I harvested roselle hibiscus, basil, and Armenian cucumbers from the garden.

I canned a batch of sweet pickle relish using cucumbers from my garden.

Desdemona roses

I tidied part of the garden and sowed seeds for parsley, beets, and artichokes.

We had a church activity up in the mountains. It’s a ways away and would cost us about $50 in gas. We decided to stay home with the two youngest and had the older children get rides with friends who were going so that they could still attend and have fun and save us the gas money.

I read an e-book from the library on my phone using the free Libby app: Dawn at Emberwilde.

I mended a skirt.

What did you do to save money last week?

I’d just like to take a moment to thank all of you for your kind and thoughtful comments last week. I appreciate your insight as we navigate through this time in our lives.

I appreciate your support of my website! As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through my links. This means that I earn a small percentage from ANY items you place in your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going to Amazon from one of my links (i.e., it doesn’t have to be an item I have linked here).  If you’re going to be making a purchase from Amazon this week, I thank you for using my links to support this site.

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  1. A new family moved in on Saturday to our congregation so I baked a batch of Oatmeal Raisin cookies for the helpers who were unloading the truck https://pin.it/30JzasD. I also made a gift bag of some cinnamon rolls for the new family.

    As we were clearing some of our veg garden,Hubs stopped me from tossing 3 little cabbages into the compost heap. They had been ravaged by slugs. He started pulling outer leaves off until he got to softball size cabbages and said that maybe we could still use these. I was initially skeptical but while he was out running errands later, I used the “Challenge Accepted!”point of view and pulled out my egg roll recipe. I shredded up the 3 cabbages and had exactly 4 cups. This was the amount needed for recipe! Spurred on by that, I pulled out a partial bag of baby carrots that were drying out and an onion from my flashfood box. I bought egg roll wrappers weeks ago and they were already in fridge. I had about 1-1/2 cups of ground beef that was leftover when I cooked and packaged several pounds a few days before. Chinese 5 spice is something I always have because we love the flavor. And voila! I was able to make 30 egg rolls!! https://pin.it/1xJgebd

    It was time to pull out our sweet potato vines. The friend who gave me our 6 little slips had no joy from hers. Neither had another friend she shared with so we went in with low expectations and imagine our surprise! https://pin.it/1HkhVId and https://pin.it/2wHm59W. We harvested almost 20 pounds!!

    As I pulled out the green bean plants, I was surprised to find some beans that hadn’t been nibbled by insects and actually cut and blanched 2 cups for the freezer. Not a big harvest, but we will use them!

    The big news is that we were able to install our 6 new replacement windows in the house!! Tuesday and Wednesday were days that the temps went into the low 70’s(F) and so we got 4 done on Tuesday and then when our son-in-law came over on Wednesday, the other 2 were installed by 10:30 and so the rest of the day was spent caulking around them and replacing the trim! I thought that brought us down to just 8 windows left to replace, but it’s actually 9 more. We will wait until Spring for them though. We are to the point that we can get the old window out and install the new one in about 90 minutes! It’s a lot faster than when we started replacing windows 7 years ago!! Lol! Since then, our weather has taken a turn towards colder temps. Our highs will be dipping down even more this week and the winds will howl! As I walk by the new windows, I don’t feel any draft the way we used to so we are grateful to get those done already!

    I was able to sell a few things this week and add $77 to our savings. We also added $20 to it from cc rewards.

    We left this morning (Monday)to visit my brother in Michigan. We will stay at the same Marriott that we did 2 weeks ago, but Hubs was able to research and find a discount that brought the cost down by almost half! That was a real blessing! We also checked and gas for the car is about 60- 70 cents per gallon more in Michigan than in Ohio, so we used GasBuddy app on our phone to find the best gas price as possible that is in northern Ohio and will fill our gas tank there before we go into the mitten! This will be a big savings! It was snowing when we got there!

    Now is certainly the time to be cautious in our spending and vigorous in our saving. While we can’t control the crazy scary way things are going on the world around us, hopefully we can feel the peace that comes from knowing that we did the best we could with whatever opportunities we had. And that will be different for every one of us! And that’s okay.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Busy, busy, busy here in southeastern Idaho. The fall weather has been amazing-our growing season was extended a couple of weeks-for which I am grateful. However, temps are supposed to plummet at the end of this week. We are trying to clean out the garden and finish up canning and storing food. This past weekend, I got together with my DIL, 2 nieces, and my sister. We prepared and canned 63 quarts of vegetable soup base. Each one of us was able to put 12 quarts in our food storage. This soup base can be used to make cheese soup, chicken noodle soup and even a tomato based soup, like hamburger soup. We had 3 pressure cookers going at once! The carrots were from my garden and the potatoes were from local fields which we gleaned from. We had to buy celery and onions. I had all the spices we needed so I figure that each quart cost less than $1. It was a fun day. I also canned grape juice this week, with grapes given to me by a neighbor who has more than she knows what to do with. I also canned chicken and pork-as both were on sale. Canning meat is quite easy….just takes a bit longer to process. I figured it up and canning my own is definitely cheaper than buying cans of it from the store. I made fruit leather out of applesauce from 2018. This will free up some space on my shelves to can some more this year. I also started dehydrating apples, as all my adult children like to snack on these. Hubby and I made homemade raspberry shakes one night at home. Raspberries came from garden this summer. Much cheaper than going to a local dairy and buying a raspberry shake-which would have cost us about $7. I have also been dividing my larger perennial flowers and planting them in other places in my yard-so I don’t have to buy new perennials next year to landscape. I made a batch of homemade leave in conditioner using sample bottles of conditioner brough home from hotels we have stayed in. I actually like the homemade conditioner better than the stuff I bought in the store and its way cheaper. Grew my own pumpkins this year and used them to decorate my porch for fall. I still have zucchini, from my garden, that I am feeding to my chickens. I also feed the chickens, the peels and cores of apples that I dehydrate. They also got to eat the tops of the carrots that I picked from my garden. We bought 9 new chicks in May and are anxiously waiting for them to start laying. Doing all these little things to save money where possible brings me some peace in this crazy world. I so look forward to Monday morning when I can read this blog and all of the comments. They inspire me to keep going!

        1. Well, it’s not very scientific but I looked around online and came up with my own thing. The ingredients I use are: distilled water, conditioner of your choice-or whatever you have on hand, coconut oil and lavender essential oil. I mix the one part conditioner to about 2 parts water-depending on the amount you are making. I add about a teaspoon of the coconut oil (more if you are making a larger batch) and a few drops of lavender oil. Coconut oil is very good for your hair and the I like the smell of lavender. You could add whatever essential oil you want for smell. Put it all in a spray bottle and shake. You can always add a bit more conditioner if you need to after spraying it on your wet hair. There are lots of recipes out there for leave in conditioner, but didn’t want to buy anything so I just used what I had on hand.

    2. Miss Pat, you reminded me that I have a cabbage languishing in the fridge and have been tempted to try the egg roll in a bowl (no wrappers or wrapping- I don’t have the patience for that, lol!) recipe that I see floating around on the internet. Egg rolls are the first thing I always want to order when we go out for Chinese but so danged pricey! Thank you for the yummy suggestion!

      1. TJ@TJ’s Sweet Home: I found this recipe for Sweet and Sour dipping sauce that is easy to make and tasty too. Here is the recipe, in case you’re interested. https://pin.it/4SxPFY0

        And if anyone else wants the egg roll recipe, here it is: https://pin.it/6tRUq9Z. I could use just 1 pound of ground beef (actually just 2 cups cooked up) in the recipe and this recipe could feed my big family.

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Gardenpat- Did you freeze the egg rolls after frying or did your family just eat them up? Also, I see you used raised beds for the sweet potatoes. How big are you beds and how many slips in each bed? I have raised beds bit never know how many slips for sweet potatoes to make a descent harvest. Thank you!

  2. Lovely photos as usual.

    This week I have striped out the greenhouse just leaving some leeks and carrots to go through the winter. I also have some beans drying in there. The garden furniture and plant frames have been put away. In the garden we have Brussels, carrot, beetroot, parsnip, chard and spinach. All will overwinter here OK. I have been picking raspberries and freezing them ready to make jam. I have left seed heads on a lot of plants for the birds.

    While I was processing the last tomatoes I found I was reminiscing how a friends father had a small holding we used to pick tomatoes and eggs for sale. My friends mum used to cook the small and second tomatoes in butter on toasted fresh bread for lunch. From age 11 we plucked turkeys and chickens each Christmas and pick the greengages and plums. These days children expect payment we were just fed.

    We had our covid jab this week, hubby had a temperature the next day. After this we moved to daughter’s to look after grandson while she had a well earned rest. She went to Kew, thankfully the weather was good.
    Have a good week everyone

    1. Snap, greenhouse virtually cleared. Started to winterise the garden. Had a good crop of apples so made crumbles to share with friends, today I’m going to make apple sauce with the windfalls. We used to have grilled tomatoes on buttered toast as children. Continuing to use smaller dinner plates so amounts of food look more, no one has complained of being hungry. Made lots of soups using up leftovers. Noticed that vegetable pack sizes are still reducing at the supermarkets though the price is still the same, dont know if that is the same all over the UK, I’m in England.
      Have repaired numerous items of clothing, using fabric from my stash have made a new ironing board cover, a mat for the dog and a table cloth.
      We also had our covid jabs this week, combined this with errands to save on petrol. Definitely cooler now but heating set lower than last year to save on gas.

  3. I have turned down our air so we are not using energy to heat our house. I turn off all the lights and use sunlight during the day. At night I turn on the light above me. Our electric bill was lower this month than last. Oh yes I try and cook multiple things in the oven when in use. I bake when it is cooler so that it also heats the house, mainly the kitchen where I spend my time. I only heat enough water to make a couple cups of tea when I warm up the water unless I am saving some for later. My son uses a thermos for his coffee. I get things done by phone instead of driving to places that are not necessary. I cook soup for warmth and a cheaper meal. We pay bills ahead of time so not to incur late charges. I wear a sweater and warm socks to keep warm in the house. We use extra blankets at night. We utilize leftovers to make new meals. I freeze extra soup for use later. I watch for sales at the store. There are a few. I find it difficult to wrap my mind around paying some of the prices in the stores. So I haven’t for the most part. I know our garden will freeze tonight if it didn’t already last night. I hope to check our tomato plants today and pick anything on it. We may make fried green tomatoes or pickled green tomatoes. I will also pick the okra or let some go to pick for seed. Actually, we should pick it so the deer don’t eat it. I am using handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex. I might buy some to have on hand in case we get so sick that I don’t feel up to washing laundry. But for now we use handkerchiefs. We use cloth napkins. I know this saves us money. I just throw them in the laundry with everything else. My husband teased me and asked if I wanted to make cloth toilet paper to reuse. I’m not up to that, but I have wondered about a bidet. I wash full loads of laundry and dishes. I watch the ads for any food sales that might look good. Mostly, I gasp at the so-called sale prices. Everything has gotten so expensive. I have enjoyed watching YouTube and reading on the internet. Cleaning makes my house feel nice and cozy. I’ve considered putting blankets on the couch for added warmth. I may just pull them out as needed.

    1. I saw an online ad for a portable hand held bidet that I thought looked very interesting. I think it was called the Blough Bidet. It would definitely save on toilet paper! A knitted shawl that would double as a blanket for the couch would be good! Keep on keeping on!

      1. A million years ago, I used handheld bidet to rinse cloth diapers. Combined with flushable diaper liners they were a sanity saver.

        1. Delicate topic, but a few readers have brought up bidets.We put in a portable one that was easy to install and not expensive,during Covid.HOWEVER, think about this: After you spray your nether regions with a shower like spray of water: HOW DO YOU DRY IT!???????? In some european countries they place a container of “ family towels” next to the bidet, you dry, then toss cloth in the laundry bin. If you don’t, believe me, you do not save money on toilet paper..

    2. Tammy,
      Not sure if I heard about this here or somewhere else, but I recently learned about “wee wipes” — pieces of cloth for women to use to wipe after we go “wee.” You can just cut up scraps of cloth or worn out tshirts or whatever into little squares and keep them by the toilet, then toss them in the regular laundry after using. If this seems gross to anyone, just consider that all the underwear that gets tossed in the laundry likely has dribbles of wee (or worse!) and it all comes out fine. So I started doing this about six months ago and it has put a serious dent in our TP usage! I’m sure I’ve outed myself as a weirdo to some, but seriously, don’t knock it until you try it. 😉

      1. Natasha, that’s what I do. I am also open to using cloth for solids (I did use old fashioned cloths for my babies so I see no problem here) but my husband isn’t (yet 😉 ) T-shirts make the best ones as they are soft and don’t fray.

        1. I use cloth “wee wipes” as well. I actually grabbed a couple of packets of baby wash cloths from the dollar store about 5 years ago. They are still going strong. I have a spare bathroom trash with a lid that I’ve lined with a lingerie wash bag & toss them in there when used. On towel washing day, I grab the bag and drop it in the washer with bath towels as a hot-water load. Easy peasy! As the only female left at home (daughters are grown and gone), it has cut out TP use in our home significantly. So much so that this summer, we just used the last case that I bought back during 2020 – I was shocked to see how far my using cloth stretched our supplies!

        2. I suggested reusable wipes to my normally most accomodating husband. He said he would run away from home if I tried it…

      2. Natasha,
        That really is a good idea! I’d been thinking of doing that. I’ve done it before when money was tighter. I actually just used washcloths that I had. At the time I had to choose between toilet paper and food. Food won! I took extra showers as well. It does save money.

      3. Natasha – actually I’ve read that ‘wee’ is sterile unless you have some sort of infection. So I don’t think your idea is gross or weird at all. Your post did sort of give me the giggles:)

      4. I have done the same for over a year now. Being post menopausal, soft cloth is much nicer to use than paper. Saving a few trees is good too.

      5. I also made some wipes for “wee” and after cloth diapers for 4 kids see no problem with using cloth wipes. My only regrets are that I made some a bit stingy lol. I throw mine in with the bath towels to wash. I don’t have enough and need to make more.

    3. I bought a hand held bidet after I trashed my knee. It worked great. I suggested it to my friend before she went in for back surgery and she said it was the best idea ever! She suggested it to a work friend with hemorrhoids and said her friend hugged her after using it a few times. I think it’s really handy for all types of issues. We’re so unfamiliar with them here in the US that I think they’re an exotic thing people are a bit afraid of!!

      That said, the one I got is very simple. It’s an attachment that is mounted on the side of toilet tank, has a holder, and a water knob to turn on and off. Good to prevent leaking. I bought the only one available locally, but my friend said Amazon had a lot of choices for less than $100. I don’t know the mechanics involved in attaching it, but I think its just a split hose thingy that can divert the incoming water.

  4. Though I did not add a comment last week, I so appreciate all you do here. It’s such a welcoming, beautiful place to visit, with excellent information shared by you and all the commenters. It’s one of my favorite places. Thank you, Brandy. I went through your site for an Amazon order. Though the garden harvest is dwindling, I harvested carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, the last two pawpaws and butter beans. I gathered basil and rosemary, and made herb salts for gifts. We enjoyed Easy Skillet Ratatouille for a dinner, to use up some of the eggplant, squash, tomatoes and peppers, and it used our onions, garlic, thyme and basil as well. Laundry was hung on the line. I harvested the first mixed winter greens for a hearty winter salad. Another night, I made your black bean burgers with fried potatoes, peppers and onions. I’ve been enjoying watching Tudor Monastery Farm via Amazon Prime. I made my Mom’s zucchini soup with our tromboncino, homemade broth, onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil and parsley, totally from the homestead, except for salt and olive oil. Two Christmas gifts were purchased with a gift card from Swagbucks rewards, so nothing out of pocket. With the weather warmed up most of the week, we were able to go without any heat. I redeemed Swagbucks points for another $25 GC. Four books were sold through Sell My Books, for almost $25. It’s nice when decluttering makes a little money. Several other books were brought to a little free library. After making mushroom gravy to go with mashed potatoes, there were still mushrooms left that needed using, so I dehydrated them, along with some celery tops, onions and carrots. They are starting another jar, to be used for soups. The sweet potatoes I planted in a pot have sprouted, and are looking good. I hope I can keep them happy indoors over the winter, to use as a greens source. Purslane and chickweed were harvested, along with most of the basil. A triple batch of pesto was made and frozen. I requested books from the library, and picked up the one that was ready. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/10/bittersweet-days.html

  5. I’ve thought about you a lot this week, Brandy. I admire you so much. You and your family are in my prayers and heart. Although it is such a tough time, I just know you’ll make the absolute best of it. You’ve been teaching me how to do that for years and years! * Church had a Fall Festival (Halloween Party). Although we don’t have little kids anymore, we still always attend to enjoy the fellowship and enjoy the sweet kiddos. They are always so excited to show off their costumes. There was popcorn, concession style candy and bottles of water there. It was a fun (and free) date night for us. * Traditionally I have always given each of my children a Christmas ornament every year. When they marry, it’s then a family ornament. I’ve personalized these the last few years and purchased them. It’s been expensive. This year I found a cute little gnome pattern that I’m going to make for everyone, just changing the hat color to make it more personal. Will save me almost $100. *There was a craft night at church for the ladies and I went. We made an advent calendar with pretty paper that was super cute and got to also make a bunch of cute gift tags. All free! Mostly I enjoyed visiting with the ladies since I don’t get out too much. * We have Amazon Prime, so got early access to Prime Day. I checked the wish lists that my girls have for the grand kids and I was able to get two of the gifts on there for 30% off! So I pulled the trigger on that. Also, my little Poppy’s second birthday is in November and she LOVES Frozen. Joanns had some Ty plush Frozen dolls and I had coupons!! She will be excited. * I made white chicken chili for dinner one night. There was some left over, but not enough for everyone to just have that the next night, so I served it over rice and it was yummy and fed us another night. * I made an apple crumble with apples from our tree. Instead of using sugar and cinnamon on the apples, I stirred in two packets of hot apple cider mix that someone gave us, that no one drinks but me. It was really yummy. I also made 3 ingredient pumpkin cookies: one 15 oz. can of pumpkin, one DRY spice cake mix and half a bag of chocolate chips. That’s it. Mix and bake at 350 for 11 minutes. * Finished two scarves for donation and read library books for fun.*Hope all of you have a great and thrifty week. Stay safe!

    1. Ohhhh! I love the apple cider mix with apples to make a crumble. Will definitely be trying this- thanks for sharing ☺️

    2. Great minds! I did something similar though it wasn’t apple cider powder. I had read that the secret to McDonalds apple pies was that they used an apple juice powder concentrate to enhance the apple flavor. I made an apple crisp, too. I didn’t have the cider drink mix packet but I had plenty of apple juice so I poured a little bit in the bottom of my dish. My husband swears it’s the best apple crisp I’ve made. I’ll keep your cider drink mix in mind though!

  6. • A neighbor put a mantle shelf out on the curb. I passed it for almost a week and then picked it up and sold it on FB marketplace the same day for $20.
    • I picked up 13 oz bag of trail mix for free with coupon on Lucky supermarket app.
    • I’ve taken care to run the washing machine early in the day, before prices go up at 4pm.
    • I’ve been weighing up whether to replace living room curtains, or put thicker lining on them. I don’t love the curtains, but it would be cheapest to just add better lining…
    • I subbed 3 days last week, and received free snack one of the days.
    • My husband played for free in a pickleball tournament. He received lunch there one of the days, and he came home with MANY leftover snacks. He also had fun and good exercise!
    • I have been very careful to ride the electric bike to do errands, usually after my husband has come home from work on the same bike. We have halved our monthly gas spending, even though prices are now around $6.40/gallon in our area. It is cold here overnight now but I am hoping to hold off on the heat until November 1. Our daughter got a new job near us and she will live with us until she finds an apartment. She hates being cold, so I know I’ll have to put the heat on when she comes!

    I saw Costco is hiring for data entry jobs.

      1. I have done this! Used old curtain for inner lining with new fabric enveloping old.
        Makes a wonderful drape with weight.

      2. I’ve done it. It gives a nice weight to the curtain especially if the new is very light weight. I was also given some high thread count flat sheets that I’ve used to line drapes with and it’s worked wonderfully well. The flat sheets didn’t fit any of my beds so it was a good use of what essentially was fabric for me.

  7. Gorgeous photos as always Brandy – and how amazing that you are still able to sow in your garden – our high today is 9C about 45F and not expected to go any higher than that before next week so gardens here are certainly at the end of the season.

    I only shopped for a few odds and end items and to replace items used up (and final one brought out of the long-term pantry).
    I was able to use another $30 in Loyalty points to pay for most of it. Loblaw – which is the major Canadian Food co. (Superstore – Loblaws – No Frills – Fortinos & Shoppers Drugmart) just announced this morning that they are freezing prices on many of their “No Name” goods in order to help people. Most of their stores would carry at least some NN products but the No Frills stores are the major carrier and the one that I use most so I’m anxious to read the full report and see what this will entail. They have two other store brand labels, “President’s Choice” which is the mid-range and “Black Label” which is their premium items so it will be interesting to see what happens to those prices.

    Only did some hand laundry last week so that saved some money and I probably won’t need to use the laundry room until the end of this week – waiting for some full loads to be ready.

    I stayed home on Saturday and had a cooking day – diced up some ham slices left from an earlier dinner, caramelized some onions, cooked and chopped up a few pieces of bacon and used all of this to bake a dozen egg cups (my new silicone muffin molds worked great) and then combined a few of these bit and pieces, along with some cheese, to make two personal pizzas two days in a row after finding two lonely pita breads in the freezer – so two simple lunches. Then I roasted three large chicken legs, picked off all the meat and popped that into the freezer to use later. And finally, I made a large pot of stew. I had purchased two packs of very expensive Angus beef stewing meat a few months ago so decided that it was time to use up one. I have to say that it was worth the expense, it was all beef, no gristle or fat and it was soooo tender – I would definitely invest in this quality of meat again. I ate one serving for Sunday dinner and will freeze the rest.

    It was an expensive week socially – three lunches out – why do these always come in batches!! Still, I’ve checked my calendar and aside from maybe a coffee I won’t be doing anything like this again until Oct. 30th so I suppose it all balances out and it was very nice to see some friends that I hadn’t seen since June. Covid is on the rise again here so I’m going to enjoy some outings now before we go into extra caution mode again. I always wear my mask on transit and in stores and I will get my 5th shot at the end of November so I’ve done the best I can. Flu shots become available Nov. 1st and that is also free so I’ll be headed to my pharmacist shortly to get that out of the way.

    Tomorrow will be a long day as I’m in the office in the morning – going to run some errands in the afternoon and then back to the office (church) for a volunteer session tomorrow night so I’m going to pack up both a lunch and a supper so that I’m not spending needlessly when my apt. is full of food!

    I have spent a bit of time tidying up and swapping out some cushion covers, throws and a bedspread for my more cozy Wintery look and I’m pleased with the results – tis the season!

    I wish your husband luck with his job search – I’ll keep you all in my prayers. Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. It’s 28°C here today, Margie. It’s just starting to cool down enough to sow seeds!

      1. I heard a headline (but not the whole story) on the news that this is going to be a bad flu year. We all had doctor’s appointments in the last 3 weeks and had our shots there. I am making appointments for our 4th Covid shot next week. Because we had Covid, we had to wait 3 months for the booster.

  8. Gas was up to $3.29 this weekend in University town and $3.49 in the county next to it. I had to substitute for someone today in that county so I have not been to my “regular” county yet. I dread seeing tomorrow how much gas is there, so I filled up where I worked this morning. I am still in shock, I went into Food Outlet store there, which is cost plus 10 %, and tax ( food is taxed in my state.) The cost of a dozen medium eggs was $4.55. That was the one item I forgot to get at Walmart when I sent shopping there earlier. I had already decided that I was going on an extreme financial budget, so I only bought a butternut squash for $1.49 lb, and two containers of grape tomatoes for $5.00, and that was all the fresh produce I bought. I did buy Great Value peanut butter at Walmart, cat food (the cats seem to keep the snakes and mice at bay) garlic powder for $1.00, plastic garbage bags, a bra to replace the one the dog chewed up, and tights to wear to work. I made a pbj sandwich to take to work, and I made, with dried beans, red bean hummus without tahini. I also made pinto beans with lots of garlic and lemon. I intend to eat the beans or hummus with the butternut squash for supper this week. I cooked the seeds of the butternut squash in oil and salt. I hope next week I only have to buy whatever fresh produce I decide to get. I guess my diet will consist primarily of greens, tuna fish, mayo, dried beans, maybe potatoes , green beans, peanut butter with bread and jam, rice, oil, and whatever yellow vegetable I decide to buy. It is iffy on the moment about the tomatoes and eggs. Geez

    1. I meant to also say I have a girlfriend who drives a school bus for the benefits. I also have family members working in chain restaurants with ins. benefits and 401K. I actually know a couple of self employed men, one owns a restaurant, and the other one a home inspection business, and they both drive school buses for the insurance and 401K. I also know young couples who work opposite shifts at hospitals,
      and another one at a car plant so as to not have to pay for daycare. Because of inflation, and my retirement account tanking right when I retired, I intend to keep working my part time job until I am 70, hopefully. I also had planned to work in fast food part time after I am 70, for a friend, to keep myself physically active and to earn money. I look at it as getting paid to exercise! I will probably also work in private practice part time then. Our attitude will determine our altitude! Tough financial times require agility in income planning. We have all got this friends!!!! Everyone have a great week!

      1. I have friends who are retired, sold everything and live full time in an RV. One works at ‘the arches’. They tend to spend about 2 months in one place at a time. When they arrive at a new city/town, my friend introduces herself to the manager at the local ‘arches’ restaurant and makes herself available for part time on call shifts. She loves it and has as much work as she can handle.

  9. Brandy pickle relish from the garden is the best flavor.. I hope I have better luck next year with mine but the few I did get I so enjoyed the crunch of them with sandwiches. I love to slice and sprinkle with just a little salt instead of eating chips.

    Not much going on here the usual borrowing books and CD’s weekly from our library. It was cold and blustery here in central Ohio today but I hung out a sheet and some towels and they dried pretty quick.

    As one other viewer mentioned the past 2 weeks at the stores I have been walking by and saying No No No and only getting what I went in for last weeks groceries $42 this week about the same as I had to get TP and Floor Cleaner. I found a brand called Fabuluso scented Lavender it makes 64 gallons of cleaner when added to water $7 at Family Dollar that is quite a bargain as we have 5 dogs and I clean the floors constantly. At Krogers I had a digital coupon for a free pizza ( $5 savings), if you got your flu shot there you got a $5 coupon my insurance paid for the shot completely so that was free money.

    All meals from home since Sept 5th when we celebrated our wedding anniversary and that time we ordered and picked up instead of going in to eat.

  10. Brandy, I hope the fact so many of us are praying for you and your family brings you some reassurance that you will get through this difficult time. I want you to know that it is because of your blog my husband and I were able to meet many a financial goal, especially paying off our mortgage early. Whenever I got frustrated or discouraged, I would reread some of your past posts like your 40 cents a day post or the post you wrote at the beginning of the pandemic on how you grocery shopped and, of course, the story about when the queen goes by. Even without a financial crisis I reread your past posts from time to time just to give myself encouragement and give me focus. You helped me see that frugality is not about stinginess but about being able to be content with what we have which can allow us to help others. With so many of your followers praying for you I picture the opening scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where you hear a cacophony of voices praying and then you hear the angels making a plan to help, only this time it’s to help you. I am sure you are aware of all the resources your church has available to help in times like these. May your husband find success soon in the job hunt.
    Here in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of Virginia God has gone crazy with the color palette on the leaves of the trees. We are having a serious family issue at the moment but as I was driving to an appointment this morning this gorgeous fall reminded me that God knows what He is doing and has not forsaken me or my family. He is with us in all storms.
    On the frugal front:
    *My husband had a minor surgery so I brought my own snacks and water to the hospital.
    *The hospital provided me with 2 free bottles of water and a free single serving of Cheese It crackers.
    *I used a $10 Fetch reward gift card to buy groceries last week. Final cost: .09$ I did not buy much and intentionally kept he total to as close to the $10 card amount.
    *We used our military discount at Lowes saving 10%.
    *We decided to buy a larger Bluetti solar generator while they were on sale. We got $300 off plus a 5% military discount. We are quite pleased with the smaller one we bought a few months back. We use the smaller one to recharge our phones, electric toothbrushes, and Ipad and Chromebook. This bigger one will allow us to use small electrical kitchen appliances to cook with. The small generator has saved us roughly $7-10 dollars a month on our electric bill.
    *I received a final check from Uncle Sam from my dad’s passing: $62.
    *My husband, Mr. Fixit, repaired our toilet, my mop and a couple other items around the house.
    *I made all meals at home using what I had except the few items I purchased using the gift card. I bought milk, eggs,bananas and a prescription.
    *I baked 2 loaves each of chocolate zucchini bread and applesauce bread.
    *I baked 3 loaves of wheat sourdough bread.
    *I am still getting lettuce, kale, and spinach in my garden. We are due a hard freeze tomorrow night but I have everything covered and hope I can get a few more weeks of greens.
    *I have been dehydrating apples, pumpkin and greens from the garden.
    Tracie in South Africa and Lorna in Australia, I’ve been missing you in the comments. I pray all is well with you both.

      1. We could not have done it without your help:) The ideas and inspiration and encouragement you give made the difference.

  11. Brandy, I appreciate your posting each week – this is one of the updates I most look forward to during the week, both for your ideas and attitude towards facing challenges as well as others’. Did something happen last week though that I missed?

    I am trying to spend less money on groceries or at least use it more intentionally. I made a basic list of groceries that we would theoretically need every week on a spreadsheet along with their expected cost, and added in an extra $20 for the situational items that might change from week to week. When I go to grocery plan I look at that list and zero out what we have on hand and only buy where we need to plug holes. Even though prices have been going up, I feel like we are able to manage the budget more this way. And, our refrigerator and freezer are pretty stocked with what we need!

    I am trying to avoid spending too much on Christmas decorations this year and thinking creatively (and pinning) ideas for homemade decorations, which are always more meaningful anyway.

    Is it okay if I print out the list you have of 50 things you can do at home? I would like to refer to it for activities that I can do that don’t require money. Thanks!

  12. Those roselle hibiscus pics are incredible! I’ve never heard of then before but what a versatile plant!

    My frugal week:
    – I baked my vegan (no eggs or milk, so inexpensive) spice cake as a snack cake for the week (http://approachingfood.com/vegan-coconut-apple-spice-cake/, less the coconut and apple)
    – I baked peach cheese danishes using homemade peach jam.
    – I clean my sneakers with a Mr. Clean eraser to keep them looking new, and polish my husband’s shoes and my daughter’s shoes at least weekly. This makes a significant difference in keeping our shoes in good condition. I think polishing shoes is becoming a lost skill, but it really is so useful.
    – I redeemed air miles for $10 of groceries during a promotion, plus combined it with a sale and cashback at Checkout51. $18 worth of cheese (shredded plus individual snack packs) only cost $3 once my air miles were applied and the rebate as well.
    – combined sales at Rexall plus coupons plus a points redemption to buy items including chips for my daughter’s upcoming birthday party
    – made and canned turkey noodle soup from our Thanksgiving turkey
    – started a batch of sauerkraut
    – bought chicken breast for half price using the flashfood app

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  13. I have gotten one Christmas present bought and another being made. I am so unmotivated this year. I am usually done and totally not stressed by the end of October. I have been buying intentionally on groceries and supplies due to prices. I am trying not to stress and looking at the positives in my life. The leaves are so pretty this year. Our health is pretty good and the Lord blesses us each day. Thank you all for your encouraging words and helpful ideas on saving money and time.

  14. I was touched by your candor in last week’s post about your family’s financial outlook. As for me, I’ve been using your Amazon links whenever I’ve shopped. I’d encourage other readers to do the same as it’s so easy and can be such a help here.

    ***You may already be doing this but I’d encourage your husband to apply for state jobs. My whole career was spent in state employment in Washington or California. In my experience, state government tends to be the most lenient when considering work requirements for a job and more often then not the job listing will say ‘or equivalent experience and education’ some where in the listing. Also, once employed by the state and once the typical 6 month probation is passed, an employee can transfer within the agency. In-agency transfers tend to be easier then the ‘open’ job listings for the general public. In other words, taking a job that might be lower then he wants could lead to a transfer and a much better job once he’s in the system as a state employee.

    *** My biggest frugal project this week has been to start planning my new garden space. Everything I do will be edible. I’ve realized how much growing my own veggies saves me in both time and money. I’ve also continued to work on my sourdough starter. Today I made sourdough pancakes with the pour off in growing my starter. Waste not want not.

    I can’t say often enough how grateful I am for this platform and the community you’ve built.

    ***I’ve worked for state universities, parks and corrections. My best job bar none was in corrections. I was in administration and not an officer. It was a great work environment so would encourage you to think about jobs with that agency. Most people I have come in contact with take a dim view about working there. But in my experience, the agency was an awesome employer. Nevada may be different, but maybe not.

    1. A friend has said that jobs in non-profit organizations often have a lot of possibility for quick advancement into positions with more responsibility or switching to another organization after gaining some experience.

  15. Happy Monday!
    I went on a 6 day trip to visit family. Grocery shopped for my family who stayed home before I left and packed snacks for the trip. My mom and stepdad drove and didn’t let me pay for half of the gas so I did pitch in with lunch, a few snacks, and tolls which combined cost a lot less then the half I originally thought I’d pay. My aunt gave us so many wonderful gifts: home canned salsa, chicken, tomatoes, bone broth, honey from her hives, eggs from her chickens-plus cooked for us the whole time! She also gave me a pressure canning lesson and I’m so excited to get started at home! She had a few boxes of books she wanted to get rid of as well so I took them- will read some and donate the rest. We met another aunt on the way home and were treated to lunch. I’m so grateful for the priceless memories made on the trip!
    *received a $15 Amazon gift card for
    writing a review
    📍Grocery store: clearance pasta from Italy including some bags of “one pot meals”

    Take care all ⭐️

  16. Our zucchini, the survivors of this summer’s grasshopper onslaught, are STILL producing. I’ve never seen us go so long in Colorado (the Flatlands, not the mountains) without a killing frost. However, it’s coming this week. That’s probably a blessing; I think the zukes were getting ready to apply for statehood.
    Our greens are doing well. I’m hoping they’ll survive the cold a bit longer.
    I am well stocked on canned goods, thanks to Amazon Warehouse, and stockpile milk and eggs whenever Safeway has a sale. The prices are scary here, and sometimes the shelves are nearly empty — which is even scarier. One snowy Christmastime, we had blizzard after blizzard, and few trucks could get through. People were trying to bake for Christmas, and there were no eggs to be had. My daughter found a dozen that someone had hidden elsewhere (maybe an employee?), and people kept stopping her, trying to figure out where more were. That’s why I keep a tin of dried eggs in storage — just in case.

    Brandy, could school bus driving be a temporary job until your husband can find something better? They’re desperate for drivers here, and the wages are pretty good. Benefits aren’t bad, either. He would need an active CDL, but at least here, the school district will pay for that training — and the test. It is steady work, at least, and doesn’t take the whole day, either. (Plus you can apply for trips to sporting events, field trips, etc.) It might be a possibility. I would think that bus driving for the Vegas Strip might be a possibility, too.
    Next thought: would your husband be interested in working on his photography skills? If you had someone who could help out with this, it might be easier to keep your photography business going. Perhaps put up signs at the local high schools for graduation photos next year? Just keeping your website active is good advertising. (Husband, after retiring, started taking photos for my books, when we couldn’t find the ones we needed — or they were outrageously expensive to rent. This has worked surprisingly well.)
    And final thought: I’m guessing here, but your husband perhaps could take early Social Security. You have to limit what you earn so you’re not penalized, but that amount is surprisingly high. He could easily take a part-time or 3/4 time job, and still be able to get the SS benefits.

    I’m guessing that your children, particularly your older ones, understand your current situation. You don’t have to hide it from them, certainly. Your son’s experience working at the local thrift shop should give them ideas.

    I have admired your cheerfulness and willingness to ‘riff’ for a long, long time. Your blogpost is one of the first things I look for on Mondays. You and your family are clever, resourceful — and just plain people of quality. You’ve gotten through hard times before, with God’s help. Thank you for helping us, too. I’m grateful.

    1. Thank you Cindy.

      My eldest son in a junior in college right now and supports himself. He is a very frugal young man.

      The cost of my website, business licenses (city and state), and other expenses for my photography buisness was over $1500 a year. It was the best thing for me to close it for now.

      We have talked about the school bus situation here. It’s not ideal for us but we are looking at several different things. Somehow it will all work out.

  17. I hadn’t read the comments last week but I just had a chance. Everyone’s encouragement last week was so kind! If he hasn’t already, I hope your husband considers consulting with career services at his alma mater. Just Google the name of the university along with the phrase: alumni career services. I work at a university and I know that most institutions offer alumni this service, whether it’s objective resume review, interview practice, or application leads.

  18. It makes me happier to see your blog post is up earlier in the day! Thank you for continuing to inspire me :).
    It’s been a good frugal month so far (thank God).

    I returned an eggplant which rang up $5 instead of the $1.59 I thought it was. I’m keeping my habit of perusing receipts after checking out which is super effective in saving money and returning unwanted items on the spot.
    I had extended family staying over for 1.5 days and they were fed 5 meals using the fridge/ pantry food and no repeats.
    I got rid of 1 bag of clothes and 2 bags of books.
    I’m returning a pair of sandals that I bought for $12 from DSW. I Like the sandal and the price but I have a similar-looking one that’s still going strong. I find it hard to return cheaper things.
    I cleaned my stove top and the hood. This was a sticky mess and I was considering hiring a cleaner for this ($40/hour). Then God gave me the motivation and the elbow that was needed to do this and it was done. Using a ball of steel wool did the trick which I had to throw away. It cost me around $2 instead of the $40.

  19. I needed to get prescriptions, but waited until a Tuesday, so that I could get a senior’s discount on some Motrin that I needed as well. It is a 20% off on anything that is not on sale, so it is worth scheduling my visits to the pharmacy around that day of the week.

    On the way home from the pharmacy, I took a bit of a detour to stop at the grocery store. I didn’t want to do a grocery order last week, but ground beef was on sale for $3.78 a lb, which is a very good price here. I used a $10 gift card from loyalty points to get about 2.5 lb for free.

    I’ve been to the grocery store this week to buy an order, and got pork loin at $2.49 a lb, again a very good price, and a decent brand of frozen pizza for $2.49 each, which is half price.

    A frugal fail was forgetting to cancel a subscription for security software on my old computer after a free trial period –$76!! I decided to cancel it right then even though it was too late, and found in the small print deep in the website that I could get a full refund if I cancelled within 30 days of the renewal. It took half an hour to click on all the buttons in the website, complete a questionnaire and engage in a chat with a nice lady or computer (I’m not sure which), for the refund to be authorized. The lady/computer said it would take several days, but there was a credit on my PayPal account in half an hour. PayPal sometimes takes a week or more to issue an authorized refund to my bank account, but only one night to deduct the original charge, so I still had to cover for my error, but it is now more of a waste of my time than my money. I complained to my 93 year old aunt about having better things to do on a Saturday night than work on my computer to get a refund, but she told me that now that I am retired I have nothing but time to be doing that kind of thing!! Family humor, I’m afraid.

    I’ve taken another 25 books out of the house. 50 more to go before Christmas. I’ve been tidying the shelves and moving books around as I have fewer books. I’ve made room in the living room shelves for my cookbooks, since that is where I browse through recipes on my computer as well. I also have eliminated two shelves of overflow books from my front closet, which leaves me better storage space for more traditional items for a front closet. I also found a shiny red Christmas tree about two feet tall lying on its side behind books on one of the shelves. It went missing last year, so I am glad to find it in good time for the coming holiday season.

    It must have been strange to have just four of you in the house!!

    1. It was! But it was good; we got to spend some time with the little ones and they had more of an opportunity to talk with us than usual.

  20. The flowers and vegetables in the photos are all lovely. I’m sure the hard work in your garden is worth it, Brandy.

    This isn’t much at all, but I watched a man at the self-checkout put in cash for his purchase and take his change out of the cup. Then a single penny fell in after he had taken the rest of his change, but he just looked at it a second and walked away. I was next in line, so I picked up his penny. He’s by far not the first person I’ve seen leave a penny or pennies behind on purpose.

    I use disposable gloves for painting in the house, which I am now doing, and for handling raw meat. As I get older, my skin is thinner and I often have a tiny nick or slight cut on my hands, so I feel gloves are safest around raw meat for me. I priced a box of 100 vinyl gloves in the grocery section at Walmart and then in the health section. The same amount of vinyl gloves was just shy of $3 less in the health section than they were in the grocery section.

    I finished off a pitcher of lemonade made using last year’s frozen lemon juice from our tree.

    While decorating for fall, I took the old concrete pumpkin given to me by my late aunt and instead of touching up the pumpkin-orange paint again this year, I made it a white pumpkin using some off-white paint. It looks nice and is a better look with my décor. We have too much heat and humidity to put a real pumpkin outside for long.

    I experimented with a recipe of chicken liver pate and found it freezes well. That makes it easier to mix up a batch at a time – I can portion it out instead of trying to finish it all myself in a few days. I’m supposed to eat more liver.

    I make my own fresh sausage for breakfasts, to avoid some spices that bother me. I bought five one-pound packages when a local farmer put his ground pork on sale. Sales are rare these days, so I grab them when and if I can.

    I re-hemmed a couple of washcloths.

    I noticed a cannister of raisins I often buy was the same price, but the cannister now holds 12 ounces, instead of 16. I’ve started checking quantities often. If a recipe calls for 2 cups of cheese and I buy the normally sized and priced package, it’s not going to be good to find out I only have 1.5 cups of cheese in the package when I’m making the dish.

    Best wishes for a good new week, everyone!

    1. Jo, I notice people dropping change by accident, but can’t be bothered to pick it up. I’ve even seen teens picking pennies out of their change and dropping them on purpose!
      My friend’s son is autistic and one of their school activities is walking around the school. Friend says he picks up between 10 and 50¢ every time! She bought him a bank just for this change and he loves watching it go up. She thinks he averages about 60¢ per week. Not too shabby!!

        1. I do too! As a kid I would find change on the ground, and then my sisters would also be on the lookout…and I would still be the one to find the change! I think it has to do with processing speed. IQ as a concept is broken down into different skills, and some people are better at some than others, with the various skills in various amounts adding up to what we consider IQ (at least as measured by the most commonly used test, the WIS); processing speed is one of those skills. I seem to have a fast processing speed, so I think I simply recognize that items on the ground are coins faster than others might. So those who always seem to find change on the ground might simply be extra fast at processing the information that an item on the ground is a coin (brain sorting by shape, shininess, etc.). I found $2.15 this week in change. Fine by me!

        2. My 5yr old grandaughter often seems to find coins as we go for walks. Maybe it’s because our little ones are closer to the ground! Btw, when dimes are dropped, they’re seldom picked up because they don’t make a sound on the ground.

    2. My mother made it a point to find at least one coin a day. She also found paper currency, once a 20$ bill. She saved them up and went to the UK with her cousins.

    3. I picked 2 pennies in the checkout line after the same thing happened. In fact, that day, I’d also found one in the parking lot and while filling up with gas my husband found 2c. I figure it’s the most cost-effective way there is to ‘earn’ money. It just involves bending over and takes less than 10 seconds. We have a box where we drop our loose change and every few months cash it in and donate to charity or take it to church for our boys and girls mission team to collect during service. When we pop it in our box we always ask that whoever drop it get a blessing from the blessing we’re allowed to be because they dropped it.

  21. We have both saved and spent over the past few weeks. I made batches of granola for us, my one son and my daughter. For the son it’s a special blend since he’s allergic to oats.
    Our farm box of veggies is finally out of cabbage but now we’re on to brussel sprouts. My DD left all of her’s here and I soaked them in salt water over night to rid them of any little lingering beasties. We had quite a few steamed for part of our Thanksgiving meal. The rest will be used up over the next week or so.
    I ordered a fresh bird and had it cut in half; cooked one half and the other half went to my son’s freezer. He can cook it later on in the season. I made the stuffing for under the bird with lots of left over bread, hot dog buns, sage from the garden, onions from the farm.
    We decided to have apple crisp for dessert instead of pie. It’s so much easier to make and then I can have leftover for breakfast.
    I found some sour key candies on sale and put a couple at each place on the table as a little extra. And the centre piece was made from a couple pie pumpkins, a couple pomegranates, a few white gourds and some lovely white oak leaves that fell from the neighbours tree. And I get to cook the pumpkins and eat the pomegranates. The squirrels will get to eat the gourds.
    A neighbour who was moving put out a big outdoor propane heater. We brought it home and tried to get it working but, alas, it needed major parts. So it went back to the curb and somebody else has taken it away. It really was too big for us to store but we thought the price might be right.
    A friend’s townhouse/condo was flooded in the hurricane. So we let them use our house while they salvaged what they could, cleaned it up and store it in our garage. It’s nice to be able to help out friends in these trying times. Our house only had a couple of bushes blown from the ground and someone replanted them for us. A palm on the lot line fell in between our house and another neighbour without hitting anything. The neighbour will deal with that one.
    The spendy part of the week was a surprise birthday party for my husband. I rented our small local movie house, invited about 60 friends and family to come and see his favourite movie and enjoy a small popcorn and drink on us. Then they came back to our house and I ordered falafel, fatoush salad, hummus from a local restaurant. And I ordered a cake. I could have made all the food but it would have blown the surprise for him and it was easy to handle this way. I did put out chips, peanuts and cubed cheese and pickles. He was so delighted!
    the really good thing about the party was it gave me incentive to really clean up the house. the pandemic has not been kind to me since I tend to overlook things. Now it’s so clean and tidy I’m not sure what to do with myself!
    I’m now going through my Pinterest pages and making lists of things to start sewing for Christmas gifts – things like puppets and aprons and maybe some cross stitch.
    We are really trying to use up things around the house in the pantry and freezer since we will be heading south soon-ish. Knowing this is keeping me out of the stores. I made Spanish rice and froze half of it. I made chilli and used my last can of red beans instead of kidney beans, I’ve made turkey veg soup and tonight I’m making turkey stew with the last of the picked over meat and the gravy.
    The temperature outdoors has plummeted and I saw a few flurries a little while ago. It makes me happy to have a nice warm house and a gas fireplace to curl up in front of with a good book. That book right now is “A Town called Solace” by Mary Lawson.
    Looking forward to hearing from everyone.

    1. I’m glad your Florida home sustained so little hurricane damage! I’ve been worried about you. Thanks for checking in.

      The party sounds like a blast! Another idea comes from my daughter-in-law’s family. When her sister turned 50, another sister rented a roller rink!

  22. Hi Brandy – best wishes for you and your family! Living on another continent, I have no advice on how to find a job, I just hope the best for you and that your husband will find a good job soon. My husband is self-employed, and we had a difficult time in the first two years of the pandemic with no new orders coming in, so I know how hard that kind of uncertainty can be.

    This week it was my husbands birthday and we had a small celebration with just his parents and my mother as guests. We made a crumble cake with blackberries from the freezer (gleaned in the local park) and discounted butter, also from the freezer. My husband runs to and from work a couple of times every week, and his running pants are so worn they are almost falling apart! They are around 15 years old, and I have repaired them a number of times, but now they are beyond repair. So I biked to a local sports outlet to buy him a new pair as a birthday present. I found a very nice pair, an expensive brand, at a more than 50% discount. I also bought him a pair of heavily discounted running shorts. Both fitted very well when he tried them on.

    I harvested the last snack peppers from the garden. I made a nice salad for lunch with white beans, tomatoes that have ripened indoors, some of the snack peppers and parsley from the garden and vinaigrette.

    I made a large bulk order from our local food coop – it is cheaper to buy in big quantities – 10 kg ordinary flour, 5 kg whole wheat flour, 5 kg whole wheat grain (for boiling like rice) and 5 kg yellow peas to use in soups and instead of chickpeas in hummus. It is not as cheap as the cheapest supermarkets, but it supports local farmers, and the quality is much better. It is also a lot cheaper than the same products in high-end stores, as the members of the coop do all the work themselves and the products are bought directly from the farmers. We will need to find some airtight containers for storage.

    I made a nice sourdough bread with the new flour, and I was very pleased with the quality. We ate the bread for dinner together with potato soup, and a salad with lettuce that was given to us, and vegetables from the garden: snack peppers and fried squash (soo good!).

    We have a quince tree in the garden, and the fruits have started to ripen a while ago. We picked all the ripe ones and made two different kinds of quince jam – one that cooks for a long time on the stove and turns a bright and beautiful red color, and another one with ginger. We harvested the ginger from our ginger plants on the windowsill. This spring we planted small pieces of ginger that were too dry to eat in a couple of pots, and we have enjoyed the beautiful plants all summer (they even flowered with little orchid-like flowers!) and now we can harvest our own ginger. We still have some more quince fruits to process, I think we will make more jam to use as presents, and I will probably make some quince fruit leather as well. Last year we harvested 50 kg (110 lbs) from our little tree! It was way to much – you can only make so much quince jam, but this year it is much less, and we will use all the fruit.
    Wish you all a good week!

  23. I finally admitted that my 2022 garden was a dud! I didn’t get any big harvests (although we got some of everything). We haven’t had frost yet, but I’m not going to get anything from my second planting of beans.

    When I got home last week from my trip, I was so busy trying to sleep at the right times that I didn’t pay too much attention to the grocery ads…which haven’t been great, anyway. Then I opened the doors to my pantry cupboards and it hit me what bad shape we are in for the coming year. We still have lots of food…but not nearly enough!

    The first thing I did was shop the bulk foods section at Winco and topped up oats, rice and spices (should have bought cornmeal, too–will do this next time). The prices were about 20-30% higher than a year ago, but still lower than packaged goods. Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting…on the Farm blog pointed out that anything that seems expensive now will be a bargain next year. Sad but true.

    Then I went through the grocery ads again and discovered Hunt’s spaghetti sauce is .88 this week (ends tomorrow). This has been my go-to price for years, although occasionally it is cheaper. I topped up my supply. This store also has acorn squash for .25 lb. It’s my least favorite squash, but I bought a couple and will fill the oven with them this afternoon, freezing what we don’t eat for dinner. This store is literally next door to where I had to be this morning.

    I went on the Fred Meyer app and discovered they have Progresso soups on special for $1.28 can through tomorrow. I didn’t know this before because they stopped all newspaper advertising in my area. The best price last year was .99, so I think this is as low as it will go. My husband likes to have canned soup for lunches. I will stock up at Freddy’s when I am out.

    I read last week that Kroger is acquiring Albertsons, which in turn acquired Safeway a few years ago. Those stores no longer compete and run identical ads. They are also the most expensive stores in my town. I do not feel this acquisition is going to benefit consumers in any way. With this acquisition, Kroger–which already owns Fred Meyer–will own all of the national grocers here. We still have one independent (where I bought the spaghetti sauce and squash) and Winco, which is a regional chain headquartered in my state.

    Grocery ads are the backbone of community journalism. If Kroger stops newspaper advertising for Albertsons and Safeway, as it did for Freddy’s, it is going to put a lot of small-town newspapers out of business.

    Saturday, I cooked a hambone overnight in the Crockpot and made white bean and ham soup yesterday. I made a huge batch, froze two quarts for future meals and we ate the rest for lunch today. I also made a double batch of cornbread and cut it into three pieces. We ate one-third and I froze the rest in two packages for future meals. I like to eat cornbread with bean soup, but I’m willing to bet the frozen cornbread will be gone before we eat the soup again!

    As every reader over 65 knows, open enrollment for Medicare add-on policies has begun. I got a notice that United Healthcare is discontinuing the excellent MedAdvantage policy I’ve had this past year. I made an appointment with an insurance broker (thanks again, Gardenpat) to explore my future options. I will be looking specifically at costs of my prescriptions, chiropractic coverage and OTC benefits.

    Brandy, thanks for maintaining this blog. I hope your financial situation improves soon. Since people have to live somewhere, whether they buy or sell a house or not, has your husband considered property management? I also think Nellis AFB, suggested by another commenter last week, is worth checking. (My husband’s uncle worked there for some years).

    ((( Brandy and all others who are experiencing tough, scary times ))).

    1. Our company did property management until a few months ago. Our manager retired and trained new people, but they decided to not take over after training, so we closed that part of our business.

  24. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Sounds like a sensible option to save the car fuel and have the elder children share travel to the church activity, we’re all having to make those sorts of choices I’m sure. My husband and I have actually felt quite relieved turning some invitations down politely, we don’t have to tell anyone our reasons.
    Our local mechanic completed a small repair on my car and asked to be paid in fresh vegetables from our garden which suited us well!
    I bought a much needed pair of shoes from Lands End in their sale. I’ve waited for ages to find leather shoes at a price I’m happy to pay.
    I bought a new in its box long hot water bottle from the charity shop, it will make a lovely Christmas present.
    Following the energy price cap being lifted in the UK our electricity provider has more than doubled our monthly direct debit so it’s really important that we keep usage as low as possible and update our meter reading monthly. The government is providing £66 assistance each month until March I think which will be very useful.
    Inexpensive meals included mushroom omelettes, vegetable stir fry and noodles and oxtail casserole with dumplings which fed us for two nights and I froze the leftovers for soup another day.
    My husband brought home more apples and pears from a client’s orchard.
    We picked polar bear pumpkins, green and purple bell peppers, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes,apples and dahlia from the garden.
    I baked apple and cinnamon muffins and used the remainder of a small jar of maple syrup
    in poached pears. Most recipes said to poach the pears for two hours on the hob which seemed like a crazy waste of energy so I put them in the oven for a short time when I had the oven on for other things.
    We’re not putting the heating on yet so I’ve slightly changed my bedtime routine. After brushing my teeth I quickly change into my PJ’s and get in bed. On my bedside table I keep my cleansing lotion, a pot of reusable cloth wipes and another pot for the used wipes ready for laundering, facial moisturizer and handcream. I can finish my bedtime ‘toilette’ while sitting under the bedclothes and starting to get cosy. Perhaps most of you do this and it’s old news but it stops me getting cold in the bathroom while I complete my cleansing etc.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. We thought it was better for them to get to go with friends (extra time to chat in the car) than to have all of us stay home because we needed to save the gas money at this time. They still got to have fun and the two little ones were better off at home with us.

      A friend of mine in the U.K., whose husband is employed in a great job, said that prices are so high that she is planning to not turn on her heater this winter.

      BBC was reporting that the U.K. will have the highest inflation in western countries (Turkyie having the worst right now, I believe; we think our food prices are bad but theirs are much, much worse!)

    2. Penny,

      I am a huge Shetland mystery series fan. It take place in the Scottish isles. I did a little fantasy research. Moderately priced houses (by American standards) but is it true energy bills can run up to 10,000 euro a year?

    3. Penny, I have a couple of regular hot water bottles and had never seen those long ones until a couple of day ago when a Scottish vlogger (Prime of Midlife) showed some that she had bought! I’ll keep my eyes open and see if they show up here.

      1. My sister had sent me something similar and, when filled, it was too heavy for me to arrange on my sore shoulders. I suppose it would have worked well for warming up the bed, though would be more frustrating if it leaked than if one of a couple small ones did.

        1. Heidi Louise, Gardenpat posted the link to this pattern for a rice bag a couple of years ago. I made one for my DIL last year and she absolutely loves it. If you can sew just a little (or someone who loves you can sew), this might be just the ticket. https://sewcanshe.com/2014-12-16-diy-heating-pad-for-shoulders-and-neck/?format=amp. It was actually fun to make. I made the measurements for the blocks a little bit wider because I only wanted to use 7 squares. I used two squares of 3 different fabrics and the middle square was the same fabric as the back.

          1. Thank you, Maxine! What lovely patterns and colors on the sample they made. Having things look cheerful is part of feeling good.
            My sister’s “Love Language” is gift-giving and she often sends things that I don’t need. I say thanks and don’t tell her if something didn’t work out, because then she would just go searching for something else to buy me instead.

          2. If all else fails, and even minor sewing is not going to happen, take a tube sock, put in the amount of rice or beans that you’d like and heat in your microwave. It makes a wonderful emergency heat pack and is especially nice for shoulders or sore jaws, etc. I did this for years upon years until I was not working and then had time to make a proper rice pack. It can also be used to warm a bed and won’t leak like a hot water bottle, something I’ve found makes hot water bottles unpleasant to deal with.

    4. PennyP, I bought a regular one here in the USA for the first time in my life (I am in my 60s!). When the kids were small I sewed up bags of rice (you can use grain, etc.) and warmed them in the microwave before they went to bed. I stuck them in the bed and it was nice and toasty when they crawled in. In pioneer days, they used rocks warmed in the fire and wrapped in flannel as well as bed warmer pans which they passed between the sheets (can’t leave the pans in the bed though). Also, when they traveled by horseback, they wrapped baked potatoes and stuck them in their pockets. Kept their fingers warm and food to eat at the end of the journey.

  25. I canned 7 pints of orange marmalade. I purchased some Italian meatballs and had three different meals with the first 20 I cooked. First night meatballs with rice and gravy, the next night we had spaghetti with meatballs and the last night I chopped up the meatballs and added to pepper gravy for biscuits and gravy. Returned antenna I purchased that did not pick up a single channel and then changed our Dish package to get savings. Canceled my Kindle Unlimited as I have found plenty to read from my library apps on line. I have especially loved all the recommendations from this group. I am also reading Dawn at Emberwilde at the moment.I harvested the last of my garden and moved all my plants either into the greenhouse or sunroom. My DIL contributed for plants as she said she would just kill them. Have been able to dry all my clothes on my line in the sunroom.

  26. It was busy week on our mountain – productive and fun with opportunities to hone our creativity, as always.
    *A neighbor gave me 7 (!) blueberry bushes – 3 large ones, about 3 1/2 to 4′ high and 4 baby ones. They were located at a rental property and the tenants were not picking the fruit. She said she wanted someone to have them who would enjoy the blueberries so she gave them to us. She offered them a month or so ago and I was just waiting for the weather to cool enough to dig them up when, one afternoon, here she comes in her truck with all the bushes in back. Such a gift! My sons and I planted them the next day. The big ones went right where they will live and the small ones got planted in the pots in the garden where they will stay watered this winter and I’ll plant them out in the Spring. I covered them all with mulch we got for free earlier this year so, in the end, I got a huge addition to my orchard absolutely free. I’m smiling just thinking about it. 🙂
    *Another neighbor brought scraps from their church supper for our chickens. Included was several bags of bread products that had been freezer burnt. The chickens will enjoy them and I, of course, saved and washed all the ziploc bags.
    *My in-laws came to visit for the day. My sweet MIL always brings food and always apologizes saying she is not cleaning out her refrigerator and pantry and “dumping” it on us. I say “dump away!” 🙂 No, really, she is just kind and brings us so many wonderful things she has made and wants to share and we are grateful recipients. She also brought a small end table that belonged to her mother. It had been living at her sister’s house and she no longer had use for it so it has made its way to us. It’s a beautiful little table and just the thing I had been wanting in my kitchen. I put a hamper basket I found on the side of the road last year and restored on top of the table and it is now holding my cloth napkins and tablecloths. You can’t buy the sentiment that comes with inherited pieces and I love this new little addition to my kitchen. Practical, beautiful and free. Can’t beat that!
    *I sold $100 worth of items in my neighbor’s booth at the antique shop. I’m glad for the money and glad those things will have new life in someone else’s home. I am planning to make curtains for my sitting room and my boys’ rooms this winter and will need to buy rods so this will go into that fund.
    *We went for our annual trip to a corn maze and pumpkin patch this week. Fortunately, our favorite place is also the most reasonably priced in our area so we return year after year and have gotten to know the owners. Our pumpkin patch had its beginnings with our first visit there when he gave us as many gourds as we wanted for free. I saved the seed and that formed the base of our patches since then. This time, he allowed my boys to pick a couple of pumpkins with a rotten spot “for our chickens” but he knows I will save those seeds, too. Then, the chickens will get the rest. 🙂 I made sure they picked a few varieties we don’t have so we will have an even more diverse patch next year. Getting to know people and making connections just makes life more fun but it has its frugal benefits, as well.
    *Our church holds a country fair every year on the third Saturday of October. In fact, this was the 44th year. It is the main fundraiser for our mission and outreach and provides grants to several local organizations as well as allowing us to help people with specific needs throughout the year. My 10-year-old and I volunteered in the grill this year and had loads of fun. It was a great experience for him – handling all the cash transactions, running food and interacting with the public and I got some free education in using the Ipad for cc transactions. There is no admission charge but a $10/car parking fee that is waived for volunteers. So, we got to listen to great music (oh, my goodness, the bagpipes! I will do a lot to hear bagpipes!), enjoy hand-pressed apple cider and look at beautiful arts and crafts all for free. I have rarely bought anything at the fair even though I think the handmade items are probably reasonably priced for the talent and work involved. It is a juried arts and craft show so everything is just beautiful. However, I find a lot of inspiration seeing other people’s creativity and like to think how I can attempt to recreate some of the things I see. My son, the artist, loves doing this, too, so it was a great and frugal day, all around.
    *I finished “The Lost Summers of Newport” and loved it – full of mystery and intrigue. If you love old houses and the stories they hold, you would enjoy this book.
    * I hope everyone is enjoying this season of transition and finding ways to be creative and enjoying all there is to learn in the world. All is not gloom and doom and I am glad to be part of a space where others know this, too.

  27. I cleared out my raised beds and got a small harvest of tomatoes, peppers, and red cabbage. I might have thrown them in compost in previous years but I decided to use what I have. The tomatoes were put into a salad with FF (flashfood) lettuce and green onions. The peppers were chopped with my farmer market onions for breakfasts and dinners (pasta sauce, kielbasa stir fry, omelets.) My brothers egg production is falling so I am freezing half of what I got from him. Red cabbage will hold for a while in the fridge.
    I also reseeded radishes one last time. I will continue to harvest from the large raised bed that has radishes, turnips, and peas still in it and happy to say the peas did their booster job, the turnips doubled in size. I am going to start sprouting next week. My problem usually is that I have to stop opening the window to get them to sprout and I value the open window. I hope my luck with FF holds out.
    I am becoming a better steward of the food in my fridge. Tonight’s dinner is a baked potato bar with leftovers on top: chili, pulled pork, chives, cheese sauce, and the last of the sour cream.
    If anyone has an idea on how to economize with cheese, I would be grateful.

    1. This probably isn’t a popular idea. But you can leave cheese out. We are allergic to dairy and the dairy-free cheeses are very expensive and not very good. Also, another thing is that nutritional yeast provides a “cheesey” flavor. I don’t know what the cost is of that. You could also do half the recommended amount of cheese–1 cup instead of 2 cups, etc.

      We’ve learned to eat pizza without cheese, etc.

      Early in our marriage, my husband made chocolate chip cookies without the choc chips. Our daughter was making fun of that when she heard. She asked what the point was. We couldn’t afford choc chips.

      1. Unfortunately my husband is a mouse not a carnivore (he eats a lot of cheese.) But I am reducing the amount of cheese and switched out “real” cheese for American (I bought it in a 5 pound block) in some of my sauce type recipes. I am going to try nutritional yeast next.

        1. I buy really sharp tasting cheeses and find that my husband snacks on less of those. Extra sharp cheddar and Romano and Asiago are my go tos on that end. As well when I’m using it in a recipe less of it goes further because the taste is there right away. Last, I avoid all the stupid recipes that call for 3 or 6 cups of cheese and yes, really some of them do!

    2. I second nutritional cheese. I searched for recipes and found out they require nowadays expensive ingredients like soy/coconut milk or cashews etc. Here is a recipe that I find to be frugal in every way and I have used it for a very long time : https://www.pennilessparenting.com/2010/07/vegan-cheese-sauce-delicious.html . I hope it is ok to share another recipe from her. I have made this for a long time as well and it satisfies you if you are ”in need” of salami 🙂 (even if you don’t have all the ingredients; my spice rack tends to be quite small…) https://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/07/vegan-pepperoni-recipe-made-from-beets.html

      1. It’s perfectly fine. She has an excellent site. I haven’t had time to read it in years but I used to read everything she wrote.

    3. I love to make homemade mac & cheese. I’ve reduced the cheese from what the recipe calls for. Also, the topping is supposed to be grated cheese. I always combine cheese and fine breadcrumbs – half and half- and no one has ever noticed. The topping still gets that cheesey crust that’s so yummy.

    4. To enhance the flavour of a small amount of cheddar cheese in a sauce chefs often add a bit of English mustard to taste- it really does work!

  28. The hibiscus is lovely! Don’t think I’ve ever really paid attention to them in the past.

    My husband is traveling this week. I am holding my breath as something always malfunctions when he is away. I have certainly added to my skill set over the years out of necessity!

    Made 13 1/2 quarts of chicken stew. It turned out really well. Went to Sam’s and was floored by the prices! My husband has been going lately which allowed me to do garden chores. I just keep focusing on staples and soups/stews, plus lots of rice dishes.

    Went to the Thrift Store and found a partial set of Homer Laughlin; a Stubbenville bowl; and a slightly damaged Hummel. Did not buy them. Instead I bought a barely used winter coat that will be great for exercising the dogs. My dogs are smelly and sling meringue(slobber) everywhere, so I can relax with my inexpensive coat!

    Our tax bill came in the mail and it’s astronomical! All based on the spike in the housing market! 🤬

    We go to our granddaughter’s wedding this weekend. I had already planned to wear an older outfit that I had, but needed new shoes. The ones I wanted were costly. However, when I was getting out my outfit I noticed that I already had a pair of the shoes! Guess that’s what happens when you spend your life playing in the dirt and playing with the dogs wearing only jeans, cotton and flannel.

    Feeling extraordinarily blessed today! Just grateful to be alive!

    Stay frosty out there! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

    PS- “How ‘bout them VOLS!”

    1. I had a real out loud chuckle with your comment about something always malfunctioning when Hubby is away. It is so true! The one time last summer we still laugh about Hubby was away for a few days and in that time we had the dryer die (we live in woods and it is very humid so it was taking two days for laundry to dry), the garage door fell off! A huge 70 ft tree came down and decimated the hen run, then the washer went – I guess it was feeling left out…. And the dishwasher! We had friends call and say we should spend the last two days with them cause obviously our house wasn’t safe without Hubby. We stayed and were fine but it was funny. Thankfully kids and I were able to move the branches out and hubby chopped the log for wood, he fixed the washer and dish washer, dryer needed replacing second hand and we got the door fixed by a young man from our congregation a few months later – it was all very funny…. And yea something always happened when he is away rofl!

  29. I sent off for $62.56 in Menards rebates

    The teen made a small personal apple pie, zucchini muffins, and pumpkin muffins in her cooking class at school(she somehow convinced her teacher to let her bring home 3 muffins each time), then made taquitos and brownies at home.

    I put two chicken carcasses in the freezer to save to make broth when I have time.

    Found the costume the teen wanted cheaper on Amazon than in Spirit locally. I ordered it and it already made it.

    Used two large empty dog food bags as trash bags

    Held off going to Sam’s for stuff this week. Pretty sure I can make it to my next check at the end of the month for what we need.

    Used grocery pick up to avoid any extras. (It was expensive enough)

    The teen went to a birthday party Saturday and they covered admission to a haunted corn maze

    Did a bit of yard work ourselves

    After putting in the sidewalks, they finally put in the fill dirt and reseeded. I think the guys felt bad for out patchy front yard because I seen they sprayed seed in a couple spots up by our house 😂

    I straightened up the closet getting hubby’s winter stuff ready and found another pair of too large pants of mine so I listed them on a buy nothing group (I’ve gone from a 26 to a 20 in two years). They were picked up almost immediately.

    That was pretty much it besides the usual stuff of eating at work, and staying home.

  30. Brandy, I will send prayers and positive thoughts to you and your family. You have given so much to others.

    My week has been quiet. I finished knitting a sweater and a baby hat for a gift. I am still harvesting a few tomatoes and basil in my garden, but that will end in another week or so. My husband and I went on a hike to see the autumn leaves and the weather was perfect! The entrance to the canyon is 1.5 miles from my house. I read library books, sorted through clothing and donated them, put away summer clothes and shoes, and made apple syrup from the cores and peelings from making applesauce. At the baby shower I attended, one of the guests had purchased 75 pounds of potatoes for a fundraiser for their grandchild. By the end of the shower, there were still about 15 pounds of potatoes that no one had claimed. I gladly took them home. I was also able to bring home leftover pumpkin pie for my husband.

    I am concentrating on using what I have on hand. For example, I have some egg replacer which is getting old. I used it in pumpkin bread, and also added a little coconut flour, which needs to be used. Instead of adding chocolate chips, I chopped up some extra dipping chocolate that was in my freezer. For tonight’s dinner, the recipe calls for Worchestershire sauce. I am out of it, but will substitute soy sauce instead. I don’t think it will make that much difference and I don’t want to make an extra trip to the store. I am also starting to freeze half of what I make so that I have meals ready to go rather than relying us to eat the same leftovers for multiple days.

    Best of luck to everyone!

  31. Prayers for your family, Brandy. I will use your link if I can!

    Last week I found amazing loss leader sales at one grocery store that hasn’t had good sales for a long time…things like $1.48 butter which is normally $4.79! at that store. Obviously I wouldn’t spend that much but I do think I bought some of mine (in the freezer) for $3 a while back and before that $2 per pound but I haven’t seen $1.48 for a long time. There was a limit but we just stopped by different stores while we were out and about. We bought Cheezits for 99 cents and grapes for 99 cents and bacon wasn’t great at $2.99 for 12 ounces but it was good enough that we bought several. Oh and chocolate chips were 99 cents as well. It encouraged me a little because I hadn’t seen good prices for awhile. We are (unlike so many people) overrun with eggs right now. We are trying to eat and preserve as many as we can. I know that we need to butcher some chickens as the cost of feed is cost prohibitive. We are bringing and preserving the last of the garden produce as a hard freeze will likely hit tonight.

    p.s. I think you were so creative and smart to send your kids with others and stay home with your young ones. It seems like a very good compromise and saved you a lot of money! We all need to be more creative!

    1. Thank you, Liz! My teens wanted to stay late and we knew the little ones weren’t going to be able to stay awake that late, plus most of the activities are more fun for older children and teens. We have taken them all up there before and the children really loved going up and back with their friends, which gave them more time to chat with them than they would have had otherwise. So it saved money but I also think they had more fun!

  32. Hello Everyone!
    Those roselle hibiscus are beautiful! I wasn’t previously aware that they could be grown for tea. I may have to look into that for my garden. I missed reading the comments from last week as we were out of town for a few days. I’m sorry to hear about the real estate market crashing already. I pray that your husband will find a good paying job. Your husband has skills and experience to put on his resume: running his own office, management, sales, contracts, etc. that are definitely transferable to other businesses. Have you considered writing a book, Brandy? Especially with the state of the economy, people who are unfamiliar with your website might really be inspired by your story, as well as benefit from your money saving wisdom. It’s a hot topic!

    This was the first week I was able to get back into my garden after surgery. I finally feel strong enough to put in a couple hours of work without being worn out, or hurting myself. All that progressive exercise worked! I filled up the green bin with garden clean up! I’m hardening off my fall veggie starts this week. I bought more chicken manure and compost this morning so that I can start amending the beds. My other garden goal this week is to fertilize the fruit trees and berries.

    I harvested the last cucumber, apples, lots of tomatoes, and several acorn squash. Someone recently posted about making stuffed acorn squash and inspired me to make some too. Tonight’s dinner…https://www.skinnytaste.com/turkey-chili-stuffed-acorn-squash/. I haven’t tried it before, but it looks good! I baked some pumpkin bread in the bread machine so that I didn’t have to babysit the oven while doing gardening. I used the leftover pumpkin puree to make pumpkin pancakes. I also made a batch of iced tea and baked 2 pans of dinner rolls (16 ct. total) to go with some soup.

    One of our bedsheets was threadbare and got a large, unrepairable hole. We tossed the fitted sheet and one of the pillowcases that was in the same condition. I kept the top sheet to make more pillowcases. Somehow, we’re always short on pillowcases! We definitely got our money’s worth out of it since it was nearly 20 years old. We don’t have Prime so I saved by not buying anything during the sale. I waxed my own eyebrows using another old bedsheet that I cut into “muslin” strips for that purpose.

    We turned on the heater once last week as the house was quite chilly! I am going to set aside some money each month to purchase some insulation for our attic. Even if it’s just a roll or two at a time, it’ll help keep the heat in this old stucco house a bit better. It’ll cost less than hiring someone to spray it into the attic. With energy inflation, I think this will be a good investment.

    Thanks again to everyone in this group for sharing your journeys and ideas! It is a very kind community whose ingenuity inspires me weekly. Have a blessed and beautiful week!

    1. Check to see if your gas or electric company offers free assessments, some offer these things for free with some criteria. Back in the day mom got free insulation when she became a senior. I got a free water heater. Yes, even from our basically bankrupt utility. Can’t hurt to check.

  33. Brandy, I got behind on comments last week and just got caught up on your husband’s job search issues. I know you have rejected the idea before but I really think it would be a good time for you to set up a VOLUNTARY patreon or other account for donations so those of us who are in a financial position to make a monthly or annual donation can do so. I know not everyone has the means to do this but because we live frugally others of us do. Twenty people sponsoring you for $5 or $10 per month could help keep your electricity on or pay part of the water bill. You are providing a great gathering place using your time and resources. Even though I haven’t commented in a few months, I do read here and would like to help support you on a regular basis, just as I do other news websites, blogs and substack writers.

    Please consider making it easier for us to provide some financial support to you.

      1. I would love to be able to contribute. I also think that writing a book is a good idea, perhaps someday when you have more time on your hands.

    1. Couldn’t agree more! I think we have never ordered from Amazon so that option is not for us, but I’d love to pay back when I can!

      1. I agree too! There’s also the option of adding a button to your website called “buy me a coffee”, where readers can “send” you a coffee in the form of $5. I hope to add it to my website but simply haven’t had the time to research the app/widget/whatever.

    2. Please, please, please consider this suggestion. So many of us live frugally so we CAN support people who make such a difference in the world

    3. TOTALLY agree with this idea, and I have always thought sharing “resources ” including money is the BEST way to live
      Count me in if there is a way to contribute

  34. Hi Brandy,
    Somehow I missed the news that your husband was considering other work. Based on what I am seeing in the future and the likely real estate tumble, I would agree that is a good plan. It may take years for this to shake out. If there are any areas you or he are interested in, someone on the blog might be able to help. My background is finance and marketing in large companies, my husband did the variety route…helicopter pilot to used car sales to hand tool sales to motorcycle magazine editor ;). I worked for the local telephone company for years, there are service rep phone jobs that should pay well (telephone or internet) and have good benefits. A friend’s husband had worked at non profits most of his career (junior achievement) and needed a different job at age 50, got one as a service rep for the local telephone company. And did well…he would mutter about it but stayed until he retired. ;). Prayers headed to you and your family for help on future changes! And let us know how we can help. ❤️

  35. It’s been a great, frugal week!
    I cherry picked the store sales ad for loss leaders. I picked up a few roasts at Kroger marked down to $2.41/#. This is more than I used to pay, but cheaper than I see now. They were the Nolan Ryan higher grade, so I felt a little better.
    I found some adult diapers for a family member at Goodwill.
    I put back some Texas-shaped chicken nuggets at Joe V’s (HEB brand). The kids would have loved them, but I’m not paying that much for chicken, even if they are in the shape of our beloved Lone Star State!
    Things I’m currently doing to make extra money:
    1) Sell on Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, ebay, Poshmark. I sell my kids’ stuff, things I find at Goodwill, and I sell items other people would be donating, but I keep half and give them half.
    2) Teach at local community college, both online and face-to-face.
    Things I’ve done before:
    1) Overnight babysitting at someone’s home. I did this for nurses who worked overnights, and sometimes never saw the kids awake.
    2) Bus driving (school district paid for and provided training for commercial driver’s license).
    3) Substitute teaching; here it can pay $75/day, isn’t too hard, and can be a short or long-term commitment.
    4) Pet sitting
    5) Elder care
    6) Errand running
    7) Tax preparation
    8) Painting and reselling old wood furniture no one wanted

    Good luck to your husband! Also, if he is willing to work other places, there are a lot of jobs in Texas. My friend’s husband works in the oilfield and is gone a few weeks at a time, but makes good money. He’s in his 50s now, and the work isn’t overly physical.

    1. Leigh Ann your list of ideas and things you do fascinated me. I would love to learn how to sell things on Facebook or other places, ideas on how I can learn?

        1. Margaret you are SO kind to share this for me
          I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being pointed in the right direction, thank you very much

      1. Pam – I am sure Leigh Ann has some great advice but thought I’d just pop on to share my experience. FB Marketplace is a great place to sell things locally. I would recommend looking things up like those you have to sell and get ideas for pricing. The more descriptive you can be (with measurements and multiple photos) the better. People will private message you and ask questions or arrange to see/buy your items. I meet people in public places for items that I can easily carry but have had people out to our farm for large things. My husband is usually involved in those things so that covers that safety concern. FB is also a great place to sell specific items that have a niche interest. There are BST (Buy Sell Trade) groups for almost anything you can think of (particular brands of clothing, etc.) and those places might yield faster sales and better prices because members of those groups are looking for those specific things. As a homeschooling family, we have sold lots of things through FB homeschool groups (again of special interest, type of homeschooling philosophy, etc.) The caution I have with selling things that have to be shipped is to have a current awareness of the price of shipping. It changes and can be more than you think. This can affect what you sell or how you sell it if shipping costs would be prohibitive to where you wouldn’t make enough to bother. A kitchen scale is useful, too, so you can accurately estimate cost by looking up the weight and package size on USPS.com. I used to sell a lot on Ebay until they raised their prices so much it wasn’t worthwhile unless I sold A LOT or very expensive items. FB has just been easier for me these days. I’m sure Leigh Ann can chime in with more info on selling through Poshmark, etc. which I have yet to do. Hope that helps a little. It really can be a great side hustle and reduce your own costs of living.

        1. Mountain Mama I so appreciate your sharing and details about selling and all the other aspects of shipping costs, meeting place etc. During the colder days when I will not have as much outside work to accomplish my goal is to research this. Sincere thanks

  36. I had no idea roselle hibiscus were so beautiful.
    I hope the situation improves for your family soon. I know you have faith, but I hope it helps knowing others are praying for your family as well.
    I canned 5 pints of pickles this week and 6 pints of homemade vegetable-beef soup. I made a batch of homemade bagels and two loaves of sourdough bread. I sewed a new long-sleeved knit shirt from fabric I purchased on clearance last spring. I sewed a dress from fabric a friend gave me. A friend gave me some jalapeno peppers, which I pickled. We ate from the pantry and freezer. I renewed my library card. Because this is a library in a different county, I waited until I had to go through there anyway (out of county residents must renew in person.) This library has a larger selection of online books than my local library, plus I use their online services to read the New York Times. While I was there, I checked out three books I’ve been unable to find anywhere else. I can return these to my local library to be shipped back to them when I am done.

  37. Mainly we have spent time in bed with a 48 hour virus. I do believe lil Henry gave it to us. I ended up going to my daughter’s to care for her. College girl was the sickest in the bunch. To make up for the gas I used to drive into the city , of course I went dumpster diving. Trader Joe’s is usually a gold mine. We don’t have one near my house. There were enough carts of roses by the dumpster to decorate a huge wedding. Now downtown Atlanta is not really somewhere I want to hang out by myself for long periods of time. Safety is always on my mind. I pulled next to dumpster and rolled my windows down. I shoved whole bags that felt heavy into my car. Drove over to Aldis and added to my trunk. They had pumpkins there. I really wanted one for sugar cookie but passed on safety purposes. If alone, I never crawl in a dumpster at night. I imagine another will show up. I love trader Joe’s because we get unusual items. Lemon curd and NC BBQ sauce. They are yellow so maybe a mustard type. I refilled our produce and fruit drawers. I have 100 boxes kraft shells n cheese. 6 bottles wine. 10 lbs sugar ,5 pounds rice and dry beans. Oatmeal and who knows what else. The applesauce cups were much appreciated by the sick child. I have chicken soup on the stove. I really need to start tracking what I bring in. I really can’t put a price on stuff as it fluctuates so much but it is huge. 3 bags of kitty litter are happily received. I love my night time activities in the city. I drive back to her underground garage. I pull everything out onto the ground. I sort through my stuff. I box up items we are keeping. I bag up trash and unusables and dump in big compactor. Its well lit and im safe .Im usually alone but im sure its quite a sight to see the lady going through bags of trash. It takes me a hour and i have hundreds of dollars in food . Honestly ,we could almost stop going to the store all together. I bought store brand excedrine this week. We buy special dog food and prescriptions. Other than basic bills , gasoline is my biggest expenditure. I’ve unloaded my car and sorted things into piles. I’ll spend my evening packing up things to drop off. Being disabled and having horrible medical problems certainly put a kink in life plans but we’ve actually found a way to serve and provide extras. Have a Great day friends. My favorite item this week was the counter top compost bin I got at aldis. Brand new.

    1. Lilli,
      I hope you and the family are much better. I hate being sick.
      I so love your dumpster diving escapades! Especially for women, safety should be #1. I keep pepper spray and a box cutter in both doors of my car. When i travel is when i feel most vulnerable. Thankfully, i’ve never had to use either. Everything may be rusted shut at this point! (Like me! 😁)

    2. For Lilli and others ——— Back in my college days, I too would dumpster dive and then play Robin Hood with our friends and distribute the haul. Especially the student friends who had kids of their own and they always got any dairy products we’d find. My question to Lilli —- you said you go at night. Have you figured out a ‘best’ time to go? I remember from my college days that either right around midnight or just before dawn was the best time. Thoughts?

    3. You are making me want to dumpster dive! It sounds like you get a lot of great, free things.
      I think many of the places here have locks and gates around the dumpster, but I should check it out.
      To me, thrift store shopping is like a treasure hunt, but even better if it’s free from the dumpster!

    4. Lilli I love love reading about your adventures, you are making lemonade from the lemons you were given

  38. We have started on my pantry build, so we took all out and took down the wire shelves and patched the holes. I sold those shelves for $75. My husband is building a U- shape pantry cabinetry with shelves for food, but the right wall will be shelves spaced for quart and pint jars for my home canning. It will take a few weeks.
    * My husband went to get gas and didn’t know someone had spilled gas and the ground was saturated. As soon as his foot hit the ground hos feet went out from under him and he landed on his knees. He said he hurt so bad he couldn’t get up and sat there a few minutes. He immediately had a huge swelling above the knee. He went and told manager at Sams and filed report, then went to ER and orthopedic doctor. He is walking and better, but still hurts. He has an MRI this week.
    * I sold an Alabama sign for $20, some Fiesta mugs we didn’t like because the handle is the size of a finger for $15, the laundry shelves $75, and some fake shiplap boards for $20.
    * I went to community garage sales Saturday. I got a jean jacket for $8, a Lands End flannel for $5, 4 Lands End/ Jones New York/ Eddie Bauer long sleeve tshirts with hoodies for $2 each, Eddie Baurr fur lined vest jacket$ 5, Christmas ugly sweater $2, 2 scarves $1, 2 pair nice boot socks $1, 3 crochet earmuff headbands $3, texting gloves $1, 4 quilts $3 and $5 each, a battenvurg dust ruffle $1, embroidered pillowcases 3/$1, a rag rug $2, 6 handled strainer/scoops 50 cents each, vintage Betty crocker and My Lady and Sons cookbooks for $1 each. Electric knife $5, 3 candle warmer wax melts $3, vintage cake taker in orange floral pattern- the old metal kind $10, 3 crochet baby bonnets. one is white with lace ties, two are bears $3, 2 lampshades $5, a clock for guest room nightstand $1, tw9 low pint jars $1, tw9 days of wrek pill organizers $1, and a landscape painting in very ornate frame for $3. The clothes were high but all name brand and basic pieces, some with tags.
    * Using up every little bit I put crushed potato chips in muffin pan meatloaf balls. I used an opened jar of home canned blackberry jelly in BBQ sauce to grill chicken.
    * We are getting a freeze the next three nights so I pulled all mu tomatoes and have two containers of green tomatoes to ripen inside, one bell pepper, a handful of okra, some rose blooms, and a bowl full of rosemary to dry. I had let my okra just grow big pods to dry for seed and the dang bushes are flowering and putting on babies like crazy. My rosemary is huge. I just got about 20 stalks to dry. I may get some more to take a friend. She is letting me get Walnuts. I didn’t say why but The Prepared Homestead shared a recipe to take black walnuts and make a tincture (?) that you paint on your knee if there is radiation in the air and is supposed to protect you a well as iodide pills. So I am making up some to have on hand. I think it was the tanins in the walnut shells. She said bring a bucket so I will get some to put up to eat, too.
    * I started a new quilt with dad’s shirts. I have done vlocks with horizontal strips on 10″ papers and rows on adding machine tape that are 2m5″ wide. I’m not sure what exactly I am doing with it yet, but the pieces I cut off that are short are good to use on the tape roll. I may use them as a border. Or I can make binding with them.
    *No big grocery run or canning with food in the guest room. I picked up 2 lb butter at Aldi to freeze. 18 eggs were $5.22, which was so high. I need to start using my frozen eggs for omelets and baking and put new eggs back in the freezer to keep them rotated and so the frozen ones aren’t getting too old. 1

    1. Hello Bama Holly. I love reading your comments each week. I do want to reply about the black walnut tincture and protecting against radiation. The iodide pills will help, but not the black walnuts. I have been an educator in the Radiologic Sciences for almost 30 years and I have never heard of this. I really hope you don’t think I am rude. Thanks.

      1. The black walnut tincture was tested during Chernobyl. I just Google 5onsee if I could find an article and this is not where I got the information, but shares the same information https://angelbabe43.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/iodine-in-black-walnut-tincture-may-be-effective-against-radiation-exposure/
        I don’t think you were rude at all. I do not know if it is true to offer protection, I know Iodide pills are hard to get now, so I felt it better to make some up and have it on hand. The walnuts also offer antibacterial properties so if nothing else can be used for that topically.

    2. How nice that you’re getting a new pantry!
      You got some great deals at the community sales even with the prices. Our sales were rather paltry this year. I don’t think i went to three or four all year.

    3. Bama Holly, I think you got amazing deals on all your yard sale purchases, even the clothes!! I rarely comment, but love to read your comments, among others, you’re always so busy & organized. You’re going to love your new pantry. It sounds wonderful. Sorry about your husband’s accident. Praying for a speedy recovery.

  39. For months I had been wanting a particular pair of earrings but they were $35. I had way more than that on Amazon gift card but just couldn’t spend that for something I’d never seen in real life. Even thought I haven’t bought from eBay in years I suddenly got a $10 off coupon. Decided to look for the earrings. Found them and seller had reduced priced down to $13 and offered free shipping. So with coupon my $35 earrings now cost $4.52 including tax. They shipped today. Fingers crossed they are as cute and sparkly as I think.
    Had a pet sitting in big city this weekend. They leave me $ for meals and entertainment plus have better cable package than I do. It’s like a free vacay for me, only downside is dogs get up at 6am and I don’t normally get up that early. Sometimes I go for breakfast or sometimes I go back to bed after feeding them. Back home on the farm today and getting covid booster plus shingles #2 plus flu shot tomorrow. In whatever combination pharmacist recommends.

  40. I love puttering and had time on Sunday for little frugal projects.

    I batch-cooked recipes for the 4 lbs of Ricotta I bought 10 days ago for $2.00. I made 3 meals of baked ziti and froze 2. It required a pound of pasta, 2 cans Marinera, a few spices, 8 ounces of cracker barrel cheese I bought for 1.99 and some Kraft parmesan cheese that was older. So altogether, 3 dinners plus several leftover lunches cost a total of $5.00. Wow! I made ricotta bars ( meh!) and a blueberry cobbler from a Pillsbury recipe. The cobbler used the .50 Grand ready made biscuits I found at grocery outlet, freezer burned berries, ricotta and sugar. It will be 4 desserts for a total of $2.00. With the leftover ricotta I made a super simple vanilla ricotta “crustless” cheesecake with three ingredients: ricotta, vanilla and a little sweetener. All it required was food processing everything together.I used my instapot to make cherry compote with 16 oz of frozen cherries, vanilla, and sugar. This will go onto the dessert It is delish and inexpensive. All in all I am very pleased with myself since I am not a natural cook.

    I also took stock of freezer pantry. I am set for food for another month excluding a gap in fruit. We love fruit. It is just sooooo expensive and it is the first thing we eat up. I have $17 left on a target card. I will see what they have in the frozen fruit department.

    Using an old giftcard, I ordered from Joannes 24 muslin gift bags . I have decided to not buy Christmas presents this year. I have odds and ends from my “gift closet” that I will use up. Anyone I can’t buy for is getting shelled walnuts from last year’s harvest (we are nut farmers) I know my friends love the nuts they get when we hold picking parties but they hate to have to crack them. From the high school teacher’s lounge I found a box of transparencies being thrown out by a retiring teacher. I made a simple logo, printed it out with my colored printer, and (while it was still wet) flip it over on to the muslin bags and rubbed with a rubbing tool. Now my gift bags will have our farm logo and name with a quart bag of walnuts. Done with Xmas. ( I must say the one exception to my “no buy” rule was my son’s paddleboard. It is selfish but I want him to paddle with me up at the lake. I bought it for 70% off)

    Have a good week everybody.

    1. Mary Ann – I love your gift idea and clever reuse of the transparencies. Brilliant! We love nuts and have black walnuts on our property but any kind of nut is one of my favorite gifts. Your recipients will be thrilled. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Mary Ann, one of our friends has a pecan farm and a bag of their pecans is a favorite gift! Back in my college days in Cali, one of the guys in my dorm grew up on a pistachio farm. When he’d come back from a visit home, he’d bring each floor a burlap sack of roasted, salted pistachios. Someone would yell down the hall and we’d all line up with a coffee mug we kept just for that!
      Nuts are one of the best gifts ever!

  41. I don’t comment often, but read every week. Brandy, thank you for years of motivation and encouragement! I thought of something that might help a reader. I’m a teacher, and I (and anyone- really, teacher or not) can sell lesson plans on teacherspayteachers.com. It’s a bit of a learning curve to make your digital “store” etc., but once you upload a digital lesson plan, it can be sold over and over again. I’ve been selling for awhile, and I have certain lessons that have sold many times over. I make between $60-$200 per month (summer is much lower). I know others who make much more. And, for those of you who homeschool, there are SO many great free lessons on there. Everyone that sells has to have one free item to showcase the quality of their work- so there are literally thousands of free printables.

  42. Again, I do not feel that we were especially frugal. We had planned a weekend away for our son’s birthday. We brought his requested dinner (cheeseburger soup) from home and just bought a few groceries to take with us. He declared it his favorite birthday ever – since this is his 24th, that is high praise.

    My mom’s health is declining daily, so we spend a lot of time with her. She had requested some more housedresses. I made it a point to look at Goodwill for some and found her two in great condition for only $7 a piece (I think our Goodwill is higher priced than others).

    After visiting my mom in the hospital after work, my husband fixed a quick delicious meal of steak sandwiches using leftover roast prime rib from the freezer.

    I sent my two best friends Halloween cards from the Dollar Tree. I think receiving mail always brings a smile and is well worth the $1.25 the cards cost.

    My husband received a raise at work, and I was told I would, too, although I do not know how much. We both work for our town.

    Prayers for your husband finding a new job that will be sufficient for your needs.

    1. I’ve always found that Good Will is more expensive than other thrift stores in my area. But they can still be a good deal for the right items, compared to buying new.

  43. Brandy, I want to echo what many said last week, I am a long time reader and I am very grateful for the community you have created here on your blog. There have been many tips that have been helpful and the positivity of this community is inspiring. Thank you!!

    -I have a crocheted afghan that was my grandmothers. It is probably 50 years old. It was coming apart in spots. It is a granny square one with the inner squares multiple colors, ringed with a light green yarn and then a darker green yarn. I matched both of the green yarns the best I could at Hobby Lobby. I got both skeins of yarn 30% off, paid $8 for both skeins. I have a good friend who’s mother crochets and she is going to repair it. She won’t take anything for it so I will give her some home canned goods, which she will appreciate. I am so happy as it has been sitting here for at least 2 years since I don’t crochet.
    -Found thermolam 50% off at JoAnn Fabrics when I went in for thread. This is a padding with the silver thermal attached. I bought 4 yards for the price of 2. Now I’m stocked so I can do some potholders and soup coozies.
    -I also bought at JoAnn Fabric two fall towels (at 60% off) in a French terry material. I cut the thermolam to fit inside the towel when folded in half and sewn. This made 2 thick pads. These can be used under casserole dishes as hot pads for serving or to be used to set jars on when they come out of the canner.
    -I had a $35 gift card for a local sporting goods store (won at a get together potluck for my husbands pheasant forever annual meeting.) I bought 3 pair of clearance smart wool socks. They were half off $12/each. In the cold north this is the sock of choice for me. So I paid $1 for all 3 pair. This will replace 3 pair that have been repaired several times. These socks lasted me 5 years and now will have a new life for dusting and cleaning.
    -We are eating out of the pantry and freezers. The only thing bought this week was 2 gallons of milk. I have a budget for food per month and I need to stay below that amount. Thank goodness for the garden and all the canned and frozen food. I am already planning next years garden.
    -Creative uses for leftovers-We had some ham slices (from the freezer) from a leftover ham for supper one night. There were still 1 1/2 slices left. I diced it up and mixed it in with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Leftover marinara sauce from a meal of meatless spaghetti was used over cabbage rolls from the freezer that were cooked in a crockpot.
    -Working at keeping our heads above water on a fixed income a week at a time. We do what we can, and try to help others as well. At times like this we are grateful for our church community and neighbors.

    Have a great week!

  44. We have had a huge price increase (to my budget!) on gasoline within the last 2 weeks. 2 weeks ago I got gas for 3.99 a gallon. Last week I paid 4.09 per gallon using gas buddy. This week I will end up paying 4.50 per gallon if I am lucky. Having my husband commute 15 miles to work each day and living 15 miles from the city where my children attend school/activities makes gasoline prices a constant challenge. I have not turned on the heat in our house yet even though it snowed briefly today! I am waiting as long as possible before I turn on the heat. I am planning on buying thermals for everyone to wear this winter. I picked 4 five gallon buckets of pears off my two trees last night. I am sure there are at least 4 more buckets worth to be picked from a ladder. I will can and dehydrate them over the coming week. I found a recipe online for caramel pear pie that is wonderful!! I was gifted a giant cabbage. I made cabbage casserole with 1/4 of the head and started sauerkraut with the remainder. My daughter pulled the zipper tab off of her lunch box. I spent several hours picking out stitches and hand sewing multiple layers in order to put the pull back on. This saved me about 20.00. I am repairing clothing and hemming pants for a shorter child. Made beef barley soup in my instant pot with potatoes, celery, carrots, and a little bit of meat. So yummy on chilly days. I have been slowly stocking up on items I am low on. Aldi had no canned corn for .58 so I went across the street to Walmart to get 2 cases for the same price. Could not get myself to buy 60 eggs for 16.99. My chickens are molting, but still getting a few eggs here and there. I wish we had butter sales like some of you. The last time I bought butter (summer) I paid 1.79 lb. Now butter is 4.89 lb. and I just hope to catch a sale here soon! I keep hearing that there will be butter shortages right around holiday baking time. Bought hamburger on sale at 3.99lb; got 20 pounds to freeze.
    Brandy I am thankful for all that you do to bring us together. Here I find so many frugal minded friends that I am inspired by every week! May the Lord bless you and your family.

    1. I think thermals are a great investment! Not only can you keep the house cooler, but it is easier to go back and forth between inside and outside.

      Plus, a very long and cold winter is predicted this year for most of the U.S. The more prepared we are for the possibility of losing heat/power, the better.

      1. When I was a child, my parents kept the nighttime heat at 65F because we didn’t have enough bedding to lower the temp any further. The house wasn’t insulated and we had an inefficient furnace and leaky windows. There was never any extra money at our house and it never occurred to them to buy more blankets…and they didn’t shop at thrift stores, either. Summertime, when they weren’t heating the house, would have been the perfect opportunity. I have always tried to have at least two blankets per bed (and some came from thrift stores). Also, I second the motion on long underwear. Cotton thermals aren’t very warm. The 32 Degree brand sold at Costco are a warm synthetic. They are very reasonably priced and excellent. Sleeping in longies can negate the need for extra bedding. I also wear Smart Wool socks for 9-10 months of the year and I usually wear them to bed, too.

        1. Here it is not nearly as cold as it is for you up north. I keep the heat at 65° in the winter and it rarely turns on except for a few hours at night.

  45. Brandy do you use the roselle hibiscus for tea? Do you know does it taste different than using regular hibiscus flowers? Here on Guam we have lots of common hibiscus but I haven’t seen the Roselle before. Here on Guam power has literally almost doubled since May of 2020 we went from $365 for 1500 kilowatts to $690 for 1500 kilowatts. We have split a/c so we can turn them on in each room. I know that’s not an investment you can make at the moment. I pray for cooler weather for you. I know you had mentioned your usage increase. I also know your super aware of your power usage the three tips I guess I would look at is, can you lower the temperature on your water heater? This is a huge outlay sometimes of additional power that can be mitigated with lower temps. Have you noticed maybe some weather stripping issues with windows or outer doors. You may be getting more heat in which is causing the AC’s to work harder. I have one door that’s impervious to weather stripping so I keep one of those cloth rice door booms in front of it to keep the cold air in. Also I wasn’t sure if hanging laundry was something you did or could do. We finally stopped completely using our dryer a year ago. I’m guessing you have thought of most these things. Lots of frugal happenings for us for the week. My husband had to go to an anti-terrorism training for work in Washington DC. We jumped on the opportunity and after the training he booked a ticket with miles to help his parents in Punta Gorda. They were lucky to not have flood damage, but they have roof damage, and lots of electrical damage. He filled his suitcase with electrical tools and is going to go make repairs for them. It saved us almost $2500 for a plane ticket from Guam to Florida because he was able to tie it in to time off after the work trip. He called me today he had a free morning and walked around the mall he asked me “why do people buy all this stuff, why do they think they need all this stuff? I don’t understand it.” Then he went to Walmart and took pictures of the canning aisle and asked if he should bring me anything back from the canning section. I have another military spouse neighbor moving this week. I offered to help clean and watch the movers she gave me 12 big grocery bags of canned goods, freezer meat, condiments, first aids supplies, spices, candles, and cleaning supplies she didn’t want to move. Another friend did this in July and I’m still eating down what she gave us. I taught an upcycling/recycling Halloween Decorations class at our USO this week. I taught the ladies how to make frugal Halloween decorations with spray paint glue guns and stuff around the house. We made Halloween potion bottles using mustard and salsa jars, A candle display using paper towel and toilet paper rolls, pool noodle lollipops with tape and garden stakes. I also showed them where to find natural pampas grass, seed pods, tiny pine cones, and a type of cat tail to naturally decorate their house for Fall here. It’s difficult we don’t exactly get maple leaves on Guam. We also upcycled some thrift store finds to make pretty vases that look like candy corn and we used wine bottles as well. It was fun and a good way to save money. Next month I’m teaching a class why buy it when you can make it. So many of these ladies want to learn how to bake bread and make yogurt. So we’ll be tackling those as well as Ricotta, sour cream, homemade salad dressing, hummus and a few more. Finally our commissary has been getting in short coded salads that are single serving in bowls with toppings. They normally run $3.62 a piece they were selling cases of 6 for $5 some for $3. So less than a $1 a piece. Spinach is a real treat for us here so we’ve enjoyed the change. Some have lots of lettuce or spinach so we’ve been using those as a base for lunch and dinner for 10 days now. I just add a little protein on top either a boiled egg or some grilled chicken. I’m trying my hand at growing Kang Kong. It’s a boggy weed that they use in the Philippines like spinach it’s extremely heat tolerant. I just have to figure out how to keep the soil really wet. I’m considering moving the pot under one of the a/c condenser pipes so it has a regular stream of water. My thoughts are with you and your family in this challenging time. I read your blog each week to reset my mindset and make sure I’m looking at ways I can make more frugal choices. Amazon is one of the only companies that ships here I will make every effort to remember to use your affiliate links when making my purchases.

    1. Natasha,
      Our water heater and our clothes dryer are both natural gas. The gas company raised rates too (they doubled them), but our usage is down by half, so our bills are the same.

      I spoke with my next door neighbor about the electricity usage and his went up this summer too. It has been hotter this year than last year and the a/c had to work harder. Our house has two units. We are about a week away from being able to turn it off for the year, so that will be helpful. I am checking the electric usage several times each week on the power company’s website to track our usage. I can even track it by the hour so I can see when we are using the most.

      If the usage is still higher than last year once the a/c is off, then I really have questions 😆 We have LEDs in the house and do not turn on the lights most of the time. As winter approaches, we will need to have them on in the evenings some, but we are good about turning them off throughout the house.

      Roselle hibiscus is a different plant. I didn’t know that until last year. What you are seeing are not the flowers, but the calyses, which are used to make tea or jam. I like them for tea.

      1. Brandy, My mom is in California and her natural gas rates have gone up to. I totally understand how difficult that is. Hopefully the usage will go down. Thank you for explaining about the hibiscus. I’m going to put it out to our local Guam Plant and seed share group and see if anyone has any on island. Many blessings for your week.

        1. I bought my seeds from Trade Winds Fruit. I don’t know if they ship to Guam. I kept my seeds from the ones I grew last year and planted these.

      2. Brandy I have an all electric house 1200 sq ft. and our bill went from $269 last month to $820 for November, they have been estimating the bills up till now because of COVID and no staff, big ouch this month. Gas also was $3.04 and now rose to $3.37 , our prices here are jumping daily on things- very concerning
        Thankfully we have blown foam insulation, just finishing put in last new energy efficient windows at $7k a piece for large ones $1k for regular size and that was with 30% discount…

        1. More insulation and better windows are good! Do you have LED bulbs too? Ours brought the electric bill down but they are not lasting quite as long as they say.

  46. The blood red color of the roselle hibiscus is so perfect for Autumn and Halloween! Hibiscus flowers are common here but I don’t think I have ever seen that type.
    Speaking of flowers, I saw your many boxes of bulbs that you ordered on IG.😍 Have you already been able to get those in the ground? Looks like a LOT of work and many hours of fun in the garden! I have only been able to eek out $5 from our budget for bulbs this year but I am looking forward to planting each and every one of those babies😊. Happy planting!

  47. Keeping you and yours in my thoughts. I know it might not be the best time of the year, but have you given any thought to selling transplants from seed? A friend makes a tidy sum on the side every year with just tomato seedlings. Also, your husband likely has lots of transferable skills he’s not that aware of, like I bet he could be something of a financial analyst or moving from residential to commercial RE. Also, I agree consulting can be lucrative. When I was laid off and my company sent me to a place to help with finding something new, they had me practice writing resumes for myself by picking some of my skills and turning them into resumes for entirely different jobs based on that. It really helps hone skills and think outside the box when it comes to a job search. * My frugal this week was 2 new in box Waterford crystal champagne flutes. Normally, way out of my price range, but they were at a charity thrift shop marked way, way down and made a perfect bridal shower gift. I also got a dress for the wedding with matching jacket for $11. Plus, was able to make shower appetizers mostly from my pantry and some cheese. My not so frugal was a new tv today because mine died, which required me to reup my Costco membership, but I had some old membership rebates coming to me I didn’t think they’d honor given how old they were, and the wonderful person at the desk reapplied for all of them for me. This will cover the membership cost.

  48. Brandy, I somehow missed the news about your husband last week (less time online because of the High Holidays I guess). I am so sorry to hear that! You have been on my mind and I have been praying for you, and I have no plans quitting that! It is currently the only thing I can do for you, and I do believe in prayer. Thank you for letting us know!

  49. Forgot to add: for anyone interested in the ”reality check” I posted 2 weeks ago, the electricity price in our apartment in Estonia came way down in September, but is still 5 times more expensive than in May (currently around 0,76 € per kWh) I guess our landlord there has the price of electricity tied to stock market.

  50. This week wasn’t so frugal in that it required two drives to the city. Our son injured his eye at work one night and was referred to a major eye center. He was supposed to call for an appointment with someone, he didn’t know who, the next day. He called us in the middle of the night to come and pick him up. Afterward we prayed about the situation and felt we should call the eye center that night and leave for the city, so we could be there when the eye center opened. We thought he might have a better chance of getting to see a doctor that day. When we called the eye center that night; the answering service answered and said they would leave a message for someone. We drove to the city where the eye center is located that night and called again from the parking garage when they opened. We had to wait until one o’clock in the afternoon for the appointment, but the doctor my son saw had called the ER doctor who referred him and had looked up the chemical he had encountered. He said the injury wasn’t as bad as what had been described to him, but it must be treated aggressively. He wanted to see him the next day to see if the medication was helping. The next day the doctor was delighted with how the eye was healing, and he wanted my son to come back in a week. When my son talked to the receptionist to schedule that appointment, she said they were just going to have to work him in again; that doctor is scheduled out a year ahead of time. Both appointments were completed without the eye center having any insurance information or payment. It was a state workman’s compensation insurance claim, but my son couldn’t get in touch with anyone at the company where he works to get the company’s ID number for their workman’s compensation insurance. My son was originally afraid the eye center wouldn’t schedule him any appointment without the insurance information. We are praising God for his love and care in that situation. I found out something that helped me so much the night after the first appointment. I couldn’t sleep and was so worried because my son’s vision was so poor because of damage to his cornea. I kept praying that his sight would be restored, but felt restless. Finally, I stopped telling God what needed to happen and just told him how I felt and what worried me, and I could feel myself relaxing more with each sentence. It was like he was taking the problems and concerns himself and leaving me without them. I am going to remember that. As far as saving money, I did make four loaves of bread which costs around a dollar a loaf compared with $4 or $5 for a loaf that is greatly inferior in quality. I had about 3/4 cup of leftover cooked rolled oats from breakfast and a little corn and the water it was canned in leftover in the fridge. I thought the corn had a little bit of a buttery flavor, and the oats would add some nutrition, so I whizzed them with some water in the blender and used that in the bread. The bread might have been slightly heavier, but not much. On my way home from the city, I stopped into a discount grocery for some distilled water; the checkout clerk said they didn’t have any; then I noticed a cart full of 26-oz. jars of cashew nuts for $3.98. I instantly thought they might be stale, but bought a couple of jars. I made a cashew casserole (a jar of nuts, a chopped onion, several stalks of celery chopped, some mushroom soup I make from scratch, a white sauce made from a couple small cans of mushrooms a little oil, white flour to thicken and most of a box of almond milk with a soup spoon full of McKay’s chicken seasoning for flavoring. I mix the nuts, veggies and the soup and then add 1.5 packages of chow mein noodles). It’s baked at 350 F. The nuts were not stale. Today I was able to get some fresh cranberries for $1.25 to $1.33 per pound. The two bags I got were $5 each and weighed 4 lb and 3.5 lb. WalMart has 12 oz bags for $2.19 and Fred Meyer for $3.99 for a 12 oz bag right now, so I paid about $1 a bagful. I am cooking cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I served the cashew casserole with a salad made from leaf lettuce and diced yellow, orange, red, and green bell peppers with Olive Garden dressing and canned corn that was on sale for $.58 per can. The peppers were on sale, too. There weren’t a lot of sales on groceries, but I am thankful for what I did find. Two of our children came and helped work on the exterior of our house to get it ready for winter this past weekend. I can only imagine how much it would cost if we hired someone to do all the work they have done this summer and fall. We are very blessed.

  51. I am a longtime reader and first time commenter. Like so many others I appreciate the encouraging community Brandy has created here, with people from all over the world and different backgrounds. I don’t really talk about finances with my friends/family, so thought I might finally share here.

    I have slashed thousands from our budget this year due to changes in circumstance and by focusing more on our financial health, which has been more than cancelled out by medical and other expenses. But this will position us well for the future and I’m constantly learning.

    I returned some incorrect/unneeded items to the hardware store and the pharmacy. I went to the library like I do almost every week.

    Grocery sales are fewer and farther between than ever but I got 10 pounds of cosmic crisp apples for .99 per pound this week! I have held our grocery spending steady this year despite 13% inflation and our restaurant spending is down 25%.

    We had several hard freezes so the garden is done for the year. This was my second year cultivating a single raised bed. I have SO MUCH to learn but I am enjoying the project. This year I grew what did well last year which was lettuce, radishes, zucchini, peas, and beans. I did not do well with Cruciferous veggies or leafy greens last year so did not try again this year. We are moving so next summer will be entirely different.

    I sold a bunch of items for my mom on Facebook marketplace as she doesn’t use Facebook.

    I used last month’s supermarket fuel points. Thankfully we have a hybrid.

    Thank you all for the ideas and inspiration over the years!

  52. Hi Mary Ann
    A friend of mine has visited Shetland several times and says it has a desolate beauty and is very windy. The cost of living is high due to distance from the mainlands ( UK and Norway) and growing conditions are tough for produce so lots of goods have to be shipped/ flown in. Their energy bills are higher than the UK average because it’s extra cold and windy but this year will be extra hard and and an energy crisis is predicted. The estimate you’ve seen appears to be credible. Tough times for all. Island living wherever in the world offers many benefits which are balanced by drawbacks too. I went to boarding school on the Isle of Man for some years which is beautiful and a gentler pace but costs were higher and getting to and from the island was expensive. Nothing wrong with an island fantasy though!

  53. Hello! Our biggest savings this week was stumbling across a meat sale. A small local grocer had a 3 day sale that we found by someone sharing on Facebook. Ground beef $2.47 lb, boneless skinless chicken breast $1.57, chicken wings .99 lb, bacon $2.50 lb, dinner hams $6.99. We also purchased a pork butt for $2.29 lb. We spent $125.00 and spent a good part of Friday evening cutting up & freezing the meat. We are now stocked up for a long time. My husband cooked the pork butt in his smoker (14 hours!), shredded it and we are eating it in many variations this week. We will freeze some as well.

    1. My husband owns a real estate company with many agents who work for him.

      The five rate hikes that the Feds have done this year have made it so expensive for people to get a loan that the housing market has ground to a halt. Home prices are dropping very fast–even faster than the last recession, where we saw home values go down $10K a month. We’re seeing houses go down $100K since June. While this is an issue all over the country, Las Vegas is considered the most overpriced market in the nation at the moment, by over 60%.

      Our agents have several homes listed but houses are not selling.

      This will takes years of recovery. In the meantime, we still need an income. My husband is looking to see what else he can do for work.

  54. I haven’t commented for a few weeks now…life has been hectic and I became ill with a sinus infection so everything just kind of stopped for a bit.
    Our biggest savings has been in ur electric bill which is $115
    Lower this month than last. This is definitely due to the system
    Not running as much as cooler temperatures have certainly arrived. Our water bill also dropped by $25 due to our not having to water the garden in the heat.
    As I did most weeks I find most of my savings in the kitchen. I made
    A large bit of broccoli cheese soup using broccoli stems I had frozen a year ago along with florets that I purchased frozen in bulk several
    Months ago. I added some Velveeta to it along with some spices and it was delicious. I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot and shredded it for tacos. I made black beans in the instant pot using jalapeños I froze from
    Our garden last year as well as green peppers and sofrito. They were also very tasty. This one chicken fed 4 people lunch and dinner for 3 days.
    I baked blueberry muffins with berries from the freezer and banana bread with year old frozen bananas.
    I finally got over my fear of bulk yeast, opened the package and used some to make Angel biscuits the week before last. Ground Turkey lingering in the freezer was used along with chopped kale to make a pot of Tuscan soup with some frozen cheese ravioli and lots of other veggies. I am trying to have a pot of soup made each week for easy lunches and dinners on hand. This is also a great way to stretch ingredients or repurpose leftovers.
    I found Turkey breasts for $1.88/lb and bought two. It is the best price I have seen on those.
    I bought bulbs for ranunculus from
    Eden Brothers and they sent me
    A 15% off coupon. I will use this next time I see a
    Sale to purchase some more
    Flower seeds for my yard.
    I wanted to buy tulips and dahlias but when I added everything I wanted to my cart
    The price was too high. While
    In Lowes I found the Allium bulbs I wanted along with tulips for a
    Much more reasonable price and snapped them up! 2/3 less than what they would have cost to order. I am happy!!
    The news is less than encouraging but we have each other.
    Let’s not forget the value in that 🙂

  55. Thanks for sharing, everyone!
    Lately, when I have felt the urge to go shopping or to the thrift stores, I have resisted and instead deliberately started purging in my own home and tried to find items to get rid of. I have discovered that it is pretty much the same action/feeling/energy – going through things and deciding whether I want any single item or not. Only I have less stuff in my home in the end which is what I REALLY want.

  56. Both of us have been self employed. We understand completely, Brandy. We would also be interested in making a donation. IF it hadn’t been for your site, things would have been a lot rougher trying to get through the hard times we have went through. Even with a low business income we have 4 other sources of income very low amounts but still we try to focus on just living on them. I still read your past posts of where to cut, 40 cents meals etc.
    Hubby is barely making enough through his business of hauling and odd jobs. Can barely pay the central billing (business licenses, State fees etc. depreciation is a killer ) but can cover his truck payment, fuel ,insurance and his cell phone. This is his 3rd yr and he figures the IRS will call it a hobby as he hasn’t broke even yet. He has raised his rates twice now. Any higher and he won’t get hired at all.

    One cousin and two nephews just got jobs welding. Everyone sighed relief as jobs are iffy around here. Daughter 2 changed jobs 3 times in less than 3 months due to being being hired full time but only getting 20 hrs. or less to work. She couldn’t pay her bills on that and had thought working in a factory would be more stable but it wasn’t. She went back into human resources for a company she had already worked for.

    Our electric bill was $107. We used less kWh than last year same time but paid the same amount.
    We had our first winter fill of propane (heat for house, heat for pump house, water heater and cook stove), furnace is set on 60 (pump house heater is not on, we have a thermometer to keep track of how cold it gets in there and the house furnace as not ran)… got the wood/coal cook stove up and running.. Cost for the wood this year was $40 for 1 1/2 cords. We got another 1 1/2 free. Two tons of coal (when it stays below 40) was $800.Cords of wood has been running around $300 But we were willing to take what the Amish call slab, it’s the outside cutting off the log but these are not very thick as they are making lumber from the logs but want the “leftovers” hauled away. Finally caught the hang of it to keep the stove steadier temperature wise put still need 2 windows open to keep it belove 75 degrees with the stove at correct temp. Now I just need adjust to cooking on it. We refinanced 13 months ago, today we made our 50th payment. The truck is down to 26 payments as the bank offers an once a year pass that Hubby doesn’t not use so he is 4 payments ahead time wise.

    Hubby bartered for apples. I now have 1/2 bushel each of 5 different varieties. I will be dealing with those starting Thursday.

    Gardens only have the covered carrots. I dehydrated the last of the scallions, purple sage, green sage, rosemary and lavender.
    I got hamburger for $2/lb. and 2 – 10 lb. frozen chicken and Brussels sprouts on clearance. I am making the hamburger into taco meat (got 23 meals), Salisbury steak ( about 10 meals)and Swedish meatballs( about 24 meals) .. I also got 10 % off as I signed up for a loyalty card even though I don’t go there often. We are stocked except for OTC meds. I would like some sandwich style pepperoni log and a log of G&R bologna (local tavern that has it made special).
    We discontinued some subscriptions neither of us are using.
    Our health insurance went up but the out of pocket went down more than the difference is.
    Blessed Be everyone
    Prayers for peace.

    1. Juls, as you mentioned the ”left over” firewood, a fond memory surfaced and I wanted to share it with you 🙂 My mother (of blessed memory) was a simple country woman but she was renown for her sourdough rye bread (It’s a Finnish thing). She baked only in a wood burning oven. When she was heating the oven for her rye bread, the last batch was exclusively of those thin ”skins”, which, in her opinion and experience, gave more intense heat in less time. Hope this can help you.

      1. Hi Miriam. Sourdough rye bread is also a danish thing! I’ve always thought it was just eaten in Denmark and northern Germany, as I have never come across it in Sweden or Norway. Happy to hear it is also a finnish tradition. I have long thought about baking my own rye bread, but it takes a long time to make, I haven’t got a recipe that I know works for sure, and we eat about 4 big loaves in my family every week – basically it’s what we eat for lunch with different toppings, I eat it for breakfast as well, and sometimes we have a slice or two together with soup in the evening. So for now we just buy it in the supermarket, but definitely on my ‘want to make my own some day’-list.

        1. Hi Cam, great to hear from Denmark! I don’t know about recipes because the Finnish version takes only the starter, water , flour and salt, and I make it, as my mother taught me, just by how the dough feels and sounds (yes, sounds) ie no measurements. Once you get your starter going it’s easy 🙂

  57. My husband is sort of home from deployment. He’s posted only an hour away, so many nights he has come home. Due to gas prices, he is driving my Volkswagen that gets 40 mpg rather than his truck that gets less than 12 to go back and forth.
    Him being home is making me cook more at home, which left me shocked at how high my grocery bill was last week. He cannot digest rice or beans due to an injury and must be very sparing with corn and wheat. Which makes for meals based on meat and fresh vegetables – the most expensive items in the store. Sigh.
    My mantra has become “still cheaper and healthier than eating out…”
    We made Tomatillo pork taco bowls with cauliflower rice, Beef Bourguignonne with turnips, carrots and rutabagas, Shrimp creole with cauliflower rice and a kale and cabbage salad, Cobb burgers, cauliflower salad, and mustard cole slaw, and a copycat of Maggianos Rigatoni D with salad.
    Now that he’s home, the mass decluttering of his mess can begin (I did my stuff while he was deployed). I finally got through to him that the room he has all his junk piled in must be empty for us to start the next part of the remodel. His comment? “Where am I supposed to put it?” (I restrained from offering suggestions… 😊)
    He’s finally understanding the importance of the extension I have been begging for! We will have to do some research and rework the budget to figure out our options. Plus, I am still insisting on a full declutter and removal (and declutter) of everything from the attic before we add an extension or metal garage(most likely).

    1. You are so smart to still insist on decluttering. We all have so much stuff in our lives. Maybe you won’t even need that house extension.

  58. My friend who lives far from me has a dental appointment close to me today so she is bringing over my wholewheat couscous supply (five 900 gram bags) that she bought on sale for me. She is also picking up my blank cards, Christmas cards that I made, and some photos for me on her way in. The cards I bought in quantities of 25 because they are 1/5th the price of the cost of single cards. That will be great because it will mean it all gets done in one trip, saves gasoline since she will be close to here anyway and we will avoid going out in snowstorms.

    I was given an unlimited supply of pine cones – like ponderosa pines but slightly smaller. They have all been washed and cleaned. I’ll be using some for my own Christmas decorations. I don’t go overboard. I’m offering some to my
    friend who does crafts.

    I was given 12 paintings done by my cousin (7) that he and my great aunt (5) did. I saw one by my great aunt on ebay that is exquisite and that is £350 plus £50 shipping. Ironically it is of the same flowers that I planted years ago. If I had the money, I would buy that one too but am quite happy with those I’ve been given which are exquisite in their own right. Two are going to my ladies scholarship committee, three of churches to my church, I’m giving one to my friend who helped and shared his own research for the book (it is of an old hotel and his parents owned a different old hotel but he really likes it), one to my cousin who heard about them in the summer and was keen to have one by our great aunt, and I’ll keep 4 – at least for now. I have another relative or two who may be given one. Some are canvas mounted on display board, some are framed. It was quite the gift. They were temporarily stored in our church over the summer but most have come home.

    I am still ill with this cold that has shifted into allergies but still covid negative. Almost everyone I know has covid at the moment.

    1. I just noticed that Pres Biden announced his massive program for forgiveness of student debts. That may help some of your readers’ children or grandchildren….

  59. Good Tuesday everyone. Last week was a week of cleaning up the garden. WEe thought we might get a freeze last Tuesday, so on Monday stripped the peppers and picked all the ripe tomatoes and put them in our shop. We ended up with about 60 red peppers and many green ones.
    Made another batch of tomato basil simmer sauce with roma tomatoes and basil and parsley from the garden.
    Made homemade pizza using a focaccia bread recipe to make thick crust pizza. My DH made spaghetti sauce using some of the homemade sauce and adding garden vegetables and some meat.
    Made 4 loaves of zucchini bread.
    Made 5 batches of pesto to use up a lot of the homegrown basil. I will use some to make pesto chicken.
    Roasted 2 batches of red peppers.
    Best deals last week were green grapes for 88¢ a pound. Got 6 pounds. Red and orange peppers on the cheap produce shelf – 3/$1.00. Got 12. Diced tomatoes – 12 can case for $7.00. Got 4 cases.
    Shelled some of our dry white beans.
    Dried 4 more trays of onions. I have now used all the “cull” onions from the garden and have a gallon of dried onions.
    Chopped onions and cilantro and garlic to add to the “salsa base” to finish up the salsa. Ended up with 13 containers in the freezer and a large one for us to use.
    Our son was at our house to watch a baseball game with the DH, while his wife was working a wedding. We BBQ’d hamburgers and used tomatoes and onions from the garden plus home canned pickles and relish. They were delicious.
    We have one more week of decent weather, so will try and get the garden cleaned up this week.
    Hope everyone has a good week.

  60. Brandy, you provide such inspiration to your readers. We have lived on our son’s disability support payment of just under $1000/month and some smaller federal and provincial benefits for over a year now. Without you and your readers I know we would be in a much worse position. I hope something turns up for your husband soon but you sound like you are well prepared for however things turn out.

    We have eaten all meals here at home with items we have on hand. Shopping has been limited to sales and clearance racks at the grocery store. All laundry has been full loads and line dried. We have had lots of wind so drying has been easy.

    All our books have been from the library. My husband took a free month of Amazon prime and has been watching some shows he likes using that.

    I don’t feel I have been as frugal as I would like so I will be regrouping and reviewing our small budget closely in the next week or so. I want to be fully back on track by November. We buy very little for Christmas and this year I really want that to be the case.

    We have continued to be blessed by our local buy nothing group. This week we received about 7 pounds of multicolored carrots, two new with tags shirts for my husband , a heavy BBQ cover and a like new computerized sewing machine. I was thrilled with this as I have wanted to return to sewing for a long time and this is just further enticement for me!

    I have renewed our application for our provincial electricity support program. We should receive more money off of our hydro bill than we have been since our son is now over 18 and will be included in the calculation. I have set our furnace to a lower temperature than last year in order to keep our costs down. We all have warm sweaters and a fireplace with lots of available wood we have received for free so we will be fine.

    Hope everyone is enjoying the week in their corner of the world!

      1. I know, I almost wept when I was chosen! I looked online and it retails for $1,449.00 here in Canada. A real gift to say the least!

    1. Hi AndreaG.

      What a wonderful gift/treasure for you — a computerized sewing machine. I’m so pleased for you. Where in Canada do you live? Ann

      1. I am in Southern Ontario in London. There are buy nothing groups all over the world and it is well worth it to find your local group. We are beyond blessed by our local group!

        1. AndreaG, I’m American but lived in London, Ontario (Lambeth) for 3 years, my husband took a job with his company there for awhile!

          1. It is such a small world! I am up at the north end of London but we go through Lambeth if we are heading to Port Stanley to the beach.

        2. Hi AndreaG
          I asked because I have some extra fabric you might have liked for using with your new
          sewing machine but postage is prohibitive but with any luck your buy nothing group may have some fabric.

          1. Thank you so much Ann! That was such a kind thought! I have already picked up bits of fabric from the buy nothing group and from my mom and aunt. I have lots to start with already, I just have to find the time!

  61. Also, I forgot to add, your husband could consider taking Social Security. My understanding is that your minor children would also receive payments until age 18 if one parent has already filed. If I remember correctly, he would need to be 62?
    Or, do families rent out rooms to young Mormons serving their missions? I’m not Mormon, but I think a family near us did this.
    Anyway, just an idea.

    1. He’s only 59. We will be waiting until 67 to take social security. We do not have a room to spare; I still have 7 children at home and they all share rooms.

      Some places have missionaries in with a family, but I always lived in an apartment as a missionary.

      1. Brandy- You are wise, imo, to wait until your husband is 67 to have him file for Social Security. We were able to wait until Hubs turned 70 but know several friends who filed when they were 62. Now, as they are locked in to a lower monthly amount each month for the rest of their lifetimes, they are realizing if they had been able to hang on a few more years, they would have had a higher monthly check. Of course, there are lots of other factors to take into consideration when making that decision and sometimes there are valid reasons to file early.
        Know that you and your family on on our minds and in our hearts and prayers for ways to open up to improve the current situation! ❤️❤️

        Gardenpat in Ohio

          1. 70 is an option and currently gets you the highest possible SS check. I took mine at 67 and my husband has waited until 70 as he has a pension too so we were fine. We did this so if he dies first I would be able to get a higher amount through claiming his SS benefit as I would only get half of his pension. I know that is not an option for many but if you can wait it might benefit you later. Both our parents lived into their 90s so we have to take a long view.

          2. Also, guessing that he will have a higher benefit than you do, (he seems to have had a wage-income for longer than you have). Spousal benefits are half the other’s benefit, so the greater the amount he receives, the greater your half will be, if/when such a thing is taken.
            The Social Security website allows you to create a login and look at what estimated benefits will be at different eligible starting ages, 62-70.

          3. Juhli and GardenPat are right, 70 is an option and will usually give you the largest monthly check. However, in your case, 62 might be better as you will have several minor children and extra money is given for them. When your husband gets closer to 62 there are calculators online that can help you maximize the benefits. It might be 70, it might be 62 or something in between those ages.

          4. 70 is the option we took because it is over 77% more per month than it would have been if he retired at 62!!! Because Hubs has good health, enjoyed his job and comes from a family with long longevity, he opted for 70! We also didn’t realize that as his stay at home wife, I would get 1/2 of his monthly amount (capped at 1/2 if his retirement age was 67). I thought I would only get SS as a surviving spouse.
            I’m sure you and your readers already know of this. So much we learned about 6 months before he retired!

            Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. It varies so much on the individual; we have a family member who married late and had children with a younger wife. It made more sense for him to file at 62, as his children received social security dependent benefits for many years. I think they got 50%. If he had waited until later to file, his children wouldn’t have received benefits for as many years until they turned 18.
          I know this family situation isn’t common, though.

      2. At 70 years old your social security check would be about 24% higher than at 67. The rule of thumb is that it increases by about 8% a year until you turn 70.

        1. Good to know! I had read previously that 67 was the oldest option and I am just learning that 70 is an option this week.

  62. I agree with all of the others that those roselle hibiscus are beautiful! What a stunning color.

    We are still quite warm here in north Texas – last Saturday we hit 94, which was only one degree shy of the record high for that date. This week we’ve had some cooler fall air move in (highs in the 60s-70s) so we’ve been able to turn the air off and open the windows. So nice to enjoy the fresh air and the savings, even if only for a few days.

    We shopped at Aldi and Sam’s Club and filled in more pantry items. We are trying to stay stocked up on necessities in case of more shortages. So far I have heard we (in the US) are to expect shortages on butter and some liquid cold & flu medications. We purchased several more pantry & freezer items for our Thanksgiving dinner list. We cooked and ate most meals at home including poppyseed chicken casserole and rice, salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, chili mac, deep dish pizza, and beef stew. We brought our lunches to work. We did some redecorating at home using items we already owned to freshen things up for fall. I enjoyed a free lunch one day at work due to a meeting.

    1. Pam B in Texas- Do you have a recipe for the poppyseed chicken cassserole and rice? Would love to check it out!! 😉❤️

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Hi Pat! This is the basic recipe I use: https://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/wprm_print/17160 – poppyseed chicken is a southern staple! I use the basic recipe and I like to add a little bit of garlic powder and dijon mustard for flavor. I serve the rice on the side, not in the casserole itself. I usually make it whenever we have leftover cooked chicken or turkey, but it is also good with rotisserie chicken or even canned chicken and very easy.

  63. I am so thankful for this group and all I have learned here. Gratitude for what one has and stretching the dollar and making life enjoyable with what one has been blessed with. Because of this group last year I stocked up on items like cream of mushroom soup and butter. As butter prices has continued to rise it has been a big savings. Cream of mushroom soup disappeared from our Sam’s Club location for months! However, we had it in our pantry and was able to continue to eat it. Yes, other stores had cream of mushroom soup, however at a higher cost. As spaghetti is harder item to find we had a stock pile to continue to eat it as I figured out meals to eat instead. We used to eat spaghetti 2 or 3 times a week. This group has taught me flexibility and being fluid in meal planning to eat what one has.

    Yesterday I went out and grabbed a few green tomatoes and clipped marigold blooms before our first freeze. We did not get much from our garden and I am thankful for a neighbor who let us eat her tomatoes also! A lady down the street, I always go to her yard sale and buy out her grandson’s clothing- I got three boys. She came to me and asked if I would like board games and clothes. She gave us 2 garbage bags of board games and 3 garbage bags of clothing! Such a blessing as the weather is getting colder.

    1. I used to love getting my cousins’ clothes when she outgrew them! It was such a treat! It felt like Christmas to me!

      1. My mom was the baby sister and her older sisters were much taller.
        My sister and I were a year apart but 5 inches different in height.
        Some older cousins gave us their prom dresses, and my mom was able to remake one for a scholarship competition I entered and won. I was awarded a full ride to an amazing school in Rhode Island. I still remember that dress, and that moment!
        Though that school did not offer my intended major, I still think so fondly of my hand-me-down gown and my mother’s loving sewing skills.

        1. Another Bonnie,
          I like your story. I won a pageant using a borrowed dress as well. It paid for my college. I’m so happy that I was able to borrow that dress.

  64. I have been so busy canning and with life in general that I haven’t been reading blogs at all. I am sorry to hear that your husband’s work has dried up for now. I guess one thing that is hard to understand is what do people do who move there for a job or something? They would have to live somewhere, right? Do they rent? Around here, rent is so high it’s almost unaffordable for people unless they double up in houses. Right now, we have grown kid(s) living with us because their room-mate (s) moved out and the house was just unaffordable for them to keep, etc. (Things are in flux with them so there are different ones in and out, as needed.). Let’s just hope that someone will decide they must have a house and buy it with your husband’s help. (I guess I’m assuming that even if he did get another job, he would still do real estate on the side as he owns the business.). Whatever happens, I’ll be praying for you guys. The older I get, the more I realize that people find a way. It’s just not always easy or comfortable, but I know you will weather this storm!

    Things are finally calming down here a little bit. The garden is winding down and I have been pulling the old plants a few at a time each day in hopes that we can get most of that done before the fall rains start this weekend. My garden produced a little later than normal, but made up for it with volume. One day alone, I harvested close to 100 lbs of tomatoes. I planted fewer plants than normal, too! That didn’t even count all the other pickings or the ones I gave away. I had thought I would can a little less this year as it was going to be just my husband and I. But in light of the fact that grown kids keep popping in and out (to stay for a while), babies are here a lot and other grown children keep coming to visit (to eat, and talk), I changed my mind. I brought my supply up to close to 1,500 jars-give or take a couple of hundred, (of all sizes) as usual, and filled more quarts vs. pints with some items than I did last year. (Of course, I had some left over from last year, thank goodness, so I didn’t have to FILL 1,500, but there were a LOT of empties so I know I filled more than 1,000). I had been dropping to pints. I did fill all my pints as well, though. My canning shelves are bulging, my freezers are stuffed, and even the 6 wooden crates my husband built for overflow are full. Our 1/4 beef we always buy is at the meat shop, waiting to be cut and wrapped. The farmers didn’t raise the price this year. Amazing!

    I even canned potatoes, which is something I don’t do often. The price has risen so much. They were way over $5 for 10 lbs, which is a lot here in a prime farming area. My husband, Rob, got several bags for around $2/10 lbs. He bought several. I’ve been serving potatoes a lot, making potato salad, etc., and now have a few jars canned for when they are not available at a good price. He is the only one who got that coupon on his phone. I did not. So odd, but I’m not complaining. I also used some for a layered mixture (canned in jars) that had veggies and hamburger. I’ve canned soup, as well.

    I’ve been able to freeze more basil pesto than usual. We love, love, love it and I ran low last year. I hope to do it one more time before it freezes outside.

    I’ve cooked a lot from scratch. I’m working very hard to stay within my $300/month food budget. (It includes all paper products, etc., as well.). With the higher prices, I’ve gone over a few times. I’ve also stayed within it most months, and that’s because of my garden and food preservation, plus my deep pantry and freezers. It takes a lot of concentration. Every so often, a (grown) kid will bring a load of groceries to help out. It’s always a surprise, but one night it was 10 bags full…..It’s often items I never buy, or just haven’t figured out that I love yet:). I put it all in the fridge and cupboards, say “thank you,” and then get creative. Every little thing helps. Someone gave us a few mixes/cereal/other items that were not gluten free. I cannot tolerate even one crumb of wheat, but I’ve been using them when I fix a meal for someone who can enjoy that kind of food.

    We have only gone camping one time this season due to the price of gas, and that was last May. What we don’t do saves money as well.

    This week, we took our older grandson up the Columbia River Gorge on a day trip. I put pictures of him looking at huge sturgeon and some other things on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. But, I have to say Brandy’s picture of the little firefighter really takes the cake as far as photographs go–SO CUTE!!!

    1. Any of the links to products at the bottom of my post will take you there. I have an explanation at the bottom of my post.

  65. Dear Brandy
    you and your husband probably have discussed a role reversal already. However I seem to remember that you are somewhat younger than he is … and if the situation in the US is anything like here in Switzerland, younger people stand better chances of being hired. If there are no religious or other philosophical obstacles, could and would he take over your duties at home while you look for employment outside? With your extensive homeschooling experience you might find a teaching position, maybe at a private school or in tutoring … I also think the idea of selling your lessons voiced by another reader is worth looking into. I am a teacher myself and have made quite some use of what’s on offer online …
    Moreover, I have noticed that your blog is 99.99% free of spelling and/or grammar mistakes. You may want to look at proofreading services (it usually is work you can do from home in the hours that suit you … I was very grateful for it when my children were younger and in fact still do translation and/or proofreading/revision).
    All the best

    1. Anne,

      I studied English with an emphasis on editing. (However, I am horrible at typing, having skipped that class in school in order to take music and art classes instead! 😆) which is what accounts for that 0.01% of mistakes 😂

      While at some point that may change, for now, I feel that what I do at home is very valuable, and saves us more than I would earn. I had a good “When Queens Ride By” moment last week after interviewing for a job. It was a good reminder to me of the value of all that I do at home. While my eldest daughter works to support her family while her husband stays home with the baby, this is, at least right now, not the right option for me.

      Once the children are grown and I am no longer teaching them at home, I will have to reconsider my options.

      Yesterday at 9 a.m. I started a day in the life series on my Instagram stories. I will be continuing until 9 this morning. It shows a great deal of the myriad of things I do in a day while also homeschooling.

      1. Brandy: don’t your parents live next door? They must be beyond proud as they watch you live your life. Such a unique and lovely woman! You’ve got this and God’s got you!

      2. Dear Brandy
        thank you for your answer, I love, love, love the “dialogues” on your site!
        I am sorry if my comment sounded as if I meant to belittle what you’re doing at home (I only have two children and a cat, no husband … and even with my mother helping I feel like my work is never done!). All I meant to say was that employers tend to be biased age-wise … and that they might prefer to hire you instead of your husband, unfair though it is.
        Sending the best vibes I can muster for all your and your husband’s endeavours

        1. No, it’s fine! No worries at all!

          I appreciate your suggestion and everyone else’s. Not all will work for our situation, but perhaps they will help someone else; there are always thousands of readers who don’t comment who need to hear what is said in the comments.

          1. In re-reading today, I remembered that my sister worked as a lunch time playground supervisor for the local school district when her two youngest were preK and nursery school ages. She could take them to work with her. She only worked the 1.5 hours each day of the week but that was enough to give her entire family health insurance. I’ve also had friends who worked as school crossing guards – one hour before and one hour after school. I don’t know if they got health insurance but I do know that since their positions did not give them any vacation time or sick leave, they were compensated with a higher hourly wage then minimum wage.

      3. I have been a stay at home mom and wife for 25 years now. When my youngest left home I was convinced I should go back to work. My husband, though earning a modest salary, was against it. He said “You save us too much money in being at home! We’ll never make ends meet if you go to work.” Hence why we’ve lived on essentially the same salary for the past 25 years but we keep managing all the same. I did opt to get social security at 62. The difference in what I’d earn in waiting was not enough to warrant waiting and we really needed the extra NOW (last year).

  66. I would love to read your instagram stories. However, since I am a senior citizen with limited knowledge of the computer, I don’t know how to find them. Would you please just lead the way for me to find information on how to find them? Thanks so much —

    1. You will need to sign up for an Instagram account. You can use one just to follow other people even if you don’t want to post your own photos. You can find me under my website name of The Prudent Homemaker.

      I have regular posts there that you can see. Instagram stories are only available for 24 hours and you will need to click on my photo on my account to see those. They will also come up at the top of your feed for those people that you interact with frequently.

  67. I love those pictures. The colors are so vibrant!

    My husband and I pulled out the garden. I have 4 large buckets of green tomatoes that I’m hoping will ripen. We also pulled out red peppers, jalapeño peppers, cucumbers, 1 eggplant and 1 very odd looking zucchini. I had high hopes for my potato harvest in buckets. Out of 10 buckets, we only got 12 potatoes. But we will enjoy what we have for 1 meal. I chopped all my onions up and froze 10 1 cup bags. I will be canning the tomatoes that do ripen. I’m also checking what I can do with green tomatoes. They are Roma and San Marino. Any ideas?

    I used my Care Pass at CVS to stock up on cold meds. I got $10 off my purchase plus an additional 20% off the CVS brands I purchased. I was able to use our FSA card to pay for the purchases. I discovered I was out of cold meds – evidently my kids had raided my stash and not told me. We had someone sick and I needed to re-stock since I had nothing.

    Our gas prices have risen up again to $4.20/gal. I know that’s lower than what many of you are posting. We had seen prices lower to $3.99/gal. Any jump hurts financially. We combine errands and are careful shopping.

    I’ve been receiving free carwashes every week with my daughter’s job. My car is definitely cleaner.

    Exercising at home, reading library books or Libby books, streaming shows, sitting outside to watch the sun set or see the stars in the sky, finding beauty in the fall leaves around my city. We decorated for Halloween and we pulled out the sets of twinkle lights that we received for free. Love the lights as night comes earlier. Received the complete paperback set of Anne of Green Gables and other books by the same author for free from my Buy Nothing Group.

    Bought Zenni glasses, using Rakuten for cash back. The prescription was done incorrectly and was able to do a free return. Received credit to order again.

    I made freezer meals with a large casserole I made. I froze 2/3 of it into 2 cup portions/2 bags. I also froze leftover spaghetti sauce. I froze chopped red pepper and green onions. I froze browning bananas for my daughter to use in her smoothies. I was able to share some of it with a my sick child. I’m going to make further freezer meals with the garden veggies. I made a quick peach cobbler with leftover canned peaches. I made homemade chicken noodle soup using chicken carcass for the broth and leftover chicken, carrots, celery. I added a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a tsp of sugar. My kids loved it. I did too.

    I have a notebook/planner that I use daily for appointments and to do lists. I’ve been using leftover scrapbook stickers and craft paper to decorate for each week. I love the fall season and pumpkins. It’s a nice quiet time for me to do something creative.

    I check for reduced items at the grocery store each week and they have been harder to find. There are so many people now in the reduced sections of the store. Usually a small line to get into look at the items on clearance. I’ve never seen it like this at the store. And things disappear so very quickly once put out. But I’m very grateful that people are being kind, patient and generous in sharing.

    My husband went hunting with my sons and wasn’t able to find anything to bring home. But he brought home his groceries and we’ve been using the food he bought. It saved me from further shopping. Things we have too much of have either been repurposed, frozen or creatively used. I’ve been looking up and watching shows on repurposing leftovers. My favorite lunch lately has been grilled cheese with 1 slice swiss and 1 slice cheddar with onion and dill. It’s using up extra cheese and leftover bread from a hunting trip.

    I washed my wedding ring with homemade cleaner and a small brush. I reorganized my bathroom and kitchen pantries over several afternoons. I took a large load of donations to our local thrift store for tax purposes. I put together a birthday package for my daughter. I was blessed to have everything on hand. I gave her 2 free books from the Buy Nothing Group, free candle, sample beauty products I saved and a king size candy bar that was on clearance for 75c.

    Have a great week!

    1. Tomato Verde salsa and freeze it. Someone shared a recipe once they found online and I made it. It was wonderful.

  68. It’s been a hectic week, and I’m only getting caught up with everyone now.
    *The usual frugalities were observed, like home baking. I’m trying to use up all the food leftovers more creatively, and used leftover potato in a yeast dough for the first time, for cinnamon rolls. It added a creamy texture to the dough, and I’ll definitely do that again.
    *The garden was retired for the year. Garlic bulbs were planted to be harvested next summer.
    *Two hours were invested on the phone with our internet provider’s Loyalty Division, which resulted in a 50% discount over posted pricing locked in for the next 2 years for our internet/phone. That’s a saving of $130/month of what the company was going to charge us starting in November, although it is a slight increase over what we are paying now. (Our loss leader pricing had expired.) We don’t have much choice in internet providers where we are, so this was a big win for us.
    *Our natural gas hot water tank is at the end of its life and dying. Estimates are $3000+ for replacing it. My super-handy husband did research and decided he could replace it himself. With a new tank, the extra parts for installing, and official permit fees, it will cost $1500 instead. I’m looking forward to getting this done!
    *I spent a great deal of time both on computer and making phone calls trying to source bulk buying of at least potatoes, carrots and cabbage for my winter pantry. My usual farm doesn’t do it anymore. Local grocery stores are selling potatoes- grown locally!- at about $2/lb. Any potatoes within reasonable driving distance are $1/lb in bulk! (Canadian, but still.). The cheapest I’ve found is 17 cents per pound (in 50 lb sacks), but those are 4 hours drive from here, or 8 hours round trip. I don’t mind the time, but the cost of the gas involved negates any savings at all, so it would be useless. I may have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and pay the $1/lb. Yikes.
    Enjoy your week, ladies! And thank you for the lovely flower images and lovelier encouragement yet again, Brandy!

    1. Hi Elle W,

      I’m not sure where you live but No Frills has potatoes on sale this week for 20 pounds for $8.00. 40 cents per pound.

  69. My hubby helped me can 20 pints of applesauce as I still can’t use my injured shoulder to turn the handle on the Victoria strainer without a lot of pain.
    Made taco meat for 5 meals for the freezer.

    We check all items that use batteries twice a year in April & October to make sure none of the batteries haven’t corroded. This has saved us a lot of money over the years of having ruined flashlights, remotes etc. because of bad batteries. We now keep the batteries needed for a lot of the items in a plastic baggy stored with the item. Before covid & sky high gas prices we traveled a lot to different states exploring and revisiting National Parks. We still keep our fanny packs, head lamps, flashlights etc. in the car for impromptu exploring. So keeping up with all the items that need batteries to be sure they work and batteries tested for voltage is important to us.
    Had enough rain on one day last week so we turned off the irrigation and lawn sprinklers for a week.
    Adding a few more items on each shopping trip to keep pantry full. I’m hoping this will save us money as the food won’t get any cheaper. When checking out the cashier said these prices most likely won’t go back to what they were even after all this craziness is over.
    Not frugal but important, is we also check our travel 1st aid kit, home bandages, cold meds etc. each April & Oct. These are the least busiest months to do our inventory, so gives us time to restock any items expired or needed. Also they are just at the right time for summer items and winter items needed. Also the items are usually on sale when we do this and saves us money.

    Stay positive everyone. A lot of us had parents that lived through the depression and survived. Growing up we learned a lot from them on how to keep on going with what we have and making the best of it. When I was young my dad had to go find work away from home. My mom didn’t drive and was getting low on food. God was watching over us when she noticed a truck hauling bagged dry beans and a hundred pound bag fell off. Mom had one of my older siblings go retrieve it and what a blessing that she now had something more to cook for all of us.

    Find joy in all you do.

    1. I still have my 12 yr old copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. I refer to it regularly even though some info doesn’t apply to me (don’t have young children in school anymore) and/or is outdated thanks to the internet. Still plenty of great ideas & recipes there!

      Not as frugal as I could be but doing my best with what I have/do. Haven’t put gas in my car in almost two weeks & have a little under 1/2 tank left. My work commute is a short one. 4 miles 1 way & little traffic.

  70. I know you don’t drink coffee however, the BuyMeACoffee button could be added to your website. I’m pretty sure you’re not obligated to actually having to use the funds for actual coffee. Definitely worth checking out!

    I know I’d happily contribute! Or as others have suggested, start a Patreon and get people to subscribe to it for some premium content beyond what you already do here. Like a special video tour of your gardens/home or a more in-depth view of your daily life as a homeschooling mom. Some Patreons offer higher level subscribers special homemade treats..like if you subscribe for $30/month, you make them a handmade item. One Patreon I sponsor offers a knitted scarf it yoy subscribe at the $30/mo level after several months…..just a thought.

    Praying that your income gets better & that your husband finds a job!

  71. Another idea? If you don’t have it already, a Venmo acct.

    People can send you money donations and it can be directly deposited into your bank acct. It’s pretty safe. I’m an RN(night shift) and sometimes one person will order pizza, or food from Chik-fil-A, etc & have it delivered to the hospital. Where we work, the cafeteria isn’t open after lunchtime & isn’t opened on weekends at all. So one person uses their DoorDash/Uber Eats acct to have food delivered & we pay them back via The Venmo app. I haven’t been hacked & use it all the time. I check my bank acct several times daily to assure there hasn’t been any breach to my checking acct. So far so good!

  72. I agree Mari. I very rarely comment but I am eager to see Brandy’s weekly blog post. I think everyone thinks of Brandy as a close friend and would be willing to contribute in some way. Brandy this site helps all of us, requires a great deal of time and effort on your part. Consider Mari’s suggestion.

  73. I’m very far behind in catching up and posting this week, but Brandy I wanted to tell you that I loved your day in the life instagram stories this week! I’m sure it’s a lot of work for you to create that kind of content, but it was really enjoyable and I kept checking back on instagram to see what you were posting next!

      1. I enjoyed your Instagram story too. I wished I had looked at it a second time before it disappeared, but reusing the egg mixture was an aha moment for me. I have had similar mixtures and just dumped them in the compost bin. I will be reusing them in some form from now on! Thank you, for that tidbit and so many others.

        I want to echo what others have said, that I so appreciate the content you create and post for all of us, in a very busy season of life for you. I have learned so much from you and others on this blog and continue to do so. Also, as others have said, I don’t have other people with whom I share any frugal “adventures” so this is a lovely gathering place. I am hoping that a new opportunity will present itself to your husband soon and that your financial situation will be quickly stabilized. Wishing you all the best.

  74. I knew we had frosty temps coming this week so I went out to gather all the flowers I could find and made one lovely bouquet. I brought in all the herbs I could harvest: basil, oregano, mint, chives and a little of the huge rosemary. The last is winter hardy here and I’ve got a second bush started so not too worried I might lose that. The oregano and chives were hurt by the wet weather and drought following. I’ll have to replace chives, oregano, lemon thyme and lavender. Those are done I’m afraid. I put aside the herbs, some in the freezer, some dried to use in cooking.
    I’d meant to go to the grocery this week but that never happened. It’s not really a problem but it would have been nice to get in a proper shop once again. I ran in just long enough to grab items for an emergency meal prep I had to do unexpectedly before I had the opportunity of planning it. I did manage to pick up potatoes for 50c a pound which is a great price in our area. Oddly it was a 2-pound bag, but the 5-pound ones were 99c a pound.
    Our tax bills came in. They did not rise in cost as expected. Rather than wait two months and pay them then, I’m paying now ahead of time. It buys me two extra months to save for next year’s taxes which means I have less to set aside each month. Every little bit counts even in our budgets.
    I made bagels and pizza crust from scratch, as well as hamburger buns and bread.
    Our electric bill came in a bit lower than expected. The extra will be pushed over to next year’s tax subaccounts. A gain every little bit counts.

  75. Hi Brandy and all,
    I wasn’t going to post this week since I didn’t think I had any inspiring or even interesting items. However, I changed my mind ;). Normally, 95% of the time I cook at home, and do shopping and meal planning around sale items. I can’t say I cook the most frugal meals but it is a huge improvement on dining out. This week, my husband had dental surgery so I have been cooking easy to chew meals. Today, I had thawed out some ground pork but I didn’t like the color or smell of it, so I threw it away. So I was out of plans. I was reading another blog and she mentioned baked potatoes. Easy to chew right? So beloved husband said that would be great. I had no fresh potatoes, no sour cream, no chives. I did have bacon. So off I went. Bought two baking potatoes, a small package of fresh chives ($2 but I knew that ahead of time), and a medium container of sour cream. $9.15. Wth. I was astonished. I went ahead and bought the items and then talked to myself most of the drive home. I have gotten so used to shopping sales and not doing impulse shopping that I hadn’t realized the price changes. Yikes! So, I guess the short version is that shopping sales matters and impulse shopping is crazy expensive. Brandy, thank you for this blog, I had no one in the world to share this experience with expect your universe ❤️

  76. Thrifty actions: traveling with 1 small suitcase, using points for hotel and utilizing free breakfast and ex lounge snacks, utilized free Wi-Fi, and checked off 3 bucket list destinations. Ready for home.

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