It was 112 F/44C yesterday, so I was out early in the morning installing more drip lines and hand watering. By the time I had finished, it was time for school, which is why I’m late posting this week. I still have a ton of hand watering left to do as I have a lot more drip lines to install and there is a very limited time to work outside. Before dawn today at 4 am it is already 89 degrees (32 C) in the dark.

Yesterday afternoon was spent seeking a deal that, if it turns out to be good, I will share in a couple of weeks. If not, well, I spent a hot afternoon outside (when it had cooled to 108! Haha!) and wasted some money.

I harvested blackberries, figs, basil, a few tiny tomatoes, and parsley from the garden. I dried figs in my dehydrator to use later.

I sowed seeds for Swiss chard, thyme, and zinnias in the garden. I’m sowing much later than normal, but it’s not too late to still sow seeds for these here (and it’s ideal for sowing warm-weather loving herbs).

I dug and moved plants in the garden to new places where they will hopefully do better, as they will get more sun. I did this on the coolest day of the week to hopefully help them to live; this is a terrible time to move plants, but it was better to do it at night when it cools down into the 90’s than this week when it will be 114 or 115.

I buried kitchen scraps in the garden to improve my soil. This was a free addition; these would have otherwise gone into the trash.

I ran more drip irrigation lines in the garden.

I returned plastic pots to the nursery for store credit, receiving $23.06 to use towards my purchases. We went on Thursday to receive the senior discount off our total purchases, which included tree stakes and drip line for the grass. We are learning how to put in this drip irrigation that goes under the grass; it is supposed to use much less water than regular sprinklers. We will have 25% of the grass that we had before.

I hemmed a pair of pants for my husband. He wanted them cuffed and it has been a while since I have done this, so I searched for a tutorial on YouTube. I found this one that was even better than the one I used before.

I mended a t-shirt where the hem had come unstitched.

Someone we know was getting rid of some of her old clothes. I took a daughter over and we both chose a few things.

We picked up the free school meals which provide us with plenty of milk, and lots of carrots, apples, dried cranberries, and oranges in addition to the main dishes.

My husband needs some temporary tables to work for making the pergola, obelisks, and arches that we are planning to put in the garden. He rescued a laminate countertop that someone had set out for the trash for the top of one table. His brother was getting rid of some metal work table legs, so he was able to use those for two tables (he bought a piece of pressboard to use as the top of the other table).

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I have been shopping for a new wardrobe since I lost weight. I needed clothes for a trip and found just what I needed at Goodwill. I spent $25 for 7 items. All of them are perfect for my trip!

    1. I too am thrifting my new weightloss wardrobe. I am picky about what I buy so it is a slow process. Someone at church said I shopped at the “rich lady stores”. I told them it’s all thrifted….my Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Ferragamo…all of it!

      1. Hi klb,
        I am with you on being stylish and not spending much. In the last month I found an unopened Clinique pressed powder compact (in a complementary shade) for .75, a pair of sterling silver Australian fire opal earrings for $10, and made a really cute top from a piece of thrifted material for $3. Entirely possible to be stylish and not spend much!

  2. Thanks Brandy! This week I’m thankful for a well-stocked pantry as we’ve all tested positive for COVID19. We have all been so careful and followed all the guidelines for safety, but we still got it. I was upset that I was waiting to buy the meat for Fathers Day lunch on Sunday until later this week, but my sister kindly offered to get it from her butcher and drop it off at our gate. Other than that, we have more than enough to get us through our quarantine period, including many meals in the freezer for if my symptoms get worse and I feel too unwell to cook for the family. There are so many good reasons to be prepared for difficult times – we never know what tomorrow will bring.
    Despite a severe cold front, the vegetable garden is still going strong. I added lettuce, cabbages, and more Swiss chard seedlings this past week, and we’ve been harvesting lovely Swiss chard. Tomatoes are hugely expensive right now, even tinned ones, so I regret not putting up as much as I planned to from the garden in summer, and will definitely work harder on that this coming summer. Whenever I find tomatoes selling at a reasonable price, I buy a decent amount, make the sauce or even just dice them up and freeze. We use a lot of tomatoes in our meals.
    We’ve been eating more soup than usual, a good way for using up odd amounts of vegetables before they go bad.
    While sometimes it can be difficult to feel like we’re moving ahead in life, it’s worth remembering even small steps move us closer to our goals. I want to encourage everyone to keep up those small changes – reducing power and water and gas costs, shopping sales and keeping meals frugal, saving even small amounts of money towards the future. It really does add up.

    1. Tracy so sorry to hear you and your family got Covid and praying that you will are fare well with it. I know it has to be frustrating after following all the guidelines. And yes this is why we should stock our pantries to the brim for times just like this. God is with you today and everyday.

        1. She’s doing well! Finishing up her senior project and then taking electives for the last two semesters. She could do it in one but this way will graduate with her husband.

          1. So happy to hear about your married daughter! I have thought about her often. Also, Brandy, you are a real inspiration with your hardworking ways and optimistic attitude.

    2. So sorry your family is ill!
      When I have a bunch of tomatoes ripen and am too busy to can them or if I don’t have enough to use yet, I stick in a freezer bag whole. When I want to make a sauce or something I get them out and when you thaw the skins just come right off. It makes it so easy to use later. They are only good to make a sauce or put in soups as they are mushy when thawed.

    3. Tracy,
      I am sorry you and your family tested positive and pray you have a light case of it. You need a lot of rest and vitamin D and zinc. It’s great that you are so well prepared with freezer meals, if/when anyone feels well enough to eat.
      Best wishes,
      Elizabeth H.

  3. I have never grown figs—I should look into if they grow in my area of Chattanooga, Tennessee!

    My main savings last week was that of vacationing frugally. We live just two hours away from Smoky Mountain National Park. My niece is staying with us for the summer, so she can work on the college campus here, but for years she lived just three hours away from the Smokies. When I found out she had never EVER visited the park, I thought it was a problem that needed to be solved! So we whisked her away for a weekend in the Smokies, and had a delightful time! We rented a tiny tiny little cabin—very rustic, but it was a roof over our head and is at a mom and pop campground and we dearly love the couple that owns and operates it—they literally live right above the office. We bring our own blankets, sheets, towels, etc., and we brought all of our own food so we wouldn’t waste either money or time in eating out. Our main goal was to hike as much as possible in the park itself, and show it’s beauties to my niece. We had a delightful time! I have lots of pictures of flowers we found, a surprise waterfall, cabins and churches that are still standing in the park over on my blog at:

    In other frugal endeavors, we read my daughter in law’s History blog. She had a most interesting story this week about the sad ending of a talented person! You can read her post here:

    Our weather is really heating up—at least for around here, as it is now in the 90’s and the air conditioner has to be run day and night due to the humidity. Hope all are well—looking forward to reading what everyone has been up to!

    ~Susan M. From Chattanooga, Tennessee

    1. As hard as I try , it seems there is not much savings with the higher prices. I reluctantly got vaccinations for sugar cookie and myself. I’ve spent over a week in bed. Not unexpected as doctor had suggested this issue. Sugar cookie had no.problems. She has now relocated to her out of state family members home. My mother is requiring more of my time and I need the girl in a secure location. I spent a good bit on the drive to meet the family half way. I got the cheapest gas I could find but it still added up. I changed my oil and filters before we left. I used a coupon but even then it was still more than the past. We went to Ross and purchased 4 new shirts. Thankfully , she had new clothes left from our cruise 15 months ago. I’m noticing my freezer quite low. Ill be making trips to Kroger at 5 am in an attempt to get marked down meat. I’ve renewed my Sams club membership and should be getting a $45.00 credit to my account. I will stock up on the cheapest cut of meat, I can find. I ordered a food box from a deal on Swag bucks. It came with a profit of $30.00 that I will use for a gift card later. The box has arrived two days late. The box bottom is wet and falling out. I’ll have to see if it is salvageable. I would imagine the company will replace it. My goal is to not leave the house unless I absolutely must. I’m beyond emotionally exhausted. ( incentive for vaccine and the girls trip ) . I’m going to eat from pantry , work in yard and clean house. It would be no exaggeration to say that each and every dish, pot , lid etc is dirty. Xmas dishes included. Things have spiraled out of control at home while I tend my mother. I must find balance. I hope we have peace soon. I hope there are flowers and sunshine in your lives.

      1. Lillianna your post sounds exhausting, I wish I lived closer to help you
        Sending best wishes, be kind to yourself and rest at any opportunity

      2. Paper plates and disposable silverware are okay during this season of life, Lillianna. So is take away food – even if it’s more expensive. It will let you save your energy for what you truly need.
        Like Pam, I wish I was closer to lend a hand.

        Praying for you and yours.

      3. The house must seem empty for you without Sugar cookie there, but I am glad she is able to be with family so you don’t have to worry about her day on top of the rest of things. Do try to take some time to take care of yourself. You’ll start to feel better as you putter away at things but there is no race to get everything done. You have been spending your time on what was important, and can take satisfation in that.

        All the best to you, Lillianna. We are thinking about you even if we can’t be there to help.

    2. Susan, I am in northeast TN — I think it’s similar to Chattanooga in growing climate . My neighbor has a HUGE turkey fig that he said is at least 25 years old. It is planted in-ground in a sunny spot. He said every few years it gets so cold that he thinks it died; several times he has cut it to the ground, only to have it grow back and produce a bumper crop. So give it a try! I have a Celeste fig that is growing in a pot right now. He encouraged me to get it planted in ground, so I will be doing that soon.

  4. This has not been a frugal week.
    I fell last Thursday and injured myself.
    I woke up with a virus on Friday.
    I am actually starting to feel a bit better today.
    The only thing I’ve done this week was pay all of my bills on time and there were two more of those that were a bit unexpected plus doctor bills.
    On to next week.

  5. What a great credit for the pots at the nursery. I can see how you’d have to be determined to do any garden work there right now. Our highs have been right around where your lows are, and I’m trying to do garden work early and late. The blackberries and raspberries have begun ripening. Critters, I believe both birds and deer, have been eating them, but there are patches they haven’t seemed to have found yet, so I’m able to harvest some. I pruned the kiwis again, as they were already twining up blueberries and an apple tree since their last pruning. I think we may take them out this year, as we’ve never gotten fruit from them. Thyme, spearmint and lemon balm were harvested and dried. The same store that overcharged me $10 on olive oil last month, rung up produce incorrectly last week, giving me a $5 credit. They had rung up produce wrong last month too, so we’re about even now. My husband dug our garlic, which was a great harvest with lots of large heads. Our friend, M, built us a rack to dry them on, mostly from scraps and recycled lumber, which works wonderfully.

    1. I believe you need both male and female kiwi vines in order to produce fruit. Perhaps you do not have both?

      1. I do have some of both male and female, at least according to their labels. Some have never bloomed, and one or two have had minimal blooms, so I believe I have some of both. It’s a mystery, for sure.

  6. Hotter than the dickens here- 92-93 degrees F. So I’ve been working outside in the early morning and then retreating inside for the rest of the day!
    I did start and finish the flag quilt (#145), and here’s a close-up of the back: It’s lap size (59”x70”) and was great fun to make from start to finish!

    I made strawberry pancakes to use some of our fresh strawberries! I wasn’t sure how these would taste but we’ve decided that they are a favorite! The batch made enough that I packaged several for fridge for future breakfasts. Added some more of our strawberries to some plain vanilla Greek yogurt. Oh my goodness! Delightful. I’m thinking I may add some to cream cheese for a soft spread on bagels,etc. Oh, the possibilities!!

    On Friday, I realized that I didn’t have any zucchini seeds or plants to put in my garden, so we went to our favorite little hardware store to get some. They were out of zucchini seeds and plants BUT they had 4 packs of veg plants for 69 cents!! They were picked over but I found habanero peppers (a 4-pack for us and 1 for our son-in-law), a Melrose sweet pepper 4 pack and 2 four packs of Swiss chard to replace last year’s that had bolted! Saturday was another hot, humid day but I was able to plant some more Swiss chard, habanero peppers and Melrose sweet peppers early on. It rained overnight which is perfect for my new plants! Still got to hunt down some zucchini to get into garden! Last year, because I planted it later, I avoided all the destruction from the vine borer beetle and had a great harvest! Hope to repeat that success!

    I pulled out onions that had overwintered and were never going to have huge onions. They were going to seed and so I cut and chopped the onion bulbs in my food processor and put in my freezer! I got 9 quart size bags of chopped onions frozen from these!! I saved the flower heads for seeds and cut stalks to go into compost pile. It helped me connect with pioneer days when every part of a Buffalo that was hunted was used with nothing wasted. If this year and a half have taught me anything, it’s to be much more intentional in my stewardship and to decrease my wastefulness!

    We got an early start on pruning our fruit trees since we had missed both times last year. They look so much better and the fruit is much easier to access! Our arms were sore afterwards and it took us 3 days to prune 11 trees but we timed it so the branches were tied in bundles and taken to the curb the night before our free bu-weekly yard waste pick-up came! So no branches just piled up in our yard! 😀 We still have 4 more to prune but they just need a lighter pruning. It’s good to feel like we are getting our trees into maintenance-only schedule.

    Our youngest son got an unexpected refund from IRS (over $900) in addition to the smaller refund he got after I filed his taxes in Feb.! He had a letter explaining why but filed it away. He paid taxes on the unemployment benefits he received during 2020 while the zoo was closed but then this was changed AFTER he had filed to exclude a certain amount of unemployment due to COVID from taxes. He didn’t get the team leader position he had applied for but everyone there got a small raise because there are still more jobs than workers there. With gas prices going up ($3.12/gallon), the raise isn’t that exciting. But, he’s working and we are grateful.

    Life is good here. We have enough and to share with family/neighbors/others! We get rain here that waters our gardens and fills our rain barrels for the dry times. It’s a time of hope and opportunity!

    Brandy- I hope you and your family prosper even through this hot summer! Thank you for all your inspiration!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  7. Good morning! Brandy, I was thinking of you yesterday when I went walking early in the morning. It is very hot here in Phoenix too and all our activities have pivoted to early morning. I hope this week is the worst of it, 118 forecast for us by the end of the week. I looked over our spending last month and saw that we ate a meal out each week, due to opening up excitement, so this month I have put the brakes on, found new recipes, and am working from our freezer. It is easier to stay home when the temps are this high ;). Thank you for the garden updates, I love seeing the progress!

  8. I’m always amazed how much you do in such heat, I was struggling when it got to 22C in the garden the other day. I have been using home made compost to refresh the soil in potted plants. Zinnia and swiss chard seedling where potted up but I’m still waiting for salad leaves to germinate, I may have to do another sowing. I’ve repaired numerous items of clothing and I’m currently attempting to replace the sleeves of a favourite blouse with sleeves cut out of a t.shirt, a bit fiddly as the materials are of different weights. In the kitchen I’ve rotated all my canned and dried goods so they are in date order. I continue to keep my pantry stocked-up when items are on offer, but I’m finding there are less offers and fresh produce in the supermarkets is being repackaged at the usual price but the weight has been reduced. I don’t know if that has been happening in the U.S. but here in the U.K we are having to be very aware of prices and weights. Thank you for finding time to write your blog, it does inspire and encourage.

    1. It is definitely happening here too, Diane.

      Food prices in several Asian countries are up 40% since last year. I just read about it yesterday. I think with our drought situation across so much of the U.S., prices will do that here, maybe even as soon as by the fall. Just my speculation, but when you give farmers 0% of their water allotment and it’s not raining at all, and they are plowing up their orchards and leaving their fields fallow, it doesn’t look good. I am really working to grow more. My thought it what would happen if I couldn’t afford produce at the new higher prices. Already I feel that way about most produce. I am so glad to be growing more this year.

      1. I ran into a nut grower at Costco last week. He saw I was buying sugar (for canning) and assumed I was a baker. He advised me to purchase my nuts now for holiday baking because of the water issues and orchards being pulled out. He thought nut prices could quadruple by winter. 😬 Just thought I should pass the info. along.

        1. That’s what I have been suspecting. Nuts can go rancid so freezing them would be best.

          I planted two more almond trees and pistachios in my garden. It will take a few years, but I think it will be totally worth it.

        2. Yes, I think people are already starting to stock pile them! I always purchase sliced almonds at Aldi. When I went to get them last week, none were available. A grocery store had them, but they were $7.49 for a tiny bag! -no, thanks!

          1. And almonds were the inexpensive nut choice . . .

            I hope my trees do well. It won’t be a ton of nuts, as they don’t get real large, but it’s a source of protein at home.

            I wish I could grow hazelnuts as well, but it’s too hot for them here from all the research that I have done. They are a perfect backyard nut as they stay small, and they are already expensive. I would grow a ton of them if I could.

            1. What about a Macadamia Brandy? I pass one on my morning walk here in Sydney and I am collecting all the nuts that fall to the footpath. The tree is not too large, and it seems to be producing well in our climate.

            2. I grew up in south Florida (hot and humid) and we had a Brazil nut tree in our backyard. It always did incredibly well and put out a large harvest. However, they are also a pretty large tree.

        3. Thank you for the info, Julie. It’s also a good reminder to incorporate more nuts into my diet. I find that small amounts help regulate my hunger.

          I live in the Northeastern U.S. and find Trader Joe’s to have good nut prices. Additionally, a physician assures me that peanuts, which are often less expensive than almonds and walnuts, are just as healthful.

        4. Thanks for that information- I had been thinking about if I needed to purchase ingredients now for those items I bake 1-2x a year.

        5. Thank you for that info. I also didn’t know I could freeze them (just read Brandy’s comment about freezing) so off to the stores I go this week and will buy extra for the fall and freeze the packages.

  9. I am on two week pet-sitting vacay in Memphis. Pets are adorable and cooperative, duties are not that complicated or strenuous, beautiful home is in great part of town and owners leave me ton of $ and gift cards. Plus they have great cable and streaming packages. I live on farm in MS near small rural town with no restaurants plus I hate to cook so I love eating out on pet sitting trips. I have a list of 50 places I want to eat in Memphis. Some are real restaurants and some are simply bakeries or ice cream shops, none are fancy. I wont get to all 50 but I’m marking lots off list and will start again next trip. Lots of great shopping nearby too. Plus great used booked store at local library. I am having great time even though I have to get up hours earlier than normal in order to feed dogs breakfast. Small price to pay for completely free vacay. Last night I met friends of 45 years from my college days for dinner only 5 minutes away. Great time catching up.

      1. You jinxed me. Washing machine is going out and we’ve got fruit flies even though no fruit. I love my pet sitting trips. Gets me out of my same ole same ole, I don’t have to cook at all and really cheap getaway for just gas money. Normally I live with my 84 yo mom so my sister checks in on her while I’m gone. My sister is great cook and always shares meals with my mom. We’ve actually got the mom so she’ll answer FaceTime and check in with her several times a day that way. I’m probably only person who goes to Memphis on vacation 6-10 times a year but I love it.

  10. I hope everyone here had a good and frugal week! Brandy, I don’t envy you working outside in that heat! I moved/planted some things over the weekend and fixed some broken irrigation lines with parts I already had. I was awakened at 4:30 this morning by a crash of thunder and the race was on! Wasn’t expecting this, but I’m sure the plants loved the heavy rain that followed. (Free water!).

    I cashed in $45 worth of rewards from my Medicare Advantage plan for Amazon and Target GCs. I use them for Christmas–either to buy gifts or to give as the gift.

    I had bought some expensive toothpaste in a plastic tube (amazing in itself–I usually buy Pepsodent). When nothing more came out, I cut the tube in half and got enough for another whole week! I know people do this all the time, but I still was surprised. It’s now standard operating procedure!

    We’re playing pinochle again! Wednesday was our third time since the start of the pandemic. I read an article about how Warren Buffet spends his money. Besides still living in the home he bought in 1958 (it’s a really nice place), he plays bridge 8 hours a week. He says he wouldn’t mind going to jail if he could have 3 bridge-playing cellmates! (He once took Bill Gates to McDonalds for lunch and used coupons).

    Last week I reported that I’d bought 5 pairs of shorts and pants for my daughter online from TJMaxx for $107 including tax. Surprisingly, they all fit! This week we found 8 tops at Macy’s, and–big surprise–they all fit, too. So we bought all 8. Everything, even the stuff on sale, was 30% off with the Macy’s card. But then my card was declined for non-use. So they opened a new account for me at the register, with an additional 20% first day statement credit. This brings the 8 tops down to $141, or $248 for a whole wardrobe. And my 30 lbs. lighter daughter looks fab in everything! (She paid the bill right at the register).

    A few weeks ago, I told you about my difficulty buying a patio dining set and my reluctance to order all of the pieces individually (concerned that I’d get some, but not all). It all came! The chairs came immediately via Fedex, but the 90 lb. table took 3-4 weeks to arrive by freight. My husband assembled the table and we ate off it Sunday night.

    I used $4 in coupons from last Sunday’s paper to buy 4 lbs. of Darigold cheddar cheese, which was $5.69 per 2 lb. loaf before the coupon. I prefer Tillamook–when it is on sale–but Darigold is also good cheese. When melted, I can’t tell the diff.

  11. We spent a week camping in Utah. Half the time we stayed in a national forest campground (half price with our America the Beautiful pass) and half the time camped for free in another part of the national forest. My husband fished and we did some hiking. One day we visited Capital Reef National Park (free admission with the America the Beautiful pass). I packed food from home. Our only expense was gas, which was $3.50 a gallon in Utah, so the cost of the weeklong vacation came to several hundred dollars. Still well worth it.
    Home again, I harvested lettuce, chard, tarragon, mint, thyme, and chives, the last of the asparagus and rhubarb, and the first of the peas from the garden. I planted more carrots and lettuce. Everything is growing really well.
    I worked my way through a pile of mending.

    1. Cindi, go back to Capitol Reef in the late summer/early fall… the fruit trees are bearing, and you get to eat all you want. (You can pick some for home use too, but they’ll charge you for it.)

      We went through an insane week in Michigan, visiting the Mama — the Brick spent most of it underneath the trailer, fixing the brakes. And I wanted so much to gripe about the high humidity and temps — but Brandy, you kept me from griping too much! Your temps are much higher…

  12. The 12 year old keurig died. I saved money by not replacing it. It was really nice to have coffee within seconds, but since I cant obtain kcups as cheap as I used to, we just use the regular coffee machine with regular coffee. Our county is having the free lunch & breakfast program, and one of the pickups is at the high school 5 minutes away. (Its not the school my daughter attends.) We hadnt gone last year, so we went and got some stuff. It helps a little. I had bought a 10lb box of smoked pork chops for $10. I split it up and we ate that over several days. Im sick of pork again!!! I had put out trip to CT for the wedding on the priceline credit card, and received 5% per dollar spent. I redeemed for 3 walmart gift cards, that I will probably use for ibotta items or at Sams for some meat. While in CT, dh announced that he forgot to pack pants for the wedding. We went to Target and I was able to use a giftcard I had in my wallet that was most likely from Fetch. DH decided that he needed special lights for his truck, since he parks in a construction zone. I used my reward points from my discover card and went through amazon. I did remember to go thru your link Brandy! A few days after the lights were installed, he got a promotion and a company truck………UGGGHH men……..but at least it was no money out of pocket. DH did get a raise too…so it balances out with the paycut he took when he first took the job. Last job was extremely toxic. I moved money around so that I have a set amount going into the savings each week and at the end of the month I can pay the mortgage. I was doing it differently before, but I have this stupid average daily balance mortgage and if you make a payment early, then the next month, most of your payment goes to interest and not principal. I also have money going into another account that really isnt on our radar. Cant think of anything else I did that was out of the ordinary to save money.

  13. We have had an incredible amount of rain here over the past week. It rained for 7 days straight and with huge heavy downpour showers. I am grateful for the water as their is nothing like it for a garden and it keeps the water bill low but so many days of rain have unsettled a number of my plants and resulted in my being unable to get into the garden to prune. My garden is now a jungle, which if it produces well, we are going to have a very abundant harvest on our hands in about one week’s time.
    We harvested several zucchini, a dozen or so yellow squash, basil, parsley, half a dozen cucumbers, green bell peppers, new zealand spinach and banana peppers. My hydrangeas, daisies, coneflowers and several others continue to do well and have doubled in size with the recent rains so several bouquets were brought inside to enjoy. I love this time of the year when we can bring a bit of the outdoors inside.
    I am glad for the savings on our water bill last week because our electric bill was $80 higher this month. We had issues with our AC a couple weeks back and temperatures in the house of over 80 degrees caused it to work quite a bit harder to cool our home down. Hopefully these AC issues are a thing of the past. Also contributing to the higher bill are the higher summer rates – boo.
    I found a sale on pork shoulder for $0.99/lb and bought two for the freezer. We enjoyed homemade chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, cucumber and tomato salad, creamed spinach, steak, and pinto beans grown in our garden last year. I purchased several jars of pectin, 25 lbs of sugar, and a couple of bags of Mrs. Wages pickle mix to prepare for the canning season that is upon us. Thankfully I am well stocked on jars as the prices I have seen are almost double what I paid per dozen last year.
    My husband and I enjoyed a date night out which was a rare treat. We have decided to be more diligent in scheduling these as the uninterrupted time together is priceless. We ate dinner at a locally owned restaurant in order to give back to a business that has been very challenged during the pandemic. We won’t be able to do that every time but it felt so great to give back to the community in this way.
    I enjoyed free movies on Amazon Prime, free music from Spotify and we played several games of Uno and Parcheesi and assembled several jigsaw puzzles we already have on hand.
    We combined errands, ran full loads in the dishwasher, washer and dryer, and turned off lights. Our son will start kindergarten in August and his school requires uniforms. They will hold a consignment sale in July that I will attend in the hopes that i can find several things for him at discounted prices. The company that the school uses has a 10% off sale through the end of June so I will pick up a few items from them that aren’t likely to turn up in a consignment sale.
    I hope that everyone enjoys the week ahead – blessings to all!

  14. Made sure to enter receipts into rebate apps.

    Sold some shin guards I had listed on Marketplace for $8

    My mom sent over epsom salts and fixodent(Fixodent goes to my mil)

    Hubby repaired his truck by himself. He bought two separate parts, the first part he ended up not needing so he returned it promptly for a refund. Saved over $300 in labor(it was his clutch that has been replaced before)

    He also discovered his boat only needs a water pump, which saves a lot of money.

    My 14 yo is doing summer conditioning for high school volleyball, and one thing they do is play league games on Tuesday. It’s $5 for her, but I can watch for free. I watched 2 of her 3 games last Tuesday.

    Returned library books on time

  15. Hello Everyone!

    We’ve been working on a bathroom update since February. It’s taking longer than expected. My husband installed the new cabinet and countertop support himself over the weekend. You Tube tutorials were helpful! We’ve saved a lot on labor and are only spending on a plumber and tile subcontractor. After watching the tile work being done (properly) I’m glad we didn’t attempt this ourselves. It would’ve been an expensive experiment! 😆 I returned unused tile and grout to reduce costs.

    Combining errands saved gas. I did need to fill up. Costco gas station recently opened. It was a good $0.30 less than most gas stations nearby at $3.99/gallon.

    I hung dry mint and lemon balm leaves. It took five days to fully dry. Next time I will use the dehydrator. The leaves are stored in a mason jar for teas. I would like to grow chamomile next. I watched some tutorials on this as well.

    Our garden provided lots of cabbage and carrots this week. I made a chopped cabbage salad, rolled cabbage leaves, and carrot rappé. It’s nice having different salad options. I didn’t purchase bird netting in time and had to shoo off crows from our cherry tree! It’s the first year it has given us more than 2 cherries. I had to pick them last night to save as many as possible. Crows really like cherries! I bought a fig tree recently and can’t wait for some beautiful fruit like yours, Brandy!

    Our water bill was $75 higher this month. They’ve added new fees and added a letter stating that they wanted to raise rates another 3% for homeowners. With the drought rates may get worse. This will accelerate our rainwater harvesting plan for garden watering.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🍒

    1. Julie, our rates went up here as well. I’m just glad they didn’t tell us no outdoor watering at all like they just announced in one California town. That would be devastating to have all our fruit trees die.

      I plant chamomile around January and it blooms in May (and then dies).

      1. I’m worried about changes to water usage in the future with the drought. The nut farmer I mentioned before said there’s a lot of water waste in agriculture and state mismanagement. We live in an agricultural area that grows produce shipped clear across the country. This situation is worrisome not only for our own home garden and orchard, but also for availability and consumer prices.

        Chamomile may have to wait until next year. I don’t have space at the moment. Do you start yours from seed?

        1. I think we may see serious food shortages.

          Not only are California farmers receiving no water at all for their crops, but also farmers in parts of Arizona, Oregon, and Idaho.

          1. Brandy, I knew the drought was bad but i didn’t realize just how bad! This is worrisome! Thanks for the heads-up.

        2. It’s too hot for chamomile. You want to wait until fall or January to plant seeds. It blooms in April/May.

    2. I have heard many times how easy it is to lay your own tile. I disagree, at least for us. We did a bathroom. Not only did it never really look very good but a couple of tiles got hair line cracks right away. We waited a couple of years and then hired someone to redo it.

  16. It is so fun to hear about your garden progress, Brandy. I cannot imagine your heat! It’s been unusually hot here in MN (90s for many days in a row) and it’s been tough. Praying the drought out west gets some relief soon.

    We have been doing very well with our grocery budget. Since prices are rising, I’m focusing on eating less and using up every leftover. Since my 19 year old son who lives with us got a job, he isn’t eating at home much anymore. Bad for his budget, but good for ours. Overspending on eating out will have to be a lesson that teaches itself for him.

    I know this sounds over simple, but staying out of stores really helps me save money. When I go shopping I always find a deal or two. I try to remember if it isn’t a need, it’s not a deal. Staying home helps me avoid decisions like this.

    We hosted some family and friends to a cookout Sunday evening. Simple menu, everyone contributed and it was very pleasant. It’s nice to be able to see folks again.

    A friend who works at Hobby Lobby brought me FOUR large garbage-size bags of yarn. She knows I knit and crochet for charity, so she watched the clearance yarn and when it went to it’s lowest, she bought it for me, utilizing her employee discount. There are hundreds and hundreds of dollars (full price) of yarn for my projects. She won’t take a dime for it. She says it is her charitable donation since she doesn’t have time to make things anymore. I thought it was so kind of her. I’m a tad overwhelmed with the quantity, lol, but I’ll get to work! It will take me a year at least to get through all of this. I’ll periodically send her photos of what I’ve made so she can see what her donation has done. Anyhoo, that was VERY exciting for me!

    My husband and I each take $20/week in cash for things that might come up, so we don’t have to pull out of the family budget. Someone invited me to lunch last week, so I used my money to pay for that. It was fun to go out. It’s been a long time. When I don’t use the allowance money, I just tuck it away for a bigger purchase later.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week! I love reading all the posts!

    1. Becky,
      My parents do the $20 week and I since started too. It is nice to have that mad money. Thankfully over the lockdowns, I re-applied it to another goal.

  17. Looking back on what I have done recently, I realized many things fall into the “just one more” category. Can I wait one more week before getting a hair cut? Raise the thermostat one degree? Check my clothing for one more use before washing?
    Not any major moves here, but some small ones. I shook hot water up with the crusty honey stuck in two plastic honey bears and used it to sweeten lemonade. Carefully picked just two cotton shirts at a yard sale, avoiding all the others. Have started hanging clothes outside.
    Am really missing the dying trees we and the neighbors cut down, as we have less shade on our roof and some rooms seem warmer to me. It has, however, affected the squirrel population, so much so that I even have sweet peas coming up in potted plants, without the seeds having been eaten before sprouting.
    I am trying to get the smell out of a suitcase; a bar of Palmolive was stored in it for many months, and the smell is just vile. Worse than fabreeze, (a pet peeve of mine). I started by putting newspapers in it every time we got something on real newsprint, as that absorbs odors. After a few months, I recycled the newspapers and switched to putting coffee grounds in it. I bought a cheap package of coffee and tied some up in paper towels to put inside. I’ve used both of these moves for smelly-damp problems in the past. If anyone has any other smell-absorbing suggestions to cut artificial perfume smells, please let me know!
    The suitcase was my Dad’s roller-carry-on. I’ve never had one with good wheels, and this is so good, it is almost like a skateboard. I wonder if he somehow used his engineering skills and improved on the design.

    1. I would sprinkle baking soda and leave it alone for a few days. Try rubbing stainless steel items as well. And my third tip would be to leave it open where you get the most sunlight. I hope it helps!

    2. HL, I don’t know how this will work on artificial fragrance smells, but it removed smoke from two used cars. Simply put charcoal briquets inside the suitcase and close this up. After the worst of the smell was gone and we could bear to drive the car, we left the pie pan of charcoal under one of the front seats. We were driving within a few days and the odor was completely gone in less than a week…and we could still use the charcoal in the Weber! Also, when using newspaper, lightly wad/fluff it up to expose as much paper surface as possible.

      1. Should have added, close the suitcase up with the charcoal inside. When we deodorized the cars, we left the cars closed up with the charcoal inside, then opened all of the doors to air it out, closed it up again, etc. We would leave the cars open for a few hours and closed up with the charcoal inside the rest of the time. It only took a few days, and one of the cars had cloth upholstery. If anyone does this with a car with leather upholstery, wash the leather first. Just that will remove a fair amount of stink.

  18. I absolutely love it when I hear of people rescuing perfectly good items from other people’s trash. It’s the finest form of recycling. I wish I had thought of traveling around on trash night many years ago when I was raising kids and restoring an ancient house.

    1. I second what Anne has said. I walk most evenings. I don’t know why I did not notice the “treasures” on the curbs sooner. Now trash picking has become a hobby of sorts. I find many useful things on the curbs. If I cannot use them I give them to my church’s thrift store to sell or to Goodwill. I find pet carriers & pet beds that I donate to the local Humane Society. We live in a a disposable society. People throw away new things or things that have a lot of use in them. Sometimes my husband gripes & says do not bring home anything else. At that point, I know I need to make a donation trip thin out the inventory.
      Recent finds:
      A large plastic container with 130 generic dishwasher tablets inside.
      3 large jugs of Purex laundry soap (110 wash loads each) in an alley behind a drug store.
      A sewing machine in a wood cabinet on the curb.
      A pair of swim trunks for my husband.
      A set of silverware in a plastic silverware organizer.

      1. Those are some great finds! It’s hard to pass up things that still have a lot of life left in them.

  19. Yesterday while shopping at Walmart I saw they had canned pears in extra light syrup for .25/can! I bought a dozen cans. That is probably my biggest frugal win of late. I was also able to get 2 jars of Hellman’s mayo for $2. They were on clearance at Kroger. I bought 50# of peaches from Kroger when they were on sale last week. I will can them next week once they are ripe. My garden is doing well except that something is pulling up the corn. I thought it might be cutworms so on my second planting a placed jars over the seeds deep into the soil. Imagine my surprise to find several jars turned over and the new seedlings pulled up again. Whatever it is cuts to stalks from the roots. Any suggestions would be appreciated. We have had the right kind of rain at the right times to keep things watered without having to use the hose. Our electric bill was $40 less than last month due to the moderate temperatures outside for most of the month. We had to turn the a/c on a couple of weeks ago for a few days but overall have not used the a/c much at all. We turned it back on last week while we were out of town because the weather was going to be hot, humid and rainy off and on. We took the grandkids to Williamsburg and had a wonderful time. It was hot and humid there as always. This was a trip we had planned and saved for. We used discount coupons and military discount to save money and brought our own snacks and lunch foods. We had a great time. We stopped on the way home at Richlands Dairy where they have homemade ice cream and great, reasonably priced lunches. For those of you in Virginia it is a must stop along 460. They are very family friendly with a large play area for the kids. Inside the barn there is an area where you can look through a window and watch the ice cream being made. They also offer a dairy free ice cream. The grandkids thought it was neat how they could see the cows who made their ice cream.

    1. Do you have chipmunks in your area? For whatever reason, they do the damage you describe. They don’t eat the shoots, just cut down the plants.

      1. We do have chipmunks. Our little terrier has killed 7 in the past year. Whenever I find a hole I stuff a rag soaked in apple cider vinegar which seems to distract them while they look for a new tunnel. Tuesday I had 25 corn seedlings. Yesterday I had 6 left standing. I can’t bring myself to go look this morning. I might try planting a third (and final) time and put down DE in case it is a cutworm infestation but since I covered the second planting with jars and found jars knocked over I am thinking you are right about the chipmunks. I cannot imagine cutworms being able to knock the jars over. Do you have any suggestions on how to deter or get rid of chipmunks? It’s not a big area, just enough for 30 corn plants. They have also eaten all my strawberries. I thought it might be rabbits or birds so I tented the plants with netting. But every single berry is gone. It is so frustrating. I joke with the neighbors that we have the best fed wild life in the neighborhood. Literally NO ONE else in the neighborhood has critter problems like we do:(

        1. Many years ago we had problems with holes dug in our lawn, probably moles although I never saw them. One day I stepped in a hole and twisted my ankle. In anger and frustration I poured quite a lot of liquid bleach down the hole. We never had a problem again.

  20. What an amazing week you had Brandy! That heat is crazy. We are having record breaking heat this week in Utah – 100* and up. Good luck and fingers crossed that your deal works out for you.

    *We had 2 cooler days last week. I shut off the A/C and opened every window and used fans when needed.

    *I spent more at the grocery store last week, but also filled up some holes in my storage area and snack areas. I was able to help one son by letting him “shop” in my pantry. We sent him home with 4 big bags of food. He needs to eat more meals at home and not go out for food. What a blessing is food storage!

    *A friend invited us to swim at her pool on Friday. We took our own food and snacks to share with her as a thank you. It was a wonderful afternoon floating in the pool and chatting with a friend. I got completely sunburned and am very thankful for Aloe Vera and Ibuprofen. Ouch!

    *My husband and I had a date night using our discounted gift cards. He brought home dinner since I couldn’t wear a bra with the sunburn. Haha – still ouch!

    *We’ve been to the library, used streaming services, exercised at home and all the usual. I’ve started researching ways to improve my garden and will start trying a few new things. I created a gardening notebook to keep notes in on what works and what didn’t. I also want to keep track of what kind of weather and watering conditions we have during the summer. This summer is dry and super hot.

    *Repaired a patch on my daughter’s jeans.

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. I’m not sure if you’ve tried it, but if you don’t have any blisters that are open – try putting white vinegar in a spray bottle and spraying it on the burn (my mom used to apply on me with cotton balls, but my son got a burn so bad that it was painful to apply that way. I was so excited when my husband thought of the spray bottle on mist)!

      It doesn’t smell great, but helps stop the burn (and the pain) far better than aloe ever has for me. Hope you feel better soon!

      1. My mom used to use vinegar on our sunburns as well – but not quite full strength – it did take away a lot of the sting. Also – calamine lotion – you look a bit of a sight but it does seem to help.

  21. I am still working on bell peppers I was blessed to receive last week along with Zuchinni dehydrating some and freezing some. I was blessed with half a bushel of peaches today so will start in the morning blanching to get the skins off, cutting up and canning them which will be a delight this coming winter. My garden is doing very well which surprises me as we caught on my neighbors security cameras a deer literally at her back door last week we live in the inner city so this was a big surprise to us. I have those twirly things that kids play with all along my green beans row and so far thankfully the female deer has not touched anything in my garden. I have been using a trashcan for composting and it’s half way full I add sawdust to the table scraps (veggie only) so yesterday I bought a new trash can that is black as I read it compost faster with the sun attracted to the black. I will be blessed with a lot of fertilizer this coming year. Today I went to the library and checked out 3 Mother Earth News magazines to look at for 7 days and also got the movie Godzilla versus Kong instead of buying it or renting it. My Umbrella Clothesline broke beyond repair so I had to order a new one not frugal upfront but should get many years of drying clothes on it which will save on the electric bill.. my friend and next door neighbor Brandy allowed me to use her clothesline till mine came today so I didn’t miss a beat with the hot weather to take advantage of.

  22. I feel so lucky that our temperatures are lower than yours, Brandy. It’s commendable that you can get so much done despite the heat.

    Finally we’ve been getting some rain here and we needed it. I know the plants will take-off.
    I had a garden mistake last week. I’ve tried growing okra multiple times with no luck. This time I tried planting one in a large terracotta pot (found on bulk trash day) with sieved compost. It’s done really well, but I didn’t know to pick the pods before they got too big, so some were too fibrous to eat. I’m watching my plant closely and picking them earlier.

    We bought the neglected house next door to us a few years back in order to obviate having some ugly, gigantic new house (ours is an older, modest neighborhood, but newcomers/developers tear down the charming houses and erect huge, ugly boxes). We’d hope to renovate it and rent out the apartments, but with the onerous building codes, we just don’t have the energy or patience. We’ve been trying to get rid of anything usable in the house and last week we sold 2 claw-foot tubs and two vintage sinks to a very nice man who appreciates old things. We were happy to get rid of them and gave him a vintage metal medicine cabinet as a bonus. One tub and a couple of sinks and two vintage apartment-sized gas stoves to go!

    Have a wonderful week all & thanks, Brandy!

  23. We did a not so frugal thing this week. We put a contract on a house. So yay for us. I don’t like going into debt but it will be nice to have a home of our own. Plus it has one acre with it. We can now turn our yard into a garden paradise. So excited about that. Also thinking about getting a small flock of chickens.

    We found a sale on pork shoulder for 99 cents a pound and bought five. We spent 36 dollars but saved nearly 69. We cooked one on Sunday which will provide three meals and froze the rest. It really pays to look at online ads. I wouldn’t have found the deal if it weren’t for the ad. I never use that store but now I’m going to start buying a lot more there as they have some good deals.

    1. Congratulations on your new house! How exciting to have a large garden and chickens!

    2. I don’t think buying a home is non-frugal. You have to live somewhere, right? Wouldn’t you rather make payments on your own place than feather the landlord’s nest? You are going to love living in your new home and that acre is going to give you multiple opportunities to live the frugal dream…from that garden to a clothesline and a lot in between. Congratulations on your huge FRUGAL accomplishment!

  24. -I spent a few days trying to contact my sister-in-law, who has been in assisted living in another province. It isn’t unusual, because she relies on call display, and doesn’t always check it. I tried to figure out how to text her from my computer. I don’t know if it worked or not, but I understand now how to do it in theory. In any case, I finally called the person who has her power of attorney to see if she knew anything, and it turned out my sister-in-law had been hospitalized a week before, and is being assessed for cognitive problems. I called her in hospital and was able to have a good social chat with her. She was one of only two people other than myself who maintained contact with my late sister when my sister entered long-term care with dementia, so I definitely want to keep regular contact with her.
    -I also had a long chat with my 93-year-old aunt, who lives in another province, as well. I have a very inexpensive long-distance plan which makes it possible to have very long conversations without worrying about cost. Not like the old days, when long distancce charges were a big consideration.
    -The rest of the week I got some cleaning projects done, some everyday and some seasonal projects like getting the fans clean and in order for hot weather. We have warm weather here but nothing that usually warrants air conditioning, and fans are very cheap to run. I live in an older home that has pretty good cross-ventilation as well, so generally am comfortable in warm weather. It makes the summer utilities low. The cost of heating in the winter is a different matter!
    -I’ve been doing my budget for the summer. Expenses are generally higher, about $125 a month higher, and I also have the added expense of someone doing yard work. I have been weighing alternatives of what repairs and maintenance to get done now that the yard is getting under control. I’ll be getting quotes next week on new front steps and repairing and painting the outside trim, so that I can get the money in place to do that. Those repairs qualify under a Seniors Home Repair Program, a very cheap provincial loan program, where repayment does not need to happen until the house is sold. When my next pension payment comes in, also next week, I’ll be getting an electrician in to take care of lighting in my bathroom.
    -I got a couple of things for the pantry that I haven’t had since Christmas – rice and popcorn, and coffee was on sale for $4.98 a pack instead of $7.98 a pack, so I got an extra pack to supplement the new pack I’m about to open. I bought strawberries on sale and whipped cream as a treat for a celebration of sorts. I also got some rhubarb which went directly into the freezer until I buy baking ingredients next week, and can make rhubarb crisp. There was fresh zucchini last week, and I made zucchini fritters for supper two nights. They tasted just like summer. It doesn’t come into season here until August, but as long as it is in season somewhere!
    -I can’t sleep at night, though I certainly feel like things are moving along. Hope you all are well. I’ve been reading the forecasts in the western US, and it sounds very, very hot where you are, Brandy. I’m sorry there’s been no rain.

  25. -I ate my first homegrown tomato BLT for the year.
    – I had my son in the Army come home for the weekend. He brought his girlfriend that we had not met. Multiple times she commented on our home and how nice it is. Almost everything we have is garage sale or family antiques that I repurpose.
    -We went to a place in town that is an old factory they turned into shops, and restaurants are around a courtyard with live music, corn hole, checkers, and an area for kids with hula hoops, ping pong, and games. It is all free to hang out and play. We got food and I am gluten free so I tried a Crepe with teriyaki chicken that is rolled in a cone. It was a new dish I can try to recreate. It had lettuce and I saw her put a sauce on it and massage into the lettuce, then chicken, tomatoes, boiled egg slices, and purple onion.
    – I went to Sam’s and got two packages of pork chops. I usually get a loin and cut it up but it was $2.35# and the already cut with bone was $1.98#. I got 2 containers of fresh tenders .
    – I mixed ground beef half with our ground venison and made tacos. I am sure it is mostly in my head, but I am just still not happy with eating it so I am thinking about seeing if someone wants it. We like the sausage and backstrap we had made into cubed steak. I haven’t tried the stew meat pieces yet.
    -I made a couple of old dishes before we get back to low carb. I made ham fettucini- just ham I had frozen, spaghetti noodles, and a homemade white sauce. I made broccoli cheddar soup. I bought a frozen bag of broccoli and it is mostly stems, so we don’t want it steamed as a side. But the stems are good in soup. I made taco soup with everything canned except the meat.
    – I have noticed all the farmers markets around us have much more than usual. You used to have a hard time finding a bushel of green beans or pink eyed purple hull peas and they are all advertising many fruits and vegetables. They are a lot more than grocery store, so I haven’t bought any yet. One has opened strawberry picking, and I used to have to drive 45 minutes to a farm. I am taking grandson in the next couple of days. We also have a few you pick flower farms, which I thought was so cool to see in Germany. It was about 10 years ago but I picked some flowers in Germany for our hotel room.
    -my dahlia bulbs and zinnia seeds are coming up. I need to plant more seeds plus some sunflowers. I have kept a container of hydrangeas cut to enjoy. I have dark pink, blue, purple, and white.

  26. Wow, that’s a lot of produce to be able to get from your garden, given that it is being so massively remodeled currently!

    My frugal week:
    – I made triple berry jam ( using berries that were getting a bit wizened. Turned out great!
    – I made healthy fudge popsicles for my daughter, using avocado, cocoa, yoghurt, and maple syrup. Low sugar and so creamy!
    – I baked a cake with berries that I had foraged and frozen last year, as a thank you to a neighbour for a baby gift. I had my daughter draw on the cake box instead of writing a card.
    – I redeemed a birthday freebie for a protein box from Starbucks, and had it for lunch.
    – I took advantage of an airmiles promo, to get an extra 95 air miles (equivalent to $10)
    Took advantage of a airlines promo to get 95 extra airlines
    – I used a $5 coupon when buying a cake as a special treat.
    – I baked garlic cheddar biscuits, and used up the end of a piece of cheddar, some garlic butter that my mum didn’t want, and some parsley from the garden, along with some self-raising flour that my mum wanted to have used up. Easy and delicious!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. The fig tree is in the same place, as are the blackberries. The blackberries are on the side of the house and we didn’t move them either. I want to add more; it’s a challenge here with the sun but hopefully, I can make it work.

  27. Our washing machine has been having a few problems, so my husband did some online research and ordered a couple parts online and fixed it instead of buying a new machine, which was a huge money saver. It’s older and probably is getting close to the end of it’s lifespan but if we are able to fix it and get a few more years out of it, that’s what we’re going to do.

    I sewed together some leftover fabric pieces that I cut in to squares to make patchwork quilts for my two children’s beds. I hope to have them finished by Labor Day. I found a great deal yesterday on thread and sewing supplies, at Lidl of all places, so I stocked up. I also purchased some fabric that was on clearance to sew a dress for my daughter and a shirt for my son. I repaired a pair of my son’s pants that had a hole in them.

    I found a pair of shoes for my daughter on clearance at Walmart for $5 and a t-shirt (it was probably for St. Patrick’s Day) with tie-dye and a glittery shamrock on the front for 50 cents. She loves colorful and sparkly so that was a great buy.

    We worked in the garden every day and have about 200 tomatoes growing on our plants. I bought eight tomato plants from a woman in our community who has a micro-farm for $1.50 each (I can’t grow tomato plants from seeds for some unknown reason). These are proving to be a great investment. Our other vegetables are growing well and we are trying to grow grapes and blueberries for the first time. We also were given a large discount on a bushel of peaches at a local peach farm so we canned peach slices, peach jam and peach pie filling. I picked some marjoram from the garden and dried it out. I also packed away some staples (flour, sugar, etc) that we got a good deal on for long term storage. Food prices aren’t just creeping up in my area, they’re rising rapidly. My husband and I sat down and worked out numbers and decided to add to our pantry before prices get any higher and also looked at our household budget to see where we can cut back/save.

    We made the decision to homeschool next fall. In my state the easiest way to go about this is to join a homeschool association. This causes the least amount of interference and scrutiny from the local school district/state education department. If you join a co-op or just do your own thing, they require standardized testing and are a lot more Big Brother-ish about homeschooling. Joining did cost us $100 but the association provides all the paperwork/records needed for the state, plans activities for children to get together and do activities (hiking, camping, sports) and arranges field trip activities. They also have a book club and access to websites that normally incur a charge to use.

    I never posted before, just read everyone’s money saving ideas for years. Have a good week everyone.

    1. Hi Kelly! So glad you commented!

      Can you add peach trees to your garden?

      Food prices in Asia have risen 40% since last year. I’m following news on the drought and I think we’re going to see the same here.

  28. This week is prep time for a family vacation. We are a frugal group and have been making lists of who is bringing what to keep packing down and to avoid spending on vacation area priced provisions.

    I continue to save any warm up water or unused drinking water to water the garden. My potato plants need more dirt added to the growing plants and thankfully I had some prime dirt from a previous yard project that needed re-homed. (My first instinct was to buy bags of dirt.)
    Made a small cash donation to a charity of (their) choice instead of a cash gift to family who were already recipients of large cash gifts. (Cash gift was the only option given.)

    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  29. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The thought of gardening in your heat is making me wilt Brandy. You are making great progress by the sound of it. I would love to harvest figs like yours.
    I found English asparagus at a good price so we ate some fresh and I made a big pan of soup to freeze.
    The school where I am temporarily working appealed for herb plants so I’ve taken in mint, chives, parsley and lavender for them.
    I’ve transplanted volunteer viola plants to better positions and picked sweet peas and lettuce from the garden. Our first sowing of carrot seed failed so my husband planted some more. We planted out home grown plants including kohl rabi, outdoor tomatoes, leeks, chard, nasturtiums, sunflowers, borage, french marigolds, verbena, achillea, nicotiana, echinacea, bedding dahlia and more snapdragons. It’s been a marathon of planting this week.
    My husband brought in some onions which have overwintered in the ground. I prepped and froze them in bags, I think they will be fine and not too pungent in slow cooker casseroles.
    I decluttered and took several bags to fabric recycling and donated some.
    I bought beautiful fabric for £1.50 at the charity shop, big enough to back a quilt or make a duvet cover. I also bought a new bath mat there.
    I sent a birthday card from my discounted stash. I’m on the look out for the next greeting card deal from this particular company as they’re good value for the lovely quality.
    Still eating down the freezers!
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. I am going a lot more slowly now that I can’t work out there all day. Still, I am progressing a bit at a time.

    2. Would you mind sharing where you get discounted cards? I have 4 one-direction pen pals I send weekly cards to. 3/4 live in facilities. If you’d prefer not to no biggie at all. I love $ Tree for 50 cents and $1 Hallmark cards. Also Trader Joe’s. I regret not going to Papyrus going out of business 10 cents card sale but it was winter weather and 5 hours away.

      1. Hi TCR
        I’m happy to share but I’m in the UK so postage to you would be expensive. If anyone in the UK is interested I buy them from Whistlefish, I joined the loyalty points scheme and wait for sales and specials. They’re lovely quality.

      2. If you join Hallmark Gold Crown Rewards (no cost) you can get a free card each month (up to 3.99, pay only tax). You have to go to a Hallmark store to get your free card each month. I have ordered inexpensive cards from but be aware that when they have “free shipping,” there is still a fee although I forget what they call it. Just a couple of thoughts in case they’re helpful.

      3. Do you have a Walgreens? Check there for boxed cards — they have different generic boxed sets and one is a “Thinking of You” type. They are usually around $3 for a box of 12, with 4 different designs. I bought the birthday cards to use as birthday party invitations this year. I looked online and didn’t see them, so I think they are an in-store thing.

  30. On Friday of last week I made both a crockpot meal for supper and slow simmered spaghetti sauce and made a sort of spin off tater tot casserole using tater tots instead of the more usual mashed potatoes on my cottage pie. We had a family birthday party here on Saturday and all we had to do was hosting. Everyone else brought the foods/drinks/paper plates etc. We did buy sodas, at my grandson’s request and everyone opted to drink that even though other drinks were available. My husband found 1L bottles on a deal for $1 each so he got ten bottles. We have leftovers that we’ll use for future family gatherings or throughout the summer. I repotted a tomato plant given to us and fed it crushed fresh egg shells and coffee from a keurig k-cup. I buy the k-cups from Amazon and am happy with the price point of the Solimo coffee for us. I could save money doing reusable pods but this is something my husband wants and with enough mis-communications happening last week I feel it’s wisest to just give in. I can save more elsewhere that is less noticeable anyway. I potted up the flowers of two poinsettias just to see what would happen…Turns out they root and grow! So I’ll come into Christmas this year with six poinsettia plants. I snipped the longer stems of mint to root so I can expand my mint plantings. I harvested rosemary and oregano again and those are drying on the counter. They are nearly ready to bottle up. My rosemary bush is HUGE and I don’t really need to harvest any since it stays green year round but I do because…just because! I rearranged several areas and have determined with the changes I can now get another shelving unit to go into my pantry and this makes me very happy as it will take advantage of what is now blank space over two large bins. I know which unit I want to buy and it will be quite affordable especially since I have a gift card I can use to make the purchase. We went to the house in town that I own and did a lot of necessary yard work. My daughter rents the place from us and the first six months rent have just covered the annual expenses on the house. Now we can turn rent back into the property and improve it a little along. We plan to eventually sell the place and while it’s not going to be a big money earner it will be something more than we’d had before. I cooked all meals at home last week except lunch which we picked up at the grocery deli counter, much cheaper really than eating out and always nets us two meals. And that is pretty much it.

  31. Wow, you have been busy, Brandy!

    My daughter had a pair of New Balance sneakers that she outgrew. They were unisex looking, except for some glitter laces. Since they were in excellent shape, I swapped out the laces and now my son can wear them—for playing outside, if nothing else.

    I’m also worried about the drought and food availability/inflation. It’s getting very hot in my area as well. My lettuce and spinach keep bolting, so I started some indoors that I will grow in our sunroom. I also read that Italy is having trouble getting cans for tomato products, so exports will be greatly reduced. I imagine this will make domestic products more costly. I will probably can some tomatoes myself this year, even though I haven’t done so in several years.

    I found some cute, old-fashioned, glass ice cream dishes at Goodwill for 35 cents each. I also found a coffee table book (for $3) about our city that retails for $35 in local gift shops.

    I have requested two new release books from the library that sound very interesting, so I thought I would mention them. I’m hoping to get them soon! The first one is called “Spin,” by Peter Zheutlin. It is a historical novel about Annie Londonderry, a young mother who set out in 1895 to journey around the world via bicycle. She earned money along the way selling photographs of herself, etc. The second book is, “The Forest of Vanishing Stars,” by Kristen Harmel. This book isn’t out yet, but my library apparently received advanced copies. I believe it is also historical fiction. It’s about a wealthy, young German girl who was kidnapped and raised in the wilderness. She later uses her survival knowledge to help Jewish refugees escape.

    Have a great week!

    1. I looked up the second book; our library doesn’t have it listed yet and Amazon is only taking pre-orders. Amazon suggested a few books underneath that were similar so I requested three of them from the library.

  32. I participated in 1 hour and 45 minutes of in person market research and received $140 cash. During the research session I received a drink of my choice and a giant warm cookie. There are no active COVID cases here.
    My family went out for breakfast and this was kindly paid for by another member of our group.
    I took a few walks and a bike ride.
    I was given two luxurious ice creams on two separate occasions.
    My daughter attended a spa birthday party and took along a $30 gift which I got on sale for $5.
    I made a big batch of soup with barley, red lentils and vegetables.
    I got a hot roasted chicken for $6. Chicken has been used on burgers. Some is going into the aforementioned soup for dinner tonight. I will work out what to do with the remainder as the week progresses as I didn’t meal plan this week.
    Groceries came it at $113 for the week.
    We got a new to us car, slightly larger than the very small one we have. Will fit us all in much better and is more comfortable. We are currently repairing our old car then will sell it. We bought the old car and new to us car below market value. Current cars like our old car are advertised at $1,500 more than what we paid 3 years ago and they have more miles on them. We plan to keep the new to us car for 8-10 years. It’s a much more economical and reliable brand so will do us well into the future. Plus it’s stick so my children may be able to learn to drive in it.
    Have a lovely week.

  33. Hello Brandy and all,

    It has been a blessed week. We welcomed a new nephew! His other aunt and I had a lot of fun taking care of his older sister, our niece, while Mom and Dad were in the hospital. I brought some children’s books with me that my kids have long outgrown. We had a picnic in the backyard each day. This week my husband and I also celebrated our 18th anniversary with homemade brownies. We also joke that staying married is itself frugal. He has been cultivating a lovely garden for us and I am very much enjoying sitting there after work and catching up on reading.

    I gave myself a manicure and pedicure as usual, while my husband cut his own and our sons’ hair. On a long drive we listened to a free podcast.

    I hope everyone has a lovely week.

  34. We are having an unusual heat wave here. The dogs are really panting on our walks. I’m not sure how those who live in the south manage! And gardening in your climate Brandy is amazing with this heat.

    Finally passed the hundred day mark in stem cell transplant recovery. The latest round of tests show no growth in the lymph nodes, so no cancer! After another 2.5 years, the percentiles drop to negligible. 3 months till I can get my baby inoculations and rebuild those antibodies killed by the last round of lethal chemo. Until than, I stay pretty isolated. Just on my two year mark in this NHL cancer battle. Glad to be in the upswing! PTL

    Frugally, my 80+ parents visited since I cannot travel. I haven’t seen them for 2 years. My sister also came for some of the time. We mostly ate from the freezer and I stayed home while they went out a bit. It’s humbling when the 80 year olds are more energetic than I am! But I’m recovering well, just a lot of fatigue.

    We’ve been fixing things and filling up the pantry. Can be a bit spendy, but I am definitely happier to have things in order with the state of the world lately.

    I do enjoy reading comments. Blessings,

    1. Trish, I’ve been wondering how you are doing! Sounds very promising, indeed!!! Best Wishes, Ann

    2. I was wondering how you were, so glad to have an update from you! Sending you much love !

  35. Your fruit looks so good. Blackberries are my absolute favorite.
    I’m still not functioning at 100% after the loss of my mother. Her memorial service is next week, so a lot of emotions are coming to the surface right now. I have to plan my little talk for the service. One of the things I am going to say, I have passed on to both of my children. My mother was a librarian, and she used to say “It is more important to learn how to read than to learn how to cook, because if you can read, you can learn to cook. You might not be a chef, but you won’t starve. If you can’t read it will be really hard to learn anything.” Thanks for letting me share my mother’s wisdom here. I believe it is a frugal thing, because she was teaching us not to be afraid to learn.
    I worked 4 days last week, and brought breakfast and lunch all four days. I am only supposed to work three days, and I will be sticking to that from now on. I am taking all next week off for my mother’s memorial service and to go to her home, which is 150 miles away.
    We planted the last of the peppers, cucumbers, (4 varieties) and squash (3 varieties) in the row garden.
    I made chicken broth with the bones from a Costco chicken and lovage, parsley and thyme from the garden.
    Picked lettuce and had with lunches and dinners all week.
    Made a batch of potato corn chowder, using the chicken broth made, and corn and bacon from the freezer, along with some potatoes I got a week ago for 99¢ for a 10 pound bag, and onions from the garden.
    Stopped at a friend’s house to admire his garden. It really is gorgeous. He gave us a rhubarb plant. I had been wanting to get one, so am very grateful.
    I cleaned out the freezer at the bottom of the refrigerator. (We have a fridge on top, freezer on bottom model, which I dearly love.) I now have it much more organized and I can see what is in there.
    Planted basil we were given.
    The marigolds I planted by seed a week or so ago have started coming up.
    The second planting of snow peas is sprouting.
    I hung the clothes on the line, including the sheets. They smell so good.
    My DH built another raised bed for me, using free lumber. He used a gift card to Home Depot to get the fasteners. This is going to be for the basil this year.
    I hope you all have a blessed week.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      From the western part of Washington state. Just want to say that my heart is with you
      at such s difficult time.
      My mother had been a librarian also and always impressed upon my sister and I how important it is for girls to get a good education. As wonderful as she was, she wasn’t a great cook but I know she tried. I am sure my love of books came from her.
      Thinking of you.

    2. My condolences to you on the loss of your mom. Your deep love and respect for her comes across what you wrote. And her words are truly wise. Peace to you.

    3. Your mother gave you a gift of words which you have passed on. So beautiful! I hope her memorial service brings you comfort.

    4. Dear Nancy,
      So sorry for the loss of your Mom. It doesn’t matter how old we are, they are still our Mom. It’s not easy.
      What a wonderful legacy and gift to share with your girls!
      Mary in Michigan

  36. -Last week was busy, vacation Bible school every morning during the week. Plus I had 3 of the grands stay and attend.

    -Meals were: scrambled eggs with hash browns and bacon; fresh fried fish (hubby went fishing and this time did some catching)with tator tots and salad; scalloped potatoes and ham; baked chicken thighs with mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans; pizza; and two nights of leftovers.

    -Found the store brand skin on natural wieners for $5.00, usually they are $8.00. Bought 4 packages for the freezer.

    -My grandson wanted box macaroni and cheese for lunch one day. I told him grandma doesn’t buy that. But I have macaroni ($0.75/lb) and powdered cheese (bought at the Mennonite bulk foods store), plus a dab of butter and milk and I can make it for you. He said it was the best he has ever had, even better than the box! Made for pennies.

    -Also made fruit roll ups in the dehydrator from applesauce. Got it ready and plugged in on my deck outside to keep the heat out there. Also did them overnight and they were done in the morning.

    -Made homemade cinnamon rolls in the evening. Into the pan and into the refrigerator. In the am took them out let them finish raising and baked for a warm breakfast treat!

    -Weeded and weeded flower gardens and vegetable gardens. Things are looking great. Harvested the last of the asparagus. Radishes also harvested. Lettuce ready soon.

    -I canned another 7 pints of grape juice. Black grapes were $1.29/lb. My grandkids love home canned juice.

    Have a great week!!

    1. I just read about a free virtual children’s cooking snack class. It’s 6/21 through 6/25 on and it’s for ages 3 to 15. Don’t know if your grandson would enjoy it, but I thought I’d pass it along.

  37. We received a firm date in August for my husbands hip replacement so that is good news. Healthcare may be free here but he will have waited 27 months which was not so nice. Consequently DD and I will not be going to Europe in August-but it will still be there next year. Yesterday I entered all of us into the recently announced Vaccine lotto-3 , 1 million dollar prizes to be won. Our small garden is coming along but with the hot weather recently needing plenty of water. Our apple tree is loaded so will be harvesting in 2-3 months. As well we should have a good crop of Saskatoon berries and raspberries later in the summer.

  38. It’s a balmy 73F with a nice breeze from the bay our high today was 79. We had thunderstorms from late last night to early morning which brought lots of rain and dropped temps several degrees. I feel for all you affected by such high temps and drought. Even here on the East Coast, our news channels talk of the drought faced out West. I know this will lead to an increase in food prices for us here on the East Coast as the romaine lettuce that the stores I shop at is grown in Coachella Valley, CA and I believe Yuma, AZ. This story is from NBC’s weather center. There are also lots of videos about Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, etc. that are interesting. This article states that Nevadans are paid to use drip irrigation, I’m sure you are aware of this, but thought I would post the link

    I haven’t posted in a while as I’ve spent quite a bit of time from home – first a month away to help DIL with her first baby, who is now 7 months old; then helping my inlaws downsize to a smaller home. I am now caught up reading all your posts and hope to eventually read the comments too. Your garden is coming along fabulously and I love seeing all your photos. Especially this one of your mission figs – one of my fav fruit. We have planted tomatoes – cherry, grape, early girl, and an heirloom called Brandywine. Also cucumbers, bell peppers, Italian eggplant, zucchini, and hot peppers. I am harvesting Genovese basil, Italian flat leaf parsley, Greek oregano, lemon balm, peppermint and chives. I have dehydrated lots of oregano and will continue – it grows profusely and it’s taking over my beds. I have noticed that prices for organic dried herbs have skyrocketed. Our blueberries, raspberries and blackberry plants all doing well – they love our sandy soil – and will be getting a good crop soon.

    DD and her family spent the weekend with us and we went strawberry picking on Sat. at a small family-owned farm on the mainland. The 7 and 9 yr old grands had lots of fun and are “expert” pickers. I canned 16 pints of strawberry jam yesterday, made 2 strawberry shortcakes (one to bring to DD along with some jam), plus lots for us all to eat fresh.

    I have enjoyed reading The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles – based on a true WW11 story of the librarians at the American Library in Paris; All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is very poignant and also takes place in France during WW11. Also read several business & finance books – all borrowed from the library. We have “saved” nearly $500 so far this yr borrowing books.

    1. Well, the only “payment” would be the grass rebate deal from the water district. I read their rules and my garden wouldn’t qualify. It only counts for grass areas that are converted to desert landscaping that includes groundcover. Putting in anything else (concrete, rocks–which most people put in instead of grass, other plants, fake grass) doesn’t count towards the rebate according to their official rules. Plus, they put a lien on your house. Any future buyers who decide they want to put grass back in have to pay back the money that the original person (i.e not them) got from the water district.

      That said, our water district put in a lot of water rules in place in 2003 and we have reduced water usage in the tri-city area by 40% while increasing the population by 750,000 people. We use less than the amount allotted to us by the Lake Mead water agreement. Of what we use (which is 5% of the total water used from Lake Mead each year), we reclaim 90% of that. Anything that goes down the drain is reclaimed, treated, and reused. In 2003, grass in the front yard of new homes was banned, and we had the second fastest-growing and fourth fastest-growing cities in the U.S. at the time, and these were all new houses being built (with ten new schools a year). Parks, churches, and other buildings had to reduce most of, if not all of their grass.

      Less than two weeks ago, all grass at businesses, in medians, and in front of neighborhoods was banned. They are giving them until 2027 to fix it, which is a surprisingly long time for them.

      Water cuts are coming next year and I don’t know what they will mean for us yet. This is only the first tier of cuts. I’m sure there are at least three tiers as that is how tiers work.

      They have considerably raised their rates in the last year. I had hoped to cut my summer bills by $200 a month. Now it looks like instead I will pay the same amount for half the water. At least my bill won’t be $500 a month like it would have been without the changes.

      I would love to hear your favorite ways to eat figs. Mission figs crop twice and I am looking to try some new recipes that the children might actually eat.

      I will check for both of those books from our library. Thank you for your recommendations.

      1. I’m baffled at the concept of grass in the front yard being banned. What about weeds? Do they just not grow? Not having to mow your lawn must be nice, but I guess having rain would be much nicer!

        1. People buy large quantities of rocks and spread them out over their front yard. Then, there are usually a few bushes and one small tree, all watered on drip irrigation (the drip lines are placed under the rocks). In the beginning, this is all it was. Some yards still look like this. The newer home builders did a nicer job of landscaping and put in more bushes that flower.

          Some people changed out their front grass to be a piece of fake grass. Before front yard grass was banned, home builders started putting in a little kidney-shaped patch of grass surrounded by rocks (if you go to my white garden posts under the garden tab, you can see the before of my front yard, which had this). Some people changed out that patch for fake grass. Most people just have rocks, though, with 4-5 small bushes and one small tree.

          Yes, weeds can grow in the rocks, but not many do, because it doesn’t rain much. Our normal rainfall is 4 inches a year. Last year we only had 2. This year we have received less than one inch so far, and the forecast (based on ocean temperatures) for summer rainfall in July (where normally we would get a few hours of rain on one day in mid-July, but last year it didn’t rain at all then) looks likewe won’t get any. Our humidity is 5% today and it is 116 degrees.

        2. I wish they’d ban grass here in Florida, too Kimberly! People use so much water on it: I see sprinklers going even after and sometimes DURING rain! Although we aren’t so bad as some of the drier states, we are sucking down the aquifer, which is one of the reasons for sink holes. Also the amount of fertilizer and pesticides necessary here for grass means those go into our groundwater and contribute to eutrophication, causing algal blooms and illnesses.
          We have no grass on our properties just ground-cover including ferns, sensitive plant, bromeliads, liriope and lots of mulch where we need to walk (under the clothesline, for example. I rarely water anything except the newly-planted.

          1. Cara: I appreciate your comments about thoughtful growing of grass! I am in the midwest and have grass in my yard, which we have cut as rarely as possible, never water, and never fertilize or add herbicide. It looks as good as it needs to.
            It will be interesting over the next few decades to see how plant development comes up with more and more plant alternatives to traditional lawns. If grass was thought of as a crop, it is one of the biggest crops in the US, and biggest users of water and chemicals.

        3. If you’re interested in how we regulate water issues in the West, I *really* recommend reading ‘Cadillac Desert, by Marc Reisner. (I think PBS filmed a documentary based on the book, but I haven’t seen it and therefore can’t speak to its quality.) Reisner’s book is fascinating and frequently heartbreaking, and gives an excellent summary of the pressures facing our water systems in this area. Regulating grass in yards will be the least of our problems, I expect, particularly if the dire drought projections come true.

      2. Brandy, are gray water systems legal there? Even if not, would it be possible to use biodegradable soap and run a hose from your washing machine to some of your trees? You could move it around for thirstier plants. I know people who do that.

        1. It would be very hard to set up a greywater system from the washer because it is plumbed down into the ground and our house is on a concrete slab. It would have to be planned for before building a house. I have a low water usage front loader; it’s one of the reasons I chose a front loader. My husband and I were talking about this two days ago and he said with the way the house is built, it would be impossible. I think for older homes that are not on a slab and have a crawlspace it can be done.

          1. That’s too bad, Brandy. I know someone who attached a long hose to the washer so the hose reaches the back yard and just moves it around as needed, but the washer’s in a carport with easy access to outside. I know it really helps them be efficient with watering. They just make sure to use gray-water friendly detergent.

      3. Hi Brandy. Thank you for the clarifications as the article I posted did not explain all the details you have noted. I know you work really hard to utilize and conserve water usage. I’m sorry to learn that even with the new garden lay-out your water bill will not go down as had been expected but I am glad that it won’t increase with the higher rates.

        Fresh figs are very expensive here. The cheapest I found last summer were at Trader Joes for $6 a lb. We love them so bought them several times to eat fresh. I have a neighbor who does have a fig tree and her husband wraps it each winter to protect it from the cold/ice. She has been kind to give us a handful each summer to taste. They are so good! She has offered a cutting. I love to add fresh figs to salads (mixed greens, radicchio, endive, etc); we also grill them on our gas grill and once grilled drizzle with a balsamic glaze and crumbled feta cheese; grill them and drizzle with honey served over ice cream; poached and served with ricotta; baked and served as a side dish; with dried figs I make a spread/jam. You have an excellent recipe for a sauce too. These are some of my favorite recipes, all from Martha Stewart Living magazine – over the years I have adjusted them slightly to suit us and ingredients that I have on hand as I am sure you do too.

        I hope that the “deal” you wrote of works out well for you and that you will soon have good news to post.

        1. Figs grow REALLY well from cuttings. I hope you get a tree. Thank you for the recipe links.

          The deal looks to be a disaster. We will wee but we don’t have high hopes.

          1. Hi Brandy – As the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained – it’s always good to try new things but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the deal will work for you as you had expected it to.
            If our neighbor offers fig cuttings again this summer, I may take them. I’ve been hesitant as our property is waterfront (our fig bearing neighbor is not) and the winds from the bay can be quite destructive at times and I think even if we set up a windbreak with hardier shrubs around it, it may not make it.
            And I forgot to correct my post – I canned HALF pints not pints of jam. I wish we had been able to pick that many strawberries, LOL.>

            1. Figs are very pliable and unlike other trees, they don’t flower to make fruit, so you don’t have to worry about the blossoms being blown off in the wind, and the tree branches bend. It also doesn’t overload itself like other fruit trees, so the branches don’t get too heavy and want to break. I would try them.

              Our deal was a bust. I am going to call the manager today and see if he will refund us the money as we only bought this on his recommendation.

              1. Well, if you don’t mind telling us WHAT the deal was, I’m sure I’m not the only curious person here. (Let us know next week). If you consider it a frugal fail, don’t be embarrassed–we all have had them. (A 1961 VW and 1974 VW Dasher immediately come to mind, plus a 1975 Dodge Colt that was a good car, but a poor choice for us–don’t know what we were thinking). I hope you get a refund. If you are returning something, seems like you should. If it is a service or something you are stuck with, try the manufacturer. I have had good luck writing to CEOs. Also–again depends on what it was–if your newspaper or TV station has a consumer affairs column/reporter, tell them. This will often get the problem solved for you, or at least warn others. Sorry it didn’t work out, and good luck!

      4. Brandy, my mom has a fig tree and I made spiced fig butter one year. I used some to spread it between two layers of almost a cookie/crumble type dough and baked- really good. It was a strawberry bar recipe but I think any fruit or jam would work in the middle and it was a great way to use figs.

  39. It is hot here (by our standards)! We had a terrific windstorm here for the afternoon.
    A friend stopped by and brought ice cream bars, a rotisserie chicken, sanitizer, bread,
    avocadoes (Safeway had a case on sale so we split it). She insisted on giving me the food.
    She also gave me begonias and impatiens plants so that will pretty well finish off my pots. I plan on eating avocado sandwiches
    for a few days. The ice cream is emotional eating as I have been stressed out by one of the co-authors
    of the book. It was kind of my friend to give me everything.

    I bought a few things at Superstore that were on sale. I hope to make a ground turkey lasagne but for now I put the ground turkey in the freezer.

    I participated in the bioblitz — I didn’t have much time but stayed out late one afternoon and got a bad hummingbird photo. The hummingbird hovers over my roof and checks out whether the feeder is up. I put it up day before yesterday. She flew past me this afternoon. I expect she has babies in a nest in the woods. Last year I used a small bag of sugar — entirely for the hummingbird.

  40. What a beautiful picture of the figs and berries. I’m so curious what the deal is that you will hopefully share later!
    We went to see our daughters 4 hours away. We bought 25 lbs of peaches for $12 while we were there. We did a couple of repair jobs at their house. I also delivered a wedding gift to a friend in the area, saving on postage. I took homemade Meyer lemon marmalade as a gift for the friends that we stayed with. One daughter is flying back east to see our son, DIL and new baby. She took the new bathmat for them, made from repurposed denim. Saved me some more postage! The bathmat pattern is in the book Reinvention by Maya Donenfeld-someone asked about the pattern last week.
    I’ve dried basil and lemon balm from the garden. Keeping up with the harvesting and watering in the garden. I am very concerned about the drought here (CA). At least we can keep our fruit trees alive with gray water.
    Cleaning out the garage. It’s frugal because I can find the things that I already have, and it makes me less frustrated with my small house. My husband is in the finishing stretch of painting the exterior of the house, by hand, by himself.

    1. I think the deal might turn out to be a disaster. It’s not looking good today. We may be contacting the manager of the store to see if he will refund us. We took a chance on his recommendation and . . .well we’ll know in a week or so I think.

      What are you doing for gray water usage? Do you have a setup for your house? Ours is on a concrete slab, making it impossible to set up.

      1. We have an exceedingly simple gray water set up. The hose that comes out of the back of the washing machine, instead of putting that into the waste water pipe, we connected another hose to it and ran it out the garage door and into trenches around our trees. It does mean that we have to lay the hose out every time, but it has been working amazingly well. Non-permanent systems like ours don’t need a permit in our city, and are perfectly legal. The gray water only goes in the trenches so it does not touch the plants. Since it percolates through the soil, the gray water is harmless. We water our apple, peach, plum, pomegranate and apricot trees this way. I’ve even dug a trench around my collard trees and they get gray water too.

        1. That’s wonderful! I love the idea but my husband said that the way it is designed it is impossible to set one up.

          1. Hi Brandy
            When we had severe water restriction last summer in Sydney Australia I bought a large Otto Bin as call them here. I bought a cheap submersible pump which went into the bin along with a length of hose clipped on. As i have a top loader washing machine we use a lot of water.
            I hooked the waste water hose from the back of the machine into the Otto bin which then filled with grey water. The short length of hose which was connected to the pump was then clicked onto my looong garden hose (only used for grey water and marked Thus) which then watered mainly my lawn , some flowers, with a “wobble sprinkler”. I learnt lots of things by being on Australian Lawn help info Facebook sites. I had to be aware and watch that the Otto bin didn’t overflow…happened twice and I ran very fast. Consequently I had a very clean floor….also we have a floor drain hole in our Laundries here..hope this might help….its the only thing that kind of saved the garden etc

  41. I deep cleaned some areas of the house I hadn’t done in a while. I also combined parts of bottles/containers of cleaners and recycled old containers. One of my hanging files came apart and I took the metal pieces out to save. I immediately used one to prop up my amaryllis which is growing tall again. I am going to put it outside. I got the glue gun out and attached a picture back onto an ornament that DS made a long time ago. I also thought of three more things that need fixing after I had put it back in the container. I plan to get to those this week. We dismantled a game table and disposed of it except for some metal to recycle and large springs to keep.

    I am trying to get the office back to normal before all the vegetables start coming in. I noticed that we only had a couple composition books in a drawer. I found a couple in my bin that I could clean out and put up. DH had quite a few with only one or several pages used. The two in his bin that haven’t been touched in months had instructions for computer operations he doesn’t use much and could not find in his file. I filed them and put those composition books up. He will have to look through the ones in his paperwork. It’s the little things that can make a big mess.

    I used older canned/boxed food that was bought last year so I can replenish with new. I am also combining canned with fresh to change up meals a little. Ex. macaroni and cheese with sliced cherry tomatoes, spaghetti with fresh spinach. The nights were cooler the end of the week so I made an English roast with vegetables for Friday and Sunday. DH made pineapple wrapped with bacon, stuffed potatoes using baked potato slices (delicious), and cheese cubes. The movie he picked out had too much violence for me considering it was based on a comic book. I think it was an old G movie, not usually our type, but they wanted to finish it. I did something else then went to bed.

    We attended a baby shower for a niece’s first baby. It was at an outdoor shelter and they made all the refreshments. I had been buying little things that I knew would be needed. She got many things that were registered that she will probably never use. Everyone learns on the first baby. We kept it simple with DS. I was given a surprise shower by friends that I had worked with and left before my pregnancy, and they were all practical with their gifts. I was also lucky to find a store in a small house owned by a woman that had many used and new baby/toddler things. I got sheets, onesies, bibs, PJ’s, clothes, activity gym, and a play pen for $20. I could not have been happier. No returns, etc. needed.

    DS ordered his glasses. He found some frames that compliment his face and the many colors in his hair. He thought it would take a couple trips to find what he liked. He is excited now. I will order mine when we pick his up. After that we went to find some new polarized sunglasses. DH and I were able to find some but DS could not find any. We were surprised they were $5-6 dollars cheaper than the last time which was before DS went to college. I then went to the restroom and it was very hot. Before I could get out I was sweating, feeling bad and almost dizzy. I looked pale. The cool air hit me when I went out and slowly walked to DH and DS. I told I was sick and needed to sit down. DS went with me to the car and DH picked up the few other items and we went home. I drank cold water and got dizzy if I lay down or sat up until I rested a few minutes. I was able to eat later but still didn’t feel right. I finally went to sleep real late feeling better but not normal. The next day got better as the day went on. I still don’t know why the restroom would be so hot. That was the strangest thing.

    This week is supposed to be clear and comfortable starting Wednesday. I want to get some trimming done outside. Our rain was later than the forecast for the most part last week and then we got showers when it looked clear on the radar. It was not a good week to get outside things done. This week looks better, and I hope it is for everyone else.

  42. My husband was able to find a couple of good deals at the grocery store this week. He is semi-retired and able to get to the stores when so many people (like me!) are at work. He also has apps on his phone for a couple of stores that have great deals on meat and produce. One store had whole chickens for 49 cents per pound and a half ham again for 49 cents per pound. We are on a mission to really eat the leftovers and not waste.
    We have a tiny garden but we are able to grow peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, spinach, and herbs. Its amazing what you can grow in such a tiny front yard! We have already harvested the spinach, some lettuce, and our first banana pepper.
    I found some jeans at the thrift store that were too long so I cut them off and roll them up. Now I have a new pair of much-needed capris to wear for the summer.
    My husband has finally finished our porch. He painted the railing, re-carpeted the stairs, and refinished the cement. It looks so much better. We live in a 100-year-old house that has gotten some TLC, but needs more. I guess that is how it is with older homes.

  43. The kids and I all went to the dentist for our 6 month cleanings. We have been going to the same hygienist since the kids were little. She always gives us lots of extra toothpastes, brushes, floss and mouthwash samples. It cost us nothing since our insurance pays for 2 cleanings a year. Not one cavity !
    Hubby and I went on a lunch date. We used a gift card to pay. We spent $9 OOP and most of it was tip. I brought leftovers home. We then went for a walk at a local part. We had a nice time.
    There are lots of yard sales going on right now. I got a brand new pair of Calvin Klein jeans with tags for $3. Hubby got a box full of tools for $30. Some are for him and some for my son.
    I have been going on lots of walks lately taking advantage of this beautiful weather. It is a great way to see friends. I have hit 12K steps several days.
    The cover of the storage shed for our generator was not sitting right. Hubby fixed it with help from our son. He then started up the generator and made sure it is ready if we need it.
    Our neighbor was talking with Hubby and offered him a chain saw that he had. It hadn’t been used in many years. Hubby ordered a $6 part and now it works great.
    Hallmark sent me $4. I have a box of cards and I didn’t need any so I got Godiva chocolate instead.
    My neighbors mulberry tree hangs over our fence. They don’t pick them. I have been picking handfuls every day. Strawberries are still doing great. The garden is all in.
    I got $5 in the mail for doing a Nielson survey.
    My youngest daughter started her summer job. Her boss gave her a bag of homemade treats for our dog.
    Laundry has been hung outside, toothpaste tube was cut open, egg shells are going in the garden, baggies are being washed and all of our other day to day savings.

      1. You may try quartering them and putting them
        On pizza drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar. Once the pizza is cooked you can add a bit of arugula or fresh basil. The vinegar becomes sweet and complements the flavor the figs. The basil and arugula is a lovely complement as well.

      2. Brandy – I was going to suggest the same thing; however, I use raspberry jello. Peach is also an option. I have found it’s more like a faux raspberry jam, if I break down the figs quite a bit. That makes the pieces smaller and creates a texture more similar to a berry jam. I’ve played around a bit with the sugar amount since the jello has sugar in it, but haven’t decreased it too much. Everyone has liked this jam! One year I also made a fig sorbet, which my husband really liked. Perhaps, figs in popsicles would work? My favorite is to make an oatmeal/jam bar with the figs in the middle — a grown-up fig newton; or, I make a fig crisp with brown sugar and spices to get that fig newton taste. I don’t have a recipe … I’ve just experimented using my standard crisp recipe.

    1. My husband loves this. He took some to a work function (a breakfast), and one man enjoyed it so much I gifted him several jars each year. It is yummy in yogurt also.

  44. Great photo of the figs and bounty!
    Still overly busy with work at this time but I am trying to stay on top of everything at home.
    I talked to neighbors about real estate taxes and all had increases. One neighbor challenged the new tax and received a denial. I intend to explore this more fully when time allows. At least I want to understand the rate and assessment and see if I can challenge during the next cycle.
    I had a doctor appointment yesterday and am now past 10 years with no evidence of cancer. Why won’t doctors ever say “cancer-free?” A nice appointment all around.
    I did a couple of errands while I was out and had scheduled a half workday. I arranged for replacement of an in-wall air conditioner which is on the first floor. It replaces an air conditioner installed in 1992 and the price+installation+tax is 248% higher. I don’t know if that’s reasonable but I thought it was interesting. 1992 was the year my husband and I married but I don’t remember much about finances then.
    My husband had an eye doctor appointment yesterday morning. He weed-whacked the yard afterward and I suspect he might still have been influenced by the eye drops because there’s a bit of scorched earth out there now. Looks a bit like my first pandemic home haircut with nothing at the same level. I do appreciate his work ethic though! Last weekend he framed the raised beds and blueberries with bird netting. He priced lumber and supplies and got a shock. We then plundered bits of wood from the basement and garage. A neighbor kindly cut posts to size and then my husband rigged it all together.
    I didn’t grocery shop this week, just stretching things out to the weekend.
    Hope everyone has a good week!

  45. Great picture of the figs and berries-your expanding garden is timely, as food prices are increasing weekly. We are entering hurricane season so keeping car filled with gas & stocking up on emergency supplies. This past week was spent with grandkids-my oldest enjoyed making a lapbook out of a file folder with different colored markers and paper shapes, while reading Little House in the Big Woods.

  46. It has been so cold and rainy here the last week. This is our coldest Spring in 9 years in the Pacific Northwest. It’s kind of depressing that we have to wear our winter clothes and have the fireplace on in June, but then I see the very hot temperatures in other places and am happy to be cold. Amazingly, my garden has kept growing through it all, even with hardly any sun. My only loss has been peppers. I will replant them next week. We will probably have our warm weather through September, so they should still have a chance to mature. I was able to by some cucumber and zucchini starts last month, but I’m noticing that the ones I planted from seeds have outgrown the starts. No more buying veggie starts for me!

    *I was able finally able to go to a grocery store!!! Yay! I had not been inside a grocery store since March of 2020! No more online grocery orders! I went to Winco. I spent the same amount that I have been spending each week, but I was able to buy more than double the groceries and find some things not available online. I was also able to pick out the best produce and choose expiration dates that are farthest out on items. I feel like my pantry is back close to where it should be, and now I can just shop for sales and deals!

    *I went to the Dollar Tree, had not been in one of those since January of 2020! I brought a detailed list of items to buy that save us the most money and stuck to the list. I was able to stock up on Colgate toothbrushes in packs of 3 toothbrushes for $1 , other toiletries and some special treats for my teenage son and his friends this summer. The treats I bought are priced from $3 to $4 each in the grocery store, so I save $2 to $3 on each one!!!! These are hidden and will be brought out a little at a time when we go on outings, reducing the “need” for the kids to buy expensive snacks.

    *I re-decorated my house with only what I have, changing out accessories and switching out furniture into different rooms. The new set-ups work so much better and look much fresher. Cost = $0.00!!!

    *We need to have our roof cleaned and repaired. The previous owners of our house did not do that before they sold the home. We got 2 different bids. The second bid was $2000.00 lower than the first! Just a reminder to always get multiple bids for a project!!!

    *Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  47. The figs look so good. We have the Brown Turkey figs at our house. I’ve made fig preserves (which also make a delicious cake called Fig Preserve Cake, of course), dried figs, cooked figs to top ice cream, and I know someone who sells fig vinegar, which is good for salad dressing. My favorite way to eat them is fresh, though.

    I had a plant in a pot that was supposed to come back in the spring, but it didn’t. My husband had pruned it too much, down to the dirt. I waited, though, just in case, and last week, several shoots suddenly shot up. It’s in a decorative clay pot that would cost a lot at the store, but we have had it for many years, and it’s earned every bit of that fashionable “antiquing” it has on it. Hanging on to and taking care of usable things that we actually use is being frugal.

    I squeezed some of my last Meyer lemons from this winter, still hanging on the tree, and made homemade lemon jello. Last week, I made lemon frozen custard.

    I refilled two bottles with homemade cleaners.

    I renewed a library book on time.

    I continue to cook from home, pack lunches, wear used, shop used first, and find ways to make do.

  48. Our water bills went up also–about double. They just built a new water treatment plant–I remember 34 years ago when they built the last one that the same thing happened! So I was prepared for it–a little. First they went to bills every 4 months instead of quarterly–so I knew that was a cost saving method. Then I got my bill for $212. Last time it was $68. If I’m not mistaken $157 of the total only has to be paid twice a year but the increase in the cost of water remains higher, and three times a year. The town is up in arms against it, but you have to know that if you vote for a new water treatment plan, you’re going to be paying for it in taxes! The only thing I didn’t know then was the amounts. And they are also complaining about receiving no notice. The tax referendum WAS your notice! Pay attention folks!
    It amazes me what people ignore reading and then turn around and complain about. We have an online neighborhood open blog and I was stunned by the number of people who stated they had not heard a word about this before. It started about three years ago, and if you voted, you voted either for or against it.
    My appliances continue to break down. The washer repairman came at quarter to five on a Friday. Not surprisingly, the washer is NOT fixed but I can have another visit within 30 days without a service charge. I’ll be calling tomorrow. The dishwasher is kind of working–the advice was to put the soap packet in the bottom of the washer, not in the dispenser. I haven’t done enough dishes to decide it works sufficiently or not. All of a sudden (the dishwasher is 7 years old) the machine doesn’t dissolve the packet any more. I can have another service call within 90 days at no charge for that one. The dishes do get clean but there seemed to be more food debris in the bottom of the machine. I’m not convinced yet.
    I think I have decided what curtains I want for the bedroom–I just have to measure again. DD measured for me but there is NO length for the curtain on the door. I think I need to know the length!! I do love the new comforter–coral on the back and a big beautiful flower print on the front. A good change from dark green which has been in there for at least 20 years!
    I washed the kitchen curtains and decided to replace them but haven’t found anything I like. Then I noticed that the bathroom curtains, which I recently washed as well, look dirty where the sun hits them. That’s only the second or third time they have been washed so I’m not happy about that. I hope it will wash out but I’m not convinced yet.
    We are fortunately getting a break from the heat. We had a few days of very hot weather but today didn’t get above 70, or yesterday either. I’m happy for that. I had an eye doctor appointment today and will be having a minor laser procedure to clear a film on one cataract replacement lens and then will be able to order new glasses. I had very disappointing results with some from Walmart, and will not be buying them there again. I had them replaced under warranty just a few days before the warranty period ended, and then damaged them again falling down the porch steps. Now they are bent and too loose. I’ve decided to spend the money on a union optometrist and buy a pair that will last.

    1. My water bill was over $300 a month last July. Your new, higher prices sound like a blessing to me! I think when we are all done with everything our bill will be higher than last year because of increased rates. But if we hadn’t made the changes, I wonder if it would have been $500-$800 a month.

      Does your dishwasher have a filter? Try taking that out and cleaning it at least monthly if not more often. Also, make sure the disposal is being run and hot water goes down the drain after it before the dishwasher gets turned on. My children forget to do this most nights and it kills our dishwashers.

      1. For me, the biggest predictor of how clean the dishes get is how hot is the water. I run the faucet until the water is the hottest it will get and only then do I turn on the DW. (You can save and reuse the warm-up water). Also, when there is food residue–it’s usually ON the dishes for me, but could be on the bottom of the DW)–it’s time to clean the filter. If neither of these work (and they always have for me), try another brand of detergent.

    2. We have used in the past and have saved thousands on small repairs we could do without a repairman. After you put your appliance information in you can choose Repairs and click what is going on with your appliance and watch the video. If it looks like something you want to try you can Shop Parts and order it. Unless they’ve changed if the part doesn’t work you can return it for your money back. We have never had to use that. We replaced the water inlet valve on our dishwasher probably 15 years ago. We put a small computer chip on a washing machine after removing 2 screws to get to the old one to snap off and replace for $25 and it was good for another 10-12 years. We replaced a heating element for our oven and different small parts for grills. I am curious enough to try to find out what is wrong myself after having a repairman put a part on backwards on a washing machine under warranty and it took him a while to figure out what he did and start all over. My husband is finally researching things himself after having good experiences fixing things. has some good tips to try. Good luck!

  49. That heat! Goodness, Brandy – I’ll be thinking of you and your seedlings. I hope the drip irrigation under grass works beautifully. And I’m looking forward to hearing about the project!

    We did home haircuts for all 5 guys. I trimmed mine, which turned out surprisingly well, given that I have layers.

    I am losing baby weight so that I can fit in my old clothes. It definitely saves money, since I’ve got pregnancy clothes, nursing clothes, and regular clothes. No need to have multiple sizes in three wardrobes! I’m doing low carb, high fat and enjoying how I can just skip the carb part of a meal and still feed the rest to my hungry boys.

    I’m still sowing seeds and having fun with it. I sowed four big flats of Australian yellow lettuce and Slobolt lettuce from Fedco. They did well last summer even in the heat, so I’m hopeful. I also sowed a bunch of flowering vines and herbs. Nothing better than seeing seeds sprout, and getting plenty of plants for pennies.

    Wishing you all a good week!

  50. It seems that the constant barrage of expenses is slowing. I was thinking of all that we’ve spent money on in the last year…paid off the house, new kitchen, redid both kids’ rooms, new roof, new to us cars (2), property taxes, a large amount on increasing our garden space, new school curriculum, shoes when all 8 kids decided to grow at once, and more!

    ~Some of you may remember that several years ago, my husband was self employed. The political climate of the time forced us to sell out and he went to work in a factory. He now works for one of his previous competitors. His boss is an unreasonable man and expects his employees to be completely devoted, even when he’s asking them to disobey the law. My husband has refused to do anything illegal and is being punished by his employer-the boss is making him do work he wasn’t hired to do and limiting the number of hours he’s allowed to work. All of that to say, we both feel like a change is going to have to happen over the next year. We both are leaning toward self-employment again (we’ve learned so much over the last several years) but of course that takes money. I sat down with Dan and the budget and we decided where we could cut things to put money into savings. Even though we have 8 kids and live below the poverty threshold, we think we can be out from under his boss within the next year. He is a truck driver and we have found an opportunity to do drive-away work as a subcontractor. It would cost us $1,000 in equipment to start but he will be able to do that soon. From there we can save money to invest in a truck of his own. It’s exciting and motivating to have a plan!

    ~The garden is growing and so are the weeds! I took all the kids out to weed and I’ve asked the boys to take to the garden perimeter to relieve themselves to try to get the deer to leave us alone. I need to cut the boys’ hair too and I’ll add the clippings to the garden.

    ~I haven’t found many markdowns, but we’ve been trying to shop at the salvage store a couple times a month which helps the budget.

    ~There was a $0.99 sale at goodwill and we found several items we can use. This evening we’ll help set up at our church’s yard sale and in doing so, we’ll get first choice of the items they’re selling. I’m hoping to find some shoes for my 8 year old.

    ~A might-be frugal fail…I didn’t realize until today that Sunday is father’s day! What am I going to do for my husband and dad? I’m not feeling very prepared at all.

    1. I’ve been riding my bike to work at least one day a week, for exercise and saves on gas.
      Replanting spots in my garden where things didn’t germinate or got eaten by bugs. Working on planting a small orchard at another piece of land we own. While we don’t have the extreme heat, the dry conditions mean we’re watering regularly. I would also like to add some figs, along with hazelnuts, hardy pecans and apricots. Also replanted a few blueberry bushes that got destroyed during some construction at my house. Our raspberries are loaded and should ripen soon. Enjoying the last of the asparagus and garlic scapes. I am also constantly assessing my yard to try and figure out how to best use the space. We rototilled a large part of the front yard. I have asparagus and grapes along one fence and raspberries along the other, hoping to add more.
      I’ve sold some items on eBay and FB marketplace. I was given more kids clothes and continue to pass along stuff to friends. I’ve also shared some ground cover type plants with friends.
      Returned unused items to the hardware stores, instead of just putting it on shelves in the basement for “someday.” Also submitting receipts for rebates.
      It’s been a month of birthdays, anniversaries and other company, which has meant a lot of eating out. Rough on my wallet and waistline. Trying to get back to cooking at home and hosting the next birthday ourselves.

  51. Cook! Whatever is their favorite food (that they don’t get often!), cook it! Have the kids make cards.

  52. Hello Brandy and All!
    Somehow I stumbled onto this site and I must say that it is by far my favorite!
    Brandy, I so enjoy your beautiful pictures. You are an inspiration!
    Everyone else has wisdom and knowledge that is so willing shared. This is very much appreciated. I love such a great positive, supportive community! I feel at home with like minded ideas. I’m also getting so many great ideas to make better usage of the abundance I’ve been given.

    We are on a vacation/mission to help my grown Son and his family to move from Florida back to Michigan.
    Watching them go through this process has been eye opening. They will be staying with us as they re establish life in Michigan. Our budget will be tested with extra water, food and space usages adding family, but feel so blessed having them closer to home!
    All these tips come at a perfect time due to extra cost going out.
    Hoping when back home, to start to post more regularly the frugal things we are doing.
    But it helps so much reading these posts. They help me stay on track. Thanks to you all and a special thanks to you, Brandy, for having this wonderful site.
    West Michigan Mary

  53. I cannot imagine that heat. This week one of my kids is leaving for Florida, to do an internship at Disneyworld! We had a little going away and I made what she wanted- “nacho table”. Basically you cover your kitchen island or table with foil, and put the chips in an oval. Then top with cooked ground beef and cheese sauce (I made my own), placing the toppings in the middle. Each person chooses a spot and stands around eating. It was different and fun, I have all teens/young adults so it was perfect for them. We then played games in the backyard until dark. It was perfect.

    I worked in the yard, my garden is starting to produce and that is super fun. I don’t know if any of you have a store called “Grocery Outlet” but they have such good deals- not everything, but certain things are SO cheap. I went last week and got quite a few pantry items. One of my friends didn’t want her dehydrator and GAVE it to me- I dried rosemary and parsely from the garden and am SO eager to try more things. Does anyone have anything they dry that they recommend?

    1. I do apple rings with a dusting of cinnamon. I can never make enough. Hubby and the kids(and me) are crazy for them. I soak the apple rings in lemon water first.

  54. I am restocking my pantry. Superstore has a case of 9 cans of Heinz baked beans for $7.98 (usually $12.98). My favourite 1 kig package of shredded mozzarella cheese is on for $11.98 down from $17.98. They have the Maple Leaf canned ham for $4.48 (down from $7.48).

    I got beautiful White Admiral, Western Tailed Blue, etc. butterfly photos. A friend brought me 6 boxes (!) of ice cream bars, a little microscope for looking at flowers, and a few other gifts. Safeway had very nice boxes of fresh tomatoes for $5.00. And gave me a new external hard drive. (She’s worried we might lose the book, as am I.

    I continued working on the book. I received the nastiest note from a professor (emeritus). I wrote back and thanked him for his assistance to date. My friends couldn’t believe I was so diplomatic. Well, just because he was a jerk was no occasion or reason for me to be one. I was so taken aback that I wept all evening. Then incredible things started to happen — someone unexpectedly supplied us with an answer that we’d been looking for for over a year. A friend referred us to an expert who is thrilled to read our chapter in his area of expertise and we are thrilled to have him do that. So many small (and not so small miracles)have happened since that note!. I waited outside for my friend. It was so beautiful outside and I continued planting plants. My broken tendon started to hurt again.Spring is rapidly fleeing and summer is very quickly approaching.

    1. So glad that things worked out in the end – but it must have been very upsetting. I worked at a university for many years and could tell you a few stories that would sound very similar. Somehow we expect more of people with that level of education but can often be disappointed.

      Good for you for getting such great deals at Superstore.

  55. We have been cooking at home until today. I bought pizza. Enjoyable, but not frugal. And not on my diet plan. But boy did I enjoy eating pizza and not doing a many dishes! We have been watering the garden and using the air conditioning. It has been very warm here. I fully expect the bills to come in higher. I have been reading books from the library. Turning off lights when not in use. Listening to my husband sing for entertainment has been enjoyable. He is going to enter a local contest in July. It is something to look forward to. He likes to write lyrics and does so easily. I love listening to him sing his songs as well as other music. It would be fun to see him do something with his talent. He sings so many types of music. He has to choose what to enter.

  56. I have never experienced such high temperatures, it just blows my mind. My family shuts down at 25C. But we don’t have AC. I can go on until 28C and then join them on the sofa.
    This week I was really out of it. I just couldn’t do it. The chores were piling up on me, the projects half undone, everywhere I looked there was something waiting for my urgent response. I tried my best and still it was not coming together. Food didn’t taste as it should, children were in awful moods, husband had such busy week at work. The budget was not adding up. Do you know the type of week? But still, here are some accomplishments:
    -I took cuttings from one indoors plant and set them in water for rooting.
    -I fermented cucumbers and beetroots, those are the best snacks for the warm weather. My kids enjoy the fermented beetroots so much, it’s ridiculous. I use low salt fermentation and we drink that fizzle water from fermented veggies as a drink.
    – I planted new seeds in place of plants that were eaten by snails.
    -I harvested rhubarb, it cannot be eaten after St.Johns. It will regrow at the end of summer.
    -We emptied the pantry(!) There was more chances to eat out of the pantry than to stock up on things this year. We drove up to one shop and restocked at the currently lowest prices, which isn’t what my regular lowest prices are. I am determined to restock my freezers and pantry to where it was last year at this time. I just see my ways must adapt to the new situation, maybe I need to restock when I am down to a certain number of items regardless of deals? How to rotate the stock while there is no great deals?

    I also wanted to mention that I am using a bokashi compost, which can compost meats (raw and cooked), bones, bread, cheese and all other food related waste. It takes me from scraps to BLACK EARTH in 8 weeks. It also produces lots of compost tea which really is amazing. I got it as a gift 5 years ago, so I am not sure how frugal it is etc. I saw diy versions online. It takes some learning for sure. But I am amazed at how well this works for me!!!

    1. That’s great about your compost!

      I have found composting a challenge here. I am planning to do in-bed vermicomposting. The soil is already quite hot and I read about doing it this way from another blogger in the desert, so I know it works in these temperatures. The new “soil” that I bought, while not the lime rocks that I had before, is sand and wood chips, and has no nutrition. I will do this to improve the soil while also adding fertilizer.

  57. Brandy, I am quite simply shocked by the prices you must pay for electricity and water. I know you have a big family and garden but it still seems way over the top. I can certainly see why you are so diligent in conserving water and power. I feel guilty in admitting we do not save shower warm up water and sometimes I take 2 baths a day-I don’t think I would be in Las Vegas for sure.

    1. I know people here who pay $800 a month for electricity in summer. Our bill for this house was around $500 the first summer we were here. I have brought it down and it’s going to be around $220 this month even though it is 116 degrees.

      Water is precious here and is becoming more so. They raised the rates to add another pump that is lower. That is important, as the water level is now below the first pump. Lake Mead has fallen 140 feet in 20 years. Water conservation is important for both my bill and because it is so scarce. Even people in Iowa are having cuts now as droughts worsen across the county. Also, remember that it doesn’t rain here.

  58. I have not posted before but have read for years. This week was such a gift. We have a garden, but I have neighbor that always plants an extra row of green beans for us. This was an exceptional year, this past week alone we canned 36 pints of green beans given to us by our neighbor. Our total is 54 pints this year. We have tomatoes coming on. My yellow wax beans did not do well, but have enough to eat. My husband snapped a good portion of those beans since he is retired and I am going like crazy at the church. With re-opening, postponed memorial services are being put on the calendar, VBS, plus all three of services are now back. I really appreciated our pantry this past year and will be re-stocking our tomatoes etc as I, like many of you anticipate food prices to continue to go up. Thank you Brandy for this blog. I read it every week and it is a gift to me.

    Rev. Cindy Watson

    1. Glad you are joining in the comments! What a blessing with the beans! How long is the row?

  59. The in-laws left today. They were here for 10 days. They brought a cooler of frozen meat to contribute, and I used it all to prepare meals at home. I supplemented with things from the pantry and garden when I could. We only ate out a couple of times (we paid twice, they paid once). They weren’t always happy with what was available, but that’s okay. It was a more frugal trip than usual when they visit because it was only the 2 parent in-laws. Usually, at least 8 more relatives join them and spend the entire time at my house. We usually spend $1500-$2000+ on food alone when everyone is here for a visit; this time, it was about $400. My mom is coming for a visit at the end of the week. She is always happy with whatever I make, so easy peasy!

    The other expensive thing we did was sign up for a membership at the local batting cages. The first time we went, we didn’t know there was a membership option. It was $25 for a 30 minute session. The second time we went, we saw the sign and asked about it. We got a 6 month unlimited membership for $200. My son has already gone 4 times this week, so he will definitely get our money’s worth.

    I took my daughter and son to 2 consignment shops and showed them how to “trade up” clothes by turning in clothes and using the money to purchase new-to-you clothes. We’ll continue to work on this as we clean out closets.

  60. 50 feet. We live in a historic downtown neighbor with deep lots These neighbors, particularly the husband grew up poor in Arkansas. So they have always had a garden. They also have a third of their back yard now for chickens. We buy our “good” eggs from them, the ones we like to eat fresh. I have known how to water bath can since I started as a young pastor in my first rural church and my folk taught me. But she taught me how to pressure can. They also have beautiful flowers.

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