This was a week of returns and money back.

I disputed a purchase on Paypal. In early May, I had ordered some double pink hollyhock seeds from a tiny company (it looked to be owned by an individual). My account was charged right away but I never received an order confirmation nor a shipping notice. When I emailed the seller, I got a notice that the seller had blocked my email. I took a screenshot of this and sent it to Paypal. My money was refunded immediately. I will not be ordering the same type of seeds elsewhere; I will just plant the ones I have this fall in white and peach.

I returned (for an exchange) a barrette that I had purchased a few weeks ago. It had started popping open and would not stay closed. I really like the color; it is a cream-colored barrette that goes with most things. Though my hair is short, it is long enough to just pull back into a short ponytail, and thin enough to fit into a barrette (in fact, I have another of the same type–but it’s pink–and my hair can slip through it). Doing my hair in this way keeps it up off my neck in the heat and means I don’t need to use any hairspray, which saves me money. Plus, in the summer, I like to leave my hair wet as long as possible, as it helps to keep me cool. A new addition to my hair that I was inspired to try this week was to add finger waves to this hairstyle using clips that I have. I have done this before when I have curled my hair, but this week I saw someone with longer hair do this vintage style and put the rest of her hair up in a bun. I had never considered finger waves with putting my hair back in a barrette (it’s too short to make even a small bun). It only takes me about a minute to add the clips, and I leave them in while my hair dries.

Polar Bear Zinnia

On one trip, we returned two plants to Home Depot under their one-year guarantee and two clothing items to two different online companies.

The UPS store was in the same parking lot as Albertson’s, so we both used the app to buy corn on a loss-leader sale (where the sale is so low that the store loses money to try to get you in the door). It was on sale for $0.05 an ear with a limit of 6, and we were both able to buy 6. The ears were small, but they were worth it for the price.

The only other food we bought this week was milk; my son picked up three gallons of milk during the week from work (he works at a grocery store) and brought them home after work on his bike. We use the fresh milk for drinking; I use powdered milk in cooking.

We used frozen fruit (frozen from our garden) in smoothies this week. My peach tree in the front yard will be ripe soon, and I plan to freeze peaches for smoothies rather than canning them this year, so I need to use up other fruit to make room. In the future I will go back to freezing and canning, as I used to do when I had two large peach trees. I now have five peach trees, but four of the trees are only two-years old, so it will be a couple of years before they start producing fruit.

I picked tomatoes, basil, Swiss chard, green onions, and parsley from the garden.

I sowed seeds for zinnias, cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash in the garden. The pumpkin seeds were from the heirloom pumpkin I bought last year at Halloween for $6. I roasted the pumpkin, which stored even longer than any other pumpkins I have had. I’ll use the pumpkin in bread.

Luminosa Pink Zinnia

A big savings this week was going to the county assessor’s office to have my property tax capped at 3%. The property tax will be 8%. Everyone thought it was a huge jump, as we all thought our taxes were already capped at 3%. What I learned this week is that any changes to the title take you off the 3%. This means that when we used a quit claim deed to add my name to the title years ago, we went off the 3% rate. Later we put the house in a trust, which also changes the title. We refinanced earlier this year and had to pull the house out of the trust in order to do so, which is another change to the title. For now, we are once again capped at 3%. We need to put our house back in the trust soon; we will need to go back to the assessor’s office again once that is done to sign a paper showing the house is our primary residence and it will recap the tax rate at 3%. There was so much confusion about the cap rate that it was all over the local news two days before the deadline, and so many people were unaware of the changes that they extended the deadline by an entire year. It was a huge deal here; this article shows that the county has been assuming that residents are all renters and charging higher rates. There are definitely issues there; they had us sign a paper and then afterwards asked about the year we purchased our house, saying it was 2011. We told them it was 2006, so we then had to sign a new paper. None of our former title changes were in 2011, either, so that was very, very odd. If you’re one of my readers who live in Clark County, Nevada, please make sure you are being assessed 3% and not 8% on your primary residence. I know lots of people who found that their rate was at 8% this past week, much to their surprise.

I read three books this past week from the library: The Meet Cute Method, Faking It (this one was delightful and would be a fun movie; think “The Parent Trap” but the adult sisters are the ones who switch places), and 500 Miles from You from Jenny Colgan (I’ve read a couple of her other books before).

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Such lovely photos as always. I hope you had a god independence day.
    This week I have made Strawberry jam, I had to add some redcurrents and a little home made cider vinegar to get it to set. I can not use lemon as I am allergic to citrus.
    We have picked our first cucumbers, tomatoes and raspberries. There will be lots of blackberries this year the brambles are loaded. I will take the grandkids to pick them late august before they go back to school. I don’t grow them in the garden they are very invasive and grow in every hedgerow .
    I made a coconut cake to use up out of date coconut, it was so good. I made fridge pickle with excess cucumbers. I will do beetroots tomorrow .
    I read 3 library books, actual paper books, its been 2 1/2 years since I did this.
    I received my monthly supermarket order this week , a lot was out of stock and the prices have risen. It seems Heinz are not supplying Tesco because tesco say the prices Heinz charge are too high.
    I have found some more pyjama trousers where the elastic has gone. I am going to unpick the waist band in the garden to limit the mess in the house.I also had to unpick the front of a cardigan I had made a mistake near the beginning, but the mistake showed so I had to bite the bullet.
    We were talking about rolling power cuts. We had this in the early 1970s. We were lucky we had friends living in an area whose cuts were at different times, so we went to them when we had no electricity and they came to us. This time we are looking at public building where we could go rather than be cold ie library, records office ,shopping centre or cinema etc. I already know people doing this to save money. Even better our library has a tea shop. It would of course work for air conditioning too.
    All meals were cooked at home, laundry was dried outside and cake was made at home and cooked in the Remoska. I wanted paper train and bus time tables as I have no mobile phone but I had to copy it off the websites ready for hospital visit now put back till August. I am fed up with people taking for granted that everyone has a mobile. I need to buy some fpp3 masks.
    Please keep safe everyone

    1. I only got a cell phone a few years ago so I feel your pain. I also didn’t have long-distance calling, so when people from church moved here from other areas, I couldn’t call them. I also didn’t receive texts for any of the children’s youth activities for church. I finally got a cell phone when they raised the taxes on a home phone to be the same price, and I switched (cancelling the home phone). I have very little data each month but I use the wifi at home for my phone. If I am in a public place, I can use the public wifi (for example, I can use the Target app at their store and get on their guest wifi, or on the doctor’s office guest wifi when sitting in a waiting room). I didn’t think I would like having a phone, but I really do now. I still misplace it in the house like I thought I would. I do like reading library books on it, too, and I thought I would hate that, but I’ve actually embraced it. I use the free version of the Pandora app to listen to music while on wifi. Perhaps there is a lower-data option for you and you can be on the wifi at home and public places as well. I found a deal where new accounts get a “free” android phone (you have to pay the sales tax still, but nothing for the phone, so it cost me about $79). Perhaps my readers in the U.K. can offer some suggestions. I know you may not want one (I certainly didn’t) but in the end, the monthly cost ended up being the same for me as my home phone. Maybe there’s an option that would be close enough in price for you.

    2. Hi Chris
      I understand your frustration with the assumption we all have a mobile phone. I had an old simple one which I kept just for emergencies like car breakdowns. I was getting cross about the supermarkets and so many other organisations using apps instead of money off vouchers etc and I felt I was being excluded. My old mobile was failing and a daughter persuaded me that I would benefit from an updated model and would soon see the advantages. I was sceptical but actually she was right. She helped me research an updated but still simple model and I bought one at Tesco mobile. The chap in the shop was very helpful and forgiving of my ignorance. I pay £13.99 a month which buys the phone itself and enough data for my anticipated usage. I can use my Tesco clubcard points to put towards the monthly payment. Lower tariffs and pay as you go options were also available. We will consider whether we get rid of our landline in due course.
      I’m not suggesting you buy a mobile phone if you don’t want to, I just wanted to share my experience.

      1. Thank you Penny!

        They were nice to me here and helped me without any judgment. I am glad to have one now.

        1. Thank you for suggestions, but I will not be buying a mobile in the near future . I am still not see what use I would have for it. I find I can’t read the screen when my daughter shows me photos etc on hers .
          And our land line calls cost us 5P last month and it has hands free adaptation so my hubby can use it, so we would not be able to give it up. But it was good to get your points of view.

          1. Two things pushed me over the edge: when a woman at church handed my one-year-old my phone and he already knew how to swipe pictures (I was SHOCKED; I figured out Grandma had been teaching him 😂) and when they raised the landline the next month to $25 with no long distance, which is what my husband was paying for his phone.

            I didn’t see the need at ALL, myself, and I would still rather use my camera than my phone camera, so I was surprised when it grew on me (especially the e-books; I thought I would hate them, but instead found it very nice to get a new book to read from the library at 9 p.m. right after finishing another).

            And I never thought I would get used to the phone keyboard at all, yet here I am, writing a response to you on it.

            You can adjust font sizes so if that is an issue for you it can be done.

            There are still new things that give me some trouble at first, especially learning new apps, including the one for a virtual doctor’s appointment, and each store’s app (but I am getting better; the sales are very few but at least I can load a few store coupons at the grocery store).

            I just learned how to use a new app yesterday and while I haven’t figured it all out yet.

            Oh, another thought on not reading your daughter’s screen: some people turn their brightness down to save battery. I can’t see anything this way. I have to have mine all the way up. I still can’t see my screen much outside so the phone is just used outside.

            Some people use earbuds so they can talk on the phone hands’ free. A friend of mine does that on video calls.

            I do like the video calls to my children and my granddaughter.

            I was very, very against getting one and so upset about it just like you are feeling, for many years, and so I share just to say that if you end up needing to get one, there are some positives. I didn’t see them before and I certainly could not have afforded to get one, but I have enjoyed it.

            One negative: having to buy a replacement phone when it dies or you accidentally break it is expensive. A screen protector is very helpful. I don’t like this expense at all. So while the bill is the same for the phone, there is the expense of the phone itself. I do refuse to buy an iPhone when it costs as much as my camera body. If I was going to spend that much, it would be in replacing my camera (something that will have to be done once it reaches the maximum number of shutter clicks).

            1. Brandy- One app that I use all the time (and it’s free) is GasBuddy!
              Not only will it tell me where there are gas stations near me (especially handy if you’re not at home or traveling out of town/state!) It also gives you driving directions from where you are to the station you choose. But, best of all- It tells you the current price per gallon so you can decide which station to go to based on distance and price!

              Gardenpat in Ohio

            2. Brandy, when I had to replace my last phone (iPhone), I asked the man at the shop why I had one phone for 8 years and one for only 5. He advised me to do these two things:
              1.) Only keep your phone on the charger until it is fully charged! Do not put it on at bedtime and leave it there as the excess charging shortens the batteries life. They do make chargers that you can lay your phone on and it stops charging as soon as it hits 100% but they are quite expensive, so now I charge mine after dinner until bedtime as I sit and read, cross stitch or knit. He told me the batteries are only made to last 3 years but this way they can last many years.
              2.) Only use the accessories that come from the same company as the phone. Although the car charger costs $20 as opposed to the $5 one at Five Below or another cheaper store, the same theory applies. They are made specifically for that phone and will maintain the battery charge at its best capacity.
              3.) Use a protective case!!! I have always used those cheap, but cute cases on my phones that you can get at the dollar store or Walmart, etc. He told me I need a thicker case with a lip that protects the casing and the glass front and he was right about that. I have dropped my phone with my weaker left hand several times and was lucky it didn’t break! I bit the bullet and ordered an Otter case from Amazon (again costly) but my daughter agrees with the phone man that these are the best for protecting the phone. It took getting used to as it is not as sleek or pretty as the cases, but it has saved me several times, esp when the grandkids want to play a game or FaceTime mommy/daddy at work.
              4.) Last but not least, invest in the glass front protector for your phone. Again, you can buy them at the cheaper stores, but I went to the iPhone store and paid the money and the man there put it on for me, cleaned up my phone, explained some apps I had questions about and the only charge was for the cost of the face protector.
              I had my flip top for years, hated giving it up when it finally died and even tried to buy the same one. No luck! I am now on an iPhone and with my family’s jobs and locations, it has been a godsend. It’s definitely an investment but I count it as an absolutely necessary one and if you take care of it, it pays for itself in the end with free books, movies, games, holds your emergency & medical information for police/fire and many other things.
              Unfortunately, it seems the whole world is going forward with all the electronics and if we don’t try to adapt we will be left behind (maybe a good thing?)!

            3. You are so right about the brightness! My daughter keeps hers low, but turns it way up if she wants me to look at pictures.

              I resisted a smart phone for *years,* but then my husband did some research and recommended the iPhone SE, which fits in my front pocket. That works fine…sometimes I see people with phones squeezed into their jeans pockets, and I wonder how many have fallen out and broken.

              Glad also to know about Connie’s tip for charging the battery. I’ll start that today.

              I use mine a lot for communication, but also for waiting rooms and for the grocery app. And for reading The Prudent Homemaker!

    3. I wish our library had a tea shop. Pre-covid they offered free make your own tea and coffee. I miss that.

    4. I got a cell phone after having a heart attack while driving out in the country. I was lucky a farmer saw me stop in the middle of the road and came from the field to see if I broke down. I even carry mine while walking to dog around our 5 acres. Pain in the butt sometimes but won’t risk my life again.

    5. Dear Chris,

      I wonder why you were talking about rolling power cuts. Are they expected in the UK later this year, or were you just discussing the energy price rise and wanting to save money personally? We have three young children and this winter will be very painful for us in heating costs. We are trying to work out where the right balance is in buying thermal underwear for everyone, turning the heating right down and bleaching the mould that grows, vs just heating the house and not being able to save much money. (We are saving to buy a house.)


  2. The summer is upon us, so we are adjusting our activities to use the weather to our advantage. We are your “elderly” neighbors that all the PSA’s tell you to check on and as such, we have to limit our time in the hot sun so we don’t get heat exhaustion or heat stroke! So it’s outside early in the morning so we will be back inside by 10 AM or before! And we are guzzling water to stay hydrated!

    I cut my parsley down to the ground, leaving just stubs and dehydrated what I had harvested:, and finally: I got a full quart of dehydrated parsley! And the exciting thing is, 5 days later, my parsley has sprouted tons of new leaves that will be ready for another harvest in about 10 days! And then I’ll do it again!! Hmmm….. I wonder if dehydrated parsley could somehow be considered a good Christmas gift? Lol!!

    This is what my harvests are starting to look like-, every couple days = 2 or more cucumbers, a bowl of green beans, some cherry tomatoes, greens. Now the trick is just to make sure the garden gets a good watering every few days since we are between rains and our rain barrels are almost empty! Rain is predicted tomorrow though.

    With my goal to “use it up”, I had some bananas I had taken out of freezer that were thawed in refrigerator, so I added those to the zucchini I was given (yielded 6 cups of shredded zucchini!) and made: Coconut/orange zucchini lunchbox cake –, Chocolate chip zucchini banana bread-, and then oatmeal butterscotch banana cookies- We’ve had lots of fun making up little boxes of goodies that we did Ding, Dong, Ditch with!! I did my baking early in the morning as big batches and consecutively so I was not having to continually preheat oven or have breaks between batches! We did keep some for ourselves, too, which made Hubs happy!!

    I went back to Meijers to get 1 more flat of strawberries to dehydrate since they were still 99 cents/pound and happened to find 7 cartons of strawberries in the markdown bin for 59 cents a pound!! You know which ones I came home with! Lol! So I got another half gallon jar filled with dehydrated strawberry slices!
    An online friend told me about pork shoulder butts on sale at Meijers for $1.29/ pound, so I got a 10 pounder and put that immediately into my crockpot. That $12 purchase made 8 quart bags of shredded pork that I will use for BBQ, carnitas or with applesauce, mashed potatoes and veg. It will make over 16 meals (32 serves) for us so we are pleased!

    A new client quilt came in on Saturday, so this afternoon, when it is a sticky 92 F (33.33C), I will get that quilted! There are 2 more client quilts coming in this week, so I want to get this one done so I can work on some others that I have in the works! But, that being said, I won’t turn down work whenever it comes in especially in these economic times!

    Our tomato towers are finished and we anticipate using them for many years. I found a volunteer pumpkin plant growing near our fire pit so I transplanted it! Fingers crossed! I also saw that the bare root grape that I bought and left in its carton, unplanted, outside for over a year before planting in a barrel and totally neglecting since, has now got grape clusters all over it! Perhaps I will water it! 🥴
    I have a feeling that things will get harder, but that there will still be opportunities around here and there for us to take advantage of if we keep our eyes and minds open!

    We are being more cautious (I don’t know if we were ever “extravagant “) in our purchases. The trailer hitch we had put on our van and the trailer we bought for it have proven to be good values for us (and others). Friday, our neighbor across the alley whose partner of 20 years passed away in January, asked if we could help him move his BBQ, using our trailer, to his new place about 10 blocks away. We ended up transporting the BBQ, yard tools, planters, a ladder and several other things in it! He’s been a good neighbor. We will miss him and we were happy to have the resource to help him!

    Hope you are finding ways to economize while not feeling deprived! I truly believe that our attitude through these challenges will determine how well we come through them! Thanks, Brandy and others for all the inspiration AND motivation you give me!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Your remark about taking work when you get offered it resonated with me! Both my husband and I get the occasional call for contract work in our former careers and even when we would rather not, we take the work and am thankful for it. It is the type of work that can mostly be done from the comfort of our own home, so there is no special dress or time to show up. Most people are not as lucky. I do feel sorry for business owners, however, who are so desperate for employees. My husband went into a tool supply business and he and the owner got talking tools. At the end of the converstaion, the owner asked if my husband wanted a job—even just one day a week. That he said no to, since it would have meant a 10 hour day mostly on his feet and he is getting too old for that. Honestly, how bad is it when customers get offered jobs?! The owner said he has hired person after person but they leave as soon as they see a job that pays another 50 cents an hour, or they don’t show up on time or they are not patient with customers. My husband said he wanted to say yes to the job only to make the guy feel better!

      1. Mable- I have real concerns for so many of the independent “brick and mortar” shops trying to balance the expenses of maintaining a storefront- rent, utilities, payroll, supplies with volume of business! I worry that they may not be able to weather these rough economic times.

        Our quilting business has had a slow down the past 2 months but we are fortunate because it is home-based so we don’t have expense of maintaining a storefront plus we bought our machine/supplies outright so we don’t have payments. And I use my equipment during it’s downtimes to quilt up my own quilts from my fabric stash that I can use for myself, gift or sell. So we feel extremely blessed.

        Gardenpat in Ohio

      2. It’s so sad. I spoke to two friends the other day about the struggles to hire and MAINTAIN employees. The one man worked at FedEx and said that they were down 21 people at his place. They just don’t get everything delivered. The other said at his office (a medical clinic) they hire people constantly who then don’t ever show up. (I guess it’s all about unemployment.) I feel sorry for these poor business owners. Recently, I ordered Ajax in bulk on but I made the mistake of going with a third-party which the nice people at Walmart suggested not doing. The Ajax arrived with most of canisters broken open. So they had to pay for me to ship it back (I took it in the store because it was such a mess. Were I an owner I would have said skip it…here’s your money back or something rather than shipping that mess back. I tried to warn them!) Anyway, the most frustrating thing was that it would not have been hard to put a little brown paper in the box to keep them from banging around or even saran-wrapped them together…something, but I figured it was a slap-happy carefree kid that they were forced to hire because they didn’t have a choice. It’s so sad. My kids are making so much money right now and getting raises etc. just by being what used to be normal, hard workers.

    2. Could you make small spice jars of your dried parsley for stocking stuffers? I have gifted homemade jam and bread to friends I know appreciate it. Honestly, I stopped gifting the jam to my mother in law when I discovered the past three years worth in her pantry. I just give her homemade sticky buns now, which are great to have over the holidays and makes breakfast for a crowd easy.

      1. Allyson- I’d love to think that my parsley could be given as gifts, but I was joking about it. It will be an integral part of our food storage for this coming year, so it won’t go to waste! Others might not be as enthusiastic if they got my parsley as a gift! Lol!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. one of my friends gave me dried oregano. parsley, thyme, and basil in a little basket with pickles and hot pepper jelly and I LOVED it, even though I garden and can.

          1. Bama Holly- You do have a point and I have a book “The Perfect Mix” which gives mix ideas for gift-giving and ideas for using them to make “theme” basket gifts! I can actually picture making a gift basket of dried herbs, etc for someone who loves to cook!

            Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Gardenpat, I’ve had difficulty growing parsley here and would consider it a great gift to get a jar of parsley from someone who’d grown it!

      1. Terri C- I see now from your comments and others above that my gift-giving “eyes” had not been opened to a good opportunity!! This is what I love about Brandy’s blog!! She and all of her commenters (like you) give me so much inspiration and encouragement!! Thanks SO much!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. I would love some home grown herbs as a gift. I think they would be good for people that like to cook or are moving out on their own for the first time. I think it would make a great wedding shower gift.

  3. US Postage rates are going up the 11th. First class forever stamps– a brilliant invention for the frugal– go up from 58 to 60 cents. Postcard, second ounce, (a big deal for heavy wedding invitations), metered one ounce, and international stamps are going up as well. I of course don’t like it, yet consider it rather miraculous that I can send a piece of paper thousands of miles away for $1.40 cents/new international rate.
    I choose stamps that I like to interest the people I send cards to. Currently, my favorites are the Mississippi River and the Ojibwe artist George Morrison.

    1. Thank you. I just called Hubby and told him to stop after his hauling job at post office and get a roll of 100 stamps. He told the Amish guy that was standing next to him and now Hubby is picking up stamps for 6 other Amish families AND getting paid to go to the post office LOL

  4. Peaches sound wonderful 🍑

    Was an expensive week with all 3 indoor cats getting fleas and since we’ve never dealt with this before (17 years of having cats) it became an infestation in our house. It’s been so gross and costly. A good example of something happening we didn’t plan for; and frugality allowing us to be able to afford treatment. We also will be treating with preventative methods from here on out!

    *it rained 🎉 and we were able to skip watering a few days plus used caught rainwater for a few more days on all outdoor plants

    📍Grocery store: no full grocery trip again this week- getting creative with what we have here
    📍Buy Nothing Group: 5 boba tea sets, bird seed

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

    1. You can make a homemade flea trap to see if you’ve caught them all by using a white plate, a small desk lamp and some water with a drop of dish soap in it (to break the surface tension). Put the water in the dish and put the dish on the floor in your most infested area. Adjust the lamp so that it is pointed at the water’s surface and turn it on at night. Make sure it is the only light source in the room. I use a white plate because it makes it easier to see the dead fleas in the morning. Good luck! Fleas are very hard to get rid of because they are now resistant to the chemical treatments. It took us almost a year of daily combing to get rid of them.

    2. Marissa, if you want to take a serious scorched-earth approach to fleas, look for a brand called Precor 2000 (you can find it on Amazon). It is a professional-strength insecticide, so yes it is a chemical and it is not the cheapest out there, but it is the only product I have found that will completely eradicate even a serious flea infestation almost immediately. It kills the adults and eggs, and inhibits growth for several months so you don’t have a reinfestation. When I used it, we did not board our cats, I just moved them into another area and sprayed 1-2 rooms at a time and ventilated really well, it has very little odor and dries quickly. If the infestation is bad they also sell a fogger (Precor Plus).

    3. I’m so sorry about the flea problem. One of my friends got a flea infestation after she adopted a kitten, and it was a very costly, time consuming problem for her. The fleas were in her carpet and she had to replace it to get rid of them. Have you tried talking with your vet about it?

      For years we used Advantage (the kind you have to get a prescription for) and the vet told us that it would kill any fleas that came in contact with our pets — did not have to bite them. I can’t remember why we switched, but now we use Bravecto. We have always used the prescription kind from the vet. We have 3 pets so it does get expensive, but it’s worth it to make sure they (and we) are protected. We have never had an issue with indoor fleas, I think it’s because we’ve used the more expensive but more effective type. One of my cats has a flea allergy and he gets horrible reactions anytime he’s bitten, so we make sure to stay consistent with the treatments. I have it on auto-ship from Chewy.

      1. Thanks for your message ☺️ Good prevention is definitely worth it in my opinion! And I love the auto ship idea for something like this.

  5. Hello Brandy and everyone
    Happy 4th of July to everyone in the US.
    The tax situation sounded very complicated and definitely something you needed to get to grips with. It makes you wonder if the authorities are deliberately not keeping people informed but perhaps I’m being cynical!
    Inexpensive meals this week were mushroom omelettes with salad, homemade vegetable soup ( leftovers next day for lunch) and a ‘hot’ salad with salad stuff and veggies from the garden topped with a poached egg, freshly fried croutons made with stale bread and small cubes of blue cheese.
    A friend gifted us a big bowl of cherries from her garden which we were delighted to receive, I haven’t bought any cherries this summer as they’re so expensive.
    One of our duvet covers has worn through to multiple holes and wasn’t worth mending. I bought a good quality duvet cover and pillowcase set at TK Maxx at a greatly reduced price. I think it’s worth buying good quality linen because cheap sets I’ve bought in the past go bobbly.
    I mended the hem of a nightie.
    Our electricity usage for June was slightly less than this time last year.
    I have taken advantage of the good weather to wash and dry outside bedside rugs, winter dressing gowns, cushion covers, sofa throws etc.
    We planted out purple sprouting broccoli, sunflowers and sweet rocket and sowed more runner beans.
    We picked/ pulled radishes, potatoes, beetroot, carrots, broad beans, 2 types of lettuce and raspberries. I picked cornflowers and Sweet William for the house. When a daughter returned to the city we loaded her car up with fresh veg, fruit and flowers from the garden.
    I made a jar of pickled radish, it’s the first time I’ve done this and it looks lovely, let’s hope it tastes good too!
    Stay safe everyone and keep saving.

    1. There are a lot of people calling it a scam by the assessor’s office, including the local news stations! So I think a lot more people will be aware now.

      1. In my city if you pay the entire amount before the middle of January you get a pretty reasonable discount. It may not hurt to ask the assessing office what money saving suggestions they might have. The taxes in our city are equally divided over 12 months and do not charge a handling fee to take a monthly payment.

        1. Here they charge quarterly and ours are paid through our mortgage. Many mortgage companies won’t let you pay separately because the county can foreclose on a house where the taxes aren’t paid and the bank who owns your mortgage gets nothing.

  6. My local Bath & Body store had their semi-annual 75% off sale. I had an additional 20% off coupon off the total sale. I was able to purchase 30 items to put away for gifts throughout the year for the cost of two full price items.
    We hosted a 4th of July picnic and made food with items already on hand, paper products too. Guests brought side dishes.
    Our local town had a festival and we enjoyed entertainment & fireworks for free.
    My employer hosted a lunch last week and offered leftovers to employees to take home. I was able to make three different meals from them, stretching the grocery budget & pantry a little farther.
    I traded fresh cut herbs with a coworker. I made a delicious garden mint tea from her herbs, we also enjoyed her fresh dill.
    My husband made 2 raised bed gardens and we planted 4 different types of tomatoes and 4 types of pepper plants. We plan to freeze what we don’t use and to expand our gardens for the next several years,
    Continuing to find ways to not waste any food or other items. Enjoying the challenge of being frugal and finding new ways to save!

  7. Yes ,those house taxes are a thorn in my side . Mine increased so much this year ,I’ve had to redo my budget. I simply wasn’t expecting this. All my neighbors have 5 bedrooms and I have 3. I’m going to investigate and probably file to get it lowered. My electric doubled. I have evaluated some of my summer activities and replaced them w free options. I bought 9 books on ebay for $22.00 . I haven’t shopped ebay in years. These are books that I had on my Amazon list and were about $60.00. I researched a book my father requested. I found the cheapest price and ordered it. Dad is 82 and he can have anything he requests. I simply adjusted my small shopping budget. On Wednesdays, you can fill and buy an entire cart for $20.00 at the salvage store. I purchased 12 cases of Annie’s og Mac n cheese in one cart and decaffeinated whole foods coffee in the second cart. About 21 lbs. I stuffed the carts full w misc food items to pack them full. $40.00 bought me a ton of food. I believe the Annie’s product may have a smaller amount in it than kraft does. 144 boxes should feed the family for a while. At $4.00 a box I rarely purchase it. I did give an older woman in the parking lot a case to take home. She seemed to have missed it. It did go quickly. My daughter is gone for 6 weeks. I’m staying home as much as possible. I’m going through my entire food storage. I’m organizing and making sure it will be utilized best. Hugs dear friends.

    1. I bought a box of Annie’s Mac & Cheese today for the first time – just to try as I’ve heard so much about it (don’t buy the usual stuff) and was shocked at it being $3.69 Cdn. – guess it wasn’t too bad a deal after all! You did really well – never see offers like that here.

  8. Great pictures this week–I especially liked the tomatoes!

    I had two appointments last Thursday and time between them to cherry-pick specials at two stores. My best deals were cantaloupe for .59 EACH (and it weighed 4.25 lbs.–that’s less than .15 lb!), Copper River salmon $9.99 lb. (has been $17 lb. so I haven’t bought any this year), seedless grapes .99 lb., strawberries .99 lb., pork’n’beans .68.

    I have been harvesting the outer leaves of Buttercrunch lettuce for salads. I have extra room in the strawberry bed (which isn’t doing well) and I am hoping to plant a fall garden in the space.

    One of my goals is to make a big “summer salad” every Friday that we can eat all weekend. Last week it was potato, this week it was pasta…which we will finish off tonight with BQ ribs. I used up the buttermilk for half of the milk in a double batch of cornbread and we ate 1/3 and froze 2/3. Today I plan to make ranch and French salad dressings. Thank you to everyone for your suggestions. Brandy, it’s funny that you had to suggest ranch dressing to me because I had a whole jar of Hidden Valley mix, LOL.  I also used buttermilk in mashed potatoes!

    I read 4 books from the library, including The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle. I enjoyed it, but not as much as The Kitchen Front.

    I am still working on my sprinklers/drip irrigation and I’ve learned a lot and torn out a lot of my hair. What I’ve learned is that I need a service call! All of the stations work on manual, but automatic doesn’t work at all. I discovered that we may have had a power surge, which could be the problem (and expensive to fix).

    We don’t do fireworks so that will be a $aving tonight. We watch our pyromaniac neighbors for free!

    1. I have that book on my holds list from the library. I read the intro and it looked really good so far. I hope I like it!

      1. I finished it and really liked it, I also read the Actor and the Housewife and loved it except for the ending. I don’t want to spoil it for others but want a rewrite on the ending.

        1. I was sharing the story with my husband (summarizing as I went) and he said, “You know, sometimes real life is like that.”

          And that’s a good point.

          But if that had been my life, I think I would have felt differently. Then again, who knows how things will affect us, such as the situation she was in for the three years leading up to that time. (I’m being vague on purpose for those who want to read it).

      2. I guess I should explain why I didn’t like it as much, because I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading a good book. The Kitchen Front told us a lot about what the women actually did (gardening, foraging, etc.), and as a frugalista, I really get off on this stuff. There really wasn’t much detail of what the sewing circle did, how they mended dresses, etc. We really only got that level of detail on the first one. I loved how they got the word out for contributions, though. Now, the bulk of the story was really sweet, but I won’t say what it is. It was a good book, but the level of “make do” detail is why I liked The Kitchen Front better.

        1. That makes sense! I like those types of details as well. I learn a lot from them.

    2. That is a great deal on the Copper River salmon! I live in northern Alaska and that is cheaper than what it costs here. I thank friends who love to fish and share for free salmon every summer because I doubt we would buy much of it at current prices. I know it is worth it, as the work is hard and there are a lot of overhead costs, but we eat what we can afford. I feel that way about our farmer’s market—I want to buy from local farmers but the tomatoes are cheaper at the grocery store and some of them are sourced from the same farmers selling at the market. I grow my own but in the spring I buy until my garden begins producing.

  9. • It has been a beautifully cool week (70’s) here and I’m enjoying every moment. I have caught up on many jobs that I can’t do when it’s too hot.
    • I ordered a package of 6 air filters for the furnace, selected free shipping to store and selected the store that my husband passes on his way home from work.
    • My husband rode our ebike 30 miles round trip to work today. He’s teaching summer school, so it’s only half days and he has the extra energy to ride the ebike a few days a week. He is also asking the other teachers if anyone is interested in carpooling.
    • I made Meyer lemon marmalade with free Meyer lemons. I baked English cheese scones and made a set of linen napkins for a thank you/going away gift. The napkins were made from a linen sheet that I was given for free. It’s a beautiful butter yellow color.
    • I was gifted 2 half gallons of almond milk. I am allergic, but I will use it in baking for my husband.
    • I spend one day a month doing maintenance jobs-change air filter, vac behind fridge, de-scale the kettle, etc (on a rotating basis-not all are done every month). This gives me such satisfaction and keeps my house, appliances and cars running efficiently and for as long as possible.
    • We are 100% self sufficient in vegetables during the summer.
    • I needed an outdoor clock and found one in a free pile!
    • We cleaned and organized our garage and were able to put one vehicle in it for the first time since we moved here. It gets hot here in the summer and this car gets the least use. I looked it up and apparently gas does evaporate in the heat. So we thought we’d try to get this car inside. Now the car we do use most can go on the driveway (instead of the street) and be parked in the shade. It makes a big difference when its 100 degrees outside.
    • I filled up my car (an old Subaru and not very fuel efficient) a month ago. I have used 1/8 of a tank of gas in one month. I thought that was pretty good! More riding the ebike, and using my husband’s car (small and efficient).

  10. Our recent purchase of a 4 month old puppy has made me glad we kept all of our previous dog’s belongings as we can use some of them. Others are going to be too small and will go to a pet rescue thrift shop. Being conscious of all of our spending makes this fine and the fun and exercise he is providing makes it even better.

    We have been eating all meals at home except for the few times each of us has lunched with a friend and a trip for a Mr. Frosty cone while the pup practiced staying home alone lol. I signed up for the free Kindle Unlimited trial to see if it added value and won’t be keeping it past the trial. I have read some books through it in the meantime to supplement my library ones.

    We finished cleaning our windows, screens, ceiling fans and indoor shutters by taking it slowly. Being retired has advantages for doing it yourself. Few summer clothing purchases and I’m quite happy with the few things I added to my wardrobe at good prices and they will last several seasons. Our grocery stores are fortunately well stocked at the moment and the price increases seem highest in the meat/fish category which is making us healthier by eating more meals lower on the food chain. Our grocery bill has increased like everyone else’s though.

    Following our new time of use electricity plan as much as possible is causing slightly lower bills (all electric house) despite rate increase, under a new contract our HOA fee now covers our cable and internet so we just pay for the home phone so that is a significant cost reduction which is balancing some of the price increases thankfully.

  11. Brandy, Great work on disputing your paypal charges and getting your tax assessment corrected. It is annoying to be charged for something you did not receive or overcharged on anything. Amazing deal on the corn-I am sure 12 cobs would disappear quickly and be greatly enjoyed at your house!
    DH and I were in the grocery store this morning and quite shocked with the high prices for produce-I think the most shocking prices I saw were on cherries-which ranged from $5,99-$10.00 per pound-oh my word. I guess somebody must be buying them!! I will check the other grocery store close by shortly for any markdowns/specials I can find.

    We got our refugee moved into her own place on Friday-we hope she loves it. We celebrated with a cake as she turned 19 on Saturday The move ran like a swiss train and the weather co-operated so we were very thankful. Friends volunteered their time and vehicles so there was no cost to her-she was very appreciative! I had not really thought about it but I guess it will be somewhat frugal as we have been feeding one extra person for the past 2.5 months. Not that we mind at all giving someone a good start in our country.

    DH and I are having a quieter week at home-save for overnight guests on Thursday. They have offered to order in Chinese food for dinner which is very kind. We will also catch up on some house/yard projects that got put on the back burner the last couple of months. We also had a catch up financial meeting this morning as we usually discuss our financial priorities/plans at least twice per year to make sure we are on the same page. Planned spending for upcoming expenses is generally more frugal I find!

    We checked out a couple of garage sales this week-one had nothing we needed so we saved money by buying nothing. The other one had about 100 pieces of matching knives and forks for only $3 so I purchased them as spares for us, our refugee and daughter. Wish they had spoons too. I find that with smaller families and a dishwasher extra cutlery is frugal because it helps ensure you are washing only full loads. Also nice to have in order to replace the odd piece that somehow disappears. Other frugal savings included 2 lbs of organic grapes on the flash food app for $2.97( I was going by the store anyway) and getting a $4 credit at Costco because the price dropped the week after we bought cooking oil.
    Wishing everyone a frugal and peaceful week.

  12. Continuing the cucumber discussion from last week — I also have had disastrous results with bitter cucumbers from the heat in South Louisiana. A relative (in his 90’s and still gardening) told me about a cucumber that has been around for a while but is new to both of us. It is called Beit Alpha Cucumber and also Persian Cucumber or Lebanese Cucumber. It was developed in Israel on a Kibbutz (commune/small village) named Beit Alpha. A lady who lived in the village developed this along with aubergine and other vegetables to grow in their climate. An article on Wikipedia about the village talks about her. One of the major problems with cucumbers is the pollination. This cucumber needs no pollination (called parthenocarpic). In fact, it can be grown in greenhouses. The skin is tender so the cucumber does not need to be peeled. It is very prolific. It mentions to pick the cucumbers when they are somewhat small and that they are sweet. It seems that most people who planted this variety grew them on a trellis. Succession planting is recommended. An informative article is on I ordered seeds from Baker Creek seeds and they have a small write up about it on the page (the seeds are also available from other companies). I read all of the comments from gardeners who had ordered these seeds from Baker Creek and many were in very hot and dry climates — like West Texas— and they all had luck with this variety.

    1. I planted these last year and they all died on me without producing anything, sadly. I have more seeds and will be planting them soon. I am encouraged reading that they set for you in the heat. It’s going to 110° here soon.

      I LOVE Persian cucumbers and I have high hopes that they will do better for me this year. I would love to eat them fresh and pickle them. I have a tomato plant that is dying and I have been planning to plant Beit Alpha cucumber seeds in its place.

  13. I cut my husband’s hair

    Finished up to 2 audiobooks (Clanlands and My Evil Mother), and started a third(The Autobiography of Captain Janeway). I have my membership on pause currently, so I’m trying to listen to what I already have in my library.

    Sent in for $6.12 rebates for Menards

    Earned $10.50 from Amazon shopper rewards. I will use this towards purchasing a bottle of Biotin.

    My pelvic floor therapist recommended a pair of EVB shorts to wear when I’m working. Looking on medical supply sites, no one carried big enough sizes. I looked on Amazon and found a pair. If they are acceptable (I’m taking them to my next appointment to see if they are supportive), I’ll purchase a couple more pairs.

    I was set to buy the teen $20 or so in fireworks to take to my mother in laws, but my son told her to get what she wanted and he paid for them.

    I received a free movie rental from DIRECTV. I need to use it this week.

    My radish and lettuce didn’t get far, I’m thinking it got too hot too fast. I’ll give them another try in a couple months.

    We ate leftovers until they were gone.

  14. Brandy, thank you for hosting this blog. And fellow readers and commenters, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Favorite frugal efforts for the past few weeks –

    – We have begun to harvest a little from our garden: lettuce, cilantro, onions, and a variety of herbs. Squashes will be ready soon. We have quite a few volunteer veggies thriving as well: squash, tomatoes, dill, and cucumbers. My husband keeps finding them and transplanting, which is fun.
    – I harvested seeds for impatiens late last summer and started them in January in the kitchen. They are just beautiful on the deck now, and I feel like a proud mama when I see them.
    – My husband and I celebrated Father’s Day, our anniversary, and my birthday very simply over a long weekend. My biggest gift was taking time off work. We also picnicked and hiked one day, enjoyed a few meals together with family/friends, and a day of thrifting and the enjoyable movie Top Gun.
    – For evening relaxation and entertainment, my husband and I have been listening to the audible versions of Dear Mrs Bird and also Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce (from our library).
    – We continue to prepare for a couple of craft shows in which we anticipate participating come November, as well as making stock for my small Etsy shop. We have decided that we will prepare for a good selling season by working steadily, though there’s no knowing how things will work out. We do crafts that require little expenditures for materials, so our overhead is minimal. We enjoy our hobby-work, and that’s a true benefit no matter the state of the economy.
    – My husband and I have each lost weight this past year, primarily by portion control and limited snacking. The frugal angle to this is that our groceries stretch farther. Good timing on that!
    – I’m pretty selective about and limiting of the world, national, and state news I read/listen to. There’s that balance of being informed and guarding my mind and heart. When I strike that balance, I’m abundantly thankful for all I have received and rest in peace.

    I’m thankful for the inspiration and encouragement I gather here, and I hope that each reader will have a terrific week

    1. What sort of crafts do you do? What is the name of your Etsy shop? I enjoyed your post and would like to check out your shop.

      1. Sheila, thank you for your kind interest! is my shop. I hand stitch felt ornaments and sell a few select reclaimed wood decor items as well. Come September, my full ornament selection will be posted.

        1. Your ornaments are so pretty. I will be sure to check out your full selection of ornaments in September. Also your prices are very reasonable!

  15. Glad you were able to do refunds! So great that you really know where your money goes! And wow re the 3% vs the 8% — good thing you’re on the ball!

    My frugal week:
    – I made an orange Crush slushie ( using my kitchenaid ice cream attachment (my sister just uses her blender and frozen pop) on a hot day.
    – I picked lots of mulberries, service berries, and snow peas from my garden at my parents, and cilantro, chives, and green onions from my balcony garden. I planted a lot more swiss chard.
    – I foraged for mulberries and service berries in my neighborhood, within half a city block. I love showing my daughters that there is nature, and edible nature all around even in a city. We also picked a scant handful of wild raspberries on a walk down by a local creek.
    – I baked another berry cake with the berries I picked, and gave some away. Always a hit, and using foraged berries makes it so much more affordable!
    – had a guest over for lunch and served bagel sandwiches (homemade ‘everything’ bagels – – and homegrown lettuce) and a salad with homegrown lettuce. Frugal, delicious, healthy!
    – I redeemed $10 worth of loyalty points for groceries.
    – I used a mobile app to get free fries when I ordered an ice cream for my daughter.
    – i made more croutons from bread crusts, to top homegrown lettuce with for salads.. I fry them in butter and seasonings until crispy, then toast in the oven. They taste buttery, stay crunchy, and are way yummier than storebought! (Also, my freezer is currently full of bread crumbs, and enough bread crusts for bread pudding. So, I needed an alternative use, and this turns my plentiful lettuce in to a heartier meal. Add chicken and caesar dressing, and my husband will eat it as a meal!)
    – A local church put on a Canada Day celebration in a park near us, so we got free hot dogs, ice cream, bags of goldfish crackers (my kids favourite part), water, and enjoyed the music too.
    – we enjoyed the local splashpad, park, and public library, as usual. There was a free puppet show at the library, which my daughters enjoyed, their first live puppet show.
    – a neighbor who works at a local custom donut shop gave us a free half dozen donuts, much to my daughters’ delight
    – took part in an EarlyON program in a park, where they give out snacks. My daughters enjoyed playing with new toys and also the snacks, as I don’t buy packaged snacks and juice boxes.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  16. Regarding property taxes, if you are over 65, do a google search for something like “senior citizens property taxes” and the name of your state. Different states have different programs and you might find something to help you.

  17. I appreciate the community you have built here, Brandy. I am inspired every week by the frugal efforts of everyone who posts here. This week I played catch-up after five weeks away. I did a lot of laundry and made a new batch of laundry detergent. I planted more beans, in hopes they will come up. I fertilized the garden with homemade compost tea. I planted broccoli in seedling trays to set out in August. I have never had good luck with broccoli before, but I have the seeds and figure it is worth a try. I also planted seeds for more cabbage, bok choy, and chard. I baked sandwich bread, homemade pizza, and several pie crusts. I made yogurt, granola, and homemade ranch dressing. I bought groceries and didn’t get any great deals, but tried to buy only essentials and still spent $90. Organic strawberries were $2 a pound, the cheapest I have seen any strawberries around here, so I purchased 4 pounds and made strawberry jam, which is our favorite. We attended a free concert in the park and packed a picnic dinner to take with us. Another night we invited friends over to share dinner. It rained almost every day this week, so I was able to turn off the irrigation – a big savings and a huge blessing, as it lowers the fire danger.

  18. Gas in college town was $4.09 a gallon!!!!! So happy it has gone down but I am hearing it has not reduced two hours south and it is $4.79 there! I will not know until I go back to work tomorrow. But my corn on the cob in college town at Target were 45 cents an ear, so you definitely got the better deal on the corn Brandy… lol. I will say the ears were very large tho. This is so strange to me, my son bought a security system at Home Depot, for $99, but he went to store and it was $199, so he, in front of the folks working there, purchased it on line, and they let him pick it up there for the $99 price. I will never understand that logic on the part of stores, but whatever. I walked an hour a day over this holiday weekend at the local park and have been reading a book I got at the free little library, located at the park. I seldom read books for pleasure. I do so much reading of case law for deadlines at work that I always seem to be too tired at night to enjoy a book. It has been an absolute delight to read a book, sitting on my porch, and it was actually set in London during the Great Recession. I find that so appropriate considering the prices we are having today. Elizabeth Buchan was the author. I will be returning it to the free little library so someone else can enjoy it. My neighbors were shooting lots of fireworks in the street last night, so I got a show whether I wanted it or not… lol. I enjoyed a long nap. I also made potato salad, coleslaw, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, spaghetti, spinach, garlic bread which is just sandwich bread with olive oil and garlic salt added, purchased a watermelon from a local farmer, and just enjoyed being at home. I hope everyone has a delightful week. We have no idea what the future will bring so it is important to enjoy each day the best we can.’

  19. Hello Frugal Friends,
    Brandy thank you so much for all you do for all of us! I try to remember to use your Amazon link when I shop online so I hope that helps you 😊
    I do not comment often but I did want to mention one thing that we do that others may find interesting. Living in CA under drought conditions we save all our warm up water to use on our plants And we also save all the rain water we can by filling buckets from water that comes off of our patio furniture covers. It’s amazing how much water accumulates there. My husband added pvc pipe under the covers to direct the flow into the buckets. Then he takes the buckets and fills our never used outdoor jazzcuzi hot tub to store the water. We are just now finishing up the water we saved this way and we didn’t get much rain this year. We will definitely do this again next season! Every drop counts!

    1. Thank you so much for using my links! I don’t make much from my website but this year what I have made is down by half each month. I really appreciate it!

      1. Have you had any luck with asking about links for your Canadian and overseas visitors to use?

        1. I signed up for the program and followed all the instructions from Amazon for Canadian and British readers only to have the program tell me that no one was clicking on them at all (and I know you did) and then after 3 months they cut me from the program. I’m not sure what I did wrong. I should see if there’s a YouTube video that explains it and if so, I will try to reapply and see if they will let me try it again. Their instructions were very brief and they appeared to be working but clearly were not.

  20. I saved money by being prepared to cancel my online Free Press subscription after the introductory rate was over. A phone call slashed my new rate 75%. I asked the representative if there were any introductory deals on USA Today and the price offered was not low enough. Within the half-hour, a special popped up in my Facebook feed, and I’ll have full access to that paper as well for six months.
    I just spent money to save money. Mom has always been a slow eater and drinker and has been perfecting the skills as she ages. I toss so much food after it has sat on her tray for two hours. I usually leave the nutrition drinks, sodas, milk, and juices out all day but worry that someday she’ll get food poisoning. Today I ordered a doll-sized red Frigidaire cooler that can hold nine cans. It will hold her drinks and some snacks. I also ordered a sturdy chrome rack to place beside her wheelchair, hoping she’ll be able to access it herself. I think I am going to be utilising my very small crock pot to keep soups warm and just serve her a few tablespoons at a time in a berry bowl. Her drinks will be kept chilled in the cooler and she’ll be served a few ounces at a time. She has always loved red so I hope the red appliances will stimulate her appetite.
    Does anybody have suggestions on where to buy a set of matching cloches of different sizes to keep pastries on display but fresh? In an ideal world, there’d be a set of reasonably priced nesting glass or acrylic cloches in different diameters, from big cupcake to small cake or.large pie.

    1. Maybe will have them. One King’s Lane might as well.

  21. Brandy, my mouth is watering looking at the tomatoes. Mine are just starting to bloom! It will be awhile yet before we have fresh ones.
    -This is for 2 weeks as we’re were on vacation for a week. We went to Lake of the Woods to fish. We go every year, we book when we leave. The resort is very good to us. We stay 7 nights but they charge us for 6. We have been going here every year for the last 15 years. We put the deposit down when we book and pay for it before we go. We bring all our own food and cook in the cabin. This will be our only vacation this summer except for a couple weekends going to each of our daughters.
    -I canned 6 pints of asparagus pieces. We don’t eat these as a vegetable, they’re too mushy. I pour the whole jar in the blender, liquid as well and blend it up with some Parmesan, cream or half and half, and salt and pepper. Warm gently for asparagus soup. Yum!
    -Creative leftover use: Used leftover mashed potatoes to make lefse for breakfast the next day, we butter it and roll link sausage up. Used leftover ring farmer sausage by dicing it and adding a pint of home canned drained diced potatoes and frying up as a hash. Added a couple of fried eggs on top and called it supper. Heated up a pint home canned beets for supper one night. The next night we added the beets to our salads with a sliced pear and crumbled blue cheese and a home made vinaigrette. Leftover meatloaf put in wraps with spinach and radishes from the garden for lunch the next day. Baked extra potatoes on purpose and used those for fried potatoes and onions for supper the next day.
    -I harvested the last of the radishes and asparagus is done for the year. We are also harvesting spinach, kale, pea tendrils, and small onions.
    -A few days before we were set to leave a huge storm came through. We had 6.25 inches of rain the first night and 1.5 the next night. We had slight leakage into our basement, not much we were fortunate. The town we live near, Randall had to be evacuated in the middle of the night due to the flooding river. Major highway closed. We are on a hill overlooking the river and the other side is the low side. It was so high it was running just underneath the road. Normally there is about a 6 foot drop between the road and the river. My garden was looking pretty ragged when we left due to excess rain and hail. When we arrived home it was doing much better. Lost 3 out of 6 hills of cucumbers. And it looks like a deer jumped the fence and had a feast on my snap peas and green beans. It ate the tops, I think they will come back. We went to the kennel and picked up the dog, he barks so they will now stay away. I will replant the cukes. If we have a late fall we will still get some from the new plants.
    -The deer also got to one of my cherry trees. We had cages around them, but one cage was made of 2 different pieces of wire. It knocked the top ring of wire off and chomped the lower branches. I think it will survive. The crown with leaves are intact. We fixed the cage and we will see what happens.

    Have a great week!

  22. I spent $100 on groceries this week, stocking up on some items I had not seen at the grocery stores for awhile.

    It was our turn to host a large amount of people at our house but they all decided we should go to a restaurant instead. We spent a total of $35 at the restaurant, which was less than what the time, effort and food would have cost if hosting it at our house.

    I had a job interview, hung all washing on the line, did not need to water the garden due to the rain, harvested an abudance of fruit and vegetables, repaired a tyre on my son’s bike, went to the library, stayed local, caught fish to have for dinner one night and froze the rest and received and paid my electric bill for $40 for the quarter.

    I made a lentil and vegetable soup which lasted three nights and I have leftovers for my lunches. We gratefully received four large, freshly cooked raspberry and white chocolate muffins from a friend.

    I purchased a long sleeve blouse at 70% off as I needed one and had been looking for many months.

    Have a great week.

  23. Hello to everyone! Love your hollyhocks, Brandy. Mine are more a dark pink. I have been watching the ads like a hawk. In the past three weeks, I was able to get red mangoes for $.29 each, limit 10. Also got a rain check for them because the first time I went they were out and I didn’t expect to be at that store again before the sale ended. I peeled them, daughter pitted and chopped and we froze them for smoothies. Also got limes, ten for $1 (I got 30 after reading here about the citrus shortage coming) which I will juice and freeze in ice cube trays for use through the year. Sent son out one night for a flash deal at Hy-vee for bananas at $.19/lb. Found strawberries for $.99/lb and they were delicious! Sliced and froze them all for smoothies. Did the same with the bananas. I have plenty of strawberry jam made. Found apricots for $2.99/lb. Apricot jam is my favorite, then cherry. Will be canning that this week. Also picked mulberries and Montmorency cherries at my cousin’s for free. Her husband then picked more cherries for me the next day and cleaned, pitted and froze them. I will be making cherry preserves with them. I always give them jars of whatever I make no matter where I might get it. Just harvested my cilantro and am freezing it. Saved some seeds to grind for coriander powder and left a few stalks in the garden to reseed. Clipped some lavender. Then we got a huge rainstorm (short but a lot at once and am very grateful), so oregano and thyme will have to wait. I found bone-in chops on sale at Meijer for $1.29/lb. Also used the Flash Food app someone mentioned here (Margaret?) and got 32 oz unsweetened plain yogurt for $1.79. Have been using the Get Upside app someone here recommended, and referring everyone I can. Trying to be diligent about buying only sales, buying only things we will use, using up what we have, mending and substituting. My friend messaged me to see if I had coconut flour. I didn’t, but I did have unsweetened shredded coconut pieces so I stuck them in my ninja and ground some of them up for the 1/4 cup she needed! I got the idea from when I make almond milk. I buy Wild Soil almonds, which aren’t cheap but are worth it. Once I was done making the milk, I had all of this meal left. I dry it on the counter for a day, then pop in the oven for 1-2 hours on low temperature. Once cooled, I put in my food processor and grind up and then have almond flour. Works great in the recipe I need it for. I don’t have a problem with gluten, but wasting the almonds makes me ill.

    Things are getting tougher for most people and I am thankful for the knowledge I have acquired through the years. I find that I have become a go-to source for my friends who are just starting along this path of growing and preserving. I am thankful for this blog, Brandy, and for the many commenters who enrich my knowledge base and give me hope to keep going. Wishing all a blessed and fruitful week.

    1. The hollyhocks I was drooling over were doubles like mine and called Appleblossom. They are lighter than Chaters’ Double Pink and lighter than the single pink ones that are easier to find.

      But really, I have enough seeds to plant lots more this fall in white or peach (mine are called champagne;they’re peachy).

      1. Love Hollyhocks, but have never grown them. They are so beautiful!
        This isn’t about being frugal, but the Hollyhock flower made me remember a funny story my mother told me. During the warm weather they would heat water on the wood stove and carry it out to a clawed footed bath tub in the garden. The tub was surrounded thickly with Hollyhocks for some privacy even though they were on the farm far away from others. She was dating my father and he showed up early to pick her up and she was still in the tub when he arrived. She said if it hadn’t been for all those tall flowers she would of been stuck there forever. She was able to get out and dry off and dress all behind the Hollyhocks. I didn’t know this till she was 90 years old when I asked her why she grew so many hollyhocks. I think it made her think of my father.

        1. That is hilarious!

          They can be 14 foot tall on the taller ones.

          They reseed abundantly so once you buy them, you will have plenty for years.

        2. Misty that was a lovely story! I didn’t know that once planted the hollyhocks would reseed. I think they are so beautiful and have always wanted to grow them.

  24. My very small garden is just starting to produce – wax beans at the moment. The tomatoes are blossoming and have some of the largest stems I’ve ever had. Since our soil is pretty much beach sand, I added the quail litter + banana peels and egg shells to each hole. The zucchini didn’t get any special treatment and wouldn’t you know… is huge and blossoming lol. I “replanted” bulbs from 3 bunches of green onions and got a huge bowl of tops that are now in the dehydrator.
    I bought plants at a greenhouse that was clearancing everything. The only annuals I bought were geraniums that I can easily overwinter inside. I also rearranged what was planted in the front of the house because the deer ate all the blossoms off the daylilies and were munching the hostas.
    My Dad and Uncle helped get electric from our house to the garage with wire my Dad had. Wire prices are so high, we’ve been buying the pieces as we could afford it. They also brought a bunch of lumber for me which I’ll turn into raised garden beds.
    I repaired the Bimini top for our pontoon. My husband and I also “McGyvered” a pop up canopy for the front of the boat so all of it is in the shade. We love to be on the water but we both burn even with sunscreen on.
    We took advantage of a 15% off offer to pick up the pet food we needed for the month.
    Unfortunately, we had to purchase a car. Our only vehicle’s engine seized with no warning and we don’t live anywhere near public transportation. The price to replace the engine is $5-7,000 with a 3 month wait. Even used vehicles are 3-4k. Since we are still making payments, we haven’t made a decision on what we’re going to do with it yet. It is very frustrating as we were finally feeling like we were getting in front of the debt. So, we’ll just tighten the belt further.
    Hope ya’ll have a good week!!

    1. I feel you very much on the car issue. Our transmission went out late February and our mechanic is still unable to find a replacement for it. Every shop or dealership we call tells us the same thing. They have no idea when they will receive parts for replacement. It will cost 5200.00 to replace. It is still cheaper than replacing. Thankfully my daughter had an extra car we could borrow, for now. We will have to make a decision soon as to our next decision. Ugh. Buying a new (used) vehicle was definitely not in the budget right now.

  25. Hello, frugal friends. What a hot week it has been. We had a couple of scant rains but not enough to make a difference. The grass is brown and dry and I have had to water my garden almost daily. I also have covered my garden boxes with shade cloth because of the heat. I am getting beans of assorted varieties, green, yellow and purple, zucchini!!, carrots, turnips and so far this season, I have gotten 15 strawberries! and 2 quarts of blueberries!!! Keep in mind, for the past 12 years I have gotten 1 strawberry and 2 blueberries total…That is berried, not pints. I am very excited with this year’s harvest. This year I invested in some cover cloth and wrapped the blueberry bushes when the berries began to form. I also have the strawberries covered. I still have strawberries and blueberries to come. I have several pumpkins forming too. I use pumpkin for bread, muffins, in grits, and as a substitute for applesauce or oil in baking. I tried making myself a pumpkin smoothie the other day and did not care for it. I did not want to throw it away so I mixed it with some homemade bisquick to make pumpkin pancakes. They turned out delicious! I used some freezer peach jam to make a bbq sauce for some ribs for the 4th. Did not buy much at the store this week. I did find half gallon of skim milk marked down to .79. I have been wanting a couple of new throw pillows for the living room for a while. I found some at Joann Fabrics for 70% off. I was able to use the additional 25% military discount for the 4th. So I got 2 throw pillows for less than $20 total. I also got a $1.99 pattern for doll clothes which I will use for a gift for my granddaughter for Christmas using scraps of fabric from my stash. I picked and froze 9 pints of blueberries to add to my freezer pantry. I hope everyone has a fun, frugal and healthy week.

    1. Pumpkin gnocchi is really good. I am thinking about trying some other pumpkin pasta.

      1. My Amish neighbor make pumpkin noodles and pumpkin lasagna noodles. If she adds meat it’s usually chicken or pork. She will use any kind of winter squash to replace the pumpkin.

        1. Good to know! I’ve made gnocchi before but I think I need to try the others.

  26. I saw two mid-century modern chairs sitting out by the road, marked “free”. They were in great condition so I took them and offered them to my daughter since mid-century modern is her decorating style. She was thrilled to get them as she had been on the look out for chairs. Later in the week I found another MCM designer piece at the thrift shop for $3 – a teak side table made in Denmark. Again my daughter was the happy recipient, and again it was something she was looking for. It was so nice to be able to help one of my children this way.

    I’m adding as much food to my pantry as I can by shopping legitimate sales and buying clearance items. During the last recession I spent a year feeding my family from the pantry and freezer. I know a lot more about what I need from that experience and I also recognize the signs of what is coming. If I’m wrong and this recession is short-lived, I’ve still saved money by purchasing food at lower prices. It will all get eaten over time.

    Rhubarb season is coming to an end in my garden so I harvested all I could and canned rhubarb jam and rhubarb barbecue sauce. I had enough leftover to make a rhubarb crumble which I served with British style custard sauce. This is one of my family’s favorite desserts.

    Also from my garden, I harvested a few strawberries, lettuce, and herbs as needed. I picked some raspberry leaves and air dried them to use for tea later on in the year. I thined the swiss chard seedlings and used the plants I pulled as microgreens in a salad.

    I made sun tea and added pineapple mint from the garden.

    Looking out my kitchen window at the grape vines, I remembered reading on your blog that, in addition to the grapes, you harvested the grape leaves to eat. This would never have occurred to me to do, even though I’ve eaten stuffed grape leaves many times. I think I’ll give that a try and if I like the result, I’ll attempt preserving some leaves as well. I’m wonderering if anyone here has had success preserving grape leaves and what method they used. I’ve got concord grape vines and hope those will be suitable.

    I have been trying to add more perennial fruits and vegetables to my garden. Last year I planted Egyptian Walking Onions in the fall but only a couple came up in the spring. This week I was delighted to see they’ve started the multiplying process.

    I continued to add to my compost.

    1. Concords should work, but they are different in shape and thickness from other kinds that I grow (I grow concords as well). I haven’t preserved just the leaves, but I know people do; I would check Pinterest for recipes.

      Mid-Century modern is very trendy right now and pieces are going for a lot of money. What great deals you got!

      We are already living mostly on our food storage again (save for the 3 gallons of milk and 30 cents’ worth of corn I bought). For me, the time to stock up has passed, but I can still plant seeds that I have in the garden and collect more from the garden.

      I think the more we can all grow, the better.

    2. On my canning groups, people put a grape leaf in each jar with the pickles they are preserving to keep them crunchy. 🙂

  27. That sounds like a rather confusing mess, with the property tax rate. I’m glad you were able to navigate the changes, and have them cap it at 3%. Last week, I repotted lettuce, and harvested cucumbers, yellow squash, figs, blackberries, blueberries, lambs quarter, eggplant, tromboncino squash, and oregano. I planted the last wintersown coleus, and several cypress vine seedlings in the ground. The next day, I planted zinnias started from seed in a pot to cheer me when I drive in. I made 10 listings on ebay, and sold two. On a cooler day, I cut up all the “need to use first” potatoes, made mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, and made cucumber salad. I canned our smallest potatoes, adding 24 pints to the pantry, and got a few small jars of mushrooms done at the same time, which I found marked down to .99 the day before. Golden paste was made for the pups, and also food for the hummingbirds. I harvested kale, basil & parsley, and made a double batch of kale pesto, which went in the freezer. The parsley and chard were weeded and fed with comfrey tea. It’s the season of planting, harvesting and putting by!

  28. So glad you were willing to put in the effort to get the refunds, exchanges and rates taken care of.

    I took a really thick tee shirt and turned into a comfy pull on skirt. I originally bought this at a pay by the pound, so couldn’t try it on there. Once home, it wasn’t my cup of tea, so happy I was able to repurpose into a skirt.
    We hosted a small get together for the fourth and I made a PB custard pie for dessert. It has a meringue top, and my first batch of egg whites wouldn’t stiffen. I had the tiniest bit of yolk and that’s why. I saved the yolks from the second batch of meringue to use in an omelette.

    At an eye visit, I asked repeatedly for my prescription. They wouldn’t give to me and insisted I purchase frames from them. I declined, and will continue to use readers until I find another eye doctor.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. That’s crazy! They have to give it to you. I would call and complain to the manager. If that doesn’t work, go higher up.

    2. I’d check your state laws because I doubt that’s legal. Maybe call the state department of health.

    3. J in PA,
      The Federal Trade Commission requires that the provider give you your prescription. You may file a complaint at

    4. I agree with Brandy.
      Complain about this…and don’t let go until you get the prescription.
      I buy my grandchild’s glasses online. the doctor’s office wasn’t happy, but they gave is the prescription.

    5. I asked if they could give me a measurement at the eye doctor’s office and they refused that. I also got a lecture about ordering bi-focals online. They said they HAD to give me my prescription because they couldn’t withhold that…

      1. They don’t have to do the PD measurement but you can take that yourself if need be.

        They make a fuss about bifocals but we had no problem with ordering them online the first time. The second year, though, we had an issue; they made them where one lens was turned (we took it into the eye doctor). Zenni said it was correct even though we returned them. My husband ended up ordering through Sam’s. He ordered again though through Zenni last time and they were correct again. I need to get mine so that’s a concern for me too, but hopefully they will be right. It will be my first pair of progressives.

    6. Definitely be persistent in getting your prescription from this place, but in the future, if you have access to a Costco with an optical center, go there. (You may not need a membership to use the optical center, but double check.) They’ve always given us our prescription, including the PD measurement (which is what I see a lot of places around here attempt to withhold), without my even having to ask.

  29. Happy 4th from us in Canada!
    I went to a thrift store for the first time in months with my daughter. She found some children’s clothes while I found a large Tupperware storage container for $3. I’ll use it for homemade granola.
    I pressure canned jars of broth made from chicken bones.
    We had two days of sunshine finally so I did the ammonia-&-sunshine cleaning of my stove’s cast iron grates, and I used lemon juice to sun out some linen stains. Then we went back to cold wet weather. The garden is 4 weeks behind usual, and I do not have high hopes for it. Over the next week, only 1 day is forecast to be 70F; the rest less.
    For Canadian readers, I clicked on Brandy’s Amazon link for a Victorio food strainer last week and was surprised that it showed up as $41 CAD! I already have one and like it, but I notified everyone I knew who wanted one about the low price! It is very handy with homemade applesauce and tomato sauce.
    Have a great week!

  30. I have had weeks like that, too, where much energy must go into aggravating money-related tasks but the end result is so worthwhile. Congratulations on all your creative and informed savings this week and for sharing your successes with us.
    *I made a triple batch of laundry soap and dried all the clothes I can outside, as usual. One good thing about the limited rain we have had this week – all clothes drying quickly with that heavenly outdoor scent. I think I just sleep better on sheets dried outdoors.
    *I have found several volunteers of various plants in the garden and moved them to more appropriate places. Free plants are the best! I also have a lot of purple milkweed growing wild in my meadow garden below the chicken’s house. A few had found their way into the aisles so I dug them up and moved them. They are so beautiful and beloved by the pollinators so I had to be sure to save each one.
    *We continue to eat from the garden, the pantry and the freezer. I am really trying to use up frozen fruit from last summer, in particular, before I need to add more from this year. This also saves quite a bit on grocery shopping. The only grocery shopping we have done is a few B1G1 sale items and a can or two of something to restock our stash.
    *Mending, mending and more mending of clothes – a regular task here. 🙂
    *We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon swimming and tubing in the river with friends. We have always tried to keep our socializing frugal by choosing free activities and now it feels even more critical. I am glad my children seem to understand that one does not need to spend money to have fun. I was also glad to hear them discussing the purchase of an item in terms of how many jobs they had to do to pay for that item. Although I come from a long line of frugal folk, I was very much influenced by reading “Your Money or Your Life” when I was an older teen. It put a lot of decisions I had seen my parents and grandparents make into perspective and influenced my own spending once I was on my own.
    *Sold eggs to neighbors and bartered for blueberries. Have put up a few gallon bags in the freezer and have been enjoying the rest every morning for breakfast. One of my favorite recipes is this one The batter is very thick, almost like cookie dough, and is perfectly flavored with lemon zest. SO good!
    *I sold a few things in my neighbor’s booth at a local antique shop. I used some of the money I made to buy an antique oak mirrored cabinet with a towel bar. It appears to have been handmade and will be useful and lovely over my laundry sink. I have tried to ensure purchases for my home are bought with funds I make selling other things. That way, it is more of a swap and doesn’t come out of our household budget. It means I have to wait for things but, since I prefer used and vintage/antique things, that goes with the territory. You rarely find what you are looking for instantly but, when you do find it….it is like finding real treasure! I don’t enjoy other kinds of shopping so it works for me. 🙂
    *We continue to work on our house projects – namely, interior trim and painting. We still have much of the materials we need – time is just the elusive factor. We have so much to do outside this time of year but we keep chipping away at the indoor projects which is a real feeling of accomplishment even if it is progressing more slowly than we would like. This week, we painted and installed my laundry room door. It has glass in the center so it lets a lot of light into the kitchen and I love it.
    *I have been able to cut the chicken’s feed back just a bit more since they are finding so much to forage on their evening strolls about the property. Every little savings helps.
    *My current read is “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom. I found it in a Little Free Library at a park a couple of months ago and have just gotten to it. I have just started but am enjoying it, thus far.
    *I don’t feel like I have anything Earth-shattering to contribute this week but, like most frugal efforts, it is the small, every day things that count the most. One of the best things about this space is that philosophy is proven week after week in all the lovely comments and stories shared by all the readers. Thanks to all! Have a lovely week!

    1. I’ve read Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Have a Little Faith. I think Mitch Albom is a great writer!

      1. Mitch Albom has a new book out The Stranger in the Lifeboat. I wasn’t sure about it at first but decided I did enjoy reading it. Hope you are able to find it.

        1. Katrina – I will check that out. Thank you for the suggestion! I love how this space serves as a frugal community and a book club. I have enjoyed every book I have read recommended here. 🙂

      2. Tammy – I have read the first two you mention but not the last. I will be on the look-out for it. This one is a quick but very thought-provoking read. 🙂

  31. Happy 4th of July to all my friends here! * We started the day at a church picnic breakfast. Fun to eat together and play games The church provided all the food, which was so nice. Then we had family over for a cookout dinner. We all contributed to the meal, which makes it manageable for all of us. It was so fun to all be together.* This weeks meals I cooked were pork loin and veggies, roasted veggies, refried bean burritos, hamburgers & salad and homemade pizza, and leftovers. * I bought some kale for green smoothies, but was having a hard time using it up so I froze it in individual packages. It felt good to not waste it. * I finished an afghan, a hat and two dishcloths for charity from donated and stash yarn. * I read library books and watched shows for fun. We are watching Independence Day tonight, which is free with Amazon Prime. * I hope everyone is having a safe and fun holiday weekend.

  32. Hello!

    We have had record heat in our area. I am using rain umbrellas and shade cloth to protect some of my potted plants from getting scorched! When it does rain, I continue to make sure I move containers out from under cover for free watering.

    I won a National Parks and Federal Lands pass (worth $80) and $10 in Venmo from sweepstakes entries.

    I discovered a black walnut tree in our neighborhood common grounds. The tree was loaded with nuts, so I hope to be able to get some in September when they should be ready to harvest. There are also lots of blackberries in this area too, but they aren’t fruiting yet….hopefully soon!

    I used to leave porch lights on overnight, mainly because I felt they added extra security. I stopped doing that, figuring it is one more way to trim our electric bill. We keep only a few small lamps on inside at night, and those are on timers that come on at sunset, and go off at bedtime, so we don’t forget to turn any off.

    My cucumbers aren’t doing well, but fortunately, they have been pretty inexpensive at our grocery store. We love Thai cucumber salad, and have been eating lots of that. I found a half a bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer so I tried a roasted pepper, potato, and shrimp bake. It was good. I don’t like using my oven very often, but I did make that dish on the coolest day of the week, and baked some homemade pizzas at the same time.

    I have dwarf zinnias, butterfly bushes, and hydrangeas currently blooming, so I have been making arrangements with those.

    Have a great week!

    1. That salad sounds very interesting! I hope my cucumbers start producing soon.

    2. We switched our porch light to one that you can set to a timer but if someone comes close to the porch it pops on with a really blinding light that will startle any no-good-nick who wanders too close.

  33. I love the zinnia picture. The flowers are so pretty. I love those flowers.

    We went on vacation all last week. We made every meal ourselves at our trailer on our outdoor cook stove or Dutch oven. We made beef goulash, soup and grilled cheese, Dutch oven pizza, Dutch oven apple cinnamon rolls, bbq chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans (the last meal was our Sunday leftovers), eggs, bacon and pancakes. We had bread for sandwiches and plenty of leftovers for lunches.

    We went to the local pool complex on their discount day and brought drinks, snacks and lunch. I brought our own chairs and towels. We bought our tickets early and didn’t have to stand in line. We were able to walk right in at opening time and found a shady spot for the day.

    I submitted all receipts for Fetch and Ibotta. I brought library books with me and read 4 books last week. We ran one load of laundry at the facility but brought our own laundry detergent. We used all our towels up and needed to wash them. We enjoyed watching the river and seeing 10 new baby ducklings. We found a water blaster toy that was running down the river. No one claimed it or reported it missing in the week we were there so the office had us take it home.

    Our one treat was to go horse back riding for one hour as a surprise for our youngest. We hadn’t ridden in years and it was nice to be in the canyon on a cooler day.

    Have a wonderful week.

  34. our neighbor came over and asked my husband if he had a power tool. Then gave one to my husband. I can’t remember what it was, but my husband was happy.
    ***I harvested greens beans and suckers from my tomatoes to root.
    ***I added chocolate chips to pancake mix for grandson.
    ***We made a star stencil out of a box and sprayed red white and blue stars on our lawn with spray paint made for marking lawns. It turned out really cute.
    ***I used my carpet cleaner to clean the area rug in the den and dining rooms. We loan our machine out and always get the unused portion of cleaner from whomever borrows it.

  35. Hello from the hot state of Georgia!
    I have been a LONG time reader, and very infrequent poster, but have recently permanently deleted my Facebook profile, and now I need somewhere to share what I have been doing to be more frugal, mindful, and homestead-y. 🙂
    I’ve had bits and pieces of fruit to ripen in our super dry, hot summer, so I have been freezing it and mixing it together, to can into jam/jelly when the weather cools enough so that my air doesn’t run constantly. A neat combo I am excited to try is plums (I only had about a cup) and blueberries (we’ve had very very few this year, which is very much not normal). I also just realized we have a mulberry tree (after 15 years of living here! LOL!!) but very few mulberries, so will be adding them to the bag of blackberries and strawberries I have in the freezer. In the garden, we’ve got tons of Zipper Cream Peas, Whipporwill Peas, and Speckled Butter Beans that should provide us with a good amount of dried peas for the winter, and we are still waiting on tomatoes. I cooked up a turkey and portioned it out, getting 6 meals worth from a 13 lb. turkey- four quart bags of “dry” meat, and two quart bags of stewed turkey (meat and broth) to make and serve over rice. I’ve also been putting up tons of zucchini and squash, but the heat has now gotten it and we are down to 2 plants left. We are getting 1/8 of beef at the end of the week, and will try to make it and a few turkeys last until the next turkey sale in November. We’ll go easy on all meat, and use it more as an accompaniment. Last week, I used CVS coupons to get isopropyl alcohol for $.59 cents in a spray bottle, which I will add water to and use to sanitize my counters. Tonight, our boys watched the neighbors blow off around $1,000 worth of fireworks, that we enjoyed for free! My parents paid for the ingredients to grill out, and we brought the leftovers home. I’ve also used Fetch to get credit for all receipts. Does anyone know if there is a limit to how many you can upload in a day/week?
    I love reading everyone’s weekly updates, and using ideas when I can! I have a baking question, that I hope someone can help with. I am gluten free, and need a good homemade bread recipe for loaf style bread. I absolutely refuse to spend over $7 for a small loaf!!!
    Have a great week ladies!

    1. Check out Cannelle et Vanille blog; she’s a Spanish professional pastry chef that went gluten-free about a decade ago.

      Tarlette is the same situation save she is French. I was reading both of their blogs before they went gluten-free and they have so many great things for those who are that they have really tested.

  36. We have continued working on the garden and I can see the beginning of our efforts paying off.
    I harvested several cucumbers daily…these are growing and producing like crazy! I am
    Also getting loads of yellow squash peppers of all sorts and zucchini. My green beans are beginning to climb and flower and all of the field peas are looking very lush. I was a bit concerned with my okra seedlings and so I fed the entire garden and noticed quite a difference over 24 hours.
    I am trying to improve my succession planting as this is an area I have always struggled with. I sowed more green beans seeds and four more tomato seedlings. I purchased four large basil plants and added those to the garden as well…I didn’t have any planted yet this year.
    I sowed seeds for zinnias and sunflowers to complete my
    Flower beds and to border the garden completely. I also planted the marigold seeds that I recovered from dried blossoms and planted this as well. If they germinate I will have marigolds bordering my
    Flower beds that will drive pollinators to the garden nearby.
    We used t poles and some old garden wire to provide a place for the beans to climb and my
    Husband built one trellis for me that I am using to grow one of my
    Cucumbers plants on for the first time. I had read lots of success stories about growing cucumbers vertically so we shall see.
    My blackberries are not yet producing so I purchased three gallons from a local farm that was offering them at 50% off. I also purchased a half bushel of peaches which I will use to can peach jam.
    I froze the blackberries to use In baking and a small batch of jam later in the season.
    All of my tomato plants are covered in green tomatoes and I am excited for the harvest once they start turning red!
    We have gotten a lot of rain which has been great for the garden but difficult for us as we are having a hard time getting garden tasks done in between rain storms.
    We are eating ALL the leftovers around here! I am carefully shopping for groceries as we need them and purchasing only items that are on sale. Meals are supplemented with rice, beans, veggies from the garden and are simple. I am working to restock pasta in our pantry this week and I am keeping a close watch on our pantry to make sure that items are rotated and used to avoid waste. The higher I see prices climb the more seeds I am encouraged to plant.
    I am very thankful for this community and the inspiration it provides as we all walk through these days with joy and creativity.

    1. Cucumbers do really well vertically. My neighbor grows hers 12 feet tall.

  37. We had so much fun yesterday with my grandchildren! We took them to the library. They had activities for the kids that had to do with the ocean. They loved it! They also got to read to two dogs who are therapy animals! They really enjoyed that! My husband and I really enjoyed seeing our grandchildren so happy about reading. We love the library! Free entertainment is wonderful. We also visited my husband’s family today and had a really nice time! I spent time with both my boys this week. I call them boys but they are all grown. Love them!

    I enjoyed listening to my husband sing for his mom today. And listened to him practice the Ukulele. I need to practice too. I did play the piano one day. I have been keeping myself busy with cleaning and cooking. We went to the grocery store one day instead of going out. We enjoyed our picnic in the cool car. It was in the upper 90’s outside and humid. Not my cup of tea. But completely enjoyable in the car.
    I have been using lotion that we added water to the bottle. We have been turning off lights . We use cloth napkins. Wash full load of laundry and dishes. I’ve been taking shorter showers. We saved 10 dollars on our water bill over last month! That made me happy. Brandy, I like your idea of cooling water off in the fridge. I think I may start doing that as well. I’m sure that saves a lot! We pulled a ham out of the freezer that I bought on sale for 89 cents a lb. awhile back. My husband refroze part of it in smaller bags after I cooked it and we will use the rest the next few days. I will be able to take the smaller bags out to use later.
    It rained so we didn’t have to water the garden for a few days. Our library has hoopla and it has the Great Courses. Oh, I am so excited about that! So many things to learn for free! Those of you that homeschool might like that. Hoopla has something called Binge, I think. And one of the things you can binge on is Great Courses. There are courses offered by professionals and professors from colleges. So many choices. I just discovered it last night and I am looking forward to learning for free! I must say though that I was watching it until midnight then it stopped for some reason. That is probably good because then I went to bed. I was so tempted to stay awake and learn more. So many topics are available! Have a great week!

    1. Wow! Having access to Great Courses is fantastic! I used to get their catalogue and was interested in so much they have to offer…you are so lucky to have access to that! Have fun!

      1. Chris,
        Thank-you! Maybe a library close to you has hoopla? I hope you are able to find one that does have it! I used to get the flyer as well and was so tempted to purchase a class, but didn’t.

    2. Hi Tammy! I was talking with my husband just yesterday about how many paper napkins we have saved since we went to cloth napkins! The last time I checked, paper napkins at Costco had gone from $7.99 to $14.99! I do have a few packages stashed for larger, non-family get-togethers, but we don’t use them for us. I wish our library had Hoopla😒

      1. Hi Laura S.!
        Wow! It is amazing how expensive paper products are! I’ve used cloth napkins as handkerchiefs before too and we may get back to that as Kleenex are getting more expensive. Sometimes a neighboring library will let you use their services. Maybe another library close to you has Hoopla?

        1. Cloth handkerchiefs are so much softer. I use both those and cloth napkins.

          1. Brandy, Where do you find your cloth handkerchiefs? My mom made me two collections of cloth napkins. I just love them! So I have around twenty cloth napkins. I just throw them in the wash with other clothes. I would seriously consider buying cloth handkerchiefs to avoid buying Kleenex. It is an expense that is rising with the rest of everything. I’ve even thought of buying flannel and cutting it out for handkerchiefs. I don’t really know how to use my sewing machine. I need to watch some videos and try. I took home Economics but that was a very, very, long time ago.

              1. Brandy,
                Thank-you for letting me know where you get your handkerchiefs. I have one that my grandma gave me as a child. It is special. I’m going to check out those links! Thank-you! I might put a stack of them in a Kleenex box to be used when we need them at home and then just through them in the wash with towels and napkins.

              2. I ordered handkerchiefs on amazon using your links! Thank-you! I’m going to give some as gifts! I’m seriously considering ordering more later. I appreciate those links! The women ones are so pretty!

  38. Brandy —
    I should have added this to my earlier post. I have had to use shade cloth for the first time this year. The sun was so intense on the tomatoes and bell peppers that it
    actually burned the leaves and fruit. Maybe the use of shade cloth would help with the Beit Alpha cucumbers. I know it won’t change the temperature but maybe it will
    help with the intensity of the sun.

  39. The photograph of the fuchsia zinnia is lovely. I love that hot pink color for my summer clothing also. So pretty.
    * 3 of my friends accompanied me for a 4 day vacay. I used my CC points to pay for a 4 day 3 night room at at an upscale hotel. Our room was oceanfront & spacious to accommodate all of us. We bought some bread & lunch meat to make sandwiches for lunch each day & the room had a small fridge. I do not drink coffee but the other 3 went to the lobby each day for the complimentary coffee bar. I know many cannot afford to travel. I feel blessed to be able to take a short trip & treat my 3 friends.
    * My sister is harvesting & freezing muscadine grapes for me. I will make jam or jelly soon.
    * I accepted a part time teaching job for the fall.
    * I bought a car from my next door neighbor which is not frugal. My car is 10 yr old & may need to be relinquished to my husband as his truck has 280K miles on it. Who knows when new & used cars will be reasonable or available. The neighbor’s car had low mileage & gets good gas mileage. A bonus that I did not have to deal with a car salesman!
    * Found 2 mangos on my evening walk. I got these before the birds spied them to eat.
    This community of careful spenders seems to have risen to the challenge of the current state of inflated prices & scarcity of many items. The people who post comments are positive and do not complain. They look at what is available & make it work.

    1. 280K– that is encouraging. We put under 10K miles a year on our only vehicle. It is about 215K now. I hope we can make it last that long. That would be wonderful.

      1. I will guess that you have your vehicle insurance set to the number of miles you (don’t) drive? Forgot if I posted this– I told my agent my husband’s ancient truck now is driven than 3000 miles a year and it dropped our annual premium $45.

  40. I have read some of Jenny Colgan’s books and haven’t found this one. I will check if my library has it.

    This has been a most expensive week with my mother becoming critically ill. So ill that started ICU treatments in the lounge room. I have paid a small fortune in parking fees and other sundries that just add up when you are not at home. Because it is just me I have found that bread has not been used in time too. Thankfully mum os now ding so much better but will remain in hospital until her many troubles are sorted again.

    1. Sorry to read about your mom. I do think it’s a bit ridiculous how much hospitals charge to park surely there could be some kind of arrangement for long term visitors – especially if the loved one is in the ICU!

    2. Suzan,
      Sorry about your mother’s hospitalization. At the hospital where I have stayed, my husband got the garage ticket stamped each day I was inpatient and that gave a reduced daily cost. My brother in law was just in the hospital—no daily discount, but by showing discharge papers, my sister got the last day’s parking free. I hope your hospital offers something!

    3. Suzan, check at the cashiers office of the hospital to see if they sell books of parking tickets. It is cheaper than paying full price. The hospital where I work does this.

  41. Many of my neighbors have been decluttering lately and I’ve received some fantastic things. One neighbor decided that she no longer has time for canning and gave me all of her jars, lids and rings, along with a full bag of citric acid and two boxes of herbal teas! I shared the tea with my older daughter. I will give my neighbor some of my canned goodies as the summer goes on.

    The preserving season has started here. My daughter and I went strawberry picking and got 8 quarts. I tried a recipe for strawberry-vanilla jam using a small piece of vanilla bean and it’s absolutely delicious. I’ve been picking currants in the yard and have made red currant jelly. Black and white currants will be next. Does anyone have any currant recipes that they love? My bushes are bending over with fruit.

    We foraged elderflowers and made cordial to mix with sparkling water. Several years ago, my husband was given a carbon dioxide tank and a keg by a neighbor who used to brew beer. We use the setup to make almost free sparkling water. The tank can be refilled cheaply at a local brew store and lasts us a couple of months.

    The most exciting thing this week was getting a free bike for my younger daughter! She will be moving into her first apartment in a month and will be less than a mile from her job. A friend of mine mentioned that she was getting rid of her bike and I asked if my daughter might buy it. She said that she could have it for free! It fits perfectly. We took it to our local bike shop and used a coupon for 20% to get it tuned up. My daughter should be able to ride it to work and grocery shopping until winter!

  42. We haven’t had to spend much on gas for the car as we are retired and don’t need to go out much, When we do we do it by areas and get all we need from the different stores in one swoop.
    I have been adding black beans to our taco meat to make it go farther, but I’m also going to add finely grated carrots and potatoes to it next time to increase our vegetable intake and make the meat go even further. My mother in law always did taco meat with the carrots and potatoes in it and I loved it, but haven’t done it myself. Hubby is good about savings I do with our menu, but still prefers at least a little beef in his tacos

    I saved money this week by reusing the adding machine tape. I’ve done this for a couple of years now. When using the adding machine, I roll the used paper up and don’t tear it off. When I have used about half of the new tape I then tear it off and save it, since it gets to bulky to roll anymore up. When I run out of the roll, I just reload the used roll and use the other side.

    I have some new recipes to try from WWII when eggs were rationed. I’ve made the Krazy cake recipe my mom gave me years ago for years. The new one recipe is also egg-less, but is more like a fall cake, molasses, raisins, cinnamon, etc. Since I heard the costs of eggs will get more expensive than they are now, I want to try it out.

    Our garden is doing well, It seems to be very slow this year, just waiting for things to come on or get ripe. I’ve picked 4 crooked neck & 1 patty pan squash, Today I think I will be able to pick a couple of cherry & 2 paste tomatoes. We did have some lettuce and I also picked beets. Too hot for lettuce now, so won’t replant till fall. I have potted blueberries and will pick the last of these today.

    1. I have had a hard time with grated carrots in things going over well with the family. However, if I blend ingredients and don’t use too much so that the taste is overwhelming, no one notices. I am doing this more and more often to increase nutrition in foods and make things stretch.

    2. I always add at least 1/2 cup oats to my ground beef when browning it for anything. The oats soak up the fat and the taste and texture is just like the beef. It also frees me from needing to drain off excess fat.

    3. Thank you, Misty. I had forgotten about potatoes in tacos. I may have overdone it with potatoes last year. (I told my husband we needed seed potatoes. Then I happened to be at the store and asked the produce man about seed potatoes. He kindly opened them for me, telling me that he would put them out the next day. I worried that I would miss them as we live in the country and getting to town is not so easy so I bought a lot. Then my husband bought some at a different location where apparently they put them out already. Oops. I forgot about telling him that. Then we had a bunch of potatoes sprout so I cut off the outer portions and planted that and cooked the rest. I recently harvested some of those and I was amazed at how little I planted but how much it yielded.) At one point I looked and we had over 200 potato plants. Oops again! A few of them got strangled by weeds or just didn’t do well, but a good majority are there. I have a feeling we are going to be using potatoes in a lot of things, and we can always share if it’s too many for us. One really good recipe right now with our bits of broccoli is cheesy broccoli soup which also using potatoes.

  43. Interesting about the property tax cap…thanks for sharing. Beautiful pictures of the flowers, as always…a delight to see! Thrifty actions this week: 1. Accepted a moving neighbor’s potted plants, hanging plants, house plants, shovels, bags of potting soil, potting tools, electric spray washer, etc. that she did not want to take with her. I have incorporated some of the plants bursting from the pots into our landscape and passed on to neighbors, family, friends the rest that I did not need. 2. Made pavlova for 4th of July dessert with fruit and mini breakfast quiches out of the eggs that needed to be used. 3. Planning to begin the process of asking insurance agent to check on cheaper policies for the upcoming months when policies begin renewals.
    Thank you for the recommendation of The Vanishing Stars by Kristen Harmel.

    1. I also called the insurance agency to see if our home owners policy could be lowered. The replacement cost was raised when lumber was so high. The response was “If I click to open your policy it will automatically trigger a re-evaluation and the policies have been raising.”
      Has anyone else heard this?

  44. We have been doing lots of work in the garden. We picked our first eggplant and wine berries. Strawberries are done for now. We are picking lettuce daily. We have gotten a few tomatoes, lots of peas and beets.
    Hubby brought home a container of iced tea and lemonade that were left over from a work lunch.
    Hubby and I went blueberry picking out East. It is not cheap but they are so worth it. I packed lunch and drinks to take with us. I froze half of them. I made blueberry pancakes the next morning.
    Aldi had pork butts 50% off so I got 4. They came to 99cents a pound. Hubby smoked one this weekend and it is delicious. The other 3 went into the freezer.
    I cashed out a $75 Ibotta gift card. I got $2 back. Hubby needed a new battery for his truck. My sister and a friend signed up for Ibotta using my code so I received $20 through them.
    Gas is down to $4.53 for cash.
    I have started drying my herbs. I did half a large BJ’s size container of oregano. I did some thyme and parsley.
    Hubby has fixed a few things around the house. The sprinkler wasn’t working right. The pedal on the kitchen garbage can wasn’t working. The screen in the kitchen has several holes. All are now fixed.
    I picked up 4 boxes of free ice cream pops. I have more coupons. I got paid to take home veggie burgers. They were on sale bogo. Then I had $2 off each box. That brought them down to 2 for 79 cents. Ibotta had $1 back on each box. I got 16 boxes. They are gluten free so I am stocked up for my daughter.
    A friend of a friend delivers hostess snacks. I got a text that he had several cases of just expired or nearly expired stuff. He leaves them on his front porch. I drove over and was getting a box. His wife asked me to please take more so I took 2 cases. My son took some to work, my daughter gave some to her boyfriend’s family, I shared with the lady I help and the boy I watch. I haven’t had to bake all week.
    D’s mom has been cleaning out her closet. She is the same size shoe as my youngest daughter. She gave me a box of shoes for her. She took 5 pairs and then we passed them on to a friend.
    I cashed out $43 in cc rewards.

    1. Holy smokes!! What a great deal on the veggie burgers. And the ice cream pops…Good for you for being so observant when on the look out for coupons.

  45. My baby robins hatched and are almost ready to fledge. I have taken some photos of them but at a great distance so as bot to disturb them..
    The parent robins are wonderful and very experienced. I learned a lot about robin behaviour.
    Amazingly, — I won’t go into details — all are “nest” trained. I wouldn’t have believed it myself.
    Recently, my three volunteers were all unavailable for grocery shopping. One had covid, two were out of town.
    Two bought groceries for me today and delivered them within 15 minutes of each other. It was a race to get everything put away. One is helping
    restock my pantry. I bought several cans of canned chicken (to use instead of tuna fish since I’m allergic). It is $1 per can less expensive at No Frills than at Superstore.

    My Itoh peonies have started to bloom. One is about 8 inches in diameter and very beautiful. We are having about 3 or4 days of a gentle rain. It is very lush outside. All of my pleasures are free (except for food).

    1. Birds are really fascinating aren’t they!
      Glad to hear that you are getting restocked. I’ve only ever been able to buy canned chicken at COSTCO – these are large cans with chunks of chicken meat. All I can find at my No Frills are the small cans of chicken “spread” – usually next to the ham ones. Is that what you are talking about? I didn’t really like the chicken but keep a few of the ham on hand for sandwiches now and again. I used to be able to get them on sale all the time for $1 per can – last week they were $2.99!!!

      1. Margie from T.O.,

        These are just small cans — the size of tuna fish cans. They are PC chicken or turkey chunks. There’s not a lot in them but they are good and less salt than, say, Maple Leaf flakes of chicken. They would be great with some mayo in sandwiches but I usually just dump them into pasta with a frozen vegetable and a bit of shredded cheese.

        Superstore, Loblaws should have them but at $1 per can more than No Frills. They are no bargain at No Frills ($2 per can) but
        I can make non-tuna fish casserole with a can. I plan on making a lot of pasta ($0.99) with one can (my 67 cent special) of mushroom soup, a can of the chicken ($2) perhaps a few decadent chips on top. I will split it into several portions and freeze some. $4.00 for about 5 meal portions. There won’t be tons of chicken but some.

  46. I harvested lots of lettuce from my garden. I also harvested radishes. I threw some radish seeds into some pots on my patio as an experiment, and they grew. They do not seem to like the garden soil, but are very happy in the pots. I picked 2 cherry tomatoes, it’s a start, and one strawberry, the birds must have missed that one. I went to pick up some netting to protect my strawberries from the birds, but it was $30 at the store I went to. I have spent all of my garden budget, so that will have to wait until I can find a better deal. I might put the request out on my buy nothing FB group.

    *We took my son and his best friend out for a day of thrift shopping. We stopped at a swap meet where the boys bought $1 comic books and 50 cent DVDS. I was able to find a couple shirts at a thrift store. I bought a bag of toys for $8 that I can sell on my eBay store for almost $200. We brought drinks and snacks in the car so we wouldn’t be tempted by fast food

    *We met our extremely high medical deductible in February, so most appointments are free or $3 copay. I am taking this opportunity to get some physical therapy and surgical procedures done this year that I have been putting off. The savings on surgical procedures will mean that we don’t have a huge bill all at once next year

    *I made homemade stromboli, focaccia bread, many salads from our garden lettuce, burritos with garden lettuce, crockpot country boneless ribs that I got at Winco for a fantastic price, snack tray dinner with bits of vegetables, lunch meat and cheese, hard boiled eggs, pancakes.

    *We have really been wanting to start working out at a gym, but the cost for our family would be significant. We decided to make a workout space at home. We cleared a space, put down a nice rug that we already had, gathered our yoga mats and hand weights into the area, and ordered an inexpensive stationary bike from Amazon. It’s so nice for just the price of the bike, and that will pay for itself within 6 months versus the price of the gym membership. This is a huge savings in the long run. I will add weights as I find them on my Buy Nothing FB group.

    1. SusanMarie you can use net curtains to protect your strawberries from birds, I sometimes come across them in charity shops.

      1. Great idea! Thank you! I will put those on my thrift shopping list!

    2. I read about spray painting rocks red and then putting them in the strawberry patch. I was skeptical but it worked. Best if you get the painted rocks into the strawberry patch before your fruit turns red. The birds will peck at the painted rocks and learn there’s no payoff. When the fruit is ripe, they won’t go after it.

  47. I harvested a bit of spinach, lettuce, cilantro, a few small tomatoes, and basil from my garden. My garden plot neighbor was there and I shared my tomatoes and he gave me fresh mint.

    A friend recently moved and had a bag with twelve different kinds of herbal teas that she didn’t want. One mutual friend took two different loose teas and left the remainder for me. It’s been too hot to want herb tea right now but I am looking forward to trying it in the fall or perhaps as a sun tea.

    We went to a community 4th of July celebration. I brought a black bean and mango salad to share. There was plenty of food and wonderful live music.

    I am reducing the amount of groceries I buy and trying to use up as much food as possible before it goes bad. I find that shopping every two weeks is working pretty well for me. I may not always have fresh fruits and vegetables around but I am spending less on groceries.

    I read “Home Front” by Kristin Hannah, borrowed from the library. A wonderful book with a twist on traditional themes.

    I am enjoying hiking with friends, carpooling to trailheads.

    We keep our AC set at 79 and it’s generally not too bad. We have ceiling fans that keep the air circulating and it feels better. It’s still cooling down enough at night that we can open the windows about 2 am and get some fresh air and reduced internal temperatures for part of the morning.

    Thanks to everyone for their positive comments! Have a wonderful week.

  48. Hello!
    Those tomatoes look so good! I just need bacon, good bread, some mayo, and a couple romaine leaves for a delicious lunch!
    I hope I’m never one of the people that can’t tolerate the tomato acid. I love tomatoes. Salsa, in an omelet, on pizza, etc.

    Not such a great week around here. We had a sick doggy and had to cycle through several meds until we could find the magic drug! It’d sure be easier if they could talk!! We didn’t sleep well all week and spent our days in a tired stupor! He’s feeling much better this week and so are we.

    Saw our last Endeavor episode on Sunday. I wish they’d do more of them each season! The Brits do such a good mystery!!
    Real storylines as opposed to tight tshirts and loud music with 2 actual minutes of story! Grantchester is my least favorite, but starts next week. I keep watching for World on Fire. That one was just…. WOW.

    Got a few good market buys on Sunday, but they’re mostly just the old regular prices! My husband did find marked down ground beef at Sam’s mid week. Thanks to whomever mentioned that as I specifically told him to look carefully. And it worked!!!

    Didn’t get much reading done, I’m afraid.
    On my nightstand – Bloodlines by Dick/Felix Francis.
    In my craft room CD player – First Family by David Baldacci (STILL!!!)
    With my Bible study – Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George.
    By my reading chair – The Quilt that Walked to Golden by Sandra Dallas. Just a few pages left!

    Keep cool and drink lots! Heat stroke isn’t prudent!!

      1. recently announced that there will be at least one more season but it has yet to start filming. At least it has the green light now.

  49. Our daughter got very ill over the weekend. I suspect she has covid. As I thought about it, many of the things that I’m doing to treat her are very frugal so I thought that I would share. (I’m life-threatening allergic to antibiotics and react to most pharmaceuticals. Years ago a doctor recommended that I learn about herbs.). I’ve taken an online herbal course from His emphasis is on using herbs that you can grow or wildcraft. Most of the things that I used were from my garden. I made her an herb tea using elder leaves and berries, mint, Brigham tea and yarrow. I had her rinse repeatedly with her neti pot. I put warm filtered water along with salt and baking soda. This really relieved her sinuses. I also had her gargle with hot salt water for her sore throat. I gave her elderberry syrup that I make every summer and freeze in 1 cup jars in my freezer. I did a homemade electrolyte drink that doesn’t have artificial dyes and preservatives. She did a hot bath with epsom salt and baking soda. Today I’ve switched it up to some other herb teas. Her chest is starting to hurt so I did an onion pack. I’ve used so many things from my herb course that I’ve more than recouped the price of the herb class. I’m grateful that I have some ideas of things to try. Also, everything that I did for her I also did for my husband and I as.a preventative. We also have a solution that I nebulize. She doesn’t like to do that but my husband and I have done it to try to prevent us getting sick. So far we’re both fine.

    Last week I had a friend tell me that she has a friend that works in a grocery store. Her friend said that there are lots of holes and she things the problems with drought, trucking, diesel, etc. will really exacerbate in the future. My friend says that she prays every night that she will be guided with what to purchase and that she prays every time she goes to the grocery store. It was a good reminder that I could be praying more.

    Good luck to all of you and thanks so much for all the suggestions. I’m trying very hard to stretch our resources.

    1. Judy – I happily read your herbal efforts for your daughter as that is an interest in mine, as well. Do you have access to mullein? I have found it useful for similar symptoms when taken as a tea. On the reading side, “Stalking the Healthful Herbs” by Euell Gibbons is a classic. I will look into the on-line class you mentioned. Thank you for sharing it. I hope your daughter is well soon and you and your husband stay healthy. 🙂

      1. Thank you. I’ve been putting mullein in her expectorant herb tea that she is taking now. I was just out today cutting more herbs. I’ve really tried to plant quite a few medicinal herbs the last few years. I’m so excited about being able to harvest my own.

      2. Mountain Mama Dawn, I wrote down your book suggestion. I’m interested in learning about herbs and spices for health. I have a book called The Complete Book of Essential oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood. It is interesting as well.

    2. Judy,
      You might try Manukah honey (strongest strength you can get). It may not be cheap but is wonderful for coughs, (and lingering coughs), and probably sore throats too. I once had a doctor who’d had bronchitis and couldn’t shake the cough. He tried it and it was like a miracle cure.
      Manukah is special honey which has a natural anti biotic effect. A jar would last a long time.

  50. I can hardly wait for tomatoes. Those look delicious.
    I worked 3 days, and brought breakfast and lunch all three days.
    My office mate brought 4 raspberry plants and a small jar of strawberry jam for me.
    I used the outer TP bag as a garbage bag. It is big enough and strong enough, and I’m throwing it away anyway, so…….
    Cut DH’s hair.
    Got my free OTC items from my Medicare supplement plan. Toothpaste, vitamins, allergy pills and cotton balls.
    Got a watermelon for $3.99 and cantaloupe for 59¢. Got 3 cantaloupes in order to have some for our 4th of July BBQ. Also got coleslaw mix – a one pound package for 99¢. The coleslaw mix will be used for either egg rolls or lo mein.
    Weeded in the garden. DH watered. I have some small tomatoes – I’m really excited!
    Picked up library books that were on hold.
    I had a $4.00 off produce coupon from Safeway that I loaded to my card. Got a little over 4 pounds of onions. Hope that will last me until ours are ready.
    Planted cilantro. I know it seems late for my area, but I try to time it to be ready when I want to make salsa from my tomatoes, onions and peppers.
    Made a strawberry rhubarb crisp for our 4th of July BBQ. Used some of the 99¢ a pound strawberries and rhubarb from the garden.
    Made macaroni salad with items from the house, except for the onions I just got at Safeway. My DIL is allergic to potatoes – so when they are coming it is macaroni salad instead of potato salad.
    Used a serving dish that I brought home from cleaning my Mother’s house for the BBQ. It brought good/sad memories.
    Washed the bedding, including the mattress pad, and dried on the clothesline.
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

    1. Nancy, I have made potato salad substituting cauliflower for potatoes before. I just used my regular potato salad recipe,with the cauliflower and it was wonderful. Everyone called it no potato salad.

    2. Nancy, I see we’ve been shopping at the same stores again, LOL. My .59 cantaloupe was very flavorful but kind of crunchy down by the rind.

      I don’t know if you do this, but my mother always made macaroni salad exactly like her potato salad, only with macaroni instead of potatoes. I prefer potato salad, but this is a pretty good substitute if your husband can’t eat potatoes.

      1. I prefer potato salad too. And like your mom, make it just like my potato salad. My husband loves potatoes it’s my daughter in law who is allergic.
        That cantaloupe was really good. I drive by that store on my way to work, so got more on Tuesday before the sale ended.

  51. Hello Everyone!

    I rarely get sick and I’ve been down and out with Covid for the past two weeks. Whichever strain it is, it has been torturous on the GI system and I’ve lost over 10 lbs. I’m thankful to have OTC medications and canned soup stocked up for this time of need. Hubby has been too busy juggling everything to cook. I’ll restock at Walmart when I’m able as it’s the cheapest place for the medicine cabinet.

    We took advantage of the 4th of July grocery sales. I made a list from the ads and put coupons in my app. My husband did the shopping. We stocked up on beef, chicken, hot dogs, and butter, saving 50% on our bill. We’ll probably do this again Labor Day weekend.

    I started a new crochet afghan with yarn I already have. I’m doing a crochet-along Bonnie Barker series that walks you through step by step. I find she’s easy to learn from and I’m keeping myself productive as I rest and recover. I plan to gift it to my son as he’s leaving for college in two months and I know he’ll be homesick. If I can’t complete it by then, it’ll be for Christmas.

    I’ve also read several library books that I checked out prior to illness and have definitely been getting my money’s worth from my Frndly TV subscription the past two weeks. 📺My husband washed our dog outside, saving $15 from the local DIY dog wash shop fees.

    Thank you for sharing your insights on the housing market last week. Our neighbor plans to list their house soon and I’m curious how quickly it will sell and for how much. Stay safe and healthy out there!!!

  52. Goodness, Brandy, what a complicated tax system!

    Taxes are complicated enough without all that. My sister and I live in the same state but different counties – she and her husband get a discount on property tax because they make under a certain income, but I am not even offered that option in my county. My daughter contested the property taxes on her house, which are paid through her mortgage lender’s escrow account, and found the county had been taxing her home as a business for four years even though her house, built in the 1940’s, has always been a private home and is situated in one of the oldest residential areas in town. She got over $3,000 back when her record was corrected. Check to see what discounts might be offered and check to make sure your property is correctly assessed; that’s my advice.

    This past week I was strongly tempted to buy several not-totally-necessary things at different stores – I even had one item in my hand and was walking to the check out lane – but I put them all back, each time.

    I finally (!) received my income tax refund, and put it on a debt right away.

    I purchased a couple of food storage items to start re-stocking my pantry with long-term items, after a complete cleaning and re-organizing.

    My elderberries are almost ready for picking. I’ll make tonic out of some of them, for treating colds later on.

    I batch cooked in my oven to save on electricity and reduce heat in the house. I try to avoid using it at all in the summer, as much as I can.

    I changed out the bulb in the lamp in the guest room to an LED bulb. That is the last lamp in the house that didn’t have an LED.

    I used the remaining water in the dog’s dish to water a plant before giving the dog fresh water.

    I gave my banana peels, carrot peelings and apple cores to the worms in the worm farm.

    Have a good week, everyone!

  53. We had a lovely4th of July with our church family. I brought pasta salad, creamy cucumber salad, and a cake-all from what we had on hand. I did spend $3 to buy 3 bottles of soda to contribute.

    Our electric bill went down by $3 this month.

    I’ve been using powdered eggs and dry milk in cooking as much as possible. They were gifted to us so we may as well use them!

    I found a few decent deals this week including cherry tomatoes for $1/lb., chicken thighs for $0.99/lb, corn 10 ears for $2, and eggplant 4/$1.

    A friend let us pick a few blueberries (about 3 lbs) and I got about 3 lbs of mulberries from my mom’s tree. I added them all to the freezer.

    I bought some sunscreen and it rang up at full price instead of the sale price. I went back to customer service to get my $5.30 refund.

  54. The past few weeks seem to have gone by in a blur! I have been doing my usual frugal activities. All our laundry has been dried outside. We have eaten all meals at home using what we have on hand.

    I have been trying to keep grocery shopping to a minimum. I have scored a few clearance rack goodies recently. I got 7 packages of blackberries for .25 cents each and 6 English cucumbers also for .25 cents each. I made pickles with them using onions and peppers that I already had on hand. I have combined errands when I need to shop to keep using the car to a minimum.

    I have received two full size products for free in the mail – a package of throat lozenges and a plug in air freshener. I have also used several coupons for free products when I was shopping.

    We have been abundantly blessed by our local buy nothing group. I have received an unopened jar of chocolate sauce, a bag of rolls, coffee flavouring, shave gel, two planters, three DVDs, two tubes of toothpaste, an unused Bath and Body Works candle, two pepper plants and five tomato plants. These additions have really filled out my garden.

    Our strawberries and rhubarb have really been producing and we have been eating them as well as freezing them for next winter. I am hoping the rest of the garden produces as well and gives us some food to use this winter. I suspect prices will really be higher by then and I want to keep our expenses as low as I can.

    I changed our home and auto insurance to get bigger discounts and we will be saving over $33 a month on these. I also discontinued a charitable contribution that we can no longer afford for further monthly savings. These two things will add a bit more cash back into our very small monthly budget.

    We finally saw a bit of rain this morning after a very dry time here in Ontario. I hope everyone is not struggling too much with the weather and had a lovely Canada Day/ July 4th weekend if you were celebrating.

  55. Lovely pictures as usual, and I always love reading about everyone’s frugal wins.

    We cashed out all our money saving apps (Ibotta, Fetch, Shopkick, and Speedway bonus points), bought Amazon gift cards, and along with the Visa that my hubby found a couple weeks ago, have $350 on Amazon to use for Christmas shopping! I have my daughter’s Advent of books about 1/3 of the way done, and I have only really paid for one. The others I got off paperbackswap or from a yardsale. I have the kids’ pajamas purchased – my daughter got actual pajamas that I found on super markdown clearance for $5, but I just bought the boys joggers and t-shirts so they can wear them later. I like to give each of my coworkers a small token at Christmas, so I am crocheting each lady I work with 3 cotton dishcloths. I may add a bottle of hand soap or dish soap or this might be all I give them. The yarn was either a present to me previously or hand-me-down from a friend.

    I had gone through Taco Bell a few weeks ago when I was running errands at lunch to grab a quick lunch. They completely messed up my order, but told me to just let them know when I came back through, and they would make it right. I was running errands again today and thought I’d try – they did! I got everything they had messed up before absolutely free with no fuss. I was pleased with that.

    A friend alerted me to a boutique that is owned by her friend that was having super sales – I got 4 work shirts for $4 a piece. I got two dresses for work for only $10 a piece at Wal-Mart; they are quite cute, comfy, and have POCKETS!

    We have been working hard at eating what is in our fridge and not losing food to waste.

    1. Alice – A dress (or skirt) with pockets is the best! Great finds. Thanks for sharing your successes. 🙂

  56. So, we got the car! Finally! It took 4 1/2 months! The dealer said that they’re telling everyone to plan for possibly a year’s wait, especially for SUV’s. This is a company vehicle. Our personal cars are 16 & 13 years old with high mileage. We are so grateful that this worked out. We needed a dependable vehicle to travel to see our children who are scattered across the country.

    I cooked a lot this past week. Made a blueberry cobbler and several large batches of ice cream. Picked about 4-5 pounds of Roma tomatoes and made Marinara Sauce. My son loves shrimp, so I made him shrimp with curry and served it over linguine. It was very good.

    We buy sourdough bread from the deli at Kroger. We have done this for years. It is from CA. Starting out it was 1.99 with occasional markdowns; then it went to 2.99; then 3.99 and now it’s $5.00! I am glad that I have bought lots of flour this past year. I will probably start making bread at home.

    We have had several snakes this Spring/Summer. Anyone else having more encounters than usual?

    Much talk of brownouts/blackouts here and elsewhere. Seems to be global. Odd that the world as a whole is dealing with infrastructure problems. We got much needed rain today, so hopefully it added a few inches to the lakes and streams.

    Hope everyone had a enjoyable 4th! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!

    1. Yes! So many snakes this year… and lots of them very near the house. (Actually, we found one INSIDE the house!) I can’t place what is making them so prolific this year.

  57. Love the photos this week, very relaxing to see such beauty. Thank you. Last week, I did a six month review of our spending, compared to our budget and made some adjustments for the rest of the year. Needless to say, food and gas have been crazy expensive, so it is time to stop stocking the pantry and start using it! I remember a few years ago having a goal to find a way to save $100 a year, a small amount, but doing that every month as a goal. I am going to do that again. If I look at my major bills, it is very hard to find a way to cut costs, but I remember it was easy to find a way to save $10 a month somewhere…and it adds up, plus it is positive feedback! So that is my new plan ;). My other goal is to stop looking at news sites and nightly news, I feel like my head will explode at all the craziness, better to live in my house and take care of things here than worry about things I can’t control!

    1. I like that goal.

      I am mostly reading economic and drought news now. Other news is more than I want to deal with right now. I have found myself reading more books as well.

      1. Brandy: I am reading The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian. Well written with an interesting storyline.

        Also, I just read a post from a reliable site
        showing the black out schedule for South Africa.
        They are at level six. Now at 9 hours of Blackout each day. Several levels left. If we experienced this, freezers would become a loss. Very sobering. We need lots of prayer and preparation!

        1. Cheryl, that is very worrisome.

          My electric company installed three solar stations here. Blackouts should not be an issue here. The dam supplies power to California and Arizona but not to Nevada, so that’s a relief.

          But freezers are are good point and one many of us need to be prepared to deal with.

          Drought is very worrisome. This article touches more on Spain than Italy but Italy is in real trouble, even more than this article says. Both countries are in real trouble and they supply much of the food to Europe:
          European drought and farm production

          1. Brandy- How I wish we could share some of water with you! In the past 30 hours, we have received between 3-6 inches of rain! I know that this is much more than you get in a year! 😱. There are some flash floods in the region and creeks spilling over their banks but in our part of central Ohio, it has refilled our rain barrels which we had just used up recently and given our gardens some nice deep watering so they look even lusher than before. As I said, I wish so much that we could somehow share our extra with all of you in drought areas. We are due to have off and on rain and thunderstorms through tomorrow too.

            Gardenpat in Ohio

            1. We have received (downtown, not here) 0.07 inches, or 1.5 mm of rain this year.

      2. Brandy, I’ve been avoiding most news as well. Sometimes it’s just too much. I’ve been trying to do things that I enjoy. I think it is better for my health than to worry about things I have no control over. Although,I am also reading economic news once in awhile. I know it affects us. I also read a lot of cheap recipe articles to get ideas for meals.

  58. My daughter in law brought over five large cucumbers. I can only eat the seedless variety and in limited quantity because they don’t like me at all, BUT I can eat pickles without issue. I took four of the cucumbers and made three jars of Dill pickles and 1 jar of Bread and Butter pickles. I was so pleased to make good use of something we might not have been able to utilize fully. Caught a potato that was just beginning to ooze. I washed all the potatoes well and let them air dry while I cleaned out the basket and relined it with newspaper. We went to Kroger on Friday. It’s not an ideal time to shop on the Friday before a holiday weekend and at the first of any month but it worked for me to go that day. I picked up several bread items for 45 or less. I’ve determined that I can make most bread items for 50c so if I find them cheaper than that I buy them and pop them into the freezer. Steak was on sale for the holiday weekend and I thought I might purchase them but I was looking around and found three Ribeyes that had been reduced from $13.99 to less than $6 each. We usually can share a steak these days so three meals for us from each steak. Every Saturday I make pizza for lunch or for dinner. HUGE savings over takeout and even a savings over frozen. We had a splurge this weekend and got Chinese takeout. My daughter asked us to sit my grandson while she ran an errand in another town. I said I would if she’d pick up Chinese food for us. I gave her the money to make the purchase. When she returned she said she’d gotten two lunch entrees because they were so much cheaper than a dinner entree. We had enough for four and leftovers, enough for two more servings. I froze those. Thrilled to discover I have little tomatoes on my plants. Recovered an ottoman last week with one yard of fabric. I’d priced slipcovers which isn’t a big deal but they wanted $239 at one place and almost $80 at another. I used $6/yd fabric and it took just over one yard. Today I rearranged furniture. Ordered a navy and white ticking fabric to make a new slipcover for a chair that moved to a new room. Used leftovers creatively to make meals. Am currently listening to a heavy downpour so plants are getting watered for free.

  59. I picked up some receipts that were left at the self checkout and scanned them into Fetchrewards. I got about $1 worth of points. The referral bonus is 4,000 points right now ($4 worth). My code is K9YTB if anyone wants to download it!

    We were able to open the windows at night/early morning a couple days this week so the air conditioner got a little break.

    I switched furniture polish brands. It’s about $1 per bottle cheaper. So far I’m pleased with it!

    My husband’s insurance company finished their audit on his Workmen’s Comp. insurance. He overpaid last year by about $1600, so he will receive a credit on the next few months’ bills for that amount. This is a huge win!

    My mom brought us a bag of fresh peaches. Then my in laws gave us a bag with three peaches and two tomatoes in it. My son has been enjoying the peaches for breakfast.

    They cut the wheat at my dads farm, but they didn’t have the chopper on. So it couldn’t be baled for straw. We gathered up a loader bucket full to use as mulch around our tomatoes and strawberries.

    I charged my computer at work three times this week, meaning I didn’t use my own electricity to do it.

    Between my own gas purchases and referrals, I got a little over $5 in cash back on Upside this week. If you want to sign up, you get an additional .15 off per gallon when you use my code. JESSICA338779

    We went to a 4th of July parade for some fun, free entertainment. Our son loved it. He got enough candy to last until Halloween! There were lots of tractors, so that made him very happy! My in laws treated us to lunch afterwards. Since we were already in town, I did my grocery shopping.

    We switched coffee brands. The one we liked was never in stock, so I just bought a different one that happened to be a little cheaper. And we loved it! When I grocery shopped this week, I saw that they have it in a bulk size, making the price per ounce even cheaper. What a happy accident!

    The company we purchase LP from sent their summer fill up contract rate forms this week. They are contracting LP at $2.24/gal this winter – that’s with the prepay discount. Last year, we paid $1.69. And they cut the amount that you could pre-buy down. That was disheartening to see. We will still probably buy it at that rate. We have to have it and that seems the best rate we can get right now. We filled it up towards the end of last winter, so we have a fairly full tank now. My husband’s woodshop is heated. He mentioned that we could change the thermostat in there to a garage one that would allow it to be set lower. Then he could just increase the temp when needed for finish work (stains, varnishes, etc work and dry better at certain temps). Since my husband does wood working for a living, not heating it isn’t an option.

    My dad used our tractor and returned it with a full tank of fuel, which it definitely did not have when he borrowed it.

    My son got a free book in the mail from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

    A friend of ours passed down some clothes from her boys for our son. She never wants paid for them, but I always try to get her or the kids a gift certificate or a present as a thank you. There were two and half kitchen size garbage bags full. He is set on 2T and 3T clothes now.

    We saw a fireworks show for free. My son loved it. He kept saying “more, more” after it was over. On a non frugal note, his hearing protection got broken over the weekend. He was able to wear my husbands for the fireworks, but we will have to replace them for sure. He spends a lot of time around the tractors and other machinery on our farm and with our business. We also enjoy watching tractor pulls, so he’ll need hearing protection for that.

    My husband was doing some work for our local library. I had him return my books and pick up the one I had put on hold while he was there, saving me a trip.

    I finished making my son’s farm mat. I spent about $10 to make it. I already had the big piece of felt, the yarn, the embroidery thread, ribbon, and the carpet piece I needed. I had to buy a few pieces of felt, some buttons, and some elastic. To get one of the colors of felt I needed, I had to buy a packet. So I have some left over for other projects. He can either put it on the floor or he can use the elastic to strap it to the lid of his toy box, making it a little farm table. I didn’t think it was too bad for only $10!

    I had a drawer that desperately needed organizing. I was able to find containers around our house to use. It’s perfect now and I didn’t spend a thing!

    We harvested some of our blackberries and made a blackberry coffee cake with them.

    The shirts I like to wear for work were on clearance at Walmart for $4 each. They never have black in my size, but I was able to find 3! I bought a couple other colors, too. I should be set for awhile now!

    1. Jessica- When the Pandemic started in March of 2019, our Ohio governor would have a weekly update on how it was doing. His wife, Fran DeWine, would come on during those first lockdown times with recipes that she made and “Mike” (Governor) enjoyed. She would give suggestions about ingredient substitutions you could make if you didn’t have all the ingredients at home.
      She also told all the Ohio parents of little children about the Dolly Parton monthly book program and set up a link on the State of Ohio website to link to the program and get signed up! This was something my children did for my grandchildren and it has been a source of excitement each month and of gratitude for her generosity!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. It’s been wonderful! He has gotten some wonderful books that I had never heard of. He loves it when I say “dolly sent you a book today!” 🙂

  60. I used to buy items on sale in the grocery store and get coupons to go with the sale item and then stockpile the items. This mainly worked for toiletries, TP and trash bags etc. Would get my coupons from a site named The Coupon Clippers. They had a fantastic selection and I could usually find a match. Would at times save $60.00 – $80.00. The Coupon Clippers does not exist any longer and I cannot find out what happened to them and haven’t found a site that has more than what is in the insert in the Sunday newspaper. Does anyone know? Or know of a good coupon clipping site? I think the show aired on TV, Extreme Component might have ruined coupon ing for a lot of us, but that is not a fact. I feel so sorry for those who cannot make ends meet because they cannot get coupons any longer…

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Have you tried Coupon Mom? I used that site frequently a few years back. I still get the email.

    2. I used Klip2save a long time ago when our paper stopped putting in the inserts, and it’s still there. Different areas get different coupons in their inserts so I could find coupons we didn’t get.

    3. Chris, do you follow Hip2Save? They post weekly ads with coupon matchups, both paper and digital coupons.
      I like it because they also share buying scenarios that show how to get the biggest bang for your buck.

  61. Hello again,

    Just wanted to share that “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” shared this about a meteor shower this month:

    The Delta Aquariid meteors peak July 28 to 29. Their hourly rate at peak is 10 meteors per hour. Always look towards the darkest part of the sky to see a shooting star.

    You can sign up at The Old Farmer’s Almanac website for free email newsletters that have wonderful gardening information, Astronomy, A word puzz!e and poem. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    One of the best meteor showers is in August, but it can be free fun and educational at the same time!

  62. My brother sent me a text that he didn’t lose anything in his freezer thanks to my tips. I have plastic gal jugs filled partially with water and frozen in the barn freezer *he did that the week before power went out* . I put them in my freezers of food to help keep food cold when we lose power. Meat is on the bottom of the freezer*his wife change their to this 4 days before the power went out*, keeps cold the longest and the veggies and fruit are cheaper to replace. I also cover the freezer with blankets (helps insulate from the heat)* she tossed a sleeping bag over it that day* and DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR… he had to actually chained his shut to keep the teenagers from getting in it. His power was out for 4 days. He has a generator but it’s only big enough to run the frig and lights. Not the freezer, AC or stove. Said he lost the top layer of veggies and fruit but everything else was still solid.

    I did tell him to write down what he has in his home and go online and google how to figure out what he needs. Both our generators will run the entire house, 4 deep freezers , 3 frigs, etc. We do have propane instant water heater, furnace and cook stove.

    I cleaned out, defrosted and organized the 4 deep freezers (barn freezer will be done again in Oct as that is where the turkeys go). We are looking at having to eat from the pantry for 18 months, I am planning for 2 yrs. the worse. To get us where we want to be at the end of this year( more of getting off the grid) and then next spring replace all the garden beds. (Brandy I used your sift the dirt idea to get Hubby on board… I hate crab grass).When the garden finishes coming in by this late fall we should be okay to make it that long. I have Amish that will sell us their “extra” if we need them.

    After 2 1/2 weeks on no rain, we got rain 2 days in a row and expect more (fingers crossed). We got over 2.5 inches and the ground looks dry still. No standing puddles anywhere. My fruit trees don’t look as stressed but I doubt if we will get any from them. The apple trees are dropping unripe apples the size of golf balls. The Amish neighbor got his spelt(speltz) off and said they had enough to share if we wanted or needed any to replace flour. Most around here are now growing that and not buying any white flour.

    Brandy, Hubby bookmarked your site so when he goes on Amazon he goes through you. I told him you don’t get much but every penny counts.
    Blessed Be , pray for peace.

    1. Juls, thanks for your tricks about keeping a freezer going. I have been worried about that. I live in So Cal desert, and very occasionally the need for AC seems to overwhelm the system in the summer. I will put all your ideas into practice.

  63. -I also did a lot of returns to hardware stores from various renovation projects. It is my least favorite errand but supplies pile up from our businesses and no one else returns them.
    -We enjoyed neighborhood and family parties over the holiday weekend. We managed to not eat out the entire time. I made some food to bring to potlucks using food we had on hand.
    -Made strawberry jam and picked lettuce, kale, raspberries, and herbs. I bought strawberries on sale for $1/lb. I picked another few gallons of mulberries. I cut some roses from the garden. I hosted a birthday dinner for my MIL and cooked steaks on sale. I also made sourdough waffles for family breakfast along with strawberry syrup.
    Over the winter, I tried making some homemade apple cider vinegar and just tried it- it turned out so well! I mixed some organic ACV with the mother with regular apple juice. It tastes better than the original.
    -I needed a new swimsuit and was able to buy one on sale from a locally owned business.
    -I packed snacks and drinks for a long road trip. We stopped at our favorite coffee shop on the way but otherwise didn’t spend money.

  64. Your zinnias are gorgeous! I have some volunteers from last summer’s zinnias. I’ve been pinching off their tops to help them grow bushier. My favorites are the bright pink ones like the one in your photo. They’re so cheerful.
    — I did some returns last week as well. My mother in law gave me a nice wristlet last summer and I’ve used it every day since. The zipper started getting stuck and I googled solutions (rubbing a pencil tip on it worked for a while!) It finally got stuck to the point that I couldn’t open it. I looked up the company’s website and found that they would replace it. Cost around $5 to ship, but worth it because the wristlet is $138 retail!
    — I needed to return an Amazon purchase, so I did that at Kohl’s in order to earn $5 Kohl’s cash. Before I went, I placed an online order using Kohl’s cash to purchase a small food processor, then earned another $5 Kohl’s cash by picking up the order while I was there. Used both new Kohl’s cash before leaving, buying my son a new shirt he can wear to school this fall.
    — Used some free Office Depot rewards (earned $6 by leaving product reviews last month) to purchase a gift for a friend’s daughter. I have already left reviews for the items, earning another $6 in free rewards for July. Note to anyone who wants to do this: I don’t think you have to purchase the item at Office Depot.
    — I can’t remember if I posted this last week, but I got a new-in-box Aerogarden at an estate sale for $5, and a double set of pods to plant in it for $4. Other deals at yard sales include a playground ball for 50 cents (was planning to take it to my classroom, but my teen son LOVES it), a mini Crockpot for my daughter to take to college $2, and a few other small items.
    — My garden is steadily giving me some produce, but nowhere near the normal volume. I’m trying to be grateful for what we’re getting.
    Usually my tomato plants are huge, but this year they’re short and not as full of fruit. My husband thinks it’s because June was so hot and dry. Thankfully the last 2 days we’ve had some soaking rains. We always say the garden likes God’s water better than hose water. I’ve pulled most of my squash plants due to bugs and will replant, planning to spray with Bt this time. I typically won’t use chemical sprays but it’s unavoidable this year. I planted some squash seeds to have replacement plants ready, but birds got in them. Since we typically don’t get frost until October, there’s still plenty of time to regrow. The problem is that I go back to work at the end of July (school starts soon!) so will have much less time to attend to the garden.
    — We were able to have a couple of meals’ worth of green beans. This year I planted French filet beans and they’re so delicious; they’re thinner and more tender than the other types I’ve grown. We’ve enjoyed them in stir fry and fried rice, also using homegrown garlic. I used garden carrots to make a carrot cake and carrot muffins, freezing half of both. Finally harvested enough ground cherries to make a recipe. I’m the only one in the family who likes them fresh, so I hope the family will eat them cooked. There have been a few ground cherries that burst or had ants get in them, and I used those to save seed from. Now I have plenty of seed to grow again next year, plus some to share.
    — We had to replace our heat pump in May, and the new one wasn’t cooling the house enough. It took 3 visits from techs to figure out what was going on. Apparently the duct work was diverting some of the cooler air into the garage instead of our bedroom above the garage. Last week they came again to work on it and thankfully it seems to be working now. Our electric bill was $10 lower this month.
    — A friend told me that research shows a 45% reduction in heart attack when BP med is taken at night, so I made the switch after doing reading a few articles about it. I found it helps me sleep better, enough that I was able to stop taking my sleep aid, so that’s a frugal plus!
    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

    1. My doctor also advised me to take my BP meds at night and yes, it seems to work well.

  65. Brandy, you can get earphones ( not cordless) for your phone at that Dollar Tree. Listen while you work! Thank you for this sharing blog. Dollie

    1. The children are constantly talking to me. I tried pausing a book and it kept going ahead. It was every couple of seconds. There is almost always someone talking to me or I have to speak with someone about doing their chores, not arguing, etc.

  66. Last week I discovered that our basement fridge/freezer had died! Completely died, out of the blue and it had been dead for a few days before I discovered it. It had meat in the freezer, a 1/8 of a cow from a neighbor. In the past I have panicked and had a meltdown when this happened. This time I cleaned it out, we went to the dump to haul off all the rotten food, and I thought oh well, it is out of my hands. It was a 30 year old freezer. We are on the hunt for another one, used.
    I did get a lot of freebies from a friend, who called on the 4th, saying her fridge was dying and they were going on vacation. I said I would be right over! I got some plant based sausages, Romano cheese and yogurts. 16 ( 6 oz) yogurts and 2 (32 oz), and then cereals, breads, and snacks. She was going to be gone for a while and didn’t want food to go to waste. I took some, shared some with my kids families and put some in a food blessing box. What a sweet reminder that the Lord knows !
    The garden is being very poky, some cakes and zucchini are coming along but the tomatoes look very unproductive despite fertilizing with my homemade fertilizer. I do think the weather has been a challenge this summer. I am picking blackberries and blueberries. My neighbor dropped off a few peaches, summer apples, tomatoes, squash and cakes. I am thankful for their generosity! I am making blackberry fruit leather ( too tart), and using fruit in yogurt smoothies!
    We sold my husbands car, he bought a used one last month. That is a relief to unload it.
    We are line drying all clothes, running the ac at 78 in the late afternoon if it gets above 90 outside and running it at 76 at night. I sleep at the foot of the bed under the ceiling fan, it is cooler there. I am reading library books. I started one called, When We Were Young and Brave. It is set in China during WW2, and it is a very good read! I checked out , Backyard Homesteading, I am always on the hunt for more tips on gardening!
    Blessings to each of you, and especially to you, Brandy, as you bring encouragement and joy to us each week!

    1. I think I have mentioned this before, but in case not: on another blog I red about an alarm you can install on your freezer that will go off if the temperture drops below freezing. You plug it in and put one wire in the freezer and the thermometer can sit on top of the outside of the freezer or be taped to the wall nearby. It saved our bacon (literally!) once so you might want to invest in something like that. I think it cost us less than $20. I wish I could remembr where I read it, so I could thank the person who informed readers of the device.

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