered some
    parks that are very sparse with people. Picnics are our big
    source of entertainment right now!

    I figured out a way to help my brother who has ALS. He is
    an artist which must make it terrible to be losing the use of his hands. I asked him if he would sell me one of his paintings for $100; they go for quite a bit more in galleries.
    Still, he has over a hundred at home. This works well for us both, as he dislikes charity but was really happy to sell me one. He gets some help and I get a painting for our new house. Win win!

    Last week I had a steroid injection in my back. With those a person is supposed to be careful for a week because it compromises the immune system. We were happily hiking. wearing our masks and we passed a man who actually started to harass us for wearing masks, saying it was stupid because they don’t work anyways. Who would say something like this? We did the smart thing and ignored him and went on our way. We watched a guy being escorted out of our local farmer’s market two weeks ago for not following Covid rules. Oh well, weird times we all live in.
    Lastly, I used homemade compost on some of my new plants. I have been searching for eco plant killers to make as I discovered wild violets in the flowerbeds – nearly impossible to eradicate (any ideas, anyone?)

    1. You can dig and sell the violets on Ebay. They are actually quite difficult to get to grow here and I have bought them on Ebay for a lot less than at the local nursery, where a 4″ pot sells for $3.99! I bought a package of something like 20 tiny ones (roots were washed) for around $8 in the spring. They wrapped the roots in wet paper towels and shipped me the whole thing. You would have to wait until fall or spring to sell them so they don’t just die in transport. I only have a few plants now; the heat tends to take them out and I have to be sure they get some shade in summer so they don’t burn but not too much shade in early springs so that they don’t flower.

      1. The wild violets that we have here are lovely but spread like wildfire if you put them in your flowerbed. They choke out other plants and I have had battles with them in the past. Seriously, I was so surprised by the Ebay thing.
        I can only conclude that they must be extremely happy plants. here in the Pacific Northwest! It sounds like they don’t cause problems in other climates!

        1. Most things that are invasive in other areas struggle to survive here. The only problems I have had with invasive plants here are mint and passionfruit vine. The passionfruit vine failed to produce for me in the area that it was in and I finally took it out.

          I still want to grow violets and had several of mine die before (even on drip irrigation and in a more shaded area) and I was thinking to try buying some more on Ebay this spring. I forgot about ordering until it was too late, though.

        2. Violets are edible, so I let them grow and enjoy their flowers in the early spring. We eat some of the blossoms in salad with early lettuce. Once other things get going, I rip out all the violets, knowing they’ll come back the next year. I’m in the Northeast.

  52. Beautiful tomatoes! I watched our neighbor’s fireworks. I keep bread, cheese slices, dried dates and cherries, almonds at work for lunch. It just makes lunch so much easier. It is so hot, that when I get home from work all I seem to be eating are tomato sandwiches, and raw cucumbers with salt and pepper. My neighbor had given me a lot of cucumbers. I hope to go pick figs at my mom’s tree ( now my son’s tree) this weekend. I could not go last weekend to pick figs because my aunt died and her funeral was Monday, at a beautiful veteran’s cemetery. I gave the family eulogy. She lived a long and beautiful life. I am still not dyeing my hair. I haven’t decided if I am going to start back or not. My oldest son’s health continues to improve and I am so grateful for that. I have been walking, so free exercise. I have been looking at retirement advice on line for free. I am still debating when I will retire. It could be this year, in two years, or a little less than five years. I still want to work, but I want to do something else. I am also debating where I will live when I retire. I want to be close to my kids, the problem is that some of them are kinda spread out….lol

  53. Like everyone else I am working to be sure I am stocked up well on food and other supplies. I picked up my little freezer today and managed to get it to the basement and set up by myself! Go me! It’s just a little 3 cu. ft. one but perfect size for just me. Went to a cookout on the 4th. I made BBQ baked beans and deviled eggs (eggs were 64 cents a dozen!). So that was cheap food to take. Came home with the leftover beans, a couple hotdogs, and several slices of banana bread. The bread made several days of breakfast for me. Picked up 2 more pounds of brown rice at Dollar Tree. Today I went into the And That store (Christmas tree shoppe in some areas) and found the 8 cup (2 qt?) Ball canning jars for $2.50 each. I wasn’t sure if that was a good price for new, so got 4. Came home and looked them up on Amazon…..I think I’ll go get more! They also had quart and pint jars, selling them individually. I got a few quart jars as well. ($1.25 I think). I signed up for Fetch rewards this week. My tomatoes aren’t doing well. I have a few growing but not many. I have been tossing green bean seeds in empty spots in my container garden area as other things get pulled. I got 2 bunches of green onions in my Misfit Market box last time and will plant the ends so I should have quite a supply of green onions for quite a while. I will be suspending my Market box after this delivery since there is so much local produce right now. Keep up the good work everyone!

  54. We love ladderball! Well, our last few weeks. We had 2 birthdays: mine – 50!! and my little one – 8! For my birthday, a few of my lovely neighbors dropped off gifts (while wearing masks and staying outdoors). They know me well. Plants, homemade goodies (jam, mustard), wine, puzzles. I got a couple of books from my MIL and 3 games from my SIL (an outdoor game and two card games). Good for quarantine. We celebrated by going to the beach early (no crowds) and having an easy dinner at home.

    For my younger son’s birthday, we couldn’t have a party. Well you know, he’s never had one. Summer birthdays are hard anyway. I took a couple of hours off work (not really, I worked until 8:30 pm), and took him to the beach in the early morning. Then we made dinner (tri tip purchased on sale, mashed potatoes, green beans). made cake, and sang. We zoomed his grandma and a classmate.

    I made small batch plum freezer jam from excess plums. I wonder if I should accept more plums from a neighbor down the street. Hmmm. Maybe don’t have time.

    We have been watching shows on Netflix, movies that we own. We have 5-6 little free libraries in my neighborhood, so I always have something to read! I seem to be finding a lot of books on menopause at one of them…they ahem are coming in handy.

    My older son just had his braces off, so yay, we can eat rice now! Good thing, because gluten free pasta has been really hard to find.

    I have not been saving much money on food (two boys, one a teen), but I also have a VERY stocked pantry, and have been continuing to add to it. Our COVID cases are higher than ever, so having enough food to avoid shopping is a good thing.

    Also I’ve made a few more cloth masks. My husband has to go to work once a week or so, and although I’ve made 30+ masks, I’ve found one particular pattern works best for us and only had two. So now we have 5.

    Finally, I used my birthday gift card to buy canning lids on Amazon. This will help me can more plum jam without filling the freezer.

  55. I haven’t posted in a couple weeks, but I have been busy. My grand-daughter took the initiative and found me a cleaning lady (one day a week right now) and has also arranged with a friend of hers to make us three meals a week, delivered to our house on Sundays. They are just heat and eat, and tailored to our likes and dislikes.
    Not sure how much the meals are costing right now, as we said we would do a month’s trial–she is paying now but I intend to pay her back. The meals are good and I only have a couple minor complaints. We will discuss after the month is over.
    My husband, who has dementia for those unaware, is being a bit of a trial right now. He has no concept of time, so has woken me up at 4:30 AM by turning on the bedroom light so he could see to get dressed. I grumbled, so he came back about half an hour later and apologized. I am not an early riser and am really a night owl by nature. This problem is not resolved yet but I have been very sleep deprived lately. One problem at a time.
    He is good natured most of the time, for which I am very grateful. But he will make himself a sandwich when I am about to start dinner. Trying to work on these difficulties but no answers yet. I don’t want to have to pay someone $20+ an hour to come in early in the morning in case he gets up too soon. I don’t want him in assisted living because he is very independent and would not do well at all under those circumstances.
    I did want to share some food-related things: my Daughter and son in law are both disabled and normally get $13 worth of snap (food stamps) a month. For March and April they got the FULL allowance for two people, which meant an extra $700 or so for them. That was wonderful for t hem. We also had local produce distributions a couple times. She got 20# of free produce that farmers did not sell. There were no income limits, just show up and wait in line until they got to you. The second time she said she was picking up for two households and brought a box for us as well. I didn’t really expect that, but I did share some things with my grand-daughter. It contained 4# of oranges, 5# of apples, a huge cabbage, four small yogurts, lettuce, 5# potatoes, It was quite the windfall. The oranges were especially good.
    Different season of life than most of you, but frugal ways still provide savings. My daughter has been getting my groceries since March, and my bills are running about $20-25 less per week. I stick to sale items and coupon items. She doesn’t put any extras in to the cart like we sometimes do! z
    The cleaning lady is organizing but has found a LOT of treasures I will need to go through! This will take some time but I’ve been working on it. I also finished my tax returns and submitted them, I came out almost even, just needing to pay about $60. That made me happy!!
    I am jealous of all you gardeners, as I simply cannot grow vegetables any more but still attempt a few flowers. Enjoy your produce!!

  56. Brandy your tomatoes are gorgeous. I usually tear up when I bite into my first homegrown tomato! There is no taste like it!! I am several weeks away from that moment!!
    We took homemade potato salad and a patriotic trifle to my husband’s sister’s home on Lake Huron for the 4th. It was so beautiful and the breeze was divine. We enjoyed several days of swimming. I am not loving the 90 degree weather we have been having for the past couple of weeks.
    My week has not been frugal at all. My husband took the children swimming Sunday as I was packing the van to head home He had a heart attack and nearly drowned. I had to drive 35 minutes to the nearest hospital only to find that the nearest cardiac hospital was an additional 1 1/2 hours away. Thankfully grandma and two aunts stayed to care for my children. I had to spend money on gasoline and meals for myself at the hospital. I was able to stay with my husband. I only left the room to get food. I was able to bring my husband home today. So thankful for modern medicine!
    I missed the amazing peach sales but come fall I should have another chance to can. Today I bought strawberries at .99 per pound and will do one final multi- batch of jam. We have been gone for nearly a week….I was too tired to even look at the garden. My 19 yo watered it a bit while I was gone but I couldn’t face looking at the weeds I know are there. One day at a time. Feeling blessed beyond measure!!

        1. Oh my goodness, so scary! I just turned 50 a couple of weeks ago. 50 is young! (It’s not 18, but it’s still young.) I’m glad he’s recovering. Best wishes.

  57. As we continue to quarantine due to having the virus , we are suffering cabin fever. For 17 weeks we have been locked down. The doctor has given us permission to travel to isolated areas. We go to the grave yard. Its honestly the only place where there are no people. Sugar cookie has been watching dumpster diving on you tube for sometime. I decided why not. Early in the morning, everything is deserted. This child is happy like its Christmas morning. We have located 6 stores that are safe, unlocked and have easy access. It is not illegal here. This week we hit a local grocery store on dented box day. I will not need laundry detergent or ziplock bags for a while. My favorite item was a case of 3 wick candles. It is absolutely unbelievable. It was enough to originally make me want to cry. I take what we need and want and will use. Everything else is left behind. It would be a fulltime job to distribute all the goods tossed out. I chose items to take to baby Henry’s family. I realize this may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I have no shame over it. We stay safe. These are not compactors, we wear safety items. It’s not illegal. There’s no bug spray or bleach coating goods. Goods are generally not expired or past sell date. That’s bizarre part. Most food items are in banana boxes. Sealed in original packaging. I imagine we will continue with our new hobby. Today a sheriff pulled up and we chatted. He enjoyed my daughters excitement and told me to call if I ever had any issues. I’m so happy I kept my good steel toed water proof boots when I retired. They have come in handy.

    1. Lilli, I have always wanted to dumpster dive but have never had the nerve. I no longer need it financially, but the idea of perfectly good food/things being buried in the earth drives me nuts.

      If I had an interested buddy I might still be able to bring myself to do it. Maybe.

    2. What an adventure, Lilli, this dumpster diving. I think it is great that you are able to save things you want and need from being wasted, and it sounds like you are able to do it in a friendly environment. Enjoy yourselves!

    3. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of dumpster diving, although I’ve never done it. I’ve seen a few videos and online posts about it, and so much good, usable stuff is just thrown out on a daily basis. I think we have an excessive amount of food waste in this country and personally I would rather see that go to good use. If someone is in need, why not? Just make sure you are staying safe. I will be interested to hear about the types of things you find.

    4. Lilliana, I too have always wanted to do this. Fun and thrifty for you and Sugar Cookie. I understand Sugar Cookie’s feeling of Christmas morning and how you feel in not being able to rescue everything for use. Stay safe and happy adventures for both of you.

    5. Good for you! It’s sickening how much food and how many other perfectly good items are discarded in this country. Why don’t these places donate to thrift stores, or homeless shelters, or anywhere.

      I applaud you.

      1. Cara,

        Many grocery stores donate to food banks, homeless shelters, and gleaning groups. I know of several gleaning groups here in my city and I know that the food bank donates their excess to a local shelter. We’ve been involved with volunteering with the food bank and gleaning groups many times for years.

  58. I have read this blog for YEARS and I am not sure if I have ever commented until today. Crazy! Our lifetime of frugality has allowed us to always live the way we want – my husband works from home, we both homestead and home educate our children. We own our home and 30 acres here in the mountains of Western NC and have no debt. This is not anything that means much to some people but I know I am among kindred spirits here who know how good all of those things feel. Definitely better than anything I could buy!
    We are headed to the beach with my husband’s family this weekend – a tradition that has been going on for about 50 years, longer than he has been alive. As we are high school sweethearts, I have been going for a long time, too, and it such fun to see the next generation of our children loving it, too. My in-laws pay for the house, we all bring food and share in the cooking. We can take our dog which saves worry or cost of leaving her at a kennel (I just can’t do that) or finding someone willing to watch her. Our neighbors will care for our chickens and cat and garden. The bees will look after themselves. 🙂 We have a very giving and reciprocal relationship with our nearest neighbors which benefits us all tremendously on so many ways (not just financial.) They get to keep all the eggs and I usually bring them back a key lime pie from a seafood market at the beach which is delicious and very reasonably priced.
    This same neighbors picked up some clothes for me at a thrift store this week and now I have more things to wear working outdoors here at home. I go through my work clothes like crazy! Whenever I see any young girls with the expensive already shredded at the knee jeans I just think, “They need to come work with me for a few days and they can have all the shredded clothes they want!”
    We live close to the TN border where fireworks are permitted so my husband bought about $30 worth and made a device to launch them out of scrap wood and metal tubing he had lying around. My boys were beyond excited and it was one of the best displays I have ever seen, in part because it was just us, it was a beautiful night, and I was sitting in my own garden. I have never been one for crowds and I think this social distancing situation has cured me of ever wanting to go to large fireworks displays again.
    We never lack for things to do with our pond, creeks, animals, mountains to climb and lots of projects and work to do. But, we love it and I often think of how much money many people feel they need to spend to entertain themselves. For us, nature is the best show and we get plenty of exercise and good food just doing our daily thing.
    I love reading everyone’s comments. There is always something new to learn. Thank you, all!

    1. Your life sounds wonderful, Dawn. Did you grow up in that area, or choose to move there…if you don’t mind my asking? It sounds like a place we would like to retire to, but then I worry about whether we could handle it at that age.

  59. Lovely tomatoes, Brandy! I am getting quite a few off my patio planter, although I know with our intense heat, that won’t last. We are up around 100 most days now, some days are over 100. Supposed to be quite hot this coming weekend, as well. I have also been getting lots of peppers!

    I’m still working at home, which appears to be indefinite at this point. I’m thankful for a paycheck and even more thankful for my annual raise! I didn’t expect we would get them this year given the current circumstances, so I was pleasantly surprised when my boss called me at home to discuss the details with me. I’m so thankful for my employer continuing to pay all of our staff, and even increasing salaries during this time. I honestly don’t know when I will be back in the office – our virus numbers here are rising daily (DFW area of Texas) and it doesn’t look good, unfortunately. I do miss seeing all of my coworkers! Video meetings and chats just aren’t the same.

    Most meals have been eaten at home, especially since I am home during the days now for breakfast and lunch. (My husband is essential and going to work as normal.) I have been hanging laundry indoors on the drying rack as much as possible. Between the a/c and ceiling fans, I can get a load dry overnight without having to run the dryer. I do put towels in the dryer, though, for 15-20 minutes right after the wash, and then let them hang dry the rest of the way – this seems to prevent the “crunchy” towels my husband dislikes (I personally prefer to call them “exfoliating”). I also do that with a few clothing items that seem to get stretched in the wash and need the dryer to shrink them back up. That way at least I am not running full dryer cycles. I have done some decluttering and getting rid of things we do not need or use, and freecycled them. I was so glad to see items go to people who will use them, rather than just sitting around unused and going to waste. I received a $5 Amazon gift card from Verizon and a $5 Target gift card from my electric company. I bought groceries at Aldi and HEB and found some nice bargains. My replacement AeroGarden arrived (my last one died after 2 nice lettuce harvests, and the company sent me a new one free of charge), but I have not taken the time to set it up just yet.

    Our July 4 was fairly quiet. We went swimming during the day, cooked hot dogs, and then watched our city’s fireworks show that evening. They still put on the show, but closed off the entire area for quite a distance, so people would watch from other locations/home. There is usually a large festival along with it, and of course that was also cancelled. We parked and watched it from the roof of a building not far from downtown.

    I know I commented last week about considering purchasing a treadmill. It is too hot for me to walk outdoors now (I do not fare well in the heat), and I don’t really feel safe walking alone before dawn or after dark. (And, it still isn’t cool enough!) The gym I use has shut down again, now for the second time. With being at home full time for now, I desperately need the daily exercise and motivation. I ended up ordering a compact folding treadmill off Amazon using Brandy’s links. It folds down to around 5″ flat so I can store it under a bed or against a wall and not have to leave it up full-time, which I wanted to avoid. It is extremely quiet and it has all the features I want. Between that and my resistance bands (also an inexpensive Amazon purchase), yoga mat, and a few dumbbells, I honestly feel like I have a pretty good “close second” gym here now! And the best part is that it all stows away neatly when I am done. I have also been using free yoga videos on YouTube (favorites are SarahBethYoga and Yoga with Adriene), and free resistance band workouts on YouTube. Before I bought the treadmill, I was doing indoor stationary walking on YouTube (Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone, if anyone is interested it is a fantastic way to walk indoors with no space & no special equipment needed), but I just prefer to zone out on the treadmill and go at my own pace. I don’t know how long this situation is going to last (I’m afraid we are in for a long haul with the virus) and with me working at home, I think this is the best solution for me right now.

    I’ve tried to stay on top of keeping stocked up on various items – groceries, freezer and pantry goods, medicines etc. I take a daily over the counter medication for my stomach, and it has been extremely difficult to find lately. I finally found it at HEB and they had a sign up limiting 1 per purchase, so I guess that’s another item that’s now in short supply. Of course meat is getting more expensive, so I make sure I replenish whatever we use for the freezer stock. We are also both keeping our vehicles filled up with gas, topping off while we are out, as the price is going back up. The dry food I feed my cats appears to either be in extremely short supply or discontinued – none of the stores anywhere near me had it, and even Chewy and Amazon were sold out, so I’ve had to switch their food to another brand, which I don’t like doing. (Cats have sensitive stomachs and are also notoriously picky eaters.) The price is slightly higher, but they are worth it. I just hope they like it!

    I hope everyone has a good week and stays healthy!

  60. I bought 10 jars of Classico pasta sauce for $1.88, 10 cans of soup for $2 each. I saved $30.00 Most of it is to restock my pantry. I now have baking powder,
    yeast, table salt (I was out), baked beans, sugar, flour, baking soda, Crisco, canola cooking oil, canned fruit and vegetables (although I use frozen for most needs), 10 cans of chunk chicken and turkey, dried peas and lentils, oatmeal (I hope to get more), apple juice, an extra toothbrush and toothpaste. I still need to stock up on toilet paper (1 big package would suffice), breakfast cereals, pasta, some laundry detergent, and some more Mason jars and certo. I hope to make carrot jam for my winter pantry — I have never made carrot jam but hear that it’s good. Some of my cherries (sour cherries good for jam) survived so I may freeze or preserve them. And I’m hoping my wild chokecherries in the woods survived so I can make chokecherry jelly.

    I have 8 cabbage plants that need transplanting. I’m a bit squeamish to transplant them but hope to be gentle enough. My Hakurei turnips continue to grow — theoretically they should be ready but the night temperature
    has been chilly (even now the furnace just came on) and so are a bit slower than most. One of my Jerasalem artichokes is up so I hope to get some tubers in the fall. My tomato plants are loaded with blooms. I’ve been vcovering them before each storm.

    I bought 3 pounds of tomatoes on sale for $0.88 per pound. I will freeze some whole as they can then just be added to pasta as it is cooking. I will enjoy some fresh with a spinach salad, and may make spaghetti sauce to freeze with the rest.

    I’m hoping to get a crate of apricots or a box of blueberries at the farmers market soon. I’ll freeze both. Then perhaps some peaches. In this regard I start eating fresh fruit and veggies now so I will enjoy them greatly.

    I am still helping with our book. It’s been a hard week. On the plus side, I think we’re through the worst.

    We’ve had so much rain, we haven’t needed to water the garden.

    Today, I may just sit and veg in the garden.

    1. Hi Ellie’s friend! I made carrot jam for the first time this year and it was a hit with the women…not the men. It has a unique, fall-ish flavor.

  61. I’ve loved this blog since your started it Brandy! Love reading the comments every week.
    Still sticking close to home around here. Trying to be thrifty. We’ve had a heatwave here (in the 90s but we are in Minnesota) so I’ve been trying to not use the oven much. Love the InstaPot. I “baked” potatoes in it for the first time this week and they turned out great. Also used it for chicken for chicken salad and a meal of potatoes and pork chops.
    I’m high risk for Covid, so I’ve been utilizing the Walmart grocery pick up. I find it helps me not impulse buy, so that’s an added bonus. Trying to catch up my pantry for if (when) round 2 hits.
    I’ve been busy making fabric masks with fabric I have. My daughter is making them too and ran out of elastic so I gave her some from my stash.
    Had a quiet 4th of July with our daughter that lives close by. We split the meal. I brought macaroni salad and a patriotic jello poke cake all from pantry items (except the whipped topping for the cake).
    I’ve been knitting socks for all of my kids and their spouses for Christmas, using much of my stash.
    Last night was a Zoom service auction activity with the ladies from our congregation. No money changes hands. We earn points by doing basic things: driving the speed limit, exercising, how many states we’ve traveled to, etc (just random things on a sheet they sent out earlier)…then we each offer up something and the rest bid on it based on our points. I had enough points to win an hour of weeding from one lady and a dozen cupcakes from another. I offered up a pair of hand knit socks or mittens. We’ve done this activity for years in person…I’m glad they decided to try to keep in going this year, even with the physical distancing restrictions. I think it helps us get to know each other better and celebrate our interests and strengths.
    Our final child is headed off to college next month so I’ve been looking around the house and gathering things he can take with him, before we buy new. Hope everyone has a great week!

  62. This may not be news to any of you frugal diehards 🙂 but I’ve started making my own baking mixes and it’s a game changer! Today I went from zero to bagel dough rising in less than five minutes. I made four bagel mixes last week and keep them in the fridge (because of the yeast). When I put them together I wrote the basic instructions on each ziplock baggie using a sharpie and plan to re–use them over and over. Today I grabbed one, dumped it in the food processor, pulsed a few times to mix, then turned on the processor, slowly drizzled in the water and boom, bagel dough. I started at 10 and we were having hot out of the oven bagels for lunch before 12:30. My next plan is to make a few mixes of King Arthur’s one-bowl chocolate and vanilla cakes (both egg and dairy free) and some cookie dough mixes too — these I’ll store in mason jars. Thanks for all the great advice and inspiration. I’ve tried to be frugal for forever but I’ve only recently discovered this group…it’s so great!

    1. Hi Valerie,
      Could you post the bagel, cookie and cake mixes here? I’d love to store some for my pantry in mason jars! Great idea. Your bagel mix could probably be stored in the freezer too as I learned here that yeast can be frozen. Thanks, Ann

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