I harvested butternut squash, watermelon, Swiss chard, and peppermint from the garden.

I sowed seeds in the garden for lettuce, green onions, Swiss chard, and poppies.

I bought fall annuals on sale at the local nursery. I checked their ads on their app (they run Friday through Wednesday) and bought several of the flowers I wanted to take us through the winter and spring. They didn’t have everything I had hoped to get, so I will watch for sales the next few weeks.

As much as I would like to fill the garden beds with annuals, I limited my purchases and planting. I planted where there will be the most impact down the center of the garden. We will see them from the window every day. The flowers I chose (flowering cabbage, pansies, violas, and a few snapdragons) will last five to six months in the garden. Even on cold, windy days, we will be able to enjoy the garden just by looking outside. (Snapdragons are perennial, but they tend to burn in our climate in summer, so they usually perform more like an annual here).

I ordered some seeds for a different colored nasturtium. Nasturtiums grow well for me and self-seed readily, but I wanted pink flowers rather than the orange and yellow ones that I have been growing (these self-seed readily and are already sprouting, so I will still have lots of those!) I ordered seeds for one called “Ladybird Rose”. I will plant nasturtiums in several places rather than buying annuals. I did not buy enough to grow them in all the places I would like them. I will collect seeds from the ones I plant and use those in future years to grow them in more places in the garden.

My husband made a third steel arbor for the garden.

I cooked a turkey that I had in the freezer from last year and used it in several dishes, including a creamy turkey and wild rice soup, enchiladas with green sauce, and fettuccini alfredo.

I bought whole chicken and chicken thighs on sale for $0.99 a pound. This is my stock-up price. I only buy when they get this low.

We attended a trunk or treat during the week. My teenaged son wanted to create a new costume, so he ordered some things online. Everyone else put together costumes using costumes, clothing, and supplies that we already had on hand.

I read a fictional e-book from the library about the horseback librarians during the Depression in Eastern Kentucky called The Giver of Stars.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Quilt #197- https://pin.it/2UAxICf for a client and #198- https://pin.it/4vWboax that I made using a free online quilt pattern using scraps from my stash and quilt batting that I pieced together from leftover scraps and a fitted twin size sheet I had from Goodwill, so no OOP cost and a nice looking gift to give.

    Pressure Canned 7 pints of bell pepper slices from my garden to save on freezer “real estate”. https://pin.it/5gvPzjf

    A friend of ours from Church just lost her 54 year old aunt (who was like a big sister to her) to COVID on Saturday. My friend was stunned and is having a hard time so I offered my help (pet minding as long as they did not have a snake, errand running and meal bringing.) She admitted that having dinner brought over would be wonderful for the 4 of them- Hubs, 2 teenagers and herself. I told her I would love to bring dinner that very next day- Sunday.
    I thought of my beloved chicken pot pie and that I’ve made it before in a large pan to serve a group. So I got out disposable foil pans that I keep in my pantry and got started! I only had 1 box of pie crust (remember I can’t make pie crust AND it’s a Sunday, so I don’t go out shopping) . The 2 crusts in the box patched together fit the bottom and sides of my pan. I peeled but let Hubs dice up ( after the blender incident, he’s not letting me near the knives! 🤪) the final potatoes from my meager garden harvest. We brought up 2 pints of home canned chicken breast chunks, rehydrated some of my dehydrated onions and got out mixed veg from the freezer. It filled the pan to the top but I was stymied about a top crust! Then I remembered I had homemade Quick Mix on my shelf and added milk to make biscuit topping that I rolled out like a pie crust! I was feeling SO provident and frugal! Then I was impressed to make a banana cake (from scratch), using some overripe bananas in my freezer with cream cheese frosting! Again, I was feeling so proud!
    Fast forward to my cake coming out, not baked through in the center of the pan. No worries, I just put it back in oven for 10 more minutes with oven already turned off (again, patting myself of the back for saving energy!) Cake came out- still had squishy center so I turned oven back on and let it bake longer. Came out looking more golden brown but center sunk after it cooled down. I frosted it and then put in fridge. Before taking it, I cut pieces from the perimeter that I knew were baked through and repackaged those into another foil pan and left behind the sunken cake,
    And the pot pie with the lovely biscuit crust? Came out with the crust looking almost charred. 😳☹️. My time to leave had come though. I found a card and bagged up a quilt for the family to snuggle under and Hubs and I delivered them.
    I hugged her, we all talked for about 40 minutes and I sadly told her about my shortfalls with the dinner and saying that if the top crust was removed I was pretty confident that the rest of the pie would taste good. We even laughed about my struggles with the dinner. Just as we were getting ready to leave, her teenage daughter noticed the costumed little kiddos at the end of the block, coming in their direction. Mom panicked as she realized that she was on her way to buy Halloween candy when she got news of her aunt. Her husband said they could just turn off their lights but my Hubs remembered that there was a big bowl in the trunk half filled with leftover candy we took to our Church Trunk or Treat two nights before that we forgot to take back in afterwards! He raced outside and gave the big bowl to their daughter to hand out just as the first Trick or Treaters started up their driveway.
    That night I got a text from my friend. Her daughter had eaten 3 helpings of the pot pie and she, my friend, had eaten 3 pieces of banana cake. The whole family had loved the dinner!
    This experience taught me several lessons- 1. What a blessing to have a stocked pantry not only to bless our own family but so we can share with others. 2. Even a “meager” harvest of tiny potatoes can and should be viewed as valuable. 3. We shouldn’t wait to serve until we have the perfect cake or golden pie crust. Our efforts, no matter how humble will be blessed if given in love. 4. Pride comes before a fall, but we can humble ourselves, move on and learn from it!

    We got 60 cents off a gallon to fill our almost empty gas tank at Kroger’s by getting Lowe’s gift card when they gave 2 times the value in fuel points and using their other 2-4 times deals to get the points to add up faster! So, just $2.26 a gallon to fill our tank!! We had also used gas Buddy to determine that our Kroger’s current price on gas (before the extra savings) was one of the best in our area. That’s not always the case and we love the free GasBuddy app on our phone that compares current gas prices and tells us their proximity to where we are. That has been a major savings both locally and also when we travel out of town!!

    Life looks pretty wonderful from my perspective! There are still heartaches and obstacles that we face, but when we notice all the abundance we have been given- good health that we take for granted until we are hurt or sick, food, a place to live, friends, family, we feel humbled.

    I hope you have had a wonderful frugal week as well!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Where is a good place and price for batting? I have 6 I am making for my kids…which I am moving to next year now, but I need to watch for a good batting sale.

      1. Bama Holly- I watch for the 60% off coupon or sale on batting that comes once a year at JoAnn’s and then I buy my batting. The last time, I had 4 coupons for 60% off and the batting I wanted which is $13.98/yard was not on sale so I could use the coupon. How did I have 4 separate coupons? 1 was on my JoAnn app on my phone. 1 had come in hubs name on a JoAnn circular (so I took him with me), 1 was in the mail under my name and another was from my daughter who is my business partner so I could get a fourth one. That brought the batting down to $5.59/yard!

        And on my own quilts, I use all my batting scraps to make battings large enough to work for my personal quilts. Every scrap used saves money.

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      2. I use the coupons from JoAnn Fabrics. My largest coupon is 50% off on one item. I buy the largest size I can afford.

        1. Becky Pratt- Because I use so much, I buy it by the yard (usually buying full bolts of 20-40 yards) . There still seems to be 1 time in the year that a 60% off coupon will come out for JoAnn’s. No rhyme or reason as to timing, so I always scour each circular I get just in case.

          Gardenpat in Ohio
          HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    2. My daughter stopped by and mentioned that she and a co-worker are going grocery shopping tomorrow for another co-worker with 3 children because one of the kids tested positive for Covid and now they have to isolate for up to 2 weeks. They want to help out because the retail chain they work for doesn’t offer sick leave to part-time employees and this cop- worker won’t be able to do her Door Dash job either. In a few minutes, I was able to pull out a package of chicken, a pound of ground beef, a loaf of apple pie bread, canned fruit, 1/2 pound cheddar cheese, potatoes, peanut butter and homemade pumpkin cookies for them. If I had known in advance, I could have cooked them some meals. It does feel good to be able to provide help and to have the food on hand to give.

      1. Mari in SC- I really believe that our pantry has enough and to share! Such a good feeling!! Glad you were able to just pull things from your storage so easily!! Well done, you!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    3. Gardenpat, thanks for the reminder that it’s the *giving* that matters, not necessarily the end product. I’m such a perfectionist, particularly when it comes to food. I love how much love you put into everything you did for your friend. Hugs and my best thoughts for all of you :).

    4. OHHHH Gardenpat you made me laugh and cry all at one
      I always learn a lesson and these were great ones
      Thank you

      1. Nancy- what a great idea!! And I have homemade stuffing mix on my shelf! Wish I had thought of it!! Our food storage in the pantry really does give us lots of options and flexibility!! That’s what I love most about it!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      2. One of my favorite casseroles is basically a chicken pot pie with a Ritz cracker crust and stovetop crust. It’s soooo good. In fact, craving it now, I might have to make it this weekend!

    5. Gardenpat, I loved your story about the pot pie and banana cake. My local kids often shop in my storage, but now we are down to only one in the area as another has moved south. Anyhow, my ex stopped by with a special pizza his brother had bought for me and my husband (a favorite from Chicago…where I will not venture any more). He was telling me he had found a piece of haddock in his freezer that my son had given him a year ago and as this time of month is a low time for food for him, he was thankful and made it (fresh caught and was still delicious). Anyhow, I headed to my storage and freezers and was able to come up with meals for him until his money comes in the end of this week. It truly is in giving that we receive. Thank you for your uplifting story!

    6. May I recommend the book Open the Door by Jennifer Schmidt? It encourages us to be hospitable even when we feel we don’t have the perfect house/food/time because people just crave the connection, not the perfection.

  2. Open enrollment starts today, Nov 1 for health insurance through the marketplace
    . From healthcare.gov>>>” Open Enrollment is here!
    Act by Dec 15 for coverage
    starting Jan 1”.

  3. *I’ve used Kroger’s curbside pickup service the last few weeks, since it’s free, and if they’re out of something, sometimes they substitute it with something better. This week they were out of some flour tortillas that were on sale for $1 (my preferred price). I’d ordered 3, and the substitute they offered was the same brand of tortillas, except in the biggest tortilla size! I only wish I’d ordered more. And when I got home and checked to make sure they didn’t forget anything, I found a family-sized pack of chicken breast tenders that I hadn’t ordered and wasn’t charged for. I don’t normally use tenders, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out! 😉

    *Lots of stuff I had to drive to do this week got cancelled at the last minute for varying random reasons. I was happy to save on the gas.

    *Handed out candy on Halloween that I saved from my kids’ trick or treat leftovers from last year. I only let them keep 10 of their favorite pieces, plus all the non-candy items. Whatever’s leftover after they pick their top 10 goes into Ziplocs in our chest freezer to save for next year.

    *Hung as much laundry as possible.

    *Added to my new compost pile.

    Also, I really enjoy the comments where people mention out of the ordinary stuff they do to save money, so I tried to think of some things I did this week that maybe not everyone knows about or has heard about in awhile:

    *Saved tortilla chip crumbs at the bottom of the bag in a small storage container to throw on my chili the next day. I do this regularly!

    *Finished off 2 bags of flour tortillas and saved the bags with my other Ziploc type bags. I wash/reuse Ziplocs until they break or until I use them for raw meat.

    *Cut up a paper bag to use in place of paper towels to absorb the oil after cooking bacon, hamburger patties, and breakfast sausage. This idea was new to me but I read about it here in the comments a few weeks ago and I’m totally sold on it! So creative.

    *Unplugged items when not in use.

    *Wore jeans multiple times before washing them. My husband actually does not wash his jeans because he’s one of those people who thinks that washing them ruins them, so unless he gets them actually dirty, he just airs them out on the drying rack, then puts them in the freezer for a few days. I like to wash mine after a bit, though, so I probably get 3-6 wears out of mine between washes.

    Thanks for all the inspiration, Brandy! Looking forward to what everyone else did this week, too.

      1. Marybeth,
        My husband read somewhere one time that leaving them in the freezer for several days will kill germs. However I just did a search to see if that’s indeed true, and the internet does not seem to think so. 😂 Old habits die hard, though, especially when you’ve been doing it that way for years!

        1. Well…I would never had thought to put jeans in the freezer to kill germs, but I do freeze flour to kill any bugs that it might have in it. (Not for any particular length of time, usually just until I need the freezer space). I have a “thing” for wool blankets. Once I found a red Hudson’s Bay blanket on top of a wheelie bin on garbage day. Naturally, I took it! After I washed it, I began to wonder why anyone would throw away a HB blanket unless it had bedbugs? After a little thought, I wrapped it in a plastic bag and froze it for a month or so! I still don’t know if it ever had bedbugs, but it didn’t have any after I froze it!

      1. They feel a little soggy straight out of the freezer, but I get them out in the morning and dump them onto a tea towel into an even layer and let them dry (usually takes about an hour or so). The wrappers are plastic, so they are fine once they dry.

    1. I rotate two pairs of jeans, worn every other day, for two weeks until i wash them. I never thought to write about it. Yes, please tell us why your husband puts his jeans in the freezer. That’s a new one, i think!

  4. Go nasturtiums!
    I appreciated reading the house winterizing tips last week. My local electric company had a pamphlet of things to do that included two I hadn’t considered: Use ceramic or glass pans for baking, as they distribute heat more evenly and the temperature can be 25 degrees lower. If having a party with bottled beverages, put them in a cooler instead of having people continually open the refrigerator.
    And one I’ve read elsewhere: Bubble wrap can be used as a window insulator. Cut it to size, spritz one side with water, and that side will self-stick to the glass. Easy to remove and no tape needed.

    1. These are great!

      I knew about cooking with glass but I never thought of the lower temperature as being a money-saver with the oven.That’s very interesting. I wonder if it is the same on natural gas ovens.

      At parties, I usually serve water 🙂 (from the tap!). I keep bottles in the fridge that we fill from the tap. For a party, I put it in a pitcher or a drink dispenser.

      1. Hi Brandy. I have had natural gas ovens almost my entire life and, yes, it does work the same for them. Lower temp and heats more evenly. So happy to see harvests coming from your garden again!

    2. Heidi.. I didn’t know that about glass pans. I rarely use mine but what a great idea. I’ll have to start using mine more often, I have a lot of Pyrex baking dishes that I rarely use except in the microwave lol.

  5. Used frozen tomato paste that I had previously frozen in 1 tablespoon chunks in a sauce.

    Chopped up frozen carrots to use in a soup because I didn’t have fresh

    I prefer to use Rana tortellini but used frozen great value brand and tasted just fine. I’ll probably keep using it because it was half the price.

    My mom sent over powdered milk, bottle water, almond milk, a lunch able, and vitamins

    Used a 1.25 off redbox rental x2

    Sold several items for my mom and made her $53, getting stuff out if my way.

    We went from needing the ac to needing the heat. I try to keep it off as much as possible.

    Used up or froze leftovers

    Only purchased 1 bag of candy for Halloween (good thing because we had zero kids stop)

    Also didn’t purchase pumpkins to carve.

  6. Brandy, the garden is and will be absolutely beautiful! Love the pansies, too.

    I received my third shot of the Moderna vaccine at no cost. My only risk factor is that I’m old. DH is 16 months older and has diabetes and kidney failure, so I mainly did this to protect him. He got the third dose about two weeks ago. If I am going to be perfectly honest here, I have to admit that I had side effects for this shot only. I felt like I’d been hit by a Mack truck for about 24-36 hours.

    I had my 38-year-old sewing machine serviced and replaced a $16 part on my carpet cleaner.

    I returned an unsatisfactory item to the store for a refund.

    My gut medicine, which I buy as a generic direct from the manufacturer in India (via a USA broker), went down in price from $95 to $67 for 100 capsules. The last time I had the brand name Rx filled locally, the CO-PAY for 90 caps was $800!

    I redeemed a rain check for pasta @ .49 lb. I bought top sirloin steak for $4.49 lb. and had it all tenderized for cube steak (which really stretches the meat). My price point for this cut is $4 lb., but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it for that price that I’m thinking this might be the new low.

    I discovered two full books of last year’s Christmas stamps in my greeting card box! I ended up buying a get well card (nothing appropriate in the box) for .50 at Dollar Tree.

    My daughter got two pairs of jeans at TJMaxx for $41 total. She does not like to try on clothes, so thrift stores don’t work too well for her, especially for things like jeans that need to fit a certain way. She doesn’t have tons of clothes and wears them for years, so it’s not a big deal. She will get her money’s worth!

    I cooked double in order to replace one of the freezer meals we ate this week.

    The Halloween pumpkin cost .20 lb. I don’t cook it afterward because I think they are tasteless. However, it weighed 18 lbs. and I composted everything except the seeds, so I think I got my money’s worth. I bought my Halloween candy in bulk for $4.99 lb. at Winco. I got 50 York peppermint patties for $5.40, or less than .11 apiece.

    1. One way we use tasteless pumpkin pulp is to hide it in things like chili. It adds nutrients and stretches the chili so saves us money. Also it is good for dogs, if you have one.

  7. Your garden looks beautiful. And, yum, butternut squash and watermelon!

    Joining in from the Seattle area. This covers two weeks.

    Last week, my mom signed the papers for the new assisted living facility. The place had a special deal where, if you signed up in October, you could get the 2nd and 4th month of rent free. She paid rent for one day in October, so rent will be free in November and January (she still has to pay the care fees for those months). This is a huge savings. We also got free lunch at the facility on the day we signed the papers (it was a long process). My mom moves this Saturday. Found a moving company that charges $130 an hour instead of $180 an hour. The mover is also willing to drop a few things off from my mom’s current apartment at my sister’s house, which will save us time and effort.

    My great aunt died several weeks ago (she was 95). I sent sympathy cards to her family using cards from my stash. I also spoke to my cousin, because I knew they were getting rid of my great aunt’s stuff. We were able to purchase a transfer wheelchair and a 6 foot wheelchair ramp (to use at my sister’s house) for $200. Both items are in great condition. My cousin was so happy that we could use these items for my mom, and even delivered them to us. Feeling very grateful, since it was just about time to return the original transfer wheelchair I had borrowed.

    We discovered an incidence of financial fraud on my mom’s bank account. I spent several hours trying to sort this out. It was a sophisticated yet clumsy fraud attempt, and the bank had never seen anything like it. It is still being investigated. I plan on reporting this incidence to law enforcement. The good news is my mom should get the $400 back. I was able to deal with it on my mom’s behalf because she had set up me up as power of attorney several years ago. So, frugal tips: keep a close eye on all your family’s financial transactions, and, if you have an older relative that depends on you, make sure they have their paperwork in order so that you can deal with things on their behalf if needed.

    Other ways I saved money:
    . A few weeks ago, I bought a new thermos canister (Kleen Kanteen brand) to use for my lunch at work. The top was extremely difficult to remove when I was using it. I emailed the company, and they sent me a replacement thermos free of charge. The new one works better.
    . Fixed the lid of a flip top spice jar with a small piece of duct tape.
    . Donated a bag of clothing to Goodwill.
    . Found 5lbs of Himalayan salt for $4 at Big Lots.
    . Got free boxes at Costco for my mom’s move.
    . Received a free pound of pears at my local coop.
    . Picked up the last CSA vegetable share of the year. It was a huge bag of produce! We still have 4 delicata squash, 2 acorn squash and 3 kabocha pumpkin to use from last week and past weeks. Very thankful for all the abundance!

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. I am glad your Medicare Advantage Plan has been good for you. I’ve read of some Advantage Plan nightmares. I always selected a PPO (and paid dearly for that option at my last job) when I was working so I definitely will be going with a Medicare Supplement Plan G so I won’t have to deal with networks that can change at any time and preapprovals. My mom has the equivalent of Medicare Supplement Plan G and it has been wonderful–covering nearly everything completely with a very small yearly deductible. Her drug plan is equally wonderful, covering everything entirely except for vitamins and minerals, but it is not available to people who aren’t the widows of men who retired from one company in 1973. My current medicines are the cheapest generics so because of that and likely qualifying for Medicare’s Extra Help for Medicare Part D soon after I get sick if I get sick, I am not worrying about the cost of drugs or Medicare Part D. It looks like I also will get great vision coverage ($40 glasses yearly) and some dental coverage (preventive for free and up to $1500 year with matching payment for other procedures) and half-an-ear-a-year hearing aid coverage for about $16 a month. I had hoped to catch up on my dental care before I turn 65 but the clinic I planned on going to has been closed for invasive procedures because of the high incidence of Covid-19 in the community. So I need to budget for future catch-up dental bills. Insurance agents have lots of informative videos on Medicare coverage options on Youtube. I also have read mom’s yearly Medicare booklet from cover to cover the last few years.

      1. Check carefully on Part D to ensure by not taking it you don’t incur a penalty. https://www.medicare.gov/drug-coverage-part-d/costs-for-medicare-drug-coverage/part-d-late-enrollment-penalty

        I encourage everyone to go to the Medicare website as well as talk to someone who can help navigate. It can be very complex. We have resources in Colorado who help consumers navigate through it – especially in the three months before one becomes eligible.

        1. Sometime ago, Gardenpat recommended going to an insurance broker before signing up for Medicare. This seemed silly to me at the time since I’m computer literate, it’s all online and I understand *most* of the terminology. Then I found myself in a situation where I found a particular benefit varies–and I need as much of that benefit as I can get! I currently do not have it at all, but I remembered Gardenpat’s post and called a broker. He gave me a brief overview on the phone and the upshot is that I have an appointment next week to review my coverage and decide for next year. There is no charge for this (I think they are compensated by Medicare). This is complicated stuff with lots of options besides the lowest premium. So, Pat, thanks!

          Thought for today–there is no such thing as being insurance poor, but you can be premium poor. Have you ever heard of a widow who complained that he husband had too much life insurance? It’s a balancing act, for sure!

          1. I second the recommendation of seeing some kind of no-fee senior insurance advisor. One was crucial in helping my husband sort through plans, in his case choosing original Medicare, not Medicare Advantage, as best for his circumstances.
            The relentless and oftentimes misleading TV commercials, mailings, and phone calls make it very difficult to determine what is cost-effective when the source is doing a hard sell of the product.

  8. Hello Brandy and everyone!

    *This week wasn’t great savings because my husband ended up in the hospital with a collapsed lung. But I did save money in little ways that always help.

    * I had snacks in my purse to eat instead of running to the cafeteria everyday. I also brought water and other drinks to have during the day. We were able to re-fill ice and water at the patient dispense. I brought books to read and I had my phone and used the hospital free wi-fi. Anything my husband needed was brought from home and we didn’t need to purchase anything. Since our insurance deductible was met in January with the birth of our darling grand baby – this should be little out of pocket $$ for us. We also have a healthy HSA account that will help with any costs.

    * We had 2 offers from friends to bring in dinner which helped my grocery bill. One person forgot and I did order a take n bake pizza but was able to use a coupon to reduce the cost. I was able to share leftovers with my kids who came up to help and visit their dad. I was able to even send home a few things of food with them to help them. All the kids were here this weekend and the only thing I made was clam chowder. We had plenty of food for the rest of the time.

    *I made all my daughters school lunches using leftovers and homemade jam with peanut butter. One day we were out of fresh fruit and I used my canned cuties and a roll of fruit leather. We’ve had people drop off snacks which is very nice. We received many things of KIND products and I can give those to my daughter. She likes the protein bars. I like to put in protein, a fruit and veggie, carb and a small treat. She also has gym or a dance class every day so I like to include a protein bar/snack to keep her going. She carries a re-fillable water bottle with her all day.

    * I had been saving my gas points from my grocery shopping and was able to get fill up my car using the points. I calculated the quickest route to the hospital out of the two available and chose the one that took the least amount of time by 5 minutes.

    * We had a very small amount of trick or treaters – as in 8 total. I will put away the candy and freeze some for future needs and holidays. I’m thankful I’ve just watched sales all years and didn’t spend much money on treats. Next year, I will just buy one small bag. My youngest went out trick or treating and created a scarecrow costume out of things we had already. She drew stitches on her face using my eyeliner pencil. She got many compliments. We used out own decorations. We didn’t get them out until last Monday and we didn’t put up as many because of the illness stuff.

    * Our weather had storms early in the week and then several days of the most gorgeous blue skies and temps in the 60s.

    * I brushed my cocker spaniels ears because they get matted at the end when he gets drinks of water and then rolls around outside. I also gently wiped down the inside part of the ear – not in the ear – to keep the dirt out to prevent possible ear infections. I have wipes that I use to “clean” them off between bathings.

    * I cleaned out my microwave by putting a mixture of water and vinegar in a bowl and letting it steam in the microwave for a few minutes. Who needs Angry Mama from Amazon when I can use my own bowl?

    *My daughter was injured at work and we took her to Work Med to get her checked out. They will pay for any further help she needs. The doctor gave her a list of exercises to do and I took them and put them in my Notes app and sent a copy to her. Our neighbor was able to loan her a back brace.

    * We’re hopeful my husband will come home sometime this week. I’m hopeful that I can keep finding small ways to save money.

    1. My high school boyfriend had one lung collapse and later the other did. I remember sitting at the hospital with him. The surgery they can perform for this is wonderful. I hope your husband is doing well.

      1. Thank you for your kind words Brandy.

        They didn’t have to do a surgery this time. The surgery is now considered a last option! Things just change so fast. They inserted a tube under his left rib and ran it up to his shoulder. The machine it’s hooked up to suctions out extra stuff and helps re-inflate the lung. It’s such a small machine and it’s portable in the room.

        He is doing better and we’re hoping he will be home tomorrow from the hospital.

    2. Amy S good tips. We just got a Siberian Husky Cocker Spaniel mix she’s only 3 months old so not sure how she’s going to turn out on the ears yet she’s a odd mix of soft fur and wiry texture but will definitely be watching those ears, Vet says her breed is one that does often have ear issues. I had 2 with ear issues but one so far has gone over 6 months with no new developments.. our Great Dane Black Mix. Our Cheweenie has very dry ears. And I’ve never heard of water vinegar combo for the microwave will definitely be trying that out.

  9. Winter started here November 1. Last night the house plants on the porch had to be covered and they have to move indoors today, even the Meyer lemon tree which is cold hardy.to 27 degrees or thereabouts. But there is a 0% chance of precipitation all week (I had started to type rain but with the forecast temperatures, anything falling from the sky could be snow instead) and it was.gloriously sunny until a minute ago. I have to do yard cleanup this week at a woman-with-bad-hip pace before things are frozen in place until spring. I’ll be.playing lumberjack on the small and medium branches and trees this winter weather permiting with my battery-powered pruning saw and manual saw on a pole. I wish I wasn’t so scared of chain saws. But I am. So real tree pruners will be hired for the big stuff in the early spring before the leaves come out again.
    While I was desperate to get mom eating again, I spent way too much ordering meals from Door Dash. Last night she wanted a hamburger. McDonald’s and Door Dash had offered a free quarter pounder meal with a minimum purchase of $15 including the price of that meal. I ordered it. She ate every last bite of her half of the quarter pounder and her apple pie and 40% of the large pop. Her appetite is back to normal. And I need to break our Door Dash habit. One very two weeks sounds about right. MAYBE once a week since we never get out nowadays if I am careful with the grocery ordering otherwise.
    Sams Club finally had a membership promotion I could use while stuck in the house–$45 e-gift certificate with a $45 membership. I called to make sure I did not have to physically go to the store. Then I tried signing up online. While my last membership had expired a couple of years ago, my email address prevented me from signing up again. I entered the queue to chat with a customer service agent. After a wait, the agent immediately disconnected me. I re-entered the queue and a different agent removed my email address from the file and sent me a new link to sign up for membership with the $45 e-gift certificate offer. The link worked. I might have to use the gift certificate for shipped rather than Instacart orders. But I will now be getting membership discounts on my Instacart orders from Sams Club for the coming year.
    I computed worst-case yearly medical expenses for when I turn 65 and my health insurance switches to Medicare. Post-mom (She is 98 and doing well NOW for her age but it is only sensible for me to think about what will be next and try to prepare as best as I can.), if I want a car, I’ll either need to share a small cheap house with a boarder or work part-time. (Cheap house? Those two words go together? I live in the midwest so there are cities and towns with cheap houses. The trick will be to find one in a community with good, safe public transportation both in town and connecting to the outside world for when I can no longer drive–whether because of health or finances. But I am where I am now as long as mom needs me.) So I have an added incentive to turn my walk-in closet into a tiny office/craft space and explore ways of earning money from home while mom naps. My 98-year-old needs more rest than I do. I need to take advantage of that.

    1. I have noticed several people mentioning medical problems and expenses this week. As this is the appropriate time of the year, I wanted to mention that my husband and I have had a Medicare Advantage plan for some years and it has worked excellently for us. My husband just had his shoulder rebuilt two weeks ago, and previously he has had both knees replaced and carpal tunnel surgery on one hand. None of this cost us a nickel because of our insurance through this Medicare plan. We do pay a monthly premium, but we take tons of maintenance meds and all of them are free.

      Just an option for some of you to look into if you are interested.

      1. I’m glad you mentioned this, Anne. I have an appointment to discuss medicare. I have mentioned to my husband, who is younger, that i was signing up for everything i can to get as much medical paid for as possible. Neither of us want to bankrupt us over our health and our plan, now, is awful.

  10. Awesome bounty you have there!

    I was given mums from a friend so I planted those in the ground to save from needing to buy potting soil for my pots.
    Wet Wednesday’s soup was butternut and leek. 4 ingredients and it made plenty for lunches and an extra dinner this week.
    I sourced free materials to work on a few hobby projects.
    Made homemade Crunchwrap supremes (Taco Bell) which were way cheaper and a lot less calories. Not to mention so easy to assemble/grill.
    I hope everyone has a calm week.

  11. I’m happy to see you had a nice butternut squash harvest. Ours was pretty sad, with only a few tiny ones this year. Thanks for sharing The Giver of Stars. I enjoyed another book on this topic, and will check it out. Also, thanks for sharing the Ladybird Rose nasturtiums. I always lean towards pinks and blues in flowers, so this is great to know.
    Last week, I made sauce with some pears and foraged black haw fruit, which was enjoyed for dinner and in oatmeal. I harvested eggplant, a pepper, yellow squash, lettuce, black haw fruit, hickory nuts, swiss chard, and roselle hibiscus for tea. My amazon credit, which came through Swagbucks earnings, covered all the Christmas presents purchased. Vitacost had a 13% off food sale, so I stocked up on our favorite GF pastas, and got a few treats for my husband’s stocking. I was inspired by others online to pull out the fall themed dishes for my husband and I. I originally collected and used them for our annual hayride family gathering, but we haven’t had one since Covid, and I decided we should still be enjoying them. I did some research into Buy Nothing groups near me, but there are none in my community. I was told I could start a group, but really don’t need to add another thing to my plate. My husband grew some hot peppers this year, which hadn’t been eaten. I decided to can some cowboy candy for gifts for some of the guys. I stopped at a horticultural garden I’d not been to, and had an enjoyable free stroll through the multiple gardens. I ran errands in town, and picked up a few things at Big Lots with a 20% coupon, including coconut sugar for $2.80/# vs $4.15, cans of organic chicken soup for .80, and also stopped at Marshall’s, where purchases included jars of raw honey, pink salt, and a just under 5# bag of ww gnocchi marked down to $5 from $7.99. Happy November! http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/11/late-october-days.html

    1. Mine are abundant in number; I have more than I have ever had. However, they are very tiny. I hope the addition of more manure in the garden will make for a larger harvest next year.

  12. It was a great, frugal week in Houston!
    As usual, I bought markdowns and loss leaders at the grocery store. After all the trick or treating and trunk or treats, I certainly didn’t need more candy, but I did buy Kroger brand Halloween colored Oreos (.74/package), and Halloween branded bags of Skinny Pop popcorn, which my kids like. Not as many after-Halloween sales this year, it seems. I don’t usually buy bagged fresh veggies, but the sell buy date was today, so the employee marked them down to .75 bag for the stir fry veggies, so I bought several to make tonight.
    $5 or less meals included: turkey noodle soup, chicken fried rice, tortilla pizzas, bacon and eggs with clearance bacon, and meatloaf with potatoes. Many of these had leftovers, which I ate for lunch.
    We went to a Halloween party, and the hostess sent us home with some leftover pizza. How kind!
    I, too, have the kids sort their Halloween candy. They give me most of the Hershey chocolate bars (for s’mores when camping), plain M&Ms (for cookies), and some of the Reese’s peanut butter cups, which we use sometimes to spruce up brownies. A dentist near us pays $1/# to buy back candy, so I may take the kids to do that after school today. I’ll freeze some for next year. I have to smile, though, as my kids did get some candy in Easter-marked wrappers. Somewhere, I have a frugal neighbor!
    We’ve enjoyed having the windows open, using no heat or AC.
    I baked pumpkin bread to share with a neighbor.
    Hope everyone had a nice, frugal week!

    1. If you have the mini peanut cups, some sugar cookie dough and a mini muffin tin, put a ball of the cookie dough in the tin and then stick a mini peanut butter cup in the dough, gems pressing down until its about even with the tin Bake for 8 minutes or until the cookie is baked. My daughter swears these are one of her favorite cookies.

      1. mama made similar, but put the cookie dough in the muffin cup and pressed bottom and sides like a pie crust, baked, then while hot put the mini Reeses cup and put half a pecan on top. So so yummy either way!

  13. During a stretch of lovely sunny weather, I planted 100 daffodil bulbs I ordered from Van Engelen. Brandy, you were so right about their quality! These are, by far, the healthiest and largest bulbs I have ever bought. And the bulk pricing was very reasonable – far less than I see for smaller amounts in the stores. My birthday is today and this was a present to myself. I love to think of how pretty my meadow below my chicken house will look next Spring and the many Springs to come as they naturalize. I chose a variety that are not exactly like what I already have but will compliment them and I am excited to see them next year.
    My children and I ended up attending 3 Autumn or Halloween-themed events at the churches of various friends. All were fun and free. My children agreed to a rationing plan so the candy enjoyment is reasonable. Don’t want to be a killjoy but want to promote healthy eating, too. It’s all about balance. I won a lovely set of hand creams (which I actually needed to replace that which I keep in my vehicle when I tend to notice my lizard-like hands the most!) and a gift card to Wendy’s for a free meal. Children also got coupons for free food from Wendy’s. We do not usually eat fast food but Wendy’s seems healthier than some and we will enjoy this treat one day in the future.
    Just went on a hike with my children and my dog – something I do often but is all the present I need. My youngest gave me a bar of handmade soap which he proudly bought with his own money he earned this summer. So sweet. I apparently have some other surprises coming but am most grateful for time spent with my family doing things I love, visiting with my neighbors and calls and contact from friends and family far and wide. The love and friendship of others is a great gift.
    We have snow forecast for the end of the week so I spent some time ensuring all of our Winter gear is up to speed and in good shape. Glad to find my children had more things that still fit than I had thought which saves money, time and effort. On a similar note, I went through all of my beekeeping supplies and found I should have enough of what I typically need in the Spring. Another future savings, there, and reminds me that being organized is an essential frugal strategy. This is normally not a problem for me as I am naturally fairly organized. But, living in a partially finished house for the last 3 years has made that tricky, at times, as some things have yet to have an official home. We keep moving forward on all fronts and hope, by this time next year, we will have everything done and the things we need and use easy to fins and care for.
    I made sure I have enough row covers to extend the growing season on my lettuce and Swiss Chard. All are welcome bits of green in meals in the Winter.
    Repaired some of my children’s clothing to give them more life.
    Gas is $3.29/gallon here so we continue to combine trips, as usual, to make it most worthwhile when we go out in the world.
    I finished reading Anya Seton’s “The Hearth and Eagle.” I loved it. It was highly recommended to me as her best story so, having never read her books before, I started there. It was written in 1948 and follows the lives of a family in what became Marblehead, Mass. from the 1600s through the early 20th century. The Hearth and Eagle is the inn where the family lives and it is a character in the novel itself. Like many historical fiction stories, I think it would make a great movie. Will have to see if it was ever made into a film. It has inspired me to check out her other novels, as well.
    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  14. I’m sure you’ve probably tried it before, but just in case — have you ever done shade cloth over your vegetable garden? I know a lot of things out West (I live in Central Utah) do a lot better under shade cloth in the summer so they can be protected from the scorching temperatures, but you might still be too hot where you’re at for them to work.

    I continued with my Zero Food Waste Challenge this week (which I’ve been blogging about to help keep me accountable), and we spent $0 at the grocery store over the past week and a half or so (and only $8 total on groceries for the past 2+ weeks of the month).

    Since we don’t get many trick or treaters out where we live, I just used some of the candy the kids had gotten from other Halloween activities for the few trick or treaters who did come. We also repurposed costumes for our two youngest and then spent just $3 at the dollar store for a unicorn costume for our oldest. I’m also planning on going to the store today to see if I can get any Halloween costumes for next year at half off!

    1. Lots of people use shadecloth here. I don’t as I don’t just have separate garden beds, but grow everything together.

  15. I also bought pansies, snapdragons and dianthus. These will bloom all winter in my climate and will die out when the heat hits next May or June. I have several other plants, including penta and vinca that will continue to bloom. Some might be affected when we get a few nights below freezing but most will continue flowering. One of the dianthus was a large pot that was discounted to $4.

    By far, my biggest saving this week is a change to my cell phone plan. A friend told me about the 55+ plans that some of the major cell phone carriers offer and I signed up for it at T-Mobile after paying off the $326 balance on my daughter’s iPhone and Apple watch. Our current Sprint bill with those two devices included was $165/month. Without them, it would be $120/month. However, by changing to the T-Mobile Magenta 55+ plan, our two phones (I already owned mine) and her watch will cost $75 per month with autopay, a savings of $90/month! If at least one person on your account is 55 or older and you aren’t currently on such a plan, I strongly advise you to check them out. There’s a limit to how many lines can be on the plan (I think it’s 4 for T-Mobile and 2 for Verizon and I don’t know about the others) but you could even set up multiple plans if you have enough people over 55 and you’re on a family plan with other people, such as your children.

    I did a lot of stocking up on groceries and toiletries. Part of my mind was saying I had enough but the other part that won out said I had enough for “normal” times but these aren’t our “normal” times right now. I don’t believe I overspent – I went to Aldi’s and Walmart to do this, after all – but I was not worried about finding the absolute best, lowest price either since that would have involved driving to certain, more distant stores, using at least a gallon of gas to save $2 to $4 if what I wanted was even in stock, not to mention my time and aggravation. I saw a few empty spots on the shelves at both stores but I was able to get almost everything I wanted and will check back for the 3 or 4 things I didn’t see at Aldi’s later. I reorganized my pantry – again – and my freezer to fit everything in. I even stocked up on a year’s worth of furnace filters, which turned out to be on sale.

    I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning and bought local pork, vegetables, and flowers along with stocking up on sweet breads and vanilla from the couple that makes them to raise funds for their “Light the Night” team fighting cancer and its effects. They gave me an extra loaf of bread as a thank you for giving them the recipe for coconut bread, which sells very well. I also bought some fresh pasta and I’m looking forward to trying both the pumpkin tortellini and ravioli stuffed with shrimp, bacon, and corn. I’m trying very hard to support local farmers and businesses.

    I started setting up for colder weather. I switched to flannel sheets on the bed and mended 4 pairs of wool socks, which are what I wear in the house during the winter. I had been saving some older, slightly too big knit tops with small stains on them to make a braided rug. Six or more years later, I know I’m not going to be doing that so I pulled 7 of them out to wear around the house and when I walk for exercise. They have ¾ length sleeves which is perfect for most of the winter for me. I haven’t had to use the heat or air conditioning for the past several weeks and even the ceiling fans have been off for the past couple weeks. I’m hoping for another low electric bill. So far I’ve use 100.7 kWh for 13 days.

  16. I’m glad you’ve been able to grow and harvest zo much from your garden, despite the overhaul. And it’s looking amazing! It’ll be even more impressive once it’s filled in, but it’s impressive how much has already been done, and by yourselves!

    My frugal week:
    – I defrosted and toasted some homemade waffles for easy breakfasts (http://approachingfood.com/pumpkin-spice-waffles/). I usually make double or triple batches of any breakfast foods like waffles or pancakes, and freeze the extras. Much cheaper to pull out on busy mornings than store-bought items!
    – I had some flour that was stale/rancid as it had somehow been overlooked for rotating during my pandemic household shuffle, so I used it to make playdough for my toddler. Add in some cookie cutters and she’s a happy camper!
    – I bought a roast chicken and that has been the protein for most of the week, with roast chicken one night, BBQ chicken sliders another night, and chicken quesadillas another day. I still have plenty of meat left and plan to make chicken salad, chicken pizza, and chicken soup later on in the week.
    – I made pretzel buns.  Those became BBQ chicken sliders with a side of coleslaw (homemade dressing), as well as (discounted) peameal style pork on buns. 
    – whenever my toddler doesn’t touch the banana on her plate (some days she eats it all, some days she leaves it all), I freeze it, then use it as a smoothie base for her for another meal. No waste! 
    – I used up a can of creamed corn (pandemic stash) to make cheddar and green onion cornbread, with homegrown green onions
    – I bought a package of ham for 50% off, and a box of produce for $5 from the FlashFood app. 
    – I had been having issues with my dryer for several months. I finally figured out that the exhaust hose (not sure what it is called) had become detached and fixed it with a roll of HVAC tape. I was so pleased with myself; a little poking around in awkward corners and a $15 roll of HVAC tape saved me a costly service call!
    – I printed out coupons for my mother and for myself. 
    – I gave my father a haircut.
    – I darned a pair of leggings for the last time, wore them once more, then finally tossed them. I figure I’ve gotten at least two extra years of use out of them due to darning. I was thinking about how all the small frugal actions we take add up over time. If one repairs most items of clothing in one’s wardrobe, over a lifetime that’s at least a wardrobe’s worth of savings. And that’s just one small action taken. All our frugal accomplishments really do add up! I’m thankful to be part of this warm community of like-minded people!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Margaret – something that may be of interest to you and to others is this talk sponsored by my church. Helena Moncrieef is an award winning author of the book The Fruitful City – Margaret I believe that you have written about being part of a group that harvests fruit from city gardens that might otherwise go to waste. Her book is about this movement along with the history of city gardens.

      The link is safe – the church has it’s own Youtube channel so here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=134zU0SGOss&t=3s or you can find the info at http://www.standrewstoronto.org (our secure website). If the links don’t show up then you can just copy and paste.

  17. Brandy, your arbors and garden are just lovely. Your husband is doing a fantastic job on the metalwork. I am also envious of .99 cents/lb chicken, which I have not seen in a while!

    Here in north Texas we finally got a nice cool front and were able to turn off the air conditioner and open windows. So lovely! We enjoy the fresh air and the electricity savings. We are expected to get another front tomorrow, and will cool down even more and bring some rain. I don’t know if we may need the heater this week as they are predicting possible lows in the 30s at night. Our place stays quite warm and we rarely need to run the heat, which is nice during the winter months.

    We did a large Costco “stock up” run last weekend. We looked at everything non-perishable we think we will need for the next 3-6 months. Between price increases and supply chain issues, we thought it best to go ahead and buy what we could. This included laundry and cleaning supplies, canned goods, personal care/health items, coffee, and holiday items. Costco had several of the items on our list on sale, which was nice. They also had smoked turkeys in stock the day we went (they had just gotten them in), so we bought one for Thanksgiving. We started doing this last year instead of cooking a traditional turkey, as we realized it made the day so much easier on us and we really enjoyed the flavor. Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday, so we tend to go a little overboard even though the meal is generally simple. We were able to finish purchasing all of our needed items for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, so I am pleased about that.

    We have cooked and eaten almost all meals at home and are trying to eat from the freezer to make some space. This week we will enjoy Swedish meatballs with gravy and mashed potatoes, pot roast, chili and cornbread, poppy seed chicken and rice, and roasted chicken leg quarters. The chicken leg quarters I had bought on sale for .10 cents/lb in a 10 lb bag for $1, earlier this year on a loss leader. I made herbs de provence bread and cranberry cinnamon bread in my bread machine.

    We both got our flu shots and Moderna boosters at no cost through insurance last week. I was not feeling well prior to the shots due to another medication that lowered my immunity (prednisone for a muscle injury), but wanted to go ahead and get the shots done anyway. I felt really bad for about 2 days after and ended up taking a partial day off work. I think I probably would have been fine if not for the steroid beforehand. I am feeling better now, and am glad to have those shots done. However, as I didn’t feel well for much of last week, I am playing a bit of catch up this week.

    Non-frugal: we had to purchase a new drip coffeemaker. We drink a LOT of coffee at home, and our 10+ year old coffee maker started having issues and stopped brewing properly. We do use a Keurig as well, but on the weekends and in the fall and winter, we often go through a whole pot in the mornings. We looked around locally, but did not find one we liked in our price range. I ended up purchasing one online and was able to use a 20% off coupon by signing up for emails on the store’s website, and also got free shipping.

    Other random things: My husband replaced the light bulb in our oven. I did my own manicure/pedicure. Something I do consistently, but never mention is that I save all of our plastic shopping bags and use them for scooping the cat box. We watched movies at home and went for neighborhood walks for entertainment.

    I hope everyone has a great week! I always enjoy coming here to read everyone’s comments and updates. This is such a great community of like-minded people.

  18. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Good to see the photos of your redesigned garden and garden produce.
    We planted broad beans, peas and onion and shallot sets ready for next year. My husband brought in this year’s harvest of onions, shallots and garlic which have been drying out in a greenhouse. He is disappointed with the harvest but I’m grateful for what he’s grown.
    We picked apples, parsley and ripe and green tomatoes. We put a banana in with the green tomatoes to help them ripen. I have laid out parsley to dry for winter use.
    I used up an orange that had been hanging around too long to make orange drizzle cake. There was some orange glace icing leftover so I’ve frozen it, no idea if this will be good when defrosted but it’s worth a try.
    I made breakfast potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes.
    We are eating a bowl of stewed apple most days which enables me to cut down a bit on buying fresh fruit.
    I bought supermarket savers brand of soft margarine for baking, it’s much cheaper and is baking well.
    A couple of times this week I cooked once, ate twice which saves electricity, time and my energy.
    I didn’t buy a pumpkin for carving.
    My husband has been building raised beds in our new garden , his work saves us so much in labour costs. He follows the no dig method which requires cardboard to lay down first in the beds, I asked at a furniture warehouse if they had large cardboard boxes to spare and they kindly gave me lots of big boxes broken down flat and loaded them in my car.
    I mended a lamp base.
    I have done some decluttering and took bags to donate and to the recycling centre. This might not be frugal but it certainly makes life more beautiful. I am trying to stay upbeat about decluttering and not let it overwhelm me.
    Stay safe everyone.

  19. I bought a turkey for Thanksgiving at Walmart for 87 cents a lb. I decided to go ahead and get it, rather than wait, because I have seen so many bizarre shortages lately. I did not want to be without a turkey for Thanksgiving. One of my kids will not touch a ham. Turkeys are generally cheaper here anyway. I think I need potatoes, sour cream, maybe butter, and I should be set for Thanksgiving. My kids are not big on desserts (although I love all things sweet….lol), so I may just serve the leftover frozen cookie cake from my son’s birthday, and call it a day. My heat is out. It is not a big deal at the moment because it is not cold here. But my middle son is very good at fixing things and is trying to trouble shoot it and get it fixed. He solved an electrical problem last month with my lights. It is always frugal to have a handy handyman…lol. Gas is now $3.16 in the town where my middle son lives, and $3.27 in the town where I work. Yikes! I am eating cheese sandwich, with carrots ($1.05 this week) and grapes ($1.49 this week) on the side for lunch. Beans, rice, with a green salad or either collards, turnip greens or mustard greens with hot sauce are what is for supper. I still eat an egg with toast in the morning. If eggs prices go high, I will just eat beans and bread or rice in the morning also. I am not very picky. I do eat some meat with my son on the weekends but I am not a big meat eater at all. I usually get a whole bunch of pumpkins for very cheap after Halloween and eat them until March, but I am not out looking at the moment, because of gas prices. I will just settle for carrots and sweet potatoes this year.

    1. The price of turkey here at two different stores is $1.59 a pound. Your price sounds wonderful!

      I went to the store on Saturday night and there were no eggs left except the ones that are $8 a dozen.

      We eat a lot of beans here, and vegetable soups as well.

  20. Love seeing your photos of your garden and reading everyone’s frugal actions.
    This past week I made veggie soup with homemade stock and a bit of leftover chicken and we ate all leftovers. We did have to throw away some lettuce that turned bad but that was it.
    I got my Moderna booster for free and received a CVS $5 off $20 coupon. I have a 30% off coupon too so am planning a shopping trip to make the most of those. The booster did pretty much wipe me put for 24 hours but fortunately my husband cooks.
    In our family we create wish lists for birthday and Christmas so we were able to order our granddaughter’s birthday gift online and have it shipped to their home. My DIL will wrap it saving double shipping costs.
    Otherwise the usual of mending some clothes, watching our electricity usage, etc. we did have to have some electrical work done but now have LED recessed ceiling lights in one more room which will help long term.

  21. Such a lovely garden harvest and beautiful flowers in your garden Brandy. It also sounds like you had some lovely meals last week from your turkey. I baked half a ham yesterday and used the bone for lentil soup stock. Used some of the leftover ham for homemade pizza last night and there is lots left over for sandwiches etc.

    At the end of the month I am heading to Maui with my SIL. There is nothing frugal about Maui but we did cut costs by using a buddy pass for one free flight, sharing a condo which allows us to cook and I have kept rebooking my rental car through Costco and so far have trimmed $360 off the initial quote. If nothing else I am sure by the time I get home I will really appreciate the price of groceries here vs a remote island-and paying in Can currency too.

    Last week I received my good food box which was 45 lbs of 15 different fruits and veggies for $35-which is not too bad for winter prices here. I will skip it in Dec as I am away but try it again in Jan. I also offered to pick one up for Ann if she is ever interested as she does not drive. I took a few things to my Mum and included a container of borscht and lentil soup I had made.

    I went out the last 2 nights and searched for the Northern lights-but alas it was in vain. When we went to the local grocery store this weekend for 3 small orders-us , Mum and the aftercare program at DH’s school, they were giving out a box of free cookies on the first 100 orders so we ended up getting 3. I am not usually a big cookie eater but these are really good and a nice treat at one or two a day. Here is wishing everyone a good week.

    1. I … we just returned from Maui today. Things had changed from our last visit and because of the pandemic. Perhaps, you know this, but I didn’t before we left. Mask mandates are in effect for all indoor spaces and most outdoor tourist spaces. I live in a mask mandate state, so this was easy for me to do. The locals were excellent at following through on wearing masks everywhere. Recently, they’ve started allowing indoor dining; however, you must present a valid vaccination card (can be a photo) or proof of recent negative Covid test and picture ID. We only did this twice … the day we arrived and the day we left. I have a picture of my card on my phone in an Album, labeled “important,” which made it easier to find.

      All stores charged for shopping bags. We took several reusable bags with us and that saved a bit here and there and reduced our footprint. I also took cloth napkins. I should have taken an extra set. I ended up not doing any laundry as the laundry at the condo required either coins or an app on my phone. I simply did not want to add one more app to my phone for a one time occurrence. The condo did supply a roll of paper towels, but I’m not a big paper towel user.

      I took a medium sized soft-sided cooler as a carry on. It turned out the condo did have two small coolers to use, but we used the cooler for lunch/picnics and it was perfect! The condo had a reusable ice pack in the freezer. I also took a stack of large basket coffee filters. This is my sub for paper plates for sandwiches, etc. Plus, we had them for the coffee pot. We were able to find numerous parks to picnic. However, one change we encountered was the need to get reservations for the national parks and several state parks including the visitor center for viewing the sunrise from the top of the volcano crater. The reservation is only $1, but we couldn’t get one, unfortunately.

      We were able to get all of the supplies for our meals at the local stores, but we did bring spice mixtures and things we knew we wouldn’t want to buy like tea bags. We thoroughly enjoy Hawaiian coffee, so I got that there as part of our vacation, but made it in the condo. I also took extra dishwasher tabs in case we ran out at the condo.

      Enjoy! It was warm, humid, and just a lovely time.

  22. I started watching a little boy 2 days a week. His mom works from home so I take him out of the house so she can have quiet. She gives me money to buy us lunch too. We went to the park the first day and the library the other day as it was raining. I have been looking at places to go when the weather isn’t great that are free or low cost. The mom will be paying but there is no need to spend money if not necessary. While at the park we found a free little library. I took 2 books and so did he. When I finish reading them I will pass them on.
    Does anyone shop at Stew Leonard’s? They have a program that you can earn free ice cream or coffees with purchases. I don’t have one near me but my sister does. She had over 50 ice cream rewards on her card. So lately, whenever she comes over she brings ice cream to us. 4 cups equals a quart and they give her cones and sprinkles too. Free ice cream is my favorite. I have never seen it mentioned on here so I thought I would. She came over to pick up her dog. She also treated us to lunch. As usual she ordered way too much food so we had enough for another meal. I sent her home with eggplants, peppers and figs from the garden and a jar of dehydrated apple cinnamon slices. She gave my daughter a makeup sample bag that she was given with a purchase. She gave me some hotel samples and a dozen eggs from her friend’s farm.
    My daughter and I did lots of Halloween baking this week. We did rice crispy monsters, GF mummy brownies and regular brownies with nuts. We sent a plate home with her boyfriend for him and his family.
    Thank you to whoever mentioned the free Klondike bars on Fetch. I ran out and got 2 packs. I have an account and so does my daughter. I also did Ibotta with my receipts. The clearance rack was full this week. Starbucks coffee was marked down so I got a few for Christmas baskets. Bags of 1 pound beans were marked down to 32¢a bag. I bought 25 bags, a few of each kind. I did tell my friend and got her 10 bags too. Grapes were 99¢ a pound so I bought the 5 pound limit.
    Hubby had his post op dental surgery appointment. He is allowed to eat normal except no hard/sharp items like nuts and chips. They gave him a baggie with a special soft toothbrush and several samples of toothpaste. He went out of state for 3 days for work. He drove and they will reimburse him. He gets his meals paid for while he was away. He brought home lots of leftovers. He also stopped and visited his aunt and uncle on the way home. They fed him dinner and sent lots of goodies home with him.
    I received new parts for my CPAP machine. We have maxed out our copay so there was no charge.
    The heat is still off. We made it to November 1st which is my goal. Let’s see how long I can go.
    Eggplants and peppers are still growing great. I made chili with lots of the peppers. I use half of the meat the recipe calls for. I made eggplant parmesan for dinner one night too. I have some green tomatoes sitting on a window sill too.
    We built another raised garden bed with materials we had. I will fill the bottom up with leaves this fall. I will add soil in the spring. Hubby said we have enough materials for 1 more. So I am on the look out for free pallets again.
    While Hubby was away we really wanted pizza. We had used our takeout money for the month already and I didn’t want to spend $35 on 2 pizzas so we settled on pizza bagels.
    My $20 Seresto rebate came in.
    Have a wonderful week every one.

  23. Brandy the garden is looking so nice! All that hard work coming to fruition!

    -I pulled a ham bone from the freezer and some leftover frozen ham juice (saved from cooking the ham) and combined that in the crock pot with the slit peas and some water. I chopped the rest of the sad looking carrots and some onions from the garden and added them as well. When it was done I ladled 2 generous bowls in a saucepan and made small egg dumplings in the soup. I pressure canned the remainder of the soup in pints and got 2 pints.

    -My husband came home from hunting with pheasant. I have a few left from last year so I will need to can them. I use this as chicken in recipes.

    -I was given a butternut and delatica squash. I cooked the butternut squash along with some apples from the crisper and made what we call autumn soup. Yum! We ate it twice and then I canned 3 pints for later this winter. I stuffed the delatica with a rice and Italian sausage mixture and baked that for another supper. My hubby brought home fried chicken from a meeting he attended. We reheated in the air fryer and made some oven fries to go with. It reheated very well, crisp but juicy. Got to love free food!!

    -I made a runner for a friends birthday. I was given squares cut from a vintage quilt in the pattern of a maple leaf. It was an old quilt that had been hand quilted. My friend who gave these to me said her grandmother cut out the best squares because the quilt was falling apart. I repaired a few spots and combined them with some fabric strips and backing. I made the runner for her, won’t she be surprised to get some of these back, what a special gift!

    -I found butter 2/$4 at Qwik Trip (a regional gas/convenience store). I bought 10# as I was down to #12.

    -I am sewing pajamas for my grandchildren for Christmas from flannel bought at JoAnne’s on their $2.99/yd sale.

    Have a great week!!

  24. Thanks to everyone who shares their savings here. It is encouraging to me.
    *This week has been busy working on savings – it seems sometimes that is all I’m doing. I continue to work on buying things on sale from my list of “everything we will need this coming year”. We are doing this to avoid the coming higher prices. Storage in the house hasn’t been a problem because it seems I’m just filling up empty space in the cabinets and drawers. A few extra light bulbs don’t really take up much room and leaning three more air conditioner filters against the others isn’t noticeable. We tried and failed to get an extra oil filter for the car. That is an ongoing issue that we have time to solve.
    *Since my last pair of outdoor garden tennis shoes are falling apart (there is only so much that shoe goo will hold together)I went to Walmart to buy another pair. The shelves were almost empty (quite unnerving to see) except for the odd sizes. What a blessing for me! I wear an odd size and found three pairs! That has never happened to me and my big duck feet.
    *Saturday I did the $5 off $25 at Dollar General. I stick to what is on sale with a coupon. When I hit $25, I stop. That is the budget. This week I got Scooter’s favorite dog food (the last one on the shelf), socks for me, one bottle of zinc (fights covid), and shampoo. There are more items on my list but they must wait until they are on sale and have a coupon. There is no way we can buy everything, but anything we get now will be cheaper than getting it later.
    *Today I placed an online grocery delivery order for Mom at her assisted living facility. She is 2 1/2 hours away from me and the $10 fee for this service is much cheaper than me making the drive.
    *A local small grocery store had five pounds of carrots for $1.99 – an unheard-of low price around here. The normal price is almost $1.00 a pound. I asked to buy 8 bags and they were glad to sell them. I am canning them. Some are cooked down in apple juice with cinnamon spices then canned, others are chopped for soups and stews, some have been shredded for loaves of bread or to eat sprinkled on salads. I never grow enough carrots in the garden, too much work weeding them.
    *The biggest, hardest but most useful saving has been the garden. We finally got the sweet potatoes dug, the last of the green beans picked, basil harvested for pesto, and the winter hoop houses up. It was back-breaking work for us old folks since Dustin was at work. However, it will feed us and others through the winter.
    *I did share a garden tour:
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2021/10/octobers-garden-2021.html
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

      1. My men are big eaters!
        It is a lot of food but it must last until April of next year when the summer garden is planted. Here, it grows fast in the fall and then slows down and stops in the middle of December as the days shorten. It will be late March before anything left in the garden starts growing again. I pick the outer leaves but nothing regrows. It is so different from the summer garden where the plants continue to produce. There must be enough to last us for five months.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  25. I have read The Giver of Stars and it is such a good book!

    This week I started keeping a journal of frugal accomplishments to reflect back on each week. It’s helpful to see it written out and not forget anything. The small savings do add up!

    A few frugal highlights:
    We bought carving pumpkins at a local farm for $1 each! We carved them and roasted the seeds.

    I learned how to make my husband’s favorite restaurant dish…a patty melt! Much cheaper to make it at home and it was a tasty and fun dinner.

    Scored some clearance chobani flip yogurt for 22 cents each. My son likes these but I don’t buy them bc of the price so he was excited when I came home with some.

    Cancelled two monthly subscriptions that we weren’t using anymore.

    Have a great week!

  26. All November bills have been paid online so that saves on stamps – which I purchased this past week as I start to stock up a bit for Christmas card mailing. I have topped up my transit card to get me through November (still saving about $50 with not having to buy the monthly pass) and have set aside about half my usual monthly amount for groceries. I only spent about $15 last week and expect to spend about $30 this week. I have given myself a very small allowance for this month and will put off getting my hair cut for another couple of weeks so that I can get a couple of things paid off!

    It was a grey, wet miserable day here on Saturday so I spent the day indoors doing a lot of small jobs. One of these was cleaning and reorganizing my fridge and small freezer unit above the fridge as I try to rotate through things. This week I will have meatloaf on Monday (from the freezer) the last two chicken thighs with salad on Tuesday, pasta with pumpkin sauce and a salad for Wed. & Thurs. and then fish (from the freezer) with salad on Friday. I think for the weekend I will make a chickpea curry served over rice – trying to eat less meat so I need to plan ahead a bit more. I will also make another pot of soup at some point this week but haven’t quite decided what kind as yet. Each Saturday I will sit down and try to do this sort of meal planning. It also keeps me from buying things just because I think I need them – I’m actually doing a good job of using up all the bits & pieces of frozen veg from the freezer. I also found some apples that I had stewed and put into the freezer – I’ve had one serving over yogurt for lunch and another with cereal one night as I wasn’t really hungry for a big meal. Saved the fresh apples for later this week.

    Did manage to get another ton of shredding done and out of here as I continue to wade through the paper I have accumulated. Once this is finished I’m going to go through that one cupboard that always seems to end up as a dumping ground and get rid of a few more odds & ends. I’m making it a goal to get all this done before I allow myself to put up any Christmas decorations!

    Your garden is amazing Brandy – it looks much more European than what I would expect of a garden in a desert type setting – you and your husband have done an amazing job. It’s so strange to read that many of you are putting in Winter crops while we anticipate our first snowfall later this week!

    Got my free flu shot so that is another thing ticked off the Winter prep list. I did buy another box of 50 disposable masks as our mandate will stay in place until at least March 22nd. With what I have on hand this should probably get me through – although I will probably buy a few more KN95 masks for use on the subway. The only other non-food items I can think of is some additional boxes of kleenex and a few more rolls of paper towels and that should get me through to Spring with these sorts of things.

    Stay warm and safe everyone.

    1. Margie,
      Where are you buying the KN95’s in Toronto? If you have a friend with a costco card that is the best and least expensive place to buy them.

  27. I saved money on a trip to Austin TX. We stayed 2 nights at a hotel near the wedding and rehearsal dinner we attended which included a hot breakfast. We enjoyed the wedding festivities and then stayed 2 nights near the Austin Convention Center at a hotel which also included breakfast and which we were able to pay for with points. We walked everywhere from the hotel—6th Street, Congress Avenue Bridge, campus and old-style pit BBQ, Voodoo Donuts and the Mexican-Arte museum. We just loved everything we did there! We had a refrigerator and microwave to heat up restaurant leftovers.
    I saved at the grocery store buying BSCB $1.99# and Prego sauce $1 jars. Halloween candy was more expensive this year and only once a loss leader. I spread out the candy buying over the month. Trick or Treat is very big in our neighborhood in NYC. This year we had 250 children by 5:09 pm which is when we ran out of candy. It started raining shortly after which was a relief because our neighbors ran out of candy too. We didn’t give out treats last year because of the pandemic so I wasn’t sure what to expect but we had great crowds with adorable costumes!
    Garden Pat, your comment today really touched me. I admire your attitude about humble blessings. I didn’t comment last week, so congratulations on your new grand baby, your son’s job and your refrigerator caper!
    Ava, if you are reading this week, please accept my condolences and thank you for your thoughtful reminder to speak out loud in appreciation and love!
    Brandy, I enjoyed a novel about the Kentucky horseback librarians, “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.” A nonfiction book I read around the same time was “In the Shadow of the Valley” by Bobbi Conn. I thought her writing was just beautiful. I am still reading on the Libby app.
    On Amazon Prime video, I noticed that the first series I watched stopped being free and now the same thing happened with the second series I was watching. I don’t know if that happens because I don’t watch the episodes quickly enough or if they start charging ($1.99 each episode) no matter what. I started a new free series—WPC 56 which I am enjoying.
    We got a few more tomatoes from the garden and a bit more kale.
    Hope everyone has a good week!

  28. The book you read immediately made me think of ‘The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek’, which is also about mobile librarians on horseback/donkey who would travel to rural areas and delivery books. There was more to the book including a love story, and also a unique type of discriminations which ended up being medically based. It had some intense moments in the book, but I very much so enjoyed it. I read it for readers’ advisory at the library.

    This week in frugal things…we skipped handing out candy at our house this year. I did not buy candy, and I did not buy a costume for my son. My son decided to go as Michael Jackson. He wore sunglasses, one white glove, a suit/coat jacket, and long pants. He asked me to buy him a fedora, and I acquiesced his request. The hat was about 19 dollars at Target and I’m sure he will wear it again. We went to a friends house and neighborhood where my son trick or treated there. It was a great night.

    I have finally been able to remove my name from the water and electric bill at the house we just sold, and pay the final bill. It feels great to put an end to that chapter. Now to set up all my receipts so I am ready to go for tax time. Being prepared will help me get my taxes submitted on time, which will again close another chapter in this book. As I close the chapter on having a second house I am now turning my attention to making my primary house in good working order. We had a plumber come Friday to replace a toilet and cap off the dishwasher. I am installing a drink cooler in place of the dishwasher that had been a storage unit for the last ten years. An electrician is coming this Wednesday to change the hardwire to an outlet for the new cooler. We price compared and used my Lowe’s card for 5% off on the cooler. We also removed the foot boards for the kitchen and cleaned under the cabinets…it was gross. We also used spray foam to secure the floor to wall gap, and any gabs where wires or pipes come in. We sometimes get ‘waterbugs’ and they always seem to come from the base cabinets in the kitchen. I’m hoping the spray foam fixes this as it’s a one time very economical solution to seal your home instead of doing constant bug spray applications or hiring an exterminator.

    I’ve gotten two quotes for windows. They are next on my big hit list for my house as the original windows from 1958 do not close well letting in and out air at their leisure and noise. We live in SWFL and I’m hoping this expensive update pays itself off over time with cost savings on the electrical bill mostly from the HVAC system.

    This year I am also going to participate in the Ibotta ‘Free Thanksgiving’ where you can get several items for free after rebate. This was an app I had never used before, but you mentioned it on your blog last year and I did the free Thanksgiving meal and we actually used and it was a perfect fit and size as it was just my son and I. I plan to do this again this year. However, to get a free turkey you have to have someone sign up as a new member for the app using your code. If it’s ok with you can I post my code here? (IXKAVSG) I would love to have a free turkey this year. But if not, I know I will get the other items for free and that will be a great blessing.

    Wishing you all a great week!

      1. Thank you Corey! I really appreciate that. If anyone else reads this please dont use my code. You will probably want to find someone else who needs their code activated for the offer. Yay, free turkey!!!

  29. I just want to say the garden looks incredible! It will be even more amazing when it fills in. BTW I purchased Ladybird Rose nasturtium seeds to plant next year as well. The woman who writes one of my favorite instagram accounts grew it this year. Her photos were inspiring.

    1. I know several people growing it on Instagram! It looks really pretty and such a nice change from orange!

  30. Hello Everyone!
    The sales at the grocery stores weren’t so great this week so I took my list to Walmart. Prices are definitely up everywhere! I had to fill up my tank again (lots of Dr. appointments from my daughter’s broken wrist) at $4.30/gallon at Costco gas station.

    Earlier in the week I ran out of milk. I used instant milk to make pancakes rather than run to the store. I also baked hamburger buns instead of buying from the store. In addition I baked a loaf pumpkin bread using up a cup of frozen pumpkin from a previous baking project. I buttered the pan using the butter wrapper. In addition, I baked a sun dried tomato focaccia using up some sun dried tomatoes in the fridge and a double batch of tabouleh for lunches. My kids are tired of sandwiches.

    I was able to pick lots of lettuce, tomatoes and limes from the garden this week. My starters are beginning to grow and I look forward to more fresh veggies in a few weeks. I admire your winter squash Brandy! Mine vines died from powdery mildew. 😕

    I gave myself a mani/pedi and cut my son’s hair. I returned a blouse that my daughter decided against. I’m still working on finishing those throw pillows. I just have to make the pillow insert. My daughter borrowed a dress and heels from me for her first choir concert of the year. I washed the silk dress on delicate and hung dry to avoid the cleaners. It’s a beautiful, classic dress that’s in perfect condition after 20+ years.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🍂

  31. Weather is lovely here now–in the upper 60s at night and upper 70s in the day. I’m fine with temperatures in the 80s, but the past few days have been a pleasant change. I need to get in gear and go out in the garden to plant. I did some more potting up for the plant sale that I hope weather will permit this Sunday. It will be great to get the pots off the driveway.
    We went to a thrift store north of here that we really like, combining that errand with some others. We got a jigsaw puzzle, a pair of reading glasses, sturdy beach flip-flops and a linen dress (half price for $4.50 that will be useful in the summer). Another thrift store yielded a few 50 cent books and a couple of dollar DVDs that we’ll enjoy, as well as a crank-up radio/flashlight handy for power losses.
    I needed a slipcover for a chair in our rental because the old slipcover had been ripped and stained. I gave some fabric I already had, along with a valance in a complimentary print (for the skirt) to the woman who makes my slipcovers, and also asked her to use the existing welting on the new slipcover. All meant my out of pocket costs will just be for her labor and I’m happy to pay that! I also gave her some boat cushions and upholstery batting that someone discarded. She’ll be able to use it on other projects she has.
    There was apparently no trick-or-treat goings-on in our neighborhood. It’s a pity that children no longer participate in this celebration.

    It rained and we collected rainwater, as usual, for using in the washing machine and to water plants. Someone in the neighborhood threw out a bunch of perfectly good items, many of which we took to the thrift store, but we did get a nice kitchen knife as well as a broom that’s good for sweeping up leaves.

    The new garden layout looks so professional, Brandy!

    Thank you for all your work hosting!

    1. Some people don’t trick or treat on Sundays. Next year could be completely different.

  32. Brandy your new garden setup and gardens look so lovely and I can see the hard work that has gone into it and it will be so pretty to see the flowers in bloom over the winter months from inside the home 🙂 . Glad you were able to get the chicken at your stock up price to top up the freezer with. It is lovely to get so much produce from the gardens to add lovely fresh ingredients to your meals and something we love here in our home too.

    Our savings added up to $4686 in savings last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.
    – Baked 2 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machine saving $6.98 over buying them locally.

    Finances –
    – I paid an extra part payment off our mortgage and added more money into both our home maintenance and 6 month emergency fund.

    Home maintenance –
    – We needed work done on the home being two asbestos ceiling panels replaced, two house stumps replaced and the home leveled, tank stand shed reinforced with an additional 5 support posts for which we got a quote from two different tradies for $8179.07.

    I found a local builder who did all of the jobs above as well as repaired leaks in our gutter and repaired 8 rollers on 4 cupboard doors (that were discontinued that we couldn’t buy) for $3675 which is a huge saving of $4504.07 🙂 . I am so happy with the quality work he did at such a good price.

    Home cleaning –
    – We spent a lot of time cleaning up after the builder in both the bedroom and walk in pantry room where the panels and trimming were replaced and gave everything a good vacuum in the home.

    Purchases –
    – From Coles we purchased 2 x 32 pk of toilet paper on special and 24 tins of lychees a lot cheaper than other supermarkets saving $24.40 over usual prices.
    – From Aldi purchased 5 x 500 g butter for $4.99 saving $3.05 on prices elsewhere.
    – Saved 4% or $4.79 buying a grocery e-gift card from RACQ.
    – Bought 8 x toothpaste and 8 bottles of mouthwash on half price specials saving $64 on usual prices.
    – Saved $30 off our grocery shop by using a 5x and 10 x points promo for multiple Woolworths grocery shops and redeeming my Woolworths rewards $.
    – Bought 2 x Woolworths grocery e-gift cards saving 4% or $40 off their face value through RACQ.
    – Purchased a Coles e-gift card from RACQ saving 2.5% or $6 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead and hope everyone can find more savings and ways to save where they can.

  33. Happy Monday everyone!! Absolutely lovely pictures of your garden Brandy! I am
    So excited to see the progress you are making as it comes along.
    We have had a busy week here as usual but we are all happy and healthy and blessed with work so I’m calling it good.
    I harvested an enormous box of mustard greens, collards greens and green peppers. There are several more peppers that are growing so I will continue to let them grow this week and then pull the last of the peppers and the plants on Friday. We should get our first freeze on Sunday and I don’t expect the peppers will tolerate it. I also have a lovely patch of kale that is ready to be harvested this week and the most beautiful bok choy – I am
    Planning to harvest the bok choy for a stir fry dish this week and the kale will go into a pot of soup.
    I have flowers all Over my Pumpkin plants and I am
    Praying the bees will work their pollination dance soon. There are flowers all over the butternut squash as well but I only see one small butternut squash starting.
    Even if I could have a small harvest I would be grateful since this is my first time growing these from seed or at all. My peas were looking well and have many flowers on them but I am not sure what the cold snap might do to them.
    Our basil is finally beginning no bolt and flower so I will harvest the end of it this week and then pull the plants.
    I pulled the last of my frozen pumpkin purée from the freezer and have a batch of pumpkin butter cooking in the crockpot pot now. I won’t be able to can it but we will have several jars and giving them to friends and family to enjoy in the next several weeks.
    Last night a good friend texted me to say she had left a box on my porch for us to enjoy. When we brought it inside we found 25 lbs of carrots, 10 lbs of sweet potatoes, 20 lbs of gala apples, and 4 sugar pie pumpkins. What a blessing! I think I will roast the sweet potatoes and freeze them to make sweet potato pies, the apples will become apple sauce, and the sugar pie pumpkins will be roasted and frozen for pumpkin bread and pumpkin cakes as the season goes on. The carrots I will dice and freeze some raw to use in soups, stews and such. I will make my favorite carrot recipe which cooks the carrots with a simple
    Glaze from rosemary and ginger. Cooked portions can be frozen and thawed for quick easy side dishes.
    If anyone has any other wonderful carrot recipes that can be frozen please share 😊
    I used digital coupons to purchase 6.5 lbs of asparagus for $1.49/lb. I also bout 4 half gallons of chocolate milk for $0.80/each.
    We have been able to turn off the hvac this week…I think we are building up to almost two weeks without having it on and I am excited to see our bill continue to drop.
    We attended a free trunk or treat event at our church on Sunday. Our son was gifted a Batman costume at his birthday so we made our theme Batman and Gotham city. My
    Husband dressed up as Commissioner Gordon and we had a blast handing out candy. I knew I would not feel like cooking when we got home so I put pork chops in the crockpot and made rice and veggies when we got home. The weather was just perfect and it was lovely to be outside and see people.
    As the weather cools I am Adding more soups and chilis to our weekly menus. This week I made a chicken and wild rice soup with asparagus, corn and mushrooms. The soup was lovely and very hearty. We had enough to share with our neighbor who was on her way to visit her daughter and special needs grandchild. This gave them a meal
    So they could spend time together without having to stop and cook or eat takeout. I love having this option with a full pantry. One batch of soup fed 8 people dinner then fed another 4 people lunch over two days.
    I will be purchasing pansies and violas for my flower beds this week. I also plan to sow seeds for bok choy, green onions, more mustard and collard greens. My broccoli and cabbage are not looking very well so I will give them some time to see if they improve with the colder weather and some fertilizer. As we clear some weeds from the garden I may add in some seeds for pansies, violas and snap dragons to encourage the bees and give us some color through the winter.
    We are planning early for Christmas gifts and have several items already bought. I am hoping to have everything done by the end of November and Most will be ordered online to avoid hectic shopping crowds.
    I contacted the lady we have bought wood from for the last three years and we will have a cord of wood delivered in the next couple of weeks. This will help keep heating costs down as we have a wood burning fireplace.
    We continue to eat meals from our freezer and pantry and plan to stock up a bit more with sales coming for turkey, and ham and other holiday ingredients.
    Wishing everyone all the best this week!

  34. Hi, Brandy,
    Even though i haven’t been commenting, i have been reading and admiring all your hard work! Wowzers, you and your husband have really done quite the job! It looks awesome already but i imagine it’ll be spectacular in short order!
    I’ve been looking at ads and not seeing many great deals but i persevere in trying to be prepared for what comes. Chicken seems awfully high in my area. I found a marked down package and bought it. This was from Walmart, a store i don’t usually shop from. (Although, during the height of the pandemic, i did order quite a bit from them.)
    I’ve been gifted tomatoes, grapes, apples and potatoes from friends over the past weeks. I made some tomato jam, ate the grapes, froze the apples and i’m working my way through the potatoes. I cooked down the last of the frozen tomatoes yesterday to use in spaghetti sauce.
    I made fruitcakes for the first time and they are so good!! I usually hate fruitcake but i’ve changed my mind. I made these in large cupcake cups and will hand many out at Christmas. I’ve been looking and buying small, round shaped tins to put them in. They have alcohol in the batter, and i brushed some on top, so they aren’t dry and stale, at all. (I keep checking!)
    I found several books at goodwill that were in great condition that are going to grandchildren for Christmas or birthday. I couldn’t believe my luck! Kids books are usually pretty battered.
    I save my homemade soap scraps in a jar of water. When it’s full, i put it in a pan with more water and warm it up to melt the scraps. This goes into my hand soap bottles. I have so much of it, at this point, i may put some in the dish soap bottle, too.
    We didn’t receive the beef liver i requested when we got the quarter steer. When my husband was in the area on another errand, he stopped in and got it. There’s so much! I’ve tried to share with three other people and no-one wants any. It seems, people don’t eat it as often as they used to. Two friends mentioned that it’s bad for the heart? I didn’t realize it was a thing. Regardless, it’s going to take awhile to work through it.
    My husband won a 101.00 gift card from our local Ace hardware. (He won one last year, too, lucky guy!) He used some of it to buy a pint of paint to paint a door between our outside door and kitchen. It looks so much better, now!
    I used clearanced cookie dough to make cookies. I usually make my own dough but i couldn’t resist.
    Since retiring, i’ve been drifting a bit. So, i made a really long list of things to do to keep busy. Cleaning seems to be the biggest thing. (When restless, clean!) I tore our bedroom apart and cleaned walls, molding, bed skirt, pulled everything from under the bed. It was all gone through and wiped down and reassessed. There was a heavy sigh of relief that night!
    I cleaned the silverware drawer and the junk drawer. And, i sharpened the kitchen knives. There’s nothing like a good, sharp knife!
    That’s about all the news worth printing! I’m still trying to be diligent about saving water and watching electric and gas use. Stay well, out there!

    1. I wish I could take advantage of that liver! I’m one of the few who loves it with onions and mashed potatoes! I’ve never been told it’s bad for the heart and I see my cardiologist every 6 months – in fact I’m encouraged to eat it as I’m prone to anemia. I do have to say that I like it even more now that I cook it briefly on both sides – my mom tended to overcook it so it was rather tough! 🙂

    2. We love liver. A thrifty to use liver if it is cheaper than mince where you live….

      Put chunks of mince in a blender, turn it on. It reduces it to what looks like liquid. But when you pour it out into a hot pan with a little oil, it turns into flakes of mince like meat that can be used any way you like. A good way of disguising it if you need to

  35. I have been reading Brandy’s blog for a couple of years now and have found it so inspiring. I have learned so much from her and from all of your comments. Saving money is a top priority as all three of my kids are in college this year! I figure it’s finally time to add my own comments. Ways we saved money this past week include:
    *used my favorite apps when grocery shopping. I received 4 free items from Sprouts sampler program. Also found a loaf of sourdough bread marked down to 99 cents and nice quality chocolate on clearance for 99 cents (reg. $3.49) each. Bought several to use as stocking stuffers.
    *while at my local HEB grocery store I found a tortilla soup kit for 50% off as well as a Dole chopped salad kit. Got a bag of gala apples for free with the purchase of some caramel cups.
    *refrained from eating out this weekend by making the above mentioned tortilla soup kit. Made apple crisp with the free bag of gala apples. Had enough left over to bring my parents some soup and apple crisp. Ate some spaghetti and sauce that my husband made during the week. Gave some to a neighbor friend who is having some health issues.
    *my dad gave us green and red peppers from his garden. I chopped them up and froze them in 1 cup servings for future recipes.
    *my mom gave me clippings of a plant she says grows like crazy. I forgot the name of the plant but hoping it will survive my brown thumb!
    *been keeping my eye out for meat marked down 50% off because it’s close to expiring. I often find deals like that at Target and HEB. Didn’t find 50% off but found a package of 3 chicken breasts for $2 off. Froze each one separately for meals. I find one large chicken breast cooked in a crockpot covered in salsa is enough for several tacos for my husband and I.
    *my daughter and I took the dog to the dog park. Always a fun and frugal activity that my daughter and I find very entertaining.
    That’s all I can think of for last week!

  36. Hello to everyone! Your garden photos are delightful, Brandy.
    I sold several things on FB marketplace, including 5 plant stands that I bought on clearance at a big box store for $0.98 each, and sold for $15 each. I should have bought more, I had SO many people message me wanting them. When I looked at inventory at the store online, they were all gone.
    I had sent a 10 year old Jansport backpack in for a repair (water bottle pocket) and it arrived back today looking like new. I did have to pay to ship it to them, but they paid shipping back to me. $8 shipping was worth it.
    Safeway had their cartons of 20 fresh bakery cookies for $0.99, limit 2. I got 2 and put them in the freezer for our kids visiting.
    We picked up free pears from a neighbor.
    A happy week to you all.

  37. I can’t remember too much I did frugal last week other than getting free movies from the library and a book. This week starting out today I cut up 3 bags of apples and 3 bags of sweet potatoes. We aren’t fans of sweet potatoes but my dogs absolutely love them and they are healthy to add to their dry dog food as a topper. I cut them up, cooked most in the crockpot and mashed them up. Saved 2 quarts in the fridge with water till I cut up a bag of white potatoes I want to Can this week. Apples I am canning just as apples in water syrup and going to try to make Apple Scrap Jelly before tackling the potatoes. We are eating a lot of vegetable soup this year and going through potatoes so canning more for my pantry. We sometimes get mice in our basement so I don’t trust leaving any food in open storage hence the canning them up. We have a new puppy which has not been cheap with getting her all her shots and checked out with our Vet.. we of course want to get her spayed but ouch our Vet charges $500 and up for spaying. I talked to him my last visit and he suggested a place in another county that is $90.00 so that will be frugal for sure. Its a full line clinic doing surgeries dental work etc so we now have a choice for those unexpected bigger expenses like tooth care etc. at more affordable prices. She goes Dec 1st for her spaying. As much as I love thrift stores I have been trying to stay out of them only going once a month or so so that is saving us money as I’m always tempted by things that I didn’t have on my list.

  38. I bought fabric months ago to make pinch pleat curtains for the dining room , family room, and kitchen. I went to a warehouse about an hour and 45 minutes away and got Waverly toile in a red for $3.99 a yard. It is supposed to have an error in the printing of the toile and you have to search to see where it blurred a tad in an area on repeat. I am using it for the dining room so noone will ever notice. The other two are a French slate blue velvet that was $9.99 a yard. I bought lining fabric on end of bolts fir $1.25 a yard. I watched a YouT%be video for directions on making a lined pinch pleat curtain. I have sewn the header tape and hemmed the sides and bottom of the facing panels, but still have to do same for liner and sew it on and then make the pinch pleats.
    ***I have found a farm selling quarter and sides of beef for $4.68 a lb of hanging weight. It is no additive and grass fed beef. The best I’ve found around here has been $7.69 a lb. My price will be higher than 4.68 after processing, but I love that I know where it came from. I am getting a quarter, which is 200 lbs hanging weight, and you get about 75% of that weight after processing.
    ****To make freezer room I have to get some things eaten and canned. I had 3 previously grilled BBQ pork chops I took out and a hag of cooked and frozen collard greens, and a bag of cooked butterbeans, and had that one night with cornbread. I let the chops thaw and put them over the pot of butter beans in a steamer basket to heat them up. It worked wonderfully and they weren’t dried out. I have used diced frozen ham in scalloped potatoes, cooked chicken in chicken salad. I have made a list of meals to eat this week and will start canning some venison that I will use as dog food if we don’t like it canned.
    ****I filled the car for $3.04 at S@ms.
    ***Continuing to really stock up. I got the largest package of toilet paper, another container of Tide pods, Dawn, Dishwasher tablets, oatmeal, 4 bags cornmeal, dry beans, small peanut butter ( I have 4 large ones and they are really too big), jelly, mayo, powdered milk to make cream of whatever soups, my make up base, powder, mascara, and eyeshadow kit. I will put the older ones of those items in the camper so I don’t have to pack them each trip. Deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, quilting basting pins, sewing machine and embroidery machine needles, marking pencil and pen, a new seal ring for my pressure canner and Instant Pot, new canner rack, and a Chewy order of 2 bags of dog food that we put in Rubbermaid boxes. I picked up a turkey in case they become hard to find. I will probably get two more if I am able near Thanksgiving for a decent price. We fry our turkeys so I will have husband fry the extra two the day after Thanksgiving and I will freeze and can meals with the meat.
    ***I have purchased most of the kids Christmas off Amazon and am almost finished.
    ***I walked through and antique mall and found. large copper pot for $35, which is a wonderful price. I also found 2 old quilts. One was $25, and one was a Wedding ring quilt with torn sides all the way around like someone cut the binding off for $7. I put them in a laundry sink of Oxyclean and they had not looked dirty at all before, but the water immediately turned brown. I let them soak 6 hours then washed on delicate and laid flat to dry. I will use the wedding ring quilt as a cutter quilt to make pillows and Christmas ornaments. The other was perfect and I will use on beds. It has a beautiful pale blue fabric between all the patchwork. I also found 7 American Fosteria crystal glasses, which is Mama’s glasses I have. I am up to 32 settings of her china, and 23 of the glasses. I paid $15 for the 7 glasses,which is fabulous. I am using it all Thanksgiving.
    **A wonderful tip: People use ice chest coolers to chill items, but during parties like Thanksgiving you can put hot water in Mason jars and put them in an ice chest. Then put casseroles on top and they keep your warm dishes warm until serving when you are low on space.
    ***My mother in law wanted to buy me some pants to wear to church. She insisted on going to Chicos where she buys most of her clothes. Pants were $90!!! They no longer have petite and although she insisted I buy them and pay to have them altered in length I couldn’t do it. I knew my size after trying them on so I went to EBAY and got a pair of black and gray for $18 and $25. One was a petite, and the other may need to alter the length. I can do it, but hate doing it.
    ***It is open enrollment for our insurance choices for next year. We always put money in a Flex account to pay medical bills. It is guess work on what we assume we will spend, but I take our prescription meds, I know we will go to eye doctor and get glasses, copay to doctor for each one visit, and my Gastro doctor. My knee has popped for 2 years, and the last 6 months has increased to pain especially when hiking where you have to go up a large step higher than a normal step. I am sure I need to repair a tear, so am holding off to plan for it next year. Anyway, the account takes pretax money so you save the amount you pay in taxes ( free money) I usually pay expenses with out credit card where I earn points, then turn over to flex account for reimbursement. So I save even more earning points rather than paying with then Flex account card
    *** We had a lot of kids for trick or treat. I love our neighborhood. I have an Alabama football jersey for our Golden Doodle and I got it out. When he saw it he ran to me wagging his tail and was trying to get his head in the hole before I could get it held open. Ha, he is a big goofy dog and loves to wear his jersey. I guess it is the attention he gets in it. We put a leash on him and every kid that cam he went to the dog, never barked and would sit. He is the best dog ever. He will not go out the door until we tell him to come. We almost gave out all the candy. My husband was. giving big handfuls towards the end. My son took his girlfriend to a newly opened Cheesecake Factory for supper. He came by and had them make 6 different slices of cheesecake for us to try. One was a chocolate gluten free and it is heavenly. I have has some twice and still have 1/3 left. It is rich so I don’t know how anyone could eat a whole piece.

    1. Hi Holly,

      I also like some of Chico’s clothing and have been able to find it in thrift stores. Recently bought a pair of slacks for 5,00 and a white button down shirt for 3.99. I live in a metro area so that may make a difference in thrift store offerings.

      1. awesome deals, Nancy. We live n an area where everyone is an engineer ( or rocket scientist,) so same thing with professional clothing. My MIL found a bunch of Chico clothes at a garage sale. She usually buys from the store, only tagged along to garage sales with me and was so happy to find them.

  39. $90 is a good price, so this info is for others that may be reading. Many humane societies, ASPAs, etc., have low cost spay and neuter clinics and also administer vaccinations. I recently had my little boy dog vaccinated for rabies, distemper and bordetella (kennel cough) for a total of $56. I noticed that spaying and neutering started around $90 (spaying a female is slightly more expensive) and the price depends on the weight of the dog, with a maximum cost of $170. Microchipping is also very cheap.

  40. Despite the cool weather, we held off turning on the heat until November 1st! And then it was just to take the chill off. Then I turned it off. It got down to 62 inside, but I was so busy, I didn’t even notice!

    *I painted a trash picked shelf that husband found using paint we had. We only use Swiss Coffee by Behr for painting anything white so it’s always around. It’s a warm white that has always been our go-to. It has a bar underneath for a drape so it’s going into the office and those miserable slatted blinds are going! They’re the very popular 2″ white ones, but I hate cleaning them and I have always preferred drapes.
    *We only bought milk and bananas at the market.
    *We didn’t pass out Halloween candy so that saved us about $25.
    *I made a loaf of bread.
    *We ate at home all week from the new menu outline that includes one pasta night and 2 soup nights. Pasta was a Polish Casserole. Soups were a creamy chicken and rice and a beef barley. Froze some of each for “fast food”!
    *Used a generic Mr. Clean sponge to clean scuffs off à wall. Cheaper and easier than repainting.
    And the usuals like catching warm up water, hanging laundry, combining errands, and such.

    Hoping to buy a turkey this weekend.

    Brandy, your yard is looking even prettier than before!

  41. Brandy, your garden looks lovely! This week I decided it’s finally time to defrost my garage freezer. I have been putting it off because I wanted to stay stocked up, but I can’t leave it any longer. I want to keep that freezer working properly, it would be impossible to replace right now. So, we will be eating out of the freezer until it’s empty. We have lots of family coming for the Christmas holiday, so I need to have it defrosted and restocked by then. It’s going to be a rough month, I have lots of payments due that are business related this month. Eating out of the freezer will help!

    *We got my 15 yr old a bank account and debit card. His allowance will be transferred directly to that account. I’m excited to be able to teach him how to manage money and a bank account. This is something that my parents never taught me, I made many financial mistakes as a young adult and had lots of debt to pay off.

    *My son and his friends decided to re-create a band’s album cover for their Halloween Costume. My son needed a certain type of shirt, which I found a a thrift store for $4.00. I was able to applique fabric I already had onto the shirt to create the look he needed. He was very happy with it, and he looked just like the band member that he was supposed to be.

    *We were able to get my husband’s windshield replaced, but the sensors did not work. Took it to the dealership, and it was covered under warranty. Yay!!! My husband was able to borrow my Mom’s car while his car was being fixed, in exchange for doing some maintenance on her car.

    *Cooked all meals at home: hot dogs & fries, London Broil and scalloped potatoes, homemade noodleroni, homemade Focaccia bread, Vegetable Stir Fry, Quiche with biscuits, Burritos.

  42. Brandy, the garden looks amazing! And, like Margie, I too think it looks very European!
    I will have bought my last grocery load for restocking the pantry. I did buy more cheese
    as I saved $6 per bag. I will make a lasagne. I bought 11 bags of pasta on sale. I am allergic to rice
    so it’s potatoes or pasta. I bought 2 bags of sweet potatoes and potatoes, on sale.

    At the moment, I am well-stocked with fruit and veggies. I made a wonderful crisp from my frozen peaches and blueberries.
    In January, I may take “I” up on her offer to acquire a box of veggies for me. I think her $35
    deal for a 45 pound box is a great deal.

    I tried to buy a pair of boots for $23.00 (regularly $150) but the store changed the offer just
    as I was clicking on so I missed it. I am trying to rejuvenate my old suede boots which have hardened.
    Suggestions anyone? I had bought 5 pairs of boots for $25 (on sale greatly reduced) from Land’s End
    several years ago. Land’s End now has a vaguely similar pair for $260 (regular).
    I am now down to one (new) pair that I want to save.
    I was just looking for a back-up pair so it is not urgent.

    I treated myself to an early Christmas present and bought
    a 4 place-setting everyday cutlery set I already have one but would like 8 place settings for post covid days when I plan on
    having 7 people (plus me) for dinner. I was afraid the pattern would be discontinued. It was on sale for 50% off. I am very short of money
    so it was an extravagance in the short term.

    I have 3 giant sweet potatoes that will be difficult to cut up but I’m going to try slicing them on my mandolin and see if I can make
    chips in the oven. I could have enough chips for the next 5 months!

    I love putting sweet potatoes, potatoes and meat in the oven all at once. As my oven has an automatic shut-off
    I can continue working.

    It saves on energy. I spend about $12 per month on electricity consumption, but with the
    administration charges it adds up to about $100. There is nothing I can do to save on the
    admin charges. I do get reward points back from my plan which I usually cash in on the coldest month.

    The radio just reported that food prices will be going up again in Canada – mostly for dairy – milk and butter.
    sigh! I already don’t usually drink milk but love yogourt and soon will start making my own.

    I misplaced my seeds this year so I’ll be on the lookout for them for next year. They have to be somewhere!

      1. Brandy,

        I couldn’t make up my mind between French or Italian. So beautiful.

        Just a note to people who buy sunflower seeds to feed the birds – the drought has caused a seed shortage so buying them sooner rather than later is a good plan.
        My chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and woodpeckers have really been feeding heavily. It is such a pleasure to watch them.

    1. The most inexpensive way to get hardened suede boots soft again is to just start wearing them regularly. You can help it along faster by brushing with a suede brush — brush in all different directions. Shoe repair shops also sell a suede conditioner (which is different from a leather conditioner) that can be sprayed on and then brushed in to the boots so it soaks in more and softens them.

  43. The garden is really getting pretty, Brandy!

    One of the advantages of living in the country is I save a lot of money on candy, as we never get any kids coming to Trick or Treat on Halloween.

    I was a little low on the sweet potatoes that I planned to cube and roast for my breakfasts for the week, so I cut up one of the large sale-priced apples I had and roasted it with the potato cubes. The apple adds a nice touch to the sweet potatoes and it was much better than having to make a trip to the store just for a couple of sweet potatoes.

    I hang-dried all my laundry this weekend.

    I made two more batches of Kombucha. It’s now $4 a pint for most brands in the stores in my area, whereas I make 12-13 pints at a time for about $1.50 in ingredients and 10 minutes of hands-on time.

    I received the OTC medications that I ordered for free through my husband’s insurance plan.

    I went online to his insurance plan and entered another health check up for him, for which he gets rewarded from his insurance plan with gift cards. We have $95 rewarded at this point.

    The seedlings sprouting in the containers outdoors suffer from a lack of direct sun in the fall, and often get spindly or collapse. I erected my husband’s seed-starter lights over them and it seems to be helping.

    My daughter is getting a free turkey from work, so we will be having free turkey for Thanksgiving!

    My dog has two beds that she uses in different rooms – one is a second hand dog-crate pad and the other a thrifted, thick, memory foam rug. Both are washable and have held up well. She certainly enjoys them.

    As usual, I look for second-hand or great bargains, and most of all, try to never buy what I don’t need.

  44. I read The Giver of Stars last January. I’ve read 30 books so far in 2021 and it is definitely in my top 3 favorites of the year! I hope you enjoyed it!

    Frugal living in Portland, OR:

    *Our biggest savings this week involved redoing our health insurance. My husband just changed jobs. We had all previously been under his insurance. I realized that with his new coverage, if I moved to my employer’s insurance and my eldest son moved to his own insurance, we would save $375 a month in premiums without sacrificing quality and later out-of-pocket costs. It was a lot of phone calls and paperwork, but worth the hassle, for sure!

    *I am harvesting greens from my fall garden! Kale, spinach, and two varieties of lettuce. I usually don’t have much luck with my fall garden. Next year, I will try to expand it.

    *My birthday was last week. I got a dozen donuts from a local shop that offers free birthday donuts and shared with my family. Didn’t buy or make a cake because that was enough sweet for one day. When my mom asked what I wanted, I said food storage and she delivered with an assortment of things we will use all winter. And also a homemade quilt that goes great with our new couch and will help keep our heat off this winter. So much better than a sweater I won’t wear, etc.

    *I got a few needed pieces from ThreadUp, and used an additional 20% off coupon. I ended up getting eight pieces of clothing, all good brands, for under $100 and I love them all. I love buy second-hand clothing but I don’t enjoy the search. It was great to just shop online and everything arrived as advertised. The downsides were: 1) it took a month for me to receive my items….really slow but doable if I plan my needs in advanced. 2) Without the 20% off coupon, the clothes wouldn’t have been as cheap as typical thrift stores….still worth the time savings for me!

    *My husband received a wine/cheese/cracker basket for doing some volunteer work. Instead of putting it in the back of the cupboard and forgetting about it, I added some fruit and made it our dinner for the night (minus the wine – we’ll gift those bottles -we’re not drinkers).

    *Switched out our summer/early fall clothes for our winter clothes. We have an older home with not a lot of closet space, so we have to be aggressive about storing clothes in the off-season and also keeping only what we are wearing. I was able to give away four large bags of my teens’ clothing to Buy Nothing neighbors and to my nephews. I also pulled some of their too-small clothing for myself (mostly for working out). I also made a list of things they will need to keep an eye out for sales as Christmas nears. So much easier to do if you go through all of their stuff!

  45. We live in the Austin, TX area and a new HEB(that’s our local grocery store) opened on 10/27/21. They were running a promotion of $10 off a $50 purchase with the download of the HEB app.

    We also did our first family Halloween costume with our 5 month old son. My husband and I were able to put together our costumes from items around our home, saving us the cost of two adult costumes. We located a costume for our son on Amazon for a good deal. We all dressed as pirates and had a wonderful time sitting at the end of our driveway passing out candy to our neighbors.

    We also made a delicious pot of cuban style black beans using ingredients on hand.

  46. I always read sales ads for four different stores and then plan to purchase the very best sales of things we’d typically buy. I wanted to go to two different stores this weekend but my daughter went to Aldi and I provided her with my short list. She did her best to buy everything on my list but she didn’t pay strict attention to it. I asked for a bone in turkey breast ($1.59/pound) and she brought me a boneless 3 pound breast ($3/pound)…There were a couple of items not available but that is so typical for Aldi I don’t lay it to shortages. Aldis differ and what one store has another might not stock at all. My husband and I went into the second grocery where I wanted to buy a steak for our dinner that evening. It’s the lowest price we’ve seen in a long while and the two of us were able to eat a lovely New York Strip for under $11. That is a lot of money to me and not spending we’d typically do but you see we were having a much needed ‘vacation’/day off after keeping my 2 yr old grandson. Our weekends have become nearly as filled as our weeks these days and this day was all about us. So we went out for lunch at a well priced Mexican restaurant, went to the earliest showing of the new Bond film and bought steak to have a steak dinner. All in all, we figured it was a pretty good day and we felt we’d had a real vacation from our own life. I had money set aside in our entertainment fund which we’ve not had time to use lately so it was truly a special day for us.
    I have just defrosted my deep freeze and I finally admitted that some of my frugal ‘saves’ are just eating space unnecessarily and are not items I’d typically use anyway. Things like a dozen lemons quartered and old bananas that were beyond frost bitten. Even after 40 years of homemaking I am still discovering that some of my frugal ideas work and some just take up space. I keep trying anyway!
    I made room to freeze the juice from the apple peels and cores that I plan to use to make jelly later in the winter with. I took the cooked pulp and am making my own vinegar with it. I did this last year and it worked out fine. Worth a repeat.
    I ordered two new door mats for the porches from Bed Bath and Beyond for $4 each.
    I’ve been buying 2 bras each month. I like to keep at least 6 on hand and then I rotate and find that they last quite well for a year or more. I bought 3 &4 for October and this month will order 5&6. I have a handy app on my computer courtesy of Microsoft that tells me the cheapest price for an item and this time they were less on Amazon than at the store I normally use to purchase.
    I brought in plants to overwinter in the house: poinsettia, Christmas cactus, orchids and snake plants. I took cuttings from coleus, pineapple sage, rosemary, and Moss Rose and am rooting them in water. I’ll plant and keep on the kitchen window sill. I use a huge clear bin with a lid to keep the Mandevilla, Kolanchoa, and some begonias going on the sunny front porch. I also harvested korms from the Star of India plants I had this summer and they are now drying on the counter. I have had the prettiest showing of flowers from marigolds and cosmos and zinnia these past two months after bewailing the lack of flowers all summer long. We are expecting our first frost late this week. So I cut a pretty bouquet of flowers to grace my kitchen sink shelf.
    After getting notices from two different stores where I typically shop that they are now experiencing outages and shortages, we decided to go back to a weekly grocery shopping rather than relying heavily on once a month shopping. It just seems it might be the best idea. Now to retrain my brain to NOT buy a month’s worth each time I shop!!
    Garden Pat, I use my pantry to help others, too. I don’t consider it just ‘mine’ so to speak but love that I can be of real help with things when they are needed.
    Brandy, I think doing the garden a little at a time is a good idea….Like creating a wardrobe. Get to know the garden and how it works and look for bargains and build it slowly over time.

  47. Terri C.
    You can make a great lemon juice concentrate by blending lemons on high speed, skin and all, with water and then straining the liquid through a fine strainer (the pulp makes a great cleaner for our stainless steel countertops, or for getting stains out of white clothing). I dilute the resulting liquid with water (about a TBS. in a glass of water) add stevia, and it makes a refreshing summer drink. If it’s too cold there, you can freeze the lemon liquid & it should take up less space!

  48. Using the Kanopy service through the library to watch a documentary on The Dust Bowl, by Ken Burns. It’s really, really fascinating (and free through the Kanopy service). Busy making handmade items to sell at 4 holiday shows that I’ve been invited to have a table at. Planted garlic, onions and fall bulbs. Saving our rabbit manure (air drying) and packaging it up, going to try and sell to local gardeners in the spring. I have 8 hours of tutoring students weekly, which has put me in a much better position financially.

  49. Brandy, the view from your window will be lovely and refreshing when finished.

    It has continued to be busy here. Week before last I did a lot of taping and painting around trim so when the paint was rolled it was finished besides the trim in those areas. The next mornings some muscles let me know they were not use to the low work for that long. We had some rain and more humidity that slowed painting down but made time for other projects.

    DS found a job and needed some extra clothes that I had to order. I have been a chauffeuring DH and DS on days when their schedules cross.

    I made spaghetti one evening and instead of putting some peas in it (something I started when DS was little) I put in some carrots and tomatoes chopped a little smaller that were leftover from another meal. I bought chicken tenders and put them in the crock pot with BBQ sauce to cook for freezing. There was a lot of sauce left so I went back the next day for another two pkgs. and cooked them overnight. The tenders did cost a little more but I felt it was a win to have something easy to put on and cook while I was working on other things. I also made an 11×17 tray of breakfast bars. They included a 1/2 cup Godiva chocolates chips that I bought at Ollie’s last year and they were very flavorful. I baked some $1.75 Turkey bacon from Walmart to see if we liked it. It was like very thin ham slices. I will buy more to freeze. I found that it and Aldi’s bacon are only about a half or a little more in the pkg. then before. Maybe they all are; I haven’t checked. I did a little more stocking up. I got a free DVD at Big Lots. DH and I stopped in an indoor Flea Market and I found an all metal strainer basket with handle for $4 that is perfect for when I cook tomatoes to skin.

    I went to a locally owned wholesale store that I have been meaning to visit. Just like any other store some things are higher than I can find elsewhere. I bought a 3 lb. can of stew meat which I opened and made stew with 1 lb. so we could try it and froze the others. It was good so I will probably go back and get some more for extra in case we cannot get roasts later. DH likes to get the packets of gravy mix to make a weekend breakfast of eggs, grits and gravy so I bought a 1.5 lb. pkg. of biscuit gravy mix for $4.50 that I can store in a jar. It will last a very long time. I was given a notepad and pen and the groceries were carried to the car.

    I got more mustard greens, summer squash, and zucchini at the Farmer’s Market.

    I mended some clothes. and decluttered some I found in the wash that needed to go.

    Have a wonderful week!

  50. Great pictures from the garden! I get very inspired by your endeavours! I worked my garden all week in an effort to meet my goals of growing more food next year. I got some cow compost and dug into my raised beds. The earth here is sour ph so I have to add calcium all over the garden. I was saving egg shells and dug them into the earth. This year I also picked shells from the beach. I set up a small activity for my boys with different ways to crash the shells: hammer, mortar, rocks etc. When they made shellsand they dumped it on the veggie garden and I mixed it with the earth. I am also trying to learn more about how to use algae’s in the garden. I heard that it was a thing and we have plenty seaweeds at hand.
    This week I was working on some of the handmade Christmas gifts. I want to make this awsome love-glove: https://www.sandnesgarn.no/media/publicfiles/Kjaerestevott.pdf
    I have all the yarn from my mom-in-law’s old stash, I have the right needles and the pattern is for free!
    I also wanted to make some homeshoes for a few family members and to do that I unravelled an old sweater which I made many years ago for my husband but it was waaay to big and also scratchy. I will be able to make houseshoes for everyone from all that yarn!
    I ordered some polish books for our homeschool and got -40% which was lovely.
    I was rethinking my preparedness. I decided to stock up on water and get some gas for our camping cooker. I need more canned goods and toilet paper. I will get my pantry in better order an get more prepared this month. I also need to restock on first aid things.
    Thank you all for your company!

    1. I have seen some things about using seaweed in the garden. It is an expensive fertilizer. I hope you can make the most of it!

        1. My friend back in Southern Cal had the most beautiful rose garden I’ve ever seen. She buried fish heads in the soil. She would bring us beautiful bouquets for our desks at work! And the smell was heavenly. She got them at the Vietnamese market.

          1. Thank you Bama and Debby for this tips! I grew up far from the sea and had no clue! We fish a lot and I end up just composting bones in my bokashi. I will try the fish head rose trick!

            1. Fish heads are especially good for tomatoes. The difference in tomatoes grown with such soil is noticeable. Around here, people ask for fish heads from sushi restaurants, who give them out free. There sometimes is a waiting list, as often multiple gardeners request them.

              1. We usually bury them about a foot or so deep. Fair warning – we always have the possibility that raccoons will dig some up, but burying them a foot deep makes it far less likely.

    2. Kinga, those mittens in the pattern a gorgeous! I crochet but cannot knit and have still never successfully made mittens! I need to try some more! I would love to see in future comments the mittens or house slippers you make!

  51. Brandy, your garden is looking lovely! It must feel good to see the progress after so much time and effort to design and build it!
    My savings continues to focus on getting marked down produce . I got 10 lb bananas for $2, and the same for citrus. I am drying the bananas and use the citrus for a detox drink and the peels I add to vinegar.
    My garden is producing peppers, tomatoes, kale, lettuce, lemon verbena and lemon balm, and cilantro. I am drying the herbs. A freeze is predicted for tomorrow, so will pick the garden today.
    I am stocking up on staples, listening to podcasts on the best staples to stash away and trying
    to be ready for more shortages.
    It has been warm so we haven’t run the heat yet, I hope to run the house at 60 during the day and 63 when my husband gets home.
    Thankful for you, Brandy and each of you ladies!

  52. Hello frugal friends. It has been a fairly uneventful week around here, but I managed to get by with a few frugal accomplishments:
    *A friend gave me a free box of Hello Fresh meals. It is not a subscription that I would ever pay for but three meals, each supposed to be two servings, for free sounds good to me! The box arrived today so I will make the first tonight for dinner. Something different and fun to try without spending the $$$
    *I finally got a new fridge! While this itself isn’t cheap, being able to have a working fridge/freezer in my kitchen is definitely a money saver. This fridge is WAY smaller than my previous one thanks to some rather annoying remodeling details from the previous owner. My kitchen island is too bit so the fridge had to go in or out of the back door in my 120 year old house. Door ways were skinnier then. Anyway, it has been so nice to have things close at hand again.
    *Along the same kitchen lines, I made a broccoli/chicken/rice bake and had it for 4 days. I am totally fine eating the same thing on repeat so having an easy meal on hand is helpful. Additionally, my mom stopped by and dropped off some meals that she had made so I had extra meals at no cost to me!
    *The same ole same ole: I read library books, watching free movies and tv, worked from home, cooked my meals from scratch, drank tap water, did laundry on off hours etc.

  53. I love how your garden looks. I’m sure after all that hard work, you are enjoying just enjoying it for a bit! I would be:)

    This week has been quieter than any we’ve had for a while. Ahhhh. We did help at a harvest party Sunday night. We just signed up to do whatever the person in charge needed vs. using our car for trunk or treat, and ended up helping do lots of things. One was running a treat walk (cookies for prizes in stead of the more traditional cake), and it was fun. An added bonus was all the exercise I got for absolutely free, trotting around and around the circle of numbers guiding happy, but confused, children who seemed to have no idea of how to participate in a cakewalk. With my steps from earlier in the day, added to my many, many trips around the circle, I ended up the day with 12,000 steps! Win-win!!

    One grandson was a cowboy. The other was his cow. Pictures of them are on my blog at: http://beckyathome.com
    I was super excited that they could attend the party and thought they were pretty cute, as any grandma would:). I spent some time each day for the last 10 days babysitting so their mama and auntie could pack. They have moved now, to the new house and I spent one evening helping unpack the kitchen.

    I cooked lots of meals from my food storage, and replenished the stockpile with some really good bargains, such as whole chickens for 67c/lb, milk for 67c/1/2 gallon, peanut butter for 99c, some 1/2 priced mushrooms, 97c frozen pizza, and 77c ice cream. I cooked the one whole chicken I already owned, used it for meals, boiled the bones for broth and made chicken-noodle soup. I froze some of the broth and chicken for later. I made some lentil chili, to share, as one daughter is a vegetarian. We ate some, too, of course, saving us money on the meat we would normally put in chili. I also made meatless broccoli-cheese soup one day, using broccoli frozen from our garden.

    I picked one last batch of produce from the garden–2 kinds of lettuce, some snow peas and some little onions I found unexpectedly. I thought they were green onions, but, there they were–2-3 inch bulbs! Every time I pick anything this time of year, I’m sure it’s the last time, but we haven’t had a killing frost yet, so who knows? I will say the garden looks pathetic, bedraggled and scraggly, but it’s sure produced for me this year. I’ve been pulling old plants whenever I get a break from the rain. I also ran around like a maniac and mowed the lawn Sunday between church and the harvest party. It was the only dry day, and I was glad to get the exercise and the job done. It’s literally poured ever since, so I am doubly glad now.

    I got library books and movies to use. I borrowed a few on my i-pad, as well, using the Libby app.

    I sewed 2 new face masks for my husband, as his are worn out. I taught my daughter how to make herself a new one. We still need them for stores and other public places here in Oregon. I used fabric and elastic I had on hand. I hope to do some more this week.

  54. After a month where we got off track, I feel like I am back on course so far this month. I am trying to buy the bare minimum at the grocery store as prices seem to have gone up in every category. I read yesterday that dairy products will likely be going up 10-15% in the near future. Cheese was on sale at No Frills for a good price and I bought two yesterday when I shopped. I will be right by another No Frills store on Tuesday and plan to buy 3 or 4 more to grate. We won’t be seeing this price again I don’t think.

    We were gifted another load of firewood this week. My husband has spent the week chopping some of it and stacking it. My mom has a large tarp that we will use to cover it over the winter. We are more than set for wood this year and into next winter as well. It is a good feeling to know we have so much.

    We continue to be blessed by our local buy nothing group. I have picked up some food including some turnips, mushrooms, coffee cream and cartons of egg whites which I froze. I received three new to me tops, a jar of vitamin E cream and a lip balm. It truly is such a blessing to us.

    Our garden is pretty much put to rest for the winter and the leaves are finally coming down now so we can get them cleaned up. With my husband home full time now, we are really able to stay on top of things outside.

    Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.

  55. I always enjoy reading your post and the comments! Your garden looks lovely. So glad that you were able to harvest so many butternut squash! I roasted some cut-up butternut squash this week (storebought ones, unfortunately) in butter and maple syrup and it was delicious with the pork chops we had that night.

    Halloween was a frugal fail. We went to a Halloween birthday party on Saturday for one of my son’s friends. All of us parents stayed and enjoyed the time together, too. The theme was 80’s slasher movie characters, and my son was assigned to be Freddy Krueger. I bought the iconic glove at the Halloween store, but my son had faith that I could DIY the sweater. I had to buy the materials to make it, and it did not turn out well. Luckily on the morning of the party, I went back to the Halloween store and found the very last Freddy sweater — thank goodness it was in his size! So, my lesson is learned. Sometimes it’s better to just buy it instead of making it; I ended up spending almost twice as much.

    But there was a frugal win in Halloween, too. I asked my husband to buy some candy for my classroom. We were playing vocabulary Bingo, and my students love winning a piece of candy! I wasn’t specific enough, and the hubs bought two HUGE bags of Jolly Ranchers. I don’t like to keep Jolly Ranchers long after opening the bag because they tend to get sticky. We had so much left after the Bingo game that I had plenty to give to trick-or-treaters, didn’t need to buy other candy, and still had a whole bag left. I thought about returning the extra bag, but instead I am going to give them to one of the behavior teachers at my school to use as rewards with his students.

    Another shout out here for The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek! It’s one of my favorites. There is a sequel coming out (May 2022). I was granted an early e-copy to read, which I’m looking forward to. Suzanne Woods Fisher also has a book with a similar theme called The Moonlight School, based on true events.

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