Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money the First Week of September

When I went to the local nursery to pick up some bulk soil and manure, I asked about and was given some small plastic pots that they were going to throw out (they reuse the larger ones). These were just the size I needed to try to start some new hedge plants from cuttings.

The best part was that as we looked down into the pots, there was a tiny frog in one pot! We brought it home with us and put it in the garden in a shady spot. I don’t know if it will make it as this is such a dry place; I can only imagine it came in with their nursery order. I put a clay pot sideways in the garden near where I released it and also put out some water in a small ceramic soap dish. I was going through some old things that I had and had come across a chipped soap dish that I had never seen before! (I didn’t buy it). I had just thrown out the soap dish that morning, so I rescued it from the trash, washed it, filled it with water, and put it near the clay pot. I’ll need to refill it often. The children enjoyed seeing the frog for a few minutes before I released it. There are plenty of bugs in my garden for it to eat.

I spent time in the garden pruning hedges, pulling weeds, clearing out trimmings and dead leaves, cutting off suckers from the fruit trees, and adding manure and new soil to the raised beds.

I filled a bucket of soil for my 4-year-old to help fill the plastic pots for cuttings. He always wants to play in the dirt, so he could have fun and also help me. The “soil” is half sand, so I am hoping it works well to root cuttings.

I mended a drip line that I had previously cut accidentally while pruning the hedges. I only knew about the leak as I heard it when the irrigation turned on while I was out working. I will be checking each section of the garden for leaks this month as I work in the garden.

My husband mended a copper funnel that had become slightly bent and was not working well for me.

Using fabric we had on hand, I taught one daughter to make a mask for herself using this tutorial. It allowed me to use some wider elastic that I had on hand than I used for my other masks.

I helped another daughter sew a lavender sachet using some lavender that we were given and fabric scraps that we had.

I went through the long-neglected, very large mending pile. I took out several things that were just there to take in or slightly alter that either were way too big or that I really didn’t want anymore (for instance, there were two black sheer blouses that had been handed down to me that were two sizes too big for me, and black is not a great color on me; people always ask if I’m feeling unwell when I wear black!) I mended a tie for my husband, a pullover for a daughter, and a dress for another daughter.

I gave my husband and two sons haircuts.

I watched a free webinar from a photographer whom I admire.

I canned 6 pints of sweet pickle relish with Armenian cucumbers from our garden.

I cut and dried basil from our garden.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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210 Comments

  1. This week has gone by quickly! Lots of frugal things happening too.

    I bought 10 bottles of ketchup ($1 each) and 3 bottles of mustard (69 cents each) which will bring those two condiments up to a full year’s supply for us when added to what we already had in our pantry.
    Butter was $1.99/pound so I bought 10 boxes. Coupled with what I currently have, I am set through all the holiday baking/winter.

    I bought 24 more pounds of 80/20 ground beef for $1.79/pound. We grilled 5 pounds after we made them into patties. I also canned 16 pints of Easy Layered Chili- using (from my freezer) precooked ground beef, frozen chopped onions and frozen Serrano peppers. That will rotate out and free up space in my freezer for some of the new meat while adding convenience meals to my pantry shelf. I love that “Ping” sound when the jars come out of the canner! https://pin.it/4w2Dsps.

    I made my 2 loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread again this week and took one loaf and a dozen eggs over the fence to our next door neighbor who gave me the Chicken Farmer Barbie a couple weeks ago! She was delighted! https://pin.it/7A2Y8h7

    Our gas company is having a promotional each year that is specific to 3 different neighborhoods each year to encourage conservation. Our neighborhood was one of those for this year. They were offering a Honeywell programmable thermostat (normally $79- $99) for just $4 for customers in those neighborhoods. https://columbiagasohiostore.com/Honeywell-Home-Wi-Fi-7-Day-Programmable-Thermostat/P-HON7DYPGR.html. You were allowed to get 2 for that price and since we actually have 3 furnaces in our house, we bought the 2 for a total of $8!!

    The electric company was also doing a similar promotional for the same 3 neighborhoods, only their conservation “kits” were free and you could get 1 per active electric company account. We have 3 accounts. (Our house was divided into a triplex when we bought it, but we converted it back to single family house. But we still have 3 separate meters and accounts) https://pin.it/3hji4mn. Here’s what we are getting (times 3)
    (4) A-line General Purpose LED bulbs
    (1) LED nightlight
    (1) 6 foot length adhesive weather-stripping
    (8) light switch gaskets
    (18) power outlet gaskets.
    We are excited about the energy savings as well as the tiny OOP. Knowing that last week we used our $50 voucher from our county to buy a rain barrel for the front part of the yard, I’m feeling like we are really blessed to be living in this locality that is encouraging us to conserve our resources! I don’t know if this is something that other places are doing. I hope so!

    I found a recipe for Homemade Pita Pockets Mix and you know how I love mixes that save time and money! I plan to try it tomorrow! https://pin.it/2QgMXzw

    I have 2 quilts that a client sent over for me to longarm on Lenni. One is a Halloween door hanging that will take me about 90 minutes. The other is a 70” square Halloween lap quilt that I’ll have ready for her to pick up before the end of the week. Grateful for the business these days for our HandmadeinOldeTowne.com .

    I started growing new strawberry plants from runners after watching some “how-to” videos on YouTube. Got 34 started! https://pin.it/4uLUlZZ Free plants!! Then after watching some more videos that showed how to root blackberry cuttings, I have started another 28 of those with more to do this week. They suggested rooting them in sand, so the roots won’t get entangled and they will be easy to transfer into pots later on!

    My raspberry bushes are again starting to fruit. They produce a heavier crop from September through November if the weather doesn’t freeze them! The branches were top-heavy and I didn’t want my chickens to get to them first so I looked in the back of the south basement and found some trellises we built from free shovel handles over 20 years ago! So I schlepped those up the basement stairs and out to the raspberry bed. I cut an old t-shirt up for ties to hold branches up and it’s done! https://pin.it/7Myfsns Not going to make it into a “Beautiful Gardens” magazine, but because it will serve the purpose I needed, it looks terrific to me!! Lol!!

    Our worms are going strong and we will be dividing their numbers (which have doubled) into a second worm condo and adding their castings into our garden.

    I took dinner over to 2 different older single friends who had been in hospital- 1 for heart stent, the other as caregiver. It’s really not hard to make dinner for 1 person. I took 2 Bacon Cheddar pork chops from a batch I made for us and made garlic mashed potatoes in IP and frozen green beans from garden. This sweet lady had to tell everyone that has talked to her since about those “fabulous” pork chops! Made me tear up a bit to realize how that simple an act could give her so much joy! The next night, I took extra of our chicken burrito bowl mix and tortillas to the other friend and he was so pleased. I don’t mention these 2 dinners to make it sound like I’m “wonderful”. Only as a humbling reminder to myself that (as my neighbor’s fence across the alley says) “Small acts change the world”. I don’t know about changing the world, but it certainly changed my perspective on things and reminded me how very abundantly I’ve been blessed!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Those dinners may seem small and insignificant to you, but they made someone else’s day! Keep on making a difference where you can.

    2. Our gas company conducts free energy audits by appointment and makes any suggestions needed to improve to retain heat and I believe they also give out a goody bag to those who have the audit. We haven’t as our windows, doors, sliding patio doors are all fairly new and our house is well insulated. The electric company actually had one of their employees come door to door several years ago and brought to each house 2 free LCD bulbs – we are a small town of less than 4,00 year-around population. It sounds like you have wonderful neighbors – we do too – my 3 closest girlfriends are neighbors and we shop, walk, host lunches/dinners together. I’m sure they enjoyed what you lovingly cooked. I believe your neighbor’s sign may be similar to a quote by the late author Howard Zinn “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” One of my favorite quotes.

      1. Mari, I love the Zinn quote, thanks! We used his People’s History in our unschooling curriculum and it’s still sitting on our bookshelf.

      1. So sorry, Lynn! I just checked the links . Here’s the one showing my chili out of the canner. https://pin.it/55r8Kor. Here is the chili canning recipe link: https://yellowrockcountrygirl.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/easy-layered-chili-recipe-for-canning/amp/.

        Here so the link showing my bread out of the oven: https://pin.it/6Du5p1v. And here’s a link to the recipe: https://youtu.be/TwaJss5AQKg.

        Hope this helps!
        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. Hi Gardenpat
          The recipe for the chili says to process at 11 lbs of pressure for 90 min. My canner has a regulator that is for 5, 10 or 15 lbs. It doesn’t have a regulator that is as precise as 11 lbs. (no dial). Do you have a suggestion?

  2. This week was not a frugal week but it was most certainly a blessed week! We continued to pick up breakfasts & lunches for my son from his school. Originally it was five days worth but now they will be giving seven days instead. My mother in law came over one night and made dinner for us. We were able to have left overs the next day. We don’t really see people right now due to the shelter in place so we always enjoy visiting with her! I continued my project of purging my house. I was able to drop off a huge car load of donations to the Goodwill & got a receipt for taxes. I enjoyed several books from the library. I saved a few to bring to my father when I see him. Our library system is not charging late fees right now. As it has been so hot, we have also enjoyed several days at our neighborhood pool. Our garbage disposal was leaking and apparent had been for some time unbeknownst to us (I store my vases under my sink which caught the leak). We called the plumber who let us use a 20% of coupon, saving us $140.00! Thankfully we had put money aside for just such an emergency & were able to pay cash 😬

  3. Favorite frugal efforts for the past few weeks –

    – Faithfully finished leftovers
    – Accepted 3 free dvd movies from friends who are moving
    – Harvested from the garden tomatoes, green peppers, onions, carrots, yellow and zucchini squash, pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers, basil, chives, and garlic chives.
    – Inspired by commenters on this site, for the first time planted a few things for a fall garden in our new cold frame – carrots, cilantro, lettuce, and peas. Looking forward to see how these fare here in NE Ohio.
    – Shared tomatoes with our daughter who shared her homemade salsa with us.
    – Celebrated this daughter’s birthday with a weekend of babysitting our two young grandchildren and gifting her with hikers purchased on sale, in addition to cake & ice cream and family fun.
    – Hung laundry outside
    – Acquired 2 new-to-me thrift store scrub tops for work
    – Enjoyed the Labor Day weekend with family and friends: walking, picnicking, gardening and yard work, decorating for fall, attending church, having cookouts and games at our home, reading, listening to baseball on the radio, and crafting. This was the first time in about 8 years that this holiday fell on my weekend off work, and it’s been lovely.

    Have a terrific week!

    1. A, if those peas don’t fruit before the first hard frost (since daylight is declining, growth this time of year is slower), remember that the shoots and tender leaves are edible. Slightly tougher leaves could be softened in a stir-fry.

  4. We are riding out the heat wave (105+ and no air conditioning). Just using fans and doing a lot less.
    I was given a cotton rug that doesn’t work anywhere in my house. I will cut it in half, roll each section, tie them with scrap fabric and use them this winter to block gaps at the bottom of 2 doors.
    I used one dishpan of water to wash masks, then wash some fabric I was given, then soak a jar to remove the label and lastly, used the water for my outdoor planters. I felt I’d got a lot of use out of that one on of water!
    I hang all our laundry on the line, we don’t own a dryer. This has been a huge money saver over the years. This week we used a tablecloth that I’ve had for 20 years. I bought it for $5 on clearance at Target. I first used it as a curtain for a sliding door. Then it got switched back to its intended use-a tablecloth. My daughter chose that tablecloth for the table for my husband’s birthday last week. As I hung it on the line, I thought of how well it has served our family, and I was thankful. So much of my life has been about repurposing, and now I get to share that joy in my Etsy shop too.
    The sole fell of of one of my shoes. I sent a picture to the manufacturer, who deemed them defective, and they are sending a new pair!
    This week I am back to sewing for my shop, after working on 2 special order banners, 3 special order pencil cases and a set of special order felted wool coasters. I am so happy for the work.
    A happy frugal week to you all!

  5. Not necessarily frugal related, but I have decided that my hobby over the next several months will be to organize, photograph/scan and upload old documents and photographs into a genealogy website. I joined the free site “familysearch” this week and was excited to see my tree populate from the hard work of other relatives! I am hoping there are some genealogy experts on this website, and I am looking for advice!
    I have boxes and boxes of very cool old things–letters, photos, newspaper clippings, etc.–dating back to the 1700’s. Nobody in my family or extended family is interested in keeping these items. I figure that the best way to preserve them is to upload them onto a genealogy website.
    Question number 1 is: Which genealogy website should I upload them to so that the most people in my reeeeaaalllly extended family will see them? I don’t mind paying a monthly subscription for long enough to upload these items if it means that more people will see the items. I am interested in mailing original items to people who would want them (for example, a beautiful photograph of my great grandmother’s cousin would be much more treasured by a direct descendant), so I want to reach the most people possible.
    Question number 2: What should I do with original old documents that nobody wants? Would a historical society or genealogy library be interested in letters or photographs or newspapers? I even have an old family bible from the 1700’s that is so fragile I feel like it would be better off in a historial society!
    Any and all advice welcome!

    1. I would suggest donating the items to your town’s historical society.
      Most of our questions are from people doing genealogy. If your town doesn’t have a society, I would suggest contacting your state historical society.

    2. I agree that Ancestry or Family Search would be a good place to upload. Family search is generally free to public but others would need an ancestry account (if not library affiliated) to see the documents. A third option is to begin a blog and upload those items also to the blog. It would come up in a general search by those who are not using a particular site. I am slowly building a genealogy blog of my mother’s family line and was so happy to have someone contact me who had learned nothing about the great great great grandparents that I have learned a little about through the years.

    3. I have been doing genealogy for a long time – it’s a great hobby! You can scan the photos and then upload them to Ancestry.com. You do not have to have a paid subscription to create a tree on Ancestry and to upload your own photos. You only need a paid subscription if you want to access documents that they have stored in their database (like birth records, the Census, etc.). You do need to create an account but it is free. FamilySearch is great, too. The trees on there are considered “shared trees” so others can alter the work that you do. Of course you can upload them both places or as someone else suggested but them up on your own website, a blog, Facebook, etc. Just make sure you scan them. For the originals, store them in acid- free envelopes or other appropriate long-term storage containers. Good luck with your genealogy pursuits!

  6. I really enjoyed your story about the frog. Here on Guam we have lots of frogs and at night I end up with six or seven big ones on my patio. It’s nice they eat the mosquitoes. We are still in hard lockdown here only the grocery stores, pharmacy,and Home Depot are open. I haven’t been to the grocery store going on four weeks now, so I was very happy when two of my hens that I’ve been raising laid their first eggs I’ve gotten 5 this week. They are small but enough for me for breakfast. My CSA that I can still get drive thru a social distance and wear masks, asked me if I wanted extra cucumbers last week they had some pin holes in them and they said they couldn’t put them in the shares I said I’d be happy to take as many as they had so I got 9 pounds of cucumbers! I was able to make 18 pints of bread and butter pickles I made a zesty variation on traditional ones and added horseradish and fresh ginger. Our village Mayors have been dropping off a 10 pound box once a month from our territorial government with apples and oranges in it so I decided since I have three boxes now to make this my month of the Apple. They’re only Granny Smith and gala apples, but I am coming up with creative savory recipes each night my favorite so far was a bacon Apple cheddar pizza. I also peeled treated and froze several bags so I can use them for baking later in the fall normally a pound of apples on the island is $4 to $5 so this is a really big savings.

    1. Thank you for sharing this! I enjoy reading how people in other countries are living and dealing with the pandemic. Good call on accepting the cucumbers, and finding creative ways to use those apples.
      My neighbor stopped by the other day to share some yellow squash someone had given her. We both agreed that we never turn down free food — we will always find some way to use it.

  7. Hello everybody, it’s been a while……But I do read your blog every week. I think I am going to use the tutorial for the mask, it seems very easy to make, I made some other masks that where easy to make also, but maybe this mask is a little more comfortable to wear. We do not need to wear masks a lot in the Netherlands, but my childeren travvel by bus to school(sometimes…a lot is done online) so they need some masks. I have been very busy with my new vegetable garden, its much bigger than my old garden. I harvested a lot extra to sell and give the money to charity. I had so much zucchinni….I gave that for free, and now I have a lot of pumpkin that I also give for free. People put money in the charity “can” anyway, thats very kind. Last weekend I picked rosehips in our small village park and made rosehip jam, it is delicious.
    And I bought a food dehydrator a couple of weeks ago, stil learning to use it.
    Bey everybody, keep up the frugallity.
    Tanja

  8. Your double-petaled zinnia is beautiful; it reminds me of a White Wedding or Polar Bear variety. I hope your frog survives; we have tiny toads here that sometimes startle me when I’m weeding.

    Visited my parents for most of the week. We celebrated family birthdays (with the whole works -party hats, decor, ice cream cake, home baked b’day cake my mom made, my fav cookies my aunt/godmother baked for me) that we missed due to covid. Visited aunts and uncles; some cousins; 2 new babies born in late spring. I brought goody bags for everyone filled with lysol disinfecting spray, lysol wipes, baking powder plus yeast for my mom and aunt. It has been nearly impossible to find those items where they live in NY state. For the babies, I crocheted baby blankets and bought some cute and useful items at Kohls (using their 20 & 30% off coupons) & Target. We also canned lots & lots of jars of tomato sauce from farm-bought tomatoes and my mom’s basil. Enjoyed grapes, kiwi, pears and lots of veggies from my parents’ garden. Returned home with 30 jars of freshly canned tomato sauce, about 40 lbs of bartlett pears, a ziplock bag of figs, lots of zucchini, cucumbers, slicing and grape tomatoes, Italian eggplant, peppers, frying peppers, broad beans, rosemary – if I lived nearby, I would never need to buy fresh produce!

    I want to thank SJ in Vancouver for suggesting I buy screens for the dehydrator – thank you – I have done so as I will soon be dehydrating some pears.
    One of your readers mentioned she had problem with zucchini borers – I asked my dad – he suggested she may want to try a zucchini called Italian Snake Squash – cucuzzi – its very hardy and nearly kill-proof. It grows huge long squash with a firm texture and is good sauteed, boiled, etc.

    It was a 6-hour round trip to visit my parents so I did a lot of magazine reading while dh drove. I recommend the September Southern Living for a ton of really good recipes – too many good ones to attempt to list; the September Better Homes & Gardens for their decor & garden section and a section featuring bean recipes including a recipe for mushroom-kidney bean burgers and falafel fattoush which I can’t wait to try and a no-knead bread recipe. Also the September Martha Stewart with blue McCoy pottery on the cover (which I collect) has a terrific article on dahlias with gorgeous photos.. The August/September Fortune mag has an article on China developing an e currency. I recall you stated that you follow the fluctuation of the dollar. This article is more food for thought. I’m Mari and I’m a magazine aholic! Here’s the link. I hope the links work if not article starts on page 75. There’s also an article on real estate – “Real Estate heads for Gain-Then Pain” on pages 49-52 but I cant seem to find the link for it.
    https://fortune.com/2020/08/10/china-digital-currency-electronic-yuan-bitcoin-cryptocurrency/
    https://fortune.com/longform/us-china-relations-global-500-companies-trade-xi-trump-business/

    1. Mari – I am a magazine junkie as well (thank heavens for RecycleBank!). I am going to keep that SL – I had started turning over page corners so much that I realized that I just needed to keep the whole thing. I also love BH&G and Martha Stewart – many good articles in those as well. I have to say that reading magazines kept (and are keeping) me sane during the lockdown. I find that they are soothing to read at night – help me relax.

  9. im very curious being in the UK as to what natural predators you have that help in a hot dry climate with garden pests , we have hedgehogs which can eat volumes of slugs and snails and thrushes that if you put a brick or large stone in your planting bed will reward with you with piles of broken snail shells each day

    1. We have lizards, spiders, vinegaroons, and scorpions! We’ve found 9 scorpions here in the last week and a half . . .

      We also have bats.

        1. We smash them to bits when we see them using a shoe. We’ve taught even the youngest to identify them. That said, we went years without seeing any, then a few in a year, then about 6 last year, and this year I have lost count. It’s insane.

          1. My daughter lives at the bases of a mountain. They have every critter that you can imagine. She pulled open their bed the other day and there was a large scorpion under the covers. Not as many Rattlesnakes as last year, thank goodness!

  10. -Meals-leftover spaghetti with sauce, salad, and garlic toast; nachos; steak, roasted potatoes, salad, vinegar cukes, and watermelon; leftover steak and caprese salad; eggs, bacon, and hash browns; tator tot hot dish (only no tator tots-but I had dehydrated hash browns-rehydrated these and browned them up-put this on top of the casserole-worked great!!), watermelon, vinegar cucumbers, and canned peaches; and tomato basil soup and garlic toast.
    -Picked the second watermelon, 2 left. Picked all the apples on our early tree-Zestar.
    -Canned 9 pints tomato sauce, 11 pints diced tomatoes, 7 pints apple pie filling, 3 quarts apple sauce, and froze 6 packages peppers. I also froze 5 apple pie fillings.
    -I make the apple pie filling, line the pie pan with parchment, add the filling and freeze. Then pop it out, wrap parchment ends over the top, slip it into a vacuum seal bag and vacuum seal it. When I am ready to make a pie it is in the shape of the pie pan and it can pop right in on the crust. Just add 15 minutes to the baking time.
    -Groceries this week-shopped at Aldi’s-cream cheese $1.19 each-2 packages; pie crusts (2 per package-already rolled out). I am horrible at making pie crust! $1.49 each-3 packages; fresh mozzarella logs, slices-$3.10each-2 logs. Total was $13.05.
    -My daughter wanted to go to Costco for items for school lunches. So I did buy a few items there. Eggs (organic)-$5.99 for 2 dozen, organic half and half (1/2 gallon)-$4.99, milk-2%-gallon-$2.29, organic OJ-organic-2 containers-$7.99, and blueberries-organic-clamshell-2#-$6.99–total $28.25.
    -Our 1/4 beef was ready we picked that up-grass fed-#60 ground beef, steaks, roasts, and short ribs. Came to about $4.00/lb. Very good for grass fed beef. Grass fed ground beef runs about $6.99/lb here and cuts are MUCH higher. This will be 2 years of beef for us.
    -Made homemade bar soap-spice scent. Will use some for Christmas gifts. It is sitting out to dry. I bought the oatmeal soap base for $16.99. I added essential oil for the scent. 2# made 10 bars-so it is $1.69/bar. Homemade soap at Farm Market runs $5-7 a bar so definitely cheaper to melt my own base, scent it and make the bars. I have bar soap silicone molds given to me that someone was getting rid of.
    -Last week I bought a school outfit for each of my grandchildren at Kohl’s. For the 5 I spent $100 (sale or clearance). I got $20 Kohl’s cash. I bought a pair of designer gray slacks (reg price $60-clearance $20) and a shirt (reg price $40-clearance $10). But wait, there was a coupon spend $30 get $10 off-brought it to $20. Used the $20 Kohl’s cash and both items were $0!! The only way to buy new clothes-sale or clearance, otherwise I buy at thrift stores.
    -Fall has arrived here. Cloudy, windy, with a high of 58 today. Frost is not far off. Have a great week!!

    1. Julie, where do you live? I’m in Western Colorado and we picked up 1/4 of a beef this week as well — we also paid about $4 a pound, which is a good price, as you noted, for grassfed beef. (But we only got 50 pounds — small cow!) So far the two packages we have eaten have been delicious!

      1. We are in central Minnesota. Fortunate for us in the middle of farming country-both for crops and meat. Much is local so fortunately we haven’t had much shortages except for canning flats. I was able to buy 2 packages of regular lids today at Fleet Farm. Yeah,

  11. How I love your inspiring posts.

    This week has flown and it hasn’t necessarily been the least expensive week. It was Father’s Day here is Australia. On that day we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday. What fun we had. The party was small because of the covid restrictions. Adults crawled into tents to play with Mia. Mia enjoyed her simple gifts of books and clothing. Her bank account grew by several hundred dollars. It is so good to see that my grown children are so good at giving experiences etc rather than cheap toys. Today and tomorrow are my sitting days and we have had such a wonderful time reading, playing trains, rocking horses, making quilts from fabric scraps and other simple pleasures. Tomorrow I plan to get her to do her quilting early and I will sew around it all so she has something to share when Mummy comes home.

    I was very fortunate to be in the supermarket at just the right time. Organic produce was marked down for $6 and $7 to prices between 12 and 21 cents. The fridge is groaning and there is strategic cooking happening here. I saved at least $6o on that shop alone.

    I hope your weather begins to cool soon. Our weather is warming up and I far prefer to be cold.

  12. $2 in ECB popped up on the receipt for my free rx. A hygiene product I needed was on sale, making it .99 with the EBC, but I had a gift card, so nothing out of pocket.

    Picked up the free greeting cards I made at Walgreens. They feature a vintage flower image & greeting from The Graphics Fairy.

    Stoop finds: several books, a large bottle of body lotion, NWT Old Navy jeans two sizes bigger but I can make them work, 4 cans of beer I can cook with or use in my hair.

    Received a $80 eVisa card for participating in a focus group. It cost $3 to turn this into a physical gift card, but losing that $3 was worth it to me as I could use the physical card to buy my Metrocard fare. Each ride is $2.75 and now I have 28 rides prepaid. Nothing out of my budget for transportation this month.

    My bff & her husband invited me to tag along on their overnight trip to the Asbury Park beach. This did cost me oop; I paid for gas & tolls and I treated them to dinner as a thank you. But on the frugal side, I brought tons of food and drinks from home that we all enjoyed. They gave me a bunch of produce from their garden. Our entertainment was walking on the boardwalk and around town, and sitting on the hotel balcony people-watching. Wonderful summer memories that were worth the money.

    Since I received the huge blessing of food from that one Bunz trade, I removed the request for food from my profile. But someone must have remembered it was there, because a college student reached out to me saying her roommate moved out & did I want the food left behind. Of course I said yes! This reminded me of another lesson I learned from Brandy–simply letting people know you are willing to take things that they no longer need.

      1. I agree, Chelsea. I am getting compost from a friend I work for, just by asking. I also get food, clothes, notebooks and some furniture. Last year my neighbor gave me a set of towels and blankets, she knew I will take anything and find homes for them. When you share freely, people like to reciprocate. My pastors wife who I bring produce to weekly, is bringing some apples they had picked. I love bartering too!

        Life still revolves around the summer garden as it winds down. Still picking all kinds of tomatoes, peppers, basil, the last watermelon and pears. I have lettuce seedlings and a few kale and chard in pots. My beets are slowly emerging and radishes are plentiful. My sugar peas are climbing and they are space hogs with not a lot of output ,but the grandkids love to hunt for them. I got 8 , 5 gallon buckets of manure and am putting some under my pear trees. The rest goes into empty rows to mature over the winter. My sweet potatoes are looking great and can’t wait to dig them with the grandkids,too! I have been making pear sauce every other day and cooking the peels and making more fruit leather.

        I got a $35 GC for signing up for insurance website.

        I found a big stack of cooking magazines in a Recycling dumpster. They had just been put in, I will pass them on to my sister. I found two clear plastic bedding bags that I put seasonal bedding in, one of mine had a hole in it.

        My son just told me about a amazon dump store where returns are sold. Tuesday’s the items are $2. We have 5 birthdays a month for the next 4 months and I will check it out for gifts!

        Hope you all have a lovely week!

  13. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I hope the little frog makes it, sounds like you’ve put together a suitable environment in your garden. We have been watching a squirrel diligently burying filbert nuts in our lawn but we can’t begrudge it a winter store. After all we’re working on one too!
    This week I stocked up on aluminium foil and bought the dried fruit I need to make our Christmas puddings and cake.
    My husband harvested the red onions and put them to dry in the greenhouse. He brought the white onions and shallots indoors and we put them in storage.
    We picked courgettes, tomatoes, kale, spring onions, runner beans, cooking apples and oregano. I picked crinum lilies and zinnia for the house.
    I prepped beetroot and apples for the freezer and bottled tomatoes, pears and apples.
    We were given two cucumbers so I made bread and butter pickles.
    My husband planted winter lettuce in the greenhouse and aubretia he had grown from seed in the garden.
    I stripped lavender flowers from stems I dried some weeks ago and bagged them up and also bagged up bay leaves and more mint I dried.
    I mended the cover on a dog bed.
    I took a bag of donations to the charity shop.
    I needed another baby gift and redeemed some of my consumer research points for a book token. Then I went to our local bookshop and bought a bath book and lift the flap board book for very young children. If we don’t support our local businesses they will go bust.
    Last year I bought presents for Christmas throughout the year and when I got them all out before Christmas I realised I’d gone overboard and bought too much ( I am keeping track better this year!). So I held some things back which gave me a headstart on birthdays this year. Everyone still had plenty of nice Christmas presents. My youngest daughter has her birthday this month so I looked in my gift box and I have two presents already for her.
    Due to less driving and staying home more I was able to put money into our savings at the end of last month. We need some work done on the house which we can’t tackle ourselves so we are saving for that and we have enough now to ask for estimates for the work.
    Stay safe everyone.

  14. I love the story of the nursery bonus. I’ve received bonus plants before, but never bonus wildlife! I hope the frog will thrive there. Your daughter’s sewing projects made me smile, and gave me thoughts about possible presents I could make. I took a brief trip with my SIL to see the Downton Abbey exhibit, and had some catching up in the garden to do when I returned. Oversized noodle beans were shelled, and the seeds saved. I researched new recipes for our pawpaws, and found one that I tweaked to our liking. Yesterday, I made a larger amount, with a bit more tweaking, which came out even better. These were canned, and will mostly be used for gifts. There also were a large amount of figs, so the majority are being dried. I plan to make a cookie my Sicilian grandmother made, called cucidati with the figs, probably for the holidays. On Sunday, we planted seeds and seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, collards, broccoli, rutabaga and winter salad mix. My husband grilled, and we had a lovely meal of squash, potatoes, and green salad with fresh figs. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-little-adventure-frugal.html

      1. It is traveling, though I’m not sure where it’s heading next. I just checked on their website, and apparently it hasn’t been decided yet. You can sign up for when they make the announcement. It was only to have been in NC through some time in April, but I expect plans changed due to Covid.

  15. We harvested tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, sage, parsley, basil, and turnips from our small garden. We were given cucumbers from other people’s gardens. My husband made pico de gallo with the tomatoes and peppers twice.

    We went to a BBQ at our next-door daughter’s house so we saved on gas and had good fellowship!

    We spent some money for home-improvement supplies but we are doing all the work ourselves. We are repairing and painting concrete and painting many rooms this week. I took the week off work and save on transportation costs going to and from work.

    I did some decluttering and will continue with it. If we don’t find it useful or beautiful it is going elsewhere either to the curb or the thrift store. We are empty-nesters and have hung onto some things way too long.

  16. DD and friends left yesterday for the drive back to Vancouver for online uni. We still have my Mum until tomorrow when she moves into her new condo. DH and I are both back working now. It has been a more expensive few weeks due to company and increased water and electric use at home- but we don’t mind a bit.

    I had found a children’s climber a couple of years back and given it to my brother for the grandchildren. I borrowed it back yesterday and DH will assemble it for the 1 year old triplets and 3 year old brother indoors for fall/winter use-they will love it. I also found a free hockey net for them and an old wooden rocking chair that I will keep in case I have grandchildren one day.

    We had a little snow yesterday so I quickly salvaged a tiny bit of lettuce and tomatoes from our deck pots and brought in my hanging basket as the rest of the week is supposed to be nice.

  17. We had extended family in town last week. Cooked mostly what I had on hand and fresh from the garden, with a few splurges on local beer and nice steaks. Most things are still closed so we just enjoyed catching up. My husband and I missed our weekly date night but we spent some time running errands and grabbed coffee.
    A store went out of business and I was able to score tons of sale items to resell on eBay and keep for ourselves. We plan to do some major home renovations this winter, so it has challenged me to declutter, go through paperwork, sell and donate.
    I biked to the park instead of driving. Enjoying running while the weather is still decent, as we get a gym membership in the winter. I am seriously considering buying more equipment at home, like a weight bench and treadmill vs continuing the membership, although I really enjoy the in person classes.
    I returned a trunk full of parts leftover from rehab jobs, many small items like plumbing connectors and knobs, over $500 worth. We are slowly buying items for the next rehab house off of Marketplace.
    Canned 20 more pints of green beans and made a batch of tomato sauce. I froze the tomato sauce because I’m running low on lids and would rather save them for other things. I froze several batches of pesto. We should have pears and apples soon from our families farm. We are also enjoying fresh cut zinnias for the table. A customer gives me fresh caught fish and we had a big fish fry with family. I stocked up on some items like unscented laundry detergent, blueberries, clearance whole chickens and Kleenex.
    Between your inspiration and the pandemic, my husband is cutting everyone’s hair, including my parents. I can’t believe we have waited so long to do this.

      1. I would also add time saver! I think I can get three hair cuts done at home in the time it would take for one, by the time you add in the commute. I haven’t done the math to see how much we save, but I knew it was worth it when we started the habit several years ago. My husband said he’d gladly have his hair cut at home in order to pay to have someone else trim the dog’s nails! 🙂

        1. Oh – hear, hear on the dog’s nails! We have a Vizsla, and her nails are so hard and grow so long and so fast! A friend of mine thought I was silly for being willing to pay the $20 to take her to the vet when I could “easily” do it myself, but I said it was worth it to me to have a professional do it. I’d be terrified I’d injure her if I tried it myself! So I’m with your husband on that subject!

          1. I was taught by a groomer on how to do the nails. I not only do my own dogs but also family member’s dogs. We have Danes and both will stand and let me pick up their feet one by one to trim them. I REFUSE to allow the vet techs to do it after seeing what was done to a clients dog – all four feet every nail chopped to the quick. Needless to say the dog had to be muzzled for the rest of it’s life for any work on it’s feet (and it was a doodle that required regular grooming) I just will not risk it as my dogs enjoy meeting the vets and staff and we’ve worked hard to keep it that way!

      2. I have been cutting my own hair since March now and this weekend my sisters and mom both commented that my hair has never looked better! I think it is like anything else, practice makes perfect.

  18. I made tomato soup and zucchini soup and froze both – they were made from extra vegetables from our garden. I also froze another 5 pounds of green beans and made 4 pints of dilly beans, along with 8 half pints of sweet relish made with zucchini. We ate tomatoes, zucchini, greens, green beans, chickpeas, and lots of herbs from the garden.

    I’ve lost enough weight that the clothes I have are not fitting well. I have altered some to help with that. I also asked if anyone had yard sale leftovers or clothes they were getting rid of in the size I am now. Two different ladies shared clothes with me, and I thanked them with garden produce. Some of the clothes they gave me are a little too small, but I’m still losing, so this will give me some things I can wear moving forward as well.

    We’ve been using the Shop Small promotion from American Express to get some items at reduced price. They rebate you $5 when you spend $10 or more with certain stores. We’ve stocked supplies from local ethnic markets, which we were also happy to find are not crowded if you go when they first open for the day.

    We’ve been reading books from the library, and participating in some of their take and make projects as at-home activities.

    We have very cold temperatures and snow coming today and tomorrow, so we harvested everything we could from the garden. It is too windy to cover and protect everything, but I did put cold frames over a few things, hoping it will be enough to protect those. I have herbs drying, lentils, tomatoes and chickpeas (still on the plants) in the shed to finish drying/ripening, and there are pumpkins, a watermelon, some cantaloupe, and winter squash in our pantry. I picked all the tiny little zucchini, and we’ll pretend we’re at a fancy restaurant, I guess, when we eat those. It broke my heart a little to pick them, but they’d be frozen on the plant right now if I hadn’t. Best to make the best of it. 🙂

    1. Are you in Colorado or Wyoming? I saw Denver’s temperatures: 93 yesterday and heavy snow today!

      Congratulations on the weight loss!

      1. I’m in Colorado, yes. The weight loss has been slow and steady over time, and I’m over halfway to my goal, which I find encouraging!

  19. I have been spending more on food lately in order to stock up on some good deals as I find them. This past week I got broccoli for 5 cents a pound, apples for 50 cents a pound, large mangoes for 25 cents each, and a boneless beef brisket for $1.99/lb. Our poor little refrigerator is really doing its best to keep up. We were thinking about replacing it this fall, but appliance sales are not what they used to be. I am trying to be as space conscious I can with the upper/lower freezer fridge that we have. It is almost 20 years old, the handle is broken, and it drips water in the back (I have been able to repair it before but it keeps on doing that now no matter what I do – I may try one more part this fall). It does work, though, so that’s all that matters for now :).

    I also finished building 8 feet of sturdy plywood shelving in our laundry room in the basement to move some of our stored items into there from another unfinished space. I am working next on re-building the shelving under the stairs to accommodate for a pantry under the stairs to the basement. I am slowly trying to donate or sell things in our basement to free up space and allow me to move my winter workshop in there vs. our unheated garage. I would like to do more building projects with my kids and this space would allow us to have a better lit area to work. I built a small little dollhouse for one of my kids this past week with some scrap plywood for their acorn family. I think they have so much more fun making their own toys than they do just buying them.

    Thank you for continuing to post these weekly updates, Brandy – they truly are inspiring as are the comments from all of your readers!

    1. Jennifer, Our fridge was also dripping in the back. Through Appliance Parts Pro my husband bought a part for $15 plus $5 shipping. It totally solved our problem. Our fridge is probably 15 years old. We also do a deep clean periodically where we vacuum the coils under the fridge. You might also be able to get a handle from them. My husband is not incredibly handy, but he’s learned a lot through the years. YouTube is especially helpful.

      Appliance Parts Pro has a chat where they can walk you through things. Also, they have quite a few videos. Through them he’s replaced multiple parts on the washer. Fixed the fridge. Our stove had some complicated things but when we looked at the cost of a new stove, he paid an on-line serviceman $35 who walked him through all the testing with a volt meter, etc. and told him what parts to order. He can’t remember if it was Appliance Parts Pro or someone else.

      He does refuse to do anything with plumbing after having tons of grief so with the dishwasher we hire someone. I wanted to share that because that has saved us tons of money.

      1. Judy,

        Thank you! I will look into the part – do you recall which part it was for the refrigerator? What I have found through research is a clip-like thing to keep the drain line from freezing over. Other than the dripping, and a little bit of frost in the back, the fridge generally works well and I would like to keep it for as long as we can.

        1. Jennifer, I asked my husband. He said the part was called a “heat sink.” What he initially did was he initiated a “chat” with Appliance Parts Pro and told them the brand and model number of our fridge. (It’s a Kenmore.). They then told him what part he needed, and he ordered it. Ice builds up in the drain line from the freezer down to the drain pan under the fridge. We did have to take everything out and we let it totally defrost for a couple of days. We have an extra fridge in the garage so it was easy for us. We may not have needed to do it as long as we did, but because we had the extra fridge it was easy for us to do. I can’t remember if he watched a video on their site or YouTube on how to put it in. It was all really simple.

        2. We just had some major dripping as well. We just had to completely defrost and my husband put a little bit of copper wire in the back of the freezer compartment down the tube. Have you tried defrosting it if it’s just plugged from ice?

  20. Your frog story is heartwarming. In 12 step programs F.R.O.G. stands for Fully Rely On God!

    I shopped at six different grocery stores last week and purchased loss leaders as well as stocked up my pantry. This is highly unusual for me to be in so many different stores but I decided I would rather invest now when inventory levels are relatively high and the virus risk is very low in my state. I think when cold weather comes the virus will be making a comeback in the Northeast.

    I worked on several painting projects outside and listened to audiobooks for free on Hoopla with my library card.

    While out walking one evening with a friend, we passed a “FREE” pile outside of a house. I found a partial roll of wire fencing that is perfect for my garden. I carried it the rest of the walk – arm exercises too?!

    I attended a small pig roast where everyone wore masks except when eating. As a hostess present, I painted 20 different kindness rocks and wrote in the card (handmade) that I have had such fun leaving rocks around town while I walked and hoped that they would experience the same fun. It’s challenging to come up with low cost, appropriate presents for people who are in a much different socioeconomic group than me. Normally I would bake something, but this is a family which doesn’t indulge.

      1. Thanks Mable!

        I finally figured out the technology of getting a photo from my phone, to the computer, to Pinterest. Here’s a link to some of the rocks I gave as the hostess present: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/549368854550974173/

        And here’s a link to the handmade card – I copied her design: http://loverofvintage.blogspot.com/2012/02/valentines-card.html
        I made 10-12 of them and have used as birthday cards, thank you cards, and now a hostess present card!

  21. I am still enjoying the expensive, but needed, foundation stabilizing of my house. I can tell such a difference when I walk in my house. I received Miracle Grow from Walmart.com and the seed from Territorial Seeds. Thank you again, Brandy, for the seed recommendation. I planted my collard seed, mustard green seeds, and turnip green seeds in the Miracle Grow soil, in the one somewhat sunny spot in my front yard (my back yard is completely shaded). Yay for no HOA….lol. I made mulberry bread and muffins from my free mulberries. I made a decision that was not necessarily frugal, but brought me peace of mind. Most of my food storage is canned goods, dried beans, rice, flour, and cornmeal. I have very little freezer food and most of it is the free mulberries and figs I harvested. I only have a small freezer section in my rather small refrigerator. I bought a turkey breast at $1.88 a lb for Thanksgiving. This is way above my price point but I am afraid that there will be shortages around Thanksgiving due to COVID in processing plants, so I went ahead and bought it. I will buy turkey legs later because my kids like those also. It will be easier to cook that way anyway. I now have all the ingredients for a nice Thanksgiving dinner to make for my local kids. I had an oil change done and I had my tires rotated (that part was free because I bought my tires there). I used up potatoes to make potato salad and I used hot pickled okra, that needed to be used, instead of pickles. I ordered the last bit of odds and ends, I think, that I will need for the next nine months (except for dog and cat food). I hope I am well stocked enough on everything. I ordered more powdered Gatorade, flour, cornmeal, a little bit of peanut butter, stevia, honey, vinegar, baking soda, laundry detergent, cocoa, grits, and canned carrots to make sure I have enough to last nine months. I only have 12 large cans of canned greens so that is why I planted the greens. A can will last me a week so I really only have three months worth of greens. I eat greens at least four times a week, usually. I may have to get a little bit more, in case my gardening is a disaster. But I am going to wait and see if they produce. I am still concerned about not having enough generic Nyquil, and will keep my eyes open for that, as well as rubbing alcohol. Otherwise, I think I am ok, I hope, for nine months and have enough to cover my sons who live in my state also, or at least significantly help them out if needed. I have followed The Tightwad Gazette’s recommendation of using under the bed storage in my small house. I also have “arrangements” of food storage in my bedroom. I just consider it part of my decoration. My kitchen is very teeny tiny. I also have just put beans, in containers, in a nice arrangement in my living room. I know that is odd to many, but my house is small, and I am utilizing all square footage I paid for with my hard earned money! Y’all have a great week!

    1. My husband says he does not remember what a real end table looks like, as I store cartons of various items by piling them up and covering with a cloth of some sort. As winter goes on, our tables get shorter and shorter because we use the stuff up! Our bed is on stilts, too, for storage purposes, as is our washer and our dryer. The husband up them up on platforms he built of wood so it would be easier for me to reach in, so now we slide cases of items under the platforms. It is amazing where you can squirrel away things!

  22. Brandy I am so glad you were able to get some free garden pots and a bonus lovely frog to deter pests from your gardens and I hope it survives there for you : ) . All the maintenance work and pruning will make your gardens to tidy and well managed. I admire the way you and your husband do so many repairs yourselves to keep things serviceable and running. How lovely you are showing your daughter how to sew as well.

    Our savings added up to $253.94 last week :).

    Finances and exciting news –

    – We saved up enough for our solar system to be installed in the home and the company will be here on Monday to install it :). We did wipe out a considerable amount of our home emergency cash fund to get there but still have our savings so far for our goal 6 month emergency fund in the bank. So excited.
    – Got bank interest on our 6 month living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 53.11% of the way there.

    In the home –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Deep cleaned all the vinyl floors in the home by mopping twice, once with soapy water and the second time with a disinfectant solution. The floors are sparkly and shiny once again.

    Purchases –
    – Wrangled a better deal with the company installing our solar by paying in cash and got $200 off and also in the price they will install a timer for the hot water system so it heats during the day using free power from the sun.
    – Found 3 trays of 4 chicken marylands weighing 3.608 kg on markdown for $3.65 a kg saving $7.74 on usual prices.
    – Bought Old gold chocolate on special and chocolate milk on markdown saving $3.70 on usual prices.
    – With the purchase of an e-gift card for a 5% discount, coupling half price and other specials and using a $10 off supermarket promotional code I was able to save $42.50 on usual prices and top up our pantry on a lot of items used during lockdown. I wait for groceries I know regularly come on special and top up on them then.

    In the gardens –
    – DH sprayed for weeds in the house yard.
    – I weeded another vegetable garden bed.
    – We split another 3/4’s of a row of firewood and stacked it in the lean-to shed.

    Have a wonderful week ahead :).

    Sewingcreations15.

      1. Thank you Brandy and I think it is the only way to be especially in more challenging times and also praying and reading scriptures gives us valuable guidelines 🙂 .

        I like the old saying which is ” when the going gets tough the tough get going ” stemming from around the 1950’s and also there was a song sung by Billy Ocean in 1985 with those lyrics in them. To me it epitamises the struggles many suffered through the great depression of which I think we could be heading for but then and again I could be wrong but it is going to be tough on many households.

        Sewingcreations15.

    1. Congratulations on getting solar!
      We are on a list to have ours installed in October — it’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

      1. Thank you Cindi and how wonderful you are getting solar too shortly 🙂 .

        With the price of electricity going up so much as well as their fees and charges on the bill it is just another way we can save more money in our budgets. Takes some discipline to save up that amount though to have it done but so worth the investment.

      1. Thank you for your encouragement Mary in SW AZ and letting me know that installing solar has saved you a great deal as well 🙂 .
        It is a big investment but like yourself I am sure it will save us a lot of money on power bills over the coming years.

        Sewingcreations15.

  23. I love the frog story! And I love how much you got done in your yard.

    *Our dishwasher broke – stopped working completely. My husband fiddled with it for a few hours. He discovered it had also been leaking on the bottom. He had put tile under the dishwasher to prevent water damage if that happened. Somehow water still got through – but the damage was very minimal. We did go out to buy a new one. We found one on sale and the store had one black one in stock at that store, which is the color we wanted. We picked it up at Will Call, brought it home and he installed it. But it wouldn’t work! Even though it had electricity to it and was installed correctly. My husband discovered there was a small electrical issue as well – we were only getting 28 volts at that outlet. He fixed that as well. It’s a Bosch and has great reviews. It’s a simple one dishwasher. I like that the design allows for more dishes. The last dishwasher we had seemed to not hold as much. It works really well. I did enjoy hand washing for several days. Love to watch the bubbles float in the air while I’m washing.

    *My husband also fixed his truck and helped 2 of our kids fix their cars. He fixed our Living Room fan. He loves to figure out how to get things working again and watches quite a few YouTube videos if he has questions. He worked construction for several years and took mechanic classes in high school. His cousin is an electrician and taught him so many things. I’m so thankful for all his hard work. He’s amazing in his knowledge of how to fix things or keep them going long enough until we can find a good deal to buy a replacement.

    *I canned more pears, peaches and tomatoes. I cut up peppers to freeze. I am spending more at the grocery store because we have a full house of kids again. But one will be leaving at the end of this month when her husband is back home in our state. She is pregnant and we found out this week that it’s a girl. But best of all – the baby appears to be healthy and thriving. We saw video of a little hand with five fingers waving in the ultrasound. My first grandchild! I’m already in love.

    *I exercised at home and walks in the neighborhood. I’ve been getting 12-14,000 steps in per day. My husband got in 28,000 steps one day while he was working on all the repairs. I can’t claim to be thin and in shape – but I’m getting my steps in.

    *I made all meals at home except for our date night and I treated myself to lunch one day. With all the kids at home – I needed a break. Meals included french bread pizza (made will all items found on clearance/sale), Italian Tomato Pasta, Summer Vegetable Soup, Vegetarian Taco Soup and Chicken Enchiladas. I was able to find tomato sauce at a case lot sale which I needed. I reorganized my downstairs pantry again to keep finding space for food storage. This week I want to can more tomatoes and mandarin oranges.

    *I read several books – I average 100 books a year. This year my goal on GoodReads is 80 books. I have read 77 so far. I’m still working on my cross-stitch. I stitch so slowly, but it doesn’t need to be finished by a certain time and I’m really enjoying the quiet time. I did have a magnifier with a lamp to help my eye site.

    *Wishing you all a wonderful and frugal week!

    1. I’m not sure if you will see this, but I’ve picked up my cross stitch again. I’m really enjoying it, but I am much slower than I used to be!!

  24. What photography webinar did you use? Also if you have any other free photography classes to share I would appreciate it. Thanks

    1. Carrie, it was one from Rebecca Yale through B& H photo. I’m on her email newsletter so I got an email about it.

      I highly recommend Amy and Jordan’s free posing course and shooting and editing course free classes (as well as their paid classes). Just the free ones are pretty fantastic, though!

  25. -A frustrating week in some ways. The first payment on my loan was due to be withdrawn from my account on the night of Friday, the 28th, but nothing happened. I called on Monday, and was told the problem was fixed, but on Tuesday I was woken up by a collection call from the bank. Not only were they following up on the payment, but the amount they said I owed was incorrect (too high). They asked me to go to the bank branch to pay it, and for me to ask the branch rep to call head office to find out why it hadn’t been processed correctly. It turned out the branch hadn’t got me to sign the form that allows them to withdraw money from my account, and the central office hadn’t processed the form I had signed waiving the $27 a month insurance fee. They say it is sorted out now. I am not going to worry about it until the 28th of this month, but it did upset me.
    -My furnace needs repair, but I won’t have the funds until the end of the month. We have had a couple of nights where the temperature has dipped close to freezing, but the forecast for the next couple of weeks stays above freezing, and the long-term forecast is for a mild month. Fingers crossed that we stay above freezing so the house’s water pipes don’t freeze and burst. I am checking the forecast for each night, and will move to Plan B if I need to.
    -I have been finding it hard to be very productive. To keep my stress level down, I am trying to add a couple of things to each day that are relaxing, especially this long weekend. A good book from the library, some shows on Acorn, a little baking.
    -There was an ad on YouTube for pumpkin scones at a coffee shop chain. The scones looked awfully good to me, and I was sure I had the ingredients, so I looked up recipes and made a batch. I skipped the glaze that most of the recipes had, though I had the ingredients, because I thought they would be sweet enough without it. Very nice pumpkin flavor. Nice with a cup of coffee!
    -I did buy a half boneless pork loin, which I cut into small roasts. The store had advertised that at $2.49 a lb (Cdn, about $2.00 US), and lean ground beef at $2.99 a lb, but the ground beef shelf was empty. I don’t know if it had been bought out, or if there was a supply issue, since one of the beef plants has had a Covid problem this week. My budget allowed me to buy one or the other, and the pork was a better deal, so it was probably for the best. On top of that price, I got 10% off on my groceries, which happens the first Tuesday of the month. I did have to remind the cashier about the discount.

    1. Co-op has extra lean beef on sale until tomorrow. It may be that
      between reduced production and increased demand, that is a bit of a shortage. Ann

    2. Farm supply stores have radiant heaters for about 100 to 200 dollars. Hubby mentioned that to me. I hope you are able to keep warm Elizabeth.

      1. Thanks, Tammy! Living in Northern Alberta, I have lots of warm clothes and throws and blankets, and two cats who cuddle up with me when they are cold. I have a space heater which I am turning on first thing in the morning for a bit, to take the chill off, and it is warming up during the day, so I am staying warm personally.

        If it gets cold enough that I am worried about the pipes I’ll have a chat with the furnace people. The closer it is to the end of the month, and the colder the weather, the more likely I’ll be able to get someone to come and repair it and let me pay at month-end. The further along in the month we go with a good forecast, the more optimistic I am that it will all go smoothly, though.

        1. I’m glad you won’t be cold. Your blankets and cats sound like a cozy way to be warm. We always leave the water running a little in the faucets at night if we are worried about the pipes freezing. Pipes can be wrapped to prevent freezing also, but that does cost something for the pipe wrap. We had one winter that was so cold the pipes to the water heater in the attic (a bad place for a hot water heater). My husband had already wrapped pipes and thought he had it under control. He had a miserable time getting the plumbing fixed. I felt sorry for him, but I wasn’t much actual help.

        2. the furnace company would probably fix it now and let you give them a postdated cheque till the end of the month.
          Sometimes furnace companies have credit plans which can have a plan where there’s no interest owing for 6 months (you really want to pay it off in that time because the interest is exorbitant).

  26. This has been a great week capped off by a very relaxing weekend & I am so very grateful for that! I have continued to work on building our food storage & to that end I found peaches for $0.76/pound and bought 50 pounds. These went into 11.5 pints and 10 quarts of homemade peach salsa which we all love and will gobble through quickly through fall and winter. I also froze 3 gallons of peaches to use in cobblers, pies, etc during the year. We purchased 20 pounds of ground beef that we divided and froze into meal size portions. My husband’s company generously gave each employee a $100 grocery credit which we used to purchase some additional meat as well as 25 pounds of sugar, 2 half gallons of apple cider vinegar, and 10 pounds of red onions. We still have another $50 to spend and I will be looking for other stick up items this week to supplement our storage. This has been a wonderful blessing to us. I purchased a half bushel of tomatoes as well and will be using those to put away more tomato sauce this week – I should get 5-6 quarts once they are all processed.
    We ate all meals at home including a large batch of sauteed spinach, black beans, tacos, steaks on the grill from a great sale, homemade chicken noodle soup and macaroni and cheese.
    This week I will be pulling my okra plants up as their production has slowed and planting additional fall crops in their place. I am debating on pulling up my second crop of green beans as they are not producing at all – this is the first week we have had a temps in the mid 80’s so I have held off to see if the cooler temps will allow them to begin producing. My sunflowers have also begun blooming and I am enjoying them so much. This is the first year I have planted them and will definitely add them to my garden in the years to come.
    We enjoyed a meal and play date with friends from our church and were blessed to be able to play outside with the kids in lower temps and 30% less humidity – it was our first taste of fall and I can’t wait!
    We are considering buying a generator to protect the foods we have frozen in the event of a power outage – does anyone have any recommendations in that area?
    Hope everyone has a blessed week!

  27. A while back I posted about my husband’s brother in law who is a Pastor needing prayer as he goes through chemo for brain cancer. I wanted to thank all those that prayed for him because he is currently in remission, praise God!

    Our garden struggled this year between very hot temps for our area and an abundance of rain. Many of the plants got moldy, just bolted and didn’t grow. We have about 30 butternut squash left to harvest. Several times now the squash has out grown the garden and into the horse pastures. I would find squash with teeth marks in them. We experimented with potatoes and got a small amount which we grew in a large canvas bag. It did better than we expected. We learned many lessons for next year.

    I have been making apple bread from scratch for my husband and youngest son, it doesn’t last long but they seem to really enjoy it. Cooking from scratch and using what we have on hand. I am also trying to stock up within our budget. Food prices are very high here. We don’t go into the stores, we order online and then pick up. During the height of the pandemic when our stores shelves were quite empty I had to resort to purchasing some meat from Omaha steaks which I realize is NOT frugal at all. My father is in a retirement facility and was not getting great food or was completely missing meals because so many of their staff was sick with covid. It was awful! I sent him some of Omaha’s frozen meals so he at least had some food to eat back then. Just recently Omaha Steaks asked me to complete a survey about their products. Which I did, I mentioned that the portion sizes for the meals were quite small. I was shocked when they sent me an $85.00 gift card because they want their customers to be totally satisfied. I am very grateful for the gift card because my husband is very picky and he liked their chicken and meatballs.

    My youngest son and I continue to volunteer at our small local food pantry. It is getting harder for them to get food from the main food bank because the need is great all over the country. We make up the majority of the bags they had out. We work by ourselves and it take a couple of hours. My son’s principal will allow my son to help me one afternoon a week since he is attending school remotely for now. The classes in the afternoon are prerecorded so he can watch them later, his main subjects are in the mornings which he has to be online for. While we didn’t need to buy a lot of school clothes, we did have to upgrade our internet vastly which was another added expense. There really was no other option, we are in a more rural area in NJ and there are limited internet options. Thank you for your blog Brandy. I am can’t imagine dealing with the heat you have out there. High 90’s are hot for my area. Stay safe and be well!

    1. Very glad to hear that your husband’s brother in law is doing better! It is wonderful that you and your son are volunteering at the food pantry. There is so much need out there right now. I am late on making our donation this month and I need to get on that quickly.

  28. Hello everyone. Our unseasonable heat has broken and it is starting to feel like fall, which is normal for early September here. We even had rain a couple of days, so I was able to turn off the irrigation for several days.
    A rabbit got into the garden and ate all my green beans, which had just started to produce little beans. This was my third planting of beans this year and I never got a bean. That’s the way with gardening. I’m glad I went ahead and bought beans from a farmer and canned some.
    I continue to get lots of tomatoes, zucchini, celery, chard, and arugula from the garden, and we enjoyed the first acorn squash this week. This was my first year growing winter squash and pumpkins and they have done really well. The green peppers are done for the year and I pulled up the plants. The jalepenos are still producing. I planted more carrots and some turnips in the greenhouse. It is a gamble if they will produce before a hard freeze shuts everything down, but I have lots of seed and it is worth a try.
    I purchased a half-bushel box of pears from the farm stand and canned 17 pints of pears, plus we are eating them, and I made an upside-down pear gingerbread, which was delicious.
    We cut another cord of firewood from the national forest.
    We picked up the ¼ of a beef we purchased earlier this summer. It was a small cow – so we ended up with just 50 pounds of meat at a great price. I canned 13 pounds of the ground meat as taco meat, sloppy joe filling, and chili, and also made bone broth with one package of soup bones.

    1. Hi Cindi,
      Could you please share the recipe for the upside-down pear gingerbread? It sounds delicious!
      Thanks!
      Alexa K.

  29. Frugal wins were medium eggs for .89 dozen (I cooked hard-boiled eggs, omelette and a throw-in-all-the-vegetables frittata. I bought boneless chicken breasts and london broil all at 1.99 a pound for meals through the week and to freeze. I planted basil in a pot on my windowsill and it sprouted! Maybe I will plant a small container garden in the spring. I have learned that we are in zone 7a. Thank you Brandy and everyone for this peaceful and inspiring forum.

  30. I know he likes to play in the dirt, but you might just be getting a future gardener started!
    This past week:
    I cut my own hair. Getting much better at it.
    Found a free pattern and made. That paired with favorite tea will make a great & cheap to ship holiday gift. https://thecraftyquilter.com/2019/12/the-cutest-gnome-mug-rug-ever/
    Thankful to have grown a lot of squash, ate fresh and sliced, blanched, and froze some. From there it can be used in soups, sautéed or thrown in mac & cheese.
    Hope everyone has a peaceful week!

  31. Hello Everyone!
    We’re just coming out of an extremely hot weekend, atypical for the area. Houses here don’t have air conditioning! We closed blinds and curtains and pulled out the fans. I prepped cold drinks to keep everyone cooler. Iced tea is $0.05 per pitcher. A very frugal choice.

    I was able to sell one item on Craigslist within a few days. It was a garbage can of all things! You never know what someone else may need that you no longer don’t. One less item in the garage. ✔️

    I made big progress on the 30 masks I’ve been working on. They’re filtered masks with a sewn in nose wire. The extra steps make it a bit more tedious. But, our family and friends will be ready for fall. My daughter wants to learn to make masks, too! I think she has an entrepreneurial spirit.

    My husband’s birthday was this weekend. I baked a cake and our kids decorated with balloons and crepe paper streamers. We barbecued $0.97/lb. chicken thighs and drumsticks, 5/$1 corn, and enjoyed watermelon. I’m glad some sales are back! My husband and I had our first no-kids date since pre-Covid. We had lunch outdoors and walked an historic downtown, admiring Victorian homes and window shopping. It was so fabulous and surprisingly not full of people.

    Not much gardening happening in this heat, but tomatoes are turning red. I baked a loaf of rye bread for sandwiches this week.

    Have a blessed and bright week!

  32. How fun for you to find that frog! 🙂
    We get little ones here; one night, my husband caught one to show the toddler, and after it had escaped, she kept saying, “frog peed on Daddy’s hand!” For about a week. 🙂
    We continue to feed clearance produce to the chickens, and harvest what we can from the garden. One thing I am excited to share is the diaper service we have found. My children have very sensitive skin, but I’m not able to cloth diaper right now. A friend mentioned a new line of diapers from a company we like (used their formula to supplement our first baby.) The diapers work very well, and are the cheapest sensitive friendly ones I’ve ever seen! They offer discounts for subscriptions, too.
    https://www.naturesone.com/babys-only-diaper/?sku=10020-config
    That’s all for now; the baby needs Mama!

  33. Loved the frog adventure! For people who wrote last week that chipmunks and squirrels were taking single bites out of their tomatoes, I read recently that it means they are thirsty, and a water source (near but not in the garden) will distract them. That seems both logical and too easy.
    Thank you again for the condolences after my father’s death and the suggestions you wrote last week. The funeral was private, only 28 people including funeral home staff, church staff, and videographers, but several hundred people have viewed the recording online! The service was a lovely tribute to him and last way for him to share his faith. I suspect funeral videos will remain the norm once we are through the pandemic.
    Things I have also learned: The funeral home notified Social Security, (in Minnesota), which notified Medicare. Something, perhaps SS, notified his government pensions. I have to follow up, but it is of great help to have this started.
    The Direct Marketing Association has an online form to take a deceased person’s name off of mailing lists. I am hoping that works for the many, many charitable groups that flooded Dad’s mailbox.
    I bet ninety percent of my work was done for me, because Dad had switched everything to a trust of which I am trustee, instead of having an estate that needs to go through probate with me as executor. Do consider that when doing your own estate planning.
    Frugality was not a big point of the last few weeks, though we kept to those frugal habits we could and can now look ahead to fall. I appreciate the home and family stories here as a gentle way to try to return to routine.

  34. Poor little frog. I really hope it makes it in your garden, Brandy, and thanks for helping it.

    My arm is still hurting from stirring paint for hours! Painting the back room has become expensive, though we’re doing it ourselves– additional colorants to get the color right and muscular rehab for my arm. I’m waiting until the soreness goes away to start working again, but there’s a lot to do.
    Usually in the summers I’m able to visit a friend whose condo has a pool or use my neighbors’ pool, but with the SARS CoV-2, visitors aren’t allowed. Gettin vitamin D naturally is important to me, so we’ve been going to the beach. Parking is $4/hour! We were shocked. It’s possible to get a yearly city pass for $24, but it’s only for one car. There’s a state park across from the beach and a friend suggested we park and walk to the beach. The entrance fee is $6 per car for the whole day, so we did that and it was nice not worrying about the meter. Then it occurred to me that the park might have a yearly pass. I looked it up and they do, and even better, a family pass is free for anyone with a service-related disability, no matter how small the percentage is. My partner was recently determined to have a minor flying related hearing impairment , so we’ll be able to go to the beach and park for nothing, not to mention being able to use other state parks. This was nice!
    Something frugal we always do that I just thought to share is that because we do all our dishes by hand, we use liquid cleaners. I dislike how sudsy they get at full-strength, and how difficult it is to rinse the soap off dishes so I fill a glass bottle with a dispensing top with mostly water and add some non-scented dish soap (from Azure), then I add a small bit of more expensive, but really good-smelling dish liquid (Mrs. Myers or Murchison-Hume). The fragrance and soapiness are not overwhelming that way and maybe because we don’t use animal products, the less concentrated soap cleans perfectly. Obviously this is frugal because the scented and unscented products literally last me for years when diluted.
    Anyway, happy week all!

  35. Joining in from the Seattle area.

    It was the week of peak summer produce here. My CSA share contained many wonderful vegetables (two heads of lettuce, beets, carrots, cucumber, greens, bok choi), along with six huge tomatoes. I love tomatoes. They also had extra green beans that you could take, so I did. They are delicious. I shared some of the lettuce and beans with my mom and sister.

    Last week, I mentioned that I had been given two dozen eggs close to the expiration date. So I decided to make pickled eggs, which I had never tried before. After looking at a bunch of recipes online, I decided to make them curry flavored. I mixed half water and half vinegar, and added curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne and salt. I warmed up this mixture, and poured it over peeled hardboiled eggs I had put in a mason jar. Then I let it sit in the fridge for a few days. Wow, these were delicious! I am the only one here that eats eggs, so I have no competition for these tasty morsels.

    I noticed that I had several partial jars of bacon grease in the fridge that I had forgotten about. So my goal is to use these up in the next few weeks. One jar down, several to go.

    My frugal fail this week was burning a batch of pecans that had been put in the oven to roast. They were not salvageable. I was bummed. Plus I had received them for free.

    A friend was having trouble finding canning jars in her area. I told her I would look when I was running my errands in a different area. Many stores were out, but I finally found some half pint and pint jars for her. She was thrilled.
    Two days later, she texted me to say that she and her daughter had gone to a U-pick farm, and dug up 50 lbs of potatoes – would I like some? Yes, thank you! She stopped by and brought me potatoes, corn, several zucchini and a small head of cabbage. I was so thankful. I’m going to share some of these with my mom as well.

    In the interest of stocking up, I bought some new Bogs to replace my beloved five year old pair of rain boots that are on their way out. I intend to continue walking in the fall and winter here (which will be rainy and muddy). I quit the gym because of Covid, so I won’t have that expense. Some gyms are open here with limited capacity, but I don’t want to risk it. We are still in phase 2, indefinitely. After reading last week that Joann’s has not received new shipments of fabric since February, I ordered some fabric that I had been eyeing from a local online store.

    My goal is to have enjoyable things to do at home when the weather turns. We tend to have gray, rainy skies for months, and it’s easy to get depressed if you don’t have fun things to do. I anticipate a lot of time will be spent at home this fall and winter. So, I have fabric, patterns, and supplies to sew with; watercolors to paint with; a couple of Great Courses series to listen to; plus books, the internet, streaming content, etc. I grew up playing piano, but we have no room for one here, and I feel like making music. My husband recently learned about the kalimba, a “hand piano”, and he purchased one a few weeks ago. I love the sound, so I got one for myself. It’s so fun and I can already play simple songs. I am looking forward to playing Christmas carols on it too. Here’s a youtube link if anyone is interested in hearing what it sounds like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd7KC3PaEaA

    Have a great week, everyone. Thanks for hosting, Brandy.

  36. Heidi Louise,

    It is so helpful to have a funeral home notify all the government agencies.
    Ours did it here too (while we waited, in fact, and ate their freshly baked chocolate chip cookies
    in the meeting room). Ann

    I am not sure how a trust works there. Do you wind up the trust or keep it going?

    1. Ann– Wind up the trust, dividing everything between the siblings, aside from some bequests and of course final expenses. I suppose it could be left with the assets in place as they are now, but we didn’t even discuss not putting things under our own control.
      Because there is no probate, the process is private and much faster.

  37. I hope Froggy makes it, too. This was my week–
    * I’m harvesting a lot of tomatoes (including tons of cherry toms), zucchini and beets (and the beet greens!).

    * I bought several items for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes at Dollar Tree and with coupons at JoAnn’s. I also scrounged a few things from my stockpile. I made two sewing/mending kits for the boy boxes with Altoids-type tins. (I didn’t get my shoeboxes dropped off last year so this year I am making two each for boys and girls 10-14. Glad I remembered to buy flip flops last spring!)

    * I made soup stock with beef bones and some tired vegetables. I baked the bones in the oven first because it makes a cleaner broth. Later in the week, I turned it into soup with fresh tomatoes and zucchini from the garden, plus everything in the fridge that wasn’t nailed down! This made a dinner and lunch for 3 of us.

    * I did a lot of fall garden clean-up at our vacation home. Since I didn’t clean up in the spring, I had a real mess on my hands. I’m about 70% finished.

    * I cut my daughter’s bangs.

    * Frugal fail–I made a big batch of cooked salsa because I have more jars than freezer space. Unfortunately, we didn’t like it. The recipe called for vinegar, presumably to make the peppers and onions acidic enough to can, and all we could taste was the vinegar. I didn’t bother with processing and fed it to the compost instead. I still have a ton of tomatoes, though.

  38. It’s been a spendy couple of weeks…first school started, then my brother in law and his family visited. I can say, I’m proud of hubby, I told him not to go to crazy spending money while they were here, and he kept it to under $400. Most of it was eating out one night, and him paying for 6 people to take a cave tour(I passed on it and the 21yo was at work). He spent some money on easy lunches because they spent most of the time hiking or on the lake.

    Some of our highlights from the last couple weeks

    My mom sent over potatoes, water, 2 gallons sweet tea, 2 boxes pasta,tea bags, chips, small boxes of cereal.

    Froze 3 tomatoes that weren’t going to be eaten. As soon as I have time, I need to make more salsa.

    Husband replaced leaking kitchen faucet and repaired a leak under the sink. It did cost the price of a new faucet, but more than likely, saved a ton in labor costs.

    Picked up 2 Krispy Kreme dozens for 5.99 each.

    Sold an item and made $10

    I ordered batteries with my grocery order and ok’d a substitution but instead of an 8 pack of another brand, they substituted a 16 pack at the 8 pack price!

    Hubby also tore the flooring out in our back room(including the floor joists) and redid it(it was one time a porch, then someone eventually enclosed it). Up next is tearing down a wall(outside portion included) to reframe a new door and to change the windows (right now, old giant windows take up half the walls). He’ll have to brick the outside to make up for a smaller window on each wall and add new insulation(he’s a Mason so it’s a piece of cake for him). The goal is to make it more of a pantry area for food storage. He’s going to add shelves from floor to ceiling along one wall, then add more outlets and a countertop I can use my small appliances in there instead of my tiny kitchen. He estimates around $400 for the entire project with lumber and a new back door being the biggest chunk(we already have tile, insulation, electrical stuff, the windows, and brick)

    While we had everything removed from that room, I decided to defrost my small freezer. I was disgusted at the fact I tossed two garbage bags full of mystery items, but it leaves a lot more room for stuff we need. I discovered I still have 30 pounds of ground deer meat.

    Requested a refund on grove vip membership. I haven’t used it since it renewed in April, as it’s hard to meet their new minimums. That’ll be $ back to me soon.

    My husband realized how many batteries he was going through with his game controller, so he had me stop to pick up a rechargeable battery pack for it. The 21yo(aka Technical Support 😂) found a pack with 2 for $15. Bonus: he paid for them.

    I had enough reward points to get 85 cents off each gallon of gas(up to 20, which filled my truck up exactly, saving $17)

    1. Check wood prices in your area – ours have doubled (Muskegon, MI) and we had to put a few projects on hold in order to complete others that were more important. Even free lumber on Craigslist and Marketplace is getting very hard to come by.

  39. Good grief. I looked at last weeks’ goals and I realized have worked myself to death but accomplished nothing on my list! That is what I love about this site, everything counts, no matter how small the money-saving task is, it is important.
    So, my few accomplishments were:
    *Resisted the urge to eat out when the kitchen was full of food because I didn’t feel like cooking. Offered canned soup to my crew and they all scrounged. No one starved! That is brag-worthy.
    *I picked up all the garden produce piled on the kitchen floor and moved it to the laundry room counter, which required cleaning off the counter and moving that stuff into the cabinets, which meant making room in those cabinets by hauling that stuff downstairs to the basement pantry. Now we can walk through the kitchen without stepping over ripening tomatoes, kicking watermelons, or crunching beans.
    *This week I will sweep and mop the now visible floor.
    *Achieved the goal of rotating at least one older thing out of the pantry every day and using it in a meal.
    *Started seeds for the winter garden in cups on the front porch.
    *Went to the feed store and bought a syringe for $.50 to squirt BT into my squash vines to kill the borers like recommended by commentators last week. (Thanks for the help)
    *Glued the soles back on my shoes.
    *Purchased no groceries again since…I don’t remember when.
    After sitting and thinking over the past week, I don’t feel like such a failure. Thanks for listening everybody.
    Oh, we did have one exciting thing happen this week, a vulture exploded in the front yard; other than that, life has been boring.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2020/09/one-sad-lonely-vulture.html
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. “Purchased no groceries again since…I don’t remember when.”…………I am truly impressed! Most definitely NOT a failure!

  40. I am glad I redid the budget last month as we have gotten hit with expenses over the holiday. Pond needed water (or we were going to have over 200 dead fish) and we decided to save the money from buying it brought it to just running the garden hose.. found out we had a field tile that had blown but instead of coming up it went down which could cause a sink hole. Found it, going to have $$ going out the door to have it fixed and tile ran like it should have been. Had the rain gutter Amish guy come in as we have been having water run into the foundation. The contractor that installed the gutters 2 yrs ago put them on backwards so that is getting fixed. Had 4.5 inches of rain (still need water in the pond but not as much ) and now have water in the basement that came through the basement door sill and casement sills… on the immediate repair list. I transferred money around to cover it. December is going to be really short at this point. We found Tattler lids, a dehydrator on sale and plastic lids for canning jars for storage. That wasn’t in the budget but Hubby didn’t feel we should wait until next year with the way things were going. I pulled it from the garden budget that I set aside this year. Right now I feel we are sticking fingers in the dikes and praying the dike doesn’t crumble completely.
    Blessed Be everyone
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/09/not-frugal-week.html

      1. Brandy
        Edible fish. The Amish guy that we bought the house stocked it. His brother is our neighbor because Hubby doesn’t eat fresh fish much. Neighbor and brother comes over 2-3 times a year to fish it and have a fish fry. We usually get a plate full for us (or I should say me).

  41. I suggested to a friend several times over the summer that she should be stocking up
    before fall so she had at least a small pantry in case her volunteer gets sick or can’t buy groceries
    for her for some other reason. She didn’t do it before but her volunteer went to the store this past weekend to do it and found
    that the shelves were pretty bare. It was a long weekend here and everyone who’s been camping probably returned and stocked
    up before the weekend and before school started. Still, I was amazed to hear just how bare the shelves are.

    I have bought more soup as I have had to encroach on my emergency supplies. Co-op had the Campbell’s Chunky Soup at
    3 for $5.00 which is even cheaper than No Frills. A friend who was going picked them up for me. I want to start making my own soup soon as it will be lower in sodium.

    I’m not so sure that squirrels sample the tomatoes because they need water — my bird bath is nearby and they often drink from it. It may be sometimes because they are looking for water but also because ripe tomatoes resemble ripe fruit. Whatever the reason, I lost almost all my crop
    of cherry tomatoes to them — it has never happened with tomatoes before. My garden at the house has been a total waste of time but the garden at the community has done well.

    I spent the weekend rewriting a chapter in our book — to put it in better order, remove duplications,
    etc. It worked well but was very time consuming. I had to do footnotes too which was even more time consuming.
    We are still raising funds to print it — very difficult in covid times — but we are taking pre-orders which are going well.
    We will only accept actual payment once we know we have enough money to print it.

    When it is finished, I will get rid of a lot of papers and hopefully we will have very few books left over when
    the pre-orders are filled. that will help clean up the house.

    I didn’t save money as I didn’t have any to spend (except on soup). The end of the month can’t come soon enough.

    We had heavy rain — much needed — an a few temporary snowflakes. The rest of the week is supposed to be beautiful. I’m not saving my
    planters. It is time to let them die and then I’ll clean up.

    I found that my rings are missing — victims of the purge of two years ago
    when I was in the hospital. One had great sentimental value. I have felt rather down about it
    and the feeling of violation.

    Ann

    1. She got rid of your jewelry, too! Wow! I’m so sorry!

      You can still save money without spending. You can use less of something (like electricity or water) making for a lower utility bill next month, make meals using what you have on hand, repurpose/refashion something you have to prevent the need to buy something, find a frugal source of entertainment (like free movies or e-books from the library that don’t require you to spend gas/transportation money to leave the house), etc.

    2. Just curious, and you don’t have to answer–but do you ever even speak to this person anymore? Have you confronted her what she did? I can’t even imagine what was going through her head. And I have to wonder when valuable items, like your rings, are missing.

      1. I actually do talk to her still — I only discovered the rings missing this week. That may now change.
        I though I had rescued everything but some things were either thrown out that I didn’t rescue
        or she cashed them in.

    3. I’m sorry money is tight for you this month. It is for me as well, but no point wishing our lives away. I have a zipper to replace on my winter jacket (I have the supplies), some windows and woodwork to clean, and I’d like to make some bread, so the time will pass quickly enough. Do you have any particular soups you’re thinking of making down the road?

      1. Hi Elizabeth,

        I have had a couple of days when I felt really down about things.
        One about 3 weeks ago but for no apparent reason.
        The other when I learned a friend of my brother’s has passed away. He was the only friend of my brother
        who was loyal and kept visiting my brother through his terrible illness. A true friend. It happened that
        I then thought to look at my rings.

        I am okay so don’t anyone worry.

        Yes it is hard to be so short of money but still I think I’m really fortunate.

        I’m thinking of making split pea soup (I have a home bone in the freezer); also a vegetable soup as
        I have a lot of potatoes, beets, onions, a can of tomatoes. And I will make a hamburger soup.
        I may make a lasagna but I don’t have cheese at the moment so I may only make the sauce and freeze it.. I have limited freezer space so I’ll have to do one at a time. I have some celery that I may chop up and freeze.

        There is a hot cucumber soup I had at the saloon (a restaurant/pub) at Water Valley years ago.
        It has chicken in it. I am trying to remember how to do it — it was delicious!

        I’m still working on the book. There is hopeful news that we may be able to apply for a grant.
        I’m going to harvest some columbine seeds for a friend who lives in Ottawa. Ann

        1. Ann, glad to hear you’re doing okay. I made ham broth for the first time just this year, because of something I read on this blog. I put potatoes in it instead of split peas, which I don’t care for, and it was amazing. Another time I put pasta in it. Same result!

          I’m sure a search on the internet will give you lots of ideas about how to proceed with the hot cucumber soup. It sounds really good.
          Elizabeth

          1. Hi Elizabeth,
            I think if I remember correctly one sautés onions and mushrooms in a little oil, adds a little flour, then
            adds chicken broth and maybe chicken pieces. At the very end, one adds chunks of cucumbers (peeled and seeded) and just
            cooks them for a few minutes. I’m not sure what spice to put in (maybe a little lemon juice and/or salt) but I think turmeric might be nice. I did find a similar recipe but it purees or blends everything and then adds a cup of cream. I do not remember the Water Valley Saloon adding cream but if someone does it, it should be added just at the end. I thought it was the most delicious soup I had had for a long time. The Water Valley Saloon had a wonderful, not too expensive restaurant with delicious roast beef straight from the farm (well with a few detours). I had heard that they had gone out of business but in looking on the web, new owners started running it in 2018. It still has a reasonably priced menu — mostly American/Canadian pub style but also with the lovely roast beef. It makes a lovely destination for a Sunday Drive from Calgary. I realize it’s a long way away from you Elizabeth!

            When I make split pea and ham soup, I always put potatoes in it. And an onion. I like the texture the potatoes give it.

            1. Anne,
              You might want to email the Restaurant and ask if they still make the soup you love. They may share the ingredient list or even a smaller size version recipe with you.
              All of us seem to have down days lately. I kind of chewed out some friends of mine that were moaning about not being able to go South when the weather starts to get colder. I told them to make a list of things to look forward to instead of things they can’t do and at the top of the list to put “I didn’t die of Covid”….(I’m surprised they are still chatting with me).
              I’ll tell my son in Calgary about that restaurant as they may decide to go for a drive.

              1. Patsy and Ann – I’ve had some days like that recently as well. I’m just tired – tired of following all the rules, tired of buying PPE and tired of not seeing friends & family – BUT – I do try to remind myself of how well off I am compared to others. I am just fed up and alarmed that our numbers have started to climb again – and 67% of the cases are in those under 40 who flout the law and our wimp of a mayor does nothing. He wants to “educate” rather than enforce. Well – I’ve had enough – they’ve been educating for six months – start fining these idiots, toss them in jail for a night and close down the bars ^ and other establishments not obeying the LAWS! They aren’t “suggestions” – they are the law!
                Sorry – just exhausted dealing with idiots today.

        2. I’m sorry you have been feeling down. The soup you are making sounds hopeful, and maybe if you can share it with someone, maybe eating outside, six feet apart, it might be nice. If you still have the end of the celery, it will grow leaves that will be good in a future soup batch.

      1. Thanks Tammy. I haven’t been out much as I’m pushing on with the book.
        My feeder isn’t operational yet because I don’t have any seeds. I suspect the city has told
        the stores not to stock black oil sunflower seed as it is impossible to find.

    4. Dear Ann, I am so sorry about your rings and how tight things are for you. About fifteen years ago, when the children and I had to leave An abusive marriage, I stored our belongings at a dear friend’s. Needless to say, she didn’t turn out to be a dear friend, selling anything worth money (and we were so destitute we could have used the money from the sale of our stuff). She then packed up everything she wanted to keep and moved it to another state. Then asked me to come over to get my stuff (mind you, I had been asking for months, but always some excuse and she had vicious dogs). My heart broke when I got there to see my childrens’ childhood books and few treasures gone, and photos of them in the burn pile. She handed me a small ziploc with photos she thought I would want so she “saved” them for me. To this day, it hurts to have been so betrayed and to not have any photos of my children from their young days. I try to turn my mind in a different direction so that I don’t become angry and unforgiving when I think about it. I am truly sorry for your loss. There is a great book by Louisa May Alcott that I find uplifting when things are very tight or worrisome called “An Old-fashioned Girl”. It doesn’t solve the problem but makes life more bearable. I am praying something unexpected comes your way to help you out.

      1. How awful for you and your children! And how kind of you to think of others.
        Betrayal by friends is truly the worst!

  42. It’s been three weeks since I last commented. I was away for a week and seemed to be in food storage mode for much of the time.
    The highlights include finding beautiful Roma tomatoes for $20 a box. I bought two of them and made freezer chunky pasta sauce and also had some for plain frozen tomatoes. I also bought a flat of raspberries and made jam and froze some for eating. My friend gave us peaches from her tree so my husband made 10 pints of peach salsa.
    I was able to find empty canning jars in my storage unit and had purchased flat lids about six weeks ago when I came across them. A friend gave me extra rings for the bottles from her stash to get the canning done.
    I’ve also been freezing extra produce in the fridge to keep it from going to waste. That’s been extra beets, corn, and cauliflower.
    I made tubs of vegan pesto for the freezer too, using basil, arugula, garlic, walnuts, and olive oil. It tastes great!
    I found some good thrift store items while out of town: two cookbooks (one I gave as a gift), two dresses, yarn to make a baby afghan to donate and I took the chance and bought a Cuisinart rice cooker.
    I’ve also had some extra time to read and finished “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” and “Where the Crawdads Sing” enjoying both of them. I am now reading a book that was passed along to me, “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry,” which is quite delightful.
    I’m still running, hiking, doing yoga, and am transitioning to a plant based diet. So far I feel amazing and not tempted!
    Be safe and well. Thank you for this gracious community.

  43. Our freezers that I ordered in April have finally arrived. I’m so relieved. All summer long I’ve been stressing about my giant meat orders getting processed before I would have a freezer to store them in. I have also passed up a lot of sale items because there wasn’t anywhere to put them. Now we can move forward. Good idea to buy a Thanksgiving turkey now. Also hoping to make a trip to the apple orchard soon and to stop by the butcher with the award winning bratwurst.

    I racked up a lot of Star money at Macy’s replacing our mattress after 20 years, I’ve been using that up for Christmas presents and necessities for my family. Last winter I cashed in a lot of Southwest Airlines points for gift cards. I have been using those for Christmas presents and trying to buy non consumable things that will last longer and be useful.

    Our shower started leaking through the dining room ceiling. After much experimenting my husband tried changing out the tub faucet. So far it’s working. Fingers crossed.

  44. I’ll bet the four year old had a real blast playing in the dirt and helping mom at the same time!

    I enjoyed the frog story. I never thought about how few frogs one might see in a dry climate. Here in Florida we are overrun with several species. I have one fellow who I’ve become quite friendly with – he lets me touch him now — who has sat on the outside of the window in my back door every night this summer. The nightlight in that room draws bugs to that window, so he is getting a good meal every night. We also have what’s called rain frogs here — tiny light green frogs with huge voices that croak when the rain is approaching. They like to sit on windows, too. The only problem is the glue they all seem to have on their feet. I have to scrub the windows to get the sticky footprints off, especially when they’ve hopped through dirt first. And unfortunately, they also leave droppings to be cleaned off. But they are so cute.

    This week I made more pear sauce with our pears, and put it in the freezer. It just feels too hot to can.

    I planned meals for this week that don’t use the oven.

    I hung out several loads of laundry.

    I ordered some needed items with a special offer of 27% off.

    I found a chair online that my husband needed, for $124 + shipping and tax. I found it at the brick and mortar version of this store for $115 and of course, no shipping. I was passing right by the store, so it was no extra gas to go check on it.

    I got my dog to the vet for her heartworm shot. In Florida, it’s pretty much not IF a dog gets heartworms, it’s WHEN, and treatment is very expensive, and one can still lose the dog in the end.

    I had another telehealth appointment, eliminating the need to drive 180 miles today and miss a bunch of work.

    I am waiting eagerly for Fall, when we can turn off the A/C and open up the house. I hope everyone here does well this week!

      1. a lot of toads have toxic secretions. I was walking in the mountains years ago with a friend when we saw a toad.
        He said “pick it up”. Fortunately I knew about the secretions and said no to my friend. It wouldn’t have killed me but i might
        have been screaming in agony.

      2. Patsy, our oldest son and his family live in Naples. Before he lets the dogs out, he has to go outside and check the yard for those roads! I had no idea!

  45. Here in Fairbanks, we had a significant frost. My harvested everything perishable in our community garden. Thankfully, we had the celery done. We froze 18 pints this year. That’s not enough for a year, but he says we were carrying some over. We have not bought any for about 3 years. Conservatively figuring we saved about $50 this year. I made beef stew using cut up petite sirloin steak and purchased onions. We used garden beans, potatoes, carrots, celery and parsley. Again we were struck by how good the garden produce was in it.
    Unfortunately Anchorage has had a lot of covid cases, so we will not be able to have our normal pre-winter mini-vacation. Nusually meansormally we are able to combine a couple of days of shopping with a work trip, but everything is still on-line. That break usually means eating at restaurants not available locally and time in the large used book store. We have what we need in Fairbanks, but often do not have all we want. We also frequently shop for some quantities of food. A small town on the way has an Alaskan warehouse store, so we often can get things there that are not available here.
    I have not been back to Kaktovik since the pandemic hit. I explored going there but found I would be required to quarantine for 7 days on arrival. I do not have a site for that and the hotel where I stay is not set up for that.
    My husband is an ordained pastor, Retirement for him is nearing. I have been trying to prepare as much as possible. I will need knee surgery so am contemplating doing that sooner rather than waiting. I have an excellent orthopedist who I trust, but am not as confident of the local hospital.
    Once again, I want to thank all of you who join in with your ideas and especially Brandy, who makes this blog community possible. You are the highlights of my week!
    Bleesings to all!

  46. Hope everyone had a nice, frugal week!
    We got to eat pizza at my brother and SIL’s house. With only a couple of hours notice, we made rice crispy treats (using an older box of Fruity Pebbles, since we didn’t have any rice crispies), and some chocolate chip cookie bars, using ingredients from the freezer. I also took watermelon that we already had. The pizza was delicious and really hit the spot.
    We used the Pizza Hut book-it coupons from the summer reading program to get the kids free personal pan pizzas, which they enjoyed while swimming at my aunt’s pool. I ate their pizza scraps, so no cost. She is so generous to keep her freezer stocked with popsicles for them.
    I printed out some free sheet music for a daughter who is learning to play the recorder. It’s nice to hear something other than “Hot Cross Buns,” which she has definitely mastered by this point. You’ve got to love the enthusiasm, though!
    I bought mark downs at the store and loss leaders, including .10/ear corn, .67# apples, and .89/# grapes. I also found lots of .25/can crescent rolls, which I probably should have bought more of.
    We took the van to the mechanic for a funny noise, but the mechanic couldn’t find anything wrong with it, although he heard the noise, too. So, hopefully nothing major enough to warrant attention.
    I went to the bakery outlet and bought bread; most of it is .75, and my kids love the Hawaiian rolls, especially. This is the cheapest I find bagels and English muffins, too. I tried the trick of freezing with a paper towel in the bag to absorb moisture; we’ll see how that works. Sometimes the frozen bread thaws with hard places.
    I made a cake using ingredients on hand when I had a sweets craving.
    I found a cute faux-fur coat at Goodwill for my daughter ($1.50; hopefully she can wear it for a couple of years as she grows into it).
    I painted the dining room using paint that someone gave away; it really brightens the room. I also rearranged the furniture. My mom was very kind to come and babysit overnight so that I could do it. She usually comes when I have a baby, and it’s so helpful. She even bought my girls and outfit at Target while she was thrilled. I buy almost everything at thrift stores, so I’m sure that they were excited to get something new.

  47. Hope everyone had a nice, frugal week!
    We got to eat pizza at my brother and SIL’s house. With only a couple of hours notice, we made rice crispy treats (using an older box of Fruity Pebbles, since we didn’t have any rice crispies), and some chocolate chip cookie bars, using ingredients from the freezer. I also took watermelon that we already had. The pizza was delicious and really hit the spot.
    We used the Pizza Hut book-it coupons from the summer reading program to get the kids free personal pan pizzas, which they enjoyed while swimming at my aunt’s pool. I ate their pizza scraps, so no cost. She is so generous to keep her freezer stocked with popsicles for them.
    I printed out some free sheet music for a daughter who is learning to play the recorder. It’s nice to hear something other than “Hot Cross Buns,” which she has definitely mastered by this point. You’ve got to love the enthusiasm, though!
    I bought mark downs at the store and loss leaders, including .10/ear corn, .67# apples, and .89/# grapes. I also found lots of .25/can crescent rolls, which I probably should have bought more of.
    We took the van to the mechanic for a funny noise, but the mechanic couldn’t find anything wrong with it, although he heard the noise, too. So, hopefully nothing major enough to warrant attention.
    I went to the bakery outlet and bought bread; most of it is .75, and my kids love the Hawaiian rolls, especially. This is the cheapest I find bagels and English muffins, too. I tried the trick of freezing with a paper towel in the bag to absorb moisture; we’ll see how that works. Sometimes the frozen bread thaws with hard places.
    I made a cake using ingredients on hand when I had a sweets craving.
    I found a cute faux-fur coat at Goodwill for my daughter ($1.50; hopefully she can wear it for a couple of years as she grows into it).
    I painted the dining room using paint that someone gave away; it really brightens the room. I also rearranged the furniture. My mom was very kind to come and babysit overnight so that I could do it. She usually comes when I have a baby, and it’s so helpful. She even bought my girls and outfit at Target while she was here. I buy almost everything at thrift stores, so I’m sure that they were excited to get something new.

  48. Today has been a very strange day. I woke to dark skies, due to a near-by wild fire. It really didn’t get light until about 9 a.m., it was like night, and the rest of the day has been 1/2 light, at best, and the skies are a rosy, orange color. We can see ashes falling from the sky and our cars are coated with them. It’s freaky, to say the least. We live in a city (Salem, Oregon), so we aren’t in danger at this time. This smoke is all blowing in by wind, but it sounds like many places we often go will not be the same when we see them again.

    I continued my canning. I’ve been working through the massive quantity of tomatoes I picked from both my sister’s garden and mine. Over the past few days, we have canned salsa, tomato chunks, tomato juice, and tomato sauce. I also got corn from her, plus some my husband bought from a produce stand. I canned corn, and froze corn twice. More dill pickles were made and peppers were frozen. I took all the odds and ends I could find and made up 14 jars of vegetable-beef soup, which my husband patiently canned for 90 minutes. It’s nice to have a team for these time-consuming projects. This also used the last of the beef bones I had, which I had been targeting for a couple of months, so I’m glad about that. My canning shelves are looking great. I put a picture of the full shelves on my blog: http://beckyathome.com/2020/09/08/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-september-7-2020-more-food-preservation/

    Rob also decided to clean out all 3 deep freezers. He pulled things out, cleaned them out, and then I joined him to go through the items he was sorting. I threw away things like cauliflower from 2015 and so forth, that had gotten lost in the shuffle of our move a few years ago. This job hasn’t been done in the time we’ve lived here. It was time. Now we know what we’ve got, and I can find it and will have room for the 1/4 beef that will be ready in October.

    My husband bought an old sewing machine at a rummage sale for $5. It was broken. He watched U-Tube and figured out how to fix it, and our daughter has been sewing with it today. The other one she had been using, also from a garage sale, hasn’t been working lately.

    1. A friend from Albany showed photos of the sky completely red at 8 a.m.

      We had smoke here Monday and the air was very bad, but Albany was 5 times worse!

    2. We have relatives that live outside of Oregon City who were on an evacuation watch last night at 9 p.m. They were packed and ready to go with 5 days’ worth of food.

      1. Those relatives have not had to evacuate. However, my best friend’s BIL and SIL had to evacuate from Silverton, Oregon. I mention this only because they are staying in a motel nearly 50 miles away because all of the closer motels that accept pets were already full. Something to think about when making emergency plans (it really hadn’t occurred to me). LaQuinta and Motel 6 accept pets at all locations.

    3. I hope you can stay safe. I saw in the news that Marion county lost a couple of people, and one person is in critical condition.
      I’m sorry you have so much smoke. We were more fortunate. The one night we had higher winds (55 mph–not really that high for the Oregon coast) that made the fires worse, the smoke in our area blew over the west hills and out to the ocean. But today it’s back again. Our house is kind of hot, and we keep wanting to open the windows and enjoy that cool breeze we usually get in the evenings. A relative in Jackson county (near the California border) is under an evacuation notice, but hasn’t gotten a Level 3 yet. They can see the fire from their house and listen to the tankers flying overhead. The air quality is bad; they have central air conditioning which is helping to keep the smoke out of the house somewhat, although their power was out for most of the day, and they were considering leaving to get away from the smoke. They have a number of friends who have lost their homes and practically everything they own in the fires this week. The husband just got home from fire spotting. He said while traveling I-5 today, the smoke was thick from Lake Oswego (in the north) to a short distance north of Grants Pass (in the south). The fires and smoke are bad where our children live also. We are a little concerned because the last time the smoke was bad a couple of years ago, our child with asthma had trouble breathing. There is so much brush in the forested hills surrounding our house, we just pray none of it starts burning. There was a small wildfire between us and town, and a town south of us was partially evacuated. So many roads are closed, if we had to evacuate, we would have to consult Trip Check, I guess. We were advised to be prepared with paper maps, if we had to travel over unimproved roads because some cell towers are burned and down, but we are supposed to avoid dirt and grassy road to keep from starting fires. The day after the night we had wind, our road was blocked for a while because of downed trees, and we had no electricity for all night and half the next day. (stuff in parentheses is for people who live in other areas) (As it was explained to me: The fire spotter is a pilot who flies a little Cessna up to see if lightning strikes have started fires. The pilot looks for little smoke plumes. The fires can be sparked by the lightning and then smolder for a time before developing into an inferno.) But all considered we are in good shape. We are finally mostly past the last of the COVID-19 symptoms, and are past the danger associated with complications from that. And I found out that a castor oil poultice applied to the back might have helped break up kidney stones, or they might have just gone away by themselves. Well, this has definitely been an interesting year, and it’s not over yet.

      1. Oh Elizabeth – what a time you have had. It is just horrifying seeng the news about those massive fires and how many have had to be evacuated. I hope you – and all other readers in the affected areas stay safe.

    4. I hope you get some reprieve from the fires soon. It is just terrible the amount of fires we have this year. Congratulations on your new grand baby! I must agree, cutest baby ever!

  49. I paid cash for an unplanned visit to the vet. I received a small cash discount. Cocker spaniel has an ear infection. That was my fault for not cleaning her ears the last few months. I must be diligent in her care even when I feel poorly. I continue to utilize free sources for my genealogy research. My DNA results have helped so much. There are several movies and an autobiography on an uncle. It has given me great insight and certainly was entertaining. A census door knocker also gave me several great tips. I searched hard for several missing swagbuck gift cards. I must remember to print them off and put them on my bulletin board in a timely manner. I used a gift card to Amazon. I went to my list several times and adjusted it before I placed my final order. I needed to make sure items I bought were needed and not just wanted. This week my weekly trip to the dumpster was quite fruitful. Dog food was gifted to the local farmer. A 12 piece yard solar light set was gifted to a neighbor. Sadly my yard is not situated to get sun. The neighbor was delighted and they look quite lovely when I take my puppy out at night. We packed up two boxes of groceries from the dumpster. As we were leaving, the manager came out of the back door. I softly spoke to sugar cookie and slowly moved to the light pole so we wouldn’t scare/ startle employee. He spoke to us and said to wait he had several boxes with good stuff in them. He placed 4 boxes on ground and said we were welcome anytime. I thanked him and we smiled all the way home. There were many great items in the boxes. My son has three friends/roommates struggling. I made them a huge pot of chili. A chicken pot pie. A pot of beenie weenies . there was cheese , peanut butter and jelly in the box. Nutella too. I will pick up some bread from the outlet along with some cheap eggs and milk from the cheap Wal-Mart. Milk is a $1.00 gallon there. Its better than ramen noodles and they will be happy. We have a box of chips and various boxed snack bars. Sugar cookie doesn’t need to eat this kind of stuff, so I will be happy to send it to the boys. My bills are adding up. The boy absolutely must have his wisdom teeth out. I’m really wishing he had done it while in the Army. But, it must be done. The house taxes are coming up too. They went up, I’m contesting them. I checked my neighbors taxes and theirs are all lower for much larger homes. Its always good to stay informed. Dumpster diving is not for everyone. My small savings is all I have for retirement. My goal is to not spend it on frivolous items. The savings I have had the last 6 months has made a huge difference in my budget. I should break even this year on my budget. That is a huge accomplishment with the unexpected expenditures. Vet suggested a new food for dog. Its costly. I’m using a chewie coupon and hoping it works well. It is such a blessing to always seemingly find a way. Now for my great find of the week. A Creuset dutch oven. The store tossed it. It was used and dirty but cleaned up like new. I had no idea what it was when I pulled it out of the trash. But doing so much bulk cooking I knew I was happy to get a new pot. Boy was I smiling when I got home. I hope everyone is doing well. I’m going back to the doctor tomorrow. I need more meds but the local nurse practitioner is only 90 dollars. we are sitting here enjoying the fall weather. I feel quite content.

    1. So many good finds this week, especially the Dutch oven. I love how you take care of so many people. You are always thinking of someone other than yourself. How is baby Henry doing? I guess he’s not much of a baby anymore.

      1. Oh how I miss my baby Henry.. He is 21 months old. The grandmother in the home with him is in extremely poor health and fragile. She’s on constant oxygen. With my Covid issues , I have been terrified to even visit. The good news is that I have always bought ahead. He can’t possibly need anything. His mommy knows that I will happily have Amazon deliver if needed. His birthday is December 10th. Hoping to see him them. I can’t wait to see my little snuggly bear. Carol, in my hardest times, it was always perfect strangers who reached out to me. We are always blessed. Hope all is well your way.

        1. Thank you for the update. I hope by Henry’s Birthday you will be able to visit him. You have been an inspiration to me. Be well.

    2. some time ago I suggested you have a talk with the managers of the stores where you dumpster dive. Many managers would be glad to give you a box of food that would otherwise go in the dumpster. So glad to read about the manager of the store who did so! And great find for the Le Creuset.

  50. What a busy week we had.
    We picked beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, chard, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, oregano, parsley, green beans, our first corn, potatoes, peppers (sweet and hot) and onions. Whew! I’m exhausted just writing it down.
    I brought breakfast and lunch to work each day.
    Made coleslaw, zucchini fritters, BLTs, focaccia bread, potato salad, pico de gallo (I add cucumbers to mine), corn on the cob, chard with olive oil and garlic, and a pepper, cucumber and tomato salad.
    Visited with my mother through her window.
    Shelled some of the dry beans we picked awhile ago.
    Cooked beets for the DH. He says they are really sweet.
    Dried 4 trays of zucchini. We have one of the round dehydrators and bought spatter screens at the dollar store, then cut out a round circle in the center so they will go on the trays properly. We use the dried zucchini in soup in the winter.
    Made 10 jars of dill pickles. Why can the dill and the cucumbers never be ready at the same time!?!
    Brought zucchini and cherry tomatoes to work. They were gone by lunch.
    Clipped the parsley patch and put it out to dry.
    Froze cauliflower and broccoli.
    Made a spice mixture, with home grown and dried, oregano, parsley, basil and thyme. I use it for the seasoning on my focaccia bread.
    Bought 2 pkgs. of BLSCB for $1.48/lb at Winco. Used half of one for our Labor Day BBQ (on Sunday) with our son and his fiancee.
    Read books on my Kindle for relaxation.
    Seems like we did more, but that is all I have written down.

  51. I know this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I thought of you Brandy: “you can always find another way to save money”….
    I had a small bit of a front bottom tooth chip off for some reason. Instead of making an appointment at the dentist to have the tooth repaired, my husband gave me a special kind of sandpaper to see if I could smooth out the sharp edge. Believe it or not ot worked! Saved $$. Thank you for all you do Brandy

  52. Oh, I hope the frog makes it!!! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were cheesy turkey burger casserole with green beans, pesto chicken thighs over rice with tossed salad, seared parmesan salmon with sauteed green beans and roasted potatoes, bbq pulled pork sandwiches with chips, frozen pizza, pork and veggie stirfry with noodles and yum yum sauce, grilled steak with baked potato and tossed salad.
    *Hosted my last zoom bible study. We will begin meeting in person with social distancing in place. Zoom has been a blessing to us during this time!
    *My husband wanted some snack cakes at the grocery store. They were 2 for $6. I asked him to wait until I could go to the day-old bread store on my lunch break the next day. I was able to get 3 boxes for $4. I also used a coupon for a free Whopper that I had earned from filling out a BK survey.
    *Another day at lunch I went to a dollar store and purchased vanilla, parmesan, dish detergent, toilet paper and paper towels for less than I can get them in my local grocery store.
    *My husband is going to sell fall mums at his business, but he needed a metal rack to display them. I found one on FB Marketplace that was originally $70 and was marked down to $40. I asked if we could get it for $30 and the seller said yes. When my husband went to pick it up on his way home from work, he noticed a little rust on it (which can be painted) and he was able to get it for $25!
    *Used a can of pumpkin that my mom gave me to make two 8″ round cakes and frosted them with homemade cream cheese frosting. One will go to a friend who lost her son. I froze the second one for a dinner we are hosting next week.
    *My husband bought some animal crackers at the dollar store to have in his office. He mentioned giving some to a customer’s child. I told him it would be nice if he had a jar for them and he said he’d pick one up at the store. Then I remembered I had bought a glass canister at Goodwill. It worked perfectly!
    *Enjoyed a free lunch at work one day.
    *Mixed a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Baked half of them and froze the other half of the dough. Made chicken stock from chicken carcass and veggie ends. Picked 1 1/2 cups of chicken from the bones.
    *Walked several evenings for free exercise.
    *We gave our son the sofa from our family room when he moved out a couple weeks ago and I’ve been watching the yard sale sites for a sectional since then because it will fit better in our family room. A couple I went to school with listed one for $350. We went and saw it and offered $300, which they accepted. It fits perfectly! They also gave us 2 dozen eggs from their chickens and a watermelon from their garden. 😊
    *Found blsl chicken thighs marked down to $1.34/lb. Also purchased blsl chicken breasts for $1.79/lb, pork loin for $1.49/lb, and Kraft dressing for $1 each.

  53. First thing this past week I cancelled my Ancestry subscription which was set to auto renew this month. We were going out of town and I didn’t want to forget that renewal in the process of getting ready to leave. I hate that they don’t let the sub run through the end date but cancel immediately however, I’d done my best to make good use of it these past few weeks since I knew I had to cancel.
    Despite a slight kerfuffle over it, we ate ALL the meatloaf (I only make a very small loaf since it’s two of us). We had only 1/2 serve of lettuce as food waste last week…I’ve been very diligent with our foodstuffs to avoid all waste and while I’d have preferred we’d eaten it, I’m okay with it…I sent it to my son’s chickens.
    Made homemade bread.
    Visited the bread store and discovered a really good organic bread could be gotten much more cheaply than even the Aldi knock off brand.
    Replenished my house drawer of clothes with things from my closet. I added some new pieces and then culled out the things I haven’t worn or seldom wear, all casual wear naturally. I’m glad to have something to replace the stained items in my house clothes drawer. Those t-shirts will become grease rags.
    Had grandbaby here (10 months) and now he’s crawling curiosity has him into many things. I don’t have a lot of baby toys. I do have lots of plastic lids and containers and had a cardboard box. He played for over an hour with those things and then opted to play in my towel drawer in the kitchen which I considered a safe option, too.
    Found cookie dough in the freezer and baked cookies. It didn’t look like a lot but it made 18 cookies!
    Harvested big bunches of basil and peppermint. My mint pot is very compacted and the mint has only just now started growing well. I decided to try and root some of it so I can break up the soil in the pot. I’ve had very good luck this year with rooting rosemary and basil. The basil has grown well but the rosemary, not so much. I’m going to keep trying to figure this out. I did learn that in order to root it you need at least an inch or two of rosemary leaves under water. It’s planting it in soil that has me stymied as it’s died every single time.
    All meals made at home despite a deep deep desire to go get takeout. Not a hard decision since most takeout places necessitate a 40 minute round trip and the wait time to get the order ready. I figure I saved an hour but boy, I’d have given much to live in a place where I could buy ready to eat food quickly and easily!

  54. – I recieved the Tightwad Gazzette from the library (it was in storage!) Many things made me smile because they have been tips i have heard,
    from fellow commenters here!
    – storm blew a large branch down . We will dry it and use doe firewood. Thankful it missed the house!
    – did 2 pinecone surveys
    – scanned grocery receipts into Fetch.
    – ordered clothes for the kids using sales and rewards points. Saved 74%. I bought only items that were needed. Sometimes I am not frugal with this due to “free money ” via rewards.
    – bought a bushel and half of tomatoes. Turned into tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, diced, spaghetti sauce. I also saved some skins and dehydrated and pulseed through blender. I will put into a saved seasoning jar to add to soup or rice or meals .
    – dehydrated sliced hot peppers
    – applied for 3 different remote jobs via indeed. com to help boost our income and debt payoff
    – since the forbearance of college repayment we have continued to pay our payment but focusing one one loan at a time and we have paid 2 off. If we can up that payment a bit while the forbearance continues it should be paid off completely! Yay.
    – sold an item on Ebay
    – froze shredded zucchini
    – inspired by a couple of Instagram accounts I hav been deep cleaning and decluttering room by room.

  55. Fun photos! I’m guessing you used a macro lens?

    Life has felt very spend-y to me lately because a lot of unfortunate events happened right in a row (tire blowing out on the freeway, my laptop getting hacked, a huge windstorm coming through today and messing up our chicken coop arrangement…). The good thing was though that because I’ve largely practiced a decent amount of frugality over the years, we had the cash to pay for it all and not worry.

    I did give my daughter and youngest son a trim for the first time myself, and it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be! So that will be a nice expense to save in the future.

    We just made an offer on an older home (in Utah’s INSANE housing market), so our monthly budget is about to get out of whack for awhile until my husband’s next raise. Looks like I’ll be gleaning plenty of inspiration from everyone on here for the first long while that we’re living there!

  56. I have not commented in weeks but have been keeping a list of some ways we have been frugal.
    *My community has had a big influx of the produce boxes and we have received several with very nice produce. We have either eaten items during our weekly meals or put items into the freezer. So far, we’ve received oranges, potatoes, kale, onions, zuchinni, and apples—all for free. There were no income restrictions and the agencies were begging people to come get boxes. We were grateful. I took boxes to my mom and aunt as well (and they shared what they couldn’t use).
    *I was able to purchase 50# of new potatoes for $12! It was a great deal though we ended up losing about 5#. I’ve learned more about potato storage and also learned that potatoes going bad smell incredibly bad! We ate as far as we could through it and I’ve frozen the rest as mashed potatoes. I added a fair bit of milk, butter, and cheddar to them (I had read that the freeze better with higher fat). They are delicious…and such a time-saver!
    *Our eldest has gone to college and since he doesn’t need a car there (he is living on campus), we sold the car he was driving. It was purchased used over 7 years ago and we recouped more than half of our purchase price. We have also excluded our son as a driver on our remaining car (at least for now). We’ll be saving over $1200 a year!
    *Took several hikes with the family
    *Froze little bits of food
    *Updated our budget
    *I have some concern that I may be facing a partial layoff next year so we have started saving one of my checks each month. It’s good practice and makes me feel better to build up a bigger nest egg.

  57. I really enjoy seeing frogs in my garden. I hope your little frog makes it!

    We fixed our washer using YouTube so saved paying a repair person to make the trip.

    I’m using an older version of a book to participate in an online book club instead of buying the newer version.

    We were blessed with a LOT of free produce this week, probably 50 lbs worth. DH helped me pressure can the green beans and potatoes and ended up with 9 quarts of potatoes and 15 pints of beans.

    I got $7.50 back on Ibotta this week with stuff I was already buying, including 2 small items that will be stocking stuffers for the girls.

    Purchased pretty Pioneer Woman contact paper to decorate boxes for the cubby/shelf DH made for each of us in the closet. I was going to buy baskets and then realized how much cheaper it would be to buy some pretty paper and use boxes. We get quite a few boxes each month by doing some online shopping so a nice way to use those. I’ve done that before so not sure why that wasn’t my first thought!

    More on my blog at http://cottageonblackberrylane.com/2020/09/07/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-september-5-2020/

    1. I love your paper covered boxes solution. Years ago, when I was living in Europe and had very little money, I worked in a chocolate shop. The fancy chocolates came in these nice white boxes, and the boss just threw out the empty ones. I took home some of the discarded boxes, covered them in brown kraft paper, and used them for storage. They looked so nice stacked up, and I used them for years.

      1. When I cleared out my mother’s storage room, I came across an enormous pile of chocolate boxes. She used to make a variety of home made candies and put them in the little candy wrappers and rewrap the boxes and mail them to friends around the world as Christmas gifts. Tina — your comment brought back such good memories. By the time I was sorting them, we had paper recycling bins so I recycled most of them.

  58. Brandy, thank you again for hosting this lovely, educational and positive blog! I know you are incredibly busy and am grateful you spend the time here.

    Last week I still worked on filling up holes in the pantry. Managed to get another three pounds of butter at a good price and will buy some ground beef this week. I am doing the adjusted budget for the rest of the year this week. We had huge medical and home repair expenses this year so overall I can’t offset those overruns, but I will adjust as I can for the future. I have done some clothing shopping right now (found my favorite jeans and sneakers at a good price) in advance of needing the clothes. Overall, I keep focus on getting our home ready so that if the fall and winter are challenging, we are in the best shape possible.

  59. Garden pat,
    I’d love to try your bread and chili recipes but I couldnt get the links to work. Maybe I’m doing something wrong but they don’t seem to be working.

  60. Brandy, your zinnia pictures are so pretty! My zinnias grew well this year and I’ve enjoyed them on my dining table!!
    The tomatoes are just coming on a little at a time now, so I’m coring them, cutting an x on the bottom and putting them in the freezer. When I take them out next winter and thaw them, the skins will slip right off and I can use them to make tomato sauce or whatever I need for a recipe.
    I’m planting lettuce and spinach seeds in my raised beds after amending them with rabbit poop! It’s the best manure because it doesn’t have to age first! My bunnies are very prolific manure manufacturers!
    I was going through our Rural King store the other day (It’s a large farm supply store). And in their food section they had 16 oz, tubs of BACON GREASE for sale for $6.99!!!! I had never seen bacon grease packaged for sale so I did a double take, then almost laughed out loud at seeing the price! Who would pay $6.99 for a small amount of something that can be gotten for free every time you fry bacon???? Do people really buy such an item?? I realize I am a senior citizen, but I hope the younger generation still saves their bacon grease! 🙂
    Everyone have a pleasant frugal week!

  61. This week has had ups and downs
    Upside – I finally got my car back form the shop. Repair bill was over $4800, but the warranty company paid all of it
    Downside – 2 days later, the alternator and battery fried and I got hit with a $460 towing bill. Warranty company will pay these repairs too and the dealer is covering the rental car, mainly because I have had SO much trouble with this car. Needless to say, after the towing bill, I will be investing in the higher level of AAA coverage.
    Upside – Vet did a home visit for shots etc. for the dogs and cats
    Downside – nearly $1000 bill

    Blessing – I was able to order a case of my husband’s favorite at a substantial discount through the market on base.

    Ok no upside to these – The attic fan died. At least a newer one will be more energy efficient. I forgot to renew the registration on my mother’s car so it cost me an extra $10. No excuse. I just forgot and didn’t do it.

    Blessings on all of this are that we had the money to cover each event/disaster without wondering what we weren’t going to pay.

    1. Jennifer, I mentioned the $4,800 part to my husband, and he wants to know what it is! Sorry about the later car issues and towing bill. We only have the basic AAA package, but when we lived in a part of Idaho where things are a little farther apart, we had the extended coverage…and we used it, too.

  62. Things have been a little crazy around here the last couple of weeks.
    I have paid all bills on time to save late charges.
    I am paying 3 bills by check since they are in another town and I don’t want to use my car. The price of an envelope, stamp and ink (my checks are free) are much less than the gas.
    I have ordered OTC drugs through my insurance. I pay $19.62 a month for my supplemental insurance and I get 3 medications free plus $25.00 a month over the counter drugs. My 3 meds had been on the $4.00 list and a year ago they “fell off” the list and were going to cost me over $120.00 a month.
    If you are on Medicare look into the supplements. They are sometimes worth it.
    I had ordered an item for Halloween decorations. I received it today and it didn’t work. I called the company to return it and they didn’t have anymore. I asked if they would let me keep it and drop the price. They said yes. I was given a 25% discount. I’ll save 10 dollars any day.
    Thanks for all you do Brandy.

  63. I found a tiny frog as well, under one of my potted plants. He was sitting very happily in the cool damp. I told him he was welcome to stay but alas, haven’t seen him since.

    My husband read an article that claimed this is an exceptionally good time to shop the thrift stores. Once thrift stores began accepting donations again, they saw a surge in donations, many new or in like-new condition, from people who’ve taken advantage of lockdown time to declutter/rearrange/reorganize.

    I took advantage of Book Raider to download several free books. When you sign up for Book Raider and indicate your areas of interest, you receive a list every morning of free or deeply discounted e-books. (Be aware that the free books are often part of a series, the hope being that if you like the first one, you’ll pay for the rest.) Some have been so-so, some have been really good. Whichever they turn out to be, I’ve certainly enjoyed reading free books during the lockdown!

    We repainted a room ourselves. It looks beautiful if I do say so myself. We felt so successful we’ve decided to repaint the master bath, which is currently dubbed The Tangerine Cave (the previous owner and I have very different tastes in certain areas).

    I picked roses and honeysuckle and made arrangements that we enjoyed inside. Many roses withered to a crisp in the heat wave.

    I spent an hour or so chopping and blanching vegetables from the CSA farm box, then putting them in the freezer for future use. I continued drying most of the laundry on the clothesline and only used the dryer once or twice in a week.

    I baked many loaves of bread in my 30-year-old bread machine. It’s the Energizer Bunny of my kitchen – it keeps going, and going… Happily, I have plenty of the ingredients I need on hand, and no need to shop for a while.

    I ordered several items that were marked down 75% on end-of-summer/back-to-school sales. These will be birthday and Christmas gifts.

    Thank you, all, for the encouragement, ideas, and inspiration that are always to be found here.

  64. Our spending and expenses for the month of August were very high. I have vowed to spend much less this month. None of what we spent last month was on anything particularly frivolous. It was mostly to stock our pantry and household supplies, along with a few vet bills and car repairs thrown in. Our pantry is now mostly stocked to a level we are comfortable with, so there won’t be the expenses for extra stocking.
    We’ve been preserving from the garden by freezing and canning. Our freezer is nearly full and we are nearing the end of our supply of jars. It’s a lot of work, but pretty gratifying to look at those shelves full of things we grew.
    I’m continuing to work at organizing our home. I find it easier to be content in our small home when our space is tidy and nice. So far, I haven’t missed any of the things I’ve gotten rid of.
    Details and photos of our week are on my blog: http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-17/

  65. Love the frog story and the detailed close-up photos of the flowers!

    My frugal week:
    – I gave my husband a haircut. I have wahl clippers, but they got dull after about 4 haircuts, and I used the oil it came with once. Does anyone have any suggestions to sharpen them? When I looked, it seemed like replacement blades were almost as expensive as the clippers. I *can* cut his hair (and mine and my extended family’s) with just scissors but clippers do such a perfectly even job.
    – I made more hot fudge sauce which I use to make homemade chocolate milk
    – My daughter got a free ice cream from a very nice ice cream truck driver. I didn’t have cash and he couldn’t accept a credit card, so we just went on our way, but he ended up stopping us and giving my daughter a free mini cone. Such a nice gesture; it made my day! My daughter loooooves the music from the ice cream truck, so this also made her day!
    – I found a bra on sale for $5, down from almost $30.
    – My daughter ate grape tomatoes, baby potatoes, and ground cherries (I finally grew them!) from my balcony garden and tomatoes, peas, red peppers, and baby potatoes from my parents’ garden. She loved digging for the potatoes and helped me cook them too. I love being able to show her where food comes from! My husband has also been continuously harvesting parsley and green onions from our balcony garden all summer.
    – I made pesto using the basil from my balcony garden as well as a basil plant that I had planted in my mum’s garden.
    – I used some tomatoes in my favourite Greek Salad (http://approachingfood.com/only-greek-salad-recipe/) Perfect for all the seasonal produce!
    – My mum made some of my Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes (http://approachingfood.com/greek-style-lemony-potatoes/)
    – I used a coupon to get 5000 optimum loyalty points (worth $5) when making a $20 purchase.
    – I also used a ‘made any purchase and get 95 air miles’ coupon at Foodland (a Sobey’s affiliate). I spent under a dollar on an item, and got the equivalent of $10 in AirMiles.
    – I redeemed SB for $5 to my paypal account

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  66. I harvested my potatoes — I planted them earlier this year as I was determined to give them longer to grow.
    I would say they were of the pre-pre-nugget size. So tiny they were hard to spot.

    A friend gave me an ear of corn — it was delicious! It made up for the 10 dreadful ears we got before. (I never knew corn could be bad),She also gave me a cucumber. Not to be ungrateful but it was the most bitter one I’ve ever had. I bought 3 pounds of organic bananas for $0.89 per pound. (a good price for here and for organic) I will dig the peels into the ground to be with my roses.
    Roses love bananas. Soup was on sale.

    I spent part of the day carting a lot of things downstairs. I am not buying too much fresh produce (except for my crate of apples)
    and the fruit I’ve put in my freezer because I will be getting some of the produce from the community garden. I’m hoping for pears, carrots,
    beets, potatoes. I have quite a few potatoes so am trying to figure out how to cope with everything but I will still want the garden plot potatoes. I’m hoping there may be a few squash too for me. If not I’ll find a way to stock up at the market. There are several kinds that are great keepers. For most people, it has been a great growing season — but at home mine was a disaster.
    I am hoping to be stronger next year and do more around here. I won’t have a garden plot again (unless I win an electric bike then it’s a new ballgame). I entered a contest for an electric bike. fingers crossed.

    Someone mentioned they like using Ancestry. I myself always liked using the LDS Family History Library.
    Speaking about that, I mailed off the first of the photo albums and the recipient loved it. It wasn’t as much postage as I thought.
    I only have three left to mail. Three are coming home from the museum/archives where they have been locked up.
    Once they are mailed over the next month or so, there will be somewhat less clutter here. 2100 photos will be gone.
    One of the albums will be donated to a local history room.

    I notice that Indigo Chapters is having a great book sale.
    A friend offered me a loaf of Cobb’s bread (really delicious) but I had to turn it down due to allergies.

    I’m hoping my gardener will come this weekend — there are things to do!

  67. Still working on learning to be frugal, but wanted to share 1 thing that we learned this week!
    -my husband has been annoyed at the poor news via Google or CBC. Found out our local library has digital subscriptions to our favorite newspapers and magazines!
    Question for you all – I’m trying to figure out how to reuse items because I realized my recycling is always pretty full. Any suggestions for use of milk bags, empty peanut butter jars, etc.? Would appreciate your suggestions on what you do with items that most people just throw away.

    1. Just off the top of my head…peanut butter jars would be a good way to organize screws and other small parts, seed packets, etc. You could even screw the lids to the bottom of a shelf for more convenient storage. Use them for cotton balls, Q-tips, etc. Even if you recycle the jars, the lids–in the US, at least–fit regular size mason jars and are good for storage, or after opening a jar of homemade jam or pickles or something else that uses a lid and ring.

      Assuming that most of your garbage goes to a solid waste facility where it will NEVER rot, it wouldn’t matter if you reused the bags to contain stinky garbage. Also to pick up dog poop (although we get our newspaper in bags and use them for poop). The problem with milk bags (or at least the ones we had in the US 40 years ago) is that they don’t re-close.

    2. Erica, we use empty peanut butter jars (the large natural peanut butter jars) for many items in our pantry. I find them especially useful for pasta when I only use part of a package. There are currently three of us at home, my husband, our daughter and myself, so I usually only use part of a package. I also store rice, dry beans and such in them. I use blue painters tape to identify the contents and write on the tape with marker. The tape is easy to remove and change if I want to store something different in a jar. I also use smaller empty jars for homemade spice mixes, mixing salad dressings, etc. My husband also uses jars for items in his shop: screws, nuts and bolts; whatever. Some jars find their way into my sewing room for keeping various supplies there. I find it useful to keep printed ads we get in the mail for wrapping veg peelings, under paper towels for drainage of bacon and such. As many of you here do, we wash plastic bags for reuse, unless they contained meat products.

    3. Erica,
      We used to wash out those milk bags and use them for lunches. My brother saved them and used them instead of freezer bags. I never have empty peanut butter jars. I have bought one jar and then I make my own peanut butter to put back into the jar. We like the taste better and I think it’s healthier since it doesn’t have sugar or salt like most of the cheaper brands.
      Most of the major tv networks have a spot to view local news for free. And all radio stations can be listened to online. Where are you in SWOnt.?

    4. Erica – the big milk bag can be saved and donated. Can’t remember the name off hand but there is an organization that collects them and makes them into waterproof “mattresses” for use overseas with various charities. Your local school might know as they often get children to collect them.
      I’ve heard that some people do wash out the individual litre bags and use them much like “saran wrap”, although I’ve never tried this myself.
      For the peanut butter jar – I’m stumped – have to admit that I usually put them in the garbage as I find it so difficult to wash out that type of plastic.

      1. I soak the peanut butter jar in super hot water and blue dawn dish soap twice and then wash it – sometimes like today I noticed I missed some on the outside of the rim so I washed that – very worth the effort! We use ours to store popcorn kernels and leftovers especially for the deep freezer!

  68. I liked the story about that frog so much that I shared it with my family. I am happy that the frog met you with your kindness and care.
    My accomplishments for the week:
    -We picked all kinds of berries: luxurious cloudberries, old-fashioned blackberries and the remaining blueberries. We ate most of them fresh and froze some as well.
    -we ate mushrooms from the forest for two meals.
    -I planted a fall garden. I used some space outside and made some space in the glass house. I hope to see spinach, ruccola, bokchoi, peas and mini- kale, before the winter.
    -We went to Sweden to stack up on some pantry foods. Everything is cheaper in Sweden (everything is cheaper pretty much anywhere) and we live only 1 h away from the border so we took advantage of some borders opening. I got 5kg of minced meat which I hope to make into meat cakes tomorrow. I also got some polish delicacies(not sure why they were there) like smoked bacon. It is a great way to add that ‘meaty’ taste to bean dishes. I also got other things at great prices which makes me super excited. Such as dishwashing powder, shampoos and soaps, bulk spices, honey, maple syrup and agave syrup. And some other supplies.
    -I worked on family daily routines to help me economize on my time. If things run smoothly around here then I get to be more efficient and the atmosphere is less stressed.
    -We went out to nature everyday this week. It is a great and free ‘entertainment/ education activity/ work out/ worship practice’ for us.
    -we ate salad, cucumber, zucchini, sugar peas, onions, dill, american blueberries and siberian blackberries from the garden.
    Thank you all for sharing about your week and to you, Brandy, for hosting!

    1. When I lived in Switzerland, I would sometimes go grocery shopping in France because it was less expensive. It was closer, though; we just took the bus about 20 minutes.

  69. It has been a while since I commented. Busy days. Canning is in full swing here. I am wrapping up with tomatoes. I canned whole tomatoes (quartered) as well as tomato juice. I also canned hamburger (80/20) that I found on sale for Labor Day at 1.78 lb. I have wanted to try this for a long time. Trying to figure out Christmas gifts as several of my children are at tough ages. No one can think of anything they really want. My 14 year old son has several books he got when teachers were giving them away. He wants to complete several series. I am planning to get used copies of the books he is missing. He loves to read! My 12 year old daughter wants art supplies. She also loves music so I may pick up some CD’s for her to sing with. My 9 year old has my stymied. Can’t think of anything for him that we don’t already have.
    As the temps here have dropped into the 50’s-60’s during the day and low 40’s at night we are shifting to outside work. We are planning to build a new chicken coop as our old one just isn’t big enough. Also looking forward to canning grape juice and jelly along with pears. A few more weeks before that happens.
    I have really struggled with remaining frugal where family outings are planned. Last night I was expected at a restaurant I have never gone to for dinner with my parents and siblings. They ordered a meal for me that cost 27.00. It wasn’t even that good. It was the least expensive meal on the menu. I am much more frugal than they out of necessity, and they just don’t see what a strain it is for me to make those kind of expenditures. Trying to balance that out is really hard for me.
    We are just trying to prepare for the unknown and find joy in our simple life. I love the fall so much. We have been blessed beyond measure this year. Whenever there is a need we seem to be able to meet it. For that I am so grateful as I know that is not the case for many.

    1. What about a treat, like his favorite candy, crackers, or chips? We do that for gifts and it’s a gift that doesn’t have to be stored somewhere! We just had a daughter’s birthday and her siblings gifted her chips, crackers, and gum. She was very happy with those things!

      1. That is a great idea!! He is a huge candy lover. I usually get each of my kids their favorite box of sugar cereal for Christmas. It’s the only time I do this.

  70. We moved into our new home this past Saturday. We packed up everything last July to put our house on the market, then have been in a rental since January without unpacking so it has been like Christmas to unpack all my things. I have a huge walk in pantry that I am storing food and party or less used kitchen items. I had a huge stockpile and lived off it for 14 months, only buying milk, eggs, some fresh produce, and bread. I can now begin stocking my pantry again. I know now some items I had stocked that we don’t really eat, and what items I need to co concentrate on. I have also had the last three kids grow up and move out the last two years.

    Since it is a new home I will be starting from scratch on my garden. I am planning my fall garden of turnips, spinach, lettuce, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, snow peas, and am looking for apple, peach, and apricot trees to plant in the yard, as well as blueberry and blackberry bushes, and grapes. It is supposed to be better to plant in the fall here so the tree roots are established before setting fruit in the spring.

    I dried some chili peppers in the oven yesterday. I think i am going to store in a jar and just crumble as needed. I have green onions I need to harvest today and dry. I have green peppers loaded in a container plant and tomatoes, and I think my containers are done after these ripen. I have a rotating compost bin. I add to it daily, but I have a good bit of compost ready to empty out into my new beds.

    My daughter bought garlic Parmesan wings the day after we moved in and I had 8 left. I took all the chicken off and mixed with the container of Ranch included with the wings and made a salad with the chicken mixture. I am very low in the freezers so am going to organize everything in bins and start restocking.

    As I unpack I am selling items that don’t work in this house, and items from my past embroidery business. Oh, the house 2 doors down sold and the people were moving in yesterday. We went out to meet them and she is a quilter. She has a long arm that is 10′ and wouldn’t fit up the stairs into the room, so they are hiring a crane to put it upstairs through the window. I am excited to have a crafty neighbor and hopefully new friend.

  71. We went thrift shopping one day and picked up a couple very nice shirts for my husband and one for me. Still harvesting veggies from the garden. I let my grandkids play with soap and water and a spoon. They carved the soap, made bubbles and just had a great time. We went outside on a nice day. Then they came in a painted pictures. This was after all schoolwork was done. It made for a great time!
    Doing lots of cooking at home. My husband has been grilling on the grill that my parents gave us. My son’s dog has been very entertaining. My son made a steak fajita with his steak. We may do that with an onion and peppers from our garden tomorrow to spread the two round steaks that we have left to feed all three of us. I made chickpea carrot soup one day and ate the leftovers over a few days. My husband has done a lot of the cooking this week as I have not felt well. But I am feeling better now. We have all had colds with fatigue and two of us needed inhalers. But now we are better. Found out it was not Covid. So glad to know that it was not. It did not last long either.

  72. A huge thank you to all that comment here as I read them every week and usually find new ideas and always encouragement! So here goes my first post….
    -Froze half a bushel seconds of peaches and canned/made jam out of another full bushel
    -made yet another batch of salsa as we had enough tomatoes ripe in the garden and free jars from items we’ve eaten 😂 I think this is the 6th batch of about 20 litres but it seems the children eat it as I can it!
    -we have an amazing amount of Swiss chard so eating that all summer along with zuchinni, bush beans, herbs and lettuce, peas and beets
    -froze 6 med freezer bags of bush beans and picked enough to do so again tomorrow
    -found shoes for daughter to wear of mine instead of buying
    -collected eggs each day
    -fed hens scraps from garden and kitchen

    A few questions if I may?
    – why are our hens so picky…they will not eat purple kale bits or zuchinni or cabbage or leftover basil!!! Such picky hens!
    – when should I plan to blanch and freeze all our Swiss chard – we have 9 rows of 10 feet! And any tips on doing this. Can I save the stems as well?
    -any tips of potting you herbs as we move at the beginning of winter here and would like to save them – rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley- before hard freeze sets in!

    Thank you!!

    1. Lindsay, you should be able to blanch the stems too. It can also be dehydrated and then powered and added to soups in the winter.

      I am able to leave mine in the garden all winter as well as my herbs; hopefully, you can get some answers from those in colder climates!

  73. Not sure if you will see this, but in Chatham and surrounding areas there is lots of lids and canning jars available. You can also go to website of stores (eg. Walmart) and it shows you which stores are in stock.

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