Each year, right around the last day of October, a great wind comes in and the temperatures drop.

This year, the wind showed up much earlier than normal. It included a bit of rain (something we don’t usually get in October) and even snow on the mountains, something I have never seen in October!

The winds were quite cold and strong and the garden took a beating. I am hoping that I will still be able to harvest many things as the weather warms back up.

I was able to turn off the air conditioners (our house has two) for the remainder of the year. I also didn’t need to use the ceiling fans like we normally do for several more weeks after we turn off the air conditioners in the fall. I logged into the electric company’s website to compare our usage amounts. It says that for this month, we have used less than half of the power we used last year.

At the grocery store (Smith’s) I used the coupon on the app to buy 5 packages (10 pounds total) of cheese for $3.97 each (just under $2 a pound). I bought several pounds of American Beauty pasta on sale for 66% off at $0.49 each.

I had several coupons from Smith’s. I am happy they are finally sending me coupons again! I had a coupon for $1 off three American Beauty pasta which was perfect timing. I had a coupon for a box of free crackers, which I got while there. I am saving them as a Christmas gift for my daughter who loves them. I used a coupon for $1 off my favorite chocolate, and another coupon for $0.40 off 18-count of Kroger (the store brand) of eggs.

My husband really likes the shirts he bought for himself at Sam’s Club (he bought 2 just recently) for $9 each. He says he will probably end up ruining them as he wears them while welding (a welding jacket is expensive and very hot to wear). I went to Sam’s and bought him 3 more shirts, which I set aside for Christmas. At that price, even if he ruins two shirts while working, it’s less expensive than a welding jacket. I also bought another pair of the pants that he bought from there that he likes.

I mended a hole in his current pants so that they will last a bit longer.

I painted several more obelisks in the garden. They take me about an hour and a half each. I have to clean the metal and then paint them. I have to do each one over three days, as I paint the tops separately from the main body in another color. The bottom can only be painted after the rest dries, as I am painting the spikes that go into the ground as well to prevent rust. I will grow snow peas, cucumbers, pole beans, and tomatoes on/in them. These replace the 6-foot-tall cages we had before, which we made from concrete wire mesh and put into the ground using stakes. I cannot weld the sledgehammer to hammer in the stakes myself, and while these new oblisks are large and heavy, I can put them into the ground myself and remove them. They stayed upright during the wind storm; I am hoping they will do so when they are covered in plants and our strong winds return.

I purchased some old plastic greenhouse panels for $30 from someone who was moving. She had cut them up to make a smaller greenhouse. We are planning to make some cold frames and will use the panels in these.

While I was at Sam’s Club, I found a few discounted books and toys that I bought for Christmas presents for two children. I am trying to get all of my shopping done early. I am not making many gifts now, as the children are mostly older and they want and need different things.

A friend called and said her daughters were coming down from university for the weekend and wondered if I had anything I wanted to send back up to my daughter. I was able to send my grandaughter’s Christmas gift, a brother’s Christmas gift to his sister, and a gift for the baby from my mother back this way, saving postage.

I sgined up for a free Education.com account for my son through the library’s website. I am going to check out what learning programs they have available through their website this week.

I read a couple of e-books from the library’s website using the Libby app on my phone: Night Music, a modern story which I am not sure I would recommend, and Below Stairs, a recollection from a former kitchen maid and cook, from which both “Upstairs, Downstairs”, and “Downton Abbey” were inspired.

The hinge on my washing machine door broke. I was concerned I would not be able to order another because of the shortages that are everywhere, and worried that I may have to end up buying a whole new machine, which would be a very large expense, because I could not get the part. I looked up the part and it said it was backordered. The next day, I refreshed the page, and the part was available! I ordered it and it arrived yesterday afternoon. My husband put it on today. While it was very expensive for just one small part, it was a lot less than a new washing machine would have been.

My nephew came into town to see his parents. He brought tomatoes from his garden (both green and red ones) as well as some peppers. My sister-in-law brought some to share with us.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. Nothing very exciting to report this week. Except for the usual frugal stuff, I didn’t save much. OTOH, it wasn’t a week of frugal fails, either.
    Made a big batch of beef stew and froze enough for another meal. We ate one ready meal from the freezer to keep rotating. I discovered that homemade biscuits don’t freeze very well, even for a relatively short time. Can you say…hockey pucks!!

    This week at Fred Meyer (Kroger) I stocked up on Progresso soups for .99, first 2 lbs. of butter for $1.97 lb. and got a rain check for American Beauty pasta for .49 lb. The pasta shelf was completely empty and the soup was stacked in cases in the aisle. The soup and pasta will fill some holes in my pantry. At another store, I got one dozen eggs for .69 and Idahoan potatoes for .79, also for the pantry. We like their scalloped potatoes better than mine, LOL. When I don’t feel like cooking, it’s a dead simple meal with ham cubes from the freezer.

    Still cleaning up the garden from summer and putting things away in the shed. I emptied all of the potting soil from containers into a garbage can to store over the winter and reuse next year.

    Such beautiful pale pink roses, Brandy!

    1. The many extra medical trips this year have left my yearly budget in the negative. I have rewritten a new budget for the new year and am focusing on any changes I can make. Our new phone plan does not reflect the final price we were given when we signed up. I canceled my line of $65.00 and switched it to an unlimited plan for $25.00 with another company. I have canceled my Ancestry.com account and will not be renewing it at this time. I will focus on other free venues and check out other options. First , I’m going to see if my library has an account we can use. Perhaps an AARP discount may be available. And finally , perhaps Ancestry will send me a special offer to start back up. I used a 40% off coupon to buy several small Christmas gifts at Kohls. I bought 11 items for about $60.00 . Each child will receive one main gift. Sugar cookie requested a Barbie doll RV. I’m hoping to find a good coupon deal over the next few weeks. At some point ,she will lose interest in all these quarantine Barbie purchases and we will resell them. I bought my son a new keyboard at the Amazon box outlet for $7.00. It’s a nice one and his Xmas is done. We incorporated many recovered food items into our meal plan this week. I had several packages of ground pork which I have never used. I cooked it all up with equal amounts of ground sausage. It turned out well. I froze 10 baggies and will use them for biscuits and gravy or breakfast casserole. We searched at a new Goodwill location for 99 cent shirts. We found three for the winter. As prices are out of control here, I have to cut my driving down. Even across the state line ,the prices now match our local prices. I will only be making two trips a week and we will combine any activities. My house taxes went up $300.00. Yikes , it makes me cringe.

      1. Several people in a local FB group here were talking about their homeowner’s insurance doubling lately. I’m trying to be as prepared as possible for this. With rising house prices, the increase makes sense, but several hundred dollars more a year will affect a lot of people.

        1. I have not heard anything about this on any of my groups we just got our renewal it went up $2.00 a month for homeowners and auto insurance.

            1. Mine has doubled here in the years since Hurricane Sandy – got the bill today for over $3000 for the year! We have a tiny house almost 10 miles from the ocean but it went up very high here for everyone and has remained so.

          1. Anna in Ohio- That’s amazing knowing that we are both in Cbus! Hubs literally checked over 20 insurance companies knowing our HO policy would be renewing in November. He also checked with independent agent and made big spread sheet to compare! They all said same thing- rising building materials costs, less availability and time/labor costs, square footage of home as well as home values rising so much. In our neighborhood, the average home value, based on sales comps, has gone up by over $200K in the past 2 years. All those things factor in.
            Glad you haven’t had that crazy increase and hope that others may also be unaffected. My philosophy is that it’s always better to be looking ahead and prepare for the “just in case”!
            Gardenpat in Ohio

            1. I just photographed a house for sale yesterday. It’s a little over 1800 square feet (3 bedrooms, 2 baths on a lot that’s probably 1/10th of an acre), and it’s listed at $419,900. Home prices have gone up a lot.

              1. That same home would probably sell for close to a million here – and bidding wars are common!

              2. This is why we moved away from California. At that time, homes of 1000 square feet were a million dollars in the area where my husband had grown up.

        2. My homeowners renewed in late September and went up about 8%. I think it was $70-75 for the year.I would get the exact amount for you but the cat on my lap would not be pleased by my moving…

        3. Lillianna said her house taxes have gone up and with the crazy real estate market in certain states, I’m not surprised. I don’t look forward to next year’s taxes here, but with homestead, at least the amount they can go up is capped.

          1. Our property taxes are capped here, but as home values rise, they will still go up. We are capped at 3% here, which is incredible compared to many states. I know some of my readers pay 14%.

        4. I got one of my home insurance renewal notices this past week. It went up only a few dollars, not enough to cause alarm, but a normal looking yearly increase. I don’t know what the house in town might do but it’s unlikely to increase much since our area is largely rural and we’re not near any large cities.

      2. Have you looked at FamilySearch.org? It’s free. Because I index on FamilySearch my Ancestry account is free.

      3. Lillianna,

        Ancestry has offered their library edition which is usually only available AT the library to be accessible at home through the end of the year. You have to access it through your local library. I’ve been using it that way throughout most of the pandemic. I also sometimes take advantage of their 50% off sale which is maybe once or twice per year – not too bad of a deal. The best was one time they sent me a promotion to get 4 months of Ancestry for $1. It was crazy, but I did it and there were no hidden fees – just had to make sure I cancelled it before it renewed at the full price. Of course, familysearch.org is free all the time. Or you can go the the local library or Family History Center and use Ancestry there. Happy research! I am a genealogy junkie! 🙂

    2. Maxine, google “Regina Charboneau’s biscuit recipe” for an AMAZING biscuit recipe you freeze BEFORE cooking. Super convenient to cook from frozen and they are decadent!

      1. Pam De Paolo,
        Thanks for the suggestion. I read the recipe and it looks great and very practical for small families. I can hardly wait to try them!

    3. Maxine,
      I’m not sure if you’ll see this, but I freeze biscuits all the time and they’re fine. I make a traditional biscuit with flour, shortening, salt, baking powder, and milk. Once they’re baked, I wrap each biscuit individually in plastic wrap. Then, I put them in a plastic ziplock bag and into the freezer. I either defrost on the countertop or put them in the microwave for 1 minute on 50% power. That seems to work. Good luck!

  2. At the Amish produce auction, I got 3 vine ripened watermelons for $2 total, 3 pecks of bell peppers for $1.50/peck and a peck of jalapeños for $1.50. I was able to can a total of 48 pints of salsa and just will can one more batch tomorrow to give me my years’s supply of salsa on the shelf. https://pin.it/5HB1OsR. I also bought 20 pounds of bananas for $2.50 and promptly used 6 to make 16 mini loaves of banana butterscotch bread. https://pin.it/449XTMY. I love that Wilton 16 mini loaf Pan I got for about $10 with a JoAnns coupon. It’s a fast way to make several little bread gifts! The bananas have also been perfect for just eating fresh too!

    This week Hubs built the second half barrel planter on a stand. It is by the other one in the front of our side yard on the new brick base under it! https://pin.it/BvU1D8l. I transplanted a total of 124 strawberry starts to thin out the beds they are currently crowded in! The afternoon that I finished, it rained a nice gentle rain so the timing couldn’t have been better!

    I harvested some of my kale and put it in my dehydrator. When it had dried, I put some into my blender to grind into green powder. Being the impatient person that I am, I used my hand to push some of the kale down while the blades were going and sliced my finger pretty good! 😱 Felt dumb! Started rinsing it under cool running water at the sink while calling for Hubs. After he came, we dried my finger off and then wrapped paper towels around it holding it tightly while keeping it raised above my heart. Called my daughter to find out if this is something appropriate for Urgent Care to handle rather than ER or Minute Clinic. Years ago, there weren’t as many options- only ER. Only second time in 2-1/2 years I’ve used my insurance. Report that they gave me said my injury was not the result of auto injury or workplace accident or abuse, but that I put my hand into blender while it was going to push dried kale down to blades. Boy, did I feel foolish! I got a tetanus shot too since it’s been well over 10 years! So by the next day, both arms and my finger were throbbing! I need help getting dressed- shoes, socks, bra because apparently, that right index finger is the skilled one of the digits! 😉 Hubs tossed away the kale from the blender that I had “contaminated” but I was able to use my inexpensive little electric chopper to grind up the rest of that batch of dried kale. https://pin.it/4dVdclG. I plan on harvesting a dehydrator batch continually this week and getting it all dehydrated and ground into powder. I saw on Amazon that ground kale powder runs from $1/ ounce up to $23/ounce for “organic”!! I have over 8 ounces in the jar already and it would have been over double that if not for my mishap!!

    I quilted #195 – a vintage Dresden plate quilt- https://pin.it/TwPVAUA- for a client and also quilted and bound (finally) the flag wall hanging that I made for a Christmas gift – https://pin.it/5kETjPV. So glad to have another gift finished and I was even able to use a batting scrap and leftover remnant of the backing fabric from Quilt #194 as backing on this wall hanging! No scrap left behind is my motto! At her baby shower on Saturday, I gave my granddaughter the baby quilt I made for the baby she will have next month- https://pin.it/2Qy0p79- and she loved it! I also found another free online quilt pattern (well, actually several) and started cutting out my scraps to make it. It’s become a game for me to see how many quilts I can make using only my stash at home without buying fabric or using new cuts of batting (I stitch together remnants of batting from other previous projects.).

    At Kroger’s, I was able to get 10 pounds of sharp cheddar cheese (in 2 pound packages) for $1.98/pound. They also had 1 pound packages of butter for $1.99 each so I bought the 5 from their limit. Those are staples that are much higher when not on sale with digital store coupons! Regular price is $3.49/ pound for cheese in their 2 pound size, so I saved $15.10 on the cheese! Their regular price on butter is $3.29 so I saved $6.50 ! That’s almost $22 just on 2 items!! That represents a savings of 13.6% of my $300/month food budget!! I am thrilled to be able to stretch those food dollars as much as possible!
    Our electric bill as $135.01 this month (I always budget for $200) so that was a nice savings.
    Our Homeowners insurance was going to switch up by over $100/month even though we have been claim free for over 5 years and have had this insurance for several years. We heard that homeowners insurance was going up universally due to higher construction material cost and shorter supply of some of those materials. It might be a good idea to look at your homeowner’s insurance premium when it comes up for renewal this year! Hubs shopped around and found a company that would only add $18 a month more than what we were currently paying so we went with that! In December or January our property taxes will go down because we were approved for homestead exemption for seniors.

    I made 3 more of the mini pot pies- this time 2 were beef (making 5 dinners for 2 so far from my tiny potato harvest!) and 1 was a mini Shepherd’s pie without a top crust. https://pin.it/3qVeRr5. (First beef pot pie was already eaten when photo was taken! 😋) One of those pies feeds Hubs and me for dinner and is really filling! Laura S- I didn’t see your comment from last week in time to respond, but those little ‘uns (potatoes) you talked about have now yielded 5 meals for each of the 2 of us and only now are we starting to be ready to use the larger potatoes from our harvest (although “larger” is a relative term! They are about golf ball size! Lol!!) Delicious!! Andi reused my 3 disposable tin pie pans that I got in a pack from Dollar Tree!

    Our season here in central Ohio has begun it’s fall cool-down- 67 – 72 degrees F for our highs and 50’s to high 40’s overnight. We still keep our windows partly open overnight and love snuggling under our two quilts! No need to turn on furnaces yet! But we are starting to wear long sleeves! Lol!

    We are cleaning the garden and soon will begin our final harvest before the weather is too cold!
    As much as I love working outside, I still enjoy the colder season when we stay inside and focus our projects there! There’s always much to do!
    Hope everyone is ready for the coming season change whether it’s fall to winter or Spring to summer! There are always wonderful things to do in whatever season you happen to be in!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Pat always happy to see your post I miss your updates on what is going on around Ohio. I met a man today online who told me about a Amish store in Tarlton, Ohio one of the things he mentioned is 50 pound bags of oatmeal for $21.00. I hope to go explore that before winter. He also sold everything he owned (he and his wife) and started growing plants which they give away and invited me next year to come down and get what I wanted also giving away plant starters. I was also able to connect him with Columbus Foods Not Bombs its now called something else? and they will go down with a truck and bring fresh produce back up to give away to those in need.

    2. I’m so sorry about your hand! I hope you feel better very soon and that it doesn’t hold you back from your quilting or other projects for too long.

      I think you have one of the few families that eats as much salsa as we do. I finished it not long ago and we’ve already downed a few jars….Well, that’s what it’s for, right?

    3. Oh Pat I hope your hand repairs shortly and the pain in both your shoulders and hand subside shortly :0 .

      We all do things on the spur of the moment that causes us injury. DH and I were splitting firewood with our hydraulic log splitter and silly me I picked up the log lengthwise and put it into the wedge end of the log splitter. There was one problem my finger was between the log and the wedge of the log splitter and I split my finger as well as well as my fingernail down to the nail bed. Ouch did that hurt and happened in a moment that I was not thinking. I am always aware now to hold the log at the sides which is what I usually do but this was again a one off.

      Just as well we have a good medical kit at home here in the country 🙂 .

      1. Lorna- Thanks! To add insult to injury, this morning we were going to our Temple in Indianapolis (about 3 hours away) and so I was carrying a couple bags and my purse and went to close our front door. I wanted to make sure I pulled it closed tightly so I gave it a hard tug without realizing that my already maimed finger was in the doorway! Gushers of blood! 😖 The frugal part is that we had the giant economy size of large bandaids (that we bought on sale!) 🥴🤪
        I’ve started making a new quilt for my gift cupboard anyway! Just keeping it real! Overall more positives than negatives!!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. Pat just wondering what it is that when we injure a finger it is like everything aims for it so we injure it some more, ouch.

          Glad you had some giant bandaids to help you patch it up again and you have got back to making your quilts again.

          My finger for weeks was wrapped up like a mummy as I kept banging or rubbing it on something.

    4. Hello Gardenpat! Would you be willing to share your salsa recipe? I have tomatoes to harvest that I want to can into salsa. Thank you! Blessings to you and yours!

      1. Laura S.- Here’s the salsa recipe I use and love! https://pin.it/3natsDO. We have tried others but this is our favorite. Depending on the peppers and balance of peppers that you use, it can be mild, medium or hot!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    5. spice grinder works nice, take time due to size but I just turn it off and turn it up side down NOT put my hand in there . SMILE PAT. Our Amish auction has slowed down quite a bit. Last day for produce is the 29th

      1. Juls Owings- our produce auction in Fredericktown ends that final week of October too!

        PI watched a YouTube video from someone who dehydrates lots of things to see what she used to grind dry kale. She used a pricey blender (over $500) and then also showed a coffee/spice grinder (about $100). I considered the small one and decided to try my inexpensive (under $20 four years ago that I use constantly)Hamilton Beach mini electric chopper. She then puts the chopped kale through a strainer. I tried it and am thrilled!! Frugal win!

        Plus it will not work unless the lid is on so no chance of finger accidents!! 🤪🤪

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    6. Hello Gardenpat! I’m so sorry to hear about your hand! Praying it heals soon. Would you be willing to share your salsa recipe? I have tomatoes to harvest that I want to can into salsa. Thank you! Blessings to you and yours!

  3. Your roses are gorgeous! I’m sorry to hear about the weather and the effect it had on your garden. Our temps finally dropped into the 70ies yesterday (Sunday) and are expected to remain there for the week. It’s getting down into the 40ies at night and, like you, I do not expect to run the air conditioner until spring. With 2 days left in the billing cycle, I’m on track to use 300 kWh for the month and have a much lower bill for this month than the last two years.

    I emptied my entire pantry, threw out a few expired items that were no longer good, inventoried everything and entered it into a spreadsheet so I know what I have and what I need to buy on future shopping trips. I put everything back in a more organized order. I also wrote the expiration dates on the front of many of the cans and made sure that those expiring first are in the front of the pantry.

    I moved all my spices from the pantry to a “junk” kitchen drawer and laid them down so I can easily read the labels. The containers they are in are a variety of sizes but it works and I put those I use most frequently in the front of the drawer. This also freed up about 3/8 of a pantry shelf. I found new homes for the stuff that was previously in that drawer and was even able to keep a few things in there with the spices, such as the kitchen scale and a bottle of toothpicks. I reorganized my silverware and cutlery drawer using two new organizers that I bought at the thrift store and threw away a couple broken/rusted items.

    I gathered some items from the pantry to put in one of the Blessing Boxes in my town. There are dozens of these “leave what you can, take what you need” boxes for food and toiletries. They are much like the little free libraries in size and intention, just for food. I mentioned last week that I bought a dozen cans of pumpkin. Um, yeah, I didn’t need them as much as I thought I did because I already had 10 cans. Two of them were part of the blessing box donation.

    I attended a free one hour fall gardening class taught by a representative from Bonnie Plants and hosted by Katie’s Krops. In addition to learning a lot about edible gardening for fall and winter that was focused specifically on my area (low country of South Carolina, zone 8b), I took some free plants – three 4 inch pots of catnip, 2 broccoli starts, 6 lettuce plants, a 4 inch pot of dill and another of chives. The presenter, Steve, manages the Bonnie production facility for our area. His description of how it works was very interesting, at least to my nerdy mind. He had a tray of 392 broccoli beginner plants that were planted about 4 weeks ago. They are basically little plugs that will be transferred to the divided plastic containers sold in stores. He described the production line and how the pots are mechanically filled with dirt and fertilizer, sent down the line to a group of workers to be filled with the starter plants, have tags added, etc. before they are shipped to the stores a couple weeks later. He said they are doing fine with truck drivers, who are employees of the company and not independent contractors. He also said that spinach is really tricky to germinate and even they, with their ideal conditions, have a germination success rate of only 30% so now I know it’s not just me. They are seeing a big uptick in gardening, especially among younger people in the 20-40 year age range.

    I made 3 dozen servings of dessert for the bi-weekly free dinner prepared by some of the teenage gardeners. These are supposed to be packed for individual servings. Most people pick up their dinners but I deliver a total of 25 meals to 4 homes. I suggested that I just pack the desserts for my deliveries at home and the coordinator agreed. This saved them time putting them aside for me and saved me 25 baggies this week because I grouped my Black Bottom Cupcakes in shallow boxes topped with a sheet of foil.

    I volunteered at the garden today and helped to harvest 83 pounds of sweet potatoes. The marigolds in that bed were being thrown out to make room for dozens of romaine lettuce plants so I brought them home. They will replace a zinnia that died last week and should be good for another month or so in my garden.

    Meals included stuffed green peppers using the peppers from my garden and cooked in the crockpot. I have 2 servings left. I also used my peppers as a topping on a Mushroom and Green Pepper Tortilla “pizza”. Someone mentioned last week that they plan to make Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. I found a recipe for that online and plan to make it as well. I still have a dozen peppers on my plants and might get more.

    I saved 60 cents at lunch when dining out with friends because I paid cash. This was the first time that I remember seeing the cost listed twice, once for cash and once for credit card with a 4% surcharge, just as others have mentioned. I took the discount for cash as did everyone else in our party.

    1. I was just talking to two people about how hard I find it to get spinach seeds to germinate. That was very informative. Thank you.

      1. Brandy, I’ve had trouble with them too, but covering them with plastic when germinating to raise the humidity has really been making a difference for me. Also, planting seeds thickly in a pot then potting on when they’re an inch high has improved things a lot. I don’t know if any of that translates to Las Vegas gardening, but I’d love to hear what ends up working when you find what you like.

        1. I could try covering them with jars after sowing seeds. I need to sow this week. I will try that. Thank you for the suggestion.

          1. Spinach is not only hard to start, but bolts easily here. I just grew Swiss chard instead because it’s so much easier–and I have had it winter over even under a couple feet of snow. It doesn’t last long in spring but can give you fresh greens while the next year’s crop gets started.

            1. Yes, I have that issue with spinach too. I like it better than chard but chard definitely grows better!

    2. I have had my spices in a drawer like that for several years now and find it really convenient and easy to quickly grab what I need.

      1. Spices in a drawer (actually, anywhere) are even more convenient if you alphabetize them. I buy my spices in bulk at Winco. When my MIL died, I threw away her spices and kept all of the jars!

      2. I showed my daughter when she stopped by to visit and she wanted to know why I didn’t do this while she and her husband were living with me! She was kind of annoyed by it, lol.

    3. Thanks for sharing the information about spinach germination rates. I thought I had bad batch of seeds!

  4. It was a great week in Houston!
    I’ve been picking up mis-tinted paint when I find it in colors that would work. Sometimes the folks working at the paint counter will even modify it a little for me. I’m hoping to do major painting over Thanksgiving break, when I’m off for the week.
    There were lots of apples in the produce markdown bins. Many of the bags (.99/each) had 5 or 6 apples, many with bruises that I cut off.
    I bought more pinto beans, at .44/#. I probably need to hold off for a while. I’m thinking about buying another bag of oats (I have several Sprouts rainchecks for .50/#), but I really don’t have the freezer space for them. I bought a 20# bag of rice at Sam’s, using my friend’s membership. Instead of shopping together, she texted me a photo of the back of her card, which I was able to use, no problem. She usually offers to pick things up for me, but it was nice to be able to buy it myself. Most things I buy are cheaper or the same price at Aldi compared to Sam’s, though.
    I made banana bread with bananas that were pretty brown.
    I sewed a button on a pair of pants.
    I returned a shirt to Goodwill that had stains I didn’t notice when I bought it.
    I was able to turn off the AC for a few days when the weather cooled off.
    Also due to cooler weather, I haven’t had to mow the grass in almost 3 weeks.
    I got a nail in my tire and got it patched for free at Discount Tire.
    The kids each got a free pie pumpkin, with stickers to decorate them, at a local nursery. I may cook them after Halloween. The pumpkins, not the kids. 😉
    Planning ahead for Christmas: I have everything ready for my nieces and nephew, and will keep things pretty modest for my own children.
    I found more uniforms at our church thrift store in sizes that my kids can use.
    Frugal fail: I had to throw out some salad and leftovers that went bad. Also, I did more driving than I should have, using gas that is getting more expensive.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Have you considered keeping your oats in a food-grade bucket with a gamma lid? That’s how I keep mine.

        1. Mylar bags are great if you’re not going to open the bucket for a long time. Once the bag is open, though I don’t see how it would make much difference unless you wanted a liner so your food doesn’t touch the plastic.

          I have several 6-gallon food-grade buckets that I use on a daily basis. They have gamma lids. I buy beans, rice, oats, popcorn, etc. in bulk plastic and paper bags and just pour the food into the bucket.

          1. Thank you, Brandy! I have buckets as well, and just bought the gamma seal lids on your advice. I will use the Mylar for the buckets I won’t use for quite a while.

  5. Sometimes on here we say that we do the “usual” to save money. Some of my usuals are unusual, and I haven’t seen them mentioned in a while, so I thought I’d share them. They could be considered a tad extreme, but they work for me and make me happy.

    When I used to own my home, I would be sure to go to the bathroom and refill my water bottle when I was out running errands. This saved on water and tp usage at home.

    Now that I’m in an apartment, I cook on my stove as much as possible because it is gas and the landlord pays for that. I also wash my dishes by hand, since they pay for the water but I would pay for the electricity of the dishwasher. Sometimes I wash my clothes by hand when I’m in the shower & let them air dry.

    I charged my phone at work to save that electricity. I also have a rule that only one plugged in thing can be used at a time. So, for example, if I’m watching tv, the light is off.

    I use an antenna with my tv (no cable) and the cheapest phone plan I could find.

    This may cause you to recoil, but I re-use my coffee grounds. I love very strong coffee, so I leave the used grounds in the filter and add new grounds on top. I do this for about five days or so, then start fresh.

    Also when I had my house, I would then dry my coffee grounds to use in the winter in place of salt when it would snow. I used them in my back alley where I normally wouldn’t bother putting down salt, but it was nice to have something to help absorb the sunlight and provide traction.

    I’m not afraid of “best buy” dates on food, especially if I can buy something on sale because it is close to its date. I use up every morsel of food I buy. I mostly eat at home, cooking from scratch. I save my pasta water or other boiled water to use as soup stock.

    I use cut up tshirts as rags, in place of paper towels. I also use tshirt rags on my swiffer. I crochet my own dish cloths. I cut up a lovely, soft but old ratty sheet into tissue-sized squares and folded them into a repurposed box to use as kleenex. I cut my dryer sheets in half.

    My magazine subscriptions come from Recyclebank. I only read books from the library or ones I get for free.

    I use coupon codes at Walgreens to get free cards and free photo prints. Per Brandy’s recommendation, I use images from TheGraphicsFairy.com to personalize them.

    I trim my own bangs and use Salon Apprentice for my other hair care needs.

    My clothes are from clothing swap parties or my Buy Nothing group.

    I save and use all toiletries from hotel stays.

    I wash and re-use plastic baggies.

    I sign up for free samples whenever I see them. I use Ibotta and some influencer apps.

    I go through my things a few times a year to look for items I can sell, like clothes, books, and beauty products. And I look for anything that I might be able to return to the store if I didn’t use it.

    I always say yes when offered something for free, to let the giver know that I am open to receiving anything extra they may have.

    Before I buy anything, I ask myself if it something that I actually *need* and if there is some way that I can get it for free, make it myself, or re-purpose something that I already have.

    I also try to be generous and give back when I can. I enjoy volunteering in my community, donating to my local free fridge and free “store”, helping out at church and more. I think it’s a lovely way to reciprocate the abundance that I receive.

    By doing all of this (and following the tips on this blog!), I was able to quit my stressful job as a teacher in a high-needs urban school and fulfill my dream of moving to New York City. Now I live in a luxury apartment building in Brooklyn and work at easy freelance jobs on my own schedule.

    1. I do many of those things and have ever since I read The Tightwad Gazette books. Doing all the little things allowed me to pay for my daughter’s college education so she graduated without debt (she paid for a small portion by working) and retire at my full SS age of 66 so I can do what I want if it fits my budget and I have time for volunteering. I’m happy for you that you could do the same.

    2. I wash the dishes by hand as well. I take the hot water from the tap next to the boiler (in the laundry room) instead from the faucet in the kitchen which is at the opposite end of the house in order to save hot water.

    3. These are great Chelsea! By being frugal my husband and I have been able to follow our dreams too! Finding this blog helped us on the journey–thank you Brandy!

    4. We use coffee grounds twice for cold-brew (someone on here mentioned it). Then I save the grounds to put in the compost or, if it’s been rainy, in the bromeliads because mosquitos won’t breed in coffee-water.

      I don’t care about food going off (we’re stict vegetarian, so it wouldn’t be an animal product) and as long as it tastes good enough, even if a bit fermented, we still eat it! I figure it just increses the diversity of the all-important gut flora. We’ve never had any ill effects.

      I haven’t tried reusing pasta water for stock: doesn’t it make the stock thick? We do wash dishes by hand, using biodegtadable soap, in a tub that we then empty into a bucket to water the garden, so the pasta water would go in there, so not “wasted.”

      Glad to hear all you’re doing, Chelsea.

    5. I love to read frugal actions some may think are extreme. It is a practical creative exercise. I do many of these things, as well, and it allows us to live mortgage-free and for me to stay home and educate my children. Nothing I could buy would be more valuable to me than that! I had to chuckle at your comment about washing clothes in the shower. I did that as a college student when I traveled abroad. I learned I can wear the same thing day in and day out as no one but me knew the difference and washing clothes in bathrooms works just fine. Thanks for sharing your helpful ideas!

    6. Thanks Chelsea! I really enjoyed reading your comments. Many (included me!) enjoy the more “extreme” approach to frugality!

    7. I do many of the same things as Chelsea, although having someone else pay my gas bill would be a game-changer, LOL. I’ve also considered handwashing dishes because of the time and hassle of loading and unloading the DW for 2-3 people. I know handwashing uses more water, which has to be heated, but it saves an hour and a half of electricity to run the DW.

      I would like to expand on washing and reusing plastic baggies, which I think many (if not most) of us do. I have a mantra: Never buy something for the purpose of throwing it away later. Depending on bin size, I line my wastebaskets with plastic or brown paper grocery bags…in a pinch, newspaper. I cut up and reuse cereal bags for freezer wrap. I use produce and bread bags for myriad things, especially for freezing. I often say that the inside of my freezer looks like a recycling bin!

      I also use rags instead of paper towels. I wash and reuse rags (just throw in the regular wash, never a special load) and I also throw away rags that are too groady to reuse. I don’t feel bad about this because if I used a paper towel, I’d just be throwing it away instead.

      I have to admit that I occasionally use zip-lock bags and I’m considering the purchase of a Food Saver, but only if I find it (and a continuing supply of bags) at a thrift store or yard sale. I would use it only for meat and high value items. But, TBH, using recycled packaging works fine. I am careful to exclude air from the package and I rarely have freezer burn…and then, not much. I don’t think I have ever thrown away an entire piece of meat due to freezer burn, although I’ve occasionally cut off a little bit.

      1. Keep checking at thrift stores for a food saver. Last year I found one for $24 that was new in the box bought from Amazon. Checked Amazon price and it was $170 new! We do all our own meat so I was tickled to find it. I buy off brand bags.

  6. I just want to thank you for the time you spend on this website and blog. I learn a lot but more importantly I get encouraged and educated at the same time. I really appreciate you.

  7. I wish I had your touch with roses. Yours are always so beautiful. That’s fantastic you’ve only used half as much electricity to date this month, due to the unusual weather. I can attest to the fact that welding is very hard on clothes. We try to find thrifted clothes as much as possible, but for a new shirt that your husband really likes, $9 sounds like a good bargain. In advance of our weather turning colder, I washed all the windows and the storm doors. My husband and I repotted a number of house plants, and refreshed the soil in the others, and brought them all indoors, which was quite a job. I was very grateful for his help. We found something ate the majority of our sweet potatoes, so I found a local organic farmer with some for a reasonable price, to add to the few we have. It’s a bit of a drive, but I hope we can get them this week. I got flannel sheets down from the attic, and changed out the bedding. The mattress pad needed some mending when it came out of the washing machine. My sewing machine is in the shop for a cleaning and check up, so I mended it by hand. While up there, I also got a box of fall decor, and have done a small amount of decorating with what I already had. We had our first fire in the woodstove on Sunday. I decided to bake that day, and made pumpkin dog treats, roasted gifted chestnuts, and baked a blueberry pie, while I had the oven going. Herbs were harvested, including thyme, lemon balm, oregano, lemon verbena and sage. All are drying, except for the lemon balm, which I started a medicinal glycerite with. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/10/the-last-hurrah-fall-prep.html

    1. A few months ago, I was planning to buy some t-shirts for myself at the thrift store to use for painting. They are about $5 each there. When I found new ones for the same price, I bought two of those instead. I can keep using them when I work in the garden.

  8. I can’t wait to see your finished obelisks. They sound beautiful.
    We got our first snow this week. I harvested the last of the green beans from the garden and we ate them. I still have a few things in the greenhouse but everything is dwindling fast. We did enjoy lettuce, tomatoes that ripened inside, and chard from the garden.
    I cooked a big batch of dried pintos and froze them for future meals.
    I had to go into the city 5 hours away and did the Costco trip I had planned. I usually manage this 3 or 4 times a year. I don’t have Aldi or very many selections of grocery stores in the rural area where I live, so stocking up at Costco when I can definitely saves me money on dog food and other staples.

  9. I can’t think of anything that I did, really. I guess I taught my teenager to make his favorite sandwich (so he’ll stop asking for takeout). I sent 3 emails to get reimbursed for missing veggies in my CSA box. I finished reading a book that I got at a bulk sale (whatever you can fit in this bag, $10.) Two weeks ago I patched my husband’s jeans.

    1. -We are still enjoying beans, peppers, zinnias, kale, and a few tomatoes out of the garden, which is quite late. Not complaining! Working on cleaning up the garden for the winter. I planted a bunch of fruit trees earlier this year, and need to stake and mulch before winter comes.
      -We picked apples and pears at a family members house a few weeks back. I’ve been busy canning pears and making applesauce and apple cider. I’m trying the newspaper trick to store the best ones, we will see how it goes.
      -I did a big stock up trip at Aldi and Kroger. I bought a lot of basics, like beans and oils and coffee. Also bought a lot of condiments that could spice up some bland meals.
      -It’s been a busy few weeks and we were eating out more than usual. Eating some creative meals to minimize food waste. Looking forward to getting back into our routines. I was happy to have some easy meals to pop out of the freezer.
      -We are looking into a new fireplace insert. We had one years ago that had a small lip that you could cook a pot of soup or warm water up, and we’re looking into options available. We have a lot of firewood and also want to have a better backup heat source in case of power outages. It won’t be cheap but it should pay off in the long run.
      -Working out at home as long as possible. We normally join a gym over the winter when I can’t run outside, but the weather is holding up so far. Ever soooooo slowly losing the baby weight.

  10. I’m enjoying the cooler temperatures in Missouri! Have been able to open the windows each day and turn the air conditioner off!
    *menu planned a few weeks out and stocked up on sale meat at grocery store
    *packed snacks and drinks on a 2 day trip to cut some food cost
    *have tried to drink more water which is obviously healthier and cheaper than soda
    *combined errands to save on gas
    *read books from the library and picked up a few fun make and take kits they allow you to sign up for to attend classes virtually
    *used $5 Kohl’s cash (received when made an Amazon return) to buy my daughter fancy chocolates for Christmas

    Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

  11. It has been cooler here this week also, but still in upper 70’s and suppose to get up to 80, but was in the 40’s and 50’s at night Saturday and Sunday night. I got grapes at Aldi for 99 cents a lb, and elected not to buy apples yet because I still have enough to eat for the week. I bought spinach. I just cannot remember how much it cost. I like to shop with cash because I am more careful. Works for me. Gas is a terrible price in the small towns. It is $3.09 a gallon. I am sure it will be even higher by the end of the week. Gas for my small car is one of my biggest expenses and I am very rural. Dollar General had ketchup, mayo, condiments this week, but is now out of paper towels and almost out of tp! I used their $5 off of $25 coupon. I just packed my lunch every day for work. I went to the cheap laundromat, where it is still $1.50 a load to wash, and 50 cents dries my clothes in the hot dryer. I am waiting on them to increase their prices also. I bought ground beef to make my child hamburgers, but it was very high. I am drawing a blank on the actual price. I am not going store to store because of the gas prices. I am trying to shop at Aldi as much as possible, or at Dollar General for things I do not buy at Aldi. I walked for exercise. I usually am able to buy lots of leftover pumpkins the day after Halloween and eat on them all winter, but I am not seeing many pumpkins this year. Guess I will have to stick with carrots and an occasional sweet potato.

    1. Hi Cindy. Is there a place around you that has fall activities, like an orchard or pumpkin place that people flock to in the fall? If so, once Halloween is over, you might try calling them and asking if you could buy some pumpkins from them at a discounted price. They usually just become compost if they are left over. Another place to try would be the grocery stores or Walmart. Hope this works for you. I also check store sales online each week to see if there is something worth my trip, that way I don’t waste gas (it’s $3.55 here). Hoping things get better.

  12. I still am buying some things for my pantry. Superstore has pineapple juice on sale for $0.88 cents.
    I don’t usually drink juice but like to have some in reserve.
    Superstore also has Black Diamond shredded pizza and pasta mozzarella cheese (900 gram bags) on sale
    reduced from $12.98 to $8.98. I will get two bags — one for my freezer. it also has 5 kg box of drumsticks for $1 per pound. I’ve never seen it that low. I will not get it as I am running out of freezer space. Co-op however has lean ground beef on sale for a value package for $2.95 per pound (half price) so I’ll get some of that. And that will be it for my freezer space… Superstore has Campbell’s chunky soup on sale for $1.44 (limit 4) so I will get 4 just to to up my soup.

    I unpacked 20 cans of lentils that I got a month or so ago — for $0.88 per can (reg $1.40). I could barely fit it on my pantry shelf.

    I bought two ten pound bags of beets for $3.97 each. I’m contemplating making beet jelly — does anyone have experience in it? I have lots of jars so it would only be the cost of sugar and the beets.

    I am pretty well stocked up on things. Since I eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggie (frozen if necessary)
    I don’t do a lot of cooking. I did cook my Thanksgiving ham and froze 20 individual packages of meat and the ham bone. I’m looking forward to making split pea soup. Also I am contemplating making French onion soup as I have some no salt beef broth I bought on sale.

    Still working on the book.

    1. Ann – those canned lentils are on my list to pick up tomorrow at No Frills. I already have quite a few in the pantry but it never hurts to have more on hand, I always add a can now whenever I brown a pound of ground beef – it really helps to stretch the meat and no one ever notices the addition. Like you, I don’t normally drink juice but I do like to have a few cartons in the pantry – just in case. I keep track of them and if it’s getting close to expiry time I take them in for the church school kids for their snacks so they don’t go to waste.

      1. Hi Margie,

        I also stretch my ground beef with oatmeal, bread crumbs, lentils. I love adding lentils to pasta. I bought several tetrapaks of no salt added chicken or beef broth on sale a couple of months ago which will help in my resuming a low sodium diet which until Covid I’d always done. I’ll have lots of veggies to add, including the canned lentils.inI really like Scarpone’s lentils and they only go on sale infrequently so I’m well-stocked. I hoe you are able to enjoy autumn – it feels really cold here today.

  13. The roses are stunning. I hope you garden bounces back. This is my favorite time of year. We haven’t put the heat on yet. I did put blankets out so if anyone wants them they can use them. I try to make it to November before turning the heat on.
    I pulled out the wood oil and oiled the cutting boards and some wood furniture. I tried it on the bathroom cabinets and they came out great. I don’t know why I never did it before.
    I called about an incorrect medical bill. They said they would fix it so that was an easy $37.
    I had game night at my house for us girls. My daughter made a GF cinnamon swirl cake. No one ever believes it is GF because it is so good. I also made popcorn. We had a great night.
    I have been fall cleaning in the house. We passed on a 3D Harry Potter puzzle to a friend. She was very excited.
    I stole my friend’s son for the day to give her a break. She insisted on paying for our lunch. She then sent me a gift card as a thank you. My youngest is 20 so I miss having a little one. She has no family near by to help her. We had a great day at the park and playing games.
    I helped another friend at her grandmother’s house. It is closing this week. We finally tackled the garage. I brought home some half used garden items, a few pieces of wood, bug spray, a camping pan, a bucket and a blue vase. My friend bought us lunch while we were working.
    The clearance shelf at Stop and Shop was full this week. There were slightly deformed boxes of pasta for 44¢ each so I took all 14 of them. There were soups for 59¢. I took the 7 we would eat. I got a large bottle of vanilla syrup for $4. It was originally $20. My son will use it in his coffee. I also go 2 boxes of my daughter favorite cereal for $1 with coupons. She got one now and I will give her the other one for Christmas.
    Hubby had a BBQ at work for lunch. When Hubby was leaving that night he went in to see what food was left. Someone had thrown 2 trays of hot dogs, burgers and chicken in the garbage. He was not happy. It was a Thursday so they could have eaten it for lunch the next day. He even checked in the 2 fridges to see if there was room and there was. He said someone was just lazy. What a waste of food.
    The mail had some goodies this week. I got a calendar for 2022, 10 Christmas cards and a stamp.
    Hubby went to a free car show with his brother. His brother brought another bag of figs. He said it would be the last bag. So sad!
    My sister dropped her dog off for the week. She brought a box of GF pumpkin bread and my daughter made it after she left. She also brought 2 dog toys and 2 bags of treats that her dog doesn’t like. Our puppy isn’t picky. She loved them.
    I chopped and froze the leaves of the broccoli and cauliflower that we bought last week. I used some in chicken noodle soup that I made. They are good in stir fry too.
    Lastly I stopped at Aldi one afternoon. I got eggs for 60¢ a dozen. I didn’t need meat but I always check by the meat section for discount stickers. There was NO chicken. None. NO breasts, no legs or thighs. No whole ones. The meat department had barely anything but I have never seen no chicken. I asked one of the workers that I know and she said that they only got half of their shipment that day and they didn’t get chicken. She was hoping they would get some in the next day. They did have breaded frozen chicken. Stock up while you can.

    1. Hi, here in the UK my local supermarket has had no chicken or turkey for 3 months, there seems to be a country wide shortage. We have a shortage of butchers and lorry drivers although it is nothing to do with brexit as Europe has the same problems.

    2. Gah!!! Wasting all that food? I don’t understand what people are thinking! I would guarantee that asking a few people would’ve gotten someone in there to wrap it up or take it home. My husband wouldn’t have hesitated. He’s often been the lucky recipient of leftovers like that!

      1. My husband thinks he knows who did it. It was the fastest way for her to “clean up”. Several of the employees are happy to take the food home. Hubby does it all the time. He mentioned it to his boss the nest day and he was not happy about it. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.

  14. I’ve started a Zero Food Waste challenge for myself because I’ve been noticing that we’ve been throwing away a bit more food than usual lately, which especially seems to hurt since food prices are up on so many things. This week I used up several things that were about to go bad, and I’ve put more on my to-do list for the week so I don’t forget to get to them before it’s too late.

    I greatly limited my driving and combined all my errands. I also have really tamped down on my grocery spending — we had been spending quite a lot the past several months because we were aggressively working on building up our food storage, but now that we’re basically done with that for the time being, I’m trying to go back to around $500 a month for our family of five.

    We also have been trying to do our Christmas shopping very early, and I’ve mostly finished the shopping for my kids. I ended up being able to re-sign up for the Disney Movie Club (I cancelled my membership about six months ago because I was sick of the monthly emails, ha ha!), and they allowed me to get the beginner deal of 4 movies for $1 all over again. Those will all go towards Christmas gifts, as will the clothes I basically got for free using my Old Navy rewards points. Already our Christmas spending looks like it’s going to be quite a bit less than last year!

  15. We had rain. This is headline news in California! I worked in the garden ahead of the rain, transplanting some things that I had been growing in pots, planting seed for cover crops in 2 raised beds and generally tidying up. I bought fruit tree fertilizer and indoor potting soil at Home Depot-I looked for the torn bags because they are 50% off. Both bags appeared to have the same amount as the intact bags, so it’s a very good deal.
    Baked apple-plum crumble with the frozen stewed plums that were too tart to eat on their own, and what my grandmother would call “flabby apples” (wrinkled and WELL past their prime). These were from a batch of free apples I was given and they had blemishes so they went soft quicker.
    Sold a English style clothespin bag. Mine is over 5 years old, I leave it outside year round and it’s still going strong. I appreciate all of the hard-wearing, long lasting items in my house. pinterest.com/pin/257971884897243570/
    I gifted plants that had been given to me, but which I did not love. Since we pay for water, and everything here has to be watered, I only keep what I love. I received a puzzle and a Trivial Pursuit game through my Buy Nothing group. I’m saving these for entertainment at Christmas time. I got organized early and informed my sisters that we would like to opt-out of gift giving/receiving. This helps cut down on my shopping. We are renting a beach house with our adult children, for which 4 of us have to fly to get there. So we are not doing gifts in our immediate family either. We’ve decided that everyone will bring a game to play together instead.

  16. I decided to purchase few canvas grow bags that will fit nicely on shelves in my sunroom. I got 5 three gallon ones for $6!
    I have lettuce, chard, spinach and kale growing. Everything so far has germinated except for the kale! I’m hoping that these will help lessen the blow to my wallet…we go through quite a few greens each week, and lately the ones we enjoy have been more expensive or sold out all together.
    We have been more mindful of eating leftovers and not letting things go to waste. It makes for some interesting dinners but when we eat leftovers, it saves us money (and time!). I’m thankful for a family that isn’t picky and will eat random stuff for dinner sometimes. 🤣
    We took in a friend’s dog last week. She was moving and was unable to take the dog. But truthfully the dog wasn’t being cared for like it should be. We have a large farm. The dog is enjoying running and has bonded well with our other two dogs. She came from a tight apartment, so it’s been quite the change for her. The dog food bill will go up, but our hearts are very full, so we can’t complain.

    1. Bless you for giving the dog a good home and freedom to run about! I hear you about the cost of dog food but I have often thought my dogs are cheap therapy. 🙂 Have fun!

  17. The photo’s are beautiful Brandy-

    It’s been a gorgeous fall here in the midwest. There has been no frost yet in northern WI and the leaves are well past peak.

    My husband reused wood to design and construct a wood shed. Gone are our blue plastic tarps that kept little snow off the wood and now we have slatted walls and a metal roof. He only bought the 4 metal roof panels and 6 corner posts; the sides, floor, and supports we all new to us. We unstacked and now restocked all the wood. Had our first fire and raised the interior house temperature by a few degrees.

    Used an old belt to fix a high chair strap. It worked great and all is working again for our grandson.

    I harvested the last of the tomatoes and basil. Will dry and place in boxes all my geraniums. Plan to dry the begonia bulbs, rhizoid (Peace Lilly) to save for next year. I saved the buried the mums and dusty millers in the soil pile. (I did the last year and had great results). Took slips of the trailing ivy and hope to root out for next years planter; who know if it will work-just like to try and see what happens.

    All lawn furniture is picked up and put away to keep it nice and in good shape. Motors are all winterized and we were amazed that spark plugs cost are crazy and can hardly find them. However, important to have things working when the weather changes.

    I got inspired with a book on “potholders” from the library and have a pair cut out and ready to stitch. Used fabric from my stash. Got a used pattern at the local thrift store.

    SO inspired by this community and feel blessed to read the postings.

    1. Around here, the ivy roots so well that it has literally taken over several areas on the lots behind us and beside us, our fences in two places and has basically killed a tree or two in our close vicinity. This is ivy that had to have been planted years and years ago–I can see where huge, dead ivy branches are choking a tree in our neighbor’s yard. Someone clearly cut it off at some point before it completely killed that tree. But another tree I can see from my yard is being choked right now. We chop and clip and chop and clip to keep it contained. I put the clippings in the yard debris bin so as to not make the problem worse.

      So I think your ivy will root. I suppose it depends a little bit on your climate/situation as to if it will take over or not. I would advise that you be a little careful where you put it until you find out how it reacts in your area:)

      1. Becky, when we lived in Hillsboro, OR, the guy behind us planted ivy on his side of our common fence. It used to grow up and over. The minute it got to the ground on our side of the fence, I hit it with RoundUp. I did this about every 3 years. Neighbor never said a word…which saved me the trouble of saying MANY words, LOL.

  18. Received my $7.51 bought milk settlement. I chose Amazon credit.

    Made a Halloween wreath with stuff on hand.

    My mom sent over fries, eggs, pizza rolls, cheetoes, and slim jims

    Pets mart emailed a 20% off one item coupon, saved $2.60 on case of canned dog food.

    Temperatures were great and was able to keep the air off most of the week.

    Made sure to freeze leftovers.

    Tossed a bunch of expired food items (mostly jello mixes)

    My cabbage rolls that fell apart I repurposed into spaghetti. I cut up the cabbage, then served over noodles. Was very tasty.

    FINALLY got a second part time job. I’ll be working in one of the schools kitchen in our district for 4 hours a day. Hopefully, can start knocking out some financial stuff.

  19. I just read Below Stairs too! Glad you were able to get the part for your washer.

    Joining in from the Seattle area.

    My main frugal accomplishment this week was finding an assisted living facility for my mom. She visited the one I had selected after a bunch of research and she really liked it. It’s in a smaller community outside the city, so it’s slightly less expensive. Even with the upfront fee of $4000, the monthly rent + care fees, she will still save money the first month compared to paying for round the clock caregivers in her current situation. Moving day is in three weeks. A facility staff member recommended a moving company that charges $130 an hour instead of $180 an hour, so we have booked this company for the move. Very grateful that we managed to accomplish all of this.

    Other ways we saved:
    . Cooked several beets from our vegetable share and made refrigerator pickled beets with what we did not eat immediately. Started using up many of the winter squash we had received.
    . Made dinner one night, and then prepped everything for the next night when I had to work until shortly before dinner time. When I got home, I cooked everything for 7 minutes in the instant pot. Quick and delicious!
    . Started using the many winter squash from the vegetable share. Froze leftover cooked squash for use in soup.
    . Saved and froze leek tops to use when making broth.
    . I make water kefir weekly. Problems arise with the starter grains if I use tap water (because it is fluoridated), so I purchase spring water in gallon bottles. The price for the brand I use at our local store has risen to $1.79 a gallon. So I get it at the dollar store and save 79 cents.
    . Used another $15 off $50 purchase coupon from the drugstore.
    . Used a coupon from local coop for BIGI chocolate bars.
    . Signed up for an online fax account for $5.99 a month to deal with some medical/assisted living things for my mom. This will make life much easier. Used it this morning to receive some medical records we need.
    . Read library books. Listened to podcasts. Watched streaming TV. Read blogs. Used your Amazon link when I placed an order.

    Looking forward to everyone’s posts, as always!

  20. Brandy since you are an experienced seamstress you may be able to make your husband a welding shirt. The lighter weight ones are made out of cotton canvas like the painters tarps you can buy. Even if it got small burn wholes you would have extra canvas to use as patches. Just a thought!

      1. My husband was a welder for 47 years. He would sometimes have me make him an apron out of heavy denim for summer. His leathers were too heavy and hot. Also, in the summer, he would wear canvas “sleeves”. They would have elastic at top and bottom and fit halfway up his upper arm.

        1. My husband wears a leather apron (I bought it at a garage sale for $1!) I could make him some sleeves if he wants. I will ask him. Thank you for the idea.

  21. The first picture is beautiful. I can smell the scent of rose through it.

    We decided/started to make soup on Wednesday. Now named “Wet Wednesday”. This has been great as I’ve had plenty of leftovers to pack for mindless what to pack lunches for work. My waistline is happy too.
    I’m driving to my parents more and more, and where I cannot save on gas, I’m trying to save by packing healthy road snacks and home brewed tea for the travels. One side silver lining is I pass several discount groceries to and fro that allowed for grocery savings.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

  22. We got 5 lbs of butter for 1.97 each and 3 5lb bags of potatoes for 1.29 each at dillons. These were really good prices for our area.

    My middle daughter finished inventorying our pantry today. Now we know what we have and will be able to save money by shopping the pantry first.

    It’s gotten pretty cool here. We had our first freeze a few days ago. We don’t have the air or furnace running. We do have a couple of fans that we run for white noise. Our electric bill went down by 61 dollars. Yay!

    We cooked all meals at home mostly using what we have on hand.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  23. In anticipation of rising gas prices, I have been trying to use my crockpot, air fryer, and electric kettle more. My stove is gas. I also ordered a cast iron fireback for our wood burning fireplace. We looked into getting an insert, but it wouldn’t work in ours. They are also quite expensive. After reading reviews, the fireback is supposed to greatly increase the amount of heat output.

    A friend gave me a gift card to a spa, but rather than using it for services, I purchased shampoo, conditioner, and a few other items that will last a very long time.

    I am trying to finish my Christmas shopping. I found a couple of games at thrift stores for my kids that look brand new. I also enjoy decorating for the holidays, but I try to incorporate what I have, rather than purchasing new, seasonal-only items. Less to store also! For example, I transform my sofa pillows by using a small piece of Velcro and attaching some pretty beaded ornaments that I have. I make my own bows (thanks youtube!) and add those to various items around our home. I think I am going to get some paperwhite bulbs. I haven’t tried them before, but I really like having some type of floral display in the winter.

    I wanted to buy some new nail polish, but instead I revived a couple of bottles of old polish with a few drops of nail polish remover. Good as new!

    We attended a fall festival. There were several booths giving away free items for marketing purposes. One group gave away bottles of chili powder, which I thought was a great idea. We always decline items that are tchotchkes, which are quite common.

    I’m getting a penpal! I signed up for a program that was featured on the Today Show. I think it will be fun!

    I used shoe-goo to fix a hole that was developing on my son’s sneakers.

    I picked up some Christian books by Ruth Simons Chou at the library. The books have lovely illustrations and the author gets great reviews. I’m looking forward to reading them this week.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Have a great week!

  24. So nice to have a new post! I look forward to reading these each week, and appreciate the time Brandy puts into writing and editing.
    My health insurance has a program to earn points doing healthy things, (reading brochures, watching short videos). I “spent” them on a prepaid debit card, as it seemed a better use of the points, rather than anything from the items they offer, and applied that to this month’s utility bill.
    I got ten dollars off from loyalty points at Walgreens for my last stock-up purchase. Long ago, I decided I didn’t want to mentally keep track of both CVS and Walgreens programs, and chose the one that was simpler.
    Temperature dropped last week, so I went through my closet to see what I already own to make the switch to shoes and socks instead of sandals, long pants, and long sleeved shirts. I should be ok without doing any shopping for cold weather.
    I have had a persistent almost-cough for several weeks, and finally shopped for some cough medicine. I did not know that it now comes in large gel caps. I had to choke down nasty sort-of-cherry Robitussin and other liquid medicine so often when I was a child that I bought the gels in generic form without even comparing the price per dose of gels vs. liquids.

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      I agree about the medicine. I didn’t know about that option either! I used to get bronchitis a lot as a child, so this sounds like a wonderful solution! I hope you feel better soon!

  25. I bought noodles for 68 cents a lb. Cooked clam chowder at home instead of going out for seafood. Made miso soup with ramen noodles and pork broth and veggies. I actually was able to buy a turkey for 88 cents a lb. There were only 3 in the store left. I love turkey for Thanksgiving and my mom’s stuffing recipe! I am so glad that my husband is on board with eating at home to save money. Turned off lights. Watched youtube videos for entertainment and information. My husband and I went for a drive to a pretty lake and watched the sunset. Sunsets in Kansas are beautiful! We will have a picnic this week instead of spending money at a restaurant.

    1. Hello from a fellow Kansan! The sunsets have been beautiful! I was looking at one several days ago that went from periwinkle to screaming orange! My Autumn Blaze maple is sporting green leaves with orange veins and edges. This is my favorite part! I loooove Fall in Kansas. November is my favorite month.

      1. Hi Debby!
        Yes the sunsets have been beautiful! Everytime I read your comments I think of a good friend I had in highschool.

    2. Brandy,
      Your blog has helped me so Much! We are ok on half our old income because we are frugal. I appreciate all the ideas. This week I took my grandkids on a picnic and saved rather than eat out. We are saving by cooking at home. This evening my husband and I entertained ourselves by stargazing on the back porch rather than go somewhere. We have been opening windows for fresh air and have kept the heat and air conditioning off. I also made dinner with things on hand when we were thinking about going out. Glad we didn’t.

  26. I’m a longtime reader of the comments here and feeling like I need some accountability, so here’s what I did this week in regards to frugality:

    *Trying to do a little deep cleaning every day, in addition to the usual cleaning, since it’s a cheap way to keep busy and take care of all I’m blessed to own. After reorganizing my medicine cabinet, I found an unopened container of a medicine I’d mistakenly purchased not long ago (we already had an open container of the same medicine, and it’s not one we would ever need a lot of), so I returned it the next time I went to that store.

    *Line-dried several loads of laundry when weather permitted. We have an umbrella-style clothesline we purchased this summer that can be stowed away when not in use. Unfortunately we installed it in a spot that’s been a little shadier since fall arrived, so unless there’s a good breeze or very low humidity, clothes aren’t drying as well. I also own 3 portable drying racks — I may need to transition to using those to dry clothes on my sunny, exposed back deck through fall/winter.

    *Attempting to start composting…my kids dug a giant 4 foot deep hole in the backyard a few years ago, and then every time it rained, the hole filled up with water and took DAYS to empty, meanwhile smelling quite disgusting with all the dank sitting water. So I started throwing yard waste into it to fill it in (the dirt had already been repurposed), but lately it occurred to me that if I bury food scraps in it, then this might be an easier way to compost than previous attempts. I can use soil from some raised garden beds that I need to move during the winter (due to encroaching shade from the trees) to cover up the scraps, so that will also solve the problem of where to put this soil while I move the raised bed frames.

    *Trying to stock up on meat is getting harder here, too (Atlanta suburbs), but one of the best buys I’ve seen is the frozen ground turkey at Aldi. It’s usually $1.89/lb, so I’ve been subbing ground turkey for ground beef whenever possible.

    *We’ve been eating more sardines and anchovies for a cheap omega-3 and protein source…I’ll make a simple pasta a couple times/month where I saute a tin of these fish with onions and/or garlic, then toss it with cooked pasta and top with toasted panko or bread crumbs, lots of parmesan, and a squeeze of lemon. Got the idea from Samin Nosrat (of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat)… there’s a similar recipe in her book for “broccoli pasta” that uses 2lbs of broccoli that get cooked down and chopped up before tossing with the pasta (I’ve used both fresh and frozen here with good results). Either way, a cheap, tasty meal.

    *I feel like we’ve been spending a lot on gas lately, so I’m taking a cue from Brandy and trying to do better about staying home as much as possible and combining trips when I have to go out. The main area I can improve here is in the number of grocery trips each week… I’ve fallen into a habit of having to run out for a couple of things on an almost daily basis. I do a weekly menu plan, and this is a new(as in, the last year) problem for me, so I think pandemic effects are partly to blame (stores are often out of lots of things). So this month I’m trying something new for me: a monthly menu plan. This way I can do a big trip at the beginning of the month for the entire month’s pantry staples, then do a smaller trip each week for milk and produce.

    Other than that, just the usual frugal stuff. Have a blessed week!

  27. Today I went to Sav Alot and bought 30 pounds of chicken leg quarters 69 cents a pound for 10 pound bags, up 10 cents per pound but still a good buy. I am thawing them in fridge and will Can Wednesday. A co worker of husbands ask if I could use any Concord grapes her son had some off his vine he wasn’t going to use.. she’ll be bringing them to work tomorrow. I’m not sure how much it is but if it’s enough I’ll make grape jelly from it. I hung clothes outside to dry today it was beautiful out cool but sun shining. Yesterday was the same but windy so the clothes dried quickly. I got a free DVD to watch from the library, ordered more for next weekend I hope. Most are new so theres a long waiting list but thats o.k. beats buying them new. I went to Lowes yesterday and bought shrink wrap for our windows we live in a old drafty house and new windows won’t be in our budget for a long time as we just had to replace our roof last Monday. Husband took our car Saturday to a dealership out of town about half a hour away they had much cheaper rates for oil change and inspection, not only did they do a thorough job but gave us a free car wash that saved us $13 alone as husband planned to take it to be washed when he left there. While I love going to the thrift shops I have only been once in the past 2 months saving us from impulse buys. I am well stocked on reading books for the winter but for now with the weather still nice I am using the library for books and DVD’s. I continue to sew my personal TP cloths so that I don’t have to wash them so often, put them all in a bucket till I have enough for a load is the goal. Anna In Ohio

  28. I am now wondering what your favorite chocolate is Brandy! It was not the most frugal week here as we visited my son at college and took he and his friends for dinner on Saturday and brunch Sunday before we headed back home – but it was an expense I’d planned for. But I did pack food for the car trip and used my hotels.com account for the hotel – this was my tenth night so our next trip will have one free hotel night because of that.

      1. I couldn’t agree more Brandy-that is the best chocolate and does occasionally go on sale. I was very impressed when reading the prices you and others got earlier in the week on pasta and potatoes-super good deals. DH and I went to 3 close by grocery stores the other day to pick up the loss leaders-but pasta and potatoes were much higher here on sale.
        I also ordered a good food box-$35 for 40-45 lbs of fresh fruit and veg which I will pick up next Wednesday. If I like the selection and feel it is good value it is available to order once per month in my city. The lady I ordered from told me one lady told her that she went to the grocery store to price out the same selection and it came to $80-I will see if I agree.
        This morning DH and I went in for our free flu shots and one last dose of Pfizer for me-a frugal way of helping us to stay healthy.

        1. This price on pasta only comes 2 (and sometimes 3) times a year, so I buy enough to last until the next sale.

  29. I completely missed September! One of my children contracted Covid from a classmate and we had to quarantine for 6 weeks. Everyone ended up getting sick, even those fully vaccinated. My husband has been off work for a month. So thankful for savings. My husband did find out that his company is offering a 4.00 per hour raise to retain workers, and monthly bonuses will be given as well. This will begin November 1st. We are so grateful! I had to toss a lot from our fridge as we were quite sick and not very hungry. The chickens were happy to help eat it up. Our Aldi is completely out of saltines and most other crackers. I have been stocking up as my budget allows. Today I bought 30 lbs. of butter for 1.97 at Kroger (there was no limit posted) and I got creamette pasta for .49 a pound. I bought about 25 lbs. I bought chicken breast for 1.79 lb. – 4 package limit- at Aldi. I will can this in half pound amounts. It is nice to pop open a jar and have meat ready to eat! At Gordons Food Service I found 81/19 burger for 2.99 lb. I bought a 10 lb roll. I usually buy leaner hamburger, but at nearly 6.00 per pound in my area I just can’t do it anymore. I bought 40 lbs. of apples for .59 a pound at Meijer. I picked 2 pints of raspberries from my dad’s bushes today. After 20 years I had 2 pumpkins grow! It was fun to put one on the porch! The other one of them rotted (something must have nibbled on it) and I left it there. Hoping it will self seed next year. I have lots of green cherry tomatoes. It was so hot this summer nothing bloomed. Suddenly they are setting fruit like crazy! I want to get some picked and stored before the frost comes. Gasoline is 3.35 per gallon here. I have a loyalty card that gives me .5 cents off per gallon. I am so glad fall sports end this week. Living 10 miles from town and running daily has really affected my gas budget. This week I am trying to catch up on laundry, bedding, and towels. Just glad we are feeling better and no one was hospitalized. We have had clear blue skies this week after 3 weeks of rain. So wonderful for the soul!

    1. That is what the tomatoes do here. They stop blooming by mid-June and don’t bloom again until mid-October. It’s too hot in between.

    1. Congratulations!

      I feel the same way about zucchini! I am going to pick the second one today!

      1. Brandy, zucchini are so easy to grow here that people groan if you try to give them away! There are even zucchini jokes, like “Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him to garden, and the whole neighborhood gets a zucchini” and things like that. Wish I could send a boatload your way in season!

        1. That would be wonderful here. I just keep trying, but I rarely have anything to show for it!

          1. Brandy, have you tried growing tromboncino squash during your cooler months? This is my first year growing them, and I’m pretty sure they are magic squash–something like Jack and the Beanstalk. I started the seeds in August, around here the temperature was around 90 degrees. We are now running around 70s in the daytime/40s at night and they are still trucking along — taking over my deck and an entire section of the garden.

            1. Yes I did. I only got one, and I didn’t care for the flavor.

              I had my cucumbers about the start setting, and then the wind came and destroyed them. A second wind storm this week destroyed any plants that were still hanging on. I am tearing things out this week and planting for fall instead.

              1. Brandy, did you eat the Zuchetta Rampicante/Trombocino as a soft squash or as a hard squash? They can be eaten both ways. We found the flavor was better as a soft squash–not so watery as zucchini, and more flavorful.

  30. Brandy, your soft pink roses are beautiful. I’m glad you had some rain but sorry that your garden took a beating from the strong winds. We have also shut off our central air system as the days have been in the low 70s and nights in low 60s. Our sprinkler system has been professionally winterized and turned off until next spring. The furnace has been serviced and ready for winter.

    We have recently returned from our 3 week vacation where we chose to drive instead of fly to our destination. It would have been thriftier to fly but by choosing to drive, along with seeing sights that we wanted to see along the way, we were able to visit with son #2 and dil who live in MD for several days and brought them many goodies (home made apple sauce, blueberry, peach and blackberry preserves, tomato sauce, salsa, pickles, a large afghan I knitted for their sofa, several books for dil and a bunch of Christmas gifts from us, dd, and my parents) that would have been expensive to ship and may not have reached them without some breakage as all the food items are in glass mason jars. They are planning to spend Thanksgiving with us, at which time they would have taken these and other items back with them, but since dil is expecting their first child in early February, we don’t want them to travel to us if anyone around us becomes ill. We were also able to visit for several days close friends who relocated to SC several yrs ago.

    In the garden, the cherry tomatoes are still going strong; picked the last bell peppers and zucchini and pulled up the plants even though they still have blooms as there won’t be enough time before the first frost which is usually the first week in Nov. Pulled the cuke, eggplants and the rest of the tomato plants. Despite all the rain this summer, our little garden was very productive and I’m going to miss gathering all the delicious veggies. Pruned the rose bushes and neatened the flower beds. Added chopped leaves to flower beds and raised veggie beds. Dug up the canna lily tubers. Transplanted hosta. Asters, mums, sedum, coxcomb and marigolds are blooming; hydrangea blossoms are fading to gorgeous hues; pulled up the zinnias (saved seeds), balsam (saved seeds), petunias, begonias. The goldfinches have been enjoying the coneflower seed pods and the stalks that are bare of seeds have been cut down. Dehydrated lots of basil and oregano; picked mints. Started basil seeds and rooting basil in water from existing plants to grow in our sunroom to have fresh basil all winter.

    Took the grandkids pumpkin picking, a maize and hayride; at their farm stand, bought delicata, carnival and butternut squashes and a bushel of apples to make apple sauce and for fresh eating, cornstalks and small bales of hay to decorate with (will use the hay around the roots of the roses and other shrubs to protect them from the cold when it gets colder). On the way home from vacation, we drove thru DE and visited my inlaws and stopped at several small farms both there and NJ where we bought pumpkins, gourds to decorate with, mums, sunflowers and 4 varieties of apples (a total of 1-1/2 bushels) –so lots of applesauce making and baking to be done.

    I was able to catch up on my magazine reading: Martha Stewart Living, Southern Living, Good Housekeeping, Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens. I clipped many recipes and am looking forward to trying them. Also caught up with business/financial magazines and will also be instituting some ideas as we plan our budget for next year and track our portfolio. Enjoyed reading the book Rise and Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick. It was also made into a Hallmark Movie which recently aired. Both the book and movie are heartwarming and the Washington State scenery is lovely.

  31. We were misinformed about insurance coverage by a representative of our insurance company, resulting in a $120-ish bill. I called and spoke to several different representatives over the course of time, and eventually, they listened to the recording of the phone call and they paid the charge. I’m really glad I stuck to it!

    My husband and I talked about the holidays, and this idea that’s floating around right now that ‘you better get your presents now’, because of supply chain issues. We determined that neither of us really has any wants or needs for Christmas, and after talking to our 16 year old, they are in a good place as well. Basically, we are going to plan an ‘experience’ Christmas for the three of us, where we make a gingerbread house, go on a Christmas light drive, decorate a tree outside for wildlife, etc. I imagine there will be some small gifts under the tree, but it’s not going to be a big factor in our holiday season. We usually send ‘treats’ to the grandparents, and will start setting aside things we can mail to them (that we know they like) pretty soon. I’m not sure what we’ll do for our neighbors, but I have a couple of ideas I’m considering.

    The 16 year old mentioned above just turned 16 today. It’s fall break here, so it’s a week off from school. I took the week off as well, and today, the three of us had a simple breakfast and opened presents at home this morning. Then, we took aluminum cans and scrap to the recycle center and used $20 of that money to go to the penny arcade. We had SO MUCH FUN, and we had change left over from the $20 when we were done. We played, giggled, took photos, and pooled all our ‘tickets’ from the day for a cute stuffed animal. We were going to have lunch at the snack stand, but a corn dog was $5. For $7, all three of us ate at Taco Bell (we brought drinks from home.) We had a nice dinner at home based on the meal they wanted – grilled steak, home fries, garden salad, and home made/decorated birthday cake. It was a really fun, affordable day. We also combined a couple of small errands, since the penny arcade is across the city and we were going right by some places.

    More day-to-day, I’ve been gradually losing some weight in the past year and a half, but that had slowed lately. This past week I made a point of taking half my supper as the next day’s work lunch. I had enough food at supper (even if I wanted a little more), and enough lunch the next day too. It made lunches that much easier to prepare, saved on the other food items that were being used at home, and the scale is going back down again too.

    We harvested 15 kabocha pumpkins from our garden. They are fairly small, but we’re a small family, so I think it’ll be fine. My husband got lots of great deals at the supermarket – he uses sales, rebates, and coupons to save. We made a menu adjustment one evening because there was quite a bit of milk left in the carton and the use-by date was getting close. I made a batch of potato soup, and he made some chocolate pudding. We had a small piece of leftover dinner sausage in the fridge, so I cut it into small bites and added it to the potato soup along with left over mixed vegetables from the night before. It was so tasty!

    I gave the husband and the kiddo haircuts last week. My husband washed and brushed out the little dog, and we trimmed his tummy fur, where it was getting long and tangled. We hung our laundry to dry on the clotheslines, and re-wore clothes until they need to be washed. I’ve found that my work clothes don’t really get dirty, so airing them out and hanging them up works fine.

  32. Hello Everyone!
    I finally hardened off my cool season veggies and planted them in 5 raised beds. I did it right before the blessed rain arrived!!! 💦 I planted kale, various varieties of lettuce, endive, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, aspabroc, cauliflower and cabbage. I planted several varieties of cabbage that ripen in 45, 60, 80 and 120 days to stagger harvest. Some of these varieties are new to me so we’ll see how it goes.

    I was able to harvest some tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, and green beans this week. I filled in produce holes at our Farmers Market. I haven’t been in years because of Covid and my personal garden. I was surprised at the prices and it made me resolute to keep my veggie garden producing!! 🥦🥬

    In addition, bread prices at the grocery store are $5-6/ loaf! I promptly went home and baked a large loaf of wheat-cornmeal sandwich bread and 16 dinner rolls. I also baked a batch of apple muffins using older apples and strawberry oat muffins with bruised strawberries. I made 3 quarts of cranberry almond granola, which I vacuum sealed for freshness as it gets eaten. Rotating through the freezer, I used the last of some diced ham to make split pea soup. I roasted a whole chicken for tonight’s dinner. Bones we’re saved for a future soup. Tomorrow we’re eating a variety of leftovers so we don’t waste.

    Gas was $4.15/gallon at Costco when I filled up Friday. 😬 I stay home as much as possible and strive to combine errands. Prices are definitely creeping higher in all areas. I recently read that natural gas is expected to rise 30% this winter, electric 6% and and propane up to 50%! We’re trying to acquire free wood for our wood stove to offset some heating costs.

    In addition, CA will require residents to either compost or place food scraps in the green bin next year. As a result, garbage costs are projected to increase 10% in 2022 to ensure compliance. 😕 Fortunately we have a compost bin. Unfortunately, it will take time for my family to learn a new habit.

    My new goal for fall is to start some perennial seeds indoors. I don’t need to start new veggies until January. This will save us quite a bit on spring landscaping projects and hopefully increase pollinators in our garden.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! 🤗

  33. The old books pictured with your roses are lovely. I like how you arrange vintage linens, books, and other lovelies with your flowers. I think it adds interest to the composition.
    I had a few successes this week for $ savings. I have retired from full time work but was rehired for part time teaching. I have worked since I was 17 & it is a bit unnerving to not receive a monthly paycheck.
    1. I found ten 24 oz cans of cooked pork w/ juices outside a dumpster. I think they were commodity food from a food bank. I think it is sad that food banks are giving away food & people just throw it away. Anyway I lugged them home to see what I could do w/ them. I defatted a can of pork & put in the crockpot w/ bbq sauce. It made tasty pulled pork bbq. I will need to research recipes for the other 9 cans that remain.
    2. I also found a case of 20 1lb bags of whole wheat elbow macaroni. They were boxed & in date. I thought of you Brandy. If I lived in Las Vegas I would have delivered it to you. I kept one bag & donated the rest to my church’s food bank.
    3. I read here of everyone’s forecast of supply chain issues. I bought a case of TP from Sam’s. I got the brand Brandy recommended. Sam’s ran an offer that awarded a 20$ gift card if you tried their curbside pickup. I bought the TP & will get the egift card in a few weeks.
    4. My sister is getting a divorce & her husband took many of her household items when he vacated her house. My trash picking hobby procured a microwave, toaster oven, silverware, and a toaster. Of course all were sanitized with sani-wipes, dishwasher, or whatever was required. She also lived at our house while the court decided on a date for him to leave her house. Not a pleasant situation but my 2nd hand items saved her from having to buy new things. My husband also fixed her dishwasher & changed the door locks.
    5. Frugal fail: I lost my phone while in FL last month. It was a refurbished phone so I was out 225$. I bought a another refurbished phone just a newer model for 240$. I surely would have been upset if I had lost a new phone. The newer iPhone models are 1k or more. (It was aggravation even to lose a 2nd hand one.)

    1. I’ve been out of the workforce for about two months. I’m feeling a bit out of sorts without that structure of my days, as well. I’m going to keep at it, though! 😁

      1. Give yourself some time to adjust and then decide what works best for you. I stayed retired for two years – enjoyed the first one but found myself restless the second year – and I started to spend too much time in front of the TV. I had all sorts of good intentions but found it hard to get going in the mornings.

        I started with a small PT job – graduated to 20 hours per week and now I work 25 per week – but at least two days from home – so that helps. It’s a good balance for me for now as it’s very flexible – the only times I HAVE to be in the office is Wed. and Thurs. mornings for about 4 hours – otherwise, it’s pretty much my schedule.

  34. I’ve been dealing with paper clutter recently (Flylady’s habit of the month) and going through every drawer and box there is. It’s fascinating to eventually find things you thought were missing… 😉

    We are also eating mostly from the pantry right now as there have been unexpected expenses.

    I lifted my spirits by decorating our tiny porch using things from our yard (last of the colorful branches and leaves, moss, big pinecones) and lanterns, an empty terracotta pot and a sparrow figurine I already had.

    We are expecting the first snow today! First snow announces ”The Grand Opening” of glögg (kind of mulled wine, with or without alcohol) Season. I am prepared for it as I love this time of the year (well I love almost any time of the year!)

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  35. Beautiful roses! I’ve enjoyed the few we had this summer.

    My biggest savings has been in fuel for my truck. I fueled on September 30 and then again today. Usually I am fueling weekly. I’ve stayed home more than normal because I injured my back lifting 45 pounds of wheat to bring into the house from the back of the truck because it was raining. I was unable to drive at all for a few days without being in great pain. Today it hurt to drive, but not as badly. Hopefully my back will continue to heal so I can get back to doing normal things. My son noticed that “a bomb went off” in the house; maybe he is noticing now what I do on usual days. I can dream!

    We found internet service that is faster and about 1/2 what we were paying. I got the router figured out and it’s so nice to have the higher speed. I won’t complain about the bill as much either! I did have to buy a new router, but it’ll pay for itself in under 3 months.

    I lent my food mill to a fellow canner for making applesauce. He brought me some apples and my grandbabes are thrilled to know he grew them. They are red delicious and a nice size for a snack.

    I rounded up scrap yarn for a project for Christmas. I’m going to have to crochet like crazy, but it’s something I enjoy.

    Here’s to a fabulous frugal week!

  36. 10/18
    * Got a free coffee using 7/11 app points.
    * The e-cargo bike has replaced our car for school runs and grocery shopping, which in turn has noticeably decreased our gas bill for the car.
    * Garden harvest has included apples, persimmons, pomegranates, and a few lingering peppers.
    * Free entertainment has included from library books and the wonderful iNaturalist app for identifying local flora and fauna.
    * I’ve learned from a couple of different permaculture teachers that you can intentionally introduce edible mushroom spores into your property and they might surprise you and “take” without any further cultivation on your part, so when I recently found some past-prime edible mushrooms on a road verge, I collected them, puréed them water and sugar, stirred the mix a couple times a day for a week, and then poured it in our garden mulch. Worse-case scenario it’s just weird extra water for the plants. Best case: next year, free mushroom harvest!
    * I’ve been cutting prunings from our grapevines, fig trees and similar into 18” lengths for use in rocket stove or for making biochar in the Weber kettle grill.
    * The kids are being tested weekly by their school district for COVID-19 for free, which is a nice savings of both time and money.
    * Watched the TV programs Maid on Netflix and Call the Midwife on PBS
    * Our oven door handle broke off after years of rattling slightly. I ordered replacement parts and learned how to remove the oven door and thoroughly cleaned the oven but I’m not sure I have the right tools to do the replacement myself. Even if we need help with the repair, it should be cheaper than replacing the whole appliance.
    * It’s actually rained a little here in Los Angeles so I’ve been using sprinkler rain delay to save water.

    Love what someone said above about describing “usual frugal stuff” that others might not consider usual.

    Here are some of mine:
    * I pee in the sheltered area near our compost bins whenever possible and wipe with washable cloth. It saves water in the house and adds nitrogen in the compost, and I enjoy being in nature.
    * Campho-Phenique is the cheapest/best bug-bite itch reliever you can buy. Put it on right after the bite or if it sneaks up on you scratch the bite to “open” it up so the camphor can get into your system to neutralize the irritant or however it works.
    * The book Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss has *great* recipes for homemade cleaners. I store them in reused glass vinegar bottles with spray tops either repurposed or purchased separately at Smart & Final.
    * We make sure to turn off the Internet router whenever we leave the house for more than 24 hours. We borrowed a Kill-a-Watt meter from the library and the router’s energy draw was one of the highest in the house!
    * Goji berries, loquats and Fuyu persimmons are crazy easy to grow if you have the right climate.
    * Tree collards and walking onions are also your garden friends.
    * Car stuff that’s dead easy: Replacing air filters, wiper fluid and recharging AC coolant. Don’t pay anybody to do this for you.
    * The Duracell Jump Starter tool (with USB port and flash light to boot!) was an incredibly good use of $65 for us. All our aging cars have fussy batteries and this thing has saved us so many AAA calls.
    * You need a kitchen fire extinguisher. Kitchen fires are usually grease fires and you need an extinguisher designed for that particular kind of fire. Most household fires start in the kitchen and losing stuff to a preventable conflagration is not frugal. Etc etc.
    * The app TurboScan has allowed me to eliminate so many cards and scraps of paper. I now only carry my DL and one debit card on me (in a little pocket attached to my phone case). Everything else is digital including transit card and insurance cards. I paid some small amount for it years ago and it has paid for itself many times over in increased efficiency etc.

    Love this blog and community. Keep up the great work everybody.

    1. Thanks for the mushroom information! We have grown shitake mushrooms in the past but have never heard of this trick. I will try it, for sure.
      I had to laugh at your habit of adding nitrogen to your compost pile. 🙂 My boys once told someone we pee outside more than we do inside. True, but maybe not something to share with non-like-minded others. 🙂
      Thanks for your comments!

  37. Hello Brandy and I am so glad you were able to stock up on so many grocery items on sales as it saves so much and a system we use here to keep our grocery costs down as well. Hope that all the garden plants survive with the severe chill you had there and so wonderful you were able to get the washing machine hinge part you required and can fix it yourself without buying a new washing machine and are able to paint all of your garden obelisks to save more money there 🙂 .

    We have had a lot of glorious rain here and our rainwater tanks are full and the property so green so not a lot of work done in the gardens last week.

    Our savings added up to $364.22 last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Made 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread maker saving $10.47 on buying locally.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch.

    Finances –
    – Banked more money into our home maintenance and 6 month emergency funds.
    – Paid an additional part mortgage payment off our mortgage to save both time and interest on the loan.

    Purchases –
    – From Coles we bought 8 tins of long life Harvest veges and meat and 5 kiwi fruit on specials saving $13 on usual costs.
    – From IGA on sale we bought 4 x natures organics conditioner and 3 x shampoo on sale saving $2.80 on usual prices.
    – From Woolworths we purchased on half price sale 8 x deodorants on half price sale saving $24 on usual prices. We were starting to run low as the half price specials seem to be further apart on these we noticed.
    – From Rivers on sales we purchased 4 cotton linen shirts and a flannelette sherpa jacket for DH saving $230.15 on usual prices. DH had had his eye on the jacket for sometime so I am glad I could get it for him at a good price.
    – Finally found another large steamer pot we have been looking for as quite often when we blanch and freeze our garden produce we can fill more than one. We managed to pick it up from Robins Kitchen on half price sale saving $79.99 on usual prices. These are like finding hens teeth in our local stores.

    Hope everyone has a wonderfully frugal week ahead 🙂 .

  38. I have also been working outside in our yard, trying to get things cleaned up before the fall rains hit. I dug things, moved and divided others, weeded, removed old plants, etc. for hours, several times, and still didn’t get it all done. But, the weed debris bin is full and they will haul it away in the morning and hopefully, I’ll fill it again before all the rain that is being predicted shows up. We need the rain badly, so I’m not complaining. It’s just more pleasant to do yardwork when it’s not raining:). I do fill compost bins in my back yard, but there are things I don’t want to sprout or take hold in my bins, so I send them off in the yard debris bin, like ivy cuttings.

    Our garden is almost finished, but I did pick a few things to eat. I also got a couple of bouquets from flowers that are still blooming. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    We had a young couple and their 2 small children over for lunch on the spur of the moment during the lunch hour of a missions conference we were attending. I was super glad for my “fast food” of home-canned tuna for some quick sandwiches, along with pjb sandwiches as well, the soup I’d made a day or two earlier with the frozen carton I’d put aside for later quickly thawed, and a jar of home-canned peaches and cookies pulled from the freezer from a batch I made about a month ago. We had a limited time before we had to be back for the afternoon session, but everyone got fed, the dog got let out, and neither family had to spend money to eat out, and I got to enjoy a baby and toddler I don’t usually get to see. We’ve known the young man since he was 5 years old. He played with our boys many times, and I just have to say his wife (whom I do not know well) is a delight. It give me so much pleasure when I see someone I’ve known since their childhood grow up and do well in life.

    I kept my nephew for several days and a couple of nights this week, as his mama was out of town for part of the week. My sister that is not his mama came over and played games with him, visited, and spent time with my grand babies and 2 of my daughters as well. She was here on the 4th of July when the littlest one was born, but has never seen him or held him. We took care of that! My husband also played games with our nephew several times during the week. We had a “party” one night while he was here and he was very happy with some special food treats, his choice of movie, and a few red decorations Patsy hung up. The dog got the most fun out of the balloons that were not used..she chased them down and popped them with her teeth. It was very entertaining for me to watch. My nephew chose a Netflix movie, which one of our daughters pays for, so the whole thing was very inexpensive.

    We took lots of walks. My sister and I even took the older baby out for a 2-mile stroller ride. It was good for all 3 of us.

    Not one day went by last week without an appointment, someone coming over (sometimes up to 6 people), the babies, niece and/or nephew, or the 2-day conference I mentioned previously. So, today, I cleaned. It was so, so messy, but now it looks nice. I save money by cleaning myself, and that’s wonderful, but the peace I receive by having a clean house is worth a lot to me as well. The people that come through my door are worth the most to me, but I will say it’s SO nice to have it ship-shape again because, trust me, they will start showing up again tomorrow:). And, now I’m ready.

    I cooked several things including re-fried beans, tacos, chicken soup, lemon-poppyseed muffins, and more. It’s pretty well gone, so I will cook again tomorrow. I like to cook a little extra and either freeze the overage for another day or have it on hand for the mob that shows up frequently around here. I love to cook and have plenty of food, now I just need to be creative with it.

  39. Hi Brandy and everyone
    You had a great week of money saving, so good that your electricity bill was lower. I’m looking forward to seeing the obelisks in your garden.
    We have had a prolonged period of gorgeous sunny days and even though we’ve now had high winds and rain it’s still mild so no need for heating yet.
    I cancelled a magazine subscription.
    I have been looking for a while for a necklace to go with blue clothing and found one brand new in a charity shop. It had its retail tag attached for £16 but I paid £3.
    I turned out a cupboard and discovered some treasures, a pack of Emery boards, hand cream and a fragrance spray.
    We used a £5 off £25 voucher to purchase some fencing supplies. My husband and son in law have fenced out our new garden patch, saving a lot of money on labour costs.
    The seed company we buy from had a flash sale, seeds were £1 a packet instead of £2.49 so my husband bought next year’s seed.
    We joined together with several other people to order wholesale autumn bulbs and shared the cost of delivery amongst everyone.
    We picked tomatoes, Swiss chard, apples, parsley and dahlia from the garden.
    I picked bay leaves and have them drying now.
    Several times over the last few weeks I have run short of milk and have used dried skim milk from the larder to tide us over until the milkman delivered.
    Our brother and sister in law rang unexpectedly and asked if they could call in to break a journey. I abandoned the meal I had planned because it wouldn’t stretch for two more and made a minestrone soup with fresh veg from the garden and larder ingredients and we had some homemade apple crumble and chocolate brownies on hand too. We gave them a big bag of apples and tomatoes.
    For UK readers David Austin have a 15% discount on bare root roses until 19 November, the code word is ROOTS.
    Stay safe everyone.

  40. I have continued to try to gather all I can in food storage. I found a ” what not to do”. I had put up shredded cheddar and mozzarella with my food saver. As it takes the air out it presses it all together. When it comes out if the freezer it doesn’t seperate, but stays compressed together. I was able to use it by shredding it again, but will put in ziploc bags from now on and get the air I can out.
    ***My kids were home through Monday and after going to the pantry and freezer my son began teasing me about how much food we had for 3 people living here now. I count it a success that I am making enough strides to be noticed:)
    ***I went to Sam’s and got two packs of chicken breasts, 2 packs of pork loin chops, 10 lbs ground beef, 10 lbs shredded cheese. & 3 lbs of smoked sausage to add to the freezer. We still have venison, but every other meat was getting low. I cut the chicken breasts in half since they are so thick and I double the servings.. I went to Costco to use my $47 yearly check and got my MIL’s eye vitamins on sale and a bag of candy for Halloween, and some cold/flu medicine, and Lego set for Christmas gift. We are not keeping the Costco card as it is just too far. I filled with gas also. I did a Walmart pick up on my way back home with other items I need. I am sure everyone knows, but I take a cooler with frozen small bottles of ice to keep items cool so I can go to multiple stores.
    ***I have not been able to find the lid to my water bath canner since we moved a year ago. I finally just ordered another canner for $20 and while waiting for it to be delivered my husband found the lid and another canner in the garage attic with our outdoor fryer pot. So, now I have 3 WB canners. I definitely need two, but not sure about 3. I may sell the 3rd. I ordered a new seal ring for my pressure canner and Instant Pot to have before they fail. I figured when I need them, they may be out of stock so I want to keep them in storage.
    ***I harvest okra daily. I have hoops and netting over my garden and something still chewed my broccoli and collard leaves down to the stem. I was sick to find it.
    ***They had city wide neighborhood sales in the town next to us. I got a shirt $1, a London Fog coat for $5, a large Transferware platter for $3, an antique bowl with 2 small matching vases for $5, Calling all Cooks cookbook for $1,
    ***News stated natural gas would go up 34%. We have a gas stove and fireplace. I was thinking I can add a steamer basket above my cooking pot and cook some items with residual heat.
    ***MIL won at dominoes and brought home a dozen yard eggs. She won another time and gave them to someone else. I saved cartons for her to take back to the woman who brings her eggs every week. I need to think of something else to send to her, MIL said she doesn’t have a lot of money.
    ***I shared some flower seed with a friend that always gives me tomatoes and peppers. She gifted me another basket of tomatoes, probably 4 pounds. I just put them in the freezer before we left for a trip. I will can them later.
    ***We took the camper near the hunting camp and husband went hunting. I took my sewing machine and worked in a quilt. We stayed on the lake and it was beautiful. The weather dripped to 46 at night and 60s and 70s during the day.
    ***I had a bad diet Dr Pepper habit, almost a 2 liter a day! I have successfully quit and am drinking water about 95%. I weened off drinking 1 to 2 glasses a day, which I think helped over going cold turkey.
    ***In October I am 30 months hair dye free. Except for in Dec 2019 I had my hair foiled and highlights put in and hair lightened to help the transition so you didn’t see the line as much. I used to go every 6 weeks to have it colored for $120, then use root spray between. So I have saved $2640-$350 when I had it lightened, so $2290 in 30 months. And so much chair time!
    ***We payed $500 additional to mortgage.
    ***I think of many purchases as a hedge against inflation: food storage, garden, dehydrator, canners, jars and lids, hobby notions, clothing, seed, I have two extra gas grill propane tanks, keep my car atleast half full of gas. The one good thing about clothes needed as I lose weight is if I can’t find smaller sizes I can cut and alter the ones I have if I need to.
    ***I always try to keep in mind ways I can bring in money if needed. I can sew or embroider, paint to redo furniture, dog sit, baby sit, trade seeds, bake, can food, sell items. I buy thrift items and sell for profit all the time. A big part is keeping up with prices and also knowing if those items are in short supply.

    1. Do you have central heat?

      Our last house here had a gas fireplace. We used it one evening and fell asleep in the living room. We woke up in the middle of the night and turned it off. Our bill was higher by $100!

      It was pretty to see, but it doesn’t heat the room.

      When we moved to this house, we tore out the gas fireplace and put in a window 🙂

      When I use the oven, I am trying to cook several things at once. I am also turning off the stove a minute or two before rice and pasta is done cooking, and several minutes before vegetables are done steaming. The vegetables will continue to cool with the lid on, and the pasta and rice will still soak up the hot water,

      1. we have central heat, we rarely use the fireplace. I mentioned it as being the only thing we have that is gas, other than the stove. It does put out good heat for warming up when we come from outside, but that is just turning it on 10 minutes to warm up and then we turn it back off. Our temperatures are pretty moderate in the winter.

        I wonder if our electric costs will also be going up. I have curtains cut out ready to sew. I am using velvet for the den and kitchen in long floor length panels. With lining they will be a good barrier.

      2. I forgot to mention that two of my kids and families came home for a wedding shower for my son’s fiancée. I was able to give them garden produce and my son wanted to take home strawberry plants, mint, spearmint and lemon verbena plants. It made me so happy to see and his wife be able to garden after 14 years of military housing, they are very eager to grow more food. When you can pass on the skills and love of growing your own food, it feels so good! We ate several meals from the garden with our family gatherings and then I pulled out my container of the seeds I am saving and shared with them! My kind of weekend!

      3. I learned from a friend from India that once noodles are put in the boiling water just put the lid on the pot and turn off the burner. Let is sit the required cooking time. If they are not quite done just let it sit a couple more minutes in the cooking water. We also have a propane fireplace in our home. Ours heats the main living area. I suppose there are various types of propane fireplaces out there? Some which heat and others for ambiance? We also have geothermal heating and air which really reduces our electric bill. It was expensive having it put in but the first year we got a $10,000 tax credit and our reduced power bills have really allowed us to recoop our investment. Our neighbors all have $500-600 monthly power bills. Ours average $175/ month and we are an all electric house.

        1. The fireplaces here are natural gas. It’s the same thing that runs my stove. There is not much heat unless you stand RIGHT in front of it, practically touching it. It’s not propane. Glad yours is warming. Ours was just for looks.

          Plus, our winters here are very mild. Our last frost date is February 15th.

          Geothermal heating sounds wonderful.

          Thank you for sharing about the noodles. I had long suspected that. That’s a great thing to know as utility prices are going up around the world.

    2. I had a Coke Zero habit! I would have 1-2 per day between noon-3 pm. I think it was an afternoon caffeine pick me up. I substitute with homemade iced tea and water. I’ve recently given it up. Much cheaper and healthier!!

      1. Good job cutting it out. I don’t drink coffee so it was my only caffeine. Being southern our tea is sweet, so I tried not to go back to sweet tea. Now I will make a half sweet and half u sweet tea with lemon for an occasional treat. But I really try to keep it at water. I got a diet Dr Pepper from McDonald’s while at garage sales Saturday and it tasted horrible to me. I poured it out.

    3. If you put a very small amount of cornstarch in your shredded cheese it will help prevent clumping — maybe 1/2 teaspoon, shaking up with the cheese before you freeze it.

  41. Last week I stocked up quite a bit. I had digital coupons for a free 2qt ice cream and a jar of spaghetti sauce at one store. At another store I had digital coupons for 2 free boxes of cereal. Used dh’s account and got another 2 boxes. Through ibotta I got a lot of boxes of rice and veggie burgers. The dr praegers were bogo at my store. I found $1 printable coupons that you can redeem on both and then there was $1 back through ibotta. The same store also had different quorn products on clearance for $2.40, with $2 back on ibotta. While all of these ibotta items cost me some money, it was money I earned from previous ibotta bonuses or rebates. I wound up with about 80 boxes. I stopped at a friends house and gave her 8 boxes, so that I didnt have to go right home, and she gave me a jar of skippy. I also redeemed points from fretch for a $25 walmart giftcard. I wanted to use it for a money making doritios deal, but the doritos were marked wrong and then walmart wouldnt let me use it on my items. I wound up using previous ibotta proceeds, and then used the gift certificate at Sams. I spent very little money out of pocket for groceries. I also went back to drinking black coffee. It wasnt to save money though, but it will. Im not losing any weight and I wonder if its the dairy and artificial sweetener stopping me. Dh’s insurance went into effect and I picked up 3 prescriptions. Wooohooo big drop in costs. I bought some bread and bagels at the bread outlet. I also cooked up a reasonable portion of beans in the instant pot and then made baked beans. It only lasted us 2 days. Sometimes when I do beans, we wind up eating it for 2 weeks. I cant think of anything else out of the usual things that I do.

  42. We’ve been so busy lately. We’re feeling the need to get as much done as possible before the weather turns frigid! A project that has been put off for years is a garage renovation. We have a very large garage that consists of 2 large “bays” (each with a garage door) and a small storage room. One bay is used for standard garage stuff like repairing cars, woodworking, etc.. The other bay has always been a catch all. The storage room is where we keep all of my craft supplies, our board games, all of the hand-me-downs for 8 kids, and party supplies. In the last few weeks, we divided the catch all bay into 2 rooms. One will be a rec room and the garage door will be taken out and replaced with a house door. The other is a pantry. Our home is small and we’ve always kept our extra freezers and shelf stable food in the garage (home canning is kept in the root cellar) but we now have a designated place with beautiful shelving, new wiring, lights, paint, etc. I’m so thankful for all the work my husband put into it! There are pictures in my garage reno stories on Instagram (sweet.simplicity. mom).

    ~I accepted clothing from 3 different people for my kids. Also accepted a gallon of cider. I found lots of markdowns at the grocery store and was able to shop at 3 bent and dent food stores. My freezers are very full and we are going to need to eat from them for a while before I can buy anything else.

    ~It is getting pretty cold but we haven’t needed heat yet. I’m grateful that we have enough wood for the winter and we didn’t need to buy any logs this year. I’ll have my husband clean the chimney today so we’ll be ready for fire when we need it.

    ~I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet, but I’m thinking I need to hurry up and get it done.

    1. Your photos are so beautiful, just seeing them has a calming effect!! I have been busy reading, brainstorming and shopping trying to be prepared for the predicted Issues this winter. Rising gas, food, heating costs and possible blackouts have been a challenge that I want to meet head on. I have been stocking up on beans and canned goods, produce that can overwinter, filling in gaps on clothing and gifts. I went to yard sales Saturday and found books for 70 cents a piece and got some Errector sets for a grandson. I found dress shirts at GW today for my hubby and it was senior day. I need a good warm pair of gloves and a good hat. I have also been stocking up on OTC supplements and first aid supplies. The garden is still producing lettuce, kale, radishes, beets, chard, and lemon verbena and mint. I am switching to hot tea in the morning and will be drying my stevia which is used a lot in teas. I am using clothes lines, making my laundry soap from ivy, cutting back on washing sheets to every 2 weeks. There are the little things too, cutting up envelopes for to do lists, composting , saving bags for trash can liners, holding out on turning on the heat, anything I can think of to make do, wear it out mentality. I love gleaning ideas here more than ever!

  43. In all of what I wrote about the garage I forgot to mention we did the pantry room renovation for only $300. We did the work ourselves and used locally cut and milled rough-cut lumber which saved us a lot of money. I expect it’ll pay for itself quickly just in allowing me to keep track of what I have better.

    1. Doesn’t it feel SO good to get those projects done that you have been thinking about for years!
      Sounds like a much better use of your space, especially since you were able to design it to work best for you.

  44. Hello everyone!

    I bought lots of apples for 59 cents per pound. They should last in the fridge for a few months. This is the cheapest price I have seen in quite awhile. We went apple picking at an orchard with some family from out of town. I bought the smallest bags available for my kids to have the experience. I was tempted to buy bigger bags because everyone else was but I didn’t and my kids didn’t even notice or care.

    It is getting colder here in the mid-west but we are resisting turning on the heat for as long as possible. I put flannel sheets on my daughter’s bed and will put the rest on the other beds this week. It makes a big difference in staying warm at night!

    I purchased a 1/4 beef to share with my parents. We usually buy it just for our family but decided to split it and eat more beans to save money.

    Have a great week everyone!

  45. Thrifty actions this week: composting fallen leaves, onion and banana peels, finished all seasonal gift shopping for birthdays, Advent, and ingredients used in Christmas baking. Made your tomato bread soup this week from left over tomatoes used for spaghetti. So simple and good!
    Beautiful pictures with post as always.

  46. Temperatures here have finally dropped and fall is in the air. I celebrated by turning off the HVAC and I am thrilled! I received by electric bill this month and it is over $100 less than it was last month thanks to temperatures dropping from the 90’s. Hurrah!! I am looking forward to lower bills for the next several months. I received a notice about a greener natural gas option and I called my provider. They informed that I don’t have to renew until April which is fantastic because the cost of natural gas per therm is almost double what we are paying now. I am praying that the costs will go down before we have to renew.
    I used digital coupons to purchase 7 pounds of pasta at Kroger for $0.49/pound. This is the first time I have seen this sale here and I was delighted. We have a year pf pasta in our food storage all purchased for the lowest possible prices! I also purchased some chicken for $0.80/lb and the limit of 5 pkgs of bacon for $4.99/each. The bacon went into my freezer for use at a later time as it is treat and Christmas is around the corner. I also bought several pounds of cheese while it was on sale.
    I took the opportunity to do an inventory of my large freezer to take stock of all we have on hand, what needs to be used and make plans to do so in preparation for holiday sales on turkeys and hams. I was happy to see that we have a great supply of garden veggies on hand – more than I remembered & we easily have enough meat on hand to avoid purchasing any more for the next few months. This will allow me to focus on other expenses and only choose to buy meats if they are at rock bottom prices.
    I have been trying to gather my family together for a bi-weekly family Sunday dinner. This has been quite a challenge lately with the pandemic and other family drama and issues. This past Sunday everyone gathered in my home for dinner and I cooked a lovely Italian dinner for all of us. I cried while cooking pots of pasta and a big lasagna for us. It was so wonderful to see everyone that I was just overwhelmed. I also stashed some sauce in the freezer for a quick meal down the road, used garden ingredients, and items from the freezer to prepare this meal. Everyone ate and went home with leftovers and we had leftovers as well. I admit I love that we have the chance to bless others with meals from our garden and food storage. My sister also brought me several mason jars including some very rare ones that I am excited to be able to use.
    I planted some herb seedlings that I picked up on sale including two mint plants, thyme and oregano. I harvested mustard greens along with another dozen green bell peppers. We lost all of our peas in the last week long rain that we had but I will harvest bok choy this week as well as kale, collard greens, another batch of mustard greens, basil and a few more peppers. I will sow seeds for green onions, bok choy and I will try some celery again.
    I used accumulated fuel points to save $0.50/gallon when I filled up my car at Kroger. I waited to fill up until I was nearly empty to maximize the savings. I have noticed some digital deals that allow you to double fuel points so I watching for those to come through so that I can add them onto my card. We used the last of a 50lb bag of yellow onions purchased from the farmers market over the summer so I will be planning a trip there to purchase another bag along with some other items that can be stocked away such as apples, oranges & potatoes if prices are good. I am hoping to find some good prices on oranges so that I can make some orange marmalade for holiday gifts this year.
    Brandy – thank you so much for this blog. It is such an encouragement & I am truly grateful to you!!
    Blessings to everyone this week!

  47. It took almost two months but my request for The Last Bookshop In London finally came in at the library! Just started reading it yesterday. Thank you to whomever had suggested this book 😊

    The holidays are fast approaching. I purchased a few Christmas gifts for my girls last week. Trying to get that done as soon as possible because so many articles have said there will be shortages on items and to start getting them now.

    My oldest daughter had a 4 day weekend off from school recently. We wanted to go to the San Diego Zoo/Wild Animal Park but for 4 people it would have cost almost $200 just to get into the park. Instead, we went to our local zoo (didn’t even know we had one!) and it was $2 a person plus $3 parking. You can’t beat $11!! It is a very tiny zoo so you don’t see a ton of animals but we all enjoyed it 😊

  48. I resisted fast food on a day when I was so busy and home late. I made boxed mac and cheese instead for myself and my son. I planted garlic and onions, for a harvest next year (hopefully!). I dug up all my dahlia tubers. Each tuber has put forth many new tubers. I rinsed them and am drying them out, and then I will separate and store them for spring planting. I bought extra rice from Costco. I am tutoring, and now have 8 hours/week scheduled. I bought a small electric space heater- our heat is gas, and I read on the news last week that gas prices are going up by 54% this winter. I have it on now and am toasty in the family room- and the rest of the house can be kept much cooler. I cleaned and weeded the yard. I also purchased batteries (sale, costco) and 3 small battery-run lanterns. I got those ready, and put new batteries in the flashlights as well. Now for future power outages we are more prepared.

    1. If you have natural gas, the rates are only going up as much as the Public Utilities Commission of your state will allow. Ditto for electricity rates. If you use propane (LP) or heating oil, your cost will go up as much as the market will bear…which could be quite a lot. I live in a place with low electricity and natural gas rates (comparatively speaking). I expect them to go up, but not as much as propane and heating oil will increase. I will be surprised if electricity becomes cheaper than natural gas, but I’ve been surprised before. And, in the ’60s and ’70s, electricity was the cheapest. This would be the year to invest in weatherization, if you can. This includes extra blankets and long underwear!

  49. Your roses take my breath away! We are blessed with numerous wild roses on our property. During the early part of the 20th century, many farmers here planted them in fields as natural fencing. They did not anticipate that they would spread so many here look at roses in the middle of their cattle fields as nuisances, now. We clear them from any working areas or walking paths but leave them at the forest edges and wherever else we can. They have a heavenly scent in Spring and just seem at home here. I have long wanted to grow New Dawn roses on a fence or trellis and one day, I will! Your photos inspire me to try more formal rose gardening.
    Christmas gifts for our boys were taken care of this week with our local ski resort’s pre-season sale. Snowboarding is their sport of choice and it is not the most frugal activity. However, they love it and do not do any other expensive activities so we try to support them. Our frugal approach is to attend the pre-season sale and buy the gear they needed (and that which could not be found in thrift stores or elsewhere – believe me, I looked!) and for grandparents to chip in for their season passes (also purchased with a pre-season discount.) Doing all this makes it much more reasonable and we all enjoy their enjoyment. My boys can also sled or snowboard essentially from our front door when we have a good snow so their gear can be used at home, too. The gear we bought will, with luck, work for them for this season and next so that will help with next year’s expenses.
    While visiting my in-laws, I stocked up on a few things at Aldi. No chicken or turkey there at all. We will feast with my parents on Thanksgiving Day and they were able to get a turkey from their military commissary, fortunately.
    We are heavy into winterizing activities on our property, all of which saves money in terms of keeping things in good running order, keeping animals healthy, and keeping us warm. Slowly continuing with painting the interior of our house which we can continue when outside tasks are put to bed. Had a good garden year though the boys’ pumpkin patch (which they often make a tidy sum from) did not do as well as usual thanks to a voracious groundhog. Oh, well. They got enough for us to enjoy as well as family and neighbors. Next year, we will try to trap and relocate the groundhog early!
    I also read “Below Stairs” and could certainly see its’ influence on Downton Abbey. It has been long enough since i watched the series I have started doing so again when I fold laundry. Also finished “The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year” by Susan Hill and loved it. Currently reading “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig, which is very thought-provoking. Reading “I Wanted to Be a Pilot: The Making of a Tuskegee Airman” by Franklin Macon to my boys. He is very honest about his struggles with dyslexia as a child when such things were not recognized. Both of my boys have similar struggles and we are finding his story very inspiring and encouraging.
    Enjoying the cooler weather as it brings out my love of making soups. Somehow, I find cooking in cooler weather much easier as almost anything can be made into a soup. I could eat it every day and am enjoying trying a few new recipes I have found on-line. Good way to use up bits and pieces in the garden and refrigerator, too.
    Headed out for a hike through the woods with my boys and their grandparents this afternoon. One of my favorite free things to do!
    A beautiful week to one and all!

      1. White Flower Farm has New Dawn climbers for $29 BUT they are sold out for the fall season AND I don’t know how their shipping costs compare to David Austin. (I do know from experience that you can’t beat DA’s guarantee). I had two New Dawns (from WFF) at my other house. After seeing a picture in a British gardening book, I bought two Jackmanii clematis and planted them with the roses in the hope they would twine around each other, per the picture. They didn’t. The clematis covered the roses and they only bloomed simultaneously for a short period of time. Just sayin’! (New Dawn does not require anything else to be beautiful).

  50. It’s been raining and and the weather is cooler, so we have the furnace turned on but keep it at 68 degrees. With socks and two layers, it’s comfortable. And it makes for great snuggling at night!
    * I made rosemary, walnut, and olive whole wheat bread, banana nut bread with browning bananas, and cooked most of our meals.
    * After reading last weeks comments, I stopped at Sam’s club during my day of errands and stocked up on toilet paper. It seems to have gone up $5 for a large multipack.
    * A friend gave me five pounds of carrots from her garden!
    * I made a batch of vegetable soup stock from veggie scraps that I keep in the freezer.
    * I started making a sweater, the yarn and pattern given to me from a friend who had too much stuff in her stash. It’s a lovely design. The cost for materials alone was $105!

    Does anyone else struggle finding balance between buying and storing items to use for the long run and dealing with clutter? They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I find that if I buy things that are affordable to have them “just in case” I feel more stress having to maintain those things than not having them in my home. For example, last week I stopped at a craft thrift store where they had fabric for $1 a large brown bag. I filled a bag, then checked with a quilter friend of mine who wasn’t interested in it. (I would have sent it to Gardenpat but the cost to send would have been a lot!). I ultimately decided not to buy it. It was in my budget, but I would have to find a use for it and it would add to the long list of things I am trying to finish up or find a new home for. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Thanks for all of your comments!

    1. Yes! That’s why I am going through the children’s clothing. I usually keep it to one box per size, and I had lots of clothing for my two youngest. My mom decided to buy them all new wardrobes at garage sales, and someone else gave us a ton of hand-me-downs as well. I am trying to put things together to have garage ale, as I just don’t need so much stuff. There is no place for it and it is sitting in a huge pile in my bedroom.

      We also have too many toys now from my mom’s Christmas gifts from garage sales that are sitting around not being used.

      I have struggled with fabric for the same reason. I was given a ton–enough to fill an entire room. I gave away a bunch to a woman who used it to make quilts for charity, but I still have more than I can use, and there is no place for it in my sewing room.

      It’s not a good deal if there isn’t a place to put it or it’s more than I need.

      There has to be a place for it.

      1. Thanks for that sentence of “it’s not a good deal if I don’t need it and don’t have a place to put it or is more than I need.” I have to keep that in mind. I am happy to get things for friends or family who could use those things if I have no need.

  51. The comments are a treasure trove of inspiration and motivation – wow! Thanks everyone! Prices are rising horribly, I actually cannot believe how much things have gone up.

    After a period of exhaustion which I just couldn’t shake, my husband booked us an Air BnB at the coast for a few days. It was really lovely and I am feeling much better. To keep it affordable, we took food from the pantry at home and kept meals simple. We did eat in restaurants twice but chose carefully off the menu and had no remorse. When we were getting ready to leave, I thought I’d buy some granola to take along as I hadn’t made any in a while. I usually make it myself (using Brandy’s recipe) and couldn’t bring myself to pay the price at the supermarket, so hurried home and quickly made a large batch of it! It is so much cheaper, and actually nicer too.

    My son needed to see a doctor for a bad ear infection. I used a doctor from within our insurance network and I worked with the pharmacist to get brands of the medication prescribed that were also covered by insurance. After a year of huge medical costs, this was a massive blessing! Our daughter is slowly recovering from her COVID-related stroke but the costs of the medication and neurologist are not covered by our insurance.

    We have been buying small, inexpensive gifts for birthdays and Christmas whenever we find something suitable. Today it was several reading books for pennies a piece while I was in the thrift store to look for sheets. Ours (almost all of which were secondhand but lasted about 20 years) have been wearing through and I am without any spares. I found 3 single bed sheets in excellent condition for the cost of what 1 new sheet would be.

    I’ve also started making a few gifts – scrunchies, miniature knitted stockings, shorts and dresses using materials on hand.

    I am working like never before on the garden. We are harvesting several huge bunches of Swiss chard every week (I give a lot away), as well as celery, green onions, lettuce, carrots and a cabbage every few days. I have 64 tomato plants in (Roma, pomadoro, yellow pear, and cherry), and our first zucchini from our 8 plants will be ready later this week. I also have green beans, Hubbard squash, butternut, Patti pan squash and cucumbers growing very well, and the eggplant and capsicum seeds have germinated in our little greenhouse. At the start of October I started keeping a journal of everything we are harvesting in anticipation of good harvests. We use only compost from our worm bins and compost heaps and some stable waste from the riding school. I mulch heavily with the waste from our pet bunny cage which helps condition the soil while reducing evaporation.

    A friend has been giving us a few eggs from his hens every week. I’ve been planning my cooking and baking more purposefully to maximise the use of a heated oven. We catch water while waiting for it to heat up – always a minimum of 3 litres – and use this for cleaning or in the garden. Buckets in the shower flush the toilets. Lights and switches are getting turned off militantly! I hang bath towels up outside every day, the strong African sun freshens them up nicely and drastically reduces how often they need to be laundered. My husband has been reusing his coffee filters. I like strong tea but the children have to use their teabags twice.

    We are planning a long trip next year, not entirely a vacation as my husband will work remotely while we spend time in an area of our country that we believe will offer a lot of educational experiences for the children, but we will need to save quite a lot to make it happen. I’m more motivated than ever to make every cent count.

  52. Thank you, as always, Brandy, for hosting this special blog community.

    It was bulk trash this week and I found an unopened container of Barkeeper’s Friend which we use to scour our stainless counters. In the same place was a plastic bin with about 8 containers (sample size) and 2 (quart size) of paint. I kept the colors I liked for mixing with other paint for future projects. I was able to use the brilliant blue-green to paint the top of a flimsy but useful oak cabinet in our rental property. I’d already painted the bottom with paint I had. I often go to Habitat for Humanity for left-over paint and that’s where I’ll donate the colors we won’t use.
    I’m finally going to have my plant sale this Sunday so I’ve been potting up self-sown permaculture plants and organizing the ornamental ones. It will be nice to make some money from the plants, but even nicer to get rid of them. I find it impossible to throw plants away and do give the very easy ones away on CraigsList.

    The organization we volunteer for doesn’t use many cruciferous vegetables. We got several bags of Brussells sprouts which we roasted, as well as some shredded cabbage and whole cauliflowers. We batter the cauliflower florets, put hot sauce on, and roast. It’s great!
    I did the arithmetic and figured out it’s cheaper to buy a case of almond butter in glass jars (we prefer glass anyway) than to buy a large plastic tub. The smaller jars will be easier to store. We don’t eat peanuts and don’t buy animal products (except for the carnivore pets) so almond butter, though expensive, is a good protein source.
    We bought some more glass jars for food storage in our attic.
    Last night we didn’t use our ceiling fan for the first time since probably June. We don’t use AC so it’s clear when weather here has gotten noticeably cooler.
    I hope everyone has a happy week!

  53. I attended a women’s conference at church this past weekend. There was a fee to attend but they served dinner, dessert and breakfast along with snacks that were excellent. I felt more encouraged about church and personally so definitely worth the price.
    A local automotive repair shop that is normally closed on the weekends, held an event for single parents or anyone in need. They changed the oil and did a routine inspection on my car along with a car wash for free! They served tons of food and drinks and had activities for the kids. The best part was meeting a young lady named Abby. She told me she was living off her savings and raising funds to become a missionary and asked if she could pray over me.
    It was a great week for freebie shopping using coupons and rebate apps like Ibotta. My toiletries are stocking up and I am going to need to come up with a better storage system.
    I submitted a Field Agent job where they paid you $5 and reimbursed you $15 for a Walmart grocery pickup order. I combined it with Ibotta rebates to only pay $4.89 for $35 worth of items! I used it to stock up on cleaning products, allergy meds and ground turkey.
    I used a $15/$35 off offer from Instacart to pickup groceries at Aldi that were needed for the week plus stock up on a few of their brand items we like.
    I am still going through all of my girls clothes and shoes as the seasons change, I listed many items I know they will not wear or have outgrown. The proceeds are going toward the cost of professional pictures this weekend. I chose the cheapest mini session package the photographer had. These will be my present to myself as well as grandparents.
    We had quite the cool down this past weekend, so I opened windows and didn’t use air conditioning for 2.5 days. We had some rain so I turned the sprinklers off for a few days.
    I continue to use warm up water to fill the pool. I also continue to monitor our electricity usage. Year over year, the last billing cycle stated it was 5 degrees warmer and we used 18% less electricity. I understand that one less person is living in the house now but I still call this a success as the temperatures were higher.

  54. -My daughter bought a package at the local pumpkin farm for a group. It was Friday night and they shut the farm down except for the group. We celebrated 2 of the kids birthdays. Kids had fun-corn maze, petting zoo, farm machinery made into a playground, hayride to go out and pick out pumpkins. Supper was included-hotdogs, chips, a drink, and a Rice Krispie bar. I bought 3 small pumpkin pie pumpkins for $2.50 each. Also they had many squash for $2 each, I bought several varieties to try. I will go back there next year for my squash and pumpkins.

    -Cooked the pumpkin pie pumpkins in the oven. I used a knife to make several vent holes and baked them in the oven whole. When they were soft I removed them from the oven to cool. I pulled off the stems (to use as a stem on some fabric pumpkins I want to make). Scooped out the seeds and washed them and made spiced honey roasted pumpkin seeds, yum! Then scooped out the flesh and froze in 2 cup portions for the freezer. I froze 12 packages. So for $7.50 and about 1/2 hr hands on I have 12 portions ($0.63 each) of pumpkin in my freezer.

    -Canned 7 more pints of apple sauce. Rest of the honey crisps are in the 2 crisper drawers in the refrigerator. We picked 18 five gallon buckets of apples this year off our 4 trees!! I am glad we are done with the apples. The honey crisps will keep until Jan or February-refrigerated. We will be eating lots fresh and muffins, cakes, pies, sweet and sour red cabbage and apples, and cooked spiced apples. Best way to save money, eat in season.

    -Flower beds were weeded and outside fall decor put out-pumpkins, mums, and some corn stalks. Weather is finally cooling off, we had our first frost this week. It is a month later than average so nice extended growing season.

    -Found 2 pairs of jeans both in very good shape at the thrift store for $9 for both. I now have 4 pair and will be good. Now that I am retired and I don’t need much for dress, I wear pretty casual clothes. Jeans and flannel shirts or sweatshirts.

    -We have not had to have the baseboard heat on or start the wood stove as of yet either so that is huge for us. My goal every year is to not do this until October 1, but we are mid October so cost savings for us.

    -Happened on a large garage sale. They were selling boxes of items for $2 or $3. Lots of stuff, much I didn’t need. I did spend $2. $0.50 on a set of 3 belts (made of canvas webbing)-new in the package. I will use these for handles on some handmade cloth bags. I also got a name brand jean type jacket and a front button fleece jacket- both for $1.50.

    -I spent $12.00 at a thrift store. I bought a yard of upholstery fabric with a yellow background with cabbage roses in fall colors and a vest in yellow waffle weave material. I will be making pumpkins from these, using the stems I dried from the pumpkins. I have 2 friends with birthdays in November and these will be gifts. I have the poly fiber fill and twine to complete these. I also got a beautiful vintage hand embroidered tablecloth with orange roses and greenery. Looks beautiful on my table. And lastly a handmade ceramic turkey for my fall decor.

    Have a great week!!

  55. The weather has cooled down a bit here after a fairly warm October. Even though it has been chilly in the morning I have held off on putting the heat on. We have a gas furnace and with soaring natural gas prices, I want to use it only when really necessary and keep it set at a fairly low temperature. My husband has been busy chopping wood we received through our buy nothing group so we will have a good supply of wood for the fireplace this year.

    The price of gas for the car is also soaring here so I am trying to only go out two or three days a week and combine errands when I do go. We did go to our local resale store last week and sold $97 worth of clothing so it was worth the little longer trip for more money for future groceries. I have more bottles to return that I received through our buy nothing group so that will also be a little money for the future.

    I have picked up some useful things from our buy nothing group this week including hand soap, bubblebath, toothpaste and some new cross stitch materials that I will turn into presents. I either walk to pick these things up or stop when I am already running other errands.

    It really feels like we are in full winter preparation mode at the moment! I hope everyone is having a frugal week in their part of the world!

  56. I love reading about everyone’s accomplishments! All these small actions add up and make such a difference. And I’m glad that you were able to find a few good grocery deals, Brandy!

    My frugal week:
    – I made some pickled beets (http://approachingfood.com/easy-mennonite-pickled-beets/) Inexpensive, healthy, and my toddler actually prefers them over (homemade) French fries.
    – I made pizza using my balcony-grown basil. I will never stop being thankful for being able to show my daughters how food is grown and that we can grow our own food, no matter the size of our space. 
    – I also picked hot peppers and parsley from my parents garden.
    – I baked soda bread and brownies (I make cocoa-based brownies which are less expensive than recipes that call for baking chocolate). I used up the very last of the Christmas chocolate I was given last year, as a mix-in. I also baked a chocolate snack cake.
    – I picked up a free item from Loblaws (frozen pizza) and at the same time picked up some flash food items (discounted groceries ) from the same location (chicken and peameal bacon-style pork). 
    – I used homemade chicken stock and the homegrown parsley to make a truly delicious chicken soup. I take such pleasure in turning scraps of food into delicious meals that my family enjoys. 
    – I used leftover chicken to make chicken salad sandwiches for my daughter and a guest, and the next day made chickpea salad sandwiches. 
    – I made homemade applesauce to feed to my baby, as well as butternut squash puree. I also used both to make pumpkin spice muffins (technically butternut squash spice!)
    – I made butternut squash soup with the very last of the squash. That was one useful squash!
    – I used some of the discounted chicken I bought, to make Brandy’s museum pasta salad. We ate it as a picnic in a park en route to the library on the weekend. A fun and frugal outing!
    – I mended a hole in a pair of pants.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  57. I paid all bills online except for 3…these I write checks for every month. I use there envelopes…free to me. My husband uses his stamps…again free to me.
    I quit using Venmo because they charged me for sending money. They sent me a message saying if I signed up again they would give me $10.00. That ten is in my bank account as we speak. My grandson likes sending money through Venmo so I get ten dollars and he can send me money to buy things for him. Win…win for me.
    Some of my mint is going to seed. We went out a few minutes ago and saved the seeds. We will plant them for more plants.
    We are drying mint, sage and rosemary from the garden.
    I’m crocheting more hats for my newest family member. He will be born in December. All of my yarn is gifted to me or I buy them at deep sales.
    Lyric, one of my daughters, brought fancy muffins for all of us. She is a professional baker and has taken a new job. These muffins cost $5.00 each. There is no way I would spend that much money on a muffin. It was pretty to look at and delicious to eat.
    Jake brought us a watermelon he grew.
    My oldest daughter has bought a new bed frame for me. I have a wooden 4-poster bed that is lovely to look at, but the fame is broken at the foot end of it. I will be putting this bed into storage I guess and using the metal frame for now.
    I was talking about having to hire someone to clean my yard of some huge weeds that are taking over. The bids were in the $100.00+ area. My 14 year old grandson came to me and said, “Mom-Mom, if you buy a weed-whacker and some loopers I will do your yard work for you.”. So I got them and some safety glasses and ZE is doing to work. The initial outlay is a bit more, but not by much and he told me he wanted to start a yard service so he can make some money. I will encourage this every way I can.
    I sold a few more items of Etsy last week.
    I am now going to sew pj bottoms for all of my kids. I have enough fabric that I can sew without buying anything.
    That’s all for this week…I think.
    I love your pictures Brandy.

  58. My husband and son volunteered at an Order of the Arrow “ox roast” (really beef) and brought home probably ten pounds of left over meat and 2 containers of gravy. Some are being used for dinner tonight with my family and my mom, and the rest will be divided into serving sizes and frozen. We have started Christmas shopping and received our Christmas club, so we will do some shopping this week when we go to the larger town (city to us) for my doctor’s appointment. I have received over $200 in cash or gift cards with points from Ibotta, Fetch, and our gas station. We also took our change to the bank to change into ready cash for shopping, too. 🙂 On Sunday, when the boys were gone, I had simple food for myself – toast and jelly for breakfast, a baked potato for lunch, and leftovers for supper. I spent the day cleaning, reading, and stitching a present for a friend – it was so relaxing!

    1. Alice, I was a child in the 1950s and I remember Christmas Clubs. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember that the accumulated funds were given to the savers around the first of December when most people started their Christmas shopping. I find it interesting and amusing that most of us start shopping months before the holiday and some people shop all year around.

      1. In Oregon, property taxes are due Nov. 15 and May 15, or at least they were when we lived there. I used to have automatic withdrawals from our checking account to fund a Christmas club account, which paid a little higher interest. You got a check around the first of November, maybe a little before. This paid our property taxes for a whole year (saving 3% by paying all at once) and left enough for Christmas, too. Perfect timing, and I never came up short for either one.

  59. I found your post very inspiring this week – more that it usually does each week. Thank you. And I love the pictures. Are those peonies? They look similar. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers each spring.

    *We still battling Covid at our house. My husband is quite sick and is now on oxygen. We had to make a run to the ER. Not frugal – but what was frugal was that he got great care to help him get better and not worse. Also being kind to the hospital staff cost nothing but meant everything to me. The doctor and nurse kept saying thank you for the kindness and being patient and not yelling at them. It costs nothing to be grateful for their hard work and caring during our time there.

    *I felt well enough for a few hours and made up food with fridge items that would be going bad if not used. I made ham fried rice with last of deli ham, red pepper, green onions. I made hard boiled eggs for easy snacks. I also made up a broccoli potato cheese soup by mixing the last of potato soup with the last of broccoli and cheese, last bit of milk and sour cream. We had food to get us through the next few days. Sandwiches for lunch were grilled cheese or peanut butter and jam. We made smoothies from the fruit I froze from this past summer. We also had canned soup to go with our sandwiches or did cheese/crackers or peanut butter and crackers. Made a green salad with last of lettuce, cabbage, garden tomatoes, red onion and carrots.

    *Another day I had enough energy to go and pick the last of the tomatoes and find my potatoes underground. I filled a bucket of potatoes and one bucket of red/green tomatoes. I had to leave them in our shed for a day or two until I can bring them in the house. I’d like to plant my potatoes in buckets next year. We have lots of leftover white frosting buckets that I could use. My husband has offered to rig a watering drip line to them. It would be easier to put dirt on top of the growing plants. The potatoes taste amazing. It would also free up space for other plants in the garden. My husband wants to add another garden bed on the south side of the house for next year.

    *I pulled out most of my annual flowers. My hollyhocks are still blooming as is my two Rose of Sharon bushes. I have two pine type trees in my flower bed. I’m spreading the needles out into other parts of the bed. I’m also leaving the flower leaves in for mulch. I’m going to get mulch/compost to put in the flowerbeds to top all the leaves and grass I’m putting in when we mow the yard for the last time. We’ve been putting grass in our garden all summer and will add a mulch of leaves as well. My flowerbeds have parts that the soil has hardened back into clay. I neglected it, but have been adding stuff to it this past spring and will add more this fall.

    *I read a library book and watched streaming shows for entertainment. I was able to watch my church meeting on a zoom link. My therapy is done online as well – which is super nice when I’m not wanting to leave the house with the sickness. I’ve been journaling everyday and using different colored pens to do a mind dump. I plugged in our twinkle lights on our back deck that I got on sale. It’s wonderful to sit out there in the twilight or when it’s cloudy to add some light. I’ve lit candles on cloudy days and turned on our twinkle lights that are inside the house.

    *I got the last of peaches, plums and bartlett pears from my local store for 50c/lb. There were only about 8 that I was able to buy at that price. But they have been perfect for us to eat as they ripen. I got cucumbers 2/$1 and a red pepper for 50c. I used the Kroger pickup last week. They had to substitute several items that were higher priced for the ones out of stock. They also took my coupons for the items they didn’t have in stock and had substituted a higher priced item. I submitted the receipt for Ibotta and Fetch. I got free orange juice and bread. I bought cheese, eggs and butter on sale and was able to use a few coupons there. Every little bit helps. Again, kindness went a long way. They were super busy at pickup and I had to wait 25 minutes. But I was patient and kind and expressed gratitude for their help. That cost nothing but I was rewarded in smiles and thank you.

    *We have been extremely blessed with heavy rains this past week. The cooler temps have been wonderful! I’ve opened the windows. I did have to turn on the heat because of sick ones – but how grateful I am that we have our home and heat to use.

    *Although it has been very difficult to have Covid in our home it is not as hard as it could be if we didn’t have our home paid off, no car loans, no debt, our food storage and plenty of savings. I don’t say this to brag. It’s actually quite humbling to me. We have followed the counsel of our living prophet and other wise counsel. But Brandy’s site and all of you who contribute have kept inspiring me to look for new ways to save. I turn off lights, unplug unused items, have a garden, can and save food, re-use leftovers, combine errands, utilize my local library and always search for the best price if I do have to buy something. Holidays are fun but done much more frugally. School clothes are practical with a few fun things bought at a discount. We stock up on medicine for illnesses. We practice enjoying the simple things. And sometimes the best price is just in waiting for the item or discovering a way to do without or another imaginative way to make it work.

    *I am so grateful for this community of frugal people. Thank you for all of you who contribute and help me to look for solutions that cost little/nothing instead of throwing my money at it. I truly wish all of you a great, frugal week.

    1. They are roses! They are tiny. I hear they get bigger as the plant gets older, but right now they are very small.

      Peonies like cold winters and cooler temperatures than we get here.

      I hope you all continue to recover. Wishing you and your family the best.

  60. The weather has been unbelievable here in Minnesota this week…a little warmer than usual so no heat needed, but not so hot as to need the A/C.
    *Our church is participating in a huge food drive for food banks in the Twin Cities area. We are planning to donate, but also dropped off bags at our neighbors homes, offering to come collect the bag of food on Friday, if they want to participate. We got a good response from some neighbors, so we are hopeful. I’m putting in a special Walmart order for our donations. Our budget for the donation is above the minimum requirement, so their won’t be an extra charge.
    *Utilizing the library by requesting all the books suggested here, as well as some by a couple favorite authors. So thankful for the library.
    *Working hard on crocheting, knitting and sewing Christmas gifts. My son is driving out west to visit his sister so I’m really pushing to finish all the gifts for that family so he can drive them. One is a large heavy afghan so it will be a real money saver to be able to send it with him instead of shipping.
    *Husband and I had a conversation about the budget for Christmas gifts this year. We are reducing it some from last year because with five kids, their five partners and four grandchildren, it’s getting to be a lot of people and we want to be very mindful of our spending. We can still have more than a nice Christmas for our budget, and we don’t feel out of control. Each adult will get something homemade, a modest gift and a modest gift card. The grandchildren will also get three gifts: a small something homemade, a book and a modest toy. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s still 42 gifts just for our family. Whew. We want to remember the Reason for the Season most of all. It’s fun to be working on making the gifts.
    *My husband has been thinking of buying his own pressure washer. He looked around then remembered his rewards point program at work. He had enough points for both of the washers available so he researched both and decided to choose the one for fewer points because it will suit our needs better (we don’t need a large one). I know things bought with his points aren’t necessarily “free”…he works hard for them…but it is nice to not spend cash for these big ticket items. I’m grateful for how well he does his job.
    *I’ve been trying so hard to make more meals at home. Cooking is difficult for me sometimes, so I’ve been freezing extra portions. Tonight, for example, I got some homemade meat sauce out to put over some spaghetti for myself for dinner. Hubby is out of town and son is working. It would have been easy to drive-through so I’m proud of myself. This will taste better and be better for my health and budget.
    I hope everyone has a great week. This is my favorite place on the internet and I look forward to reading every week. Thank you, dear Brandy, for all you do for us here. I know it’s a lot of work and I want you to know that I really appreciate you!

  61. It has been a busy week both at home and the office – and it also seems to have been a week of aggravations! But – I have survived! 🙂
    My pipe under the kitchen sink has started to leak – luckily I live in a rental apt. so the building plumber will take care of it. I’ll get him set up for next Monday or Tuesday when I’m working from home as I don’t like people in when I’m not here. I am just babying things along until then.

    I also broke a tooth! It is a back tooth that they have been trying to save for years with building up the filling but I knew it was just a matter of time. It cracked and then the top filling fell out in one solid chunk. Luckily the old under filling has stayed in place so I am able to brush and there is no pain. I know that it will mean a referral to have it pulled so I’m just putting it off for now – more for the aggravation factor than the financial one as I have insurance that will cover most of it. It’s just a nuisance.

    On the positive front – I have stayed out of stores and spent a grand total of $12.20 on groceries and $10 of that was using Loyalty points. All I needed was a bit of milk and some salad fixings. I did manage to get a lot of cooking done – did 6 loin chops in a mushroom sauce – ate one, gave one to a friend and packaged up the other 4 for the freezer. I cooked 4 small chicken thighs that I found hiding in the freezer and that was two meals with a salad. I also dug out some previously cooked ground beef from the freezer – one pack had been used for stuffed peppers and the other pack had been mixed with refried beans leftover from a taco meal. I combined everything, added some tomato sauce and cheese and stuffed some peppers. Ate some for lunches and froze a final large one that I just couldn’t eat this week. I’ll eat it this weekend so it’s not in there for long. I also cooked a lot of veg and used it up over 3 meals. My intermittent fasting is going well – I find it quite easy to wait until about noon to 1pm to eat my main meal and then I’m usually fine with just a “snack” for supper – not junk food snack or sweets but maybe yogurt and fruit or a toasted English muffin with cheese and an apple – something like that. I have noticed that some of those snug clothes are feeling a bit more comfortable these days so I’m happy with the results. I try to stick to a protein and lots of veg for my main meal and limit the carbs throughout the day (breads/cakes/cookies – those sorts of carbs) so it also helps financially with not buying all those treats!

    I made another trip to the library, watched some Amazon Prime and listened to the classical music station for entertainment. I continue to walk as much as possible – by myself and with friends. The weather has been quite good (today it was sunny and 20C and it’s to be the same tomorrow) so we are taking advantage while it lasts. I bought myself a grand total of two coffees while out over the past 10 days but otherwise I have eaten all meals at home. My church had a team in the Scotiabank Waterfront Walk/Run this past weekend and I always organize the breakfast for when they get back. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we were able to have everyone eat outdoors as we aren’t allowing eating in the church or Hall as yet. I received 2 muffins, 2 large apples and 2 boxed juices – all of which I brought home to use over this week. I passed on the yogurts as I prefer plain to the fruit ones (I’m sometimes allergic) but I was able to add quite a few to the fridge to be used throughout the week for the breakfast that we provide for the homeless. We had 24 people walk so it should be another good year as funds support our many outreach programmes.

    I finally managed to get two loads of clothes washed – our laundry room seems to have been extra busy lately. I was very glad that I could then hang everything up to dry on my racks or on coat hangers from the shower rod. The dryers were very backed up so I was glad to be able to get in and out quickly. I also managed to get a lot of paperwork cleared up and lots of shredding done – it is such a relief to get this sorted! I hope to be finished with it by the end of the week. Where does it all come from?

    So glad to hear that you had some good luck with sale prices this week and that you have also made a good dent in your Christmas shopping. It must be such a relief with a large family. I look back now and wonder how my parents managed at times – with 5 kids – it can’t have been easy but we were always fed & clothed and Christmas was always special. I think I’ll be sticking to a few gift cards, magazine subscriptions or books for the few that I still buy for – I have to say that even though I missed seeing family (and many friends) last year – the pressure not to have to buy, buy, buy and to be able to stay home and relax and enjoy Christmas was a real revelation.

    Have a good week everyone.

    1. Funny to see that our temperatures are the same right now!

      However, it is warming up here for the week and will be a bit warmer most days.

  62. If you have natural gas, the rates are only going up as much as the Public Utilities Commission of your state will allow. Ditto for electricity rates. If you use propane (LP) or heating oil, your cost will go up as much as the market will bear…which could be quite a lot. I live in a place with low electricity and natural gas rates (comparatively speaking). I expect them to go up, but not as much as propane and heating oil will increase. I will be surprised if electricity becomes cheaper than natural gas, but I’ve been surprised before. And, in the ’60s and ’70s, electricity was the cheapest. This would be the year to invest in weatherization, if you can. This includes extra blankets and long underwear!

  63. Hello. That is a lovely pink rose. I admire your early Christmas shopping. We decided as a family this to do Christmas this year the way we did when the children were home. At Thanksgiving we are going to draw names for Christmas presents, so that each person buys one present. We set a dollar amount that is modest amount, and the person’s name is written on a small scrap of paper along with a list of things or type of things that person would like to receive as a gift. This worked particularly well when our kids were teens.
    Services: I cut my husband’s hair.
    Electricity: I charged the cell phone in the car (I found that it charges faster if the phone is off.) I have been trying to be more conscious of turning off lights.
    Prescriptions: I found out about RxSpark for locating drug prices, unfortunately after I bought the prescription. When my husband picked up a prescription, our insurance did not pay anything, so he asked the pharmacy employee about GoodRx. The employee was able to look it up, and the pharmacy did accept GoodRx, so that saved about half on a prescription. In the future when the doctor asks me which pharmacy to send the prescription to, I will say that I will call the office later and let them know. I will go home and consult RxSpark and decide which pharmacy to use depending on which has the lower price. It changes depending on the drug. My house is between the doctor’s office and town where the pharmacy is located, so I won’t be doing extra driving. I might be able to look prices up on my phone and tell them which pharmacy before I leave the office.
    Food: Food being wasted is something I have really been trying to conquer, but I am still struggling with. I bought some dollar, plastic shoe boxes to fit onto a shelf inside the frig. So far that is helping. I can pull out a box (without the lid) to get to the things that are in the back of the frig. It is making cleaning out the frig much easier, also. I hate to clean the frig., so I am thinking I will clean one shelf per day by pulling out the drawers on that shelf and wiping up things if needed. That way I will rotate through the different areas in a week. I bought some more boxes to use on the other shelves. I don’t really clean the microwave, stovetop, or oven anymore either. I just “check” them every day, and wipe off anything as needed. Once in a while I get more thorough than that, but mostly checking seems to work. I’ve also been just “checking” kitchen drawers and cupboards. In another attempt to cut food costs, I used the time I had while I sat in the car waiting for my husband at the dentist’s office to plan menus for next week and make up a grocery list. After I finished I found out that I accidentally planned them mostly with things I have on hand. I had printed planning forms from https://www.livecrafteat.com/printable-weekly-meal-planner/. I put the menu forms in a thin three-ring binder that I had on hand and brought the notebook with me. I had scribbled down meals I had cooked before, and I used some of those ideas from my notes. Normally I am careful about printing things in color ink because it is more expensive, but I decided to go ahead and print the pale pink forms I liked because I thought I would be more likely to use them, if they were prettier.
    Then because my grocery list contained only a few items plus some produce, I felt okay with buying extra items that were on sale. We were in the city for the appointment, so we went to WinCo where they had canned vegetables for $.58 per can and canned beans for $68 per can. I usually buy frozen vegetables, but the local store has been out of them sometimes. The canned beans I could do without, but I keep a few cans on hand for quick meals. I bought sale produce, also.
    This week, I put the cut end of a bunch of celery in some water, and it grew enough for celery for a casserole. I really want to get into gardening for real. I put two avocado pits in water to try to get them to root to make a house plant. So far, it isn’t working. I made bread as usual.
    I bought part of a baby gift on a half off sale and added something new that I found at a thrift store some time ago.
    I am really enjoying reading people’s posts. Thank you for hosting the site.

  64. Hello everyone. We are also feeling Fall coming on fast. It was 37 this morning when I got up and 43 Monday, much lower than it should be. We haven’t needed heat or air. We also had stronger wind on Sunday afternoon. So different from a couple weeks ago when temperatures were 10 degrees higher than usual. This is making painting a room very difficult as there is only a short period of time late morning and early evening when the temperature and humidity are right. We cannot completely clear the room so we are moving some things around as we need to. It does look like one coat of paint will work; I had my doubts. We have also been moving pantry items downstairs. I found some odd things to recycle.

    I got a large jar of honey at the Farmer’s market for the breakfast bars I make. I may need another. I also bought a cactus and a trailing plant with very small leaves (cannot remember the name). They both have a red and pink hue in them in places. I will split up the trailing plant to go around the cactus when I replant it.

    I made a Tuna and Chickpea Salad with Boiled Eggs which is very filling and has a nice crunch, lidiasitaly.com/recipes/tuna-chickpea-salad-boiled-eggs/. I saw it one night and had to try it. The serving size is 3, but it was 2 meals for us three. I also made a Spinach quiche and Dutch Babies with blueberries added for breakfasts.

    I went with son to look for some clothing items. We did some stocking up of some canned goods while we were out. Shelves look so bare at times. I felt lucky to find some things I needed for cold weather cooking.

    Have a wonderful week!

  65. Dear Brandy
    your posts were very short when you were doing your garden remodel excessively a while ago. I am glad you write more now. I do not have much to add. I work 3 days a week. I started leaving my smartphone to office, putting my “card” from it into small phone with buttons. I feel that having smartphone takes so much time, makes me angry at times, takes me away from my kids AND also I spend often money in online stores. i always seem to be “needing” smth. And why should everyone be able to contact me at any given time and interrupt my peace with all those Beeps?
    I feel so much better.
    i have left less or no money for my child who lives alone most of the week and it seems to be working. see cooks lots more. she does not mind.
    have a lovely week.

    1. I have all my notifications on silent. The phone can ring, and regular callers have specific calls, so that I know who it is. When I get time to check my messages, I do, but I don’t need a noise for every time someone “likes” a comment in the group texts for my children’s activities!

      I wasn’t doing much in the money-saving category before when we were digging all the time, other than digging. Lots of digging!

  66. Enjoying the fall weather playing outside with friends. We are adding meatless meals regularly to our menu. So far I have onion soup with veggies on the side and Becky’s lentil tacos. Also purchasing a rotisserie chicken and using that many ways. Which brings me to a question. How do you freeze homemade chicken broth?

    1. I save glass jars from pasta sauce and salsa, and cottage cheese containers and freeze in them. I have some Tupperware freezer co trainers also, buy not enough

    2. I use washed out/repurposed 16 oz plastic sour cream containers. I label them with blue painters tape.

  67. I’m among the other planners around here trying to get affordable groceries. The grocery ads come out today so ill be taking extra time to go over things. Especially meat, which I hear different shortage reports about. Doubtful that will happen in KS, as we have cattle all over. It is a bit more expensive tho. Christmas gifts are a very small affair so that’s no worry at all.
    *My best finds of the week were a set of 2 patio chair cushions that look brand new. We left church on Sunday and there was an “absolutely last day” garage sale on a small side street nearby. I asked how much for the cushions and she told me to take them for free!! The best part is that they’re the exact ones I wanted in Spring, but didn’t buy because I thought we could get one more year from our old ones. We did use them this year, but had just determined that our now holey cushions were done. Now we have a beautiful set stored in the garage for next year!
    *Found 3 jars of face cream in the clearance section for less than half what I usually pay.
    *Made a batch of laundry soap.
    *Made a batch of toilet bombs.
    *Made a set of gifts from craft supplies I had on hand. A string of those beads that are so popular on Pinterest; I painted them in Halloween colors. My husband cut boy/girl sets of Pilgrims and “Indians” (Waupanog, I believe) for Thanksgiving decor, and I made some fancy Christmas tags using cardstock scraps, a sheet of Victorian Cmas black and white mini pics, and fancy ribbon scraps. She cried when she thanked me and said she loved them. 😁
    *My husband used a $30 off $100 coupon for a new pair of sneakers, which meant that the desperately needed sale slippers for $29.99 were free for tax! My husband wears a size 16 shoe and it’s dance worthy to find ANYTHING for under $100. The ones he got were Sketchers. We found them local so there was no shipping and no wasted gas as he drives right by on way home from work!
    Love to see everyone sharing so many good ideas!
    Oh, btw, we just finished watching Season 4 of Upstairs, Downstairs (1970ish) from the library and are waiting for Season 5 from a loaner library. Very enjoyable. It’s been interesting to see their rationing menus from WWl.

  68. Other than the usual frugal things like line drying laundry, eating from the pantry/freezer, etc. We sold my husband’s motorcycle. We got enough to pay off our last remaining debt (our truck loan) and had some left over which went into the savings. Now no more insurance, maintenance, registration or taxes on it. Yea! With the days here in beautiful Appalachia hovering in the low to mid 60’s we have not had to turn on the heat or a/c. I only spent $32 for groceries this week, mostly on stock up items on sale. I will look into getting our propane tank filled before the prices go up. We just use propane for our fireplace which we usually just use first thing in the morning to get the chill off. We have geothermal heat and air in our all electric (except the fireplace) but our bills are extremely low compared to our neighbors. We are very thankful for that.

  69. I also took advantage of the .49 cent American Beauty Pasta Sale at Fred Meyer (Kroger) store. I bought 18 pounds. I found some flatbread on the clearance bakery rack. I always check for these, as they are usually $4.49 a package. I paid $1.49 each. They go in the freezer as convenience food to make easy pizzas. The flatbread thaws very quickly. When I make homemade pizza, I freeze all the bits of leftover sauce to use on the flatbread pizzas. I found really nice apples on clearance for .33 a pound. I bought several very nice Christmas gifts on clearance, including a Nerf gun with foam bullets for $4.98.

    * really needed some new shoes, and I haven’t found anything at the thrift store. I found clogs on sale at Fred Meyer for $20 a pair. I was able to purchase 2 pairs, which I will use all year round. I have been looking everywhere, and this is best deal anywhere on shoes that I like.

    *My son was working on an art project using cardstock that I bought in bulk. He had lots of 2″ wide strips of paper leftover after he made the cuts he needed. I saved those to cut into inventory tags for my business. I may add some scrapbook paper to some and laminate them for bookmarks.

    *On the not so frugal note, my husband’s windshield was hit by a rock from a truck. There is a large crack. His car is fairly new, and the windshield has sensors in it, so it’s very expensive to replace. This is the second time in 2 months this has happened. We just replaced his windshield last month. He has a long very busy commute, so I guess this is bound to happen,.. but 2 times in 2 months is just too much to handle. Thankful that I can lower my grocery budget this week and eat more from the pantry to offset that cost a bit.

    *We needed a new Christmas Tree and were able to pay for it using gift cards we earned from our credit card points. We use the card for expenses to earn points and pay it off each month. The gift cards also covered new Christmas lights and timers.

    I thought I needed a new lamp for a hallway, but I really didn’t. I started moving around lamps that we have from room to room and realized that I have more than I need,… they just needed to be traded around a bit for the best configuration. So happy with that!

    I went to the Dollar Tree (ours is still all $1.00) and picked up a few stocking stuffers for Christmas. In the Wedding and Decor area I found really cute wooden and metal signs with sayings on. They look just like the ones at Hobby Lobby. I bought several Godiva Chocolate bars for gifts. Some were expiring soon, but I found quite a few that are good through February. Perfect for Christmas! I bought clear plastic Christmas themed stacking containers. I will use these to make treat towers for gifts. I also found Plantain Chips. We love these. They are hard to find around here. When we do find them, they are expensive. I stocked up on some of the items that I normally buy there, just is case the rumors are true that they are raising the prices to $2.00 each.

    Hope everyone has a happy and frugal week!

    1. If my Dollar Tree has Godiva chocolate I might just have to go . . . Seriously, though.

      I have to go to the nursery soon and they are just across the street.

      That is an amazing price on a Nerf Gun.

      1. If you have comprehensive insurance on your husband’s vehicle, it should cover new windshields for the price of the deductible. We continue to carry comprehensive on older cars because of the condition of our roads in Idaho. Also, rocks don’t care how old is the vehicle. Our truck is 17 years old.

      2. My Dollar Tree had 2 different types of Godiva Chocolate Bars. One was Dark Chocolate, I can’t remember the other. I had to put them away in a very hard to get to cabinet so that I would not be tempted!!! I always check the candy area for “luxury” chocolates to use for gifts. I have found some really good candy there!

    2. You may want to ask your auto insurance agent if there is $0 deductible for windshield replacement. Our agent recommended it for my DH who has a 54 mile commute each way. It is $4 per month more, but it has more than paid for itself. Just a thought.

      1. Thank you for letting me know about this! I will be sure to call my insurance company!

        1. Susanmarie, my windshield (with sensors) has had to be replaced twice in two years- and my insurance covered it all. Make sure to check! If you’re near me (Portland area) I have used a great service that replaces it in my driveway and then recalibrates the sensors as well!

  70. I don’t comment very often, but I read everyone’s comments each week. Brandy, thank you for hosting this site. Someone noted that they used their Kroger fuel points to get .50 off of each gallon of gas. We use these points too. An FYI: at our Kroger you can use them for up to 35 gallons of gas, so my husband will take whichever vehicle is low and fill it up and then fill gas cans until the limit is met. We use that gas to fill the lawn mower or to pour into other vehicles. We often have $1.00 off per gallon which saves us $35.00 per visit. It adds up!
    I took my car in for an oil change last week and it was $20.00 more than usual: $65 instead of $45. I talked to the shop manager who I have known and trusted a long time and he said the cost of oil had sky rocketed and he had no choice as he was beginning to lose money. He gave me the regular price since we are long-time customers, but future oil changes will be more expensive. My husband can do it, but he doesn’t have the time.
    I was driving in my neighborhood and a guy was putting stuff out on the street. I saw a desk and stopped to pick it up. When I got home, I noticed a stamp on the back and looked up the name. It was a well known company in England and the desk was sturdy, in good shape and an antique with the ink well on top. Found one on Ebay for $267, but I don’t sell on Ebay. Not sure what I’m going to do with it, but it was a great find :).
    I took the onion bags that the onions came in (red, mesh type) and cut off the end with the tag. I filled them with hotel soaps that I gathered from a give-away at church. I then tied them off and now use them in the shower. It’s like a loofa and suds up quickly. It’s a great way to use the bags and small soaps.
    My husband and I took apart the door of our oven, which made me pretty nervous. It had ugly brown streaks on the inside of the glass that I couldn’t get too. I took the parts outside and cleaned them with soap and a scraper. We put it back together and it looks great! Very satisfying work.
    The weather has cooled a bit and the AC is off and hopefully won’t be back on till spring. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  71. We have had a fairly frugal week here, despite ordering a number of Christmas gifts for grandkids. I was able to purchase items they’ll enjoy as well as clothes their mom will appreciate them receiving. I did notice that a set of Disney character little girl panties that I’d ordered from Kohl’s was opened and a pair missing! I will exchange it for a full set but was wondered WHAT!? My stepdaughter texted and said if I wanted to get something they could really use, a heavy winter coat for the 3 yo would be good. I ordered a good one and that should come in this weekend, happy that there was still a selection. While I was checking out at Kohls with a few outfits for the kids, the cashier asked if she could look through the offers in my “wallet” on their app in my phone and found one for $10 off $10 or more that I’d not seen! That, coupled with a 40% off coupon and some rewards “cash”, made my total $12 for their outfits. I was thrilled. One toy set was $31 at Target and $50 on Amazon, so picked that up early as well as a main gift.

    After a good bit of online hunting around, my husband was able to order the part for our dishwasher and fingers crossed it will fix the issue. It’s an old one (34 years old) and he said he could bypass something (?) if it doesn’t work to hopefully keep it going. He wants me to order a new one and I hope to keep stringing this one along as it’s the first problem ever with it. I know you suggested we buy a new one, Brandy, but I’m hoping this one fix helps for a while 🙂 It’s not really any hardship for me to wash dishes by hand, though, as it’s just the two of us.

    We typically eat all meals at home, and my husband loves taking in leftovers for his lunch to work. Recipes this week have included roasted veggie salsa/black bean soup with lime rice, red beans and rice, Asian coleslaw with Thai peanut dressing, white bean soup with spicy arrabiatta seasoning, veggie fajitas. I try but have not done a stellar job in making meals from what I have on hand; I find myself picking up an item or two at the store to fix a dinner that sounds good, not something that I have planned. Working hard to use up all veggies before they go soft … I compost the trimmings and any that I lose, but I am trying to cut that loss to zero.

    I still have a lot of garden cleanup to do before the cold temps come. I want to plant perennials that I have in pots and get the pots cleaned/stored before snow so they don’t freeze/expand and crack. Something I never had to worry about before moving up from Florida! I have lost too many pots due to being lazy or forgetful.

  72. I’m late to comment this week, but I want to add my admiration of the flowers to that of the others.

    I’m sure most commenters here who use a clothesline do this as well, but I had some old wooden spring-type clothespins spring apart, and instead of tossing them, I put them back together. I do this anytime a pin comes apart, unless the wood breaks.

    I bought some reasonably priced Fuyu persimmons that are sold frozen and whole at a local organic farm. All I have to do when they are frozen is let them thaw and put them through my food mill, which I did this week. I got about three pints of persimmon puree from a small bag of fruit, which I will use for desserts and for making tomato-free ketchup. I am hoping my new little persimmon tree will be providing me with free persimmons down the road.

    I made another large batch of chicken stock from a stash of bones in the freezer, using my Crock Pot. I freeze it in two cup amounts and I have some in cubes that I froze in an ice cube tray, for when I need small amounts.

    I needed a new soap dish so I stopped at a Goodwill that is on my way home, and found a very nice ceramic dish for 99 cents.

    As always, I cook at home, pack my work lunches, wear mostly used clothing, use cloth instead of paper, and hang out my laundry whenever the weather permits.

    We used to have steel French entry doors, but now have fiberglass doors. I took the magnetic curtain rods I had been using on the doors and put one on my refrigerator’s side to hold a hand towel and dish towel. I put another on the side of the freezer that is by the laundry room deep sink, to hold a hand towel there. Most of the hand towels I use in the kitchen and all of the ones I use in the laundry room were bought second hand. I have found a surprising number of thrift store hand towels in new/like-new condition. I assume people are given towels that they don’t like or don’t match their decor.

  73. I noticed that one of the comments noted that gasoline (petrol to us) was expensive at $3.09 per US gallon. I have just run the figures and with comparing price per liter to US gallons and GBpounds (£) to US$ then we would be paying $7.27 per US gallon.

    1. That is the average price in the U.S.

      It sounds like your price is lower than in the past. I know in Europe, 20 years ago, it was 5 times in Geneva what I paid in the U.S. when I figured out the price per litre.

      Our price is closer to $4 a gallon here.

    2. we were in Germany filing up and didn’t notice the big price difference, because our brains don’t think in liters. We had been driving as fast as the car would go on the Autobahn. Then, did the calculation and about died and slowed it down 🙂

  74. It’s been an interesting week. We keep picking tomatoes. Just a few every day or two. But they are so sweet and lovely. today I deadheaded my flowers to prepare for fall. I dug up on my basil plant and have repotted and put in the green house. I planted some snow peas in a pot in the green house. I will be interested to see if this works. I planted some lettuce seeds and some parsley. My fall garden has not done well so far. It has been too hot. We turned off the ac last week and have kept it off which is good even though some nights have been so stuffy.

    I cooked mostly from the freezer and garden this week. We are restocking the pantry a bit at a time. I have never had good luck cooking from dried beans. With only two of us at home it has been easier using canned beans. I finally tried cooking pinto beans in the instapot with a frozen ham bone. Was wonderful! have frozen the leftovers. Made me happy to be able to final cook beans that start out dried! We still have pleny of canned beans, but I am glad I have an alternative.

    We keep looking for a ham. My husband LOVES ham. I still have a frozen turkey. I am set for Thanksgiving. I am hoping to find a ham at some point. I am watching the sales and we are paying attention to utilities. I have a wonderful compensation from the church, but do hope to retire in a couple of years so anything I can do to keep expenses down help long term.

    Thank you Brandy for this blog. I appreciate it more than you can know.


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