It’s been a busy couple of weeks, and I’ve been without a vehicle most of the time. My van had several issues, most notably with the air conditioning going out on the 19th, and the cost to fix the problems was more than the van was worth. Thankfully, I was able to sell the van to the mechanic for $1900. I figured it was completely unsellable without air conditioning and with the other issues, so I was thankful to get something for it, and to have such an easy sale.

I was able to borrow a car from a friend to run a couple of errands and to get to church and back.

I harvested tomatoes and peaches from my garden. I froze peaches to use throughout the year.

I sowed seeds for roselle hibiscus and Armenian cucumbers in the garden. My previously sown seeds never germinated, so I am trying again. I still have enough time for a harvest.

I baked pumpkin chocolate chip bread using pumpkins I grew in my garden last year. Several of you told me the unripe pumpkins would finish ripening when I had to pick them green before our first frost last fall, and they did. I have several left still as well as frozen pumpkin from others.

I baked French bread and tried some new scoring designs for fun. I had a number of requests years ago to make a video of the process, and I hope to be able to make one in the future, but for now, I thought I would just have a bit of fun with it and share some simple videos on my Instagram stories. I received quite a bit of positive feedback on it, so I’ll definitely look at making a more detailed video in the future!

What did you do to save money the last two weeks?

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  1. I hope you are able to find a vehicle in your price range. We have been looking for over a year.
    We only got milk at the store. I am canning, freezing or dehydrating something daily from the gardens. We picked zucchini Saturday evening (Sunday is the day of rest), this morning Hubby pulled 3 zucchini the size of on my thigh. The cherry tomatoes are running us over, I dehydrate what we don’t eat before picking more. The Roma green beans I had to plant 3 times has finally started producing decent. There are even blooms on it.
    I was having trouble with bruising easily. Doc figured out it was low iron. I can’t take iron pills ( I am on a multi vitamin with iron in it), the Amish suggested I take blackstrap molasses… Hubby and I started laughing as I took that for 3 yrs for anemia. SIGH. I planted 300 onions for winter today. I think tomorrow will be carrots and lettuce planted.
    Be safe, prayers for peace
    Blessed Be

    1. Can you take liquid Floridex Iron+ herbs? I took that for anemia during my last few pregnancies, ate more beans and leafy greens, took a multi-vitamin, took an extra vitamin C plus an iron pill, took an extra B-12 (later in the day), and took liquid chlorophyll, all under the direciton of my midwife. I also had a nettle and red raspberry herbal tea that I made from dried herbs. I brought my hemoglobin numbers up from an 11 to a 13 in a month.

      The Floridex is expensive. I was able to get it on Amazon. But it was all worth it!

      1. Thank you for taking time to give me ideas to help. I have tried it before but it messed with other health issues. I do drink nettle and raspberry teas. Doc said if it didn’t get better (blood work again this week) I will be eating beef liver. Pernicious anemia runs in my mother’s side so Doc keeps track of my B12.

        1. Jules, I have been taking liver capsules for low iron for many years. You can buy them on Amazon and they work well if you also take vitamin c for added absorption. Lots of brands available and easier than eating liver if you aren’t a fan of the taste or smell.

    2. I get violently sick from iron tablets. I can take slow-FE, which is slow iron. I received iron transfusions and never had a problem. Both of the above might be an option to help you.

    3. I feel for you coping with anemia. Recently, I was prescribed an iron infusion because my iron storage was so low. I guess I had lived that way for so long I didn’t thing too much of it, but I got a new doctor. My previous one moved away. This new internist thought an iron infusion would help “tune me up.” I guess only my hemoglobin was checked in the past, and it was always pegged at the top of the range, so no one checked anything else. There were some possible risks to the iron infusion; I didn’t experience any; but I am amazed at what a difference it made. I didn’t realize it, but in addition to other iron deficiency symptoms, I must have had a low level of anxiety and depression for a long time also that just disappeared after the iron infusion. I had known before that a tooth and gum infection or low testosterone in men could cause depression, but I didn’t know iron could affect it. Medicare and my Medicare supplement insurance paid for getting the infusion. Anyway, I am very thankful to get that problem fixed.

    4. I recently discovered that I am very anaemic, so I will be having an iron infusion on Thursday. Here in Australia, my total cost is $117.
      I had one a few years ago, but I have had a baby since then, so it is time to top up again.
      In the past, I have used Floradix with good results – more tolerable than iron tablets, at least.

      1. Here in Australia too. My mum has had many iron infusions. Cost has always been $12.60 from a bulk billed dr. It takes two weeks for any improvement to happen, then a minor miracle occurs.

    5. I had iron problems for years until I discovered I actually had low copper, which was needed for my iron to recycle properly. With the consumption of copper-rich foods, I’ve no longer had iron trouble. I found out through blood work. Hope you find a solution!

    6. I just put it here: I had so many problems digesting and keeping iron supps until I found out I needed to change to iron biglycinate.
      More expensive? Sure. But did the stuff stay with me ? Yes.

  2. We’ve been making creative meals from what is in the refrigerator and freezer in the past few weeks. Our refrigerator ventilation seems to freeze up about once a year, mid summer, and we had signs that it was starting to happen. If we let it go too long, it starts to warm up, so at the first sign we work on addressing it. It’s a good excuse to look at what we have, figure out how to use it, and then thoroughly defrost and clean it. It’s also been a way to get out of the rut of meals we seem to have regularly—we’ve been at a point where it feels like we’ve had all of our regular go-tos, other than soups.

    I made waffles with the dozen eggs we had to use, the last of the flax and oats and milk from the freezer. If they last that long, they make quick and filling before-school breakfasts. My oldest is planning to take a bag back to school as well. The day I made them, we had them for dinner with the breakfast sausage and hash browns that were also in the freezer. I made several salads to use up vegetables, turkey lunch meat and dressing packets. I made breakfast smoothies with our frozen fruit and yogurt, and we made side dishes from other things we found. Fortunately we have another freezer, so I chopped and froze the rest of the celery and stored other things there while our refrigerator was defrosting.

  3. So sorry to read about your van. Happy you were able to make a quick sale and hopefully you will find another van that is just right for you soon. Thankful you were also able to borrow a car. Life is good.
    I am a caretaker for both of my parents – they don’t can’t drive among other needs. I also pet sit on the side to bring in a little cash and animals provide such great therapy. I’ve been saying no a lot to my boss for visits that are not cost-effective to take on. There is no point in spending almost all the pay to do the job. It has been liberating to say no and to have the knowledge from this blog and commenters to know saying no, means I can say yes somewhere else to save money I cannot earn right now. Thank you all.
    Been using the Facebook Buy Nothing group to exchange and receive items. One item was a well-loved charcuterie board that my husband sanded and oiled. It looks amazing. We’ve been using it on our at-home date nights to make life feel more fancy.

    My Microsoft Office license had expired and I opted for the free version. For what I need, it works great.

    Making as many easy, pantry ingredient zucchini recipes to use up what has come out of my garden. Took time on Pinterest to find easy Chard recipes to start making as well.

    Hope everyone has a great calm and productive week!

    1. This is a great recipe for baked zucchini tortillas. Her site also has a recipe for baked cabbage tortillas. We love the zuke ones and they use up a lot of zucchini.

  4. Oh I am so sorry about your van troubles! I think the amount you received from the mechanic was great! Praying for God to bring you just the right replacement vehicle for your needs.
    I have gone thrift shopping several times, specifically to a thrift store where I have a gift certificate too. I received the gift certificate for attending a cooking class there at that thrift store. It was a repeat class, that met six times and attendees were given one $10 certificate for each class we attended. I attended all six classes, so ended up with $60 total of gift certificates. They expire within three months of being issued, so I have been shopping a bit more frequently there in order to use up my certificates before expiration. I have found a Loft brand blouse for my daughter, and a Loft brand blouse for me as well. Those blouses were $3.25 each, so you can see I can stretch my gift certificates pretty well! I also found a third Loft brand blouse for .75 cents (I was hoping it would fit me, but was a bit tight in the arms so my teen daughter gets it) and an Old Navy blouse for me for .75 cents. I also found a drying rack for $2.00, which I was delighted for. It is not as sturdy as the larger one I already have, but will be helpful to have in addition to my previous one. Identical racks are currently being sold in Walmart for $20. I also found a devotional book for myself for $1.00.
    I continued to hang all laundry, and cook all meals from scratch.
    Looking forward to learning from everyone!

    Susan M. In Chattanooga, TN

    1. I was thrilled, truly.

      We have found something already and making arrangements to purchase a new-to-use used vehicle.

  5. Car problems are the worse for me. I feel panicky and so helpless. My oil change center put my car on their computer and told me what repair I needed. I bought the part at the local parts place and my neighbor has fixed it. That was less than $90.00 . I double checked with my recent hospital bill to make sure my insurance was correct. It was not and likely would have been a mess to get it resolved. Thankfully I checked. My daughter and I used a promotion on Verizon. When signing up for Starz at $75.00 ,you get a year of Netflix free. She had been paying $240.00 a year for Netflix so this was a big savings. We split the cost of Starz. This was a really hard week . After a life time of abuse by my mother , she has passed. I take away all the wonderful things I learned by observing my mother. My mother was frugal and efficient . There were no expenses incurred as every single detail had been taken care of. I now will monitor my own budget a little closer . I’ve added in a new category to cover anything my dad may desire. I’m focusing on very small moments each day where I can find joy. I’ve filled my bird feeders and hung some suet cages. I found a lovely hummingbird wind chime marked down to $2.50 at Kroger. I’m still looking for the perfect location. My daughters tips at work are suffering the last few months. She steadily has been pushed to living paycheck to paycheck. While at Kroger I bought several Tyson roast kits marked down to $4.50. I stocked her freezer for her. There were several items on sale for 99 cents. I picked her up pasta salad and soups. I love that I’m able to make her life a little easier. I hope everyone is having a lovely week.

    1. I’m sorry for all of the heartache and loss at this time that you are experiencing.

    2. Lillianna, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I think the way you are dealing with it is healing. It’s quite the quandary when one loses an abusive parent, but focusing on what you can take away is healing. May God grant you peace in your heart.

    3. Lilliana, I’m so sorry to hear that. We are going through something similar. My husband’s mother’s appendix ruptured. It has been an extremely painful relationship for my husband and myself and our children. I keep praying for forgiveness. It’s stirred up all that old pain. You have my best wishes.

    4. Lilliana, thank for sharing about the complicated loss of your mom. That is very sad that she wasn’t the good mom that you needed, and I expect it leaves a ton of ambivalent feelings in the aftermath. Praying for you as you process this and seek to find joy in the small moments! Good for you!

    5. Dear Lillianna, I’m sorry that your mother passed. Even when we have difficult relationships with family members their passing is the last milestone of their life and it comes with great sadness. I hope that you can use her life as a guidepost to what you would or would not like yours to be like. My deepest sympathies are with you.

    6. I admire your attitude of taking the good thing you got from a painful and difficult relationship. I understand from a personal standpoint how much of a relief and how much regret there must be in losing your mom. Hugs to you!

  6. So sorry you had car troubles. Having your husband away just makes those times feel mote stressful. I hope you can find something soon

    I have been getting green beans every two days feom my one raised bed. I can 4 to 5 pints each time. Green beans are so easy to can it makes these small batches worth it, and my shelves are filling up. I have harvested tomatoes, squash, and basil is drying.

    A friend and I went to Mississippi to antique shop, visit Laurel and the Home Town show places, and mainly to get vegetables. The cheapest in our area is $60 a bushel of purple hulls in the shell. They have shelled bushels for $25. So. I got a bushel of field peas. 2 bushels purple hulls. and 3 bushels baby lima butterbeans. I also got 4 sweet potatoes. I am freezing half and canning half of the peas and beans.

    I have had some good water from blanching the peas and all the washing water to pour over my beds. I compost all the vegetable scraps.

    We bought wood to put down in the bonus room that I am .owing my sewing room into. A guy from church was going to lay it for us. My husband had a fall requiring knee surgery last fall and a lot of pain still. We haven’t bee. able to get the guy here between our schedule and his so while I was in Mississippi my husband started laying the floor. I am helping pick out boards and handing him so he isn’t up and down. So, we are saving what we would have paid the guy to lay it.

    I sold 2 pictures I didn’t love of birds for $15. I’ve been cleaning and organizing my current sewing room to move upstairs and have items to donate. I’ve been getting items I bought at auction and stored in the garage and cleaning them up. One is blue and antique canning jars with zinc and glass lids. Another is a box of amber vintage bottles, some are old snuff jars I am told, lol, cut glass cake plates, and stuff like that.

    I’ve been really good to use what we have that was soon to expire and frozen foods. When not prepared have made grilled cheese with ham and bacon, home canned soups. and omelets for supper with diced ham or sausage. I’m really enjoying all the fresh vegetables, though.

    1. Holly, I canned 13 pints of beans last week from my little raised bed. It’s about the only frugal thing I did because we were getting ready to go on vacation. (We’re currently visiting my son). I agree with you about canning beans. My husband snaps them for me which makes it even easier. I thought they were about done, but the friend who is picking while I am gone texted that she’s gotten quite a few! So, maybe I’ll get more when we get home this weekend.

      Brandy, sorry about the van. I feel so helpless when we have car trouble. I’m glad you found a buyer have found another van to replace it.

  7. I bought 6 lb of blueberries to freeze. The blueberries were a decent price, $4.98 Can for two lb (about $3.50 US), but freezer bags were very high-priced, about twice the price of last year I think, so not a very good deal in the end. Still, they are the cheapest fruit there’s been in a long while, and I never get tired of them. Last year, I bought 10 lb, which lasted the year exactly, so I will probably revert to commercially frozen blueberries by spring.

    I bought 4 lb of my favorite pasta brand on sale at $3.00 for a 2 lb bag. I had bought the same in the spring, thinking it would last me well into winter, because I don’t normally use pasta in the summer. This year, that changed, so it was time to restock. I also bought a 40 count box of strong green garbage bags for about $10. It was a decent price, but a much larger box than I wanted. The 10 count box I wanted wasn’t available. I also bought a 1 kilo pack of premium thick-sliced bacon. I cut the whole pack of slices in half so the slices fit a sandwich and in the pan more easily. Then I divide the whole pack in three, and freeze two of the three, leaving one in the fridge. That’s all I’ll manage for stocking up this month.

    I had bought some scallops, but they tasted very fishy, which scallops don’t normally taste. Every article on the internet agreed that fishy tasting scallops were bad and should not be eaten. I returned them to the store when I went to pick up cat food and garbage bags, so I got my $12.95 back without any argument.

    Someone I know from my days working one day a week at the library said on Facebook she had trimmings from several kinds of mint plants, and would deliver them in town. I took her up on it, and when she brought them, she asked me if I’d like some vegetables from her garden as well. I said yes, so I hope she remembers. She comes into town once a week, so it isn’t putting her to too much trouble. She’s a very likeable person, so I am glad to reconnect with her.

    1. Those mint cuttings will root in water! Just rip off any leaves below the water line and they will make roots at each spot!

    2. Was that the PC thick cut bacon that was “on sale” last week Elizabeth? It is my favourite and I divide it up the same as you. As it doesn’t shrink when cooked and is all meat I find that 1 1/2 slices per serving is enough!

      1. It was Mitchell’s thick cut, which is very similar. I find it goes a long way, too. I haven’t had any processed meat since before Christmas, so this has been a very special treat.

    3. Elizabeth M.

      I too bought a lot of fresh blueberries. The frozen 1.5 kg bag at Co-op (Founders and Farmers brand I think) are very flavorful.
      Sometimes Co-op has the bags on sale for $9.99 which beats the $15 plus price elsewhere. I love having them in the winter. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the fresh ones. Ann

      1. Hi, Ann. Both stores in my village (one of which is a Coop) have good sale prices on frozen blueberries from time to time, so it usually isn’t too hard to get them at a decent price once I run out of the ones I’ve frozen myself. The quality is good, though I prefer the ones I’ve frozen myself.

  8. I wish we lived closer- you could have borrowed our 7 seat minivan! The one requirement Dave had when we were looking to replace our old one a couple years ago was that the a/c MUST work because the former one didn’t! Actually on Friday morning our van and trailer will go up to our daughter. They live out rurally and the neighboring village is having a free dump day, so they will use our trailer to off load things !

    I pressure canned another 15 pounds of chicken breast ($1.25/pound) . Combined with the 11 pints I added to shelf in the previous week, I now have added 25 pints total to my inventory!! And at a price I could afford (16 Oz of home canned chicken breast for just over $1.25 each.) Much better than commercially canned chicken! At the same time, I used 1 pint of chicken canned months ago to make Chicken spaghetti and cucumber tomato salad to take for dinner for a new family who just moved in from NC. So quick to do since no thawing or cooking the chicken in order to put it into the recipe!
    Then I got a notice of a 2 day sale on cherries for 99 cents a pound and bought a box (27 pounds)on Saturday so I will be canning cherry pie filling today (Monday)

    We went to Sam’s Club . Haven’t been there in over 6 months but we were in the area so I had my winter list ready. We bought TP, dishwasher detergent, kitchen trash bags and foil baking pans and lids. We were out of the baking pans and I like to send dinners out in those but the other 3 things, I was just replenishing my supply to get us through for the winter and beyond. That way, we will not have the need to shop again for those in 2023.
    Another client quilt finished and now bound- I also quilted up this client quilt- And today I quilted this client quilt- . Also quilted these 3 for another client:, and After that I quilted this baby quilt for a different client: and this that shows the Minkee backing: I just have 2 more client quilts to get quilted up. 10 quilts in 10 days isn’t bad! Good thing our pantry/freezers are filled with ready to go ingredients and meals because Dave will be in charge of meals for the 2 of us!

    The garden continues to produce tomatoes- both small and large, blackberries, garlic and jalapeños! Soon it will be time to harvest potatoes! I found (@online) a tool to deseed hot peppers without getting your hand in contact with the juice or seeds. It cost about $7 and looks a bit like a corkscrew with serrated blade edges. I tried it and it works great!!

    I was able to covert cc rewards points into cash and deposited $60 of them into our saving account, while still paying the complete statement balance on card before due dates!ll

    No gas bill again this month- we still have a credit and our electric bill was $112 for the month. Next month will be higher because we’ve had to use window air conditioners at times because of the heat and humidity.

    Been a typical, perhaps busier two weeks and I look forward to a more restful next week! But, as much as this hot weather lingers, I still see that Tuesday will be August and winter weather will come as it always does within 3-1/2 months and I’ll be grateful for all the preparing we did to get ready for it, come what may.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. It’s been fine! But thank you! I used her car for a couple of errands, including a run to the bank to secure a loan for the purchase of a new to us (used) car that we will be buying. I don’t have it now but being able to use it for a few things was very helpful!

  9. Car problems, ugh, the worst! Glad you had friends willing to help.

    On the frugal front:
    Substituted rice wine vinegar rather than purchasing champagne vinegar for a salad dressing recipe which saved money and space in my kitchen.

    Utilized DD2’s 10% employee discount and in app coupons at the local grocery store.

    After a busy week, we stayed home and caught up on household, yard and garden chores. We spent next to nothing.

    We went to the cabin to swim and hang out by the campfire. We enjoyed meals prepared by my sister and read books during a much needed rain shower.

    We enjoyed a family outing to see the MN Twins play the Chicago White Sox at Target Field using corporate season tickets. HH’s clients canceled at the last minute and he was unable to reschedule with others on such short notice. It was a great game followed by fantastic fireworks.

    When unpacking DD1, I found a movie theater gift card we gave her several years ago. Since she did not use it, I used it to purchased two tickets to see Oppenheimer with my neighbor.

    We harvested cucumbers and green peppers which we used for meals and shared with family.

    We went to a free local Ribfest with live music by American Authors and The Fray. We did buy and enjoy a rib sampler, yum!

    Again, like much of the country, we had temperatures at or near 100F. I stayed indoors and did exercise videos on Get Healthy U TV, such good and encouraging content! I also prepared several meals all in one day to avoid heating the oven and stove daily throughout the hot week.

    DD had her college roommate from out of state here for a week long visit. They of course spent money on activities, but I was impressed with their resourcefulness in finding low cost fun. They also ate many meals at home. Her roommate was an absolute pleasure, and they were already planning their next adventure.

  10. I am sorry to hear about your van, Brandy, but I’m glad you were able to get some money for it and had something to borrow for a bit. Our daughter and family moved here last week and stayed with us for the week while they were closing and until their stuff came. It was chaotic but fun. Glad we could help. Her husband is very allergic to dogs, so we boarded ours. Boarding him was cheaper than them getting a hotel for a week. They are in their new home now. * We had some company for a cookout last week. There were left overs so we have been eating those the last few days, and I froze what could be frozen. I made a pork loin last night for pulled pork sandwiches. There was about half a cup left over, so I’m chopping it fine and adding it to beans and cheese for a pan of nachos for our dinner tonight. I’m using the leftover hamburger toppings from the cookout (lettuce, tomato, onions) for toppings. I feel grateful when I can use up leftovers and not waste them. *I’ve mostly been watching the grand kids, so haven’t had time for many of my hobbies, but I’ve still managed to read library books and work on the embroidered pillowcases for Christmas. Can’t believe it’s August already. I hope everyone has a great week. Stay cool, if you can!

    1. So nice of you to consider his allergies! I am very allergic to cats and cannot spend even an hour in most houses with a cat. It is not usually considered and it is very hard for me.

      1. Brandy, I am deathly allergic to cats. One of the problems is that cat dander persists for at least 6 months even when the cat is no longer in residence. I sympathise with you about the allergy. Even if someone put the cat outside or for some reason boarded the cat, it would still probably really bother you. I discovered this when I went to a neighbour’s estate sale. The house had been thoroughy cleaned 6 months previously,no-one including the cat had lived there but still I got such bad allergies quickly I had to leave

      2. The thing about visiting people with cats is that even if you put the cat outside, or in a bedroom, when visitors come, there is still so much cat hair in the atmosphere that I’m not sure it helps much. As a lifetime cat owner, I have often said that I think there is cat hair in my lungs.

        Sorry for your allergy, I know it’s hard.

        1. This is true.

          I know one person who had hardwood floors, and I do fine there, but at another house with tile floors, I was not okay, so it really depends.

      3. I certainly do my best for those with cat allergies: shutting cat in basement and vacuuming and cleaning. But the fur gets everywhere and it is hard to board cats.

  11. We have had some thrifty and some costlier days the last half of July. Doing what we can to absorb some expenses. My husband spent the day replacing the brakes on our old truck, so while an expense, he saved us the cost of labor. There have been a few other things that he’s repaired around here – small fixes to prevent larger issues down the road.

    We had our older grandson (6) for nearly a week – we were supposed to have him seven nights and he was so looking forward to it. His mom cut it down to five nights and every time she called to check in on him (!), he said I want my other two nights here! Pretty soon she stopped calling as much. He’d say Hi, BYE! and run. We took him to a local, great water park and had bought a 10-visit pass earlier this summer, and he had a blast. We all enjoy it because swimming in cool water on a hot muggy summer day in the midwest is a nice treat. We’ll take our older granddaughter (5) later this week.

    Meals were made at home except a Thai meal out that was pricey – a date night out and nothing I cook at home. Meals here included overnight oats with berries and bananas or apples or smoothies for breakfasts. Made several new recipes this week that were superb – roasted Brussels sprouts salad with roasted sweet potato cubes, apple slices, craisins, glazed pecans with a maple balsamic mix drizzled on it, and a roasted broccoli salad with roasted yellow potatoes, carrot “bacon” and some garlic quinoa/brown rice mix added in along with those craisins. Also made veggie and black bean fajitas, cappellini aglio e olio, roasted charred cabbage with salt and vinegar, roasted thick sweet potato slices with avocado, sliced tomatoes, onion, pepitas and seasoning that were a definite meal we’ll be adding to the monthly meal plan. Red beans and rice and a chickpea salad added quick lunches when needed, and grandson enjoyed the homemade pizza. I’m using my air fryer to roast many things, and it does it faster and heats up the house less. I love to hear others’ meals for ideas!

    I changed my method of doing a weekly meal planner with a monthly meal listing just on a legal pad that allows me to see at a glance all of the meals that I have the ingredients for and I mark a * on what I need to make the recipe that I don’t have, say, golden raisins or fresh peas. Nothing was wasted and I wasn’t rushing to make something that I had listed on a day from my previous weekly menu plan that we really didn’t need yet. I’ve made up my listing for August and have a listing of about 35 meals – some will be lunch and some dinner. We came in at the Thrifty level for the USDA monthly food expenses. I’m sure that’s higher than most of the folks here who can many ingredients, but it’s a target I aim for each month and by cooking from scratch it sure does save money and likely helps us stay healthy.

    I have barely gotten back to my painting since my brother passed nearly six months ago. I miss it in a way, but have no creative spark to return to it yet. I was no artist but enjoyed it. Now I look at my supplies and am almost feeling guilty that I have left them mostly untouched for so long.

    Meeting a friend this week to pass on several very large fiberglass planters that she can use. I’ve cut down the number of pots I plant and am happy I found a home for them. A neighbor that I shared some of our dinner with one night said she didn’t know vegetables could taste so good (in pasta e fagioli), and I’m vowing to take more over to her on a regular basis. She is older and doesn’t really cook because she doesn’t have much appetite. I asked her if she would want some of our dishes now and then and she was very amenable, so that will work out for both of us. Some of the soups I cook make a fair amount. I saved our leftover container from the Thai meal and will use that – it’s sturdy. Have continued to cull for Goodwill – have a good pile ready to go. I moved out skirts and pants from my working days – kept a few for winter but didn’t need all I had. Every time someone I know passes, it makes me think how much less I need here. What am I saving this or that for…

    Diana P – You and your husband have remained in my prayers. I hope the chemo is tolerable and fights his cancer, and he stays strong. My father, a career military guy, endured chemo for lung cancer and it was tough.

    1. Bonnie, about your painting, perhaps you might pursue a different form of expression. Do you like to write, or embroider or sew? As a blogger, I sometimes hit those spells where I just don’t have the oomph to go on. I find that chasing down rabbit holes in genealogy or coloring, or sewing or even whipping up new recipes in the kitchen, seem to fuel my creative urge and I start getting ideas thick and fast once again. Sometimes, we just need to step back and take a vacation from things and then we go back ready to enjoy them once more.

        1. Maxine, I’m a long-time follower of Terri’s blog (it’s been quite a blessing to us over the years). Here is the link if you’d like to explore it, she’s a wonderful writer. I find it entirely unpretentious and her candid descriptions remind me a bit of Jan Caron’s Mitford books with a more practical tone.

    2. Bonnie in the Midwest,
      I understand about not being able to paint since the passing of your brother.
      I am sorry for your loss of your sibling.
      I, too, have lost a brother and I can empathize with your grief. I could not read a book for several months. I dearly love to read, but I couldn’t.

      The first few I was able to read were an accomplishment of a single page a day.
      Grief can affect us so profoundly.
      My prayers continue to be with you, and perhaps, in time, you will find that you are able to paint once more.

  12. Uggh.. having to deal with car issues during this hot spell,I am sorry you have to go through that.My husband and I went down to one car when we retired.As a young bride/wife/Mom we only had one car.So, I took him to work one day a week and did all my errands in that day.Rest of the time, I walked up to our main street with my son, for library time, or 2 blocks down the street to the lake/park for fun and fishing. One evening a week I took the car after dinner and went to the local laundrymat (we rented 2 floors in a large older home and I did not have a washer of my own till a few years later.. ) Other Mom friends who had a car on a certain day sometimes picked me up for a day out but not often.We used to stay home a lot more in those days!!!

    My friends here are FRANTIC when I tell them my hubby is going for his summer camping trip and I will be “without a car” for 4 or 5 days.SO WHAT?? “What about an EMERGENCY!!??” Well, I have had emergencies before, and I cannot drive during one! I had a paramedic crew come out once for our grown son who got ill and was staying with us. And 911 gets trained help here FAST!!I have good neighbors who COULD help me out if needed. I grocery shop before he goes camping. Sometimes while my husband is gone, a friend with a car will drive us to a movie, but this time, I just stayed home,I am still recovering from a bout of summer covid and did not want to run around.

    A simple life is so much easier than a complicated one, and there is SO MUCH we can do to make life a bit easier and more your blog. I know having a large family to care for , as you do, is NOT simple, and yet you do so much to stretch and use your resources and live a beautiful life..thanks for sharing.. even when times are not ideal..

    1. It’s been fine. We’ve had one car since 2005 until just November, so I’m used to it. I have had times where even with one car, I didn’t go anywhere for 3 weeks at all. We finally need two cars since my husband lives in another state right now, but we’ll remedy it soon.

      It’s funny how people have always reacted to us having one car. And I agree–it’s fine!

  13. I’m glad you were able to easily sell your old vehicle — I hope you have found a new one!
    Over the past two weeks I harvested lettuce, chard, cucumbers, lavender, basil, thyme, and broccoli from the garden.* I made two quarts of refrigerator dill pickles and a big batch of pesto.* The man who runs the produce stand I patronize put a notice on Facebook that he had some sour cherries available – to call for more information. Sour cherries are very hard to find, and also very expensive when I do find them. Last year I paid $16 a pound for enough to bake a pie. I called and he told me there was a sour cherry tree in his father’s yard and I was welcome to pick all I wanted – for free. He met us at his dad’s and introduced us. His father is a delightful 80-something year-old – visiting him was as big of a treat as the cherries. We picked 7 pounds (his dad insisted on helping.) I’m going to take the farmer and his dad some jam made from the cherries. (Oddly enough, the son said only one other woman had taken him up on the offer to pick cherries.)* On the way home from picking the pie cherries, we stopped to check the abandoned apricot tree I keep an eye on. It only makes every 5 or 6 years, due to late frosts. This year it was loaded down and we picked several pounds.* I made 12 jars of cherry jam and 12 jars of apricot jam (using Brandy’s recipe) and froze enough cherries for two pies. I will give some of the jam as gifts.*I made sandwich bread, sourdough bread, and a large batch of waffles.*I hemmed a pair of pants, a shirt, and mended the pocket of a dress. *We cut a cord of firewood in the national forest. Our primary chain saw broke, so we were able to borrow one from a neighbor.*Later in the week, while walking in the neighborhood, we noted that there was a bunch of wood that had been cut last year on a lot we passed. The wood has sat there for a year with nothing being done with it. The next day I left a note on the travel trailer parked on the lot, letting the owners know we would be happy to haul away that wood for firewood if they didn’t have plans for it. The next day we got a call from the owner, offering us the wood. We were able to haul home almost 2 cords of seasoned firewood, most already cut to stove lengths. I’m so glad we asked.*And speaking of asking – our 25+ year old chain saw has increasingly been breaking down. My husband is always able to repair it, but he really wanted something more reliable – and bigger. He noticed a local store had what he wanted advertised online for almost $200 less that the regular price. He went to the store and the price was listed as the regular price. When he showed the online ad to the sales person in the store they were astonished at such a big sale, but they double-checked and it was legitimate. So we saved a lot by doing our research and speaking up.* We had friends over for a taco buffet. This is a really cheap, low-stress and fun way to entertain. The friends contributed ice cream for dessert.*We also attended a fun free concert in the local park, took a picnic and had a wonderful time.

    1. Great score with the firewood. You and your husband sound a lot like us – wood hounds! 🙂

  14. Huge Credit for living without a car. It is nearly “unAmerican” these days to pause and live without a car while contemplating the next steps. Most rush into buy cars on credit they can’t afford. I remember when I was young and there were four of us kids in five years. Our car broke down five hours away on vacation. We parked the car at the garage that wouldn’t be open for the weekend. We set up the tent and our cook stove in the parking lot of the garage which happen to be right next to a city park. Mom took care of us while Dad HITCHHIKED back home to get a working car so we could continue our vacation. Nothing was put on a credit card. No hotels. Mom cooked our meals and we continued with the vacation. I know I would not be willing to do that today. Different times. But mom and dad put all six of us through college with very little student loans. So many sacrifices that are unheard of today pay big dividends

    Some frugal steps:

    I went through my gift closet. I put together several baskets of future gifts that frankly look adorable. I shrink wrapped them and they are ready to go so I won’t be tempted to buy a gift for the sake of convenience. I have declared August as a no buy month. I have a wedding to attend but I made a lovely basket with spa towels, soaps, bath bombs and essential oils. The bride and groom have asked for cash towards a honeymoon but I have decided to stay with my gift. I want to use up what I already have before anymore cash outlay. Also, I hosted the brides bachelorette at my party and feel I have appropriately supported their new union. This kind of decision is tough for me because I am a people pleaser. However, I am working on trusting myself.

    Our frig. is on its last legs. We bought a closeout model that is a side by side which I am excited about. I want the extra organizational shelves in the freezer I have never had with my 20 year old french door model. I have never had an ice maker or water dispenser. These seem like a welcome luxury. I paid $50 for haul away. If I didn’t I would be risking my husband’s healthy back which is precious.

    I have taken a 100 day non Ultra Processed food challenge. I have completed two weeks. It completed removes any desire to eat out. This is a definite money saver. I made bread dough in myt MIL breadmaker. There are only two of us here so I split the dough and froze one in a tiny loaf pan. Yesterday I put it out to thaw an rise. I cooked it in my airfryer for 20 mins at 380 and it came out great. I milled the flour for the break from wheat my farmer husband grew. I have a nutrimill that works great.

    I bought “screen mend” to fix a whole in my cabin screen.

    I canceled direct tv. I bought a firestick to use on an old tv to get internet. I bought prime and hulu. We will be saving quite a bit with better variety. I know we are late to the party doing this by DH works so hard all day, I have been hesitant to change his viewing routine. He is all for it, though.

    1. We were planning to save up for something to purchase next year, but this has unfortunately required getting a loan on a used vehicle. We plan to pay extra to pay it down as fast as possible.

      It’s okay to change late on cable! Going forth, it will be a savings!

    2. Mary Ann ….

      Congrats on cancelling cable! We did that also this year and have no regrets. It took a bit of adjusting to locate things and identify for recording, but it’s worked out really well. I, too, had wanted to cancel ages ago but hubby really enjoyed the convenience and it was easy to indulge him as he still works full-time. We find we watch HULU and Roku most often and are now enjoying making our way through all seasons of Leave it to Beaver. Enjoy your freedom from cable!

    3. Mary Ann, I love your childhood story. That sounds like the era of my childhood, things sure have changed and the flexibility to make do is less common it seems!

      1. I liked Mary Ann’s story, too. I remember when Brandy’s van broke down out in the sticks and her husband bought an alternator, brought it to her and installed it on the spot!

    4. Mary Ann – Good for you for sticking with your chosen and, I think, more personal gift. I have been to Pampered Chef parties and the like in the past that were for bridal showers and was the only guest who brought a personal gift rather than buying something for the bride at the party. And I survived with no damage to my social standing whatsoever – as far as I know, anyway. 🙂 Fear not! I am sure your gift will be well-received.

    5. Mary Ann, I loved your post – especially the vacation car breakdown story.
      One summer we were on vacation on the Oregon coast. Our car broke down in Coos Bay – quite a long way from home. We went into a little coffee shop that was next to our parked car. There was a group of older men seated around a table. You could sort of tell it was their daily gathering. We explained our situation and they pointed us in the direction of an auto repair which was just across the street. The guys there were super nice and had it fixed within two hours. Simple repair and didn’t cost much. I was just so grateful!

  15. I bought 25 cans on sale for $1.67 reduced from 3.75 each. This is for emergency supplies in the winter. I bought dr oetkers pizzas for $3.47 each. This is the price we used to pay. Now they are as high as $6.99. I bought 8 presidents choice lasagnas (various varieties) saving $5.50 on each. Two of my friends have extra freezer space so will keep them for me. I am buying fresh blueberries from no frills. My friend pointed out they were slightly less expensive than the 1.5 kg bags frozen on sale at coop.this will save me a trip to the farmers market. I gave myself my tenth covid haircut. Brandy we are glad to hear you are ok just busy —it doesn’t seem like the week should begin until we’ve read your blog. I am waiting for the elusive hummingbird. No photos yet but it has been a great year for butterflies. I still haven’t found a reasonably priced pair of walking shoes.

    1. Ellie’s friend ….

      Great going on cutting your own hair! That’s not easy to do … even my stylist mentioned she has to have help in cutting her own. I can touch mine up between cuts, but struggle with fringing my “bangs” to avoid looking blunt and too full. You’ve inspired me to practice a bit more!

      1. To get more layers vs blunt cut bangs, it’s all about the angle. Pull bangs straight up for lots of layers, for me a good starting place, is straight out, like the brim of a baseball cap. Cut longer than you think, they will shorten when dry and you want to give yourself at least three passes, checking in between, so you don’t cut too much. I always cut or recut my bangs myself. If you have the urge to chop, put down the scissors till it passes, because I can say from experience, even though I always cut my bangs, doing them in that mood is a guarantee they’ll end up too short. Good luck! 🙂

      2. Getting help doing your hair is not a bad thing. You just need to understand your limitations and comfort level. I tried the ponytail cut method, as well as cut curtain bangs last December and the results were a bit wonky. I was wearing my hair up all the time to hide it. My new guy offered to trim and shape it up for me in the beginning of June, he did a great job, so I am not going to be cutting my own hair again. I did pay him back by cutting his hair for him and he was pleased with the results, and I have given him a couple more since. I had given my son his haircuts from the time he was a toddler through his 20’s until he moved for a job. My step daughter also gave herself a haircut using a ponytail hack, after not cutting her hair for over three years (it was past her hips), this last March. Her boyfriend was afraid to cut it to fix the wonkiness, fearing that he would make it worse and she had to go to a salon to get it fixed. She really liked the Dutch braid my guy did for me and was surprised that had cut my hair for me as well. She said that she was not going to attempt another ponytail hack on herself, but next time ask my guy to trim her hair. I am fine with that, he gets free haircuts, I am getting my hair cut for free amy step daughter can save some money as well.

  16. Sorry to hear about your van’s A/C going out…never fun to have such a major car problem, not to mention now having to deal with replacing it (if that’s the direction you decide to go in). We’ve been lucky this year with car stuff (thank goodness!), which is good because we’ve had pleeeenty of other unexpected expenses come up over the past few months. In addition to the nightmare that has been trying to navigate our newborn’s six-week NICU stay bill (which came back as $343,000 because for some reason, the insurance didn’t initially work and she showed up as uninsured), we also had our dryer totally go out on us last week, as well as major pest infestations. I’ve been having to make almost daily phone calls for weeks to try and sort it all out.

    It hasn’t all been bad, though! We’re enjoying lovely rainy/overcast weather this week (much needed!), as well as a veritable abundance of crops on our flower farm, which I’ve had a relatively easy time selling this year. Here are my own frugal accomplishments lately:

    1. Well right now I don’t have a vehicle at al, and it’s 114 degrees out. Since my husband no longer lives in the same state, we need to have something for the family.

      Sorry to hear about the pest infestations; we are dealing with those here too.

      I hope you get everything worked out for your newborn’s hospital bills!

      1. Thanks, Brandy! I knew the used car market was insane a year or two ago, but hopefully it’s recovered a bit. I imagine that used vans are always in high demand, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you’re able to find a good one at the right price!

        Our pest infestations have been legendary this year, and then of course today I just saw a mouse run across my kitchen floor and dive under my fridge. If you don’t laugh about it, you’ll cry, am I right? ha ha

    2. So sorry you are dealing with hospital bills. Our daughter was in the NICU for 6 days, which was incredibly stressful and exhausting. I can imagine it is even more so in your situation! Sending best wishes that things will get easier and you can enjoy your time with your little one!

  17. The most frugal thing we did was to sell our second car. We bought a new to us car in March and had not yet sold the older one. The sale price plus the refund for insurance and registration went into the bank account. We have been picking apples and Saskatoon berries from our backyard and found reasonable prices on blueberries and cherries at our local grocery store. We are looking forward to our vacation coming up.

  18. How very frustrating about your van! I know that shopping for large-group used vehicles can be quite an exercise in patience, and I hope you find some good options soon.
    We finally got our house roof replaced. The result came in at the estimate, plus the cost of putting in a new furnace vent pipe. We had saved more than enough for it and moved some of the extra into a CD, (over 4% interest, rather than what seems to have been .o1% in regular savings).
    Because our cooling and heating bills vary greatly by the month, it will be difficult to measure whether the new roof is better for our cooling bills. It has more vents to release hot air from the attic-area; hopefully it will make some improvements.
    Perhaps since the mental weight of that project has finally lifted, I have taken on clearing out the basement. I won’t list all the things I have found, contemplated, sorted, reclaimed, boxed, moved, discarded, recycled, and donated, but will just note with pride that I am making good progress in just short bursts of time each day.
    Enjoying having enough zinnias blooming to cut to keep a small bouquet in the house. Also, I found that, if cut, blossoming day lilies last only the one day of their names, yet the buds are more likely to eventually bloom in vases than I thought.
    Occasionally, I find pre-made salad kits on clearance for 99 cents and like to buy them for the extras, (bacon bits, almonds, different dressings, etc.), and then add more greens and other trimmings.
    A friend introduced me to World Le, (not Wordle), a free online game that has one puzzle a day, the outline of a country to be identified, with additional puzzles about which countries border it, national flag, etc. Good brief mental practice!

    1. Thank you for sharing the geography game! I think I will have my children try that!

  19. Our dryer broke for the 4th time in as many years, and my husband said he was done with fixing it. We bought a new dryer on sale for $550 (it seems wrong that the sale price for a really basic dryer is $550, reduced from $700!). We disassembled the old dryer and I am selling the working parts on eBay. So far, I have made $35 back on the parts. The metal panels and broken parts I sold to the scrapper for $10.

    It is a lot of work, but we otherwise would have had to pay $75 for someone to pick up the old dryer. If all the parts sell, we’ll make about $125 back.

    Our Sam’s club sells 3lb rotisserie chickens for $5 each. That is cheaper than a fresh chicken at the grocery store, so we’ve been eating a lot of rotisserie chicken! Added bonus is that I do not have to heat up the kitchen to cook it. I am saving the bones in a freezer bag to make stock when the temps cool off.

    Sam’s club also has my husband’s prescriptions for zero cost with the upgraded membership. I ran the numbers and we come out ahead by paying the $110 a year and getting the free prescriptions and cheap chickens!

  20. I’m sorry to hear about your vehicle troubles, but glad to hear you were able sell it for better than expected, and to borrow one for what you needed to do. Last week, there was an evening when I was surprised to see three deer and a couple of wild turkeys grazing together, while on my walk. I harvested cucumbers, basil, tomatoes, lemon verbena, stevia, and elderberries. There wasn’t much of any of them, but I’m thankful for it all. While I was taking the elderberries from the stem, I found I had brought along a young praying mantis, so brought her back to where I had been gathering. Plants were fed with blended banana and aloe bits, and others were mulched using permaculture methods. Some with grass clippings, and others with chop and drop or already downed limbs. I hung laundry on the line, composted the fruit and veggie scraps that didn’t get added to the broth bag or given to the chickens, and shredded paper to use in the chicken coop. Warm up water and dehumidifier water were saved for flushing. I followed a link where someone mentioned receiving free Breathe Right nasal strips, perhaps someone here, and they arrived today. Food Lion had good sized seedless watermelons for $2.99, so I bought two, and got a coupon for wild blueberries from their kiosk, saving an additional $1 over their sale.
    The pups were given baths in the outdoor shower. My husband & I placed twine on the trellises for the tromboncino and lima beans to climb up.

  21. Brandy, I’m so sorry about your van! We can definitely empathize as we’ve had ongoing vehicle issues for about a year. I hope you’re able to replace it quickly and for not too much money… although I’m well aware that it won’t be cheap.

    * My new job is going well so far. It’s very part time and doesn’t pay a lot, but it’s just enough to give us a little extra to save for some bigger purchases coming up.

    * The garden continues to feed us cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, and basil. I have plenty of mint I should use, too, or at least dry for tea. A friend gifted me a planter of purslane last week, too, but I’m really just enjoying the colorful flowers. Melons aren’t ripe yet, but hopefully soon.

    * My husband was able to fix two leaky toilets with $40 worth of parts and a little help from a friend, saving us a service call.

    * My younger daughter (rising 8th grader) participated in a completely free sleepaway science camp in a city three hours away. She applied last school year and was accepted (they only take 50 kids). They even reimbursed us for mileage getting there and gave us a boxed lunch from Panera on pickup day after the final presentation. If you live anywhere in Appalachia and have a 7-12th grader this school year who’s very into science, I’d definitely encourage looking into this! It’s called the Appalachian STEM Academy.

    * Taking advantage of sunshine and our clothesline to dry almost all our laundry. Plus all our other usual stuff… menu planning, cooking from scratch as much as possible, cloth napkins and “wee” wipes, etc.

    Hope you all have a blessed week!

  22. -Bought used solar oven on FB marketplace
    -Baked GF pizza crust in solar oven
    -Used dish water for plants.
    -Installed graywater system
    -Wore a Athleta brand shirt which I found in a free pile
    -Deadheaded calendulas (grown from free seeds) to prolong bloom
    -Received several pounds of fresh figs from neighbor
    -Received free plums at work
    -Free apricots when picking up buy nothing item
    -Free sugar from work
    -Entertained friends at our house and served leftovers brought home from a Master Gardener dinner
    -Made crumble for another friend from homegrown rhubarb and plums, for free apples and a few frozen strawberries. No sweetener needed in that mix of fruit and my friend was so surprised that one could bake with rhubarb and not add sugar.

  23. Sorry for the car issues but glad to read that you have already made arrangements for a new – to you – used vehicle. I’m a city girl and have never driven a car but I know that those living in the suburbs or more rural areas would be lost without one!

    I swore that I wasn’t going to buy anymore meat for the freezer but found that I couldn’t pass up a few deals on boneless, inch thick pork chops, ham steaks and bacon – pork is definitely the best option at the moment. Managed to double up on Loyalty Points and then cashed in a total of $50 over the past couple of weeks. I did use up a number of odds and ends from the freezer – 2 cups of cous cous plus a cup of chickpeas, a piece of cooked chicken – and then added in some veg and Italian dressing and it fed me for three meals. I cooked some bacon and had bacon, avocado & tomato on a bagel for a couple of more meals. A friend gave me some avocados and bologna and I gave her some celery and romaine lettuce – we seem to make swaps like this at least once a week now. With both of us being on our own some things will go bad before they can be used up so this works out well. We also eat together about once a week – it’s company plus we are both trying new recipes.

    I’ve continued to do the occasional bit of hand laundry and still hang up as much as possible to dry. I wash and reuse foil and ziplocs and just make do whenever possible. I have met friends for coffee but have not eaten any meals out over the past couple of weeks and I take snacks and water to the office on the days I go in. I had a tooth pulled on Saturday – couldn’t be saved – it went well and I’ve already paid the bill and my insurance will cover 90% and that should be in my account within the next couple of days so I am glad to have that taken care of.

    I bought some mustard seed today – the only thing I needed in order to make some refrigerator bread and butter pickles so I plan on doing that on Wednesday – I’m also going to make up a jar of salted lemons – first time for both!

    Looking forward to reading all the comments – I always get some great ideas as you are all so creative and diligent about making funds go as far as possible – it is truly inspiring.

  24. Car problems are never fun. I imagine used vans are hard to come by. We have gathered the last of the garden vegetables except for our 🍉 and cantaloupe. We went to our grandson 4th birthday party We got him a bicycle with training wheels and he loves it. I have froze shredded zucchini,bell pepper, corn on the cob, and blueberries for winter. We have been walking every evening and watching our portions and have lost over 50 pounds together. The library has provided lots of entertainment for me as I take a book with me to MD appointments. Thank you Brandy for your blog and all that comment.

  25. My husband and kids went to a local trout farm to fish. He smoked what they caught, then I vacuumed sealed and froze half of it.

    I froze some bananas that were going soft faster than I could eat them for later uses

    I had some gift cards for Barnes and Noble in my wallet. My mother in law wanted to go when she was in town to pick up a book, so I got a new card game and the teen wanted a 3d puzzle. I only paid $6 out of pocket.

    I found some foldable dog stairs on Marketplace for $30 versus $100 online

    I read magazines and a couple books for free on Kindle

    The teen had her 6 month dental check up and got toothpaste, toothbrush, and floss

    I froze leftovers whenever possible or reused. Hubby made a big pot of gumbo. He and the kids ate on it 2 days, then I froze enough for them to have one more dinner, then 3 lunch size portions. Leftover egg noodles I made into tuna casserole. Leftover rice became fried rice.

    I got a meal from Hardees one day for lunch and received a fair admission ticket. The teen will use it this week.

    I passed my College Algebra class, so I don’t have to worry about being out more money to repeat it. (And boy, I’m so glad it’s over, lol)

    Paid off another credit card.

    Had a bit of panic, the washing machine started acting up. Googling said either the drain pump was going out(we replaced it a year ago) or it had a clog. Hubby took it apart, blew everything out and it started working. I’m glad we didn’t have to end up replacing it just now.

    Hubby found Oscar Myer hotdogs for $1 a pack. While we don’t like them, the dogs think they are the best treats ever, so we purchased 6 packs and froze for them.

    Hubby tried switching to Folgers coffee because it’s cheaper than the Dunkin Donuts brand he loves, but wasn’t a fan. He did finish off the canister and we went back to the other.

    1. I had all A’s in college except for college algebra. I was lucky to finish it with a C. I am still irritated that it ruined my perfect grades. I even tried a tutor and nothing would work. My brain just could not comprehend.

      1. Same. Tutor, videos, hours of studying, ugly crying…it’s even more irritating that Im pretty good at basic math, but throw matrices, logarithms, and graphing functions at me, and I dont get it.

  26. I can relate to the ‘busy last two weeks’…it has been the same at our house.
    All of the painting has been finished and we have been working hard to get our home put back together, organized and deep cleaned. It is a huge task! I have rearranged the majority of our home and I could not love it more.
    I used a coupon to purchase a new bed frame for our son and saved 10%. This will last him well into his teens depending on how tall he gets!
    We repurposed a shelf that we already had and added it to his room as he is needing more storage for books and art supplies. I consigned a lot of clothes, shoes and toys that he had outgrown and used the funds to buy jeans for him. I took advantage of a sale Osh Kosh was having…but one get two free which meant the jeans cost $11/pair but I only paid $3/pair after I added in the money I made from
    consigning and I got free shipping. We also purchased shoes for him at a store offering a buy one get one half off deal. This included clearances shoes so that is where we shopped.
    I hung some sconces in our keeping room to help decorate that space without purchasing anything new.
    I took advantage of a summer sale to purchase the last furniture piece for our home. We saved over 50% as this was a warehouse sale. The piece is solid wood and should last for many years. It holds our coffee maker, dish towels, paper products and wrappings. The best thing about the cabinet is that it provides much needed storage for all the canning that I do…with two gardens this is very needed.
    Speaking of gardens we have been harvesting like crazy! Tomatoes, okra, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, parsley, basil, flowers, field peas, green beans, jalapeños, serrano peppers. The heat wave has slowed things down quite a bit but I have canned over 30 quarts of tomatoes – some diced, Italian tomato sauce, and Mexican tomato sauce. I canned 9 pints of sweet pickle relish from our first cucumber harvest and have enjoyed many homegrown bouquets. I planted pumpkins this year for the first time and have so many growing on the vines I can’t believe it! From scratch pies will certainly be enjoyed this Fall🙂
    I have been batch cooking a lot lately and it helps to have healthy ingredients/meals at the ready without having to cook every night. I cooked up 4lbs of ground turkey with homemade taco seasoning, 2 lbs chicken thighs in the crockpot and baked tilapia with lemon and dill. I cooked a large batch of brown rice, made a tomato salad, sautéed zucchini, roasted broccoli and made a huge fruit salad. I used the crockpot to avoid having to turn on the oven. We have used the above ingredients for burritos, bowls, wraps and simple meat & veg plates. Healthy and easy.
    I cooked up a huge batch of black Beans and froze what we did not eat in what sized containers. I made a huge batch of pesto and froze it into ice cubes then placed the cubes in freezer bags to be added to sauces, soups, meatballs etc throughout the year. I used up some walnuts that needed to go for the pesto and I love the flow of it adds to dishes in the dead of winter.
    I have quite a bit of frozen fruit in the freezer and I plan on using it to can three batches of jam…strawberry, cherry and blackberry. I also have several pounds of fresh cranberries that I will use to can cranberry sauce and a batch of cranberry mostarda which is a lovely addition to pork roasts.
    I am challenging myself to pay off several bills over the next couple of months so we will stop eating out altogether – we don’t do this often but every little bit helps. I am also going to be batch cooking to keep meals interesting, save money, and clean out the freezer.
    I will be pulling up some of the veggies that are done in the garden and planting other items that will thrive in the August heat and will provide a harvest for us until the first frost. I am already gathering seeds for our fall garden and am looking forward to planting a variety of veggies to enjoy during the fall and winter months.
    Enjoy the week ahead everyone!!!

  27. Brandy so sorry about your van. Car problems can be such a challenge! Praying for a resolution for you.

    For two weeks:
    -I got groceries and used the $50 gift card. I only paid $17 in cash. This time of the year with garden produce the grocery bill comes way down. Deals were-pork country ribs for $1.29/#, pork chops for $0.89/#, large watermelon for $5, $2.19 for a pound of butter(limit1), gallon of milk x 2 (limit 2) for $2.49, and cantaloupe 3/$5.
    -Celery was 2/$3. I bought 4 and sliced them up and froze them in 1 cup portions. 12 bags of vacuum sealed celery to use in casseroles and soup.
    -I rough chopped the celery tops and filled a gallon ziplock bag. This will be used when making stock.
    -I dehydrated lemon basil, sweet basil, chocolate mint, sage, parsley, thyme, and oregano.
    -I was given a small chamomile plant and I put it in the garden. Not sure if it will come back next year or not. Or if we will get any flowers for tea this year or not. We will see.
    -I canned 25 more pints of green beans.
    -I canned 18 pints of diced potato, rutabaga, and carrot mix. 2 didn’t seal. I used them to make 6 pasties (meat pies) which I put in the freezer.
    -I shredded and vacuum sealed 7 packages of zucchini.
    -I turned 2 collars on my husbands shirts that were wore out around the neck. This will increase the life of the shirt and no one will see the worn part as it is now underneath.
    -We helped an elderly couple from church move a lift chair that someone gave them. They treated us to breakfast. Plus we had a nice visit and got to know them better.
    -I just finished” The Only Woman in the Room” by Marie Benedict. I enjoyed it, it is set during WW2.

    Have a great week!

    1. Chamomile is an annual. If you leave some flowers on to dry, it may reseed. It usually dies soon after flowering.

  28. Frugalness for the week
    Volunteered at our work’s food pantry. It is only open once a week and not as many people came as usual so they had produce that would die before the next pantry. Took home 3 fresh pineapple and a box (!) of mangoes that were very ripe. Peeled, diced and froze a bunch for later. Took 2 boxes of bread to another food pantry that would be open the next day, and took a box of expired produce home to compost. I figured I saved in all 4 or 5 boxes of food waste from the trash.
    Went foraging and found several pounds of mushrooms. Traded some with a friend for mushroom streudel.
    School started Wednesday. Ordered a 2 pack of shorts online at Amazon that was on sale for school. Validated that my soccer player didn’t need replacement items before I ordered. I did splurge on a soccer sweatshirt for him.
    Tagged along on a road trip with a friend to Amish country. I did pay for lunch and dinner but my friend offered to pay for the travel costs. Stocked up on some things at a bulk food store. I bought my niece who bakes some specialty ingredient1s very inexpensively and printed off recipes online for her to try. Bought handmade aprons for my daughter and myself for $10 each, what a steal. I purchased a couple of items we needed for our kitchen to help us be more organized. They were on my list of eventual purchases but the costs were very low. Brought a spearmint plant home from our hostess and will pot it.
    Cut down some branches of my apple tree and harvested some apples. Made a crockpot of applesauce and used a bunch of it to make applesauce protein bites for my son.
    Harvested 2 cucumbers.
    Signed up for a couple of author talks online that were free.
    Have a great week, everyone.

  29. I hope your vehicle situation works out. We too keep our vehicles “until death (of the vehicle!) do us part”, but it’s always a bit stressful near the end.
    *My opera-singing daughter has moved to Europe for at least a year. I’m pleased her life is moving forward with her music, but it is bittersweet as she is so very far away. We’ve been scrambling all week helping getting her ready— there’s a lot of paperwork and insurances involved.
    *The run of sunshine here has me hauling out some stained clothing to try to “sun the stains out”. It’s a last ditch salvage effort that I hope will work.
    * Babysitting so often has given me better ideas for Christmas gifts for the littles. And I have an eye out for good sales for the items I want to get. My Christmas gift closet is nearly full!
    * My garden is tiny this year, but we’ve been enjoying the tomatoes and green beans. The garlic is cured and put away too. Blackberries grow wild here, and they are just beginning to ripen. I can jam and pie filling from them. Considering local strawberries and raspberries never dipped below $4/lb (so no berries purchased for jam), I’m hoping to get more of the free blackberries instead.
    * Otherwise, the usual frugalness. It’s a way of life!

  30. Hi, I am enjoying reading everyone’s comments as usual. I’m sorry your van left you in a lurch. But at least you found a workable solution. The peaches sound wonderful, and thanks for the tip about propagating mint. My efforts to save are small–just little sales on food items–like onion bagels for $1 per bag at the Franz Bakery Outlet store and a box of salad greens marked down to $1.28. We did have to buy tires and were thankful to get two for $170 from a local business. They didn’t have a waiting room with popcorn, but they were friendly and fast about putting the tires on the car. The chain store with the waiting room and popcorn would have charged us something closer to $400. One change we are making is to see how we can enrich our lives without spending money. We have decided to add a recreational activity to necessary trips to town, etc. We went to the library after getting the tires last week. This week so far, we stopped at a natural area and walked and snacked on wild blackberries on a trail that is located on our way home. We saved $1 per gallon on gas, so we filled our gas cans. We found that last month when we filled our gas cans with the gas we bought at a savings with the gas discount rewards from Fred Meyer (Krogers) lasted us all month except for buying a tank when we drove to the city. Last week we attended a church campmeeting and visited with relatives and old friends, as well as went to spiritually uplifting meetings. Tomorrow we have to get the front end on the car aligned, we made arrangements to stop and visit a friend in that area who is stuck home a lot after surgery after we get the car work done. I think I will take a homemade chocolate cake, since she loves chocolate. It’s working out to be nicer than rushing here and there and coming straight home.

  31. I’m so glad you were able to borrow a car and have a plan for a new one! They are so very handy. (I don’t have one, and I’m fine without one, but they really are so very handy.)

    My frugal accomplishments for the past few weeks:
    – $5 for 15 lbs potatoes, made potato salad, and a potato and pea curry. I didn’t have all the ingredients the recipe called for, so just subbed some things and left others out. Turned out great!
    – used leftover potato pea curry as samosa filling (I used this method:
    – grated cucumber in slices into pickle juice for easy refrigerator pickles
    – made granola
    – made mini pizza muffins for easy snacks for my kids, using my easy pizza dough recipe (
    – baked apple carrot muffins for snacks for the kids
    – made my easy enchiladas, but made them even easier, by using only beans and salsa as filling (
    – baked chocolate cupcakes and made my buttercream icing (
    – as usual, packed drinks and snacks whenever we went anywhere, and packed drinks and lunch when I went to work. But work had drinks and a meal for me anyway! Plus I was able to take some prepped fruit home to my kids.
    – listened to lots of music on the free Spotify app
    – borrowed both ebooks and paper books from the library
    – added water to sauce cans, detergent bottles, etc., to make sure all product used.
    – every day after dropping my eldest off at camp, my youngest and I would walk home and forage for wild mulberries and raspberries. She loves it, and gets an extra full serving of fruit every day.
    – cleaned and whitened my sneakers using a mr. clean style magic eraser sponge. Keeps them looking newer, longer!
    – signed my kids up for some free city-run nature programs
    – redeemed loyalty points for $10 worth of groceries
    – redeemed air miles for $40 worth of groceries. My favourite deal was burying two 900ml bottles of the kids strawberry yoghurt drink. My youngest loves them, but I buy a finite amount each week because of the cost. So I kept and washed the bottles from the individual serving versions, bought two of the large bottles for $9 together, which is a savings from buying the large bottles singly, then used two manufacturers coupons for $1.50 each, making each large bottle only $3. I refill the small bottles from the large bottle, my kid is happy, and my money stretches basically twice as far. I could not make it myself (yoghurt, strawberries, milk) any cheaper, even at the lowest price points for the ingredients. I love finding ways to give my kids what they want, within my ever slimmer budget. Makes us all happy!
    – couldn’t use some free museum tickets, so passed them on to two people who could
    – got a free, brand-new plush bunny from my workplace; will save for Easter for my kids
    – combined sales and coupons and cashback when doing my weekly shopping. Best value was $2.50 for packages of brand name sliced cheese, so I stocked up.
    – I bought whole wheat flour instead of white, as it was half the price. I’ll wait until white flour goes on sale to stock up on that. Plus, now there is added nutrition in the chocolate chip cookies I just baked! I wrapped the cookies up in packaging and stickers I had at home, and handed them out at my workplace, to my daughter’s camp counsellors, and to a friend and his mum and daughter. Lots of fun to hand out and smiles were given back.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else here, as always!

  32. Sorry about your vehicle. Hope the new/used one works well for you.
    My activities the last two weeks:
    Picked up my “free” $50 of OTC products, due to my Medicare Advantage plan.
    Garden harvest – Reached under the potatoes and pulled up a few. Dug the garlic – it is curing in our shop now. Picked zucchini, snow peas, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers (both pickling and eating), peppers, kohlrabi, rhubarb, cherry tomatoes, and onions, basil, rosemary and chard as needed.
    Other garden stuff – Weeded corn and onions. DH weeded between the tomato plants. Planted another bed of snow peas and some lettuce
    Cooking – Made rosemary roasted potatoes twice, brown rice and then a big batch of veggie fried rice, Made BBQ ribs using meat from the freezer. Made rhubarb crisp and blueberry muffins. Made zucchini corn chowder using zucchini, potatoes, garlic and onions from the garden and corn from last year’s garden from the freezer. Made breaded zucchini.
    Preserving – Froze multiple batches of snow peas, broccoli, and cauliflower. Dehydrated zucchini.
    Visited my son, DIL and granddaughter. Took them some cabbage, snow peas and zucchini. Stopped at my sister’s on the way down. Brought her come cabbage and rhubarb.
    Shopping – Cherries for 99¢ a pound. Got several pounds. Eggs for 99¢ a dozen, with a limit of one dozen. Got a shank ham for 50¢ a pound. Ity was an 11-pound ham for sale one day before it’s best buy date. Came home and immediately put in the freezer. Used my Safeway rewards for free cottage cheese and 2 cans of crushed tomatoes.
    Financial – Closed on selling my mother’s house. I have to figure the taxes on it and then disburse the funds to my sisters. Met with my investment advisor, as I am mostly retired now. I will work next tax season, January through May, but am off now for the rest of the year. I’m excited, but also a little frightened. I will not start collecting my Social Security until next April, when I will turn 70.
    Hope you all have a good week.

  33. The big thing that we did this week is release a song called Until Paris by Jason and Tammy Littlejohn and Rick Taube did the guitar music. He is an amazing musician and teacher from Minnesota. Our song is on many platforms including Amazon, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube and many more. It is supposed to be released around the World. We are very excited about it! We have more songs in the works. We hope to put together an album as soon as possible. It takes time, especially because we have other jobs. But we love music!
    We have been trying to eat at home. My mom gave me some zucchini. We continue to turn off lights. Use cloth hankies and napkins.

      1. Mountain Momma Dawn,
        Thank-you! I cried the first few times my husband sang them to me, tears of joy really. The ending of the song is what I said to him the first time he sang it.

  34. Last year, we decided it was time to rework our pleasant but neglected yard and make it into a generally more attractive and useful space. Last summer, that mostly meant cleaning out overgrown beds, putting down mulch, and turning one complete disaster area into a pretty cut-flower garden. Money was spent, but not an insane amount, and the before-and-after results were very satisfying. So this year I was ready to start fine-tuning, feeling vaguely that would be a smaller investment of time and money. Sadly, I SERIOUSLY underestimated how much work remained, and how one project would lead to another. We had budgeted for laying fresh gravel over our garden paths, painting our detached garage to match our house, and adding some additional raised beds and drip irrigation. But when we went to paint the garage, we found all the lawn furniture I’d inherited from my grandparents 10 years ago. The 8 pieces are all in solid shape, but we spent $300 repainting, repairing, and buying/making new cushions for them. And now that we’ve cleaned out that space (it’s a narrow strip of land on the edge of our garage), my SO and our 5-year-old are making big (and undoubtedly expensive) plans to transform it into a “Secret Garden” area. I’m excited to feel like we’re getting the most out of every area of the yard… but I’m REALLY hoping that next year will be more of what I thought *this* year would be: far more focused on affordable, moderate-energy upkeep, rather than $$$ project after $$$ project.

  35. 1. I had a credit card offer that involved making 3 purchases by 7/31 & I would earn 10$ in Gap/Old Navy rewards. I bought things I would have bought anyway & earned my Old Navy cash. I don’t need anything but figured I could use $ to get an Xmas gift for someone.
    A profitable day of urban foraging in the Texas heat.
    2. I found 3 boxes of 16 count 4 oz containers of Mandarin oranges that are out of date by 6 months. I think they will be fine to eat. The FDA is considering deleting the “best by” dates as food lasts longer than the dates.
    3. I found some men’s shoes & socks that the shelter can use.
    4. Found 6$ dollars’ worth of postage stamps outside a dumpster. They are in weird denominations, but I can use them when I need to mail a letter.
    5. Found 4 cans of fruit that are in date in a dumpster. Chilled fruit will taste good in the summer heat or in a smoothie.
    6. Found 2 collared Under Armour golf shirts that were in good shape. Washed in hot water & gave to husband. Several of his are bleached out in the back due to the sun. The faded ones will go to the psychiatric hospital. 2 shirts in & 2 go out of the closet.

    1. Do you have any tips to start? Or maybe tips to find a local Facebook group to get started locally?

  36. I am glad your husband got home for a short time and spent time with you and the children a couple of weeks ago and managed to borrow another car.

    We have had 2 centimetres of rain this week the most we have had since April , but it was to late for some crops, week only have a few potatoes. I am getting purple beans every day and the runner beans are just starting, these are being bottled (canned). peas have finished early. I have resown the beetroot peas lettuce and carrots also some kale seeds. I transplanted the leeks. On the plus side I am harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I have not had to mow the lawn but it is still green as I have under sown with micro clover which stays green even in drought conditions. My autumn raspberries are rampant so I hope for a good crop, they have taken over the veg beds somewhere underneath my beetroot’s. The wild blackberries are forming so we will be picking in early August.

    I have my SiL and her husband came for lunch the first time since lock down. I have managed to harvest the meal from the garden, I haven’t done any baking but I made ice cream. SiL is allergic to wheat.

    I have been to the supermarket, prices are still rising but not as fast as a couple of months ago. There was not many offers though but there were no spaces on the. Shelf. Other than this we have not spent any money .

    Ginger root came with the greengrocery this week, there were 2 large buds on it which I have planted in a pot on the kitchen window ledge. I have diced the rest , put it in an ice tray and frozen it.

    We are reading books on the library app and also ordered proper books. All food has been cooked at home with fresh ingredients. We are trying to eat 30 plants a week as in Tim Spectors books to see if my stomach is any better. No ultra processed food. I have been canning produce from the garden and eating down the freezer at the same time. Hubby wants to move the freezer to get some electrical work done..I will make jam with the fruit from the freezer.

    Have a good week everyone

  37. We celebrated two daughters’ birthdays at home with my parents. My mom brought tomatoes. I cooked bacon bought on sale (buy one, get one for $1.) We had blts on homemade bread with homegrown lettuce. I bought chips but made a homemade dip. My daughter made donuts for dessert.

    I accepted shoes from a friend. My mother in law gave us an ice cream bucket of cooked pulled pork to put in the freezer. I had been trying to shop for markdowns at the grocery store during the week without much luck. I happened to be in town on Saturday and stopped by the store just to check. I was surprised to see so much markdown meat! I was able to get a lot including whole chickens for $1.13/lb.

    We picked up our first 3 bushels of peaches. They cost $15/bushel, but the lady threw in an extra half bushel of small peaches and a half peck of nectarines for free.

    I took 3 kids to camp after church on Sunday and I packed us a lunch for in the car.

    I dug the rest of my potatoes and I have been canning some every day. Also getting beans, lettuce, kale, squash from the garden. The first tomato is almost ready!

  38. Looking so forward to seeing your next sewing project, Brandy! The color combination you showed on Instagram is really lovely. Just yesterday I was reading back through posts and ran across a few that featured clothing Winter created … the beautiful red dress she made – and, the lovely Winter Ball white dress she altered. She’s so very talented and that’s no doubt thanks to your teachings – hope she and her little family are doing well! So sorry to hear that you had issues with your van, but what a blessing that you were able to sell it. Hoping you find a suitable replacement soon.

    Lastt week I was mindful of getting the absolute most usefulness from the items we have or purchase … ensuring that they are truly being used to their full potential. This week, I will focus on having five dinner meals planned for hubby and I that can be made any day throughout the week. I’ve never gone about dinners in an organized weekly pre-planned manner and am anxious to give it a try. To avoid any potential waste, I won’t take meats/poultry out of the freezer ahead of time to thaw for the entire week, but will do so daily.

    Frugal efforts this week:

    *Grocery prices in our area for items we buy on a regular basis continue to remain steady. Bread, milk, fruit and dairy prices have not increased in over two months – some have even remained the same since January, surprisingly. The price for seedless grapes prices has actually decreased – from $2.98/# two months ago down to $1.38/# – and that’s a regular price, not an advertised sale. I’m uncertain why our area isn’t seeing the extreme price increases others across the country are reporting, but I’m very grateful.

    *Hubby and I completed our sidewalk edging project rather than hiring it out. Hard physical work in 100(F) degree temps moving many large border stones (salvaged from our previous project) and bags of heavy river rocks. Buying the rocks by the load would have been a bit less costly, but without a trailer, the bags were within our capabilities of handling. Frugal win of the week: Saved hundreds of dollars by doing the work ourselves and repurposing large stones from our property.

    *Shopped our pantry and the dollar store to create frugal gift bags filled with road trip treats for our daughter and grandsons.

    *This week I was more mindful to prepare smaller meals for hubby and I that will result in fewer unplanned leftovers. Leftovers can always be tucked in the freezer, but in all honesty, in our home they often languish there until they absolutely have to be eaten. I want to be a better steward of this resource that God provides.

    *Tried a new butter-less waffle batter recipe that hubby really enjoyed. They turned out light and fluffy – the “secret,” I’ve learned, is to beat the egg whites until stiff then fold into batter gently. Cost savings realized by using oil versus butter in the batter … 11 cents for oil (I used Canola) versus 46 cents if butter was used. The next time, will decrease eggs by one to determine if results are the same. Made extra for hubby’s breakfasts this week.

    *Creating personalized Bibles as Christmas gifts for family members by tucking in within the pages copies of old family photos and recipes among pages, slips of paper with childhood memories of family events, making note of verses that were special to our parents and grandparents, and creating an index of verses that are helpful for all occasions or events. Bought the Devotional Bibles online at deep discount from Mardel’s.

    *Refreshing a two-drawer file cabinet we had on hand to slide under my craft table for storage. Painting it white to match my craft table, removing original industrial hardware and adding drawer pulls from my stash – for more of a furniture look, rather than office equipment. May add trim to the door fronts for a Shaker style look. Will be used for hanging folders to organize hobby-related papers and Bible studies. Did this frugal refresh also to a couple cabinets years ago in our former home.

    *Made use of three pieces of cooked lasagna noodles from our freezer. Thawed, cut in narrow strips, and served with garlic, butter and Italian herbs, they were reinvented as a nice side dish for hubby’s dinner.

    *Darned another of hubby’s socks, saving it from being tossed (we already have a good supply of unsalvageable socks in our stash used for staining projects, etc.). Again using the wooden darning egg made by his grandfather gives me such a sense of nostalgia.

    *Mended the hem of a dish towel, extending its usefulness.

    *When hubby does outdoor chores (yardwork, projects) his “work” clothes end the day soiled and practically soaking wet (triple digit temps and high humidity in our area). I don’t want to run a load with just that one set of clothing, yet I don’t want to include them in the laundry with our lesser soiled clothing. And, tossing them in the laundry basket damp would lead to odors and mildew as they wait to be laundered. The solution I’ve found is to line dry his soiled damp clothing just as it is, and then pretreat any stains and place the dried clothes aside to await enough work clothes for a full load. This solves the dampness and potential odor issue and I accomplish my goal of running only full, large loads. I’ve had no issues with lingering odors or stains setting in.

    *Clipped pup’s nails myself (quite a challenge) rather than paying to have it done by our groomer. Doing them all at once stresses her (and me!), so I do a nail or two a day and we both find it much more tolerable.

    *Continuing to shop from our fridge/freezer/pantry for meals. Last week we tried a new method of seasoning salmon for herb crusted blackening on our gas grill. Discovered the “secret” is to be VERY generous with the seasoning. We used garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, paprika, and herbs de Provence, and a little salt. Coat the salmon with olive oil and rub the seasoning in to thoroughly coat, let rest about 10 minutes, and grill 4 minutes on both sides. It turns out very nicely blackened – herb crusted on the outside and tender on the inside. Very good!

    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items … larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; unplugging chargers and small appliances when not in use; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn during this period of extreme heat and drought; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; ate from freezer/pantry except one restaurant meal; continuing to use small batch DIY laundry liquid.

    Wishing everyone a blessed, joyful and frugal week!

  39. Hello, frugal friends from beautiful, all be it stifling hot, southwest Virginia! Brandy, it sounds like you had quite a week. When my husband was in the Navy I would always know when he was going to be coming home by when something would break: the car, the washer, the frig…He always came home within a week or two of whenever something big broke. I am glad you were able to work around the inconvenience and resolve the situation. Thinking about your last post I realized I had the opposite situation from you. The first 35 years of our marriage my husband was gone most of the time, months on end. Then he retired, first from the Navy, then recently from his radiographer job (of which he still works PRN, about 3-4 times a month). Having him around so much has been an adjustment for me. As one might imagine when he was in the Navy he would be gone for months. When he retired from the Navy and flew for the airlines, he was gone for weeks at a time. When he left the airlines and became a radiographer his days were long, but he would come home every night. This was nice. Bu now he is home all day every day and it has been interesting. I am not complaining but I find I do not get as much done in my day and my routine must change. Thankfully as a Navy wife and kindergarten teacher I learned a long time ago to be flexible. I have no doubt you are adjusting with your husband’s situation and will thrive from the experience.
    I want to thank Mountain Mama Dawn for the Youtube recommendation of Peter Santorello’s Appalachian series. We are enjoying it immensely. He is right in our neck of the woods. We are just 45 minutes from Bluefield, VA/WV. We have been watching a series on PBS called Hometowns you might enjoy. This man is exploring the small towns in Southwest Virginia. We have learned a lot about the towns in our area.
    *found a jar of minced garlic clearanced for .79, bought the limit of “sale” pasta at .79/pound box. This time it included the whole wheat pasta. Found a half gallon of skim milk for .99, Canadian bacon marked down to 1.35 from 4.00. Bought all 3 packages and froze 2. A 30 count carton of eggs was 2.64. There were NO generic or store brand cereals at Kroger last week. Not even a space where they might have been. It is all name brand cereals now…$6 a box! I started checking the shelves of other products to see if their generic/store brand version was there and very few were. Flour, sugar, paper goods, a few soups, spaghetti sauce and pasta and dairy products. That was it.
    *Canned 16 pints of green beans from the garden. I had some bing cherries getting close to going bad so I made some cherry jam. Delicious!
    *In the garden: I am finally getting some yellow squash. After planting zucchini 4 times I am finally getting some blossoms on the one plant that cane up. I had 2 volunteer plants come up in my compost which I thought were cucumbers. I transplanted them to other beds. When I went to check to see if any cucumbers were ready I found one of them had a melon type thing growing. I used my phone camera to identify what it was as it did not look like any melon I have ever seen. Turns out it is an Asian melon called a winter melon or ash pumpkin. I have no idea where the seed might have come from or what to do with this melon. It is not to be eaten raw but the internet says it is used cooked in curries and such. We don’t eat much of that type of food but our daughter loves to cook exotic foods and is very excited about having these to use once they are ripe. The other volunteer is a cucumber and doing well. I have a third plant that has grown where I planted and replanted a variety of different squashes and cucumber seeds. I have no idea which vegetable it might provide for us. Gardening is always an adventure.
    *Mr. Fix It fixed our toilet saving us calling a plumber. He also fixed the garage door opener. The part was $12. Replacing the motor using a garage door company $340. I think I will keep him around a little longer:)
    Here is wishing my frugal friends a blessed and frugal week.

    1. Marley – Glad you are enjoying the Appalachian series I mentioned. And thank you for the recommendation of Hometowns. I will check that out. My husband and I are both originally from VA and went to school in SW VA – he in Radford and me in Roanoke. 🙂

  40. I’ve been eating from the pantry and freezer, partly because my fridge/freezer needed to be defrosted and cleaned and I wanted it mostly empty first. I made chicken pot pie, black bean burgers, meatless chili mac, biscuits, chocolate chip muffins, and a lot of pasta dishes. This was my first time trying the black bean burgers. They were surprisingly easy to make, and I really liked them.

    I cleaned out the fridge and organized the pantry, taking the opportunity to update my inventory list as well. I also made a list of meals I can make with what I have.

    I found deals on pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned soup, and cheese, so I stocked up on those things.

    I read two ebooks and listened to an audiobook from the library.

    I have been able to work more hours than usual this month, and the extra income is much appreciated. I also updated my Ebay listings and made two sales.

  41. Oh, I forgot to mention, I was able to get some supplies for my home office at Target’s back to school sale. Since I was there anyway, I bought some inexpensive shoes and socks that I needed too. I used my Target RedCard to get an additional 5% off everything.

  42. It sounds like you’ve had an eventful couple of weeks with the van, but how nice that you found one to replace it!

    I’ve been both spending and saving the last two weeks.

    I bought some shirts from ThredUp and was happy to get an extra 30% off the sale price by using a mailed-to-me coupon. I found two Duluth Trading Company shirts, a Talbot’s shirt, a Lands’ End sweater, and a couple of other nice brands I’ve forgotten.

    I ordered my cruelty-free contact solution, bars of soap, some vitamins and a calcium supplement from Vitacost, and was able to use two discount codes plus get free shipping. I will also get 1% (not much, but beats zero) back through Capital One shopping. Capital One found the second discount code for me – I only knew about the first discount.

    A while back I had cut back the coleus plants in my planter, rooted the cuttings in water and planted them, but it was time to cut them back again and I didn’t really feel like messing with rooting them. Rather than toss them, I stuck the fresh cuttings in dirt in a tiny planter we had built at our well’s pump house. They are growing big and tall. All I did was stick them in the dirt.

    Grandkids came for a visit so I pulled out some frozen juice from my Meyer lemon tree and made lemonade. They love lemonade made from real lemon juice.

    I used baking soda and a spray of a few drops of Sal Suds mixed with water to clean sinks and tubs. I buy Sal Suds a gallon at a time; it lasts a very long time and baking soda is cheap.

    I made more broth from leftover bones and canned it instead of freezing it. I don’t always have to wait for it to thaw this way.

    I bought canning lids in bulk and saved per lid.

    I grew Armenian cucumbers which finally fruited, but they only got about 2 inches long and quit growing any longer. After weeks of this, I finally pulled them up. My other cucumbers are going strong, however and the summer squash appreciates the extra room now that the Armenian vines are out of the way. They have branched out and are putting on a lot more baby squash. I see this as lose some/win some.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed; my roselle hibiscus so far is going very well. I started 10 seeds and got six plants. I have great hopes for roselle jelly and tea.

    Brandy, hope the new vehicle is just what you need and runs (with A/C!) for a long, long time.

  43. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m glad you have been able to sort out a replacement vehicle, it’s so inconvenient to be without one. Your temperatures are mind blowing, I hope you and the children are all coping.
    I haven’t commented in a couple of weeks because I’ve been ill and hospitalised for a short time. I need to alter some routines in my life and reduce ‘ brain chatter’ in favour of a more peaceful mind. The consultant wants me to lose a bit of weight and eat more lean protein and plenty of oily fish. I’m still thinking of options to achieve this without dramatically increasing the grocery budget. I’ll get there, I just need to think smart. I’m not allowed to drive for four weeks so plenty of time to stay home and figure things out.
    Over the past fortnight we’ve picked plums, gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, runner beans, courgettes, carrots, potatoes, lettuce and many flowers. I’ve frozen plenty of produce. We’ve sown lettuce seed and planted seedlings out to continue the lettuce crop.
    I’ve finished a baby cot quilt using fabric bought on sale for the top.
    While prepping our tax return we’ve got a clear picture of our income and expenditure for the last year and I’m happy I’ve tracked expenditure so closely.
    Our electricity use for July was the same as the last two years.
    If anyone’s interested the second series of World on Fire is running on the BBC and the BBC Proms Concerts have started, I don’t know if you can access them in other countries but I expect there’s a way.
    Stay safe everyone especially in the crazy weather.

    1. I am so excited to hear they finally made a second season of World on Fire! I was starting to think it was canceled. This show was available in the U.S. before on PBS. We usually get a few BBC shows that way about 6 to 8 months after they air in the UK.

  44. I am glad to see August and am hoping for better things this month. We navigated July with my daughter’s unemployment and were able to help by paying her bills, but I just don’t have it for August. She’s fortunately been able to donate plasma (they pay) and began to work Lyft and will start a temporary job that will last a few months in the middle of this month. She’s put in 70 or more applications been to 20 odd interviews and hears nothing from anyone. She is fully licensed to sell insurance in our state but has applied for everything open even McDonald’s only to be told she was overqualified. I’ve heard other tales from friends with unemployed relatives who are dealing with the same issues. So much for all those Help Wanted signs and the story that ‘no one wants to work’. People do want to work but can’t get hired!

    My son continued to bless us with school lunch foods and they were a welcome bonus to us. I processed the broccoli I had in the fridge today and set that aside for a casserole later this week. I also put 1 gallon of baby carrots in my freezer for fall roasts and stews. I also chopped the celery up and got a 1/2 gallon of that for the freezer plus 1 pint of sticks for snacking over the coming week. I’ve also been going over the pantry and getting it organized once more as well as sorting out the deep freezer which was getting dangerous to open.

    My little garden has a second eggplant. Something ate the onion tops and they failed to grow any larger. Any clues as to what might have been doing that or why? I have one more tomato to harvest but a bevy of blooms coming on again so hope to get more of those. I’ve two raised beds and two bins that I’ll fill with soil for fall planting which I hope to get to shortly. Again, I’m learning, so I don’t expect great harvests from my limited amount of space, but I hope to eventually be proficient at it. We all have to learn first though, don’t we?

    In past two or three weeks I’ve picked up stew beef and chuck roasts on sale at the local market and am stocking up for fall/winter meals now. I’m loving having a local grocery once more and I am finding prices are worth my time spent shopping there. Not the cheapest food but then where is that anyway, lol?

    Apparently the contractor who is storing our cabinets and countertops has no immediate plans to put us on the list of customers to be tended to…I’m frustrated and at times angry, since the initial delay had to do with an error on his part and not mine. He does not respond to calls or messages or texts. I don’t know what else to do…besides legal action. Since it’s only been a bit over a month now, I don’t think I’m quite ready for that. And I’m not impatient about getting the work done. I just want to make sure we’ve got all the things we’re required to pick out and to know an estimate of when he might get around to the job.

    Brandy, I’m glad you have already found a new vehicle and secured the loan for it. I know no one can survive your heat without AC in the car!

    1. SO frustrating waiting on the contractor, especially with the story you’ve described. Might it also be “indoor” work, and he is working “outdoor” work now?

    2. Some advice for your daughter, make several versions of her resume depending on the type of job. This might mean creating a “dumbed down” version so she won’t seem over qualified. Those who hire don’t want to invest in people they think will leave once something better comes along, so best to revise her resume accordingly.

  45. Sorry to hear about your car troubles but glad to know you could borrow from a friend. That is indeed a blessing!
    *The last two weeks included a trip to the beach for our annual family reunion on my husband’s side. They have been meeting there the same week every year for 52 years. My FIL is one of 13 children (only 3 of them left now) so that’s lots of cousins of all kinds. My in-laws pay for the house (and won’t accept any contributions to that which is very generous) so our costs are gas to get there and what few groceries we don’t take with us. The local grocery store there is one of a chain we have at home so I can buy things there and get the same rewards I do here so I save myself the trouble of lugging too much stuff. We all contribute groceries and share in food preparation which makes it frugal and fun. My husband and I split the trip so he was there 1/2 the time and I was there 1/2 the time (our boys there the whole week) so someone was home to care for the animals and the gardens. Worked out well and all had fun. My MIL also always sends us home with all the leftover food which is very helpful and much appreciated.
    *Enjoyed a visit from friends off the mountain who brought a box of peaches. This is the third box we’ve been given this summer so my freezer is loaded. I know how wonderful it is to pull some of them out of the freezer in January – a little bit of summer.
    *We also gratefully accepted a large box of canned food and pasta from the neighbor who gets “too much” – in his words – from the food bank. I asked him about this as it seems to me he should be able to get less if he requires less. He said they tell him each person gets whatever a box will hold and he might as well take it because they have to distribute it or throw it out. Hhhmmmm….I am glad he passes it on to us and we share it with some other neighbors so it doesn’t get wasted, to my knowledge. I really dislike waste of any kind and so am motivated to pass on whatever we can’t use or think someone else needs more.
    *Our garden groweth over and we are grateful. Some of it gets eaten right there and never makes it to the house. Al fresco dining at its best! 🙂
    *We have another litter of foster kittens we trapped at a neighbor’s house. I was recently given some absorbent pads from another neighbor (“for the precious kittens” she said 🙂 ) and have put them to good use. I try to always have canned food on hand (some of which is donated to us by family) so we were all ready.
    *Took our puppy to the vet for her next round of puppy shots. We recently changed vets for a few reasons, one of which is the new one is a bit less expensive and on the edge of town making it a tad closer to us and easier to get to than our previous vet. Even at a savings of about 10%, that adds up when you have multiple animals.
    *I have been asked to help with event planning for our homeschool co-op. As I have mentioned previously, this is a group of like-minded families who are creative when it comes to creating classes and experiences that cost little to no money. To that end, one of the field trips I am planning involves filling out a grant application. If approved, we would be able to visit this site for free which would be great. I figure it is worth a try. If not, some of the funds we have saved collectively might be available to pay for the experience. I spoke with the program director there and got a quote for a field trip rate which is substantially less than the regular price. Doing a little research and friendly networking often yields cost-savings as a result.
    *I actually had time to read a book, a few pages at a time, but I got there. I often don’t have much time to read this time of year. I read “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. He is the author of “All The Light We Cannot See” which I think many of you have mentioned enjoying. This is equally good, in my opinion – very thought-provoking.
    *I mentioned last time that I had discovered an enjoyable and informative YouTube channel named after the vlogger, Peter Santanello. He is currently doing a series on portions of Appalachia which I have greatly enjoyed and can very much relate to since I am blessed to make my home in these ancient and beautiful mountains. I noticed he was in and around Las Vegas a couple of months ago and watched those videos. The whole time, I wondered what you, Brandy, would think of them. I think he is very good at letting people tell their stories without influencing the interview or being judgmental. I wonder if you would think he gave an accurate portrayal of the area. Just mentioning it in case you would be curious or interested in watching them. All of his videos I have seen have been fascinating.
    * Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and the bounty it brings. Peace and blessings to all!

  46. Our garden is in full swing- kale, lettuce, tomatoes, raspberries, rhubarb and snap peas. Still no squash but once it starts coming it doesn’t stop. I’ve been foraging for the last of the season mulberries. I bought some pricy but delicious local cherries and cantaloupe at the farmers market. It has been a cool smoky summer and I don’t think we will get any cantaloupe or watermelon in my garden. On the plus side, haven’t used much AC.
    I took veggies from the garden, jam and homemade bread for a few parties. I made a huge batch of sourdough bagels, bread and muffins. I bought a rotisserie chicken on clearance for a quick no oven meal. I cut some roses off of a my neighbors rose bush that grows onto my property, as they don’t mind and it is a massive plant.
    I bought 2 light fixtures off marketplace and sold a few things on marketplace and eBay. I also got doors at the salvage store. I listed more stuff for sale. Passed along some kids clothing to a neighbor. I hate returning stuff but I returned several items to the hardware store. Enjoying some library books.

  47. Gas is unbelievably high, $3.14 in college town, and $3.49 two hours south of college town. My air is out at office for fifth week, and at work house and it is unbearable with around 105 to 110 heat index. I am spending as much time as possible in college town bc I have air there. I am mostly eating tomato sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, egg sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, coleslaw, and salad.

  48. Hi Brandy and everyone.

    We have been on summer vacation in the house we usually borrow from family for free – so nice. We have been swimming in the sea, going for a lots of nature walks and reading books from the library. I’m very interested in nature – plants and animals – and have tried to convince my son for years, that it is one of the most interesting things – with varying degrees of luck. Recently we have found a wonderful series about insects that we watch online, and this has really sparked his interest though. So while we stayed at the summerhouse, he used an old fishing net on a pole to catch insects and study them – we put them in used jam jars and watched them closely before we released them again after a short while.
    We also went to the local second hand shops and found some useful items – two pairs of shorts for my son, a small hand towel for the kitchen, bats and a ball, and some items that we will use for presents for my son: two DVD films, an audio book and a book.

    It was my birthday a few weeks ago, and I received a copy of – The Complete Tightwad Gazette! The best present! It was on my wishing-list after I had read about it here. I’m so pleased to find out, that not only is it full of useful tips – it is very funny as well! My husband keeps asking me what makes me laugh so much when I read it!

    I harvested all our garlic before we went on holiday – almost enough for an entire year. At present we harvest cucumber, cichory lettuce, lots of green beans, chili, snack pepper, carrots and tomatoes from the garden. After a long drought that lasted from April to June, July has been one of the wettest recorded. The rain has been so nice, and we have hardly had to water the garden at all. At the same time, a cold spring and the subsequent drought has reduced the slug problems in our garden a lot compared to other years.

    I had visitors from Hong Kong in my garden – it was very interesting and a lovely day. I served bulgur salad with vegetables from the garden and some of the homemade rye bread my husband bakes with butter and cheese – a lovely and in-expensive lunch. We shared garden stories and I gave them seeds and cuttings from some plants that they liked.

    I make apple applesauce with windfall apples to put on top of the oatmeal my son and husband eats for breakfast.

    I’ve made lots of plants from cuttings for my little plant stall – I hope to sell some more soon.

    I’ve been watching tutorials online on how to make a layout for a poster. It has been really fun to find a lot of tricks and tips and make it work, and I think this is something I might dive more into in the future. Much cheaper to do it myself than to pay someone!

    Hope you will have a nice week!

    1. Cam …

      Happy belated birthday! So happy for you that you’ve received a copy of The Tightwad Gazette! I subscribed to the original newsletter, many years ago, and enjoy the books as well. Amy’s sense of humor is very entertaining and I like her dry wit. And, it’s so wonderful that so many of her tips are still applicable today. Enjoy!

  49. It has been a great frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I signed two kids up for a judo class that is offered at (and subsidized by) the VFW. It’s still $40/child/month, but the kids will be in the same age group. I’m not sure we can make it all three days/week it’s offered, but that shouldn’t be an issue. Around here, that is a good price for any type of martial arts.
    My great aunt so kindly picked up and helped with 4 of my kids while I took care of my mom. She even treated the kids to lunch out (at Raising Cane’s), then to Walmart to buy ice cream, then back to her house to swim. What a treat! She is so generous with my kids, and I was able to watch my mom more closely.
    I registered two boys for a hunter’s education class (free), and they can then get their licenses through the state for a small fee. Hooray!
    My sister gave me three trash bags of outgrown kids clothes she didn’t want. Some I sold, some I kept, some had to be trashed, and some was donated.
    A busy night and I was tired, so I made beanie weenies. My toddler loves this, especially.
    I kept the grocery budget to $500 last month, but am excited for a new month to spend. I budget by the month, and I put away half of the month’s grocery money to not be touched until the 15th. Otherwise, I would spend it too soon on “deals”.
    Stock up deals were mangos 3/$1, avocado 3/$1, grapes .99/#, strawberries 2#/$3, plus the marked down, day-old rotisserie chicken pieces from Sam’s, which I think is a great value.
    This was a blessing from God: my oldest daughter wanted a pair of white Nike Air Force shoes. For $100, no way! That’s not practical or feasible for me. She is a good girl, and she asked me to look for some at Goodwill, bless her heart. No joke: I went to a Goodwill in a upscale area the next day, and as I was about to go checkout, a worker put a pair of shoes on the rack. I looked at them, and they were dirty, but the exact shoes my daughter wanted! I immediately grabbed them and put them in my cart, then called her at home to see if the size would work. They’re about half a size too big, but it will be perfect, as she will have a little room to grow. Now I just need to dig out the white shoe polish and return them to their former glory. What a blessing to find an exact want, at $12.99 instead of $100. I tell the kids all the time that God will give us everything we need, and sometimes even some of the things we want.
    Have a great week!

    1. Leigh Ann, great find! I rehabbed a pair of very grubby white athletic shoes for my husband with a scrub brush and Comet, then washed in the washing machine and air drying. They came out looking almost new. I washed the shoelaces separately and they were pristine afterward. If I were you, and I’m not, I’d do this first, then touch up with the shoe polish if needed. Mike’s didn’t need any touch-up at all!

  50. When I am away from my computer but not ready to shut it down, I align one of your photos carefully on the screen, like a screensaver, until it goes to sleep. Thank you for your photography work! It has made me see flowers in much more detail.

  51. Looking so forward to seeing your next sewing project, Brandy! The color combination you showed on Instagram is really lovely. Just yesterday I was reading back through posts and ran across a few that featured clothing Winter created … the beautiful red dress she made – and, the lovely Winter Ball white dress she altered. She’s so very talented and that’s no doubt thanks to your teachings – hope she and her little family are doing well! So sorry to hear that you had issues with your van, but what a blessing that you were able to sell it. Hoping you find a suitable replacement soon.

    Last week I was mindful of getting the absolute most usefulness from the items we have or purchase … ensuring that they are truly being used to their full potential. This week, I will focus on having five dinner meals planned for hubby and I that can be made any day throughout the week. I’ve never gone about dinners in an organized weekly pre-planned manner and am anxious to give it a try. To avoid any potential waste, I won’t take meats/poultry out of the freezer ahead of time to thaw for the entire week, but will do so daily.

    Frugal efforts this week:

    *Grocery prices in our area for items we buy on a regular basis continue to remain steady. Bread, milk, fruit and dairy prices have not increased in over two months – some have even remained the same since January, surprisingly. The price for seedless grapes prices has actually decreased – from $2.98/# two months ago down to $1.38/# – and that’s a regular price, not an advertised sale. I’m uncertain why our area isn’t seeing the extreme price increases others across the country are reporting, but I’m very grateful.

    *Hubby and I completed our sidewalk edging project rather than hiring it out. Hard physical work in 100(F) degree temps moving many large border stones (salvaged from our previous project) and bags of heavy river rocks. Buying the rocks by the load would have been a bit less costly, but without a trailer, the bags were within our capabilities of handling. Frugal win of the week: Saved hundreds of dollars by doing the work ourselves and repurposing large stones from our property.

    *Shopped our pantry and the dollar store to create frugal gift bags filled with road trip treats for our daughter and grandsons.

    *This week I was more mindful to prepare smaller meals for hubby and I that will result in fewer unplanned leftovers. Leftovers can always be tucked in the freezer, but in all honesty, in our home they often languish there until they absolutely have to be eaten. I want to be a better steward of this resource that God provides.

    *Tried a new butter-less waffle batter recipe that hubby really enjoyed. They turned out light and fluffy – the “secret,” I’ve learned, is to beat the egg whites until stiff then fold into batter gently. Cost savings realized by using oil versus butter in the batter … 11 cents for oil (I used Canola) versus 46 cents if butter was used. The next time, will decrease eggs by one to determine if results are the same. Made extra for hubby’s breakfasts this week.

    *Creating personalized Bibles as Christmas gifts for family members by tucking in within the pages copies of old family photos and recipes, slips of paper with childhood memories of family events, making note of verses that were special to our parents and grandparents, and creating an index of verses that are helpful for all occasions or events. Bought the Devotional Bibles online at deep discount from Mardel’s.

    *Refreshing a two-drawer file cabinet we had on hand to slide under my craft table for storage. Painting it white to match my craft table, removing original industrial hardware and adding drawer pulls from my stash – for more of a furniture look, rather than office equipment. May add trim to the door fronts for a Shaker style look. Will be used for hanging folders to organize hobby-related papers and Bible studies. Did this frugal refresh also to a couple cabinets years ago in our former home.

    *Made use of three pieces of cooked lasagna noodles from our freezer. Thawed, cut in narrow strips, and served with garlic, butter and Italian herbs, they were reinvented as a nice side dish for hubby’s dinner.

    *Darned another of hubby’s socks, saving it from being tossed (we already have a good supply of unsalvageable socks in our stash used for staining projects, etc.). Again using the wooden darning egg made by his grandfather gives me such a sense of nostalgia.

    *Mended the hem of a dish towel, extending its usefulness.

    *When hubby does outdoor chores (yardwork, projects) his “work” clothes end the day soiled and practically soaking wet (triple digit temps and high humidity in our area). I don’t want to run a load with just that one set of clothing, yet I don’t want to include them in the laundry with our lesser soiled clothing. And, tossing them in the laundry basket damp would lead to odors and mildew as they wait to be laundered. The solution I’ve found is to line dry his soiled damp clothing just as it is, and then pretreat any stains and place the dried clothes aside to await enough work clothes for a full load. This solves the dampness and potential odor issue and I accomplish my goal of running only full, large loads. I’ve had no issues with lingering odors or stains setting in.

    *Clipped pup’s nails myself (quite a challenge) rather than paying to have it done by our groomer. Doing them all at once stresses her (and me!), so I do a nail or two a day and we both find it much more tolerable.

    *Continuing to shop from our fridge/freezer/pantry for meals. Last week we tried a new method of seasoning salmon for herb crusted blackening on our gas grill. Discovered the “secret” is to be VERY generous with the seasoning. We used garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, paprika, and herbs de Provence, and a little salt. Coat the salmon with olive oil and rub the seasoning in to thoroughly coat, let rest about 10 minutes, and grill 4 minutes on both sides. It turns out very nicely blackened – herb crusted on the outside and tender on the inside. Very good!

    *Continuing to do all our typical frugal daily routine items … larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; unplugging chargers and small appliances when not in use; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; bath water used to water areas of lawn during this period of extreme heat and drought; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; ate from freezer/pantry except one restaurant meal; continuing to use small batch DIY laundry liquid.

    Wishing everyone a joyful and frugal week!

    (Brandy – I apologize if my comments are submitted twice – I don’t seem to receive a confirmation on my end that they go through.)

  52. I’m so glad to hear that you found a replacement vehicle. Those are difficult to find right now.

    We spent a lot of money two weeks ago, but it was worth it to help a family member. I have an aunt, who is in her eighties and never married, who lives in a city far from us. She has lived in her condo for 50 years–and is a hoarder. My husband and I flew to her city and rented an Airbnb within walking distance of her home. We spent a week fixing and decluttering as she allowed and also emptying a storage unit, which was getting very expensive. We had a plumber snake her drains, got her a new microwave, TV, garbage disposal, and vacuum. We replaced light bulbs. We cleaned and vacuumed a lot. While we didn’t get everything done (we estimate 15% of things were taken care of–about 100 bags of garbage and a truckload to Savers), she is feeling much happier about her home and her living conditions are safer. Because she lives in a high rise, it would be difficult to try to have a yard sale to sell things. My aunt, in turn, graciously hosted us at some of her favorite restaurants. It was an exhausting week, but we were grateful that we could offer help. I hope to go again in a few months and get more work done and perhaps some of my siblings will help out too. It has also spurred me to have less in my home, so I have already taken two small loans for donation. I was also able to give a dress to a friend who was recovering from an illness and was more comfortable for her to wear than pants and a top.

    I unraveled a shawl that I knitted for my mother, who has passed on and didn’t wear it much. The colors aren’t those that I care for, but I found a pattern for a new shawl for a friend that uses those colors. I had to buy one skein of contrasting yarn.

    I sold two small art pieces!

    My garden is producing a little. I think the heat has made some of the vegetables stop producing.

  53. Brandy, I’m sorry for the vehicle challenges that you’ve been facing. I’m glad that you were able to find financing and a suitable replacement that will fit your needs.
    Savings this past week included:
    Chunky soup for 99 cents per can. Regular price is $2.88 per can. My hubby takes these in his truck for meals when he is on the road. I added 20 cans to our pantry. What a great deal! Buying soup when it’s 100 degrees outside is like buying straw hats in winter. 😉
    **Harvested basil from my herb bed. Used the oven method to dry it. It’s too humid to hang herbs to dry here; everything turns moldy. Small savings, but home dried tastes and smells so much better than the $1.00 jars of herbs from Walmart.
    Since many that comment here are believers, I think I can share this story here. Brandy, please remove this if you don’t think it’s appropriate 🙂
    ** I have lived in our home over 10 years. Our kitchen has a breakfast bar, and I have wanted bar stools. However I didn’t want to pay $150 per stool, so we have done with out. Prices vary at the “good” furniture store $150 per stool, at T.J. Maxx $80 to $125 per stool, at Walmart $50. The other day at the Crazy Hot deal store ( which gets close outs and Amazon returns) I bought 2 stools for $25 each. What a savings!
    ** while I was putting the stools in my car, a woman approached me to panhandle. (The places where I bargain hunt aren’t in the nicest areas). She was in her early 30s and had just been dropped off. Her story was that she needed $20 to buy food for her children until she could get benefits. I told her, “I don’t give cash since I have family that get food benefits and don’t always use them the right way”. -(drug problems). “But I will buy you some food that will get you thru the next 5 days”. We were outside of a dollar tree.
    The young lady looked like she might be a user. I hate to think of children being hungry though. While we were in the store, I suggested she contact the police department or the children’s school to connection with local food sources and social services. I also wrote down several youtubers that show one how to cook with $20 worth of groceries from the Dollar Tree.
    *** After I paid for her things. I asked the cashier not to let her return them…just in case she was tricking me. I followed her outside, asked her name and prayed for her.
    In the end it is up to me to be obedient to the “nudges” I get from God not to worry about the other person’s motives.
    ***Here’s the part that brought me to tears. As I was driving home, I remembered that my faith asks me to tithe (10%). What I spent on food for that young woman was $32. This was about 10% of what 2 barstools would have cost at the “good” furniture store.
    I feel like the Lord gave me one of my wants and reminded me of his goodness while giving me an opportunity to serve someone in need. 🙂

  54. Saying hello for the first Time Brandy 👋
    I find your blog so very comforting and I love to read all about how you live in the Las Vegas area.

    Sometimes when I leave a tap running I think of you having to be so careful with your water usage. Water is free here and excellent quality. I have a barrel for collecting rainwater beside my greenhouse and an outsode tap beside it. I am blessed to have such abundance.
    I have learnt so much from you over the years and all the lovely people who comment.
    God bless you and your family and to everyone who contribute such wonderful comments.

    We have lots of rain here in the North of Ireland which we are thankful for but we most definitely take it for granted.

  55. Brandy,
    I’m so sorry about your car but I’m glad you have a solution lined up. Car troubles are terrible! My work car has been at the dealership for a recall but I can pick it up today. In the meantime I have been using my mom’s car (she doesn’t drive anymore) so it’s been fine. The benefit to my work car is that I don’t pay anything for gas or maintenance so I need to resume using it. My daughter drives my personal car to work which is about 3x per week and we’ve been using my personal car for our outings but need to return to using my work car.
    I am determined to waste less food which is a major flaw of mine. There are only 3 of us in my household and I buy far too many groceries which leads to food waste. I did have a “win” for me this week though…I had my husband grill several chicken breasts and I froze most of them in individual servings for my daughter. These will come in handy when I’m fixing meals for my husband and I that she doesn’t like. I’m also using my AnyList app regularly to create grocery lists and meal plan- it does help me to waste less food. I watched a grocery challenge on YouTube that got me thinking about how much I spend on groceries and how much I could save.
    My husband finally fixed several sprinklers that weren’t working so now my need to hand water is down to zero except the pots on my front and back deck…yay!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe August!

  56. To Bonnie in the Midwest..
    Thanks so much for the inquiry about my husband! So far he has tolerated the chemo and has not had any after effects. He just gets tired easily and has no energy. He had a PET scan yesterday and there were no additional signs of cancer cells in any other organs. The Barium he had to drink before the scan did make him ill.
    With all of the bills coming in, I’m thankful I have a huge pantry and a freezer full of produce from my garden. My husband sometimes questioned why I stocked up on sales, know he knows why. We continue to be blessed. Everyone have a blessed week.

    1. Diana, I am so glad to hear you and your husband are doing well. The PET scan is good news for sure! You will both be in my thoughts.

  57. I went to a free lecture that was open to the public at The Garden Club. HGTV ( although I don’t have cable& have never watched him on television) had Rick Gibbons ( architect by education) talk about turning your grass into landscape design with native plants, vegetables, etc. to eliminate watering, pesticides, etc. It was an excellent presentation with a lot of ideas to implement at home. Thrifty actions: watering from rain barrel, composting kitchen scraps, and bought a Brooks Brothers navy blue cardigan at the thrift store with tag sale for $3.50.

  58. I’m super late to the game this week! We have had a decidedly un-frugal couple of weeks – kind of a “when it rains, it pours” scenario here. My husband’s car has needed 4 new tires, a new windshield (after it developed a large crack), and now has another rock chip in the new windshield that we need to get repaired before it turns into a larger crack. Also, our washing machine died and isn’t repairable, so we are waiting on a new one. LOL. I know these are all small issues in the grand scheme of things, but it is still frustrating. I am glad that we are able to take care of and cover these, and that they aren’t major life-changing problems. We were given a key to another currently-vacant condo to do our laundry in the meantime, so that is very nice of our building management. Another bonus is that it at least saves us some electricity and water. 🙂

    We are one of the areas with “excessive heat warnings” lately – our daily highs have been around 105-109 with humidity & higher heat indexes, and it only cools down into the 80s overnight. It has been like this since June, which is unusual. We are in a very hot climate, but it usually does not get this hot until August. Sometimes it stays into the 100s into even October – hopefully not this year! We have been keeping blinds and curtains closed, running fans, and doing what we can to save a little on the a/c cost. Also, lots of staying indoors! Hopefully next week we have at least a couple of days below 100 for a break.

    Recent bargains: we bought flavored sparkling waters for .99 cents/12 pack, deodorant for .88 cents, toothpaste for .87 cents, rice mixes for .69 cents, dry pasta for $1/lb, free k-cups and turkey lunchmeat with rewards, canned cat food on 75% off clearance. I used a $15 off coupon from a game our grocery store offered to buy steaks for my husband’s birthday dinner. We cooked at home and enjoyed a nice meal. We have cooked & eaten almost all meals at home, as usual. Recent meals have included homemade cast iron skillet pizza (one of our favorites), pork carnitas tacos & bowls (with pork butt bought on sale, from our freezer), panko-breaded chicken breasts with mashed potatoes, corn & fried apples, baked fish, and brisket tacos. (I never realize how frequently we eat crock pot meals/tacos until I type this list out!) We enjoyed a small weekend getaway trip to a picturesque small town not too far away. We saved money by bringing our own drinks and snacks, taking advantage of the hotel’s breakfast, and enjoying time in the resort pool and outdoor seating. Since we were in the country, it cooled down enough in the evenings to sit outside, which was a nice treat.

    I hope that everyone here has a nice week and is doing well. Brandy, I have been especially thinking about your situation with your husband, and now your vehicle. You are in my thoughts!

      1. Carolyn – of course! We either use the frozen Aldi pizza dough or the King Arthur Weeknight Neapolitan dough from scratch. Get your dough out about 45 minutes to an hour before dinner (if using the frozen type). Preheat oven to 500 and put your skillet in there for about 10-15 minutes to heat up. Take it out, add a little bit of olive oil into the bottom (this will smoke, we do it on our patio to avoid setting off the smoke alarm), stretch your dough and then press into the skillet & up the sides to form a rim. I use a silicone pastry brush for this part so I don’t burn my hands. The dough instantly starts cooking in the hot skillet, so the bottom gets nice & crispy. We usually brush a little bit of olive oil onto the edges of the crust. Turn oven down to 450. Add sauce & toppings and then cook for 15-20 minutes. You can also do this in enameled cast iron (like Le Creuset).

        1. Pam B …
          Thanks so much for sharing the “how to” for cast iron skillet pizza! I’m looking forward to trying it soon. The crispy bottom sounds wonderful. I appreciate you sharing!

  59. We have been under heat advisory for over three weeks and our days have been 105 degrees and higher. I got up on he roof with hubby holding ladder to check out attic fan that was not running. Trimmed tree limbs while I was up there and adjust the fan cover and all was back in order. Put the fan on a timer and I hope it will help dissipate some heat. Our electric bill was 50% higher from previous month. Garden is not producing much now. I still have some tomatoes but cucumbers are done and the squash was not productive this year. I have planted some more cukes, some kale and some more sunflowers and hope for the best. I am still harvesting herbs though. My DIL brought us cantaloupe and watermelon from her niece’s farm and I froze the cantaloupe on a baking sheet and then put into gallon bags. They are so refreshing! Bought a turkey breast to smoke for lunches and have been buying ham and slicing rather than paying for deli meats. Found some packages of shampoo and conditioner at the back of the drawer so I am using those up. We are really only eating lunch as we get busy at daybreak and drink water all morning, eat a light lunch. It is 730 pm and still 101 degrees so we just don’t eat much. Some popcorn or a salad maybe.

  60. We’ve had a few frugal successes this week: I attended a lunch for graduating students and there was too much food left over so I split the chorizo and taco fillings with another graduating student. We had it for supper two nights. At our grocery store, I found tortillas on clearance for .30 for 20 so I bought 8 packs. Some we will freeze into smaller portions for future use and I made into breakfast burritos with the chorizo and some scrambled eggs. For a few bucks and half an hour of my time, my husband and I will have a few weeks of easy breakfasts! Our garden has been really suffering from the heat and lack of rain but we are doing our best!

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