I finished sewing three new aprons that I started last week using fabric purchased last week on sale for $6 a yard. I’ll share pictures in an upcoming post (as well as on Instagram) of these three aprons plus the one I finished a couple of weeks ago.

I replaced the elastic in a pair of hand-me-down shorts so that my 6-year-old can wear shorts that belonged to his older brothers.

I have been needing more canned tomato sauce as I am down to one can. We use a large #10 can of tomato sauce each time when we make spaghetti, and I also use it to make other things, such as steak sauce. Our local Sam’s Club stopped carrying these, but they can be ordered online. The shipping costs would significantly increase the price. I noticed they have free shipping for those who pay for the more expensive Plus membership. I was thinking of getting the membership for this reason and mentioned it to a friend of mine. She told me that she has the Plus membership and that she can order them for me and I could just send her the money through Zelle (which is a free way to transfer money through your bank to another person’s bank in the U.S.). I ordered 30 cans, which sounds like a lot, but is only 30 meals (with a little leftover) for us.

I focused on making smaller amounts of food. Normally we eat a lot of leftovers, but recently everyone seems to not want to eat leftovers. I tried to make less so that food would not be wasted.

I scheduled three children at a time for checkups; that is the maximum amount the doctor’s office will permit. Scheduling them together saves time and gas. I had two different days at the doctor’s office. While I was there, I also asked for a referral to be renewed for a specialist for another child. The scheduling office takes an hour and a half to get through to on the phone, so it was a savings of time to do this as well.

I harvested a butternut squash, two small watermelon, Armenian cucumbers, and green onions from the garden.

Desdemona Rose

I read books two through five in the Mure series by Jenny Colgan using the free Hoopla app.

I listened to music while sewing and cooking on the free YouTube Music app.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. So glad you could source more tomato sauce with paying for shipping!!!

    My frugal week:

    – cashed out $20 from the Checkout51 app
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty points for food
    – redeemed almost $17 in cash from Ampli
    – printed coupons and shared some with my mother
    – picked beans, peas, and lettuce from my garden plot at my parents place, and swiss chard, green onions, and large red tomato from my balcony garden
    – dried some peas for seed, and saved some petunia seeds
    – made some buttercream trufflebombs using leftover buttercream from my freezer (
    – baked banana bread mini muffins to take to my daughter’s preschool graduation party
    – made chocolate chip mini muffins and regular sized muffins and gave some away
    – I gave my dad a haircut
    – went on a bit of a road trip to see a friend in a neighbouring city, and packed drinks and snacks to avoid stopping to buy food along the way
    – found my stock up prices for block cheese and pasta, so bought a bunch
    – I found limes reduced for quick sale, so bought 13 for $1.99.
    – used a 5 off 20 coupon for bulk barn when buying nuts on sale
    – took my family to the Gardiner museum (a pottery/ceramics museum). Entrance was free this weekend, plus there were hands-on activities for kids: playing with clay, all materials provided free, and a digital design your own ceramic display. I packed snacks and drinks for the ride there and back on public transit.
    – bought peaches for 88 c/lb and made peach jam. I gave a jar to my parents and a jar to a friend.
    – baked hamburger buns and brushed them with egg wash and homemade everything but the bagel seasoning. I gave away some buns too.
    – sewed my daughter a reuseable, wipeable zipper snack bag using items I had in my sewing stash.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  2. Today I took my 2009 Buick enclave in for 2 repairs found approximately 1 month ago at an oil change, 1 tire that we had been constantly putting air in was FINALLY diagnosed with a nail that ruined the tire- in our past on other vehicle we had it repaired but this car’s tire was not repairable. We had let our service person know at inspection time we were aware we needed 4 new tires and planned to get it done in October however since the car was in the shop and they were able to get a low price on the tires we were planning anyway I went ahead and they discounted labor and parts plus gave me rebates on each tire and service over $100 if I go online and attach picture of my paid bill- the catch I had to use my credit card with 6 mos interest free payment….done deal. Money/ cash put aside – we are ready for winter lol

  3. I am writing this from up the St. Joe River in northern Idaho. We came up here with friends for two days, split up the meals and brought our own food. We are staying in a rustic cabin right on the river. I am using Elon Musk’s Starlink internet, and I must say I’m impressed. We are in a VERY remote area and the service is great. This is something those of you in rural areas may wish to consider if it’s available to you. I don’t know how much it costs.

    After checking prices on Amazon, I bought 3 items online from Penneys for 20% off and free shipping. I have a big JCP about 30 miles from me, but this was cheaper and much faster than driving to the store.

    I harvested 6 more tomatoes from my one plant with 4-5 more ready to pick when we get home Tuesday. I have only gotten three zucchini to date.

    The mystery plants that took over the strawberry bed and are growing up the dog run fence are…(drum roll)…CANTALOUPES! I spotted two on the fence a few days ago and a search of the strawberry bed turned up 4 more. They must have come in with the homemade compost last fall. They are now about the size of grapefruits. There are two more volunteer tomato plants growing among the cantaloupes and there are lots of tomatoes on the vine. We have about 6 weeks before the first frost, so keep your fingers crossed.

    1. Ooh, homegrown cantaloupe is the best!! My neighbor’s daughter grew it and sold it in our area and it was so so delicious!! I had never had finger lickin cantaloupe before that! So juicy! Enjoy your surprise!

  4. We received figs from our neighbor. We gave away many cucumbers, as well as sending tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini home with our visiting adult children. I sold a few things on eBay. I subbed a day and a half. We have many leftovers after having houseguests the last 2 weekends, so I’ll be diligent about using those. I sewed aprons for my daughter-in-law and grandson, hemmed 2 pairs of shorts for my daughter, and sewed a makeup brush case for my other daughter. I used fabric I had for all of the projects. My husband drove to work only one day last week, the other days he either rode with his carpool, or rode the electric bike (50 minutes each way).
    Someone asked last week about the solar light I mentioned. The brand is LuminAID. It is a solar light with a USB port that is solar charged. We also have Luci solar lights. I bought a battery charger recently, which we can charge in the USB port of the LuminAID. That feels good.
    Generally staying out of the stores and out of my car saves me the most money. And it makes an outing feel more special when it does happen.

  5. I canned 3 days and got Beef Burgundy, Beef stroganoff, Chipotle taco meat, and more potatoes. We bought a quarter cow last December so I pulled out some of the cuts that I normally don’t buy and used them in the canning recipes.
    ***I have also put together items I had frozen in meals to use them up.
    ***I have harvested okra, zucchini, tomatoes, and a black beauty bell pepper. My daughter dropped by tonight and I was able to grab another zucchini and Sautee them with some dry Ranch, grill some BBQ chicken, and try a rice packet I got from Aldi.
    ***I cleaned rugs with my carpet cleaner
    *** I cut our dogs hair with clippers
    ***I needed some tops to wear with dress pants to church. Belk had items 60%off and I got a couple of tops, then we went to TJ Maxx and I got a couple there.
    ***I went to a garage sale and got a sifter, two loaf pans, and a canning jar.

  6. I love your photo – what a lovely shade of tender green!
    I have been sorting out my late friend’s documents. They survived
    last winter in rubbermaid containers but I am determined to finish them in the
    next day or so. I discovered that 3 of the 6 containers are not her papers but are my things and
    not full boxes either so will be easy to sort. By Wednesday I will finally get back to assembling the 7 photo albums of 2100 photos (total). I have to figure out whether I have all the photos I need. It will be great to mail them off and clear up space in the house that they’ve taken up.
    We are supposed to have 5 days of sunny weather so
    I’m hoping to get the photos done AND other clean up chores.

    I did get the last of the annuals planted in two pots. It is the latest I’ve ever planted annuals. Some of my perennials are going to seed so I’ll have seed for Martagon Lilies and Crater Lake Veronica. My alpine dianthus is loaded with seed pods.

    I started watering in the spruce trees and fruit trees for the fall but we’ve had so much rain in my yard
    that I haven’t continued watering.

    While outside sorting, my neighbour came and gave me fresh produce from his garden – a few beets, 3 squash and 3 zucchini. He had his young grandsons with him and they looked really subdued –– perhaps someone told them to stop screaming. (I didn’t mind the screaming but each time they screamed “help” I was about to go on a rescue mission and my heart stopped). Since I had bought potatoes, and carrots a couple of weeks ago at the market, I had lots of veggies for dinner tonight. As it happened, one of my friends bought me pickling vinegar, pickling salt and mustard seeds (a small jar). I may make refrigerator pickles out of the zucchini. Or I may shred and freeze the zucchini. I hope to make a refrigerator sauerkraut once I get 1 cabbage.

    My friend who has done the shopping at Superstore for me is overwhelmed so cannot do it any more. Recently, I had been thinking the same thing about her – wondering how she could possibly continue doing it as she suddenly has a lot more commitments. She said I could get delivery which wasn’t very expensive. She’s not right about that – the delivery charge for Instacart (the delivery service which serves Superstore) is not very much but there is a markup on every item delivered and you cannot get the sales price on any items on sale in the store. You get the regular price plus the mark up. This has been the subject of several Marketplace episodes (a tv investigative reporting show on CBC). I am not sure what I’ll do. A second friend has to retire due to health which leaves me with one friend who only infrequently can help do it but at more expensive stores.

    On another matter, I have been billed the wrong amount for many years. I may get a refund. I had no way of knowing that it was the wrong amount. It only came to light when I discovered they had my birthdate wrong and the company person discovered I’d been charged the wrong amount. Fingers crossed for a refund!

    I watched the Great British Baking Show for free. I watched a very interesting documentary on Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent, also for free. I watched the songs from Andrea Bocelli’s outdoor concert at Teatro del Silenzio in Tuscany for free. (J.W. Noom. a musician from Holland, posted several of the songs on YouTube). I am going to watch some of the old movies with Pinsent for free on YouTube.

    I have a little garter snake in my yard. I hope to get a photo. No luck yet.
    Since I am broke due to getting my computer fixed, then having the unexpected cab fares to and from the medical clinic and hospital, I won’t be spending any money this month. A friend gave me a $20 for y borthday and I may spend it on prune plums for the freezer….

    1. You have been so busy – but isn’t it a great feeling when you get through all the paperwork – bane of my existence!

      If you get the unexpected refund, would you consider putting some of that towards taxi fare so that you could do your own shopping – even once a month? If you need help in-store I’m sure the superstore would have a mobility scooter and someone assigned to assist you if you make the arrangement ahead of time – I see this happening even in my No Frills store on a regular basis – and at least that way you could make your own choices and still take advantage of in-store sales .

      1. Yes, Margie, it will be a good feeling once I get through the paperwork but that won’t happen probably for
        a long time. I am trying to focus on specific tasks each day and not be overwhelmed. Because of covid, and being at high risk for not surviving, I am staying away from grocery stores. I have been spending far too much on groceries and like everyone else not getting much for the money. It is too tempting shopping every week to spend too much money. Any refund I get will go towards extraordinary expenses. I need a locksmith, a plumber and an electrician.
        The person who appropriated my beef last year without asking also had my ten cans of lentils she bought at $1 a can. She delivered the so-called lentils today — there was not one can of lentils,, only 5 cans of mixed beans, black beans, canellini beans. I’ll use them but am disappointed not to have my lentils. The price is now $1.79. She stopped to buy me basil — I don’t know how much clearer I could have been – I said Superstore had a potted plant of basil for $4 and I would like one pot. When she arrived, she had bought 4 pots of basil for me. Any suggestions about what I might do with so much basil? Pesto? basil jelly? freeze it? dry it? Hmmmmmmm…. She did succeed in getting me the peaches although not exactly as advertised. I’m thinking of peach jam.

        1. Everything seems to be an extra struggle at the moment doesn’t it! I live in a small building but on the top floor and our elevator has now been broken for a week! I walk with the aid of a cane so stairs are not my friend. I had planned on doing a bit of a stock up this month as I haven’t been doing a lot of shopping for the past month or so but that has been delayed. I can’t do my laundry as the laundry room is 5 flights down! I sometimes feel as though the whole world is conspiring against me at the moment! 🙂

          That is aggravating about the lentils. I have a friend who has volunteered to shop for me before when I’ve had surgery etc. but she NEVER gets what I asked for or never goes to the store where I know something can be found. I know people will say she means well but I’d actually rather she doesn’t even ask when she has no intentions of getting what I want and just goes to her stores. Oh well…. I understand you not wanting to go out to the shops – is there a possibility of hiring a teenager or maybe a stay at home mom who just wants a bit of pocket money to go to the store you want with a very specific list and then you paying him/her?

          Good luck with it – I hate being dependent upon anyone – one of the reasons I am always stocked up – but sometimes we do have to give in.

          1. Margie, this is if you have no other alternatives–ask your friend where she plans to shop and make your list for that store. I know what you mean about “means well.” Been a victim of that a few times myself!

        2. Forgot to say – freeze the basil in olive oil – use ice-cube trays and then just pop them into ziploc bags or freezer containers once frozen.

          1. Hi Margie. Thank you so much for mentioning how to easily preserve basil. I received two bunches yesterday.
            Every time I buy or receive basil goes bad I use. Again, thank thank you.

      2. Our Kroger and Walmart have free grocery pickup. You drive up and they bring it and put it in your vehicle. So easy. Maybe you could use a taxi for that.

        1. Hi Susan,

          I’ll look into that. The taxi fare will be about $30 to the nearest grocery store.
          thanks for the suggestion. Ann

          1. Well I do all my shopping that way. If you order $35 minimum there is no fee. But they have delivery. Kroger is $10 for that and they deliver to your house. Walmart will ship free for a $35 min order BUT you must be careful and make sure you they don’t see each item as a separate order and charge shipping for each item.

    2. Are there any local programs that help seniors with errands and trips? My mom has recently been receiving this, which is a big help. The lady comes three times a week to clean, but can also take her places if she needs to go.

      1. Thanks, Alice for the suggestion. Yes, there is one such program. Ironically, I got my friend with MS signed up for it. She has had great volunteers. I myself signed up but then went over the low income level just slightly. I am thinking that it is a waste of time to buy groceries every week. I used to only buy them once or twice a month and am now going back to that scheme of things. Time to diet! (LOL)

  7. We are enjoying slightly cooler weather. I didn’t really save any money this week but I didn’t really spend any either. I brought home 75 boxes of Velveeta shells and cheese. I could have gotten more but I was so tired I just couldn’t manage the energy needed. Sugar cookie pulled a lovely bed side lamp from a pile at the trash center at her sisters apartment complex. Apparently ,many people are moving as their leases are up due to the $500.00 A month rent increase. The stuff people leave behind is unbelievable. There’s so much that the compactor won’t hold it all. College daughters books this semester are horrendous. An average of $400.00 A book. I’m not sure if it is acceptable to buy an ebook for $40.00 and print it. We have the ink and plenty of paper . I will need to check on that. I’m sure sugar cookie could handle that assignment. She could bind each chapter in a nice folder. While in the city one night ,my college daughter and I went dumpster diving. She continues to smirk at me but that package of 18 triple rolls of T P was quickly rescued. I though she was going to go in head first after it. She said she was down to her last emergency roll. Back in our hometown tonight ,sugar cookie and I hit our favorite locations. We brought home a large assortment of items from Dollar General. I know we have gogurts and Hostess snack cakes. Most of it will be passed on to some needy families. I’ll pull some things for college girl. She works hard but is definitely feeling the strain of a higher education. My son was tickled pink at the case of Bubba burgers. About 21 lbs worth. There’s a case of Live size 4 diapers , I will pass to his friends baby. For all of $2.00 I have 2 three piece Carter’s sets of winter clothes and the diapers. I believe that makes a pretty decent birthday gift. I’m continuing to make notes on items I can use to make things with. I have new meds and they have the potential to make my life better. Even if only short term. Im looking at now to obtain them for less. Perhaps a different policy.

    1. Lillianna, I hope the new meds do help you! In my opinion, there is no reason all of us can’t have decent quality of life. Not perfect but decent.
      Yay you and all your diving! Always amazing!

    2. Hi Lillianna,
      I teach at a community college, and all of our textbooks are on course reserve at the library. Of course, a student can buy them, but they can also check them out (free) and use them for a few hours at the library. I’m pretty sure most colleges do this. Maybe not the most convenient, but I have a lot of students who read (or take photos of) the book in the library between classes.
      Good luck to your daughter!

    3. When I taught at a college, I allowed my students to use the textbook edition that was the next-to-latest. They could get that book for mere dollars compared to $100 or more. And the information between editions wasn’t significant to change the course content.

    4. I purchased a textbook, but had a classmate that couldn’t afford to. I copied every page and made her a binder copy. Looking back, I’m sure that was copywriter infringement…. But at 18 I just wanted to help out a nice person and honestly didn’t even think about anything beyond that. 🤦🏼‍♀️

      I would actually prefer printed texts in binders, that way your daughter can easily make notes or add pages to the binder of her notes without defacing a ridiculously expensive textbook!

  8. *I love the last picture of the rose. I’m inspired by your gardening endeavors and picked up a Beginner’s Gardening DVD from the library. It didn’t cost me any money since I volunteer at the library. I also picked up a couple of children’s books. I love to collect them, especially the old ones. I have a very old book where the author wished to go to the moon someday!
    *I started watching Murdoch Mysteries but it was too violent/ graphic for me, especially since we watch TV as a family, so I bought Father Brown instead. I’d appreciate cleaner show and movie recommendations from the readers (thank you, in advance).
    *I fixed a $5 Lee jeans for the 5th time and this time it fits perfectly. Every time I did something different to turn these size 11/12 jeans into a size 8/10 ones and this time it worked!
    *I returned a dress to Kohl’s that I didn’t like. While I was there, I bought 2 Fall-themed kitchen towels for around $3 after discounts and coupons.
    *I was looking for a pair of sandals and added them to my cart at DSW for a better price later. I decided to buy it today but it was sold out already! I ended up buying another pair of sandals for $3.29. I was also eyeing another one but it was sold out in minutes!
    *All the climate crisis signs are rather worrisome- heatwaves in Europe, floods in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even DFW- :(. We continue to do our part and not waste anything, especially food. I semi-boiled a head of cauliflower today and used up almost all of it besides the stem. I will use it in stir fry, curry and fritters later. I do the same with broccoli.
    *My luxury/ treat for the week was 6 cans of canned beans. I usually make/ freeze mine but on rare occasions, there’s a no-food situation and I can whip up a delicious/frugal/fast/healthy meal comprised of black/white bean soup+ rice+ salad when I have a can of beans on hand. I hope and pray I continue to be grateful for everything God provides.

    1. The flooding in Pakistan is horrendous. I saw the video yesterday of the house falling into the river. Three milion people are displaced . . . over 900 are dead. A friend of mine who grew up in Karachi is posting about the situation on her Instagram stories everyday.

      If you like murder mysteries, try watching Foyle’s War.

      Just Add Magic was a fun children’s show on Amazon.

  9. I switched an in person dr appt to phone, which saved gas. Switched cat’s meds from ear lotion to pills, which saved 1/2 the cost, talked to next door neighbor tonight and we are going to pool our outdoor Halloween decor to both save costs and plan a theme. Picked up a book on fancy pie making at the library. (I just love being able to order books from other libraries and pick up at mine.) Even with another heatwave coming I’m still feeling like fall and that’s bringing out my hankering to bring my A game to some new pie styles for Thanksgiving. I think it was a good idea to stock up on tomatoes, i read recently they are predicting shortages of tomatoes due to drought. I didn’t plant them this year to save on water.

  10. Lovely photos as always.

    This has not been a very frugal two weeks. We have been in London for for hubby to have an op. I stayed in London in a hotel just across the square. I couldn’t take food with me as I couldn’t carry everything. There is a supermarket 3 mins up the road so I bought salads and fruit there instead of using the restaurant, I also took muesli and bought milk for tea. He was given several large boxes to bring home which we had not expected so I had to buy a small suitcase on wheels which I bought in Matalan for £35. Two shops further along they were selling the same case for £175 . Hubby was discharged 1 day early and the hotel refunded me the one night which they didn’t have to do. I used my rail card and bus pass for the journeys which saved some money.

    Since we have been home I have caught up with the garden produce canning and freezing it I have sliced and frozen the tomatoes, these will be defrosted and added to others then dehydrated. I have also pickled some beetroot.

    I have washed all the clothes we used while in London and dried them on the line. We didn’t get the rain that was forecast, they went around us, so my waterbutts are still empty.

    I am knitting frantically as I have a jumper part done and have been asked for 2 pairs of socks by a customer.

    Keep safe

  11. Brandy , I would like to ask who you use for health Insurance since your husband is self employed. We must find our own policy and I am asking others who are self employed. Any information you can provide would be a huge help.

    1. I will not discuss our personal health insurance situation but hopefully others can help with suggestions!

      1. The health insurance marketplace (affordable care act/ also known as Obamacare) will give you quotes on all the companies that offer health insurance in your state, along with any reductions based on your income. is the website. Also you can see all the carriers in the state, and then go direct to their websites to see more information. I am not a fan of brokers since they don’t carry everyone, they carry their select few…so I would recommend spending a few hours on your computer doing your homework. Then once you know who is offering what, then a broker can make the paperwork easier. Also, if you are Christian, there are a variety of faith based cost sharing plans that are much less expensive (however, check their maximum coverage levels). My husband has huge health issues and I felt we would get to their lifetime maximum too soon for him. Other faiths may have similar plans.

    2. My husband is self-employed so we have been buying our own insurance for the last 7 years. The first 18 months we used COBRA as my husband had been laid off. Since we were older (58 and 60) COBRA was cheaper than the ACA (Obamacare) policies available to us. Also, the ACA premium is based on your age and yearly income. When my husband was laid off it was late in the year so our income was already over the limit to receive a subsidy. Once we were finished with COBRA we went onto the ACA. Again, the premiums are based on your age(s) and yearly income. For us the ACA was more expensive, with a much higher deductible and were for the most part narrow network HMOs.

      Due to Covid the subsidies are now available for a wider range of incomes, so you may be able to find a reasonably priced policy.
      My biggest problems with the ACA , apart from the high premiums were the massive deductibles ($7000 per person) and the limited coverage (only in our county and one other). Be sure to check whether or not your preferred doctors/hospitals are in-network.

      Healthsherpa is a great website that allows you to put in your personal info and shows you what policies are available and how much they will cost. The suggestion for a broker is good as well.

      1. Our experience was the opposite: ACA was much better than COBRA, though we didn’t realize it until we had gone through our full time with COBRA.

    3. Health insurance varies significantly state to state, depending on whether you are in a state that expanded Medicaid or not. My self employed sons asked me to research the options in our state and they elected to get the cheapest insurance with a 7,000 dollar deductible. That does allow you to establish a HSA account but many cannot afford to contribute to that account for the deductible. I recommend going on the Affordable Healthcare Marketplace and type in your state, family size, location, income, etc. and see what is available in your state. As Julie suggested, you may want to also ask an independent broker. I have heard of some folks going with one of the Christian health sharing options but I don’t know how that really works if there is a catastrophic health situation.

    4. We went through an insurance broker when my husband was between jobs. We got a plan through the ACA marketplace that was a good price. It had a high deductible so we were able to open an HSA, which is a great thing to be able to do. The broker doesn’t charge anything and he really helped us navigate through the different plans available.

    5. Jessi Fearon is an American finance blogger, whose husband is self-employed. She talks about using Healthcare Sharing Ministries. I know nothing about that (and only have the vaguest idea of how it works) but you could easily Google her blog posts about it. Best of luck!

    6. I use a health share ministry and they are decent at reimbursing me for my expenses related to annual wellness exams. However, my husband had two procedures, one in November 2020 and another in February 2021, and the ministry has not yet paid those bills. We are caught between collection calls and bills that have been submitted for payment but not yet paid…

  12. We have been cooking at home. Even when we visited my son and grandchildren we cooked at home. We felt great and the food was good. We were in shock when we saw the prices of chicken at what is usually our cheapest store. When comparing it to other stores, It was the cheapest store. Yikes! We made an excellent keto cabbage dish at home, using what we had this week. My husband loved it! We are using more beans and what we have on hand. Although my husband did buy peanut butter this week. He loves peanut butter and it makes an inexpensive sandwich. We did buy some whole chickens and cooked one this week. Then we froze what we didn’t eat right away. I forgot to freeze the bones and skin and forgot they were in the drawer. So I didn’t get my broth I usually make. I usually make it right away, but there were other things that needed done so oh well. I will do better next time, or I hope to. I decided to use a cheaper face cream. It works well enough. I’m growing out my hair. I have only had it done twice in the last three years. My husband actually says he likes the color growing out. It almost looks like I have highlights and lowlights coming in! At least that is what he told me. I’ll be happy when I get all the old colored hair cut off, but that will be awhile. I have been studying French this week. I borrowed books from the library. I was so happy when I actually had a dream in French! That hadn’t happened in years. But I hadn’t studied this intensively in years either. It has been so nice to study something that I truly enjoy! I enjoyed playing the piano this week. Free entertainment! We hope to pick crabapples from my son’s crabapple tree this week and make pickled spiced crabapples. He already said we could. His tree is loaded! We haven’t done that in a long time. But we really enjoyed eating them last time we did that! I woke up early today to get a head start on cleaning. I hope to pick some veggies today as well. Hopefully, I can process them as well. I love that I feel so good today. I think it is because I am eating better. More veggies! I also am doing some things that I enjoy. That always makes it nice to wake up and get the day started. Cleaning makes me feel so much better about my house! So doing things in the morning works. My husband saw me cleaning this morning and he jumped in and helped me as well! So nice to have the help! I want to save for winter when my husband gets less hours. But it seems more difficult to do that. We are eating at home, and that helps. I will be on the lookout for sales. Otherwise, we will eat mostly what we have. I hope to go through seed in the next few days and get some in the ground. It will help spread our budget! I’m glad we have Kale growing and I need to cut the Basil and Oregano. I want to dry some and make some pesto out of some of the Basil. When I have a nice meal at home, it makes my husband and son very happy! That makes me feel good. My husband is making sandwiches today from frozen turkey from a turkey we made a while ago. I’m so happy to have it. I did very little shopping this week. We just bought a few items for dinner when we went to visit our grandkids. I am glad my husband is easy to please when it come to meals. He likes his protein though. I’m happy that he likes eggs and casseroles. You can use less meat in casseroles. I can make Indian bean dishes and add a hard boiled egg and he is happy. This week I will probably make some dishes with tuna. Both my son and husband enjoy Tuna Thoran. It is an Indian dish I discovered a few years back when googling dishes with tuna. We are definitely eating more beans and soups. But they are healthy! Kale will be on the menu this week as we are growing it. I need to go out and look at it today. I was happy it rained this week. That meant no watering. It has been pretty dry before that. Just when I thought I needed to water, it rained! Blessings! I love your blog Brandy and look forward to reading it every week. I look forward to seeing your aprons. I really need an apron. I am plus sized so finding one for sale is difficult. Oh, we bought sheets this week. We really need them. I was so happy that I got some hints from people as to where to go. Thank-you!

    1. I get hungry just reading your post, Tammy. It is nice to hear how well things are going, how you’re managing even in tough times. Spiced pickled crabapples make a wonderful Christmas present! Ann

      1. Hi Ann!
        I hope to pick the crabapples tomorrow. That is a good idea to give the spiced pickled crabapples as Christmas presents! I hope you are well.

    2. Tammy, I have come back several times to read your comment, because the tone was fascinating — I probably need a daily dose of “Tammy,” because I am just astounded at the number of references to hope and happiness and gratitude that are just organically woven throughout this comment. Beautiful!

  13. Our daughter and SIL came over last Monday and borrowed our van and utility trailer so they could pick up the first cord of wood that they ordered for winter. They have another cord to pick up another cord this week so they will keep our van until that’s done. That trailer hitch and trailer have really been a good investment for us to use and to share! They left us their CRV so we still have a second vehicle if we need it. We can all sense that summer will be over soon and we want be prepared for whatever kind of winter comes!

    Quilts #266, 267 and 268 quilted by Lenni for an 80 year old client. She kept a big box of quilt blocks that she made in the 1990’s – early 2000’s without putting them together into quilts because her husband (since deceased) and her daughter made fun of them and said she was untalented. One of my 86 year old clients saw them as she helped her pack to move into a seniors only apartment complex where her daughter and grandchildren couldn’t move in with her and continue mooching! 😒 My 86 year old client and friend put those blocks together and these 3 now make 6 total quilts that I’ve quilted for her. It costs nothing to be kind and encouraging when someone is learning something new!,, and

    Yesterday, as Church was ending, a friend passed me a small bag and thanked me. When I looked in the bag this morning (I don’t work on Sundays), I saw it was a small baby quilt that she wanted me to quilt for her. So this morning, I loaded it on Lenni and 20 minutes later, it (Quilt #269) was ready for pick up. Just a $16 quilting income for this one b because I don’t charge a minimum, but it still works to an hourly rate of $48! So I’m happy for the work and even little dribs and drabs of income here and there add up these days!!

    I ordered the liquid rennet and citric acid needed to make mozzarella cheese. It takes tiny amounts, so the cost looks pretty affordable (imo). I used your Amazon link, Brandy, and then looked for them on the site. Hopefully, you are getting credit for that! I’m trying to be more mindful about getting to Amazon through your links here so that will happen! The recipe I’ll be using is :

    I let my “fingers do the walking” and ordered 3 big packages of toilet paper from Costco that was delivered at no charge within 2 days, saving me time and cost of gas. I also ordered their house brand of Tylenol, ibuprofen and generic decongestants and antihistamine. Our thought is if we have those stocked up, we won’t have to worry about driving to the store to pick them up when: weather is bad, we don’t feel well, prices go even higher or they might not be in stock. We’re getting older and it’s a good feeling to know that we don’t have to go out to the store unless we want to!

    Hubs had some oral surgery on Tuesday- a wisdom tooth that had never emerged decided to make an appearance and create some havoc. Grateful we were able to put it on our bank cc, get cash rewards to put into our savings account and have it paid off in full before the statement comes. This month we have put $40 in rewards cash back into savings! Way better than the 14 cents in interest they paid us during the same time period! That’s the reason we keep that savings account open- because it’s with our home bank that our other primary accounts are kept in so transferring money is easy.

    I was blessed to be able to trade some veg seeds with a friend for some dill seed she had, so now I can add that to the herbs I grow!

    Went up to Amish produce auction this morning for the first time this season. I could use some hot peppers and onions for the salsa I’ll be making this afternoon. Plus, it’s a fun date for Hubs and me!! I thought Hubs holding my hand would be not only romantic but pragmatic to keep me from raising my bidding paddle. Unfortunately, we got separated with 2 different auctioneers going! I bought 4 bushels of chopper bell peppers (110 pounds total), 2 bushels of canner tomatoes (106 pounds total) 4 pecks of hot Hungarian peppers (28 pounds) and 5 pounds of large candy onions! Cost me $79.50 for the 249 pounds of fresh picked today local produce (31 cents a pound)!!!!! It “may” be more than I intended so I will probably mention the extra on FB to my friends for sale. It was exhilarating! But, knowing there are only 2 of us, you can see why I try to limit my trips there! 🤪🤪😳

    Hope everyone is finding ways to combat the crazy high prices! After watching Foyle’s War tv series and seeing how they had to deal will food shortages and rationing and cooking, I won’t complain about our current situation with inflation, etc!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Hi Brandy:
        Just checking that if I go to Amazon through your link and then choose something on my Amazon “wish list,” add it to my cart, and purchase, that you will sget credit? That is my usual way, and just making sure that you still get credit if I buy something already on my wish list? (If not, I will change how I go about this. Since I also purchase on Amazon for extended family as well as our household, I want to be sure you are getting credit). Thanks for all you do!

        1. Yes! It just has to be added to your cart and purchased within 24 hours after going through my link.

      2. I go through your link for Amazon purchases, but I wanted to make sure this works. I leave the Amazon tab up and just use it each time. Is that ok, or do I need to click from your site each time I make a purchase? I buy a lot from Amazon, and I want to support your wonderful blog!!

        1. Thanks for asking! I only get credit for anything you add to your cart after going through to my link to Amazon and purchasing it within 24 hours. You don’t have to get the items I linked but you do have to go through my site to get there.

    1. Pat, I read your paragraph about the quilt pieces your client never put together because her husband and daughter mocked her talent, and then I checked your photos on Pinterest and I just felt like crying, because those quilts are so pretty! She (and they) could have been enjoying and appreciating them all these years. Whoever said “words can’t hurt” must never have had people they cared about mock and insult them. I hope seeing them made into beautiful works of art provided her with some healing of those particular wounds. As you say, it costs nothing to be kind and encouraging, dangit!!

  14. This week is wedding week for my daughter in another city so not very frugal but we will be saving money where we can. My other 3 daughters, sons-in-laws, 4 grandchildren, and my husband and myself found a very large house as an Airbnb to stay in for the wedding, which is a bigger savings over a hotel. We will be bringing and cooking our own food. To save additional money for the wedding we will pick up the flowers from the florist with a tutorial on how to make our own floral arrangements, corsages, bouquets, and boutonnieres. We have been eating all our meals from home and watching for any good deals at the grocery store. When I am at the grocery store I usually buy at least one extra of something to put in the pantry. We are also keeping our meals very simple and easy. I harvested Swiss chard, green beans, tomatoes, basil, oregano, and cucumbers from the garden. I am drying my herbs. It has been cooler in the mornings so I have been opening the windows until it gets too hot. I have a long commute to work so I have been listening to audio books on Hoopla.

  15. Brandy I can’t wait to see the aprons. I wear one almost constantly as well whether it be in the garden or kitchen. Your pictures are stunning as always-the sage one is cool.

    -From the apples we picked for free on state land, I got 13 quarts of apple pie filling, 7 pints of apple sauce, and a fresh apple pie.
    -I transplanted my chives to a different part of the garden. I had 2 plants. I split one and replanted it for 2 plants. I harvested the other and I have 2 dehydrators going with chives.
    -I canned 4 pints of green beans. The deer ate my beans off twice. They are doing well now. Hope to get more. We also dug 3 hills of russet potatoes. They produced as much as the reds. This will be a good potato year, which is good since I am hearing of shortages. Once we lift the rest, I will can some and root cellar the rest to use throughout the winter.
    -I purchased and pre-paid for a half bushel of small cucumbers this spring. They came this week. I purchased some dill and made 25 quarts of dill pickles. So glad they were paid for this spring as they were double the price at the farm market.
    -I made a double batch of blueberry muffins, half went with hubby for Bible study and half stayed here. I left 6 out and froze the other 6. I also made tapioca pudding with some half and half that was past the use date but wasn’t yet soured. Yum, not sure why I don’t make this more often. So good and easy.
    -Used the small potatoes nickel to quarter size from digging potatoes. Soaked and scrubbed well, cut in half and oven roasted them with some smoked sausage and onions for a meal. Potatoes some would have thrown, but they made a meal for us.
    -I made a table cloth from some fabric bought a while back. It is a red plaid fabric from Longaberger. I found the original piece first, it was a card table square table cloth, so small, I bought it for the fabric. Then I found a 2 yard piece of matching fabric. Both of these pieces were bought at a thrift store. I used the remainder of the heavy, cotton muslin curtain valance I had picked up and used for pillow backs. I added the muslin in strips around the square tablecloth and then added the plaid from the 2 yards in strips onto the muslin. This will work for fall and Christmas. I always use tablecloths to protect my tabletop. There are enough scraps to make a table runner for my Christmas bin.
    -Creative Leftover use: I cubed up a leftover pork chop and boiled potatoes. I added leftover gravy and we had this over a slice of bread for lunch. I had a half cup of sheet pan supper left-potatoes, onions, and smoked sausage (many people would have thrown this). I diced them into smaller pieces, heated in a skillet with a bit of oil and added 2 scrambled eggs and with the last 2 blueberry muffins we had breakfast.
    Have a great week!

      1. Ann in Colorado. My husband says he doesn’t like leftovers and I am not one to waste especially now. So I try to make something else with those leftovers and he is content to eat it since to him it seems like a new meal. I also freeze leftovers into another serving for us for a week or two later and he is ok with that as well. I just have to get him to think he is getting something new and different!

  16. Last week was one of more Winter preparation for us. We cleaned the pipe for our wood stove. The going rate in our area for such a job is $300 so we are glad we can do it ourselves and actually enjoy it, sooty hands and all. We also got all the kindling we should need for the season split and stacked in its home on the porch. We already have wood split and stacked for the next 3 Winters but are always looking for more. We have two trees down in the woods not too far from our house that will be processed this Fall. The old adage that firewood heats you twice is so true – once when you split it and once when you burn it. It’s great exercise, time spent together and free minus our labor. We look forward to the first fire of the season every year.
    *I had some success at Goodwill – a lamp for my youngest son’s dresser for $8 and two aprons for me for $2 each. They were handmade by someone of a linen/cotton blend and I love them. I definitely could not have made them for $2 so I was very happy with that find. *I helped at our church’s rummage sale and did not buy one thing!
    *Our whole family did paid yard work for a neighbor.
    *Sold eggs and bartered some for canned goods.
    *I used points from rewards apps for Amazon gift cards and used it for a new duvet cover for my youngest son. I hadn’t been able to find him one at thrift stores but using the gift cards brought the price down by 50%.
    *Had my first grocery trip all month. You all have not been kidding about the prices! The one that blew me away was 3 lbs. of ground turkey was $17. I could get it for $7-8 at one time. Needless to say, I did not buy any – just very basic staples we needed to replenish like oatmeal, etc. I used a pre-paid VISA card I had received as a rebate for buying my contacts earlier this summer. That made the current OOP expense half of what it would have been.
    *We are still eating from the garden and pantry and putting things up for Winter.
    *I washed all of our pillows and pillow protectors and dried them in the sun with the rest of the laundry. There is nothing better, in my opinion, than sun-dried linens and pillows for a wonderful night’s sleep and it helps to prolong the life of our belongings – one of our main frugal tactics, take very good care of your things and they take care of you.
    *And….I finished my boys’ rooms! Praise the Lord! That was a solid month of hard work but so worthwhile. We still need to remove and paint their windows but that is a project in and of itself which we will get to before cold weather sets in. I will also need to make them curtains but that will happen soon, too. I am on the lookout for ready made or fabric to transform at thrift stores. I also repainted their current bookcases with paint I found on the mistint table at Lowe’s for 50% off the regular price. It is exactly the color we wanted anyway so frugality did not involve any compromises in this case.
    *Still haven’t had too much reading time so still enjoying “Lilac Girls.”
    *Wishing everyone a lovely week!

    1. Mountain mama Dawn,
      I just checked out Lilac Girls- I am looking forward to it. My dad used to say it warmed us three times, once when getting it in, twice when splitting, and the third time when burning it. We bring this up every year when we are out in the woods harvesting that downed wood. Ah, memories! I just lost my dad last month so we are remembering these moments more right now.

      1. I agree! Though we often try to have the getting the wood and splitting it happen in the same day but that doesn’t always happen, of course. I’m glad you have such special memories of your dad. They are precious!

  17. Thanks for the tip about using the online ordering option for Sams Club – I do have a plus membership (there was a special deal awhile ago that offered an upgrade to plus for $10 instead of $55) and didn’t think to check and see if they have dried black beans, but they do, and for almost the same price as pinto beans. I ordered a couple of 12 lb bags. Our local club used to carry them but hasn’t had them in years.

    1. I have never even seen black beans at our Sam’s Club!

      Perhaps I should look up several more things on their website!

    2. Brandy: I loved Foyle’s War!

      Put up 3 gallons of green beans and 3 gallons of okra. Also 6 pints of green peppers. The weather here is unbearably muggy! Hopefully we will get a break soon!

      Polished all of our furniture and oil-mopped our hardwood floors. Scrubbed all our bathrooms from floor to ceiling. Whew!

      Went thrifting and bought nothing. Doing better with impulse buying.

      One of my daughter’s lives in Boston. Read that the Northeast has 50% less heating oil than last year; 60% less diesel fuel. Very concerning. I believe that the small relief we’re seeing in certain areas is momentary. Strictly political. “Something wicked this way comes”! Hope I am wrong!

      Plan to make a chocolate cake this week and some caramels. Am in need of new food recipes. Need to search through my recipe books!

      Looking forward to Fall. My favorite time of the year! Fall and SEC football. Nothing better!

      Hope everyone stays safe and happy. Revel and dwell on the positive, but never take your eye off the negative! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

  18. Your posts each week and the comments help me feel connected and inspired, especially in this economy. It makes it doable and I rather focus on that then worry.

    I did barter with a co worker orthotic sandals for my mom for some butternut squash from my garden.

    Brewed chai tea at home to have over ice at work. I used milk I had received for free in it as well.

    My job has a free food truck come by each week. It varies a lot and is mostly dairy. We are allowed to take 2 items each visit. In the beginning I tried new things, or things that were treats. I’m making a little note each week to look for needed staple items instead. I want to use this gift with purpose.

    Hand embroidered a gift for a friend. I did French knots in her favorite colors in a large first letter of her name. I used a decorative fabric scrap, floss and hoop (to display) all from my stash.

    A heat wave while out of town did most of my garden in. I will leave the kale and chard alone, and get the rest cleaned out and plant some salad greens.

    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. J, this is how I feel as well. When my husband passed away unexpectedly last year, this weekly haven of beauty and positive encouragement helped me through some very difficult hours. Even when I don’t post, I read and learn and feel uplifted and connected.

      Recently, I went back to my post about my husband’s passing, and re-read all the lovely comments, including one I hadn’t seen from a dear person asking point blank if there was anything she could do to help me. I was overwhelmed, all over again, by the kindness, compassion, empathy, and encouragement from this community.

  19. I am so thankful that our temperatures have come down out of the nineties as the garden is now producing more. I harvested another two quarts of crowder peas and my white acre peas and pink eyed peas are coming in nicely. I have ears of corn on my plants and the okra is producing as well. The tomatoes are slowing down but o have several green ones that I will pull this week to make a batch of chow chow that I will can.
    I have plans to get my fall garden planted this weekend to take advantage of the three days off. I have taken out and organized my seeds and drawn out my plan for what vegetables will be planted where. I have seeds for cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bok choy, snow peas, shelling peas, green beans, mustard greens, collards, Swiss chard, celery, and spinach. I didn’t get a good green bean harvest this summer so I am ripping out the plants and trying again for a fall crop.
    I am beginning to plan the bulbs I want to plant this fall and have been shopping around looking for the best quality and prices. I am looking forward to planting these as well as seeing the flowers come to life in our yard as well as our home.
    I found split chicken breast for $1.99/lb and bought 50 pounds. This is the lowest price I have seen in our area. I also stocked up on pasta that was running low in my pantry.
    I froze bananas that were past their prime for bread baking later this week. I cooked a large whole chicken in the crockpot and shredded it for chicken tacos which my family loves. I cooked a large batch of pinto beans in the instant pot and a large batch of Spanish rice. My son Is enjoying bean burritos in his school lunch daily.
    I discovered that we have a persimmon tree in our backyard this week. I have never eaten persimmons or had
    Any experience cooking with them so if anyone has any recipes or advice I would appreciate it. Judging by the amount of fruit I see hanging on the tree now the harvest should be fairly generous.
    Enjoy the week ahead!

    1. If you haven’t checked out Van Engelen for bulbs, I encourage you to do so. I learned about them from Brandy a few years ago and have been ordering ever since. They are the healthiest, best quality bulbs I have ever seen and, since they sell in bulk, are very reasonably priced. The day my bulbs arrive is always a cause for celebration. Have fun!

    2. Hi Angie,

      We’ve cut up persimmons and frozen them for smoothies. They’re quite good that way. If you have the variety that you can eat when they’re still somewhat firm, I like them sliced on a salad like tomatoes.

  20. We are blessed with 16 grandkids from ages 25 years to 16 months. One of the things my husband and I enjoy is watching the grandchildren compete in sports through the school system. Our local school district offers a free “Maroon” card to residents of the district who are 65 years or older. This card offers the bearer free admission to any games, concerts, plays, UIL competitions, etc. that are hosted by any of the local schools. My husband and I, who are on retirement income, are grateful for the opportunity to participate in many activities offered in our community through the generosity of our local school district.

    1. This is such a good idea for the school district to have! I will pass the idea on to our school board.

      Thanks for sharing,

    2. This is great! I’m going to contact my local school district to see if they offer anything like it. If they don’t, I’ll suggest it!

  21. We must have canned tomatoes on the brain. After seeing the shortages their predicting because of the California tomato crop issues, I stocked up on crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. After living in Naples, Italy I prefer several Italian brands Cento is a good balance of quality and price for tomatoes and paste. My subscribe and save on Amazon had great prices so I stocked up for my Italian dishes especially my homemade pizza sauce one 29 oz can of crushed tomatoes will make four pizzas. That’s a month of pizza for us. I’m also stocking up on other tomato products as I see sales at the commissary. Big news we harvested our first pineapple this week and two dragon fruit. We successfully completed a week of Electronics fasting during our staycation. We trimmed our avocado, pressure washed, and cooked everything from Moroccan Tagine my husband’s specialty to Indian butter chicken. I made banana oatmeal raisin cookies, Naan bread and an All American Loaf. We combined a trip to the dump up north with a beach walk and picnic and a trip to the other commissary, a return at home Depot and the feed store to save gas. It doesn’t seem like much on a small island like Guam but.we figured we saved 4 trips or 8 gallons of gas which is still $5 a gallon here. I can’t wait to see the aprons.

    1. Thanks for mentioning Cento. I see it in my grocery store and wondered if it was good. We make our our pizzas at home also. I have been trying to get the cost down though, so I will try making my own sauce. I usually just use a jar of pasta sauce. Mozzarella seems to be my biggest expense….we like whole milk and I don’t see many options.

    2. I make my own pizza at home as well. I have never purchased pizza sauce for pizza making. I’d read ingredients on the can and just use tomato sauce, a bit of sugar (1 level teaspoon per 8 ounces), 1 tsp dried oregano and either a bit of fresh garlic or garlic powder, a little salt. This works really well as a substitute for me.

      1. Your pizza sauce recipe sounds close to mine. I have also used pasta/marinara sauce in a pinch. I find straining some of the water out makes it thicker and more suitable for pizza. 🙂

        1. I have also used pasta sauce in a pinch and recently found a recipe (which I altered) for a nearly-as-quick, thicker sauce: a can of tomato paste and a can of tomato sauce mixed. (That’s the ratio; obviously use as many cans of each as needed). I usually use a whisk. Then just add whatever your desired spices are — garlic or onion powder (or garlic salt), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, sugar, etc. I like a lot of spice, so I’m likely to add a T of basil, a couple t of the others… If not using meat on the pizza, adding fennel to the sauce can add the sausage-like flavor.

      2. I also make my own pizza sauce…not sure where I got the recipe, but similar to yours, Terri C, except that I use tomato paste with about a cup of water added for each of the small cans I use. Sometimes we have extra, so I’ll store the extra in a jar in the freezer and keep adding to it every time we have pizza until I have enough that I don’t have to make a new batch one of the times I’m making pizza.

    3. I was given three big cans of Cento crushed tomatoes. I have never used crushed tomatoes before. How do you use them? Thank you to all in advance.

      1. How nice! We use large amount of them in chili or in homemade red sauce for pasta…especially on a cold winter day when simmering on the stove will add wonderful humidity and heat to the house as the crushed tomatoes slowly cook down… I have also used them in Brandy’s delicious Tuscan tomato bread soup. Since Cento are so delicious, I’d save those for red sauce or Brandy’s soup if I had others for chili.

      2. Maxine, I just use them ”as is” in soups, stews and such. I also love tomato juice, but it’s kind of expensive and isn’t sold at all in our village grocery store. I puree crushed tomatoes with an immersion blender, add water (and rinse the packaging) and puree some more. I love it!

    4. Also love Cento tomatoes! Our dollar store had 28 ounce cans of Muir Glen crushed tomatoes for $1.25, so I purchased a few But in my opinion, Cento is the best!

    5. I was excited to find cento crushed tomatoes this week at a bent and dent grocery store. 29 oz cans were 2 for $1.35!

  22. -My mother always taught me to ask, if you don’t ask the answer is always no. Saw a Chi straightener on Freebie Guy social media. It was $30 instead of regular $120 at Ulta. I happened to be in a larger town with an Ulta, none in the teal color he pictured were on the shelf. But there was a red one with similar wording for $120, took to register for price check and wow it’s only $30, will be a great birthday gift for 12 yo niece in Sept. plus it included a little make up bag of sample products. I always take a screen shot of deals like this so I’m looking for the right thing at the store.
    -Sept 3 is some sort of new movie holiday. Tons of theaters around the country are having all movies for only $3 ticket price on Sept 3. Our local movie chain is starting to sell tickets for Saturday online today. Plus some chains are having specials on concessions also. Loved Maverick, may have to go again.
    -This will be really lame to some of you but they just opened a new Dollar General in our rural area. It will be fantastic to be able to run in there is you need a last minute gift or birthday card or oops I’m out of dog food instead of the 17 miles one way trip into town. It was almost fully stocked and so organized. Hope it stays that way.
    -If you are thinking of eliminating cable you might consider Hulu Live. Friends just put it in at college town condo and it wasn’t bad at all for $200 a month less than the previous cable. It had way more channels than I would have expected plus locals. Really great for a vacation home.

    1. My mother says her father always told her, “Don’t ask, don’t get.” My children are starting to quote her and are learning to speak up.

    2. I was so happy when they opened a Dollar General in my rural town where I am during the week! Then, they opened a Family Dollar and I was over the moon happy! The one grocery store there closed so this is a blessing!

  23. Gas was $3.21 a gallon in the University town, and today was $3.49 in the small town where I work, and yesterday it was $3.59 on the interstate south of Montgomery. I bought bowls I needed at Walmart for fifty cents a piece. I went to Walmart to refill my prepaid apply straight talk phone for $55 for my trusty iphone 6. I am sure I will end up having to replace it soon. I don’t have internet at my house because of the long work hours, and I want some separation from work and home, although it is really hard to do. Plus, I just don’t want to pay for it and want to stay off the computer when home, if possible. I really just eat a late supper, and sleep there anyways. However, I do get calls occasionally from officers in the middle of the night for work so I need a phone if I have to look something up. The work cell phone, ironically, won’t pick up where I am during the week and it doesn’t function half the time anyways. So, my personal trusty iphone 6 for the win! I still have not fixed the air at my house during the week (electric bill was $36 again and is mostly fees), and use a fan, but, to be real, I make up for it when I am in University town on weekends. I need to quit lowering the temp so much on weekends! I am still sleeping a lot post Covid, but I managed to get a couple of short walks in on the weekend. I just get so tired so easily. I bought Benadryl, Tylenol, etc. after being ill, and bought new toothbrushes. I don’t count any of my grocery purchases as a win this week because the price of everything is sky high. I did lose 5 lbs because of Covid though. Still bringing my lunch to work. Really, I don’t feel like I am saving any money anywhere and just spending. But I am blessed to be alive so I am not complaining. I won’t be flying to see grandchildren at Christmas because of the price increases though, but I will save up to see them sometime in the spring. It is ok, pioneer grandmothers sometimes never got to see their grandchildren as they pushed West, so I feel blessed to live in a time where I can hop on a plane or drive a car.

    1. Cindy, as far as saving money goes, I try to think of it this way…I may be paying more now, but I am much more aware of what and where I spend and anything I spend now is an investment against higher prices for the same thing. I hope you are back to health soon…Covid made me tired and for a long time melancholy. It eventually went away, but it was hard.

  24. Brandy, your pictures are always so pretty, but that sage is my absolute favorite ever!

    It’s been over 3 weeks since I got COVID but I am still coughing a lot. I went in for a breathing treatment and that helped. I could finally take a deep breath without coughing up a lung. I’m dealing with residual COVID, asthma and now ragweed allergies. I want off this crazy ride!!! On the bright side, I’ve regained some energy. I’m back to cooking dinner regularly, I can concentrate to read or do an activity, and I’m no longer sleeping 12 hrs. out of 24 between nighttime and napping.

    Now we need to make up some lost ground from being sick. We had a few groceries and prescriptions delivered. Doctor copays.
    Prescription copays. Running part of the sprinklers instead of hand watering. Using the dryer instead of hanging everything.
    And probably more I’m not thinking of. This all costs extra and will affect us for at least another month as bills come in, etc.
    It was an expensive illness. Not nearly as bad as it could’ve been, but still threw us for a loop.

    I was surprised to see how many of you àrent fond of audio books. I think they’re the greatest invention! My first was probably 30 yrs. ago. A friend gave us The Firm by John Grisham. I had a 90-120 minute daily RT commute in Los Angeles. The first day I listened on my drive, I was completely disturbed because I didn’t recall any of my drive!! I was THAT absorbed! Since then, I’ve primarily listened while doing an activity. Mostly crafting or painting in the house. I pause it when I’m reading directions, but have no problem concentrating. My friend that crochets does the same thing. I’m waiting for one from the library right now and my craft room is so quiet.

    In other book news,
    On my nightstand – Front Runner by Felix/Dick Francis.
    With my Bible study – For the Love of Christian Homemaking by Mrs. Sharon White.
    By my reading chair – Last Lessons of Summer by Margaret Maron.
    Watching – Father Brown on DVD.

    Looking forward to reading more of everyone’s posts. Teach me more, ladies!!

    1. One half tsp. molasses (any type) and olive oil (or any Oil) mixed together with do wonders for the cough and helping phlegm drain. I just used a little molasses when my cough was just about gone. I doubt I will ever buy couch syrup again.

      1. Thanks for the tip. I’m currently trying Fenugreek, which my dear friend swears by for drying me up.
        Funny story – My husband couldn’t find it and had to ask the pharmacist for help. Pharmacist asked him if his wife was lactating. Husband says, “That would be quite a surprise. She’s almost 60!”. Pharmacist told him it’s frequently used to help lactation. I told my friend that if my *girls* start squirting milk, she’s gonna be in deep fertilizer! Boy, did we have a good laugh.

    2. I hope you continue to gain strength, Debby. I’m with you, I love both audio books and reading. I listen to them in my car, while doing quiet gardening (not mowing, though my husband does then!), ANF when chopping veg/meal prep. I love how you list what you’re reading where and I started doing that when I write letters to my sister. Thank you for that idea!

      1. You’re welcome! I’ve learned of so many good books from here. Even if it’s just a title like I write, I go see what a book is about. If it strikes my fancy, yippee!!! Thanks for the well wishes. It’s been a rough haul. 4 weeks this weekend. I’m a lot better, but I just want to be normal again!!

  25. Frugal Fail.. I found a recipe for Hot Sauce, my husband uses it on everything and apparently it’s the wrong time of the year to try to get Red Chili Peppers $6 a pound plus habaneros onions bell pepper onion and lemon juice sugar and vinegar. It only made 2 pint size jars which he devoured one in a week but was so beyond happy with it. So for now we’ll eat the cost till next year when I can hopefully grow my own or find better pricing. The only place I can find them right now is at a International Market. Frugals are a member here and I exchanged items I had a bag of batting I wasn’t using (she’s a quilter) and some dill seeds from my garden, she brought Sugar Snap peas as I can’t find them this time of year without ordering them and she brought me eggs from her chickens. I planted the peas for a fall harvest and enjoyed the eggs a lot. I found carrots 5 pound bag $3.99 at that same market and plan to Can them this week. Sadly the chicken leg quarters I’ve been buying for years in the 10 pound bag have doubled in price over the past 2 months from 59 cents a pound to 99 cents a pound. Still a decent price but darn. I can a lot of this and use it in the winter for chicken and noodles and a mexican dish I make. We also feed our dogs some of it, they will be getting less with more veggies in the mix (they also eat dry dog food). I continue to use the library weekly for books and DVD’s instead of buying. I have stopped going to the thrift store and if I need something just buy it new it actually cost me less to buy whatever item I need versus all the tempting things at the thrift store that end up in my cart and cost more than the one item that I needed. We continue to cook all meals from home. Our wedding anniversary is this coming weekend and husband ask “What will we do for a special meal” I have a bag of shrimp in the deep freezer along with a bag of stir fry veggies so that is our dinner. I bought a box kit to make cheesecake so that will be our dessert. We usually buy this but the price is just crazy high in the stores anymore so will make our own. We found a Vet place for Seniors that gives free shots for our dogs so that will save us a lot of money and another place that does toe nail trims for $10 versus $17.50 at our current Vets saving us roughly $150 a year we have 5 dogs. They will not let us do their nails, they pull tug run and hide under the beds sigh. Brandy that is awesome that you can work with your friend on getting free shipping on the tomato sauce. I use You Tube a lot too to watch/listen to my favorite you tubers while I sew or process veggies I particularly love Becky at One Acre Homestead and Jessica from Three Rivers Homestead and learn so much from both of them.

  26. That’s wonderful you have a supportive friend, and figured out a creative way to get the tomato sauce for the least price. I grow lamb’s ear too (at least I think that’s what your lovely photo is), and love the soft, fuzzy leaves. Last week, I cut up our figs and pawpaws to use in fruit salad, and added beauty berries gathered on a walk to top it, adding nutrition and a little color. When my sister was here learning to can, I gave her garden produce to take home. She brought me a lovely homegrown bouquet. The next day, my siblings and I met my stepmom who was visiting, and I brought my sister jars of tomatoes and tomato juice that we canned. My co-op had a sale on Southern Exposure Seed Exchange seeds for $2 ea., so I got three lettuce, and a sweet pepper we haven’t tried. To use some of the bounty, fig bread and zucchini bread were made, the latter with tromboncino. I blanched and froze some cowpeas, enough for three meals. I redeemed Swagbucks points for a $25 gift card. Between the tromboncino and cucuzza, the squash has gotten out of control. I decided to make Burden soup with some, which uses up 2.2# at a go (link in blog post). On Friday, we gave away many squash. Hooray! I froze all the tomatoes, and will make tomato paste when there are enough to make it worth my while. Laundry was dried on the line. My husband harvested most of the winter squash and pumpkins, and the last three cabbage.

  27. I saw this and hope it maybe helpful.

    Internet access is necessary for work, school, healthcare, and more. Unfortunately, high speed internet remains unaffordable for too many households. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) runs a program, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), that reduces the cost of getting online for people with limited income. Many internet providers offer fully covered internet plans – meaning you may even get high-speed internet for free.

    If your household income is 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines or someone in your household participates in certain government assistance programs, you may be eligible for the benefits the ACP provides. Visit the ACP website to see if you qualify. Please do not contact Social Security with questions about the ACP.

    You can take advantage of the discounts with confidence knowing that receiving ACP assistance does not affect your Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits.

    1. My mom received a letter from the VA about this. So anyone participating in the VA veterans or survivors pension program might want to look into it. I’m going to check it out for her.

    2. Our problem is that home internet isn’t available at all in our area. We only have one provider (Verizon) and they only have a limited number of “slots” for internet and they’re full. We’ve been on a waiting list for several years.

  28. Brandy, do you have a Restaurant Depot in your area? If so, that might be a good place to purchase the #10 cans if you have trouble in the future finding things. They offer day passes to the public. Whenever I have ordered canned products online the cans are often dented. I am also stocking up on tomato products. I stocked up on several cans of tomato juice that were a good price. I noticed the stores in my area have very few cans and the ones that they do have are close to expiring.

    I’m still trying to avoid using my oven so much. One night I made veggie omelettes and hashbrowns for dinner, instead of the frittata I had planned to bake in the oven.

    I’ve quit buying wine, which is saving me about $40 a month. I only have a glass or two on the weekends, but I am fine without it. I will just buy it on occasion perhaps.

    I found a good deal on some ribbon I had been wanting. I’m going to soon start making new bows for our Christmas wreaths that we hang on all our windows. It’s a fun hobby for me, and keeps me at home, so I figure it’s an entertainment splurge. I used to order various bows from Etsy, but I watched some videos online and can now easily make them myself.

    My grocery store had great deals on Halloween candy, especially Hershey’s chocolate. They were on sale, plus buy two get one free. I thought that seemed strange because I keep hearing they are having shortages. I purchased several bags.

    Have a great week!

  29. I’ve been watching Jessica at Three Rivers Homestead during her Every Bit Counts challenge and I was inspired to try making nasturtium salt, using nasturtiums I have on my front porch. The taste is very good and I will try to remember to use this in cooking. I also froze several packages of bok choy and chard from the garden. We enjoyed green beans, tomatoes, cabbage, chard, carrots, onions, and fresh herbs from the garden. I made homemade bread, a batch of yogurt and another of granola (my husband eats homemade yogurt and granola for breakfast several times a week. Making my own saves so much money over buying it in the store.) A friend from church was despairing about what to do with her overload of zucchini and I told her I would be happy to take some off her hands, as my plant had been eaten by chipmunks. She gifted me with a bag full. I made two loaves of zucchini bread, used three smaller zucchinis in meals, and shredded the rest for four two-cup bags for future meals. I was able to attend a free classical piano concert sponsored by my church – it was such a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I refinished two Adirondack chairs, footstools, and a porch swing. This was long overdue and now they look new. I was reminded that taking care of the things I already own is a good way to appreciate them and resist the impulse to want something new.

    We have been eating from the pantry/freezer/garden, so I haven’t had to buy much from the store, but I watch the sale ads for good prices to stock up on. This week on errand day we hit three different stores (which were all very close together, so no extra gas) At City Market (Kroger) I got 5 half-gallons of milk for 1.99 cents each. I will put these in the freezer. We drink some, but most goes to make yogurt (1/2 gallon will make 14 single-serve cups of yogurt), and grapes for 99 cents a pound. Safeway sent me a coupon for butter for $1.99/lb. I haven’t seen that price in months, so I bought 10 pounds and stuck them in the freezer also. I also picked up bartlett pears and broccoli for 99 cents a pound and I had a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $10 or more. Finally, our natural foods store has a regular price of $1.99/dozen for local organic, free-range eggs. I can’t even get regular eggs for that at other stores. I bought two-dozen, along with organic avocados for $1 each (compared to $2 each for non-organic at the other stores.) And I bought a box of Pomona’s pectin, because this is the only place I can get it. I know some people think it’s nuts to go to so many stores for just a few things, and I understand if you are physically constrained, are shopping with small children, etc, it can be too much for some people. But by shopping these sales, I saved $52 off the regular prices, and they were all items we eat regularly.

    1. I tried to find her vlog with the nasturtium salt but failed. Can you tell me which episode that was in? I tried speed watching a bunch of them but still have not come across it. Any help would be very much appreciated!

      1. The nasturtium salt was in this year’s every bit counts challenge, either week 2 or 3. Hope this helps.

      2. She used her free dryer and then mixed it with the salt in the blender about 50/50.I dehydrated some after watching her blog and they dried beautifully.

  30. Your photos are always such a joy to look at, Brandy. The details on the bee are amazing!
    This week I have been using new methods to dry herbs from my garden. I have successfully dried parsley and oregano using the paper bag method that I learned from Melissa K Norris on YouTube. It worked beautifully and used zero electricity. I shared some of the finished product with my son and sister-in-law. My SIL loved the oregano so much that she said she would happily pay me for it in the future. It made me appreciate the abundance available to me in my garden and I have vowed to use it to the fullest. In the spring the oregano had threatened to take over the garden and I ripped out and discarded buckets of it. I also successfully dried chives on the kitchen counter. After washing and drying them I snipped them into small pieces, put them in a shallow bowl which I left on the counter. From time to time I would run my fingers through them to re-distribute them. In less than a week they were dried completely. Again simple and no electricity required.
    I completed a PineCone survey.
    I took two rotisserie chicken carcasses from the freezer, some celery and carrots that were past their prime and made chicken broth in the slow cooker. It is now in the freezer.
    It is just my husband and I at home now. We recently purchased an air fryer thinking it could come in handy for just the two of us rather than heating up the oven. So far I have made chicken skewers, roasted potatoes, lamb meatballs and roasted cauliflower. These were all recipes from the book that came with it. They turned out well and we liked the ease of clean up. I am determined to make good use of this appliance and not relegate it to the cupboard. If anybody has suggestions for air fryer recipes, I’d be interested in hearing them.
    Finally, I purchased a beautiful Nordic Ware pan from the thrift shop for $4.99. It is to make pumpkin bread in and has pumpkins and leaves on it. I looked it up online and it was selling for $35 and up. I went to the Nordic Ware website and printed off their pumpkin bread recipe. The pan and recipe are sitting together waiting for the cooler weather when I will make a beautiful loaf of bread to welcome the autumn season.

  31. I have had too much rain for my garden still, but I’ve been able to harvest a little from it. Something – probably grasshoppers – is eating some of my okra plants. It’s the first time I’ve had anything eat the plants – not the okra pods, the plants themselves. The good news is I’ve seen less destruction since I used neem oil on them, and the plants are leafing back out, but of course they can’t produce pods until they recover.

    I was given a gift card and used some of it to purchase two more Christmas presents. My goal is to buy as much as I can with gift cards and Swagbucks, so that if I get a Christmas bonus at work (which I have every year so far, but I don’t assume), the bonus can be used for something necessary or to pay down debt. I also set aside Christmas savings every year, but I try to use as little as possible of it as well.

    I’ve been sewing more with the machine I bought early this year. It encourages me to sew when I don’t end up with a mass of snarled thread every so often, or fight with a thicker seam that can’t be sewn through. I bought it with my bonus from last year.

    I batched errands as much as possible, to save time and gas.

    I went through my clothes and pulled out some that I haven’t worn in a long time. Now I can better see what I have that I do wear. That also keeps me from buying things when I already have something that will do at home, but I hadn’t seen it in a while.

    I used a special 20% sale coupon to order some teas online in bulk. I use a lot of tea for making kombucha and drink Rooibos herbal “tea” as an iced tea daily.

    I have dried very little in the dryer, kept my downstairs A/C at 79F and the upstairs A/C at 85 during the day and 79 at night, washed all of my laundry in cold water, used my crock pot and toaster oven much more than my stove’s oven, and I turned my hybrid water heater to “economy.” According to my latest electric bill, I used 220 kWh less this August than last August. Since it’s still hot and humid here, 89 – 93F with the “real feel” of triple digits daily, and will be hot and humid at least another 4-6 weeks, I plan to keep on with it.

  32. I was able to glean peaches off of 3 trees in my neighbor’s yard. I will can them this week. My pear tree is loaded. They should be ready in October. I was able to get school breakfasts and lunches for the 2nd and 3rd week of August. I received 8 gallons of milk so that was a savings of $24.00. I also received 12 pounds each of navel oranges and apples. My children ate most of the breakfast and lunch items. This was a blessing as there was no overtime for my husband during these 2 weeks. I am grateful for all of the tips and recipes everyone shares. I continue to stock up as I see sales for items my family will eat. It is such a process to shop and find the things I need. Our garden did not do well during the drought, but I have tomatoes ripening (finally!), along with flowering cucumber vines. I hope I can get some cukes before our first frost. I even found one turnip that the rabbits missed! Thanks for the encouraging words Cindy in the South! Your words were what I needed to be reminded of today!! It is a blessing to be alive. I had Covid nearly a year ago and have continued to struggle with the fact that I still require lots of rest. I still cannot smell and my sense of taste may never return to normal. I will just keep doing all that I can do and be grateful for my many blessings.

  33. Hello,
    I’m glad things are going well with you. I thought your method for taking the children for checkups was interesting. I didn’t know doctor’s offices were limiting the number of people from one family coming in. I never thought about how to manage a larger group. We have had the same trouble with scheduling only our trouble has been that the doctor’s office has an automated phone system that calls us and says we need to contact the office; then after waiting on hold for at least an hour, we get to talk to a person who says there was no reason for us to call. For me, I kept getting calls where I was told to press one, etc.; then I would be on hold for an hour at least, and then the machine would hang up on me. It would be kind of funny if it were not so annoying and so frequent. I discovered, for me, a new way to use tomato sauce. I had a half can, a small can, in the fridge I wanted to use up, so I whizzed a small can of canned tomatoes in the blender and added the tomato sauce. I heated it, and we ate it as tomato soup and thought it had a nice flavor and texture. I didn’t add anything else. I have used tomato sauce to cover oat patties, and then baked them in it. Someone has probably written a cookbook about a 100 ways to use tomato sauce. Dr. Greger on has an article about a study of how eating tomato sauce apparently cured some men of prostate cancer. I try to read something from about every week. This past week I read about the high rates of stomach cancer in some countries where people eat lots of pickled products, Korea, for example, among others. Apparently, pickled foods cause inflammation in the stomach which seems to predispose people to cancer. With the high prices of food I keep reminding myself that I am buying nutrition, not what my husband used to refer to as “gut packing.” In other words I am not trying to fill my family up on the cheapest thing possible, but rather the most nutritious thing for the money. This week Fred Meyer had grapes for 89 cents per pound, so I bought several bags on several occasions when we had to go to town. They also had some nice looking plums with a sign that said 89 cents. I just assumed it meant per pound, but when I ran them through the self-checkout, I noticed they came to nearly $6. By running the numbers in my head I realized the plums were probably priced at 89 cents each. Walmart does that, but in the past I have never known Fred Meyer to price things per each. The produce section is close to the self-checkout area, so I went back to look at the sign. The sign did not say each; it just said 89 cents. The signs for the other fruit next to the plums said $2.39, and in very faint print, set away from the numbers were the letters lb. I put the plums back and did not buy them. When I looked at the price for the grapes I was trying to buy for 89 cents per pound, I found that I was not charged the sale price, although my husband had gone into their website and clicked on the digital coupon for the grapes. The attendant told me I would have to go to customer service for a refund. I went to customer service and had to wait in line for some time, but finally got my refund. The second time I bought grapes there was the same problem, but I called it to the attention of the attendant before I finished paying for the order, and he was able to change the price for me. I guess I need to be careful. I heard that the U.S. government’s offer of free COVID tests expires on Friday. We do not have any tests, so I ordered online the free ones still available. Another blessing I received this week was that I found a new church dress with store tags still on it at Goodwill. Their prices have gone up, also, but I thought $20 for a new dress was okay. I have been praying about my need for a dress. I have two that are worn quite thin and one that is too warm for this weather, so I am very happy to find something that meets my needs. The dress goes with my church shoes, too. I also bought some wide mouth pint canning jars for 49 cents each. Sometime back, I ordered a skirt from Appleseed that was on sale for $20, but it seemed to take a long time to be shipped, and finally I got an email saying the skirt was sold out. I checked to see if they charged my card, but they had not. I am disappointed, but now I won’t have to alter a too big skirt to fit me. Our car and house insurance took a giant leap in price, so we had to shop around and find a less expensive insurance. It is amazing how much difference there is between companies. We got into gardening with our little starts from Territorial Seed. My husband cobbled together a trough out of some partly rotten boards he had, and we planted the starts in that. We made a nest in a stack of bricks for it. We thought the bricks might store heat that might keep the plants warmer at night. We cover them at night because they look like a deer salad bar. We neglected to water them one day, and some leaves crumpled. They were so wilted I thought we might lose them. I will have to be more diligent about watering them. It’s good thing I’m learning gardening now instead of when I am desperate for food. Well, I hope you have a good week. I’m looking forward to seeing the aprons you made. Blessings, Elizabeth H.

  34. Hello Friends! I can’t believe it is September this week. The summer went by very fast. *We are watching our two granddaughters, 4 and 1 1/2, and their dog for the last five days til tomorrow (in addition to our son’s dog who lives here). We are staying pretty close to home other than a walk to the park and playground, church, and the icecream shop last night. Staying home saves money! We’ve had such fun but are totally exhausted! I keep wondering how I raised five children! lol. I was young with a very different body. But this has been great and so glad our daughter and her hubby could get away. * I cancelled my Britbox subscription, saving $6.99 a month. There are a couple shows I watch on there, so when I hear there are a bunch of new episodes, I subscribe for a couple months and catch up, then let it go again. * Reading and listening to library books for fun * a dear friend of mine, a single lady, cooked a turkey and brought us a bunch of meat, potatoes and gravy on Sunday. What a treat! I added some stove top stuffing from the pantry and some veggies and we feasted! The next day, I made a hotdish with the leftovers and it was delicious again!!* Knitting and crocheting every day, but I didn’t finish anything this last week…tending the grandbabies has taken all my time and energy. Worth it! * Hoping everyone has a great week!

  35. Last week was kind of a mixed bag of frugal and not frugal.
    I worked three days, and brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    I made the almond joy cookies that GardenPat talked about last week for my DH for our 47th wedding anniversary. He adored the cookies. We had a gift certificate for a Mexican restaurant, so went out to dinner.
    The only real good deals I found last week were grapes for 99¢ a pound and milk for $1.47. Luckily I didn’t need much of anything else. I did get two dozen eggs, as we were running low.
    We had BLTs for dinner twice, with homegrown tomatoes. I, of course, had cucumbers on mine.
    When harvesting earlier, I missed a zucchini, so it became a baseball bat zucchini. I peeled it, scooped out the seeds, and shredded it, and made 4 loaves of zucchini bread, and dehydrated the rest of the shreds.
    We picked and froze broccoli, chard and green beans.
    My DH made a green bean salad with parsley and garlic. His grandmother used to make it.
    I dried 10 more trays of basil.
    On Friday I went to my mother’s house, and met one of my sisters who was gathering the belongings she wanted. She has 4 children, so was taking things for all of them. My mother passed away about a year and a half ago. I am hoping to get the house sold this fall. It is difficult as I live 3 1/2 hours away, and can’t just go over for a day to work on the house. We did more cleaning and packing. I found 60 wide mouth canning jars in her attic. These were claimed by 2 grandchildren plus my DIL. So they will each get 20. I found an old corning ware casserole dish, with a holder that will be perfect for one of the side dishes I make for Thanksgiving. I claimed that.
    I helped my sister wrap and pack breakable items that she is taking either for herself of for one of her children. There are 4 girls in my family, and she is the last to go through the house to claim what she wanted. I told her anything left is hers for the taking. I came back on Sunday, as I had to be at work on Monday morning.
    I stopped on the way back at Costco and got a roasted chicken. Still $4.99. I was tired when I got home and knew I wouldn’t feel like cooking, so this seemed a good option.
    After I got home I picked tomatoes cucumbers zucchini and onions. Watered the garden and then relaxed awhile.
    Hope everyone has a productive and frugal week.

  36. Hello. frugal friends from the beautiful mountains of south west Virginia. As I sit here typing I can hear the rain falling on our roof. No watering the garden for me this week! And speaking of the garden, I am clearing it out before our big trip. Even though we leave on Saturday I planted a little lettuce and spinach. I also planted an experiment of one cucumber and one zucchini (like I need more of that!) as I had listened to a gardener saying the easiest way to grow cucumbers and summer squash was to plant them for a fall crop. This reduces the chance of most pests. It does increase the chance of the leaf mold issue but to just spray the leaves with a mixture of baking soda and water (1T to a gallon of water) if that should occur. My son and his family will be caring for the yard and house so they can let me know how it goes until I return in 5 weeks. I am hoping to get spinach to eat through the winter if nothing else. It did not cost me anything except the seed which I already have. I would like to add to another readers comment about buying through a restaurant supply company. When we lived on Guam, my neighborhood would buy our flour from the restaurant supply company on the island as it was always fresher and never had any bugs. The price was right as well. One of us would go and buy a 50# bag and then we would split it up. If you are looking for large cans of something like tomato sauce that might be a resource you could try. As I get things ready for our trip I am pulling food items from the pantry to take with us. We have a small electric frying pan and most of the hotels we are staying at have microwaves. We also have an electric cooler and will be taking our small solar charger. Meals I have planned include loaded baked potatoes, premade homemade Mexican lasagna, burritos, taco salads, sandwiches, and individual frozen homemade shepherds pie. I also made cookies and brownies. I have snacks which were bought on sale in the recent past and will take our own bottled water as I have an allergy to fluoride and have to be careful. I am bringing a life straw to try as it is supposed to filter out all chemicals including fluoride. That could save us a lot. These are a new addition to our emergency kits so we will see. Nothing deadly happens to me should I consume any fluoride (Just a painful, itchy rash on my chin) but I will bring my medication cream just in case. We have gift cards to gas and chain restaurants which I bought when Kroger had their 4 times fuel points promotions. I was able to use the points to save at the pump when things went crazy and paid for travel meals in advance. We will try to eat at local restaurants or church suppers as we find them. This way we can support a local business or church. I have bought very few groceries in the past couple of weeks. I hung laundry on the line, stayed home most days and cleaned, sewed, gardened or packed most days. I would like to thank my frugal friends, again, for the travel suggestions a few weeks ago. They were very helpful in our planning.

    1. I do this too but I still have squash bugs. I need to go out and pick them off by hand in the morning. It is very hot here and the zucchini produce better in fall. Sadly, two of my new plants are already dead (and there were no bugs) but I am hoping to get some this year!

  37. Wow, I cannot fathom having to buy in the quantities that you do Miss Brandy! And I still struggle with making smaller quantities of meals after years of doubling and tripling recipes to feed two very hungry growing boys (and they are in their mid thirties now, lol!). Luckily, hubby and I enjoy most leftovers, as they taste so much better after the flavors have had a chance to marry (in our opinion) and can eat for a week after I cook two or three different entrees, rotating them over the following days.
    Have a great week all!
    Is $6 a yard for fabric a good price in your area? I know prices vary depending on where one lives but I always try not to pay more than $3 a yard. Granted, I haven’t bought fabric in a while so it may be higher in my area now as well.

    1. The fabric was 40% off and even to start, it was much less than I have paid for other fabrics. I have seen many things at $15 to $20 a yard.

      1. I’ve started buying fabric online with great success. My closest fabric store is a 40 minute drive each way. The prices are much more reasonable, too. I got linen apparel fabric for a little over $5/ yd. They regularly send coupons 20-50% off by email now: The only downside is waiting for shipping which was a bit slow.

  38. What a wonderful solution for the canned tomato sauce. It’s so beneficial to create community and to help each other out!
    Ways we were frugal:
    *ate lunch and played Yahtzee at my mom’s while visiting (free entertainment)
    *was especially thankful for our stockpile: in laws became sick and we were able to drop off a bag of soup mixes, apple cider packets, Kleenex, throat drops, canned fruit (all items we had here)
    *continued decluttering and donating items- great for my peace of mind plus I don’t want to buy more things!
    *was thrilled to pick a few cucumbers and my first ever tiny cantaloupe!
    *returned a few items that didn’t work for us and put the $ in savings
    *paid an extra $100 toward mortgage principal
    📍Buy Nothing Group: 2 halo top ice creams, 2 dragonfruit frozen smoothie bowls, 4 packages of lemon ups Girl Scout cookies
    📍Facebook Marketplace: My husband has been wanting a corner tv stand for our living room since our current (hand me down) cabinet is huge. Found one close by for $15!

    Take care all 😊

  39. Work and school (for myself and for the teen) started last Monday, so needless to say, we were really too exhausted to do anything outside of those two things , lol.

    I received cookies, flowers, a smoothie, and a tote bag with snack foods from work.

    My field supervisor bought myself and my kitchen manager Route 44 sonic drinks one day(there’s only 2 of us, versus 4 )

    I finished Home Fires on Audible. All the time I’ve had it, I didn’t know you can change the speed on Audible 🤦‍♀️ I wish I would have figured that out on the nearly 29 hour long The Terror.

    My class is online so no gas used for it.

    I brought home some leftover lasagna (froze it into portions so I could grab for lunch if needed), veggies, tea, and snacks from book club.

    We went to a water park Saturday. The teen and I have season passes, and we used a free guest pass for my son(hubby didn’t go) . I used my unlimited refill cup I had purchased for drinks.

    I ate breakfast and/or lunch at work all week

    I signed up for an online ASL class through our school system(I’m at an elementary that has a large number of deaf/hard of hearing students)

    Returned a library book on time

  40. We didn’t spend much this week because we just didn’t have it. 😂 We ate from the freezer – we used a pack of leftover prime rib from a Boy Scout program in the spring to make beef and brown gravy with mashed potatoes; so good! I finished up the leftovers for lunch. I am making BBQ chicken from chicken thighs that needed used from the freezer paired with a pint of green beans that didn’t seal properly so they have been hanging out in the fridge. I threw the tiny new potatoes in the green beans, skins and all, to use them up. These often get forgotten in the bottom of the potatoes, so I was glad to use them up.

    I have been going in early to work as I have had to take off early or take longer lunches to meet with my mom’s care team as we work to make her comfortable and safe at home.

    I helped my daughter list some Harry Potter items for sale on Facebook. Her husband sold some of his unwanted items, and both of them are going to save this money to buy each other’s Christmas presents.

    We canned 7 more quarts of green beans and dug the rest of the potatoes. Some of them were so large! I’ve never grown such large potatoes.

    My husband found fishing shirts for $4 and bought two for our son-in-law for Christmas.

    I’m still trying to remind myself that even when it doesn’t seem like it, small steps make a difference.

  41. Hi Brandy,
    I joined Sam’s club plus mid year. It is a long drive for us to get to Sam’s club in Phoenix so I decided the gas savings would offset the fee. And it has! However, some of the products have completely different prices if bought in store versus shipped. So when you go on their website, check the in store price first. For quite a few items, the price is $1-3 higher if it is shipped. So not really free shipping ;(. I still use it but am much more judicious.

    We bought a low end food saver vacuum sealer last week at Costco and tried it out, easy and fun to use. Just did chicken and sausages, but it is so much easier than covering my countertops with plastic wrap and ziploc bags! This spring and summer, I was trying to make sure I bought meat and poultry items on sale so my freezer is fairly well stocked up. I worry that prices might not be good this fall for meat sales.

    1. Great point! I will check on anything else and compare.

      They no longer carry the cans in the store. The price is higher than I used to pay, but as everything is right now, I figured it was just that. Plus, smaller cans are still way more expensive.

    2. One of the best things my husband has ever brought home from his job at the waste station was a brand new, in the box Cabella brand food saver. It has saved us so much money! and it makes the freezer nicer to stack and keep track of what we have!

  42. Amazing photos of the sage and rose and the bee!
    It has continued to be hot and dry in New York City. We have a few grape tomatoes still but that’s it.
    I had some good buys grocery shopping which helped to offset price increases. Some boxes of Twinings tea were 75% off and also a package of plain flatbread for pizzas. Both were last date of sale, but I had mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and peppers already to make pizza for 2 suppers and tea lasts so long that I am not bothered by an expiration date. London broil was $1.99#, limit one 2-pack. I bought spaghetti, 5 boxes for $4. I still have pasta bought at $.50/box in the pantry but I wanted to bring spaghetti to cook on our vacation next week since it takes up less room in the suitcase. I bought shelf-stable half and half to bring and I already have powdered milk. Most of the food we’re packing will be from the pantry or freezer.
    I had a dermatologist appointment today which went better than I hoped. I am very careful now but my early years as a sun-loving redhead took their toll. I don’t even think sunscreen had been invented when I was a child and we had no awareness of damage being done. Insurance covered the appointment and procedure and I only had a co-pay. After my appointment, I went to a discount store in the area and was able to find some items from my keep-an-eye-out list—a Thermos brand small soft cooler (which will fit at the bottom of a backpack, beach bag or tote) for $5.99, reading glasses for $1.99 and travel mouthwash for $1.49 (they used to be $.99 but I hadn’t been able to find any recently). I bought a coloring book ($1.69) for a child I see at work. I already have crayons from a back to school sale. Also stopped at a branch of my bank while I was out which will save me a walk later in the week.
    I started packing some work clothes to send back with one of my daughters when she visits in November. She sells items on Facebook Marketplace. I will be retired by mid-2023 and couldn’t possibly wear out my jackets, skirts, trousers and suit wardrobe which has been largely dormant while I have worked from home. When I put away summer clothes and take out fall and winter items, I plan to look at my clothing to see what I will realistically wear in the future. I‘m hoping to send many items to sell as I have a lot of clothes from my non-frugal days. They’re not doing anybody any good hanging in my closet(s!) and it will put a little cash in my daughter’s pocket.
    I love this blog and the oasis of sanity it brings to some of my days when I just need a cheerful and encouraging word.

  43. We were out of town last week with my husband at an athletic camp. We stayed in an Airbnb so we could make most of our meals. While he took classes, I walked, took free yoga, hiked, read, and knitted. There are really good thrift stores in the area and I stocked up on jeans ($5), cute red leather loafers ($7), a shirt, a Land’s End swimming suit, and four skeins of wool yarn that retail for $13.50 each. Even thrift store prices have gone up! I bought a working toaster oven for $9, hoping that I can use it for small batch baking rather than using my regular oven, especially in the summer.

    On our drive home we stopped at a farmer’s market and bought corn, a cantaloupe, green peppers, and peaches. The peaches were expensive but we are out of them in our freezer. A neighbor also brought me four delicious peaches.

    Back home, I picked basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, onions, chard, and grapes. There is a small pear tree on the plot and I asked the plot managers if I could pick pears for jam (the pears are really small). They said I could and I picked a bag today and will make jam when they are fully ripe.

    I also cleaned out my freezer. I had some really frosty/burned cauliflower and broccoli in there. I made room for the new batch of peaches and took inventory of what I am missing.

    We had a lunch after Church on Sunday and I was on the committee to help. I made a big pasta salad using items on hand and pesto I had made and frozen. I was able to bring home a bag of kale that wasn’t needed.

    I stopped at the library and picked up two cookbooks but chefs that I admire, hoping to get some culinary inspiration. I made curried braised eggs for dinner using a recipe in the book and my husband and I liked it enough to make again. It used ingredients I keep on hand, which is a bonus.

    Thanks to each of you for sharing your stories and especially to Brandy for making this community possible.

  44. I have to chime in this week with all the talk of the drought and overall weather changes. We are a small family farm in Northern California. We usually grow about 165 acres of walnuts and rotate six different crops on some open land. This year my husband was told he would get NO WATER from the Sacramento river. This is the first time this has happened. Before it has been cut by 50%. Thankfully we have dug wells so the walnuts will survive. The rest of the land is mostly fallow because crop insurance is more profitable than trying to grow something on dry land. My husband’s biggest fear however is if it will be the same for multiple years. No business in the world can survive year after year of no product. At the same time the tractor salesman has broken the news that a new harvester is 400,000. There seems no rhyme or reason sometimes. Thankfully hubby is an excellent business man and has planned for catastrophe, but when I see him not ordering a soda while waiting to pick me up because he doesn’t want to waste money, I take a pause.

    I have read here for years. I work full time so I haven’t maximized all that could be available to me. We have fig trees I don’t pick and pears and persimmons that often feed the birds. I don’t know how to can. I also have to think of how much I would save compared to my hourly rate. There are only so many hours in a day and I seem to get more tired at the end of a workday these days.. Hubby does bring me a big tub of wheat, beans, and rice from the coop and strawberries from our renter. I have a grinder, Instapot and Vitamix which all help. Time is a priority for me. I will be retiring in a year or two and will hopefully be a better steward.

    But for now I have embraced a pantry challenge for September. Thanks to whoever posted this I made handmaid pies with one sausage link that was too hot, leftover hashbrowns and mild chilies. The premade frozen pie crust was who knows how old. The airfryer made them quick and easy into personal pies for three meals worth. We are empty nesters and can live on surprisingly little scraps now that my big strong boy is off to college.

    I spent Sunday tracking down money including a refund from a canceled airplane trip. United refunded me $9.00 instead of $400. I also email my Dr. to redo a superbill that was denied because she misprinted the correct date. I remind my favorite sister in law to send me her part of some shared expenses. I was a little embarrassed to remind her but she was grateful I did. Isn’t that the way with honorable people? They always want to do the right thing. By taking that time on Sunday, I’ll have nearly $600 to budget in the next few months. It is so important to double check bills.

  45. I shelled out pecans last week, about half of a 5-pound bag that was given to us last fall. Yes, they are still good. I made a pecan pie for the first time in years upon years and boy was it delicious. I still got a very full quart bag of pieces. I have half the rest to work on this week. I keep hearing my Granny in my head when little pieces fall into the shells “Get every bit! You’re wasting them!” lol I’ve been working the past two years with various recipes for pie crusts. Finally, a lightbulb moment that a pie recipe I’ve been making for 43 years of homemaking has a pie crust recipe and I always use it when making that pie…Yes, I finally realized if I used that pie crust recipe, I’d make a good one. And it was! I made chicken noodle soup last week for our dinner and left the remainder sitting in the crockpot while we ate. I decided it looked like chicken noodle casserole and so put it in a pan to freeze for a future meal. I’ll top with breadcrumbs when I bring it out to bake. I took advantage of Kroger sale last week to buy half gallons of milk. I also bought orange juice. I walked up and down aisles and looked everywhere for clearance price tags. I scored on Icelandic Skyr yogurt for 69c, a single Yoplait yogurt 29c and four packages of plant-based chocolate chip cookie dough (makes 2 dozen) for 79c. I was limited by freezer space so had to go easy, but I’d have loved to stock hard on milk and orange juice and chocolate chip cookie dough. I can’t make them at home for that little. My husband decided it was time to buy a new toilet and one ceiling fan for the house in town. Fortunately, both were on sale. Our daughter’s boyfriend will install both for us.
    I have decided that since I can’t buy a great deal at present, I can at least make everything clean and pretty where I can. It’s worked in the yard and in the house and in my wardrobe. When I do need to make a purchase, I am looking at multiple sources to ensure I get the very best price. One thing good that came out of the pandemic was that I learned to shop online. Lots less temptation, lots fewer impulse buys and a deeper awareness of how much things are adding up to (so handy to have that total pop up before you click “Pay”, lol). Someone else mentioned going to multiples of stores for groceries. Yes, I’m doing that, too as I can get out and it is a help. Might also add that I am not floored by any of the Labor day sales at grocery this week.

  46. Hello Everyone!
    We traveled out of state last week to take our son to college. We did our best to minimize expenses. I booked the hotel room months ago and compared prices between multiple sites. We drove the Prius to save on gas. We tried to fill up out of state because gas was up to $1 less per gallon. I packed a cooler with lunch and drinks. We took breaks and picnicked at rest stops. Our room had a refrigerator, microwave, and the hotel had free breakfast each morning. The university had a free family dinner at the welcome event.

    I packed as many toiletries and school supplies as I could from home to save. We delayed some purchases until we arrived to save on tax and car space. We were able to find used text books very reasonably online, but did not see rental availability on Amazon.

    Our Costco stopped selling #10 cans of tomatoes and beans and 50 lb. bags of flour years ago. I used to divvy up the larger can into smaller portions in plastic freezer containers. I should see if Smart and Final carries #10 cans because I haven’t found them elsewhere. I have also noticed higher prices online compared to in-store. I think they weave shipping costs into online prices, too.

    I’m trying to use what we have on hand and in our garden. I made plum muffins this morning using our tree plums and banana bread from spotted bananas. We’ve been eating green beans and zucchini from the garden, too. I have yet to can the pears-busy!! 🍐 The hens get all the peels, cores, and vegetable scraps.

    Thank you for the oven cleaning suggestions last week. I will experiment. Our new oven is very simple and doesn’t have a control panel. After the nightmare experience with our last range, I will avoid control panels in the future!

    I combine errands today to save on gas. I made some store returns and returned a library book. Another thought on textbooks, sometimes reading material is available on Hoopla too as an e-book or audiobook, especially novels. It doesn’t hurt to check, right?

    My hospital bill is currently at $150,000!! 😳 I am extremely grateful for our insurance coverage which will cover a large portion. Regaining my vitality and strength is a priority. I continue to workout at home and eat as healthfully as my tummy can tolerate. There are things I used to eat regularly that I cannot currently. C’est la vie.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone!

  47. This week I have been going to several thrift stores to find things that we need. It has always been difficult to find secondhand clothes for older children, but lately many of the thrift stores I go to have stopped selling childrens clothes all together, making it even harder to find something. I know of one shop however, that still has a good selection of clothes for older childen, but it is some distance from home. This week I went close by anyway, so I stopped and found several good items – 3 pairs of jeans the next size up, 2 pairs of shorts and 2 pyjamas sets – and this week there was a 50% discount on all clothing items, so it was a real bargain! No light jacket though, I have been looking for one for more than half a year.
    In another thift shop I found several good cookbooks, a sweatshirt and a skirt for myself and a nice book on baking pizzas and cakes, that I will use as a present for my son – he loves pizza and cake!
    A week ago, my son requested vegetarian food for the next 2 weeks. He loves meat, so I think he sees it as some kind of challenge. I usually make meatless dinners 3-4 times a week, and thought it was a nice opportunity to make even more vegetarian meals and try some new dishes. Hence the cookbooks I bought. I also got a vegetarian cookbook form the library, and I have already made several new dishes, that we all liked – especially a lovely soup with green lentils. I also made crepes with a filling of spinach and mushrooms with cream – yummy!
    In the last couple of months I have tried to do something to improve my health. I have suffered from pain in my left foot for years, which has spread to my back, hips and shoulder and things have gradually worsened to the degree that I worried it would lead to serious problems. So I have started yoga classes again after a break of 20 years! I also went to a orthopedic shoemaker to get insoles made and he recommended a pair of shoes, that would fit my foot well. These things has lead to such an improvement! It hasn´t been cheap, but I think it is more frugal to prevent serious health issues if at all possible. To save money, I bought an extra pair of the shoes online at a great discount, and my mother has given me yoga classes as a bithday present.
    We harvested welsh onions, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, apples, parsley, arugula, cichory salad, squash and beet roots from the garden. I dehydrated tomatoes, spuash, apples and welsh onions and pickled cucumbers. Cichory salad can be quite bitter, but it is nice because it grows the entire season with no need to re-seed, and the slugs don’t eat it. I didn’t really know how to use it all previously, but now I have found out, that if you boil it shortly and then cool it immediately in cold water, it is a lot less bitter. After that, we fry it with garlic and a little chili, and it is so good!
    A friend of mine keep bees and have some honey with too high water content for it to keep well, so she offered me some. I will give her pickled and fresh cucumber in exchange, as we have so many right now – it seems to me after a number of years of growing cucumbers outside in our cool climate, that the temperatures in august are determining if we will get a good harvest – and this year august has been warm and sunny.
    The prices on electricity continues to rise – it is hard to know what will happen this winter. Russia has cut of a lot of the gasexport to Europe and maybe they will stop it completely, which will have big consequenses for both electricity and heating. My husband read an article online, that the power companies where we live might have to cut of electricity for shorter periods this winter. This is so strange in a country where all power cables are in the ground, and the last powerout I’ve experienced that lasted more than a few seconds was 25 years ago!
    Inspired by this and other websites, I started to prepare for winter. This is very unusual where I live, so I´m so glad that I can get some inspiration! I bought a crank-radio with solarcells, powerbank and LED-light, solarcells with powerbank for mobile phones and 2 solarpowered lanterns on a german website – they have cheap delivery, and it is cheaper to buy more things in one place and save on delivery. I also want to buy something for storing and filtrating water, but it came out cheaper in a local store, where I don’t have to pay delivery costs. Some of things we can use at other occasions as well: when my son goes camping with the scouts, in the garden or when my husband goes hiking. And then I will get some food items that keeps well.
    We also try to find out a backup solution to the heating system – it might end up with a woodstove, although this is quite expensive. On the other hand it is cheap heating. I would like one with a baking oven on top so we can cook in it as well. We have tried to find one used, but the dealer we found online seemed strange, and we have had some bad experience with expensive used things turning out to be stolen goods, so it might end up that we buy a new one.
    My son needed a laptop for school. My husband works in IT, so he has several old laptops he doesn’t use anymore, and one of them was perfect, saving us the need to buy one.
    My sea buckthorn powder was a success – my husband and son eat it every morning on their oatmeal porridge and love it. I might try to make other kinds of powder with leftovers fruitbits from fruit juice or syrup making.

  48. My best deals this past week were fresh fruit and eggs on sale for about 1/2 price. I agree with what many other readers say that it is harder to find good deals-but I continue to enjoy everyone’s money saving ideas and creativity. Thank you Brandy and all posters.

  49. Recently I started keeping a basket front & center in my pantry for “use it or lose it” items. That way if I’m in there for something else & I notice something getting close to date or just needs used up it goes in there. This is helping me immensely with cutting waste. I’m also doing it in fridge & freezer. No matter how well I think I’m managing rotation etc. there always seems to be something lol.

    1. I’m doing the same thing! I have a small basket near my kitchen counter as a reminder to use them up first.

    2. Great idea!! How often do you check? I’ve only tossed something once, but I should’ve checked. I bought shelf stable cream and it turned out to have a useby date in just 3 mos. I went to use it at 9.

      1. Well the basket is eye level right when I open the door so I can’t miss it! Otherwise whenever I’m getting other things out I just kind of eye things up. For instance was getting pasta yesterday & noticed a box of lasagna noodles a little past but still ok,& a jar of tomato flakes very close to empty, same with some garlic powder that’d be gone if I refill the kitchen jar. So it’s really ongoing & usually the things you make a mental note of but unfortunately I just seem to forget. Works the same with fridge& freezer. Found some ground venison that’d somehow worked it’s way to the bottom after last year. Apparently it’s looking like lasagna is going to be on the menu…lol.

  50. Looking forward to seeing your aprons…Thrifty actions this week: rearranged fireplace mantel( with what I already had) and living room to give it a new look. A friend came over that has been in our home several times, and asked if I had bought new pieces of furniture, so I guess it really did create a new look. Trying a few recipes from Heart of the Home by Susan Branch, from the library. We are entering our season of afternoon thunderstorms, with hurricane readiness in mind.

  51. A warning to fellow canners. I have purchased some new jars this year, name brands, not knock-offs, and some have defective bands. Something is wrong with the threads. They twist on and tighten normally but will fall off in both the pressure and water bath canners. Twice the lids stayed on but I found a band loose in the water. They have been mixed in with my older bands so I can’t tell them apart. I had one blow-off when I opened my pressure canner. The contents exploded across the room and burned my arm quite badly. At least I had a cup towel over the jar as a precaution so it didn’t hit my face. A friend sent me a video and it seems the factories are having problems with their metallurgy – supply chain problems.

    Good news! I have not been able to find any good deals for weeks. My local stores seem to be selling out before anything expires but over the weekend I happened upon milk on clearance for $1.00 a gallon!!! It was expiring in three days and their cooler was full. I bought ten much to my husband’s shock. Some of it was immediately frozen in small amounts that we could drink quickly and the rest is being made into yogurt (also frozen).

      1. I was wondering if you could talk about the #10 cans of freeze dried vegetables or steer me in the direction where you already have. I have no experience cooking with these except for garlic,onion, tomatoes. I don’t want to spend the money on freeze dried corn if its just meh when the same could be spent on cans or frozen. Can they hold their own in the recipe?What is a good price? Also the case lot sales you’ve talked about I can’t find anything like that in my area (central IL) is it a regional thing? Thanks in advance!

        1. These are pricey. Onions are the main thing you should have. Carrots and celery will work if you have no way of going shopping for months but honestly they are not as food as fresh. Still, with carrots, onions, and celery you can make many different soups. When we didn’t shop for over a year they were invaluable.

          These are never in case-lot sales. Those are for smaller cans of normal everyday items.

        2. When a couple of the grands were young they like the Honeyville freeze dried corn and peas to snack on as is. I don’t know how it tastes cooked, but really good as dry snack. I buy chopped onion in the larger bottles ( I think they are just dried onions) from Costco as a back up as well as for recipes that call for them. For the grans that were in Boy Scouts they used Mountain House meals for backpacking. They even bought the #10 cans as a group of some things to make their own mix.

          They are more expensive.

  52. Hi Brandy and everyone
    My comment didn’t go through so I’m writing again,if I repeat myself please forgive, the weeks morph into each other!
    It’s so good you were able to save fuel and time by grouping doctors appointments together, our time is valuable too.
    It’s been a good week for free food.
    We went blackberrying and although the berries aren’t very juicy due to lack of rain it’s still good to have some in the freezer for apple and blackberry crumble in the winter.
    My husband gives spare plants he’s grown to his gardening clients and one of them told him to pick Discovery apples off a tree in their orchard.
    We picked cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes and marrow from the garden. It’s the first time we’ve grown cauliflower and we’re learning as we go, we left the heads a little too long on the plant but could salvage most of the head. I picked rudbeckia for a friend and zinnia for the house. I froze some of the produce.
    I bought thick cut ham trimmings for £2.50 for 400 grams. This gave the two of us ham salad, ham omelettes and several rounds of sandwiches. Other inexpensive meals were cauliflower cheese with fried tomatoes, cream of cauliflower soup and stuffed marrow. All of these were cooked on the hob with the exception of the marrow, I need to research how to cook stuffed marrow in the slow cooker.
    We had a problem with the drains so my husband borrowed drain rods from a neighbour and cleared the obstruction at no cost.
    I bought several more packs of new knee highs and tights at a reduced price in the charity shop when I dropped off donations.
    A nephew has married a lovely German girl. As a courtesy to her and her family, and in the hope that we might visit the young couple in Germany, I have signed up to learn German for free on Duolingo. I love it! I am also supposed to do some daily physio exercises and I struggle to maintain the routine so I tell myself I can’t do Duolingo till I complete the exercise. So far it’s working!
    I know some of you enjoy the TV programmes about The Victorian Farm etc so you might like to look out for A Farm Through Time. It’s led by the historian Ruth Goodman who was in those programmes and features a real farming family. She takes them through Iron Age, Victorian and WW2 farming practices. The third series of All Creatures Great and Small is also coming, not sure when in the UK but January on PBS I believe.
    Stay safe everyone.

  53. Hi Brandy, Glad you are getting a harvest from your garden in all of this Summer heat. I just caught up with a few weeks of your blog and paused when I read you bought leggings for your granddaughter. I hope she is growing and doing well. What a neat phase of life to watch your children and now grandchildren grow.

    The last few weeks have been interesting as I caught Covid. It’s been two weeks now that I am on the mend but not 100% still. My son was sick but did not test positive and seemed to rebound in about two days. I haven’t done much that is frugal lately, but I have started saying no to things and people that would otherwise occupy my time. I’m hoping to have more down time for balance. I know it’s not frugal, but hopefully it leads to me finding time and clarity.

  54. Finally we got rain (and flooding) in Texas. The scorched earth greened up & the landscape looked less desolate.
    The photograph of the green sage was refreshing to see. I love green houseplants & outdoor ones as well.
    1. The washing machine developed a leak so we had an inside flood. Hubby fixed it w/ a 30$ part. The laundry area is still a wreck but the washer works again.
    2. My husband has a 1000$ dental benefit (yearly) on his AARP Medicare Advantage. I found a dentist who is a provider & he went to see this dr. for no out of pocket $. Our current dentist was not a provider. I guess hubby has a new dentist.
    3. I am working a part-time job. I’m wearing scrubs I already own, using a laptop a friend gave me, & taking my dinner. I do have to pay for gas to get to the job. I haven’t discovered a way to circumvent that expense.
    4. Found some snack items w/ recent expiry dates. I don’t eat snack food items but give to homeless on the street corners who are asking for food. The items are sealed up & clean.
    5. A failure: Pantry items were infested w/ pantry moths. Into the trash they went. I did put some things out for the birds, items they would eat. I have also fed the cat kibble that the moths got into. Outdoor cats will sit by streetlights to catch & eat bugs.
    6. I’ve lost 10 lbs so I am happy of that. I don’t know if I saved $ on food though. I eat less but the items I eat cost more.

  55. How nice that your friend was able to help you with the Plus membership! We have a Plus membership at Sam’s only because it saved us money on a big purchase — the basic membership did not offer a discount on something we were planning to buy, but Plus members got something like $300 off. So it paid for itself. Although we could probably drop it now, we keep it for the free shipping which I use often. We live about 30 minutes from Sam’s, so I rarely go in store, but frequently have items delivered.

    We don’t live near a Costco, but I have considered getting a basic membership there to take advantage of other items/deals they offer, as well as travel discounts. Wondered if anyone here has used that, and is it worth the membership fee? We don’t travel very often, but I’ve heard that Costco has great travel deals so it might be worth the savings for the few times we stay in a hotel throughout the year.

    I can’t think of anything special we did last week to save money — just the usual. Eating at home as much as possible, combining trips to save gas, and being grateful for what we have. The Brussels sprouts I started from seed & transplanted a few weeks ago have really taken off. I have high hopes — it’s the first time I’ve ever successfully sneaked them past the bugs. My tomato plants look so ratty, but the small grape tomatoes are still producing so I haven’t pulled them. We are getting enough to enjoy fresh as snacks and on salads. I planted seeds for spinach and purple sprouting broccoli to have them get settled to overwinter. Also planted some beets, don’t know if it’s too late for those but I used old seed so there’s not a huge loss if they don’t come up.

    At a yard sale last weekend, I spent $12 on books then sold them for $28. Also found some nice kitchen towels for .25 each. I baked banana bread and used my PC mini-loaf pan (bought new at a yard sale for $10 a couple of weeks ago). My daughter took several loaves back to the dorm to share with friends. She said the friends enjoyed it, and one girl commented “You can taste the love in this.” Nothing like homemade food when you’re living on college cafeteria food!

    A children’s clothing consignment sale is coming up soon. I signed up to work one shift so that I could shop the pre-sale a little early (can’t go at the time I would normally be admitted). I’ve tried to list 5-10 things to my sale inventory every day. So far I’m up to 61 items listed, so that’s pretty good! Still have so much more to go. I price most of my items at $1-3 in the hopes that someone can afford and enjoy them. It’s so nice to get the clutter of outgrown clothes out of the house, and getting a little cash out of it is a nice bonus.

  56. I canned 8 pints of roasted marinara sauce and 6 pints of roasted tomato basil sauce.I had a good deal (for the area anyways) on the Romas and they were beautiful, all ripe and ready, half a bushel. It’s just me here and I will make sure to plan meals so I can use it up over the winter. I dehydrated the skins and even the seed goo, so nothing is wasted. I reused the parchment paper to dehydrate the tomatoes, so money saved here. I am thankful for my canning jars. I stock up on lids throughout the year so I had plenty of regular mouth size already. Wide mouth is a bit more scarce.

    I also canned some sandwich pickles, and I love the flavour!

    The garden gave me plenty of tomatoes this week, more zucchinis, some green beans, a cucumber, and a fair number of strawberries, but they did not make it back to my home, I ate them all on the spot! I harvested more of my amaranth and look forward to harvesting my mini cantaloupes, but it is unclear when they will be ready. I was gifted 3 long, thin eggplants today from my community garden neighbor and she was also kind enough to let me take some carrot greens that she was thinning today- she usually composts them- I dehydrate them and use in soups and stews.

    I make sure my dehydrator trays are full when I use it. My power bill is up from the AC and dehydrator. I look forward to cooler days and lighter bills. My AC unit is set to 23C

  57. I was ‘nudged’ to be frugal this week by two events at Best Buy: I had bought a cheap laptop a few months ago but it had a couple of features that annoyed me. I finally thought, OK, I will buy a slightly more expensive one there and hopefully it will better suit my needs. So I ordered one online from Best Buy after careful consideration of price and features. An hour later, I got an email saying my order was cancelled as it was out of stock and could not be reordered. So then I thought, why don’t I go to Best Buy and buy a card to put a year of Microsoft Word on the computer I already have, since google docs (which I had been using) was a little inconvenient for me to use. So I went to Best Buy, pulled the card off the rack ($69.99 for a year of Word) and went to the register. I gave the clerk a hundred dollar bill (I don’t carry any credit or debit cards with me ever since I spend MUCH less if I carry cash only). He said, “Okay, just run your credit card through and I’ll activate your Microsoft Word card.” I said, “I just handed you a hundred dollar bill.” And he said, “Oh, right–well, Microsoft will only take credit cards for this type of purchase.” So I had to leave without Microsoft Word. It took me a day or so but I finally had to laugh at how ‘the universe’? ‘life’? was telling me loudly, “Make do with what you have instead of thinking that throwing money at this problem was going to fix it.” So I am going to stick with the original laptop I bought (on which I am typing this) and stick with google docs, which is free in areas that have wifi.

  58. I’m jealous of your thunderstorms! We don’t really get thunder and lightening in the PNW, and when we do it means wildfires which are no fun. I do enjoy falling asleep to the sound of rain and thunder, though.
    We had a pretty thrifty week:
    * Harvested 20+ pounds of zucchini from our community garden bed. I put up 11 pints of zucchini and onion pickles for sandwiches (in the winter we use these pickles for faux cucumber sandwiches at lunch time).
    * Started harvesting tomatoes. Only 5-7 lbs so far, but next week we’ll be inundated. Good thing as I need to can this winter’s sauces.
    * Dehydrated over 10 lbs of zucchini, both as slices for soups, stirfries, and casseroles, and as shreds for baking and fritters.
    * Foraged blackberries and canned 12 half-pints of jam and dehydrated a gallon of berries for compotes, sauces, and desserts. We’ll harvest more next week to brew some blackberry mead for winter holidays.
    * Began handwashing our clothing so we don’t have to haul things to the laundry anymore — the price went up and it was going to cost us $50-70/month to do our laundry! Apartment living means no room for our own machines, but we built a manual washer following some youtube videos. So much dirt came out of our clothes that I experimented with some machine-washed clothing and just as much dirt came out of those! yuck, hand washing is definitely better.
    * The main challenge with handwashing is drying. A wringer is a must as it’s painful to wring by hand, but they cost $100+ new or used. We watched some more youtube videos and have put together a working model with some thrifted rolling pins. A few tweaks still need to be made before we lose the sun to winter rain, but it’s much better!
    * Harvested herbs from the balcony pots, drying some for winter use. Also harvested nasturtium pods to pickle as faux capers.
    * Took full advantage of the library — read several print books (including an interlibrary loan of a cookbook I’ve been wanting to look through), listened to an audiobook, and watched a movie. I also used the library ancestry membership to do some work on our family’s genealogy.
    * We made all of our meals and snacks at home, including ice coffee on a day when we had a craving to go out for some.
    * Continued to work on an embroidery project as a gift for my niece later this month, using supplies mainly sourced from thrift stores. I also found a usually expensive-ish tapestry in the style that my son has been wanting for his apartment at the thrift store. It was only a couple of dollars because of a small rip in one corner, which I was able to mend.
    * Finished furnishing/styling my dining room for free! Over the last couple of weeks I sourced a 1930s drop leaf table and 4 lovely solid wood chairs from my Buy Nothing group. The wood finish even matches my pantry hutch in the room. I then found a beautiful vintage lace tablecloth at a thrift store for only $1, and it’s made in a way so the natural color of the wood shows through the lace eyelets. The final piece was a pretty metal and glass candle lantern made to look vintage, which makes a cat-friendly centerpiece — that someone had set next to our dumpster! This is now my favorite room in the house 🙂 We’ve been hosting holidays and celebrations on a folding table in our small apartment, so it is lovely to have a table that is small enough to seat four with a drop leaf down, but opens up to serve 8 with the leaves up.
    * Ate leftovers for lunch a few days and managed to avoid all food waste this week!

    Today we are heading to the farmers market to stock up on more produce for preserving for this winter.

  59. We wanted something for dessert and with the high temperatures outside didn’t want to use the oven. So we saved electricity by making peanut butter rice crispy bars.
    Turned up the thermometer 2 notches to 77 for the AC We don’t due well with heat We do all of our outside work as soon as the sun is up and then inside before noon. Then we are done in for the rest of the day.
    Our dinners are ones I made previously and froze. So just using the microwave most of the time or gas stove to cook and save electricity.
    I want to thank Brandy and all who post such wonderful ideas. Even though I grew up with very thrifty parents There are new things to learn as the world has changed since their time. I always wonder how so many of you get sooo much done, then I remember I used to do it a long time ago. Maybe some of you who are older have some ideas to save money while working with a very tired body LOL. I still do a lot, but I do get tired more easily than I had. Our oldest still tells the grands that I work circles around them. Ha Ha

  60. We buy Sam’s Club Tomato Paste in the huge cans. We grow our own tomatoes but we use it to thicken salsa and sauce. We use what we need for a week or two (in the fridge) and then we freeze it in a big flat pan and score it…using it as needed after that. I wonder if it might be a better option than the sauce especially for a bit of long term storage. (I have heard that tomato products don’t last as long as other canned good. I don’t know but I heard that.) Anyway, it takes up less space. You would have to make up more spaghetti sauce and freeze it or can it so that might not work but it’s just an idea. p.s. We haven’t bought any since last year and I haven’t looked for it in the store.

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