I made myself a pair of earrings and a bracelet using a $1 garage sale necklace of blue beads that I had bought previously, a chain and findings that I had previously bought in bulk. I cut apart the simple string of beads that was on thread and remade it into a longer necklace with space between the beads. I have a few beads left; I will try to make a bracelet to match in the future.

We had a field trip to the fire station where my nephew is the captain. My son wants to be a fireman for Halloween and we thought he would enjoy getting to go see his cousin (they are 35 years apart) at work.

I gave haircuts to my two youngest boys.

I went to several community garage sales with my parents and my daughter. My goal was to find gifts for Christmas for my children, as well as any other things we might need. All but one item that I found for my children was new in the box! For gifts, I found 2 boxes of nail crystals (complete with tweezers for placing them) for $1.60 a box, 3 huge boxes of sidewalk chalk for $3 a box, some containers for $1 each that I will use for toys and pencils, a shirt–the only used item–($1), a brand-new travel jewelry box ($1.60), and a pair of brand new leggings ($2.40).

For myself, I found a pair of leather garden gloves in my size for $2 (I needed a new pair for pruning my roses), a chopper tool for $10 (a bit high but it was marked at $15 and she took less when I asked), two blouses for $1 each, and a brand-new ice cream cone maker for $10! ( I have wanted one of these for at least 15 years but they were always too much money, so I am excited about this one!)

I cut flowers from the garden for an arrangement for the table.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I go to thrift stores but need to make an effort to hit some garage sales- I’ve seen more and more people talking about how many great deals they find!
    *received a $5 shopping coupon at grocery store from my 88 cent prescription
    *made another trip to Barnes & Noble and reserved more books that looked interesting at the library
    *harvested a few more tomatoes from our garden
    *gratefully accepted some cleaning products, lotion and hand soap from a family member who was moving
    *was treated to lunch and ice cream by my dad after church
    *accepted a seasonal position at my dad’s company. I’ll work full time most of November and December then a few days a week or as needed January through May. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to survive the past few years on husband’s income so what I earn can (hopefully) be put into savings, help pay down mortgage, and for some fun “extras” (that is of course the goal but we have old cars and prices on everything are rising so maybe just able to keep afloat- we’ll see).
    📍Grocery store: marked down roast, sale butter (3.99 for 4 sticks so not great but better than what it’s been)

    Take care all!

    1. That’s wonderful that you can work with/for your father! Years ago, my mother was a manager for H&R Block so I was able to work there during tax season, not only as a receptionist, but I also came in on one day of the weekend to clean the office. Thank you for bringing back a fond memory, Marissa!

      1. Thanks for the sweet comment! I’m glad you have fond memories of helping your mom out. I’m thankful to have the opportunity with my dad for sure!

    2. I love your book shopping idea! I get overwhelmed in the library if I am browsing but a bookstore is perfect for browsing. Just last week I bought a book which I hadn’t done in years. I didn’t have my glasses. I thought it was $8.99. Justified it because I knew 4 people who wanted to read it. It was $18.99! Ugh

      1. Oh no! That’s not a fun surprise. It is good several people will get to enjoy reading it. And I agree browsing at the library can be overwhelming sometimes. I do like that our library has a “new releases” and “most wanted” section. The loan time is shorter and you can’t renew but it’s still a nice option. Hope you enjoy your book!

  2. I love the picture of your son in the firefighter outfit! His expression is adorable!

    The weather has been lovely here in southern Ontario and I have been working at getting the gardens cleaned up and extra laundry dried outside. I brought in all the green tomatoes that were on the vine as there was a threat of frost. They are slowly ripening and I am stewing them as they ripen. I will make spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and tomato paste from the stewed tomatoes next month. I want to get bedspreads and blankets washed this month and hung out to dry so things are clean before winter.

    I am pretty much shopping the sale flyers and clearance racks for groceries these days and only shopping every other week. All those things definitely keep costs down. We continue to be blessed by our local buy nothing group. I have received three bags of frozen vegetables, a package of coffee filters, two bars of soap, about two pounds of popcorn, three peppers and a package of brioche buns. All these things stretch our grocery budget even further. I either walk to pick up these items if they are close enough or pick up when I am already running errands. I will only go out in the car when I have several things to do in one area as gas is going up in price quickly here.

    We have been working on getting Christmas gifts for our son when we have a little extra money and have pretty much finished shopping for him now. I will start soon to pick up little extras for Christmas baking so there is no big expense in December.

    I trimmed my son’s hair and helped my husband with his. We ate all meals at home with what we have on hand. All our books and magazines were borrowed from the library.

    Covid cases are on the rise here and we have had an outbreak at our church. Our son has a rare disease and we try to be very cautious so we will be staying home until things feel safer. I think it will be a very quiet winter for us here at home. My husband is working on getting wood in for our fireplace so I think we will be spending time in the family room doing puzzles and watching videos we have received from our buy nothing group.

    Hope everyone has a lovely week. Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadian contributors!

  3. The jewelry you’ve made is so pretty!

    For some time, I’ve run out of e-books I want to read at my library, and it costs too much to take a taxi or bus to the library. I didn’t find many I liked on free books on Prime when I was a member. I have been buying Kindle books, but wanted to try Kindle Unlimited to see of there were enough that interested me. There was a 99 cents for three months special, if you had Prime. I had used a 30 days free trial of Prime earlier in the year, so couldn’t get that again. They have offered me $4.99 a month for Prime (Half price here in Canada) for three months, so I have signed up for that. I am enjoying the books I’ve found so far, though it leaves out brand new books. I had been paying $5 a month to go ad-free on CBC Gem, but haven’t been watching it lately, so I have canceled that, leaving me with an increase of 33 cents a month for entertainment spending.

    I got a few deals at the grocery store, including two 750g (1.65 lb) bags of Green Giant mixed vegetables for $3 Cdn each. Their regular price is $4.50. I use these instead of beans in my chili recipe, as well as as a side dish with other meals. I also got an extra 2.5 km (5.5 lb) bag of all-purpose flour for $2.99. This is the same as its before 2020 sale price, thanks to a bumper wheat crop in Canada this year. I got the last bag at the very, very back of the bottom shelf at the store, so I was not alone in getting this special. I also got some shredded mozzarella for making home-made pizzas which is half its current full-price.

    1. Hello Elizabeth M,
      Does your library subscribe to the Overdrive or Libby system?You can use it with the apps or by signing in via the internet if your library has this available as one of its services with your library card.

      For movies, documentaries and some T.V. Shows you might also try accessing the free service of Kanopy . It’s available through many libraries. You can get 5 downloads a month. If a series is on Kanopy and has multiple episodes they only count the season of the series as using one of your downloads not the individual episodes.

      Isn’t GEM marvellous!! I have the regular free app ( with the ads). I watch the evening news (The National) and Escape to the Country( while doing dishes) amount so many other shows.

      If you are interested in PBS. We are able in Canada to view shows through Passport with out cable t.v. Our American neighbours get access for free but for a minimum $60.00 donation. (I think it can be paid at $5.00/month.) You can get access to many of the programs. Some are not available, possibly because they re shown on Canadian channels like CBC/ GEM. You also get a tax receipt for the complete donation.

      Hope these suggestions assist you or other Canadians in accessing shows for free or minimal charge.

      1. I don’t pay for Passport but I have watched shows on Pbs.org the day after airing. Masterpiece is on for 3 weeks per episode so I can watch that way for free in the U.S.

      2. Hi TEG,
        My library gives me access to CloudLibrary for e-books and Hoopla for movies. I have pretty well worked my way through what they have available that interests me. I read quite a few books on CloudLibrary during the pandemic, but they don’t acquire too many new books anymore. A lot are through Simon & Schuster, which puts some barriers between me and the books. I don’t want to be on their mailing list, because it floods my e-mail with advertising for books I have zero interest in. If I’m not on the mailing list, I can’t open the library book. The library doesn’t have subscriptions to OverDrive and Kanopy. They are listed on the library’s e-resources, but they are not eligible when you try to sign up. It may be possible to get Libby on a mobile phone, but I don’t have one, so I don’t know.

        I can see some shows sometimes on the PBS website, as Brandy describes, but not consistently, and I don’t have cable TV to get Passport. (There is only satellite TV in rural Alberta.) I often find the PBS shows on other free sites, though. The CTV and CBC GEM websites have a lot of them. I watch a lot of British shows on YouTube. I tend to subscribe to a streaming service for a few months, watch everything that interests me, and then cancel it. Sometimes I go back to it a year or two later, sometimes I move on to something else. That is where I am with Prime. I am optimistic about Kindle Unlimited. If there are enough books that interest me, it will be worth subscribing to Prime and Kindle Unlimited even at the full price, at least for the winter months.

        To see a new movie, I rent it on YouTube. I don’t do this very often, though, because I simply don’t hear about them anymore. I don’t know if Prime and Netflix are making them all now, or what. I used to watch a movie every Saturday night, but I can’t find enough new material to do that.

        Elizabeth M.

        1. A lot of the books that I have read lately, when I went to link to them, were free with Kindle Unlimited. That may be the same on the Canadian site. I hope you find lots to read.

          1. It’s already pointed me to a couple of writers I enjoy who are new to me but who have written quite a few books. I’m excited about it.

        2. I set up two email accounts just to avoid what you described. I have a free hotmail account that i use for my day to day emails and a free gmail account for when I have to sign in to a website or provide an address like you described to get ebooks. It works for me and has helped to keep my regular email account less cluttered. YMMV

            1. Yup. Been here a month. Formerly from Vancouver BC Canada. And loving every minute of being close to family and friends. I grew up here and it’s wonderful to be home.

        3. You can open a second email and use it so your regular does not get flooded with unwanted ads when you sign up for things.

      3. Thanks for this suggestion! My local library gives me access to Hoopla and Libby/Overdrive & Kanopy! Such a blessing! Seeing as how my tax dollars go to assist funding the local library, I will start to use the benefits.

  4. Glad you did so well at the garage sale. I have never seen any in Britain.

    This week I made nut roast in bulk, we had it for dinner and I froze 7 double portions. We can now use this as convenience meal when short of time. I have open frozen tomatoes, I think there will only 1 more batch. The green tomatoes are ripening indoors.

    My new washing machine takes a larger load of laundry so I have bought another airer to help with drying this winter. We don’t have a tumble dryer.

    We used the bus passes to go and pick up hubby’s glasses, unfortunately the bus got caught in traffic for an hour but at least it was not our petrol. Unfortunately this meant we had to go into a cafe to get a sandwich as hubby can’t miss meals, luckily it wasn’t expensive.

    I am still picking carrots, peppers ,beetroot, parsnip leeks and brussel sprouts. I have spent time in the greenhouse in the sun shucking beans it’s lovely in there. I am also drying beans on the window ledges in the house. I am trying to tidy the garden ready for winter and stowing equipment. I will sort out my seed order soon and send off the order before Christmas. I have saved a lot of seeds this year

    I am trialling making thick socks for hubby,he has very cold hands and feet, his feet are very wide so I am having to adapt a pattern. I have been reading library books online.

    We do not use teabags so I have again put a bucket on the back step for the tea slopes there will be used to top dress the flower beds.

    Have a good week everyone

    1. I am curious, if people in Britain do not usually have garage sales, how do they get rid of household items that they no longer use but that are still in good condition?

      1. I’ve read that they have “boot sales” which are sales out of the trunk of their car. I’m not sure if they go to some public place to park their car or if they have it by their house.

        1. It’s “car boot sale”. Usually somewhere will host it and you will rent a pitch for a small fee. Some people do sell out of the boot of their car but many set up trestle tables. Some of it is old things individuals don’t need but a lot of the time it is plastic junk bought wholesale – or antiques, at special car boot sales.

          If we want to get rid of something, we take it to the charity shop – or if valuable, sell it on eBay. Perhaps it is something to do with the design of British houses? Most houses do not have garages, and we typically do not have substantial front gardens either. We therefore cannot physically accumulate a lot of cast off stuff at once (except in the attic, I suppose) and also don’t have a street-side spot to sell from.

          Our current house has a one car garage and we have no car, and we have a two-car paved drive, but I can’t imagine running the kind of garage sales I read about in America. For example, I sorted out all our clothes recently and it’s just one bin bag of stuff. I understand you often get together with neighbours, but I couldn’t justify putting a lot of effort in to get maybe £25 from it. I mean, people print out honest-to-goodness flyers! Signs! It sounds crazy to me! So I sell the good bits on eBay and take the rest to the charity shop.

          1. I have found that unless I have enough items to make $100, it’s not worth it to me to have a sale. I usually have a ton of stuff from my mom and then clothing that my children have outgrown. Sometimes people also have redecorated and they are getting rid of furniture, pillows, rugs, etc. I also see large sales when people die where they are selling everything–not an estate sale, inside the house (though sometimes those) but where they just put everything out in the driveway and sell all the items inside. We have a large senior community near me and I see a lot of sales there.

            The main things I find are children’s clothing, books, and toys as children outgrow them.

            1. It seems to me like there’s a completely different expectation for “customers” of garage sales over there. As we don’t have a culture of doing them, it would be difficult for me to get people to actually come! I suppose it’s a self-reinforcing cycle. I do reasonably well selling things on eBay, and Facebook marketplace is huge over here for children’s things.

      2. I think it depends but often by giving to charity shops. We also have the Olio app which is very active in London. I guess it is a bit like your Buy Nothing?

      1. It’s a vegetarian “meatloaf” largely made with mushrooms, lentils and ground nuts – there is a good recipe on the BBC recipe site.

    2. Your Nut Roast sounds interesting. Would you be interested in sharing the recipe? Nuts should be available next month, and it sounds like a good idea.
      Thank you.
      Elizabeth H.

  5. I have missed all the yard sales this year because I never remember to carry cash with me when I’m out sigh..
    Last week I was gifted with a huge amount of produce so far I have canned about 24 quarts of carrots, corn and pineapples. Today I am working on pears that last week were hard as a rock and today are soft so far today I have canned 6 quarts and 1 pint and have a huge amount left to work with ( 2 bushels) I cherry picked the largest ones to work with first. A friend who works for a food delivery service when clients are not home they have to throw the meals out so she delivered about 120 single serve meals to us over 2 days time, we kept what we could use and shared the rest with neighbors and friends. A blessing and food was not wasted. As a country we really need to do better at not wasting so much. This is only one example of waste that I see in my city another friend works for a large cookie company that if the employees don’t take the cookies each day they are thrown wrapped in the trash can. While it’s not nutritional it is certainly a morale booster for those in need. We can do better than this.

    1. I very much agree with you about not wasting food. In addition to the pure wastefulness there is the fact that when food goes into landfills it contributes to greenhouse gas. We helped work with our neighborhood in getting food scrap bins, for those parts like onion skins or whatever which you really can’t eat.

    2. Anna – I’m glad your friend gave you the meals and you were able to make use of them yourself or by sharing. Waste of any kind is a big pet peeve of mine. During the lockdown when schools were closed, we were encouraged by neighbors who work at our local school to pick up the meals. We have always homeschooled so I felt funny about it at first thinking we were taking the food from someone else. They assured me that all the food had already been paid for in the prior year, it would be delivered, they had to cook it and anything that was left over had to be thrown away. That convinced me! I think we can all look for ways to reduce waste in our communities. It is an unfortunate aspect of an affluent society so maybe an increased focus on frugality across the board will result in less waste. We can hope that will be one of the silver linings of our current economic situation. Thanks for sharing your successes!

    3. Keebler has a big facility in our state and all the broken cookies and crumbs are sent to the Cargill/Tyson chicken plants to make chicken food…

  6. Trying to get back into a frugal mind-set. It has been a very spendy summer/early fall.
    1. I’m meal planning this week based on what is in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.
    2. I purged and organized my clothes this past weekend. It was needed in post-pandemic and new-job times. I got rid of 25% of my clothes and gave them away on my Buy Nothing group.
    3. Instead of paying for an outdoor guided sunrise hike at a local nature preserve, I opted to sign up for a volunteer event later in the day at the same preserve. Free and was able to lend a hand with some plantings.
    4. I’ve been on the hunt for a new journal as my current one is almost full. I found one a liked but it was a bit pricy. I received a gift card yesterday for taking part in a study, and was able to use that for the journal.
    5. I’m taking part in Sober October, which is saving me lots of money on alcohol.

  7. I haven’t written much in the last few months, but I’ve been here reading and learning.
    I will share some highlights of how I’ve saved.
    This is my “busy time” in my sewing business. I got a payment from my Etsy shop and paid the same amount out online. A day later I noticed an overdraft charge of $27.50 on my account. I called the bank to ask what was going on…to be told that I paid out before the money came into my account. This was not what showed in my account. I was nice, but I told her I would screenshot what my information showed. Suddenly she was willing to refund my money. My 18 year old grandchild was with me while this was going on. A few weeks later he had the same thing happen to him. He called the bank and they gave him back his money. This really bothers me since many people don’t keep close track of their bank stuff. We need to keep a close look on our money. Especially the electronic stuff.
    I have been buying more fabric for the costumes. Fleece was on sale for $4.99 a yard insteed of $12.99. I saved $80.00. My daughter picked it up so I saved shipping.
    The faux fur was on sale for $30.00 a yard saving me $30.00. I did pay for shipping. Next year I may not use fur. Ten years ago I paid $8.00 a yard. *sigh*
    I have stopped eating meat unless it is on sale.
    Our town is still getting food from “Farm to Table”. Free food to anyone that comes to get it once a month. We go every month.
    One of my daughters works re-setting in grocery stores. She calls when something goes on sale. I saved over $3.00 on each can of coffee and bought 6 cans last week.
    One of my daughters has moved home. That makes 5 of us here. Four of us are bringing money into the house. This helps all of us cope during this hard time.
    I’ve made over $1400 this year on Halloween costumes. Much less than usual, but better than last year.
    Brandy, this site is the highlight of my Monday. Thank you.

  8. Your son is so cute with his cousin! Gas jumped 20 cents overnight to $3.17 a gallon in University town, $3.39 two hours south, and $3.59 near the interstate south of Montgomery. Whew! I only bought cabbage as far as current groceries to eat this week. After reading that turkeys may be high, and knowing my middle son with sensory issues expects it at Thanksgiving, I went to Walmart. No whole turkeys were anywhere to be found. So, I bought two turkey breasts, one for Christmas, and one for Thanksgiving. He won’t eat chicken or ham, but will eat turkey at Thanksgiving. I made, for me, a chicken and rice casserole from pantry, and freezer items only. The chicken was canned, rice, canned cream of chicken soup, and frozen broccoli that was cooked. I will eat this for supper all week, along with coleslaw I made from the cabbage. The coleslaw will be good on the sandwiches I make for work this week. I am off today, and I intend to walk locally, and buy cat food and mayonnaise at Family Dollar. Y’all have a nice week.

    1. I forgot to say that the Turkey breast was a bit over $20!!!!! I was in shock. It was for a 7 and a half on turkey breast. I used to buy a large turkey for about $13 or even less. Food prices are just awful.

      1. Holy, moly!! It’s time to start a turkey farm. I’m afraid to look at the price, here.
        Our gas went down to 3.97. It was 4.32 a few days ago. We’re in the U.P. of Michigan.

  9. Oh my goodness, your son is so cute in that firefighter outfit!

    Living frugally in Portland:

    *I’ve been working to substitute out meat for vegetables in many of our dishes. I tried this with veggies from our garden and it was amazing: https://www.budgetbytes.com/roasted-vegetable-baked-penne/

    *I found an ebike deal for $450 ($700 off the regular price) so I jumped. Ebikes have saved us so much in car repairs and gas and we can get around most places in our city. With two ebikes bikes, it will give us even more flexibility to leave our car at home.

    *We are still getting tomatoes, squash and kale from our garden. I planted a fall garden of lettuce, more kale, and spinach.

    *My husband is starting a new job that will increase our household income by about 20%. Our goals for that extra income are to help our kids through college without debt and to save more aggressively for retirement.

  10. Wow-all but one item was new in the box! Great idea on creating your own jewelry from other pieces of jewelry. Thrifty actions: accepted a gardenia plant from a neighbor, along with several limes and papaya. Traveled to Vermont-New Hampshire with husband using accumulated points in air & hotel. We ate one late afternoon small meal a day, with free breakfast at hotel & free 10.00 hotel voucher towards snacks. We plan to travel in the next 2 years of retirement, using up all accumulated points, since they keep changing…. getting less for more points!

  11. Those sound like some great finds! I think it would be neat to have an ice cream cone maker too. This week we were unexpectedly blessed with a lot of food – my husband texted me to see if I would be interested in a flat of tomatoes from a co-worker. I thought I could manage that. Then he came home with 5 flats! I”m still trying to figure out what to do with them all. But it’s a good problem to have.

    1. I made tomato basil summer sauce. It takes twelve pounds of tomatoes for six pints but is delicious. Just Google it. It is from better homes and gardens.

    2. I had a bumper crop of tomatoes from my patio this summer. I do a no-peel slow cooker marinara sauce (https://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/281161/no-peel-slow-cooker-marinara-sauce/) and then freeze it in quart or gallon size freezer bags to use later. You don’t even have to peel the tomatoes, so it’s very easy. I also sometimes just cook them like this on their own (no seasonings or additions), then puree them and freeze to use later in soups and things that call for tomato sauce or puree.

  12. I carefully created a shopping list using a $15.00 Kroger pick-up coupon. I was very careful to chose items that were not some of the higher priced pick up items. I honestly did not realize that prices could be higher if they were ordered for pick up or delivery. My daughter shared this tid bit with me. Fortunately , the order wouldn’t go through. Later that night I rescued two very unusual boxes of meat. 20 lbs ground chuck , 2 huge Boston butts , an entire ” roll???” of uncut filet mignon. 2 huge pork loins , and 4 massive racks of ribs. In two years of dumpster diving I’ve never seen this particular store discard meat like this in this particular way. But there it was sitting inside of the dumpster doors . Cuts from the meat department ,but not cut or priced. It is said in several facebook groups that sometimes employees will remove items to dumpster , just to return and take them after they clock out. These are referred to as honey pots . In the past, I have seen diapers and milk that were clearly sat out . I would never consider taking anything intended for a child .This meat was an incredibly valuable dumpster find. But I definitely was shocked. Needless to say , I have refilled my freezer and no longer needed to purchase anything. Over the week , multiple other items were retrieved. 9 cans of Amy’s soups were happily welcomed. Even in dumpster diving the fellow divers have unwritten rules.
    I purchased Sugar cookie a toy she requested . Using a gift card , I paid $8.00 . A $2.00 thrift store wallet , nwt’s , a 4 pack healthier nail polish and a found new bottle of Brittany Spears perfume. She will love these items and I’ve spent $16.00. I’m quite proud of this gift for her. My daughter bought me concert tickets for a bucket list concert in Miami in December. ( Andre Bocelli ) Not exactly frugal but w my health issues the experience is priceless. We will be frugal with associated expenses. My son asked for a new computer chair. I imagine a black Friday purchase will be cheapest. As the children have aged our priorities are changing. A meal and togetherness will be our largest Christmas experience. I will be doing surveys etc to obtain gift cards and submitting Fetch receipts to fund some of our Christmas expenses. My daughter has picked up a third job to help w school expenses. In addition she did a high dollar survey w a company that is actually legitimate. She received $175.00 for a Zoom interview on restaurants. She then attended a second in person survey at the restaurant for another $125.00. She had an adult male accompanying her for safety issues. I’m always paranoid about my girls safety . She gave me the gift card. I paid it towards my light bill and gave her cash to pay the cell phone bill. She may have other opportunities too. As usual we are hustling and bustling to be frugal.

    1. WOW Lillianna! So happy for your tremendous meat find. I always enjoy your posts and live vicariously thought you and Sugar Cookie. Thanks for the adventure!

    2. Lilliana – You amaze and inspire me with your frugality and creativity. I look forward to your comments (and everyone else’s) every week. Thank you for sharing your successes! Please don’t ever stop. 🙂

  13. I hit some of the garage sales in the valley over the weekend as well. I found a few things on my list. It was fabulous weather!!! I also ordered a book from Thriftbooks and used a $6.00 reward. I only paid $1.49!! I’m hopeful it’ll arrival before my trip to Texas on Friday, so I can read on the plane. I also started using soap nuts for our laundry last week and it seems to be working great. I approximate cost per load to be .06 cents. I’ve been spending .28 cents per load with a mail order subscription to Dropps. Why are gas prices rising again? I stopped at Costco on my way to work this AM and paid $4.76 a gallon!!! When I filled up 10 days ago it was $4.39 a gallon. Hope everyone has a great week.

  14. Well done on the garage sales!!
    From that little bowl of our first figs from our $6 tree, https://pin.it/ILLbnrg , here are our 3 half pint jars all canned!! https://pin.it/7aspqSq Lots more figs are ripening on the tree now, so more jam coming this week!! I was amazed at how easy it was to make!!

    I got the borders put on my scrappy quilt that I have been making so this week it will go on Lenni to be quilted up! https://pin.it/2zniusd. I have made a commitment to see how many quilts I can make only using my stash. So far for 2022, I have counted 10 . And yet, without purchasing fabric, my stash has not noticeably decreased!! 😳🤔🤔

    We had two more client quilts come in. My daughter quilted one and here’s #277 that Lenni and I quilted up: https://pin.it/3xcx17K and https://pin.it/4WBPSON.

    I found 8 packages (about 5 pounds each) of BLSL chicken breast again on FlashFood for $1.10/pound. I bought all of them (about 43 pounds). I didn’t need any, but I knew that 2 of my daughters and 1 DIL would be thrilled to add it to their freezers for their families! I was right! There was a glitch however. Hubs was picking it up after a Dr appt nearby. One of the packages of chicken was gone which meant someone else had taken it. With Flashfood, you prepay, so he asked the Customer Service clerk what they would do. In the past, they have given us a fresh replacement from the store. At the very least, he wanted them to let FlashFood know so we could get a refund for that item. She told him he would need to contact FlashFood himself and then marked our order as “picked up”! He had forgotten his phone charger and his phone was almost dead when he called to let me know. I called and asked to speak with manager. Staying calm, I said that apparently there were 2 mistakes that had been made by their clerk. First, each order is supposed to be checked for accuracy by the clerk before customer can leave with it. Second, she should not have marked our order as picked up by DH, rather than noting something had been missing.
    The manager agreed and took my name and had a note at Customer Service which told them that I could pick out a family pack of BLSL chicken breast of my choice from the meat department and bring it to the desk where there would be no charge to me as a replacement. To make up for my additional trip back to the store, he also had a $25 store gift card for me. I was amazed! Also, Flashfood themselves gave me a credit back to my cc for one of my packages of chicken!! In these days of poor customer service, they certainly redeemed their error quickly once their manager was aware of it!
    On Saturday, Meijers had a 2 day sale on fresh raspberries for 99 cents/basket rather than their regular $3.19/basket price. I bought 2 cases (24 baskets) and saved over $76!! That is, except for the fact that I used my $25 gift card to pay the $23.76 with $1.24 left over! And here’s what my free raspberries made: https://pin.it/4oaG5Ty! 15 jars of raspberry jam are being put on my pantry shelf!! My $25 gift card bought over $76 worth!!

    Rather than buying pre-made cookies or any baking ingredients for a big batch of cookies to take for a Church event, I made 2 cookie varieties without needing to leave the house : https://pin.it/3Yna18O.

    On Sunday afternoon, while Hubs was away, I got busy and cleared out the fridge a bit. I put country style pork ribs in the crockpot and used up a bottle of BBQ sauce from fridge and homemade brown sugar. This will be 8 serving portions.
    Then I took some ground beef from fridge and made hero burger mix, which also used some of my fresh grated garden horseradish from the fridge as well as a baguette we were given! Another dinner option that gave us 10 servings!
    Finally, I saw a carton of cottage cheese in the fridge, so I put together “Miracle” lasagna. I didn’t have fresh shredded mozzarella cheese but I did have mozzarella cheese sticks that I bought on clearance for $1.50/pound. I shredded them up and voila! I had shredded cheese for it!!

    Using up food ingredients before they go bad and making substitutions for ingredients I don’t have is really reducing waste and saving $$!! It’s also keeping me out of the stores, thus avoiding unnecessary “extra” purchases!

    It’s been getting chilly here overnight and in the mornings (just a couple degrees above frost!). Nothing better than to warm up house in the morning with Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins!! It’s one way to avoid turning on furnace! 😉🤣🤣 https://pin.it/3KW75vj . It was a great Use-it-up recipe! https://pin.it/1hOSA1O. I replaced the butter with home canned applesauce I had already opened in fridge. Used another wrinkly apple from back of fridge. Homemade Pumpkin pie spice, eggs from our chickens, sugar, flour and pumpkin that I bought over the past months on clearance. I doubt that I had more than 10 cents invested in each individual muffin and instead of the 12 muffin batch the recipe said, I got 15 muffins!! And the house smells SO good!! And yum!! Are they ever tasty!!

    Just picked up a dozen pint jars at Meijers this morning. A two day sale through today with a single use 40% off coupon using M-perks. So the dozen jars were $8.45. Not great price, but I am beginning to run low!

    While I am sad to see the warmth of summer and all the garden growing, I am enjoying this cooler harvest season too! The trees are changing colors and it’s really quite lovely! I’m still squirreling away for the winter and trying to be better at eliminating waste and using even the little bits. Miserly? I hope not. Hopefully, just a better steward over the abundance that comes my way!

    These times seem to be crucial for us to become as frugal and creative as possible! As one of my grandsons said when told something might be too hard for him to do- “Challenge Accepted!! 👍” Let’s all take courage and accept the challenges the best we can!

    Thanks, Brandy for all your encouragement!! So grateful for all the ideas everyone shares that help me manage my resources in more ways than I could have imagined!! ❤️❤️

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. GardenPat, reading your comment informed me about Flashfood and luckily I’m located >1 mile from a participating store. With the $10 sign up bonus I purchased 3pks of chicken breasts for $1.22 out of pocket. Just wanted to let you know your comment really helped 🙂 Thanks

  15. Great finds at the garage sales! Good bargain hunting! * I finished another lap afghan with donated yarn. This yarn was the pricey blanket yarn. The yarn I used for this would have cost me almost $40 if I had purchased it. It is very soft, squishy and warm. I hope it makes someone feel loved and cozy. * My daughter and family who live close by came to pick apples at Granny’s “farm”….lol…we are in the suburbs, regular lot and have but one apple tree, but our four year old granddaughter calls it a farm…city kid, dontcha know. They got two big boxes of Honeycrisp. One box for eating, and the other box is imperfect apples we will make apple sauce or pies with. It was fun, and the little girls were so excited. * My son isn’t able to work much because his college classes are very time consuming and difficult for him. Thankfully, he lives at home so he doesn’t have to worry about rent or food. Anyway, he is FINALLY figuring out how to be thrifty. First, he isn’t buying dumb stuff on a whim anymore (whew!). Second, he is eating at home instead of fast food. Third he is trying to sell things in order to get tuition money. This week he sold an old guitar for $65. He also filled out a scholarship application this weekend. Finally, he is a volunteer junior high cross country coach. He has outgrown all the school spirit clothing he had when he ran, and it’s long gone. It’s getting colder so he looked into buying a sweatshirt. It would have been close to $100! Instead he went to Hobby Lobby and got a plain black sweatshirt and some gold cricut film stuff and made his own with his old t shirt letter press. Total cost: $20 with lots of film left to do t shirts or whatever another time. I was proud of him! I try to be hyper-encouraging whenever he shows any sign of being thrifty! * Still enjoying shows, library books, knitting and crocheting. * Spent more time outside enjoying the vibrant and gorgeous Minnesota fall colors. It is absolutely spectacular this year! * Spending time each day trying to declutter and get a pile of donations to take to the thrift store. I always feel good about having a good clean out before winter when we hunker down. * I’ve been trying, also, to spend time being purposefully thankful. It’s been a tough few months for our family, but I know we are blessed. I’m trying to remember that everyday. It helps me not feel so overwhelmed by worry or grief. Whats that saying? Worry is the thief of joy? I think that is true, so I’m trying to be very mindful of gratitude. *Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. BeckyH, I’m betting that your son could find some other people who would like a specialty ‘school spirit’ hoodie or t-shirt like his! And he could take advance orders on just a few samples.

      We’ve been more careful than usual with expenses, as well. This political and stock market situation is more than a bit unnerving. One thing I’m trying, after Daughter #1’s enthusiastic response to an Advent jerky calendar (which was WAY overpriced for what you got): I’ve purchased small bottles of alcohol and mixers, plus packages of jerky and meatsticks. (on Amazon Warehouse, so I paid less.) It will take a while to wrap 25 small packages x 2…but I’ve got lots of corny Christmas movies to watch while I’m doing it. And I plan to present these in a pretty hatbox or basket. The total price for each, though, was approx. $40. And that’s their major present, except for a few thrift store items, for Christmas. P.S. The jerky calendar was approx. $85. For 25 ‘bites’ of jerky.

    2. Thank you so much for mentioning the saying about worry and joy! I never heard it, and it is what I needed hear/read.
      Thank you. 🤗

  16. Love the photos at the fire station! I am being frugal by staying OUT OF thrift stores and yard sales for a while. We’re retired, and we’r in a nice place of not really NEEDING anything at this time.I love clothes, but buying more shorts or jeans when I don’t need any is still not very frugal, even if it is resale. So I spend more itme making art, cooking, and having coffee with friends at home, and less time “shopping.”

    We’re also eating more vegetarian meals in between meat and fish meals, to save money and also for health. The prices in grocery are taking my breath away!! I shop the sales flyers carefully and keep my freezer stocked.

    I read frugal blogs and make being frugal a fun hobby, not a chore!

    life is good.

  17. I’ve been using your affiliate links for my purchases on Amazon. With my new home, I’ve been doing more shopping then usual. I hope it blesses you and your family. I’ve been reading here for years and have been blessed by your writing and the community members.
    I’ve made a new friend who shares my frugal outlook on life. We met at the dog park of all places. So far, we’ve shared some grocery store finds with each other.
    I am now living in the same zone as you Brandy, zone 9a, so am learning about gardening here. So far, I’m enjoying my new crop of lettuce and watching as my cole crops and snow peas are growing. I’m slowly making plans to re-landscape my little backyard space. About 30 feet long by 20 feet deep. I think I’ll have room for 3 to 4 dwarf fruit trees. Any suggestions as to your favorites or those of your readers would be appreciated. I also have a 2 foot deep by 10 foot portion where I can plant asparagus or blackberry. I wonder if I could plant both in the same space since they produce at different times. Your thoughts?
    I’m now able to air dry my laundry which is a new frugal habit for me. I continue to eat from my pantry such as it is. I’m working at restocking my pantry and freezer whenever i see anything that approaches a sale.

    1. Thank you so much for using my links! I really appreciate it!

      I would suggest semi-dwarf trees over dwarf trees. You can still top them at 10 to 12 feet and they produce a year earlier than dwarf trees. Make sure anything you pick is self-fertile and choose fruit you like! It will ideally be 400 chilling hours or less, with a max of up to 500 chilling hours in order to it to produce fruit in your climate. I recommend apricots, peaches, and pomegranates.

      You cannot have blackberries and asparagus share the same space. They both need root space. I chose to do blackberries in the new design and not plant asparagus this time (at least for now). Asparagus takes up a lot of space.

      I am beyond happy with my Prime Ark Freedom Blackberries. They are thee times bigger than my other blackberries and they ripen earlier when it is cooler, so they don’t burn. Iw want to tear out my other blackberries and replace them with these! I bought mine from Burpee but there are other sources.

      1. Thanks for the suggestions on fruit trees and to buy semi-dwarf trees. And the information about asparagus and blackberries not being able to share the same bed. I grew asparagus up north and it is quite the space hog. I didn’t have to grow blackberries since they were in abundance everywhere and could be foraged. Not true here. Thanks again for your blog and help.

      2. I read somewhere that blackberries and lavender were good together. I was hoping to try that next spring.

  18. I’m rereading blogs and reading all comments on blogs pertaining to saving money.

    OPEC slashed production so it is anticipated November 1 gas prices will begin to spike.

    Only 4 of the 12 railroads have agreed to the new contract after a threatened strike. If the others don’t agree rail shipping could come to a standstill.

    The Mississippi River is so low that ships aren’t able to get through. This could lead to more delayed shipments.

    So the overall theme is to stock up now. Combine errands to save gasoline and plan that things are going to take a lot longer to get places.

    Thankfully all the tips on stockpiling, saving money and doing without have left me in a fairly good position.

    I cannot afford to buy much meat anymore but make do with beans and lots of frozen veggies. Fresh fruit and vegetables are outrageous. I’m depending on canned and frozen and I encourage my friends who don’t home can or home freeze to stock up on store bought canned and frozen as they can.

    I help run a class through church that teaches people, especially young adults, about portion sizes costs per serving and how to stock a working pantry. I was surprised how many have never been taught this. I’m glad to be a part of changing that.

    I heard on NPR that prices are so high in the Midwest because other parts of the country are just not buying things at such high prices. So the companies raise prices elsewhere to make up for it. Evidently Midwesterners are more apt to pay the higher costs rather than doing without.

    THANK YOU for all your tips and suggestions.

    1. Not this midwesterner! I am astounded at the prices and not buying. We will do without! However, I do know plenty that feel differently. I saw in an earlier reply that WM charges more for pickup than in store purchases which I did not know. Plus, my husband is 100% disabled vet so if I go in Store I do not pay taxes but curb pick up you do. Prices go up Taxes go up so I guess I will go back into the store.

      1. Hi OKBar,
        Last week you posted about the hi cost of your t.v. service. I replied late in the week, so I am sending my reply again.* We live in a very flat area, close to Memphis, TN and use digital, free, “over the air” t.v. *When our old t.v. died, we bought a small smart t.v. @ Walmart. We had an antenna that we put close to our window that uses co-ax cable and plugs into the back of the t.v. We receive about 30 channels free! We’ve never paid for television. I’m blessed with a hubby that isn’t picky about what sports he watches. He is happy with whatever comes I. With our rabbit ears. I’m content as long as PBS will come in.* On a whim, I compared what we receive over the air with an ad for a local dish service and it would cost $70 a month for the same channels. * We can watch, ABC, CBS, PBS, NBC, me t.v.(Andy Griffith show and other re-runs), quote a few Christian stations, and even FOX(literally depends on which way the wind blows 😄).
        *If you aren’t in a very rural area give “free” t.v. a try.

        1. I also live near Memphis but in North MS on the very eastern edge of the Delta. We still have the tv antenna apparatus high in the sky from years ago. Currently paying way too much for Direct TV. Does your free tv use some sort of receiver or are you able to pick up channels because it is Smart? We are 75 miles from Memphis so that may be too far.
          Thanks for re-posting, i never saw it last week.

          1. With our old “tube” t.v. we used the digital box and the window antennae.
            *That t.v. died last year so we bought a small smart t.v. for approximately $180. It was so easy to set up.

        2. We’ve tried it. It won’t work for us because we’re in a bowl with forest on three sides and Lake Superior on the other. Nothing sticks here for long.

  19. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    The weather has been cool in the mornings, so I’ve opened the windows early, closing them before it gets hot again in the afternoon.
    I picked up a free couch, loveseat and ottoman in fair condition, two trips in the trusty old Honda minivan. The living room doesn’t match (at all), but at least we have more seating now. The mix of two brown paisley Lazyboy recliners and gray new-to-me set will never be magazine-worthy, but at least they’re comfortable.
    Dried pinto beans are currently on sale at Sellers Brothers, 3#/$1. I haven’t seen this price in a while. I bought about 18 lbs, but am thinking about going back for more before the sale ends.
    I arranged to carpool with another family to overlapping soccer games next weekend; they have two boys on the same teams that two of my boys are on.
    I packed frugal lunches for the kids; it’s much cheaper than school lunches.
    I cooked a couple of meals for my parents and helped take care of my mom, so the kids and I ate food at their house. My dad treated the kids to donuts the next morning.
    I will make the last of the rotisserie chicken into a chicken pot pie, and save the carcass until I have a few more to cook together.
    My daughter made some of the .25 cake mixes from the salvage store into cake mix cookies.
    I sold a few more things on Mercari.
    Two of my children have December birthdays, one has a January birthday, plus there’s Christmas. I haven’t made much progress with gift shopping, but at least I’m putting a little money away.
    I’ve been cooking some forgotten marked down meat from the freezer. It’s easier to use in a meal once it’s cooked.
    I bought gas at Sam’s, the cheapest place near me.
    Hope everyone has a nice, frugal week!

  20. What a fun experience at the fire station for your little son!
    *I picked up a loss leader at an upscale grocery store when I spotted a large stash of wide-mouth Ball/Bernardin canning lids for $3.70 CAD ($2.70 USD). The price at Walmart here has been $6CAD (4.35 USD), higher at other stores. I bought 10 packs, leaving plenty behind for others. It wasn’t a sale price; I suspect it was last year’s stock that didn’t sell to its ritzy clientele. I may go back next week and buy more.
    * A daughter scored a 30% discount on fresh cranberries for me, so I bought 6 lbs of cranberries. I processed them into a year’s worth of sauce, which we enjoy with chicken, pork, Swedish meatballs, and on scones. I used Tattler lids for this. And everything sealed; “Great!” I thought smugly. But pride goeth before a fall! On close inspection, 3 of my jars had water leak into them from the canner! The joke was on me; I had been so worried about making my Tattlers loose that some had been TOO loose! (Of course when I had practiced with canning water I wouldn’t have picked up on that problem.) I had a good laugh at myself!
    *Another daughter had saved and scrimped to buy an All American pressure canner last spring before the price went up. Last week she found boneless chicken marked down to less than half price and decided to can up about 30 pints worth. She lives far away but I was able to mentor her with FaceTime. Her computer was propped up in her kitchen. We chatted as she worked, I answered her canning questions, and the grandkids came and went showing me their treasures! Isn’t technology wonderful?
    * Canadian news media keeps assuring us inflation has levelled off. I don’t know how they calculate inflation figures, but food pricing is still an issue. Prices continue to go up (the sales cycle has vanished; case lot sales have drifted into the realm of nostalgia). Broccoli is CAD $5/lb! Cauliflowers are CAD $7 each! In October! Usually prices are not that high in the fall for brassicas, rising to peak prices in Jan/Feb. Yikes.

    1. It’s not that prices have levelled off, but the amount they are going up has levelled off! We are seeing some prices continuing to go up a lot here in northern Alberta, and some going up only a little, and a few even steady.

  21. The fire station pictures are adorable! The jewelry turned out very nice, too!

    I had leftover mushrooms about to go south, so I dehydrated them.

    I used the last of some buttermilk by making biscuits. I baked the biscuits in the toaster oven to save on heat and electricity.

    I made stew in the pressure cooker for the same reasons.

    My daughter bought a meal for me at a restaurant, so I gave her a ride to a town an hour away and back home again, a couple of days later. It all evens out.

    I’ve been able to go without A/C at night for a few nights, thankfully, since our nights are cooling off.

    I dehydrated more unseasoned meat scraps for the dogs.

    I pulled up some spent summer vegetable plants and I’m starting seed for some cool weather plants.

    I used plants and things from my yard as fall decorations.

    I worked more on a gift I’m making for Christmas.

  22. That’s great you were successful with garage sales. Your son is adorable in that huge firemen’s jacket! We’ve begun having fires in the woodstove again, which the pups love. My sister and I had a thrift day, in a town we’d not been to before, and had a wonderful time. She got far more than I, but I did find a cotton sheet $1, an ice cube tray .25, a canister $1.49 and lidded jar $3 to resell, a fleece shirt for my husband $2, and cat treats I’ll save for Christmas $1.49. Sadly, when I got home, I found that something, we believe a hawk, got one of our young hens… sigh. I washed the windows, in anticipation of bringing all the house plants in, which I did the following day. We found a place that sells discounted Pella windows an hour away, and bought two for my new little sewing room. They had expressed interest in my soap, and bought all I had brought with me, and also talked with my husband about working with them on some metal fabricating, so it was an all around good trip. The summer sheets were swapped out for flannel ones. I hope everyone has a lovely week. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/10/blog-post.html

  23. I do not like garage sales. Do not like interacting with people over their junk. I’ve tried a few times and just can’t do it. But I love an impersonal church/charity garage sale and thrift stores. I had to look up ice cream cone maker. Had no idea such a thing even existed. Can’t believe how much they retail for. You got a great deal. Just got a call that I won 4 tickets to Artrageous show on Ole Miss campus. It looks very different and interesting. I love anything theater’ish. I was going to Oxford tomorrow anyway and now I’ll just spend the night at friend’s condo. Had a birthday last week and have made a list to take advantage of all the birthday freebies. Most seem to expire after 7 days or at end of birthday month. Most excited about Krispy Kreme and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

  24. It looks like your son had a great time at the fire station! And your necklace is beautiful. What a great idea to re-purpose those beads.
    A friend gifted me with the last of her cucumbers and I made a batch of pickles. She also gave me a pound of carrots.
    I picked all my green tomatoes and brought them inside to ripen, as the nights are dropping into the mid-thirties.
    I harvested my lima beans. The plants didn’t make a lot, but we got to eat them with a meal.
    I harvested and froze rainbow chard.
    I harvested and dried a large bunch of thyme.
    I planted garlic for next year.
    I cooked chicken bones and canned 5 pints of broth. I also canned black-eyed peas (cooked from dry) and beef stew.
    I visited a local thrift store and found the perfect comfy knit top to go with the pajama pants I am making, for $1. Also the batting I need for a baby quilt I plan to gift for $1.50, some small craft kits, unopened, for $1 each, two glasses for 50 cents each, a vintage book for $5, several picture frames for $1 and $1.50, and a couple other things I can’t remember. I have been avoiding this store because last year they doubled all their prices, but it looks like they have come down on a lot of things. Probably because so many people stopped shopping there. (For instance, all the glasses went up to $2 each when the prices were initially raised.)
    On Saturday we shoveled 12 5-gallon buckets of llama manure from a neighboring ranch and spread this on all the garden beds. Llama poop breaks down very quickly, so I’m excited about the benefits this will have for my garden next year. (It was a gorgeous day for this job. The llamas congregated in the far corner of the pasture and watched as we tromped around collecting the dried manure.)

  25. Brandy- great photos of your son as a fireman. You did a great job at the garage sales!
    I believe it is getting more challenging for me to be frugal. I did find a few ways to save this last week. We traveled 5 hours north of us to visit our sister-in-law. Her husband passed recently and she is struggling with grief- they were married 50 years!! I packed snacks and water to enjoy in the car. She provided lunch for us and it was so much food we didn’t need dinner. We did spend the night in a hotel because the trip is just too much for us to make in one day anymore. We stopped into a grocery store and bought 2 donuts for breakfast on the road. We purchased gas for the car at almost a dollar a gallon cheaper than it is at home so that was really good. My sister-in-law sent me home with a box of canning jars that she no longer needs along with some canned food and a large bottle of cinnamon. It was so very nice of her to share with us. I’m trying not to waste any food and not purchase any take out food either. My husband wanted homemade pizza the other night for dinner but I had little in the way of toppings. I had a small amount of left-over spaghetti sauce so I used that as the sauce and topped with cheese and tomatoes from my garden and sprinkled some carrot tops on. It was delicious. I took a tray of chopped carrot tops and placed them on a baking sheet and drizzled olive oil and sea salt and baked until crunchy. These make the best topping-very flavorful in salads, soups, rice. I will do this with all my carrot tops from now on. I have been in real need of a few additions to my wardrobe. I needed a new pair of jeans, some dress pants and possibly a new sweater. I looked on-line and in the outlet malls but the prices are so expensive. I am happy to say I was able to find a very comfortable pair of jeans, a Banana Republic sweater and a pair of dress pants at the thrift store for a total of $25 which fit much better into my budget. I also purchased 3 new pairs of wool socks which should keep my feet warm enough while at home so I don’t have to turn on the furnace as much. We were able to put in a new garden bed and have it already for spring planting. In the last couple years, we have added 3 new raised garden beds. We dug our potato harvest and have those in storage now. We have plenty for ourselves and some to share with our adult children. We have been experiencing a very sunny, warm fall thus far here in the Pacific Northwest. I am thankful for this because it means lower energy bills. Thank you Brandy for providing such an encouraging blog. It is greatly appreciated in these challenging times.

    1. It’s always nice to get quality clothes at thrift stores! My eldest and I both have found great things that way.

    2. Kim – I bet your visit was a source of great comfort for your SIL. Glad you could make the trip. Thanks for sharing your successes this week!

  26. Brandy, I enjoyed seeing the photo of your son in the firefighter’s uniform. And your beads are beautiful! Many years ago, I found some handblown beads that had been a jeweller’s stock that had been hidden in an attic in Prague for fifty years, during and after WW2. They were inexpensive. Then whenever a friend went abroad, I asked for an inexpensive necklace or bracelet from a local bazaar that reflected the local customs. The wildest one came from the Amazon when a friend went to nurse there. Your beads, Brandy, remind me of hand-blown Czech or bohemian beads from the 1920s. they might not be but are reminiscent. This past week, I spent $44 at the grocery store and saved $26.00. Every item I bought was reduced. I stocked up on sugar (4 kg for $3.47). In the past, I’ve used very little sugar for myself but mostly for the hummingbirds. This fall I hope still to make jam so will need more sugar (even making reduced sugar jam). I bought 2 pie pumpkins for $3 and gave one to my friend who shops for me. That was a great price. I am contemplating making pumpkin jam. I’ve read reviews that said it’s delicious. I have stocked up on oatmeal. I want to stock on flour. I am reorganizing my kitchen cupboards, clean my kitchen. Then I hope to start a very self-disciplined baking program. no more spending of $10-16 on peanut free bread. I’ll make my own. This week, I used some of the broth I got on sale to make chicken noodle soup. A fraction of the price of a can of soup and a fraction of the sodium.

    My ladies’ sscholarship fundraising committee is going to have a zoom art lesson. It will be at a nominal cost but we have to buy our own watercolour supplies.
    Michaels, a craft store has some paper, a brush and watercolours on sale so I should be able to buy everything for
    $20. I don’t need paint because years ago I bought these little English booklets of water colour paint sheets. One only has to wet them with a brush et voilà paint. I took a couple of beautiful photos of fall leaves for inspiration. I had hoped to get out to our mountains to see the larch at their golden prime but that was last weekend and half the city was out there – the parking lot was full and cars were parked on the edges of both sides of the highway for 1.5 kilometers. So maybe I’ll get lucky and still get to see migrating swans…

    1. They are just plastic beads! But I really like your idea of beads from different countries. That would be lovely. I have friends in a few different places around the world and that is such an interesting idea. Blown glass beads would be amazing! Hmm . . .

    2. I have pumpkin “butter” which is really like jam and it is delicious! I especially enjoy it with plain yogurt.

  27. I went to a store and bought a couple camisoles. They were 30 percent off. Yet still more than I usually pay for things because I usually go to a thrift shop for my clothes. I looked around at the new clothes, when I saw the prices I was not tempted to buy anything at all. I can buy clothes for 1 to 4 dollars. I try to aim fro $1.50. I definitely didn’t want to pay over 70 for a blouse. I’m glad some people do and then drop them off at thrift shops. I would like to buy some wool socks though and I need to buy some for my sons. I also need a pair of shoes. Mine are terribly worn. I’ll be watching for a sale on comfortable black shoes I can wear with dresses. I don’t like to wear heels. We have been doing a good job of going grocery shopping and cooking at home. It helps that I made a budget. We did eat out one day, but had a lovely time and decided it was worth it. Otherwise I’ve been going to the grocery store and buying food instead of going to the fast food restaurant. We have been turning off lights. Using less energy, as it has cooled. We tested our heat one evening just to make sure it works. I’m glad it does.

  28. Hello!

    We had family visiting from Europe the past two weeks, and I also started a new part-time job. I’ve been so busy, but trying my best to stay frugal and not succumb to convenience! Our guests greatly enjoyed all the meals I cooked, particularly my pineapple veggie fried rice and spring rolls….which is easy to make and economical.

    I have also started Christmas shopping. We have a local Macy’s going out of business, and I found several good deals there including holiday Godiva chocolate boxes that were 60% off, and made for this season! I also found Christmas jigsaw puzzles for $5 that will make great gifts. I found some other good clearance finds at Target, and used a birthday Cartwheel offer for my total purchase.

    I painted the plastic red on some solar stake lights I had. I also hot glued some embellishments on them. They turned out really cute. $0 spent. I will put these down by our mailbox as part of our Christmas decor. I want to avoid adding increases to our electric bill, so I will be cutting back on outdoor lights and decor this year.

    I did an Amazon return at Kohls and bought a Nike t-shirt for my son for $5 with the coupon they gave me.

    I picked up the book, “The Lost Girls of Willowbrook,” from the library. The book is historical fiction, and has great reviews. I just started reading it though.

    Have a great week!

  29. Your nephew is very handsome with his dark hair, nice smile with straight white teeth, and a tan.
    * I found fireplace doors & a full-length mirror for my sister at a neighbor’s garage sale. The fireplace doors & mirror were 20$. I also found a university hoodie for 3$ for hubby for a school he follows football-wise. The hoodies are priced at 25$ at the local Walmart. Fireplace doors start at around 300$. Miraculously the garage sale doors fit her fireplace.
    * I made stew from some cooked meat I had in the freezer along with some wrinkled potatoes, wilted celery, leftover frozen beef gravy, and some carrots. I love that you can put veggies past their prime in the crock pot with a little meat & have a new creation that is tasty.
    * Found a large number of magazines in the dumpster behind the Dollar General. I gave some of the kids’ magazines & puzzle books to my sister for her granddaughter. The rest were dropped off at a local hospital for the patients.
    * My husband took my sister’s patio door off the tracks so her sofa could be moved into her living room. She was thinking of buying a new sofa as her current sofa wouldn’t fit thru the front door. (He brought a helper as the glass doors were very heavy.)
    * Hubby repaired a red suitcase handle. He removed the broken handle & made a new handle with a segment of a red vinyl belt.
    * I misplaced the window cleaner. Put vinegar in a spray bottle & it cleaned just fine.

  30. Those are amazing garage sale finds! Nobody seems to have garage sales in my neighborhood anymore, at least I haven’t seen any in the last few years.
    Last week, I shopped from the grocery store app’s deal section and found yogurt cups and frozen veggies at lower prices than I have seen in a long time, so I bought as many as I could.
    I earned enough points on Crowdtap to redeem for a $10 gift card, which I will use to help pay for my next grocery order.
    I washed my clothes and hung them up to dry instead of using the tumble dryer.
    I bought two new nightgowns, one for summer and one for spring/fall, on clearance for $9 and $12, and I used Ibotta and a cash back gift card to get a combined total of 8% back.
    I resisted the urge to buy more clothes than I really needed.

  31. Such a pretty blue! (I love all shades of blue)

    Our girl scouts always loved the firestation visits(and the firefighters loved the kids)

    Not a real eventful week, mostly working and school for the teen and I. My son spent the week with his best friend 2 1/2 hours away(both guys used their vacation time, lol) My son did bring home all his leftover condiments from eating out 😂

    One of the elements on my stove quit working. I called Amana since it’s still under warranty and they are shipping out a new one.

    A friend of mine buys pallets from Target and Amazon so I was able to get a new shower curtain for $3

    Saturday after the boy got off work he filled up my gas tank on my truck ❤️($75 worth 😳)

    I made a roast over the weekend and the last time, I ended up with a bunch of leftover au jus that I froze. I added it to the veggies of this one, saving from using packet gravy(I can not make gravy for anything)

    I’m being diligent about entering receipts on my apps. I use that money for Christmas.

    The weather still is all over the place. I have been able to turn everything off and open up the house a few times. The city finally got the new sidewalks poured(back in June they tore out the sidewalks on our street in order to replace the water lines) Hopefully now everything won’t be a dusty mess since they are wrapping things up.

    The teen made chocolate chip cookies, mozzarella cheese sticks, and popcorn for snacks this week

  32. Last week, I only worked 2 days, and I won’t go back to work until November 2. I am gradually drifiting into retirement. I took breakfast and lunch the two days I worked.
    I took corn, onions and tomatoes to my officemate.
    Gave many corn stalks to a friend whio is using them for decoration.
    Made a another batch of tomato basil simmer sauce with tomatoes and basil from the garden. This batch was made using roma tomatoes. We think it tasted much better. Made focaccia pizza one night for dinner. My DH put leftover sdauce (there was about 1/4 cup extra) on his pizza. Said it was really tasty.
    Picked the balance of the corn and separated between eating corn (young) and soup corn (a little beyond the best stage as far as ripeness goes). Did this two different times and froze it. We have plenty of corn for both soup and eating for the next year now.
    Picked the rest of our broccoli.
    Made baked potatoes with some of the biggest potatoes. Will have stuffed baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese for dinner and/or lunch.
    Made sausage and gnocchi soup. This uses onion and chard from the garden. I used the rest of the sausage that I didn’t use on the pizza and the rest of some cream that was in the fridge.
    Picked most of our peppers. They are on tables in the shop. I am waiting for them to turn red so I can make roasted red peppers.
    Dried 4 more trays of onions. Once I dry 4 more trays, I willl have a gallon of dried onions.
    Picked tomatoes for salsa. Peeled tomatoes for salsa. While I was at my DIL’s baby shower, my DH barbequed a bunch of peppers he picked and then blended the tomatoes and peppers together. We call this our salsa base.
    I picked, peeled and de-seeded a giant zucchini. I then shredded it. Used some to make zucchini cheese muffins to go with the soup.
    I don’t think I did any shopping, as there were no really good deals to be found.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

  33. This week was not very frugal. At least, it didn’t seem very frugal. I did work 7.5 hours overtime, so I didn’t do a lot of anything to spend money on. I took my mom and brother lunch one day – 2 pizzas and an order of bread sticks for them, my daughter, and I. Less than $15, and it was a nice visit and break for my brother. I went to the mall with my daughter and son-in-law this weekend. I used a Bath and Body Works coupon to get a free item. I bought a small Christmas present and stocking stuffer, plus a skein of yarn for my dishcloths. My husband and son volunteered at a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts – a boxed lunch of prime rib, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and a dessert. They again had leftovers so he bought an entire prime rib for $25 that weighed about 8 pounds. He was also able to bring home probably 20 pounds of the “trimmings” of the meat for free, which we will freeze in portions and use for vegetable beef soup this winter.

  34. An ice cream cone maker is amazing!!! Your kids are going to really enjoy those homemade cones!

    My frugal week:
    – made my 5 Minute Cheesy Broccoli and Baked Potato soup (http://approachingfood.com/5-minute-cheesy-broccoli-baked-potato-soup/), using the deeply discounted broccoli and potatoes I purchased recently, and added in some leftover steamed cauliflower too.
    – I served it with homemade bagels (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-shortcut-everything-bagels/), cheddar jalapeno, and sesame.
    – I made a homemade pizza ‘lunchable’ for my daughter (sliced pepperoni, tomato sauce, Ritz crackers, grated cheese), all items purchased on deep discount over the past few weeks.
    – I made my weekly batch of muffins: carrot and apple, some regular sized and some mini sized for school snacks
    – added water to a glass jar of lotion to get out the last bit, removed the label, and will keep the pretty coloured glass jar to decant bulk lotion into.
    – my daughter wants to wear the same homemade Halloween costume as she did last year. Fine by me!
    – I made a batch of lasagna soup, which I find stretches ground beef quite far. I modified the recipe to use what I had at home.
    – I baked a batch of vegan cinnamon sugar baked doughnuts. No eggs, milk, or boiling in oil means it is quite an inexpensive recipe, and a treat to boot!
    – I picked most of the green tomatoes on my balcony as I didn’t want to lose them to an unexpected frost, and made fried green tomatoes. Sooooo good!
    – a friend gave me half a dozen apples when her dh went apple-picking, and I gave her some cinnamon sugar doughnuts.
    – I made cinnamon sugar biscuits later in the week to use up some of the leftover cinnamon sugar
    – redeemed loyalty points for $10 of groceries
    – bought half-price pork chops using the flash food app
    – redeemed $20 from legeropinion.com to my paypal account, and redeemed $10 from SB to my paypal account.
    – I sold some more items to a kids second-hand store.
    – made a turkey for Thanksgiving for the first time. I used Brandy’s breast side down cooking method, and added grape vine leaves from my vine on my balcony. I froze half the meat, froze the bones with more meat separately. I sent my sister home with leftovers.
    – I made a centerpiece using what we had: a mini pumpkin, a house plant, a vase, a grapevine clipping, flowers from my balcony, coloured maple leaves from the park, etc. Looked really nice. I used leftover paper supplies from different events instead of china as I have young kids, but still set a nice table. I googled some fancy napkin folds (I enjoy doing seasonal ones) and my eldest had fun with that.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  35. Frugal Wins
    – Last week was fairly frugal for me as I continued to recover from covid. I finally had enough of the severe sinus pressure after being well out of my isolation period that Sudafed wasn’t even touching it and booked an appointment through my employee medical center. The nurse practitioner told me many people seem to be finishing off this round of covid with either a sinus infection or bronchitis. I got an antibiotic and felt better within 48 hours. The appointment was free for me, and the prescription was only $4.
    – My husband traveled out of town again for work for three nights which meant all his food was covered by work. I finished off some random leftovers around the house while he was gone. I confess to ordering some spicy sushi at lunch one day to try to clear out my sinuses! It was completely unsuccessful, but delicious.
    – Chewy was running a spend $100, get a $30 gift card deal last week. I bought my dog’s food and cardio supplement he takes, coming in at $107. I’ll use the $30 for cat food when I need to order again.
    – I’m trying to stay out of the grocery store and Costco with food prices the way they are. My husband is traveling a lot over the next two weeks for work, so I’m hoping I can just eat a lot of what’s in our freezer and only pick up a couple odds and ends. I went into Wal-mart, which I almost never go to, to see if their prices were any better. $10.98 for an 8 pound bag of russet potatoes. I was shocked.
    – I sold a pair of high end shoes I didn’t like the fit of on Mercari, earning $72.
    – Trying to cut electricity usage down, though I feel fortunate that rates really do not seem to have changed much in my area. Our electric bill is our only bill for our home as we’re on well water and have no gas/oil. I’m trying to be more cognizant of vampire energy.
    Frugal Fails:
    – Was it just last week I said gas was $3.02? Well, now it’s up to $3.59. I filled up Friday at $3.26 after hearing about the OPEC cuts.
    – I received a real shock when I opened my renewal for my homeowner’s insurance. Up $450!! From $990 to $1440. I about fell out. Our house is very small and not at all fancy, yet they say our property value has gone up $50,000. I got a quote from another company and they were even higher for less coverage!
    – Not frugal, but I’m not counting it as a fail either. Traveling to NYC with my mom this weekend to take her to see Phantom of the Opera before it leaves Broadway. Our flights and hotel are booked points, so that was frugal. But I did spring for really nice seats for Phantom. She’s never seen the show and I just know she’ll love it. We’re both big musical fans. This reminds me I should dig out my subway cards so I don’t have to buy a new ones… save a couple extra dollars.

  36. What a cutie in that firefighter uniform! ☺️

    This week I saved by baking two loaves of three grain bread, a batch of cranberry-almond granola, cookies and blueberry-oatmeal muffins. I vacuum sealed the quart jars of granola and froze the extra loaf of bread. I also made pancakes from scratch and used the last of the sale bought peaches for a topping. My husband made another a beef and barley soup using bones from our Christmas roast last winter. 😋

    I went to JoAnn for the pattern sale as there were some patterns on my list. I found some fabric on clearance to make drapes for my daughter’s room. I was able to use an additional 50% off coupon on this and got drapery fabric for $3.50/yd. It was a find! Plus, thread was Buy 3 get 3free. I made a hoodie sweatshirt for myself. I have a very old serger that I was able to get working for half the project. 😟 I think the machine more trouble than it’s worth at this point. It turned out nicely though.

    I’m looking at a space heater for winter so I don’t have to heat the whole house this winter. I’m waiting for the right price…maybe Prime Day or a Costco sale.

    I appreciate this group so much. I often feel alone in this journey in my area with the rampant consumerism and “flexing” as my kids would say. 💕

    Wishing you all a beautiful week!

  37. Hi Brandy and everyone
    What great finds at the garage sale, there’s something very satisfying about new goods marked way down! I like your handmade earrings very much too.
    We have been away for a few days in Derbyshire. A daughter came home on annual leave and looked after the dogs so no kennel fees. We shared the cost of a holiday cottage with friends and both couples took a home cooked meal ready to heat through together with makings for breakfast/lunches/ light suppers. We ate out twice at lunch time.
    We visited Buxton ( a Georgian spa town, very Jane Austen), Bakewell where we enjoyed Bakewell pudding at lunch and spent a whole day at Chatsworth House. I wish the gardeners amongst you could have been with us in the gardens at Chatsworth, the size and scale of the kitchen garden and flower cutting garden were so big our jaws were on the floor. We found inspiration for planting and design. There is a team of florists working in the house and I was interested to see the plant material they used in their autumnal arrangements. I am attending an autumn floral workshop this afternoon and have some of those plants in my garden so will take them along.
    We gave vegetables to neighbours and one of them kindly gave us a bag of fresh walnuts.
    My husband lifted all the maincrop potatoes and we picked/ pulled parsnip, carrots, beetroot, apples, tomato, cucumbers and flowers for the house ( sadly no team of florists!). I happily picked what I thought was kale and my husband told me I’d been picking broccoli leaves but no matter, fresh greens and they tasted just as good.
    I made a fun toy for our puppy using safe everyday things.
    I have started buying dry goods for Christmas when I see a deal.
    Last week some of you wrote about maintaining perspective in these difficult days. One day this week I had a rather grumpy, low day. I took the dogs into the garden at twilight and glanced back through the sitting room window. The lamps were lit, flowers on the mantelpiece, comfy sofas, logs beside the fire etc. It looked so cosy and I was ashamed of myself. How thankful refugees and homeless people would be for our house/ problems. Instant perspective.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I have long been interested in Chatsworth since Victoria magazine wrote about it many, many years ago.

      A couple of weeks ago, they did a short video walking through part of their gardens on Instagram.

      I have found several garden walk throughs and pictures of beautiful gardens this way. It brings a whole new meaning to “armchair travel.” While I would love to visit many gardens one day (Chatsworth is already on my list) I also realize that may never happen, and so I try to see all that I can on Instagram.

      1. I “visit” gardens this way, too, especially English gardens. I spent 4 months in England when I was in college and have ever since been enamored with the gardens and homes I saw there. Armchair travel and inspiration from afar is definitely one of the best things about this Information Age. Thanks for the heads-up about the Chatsworth garden tour on IG. Will check it out!

      2. There are a number of documentaries about Chatsworth House available on Youtube if anyone is interested.

  38. -We had our chimney cleaned in preparation for fall and winter. It is something we hire out since we are getting older and hubby does not like heights. Plus with the new wood stove we bought 2 years ago it requires some different brushes and rather than buy them we hire this out. The guy we hire does a nice job for a reasonable price. And he cleans up after himself. We did have our first fire as it was only in the 40’s for a high last Friday and in the low 20’s at night. Love the wood heat.
    -Creative uses for leftovers: When one of our daughter’s families was here they left a box of frosted mini wheat cereal. I rarely buy cold cereal for the two of us. We finished it up, but there was lots of crumbs in the bottom of the liner. It is sugared so it wouldn’t go well on a hot dish. I used it as a topping on some apple cinnamon muffins. Plus I added the liner to my drawer to use when I coat something instead of a good ziplock bag. I had about a cup of Swiss cheese with bacon jam fondue left from last weekends festivities. I heated it up and added it to a cup of home made white sauce and layered it with potatoes for a gratin. Oh my! Delicious!
    -Picked all the apples and they are stored in the refrigerator crisper drawer. We only had the 2 honeycrisp trees left and we only got 30 apples between the two. I made and froze 2 pies and put a dozen apples in the crisper drawer for eating.
    -A friend asked if I wanted any pumpkins and if I did to come pick them from her patch. I came home with 3 larger pumpkins, 2 Hubbard squash, 2 acorn squash, and a cantaloupe for free. I put the pumpkins out on the steps for decoration and will process them after Halloween. The Hubbard squash will be peeled, chunked, and canned. The acorn squash will make 2 meals of stuffed squash. And we will eat the muskmelon fresh of course.
    -Embroidered two flower sack towels. I picked up 2 baskets at a thrift store. I added a quart each of apple pie filling and cherry pie filling, the embroidered dish towel and a danish dough whisk. These are my Christmas gifts for my sisters, done!
    -I am working on getting my shopping done for Christmas. I try to do this by December 1st so I can enjoy the season. However with the economy and prices rising I felt like I needed to do this sooner. I am trying to also make some gifts and this takes time. This week I will be sewing American girl doll clothes for my grand daughter for Christmas and the next week starting on PJ’s for my 5 grandkids. Four of them want pajama pants and then I buy a coordinating long sleeve Tshirt to go with them. The youngest wants a nightgown so that takes longer. I have all the flannel. I bought a flannel duvet cover with deer and trees on it at the thrift shop, this will make my two grandsons their pants along with a pair for hubby all for $7. One granddaughter will have buffalo check pants made from an extra large mens sleep shirt bought for $1 at a garage sale. The other will have an animal and floral print made from a flannel twin top sheet bought for $2 at a garage sale. The nightgown will be made from the scraps leftover from the twin sheet and a co-ordinating solid flannel from my stash. I also have all my patterns as I make these every Christmas for them
    -I just checked out a book at the library-“No Recipe, No problem” by Phyllis Good. It is an excellent reference book for cooking. Each chapter is a different food like meats, grains, eggs, etc. it lists a big grid of how to make different combos, what combines well, cooking times-conventional, pressure pot, etc. It also has basic recipes. I just placed an Amazon order, Brandy I went through you, hopefully it worked. I had to order a few things, I rarely place an Amazon order. But I found these books for $5.50 each. I ordered 3 of them. One for me and the other two will be for Christmas for each of my girls. This is a great all around reference book for cooking from scratch and using up what you have. Excited I found them so reasonable.
    Have a great week!

    1. Thank you for using my links!

      I love your gift idea for your sisters! I may use that idea with some home-canned items myself!

      1. I don’t shop often on Amazon, usually 1-2 times a year with gift cards I’ve received. Whenever I do I shop via Amazon Smiles with some sort of contribution going to St Jude hospital in Memphis. Can you use your link and Amazon Smiles simultaneously? I just don’t shop often enough to know. TIA

    2. I had never heard of “bacon jam fondue” and google searched for it, though the word “fondue” didn’t appear. That sounds very good!
      I searched for “No Recipe, No Problem” on my library website and found it there. One of my personal proofs of frugalness is that I have memorized my 16-digit library card number and 4 digit password, (needed to place holds), but do not recall my credit card numbers without reading them off the cards.

  39. Beautiful photos, as always, but that one of your nephew and son? Precious!
    *One interesting exercise I did this week was to look back at our grocery spending for the past four years just to see how we are doing. I track our spending the old-fashioned way – notebook paper and pencil – and group groceries, toiletries and household items (cleaning supplies, parchment paper, etc.) into one group called “consumables.” I was surprised to find that, on average, we are not spending much more lately than we have the past 4 years. I can only attribute that to the expansion of our gardens, a greater focus on bartering, and a heavier reliance on the stockpile we created at the start of the COVID lockdown. We have always stockpiled food but my husband went a bit nuts (in a good way) those first couple of months and we really amped up our storage. Even so, the costs averaged out over time and we were fine and now we are really experiencing the benefits. It reinforces in me the value of tracking such information and that there are ways to spread out costs over time that do make a big difference.
    *My youngest son is receiving Speech Therapy services through our local public school. Even though we have always been a home educating family, we are allowed this free service in our district. It was an over a year long process to get all the paperwork done but we figured we should make good use of services that are available to us as tax-payers. He has been going for a month now and it has been a good experience thus far. I know this is not possible for all home educating families but worth considering if a child can benefit. Another example of “Don’t ask, don’t get.” 🙂
    *I was asked to join the handbell choir at my church. I was not sure I could fit it into my schedule but we do not perform every Sunday so I have been so glad I did give it a go. With only two rehearsals under my belt, I had my first performance on Sunday and it was great fun. The other choir members have been so encouraging and welcoming and I am really enjoying this new learning experience. I grew up playing the piano and flute but have not played for a few years (our gifted piano finally reached the point of no longer being able to be tuned.) Frugality-wise, I look at this as free music education. 🙂 I have also been asked to join the vocal choir which is much, more more of a time commitment. I told the music director I would have to wait until the inside of my house is painted. I can only spread myself so thin no matter how wonderful the opportunity. One has to be frugal with one’s resources be it mental energy, time or money.
    *Our pumpkin/gourd stand continues to bring in a bit of money here and there. My mother bought a couple of very interesting gourds at the farmer’s market and gave them to us. They are varieties we do not sell and she knew we would save the seed and add it to our planting next year. One of them grows in the shape of an S and is called a snake gourd (I think) which is so fun.
    *Gladly accepted two thrifted shirts for my oldest son and one for me from my mother. Love having a personal thrift shopper!
    *Only grocery shopping this week was for milk and a couple of B1G1 free items that were reasonable. Again, grateful for the bounty of garden and stockpile.
    *Gas in our are of NC has gone up a little bit but, since we live close to the border and go into TN weekly for our homeschool co-op, I fill up there. Prices there remain lower (for now) and I find I can use the Upside app more easily there (more choices of gas station.) Every little bit helps.
    *Still working on trimming and painting the interior of the house. Working on my kitchen and sitting room which is really just one big room. Baby steps and no materials needed to be purchased for now.
    *With the help of my sons, I have been raking up fallen leaves to put in the chicken’s house. It provides extra insulation and bedding for them in Winter, they scratch it up and add their nutrient-dense contributions 🙂 and it is used in the garden in the coming years. That combined with our other compost helps us to have a very productive garden for no extra money and gives us a way to handle the very little food waste we do have (tea leaves, coffee grounds and egg shells, mostly. Everything else gets eaten by somebody.)
    *Even in these busy times, I have made it a priority to continue my daily hikes up our mountain and through the woods. It does my body and soul good and I often have company in the form of a boy, a dog or a cat (and wilder creatures, too.) There are many smells and sounds that instantly transport me back to my childhood and the smell and sound of fallen leaves crunching under my feet is one of them. I love it. I also tend to bring back a few branches for kindling and use the time to scout out future sources of firewood. Cheap therapy, my husband calls it and he is right.
    *On the library book reading front, I have just started “The Lost Summers of Newport.” Not exactly a seasonally-appropriate read but it took a while for me to get it on hold. It was recommended somewhere I get book recommendations so we shall see.
    *Wishing everyone a lovely week. Wherever you are, there is something lovely to see and appreciate.

  40. Good idea to make new jewelry from old pieces!
    This week the family went to pick apples in a garden nearby. I know the owner through one of my friends, and we have been picking apples there every autumn for the last 3 years. He has around 10 very old and big trees, and he can´t eat all of the fruit himself, it´s several 100 kg of fruit every year, and he was literally shovelling fallen apples from the ground when we were there. It was a bit late this year, so unfortunately not so much left to pick. We usually pick around 30 kg (66 lbs) – this year maybe around 20 kg, but one of the trees have very late maturing apples, so we might go back later to pick more. We stored all the best of the apples in our garden shed, and the bruised or damaged ones I dehydrated. I might also try to make some apple fruit leather. Usually the apples will last us until around Christmas and usually the temperature is also ok up until that point – I read the other day, that apples can tolerate -4 degrees C (-7.2 F) without spoiling, as their sugar content lowers the freezing point.
    The garden owner is very happy, that the fruit is being used in stead of just go to waste. I also promised to repair one of his apple pickers (sow a new bag for it). I invited a friend along who is very interested in old apple varieties, and she was most pleased to see all these old trees. Some of the varieties was unknown to her, maybe rare, and she will try to find out their names. We talked about how to try and save the old trees from being cut down in the future, which unfortunately is very normal when old owners move out. It´s sad both because of the loss of old varieties, the lovely fruit from the trees, and in this case also because it is part of the historical old part of the city. The piece of land the trees grow on actually belongs to the municipality and is rented out, but the lease will end when the present renter no longer lives there. I think it would be very interesting with time to try and gather a group of people who will care for the trees and harvest all the lovely apples and put them to good use.

    1. Cam, I totally agree about trying to preserve the old fashioned varieties of apples! There is a farm here in NC that is saving old varieties. My neighbor who has been bringing my buckets from his farm in Virginia, has Black Arkansas and some other older varieties. They are the best and keep well!
      He brought me the last two buckets of the season and I am drying them and making more applesauce.
      I had several pumpkins and butternut squash come up from my compost pile. I tried making pumpkin fruit leather that is made with applesauce. It is a winner and my grands loved it, so it will go into Christmas gifts for them. I made pumpkin pie smoothies and am cooking another today and am trying to dehydrate and powder it. I can think of lots of uses for it in powder form , to add to soups, casseroles, smoothies, cookies and breads. It will save my canning jars as I will put up in other jars and space!
      Our son has been doing tree work for us, we always pay our adult kids for help and this son needs the money. His wife graduated from college last December with an IT degree and has had work until last month when the job ended. She hasn’t found any IT work and has picked up odd jobs. They are already living with another newlywed couple renting a house together to save on rent. We will have a bunch of firewood for next year and some for this year. We had a good time dragging branches and loading it up. It is cheaper than getting a tree company and he does a fantastic job!
      I sent yard sailing this weekend and found some jackets for our baby granddaughter, a hoodie for me and a little jam canning jar. Then yesterday I found four children’s classics in beautiful condition in a pile at the dump. Two were saved for gifts and two were taken to the local homeschool bookstore. I will get credit when they sell. I took some more books from my sale piles also to sell there.
      Our power company, Duke Power, got approved in NC for an 18 percent rate hike! I am trying to get the last of the canning and dehydrating done and any batch cooking I can mange before the rates go up. My husband replaced two outside door jams that had tears in them. This is going to be really hard for my kids who are newly married, I sent out a message to them with ideas about saving energy costs. I hope they heed them!
      Blessings to each of you, and Brandy especially for setting such good examples to be good stewards and creative at the same time. Brandy I love that you found such good buys for your Christmas gifts!!

  41. Brandy, it was sure nice of your flowers to grow in such beautiful fall colors!!
    When I was a preschool teacher, we took the kids to the fire station every summer. Always a big hit!
    I’ve had to restring a couple of necklaces that belonged to family. They are on thread! I wonder how old they are. One of them is very heavy with what feels like clay beads. Very ornate designs on them. I should look into the type they are. I thought that they might be Mexican, but I really have no idea.

    We went to Aldi and I found that many of their prices have gone up quite a bit and others haven’t budged. They had none of their brand of salsa, which is a tragedy to me! Salsa is my birthright! I’m not sure I can exist without it!! Probably a drought stricken Cali is the reason. They had a lot of empty shelves, as well. I’ve been looking through my crockpot cookbook for some new recipes to work around higher prices, missing items, and the oven.

    On the bright side, our tomato plants went crazy when the temperature dropped into the 80s. We’ve been enjoying those with cucumbers from a church friend. So good with a little balsamic dressing.

    In a further attempt to save on electricity, I changed my schedule around a bit. I’m doing stuff in the early morning that doesn’t require much light, like desk work. I have à fluorescent in my desk. Then, as the sun comes up, I work from the east side of the house first. My friend thinks it’s bonkers lol, but I’m trying to use little or no lights during the day at all. I can also do computer work because it provides it’s own light.

    Reading this week:
    On my nightstand – Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (enjoying a lot!)
    In my craft room CD player – The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett (wasn’t in there all last week)
    With my Bible study – For the Love of Christian Homemaking by Mrs Sharon White.
    By my reading chair – Still Life by Louise Penny.

    I beautified my home by filling up the pantries. Nowadays, that’s extra beautiful!! 😁

  42. It looks like your nephew enjoyed your son testing out the equipment as much as your son did! It didn’t seem like it was an overall frugal week for us but we continue to do small things to move us along on that front. We are selling a few items on craigslist and I cleared out some CDs and DVDs to Decluttr. Free shipping of the items to them … what they pay you for it is very nominal but I was looking to move items from the house. I don’t want to have a lot of stuff stored in the house vs. using it as living space. I’m struggling balancing frugality with letting go of things I *might* need/want one day.

    Meals at home included a new quinoa/black beans mix for burritos and will reuse leftovers in stuffed peppers, white bean slow cooker soup, tortilla soup, noodles for the grandkids, black bean, onion and corn quesadillas, and a new recipe for risotto puttanesca. A goal was to try one new plant-based recipe every week and most of them have been added into our menu rotation, so we have about 40+ vegan meals to choose from, some using impossible burger, but most do not have a meat substitute, enabling our budget to stretch further.

    We enjoyed our membership to our art museum, visiting last week and vow to return more often to make better use of our two-person membership.

    Continue to check out library books to enjoy. Finished reading Managing Expectations, by Minnie Driver, a book of her life in essay form. One of the best books I’ve enjoyed in a long time, and was embarrassed that I was surprised her writing was so good. Then read The War Girls by V.S. Alexander. I’ve just started the latest Richard Osman’s The Bullet That Missed (Thursday Murder Club Mystery), and have a couple of print books to pick up at the library including The Sewing Girl’s Tale. I believe it was recommended in a post here and it’s taken weeks for it to be freed up on hold.

    I notice I struggle with accepting something from a friend without saying, let me pay you for that. WHY?! My Dad was very intent on not accepting things without paying for them as both his and my mom’s childhood were poor. My parents made sure we always paid our share when out with friends or friends’ families to the point of offering to leave the tip was often much more than just our own portion and our own tip! A friend offered me an extra ticket to a performance and (of course) I said I’d reimburse her, even though it was her plan to go with her brother. He had surgery and wasn’t up for it. Then she received terrible news at the vet about her dog, and just wanted to stay home with the dog, so offered me the other ticket. I thanked her and said I’d pay, but then forgot to stop at the bank on the way there. She asked me to bring my camera and take photos of her dog, which I did, and sent them to her. But (WHY do I do this) I said, I’m sorry I forgot to stop at the bank (which i did forget and don’t carry but a few dollars in cash), but I do want to pay you for the tickets. How do I change that part of my mind to just say, why thank you, I really appreciate that. My Dad used to get frustrated when you go out with people and they never reach for their wallet at all. My husband’s family is like that. They expect you to pay for everything and they start with appetizers, add on extra sides, buy sodas for the kids and themselves, and then never reach for the bill. I am frustrated with myself. My husband has declared (to me) that we’ll just do separate checks from now on. I’m like tell them that we’re budgeting more and with both of us retired, we’re not dining out much. But I find it’s easy for ME to tell HIM rather than for ME to make changes myself . Go figure. Open to all suggestions and admonishments 🙂

    1. Bonnie,
      It’s easier to tell them before you go out with them. Do it when you set up the date “Sorry but times have changed. We’ll need to do separate cheques for the families. Is this still a go for you in that case?”
      And at the time you order, let the waitstaff know as well. “ My spouse and I will have a separate bill, please”. Smile!
      If the relations ask questions, just say pleasantly that things are tough but it’s so nice getting together like this. Don’t be drawn into further discussion or arguments.
      It’ll be easier the second time you do it!

      1. Thank you, Elle! I should be able to do that … I get frustrated at myself because it’s not appreciated when we do pay anyway. I need to be firmer in my decisions. I like that, “is this still a go for you” line.

      2. I agree with stating that you will go Dutch or have separate checks, but I don’t think it is necessary to say anything like “times have changed” or imply that you can’t afford to do it (neither of which may be 100% true). I think the best way is to simply state that you will go Dutch or ask for separate checks and let it go at that. Now, there’s a part of me (the nasty part) that would enjoy keeping my mouth shut in advance, then arriving at the restaurant (or wherever), letting them order first and asking for separate checks when you order…assuming that these are the people that order big and never pay. Also, I would not get involved in any of this with my spouse’s family, nor would I expect him to get involved with mine. I have found that IN ALL THINGS, it is better if the inlaws stay out of it.

    2. Bonnie this will get easier for you, I came from a household that had lots of money and my Dad always picked up the check, paid for everyone and everything
      I was not prepared to handle situations where I could not do that, FINALLY learned to either say something when setting up plans like ” if we go Dutch” or something like that, at restaurants I am very sweet about asking for separate check BUT I am also very clear about it with servers and even if friends/family I am with say it’s ok we will split the bill I just say no thank you we are good this way then I move on to ordering or something else

      1. I used to go to a weekly dance and afterwards a large group would go out to a restaurant after the dance. I got stuck a few times with ‘splitting the bill’ when many people ordered full meals and alcohol while I had a cup of coffee and small desert. I learned quickly to ask for a separate check. If the wait staff didn’t want to do separate checks for a large group, I would chose to have water and not have anything to eat. I could enjoy the company but not stress over the money that way.

    3. Dear Bonnie,
      When offered a ticket, would you be comfortable thanking your friend and then showing up with a gift to acknowledge her kindness in inviting you? Some flowers, a seasonal plant, or if it’s a musical event, maybe a CD of the performer(s) you’re going to see. That way you are contributing something (and your younger self’s anxiety can be quieted). If your friend wanted to sell the ticket, she would have, so you shouldn’t feel that you need to reimburse her. Your friend gets the pleasure of your company and you feel good about showing your gratitude. Win-win. And like all new behaviors, practice the conversation in the mirror so you’ll be ready when someone asks. ☺️

      1. These are do-able ideas…thank you. I think I was more comfortable accepting the free ticket when she was able to still go, but then when she wasn’t up to it, I reverted back to thinking I needed to pay for both. Onward and forward. And PRACTICE. 😄

    4. Bonnie,
      When out with a group, I’ve found it’s fairly innocuous to mention separate checks when they are taking drink orders. I just ask when we need to let the server know about who is on what check and that allows me to indicate who is on my bill and then usually everyone else follows. If someone is picking up the whole bill, they generally mention it at that point.

  43. As always, lovely photos! I’m sure your son loved the fire station visit.

    I am so envious of those readers with fall weather. We are still in the upper 80s and 90s here, so the air conditioner is still running (albeit less than usual, which is very nice). We are looking forward to a cold front & some highs in the 70s next week. At the same time, I am also shocked by everyone’s gas prices. We are paying around $3.50 here and that is for premium at Costco (Sam’s Club is slightly lower). I pray the prices continue to stay stable or come down for the rest of the country. It has been a rollercoaster this year!

    I haven’t commented in a couple of weeks because I feel like I’m just “same old, same old” with nothing new to add. We cooked and ate almost all meals at home. I used canned chicken from the pantry (that needed to be used) for a husband-requested chicken & dressing casserole. We also enjoyed hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes and green beans, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and corn, pot roast, fish (barramundi) tacos, sloppy joes, and grilled chicken pitas. We made coffee at home and took our lunches & snacks to work with us. We went to a couple of estate sales and I bought a new coffee grinder. We bought Nespresso pods on clearance at Williams-Sonoma. They were almost 90% off so we bought enough to last us through next year (we are big coffee drinkers at home). We are taking more walks for something fun to do and our health. Often we find ourselves going to stores or flea markets for “fun” so we are cutting back on that. We inventoried our pantry and freezers and restocked a few pantry items. I have read that the US will likely be facing butter shortages heading into fall and winter/holiday season. We keep a good supply of butter in our freezer, and I added 4 more lbs to that. We reviewed our monthly bills and decided to change internet and tv providers to reduce the bill by over 50%. We canceled one additional streaming service as well. I bought 3 beef roasts on 50% markdown from the grocery store. We also bought a pork butt for .99 cents/lb.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. It is still in the 90’s here but at the end of the month we will dip into the 80’s.

  44. Finally, getting produce from my garden here in Idaho. I know it’s late, but I planted late so I’m grateful for whatever I get. Harvested pumpkins, cucumbers, butternut squash and lots of zucchini. I planted 3 plants of zucchini for the sole purpose of feeding them to our chickens, in order to reduce our chicken feed costs. Also harvested swiss chard for the chickens, which they love. I have a neighbor with a green house. She gifted me tomatoes, grapes, plums and tomatillos. I made and canned several pints of tomato sauce, tomatillo sauce, plum/grape juice. She also has a large orchard and her honey crisp apples are on right now. I dehydrated apple slices, made a large apple crisp and had carmel apples. Once her later apples are ready, we will pick what we can and press them for apple cider later on. I made fruit leather by dehydrating left over applesauce. I canned peaches and pear a couple of weeks ago and then dehydrated the left over pears. I love them as a snack. I am very blessed to live in southeastern Idaho, where there is an abundance of potatoes. My brother raises hundreds of acres of Idaho Russets. I gleaned one of his harvested fields and we are now stocked on potatoes for the winter. A few weeks ago, Albertsons had a sale on bone in chicken for $.89/lb. I bought 8 family size packages and put them in my freezer. The past couple of weeks, I have baked them and then taken the chicken off of the bone. I froze the chicken and will can the chicken when I get a chance. I saved the bones, put them in a slow cooker with seasonings, onions and celery and canned about 20 pints of homemade chicken broth. We gain a DIL and a SIL this summer and I feel the urgency to continue stock piling food, as our family is growing. I want to able to provide food for them as well as my hubby and myself. Heavenly Father continues to bless us with so many things and I am grateful.

  45. Brandy, your little boy is a doll! And your cousin…!

    Your earrings are lovely! How clever! It’s amazing how most everything can be repurposed given some thought.

    So, is there an App or Site where one goes to find garage/yard sales? Our Newspaper has nothing.

    Mr. Darcy has done well with his neutering. We, on the other hand, are wrecks. He has been a 180 lb baby! Such a sweetie, but so dramatic!

    No bargains in the grocery stores for me. I peruse several “sane” Prepper sites and they all have sounded the alarm as to the coming hardships we are to face and the need to store food, water, and medical supplies. I had a friend who once said that if there was a War or bomb dropped, she planned to run toward it and get it over with! I am so weary of the news. Think that is why I am reading more than ever. I can escape to wherever with whomever and leave the chaos and pandemonium behind!

    Made a large pot of spaghetti this week. It is that time of year! I love one pot meals! So economical and allows for more time to do much needed chores.

    If anyone finds any deals on Turkey or other Thanksgiving related foods, please post. I think my family would be more upset about not having a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner than they would be about not having. Christmas presents!

    Stay frosty out there! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

    1. He’s only 5 years younger than I am but he’s my nephew. He always wears a smile; his brothers are the same way.

      Garagesales.net There’s a map and you can use it to just go to the ones nearby.

      Craigslist in the garage sales section. Look the night before for sales in your area. Here sales are usually Friday through Sundays so look and see who has listed ones there.

      1. Sorry! Nephew! As we say in the South, “Pretty People” and you certainly are an example!

        Thanks for the Info on garage sales. Trying to be more frugal and also just love them and flea markets!

        Feel certain that you and your family will get through this challenge before you. You have all the skills and talents to do so, plus your attitude, which is so important, is your most valuable asset. 🌹

        Take care, Brandy. We all are here for you.

  46. I love that photo of your nephew (very handsome) and your very cute son!
    A friend of mine does beadwork so I have given her a few pieces of old jewellery to take apart and reuse – your beads are such a beautiful shade of blue.

    I have continued to shop sale items and loyalty point offers only – aside from dairy, fruit & veg. I have used a total of $80 in Loyalty points over the past two weeks to pay for these items. Aside from the fresh food I have concentrated on hygiene and OTC med items so I am well stocked for Winter. The one item that I have not been able to find is the Arthritis Strength Tylenol tablets that I like to have on hand for flareups. I have just opened a new bottle so I’ll be fine over the Winter but I would like to have one in reserve but – like the items for children – it seems to be in short supply. I have allergies so can only use Tylenol and can’t use the red pill arthritis strength as I’m allergic to the dye they use!

    I used a chicken carcass from the freezer to make stock and then made a pot of chicken noodle soup which has kept me fed for a few days. I also gave a couple of servings to a friend who was ill last week.

    I go into the office 3 mornings a week and always take something to eat with me = this week it will be cottage cheese (half price) and canned pineapple, also bought on sale.

    I did a bit of baking on the weekend as I am on coffee duty at church this coming Sunday. I have wanted to use up some baking items before buying fresh for Christmas baking. I made 3 raison & currant fruit loaves and plan on making some buttermilk loaves this week using up some lemons and dried fruit that I have on hand. I want to try out the powdered buttermilk that I purchased recently to see how it works. I also plan on some major batch cooking over the next few weeks – I like to have a lot of meals on hand in the freezer by the end of November – working for a church means that December is VERY busy! As I use up meat from the freezer and replace it with cooked items I intend to do a major re-org in there.

    I have cleared out a few more items from my closet and donated them to our Out of the Cold boutique – still working on clearing out a few more things this week. No point in hanging onto things that I’m not wearing.

    I went back to the library today so have 4 books on hand to enjoy over the next couple of weeks. Since the Blue Jays are now out of the running “sigh” I am looking at reducing my cable costs as I watch streaming services more often now. My rent will go up in January so I’m looking to reduce costs elsewhere – as long as it balances out I’ll be content.

    1. My 86 yo mom uses the arthritis Tylenol also. We always buy the two pack of house brand at Sams for best deal. But when that isn’t feasible (Sams is 60 miles away) both Kroger and WM have store brands for decent price.

      1. The only option here in Canada would be Walmart – I’ll get my friend to check the next time she goes as she is a big Walmart fan. Thanks for the tip!

        1. I tried to read up on Arthritis Tylenol online and it seems (and please confirm for yourself!) that the difference between arthritis- and regular- is the release time of the medication. Arthritis-strength dissolves more slowly and the relief should last longer, without having to take pills more often throughout the day.
          Otherwise, the number of milligrams could be provided by doing the math and using the right numbers of regular Tylenol or generic acetaminophen.
          Also, Tylenol.com had a pop-up for a three dollar off coupon!

        2. Hi Margie from T.O.
          I’m just reading the Superstore flyer for this week. They have Tylenol Arthritis Pain 8 hours for $8.99, limit 4, overlimit price is $9.99. I think there are Superstores in the Toronto area. Ann

    2. Hello Margie,
      You may have seen in the Superstore flyer that starts today ( Oct.13-19) they have Tylenol Arthritis Pain 50 caplets( 650mg each) for $8.99 limit of 4 . Possibly there is a Superstore close by or another chain store might price match?I view the flyers and my offers in the Optimum app.

      1. Thank you to those who mentioned the Superstore offer – I checked but it is the 8 hr time released version. This is a tablet of white and yellow and unfortunately I am also allergic to the yellow dye used – I can only use the white tablets (not sure why they decided to use red, yellow and blue dyes in some of their products as people like me who are allergic to aspirin are often also allergic to specific dyes – hence the need for a plain white tablet or pill – very frustrating!

        We do have a few Superstores here but mostly in the outer suburbs and I live more in the city so not easy to reach. As I said, I’ve just opened a bottle with 50 tablets and I also do have extra strength Tylenol so I’ll be fine – just have to keep looking until it shows up again. But thank you all for being so thoughtful with the suggestions.

  47. Awesome pictures as usual, Brandy.
    Big stuff going on in my life. My husband retired September 30th and we paid off the house.
    We ‘re waiting until January to collect social security as that will be his full retirement age. I’m a bit younger so I will work another 6 or 7 years. I’m so happy for him. Working so hard all this years has taken a toll on his body. Time for him to do the things he likes and wants to do.
    I’m so appalled by the increasing food prices and am worried for families that live paycheck to paycheck. Some tough times ahead for a lot of families.
    I’m mostly buying just the loss leaders these days. I have a decent stockpile with some items that need to be used up.
    Thanks everyone for the great ideas every week.
    I look forward to reading this blog each ànd every week.

    1. Congratulations on your husband’s retirement and paying off your house! Hope that give you even more opportunities to enjoy this season of life. 🙂

      1. Thank you Mountain Mama Dawn,
        It will be an adjustment for both of us. It feels weird going to work while he stays home.

  48. I was grateful to be able to spend the weekend in Tahoe. I hiked up Shirley Lake Canyon which is a strenuous 3.6 mile hike that gains 2,000 feet elevation up to the top of Palisades ( formerly Squaw Valley.) The fun part is if you make it up to the top you can ride down the funitel for free. I did twice in three days so I saved $80 on the tram tixs and reaffirmed that I need to get in better shape. There was a festival in the ski village. The crafts and music were fun. I used my Starbucks app to eat and drink .

    Last year I bought gifts card for Starbucks at a discount. Between using the money I loaded onto the app and the stars I get for the purchase, I get a pretty steep discount. By the way, speaking of Starbucks stars, I did the research for the best value for the stars. Any bakery item is 50 stars. That gives a per point cost of about .08 cents a star. If you bring a custom drink for 150 stars, it comes out to about .03 cents a star. Here is the hack I found for a handcrafted drink: for 50 stars, I can order a Cafe Misto which is half brewed coffee and half steamed milk. I can add a shot or two and a sweet vanilla foam for free. Delish and a relatively inexpensive treat.

    I signed up for a free trial for Audible, selected the free two books for my husband which aren’t at the library, and immediately cancelled the subscription.

    I listed two tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld on Stubhub. They were a birthday gift for my husband two years ago. The pandemic rescheduled the show. The tickets have nearly doubled in value. We would rather have the cash if possible. If not, we will go see the show.

    A nearly frugal fail: I bought a Sam’s club gift card with new membership on CardCash. It was a $45 dollar card that cost only $35. We had a business membership but I let it lapse so this was new under my name. I was supposed to get $45 off my first purchase. The card didn’t work and I spent 30 minutes with the manager who tried to make me feel like I was running some sort of con. I told him twice, we could start from scratch and give me the lesser deal of 50% off the membership. He griped that the store would have to eat the cost of a $45 gift card. He told me that I would probably get the real discount next time which would come up automatically and then I would have $90 total. I told him I would return the extra $45 dollars. I am not in the business of selling my soul for $45 dollar. He said that was impossible. So I reconciled myself that if I get $45 extra, I will donate it to charity. In the end, I have a new membership which paid me $10.

    1. Mary Ann , I love Lake Tahoe! We used to go when I was growing up. My last trip there was 25 yrs. ago. Can’t believe it’s been so long. We always stayed in South. My BIL used to have a house in the Keys. I am so impressed with your walk! Some of the hikes we took were pretty strenuous, but they weren’t very far. Nowadays, they’d have to bring in a Medivac! I’d never make it.
      When I was 11, we were on the Nevada side for some reason and we stopped for an early breakfast. There were very few people. I went to the loo and there were several slot machines outside the door, around the corner from the main dining room. I saw a dime on the floor and picked it up, noticing a 10¢ slot right in front of me. Nobody was around and I always thought that pulling that arm would be fun. So, I dropped the dime in and pulled as quietly as I could! That darn thing made this loud dinging and dimes started dropping. I RAN into the bathroom!! On my way back, I glanced at the money tray and it was full of dimes! I sat down and pretended like nothing happened. Years later, I told my mom and she couldn’t believe I didn’t tell them so they could’ve gotten the money. I told her I panicked and thought they’d be furious and I’d be in big trouble. That would’ve been around 1975 or so! I’ve always wondered how much money was in there!!!

  49. Your nephew reminds me a lot of my brother, who was also a fireman/EMT but moved on to being a nurse and is now retired. God bless our first responders!
    The jewelry! ❤ SO reminiscent of your blog when I first discovered it and you were making many things for your children! I miss those days of your blog but I know time marches on and change happens. Y’all seem much more well off these days, and your blog doesn’t read as frugal anymore, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing! #blessed

    1. My children are older and like to choose different things for themselves now, so it’s hard to make things for them.

      The real estate market has completely crashed. Nothing is selling. My husband is currently applying for jobs. Our agents are not selling any of the houses they have listed. The five interest rate hikes that the Feds have done have completely killed the housing market. House prices are high and interest rates are high, so people cannot afford to buy right now. Christmas here will be very modest this year, and I’ve been filling holes in my pantry this year in preparation for what may very quickly be living on my food storage six weeks from now. I also bought clothing and shoes for myself and the children, knowing this could last a very long time unless we find other work. We did it before and I am as prepared as I can be at this point. The market has been slowing all year; our income has been very low this year, so if it seems like we are doing better, perhaps I am just doing a better job keeping the bills low! I certainly hope so!

      1. I don’t think you need my encouragement, Brandy, but just wanted to say that the reason I have read your blog for years and years is that you make it look very possible to live a beautiful life filled with rich experiences on a low income. You share your creativity and problem-solving methods with your readers and we are all blessed by it. I know this space doesn’t provide you with an income that matches the time you must spend here but I am so grateful you continue to share your experiences. There are so many “frugal” sites and channels out there these days that I just can’t relate to as they operate on a higher income than we have ever had. Here, I have always learned something and feel as if I am among friends. It is a positive and supportive place and I appreciate all who contribute. Selfishly, I hope you never stop! 🙂

        1. Beautifully put Dawn! Thank you for saying this! I feel the exact same. I have followed for years and look forward to this post every week! 🙂

        2. I want to second everything Mountain Mama Dawn has said! I grew up in poverty and we lived frugally. In my adult married life, we have gone through times of paycheck-to-paycheck struggling to living very well – but no matter the circumstances, my sense of frugality and the desire to save money and spend wisely never changes. This blog doesn’t make living frugally feel like a chore or something to be ashamed of. I always get so many great ideas (and recipes!) here. The comments section truly feels like a welcoming community of like-minded friends. We are all from different circumstances and different locations, but everyone gets along and is willing to share ideas and suggestions. Dawn is right – it is a positive and supportive place you have created here, Brandy. Thank you!

          1. I agree. This is the ONLY website I visit consistently. So many frugal sites just try to convince us to buy more. At its core, frugality is about not spending money, so that doesn’t compute to me. I’ve been here for many, many years and as long as it’s here, I will be, too. Thank you, Brandy, for being a happy, safe, and sane refuge for us all for so long! Your readers absolutely adore you! I will pray that your husband finds an income that is sufficient. I understand the dilemma. Median income in my area is $36k, which is close to what we make, but it never seems like enough.

        3. I agree. There are so many frugal sites out there. But many aren’t writing new content. They are just cut and pasting other site’s work and then trying to oversell credit cards.

          What I appreciate about this site is your commitment to chronolicling your life – values, hard work, and an obvious family centric world. That is why I think that readers respond authentically to you. There is a stewardship thread though all the contributors to which I can relate. I always feel my contributions are validated even though I may be in different financial circumstance right now. As my husband says, “everything all comes around.”

          I am impressed with your husband willingness to shoulder the need for change and takes action. That is very scary for any of us at a certain age. My husband is the same way with an excellent work ethic. Thanks for sharing yor truth.

          1. I second all these thankful comments.
            Brandy your site is a second home where all feel welcome, and no one feels foolish for their want or need to be frugal.

        4. I so feel the same Mountain Mama Dawn
          I am a nurse who has always worked multiple jobs and still has alot to learn from Brandy and all the smart kind people here

      2. I didn’t realize the housing market had already dropped off completely. I’m sorry to hear that. The last time I looked to see what was happening in our neighborhood here, all but the most expensive homes were *pending.*. The prices in SoCal are astronomical. I grew up in a plain old blue collar area of L.A. that was great. Nowadays, it’s horrible and dangerous. And homes built in 1940ish with 3 + 2 are $800k!! If they offered to GIVE me one for free on the stipulation that I live there for 5 years, I wouldn’t take it! That’s how scary the area is. I don’t understand how the prices can be sustainable. I thought we sold our home for an insane price in 2004, but it just sold again for nearly double that. Nuts! I can’t even imagine how this will end.

        I wish the best for you and your family. Keep calm and carry on!

      3. I saw on national news where USPS is doing tons of hiring. My mom retired at 60 with a great career at USPS. Anyways something your husband might think about. Not sure about now but when my mom worked (she’s been retired 26 years) she had great benefits. At first she only worked 4 hours a week a split shift on Saturdays and was able to provide health insurance for our entire family.

      4. You are an inspiration. I admire that you are so proactive and resourceful in dealing with your financial situation. I am sure it is not easy and I am sure you have days of doubt, but you seem to have the faith and quiet confidence that you will “endure it well”.

          1. Well said Dawn et.al.*** I too am a long time reader from way back on the ‘other ‘platform you were on. I don’t say often enough how much I look forward to these posts and everyone’s comments. Nor how many times I’ve read your inspirational pieces. You’ve been a real help to me through the years as I’ve coped with having to stop paid employment due to health issues. I’ve learned from you and your readers how to be content living within my means and finding joy doing so.

      5. Oh Brandy. Hugs to you as you work to keep it all together. Stress levels must be so high. Not all heroes wear capes.

      6. Thank you for your post, I know I’m not the only one struggling with housing problems. My husband died 4 years ago and my income sank. I own the house but would like to sell as it is far too big for one to keep up plus the heat and electricity. One daughter lives in DC and the other Cape Cod. I would love to move closer to one of them but my house won’t sell for enough to buy a house close to either of them. I’ve always been frugal and have a year’s worth of food thanks to careful buying, and I tithe and give food to food banks every month. All in all I’m a lucky woman, I just wish I could sell my house. Not many people are looking for a 9 room house at current interest rates.

        1. That is definitely hard! I wish you all the best in keeping a roof over your head.

          I take heart in the fact that we refinanced in December/January when rates werr low at 2.875%. My payment is equal to rent for a one-bedroom apartment here. So that is lower now. We keep our expenses low, too.

          We just need to find something new that pays enough. Most of what we are finding only would pay half of what we need. This is a real difficulty–as is having worked in different industries and being self-employed for 25 years. Who does one use for references? There is not experience is other industries. These are the challenges we are seeing.

          1. Brandy, has your husband looked into employment opportunities at Nellis AFB? I live in a town with an Air Force Base, and I noticed a billboard downtown the other day advertising civilian positions on the base. Just a thought…

              1. Our daughter just texted a copy of an unsolicited bank letter telling her she prequalified for an amount that is about 1/3 to 1/4 of the cost of a house in Philadelphia (where she lives and works) at an interest rate of 6.47% which shocked me. I don’t know how young people will ever get to become homeowners. And I am so sorry for realtors, including your husband. How are they going to be able to sell homes?
                I join the previous commenters in thanking you for all your work and for modeling what a beautiful frugal life looks like!

          2. Is your husband not eligible for SS( early)? When I calculated it for myself, it was worth doing earlier than waiting. Regardless, I hope he finds something for the winter season.

          3. Dear Brandy – I’m late seeing this and commenting, but wanted to let you know that your husband’s job search and all your family will be in my prayers. I’m sure it must be a scary time – I’ll be praying for quick solutions as well as peace and the small helps along the way that make the days easier. You’re so dear to your readers. I know you’ve heard it before, but I also admire your grace and courage. What a story this will make to tell the grandchildren over a comfortable pot of tea.

      7. My children were the same. They are grown now and as much as I don’t like to give them gift cards, I know they appreciate it much more (even if I know I could & would make the same budgeted amount of money go further, lol!). And because they use it towards exactly what they want. It just doesn’t “feel” as gift-y to me…but I tell myself, it’s not about me. I end up not spending any more than I budget (I have never gone overboard and they are okay with that) AND it saves me the time of having to search out the “perfect” gifts (which I have always enjoyed and prided myself on) so, I suppose I should look at it as a win-win. I just try to make a presentation of the gift card(s) and enjoy the moments and not play the mama guilt card. *sigh* 😉
        I wish your husband well in his job endeavors and will add that situation to my prayer journal/list. And I think so…it’s most definitely evident that your hard work pays off and shows.😊

        1. As much as gift cards seem less fun to give, I’ve found that for my children who are further away, it’s a nice way to give them the chance to get what they might really need as well as not have to spend money on shopping or time on a gift.

          With so much to do during this season (and for me, this is also the busy gardening season), giving bought gifts or money has been a blessing the last few years.

          I’m hoping to find some more garage sale gifts soon as well.

      8. Oh I had heard that Las Vegas housing was down but I didn’t realize it was that bad. I am so sorry. You are just the best as making life beautiful for all of your readers. You have a beautiful family and are just a wonderful mom. Times are indeed difficult. I am continuing to work part time after retiring because of inflation.

        1. It’s not just Las Vegas. It’s across the country. There may be a few cities where some sales are still happening (or a few people who can still afford to buy) but interest rates affect the whole country.

          So real estate agents, escrow officers, loan officers, home inspectors, etc. are all in trouble when it comes to work. The industry has been slowing all year since they started raising rates at the beginning of the year. Now it is dead.

          1. I am sorry you are going through this again. We been living pay check to pay check. I been trying to pay off all our debt. I have full time job 40 plus hours. My husband has thyroid cancer and he been working full time,but it is getting hard for him. You husband should try get a job with school district driving bus or teaching. So if real estate gets back to normal he can have side hustle

          2. Brandy, I think many of us love your site and would like to contribute, somehow, to you and your family since this real estate market has crashed. Someone down further in the comments mentioned buying rights to your photos to make cards. Or if you (or one of your kids) made cards with your photos, we could buy them (I don’t know the logistics of that idea). I buy lovely cards for special friends, I bet others do as well. See what you think or if you have other ideas…life has ebbs and flows, for some of us, we aren’t at super low ebb right now, maybe this community can help share the burdens of those that are. Your site has changed my life and made it possible to be retired living on a lower income and be happy, rather than wishing I had more. Thank you ❤️.

      9. Nice pictures of your handsome fireman. Those are some to treasure. This week has been encouraging to me because I did a little sewing to alter a too big dress for a granddaughter. The tag said it was her size, but it was not. I took in the side seams and slanted the shoulder seams by taking in a half inch at the neckline and tapering it down to nothing where it meets the sleeve cap. I folded over the thin fabric band that finished the neck edge on the underside for hand stitching, so it is not noticeable. The dress is long, so the hem being probably slightly not level as a result of the shoulder seam raise was not noticeable. We found when she tried the dress on that it would look cuter to her if the sleeves were shorter. She also wanted the side-seam pockets gone. That extra pocket fabric will cover a headband. Afterward, I kind of wished I had taken the dress completely apart and used the fabric and a pattern to make a nice totally new dress, but I guess you live and learn. I’m not sure how to find grainline in fabric that has no selvage edge either. Another dark royal or bright navy (I don’t know which.) velour dress fit perfectly, and it is supposedly the same size as the altered dress. It will be warmer for winter and will look great with a belt. After looking at YouTube videos about making a belt and realizing we had no suitable materials for making one anyway, we turned to Amazon and found some possibilities for under $20 that she is going to have her mother take a look at when she has time. It will be her only warmer dress. The two dresses cost me less than ten dollars, and it was fun. I wore a dress and a tee shirt on two different days I was visiting that the granddaughters bought for me at the thrift store near their house. They were pleased, and they and their mother and I went thrifting at that store one day. I found two polyester scarves for $1.99 each that will go with two dresses I wear to church. I like a scarf between my neck and my wool winter coat. It feels better, and my coat neck stays cleaner and that, saves on dry cleaning. One girl found a book she liked for a dollar thirty-nine. But the real blessing was a perfectly fitting, beautiful navy wool short coat for their mother that she really needed for $4.50. She will have to pay to have it dry-cleaned, but still that is wonderful for her. I prefer true stories, but during the last couple of weeks I read a couple of books by Grace Livingston Hill for free on openlibary.org. I had read one book at my grandmother’s house many years ago that my great-grandmother had written a message in and signed on the inside cover and sent as a gift to my aunt. I also like to look at old books about needlework and sewing and cookbooks and house plans and decoration recommended on Pinterest that can be found on archive.org. Last week I think it was someone on this blog that mentioned cooking with a fireless cooker, and it reminded me that I had run across an old booklet on how to make various styles of fireless cookers, so I did a quick search on archive.org and found these: https://archive.org/search.php?query=fireless+cookers. I read once about a turn-of-the-twentieth-century family who took a fireless cooker with them in their buggy when they traveled some distance from their home to church. They talked of baking baked beans in their fireless cooker while they spent the morning in Sabbath School and Church Service and then afterward, driving on to some shady spot by a creek where they spread out their picnic lunch and ate. They talked of rolls and platters of raw veggies and dessert. It sounded nice to have something hot, and I only remember the baked beans, but I suppose they had other things on occasion, also. Speaking of celebrating and holidays, I am thinking of a way to celebrate Reformation Day this year, but I haven’t come up with anything that special yet. I would like that to be a nice celebration for having the Bible in my own language. I get such a blessing from reading in it. It is such a stress reliever for me, especially Psalms. Thanksgiving I don’t have planned either. For Christmas I think our family has agreed to draw names and gift lists on Thanksgiving. We don’t have tiny tots who like lots of presents to open. We each wrote down a small list of relatively inexpensive items we would like and wrote our name. Then we drew names. We agreed to each buy one gift for our person. Then on Christmas we sat around the living room and opened our one gift. It was really nice. Three-fourths of us were having to limit spending out of necessity and really couldn’t afford to buy more than one modest gift. Knowing what the person would like to have meant we didn’t spend money on things they didn’t really want, and it made a nice gift-opening evening without the pressure to spend large amounts of money we couldn’t afford in order to buy something for everyone in the family. That evening we read the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke and sang some Christmas carols and prayed and thanked God for allowing Jesus to come here and die for our sins and expressed gratitude for blessings. Then we opened gifts. It was so nice we are going to do it again.

      10. I am so sorry you are facing a time of no sales again and pray your husband finds a job. Perhaps you will be able to sell some of your beautiful photography work, too. Thank you for keeping up this blog. It is encouraging to me also.

      11. Brandy, I second what Mountain Mama Dawn and others have said. Your blog gives hope and encouragement, community and inspiration. I cannot tell you how many times the information here has put me ahead of what is coming, and how often I share what I learn here with others. Even as times grow more difficult, it is a place of peace, wisdom and beauty. Looking back in my life, I can see the very difficult years of poverty that we lived through and think of all those who experienced the Depression, yet survived. I try to focus on “this, too, shall pass”. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t, but it helps me to keep going. You and your family will be in my prayers, especially that your husband finds gainful employment. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with all of us.

      12. I joined this group and started following you in a very lean and low part of my life. While our situation has improve significantly, I still rely on this group to remind me to carefully consider expenses and habits and, most importantly, to be GRATEFUL for everything we have.

        1. Thank you, Jennifer.

          I think a lot more people will need to make some hard decisions soon as prices continue to rise.

      13. Brandy, I’m sorry to hear about the housing market in Vegas. I’m in SWFL now and as prices had started to plateau here that has changed due to hurricane Ian. We lost about 400+ properties completely from the hurricane in Lee county, but many more are uninhabitable because of property damage that can be remedied. Because of this change in inventory, prices are not going down but stabilizing and rents are going up (rents have become insane in the last few years). I am grateful to have bought back in 09 when purchasing was good, and also that I sold the second house last October as I knew a correction would be at hand. I dont work real-estate but find it very interesting. An interesting position my county has is described as assets and acquisitions, where a group of individuals manage property purchases for the country. I have read the listing before and it always mentions a background in real estate. This could be something your husband could do that would carry a lot of transferable skills. I’m not as familiar with the Vegas job market anymore as I moved from there 13 years ago, but I would imagine that there are a lot of government entities that would have full time with benefits and they may have similar positions. On the other side of a housing crash however are sales and a good time to buy sell and invest. A different note, I always think that YouTube has a lot of potential and believe much of your gardening and also meal preparations could make for a great YouTube channel, and you would already have a base audience from your blog. Wishing you all the best.

  50. Hello Everyone! I completed an online survey that earned me points, which I redeem for an Amazon gift card. I have enough points for a $25 gift card & will use for Christmas. This week I meal prepped all of our dinners for the week using all pantry & freezer food: southwest chicken stuffed peppers, pesto lasagna roll ups, crockpot chili & what we call ” hamburgers in brown gravy” which are oval shaped meatballs (sort of a mini burger but plumper) in gravy over egg noodles. I had an extra lasagna noodle & no filling so I cut the noodle up & added it to the chili. I used a binder clip to squeeze our every last bit of the toothpaste & one of my beauty products is in a glass bottle with a pump so I tuned it upside down into a container to get every last drop. We were invited to my nephew’s birthday dinner and my sister & husband paid the entire bill. We were more than happy to pay our share but they would not allow anything. I did give a separate tip to one of the waitstaff who was especially attentive & patient with my elderly parents which I really appreciated. A fellow teacher gave my husband a bag of green tomatoes, the smaller will be pickled and I’m going to try my hand at fried green tomatoes. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, frugal week ahead!

    1. I absolutely adore fried green tomatoes! I live in a city apartment without a garden, but I always let my local Buy Nothing group that I’ll take any green tomatoes that people aren’t going to use. I could eat fried green tomatoes with remoulade every day of the week. Let me know if you need a recipe.

      1. Katie from Buffalo – I’ve lived in apartments the last 10 years. I had a little space by my front door at the last one and had two huge plastic bins where I grew two cherry tomatoe plants. Do you have any outdoor space or a balcony? Also, I was in a community garden close by where I had a 6ft X 10 ft plot that was mine to garden and other shared space like a community berry patch and herb patch that I could pick from. It’s amazing how much I could grow in that small space. The garden was run by a nonprofit in the city where I lived. If you’re keen on home grown tomatoes – maybe you could find a similar space.

  51. I too want to thank you Brandy for your blog, I have learned so much from you and the comments. You are a blessing.

    1. Brandy,
      I appreciate all that you provide for your family: faith, encouragement, creativity, love and a wonderful example. I also consider all that you openly share with your readers.
      I found your blog years ago and found a kindred spirit that also enjoyed sewing, gardening, love for languages and stretching resources-among many other interests and talents.
      You have curated a place on the web I prefer to spend my time when online. The way you moderate ( or what I read) inspires respect for one another, and offers consideration to personal perspective on books, ways of frugality and family life.
      All the best to you and yours as you navigate the days to come.
      Most sincerely

  52. I just returned from a week in Scotland with my daughter-in-law and I’m jetlagging today, so I haven’t had the opportunity to read Brandy’s post or the comments yet…all of which I am looking forward to doing.

    Two weeks ago, I mentioned my friend, Dolores–the most frugal person I’ve ever known–and said I would write more about her later. Warning: This is going to be a VERY long post because she has accomplished so much that I know will interest (and maybe inspire) the readers.

    I first met Dolores in 1977, shortly after we adopted our first baby in Colombia, and we were very close friends until I moved to Idaho in 1989. We still stay in touch at Christmas. She is 6-7 years older than I am, meaning she was about 37 when we met and in her early 80s now.

    I will preface this by telling you her father emigrated from Germany as a young man in the 1920s and her mother was the daughter of German immigrants. He endured terrible deprivation during and after World War 1. He was determined to make a good life in America, and he did. We all know how industrious Germans tend to be…he raised his family this way and Dolores inherited it in spades! (She was this way long before she adopted 6 kids).

    Going back to before I met her, she graduated from college debt-free because she lived at home while attending a small Catholic college in her hometown. (Also, student loans didn’t exist then). Later, she got her master’s degree over several summers and her school district paid for it!

    After college, Dolores and her sister, Jean, got an apartment together and Dolores taught for a couple of years. But she was single, and she wanted to travel. She also wanted to get to know her aunts, uncles and cousins in Germany. Instead of saving up for a summer vacation, she got a job teaching at a US Army base in Germany. The Army paid her transportation, moving expenses and a monthly salary. Over the next two years, she got acquainted with all of her relatives. Jean went over to visit the next summer, Dolores bought a brand-new Volkswagen Bug for about $1,000 (this was in the early 1960s) and they traveled all over Europe together, staying with relatives and in hostels. The same Bug was her daily driver for over 30 years.

    Dolores moved back to Oregon and she and Jean again got an apartment together. After a few years Dolores wanted to buy a house. She was the first woman I ever heard of who got a mortgage on her own. She took a 20-year mortgage on a $20,000 house with two bedrooms, one bath and a full daylight basement (yep, that’s what houses cost then–it’s probably worth about $700K now). Jean moved in with her and paid rent for many years. The house was built in 1950 and solid as a rock, BUT it was filthy and the entire basement and some of the upstairs rooms were painted black! It also had PINK bathroom fixtures. LOL. Dolores’ dad told me that he used to lay awake at night and worry about her when she bought that house!
    A few years in, Dolores became interested in having a family. She’d had a couple of romances that hadn’t gone anywhere, and kids were more of a priority than being married. So, to see how she liked it, she became a foster mom to two girls. When the older girl aged out of the system, Dolores adopted the younger girl, who was 13 at the time.

    When she got the girls, she had the basement finished (she and her family did some of the work) to add two more bedrooms, a bathroom, a family room and a utility room. She paid cash. I don’t believe Dolores ever went into debt for anything except her mortgage.

    She needed more storage. Her brother installed a pull-down staircase to the attic and showed her and Jean how to cut and reassemble particleboard. Every payday, she would buy a couple of sheets of particleboard, cut it into 4ths and carry it up the stairs, one piece at a time. They would lay the flooring on the joists and reassemble the 4×8 sheets with deck screws and a drill. They worked out from the stair opening and eventually covered most of the joists (to where you could no longer stand up). She had a clothing system for her kids, like many of you use, and it was stored in copy paper boxes that she got from school. I never saw her buy a plastic bin! She also brought home half-pint milk cartons from school and used them to start seeds for her garden. She did this every year.

    Then she heard about us and our baby from Colombia and decided this might be a good way for her to adopt a baby. She looked us up in the phone book, called, that’s how we met.

    That summer she adopted two biracial brothers through the state. Then, she heard about a 3-year-old girl in the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa) orphanage in India. A pig had bitten off part of the little girl’s leg when she was a baby. The state would not do homestudies for foreign adoptions, but because she’d adopted three hard-to-place children, the social worker released hers to the Missionaries of Charity. This saved her $300-$400 at that time (probably equivalent to $2,000).

    While Dolores was waiting for her little girl, India shut down escorted adoptions (where the child is brought to you) for an indefinite period (things like this happen in foreign adoptions all the time). After waiting for months, Dolores decided to take matters into her own hands and flew to India to bring her daughter home. While she was there, the sister in charge of the orphanage suggested calling Mother Teresa to let her know that Dolores had arrived to bring the little girl (who was very special to MT) home. The sister picked up the phone, dialed Mother Teresa and handed the receiver to Dolores!! Yes, my friend actually talked to Mother Teresa on the phone!

    Dolores’ daughter received services from Shriners until she was 18.

    Now it gets REALLY interesting, LOL. About 6 months later, Dolores decided to take a leave of absence from her job for a year to raise her then-family of 4 children. She had tax-deferred annuities that she’d bought years earlier. The annuities weren’t going anywhere, so she decided to cash them in to help with living expenses for a year off work. She also made arrangements to babysit another single gal’s little boy who had been adopted from India.

    Around this time, Dolores had her kitchen remodeled, added on to her dining room and had a metal cover installed on her patio. Paid cash, of course. She did not buy new appliances because she didn’t need them. She didn’t put in a DW because she had kids to wash dishes. Jean decided it was time to buy her own house and moved out around this time.

    In Colombia, the waiting list for single women was long. Dolores was discouraged. Since she wasn’t working, she decided it would be a good time to adopt a baby from India. Once again, her state homestudy was released. I have never known of one other person that accomplished this, and she did it three times! (If you don’t ask, you don’t get). That winter, with escorted adoptions again going in India, she adopted a 3-month-old baby girl.

    That next summer, the outside of her house needed painting. She did every bit of the work herself, an hour a day, while the kids took naps. It took her about two months. This was the first time I’d ever seen anyone wrap brushes and roller pans in plastic and store in the refrigerator.

    She went back to work in September. Then the Colombian adoption unexpectedly came through and she got another baby girl!
    One or two years later, she decided to take ALL SIX CHILDREN to Germany to get acquainted with the relatives! And she did…for a whole month.

    That’s kind of the end of the big accomplishments. I’m sure you are all wondering how she did all this! Well, the usual ways–cooking from scratch without expensive ingredients, gardening and food preservation, wasting NOTHING, driving that old VW, shopping at thrift stores (which was not common then), accepting things people gave her (and giving back), cutting hair, DIY (sometimes with help from her dad, brother and Jean–and she also helped Jean with her house), tent camping vacations, using the public library and swimming pool for recreation and, of course, burning up that limb wood, LOL. The big deal is that she saved her money, never spent it just because she had it, and never went into debt. Also, and let’s face it, she didn’t have to cater to a husband’s wants. She taught her children to help at home. Her home and her kids always looked nice, but not trendy. She didn’t replace things just because she got bored with them.

    Dolores retired at 55 on full pension and later adopted one of her grandchildren. Meaning she eventually adopted 7 kids. When her folks died, she bought out her siblings’ shares in their parents’ home. She planned to retire there when the last kid was grown. She rented it in the meantime. She never has moved and I assume she is still renting it out, unless she sold it.

    Dolores was (and is) the most frugal person I ever met and she was never stingy. Quite the opposite–she was very generous with the things that count. She shared with family and friends, her door was always open, you always got invited to stay and eat, she would help you any way she could…and when she came to an adoption potluck, she always brought at least 3 things! LOL She raised her children in the Catholic church and they always looked nice. She was a genuinely happy person who enjoyed work and derived great satisfaction from it. I think Brandy, Gardenpat and some of the other moms of big families are this way, too. Being happy in your work makes such a huge difference. (This might be the biggest lesson of all).

    To illustrate how she accomplished so much, I want to tell you about a day we spent together during the year she was off work. My kids were about 3 and 5 by then and we went over to her house to visit after lunch. When the littles went down for naps, the older kids played outside and we sat and visited. She had already started dinner and had to get up occasionally to stir and check on things. We chatted while she worked on her daughter’s birthday present. She’d bought a wooden doll bed for $1 at the Salvation Army and painted it. (She liked the Salvation Army because it was cheaper than Goodwill). She’d made a mattress and covered it with scrap fabric. Now she was tufting the mattress (like tying a quilt) with yarn! She later made sheets, blankets and a little pillow from scraps. This was a great birthday present and it only cost a buck! Her friend came by after work to pick up her son. She invited the friend and son to stay for dinner, too! I will never forget that day because that’s when I began to understand how she did it all. Dolores did not waste time! She could keep multiple balls in the air (teaching K, 1 and 2 helped a lot, I’m sure).

    Here are the takeaways–
    * She lived at home during college and paid her expenses with a summer job. Graduate school was paid for by her school district and put her higher up the salary scale to make more money. She worked in the same school district her entire career (except Germany) which also took her to the top of the salary scale. She did all this before she had children. (Good example of delayed gratification).

    * When she rented, she always had a roommate to share expenses (Jean).

    * When she bought her home, she had a roommate (Jean again!) for quite a few years. When she bought a second home, she rented it out for monthly income.

    * She first got her feet wet as a foster parent, which actually paid her (not much!). Three of her adoptions (through the state) cost $0. She cut costs every way she could with the foreign adoptions and had enough in savings to pay for them.

    * When she took a year off work, she dipped into savings (the annuities) and brought in extra income by babysitting a boy her sons’ age.

    * She paid cash for everything and drove her car until the wheels fell off! (She did buy a used van when she got all the kids but kept the Bug as a daily driver).

    * She helped her parents and siblings and they helped her. They all understood that what goes around, comes around.

    * When she wanted to go to Europe, she got a job and was paid for going.

    * Waste not, want not–this was huge!

    * Mostly free entertainment. I remember that she also used to take her kids to the movies once or twice a year, when there was a deal. I seriously doubt if they ever bought popcorn!

    * She feared nothing. Having the courage and confidence to try anything has been huge.

    And so it went…and if I know Dolores, it’s still going, LOL. Sorry to take up so much space, but I think there are quite a few of you who enjoyed “meeting” the most frugal person I’ve ever known. I expect that those of you with big families and one income are nodding between every paragraph!

    PS I wish I could tell you that all of Dolores’ children have gone on to lead happy, wonderful, resourceful, successful lives. Some have; some have not. Some rebelled against her frugality; some embraced it; some are somewhere in the middle (like most families). In general, the three youngest kids, who came as infants and were not in the foster care system, have done the best. The oldest girl, who spent most of her childhood in foster care, learned to game the system and is a welfare queen…and she dearly loves her mom. Dolores gave them all a lot of unconditional love, acceptance and the tools for life…and I think that’s all that any parent can do.

    1. Hi Maxine,
      I greatly enjoyed reading about Dolores. It was especially nice to read how generous she is, and not stingy, in spite of being prudent with expenses. Her strategic planning was also mixed with a great deal of luck – for example living in a state that paid for her graduate education, even getting the job teaching at a U.S. Army base in Germany. To a certain degree we make our own luck by how we react to adversity but still some luck is involved. It was great she could lay her own floors in the attic, that she could paint her own house outside but there are those who cannot physically do so. Overall, it was great reading about her.

    2. WOAH! Goooooo Delores! (I’m shaking my pompoms here cheerleader style😉)
      So much of that reminded me of my single mom-hood raising (only😒) 3 children. She was blessed with a network to help hold her up, unfortunately I was not (when I say single, I mean SINNNNGGGLE). It was ROUGH sometimes but we made it by the grace of God.
      And the movies…😂 the few times I took my kiddos to a movie theater (matinees or later, the dollar theater) we would smuggle (shhhhh🙊) in snacks. *blush* Even popcorn! (please don’t judge…the struggle was REAL {as the young-uns say nowadays,} back then) I had a huge “movie handbag” for years. I guess when you’re packing around three little kids, no one questions a woman with a ginormous purse slung over her shoulder.
      I can laugh about those days now but, oy.

    3. Oh, my goodness, Maxine! What a story and you tell it so well. Thank you for sharing more about Dolores. I think you might have started something. Perhaps others would be interested in sharing stories about the most frugal person they know (other than themselves. 🙂 ) I would love that and am sure everyone here would.

    4. I LOVED reading this , enjoying everything about this woman and her life. can’t thank you enough for sharing

    5. So encouraging, Maxine!
      She sounds like a superhero, and probably would be happy that others get to learn her secrets to success, thanks to your willingness to share her story.
      I am doing the best I can in my situation, but feel encouraged when I read about others who made it past the finish line. Keep on keeping on!

  53. I would like to share a very frugal gift for artists. I visited the VanGogh museum in Amsterdam a few years ago. He had small balls of yarn, about the size of a half dollar, all different colors in a wooden bowl. When he started a painting he arranged the balls experimenting until he got the right shades for his paintings. Most of his were of the bright colors he used, yellows, blues etc, but also had muted colors. Not much yarn is needed to create a ball, I make balls out of whatever is left. Put in a thrift store container, or one you already have and you have a nice gift. I’ve given many to friends and they love it. I also made one for my granddaughter who loves to color.

  54. I live in Massachusetts and many of our libraries have free museum passes, sometimes for just two but often four people. The offer includes gardens, places like Sturbridge Village, Hancock Center, and other features our state has. I’m not sure if all libraries offer this but it might be worth asking.

  55. Brandy, I just read your post this week and I have to compliment you on the pictures of Octavius. He’s adorable!

  56. -We made our own apple cider from the surplus of apples. I made chili with the last of the garden tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. I shredded several more large bags of zucchini for the freezer.
    -I was given more Concord grapes. I froze them and will make jam at a later date this winter.
    -Sold a few items on eBay. Passed along clothing my kids have outgrown.
    -Moved all of my tropical plants inside for the winter plus some herbs. They don’t grow much but it keeps everything alive and we can enjoy fresh herbs all year around.
    -Using Halloween decor given to me years ago from my parents. I bought a few bags of Halloween candy on sale. Reusing costumes for my kids.
    -We had definitely gotten very lax about eating out, grabbing coffees and drinks over the summer. Time to get back on track.

  57. Brandy, I look forward to reading your blog every week. I am so sorry to hear about your troubles right now. Your own advice will serve you well. my husband and I are getting ready to retire at the end of the year, and are very concerned about the economy. We are 70 years old. Fortunately, we both grew up in households where there were a lot of kids and not much money so we know how to live within our means. Our own two children were not given expensive toys or clothes and they turned out OK. Please take care and know there are a lot of people who care about you and wish you the best. I am going to make more of an effort to order through your Amazon links.

  58. Brandy,
    I had not read the more recent posts except for the one from Maxine about Dolores. I’m so sorry that the real estate market has collapsed. Severe job loss/inflation/recession/stagflation has plagued our family at least 4 times in my history. It is very stressful. I wondered whether the garden center that you are an influencer for might hire you to give low-cost (but still profitable to you) talks on gardening or on how to make Christmas decorations/wreaths from spruce boughs. Or would the garden centre sell blank cards for all occasions with your photos of the front? Just a thought for a temporary job. I greatly appreciate your blog – the interesting, inspiring information, and the time and effort you put into it.
    God bless you and your family in these difficult times.

  59. Safeway has butter for $1.87 a pound. You must clip the coupon on the safeway app. Good through 10/18 where I live. I bought 12 pounds today. The price is the best I’ve seen here in a very long time.

  60. I have so enjoyed comments this week!
    Brandy, I have read here for years, and I will say that part of what has made me read is the lovely and beautiful things you create yourself including the really delicious recipes you’ve developed. I sometimes get very discouraged with budgeting and being endlessly frugal. My husband and I joke a lot, but we have been married for 30 years and no kidding, for the past 20 we have lived off the same amount of funds per year, until we retired. We do not have debt, which is terrific because when he retired our income halved, we were given a second home to keep up and have had real struggles to make ends meet. I expected at this point of time to be frugal still, yes, but not working harder than ever to keep going! Yet here we are. I was able to rent the second house to my daughter for the past year earning just enough money off rent to cover the insurance and taxes. Nov 1 she is moving out and I must carry that house. I can’t rent it any longer and that’s all I shall say on that matter. The point of all this is I am so encouraged by seeing how well you do with a large family that I keep trying anyway and it’s resulted in a life that is far more pleasant than what I might have made of it.

    My frugal doings for the past week mostly consisted of shopping sales for meat at a upscale store. Glad I did because a few days later Kroger had a sale on milk, and I always check out the clearance priced things. ALL of the meat in the clearance marked packages were at least $5.50 a pound and in looking over regular prices I found that meat prices per pound overall had risen to an average of $8 per pound. For what we used to call ‘cheap’ meats, the only kinds we could ever afford! I was shocked. As we wind up this last month of having the house rented, I am going to have to really pull hard on our budget to cut things back. This time of year, both house insurances are due as well as taxes on both places, and that’s going to hit our bank account hard.

    Nevertheless, I have a do not give up attitude. I will go on and we will do all we must do. I have spent months now somehow anticipating a tightening of the belts and have stocked as much as I can. I have been practicing all my most frugal recipes and learning where I can cut still further. I have been cutting down so hard on waste that we literally lose NOTHING any longer. Even the few scraps we have are going to feed a stray cat, just so someone will get good use of the last dregs from our house. And in the next few weeks, I’m going to go over and over our budget with a nit-picking comb and determine all that we might cut back still further upon until we are through this particular season.

    1. Terri: Wishing you all the best as you maneuver through the current downturns. How fortunate you are to have your husband with you! Without asking anything about the situation of your second house, it does not sound like it was a true gift if it is wearing you down. Insurance rates vary– occupied house, unoccupied house, rental house– and I hope you are in the least expensive category!

      1. You are right about insurance rates; I bought a fixer upper (vacant house), and until it was rental occupied, insurance was sky-high!
        I suppose the risks of fire, vandalism, etc. is much greater when the house is empty.

    2. Terri, I’ve noticed that “do not give up” attitude! Good for you! I always enjoy your posts for that very reason.

      You don’t have to respond to this…but if the house was a gift, and you don’t intend to rent it, are you planning to do something with it? If so, you may wish to consider selling it. It’s true the real estate market is in the dumps, but it doesn’t cost anything to list it and see what happens. So what if it is on the market for a long time before someone buys it? So what if you sell low–you got it free. At some point, this could reduce your stress level and financial outgo and give you additional income for living expenses.

  61. Brandy, is there any way we could purchase some of your beautiful pictures for note cards? The mother of one of my students created a set for me out of her artwork but I used them all. I don’t have information on possible prices or legal rules but someone in this group may have answers.

  62. Brandy,
    You have been on my mind. I also wanted to tell you how much you have helped me. There are times when I was so worried and you and others said something that helped, including prayers. Thank-you for doing this blog. My husband makes less than two thirds what he once did, yet somehow I feel like we are better off than before. I know it is because we have learned to live more frugally. We are not spendthrifts anymore. Occasionally we have paid for a treat. My husband always says that is why he works a job. But for the most part we are very frugal. I have learned a lot here on your blog. I was thinking. If I were your husband I would put emphasis on the fact that he managed a company. Although he may apply for something in a different industry, management skills could be important in any industry. Also, I want to let you know that I have prayed for you and your family. I just wanted to offer some words of encouragement. This month, our electricity costs have decreased 26 dollars! I know it is because of what we are doing, things I have learned here from you and others. I know God has a plan. He will not forsake you.

    1. Thank you, Tammy.

      What we have found (and what my parents, who were self-employed before they moved here years ago also found) is that the fact that you managed a company with many people working for you doesn’t appear to count at ALL. It doesn’t matter that he’s how many agents have worked for him. It’s like being a business owner didn’t even exist, and you have to start at the bottom again—which is a paltry amount that won’t even cover our mortgage (which is now equal to the price of renting a one-bedroom apartment here in town.) This has been absolutely shocking to me.

      We had a 75% cut in income in 2007 and we have survived these many years since on that, but we have to have something coming in.

      Our agents have houses listed but they are not selling, because interest rates are too high and so are prices–and prices are coming down. The latest article I read said that the most overvalued market in the nation is once again Las Vegas, and prices are overvalued by 60%. They’re already dropping here by $100,000 on some houses just since June. As a buyer, it makes sense to wait it out a couple of years.

      There are articles in the news saying this recession will be longer and worse than before. With rising inflation worldwide, it’s time to do things we haven’t done before in order to make ends meet–for many people, I think. Super frugality and lots of hard work are going to be needed for so many of us to get through all that is coming.

      1. Writing to join with all the prayers for your family. You have written about your husband’s welding, construction, and repair skills, which are rare. However, long term physical demands or required licensing might be barriers.
        I google searched for “Las Vegas Higher Education Jobs” and was directed to HigherEdJobs.com. Listings go far beyond teaching: purchasing, maintenance, planning, coordinating, all the stuff that is needed to keep the campus working. Maybe museums or tourist places could use someone who has flexible abilities as well as a strong work ethic, goal setting ability (I am thinking about what makes a successful real estate professional), positive attitude with many different types of people, sales skills, knowledge of finances and of meeting government regulations, predicting trends, computer expertise, etc. Classic car sales? Scouting?
        I understand your shock that being a supervisor doesn’t seem to be a positive. If he can figure out how to word it better in an interview than I am doing here, having been a supervisor means he will understand the challenges his supervisor faces, makes him better at predicting problems and resolving them in advance, seeing how the parts of an organization work together for the whole, etc.
        Best wishes to you, and thank you for continuing this website!

        1. Thanks Heidi. He hasn’t had any interviews yet to explain his management skills; just had to apply online first and was told no. He’s also working with an employment center. I will tell him about that site and see if he’s tried there; he has applied to many places and been on many sites but I don’t recall him mentioning this one. I appreciate yours and everyone else’s suggestions.

          1. I recommend a skill-based resume over the traditional chronological one. More popular in tech circles I think, but it will probably keep eyes on his resume long enough to get a truer sense of his skills. He might also work with a recruiter for a particular industry (they’re paid by the company). Best of luck to your hardworking husband. He’s lucky to have such a staunchly supportive partner!

              1. A commentor below made a good point about salting the resume liberally with keywords from the job description, especially if submitted electronically.

                In the short-term, for sheer survival, have you considered taking in a couple of kids for daycare? Where I live, a home daycare doesn’t have to be licensed until over I believe 4 kids. Built in playmates, a playground in the backyard, whole meals and snacks from scratch, all in a safe family environment…sounds like a dream daycare as a parent of a young un! That might bring in enough to cover half the bills without stretching you too tooooo thing. Then if your husband could get what is called a survival job, that might give him a bit more time to find a better suited job. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. I strongly believe you will find a solution through your resourcefulness and resilience. And we’re here cheering you on!

              2. Yes, we’ve done that for each job.

                There are strict laws here for watching children and it can be no more than 6 children in the home. I still have 7 children at home, lol. Also, I homeschool, so my days are filled with teaching my children their lessons.

      2. Oh Brandy,
        I hope your husband finds something that will work for your family. You are right. Super frugality, lots of hard work, and prayer will be needed. I know that we have looked on indeed.com to find jobs. I wonder if you would have time to do wedding photography. You are a great photographer. People pay a premium for wedding photography or High school graduation or Senior pictures. Or family photos. But wedding in particular. Where I live, it is thousands of dollars to hire a photographer and videographer for a wedding. Just a thought. I know you are busy with your children. But, you are very talented. A husband -wife team photographed and took video of our wedding almost 13 years ago.

          1. I’m so sorry that you closed your photography business this past spring. Wedding photos might be different but other photos are hard to sell. Everyone admires them but everyone assumes they could do just as well and that photography is easy. I think it’s as a result of cellphones. Well, it’s not true — it takes talent. It is hard to sell photographs at any time but especially during economic hard times. I tried to sell my beautiful bluebird photo that everyone admired. I asked only $30 framed. I only sold one and that was to a friend. Again, I’m sorry you closed it, for whatever reason. You truly are a talented photographer!!!

            1. Finding clients takes a lot of time, as does the work behind running a business. I needed more time with my children.

  63. I don’t know how it works in Las Vegas but I know friends of mine hit a major roadblock because resumes are electronically screened here and must contain the words and terms the employer and the software program are looking for; without those words, the resume ends up in the “no” pile.
    I suggest he ask the employment center if resumes are being electronically vetted or screened and if so how to tailor make resumes to get around that. Personally, I find it disheartening to read job requirements these days. They read like a long book but many people who don’t have those specific “certificates” have equivalent experience and can perform the job admirably. For example, I just was the lead researcher, writer, editor and proofreader of a book but I cannot even qualify for a proofreading or editing job. My prayers are with you and your family. Ann

  64. My daughter just got a job and she heard about the opening through a friend. I’m guessing that you have put the word out among your network. I trust that your husband will find something soon. Substitute teachers here are being paid $185 a day, which could be done until a full time job is found.

      1. I don’t sub at just any school, but there are a couple little country schools where I know the staff and some of the kids and I sub at those. Both as a teacher and as office staff. It suits my life, I have chronic illness, and I’m also the person that deals with all of my mother’s medical stuff (heart failure and several other heart things). So I need a very flexible way of making a little money. I still do some paid sewing as well.
        None of this pays enough to support a family, but it helps us, and it helps my own feelings of being able to contribute. Chronic illness can make a person feel very useless.

        1. Thank you. My husband has been a teacher in the past. Unfortunately, they don’t pay subs very much here.

          1. Schools are so low on teachers, your husband might be able to secure s full time job as a teacher – even without a teacher certification. In most states you then have 3 years to get the certification. That might tide things over – plus he certainly has experience with teaching and behavior management!

            1. He was a teacher many years ago. He doesn’t want to go that route again, but thank you for the suggestion.

  65. http://www.needhelppayingbills.com is a site with information for people that need help paying bills and has job information and grants. It gives resource information. I thought I would post that for anyone that needs to look up resources. I’ve looked up info. before. It was helpful.

  66. Brandy, not sure if this has already been suggested, but a lot of companies are now offering permanent remote work which might be helpful if Vegas is really struggling right now (i.e., company from Seattle might be hiring, and the position is 100% remote, permanently, so they don’t care where you live). I understand the dilemma of trying to find a job after being self-employed — it’s hard to explain that you were the CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO, etc. — someone in some HR dept somewhere will get it, though, and it’s just a matter of getting in front of that person. Good luck to your family!

  67. Hello Brandy, I’ve read the blog for years but this is the first time I actually leave a comment. I remember you mentioned before that you’re fluent in French. Ever considered working as a freelance translator from French into English? You can do that from your own home; it’s how I support myself actually. Drop me an email if this sounds as something you’d be interested in doing.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion! Sadly, I still make too many mistakes to do this.

      However, a friend of mine who is very much fluent in both languages (and who volunteers as a translator) was recently laid off from his job. I will contact you; I think he would be interested.

  68. Good luck, Brandy! Your website is truly an inspiration! Like the others have said, you’re one of the very few I frequent for uplifting and encouraging frugal living.

    And good luck not only with the job hunt but also navigating the uh … well-intentioned but often misinformed advice.

    My husband applied to USPS more than a decade ago in Texas but he was told they ONLY hire Veterans. By the way, we lived nowhere near any military installations but they had no problem filling positions with only Veterans.

    Civilian military base jobs are even worse, not only do they have Veteran’s preference, but they also have military spouse preference. We now live in a military area (because of family nearby) and it’s impossible! It’s also ridiculous how well those jobs pay compared to the same non-military jobs yet normal people aren’t even allowed to apply (my husband tried, the website won’t let you through if you can’t check their “exclusive club” boxes of Veteran, Military Spouse, or Former Government Employee).

    Teaching is ridiculously competitive! I don’t understand all this griping about teacher shortages in the media. My husband has THREE active teacher certifications and has been subbing, then teacher assisting since 2019 and has STILL not been hired as a teacher! They keep hiring new, young graduates instead. It’s disgusting. It’s not his fault he earned his teacher license just in time for the historic teacher layoffs of the Great Recession so he had to find other employment, which 7 years later laid him off so he went back to subbing and trying to get hired as a teacher.

    He’s in the trenches of public school accepting the ridiculously low pay to be an insider to increase his odds of getting hired but it has NOT worked!!! It’s been years of striving for a job that supposedly no one wants, yet he’s fully qualified and making huge sacrifices to pursue this path. Honestly, he would’ve been better paid working at Chick-fil-A or Target instead of subbing or teacher assisting. So sad!

    So yeah … the job market is a lot more difficult than most people realize.

    I know, not encouraging, but after reading the comments I thought some readers may benefit from some first hand insight into the reality of the current job market. Whereas I think you already know the reality and are wise to avoid certain paths others have suggested. I really do hope all the best for you and your family! I’m certain you and your husband will figure this out, even if it’s uncertain right now. You inspire us, especially those of us living through similar circumstances. Thank you!!!

    1. I have seen what you are talking about. We have been through many applications and have tried many routes.

      Last week I interviewed for a seasonal cahsier job that pays minimum wage. I was not hired.

      It’s not easy to get something, especially something that pays enough to pay the bills.

      I have seen local postings on those who have tried to work here as teachers. Even with certifications it can take a year to even be able to sub even if you were a teacher in another state. This despite the shortage of thousands of teachers and the district saying they need subs so badly for all the teachers they don’t have that they will hire those with just a high school diploma. In the meantime, people still need to pay their bills.

      It is not easy–but we are moving forward the best we can and I think we have made some decisions.

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