I harvested mint and one large zucchini from the garden. We used it to make zucchini potato pancakes.

My husband gave me a haircut and cut his own hair as well.

My husband continued welding the large rose arbor for my climbing roses. Having a custom piece made for our garden would cost thousands of dollars. I’m grateful that he can make it for us.

I bought some fabric for a new apron for myself and my daughter at 30% off at Hobby Lobby (she chose her fabric). I will teach her how to make an apron.

I printed several Peppa Pig coloring pages for my son to paint from this free site.

I read two e-books from the library: Carnegie’s Maid and The Book of Lost Names. Both were excellent and I will be requesting more books from both authors.

I went to several community garage sales near me on Saturday morning. The residents are only permitted to host garage sales two weekends a year, so you can usually find lots of sales those days. There was a surprisingly small number of sales, but I did find a few things: four cookie cutters for $0.10 each; 2 star-shaped pancake molds for $0.50 each; a Snap Circuits kit for $2; a large book that I can use as a photo prop, some push pins, and some envelopes for $2; three brand-new scarves for $10; and a shirt for $0.50.

As usual, we had several meatless meals throughout the week, including bean and rice burritos, broccoli cheese soup, vegetable spring rolls, peanut butter and jam sandwiches (using homemade apricot jam from our apricot trees), and lots of salads.

I made granola from scratch.

I canned eight pints of sweet pickle relish, using the cucumbers that I was given recently. We use sweet pickle relish to make tuna melt sandwiches.

I buried banana peels, cucumber peels, and apple cores in the garden, along with several bags of manure that I purchased. When you purchase 10 or more bags at a time, you receive 10% off at the local nursery. I bought 12 bags. I will continue to mix them into the garden this week before I plant seeds.

I made sure to check the hourly weather report each morning to take advantage of not running the air when it was cooler. If I keep the house closed up, the air conditioner will come on several hours earlier. On my weekly electric report from the electric company, with two weeks left to go before the next bill, it shows that my bill should be $50 cheaper than it was last year. (Each week, I check the estimated amount for the month in the email and try to make it less). This, plus the additional $20 we save each month from the LED bulbs we put in last year, makes our bill even lower than it was two years ago! With the rising cost of power across the world right now, I am grateful to be using less and lowering my bill.

Speaking of lowered bills–our last two summer water bills have come in even lower. Not only have I cut our water usage by 1/3 from the garden renovation, but I have now reduced our bill by $100 a month in the summer months, which had been my goal. The water savings and the increased harvest that will come in a few years (once the fruit trees and grapevines get larger) will eventually pay for the renovation, but my delight and joy in seeing the garden every day is priceless.

What did you do last week to save money? Share below in the comments:

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  1. Love the blue nail polish! You can always tell a little boy who has older sisters! What fun!

    I picked my garden for the last time and pulled up the plants. Frost was imminent (we actually got it last night) and nothing else was going to ripen. Picked red and green tomatoes–should last until Thanksgiving. I also dug up some beautiful pink tuberous begonias and will try to hold them over the winter to replant next year.

    I only really needed milk this week. However, I bought frozen BLSL chicken breasts for $1.48 lb. and two pounds of butter for $1.99 lb. I spent $12 at the bread thrift store and saved about 40%.

    I cooked double one night and froze half for another meal. We also ate one ready meal from the freezer. My goal is to rotate 2 or 3 freezer meals per month.

    My phone battery is dying every night. New Samsung batts were around $15 on Amazon. I bought a Samsung on ebay for $7.49. Ebay is always worth a look.

    I used Office Max/Office Depot Rewards to buy printer ink. Some of my Rewards had expired before I used them (frugal fail).
    Thanks to all for your kind expressions of sympathy about our dog last week. Molly left us Thursday night. Loved Laurie Villotta’s comment about taking their dog to Dairy Queen for two cheeseburgers and an ice cream cone!

    I hope you all have a wonderful week, and may we all lower our utility bills as Brandy did! 

    1. I’m sorry about Molly. That is such a hard thing to go through.

      I’m excited about our lows going into the 60ies overnight. I’m not sure I’m ready to get out first frost – actually, I’m sure I’m not!

    2. Maxine,
      I’m sorry for your loss. Many condolences. Molly was clearly much loved and such a Good Girl. (((hugs)))

  2. Sounds like you are really finding ways to save that definitely add up, Brandy!
    Here in the Midwest area of the U.S., it should be autumn but right now we are have Indian Summer with temps feeling much warmer than normal. It’s delightful outside but I know, after years of living here in Ohio, not to be deceived into thinking that cold wintry weather isn’t just around the corner.

    So, today I started planting our strawberry runners that have already taken root. I got about 50 of them planted and still have about 3 – 4 times more to do!! Not only will that expand our strawberry patches and harvest but it will also give us a nice extra stream of income in the Spring.

    Thinking of people who lived in more challenging than we do, I decided that every potato, no matter how small would be valued, so I also used some of my sad little potato harvest (https://pin.it/6IjnZs4. See how those potatoes in photo compare in size to apple?🥴)to put into 3 individual mini chicken pot pies! Each mini pie is quite a filling meal for Hubs and I to share for dinner. https://pin.it/edOusAw. In the photo, it is before they were baked to golden brown in oven! That means that so far, my deflating potato harvest has been a part of 3 separate meals that fed 2 people each time!

    We use the grocery store less and less – only for rock bottom sales on things we use regularly.

    Quilting this week- for business- #190- https://pin.it/6pYTc8U #191 (by my daughter while I was struggling with seasonal allergies) and #193- https://pin.it/2plqTVC. #195 and #196 are being dropped off on Tuesday by a new client.

    To replenish my gift cupboard- #192- https://pin.it/2mt2cNh and #194- https://pin.it/3WqMQbR
    I saw #194 on Pinterest with only a photo- no pattern or even pattern name. I searched all over to no avail. So I got out some scratch paper and made my own pattern- https://pin.it/1ut4PWZ.
    On the quilts I’m making to put in my gift cupboard, I have used remnant pieces of batting and sewn them together to make batting large enough to use for each of those 2 quilts so no OOP cost for two more gifts!

    We are on our way today (Monday)to the Amish Produce Auction. It’s their last Monday for the season! They’ve still had bell peppers last week
    so I’m hoping to get a bushel to make and can a huge amount of salsa! I have all the other ingredients and supplies!
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. GardenPat, I live in the mid-south and wonder what you do to protect your runners over the winter? This is the first year I have had an abundance of runners on plants and I have been rooting them by pinning them down but want to make sure I protect them properly in the winter so they make it until spring. Thank you so much!

      1. Amanda- last year was my first year that I rooted the strawberry runners. After they had roots, I planted them in small containers I had filled with potting soil. Then I dug those pots into my raised bed gardens that had been cleared out for winter and they stayed there, uncovered, all winter. And we had snow. Come Spring, they sprouted new green leaves and by late April, they looked full and lush and ready to be planted in their new garden beds. I did cover them with a bit of straw early on but they seemed to thrive in spite of my “neglect”! That’s my favorite kind of fruit/veg!! 😉🤣

        1. Thank you so much. I apologize for the delayed response. I have never had this many runners before because I would pinch them early on so they would focus on producing fruit. These were bare roots my father brought me later in the season that I let run since it was too late for fruit. Some plants have 10-12 runners from a single plant. I haven’t cut any from the mother plants yet but plan to this week and then mulch for the winter. I may also put up a low hoop because I have greens planted in the same bed I want to over winter. Thank you again for responding!

      2. Amanda, I’m not Gardenpat, but I garden in USDA 6b, which I believe is similar to most of Ohio. Strawberries are hardy down to zone 3, so I don’t think there is much to worry about. In the years when I haven’t really dealt with all of the runners, there wasn’t a noticeable winter kill. I would pin down or detach and plant runners that you really want, but once in the ground, they seem to spend the winter putting out roots. Strawberry runners want to grow, and there doesn’t seem to be much to do except get out of the way!

        1. Thank you for chiming in Maxine! I have grown strawberries but never have had so many runners as I usually pinch them early on to focus on fruit production but these were planted after our normal harvesting time and I just let them grow. I have so many runners from the 25 plants that survived, which I am thrilled! I just wanted to protect them to ensure even the little ones survive. I am in zone 7a (but microclimate more like 6b). We had some of our coldest days last winter and many things didn’t make it that normally survive the winter. I truly appreciate you responding.

      1. We moved to Cbus from CA 28+ years ago and totally love it!! And now, as our children have grown up, 8 of the 11 still live in Ohio! It has become our “forever” home !! ❤️❤️

      1. Jules Owings- The mini pot pies I made are using the 3/$1 foil pot pie tins (disposable)from Dollar Tree. The even come with nice plastic lids ! A whole pot pie lasts too long for Hubs and me and, remembering how my mom would give us each our own pot pie from the frozen food section of grocery, I assumed one mini pie for each of us! Obviously my homemade ones are more filling than the store bought ones because a single mini-pie was sufficient for the 2 of us to share for dinner!
        Seeing how easy these are to make, there’s not going to be a pot pie shortage here! Lol! Think I’ll make chicken, beef, and other varieties for freezer! Pinterest is filled with tons of recipes!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    2. Those are some good looking pot pies, Gardenpat. Mine never look that polished. Like you, I use up every potato we harvest, no matter the size. Amazing how the tiny ones add up to savings when used in things like pies.

      1. Mable- To be honest, I cheated and used a box of Kroger pie crust. A box with 2 crusts are enough to make tops and bottoms for 3 of the foil mini-pie tins! I can’t make pie crust to save my life! It’s a bit cooler today and I may just take out another box of 2 rolled up pie crusts and make beef pot pies for dinner!! Yum!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Hello Gardenpat! Your potato story reminds me of a very dear Irish friend who told me they were so poor when he was a boy in Ireland that they would go out at night after the farmer harvested potatoes and pick up all the tiny ones, bring them home and his mother would boil them up in a pot and that would be their meal for a day or two. They called these potatoes “poor-uns”. Every time I harvest potatoes, I pick them as well with this in mind.

  3. I have found that for me garage sales are really not worth it the last couple years. Maybe it’s because I have a very limited number of items I need/want but unless I’m already out and driving by, they no longer intrigue me. Not having any young children also helps with that.

    I attended a local 3 day festival with crafters, food trucks and vendors and local businesses and groups. I bought a Christmas wreath that will show up very well on my dark blue door. It’s very hard to see a green wreath on a dark background from the street 40 feet away, especially when it is shaded by the porch roof. I also bought a few food items and picked up a can coozie, a scratch pad, free microwave popcorn and small packets of candy at various booths. I thought about going back on Sunday when the weather was gorgeous (cool enough to wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt and sweat pants all day!) but decided against it because I knew I would spend money not budgeted for this.

    I wrote down a list of meals to make for dinner and actually made some of them, including the Museum Pasta Salad (including leftovers for a second dinner), Chicken, Bacon and Dried Sweet Onion BBQ Tortilla Pizza, Spaghetti Carbonara, which was left over from lunch out with friends the day before, and eggs and toast. I also had pizza that I had frozen several weeks ago and was VERY happy to remember it was there as well as several salads.

    I froze 3 servings of sugar snap peas that I did not use in the pasta salad and will include them in stir-fries this winter. I picked and chopped more peppers and froze them to use this winter as well. I diced peppers and onions and froze 3 mixed bags of them (¼ cup each) to use this winter when making Sloppy Joes. Cutting these up is always the most time-consuming and annoying part of the recipe so I like having that done.

    While repotting the two blueberries I bought last week and the 2 tomato plants I recently bought in bigger pots, I also transplanted basil plants that self-seeded in my garden into 3 pots so I can bring them into the house to use this winter. I will likely do more as the plants get bigger. I also moved the 3 catnip plants for my cats to bigger pots so they have room to grow.

    I weeded one garden bed and found that some of the plants had died because the weeds overtook them but others survived just fine so I divided some of them up and spread them throughout the bed. I have more beds to weed but have already determined that one resolution for 2022 will be to weed my gardens weekly, even if that means getting up at 6 a.m. from July through September to beat the heat and humidity. Fortunately, it is cooling down here, which is good for both outside work and my electric bill. I’m currently on track to use 315 kWh (or less) this month. The smaller water heater (40 gallons rather than the old 60 gallons) that I bought in July and using the dryer a few minutes less for each load and hanging up anything that still needs to dry a little bit both help as well.

    I perused two cookbooks from the library, It’s Always Freezer Season and The Tiny Kitchen Cookbook. I came to the realization that I no longer care about convoluted recipes that use fancy cheeses and more expensive ingredients. Some recipes were more simple but honestly I already have versions of those. I returned both books.

    I stopped at Aldi to buy 20 pounds of potatoes to donate to Katie’s Krops for their bi-weekly free dinner for over 500 people. While there, I checked and found they had a lot of cans of pureed pumpkin and bought 12 of them. As a side note, the head of Katie’s Krops told me that they and a number of other charitable organizations have hit a giving fatigue wall where people are either tired (for lack of a better word) of donating or do not feel they have the resources available to do so. I’m trying but with prices going up, I’m also being more particular about my giving.

  4. We have been enjoying lovely weather here in southern Ontario so we have got our vegetable garden cleaned up for the year. I got so many tomatoes that I made two batches of tomato sauce, stewed a lot of tomatoes for casseroles and made tomato paste. I found apples for .67$/ lb at No Frills so I made several more batches of applesauce in various flavour combinations since my son eats this daily.

    We have been gifted wood twice from our buy nothing group so we have a good supply for the winter. The predictions are for a cold, snowy winter and with the cost of natural gas rising so quickly, we will be making good use of this. My husband and I will be keeping the house at a lower temperature this winter and even cooler at night. We have flannelette sheets and lots of warm sweaters and socks and they will be put to use.

    We received an installment from the Canada Workers Benefit that we didn’t expect so some of that will be put away in savings. The last installment is expected in January and will also be put into savings for future use. Unexpected money is always a bonus!

    As we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada today, I want to thank you, Brandy, for this blog and the community you have created. It is such a place of encouragement for me.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Andrea!

      Glad you have some wood in for winter. Heating costs are going to be high all over this year and supplies limited. It’s good to be prepared.

      1. I haven’t mentioned this yet because it’s something I’ll be doing at the end of October but this would be a good time for everyone to check for air leaking into/out of their houses due to worn out door and window seals, tiny openings around their outlets, etc. Spending a few dollars to fix/replace those things now could save substantial money and make for a more comfortable indoor environment later.

  5. My husband was also busy creating for the garden last week, making a new, whimsical gate from scrap metal he had on hand. I love it! Thanks so much for the book shares. My library has both, and I’ve put them on my list. Last week, I canned pear sauce with the last of the pears, and made a quadruple batch of my Mom’s caponata with our abundant eggplant harvest. I canned it for the first time, and look forward to enjoying it with crusty bread. Also harvested were sweet peppers, yellow and tromboncino squash, a sad tomato or two, lemon verbena, rosella hibiscus, figs, hickory nuts, stevia, black haw fruit, and dock seed. Trays of figs and sweet peppers were dried. Basil and purslane were gathered for pesto. We treated our rooster for bumblefoot, our first attempt at that. Hopefully it helps. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/10/a-new-garden-gate-some-more-canning.html

  6. My biggest savings this week was buying fleece for my business. I bought 13 yards of fleece for $3.99 a yard instead of $9.99 a yard. A savings of 6 dollars a yard. I also got free shipping.
    I am listening to audible books while I work. I am counting this as a savings because I have had these books for a few years. This is the second time I am listening to them so to my mind they are “free”.
    I got a chuck “roast”…very small really…on sale. We cut it in half and made a very large stew with one have and baked the other half for sandwiches.
    We bought 2 turkeys for this holiday season. They cost $1.82 a pound. This almost killed me, but the prices (even in this store) made a lot of the turkeys over $100.00 each! I am going to keep my eyes out for cheaper prices as we get closer to the holidays. If I find some I will buy more turkeys.
    I am starting to sell items on Marketplace. No sales yet, but I’m hopeful.
    I’m crocheting items for a new baby due in December. This is my grandson’s wife’s child.
    I am making most of the Christmas gifts I will be giving this year. I don’t have to buy anything to make these gifts. It is a relief to have decided making gifts is the way to go.
    I ordered Christmas and Chanukah cards. I am buying these from a friend and having them sparkled up (which costs a bit more) and got charged a lot less for shipping. This isn’t really a saving, but I am trying to buy American made and from small businesses.
    I ordered my “free” OTC meds for this month.
    I have started making lists about what needs to be fixed in my house. On the surface this isn’t going to be cheap, but maintaining your home is always cheaper than not maintaining. If I can use the barter system for working on the house it will be really helpful.
    This month is a last payment on a $3000.00 bill that I have had for a few years now. This will give me a little cushion.
    Brandy, I want to buy the first and last picture on your message today.
    The picture of your little one just tickled me to no end. His little nails reminded me of my grown son being home on leave many years ago. His youngest sister used to give him pedicures when he was home. She painted his nails often. Once he went back to base and that night his roommate stuttered, “Ahhhh…Edwards, what’s wrong with your toenails?”. Jay looked at them and realized that Windee had painted his toenails with a glow in the dark polish not just a clear polish. *laughing* Your sweet baby gave me such a good memory and a laugh.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh Becky!!! The story of your son’s nails cracked me up. Truly made me belly laugh as my husband was a drill sergeant for three years and this kind of story would spread like wildfire through a unit. Oh, I love it!!!!! *giggling*

  7. Sold an item and made $10

    Used a free redbox rental code, then another 1.25 off

    Found a few grocery deals with coupons a couple stores had;
    6 porkchops .88 each
    1 large dozen eggs .50
    12 bush chili beans .99, (they are 1.98 each at Walmart)
    4 Panera soups $3 each ($4.57 at Walmart)
    2 Ice cream half gallons for $2.50 each

    My mother in law sent home potato soup Sunday, so that’s just what we had for dinner

    FINALLY used up the last of the apples. I made another batch of apple crisp, then I found a recipe for a fall-ish Cole slaw. I had nearly everything on hand, except for a container of plain yogurt. I picked it up for .50 and used remaining cabbage from cabbage rolls earlier in the week, instead of buying prepackaged like the recipe called for.

    Made sure to enter receipts on my rebate apps. I’ll cash them in next month to use towards Christmas.

    Enjoyed the doors and windows being open(minus 2 days the temps crept back up).

    Finished another audiobook I’ve had in my library.

  8. Oh…I forgot.
    I also bought 2 wreaths for $15.00 each. These usually sell for $35.00 and $55.00. The maker also delivered them to my daughter so she could bring them home. This saved me a big shipping cost.

  9. I made my own liquid soap from the many pieces of goat’s milk bar soap that I have saved for the past year the soap turned out wonderfully I also shopped at Walmart which is always a savings

  10. This week we supplemented or groceries with rescued fruits and vegetables and incorporated them into our meal plan. I brought home several large family size boxes of saltine and Ritz crackers. Those rescues will be used for many soup meals this winter. I found 6 packages of Lorna doone cookies that are all crumbles. I plan on using them in banana pudding for the upcoming holidays. I used $25.00 of my grocery money to shop at the Amazon returned goods outlet on $3.00 day. I find that on $3.00 day , there are still many items in sealed shipping boxes or sealed in bags. They contain multiple items , so the savings is more. I got a 24 pack of Zevia grape soda that we will have at a birthday party. I bought a case of laundry fragrance beads , Epsom salts , 3 gallons of Nexxus shampoo and Dr teals body wash. I added 7 bottles of essential oils to our medicine cabinet. This had to be savings in the hundreds. My daughter and I shared a $5.00 meal at little Ceasars. Sugar cookie loves to search through the boxes. We can spend several hours there and she is entertained. Its a nice treat for her and we don’t spend very much money. I’m working on my budget for next year. I’m scrutinizing my bills to see where any budget eaters attacked my usual plan. I’m doing winter maintenance on the house using the items we already have. I’m starting to look for Christmas gifts as I don’t want to end up with supply and shipping issues. I bought my son a much desired book at a used book store. I read several books on kindle unlimited. My trial ends in November and I will cancel it then.

    1. Lorna Doone shortbread is my family’s absolute favorite in banana pudding! And you had some of the work done already since they were crumbles, money & a time saver.

  11. I have all heat and air off even though it is in upper 80’s most days, the trees keep the house from getting hot, and it is cooling off in the 60’s at night. My sleeping bag was destroyed. I use a sleeping bag rated for 10 degrees in the winter to sleep in. I went to Walmart and found one priced at $36 so I bought it. It enables me to keep heat on a low setting in the wintertime. I also use quilts and army blankets. My yard finally dried out enough to be mowed for a final time( I hope) this year. This has been a really wet summer and my grass was so high. Food continues to go up. I did find grapes at $1.49 this week. I received a $5 off $25 coupon from Dollar General and will be using it to stock up on Gatorade and Powerade. Last week, the shelves were clear of Tylenol, etc. This week, the shelves were empty of all condiments, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. none. I have plenty of canned goods, a years supply, except I am very low on corn, I have one can left!!! My son likes corn, so I guess I was depleting my supply and did not realize it. I will stock up as I see sales (I hope.) I walked at the local river park for exercise. I did my clothes at the cheaper, laundry, it was $1.50 and 50 cents to dry. I am reading a book from a little free library. I intend to clean and organize my house, or start on it, today, since I have the day off. I am trying to purge my house some more.

  12. What a week you had, Brandy! It’s great to hear that you have been able to lower your water bill significantly.

    We too have been thoroughly enjoying the cooler weather.

    Here is what we did in the last couple of weeks:

    *It was a very pleasant surprise to find scissors that I needed at 50% off!
    *My husband came home and asked for a haircut. It’s a blessing to have learned how to cut his hair (I’ve cut mine once and hope it works better in the future. 🙂 ) and to save money and time that way!
    * It was a joy to cook all our meals at home.
    * I saved time and money by having most of our groceries delivered to our door.
    * I re-listened to Audible books that I purchased and also began listening to a book using the Librivox app.
    * It was refreshing to take walks outside in the cool, crisp air and bask in the beauty of fall.
    * Re-purposing things that I had not thrown away and saved “just in case” saved me time, money, and stress.

  13. Wow, great news on the energy and water reduction!
    Brandy, have you read People of the Book? I think it might interest you.

    Last week I needed to repaint the wooden floor in a bathroom. When opened the paint it had congealed which was disappointing because there was almost a quart. I added some Floetrol & water and blended it up in an old blender that has a glass container, and it was usable. I had to blend it again for the second coat, but it was worth it to save the paint and have the correct color.

  14. We shopped sale items at dillons. We got 2 5lb chubs ground beef for 1.99 /lb and smoked sausage for 2 for 5 dollars. We use the sausage mostly for flavoring beans or potatoes or eggs.

    We did an inventory on the freezers. Now I have a list of what is in them and they are better organized so that things can be located. We are doing better on food storage than I thought.

    I discovered that while I thought that the chicken legs and the chicken thighs being on sale were a great sale at 88 cents a pound; I could have done better by getting chicken leg quarters and cutting them apart myself. I would have saved twenty three cents more per pound. Oh well. Live and learn. Even though we have a good supply of meat, I predict a lot more meatless meals in our future. I’m glad that we like vegetarian food and have several cookbooks that have veggie recipes.

    I am really struggling with my daughter who has OCD. She uses a lot of water, soap, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. I thought I could buy her her own bar soap but she won’t use it because she thinks it’s unsanitary. So we’ve been buying her dove hand soap and shower gel which is expensive. She uses too much because she takes the lid off and pours it into her hand when it gets down to half full. We told her today that she gets one bottle per week and has to leave the lid on. She ran out yesterday and wouldn’t eat or go to the bathroom because she couldn’t wash her hands. I made her some hand soap by grating a new bar of ivory and adding the shavings to water in a hand pump. She wouldn’t use it because we had touched it. Sigh. I love my daughter and I am truly full of compassion for her but this is hard on all of us financially and emotionally. Hopefully we can get to a good place of understanding on both sides.

    1. I feel for you. I once had a conversation with a mother whose teen son had OCD. She could only put one towel in the bathroom for his shower or he would use all of them or only put out one set of his clothes or he would constantly change them. My son had different issues but they have mostly stopped. Good wishes to you.

    2. Sandra, I understand about the OCD. Some ideas — if she is willing to touch the bottles herself, could you give her some travel containers and let her decant the larger shower gel into smaller bottles so she has one per day? For the hand soap, see if she will try a foam dispenser so the foam will cover her hands better, if that is what she craves. Will she use less laundry detergent if they are in pod form rather than liquid/powder?

    3. Do you have a CVS near you? Their brand of shower gel is $1.99/bottle here. I have seen it cheaper while traveling to lower COLA cities, and their coupons often make it even cheaper. I ususally pay about $1.50/bottle. It seems relatively pure, so may be comparable to Dove. Additionally, we discovered Ivory shower gel recently. It comes in a pump bottle, so wouldn’t have the issue of opening the whole bottle, and may work out to be cheaper still.

      For hand soap, using a foaming hand wash may be cheaper, even if purchased “ready made.” To make it even cheaper, would your daughter want to refill her own so only she touches it? A single container of hand soap can make several bottles of foaming cleanser. We have found this the easiest way to save money for ourselves, who just inadvertently use too much.

      For laundry detergent, it may be cheaper in the long run to buy pods for your daughter, just for the natural portion control aspect…

    4. Sandra,
      Could you buy the big refill of hand soap at dollar tree and let her use it to refill the soap dispenser? or do it when she’s not around?, Even a bottle of boddywash from dollar tree is cheaper than going through a bottle of dove each week.

    5. I have 2 OCD. IF you can afford to , take her to the doctor and tell him what is going on. One of mine is on meds, the other was hypnotized. Both are better. As they can now go potty at work and not cause OTHER health issues.

      1. I feel so for OCD people who have seen any information or media coverage about covid precautions, which cannot have helped them feel safe.

    6. This is so hard. May I suggest start adding water to the bottles she is using daily if you shake really well it will combine and extend the life. Another option is purchasing a 1/4 measuring cup or small that she can always use the same amount which will be smaller than pouring in her hand.

    7. Hi, Sandra. My heart goes out to you. My 18 yo daughter has OCD and had some of the same issues about soap that you mention. She ultimately required some intensive therapy. One mistake I made before we got her professional help was accommodating her OCD, buying her more soap, not touching certain items, etc. It just makes it worse because OCD is never satisfied. This book was helpful for us. https://www.amazon.com/When-Family-Member-Has-Obsessive-Compulsive-ebook/dp/B018RSC40A/ref=sr_1_10?crid=20LZCLLWYP966&dchild=1&keywords=ocd&qid=1634473549&s=books&sr=1-10
      I’m thinking of you.

  15. It’s been quite a while since I’ve commented, but I read regularly!

    I cut my husband’s and the boys’ hair this past weekend. I’m grateful to my hairdresser who gives free cuts to kids entering kindergarten. She was willing to give me a tutorial so that I can offer the boys something other than a buzz cut, although my oldest still prefers that since his hair is so thick.

    I made a batch of homemade applesauce in the crock pot with gleaned apples. I also made a large batch of chili, which will feed us several meals this week. I froze bananas for smoothies, and I made breakfast cookies using ingredients I had on hand. We cleaned out some items we no longer use to donate, which I’ll drop off on my way home from work.

    I’m grateful for my husband’s new job! It’s a huge adjustment having him work 8-5, when he’s been part time for the past 8 years so he could be home with our boys, but we’re getting used to it. We are really enjoying having our weekend time together, and are finding our new rhythm.

    Here’s more about our week and menu plans: https://livinggreensavinggreen.co/october-menu-plan-2/

  16. Hello Brandy! This is my first comment, but I’ve been reading your wonderful blog for years. I appreciate your tips so much! Since you mentioned the electric bill in this post, I was wondering if you have a suggestion for keeping a one year old boy warm during the colder months (we live in Washington State). We keep our thermostat down to 62F at night, and we have been using a space heater with a thermostat that turns on automatically if the temperature in his bedroom drops below 69F. I also dress our boy in fleece pajamas. Even though the space heater does not run all night long, we are still scared of our next our electric bill. I was just wondering if you or another reader has any other suggestions to keep him warm, so we can turn his space heater down too.

    1. You can layer a long-sleeved onesie, stretch pants, and socks under his fleece pajamas. A warm hat for sleeping is a possibility too.

    2. Hi Milena,
      We live in Minnesota in the US and never had a problem with our children getting cold in fleece, footed sleepers with our nighttime temp set at 58F. When it got below 0F air temp outside, we put a lightweight hat on with pajamas.

      I guess that’s along way of saying, your little one will probably be okay with just the pajamas.


    3. Hi Milena, greetings from Finland!
      Just make sure your baby has enough clothes on. He doesn’t need to sleep in pajamas 🙂 It is a very common practice to put babies outside to nap even in temperatures like O F. As long as baby is warm and protected from wind/draft there’s no need to fear low temperatures. If your baby has a sleeping bag and/or a snow outfit (I don’t know what they are called in English), a sheep skin and/or a real woolen blanket everything will be well. For more information https://www.google.com/search?q=babies+sleeping+outside+in+finland&oq=babies+sleeping+outside&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0i512l4j0i22i30l5.9858j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

    4. When my twin grandchildren came to spend the night, I rolled on “sleeves” and leg warmers on top of their pjs as the night got cooler. I cut the straight part off their mommy’s worn socks for sleeves and their daddy’s socks for their leg warmers. They were not awakened when I put on these clothing parts for added warmth. I zig zag stitched the cut end of the socks for a finished look.

    5. May I suggest warming up his bed with a hot water bottle before tucking him in. They even have child size ones for when he’s a little older. Right now you wouldn’t want to risk scalding him but it really makes a difference just getting between sheets that have been warmed up. Just a simple thing and not expensive to buy or to use. I also recommend them for adults – even if it’s just when sitting and watching TV in the evenings.

      1. My Mom tells stories of her dad warmer their beds up with bricks wrapped in old towels. She and her sister slept in the attic without any heat in Portland. They would line the bricks up on the hearth and by the time they went to bed they were piping hot. She said it kept their beds warm for quite a long time.

      1. Oh yes! I forgot about this, as it is quite warm here. My daughter did this. They even make fleece sheets, I believe.

    6. Hi Milena,
      We live on the Northern Plains and it gets very cold in the winter! Our kid’s rooms were always so much colder than the rest of the house and we found out why when we renovated the upstairs a couple of years ago: the insulation in their walls was the original 1910 pressed burlap 🤦‍♀️. The foam insulation that replaced it has been amazing. All that to say, I had the same worries when my kids were smaller. The best combination we found was a proper sized Halo wearable sleep sack
      (https://www.walmart.com/ip/HALO-Big-Kids-SleepSack-Wearable-Blanket-Microfleece-Blue-Truck-2T-3T/25372545?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0), a long sleeved shirt that covered their hands, heavy socks, sweatpants and then a stuffed animal that could be warmed in the microwave (brands are Warmies or Warm Pals, I think). Good luck!

  17. Your pictures are lovely – wonderful to see roses!

    * We’ve been sick with Covid and Strep at our house. Besides the antibiotic we needed for strep, we had everything we needed for our illnesses at home. Plenty of food, medication, throat lozenges, heating pads, vitamin C and entertainment items such as movies and books. I’m grateful we are starting to feel better and have symptoms disappear. Im very grateful that hospitalization wasn’t required for any of us. But I’m very thankful for our stockpile of food, clothes, meds and entertainment. What a blessing.

    * We decided to stock up on dog food for our dogs in case of any shortages or we are unable to go to the store. My husband researched out prices for the food for our dogs and found them on Ebay.

    * I used pick up for our groceries this past week since we were sick. The fee was waived because we met the minimum charge. My bill was a lot lower because we didn’t need much besides fresh produce and dairy.

    * We had a friend “door dash” dinner to us one night by leaving it on our front porch and texting us that it was there. Homemade potato soup with cornbread hit the spot. Another friend dropped off a few gift cards so that we could get food through door dash if we wanted.

    * Right before we got sick I was able to can more tomatoes for our food storage from our garden. Our temps have dropped very low this week and so if we can get our energy together we will pull out the garden. Our highs will be in the 40s.

    * Thank you for posting about your Portland trip and what was positive about the time there. We drove through downtown Portland in August on our way to the coast and had an iffy experience downtown. I’m so glad you posted about the beauty that can be found there in Portland. It’s always good to remember that the news doesn’t always post the beautiful things that can still be found there.

    1. If he wears footed pajamas also put socks on his feet inside the pajamas. Make sure they aren’t really tight socks though. You want some breathability or his feet will stay cold. We lived without heat in an older house (only no heat at night unless temperatures were plunging into the teens at night) and I dressed my children as Brandy suggested. Long sleeve onesies and light jogging pants under pajamas and later my children slept in sweat pants and shirts. They never complained of being cold.

    2. Amy, I have been ordering pet foods from Chewie because the heavy bags are difficult for us to lift. However, they have cancelled every one of my auto ships on pet food and say that the products are not in stock…I’m going to buy several bags for our dogs and cat and I think I’ll get storage bins to store it in to keep pests out.

      1. Terri, we have had the same thing happen with Chewy so we shopped around. It is not easy for me to haul those bags around either. We also store the dog food in tubs. It definitely keeps the food in good condition. I’m glad to know others have had their orders changed at Chewy. I love your blog too.

      2. I’ve never had Chewy cancel an order but they often haven’t the size I usually get so I’ve been ordering more often just to make sure I have food for the fur kids. I’ve heard it’s not just Chewy that’s having the problem. Also the packages I’ve gotten have been damaged, i.e. box torn or tape torn off.

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your lowered electricity and water bills are a great achievement! I’m sure lots of us will be trying to follow your lead and reduce our own bills, there are challenging times ahead for everyone’s budget.
    We had a piece of good fortune this week. My husband has crammed lots of fruit, veg and flowers in our garden but has hankered for more space. He asked our farming neighbour if we could rent a small piece of a field adjoining our property. The farmer kindly agreed, we have to fence it out ourselves and keep it neat and tidy but he doesn’t want any rent, just some fresh produce every now and again. We are so happy about this!
    I bought some needed new underwear online using a 40% discount code.
    I ordered a piece of clothing from Lands End at 40% discount but twice they have delayed delivery and I had to chase them, communication wasn’t great. I emailed to express my disappointment and they apologized, gave another date and removed my postage costs.
    I provided doggy day care at short notice for our daughters dog and she brought me a bunch of flowers as a thank you.
    I used a chicken carcass to make stock for the freezer. I defrosted two small portions of leftover soup, padded it out with fresh tomatoes and we enjoyed the soup for lunch.
    We picked parsley, Swiss Chard, tomatoes, apples, fine green beans and courgettes from the garden.
    If anyone outside the UK is interested a new TV programme has started on ITV, it’s called The Larkin’s and is a remake of The Darling Buds of May. Fun easy viewing.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Sounds like a good deal with the farmer. I would get it in writing to protect both sides.

    2. I’m hoping that we’ll get The Larkins soon. I loved the original “Darling Buds of May”. FYI – a lot of the old episodes are on Youtube and they are a lot of fun.

  19. We went to a wedding near Buffalo and saved money a few ways. My husband drove and my sister and brother-in-law came along in our car, saving gas and making the trip so enjoyable. My sister packed sandwiches for a picnic on the way up and crackers, cheeses, olives and nuts to picnic on the way home. We brought fruit, water and tea. We stayed in cabins and had coffee and apples (from the tree outside) for breakfast. We went to roadside stands and bought pumpkins, squash, plums, tomatoes and corn. We also picked more apples to bring home. The wedding was lovely and we had a wonderful time! We learned about the Erie Canal and went to a wine-tasting. I had colored my own hair and wore a dress I had worn to a past wedding, saving on the little things.
    I didn’t buy much at the grocery store but ice cream was $1.99 for 1/2 gallon so I bought vanilla to top baked apples and apples crisp.
    I am reading the new Walt Longmire book on my library app. My husband read it first and now I have 5 days, although I’ll probably finish it sooner and return early.
    I am enjoying the day off today to catch up on hanging out laundry, cooking and baking.
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  20. You have reminded me that I need to do some more teaching of sewing skills for my teen daughter. I think an apron would be a great project for her!
    Frugal things that I did this past week:
    *We attended our daughter’s Book 7 violin recital. There are only 10 books in the Suzuki program, so now that she is getting up in the upper numbers the pieces are quite beautiful music selections. I enjoyed her recital very much, and of course am a very proud mama!
    *I dried some apple slices to add to a little bag of things I was collecting to take to my daughter in law.
    *I used the peels from the apples I dried, to make some “Apple Peel Jam” for my daughter to use. Basically, I just chop the peels into smaller pieces, add a little water and some dates for sweetening, and simmer until it thickens up. This can be used over pancakes or waffles, or my daughter likes to use it as a “jam” on her toast. We do not use any sugar due to my previous pre Diabeties, so this is what I came up with as a substitute. The fruit or dried fruit does not effect me like the more refined sugars do. I was glad to not waste the peels. For things like apple crisp, I just leave the peels on the apples. But when drying apple slices, I have found the peel to dry into a hard little thing that I do not find enjoyable at all, so that is the one time I do cut the peelings off.
    *I made some home made granola to bring to my son, at his request. I was glad to know of something he really would enjoy.
    *My niece left me a Butternut squash at my house, and I turned it into a Butternut squash soup. It was delicious!
    *We left bright and early to drive to visit our son. We ate breakfast in the car, to save dollars as well as time. We arrived in their town in time to join them at church, and after sharing lunch together we visited a local botanical garden. My daughter and I had a wonderful time looking at all the flowers and taking pictures!
    *My friend picked up my dog from the vet’s kennel, on the day we were driving back home, and left our dog for us in our house. This saved us an additional night’s boarding cost, as well as saved the dog stress of being boarded longer. We were back in town just an hour and a half after the kennel closed, so it was not long at all. I have done the same for my friend with her animals—it sure is a blessing to have a friend you can exchange things like this with!

    Looking forward to reading what everyone else has done this past week. I am writing from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  21. Congratulations on lowering your water bills and keeping your utilities in check!
    *I attended a baby shower and presented the to-be-parents with a hand knit afghan.
    *I made more oven roasted tomato sauce for the freezer.
    *I grated the various zucchini and summer squash I had in the refrigerator and made more vegan chocolate zucchini bread and some zucchini meatballs.
    *We had a friend over for dinner and enjoyed companionship and conversation.
    *I had leftovers from the meal and took a meal to a friend who had surgery the day before.
    *I bought a box of mixed variety apples at the Farmer’s Market for $25. While not a bargain, they are delicious and provide quality fresh fruit and income for the farmer. I am eating two apples a day and enjoying their fresh taste.
    * I am currently reading Anthony Doerr’s “Cloud Cuckoo Land”, borrowed from the library. His writing is superb!
    * I also worked on some knitting projects, outline for a class to teach next spring, tidied my pantry, and donated a box of “stuff” to a thrift store.
    *I’ve enjoyed the much-needed rain and turned on the furnace last night for the first time this season.
    *I am grateful to be alive and enjoy reading the comments posted here. This site is a blessing!

  22. DH made an apple pie this morning and I just put a small turkey and lots of veggies in the oven for dinner tonight-we have just one guest coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Cook once and eat all week is my mantra as there will be plenty of leftovers.

    I looked into the local Good Food Box program-you order a small, med or large box once per month and pick it up at a depot-3 km away for me. They provide 40-45 lbs of fresh fruit and veggies for $35( large box) so I thought I would give it a try and see what we receive as winter comes on-speaking of winter we had a light dusting of snow yesterday but it is mostly melted today-the mountain tops in the distance are definitely snow covered.

    I gave notice today that I will be finishing work in June and re-retiring. The family appreciated the extra notice so they can find somebody willing and able to take on the triplets and big brother. I will miss them but they are very close by so we can still see them from time to time. Even though I will have a lower income I am not concerned. I will also receive old age security each month starting in about 18 months-and if you earn too much the govt starts to claw it back.. While my health/age allows I wish to travel as much as possible.

    My husband and I added up this morning and found we have only spent about1/2 of what we budgeted for DD’s university degree-which means if she wishes to go to grad school or needs some financial assistance in the future we can help out. The rest of the $ came from her student grants and earnings-she actually contributed more than us which surprised me. My DH tracks all our income and expenses on an old Quicken computer program and at least once a year we review our spending/saving and make any adjustments necessary. Wishing everyone a happy and frugal week.

  23. Could you give us your recipe for vegetable spring rolls? I would love to make these at home.

    Moneywise, I spent more than I’d planned — but it was because I found bargains in Warehouse Deals and elsewhere on Amazon that will keep for years: 78-cent cans of black beans and $1.65 cans of Dinty Moore beef stew. These became even more important, when I double-checked elsewhere, including Walmart.com, and they were coming up at 200% and 300% more there. Boy oh boy oh boy…
    We also stocked up some on toilet paper. It is still available here in Colorado, but we will be heading to Michigan in a few weeks, to help care for my mom…and cousins there tell me that it’s hard to find in Michigan. (We did have to go to three different Sam’s Clubs to find it here…Sam’s stocks ‘everything,’ but very few single stores will have exactly what you need. They do still seem to have the #10 cans of tomatoes/juice you like, Brandy, at reasonable prices. I got two of those and will freeze unused tomatoes.)
    My favorite remainders discount store is going out of business. The Friday/Saturday store in Denver will be no more after Dec. 31. We went to say goodbye, and stock up on what they still had: a lot of different fruit juice, imported jam and cheese — mozzarella for $2/lb and pepperjack for a buck. I will really miss this store.
    Temperatures are gradually getting colder here on the edge of the ‘flatlands.’ It’s been snowing up in the mountains, and we’re due for it in just a few days. That puts my ‘ant tendencies’ on alert…so does the prospect of hard times. When I start feeling uneasy, I buy beans!!

    1. Beans are going up. A relative of ours works in beans and says the prices are going up dramatically right now. It’s good to have beans.

      I should check the other Sam’s Club to see if they have the #10 cans of tomatoes since ours no longer does.

      I saw a joke the other day. It said, “What club do people over 40 go to to have fun?” The response: Sam’s Club.

      1. LOL I love this joke! My husband often says that we have many dates that end in a trip to Sam’s Club or Costco and are accompanied by a hotdog 🙂

  24. I finally read Little Heathens, and I really enjoyed it! I have loaned it to my mother, and I think she will like it, too. I also shared some People magazines I received free from a subscription from Fetch. I took a garbage bag of work clothes to the local thrift store and took a tote bag of books to a little free library. It feels good to declutter. We took a trip to see the leaves in the mountain and packed a lunch picnic. Other than that, we haven’t gone anywhere or really spent any money.

    A book suggestion – Freckle and A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter are both free for Kindle and are two of my favorites!

    1. I read this book, too. My mother was a teenager during the Depression. She used to occasionally call us Little Heathens. I always wondered where that came from. My parents didn’t have many parenting skills, but I remember that some of the same character-building stuff rubbed off on us, too. (My sister was born in 1942 and I was born in ’46). I don’t think my folks were actually trying to build our characters, just repeating what they had learned as children. But, guess what–it did have a positive influence!

    2. Alice, I love Gene Stratton Porter. Thanks for mentioning Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost. I also love Laddie and my favorite is Keeper of the Bees. We visited one of her houses in Indiana, on a lake surrounded by woods. She had a lovely light filled sitting room/office that was lined with bookcases, and a small darkroom for developing her photographs just down the hall from the kitchen. So practical.

      The kitchen itself had a huge center work table fitted with grinders and mills and the walls were lined floor to ceiling with custom cabinets, really task specific closets and pantries. Apparently it had all the modern conveniences and she used to like to show it off, according to the tour guide. It was lovely.

      When my grandmother died, my mother gave me a 1920s edition of Girl of the Limberlost that my grandmother had bought from a used bookstore in California many years ago. We had always read and shared books when I was young, but I never knew that was her favorite book until then.

  25. Brandy, that is great that you still find new ways to save on your electric and water bills. I love it when I find a new way to save more money. That is probably why I love your blog. I am always learning new tricks.
    Our big savings is we are saving $500 off of Hubby’s dental surgery. If you pay by check 2 weeks prior to the surgery you get a discount. So we paid early. I also just got confirmation from our dental insurance that we will be getting $2000 back from them.
    Hubby and I went away for 5 days to the Poconos. My sister offered us her time share in September because she would lose a week if it wasn’t used. Hubby already had a week planned off left over from last year so we looked to see what we could find. We found a very nice 2 bedroom unit available for 5 nights so we took it. It cost us $65 in resort fees. My son just started a new job so he couldn’t come. My youngest daughter has classes in person so she couldn’t come. They were able to watch the house and dog. So we offered the other room to our oldest daughter and her husband. Unfortunately she got sick 2 days prior so they didn’t come. I brought all of the food from home (thank you stocked pantry). We did eat out one day for lunch and had enough leftovers to eat for another lunch. I did easy things like pasta with sauce I had frozen, Salads, BLTs, oatmeal, egg salad, and burgers. We went on lots of hikes. Hubby played a round of golf and I drove the cart. We went for a scenic train ride in a nearby town. Hubby took several naps. I did lots of coloring. We also did some Christmas shopping. I enjoy shopping at small stores verses huge companies even if it might cost a little more.
    I bought bagels to bring with us on vacation. I used a coupon to get 6 free. They went into the freezer.
    Before I went away I went through P’s food storage that is in his garage. His daughter asked me to take whatever I wanted. I took 3 bags of items that were close to expiring. I will take more next time I go. I got oatmeal, cereal, pasta, mac n cheese, chicken broth, soups, beans and cookies.
    I went for my yearly physical. We have maxed out our copayment for the year so it didn’t cost me anything.
    I got a $3 GC from my phone company and a $20 GC from Ibotta. Both will be gifts for Christmas.
    Food shopping deals were I got 2 free Skippy peanut butters, apples for 57¢a pound limit 10 pounds, asparagus for $1.47 limit 2 pounds and pork chops for #1.99 a pound. I also drove out to a farm stand to get a 50 pound bag of Harvest gold (Yukon) potatoes. The price was up to $25. I paid $18 last year. I usually buy 3 bags of different kinds but it was too much. The Gold is our favorite so I only got them. I also got the largest head of celery I ever saw. They asked me if I wanted the leaves cut off. I said no. I chopped them off when I got home and froze a gallon size baggie of them.
    The garden is still providing. I am still picking and eating lots of eggplant. The hot peppers are in full swing. I picked 32 this week. Most got frozen. Cherry tomatoes are still going strong. My herbs are being picked and dehydrated as fast as I can.
    I cooked a chicken from the bottom of my chest freezer. It was delicious. We only put out the half of the breast when we eat. The other half gets made in to chicken salad for easy lunches. I made broth from the bones and froze half of the stock. I made soup with the other half. The dog had been eating the other parts that we don’t eat with her dinner and loving it.
    Have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. I forget to mention at the timeshare I needed more dishwasher pods. So I called housekeeping and asked for 3 more. She brought me a gallon size bag of dishwasher soaps, dish detergents, sponges, regular soap and shampoos and conditioners. I brought them home with us and will be using them up.

  26. Brandy, your rose pictures always make me smile! We spent some time at a beach with family and even though it was a “spendy” time, we did some things to help with costs: made use of the frig and microwave in our room and took advantage of free parks and concerts. Now that we’re back, its back to our regular routines. However, when eating out on vacation, we noticed a new practice at restaurants: if you’re using a debit/credit card to pay the fee is now tacked onto your bill. The bill showed a total that was for cash purchases; in smaller print below a different total if paying with a card. It added 4% to the total for cards. After coming home, I mentioned this to a cashier in a restaurant in our area. They too have started this practice just this week. And she warned that their prices are going up due to rising costs and shortages. So for us, even though we like to support our local businesses, this will probably mean less eating out and making sure to carry cash! (I was a queen of debit swipe.) Plus, I think this would make us more conscious of how much we spend if we only carry so much cash. It’s too easy to lose track when you swipe, even though I check our accounts online and pay bills online. Another thing I saw on BBC World News, the chief executive of Kraft Heinz says that “people must get used to higher food prices.” There is an article online https://www.bbc.com/news/business-58847275. I always try to stay positive and my husband and I are retired and truly blessed, but I know this is going to impact a great many families. Thank you for this website, I always read but seldom comment. I always learn something new, I LOVE to read posts from around the world, and I know it touches many people.

    1. I read that BBC article too.

      Credit Card companies charge the 4% to businesses, so they are passing it on to cover the costs.

      1. I had worked in restaurants in the past, so I realized the business was charged for the service. But the ones where I worked did not directly charge the customer, but absorbed the cost as part of doing business (although I sure the costs were built in to the price of the products).

        1. Studies about shopping have shown that people who use charge cards spend more than those who use cash, so perhaps this strategy will backfire! I don’t know if that applies to restaurants, though.
          I asked a friend who works with charitable giving if online (meaning credit card) giving loses them much, as they have to pay the probably 4% surcharge. He said that having credit card giving available means more people give. But if you are making a large donation, perhaps sending a check would be more profitable for the organization.

          1. We give to our local food bank and our local food kitchen periodically over the year. They have a line that comes up that says, “We will be charged XX by your credit card company to process this gift. Would you be willing to add that amount to your donation to cover that cost?” I think that is a good way to handle it and certainly has made me use checks instead of credit cards for donating to them.

    2. In our small town, they’ve been charging a CC fee for several years. It’s too much to absorb when your business is small and seasonal. Years ago, i was told that restaurants are happy to make 10% profit after all expenses are deducted.

    3. We went out to breakfast this week and the restaurant was totally cashless. You could only pay with a credit card or on an app. Our ball park, Cincinnati Reds, is the same way for everything they sell in the ball park….food, souvenirs, everything.

  27. ***We had many rainy days. I reseeded bare spots between rain one day. We have had 52.96″ of rain this year.
    ***I roasted the last tomatoes I had, about 20, in olive oil and Italian spices. I removed the skins and dehydrated them for Italian seasoned tomato powder. I froze it since it had the oil. I froze the tomatoes in three bags to put in future soups and sauces.
    ***I dried 2 trays of mushrooms and 3 trays of jalapeños.
    ***I had bought Kale for a couple of canning soups I didn’t get to make. I blanched and chopped the leaves and froze in muffin tins. Then popped out of the tins and put in a ziplock.
    ***Harvested 3 green bell peppers and a Pablano pepper that I cut in strips and froze.
    *** Mother in law passed out and went to ER. I was at home about 30 minutes away and needed to get the recorder for her heart monitor to them. Knowing waiting rooms are usually cold as I went through the laundry room I took off my tee shirt and put on a light weight sweatshirt hoodie. As I was driving I noticed it was inside out. I had nowhere to change. They made a waiting room in the parking garage and it had no facilities and was hot. I had forgotten a mask, but did have one I don’t really like in the center console, so used it. I had not eaten and was hungry and had nothing to grab. So, I made a list of items I am gathering to put in my car: a zip up jersey jacket, towel, paper and pen, book, umbrella, Ist aid with Excedrine, bandaid, antiseptic, needle, alcohol wipes, regular glasses, sunglasses, Kind bar, snack size nut mix, water, mints, baby wipes, puzzle book, charger with wall plug ( my phone was also at 16%) I am adding as I think of things I need.
    ***My kids came home for the weekend. I was able to make all meals from the freezer/pantry., except one my MIL treated us out. I made vegetable beef soup and cornbread one night. Then we did a Low Boil with shrimp, Conecuh sausage, potatoes, and corn. I also had a lb of crabclaws I fried, and homemade hushpuppies https://www.instagram.com/p/CU5YJOjJCUP/?utm_medium=copy_link We made smores in the outside fireplace and home made icecream. Breakfasts were a breakfast casserole, homemade cinnamon rolls, and eggs and bacon. My mother in law took us to PF Changs on Sunday. I got fried rice and have two lunches from my leftovers. They also packaged leftovers in nice divided plastic trays like ones you buy to put leftovers in. It says microwave and dishwasher safe. I am keeping fir husband’s lunches.
    ***My daughter stopped at the Conecuh Factory coming up and got us 10 lbs of bacon.
    ***My daughter picked a bouquet of Zinnias that would fit in her cup holder for her ride home.
    ***I have harvested okra daily and am filling freezer bags with it sliced up to fry later.
    ***I gathered all my change and gave grandson a bag to take to his bank. I had picked up an activity and book to practice numbers and letters and matching at the Dollar Tree. I gave them to him right before they left for home.

    1. This week I made drawstring bags for first aid supplies and survival supplies for my son’s car. He’s a Marine and in his car he has many first aid supplies as well as emergency blankets and solar lanterns, and a full uniform folded up-it’s folded a special way so that the last fold contains it all in end of one leg of the pants. It’s very neat to see!

      1. My husband and I keep “emergency bags” in each of our vehicles. We use backpacks (easy to carry the whole thing if needed) with basic first aid supplies, flashlight, knife/multitool, emergency water & food (I use those “lifeboat ration” bars because they have a long shelf life and hold up in your vehicle even in intense heat), road flares, compass, emergency blankets, whistle, matches, rain poncho, extra face masks, bandana. I also keep a small first aid kit up front for easy/fast access. I have had to use the first aid kit several times already.

        I think of it as a “get home bag” in case something goes wrong while you’re on the road, or if you have to walk home for whatever reason. I work in a downtown metro area and I always think about all the people walking home on 9/11. I also keep a pair of sneakers with socks in my bag, since I would hate to have to walk home in dress shoes!

        I would love to see how your son folds his uniform!

  28. Congratulations on the significant money saving!
    Husband was on vacation this week and he loves to eat out (fast food) so definitely wasn’t a good week frugal wise but was a fun staycation anyway!
    * had a walking date at local park
    * made multipurpose vinegar cleaner
    * read books from the library
    * was treated to lunch out after church by my dad
    * rented textbooks for daughter’s classes instead of purchasing
    * redeemed store rewards at grocery store to lower weekly budget used
    * returned an item I bought on impulse
    * combined trips to save on gas
    * packed snacks and drinks when out and about
    * bought a few more Christmas gifts ahead of time

    Hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and frugal week!

  29. I have hit the jackpot in the past several weeks on my local Facebook “Buy Nothing” group.
    I’ve received:
    -a barely used Full Sized bed
    -a mirror
    -new sturdy flo-jo brand flip flops
    -a desk
    -about 30 pounds of apples
    -clothing items for my son
    I have also utilized the group to get rid of items we no longer need.
    My brother and his wife are having a baby today and I painted a trio of pictures in the color of their nursery to give as a present.

  30. As per usual, you motivate me to be more frugal and to expand my horizons! I went shopping at Sam’s and Costco last week and was so discouraged by the prices! Everything has risen at least 5-10%. Sam’s had no cooking oil; only olive oil. Noticed that spices were very sparse and no canned tomatoes in either store. After listening to the various news reports today about the economy, the climate and the looming possibility of violence, I am so grateful to be able to view your beautiful pictures; discuss ways to save; get book recommendations; and hear how people from many places are faring in this crazy world. Thank you, Brandy. I so look forward to your post each week. Think you have a ministry here. Loved the picture of your little boy-such a cutie! Do hope when your garden is completed, you will make a film. From what I have seen so far, I believe you could make a tidy sum charging for visitors! Take care!

    1. I was just telling my husband how much I want to make a video of the garden. I have a lot to learn about that.

      I have charged for tours before. On hard years it helped cover the utilities for a month more than once. I was joking with someone here that does the same that maybe I should charge more. He joked that I should charge $100 and serve food!

  31. Those are some great garage sale prices! I have saved money the last 2 weeks by cleaning out cabinets and closets. I found many items that I forgot I had, that can be put to use. I also took out some empty shelves and baskets in a closet to re-purpose them elsewhere. I was considering buying some cute storage baskets, I’m so glad I dug deep in my house to see what I already had!

    * I put up the same Halloween decorations that we have been using for over 10 years. My husband had a Birthday, and we used the same Birthday decorations that we have used for everyone’s Birthday for years. My husband decided he would like to grill steaks for his Birthday. I found a super sale, and it was much cheaper than takeout! I would really like some cloth “Happy Birthday” themed napkins to use for Birthdays. I will be on the lookout for fabric to make those! It will save money in the long run.

    *It’s getting quite cool here, but I’m still getting some tomatoes! YAY!!!!! Every time that I go out to pull the plants, I find a few more tomatoes (mostly cherry tomatoes) that have some color. They quickly ripen once I bring them inside. That’s money in my pocket! Tomatoes are expensive! I’m going to research ways to extend the growing season without a greenhouse, maybe with some hoops and plastic?

    *My son needed only 2 notecards for a class. They had to be 4×6. I found lots of 3×5 in my stash and a few extra large 5×8. I cut those down to the 4×6 size. It sounds like such a silly thing to talk about, but it saved me buying a whole pack of cards, and the gas that it would take to drive to the office supply store.

    * I boiled some pasta this week and 2 large bugs floated to the top! Yuck! This was a box of pasta that had traveled to 3 different house when we were in transition last year. I’m hoping that it’s just an isolated incident from its travels! It was one of the oldest packages in my cabinet. It will be a big loss if I have to throw away all my dry goods. (I do have dry goods in several separate areas of the kitchen, so that might help.) In an effort to save my food, I removed everything from all the food areas, threw away the oldest items and anything open. Wiped the cabinets down with vinegar, put bay leaves EVERYWHERE and wiped down all the food packages. I’m going to be monitoring it and checking the food, but am praying that it’s ok! They didn’t look like moths, so maybe it’s hopeful!

    *Looking forward to reading how everyone saved money this week!

  32. This month marks one year since I got Covid and nearly died.
    I am still recovering and as part of my therapy, I go to thrift stores and practice walking around and bending and lifting. I was able to purchase a couple of books on my list at the thrift store this week.
    I have been able to pay off my car, and I own my home so my only expenses are utilities, taxes, medical and food/gas.
    I struggle to cook for just me and I live very close to many restaurants. My goal is to eat at home more and get take out less.
    I love reading your blog Brandy and seeing how you have developed your talents.

    1. Wishing you a swift recovery. I know it’s a long road back to normal for a lot of people. So glad you are able get out and thrift shop!

    2. Heidi,
      One of my friends has long haul Covid. B 12 and Iron has really helped her. Many long haul patients are deficient in both.

  33. The first thing I made in sewing class was a apron! The simple apron that was like a skirt and tied behind the back. I wear an apron whenever I cook or clean – fuller aprons for cooking and smaller denim ones that I purchased several years ago for a project for cleaning. I have an apron that my mother made when she could still sew many years ago – she made them for all of her kids – blue stripe ticking.

    I had my annual blood work done and my protein was low! So need to incorporate more protein in my diet. Guess I went a little overboard with the summer goodness. I’ll be looking for fish and eggs. Also for vegetarian protein compliment dishes. Have been eating down the freezers and food storage. Decided to not get a 1/4 beef this year. If we need beef there are a couple of local resources here. I’ll be looking for chicken and pork on sale – they do go on sale occasionally at our local ‘chain’ supermarket (LOL – 3 stores). I made a beef soup from a piece of sirloin steak from last year’s 1/4. It was really, really lean and I knew it wouldn’t be good grilled so cut it up in smaller pieces and added veggies I had along with a 1/4 of ditalini pasta. I’ll freeze 1/2 and eat the other 1/2 this week. I love to make and eat soup but my SO – not so much.

    Cousins brought over two bushels of roasted green chile and 10 ears of corn. I think that will be the last of the fresh veggies but they may have some onions and garlic to share. It is such a great thing to get this. I am thinking of making a back corner of the walk in (okay – more of a slide in as it is long and narrow) a place to store potatoes (cool and dark) and one in the hallway – also cool and dark but have learned to keep them separate. San Luis Valley potatoes are 50# for $10.00 in some places! I don’t know if that was a special for the Chile Festival but will try to get some. Storage onions from local farmers are available now as well as pinto beans. SO has fourth generation family friends who are commercial bean farmers and they gift us 20#s each year. “Fresh” beans (still dried but this years) are amazing. I did find a long lost 1# bag of pintos in my cupboard – pretty sad looking and not sure how old. I cleaned them and cooked them in my instant pot and they were fine! Made a southwestern casserole with some leftover Mexican rice, the beans and two lonesome frozen chicken breasts. The chicken was the last of a 10# bag I bought in early summer and I was afraid they were freezer burned. It turned out great! All ingredients on hand and bypassed the urge to pick up Mexican food.

    Face timed with dear friends who retired to a small seaside town an hour from Barcelona. It was just the tonic I needed. It is amazing that we can connect for free and have such a great picture and conversation. Had an incredible gift of connecting with my 4th grade BFF via FB! Trying to connect with others before winter sets in!

    Thank you to whoever mentioned Little Blessed Nest and Stephanie. I have really enjoyed her vlog posts. We have talked about buying a small single wide trailer and redoing it – placing it somewhere in the CO lower mountains/foothills. She has done one and it is so dang cute!!! Have found a few others and am learning that a dose or two of lovely vlogs, a few blogs (this one first and foremost) and reading my cozy British mysteries and other books keep me more upbeat than a lot of other things – including mindless T.V. The library has been a real treasure source for me – since I was 10 years old.

    I went through my storage and will be taking a load for a “Blessing Box” located at a church not to from from me here in the country. A local man started these and they have really taken off. He works so hard to keep them filled but now people are ‘adopting’ them as well. I know that there are a lot more elderly people out here in the country than people realize. During the shutdown it was so wonderful to see friends and neighbors stepping up to get supplies from town and checking in on a regular basis. Meals on Wheels doesn’t deliver this far out and while there were lunches available at the local community center that stopped last year.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. Like so many much of what I have learned from Brandy and all of you has become second nature but I am still learning and reading everyone’s comments feels like I have a circle of lovely people across the world who share a desire to life frugally and beautifully.

    1. Me again. Rereading this and realized that I shouldn’t 1. cook, 2. separate feuding cats, 3. answer my phone AND type at the same time. My apologies for the confused sentences and missing words! Thank you everyone for the reports on current food and other supplies. I need to sit down and really think through what would be imperative to have on hand for at least six months and make a plan. One place that I forget has some food items is Big Lots. They used to stock a lot of products for less such as Dijon Mustard and other non-US items. May be time for a check in there.

    2. Thanks Mary, for the information about the pinto beans, potatoes, and onions! I live in Colorado Springs and am coming down your way this weekend for the Mennonite Relief Sale in Rocky Ford. I will stop at a farm stand on my way home and pick up some bags for my storage.

    3. I would recommend Brandy’s white bean dip recipe for additional snack protein. It’s a family favorite and so easy to make.

  34. The Co-op in our city had top sirloin roasts on sale for 4.95 per pound reduced from $12.95. One of the roasts cost me $13.96 and I saved $26.00 I haven’t had roast beef for many years. I doubt I’ll be able to afford it in the future.
    I stocked up my freezer with 4 roast beefs, and I have one in a friend’s freezer. I saved about $125.00. I am roasting one for Canadian Thanksgiving today and then I’ll freeze the cooked meat as individual meal-sized packets. Another friend went to the Farmers’ Market and picked up some squash, apples (Honeycrisp), Brussels sprouts. Before the sale goes off at No Frills, another friend will pick up ten pounds of russet potatoes, and twenty pounds of beets. I hope to store some of the root veggies in sand for the winter. Any tips would be appreciated. I will now be able to have 5-7 servings of fresh fruit per day (a carrot or two or three, a beet, a potato, an apple, a squash, ). Recently, I hope to make borscht and keep it in the fridge for a few days’ meals while I finish the book. I will be keeping the canned soup supply for emergencies. No Frills had its frozen veggies on sale at half price. Unfortunately, I am short of freezer space (I only have a small freezer above my fridge) so had only room for two packages. I am thinking of taking some of the frozen fruit out of my freezer and making jam with it. I am not sure I can lift a Dutch oven with my bad arm yet. I only have one Dutch oven left so I’ll have to figure out how to sterilize jars AND cook the jam. There’s got to be a way!

    A neighbour dropped off a lovely turkey dinner yesterday, complete with mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes.

    Before I put the hose away, I’ll be watering one last time — just one flowerbed.
    I will be using the leaves as mulch on my flowerbeds this year. It did n’t get done last year.

    I am well-supplied with most things. It snowed yesterday and today (just flurries) but winter is definitely coming. With help, I managed to get 110 crocus bulbs planted for spring. Last year I planted 50 and only one came up. I have changed my methods this year. I am planting slightly deeper than recommended. Late at night I’ve been watching free tv an cbc.ca — the Great British Baking Show (can one gain weight just by watching this?)Victoria, and Escape to the Country.

    I love your rose photo, Brandy. I was lucky once to have a late-blooming rose and it was covered with snow so I got a nice photo.

    1. Ellie’s friend … my grandma taught me to sterilize the jars in the oven. I put the jars in a cake pan, fill the jars with water and put about an inch in the pan. When I’m ready to fill the jars, out they come. That said, I’m not sure you could lift that either. Do you have a jar lifter? If so, you could open the oven and retrieve the jars one by one. I still have to water bath the jars on top of the stove, but it saved having them on the stove. Once you have the jam in your jars, you could wash the pot and then get started on the water bath. I would also recommend you check online at a reliable website for canning. Lately, I’ve seen that you need to have clean jars, but not sterilized as long as you’re doing pressure canning or a water bath. You might want to check that out. Good luck.

      1. Thanks Chris M. for the tips. I think there is a jar lifter hiding somewhere. I can manage a jar just not the whole Dutch oven. I won”t be doing this until our book is finished (hopefully about two weeks).


    2. Ann, wash your jars in soapy water, rinse and put them upside-down in a roasting pan in the oven. Be sure you have an inch or two of water in the pan. If you set the oven for 275F or so, you will achieve a slow boil that will sterilize your jars. This is quite a bit easier than trying to juggle too many big pans on top of the stove. You can heat your lids in the same water.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all of our Canadian friends!

      1. Thanks Maxine for the tip. I was wondering if I could use the oven.
        Thanks for Thanksgiving wishes. Ann

    3. Glad to hear you had a nice turkey dinner! I would like to be able to store more frozen veg too – but like you I only have the freezer compartment on the top of the fridge. I am amazed at how much I can get in there but it is still limited. It has been above average temps here so it is hard to think about snow – but I know it won’t be long. Good luck with the gardening!

      1. Hi Margie from Toronto,

        I not only had one turkey dinner delivered to me on Sunday but a different friend dropped off another turkey dinner to me. I had already started roasting a roast beef so saved the beef for dinner tonight. I’ll have 4 dinners from it and then make borscht from the bones and some scraps of meat. I usually freeze my fruit in jars but this year I used zip lock bags. It wasn’t a great idea. I could get more in my freezer with the jars because I could layer things on tops of the jars. The zip lock bags just avalanche and slide. I will be reorganizing things in there. Somewhere there is a small Hutterite chicken hiding. I don’t have room to freeze any borscht but will just make a big bowl of it and eat it for 4 days straight. Maybe borscht for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

        We had a dusting of snow on Saturday and then on Sunday. Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I hope so, Ann

        1. Ann – I use two IKEA bins in my freezer. They are 9″ by 16″ by 5″ deep and I put the lid on the bottom one, stack the second on top and leave the lid off that one – it holds everything really well so they are not falling all over the place. I tend to keep the longer term items in the bottom bin and the things I’m using now in the upper one. It still saves me some space on the side and behind to stack bags of frozen veg or fruit. My fridge is just apt. sized – about 5′ tall so this really works well to keep everything contained. Just an idea….

    4. Ellie, the latest USDA guidelines state that if you are water bath processing jars for over 10 minutes, which is most jams and jellies, you do not need to sterilize the jars first. Of course they have to be clean to start with, but for the past two or three years I have not sterilized any of my jars with 10 or more minutes processing and have not had any difference in taste, quality, length of time they stay fresh or issues with mold. This should make it easier for you to can with only one suitable pot. I did double check this advice with our local Cooperative Extension service, just to make sure I was correct and they verified that the rule has changed.

  35. Joining in from the Seattle area..

    This week, my biggest savings was thanks to a $15 off $50 purchase coupon from a local drugstore chain. Working off a list I made, I put items in my cart until they added up to $50. But when I went to check out, a couple of the items were on an unmarked sale, so my total was under $50. So I had to go back and get more items. This was a great problem to have! Anyway, I got a quite a few things I needed and my total ended up being $36 plus tax. The best deal was a 12lb bag of baking soda (I use this for cleaning and laundry). The regular price was $11, but for some reason it was on sale for $3. Very happy with that transaction!

    Started researching assisted living facilities to find a place to move my mom. Drew up a list of questions to ask using info provided by someone who posted here about this several weeks ago (this was very helpful). Also read several articles online. Visited two facilities. I really liked one of them. Will take my mom there to visit this week. By moving her, we will save thousands of dollars on caregiving every month.

    Other ways I saved:
    . Got several winter squash from my vegetable share, along with beets, leeks, kohlrabi, lettuce and several types of greens. Froze leek tops for making broth later.
    . Bought a rotisserie chicken at the co-op. Ate some, froze some, and made broth with the bones.
    . Got a free pound of apples at the co-op. This was last week but forgot to mention it.
    . Cooked a batch of dried pinto beans and froze them for future use. Used the broth to make kohlrabi and mustard greens soup. Ate some and froze some for future lunches. Made a batch of quince applesauce. Froze some for later.
    . Used various fridge and freezer remnants in meals. Added some frozen shredded zucchini to stretch out a dish.
    . Went to Costco and bought only food. Also filled up my gas tank while I was there.
    . Bought a bulk package of sliced ham and packaged it for individual portions for the freezer.
    . Made kombucha and water kefir.
    . Made a keto chocolate pudding but put way too much gelatin in it. So it was like really firm jello. Ate it anyway. The taste is good, but the texture is strange.
    . Was given a package of cookies at each of the two assisted living facilities I visited. My husband enjoyed the treats.
    . Wore a pair of fall/winter shoes I got on a clearance last spring. The weather was too warm to wear them then. Brought out my cold weather clothes and put away my summer items. It was very strange to wear jeans for the first time since May.
    . Read The Last Bookshop in London (ebook from the library). Checked out another book and put a few on hold (will have to wait a while for these). Watched streaming TV. Read blogs. Watched Youtube videos.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments!

    1. Hi Tina,
      Just commenting because we lived in your area for many years. We had to find assisted living for my father and my husband’s mother. By the time we took over my father’s finances he was badly in debt.
      We managed to procure a special military pension to go toward assisted living plus his regular smallish pension. We found Spiritwood in Sammamish for him and we were really pleased with the place. I didn’t think that I would be able to find a place that nice on the little he had.
      For my husband’s mother we found Merrill Gardens in Woodinville to be a very nice place. Both parents were happy with the assisted living
      facilities that we went with.
      Just mentioning it so you might have additional places to check out. It is not the easiest job to do:)

  36. Your flower pictures are just gorgeous. Love the photo of your son painting….adorable! I remember those days from my kids with such fondness.

    Most of my savings last week had to do with books. Reading is my favorite thing to do in the fall/winter, and I have a tendency to impulse-buy books that I want to read! Instead, I took the time to go through my wishlist and found several via the library, Netgalley, and even from the publishers who send me books to review (those of you who have blogs can do this too!) I got most of the books I wanted for free, and will wait to get the others through Paperbackswap. One of the books on my wishlist was an Amazon Kindle free read this month. I was going to cancel my Kindle Unlimited subscription, but my daughter uses it frequently and asked to keep it. As I was exploring the cancellation process, they offered me 50% off for a 6-month subscription which made it easier to keep. I shared the books I’ve already read with a friend who will enjoy them over fall break.

    Last week I purchased my son’s big Christmas gift from Target, and just a couple of days later they offered 10% off a gift card purchase. I bought a gift card at 10% off then “returned” the gift, rebuying it with the discounted gift card. It saved me about $25. It also earned me $20 in Cartwheel rewards, which I used toward one of my daughter’s Christmas gifts.

  37. Your roses are so lovely!
    This week we split and stacked another cord of firewood. The woodshed is almost full and we are feeling better prepared for winter.
    I harvested all my celery. It wasn’t my best crop ever, but I got some to eat fresh and chopped and froze the rest to use in cooking. I also dried a bunch of the leaves to use in recipes.
    I made sandwich bread and bagels.
    We started spreading the garden soil we purchased last week. We enjoyed tomatoes (which are ripening inside), lettuce, chard, and green beans from the garden. We purchased a box of apples from a local farm stand.
    In the non-frugal category, I lost my prescription sunglasses. They were from Zenni, so I was able to re-order them without spending too much money, but I was still annoyed with myself. I also ruined an almost-new pair of pants when I spilled black shoe polish on them.
    I attended a writer’s retreat and brought most of my own food (breakfasts and two dinners are included in the retreat), another savings. I made food for my husband to eat while I was away, saving him from the temptation to eat out.

  38. That is a significant water saving! You must be pleased.

    Hopefully the lull in garage sales this year means next year will be even bigger and better for you.

    Our productive week was comprised of bike rides, playing on the playground equipment at the local park, cooking everything from scratch, grocery shopping ($70), reading, line drying all washing and burying all vegetable scraps.

    Have a good rest of week!

  39. So glad you were able to get out to the garage sales, Brandy! A bit like a treasure hunt!

    My frugal week:
    – I cut my daughter’s hair
    – I used leftover canned pumpkin in pumpkin pie oatmeal. 
    – I pickled some beets (http://approachingfood.com/easy-mennonite-pickled-beets/), baked brownies,  and baked a chocolate cake too. My daughter loves eating my pickled beets so I always make and can extra at this time of year when they go on sale.
    – I picked basil, chives, and green onions from my balcony garden and my daughter picked carrots from the garden we planted at my parents house. I have such fond childhood memories of eating homegrown carrots, and I love that I could provide that for my child as well. I’m still waiting for our lettuce to go to seed though!
    – I earned a $25 Amazon gc from Reedsy.com for two book reviews I wrote in September, and used it to buy two items for myself. One was a want and one was a need, but it was nice not to have to pay OOP.
    – I picked up two free items from Loblaws, butter and a large oj, and redeemed $10 in points for some loss leaders plus some needed and one wanted item. I then scanned my mother’s receipt (she bought an item thst I didn’t), to get some cash back from an app. The total oop? 19 cents. I got a kick out of that!
    – Redeemed a Starbucks reward for a baked treat when out running errands one day
    – I used chicken bones leftover from our Thanksgiving dinner plus some veggie scraps, to make a lovely chicken stock. 

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  40. I’m an RN. I work full time theee 12 hour shifts a week. Because of the pandemic and the nursing shortage my employer is offering a program where if we pick up 4 extra shifts a month, we get an extra $52/hour on top of our base hourly wage to include regular overtime pay and shift differentials. When we sign up for these 4 extra shifts, we also get a $500 bonus at the end of the month. So for those extra overtime shifts, it comes out to over $100/hour for those extra shifts only. WELL worth it to me! So I work 4 days a week! If you don’t call off sick after two months, they give you another $500 bonus! This was negotiated by our RN Union as it’s cheaper to pay current employees than it is for them to hire agency RNs, which many hospitals across the US as we continue to fight this pandemic.

    I also pack my lunch to bring to work as the hospital cafeteria is not open at night or on weekends. Due to staffing shortages they only open the hospital cafeteria M-F for lunch hours.

    Instead of buying black our curtains, my husband bought 6 dark colored towels and nailed them into the wall in our bedroom to block out the early AM sun to allow me to get sleep after working night shift. I’ve been an RN for 25 years and have primarily worked night shift. I love night shift & always have. The camaraderie amongst us Night shifters has always been good because there is always less staff to accomplish the same job. Patients don’t sleep at night in the hospital despite what one might think.
    Also as an RN, using free codes from ePocrates.com for drug and treatment information. It’s an app I have on my cellphone. I have their Professional subscription free through August 31 2024. Can use Up to Date via the hospital to look up the latest medical info especially when it comes to COVID Information.

    I got 3 free magazine subscriptions between Freecycle points and Blue Dolphin.

    Got my free yearly flu vaccine at work on Friday which is mandatory with my employer and perfectly legal for them to require. I get it yearly anyhow, mandated or not.

    I sold an older iPhone to my sister for my niece. Saving her a lot of money and giving me some extra cash.

    1. Wonderful that you are getting paid more per hour! That sounds like a great deal for you and I know they need the nurses.

    2. Well deserved Kelly – and glad to hear that they provide the flu shot to help protect you as well!

    3. Fellow RN here. I’m glad the hospital is paying you well. The work is hard especially now with a pandemic raging. You & your colleagues deserve every cent in my humble opinion.

    4. Thank you for taking on the extra shifts. You deserve every penny of that bonus and more. We are very short staffed where I live because it became mandated to be vaccinated and many people didn’t want to get it. Stay healthy and safe. Praying for all hospital workers.

    5. Delighted you are being paid more Kelly. I enjoyed reading your post particularly because our youngest daughter is a nurse and worked with acutely ill Covid patients all through. The UK government is giving a 3% increase but they really deserve so much more. You all do. Thank you for all you have done.

    6. Thank you for your hard work, I’m so glad you’re getting a bit of a bonus! My mom is a housekeeper at a hospital. She is so exhausted — they are always short staffed, and she has been working on her days off to help cover. She said it takes longer to clean COVID rooms. They had 8 or 9 COVID patients at a time last fall; this year they have 4 full floors. She has been fully vaccinated, but I worry that she will catch something else because of her body being so worn down from working (she has asthma and bad allergies, typically catches bronchitis and walking pneumonia every year.)

  41. Hello Everyone!
    That trellis looks amazing already! I can’t wait to see it completed with roses on it. 🌹

    Most savings this week involved returns and refunds. I returned a bag of mandarins to Costco as they were tasteless and saved $9. I caught a Craftsy yearly subscription charge that I wasn’t notified about and saved $80+. Last year they had a great promo for $7/ year. I just didn’t have time to use it and didn’t feel it was worth the price. I also returned some clothing to Eddie Bauer that I didn’t care for. They were purchased during a great Labor Day sale and took weeks to arrive.

    The Pistou from Victoria Magazine was so delicious!! I’ll definitely make it again because my family loved it and it was inexpensive. I paired it with No Knead artisan bread. To the other Victoria Magazine fan, I’m not sure how to begin organizing my stacks either!I have about 12 years worth of issues (maybe more). ☺️

    I tried growing a variety of beans this year (kidney, orca, cowboy, etc) but I’m not sure it makes sense in my garden. I grew about 2 raised beds worth and only got approximately 2.5 quarts of dried beans and that won’t go very far. It might make sense for those with more garden space vs. a raised bed garden. I can probably save more money and have faster yield growing veggies.

    Our heater has been off. Morning house temperatures are 62 degrees! I’m trying to bundle up and hold off as long as possible. 🥶

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

    1. I organize my Victoria magazines by month. Years ago, they were monthly. Each month, I would take them all out and reread the ones for that month.

      I have subscribed since I was 14. I’m 45 now. There was about 15 years when they stopped being published, until Hearst sold the rights to the current publishing company.

      1. I commented on your filing method for Victoria Magazine but it seems to have gone to the bottom of comments – oh well…. 🙂

  42. Brandy well done on your dramatic reduction in power and water bills that is a wonderful achievement 🙂 . The rose arbor that your husband is building is wonderful and will save you so much and how wonderful he is so talented with welding and construction.

    Here in Australia they are now also reducing the feed in tariff we receive on our solar system we have installed on our bill although being rural here there is a government guarantee on what feedback tariff we receive each year. In the cities the electricity companies now don’t have to give any feed back tariff at all which is scary. The solar panels have drastically reduced our power bill from $250 – $270 down to -$20 to $61 in really cloudy weather which we are happy with. Currently we are looking into a stand alone solar battery system that will work in combination with our current system so the batteries when full will operate our 2 fridges and fridge, air conditioners etc or the higher usage appliances at night or in cloudy weather.

    Our savings added up to $76.20 in savings last week :).

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 2 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread machine saving $6.98 over buying them locally.
    – Made all meals from scratch.
    – Baked a batch each of coconut choc chip biscuits and a batch of peanut biscuits saving $11.72 over buying them in the supermarkets. We have been enjoying them all week.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 2 grocery and 1 fuel voucher from racq saving 3 and 4% off the face value of the cards saving $15 on usual prices.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked broad beans from the gardens, double shelled and blanched and froze them for meal sized portions in the freezer for a total of 1.36 kg or 18 single meal portions.
    – Planted a punnet of 10 capsicum seedlings I bought from BigW for $3.95 saving $41.05 over buying them in singular plants in Bunnings.

    1. That’s a wonderful savings!

      We were talking with a solar person here who installs systems for people here (not a large company that wants to sell to you no matter what). He said with our extreme heat, we only get 1/3 of the power from solar panels. He said it would not be worth the investment for us because of this and the fact that our roofline faces east/west. South (north for you) facing panels are the most efficient. So, unless the cost goes way down (and there is some talk of that possibility as a new type of panel is being developed) it is still not worth it for us yet.

      The incentives here stopped within a short period of time. A lot of people were very angry about it as they were promised this money and that is why they installed solar panels. Then the electric company stopped paying the incentives, and people were locked into a 25-year-solar panel contract.

      1. Brandy,
        We had thought it might be a good idea to get solar. We had 2 different companies come out. There was some kind of big tax incentive for having it installed. The catch is that you cant pay for the solar system outright. You have to make payments for 25 years…..well how does that save you money?? we might not be alive in another 25 years!

      2. Thank you Brandy and the reduction in our power bill is per quarter here so we are extremely happy 🙂 .

        I did maybe a solution/suggestion for you as you have a lot of sun there as we have here, as here in Australia they can build a cradle frame for the panels to face the sun on the roof for those people who have homes where the orientation is away from the sun. Not being sure what your council laws are there and whether you are able to have solar panels visible from the road etc (if that is the case) it may be worth looking into. Also again not sure if you have to enter a contract etc on your solar panels or you can say get a solar electrician to install it for you ?. There is also options of putting the panels on sheds, patios and garages if they face the right way.

        The cost also of having the frame installed could also be prohibitive too being that the cost of metal has gone up considerably.

        In the meantime you are doing a wonderful job on reducing your power bill as it is so I congratulate you on your efforts 🙂 .

  43. Brandy,
    Look forward to your blog each week. I get lots of ideas from your followers. Our library offers DVD’s, 6 per week, so my husband and I each get 6. Since we only have over the air antenna for TV, this is our cheap entertainment. We watched “A Song of Names” this week and it was great. Probable similar to the book you recommended.

    1. YouTube has movies for free too! That is another option you can try if you would like something else to watch. My husband watches a number of movies that way.

  44. I have a grandson that loves to paint. I have some fabric that is earmarked for aprons for myself and for gifts.
    All that is left in our garden right now is a hosta plant, parsley, impatiens, and marigolds. I am planning on drying some of the parsley. I cut some of the impatiens and marigolds and made two sweet bouquets.
    When we pulled up our tomato plants we pulled off all the green tomatoes and put them in the windowsill to ripen. We are still eating juicy red summer tomatoes. They are small but enough for salads and sandwiches.
    We ate all our meals at home. We are being very careful to eat all leftovers.
    Our eldest daughter celebrated my husband’s and one granddaughter’s birthday party this past weekend. Mexican food was the theme and I made two pans of chicken enchiladas and brought ice cream. We also had tacos, queso dip and chips, beans and rice, and homemade cheesecake. I brought home 3 of the enchiladas and beans and rice. We ate the leftovers the next day.

  45. I harvested half a dozen green bell peppers from the garden this week and as temperatures are finally supposed to go down AND I have some leftover rice to use, I am finally going to make a pot of stuffed bell pepper soup. This is a recipe I have been wanting to try for quite some time now so I am excited. I also have a harvest of mustard greens waiting for me in the garden and will use those in cooking this week. The garden continues to grow although it has been a bit delayed with the last week long stint of rain that we had. It seems to be recovering well and I am grateful that we don’t have to water as it saves us money and time.
    I found many fall and winter clothing items that my son was needing as two local consignment sales. Some were new with tags while others barely looked worn. This saved us quite a bit over buying these items new in stores.
    I combined Target Circle offers, digital coupons and sales to purchase some toiletry and household goods that we needed. I found several packages of sausage rolls that my son loves for $1.26/pkg. We usually only have these at Christmas because they are $6-$7 per pkg so this is quite a treat. I think I may have to look into trying to make these from scratch as I know it would be cheaper to do so.
    I did quite a bit of batch cooking last week making a large pot of okra & tomatoes and green beans. This is helpful to have on hand throughout the week for quick healthy meals. I also cooked a batch of dried baby lima beans and used some fresh cherries to make a cherry cobbler. I froze half of the okra and tomatoes I made to have on hand as a starter for a pot of vegetable soup later in the month for ease and to avoid waste.
    I combined some remaining digital coupons to purchase several more bottles of laundry detergent & fabric softener and we are set for the year. I compared prices at several locations and this made our average cost per month about $6 which is lower than I can find it anywhere. I am glad to have this off my list for a while. I also purchased apples on sale for $0.99/lb, 3 lbs of clementines for $1/lb, and a few pears for $0.99/lb.
    I hope that everyone enjoys a frugal and productive week ahead!

    1. I despised stuffed bell peppers as a child but I like peppers as an adult (I still don’t care for the green ones, though. Red, orange, and yellow were a revelation to me!). A soup with these ingredients sounds delicious!

  46. That’s great about your water bills! I am always so grateful that I am on a well and water is not a cost for us. Well, until our power is out and I can’t get water, that is.

    I’m looking to plant some more fruit trees, although this may not be the fall that I do it. I also hope to have more food growing in my yard in years to come.

    I finished fermenting a quart of kraut and have it in the refrigerator, where it will last a good while.

    I am close to finishing one handmade gift for Christmas. I’m also still purchasing small gifts with Swagbucks.

    I got notice that my husband’s insurance is sending us $75 in gift cards to Lowe’s (which was my choice of vendors) as his wellness rewards. Lowe’s is on my way home from work and we get a veteran’s discount on in-stock items as well.

    I signed my dog up for a dog food trial, and we just received a 15 pound bag of dog food. I didn’t expect that much!

    My husband has some very nice clothes that he can no longer wear. I’m going to find the best place to re-sell them and try to recoup some of that money.

    A friend has offered to help me start knitting. I learned the basics decades ago, but didn’t stick with it. Now I’d like to start again. She’s offered me some of her needles to get me started.

    I so enjoyed the pictures of the roses, but my favorite is that little boy!

  47. Brandy —
    Our Sam’s club has not stocked the #10 cans of tomato sauce for quite a while. Today I found Hunt’s #10 cans of tomato sauce at Walmart on the same isle as the
    smaller cans of tomato sauce. There were also #10 cans of other items on the same shelf.

  48. Your little one is so cute – my nieces and nephews used to tell me that they learned their colours from all my nail polishes when they were little and one niece in particular loved to greet me with a big kiss on the lips = we then figured out that she too wanted “lips” so this was her way of getting some lipstick! 🙂

    You have done so well on reducing the utility bills – just amazing. I got a notice last week that my rent will go up in January (but only by about $14) and I can’t complain as there has been a two year hold on rent increases during the pandemic and rental companies can only put it up a fraction. This also includes my heat – I’m in an old building with hot water rads so there is always plenty of heat so no complaints! My monthly hydro bill has also started coming down – it always goes up about $30 per month in the Summer due to A/C and fans.

    I had a frugal fail this week as I let a few veg spoil – it was a very busy week at work and things got away from me. I am very annoyed with myself as I do normally check on a regular basis. There are some peppers and mushrooms that are also getting close so I am going to chop up a large onion this afternoon and then add the peppers & mushrooms – I’ll cook them together and then freeze portions for use as a side or with eggs or even just on toast as a quick breakfast or lunch. I cooked turkey thighs and legs this weekend for Canadian Thanksgiving and will portion up leftovers, along with stuffing and some veg for future meals. I also made a cottage pie with a mixed topping of mashed potato and sweet potato. Ate 2 portions, gave 1 to a friend and there are 3 more in the freezer. Once again I stretched a pound of ground beef with a can of lentils – used half for the cottage pie (with added veg) and froze the other half to used in stuffed peppers next week. I also made a pot of soup from a mix I have of lentils, split peas, rice & barley etc. – added a bit of onion, carrot & potato plus 3/4 of a small jar of passata and stock using a couple of cubes. Once it had cooked I used my stick blender and now it’s a lovely smooth “creamed” soup – when I warm it up I thin it with a bit of cream that I have opened in the fridge. It will be lunch throughout the week. I’ll used up the rest of the passata with some pasta and mild Italian sausage from the freezer later in the week.

    I didn’t do much grocery shopping last week – got a couple of good deals at the drugstore – but then my friend drove me to a shop called Starzky’s – it’s an eastern European style supermarket with lots of goods from Poland, Ukraine etc. I love all their pickles and jars of red cabbage and beets – things like that at great prices. It was busy on the weekend so next time we’ll go during the week when we can take more time to figure out the labels – not always translated to English…. They also have a wonderful selection of jams and what I really like is that they often have things in smaller jars so they are ideal for someone on their own. Another fail was some chocolate biscuits bought from a British shop. These were a favourite when I was a kid but they are now obviously using artificial sweeteners or low fat additives as I had an immediate allergic reaction! I will be taking them into the office for the caretakers to share with their coffees. Oh well – I didn’t need the calories anyway!

    Finished two more Elly Griffiths mysteries from the library and managed to return books on time last week – they aren’t charging us for late returns but I still feel guilty if I don’t get there in time. More to drop off and pick up later in the week.

    I’m working from home today so must get back to some phone calls – have a wonderful week everyone.

      1. Toronto is an extremely expensive city for housing – whether you rent or own. I’ve lived in this place for nearly 15 years and by law my rent can only go up a certain percentage each year – but – if I ever moved (which I can’t afford) the rent on this place would be almost double to the next person. It is all a bit scary.

    1. Glad you had a nice turkey dinner. And also that your rent isn’t going up much. I shudder to think what your rent in Toronto is! Ann

  49. Hello, Frugal Friends. It finally is beginning to feel like fall in these beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
    *We have been able to keep the A/C off since September. Having the windows open has been glorious.
    *A week ago I bought 3 boxes of apples from the farmer down the street. They were $18/box. That comes to about .75/#. I have been peeling and slicing apples for days now. I still have apples form when I went to pick in the orchard at the end of August. I sorted through all the apples and wrapped the ones I want to save to eat raw with newspaper and stored them in our spare refrigerator. I have dehydrated 3 gallons (finished product) for snacking and storing, canned apple pie filling, canned applesauce, canned apples. I have made pies and other desserts to share and freeze and enjoy. I feel like the apples just keep growing in number as I still have 1.5 boxes to preserve. I have a bunch of Ida reds which the farmer said would make pink applesauce so may try that using my crockpot and food mill. After spending hours in the kitchen dealing with apples today I decided that I will dehydrate 12 apples a day to finish off the rest after making the pink applesauce. I have enough stored to eat raw to last until the new year.
    *For the reader needing suggestions for sterilizing jars: I now use the oven method. Heat the oven to 250F. Place clean jars on a cookie sheet and “bake’ for 25 minutes. I just leave them in the oven as I am canning once they are ready. That way they never cool off. It has really helped with prep and cleanup.
    *I have not done much grocery shopping this month. I did run in to Kroger one evening on the way home and they had marked their skim milk gallons to .69 The use by date was 8 days away. I bought 2 gallons and froze one in pint jars. I won’t have to buy milk for a couple of weeks. I also found 2 loaves of wheat bread on reduced price of .49/sandwich loaf. I had a coupon for .50 off 2 loaves making my cost .52 with tax. The only other thing I bought is cabbage. I have noticed many empty shelves in all the stores I have been in recently. It brought back flashbacks of living on Guam and I could not get any type of butter or margarine for 3 months. Not a comfortable feeling.
    *We are redoing our vegetable garden to make it easier for me to work in it. This has not been a frugal undertaking but we are trying to keep the costs down as much as possible. We are doing all the work ourselves (no easy task at our age) and using our military discount whenever possible.
    *Filled the vehicles on Tuesdays using our .15/gallon off through T Mobile.
    *Have been saving bread bits and ends for our Thanksgiving stuffing.
    *Drying laundry on the line on these beautiful fall days.
    *reading online and borrowed books.
    *Have been quilting baby quilts for future babies coming along using materials I already have.
    *Exercising by walking and youtube videos. I really enjoy Fabulous 50’s channel. She is so upbeat and positive.
    *Mostly I saved money by not buying anything when I wanted to buy something to “perk me up.”
    I hope everyone has a blessed week.

  50. It was a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I batched trips to save gas.
    I went to a more distant grocery store to buy some of their loss leaders. Bacon was $1.77/package, but only 12 oz. Still, bacon has gotten high. This store has some good prices on usual things (bananas .33/#, cheap milk and eggs), so it was worth it. Another store had dried pinto beans .44/#, but I didn’t make it there in time before the sale ended. Luckily, we still have plenty of beans.
    A friend with a Costco membership bought me several gift cards (I repaid her), which I will use for gas and maybe the occasional item from the store. Aldi is cheaper on most things, still.
    I walked on the track at the school two evenings while my sons were at soccer practice.
    I returned a mostly full jug of milk that went bad before the date, and the store swapped it out for me.
    One evening I wasn’t feeling well, so the kids made quesadillas and fed themselves.
    I used our GetOutPass to take the kids to the Galveston Pleasure Pier. I parked for free a couple of blocks away. We played at the beach in the morning, ate our picnic lunch, then spent the afternoon at the amusement park. It only cost the gas to get there, plus I got them McDonalds ice cream on the way home. We already had the passes.
    My sister gave me a bag of clothes to sell online.
    I completed a required online work training. This is frugal in that it was just online videos and quizzes, so no childcare needed, and I could do it from home.
    A younger son did his science project completely with materials we already had at the house.
    A friend dropped off some muffins for us, very unexpectedly. What a thoughtful gift, and now I don’t have to worry about tomorrow’s breakfast!
    Hope everyone has a great, frugal week!

  51. This past week was pretty quiet but I feel I did some research that will allow me savings in the future!
    I received several referrals to receive quotes on my homeowners and car insurance once my divorce is final and I finance the house in my name only. I have always been with State Farm but want to make sure that going forward I am receiving the same service at the best price.
    I also decided when I pay off my new cell phone that I am switching to Mint Mobile. I will receive all the same services as my current plan with T-Mobile but save $40/month.
    I traveled to my parent’s home for the long weekend, where my sister and her family also live. My sister hosted us for lunch and we were able to see thousands of Monarch Butterflies that were migrating south on her neighbor’s property.
    While visiting I was able to attend my Nephew’s play. Instead of flowers, I brought him a Party Size bag of his favorite candy, Reese’s PB Cups, that I found on clearance for $3.99 at Kroger.
    I found gas was much higher in their town than ours, so I only filled up with what was needed to get home plus a gallon extra just in case.
    I did a few couponing/Ibotta deals and was able to pickup the following for free: hand soap, mouthwash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, drinks, yogurt, Werther’s candy, snack bars and some spices.
    I picked up my holds from the library and my girls picked out some books too.

  52. We love snap circuits. One of my kids got a set as a birthday gift a few years ago. Since then we have found another set at Goodwill for $2.50. Last week I ordered my new glasses from Sam’s Club where I saved 20% because I have a plus membership. I wear my glasses all the time and I am particular how they feel. My back up glasses I will purchase from Zenni. I am purchasing onions from Sam’s Club and storing them for winter in the basement. I purchased a birthday gift at Ollie’s discount store. Using a little money each shopping trip to buy items we will use (soap, spices, etc.) at today’s prices. We cleaned out the kids you area and started on the boys’ bedroom.

  53. This is a botanical inquiry and I realize that it is not actually the plant time of year for many of us.
    Has anyone ever grown Creeping Raspberries for the fruit? I saw and tried them at a friend’s house and know that here in the US they are mainly used as a ground cover. They are quite prolific as far as fruit production goes, fairly drought tolerant, orange in color but very sweet and can be grown in hanging baskets. The thing is that I believe they are the same plant as the Scandinavian cloudberries. If you look up Cloudberry jam to purchase it is outrageously
    pricey. Has anyone tried making jam from Creeping Raspberries? Not even winter and I am thinking of spring:)

  54. I’ve been organizing mine by year – but I’m thinking that by month might be a better idea as it would then be seasonal and easier to find certain recipes and decorating ideas… I think my first issue is from 1988/89 and I’ll be picking up the latest one tomorrow!

    1. Hi Margie! I found your comment. ☺️ I agree that by month may be easier for seasonal recipes. I’m also considering photo copying favorites to add to a recipe binder. You must have so many issues!! It’s always a treat to read them. I started receiving the subscription as a Christmas gift in the early 2000s? Can’t remember exactly.

      1. Julie – it’s such a relaxing time when the new Victoria magazine comes out – I really find it all so lovely that it helps to calm me after a really busy day.
        You too must have quite the collection! I’m really going to think about how to rearrange them – a fun job for the Winter months.

  55. Brandy, I love the pictures of your flowers!! They are so awesome!! Thank you for a bit of beautiful in the midst of challenges right now.

    -My daughter bought a package at the local pumpkin farm for a group. It was Friday night and they shut the farm down except for the group. We celebrated 2 of the kids birthdays. Kids had fun-corn maze, petting zoo, farm machinery made into a playground, hayride to go out and pick out pumpkins. Supper was included-hotdogs, chips, a drink, and a Rice Krispie bar. I bought 3 small pumpkin pie pumpkins for $2.50 each. Also they had many squash for $2 each, I bought several varieties to try. I will go back there next year for my squash and pumpkins.

    -Cooked the pumpkin pie pumpkins in the oven. I removed the stems (to use on some fabric pumpkins I am making). Then used a knife to make several vent holes and baked them in the oven whole. When they were soft I removed them from the oven to cool. Scooped out the seeds and washed them and coated with oil and southwest seasoning and made baked crunchy pumpkin seeds. Then scooped out the flesh and froze in 2 cup portions for the freezer. I froze 6 packages.

    -Canned 7 more pints of apple sauce. Rest of the honey crisps are in the 2 crisper drawers in the refrigerator. We picked 18 five gallon buckets of apples this year off our 4 trees!! I am glad we are done with the apples. The honey crisps will keep until Jan or February-refrigerated.

    -Flower beds were weeded and outside fall decor put out-pumpkins, mums, and some corn stalks. Weather is finally cooling off although we haven’t had a frost yet even though it usually is around September 20th.

    -Found 2 pairs of jeans both in very good shape at the thrift store for $9 for both. I now have 4 pair and will be good. Now that I am retired and I don’t need much for dress, I wear pretty casual clothes. Jeans and flannel shirts or sweatshirts.

    -We have not had to have the baseboard heat on or start the wood stove as of yet either so that is huge for us. My goal every year is to not do this until October 1, but we are mid October so cost savings for us.

    Have a great week!!

  56. Carnegie”s Maid is included in Prime Reading right now so I was able to download at no additional cost. Thank you for the recommendation.

  57. I am not keeping track of my grocery budget at all but I can’t say I’m spending more than I’d planned. I keep watching for price increases but I haven’t noticed anything too outrageous as of yet. Gasoline is higher than earlier this year I tend to track sales and pick up items that I know are good buys. I see mention of outages but can’t tell you I’ve seen any here as of yet. I’ll be curious to see what is in Aldi this week when I go to do my monthly shopping trip. In between Aldi trips I run into Publix or Food Depot (cost plus 10%) and occasionally Kroger. At Food Depot I accidentally found the reduced produce racks and often pick up vegetables and fruit for 50c to $1 and never more than $1. It varies week to week but it’s worth it to run in and look over things and it means my in between stock ups on produce have been greatly reduced.
    This same store offers a carrageenan free (I’m allergic to it) whole chicken for 98c a pound. I’ve noted that lately the sale is on every other week.
    I read an interesting article about turkeys which said that smaller turkeys were in high demand last year because of smaller family gatherings and therefore they said there would be fewer small turkeys available this year. A local organic farm offered up her turkeys early in summer as a waiting list item but her prices would run into the $150 zone for a turkey. It might well be a good buy but if turkeys are in the $100 range I will serve roasting hen!

  58. We see some empty shelves , most the stores here try to spread out what they do have to cover the holes. Said they found it’s less upsetting to the elders (which means MY age).

    We are trying to finish some “big” outdoor projects before the snow flies. We have used Menards rebates to pay for materials. Still need 8 sheets of paneling for a porch roof that is going to be cash out of hand : ( Our Amish contractor said he could finish in snow but not rain for us to not worry.

    We are set pantry wise for about a year. I still am low on regular oats. Will check the Amish bulk store to see if they got any in. I would like a ham or two but if I can’t find one cheap enough I won’t buy it. We got a turkey, 20 lbs for Tday for 0.89/ lb. in freezer.

    We use propane for furnace , water heater , pump house heater and cooking. In 2018 we used 2000 gals. Was told that was normal amount for what we are doing. In 2019 I got it down to 1800 and held it there. In 2020 I got it down to 1050.5 gals. Our propane costs with taxes about $3/ gal. (Company said they got it this year for $2.25 with taxes) Our son’s furnace people told him to tell us to turn the fan on the furnace to ON not auto. Yes, the electric will go up but we will save more on the propane. SIDE BENEFIT… house had no COLD SPOTS. We already reverse the ceiling fans for when we are in the room. I figured out we saved almost $2000 after deducting the increase of electric. Plus the difference made this year’s bill about 1/3rd of last years as we preorder(so costs don’t go up but can come down) and pay in full for a discount.

    I am doing some fall gardening, that I covered with row cover to protect if we get a frost. My radishes came in pretty quick so I was able to share some of them with the Amish neighbor.

    Blessed be everyone.

    1. I noticed the spreading out in a lot of stores. Beef was in place of pork (I have seen none of the regular pork loin roast sales like I normally get in September and October). Charcuterie boards and other platters were put in the fridges in place of cheese.

      My parents said they no longer like shopping at one particular grocery store because they are always stocking. My son now works there. He said they are stocking all day and all night and yet still went I went there yesterday I saw lots of empty shelves.

      I know there is difficulty getting some items, but I also know that people aren’t eating out as much, so they are going to be buying a lot more at the store to make up for that. There are so many reasons for the empty shelves.

      What is sad is how many schools in the U.S. are having trouble getting food to feed the students at lunchtime.

  59. I second the request for a garden tour when all of your arbors and things are in place. It will be even more beautiful than it is currently.
    *We visited my in-laws to surprise my MIL for her birthday. We took homemade food and my children drew pictures for her which she loves. We enjoyed time together fishing, walking and sitting on the porch playing card games. All frugal and memory-making activities.
    *Made a triple batch of homemade granola. I often make one batch but decided to stock up a bit since I had the ingredients. It is nice to have a filling breakfast or snack without having to cook, at times.
    *Mowed the yard of a neighbor for some extra income. This may be the last time this year and we have enjoyed the extra money and helping out.
    *Gratefully received over a dozen forsythia divisions from a neighbor who has given me many plantings this year. I have planted them along a slope that is somewhat difficult to trim. I hope they will do what they typically do and grow down into the ground and spread, reducing the amount of grass there and my workload. The butterfly bush I found this summer in a ditch down the road is thriving in its new spot. I hope to find some more.
    *We are beekeepers which is a fascinating pastime. We have kept bees for 10 years now and still learn something new all the time. The next thing I would like to learn is to raise my own queens. Sometimes, it works to have the hive make their own queen but sometimes this is not possible or the best choice. Queens cost $25-$30 a piece (which is actually not expensive considering the care and attention it takes) and I would like to learn to do it myself. So, I bought a book and will be studying that this winter. In addition to avoiding having to purchase queens myself, it could be an additional source of income and something I can share with my youngest son who is my assistant bee keeper.
    *Found pork butts at 99 cents a pound. They were all 12 pounds each which is larger than we normally smoke. It took 19 hours! But, the flavor can’t be beat and wee enjoy sharing some with family and friends. Good way to reciprocate all the kindnesses given to us without a lot of cost.
    *Grandparents are asking about Christmas gifts and we are grateful they like to contribute to activities our children enjoy. The children want to join our local ski resort’s snowboard club this season so gifts will be contributions to season passes. That helps us a lot and we all get to enjoy watching them and enjoying the season.
    *While visiting my in-laws, I stocked up on staple groceries at Aldi and Halloween and Christmas candy at Ollie’s. We don’t eat much candy and live out in the country where door-to-door trick-or-treating doesn’t exist. A neighbor once summed it up well saying, “Everyone here lives a half mile down a gravel road with big dogs, You can’t trick-or-treat like that. ” 🙂 Instead, we invite friends over and do a candy hunt after dark in the woods with flashlights. The children love it and it is a simple way to indulge in the candy part of the holiday. I also found a skull-shaped cookie cutter at a thrift store and think my kids will have fun making and decorating some seasonal cookies. We don’t go for much of the scary part of Halloween but usually have a party sometime before or after to celebrate Fall – more of a traditional Fall Festival kind of thing with doughnuts on a string, pumpkin bowling, apple bobbing, bonfires, etc. We look forward to doing that again this year as last year it was not possible.
    *Currently reading “The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year” and love it. Just the kind of thing for those that love country living and tales of the English countryside. Since some of you here have children, I might sometimes mention some children’s books we are reading that we get from the library. Some of our all-time favorite audiobooks (which we also get from the library) are the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osbourne. Great way to learn about important times, places and people throughout history. We are reading a fun book now called “Mistakes That Worked” about accidental inventions. The message that mistakes are how we learn is especially useful for one of my children who is a bit of a perfectionist. He comes by that honestly as I am a recovered one myself!
    *We have two trees down in our woodlot and plan to buck them up and split them for next year’s firewood. When you heat with wood, you are always looking ahead. Thankfully, we have all we need for this Winter all ready to go.
    *Always enjoy everyone’s contributions and hope all have a lovely week!

  60. Well, I have wrapped up the roast beef purchases. “Where’s the beef?” Three are in a friend’s freezer, another one is at a different friend’s,and two are in mine. I will not eat it every week. I will be freezing any bones to make broth and soup.

    I spent $28.52 this morning on the last one plus a few other things. I saved $36.00. As my friend says who delivered it,
    incredible to save more than one spends. I’m mostly becoming a vegetarian but …

    I spent my last money for the month on pink roses for a friend who is meeting our maker tomorrow via MAID. She has always loved roses and emailed to say she loves these. It will be a sad day for me tomorrow! A.

    1. Oh so wonderful that you were able to send such an acknowledgement to your friend. May both of you be surrounded by loving memories.You spent intentionally and wisely.

  61. Hello friends! It really does feel like sitting around for tea with friends when I read this blog and all the comments. Thank you all for the encouragement and frugal tips! Onto frugal accomplishments!

    My Imperfect Produce box was scheduled to arrive today so as I was going through the fridge to prep for it I realized I had a number of items that needed using up ASAP. I roasted green beans, broccoli, carrots and potatoes. Now they are all easy and ready to go so it easier for me to know what to eat first. I don’t get the produce box every week, usually one week on and one week off. It helps keep me out of the grocery store and stocked with local produce. I am immune compromised so I am still doing my best to stay home as much as possible. The produce box today included more carrots and potatoes so I will be sure to eat them in time. I did grow both carrots and potatoes in my garden this summer, but I have already made my way through almost all of the carrots, and the potatoes are stored in the dark/cool basement for winter storage.

    I went to the library this morning to return two books and pick up three more. There is just something wonderful and magical about the library. I took a survey while there about how they might improve their online site and received a library tote bag with a zip drive and note pad inside. Those will definitely go to good use!

    I have definitely been ordering food in way too often lately. I had a friend in from out of town and just sort of fell off the cooking bandwagon. I deleted all the delivery apps from my phone in an effort to curb that and I definitely think it will help.

    I trimmed my dogs’ nails so that we didn’t have to go to a groomer. One of my dogs is very amiable to this, the other not so much. My neighbor graciously helps keep him calm so that I can do his nails safely and quickly.

    I just finished reading Happier at Home by Gretchin Rubin. It is about her year of trying to feel happier in her home. She also previously wrote a book call the Happiness Project. I had read them both before but decided that since I am spending so much time at home, it would be a good refresher. She talks about her own experiences, as opposed to telling you what you should do. I really enjoyed her perspective and will definitely be working on my own goals to be happier in my home. There is always room for improvement!

    I have some experience knitting but am definitely a novice. I asked my brother’s girlfriend if she would teach me how to knit beanies as I think that would be a great inexpensive holiday gift for some folks on my list. She was more than happy to teach me! I have PLENTY of yarn that I got for free from my local buy nothing group. So she will take as much yarn as she likes as her “payment”.

    That’s all I can think of for the evening. I hope you are all safe and warm and cozy!

  62. I am cooking my son’s favorite meal and making him a cake for his birthday. Packing a picnic dinner for my grandkids on the day I am with them. It is healthier and much cheaper than eating out. Opening windows for cool air. Turning off lights when not in use. Cleaning house to enjoy my environment. Using the internet for information and entertainment. Saved the broth from boiling some pork ribs and I am going to make a soup tomorrow. I haven’t decided what kind yet. But it is going to be with things I have on hand. Maybe a veggie soup of some sort.

  63. Today I went grocery shopping. Found some good prices at the Grocery Outlet store. Spreadable butter tub 99 cents, gallon organic milk 99 cents, husband’s favorite cereal 1.99, organic hot dogs 99 cents, and a pack of Keebler cookies for 50 cents. A needless indulgence. 😛
    Picked the last of the cherry tomato harvest after our freeze last night. Filled two large mason jars. They will be used to make pizza sauce for Friday.
    Spent the week transitioning the kid’s closets over to their fall/winter clothes. With year round thrifting and a few new items from Gramma, they are set for the cooler weather. They even had some extras so I’m listing those things on eBay. I buy all year long at the thrift and choose only the best pieces that can resell well. Some other items will be passed along to a friend.
    Decluttered some other household items (books, toys, etc) and also listed some on eBay. After a few days I have made almost $100.
    Worked out outside and on my new favorite youtube channel – growingannanas.
    I accepted some homeschool curriculum a friend offered me.
    Kids watched Cinderella on Disney+ which we are blessed to have for free from my MIL.
    A friend from church who is a Frito Lay distributor gifted my kids chips after service on Sunday.
    Another church friend gifted us some craft supplies – wooden beads, a large box of pony beads, glue guns, and perler beads. We will donate some to the church nursery and use the others for winter day crafting.
    It was potluck day at church and our kids and husband ate a hearty meal.
    Tonight’s dinner was trout my husband caught earlier in the season, discounted brown bread with the butter spread mentioned above, and salad.
    Made a batch of zucchini muffins to and added applesauce and dark chocolate that was inedible (hard to believe!) otherwise.

  64. Brandy, your post brought back two memories. I made my grandmother an apron when I started sewing to take to her on vacation. My son had several Snap Circuit Sets and it made me smile remembering how much he enjoyed them. I hope your son loves his as much.

    Last week was a productive week even if everything seemed to take longer than usual. I took DH to work 2 days instead of the one I had planned so I could run errands. I used enough from the freezer that I could move more downstairs and some things up to the refrigerator freezer to be nearer. I have continued cooking and freezing extras for quicker meals in the future. I have also used up a few items we don’t use often in the refrigerator so it it more spacious.

    I made an Apple Danish Braid (www.littlehouseliving.com/apple-danish-braid-recipe.html), only I substituted apple butter. I tried it that way a couple years ago after seeing a recipe for Apple Butter Pie in a cookbook at Mabry Mill. We like it better. The cream cheese makes this recipe. If anyone makes it use a large sheet pan.

    We walked several times and Sunday afternoon I rode a bicycle for the first time in 2 yrs, 4 mos. The guy at the bicycle shack found one that was short enough for me with the seat lowered. It was a heavier than I was use to but I did fine with it, especially after the first hill and putting it in 1st gear instead of 3rd (numbers didn’t line up right). I walked it for a couple minutes two times where there was a longer, steeper incline on the way back. I plan to borrow it at least twice a week until they close at the end of the month if I can. I was not very sore and using muscles I had not used in a while was exhilarating and has given me a lighter step ever since.

    I ordered a slider for a zipper for some shorts for DS from Wawak. I decided to get a pillow form also on the same order, no extra shipping!

    I saved almost $10 on a purchase using a 30% off coupon at CVS. I got $8 EBs for buying $25 worth of items, almost $4 EBs from the new program they have, and a $4 of $20 coupon. The EBs don’t expire until December.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  65. Brandy, Thank you for the book suggestions, I have written a list to take with me to the library. Now that summer and gardening/harvesting/preserving are finished, I will have time to read. Besides the library, I like to find books in all of the Little Libraries that I see when I am driving. I keep a bag full of books that I have read in my car to replace any that I take to read.

    I have been organizing closets and drawers and finding so many things that I had forgotten about. I put a lot of items in a pretty basket that I can set on a shelf as a reminder to check before adding something to my shopping list. I am also trying to keep like things together as another way to stay organized.

    1. I love the idea of checking Little Library when you see one. I have several books that have not been claimed on paperbackswap, maybe I should go tuck them into some Little Library boxes this weekend. Have always wanted to put one in my own yard for our neighborhood!

  66. Brandy, thank you for your website. I return to it every few years for inspiration and have found it again in spades.

    We cut our budget in half in September to be able to save our current income for a future expected jobless season.

    I learned to make yogurt for my husband’s morning smoothies, which is saving me $0.57/day (!!!). I made homemade laundry soap and dishwasher detergent this week. I cut my husband’s hair and one son (the other is on the docket for today).

    And I’ve been brainstorming homemade Christmas gift ideas, especially in light of possible forthcoming goods shortages. My great success here was finding free crochet stuffed toy patterns for my kids according to their various interests, and discovering my Dollar Tree carries yarn in lots and lots of colors!

    I also shopped six different stores in the course of other errands in order to find dress shoes for a size 7 boy (11 years old, and the shoes are required for his choir concerts–he normally wears tennies to church) for $15, instead of the $40 I saw everywhere else. I was murmuring going into the last store, cursing my fate at not finding anything less expensive, and then had to repent as I found what I needed! Heavenly Father is gracious, indeed.

  67. Just a quick note — thought of you when I checked King Soopers sales here in Colorado — they’re affiliated with Kroger, so hopefully your Smith’s has similar prices. They’re offering 79-cent five pound bags of potatoes (you can buy 5), and 49-cent American Beauty pasta…but you must buy 6 at a time. Which shouldn’t be a problem for your brood!

    I think these prices only go through Tuesday, Oct. 19. Hopefully you’ll see this in time to take advantage of these sales.

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