One of my favorite things about spring is having the windows open and listening to the birds sing while the house fills with fresh air. In the summer months, the birds are hidden most of the day in bushes and trees, the windows are closed as the air conditioner runs both day and night in our temperatures (I keep my a/c set at 79 degrees, but our lows were higher than that), and I miss the sound of the birds.

I was looking up a canary to show to my youngest child on YouTube, and to my delight, there was this suggested video with a three-hour recording of a nightingale singing. I kept that window open and let it play while I worked on my computer. It was very peaceful.

I cut zinnias from the garden to enjoy inside. Cutting the zinnias will also encourage them to produce more, so it means more flowers in the future!

I harvested peaches, tomatoes, green onions, red and green beans, and basil from the garden.

I saved shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden.

I spent some time organizing a couple of cabinets of toiletries and laundry soap supplies/cleaning tools (Scotch Brite pads, scrub brush replacement heads, etc.). I always find organizing to be a frugal activity to make our homes a better place to be without spending money. It also helps me to know how prepared I am for the coming/already started recession. I have decided to focus my purchases on filling any holes in my supplies, and have been and will continue to purchase items where I am low. With banks preparing for a crash and a crash being predicted, along with everything else going on economically (including our tri-city area still having some of the highest unemployment numbers in the nation), I feel it would be prudent to as be prepared as possible.

I was given apples from three sources, so I made and canned applesauce.

I purchased four pounds of strawberries at $0.33 a pound, an unheard of price!

I picked up more library books that my daughters had requested and combined that trip with picking up the strawberries to save gas and time.

I found free sheet music for a song my daughter wants to learn on the piano and printed it.

I enjoyed listening to my two favorite symphonies (Mahler’s Symphony #4 and Dvorak’s Symphony #9) on YouTube while I worked in the kitchen.

I ordered some dresses for myself from ThredUp using a 20% off code (they sell used clothing, so this makes it even cheaper). One is too small, so I will be returning it. I made sure to order something in black in my current size so that I will be prepared for a funeral if need be.

My husband finished making his (very heavy! About 800 pounds) small welding table. The metal was all given to him for free. He only had to buy wheels ($25) and paint ($20). He just needs to paint it. He has something that perfectly fits the space he has.

My husband and I cut his hair. He has only had three haircuts in our marriage; after that, he bought clippers and asked me to start cutting his hair. I’ve now been cutting his hair for twenty years. Just for fun, I did the math. If he had a $12 haircut with a $3 tip once a month, I would have spent $3600 on haircuts for him alone. We’ve always given our nine children haircuts at home and my husband has been cutting my hair since 2007, so the hair cutting supplies have saved us well over $10,000 as a family.

I spent some time going over our budget for the rest of the year. I regularly review three months at a time, but this year I’m looking further ahead.

What did you do to save money last week? (Comments appear below the suggested posts, so keep scrolling down!)

Please note: I made some changes to the website this weekend. Lots of things are in a different place, so be sure to look around! I’m still making changes, as some pages are looking a bit wonky after the update, and I have more changes planned, so please bear with me. Note that the menu bars have changed. You’ll find some things under a different place than before, and I’ve brought a few posts to the forefront under the menu bars so that you can find posts that are rather pertinent right now during this unique period of time in the world.

With ever increasing unemployment, wages being cut, and the difficulty/impossibility of even going to work for many right now, I know there are many people who are struggling financially. I hope these new changes will make it easier for me to love and serve those who are struggling to make ends meet. Please share my website with those you know who could use some hope, encouragement, and inspiration right now!

Would you like to support my site?

 As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through my links. This means that I earn a small percentage from ANY items you place in your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going to Amazon from one of my links (i.e., it doesn’t have to be an item I have linked here). 

If you’re going to be making a purchase from Amazon this week, I thank you for using my links to support this site!

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  1. This week

    -Meals-Braised beef with peas from the garden over rice, vinegar cucumbers, and stir fried fresh beans with garlic; grilled pork steak, fresh green beans, and Asian zoodles; beef kabobs, vinegar cucumbers, and watermelon; popcorn one night; shrimp rice noodle soup and grilled cheese sandwiches; and leftovers 2 nights.
    -Picking lots from the garden-zucchini, green beans, cabbage, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, peas, basil, spearmint, oregano, parsley, and a few cherry tomatoes.
    -Canned 24 pints of green beans. Dehydrated 2 dehydrators each of basil and spearmint. Canned 10 pints of pineapple (see below).
    -Spent a lot of time in the garden weeding and harvesting. ‘Tis the season.
    -Finally did a big grocery shop. Spent $60 at Fresh Thyme and $140 at Costco. Costco out of many canned items-veggies, tomatoes sauce, mushrooms, dried hash browns. I checked with a store employee, he said less coming in from packing plants, less being produced. He expects prices to rise quite a bit because of less crops grown this summer. Glad I have a garden, and I freeze and can my produce and fruits! There was plenty of toilet paper although they continue to limit it to one per person.
    -Deals were fresh pineapple-$0.99 each, no limit. Bought 8 of them, canned 6 and we are eating the other two fresh. Also bought a 6# bag of organic carrots for $4.49. Plan on canning at least half of these this week. I should not need to do any major shopping for at least a month. Just pick up milk and some fruit as needed.
    -Cleaned and rotated canned goods in my pantry. Took an accurate inventory, that way I know what I have. Not many holes, need canned mushrooms, cornstarch, and some rice flour.
    -This week I will be making sauerkraut, canning more green beans, shredding zucchini, and drying more herbs.
    -Made GF banana muffins, GF zucchini bread, and a couple of loaves of whole wheat bread today once the front went through and it went from 98 degrees Saturday to 76 degrees today on Sunday. Some bad storms, we only had winds and rain, all is safe!
    -Cooler this week so no AC, windows open-supposed to heat up again on the weekend with high humidity. Garden work will need to be done during the week!!
    -Have a great week and stay safe!!

    1. Have you ever tried making your zucchini into fake pineapple to can? It’s great in recipes and you can find the instructions on Pinterest.

      1. You can also make zucchini into apple pie filling and can it! You truly cannot tell the difference! My kids could always ferret out a fake and they had no idea!

        1. Great idea to make apple pie filling!
          I’ve done the ‘pineapple’ version but froze it. It freezes well.

      2. I have done the pineapple, we are not a fan plus I can pineapple usually every year. But the apple pie filling sounds interesting. Sounds like a Pinterest search.

  2. Brandy, your website looks absolutely amazing! Your gifts shine even more now. Thank you for always inspiring us in many different ways.

  3. I love the new look to your website! It is so inviting!!
    The weather is sweltering and dry here (highs in mid-90’s) so I go out early, picked blackberries (frozen 1 quart so far) and water gardens. After I pick blackberries, then I let chooks out (so they don’t help “harvest” the ripe blackberries! Lol! I also harvested broccoli (froze 1 quart of that), more green beans and about 9 big cucumbers this week ! and
    I was able to go online on Saturday to JoAnns and order batting by the yard for 60%off! I bought a full bolt (15 yards) of 96” wide Hobb’s Quilters Dream for $5.19/yard instead of $12.99/yard! But, if you opted for curbside store pickup, you got an additional 25% off!! So, after tax, my original non-sale price would have been $206, my sale price was $62!!
    I wasn’t out of batting, but I just finished up a bolt with my recent 3 quilt order. With winter coming, I want to keep several bolts of batting in stock and Dave agrees! I used business money to pay for it so no OOP!

    I baked 2 loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread yesterday and I finally got the big, light, fluffy loaves I was hoping for. Just tweaked the recipe a bit! Dave and our son are loving it!! So I think the days of buying bread are over, especially knowing how much wheat I have stored! 🥴
    We have been concerned about our daily exercise or lack of it during these past 5 months and for us, at our age, in central Ohio, the weather is a deterrent for long walks. It’s really hot by 8:30 AM (and we have gardening chores that must be done before that each morning) and other times of the year, it will be wet, cold, dark, etc So we researched online first and then started watching on FB Marketplace for a treadmill. We found one that was brand new with warranty and had a one year iFit membership included for less than half the store price. We looked at it set up and tried it and the seller even delivered it to our house afterwards (it weighs 300 pounds!) and got it all set up in our space and made sure it was still working ! We had money saved for this so even though it was more expensive than some, we had read CR reviews that were extremely favorable so we look at it as an investment in our health! I always say that I am lazy and cheap, but when it comes to things that will get heavy, frequent use, I would rather pay more for reliability and “industrial strength” than have something that breaks down because it wasn’t as well made! Just did my first 45 minute walk on it this morning! Probably doesn’t sound like much to most of you, but I’m excited. I’ll take a day off tomorrow from it and then back on it the day after that to “ease” my old body into it! Lol!

    Took dinner for two nights for a friend who had her gall bladder removed unexpectedly! She came home second day to her daughter’s apartment. So I did a curbside pick-up for them! I made dinner (all from scratch using ingredients I already had at home) and when it was finished, I packaged into disposable containers I had and texted daughter with my ETA. Daughter came down from her apartment and was waiting outside as I drove up. Handed off box with dinner containers to her and drove home. Repeated it the next day with different dinner menu! So, I’ve come to realize that we can still give service. We just need to be more creative! She and her daughter were both extremely appreciative as daughter is working full time (from home) and it was a little thing that they didn’t need to think about!
    We are humbled and grateful for our abundant blessings that we know others don’t have. Hopefully, we can find ways to serve.
    Stay safe everyone!

      1. Cindi- You’re absolutely right and that way I can pass the savings on to any client who prefers not to supply their own batting! Hopefully, will get busy with more quilts or I may end up with a few years’ supply of batting! Lol!

        1. Pat, can you share the recipe or ratio for your wheat bread please? My teens are our bread makers and have been experimenting without success as yet. Thanks

          1. Tina- Here is a link to YouTube video with the whole wheat sandwich bread recipe. Her recipe makes 6 loaves at a time, so I just divided the amounts by 3 to get a two loaf batch!


            Hope you enjoy it as much as we do now!
            Stay safe.
            Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Nice score on the treadmill! They show up frequently on Marketplace here, i just have zero space for one 🙁

      1. Dianna- I HAD forgotten!! I couldn’t use it for batting because it was online purchase, but yesterday my daughter and I went to JoAnns and combined our purchases to get better use of coupons! So I can submit that receipt for a bit over $5!!! Thanks! That’s what I love about this blog and the commenters! I always gain so many good ideas!!

        1. Ibotta gives rebates for online purchases for many retailers as well if you click via their site before purchase. Also check out their “Pay with Ibotta” feature.

          1. FrugalStrong- I had no idea about online purchases using ibotta! Typically I check Rakuten (Ebates) before going online shopping, but I’ll check ibotta now too!! I love your blog, Brandy, with all your helpful ideas and those of your commenters!! You’ve all been giving me new ways to save! I truly am grateful!

    2. I am in total agreement with you on the treadmill investment! When we moved from Northern California to Texas, even 5:30 in the morning was not cool enough to handle going for a walk! It was awful! Depression runs in my family, and I work hard at lifestyle medicine to keep myself both physically as well as mentally healthy, and being able to walk most every day is an important part of that. I bought a brand new treadmill for $1,000. Probably could have found a used one, but at that time FB didn’t exist and I didn’t know how to find a used one and needed one immediately. Well, even though I paid full price, I have now had that treadmill for 20 years, most of the time using it five days a week (I give myself weekends off). Sometimes my hubby will use it for a few weeks, but mostly it is me. Well, over 20 years, that works out now to $50 a year. For me, WELL worth keeping myself physically and mentally healthy, and MUCH less expensive than a gym membership!

      1. Susan M- I appreciate your affirmation of our reasoning on the treadmill purchase! The thing w noticed is that while we’ve been living with the “Safer At Home” plan now in our area and limiting our trips out, is that having time on our hands and a really good pantry and food storage built up, we cooked and baked and gained what I call the “COVID 20” ! So we need to exercise those extra 20 pounds away! This looked like the most sustainable option! 😉

        Hopefully our treadmill will serve us as well as yours has!
        Stay safe!
        Gardenpat in Ohio

  4. I love the new lookof the site, Brandy. I have regularly shared your blog with friends and family. I like that people are more interested in being frugal these days.
    We have a lot of zucchini and a lot of tomatoes. I am drying fresh rosemary in a brown bag clipped to my clothes line. I dried thyme, lavender and basil this way and it worked so well.
    We reorganized our garage today. It was a mess after the kitchen renovation. I found several things that I was looking for, and cleaned and listed several other items on Facebook marketplace. I sold the last 3 gamma seal bucket lids this week. In buying in bulk (12 lids) and selling 9 lids, I have recovered all but $4 of the entire cost. So the 3 lids that I kept cost me $4 total. Very good, considering that one single lid costs more than double that total.
    I made homemade goo gone and got the sticky off several places. It was 3 tbsp baking soda and 2 tbsp vegetable oil. It worked like magic on some places that had adhesive residue that I had scrubbed for a long time with other remedies.
    I picked up a box of Wholefoods brand cake mix and frosting mix from my Buy-Nothing group. I listed 2 items to give away on the same site.
    I cut up a shirt that was donated to us. It didn’t fit anyone in the family, and so it was added to the rag bag.
    I have to drive south 1.5 hours for an audiology appointment. I will deliver a gift to my mother, a pencil case like this one (, and pick up 2 rugs that my aunt is giving me. So it’s a productive trip and also a nice day out.
    My tree collards are extremely productive. I have 4 trees. They are about 4 feet tall each. I could harvest enough off of them to provide more than half of the vegetables my husband and I need. They produce all year round and last for about 4 years. Each year I take a cutting of one, so that I always have new ones coming along to replace the old ones. They are the most frugal vegetable there is, in my opinion. I got the original cuttings for free from a friend, and basically now have a lifetime supply of greens (as long as I keep taking cuttings). They even survive in summers of 100+ degrees.
    Blessings to everyone in this lovely group!

    1. I will have to try your homemade Goo Gone! I am out and needed to remove a sticky label from a jar that I want to reuse.

      1. That sounds like a good goo-gone substitute, and I will try it, too. My current remedy is peanut butter, and it really works, but oil and baking soda will be more frugal, and always available.

        1. I’ve used salt and oil and I have a very old bottle of rubbing alcohol that also removes the last of the stickiness from some containers. My favourite thrift shop will sell containers from salads and other take out items that Costco and grocery stores sell. They are very inexpensive and always sell.

          1. The new site is bright and cheerful. I cannot imagine the amount of work involved, but it is definitely worth it. My one complaint is that the comments and other sections seem to be in dark gray rather than black like they used to be. While the gray is attractive, it is much more difficult to read for those of us with low vision. I am on my phone and have the screen brightness up, just below glare level, but still find the dark gray harder to read than black. I don’t mean to be critical at all, just offering a viewpoint from your audience who may also have low vision. Thank you for all you are doing to reach out to others during these challenging times.

            1. It’s set as black for the type. I don’t know why it looks grey to you. It’s the same font, color, and size as in the posts. Very odd that you are seeing it lighter.

              1. It looks grey on my Kindle as well. Maybe the font size.could be increased just a bit?

              2. Hmm. There is not a separate place to change the font color or size for the comments. There is one for the whole site, so the post and the comments should be the same size and the same color. They are set to black. I bumped up the font from 22 to 26, which is rather large, so that should help. I hope it’s not too big for everyone else.

                It may be a Kindle issue. On both the tablet view from the backside of my site as well as checking on my children’s tablets, it is black. My daughter mentioned that sometimes on the Kindle (my dad has one) that the text is grey on the books that my dad reads. You may want to see if you are set at 100% when viewing the site and see what other settings are on your end.

              3. I had the opportunity to check back in today and want to say that your increasing the size made a world of difference! I can now read without eyestrain. Thank you so much! I do hope it is not too large for others.

      2. Hi Brandy,
        The new arrangement is great and what a lovely photo of you in white. Very cool glasses.

        I find a tiny bit of Citrasolv works wonders on sticky residue.

      3. Try one drop of lemon essential oil on sticky labels on jars. Spread it around with your fingertip and let it work for a minute. Then rinse under running water and it all comes right off.

      1. They’re a short-lived perennial member of the cruciferous family. We’d love to be able to grow them here, but our Western New York winters are too cold.

    2. I’ve never heard of tree collards before. Just looked it up and so interested! Might have to try growing one of these. I like the purple ones.

  5. Lovely update to your website, Brandy. Thank you for this blog and the inspiration you give us each and every week!
    Super hot here in Virginia (I bet you laughed when you read that, Brandy)! We are having excessive heat warnings in our part of the state. These are good days to stay indoors and plan for our school year (we homeschool), organize, and pantry plan.
    Two blessings this past week: a work chum called my husband and offered us fresh corn from his brother-in-law’s farm. We gladly accepted and shared some with our parents, had some for dinner, and froze 5 bags of corn for the winter. Then his friend offered more. We are set for corn with 10 bags in the freezer. We shared some of the second batch with my brother and he was thrilled. A few days later a girlfriend offered us a big box of North Carolina potatoes. Her husband had been given a large quantity from a weigh station when the truck carrying them was overweight. Have you ever wondered where that food goes? Some is in our kitchen! We made mashed potatoes to go with our dinner and the following morning I showed her daughter (who was spending a few days with us) how to make potato pancakes. They were a hit!
    The only other frugal thing we have done recently is to sell a few things that were not being used. My husband decided to sell his fishing kayak. He found a buyer immediately on FB marketplace and had people “in line” if the transaction fell through.
    Best wishes to everyone from Virginia!

  6. The more flowers I can see on your website, the happier I am. This new version is lovely, as always, and well thought out to make it helpful to all of us. The comment box is much more readable in this version. I feel I will be able to proof my comments better now!

    Usually each month I buy two bags of cat food, but with five weeks from pension payments at the end of June to the end of July, another bag was needed. I used $10 worth of loyalty points from my grocery store to get the third bag for free.

    I went to get blueberries that were advertised as on sale in the local Coop flyer. I also wanted to check what flour and sugar package sizes and prices they had, since I haven’t had any in the house for a bit. There was no sign of the blueberries, so I bought 2.5 kilos of flour (5.4 lb) and 1 kilo (2.2 lb) of sugar with the $10 I planned to spend on blueberries. With just one person in the house, this will keep me going for a bit. I’ll plan larger purchases when we get close to Canadian Thanksgiving in early October, and we start to see sales on baking supplies. I do more baking in the winter. So far, I have made biscuits and oatmeal cookies, so I’m happy with the results!

    I had $10 left and debated with myself what grocery “set” to get: potatoes and canola oil, meat and frozen vegetables, or coffee and cream. To keep my morale up, I settled on coffee and cream. Again the five week month left me short a week of coffee and cream supplies. I have pasta and rice to replace potatoes, and have enough protein dishes and vegetables to last the week. Of course the other grocery store in town had blueberries advertised in the next day’s flyer, which I could have got instead of coffee and cream, but three times now I have gone to buy berries on sale, and not found them. There should still be blueberries next week, though maybe not at the best price they were advertised at this week.

    I’ve drafted a new budget for my pension-only income, starting at the end of July for the month of August. It goes three months, and will change when the cost of utilities starts to go up in the fall. I’ve set firmer amounts for savings, household, and personal spending, and have set some new short-term goals. It is a little tighter than I imagined it would be, but it is steady, for which I am very grateful.

    1. I can’t take credit for the comments box; that’s the newest version of WordPress! I know they have another update planned too.

    2. Something I read in a vintage magazine about the ‘fifth week’ months was to check the calendar and put aside a little each month prior, planning the ‘extra’ meals you’d need for that fifth week. Now that we’re retired, I’m having to do this and it is a help!

      1. It’s a good idea! I seemed to do well for planning meals and snacks for the extra week, but lost track of some general supplies that I buy for the month — cat food and coffee and cooking oil/butter. I do need to check which months are like this though in a given year, and figure out which items I’ll run out of and buy an extra. Mental fog! Through the winter months, my pantry is better stocked, and I would have an extra that I would be able to use.

  7. I planted 14 more green bean plants for the fall. My first attempt at cucumbers and zucchini has yet to produce any veggies. I have gotten plenty of blooms and nothing after that. The past few weeks have been unusually hot here 90* to 100*F. Our vehicle has no AC, all this stay-in-your car has been rough. I make sure to run errands in the morning and come home to enjoy lemon/peppermint water and frozen berries. The week was full of water play. One day we went to a friend’s to swim in their small pool. Another day we went to a friend’s house that has lots of trees and the kids played in sprinklers.

  8. Brandy, I love what you’ve done with the site. Beautiful! I don’t know if this is you or me, but the comments now completely fill the page horizontally…no margins at all. I tried reducing the type size, but it also reduced the page size. If anyone else is having this problem and has a solution, please let me know!

    Great minds think alike–I have organizing on my mind, too! I reorganized my freezer and found several things that should be eaten first. Also–

    * I made another batch of blueberry freezer jam with $1.99 lb. berries. A friend invited me to pick her razzies and I got about 2-1/2 lbs. I made a batch of raspberry freezer jam and ate the rest on shortcake.

    * I mended two pairs of my husband’s pants. I restitched about 2 inches of the fly on one pair and fixed the zipper on the pocket of another pair. I sewed a button on my daughter’s shorts. I made shorts for myself from a pair of jeans.

    * I bought 9 lbs. of 80% ground beef for $2.49 lb. This is my top price for ground beef, and I haven’t seen it cheaper in months. While I was in the store, I spotted 15-roll packages of Scott’s 1,000 Sheets, so I bought a pack to replenish my TP supply. I found a coupon for BOGO greeting cards–my daughter and I already had the cards in the cart for my son’s birthday! I also replenished my supply of white soap.

    Keep washing your hands (buy more soap, LOL), wearing your mask and staying socially distant. Covid-19 is exploding!

    1. It’s on my side. I just fixed it. I basically have to redo every little thing so just bear with me as it takes a lot of time.

      1. Lea, I just fixed it, so there should be margins. What device are you on? Phone, tablet, or computer?

        1. I do not have margins on the comments either, so I can’t make the font bigger without making it necessary to arrow back and forth to read each line. Since I can’t read without making the font bigger, I won’t be able to read the comments, and that’s what I really look forward to. I use a chromebook.

          1. Jeanne,

            Clear your cookies and let me know if you’re still having an issue. It should be fixed.

        2. I cleared my cookies but still have no margins … I am on laptop at 100 % of page though I am having to make it larger( 110%) to read due to old age eyes LOL

          1. It’s because you’re viewing it at 110% that there are no margins. I chose to make a larger font size than the standard so it is larger, but everyone has different sized screens.

        3. I’m on a hp laptop on Chrome – I also tried Firefox and Edge. I see the same thing on all three. Yesterday, the comments were running off the page. Today they run right up to the edge of the page. Maybe it’s a setting on my end?

          On my phone the layout is perfect!

          Thanks for all your work on this, Brandy! We all appreciate it so much!

          1. I checked the settings on all three to be the same yesterday. It’s a narrow margin on this new version of WordPress. Are you are 100%? There should be a few pixels of margin, but it is much smaller than before. It was on the edge but it shouldn’t be anymore.

            1. As I started reading the comments, there were no margins – by the time I reached the thread about margins, they had appeared, at least as I read on my laptop. Thanks for all the effort you put into making this site beautiful and accessible.

  9. The site redesign is beautiful — as are your flowers.
    We spent the past two weeks in Houston, looking after my husband’s parents while his sister was in quarantine (her grown son had Covid and visited her the day before he found out he had it.) My nephew is recovered, my sister-in-law never got sick, my in-laws are well, and we were able to come home. The trip wasn’t frugal or fun, but we were grateful that we were in a position to make it.
    Something ate my green beans while we were gone, but everything else looks good. I replanted the beans, though it will be a race to see if I get any before our first frost. I had to pull up the lettuce, which bolted in the heat, but I planted more, along with carrots, sugar snap peas, chard, and turnips.
    I harvested cabbage, chard, broccoli, and carrots from the garden. I harvested and dried mint, basil, tarragon, parsley, lavender, chamomile, and yarrow.
    I cooked a big batch of dried chickpeas and froze in pint jars for future use. I also made a batch of yogurt and some sandwich bread and hamburger buns. I also arranged to buy ¼ of a cow from a local rancher – the meat will be ready in late August.
    It rained and I was able to turn off the irrigation to some of the garden beds for several days.

  10. The new website looks beautiful and your photography really pops! My only criticism is in the comments section. The font is lovely – really easy to read – but on my screen the words are right up against the edge of the page on each side so it looks as though some words are a bit cut off. Just thought that I would mention this since you are still making updates.

    Did one main trip to the grocery store last week – mostly for non food items. I’m still waiting for a good price on my laundry detergent and then I’ll stock up until the end of the year. Bleach is still difficult to find for some reason and paper towels are still a bit hit or miss – at least the brand & type that I prefer.

    I was able to get some “fancy flours” so I’ve put them in the fridge to keep for the Fall baking. I’m rearranging my kitchen a bit in order to accommodate a baking cupboard come September – I want everything in the same place and more accessible than it is at the moment.

    I added some more canned food to my long-term storage and managed to clear out a few more things to expand this space. I also continued clearing out “stuff” – I downsized 6 magazine holders full of Martha Stewart Living magazines down to 2 and I’ve emptied about 10 decorative boxes that held all sorts of odds & ends that were no longer needed or wanted. I did 5 loads of laundry and only used the dryer for 2.

    I did spend some money on lunch out when I met two friends from church. We had booked a table on the patio of a restaurant that we often go to for brunch after church. It was the first time we’ve all been out together since lockdown and it was their first time eating out so it was very exciting. Restaurants can only open their patios at the moment in Toronto and this place did a great job. Everything was spotless – tables were well spaced – waiters in masks and all sorts of protocols in place for bathrooms etc. The food was as good as ever and it was worth every penny.

    Meals have been mostly salads – even made a small potato salad with the remaining mini potatoes that I had on hand. I did lose some veg from the crisper this week – the condensation is just so bad at the moment with temps feeling like 40C each day. We had another huge thunderstorm yesterday afternoon and we were even under a tornado warning for a few hours! I’m trying to use up a lot of odds & ends from the freezer in order to free up some more space. Aside from some milk & salad greens I don’t really plan on doing a big grocery shop this week. I might pick up a few odds & ends when I go to the office but otherwise I’m giving myself a week off – wiping down everything before it can be put away involves a whole production line and it’s exhausting!

    I continue to wear the same few outfits over and over so no clothes shopping will be done this Summer. I did check in with the Ecco shop near my office as I need some new black, laced shoes for the Winter. Normally the new stock would be in by now but shipments all seem to be delayed – she doesn’t think she’ll have anything new until mid-August so I’ve promised to check back then. If I do shop I’m trying to support local businesses but it may not be easy.

  11. What an incredible price for strawberries! Also, love the new layout!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made Shortcut Eggplant Bartha (curry) ( using the spices I had in my cupboard. I served it over leftover rice to use up the rice (no waste!), when my sister visited. I garnished it with parsley from my balcony garden.
    – My daughter needed some sandals to run around in my parents’ garden and get muddy with as she was getting cuts on her feet running around barefoot even in the grass and I didn’t want her to use her brand-new sneakers (which I bought on sale, yay!) and I found a pair in a thrift store near my parents’ place. $2.99 for teva-style sandals, and $3.99 for a pair of crocs boots for her to grow into in the fall or spring. I washed the sandals in scalding hot water in an attempt to sanitize them, and quarantined the boots.
    – I made gluten-free vegan pancakes (banana, oats, milk, and a dab of honey). Both my daughter and I enjoyed them!
    – I made lentil burritos for my family one night, using homemade taco spice to make the taco lentils (literally lentils cooked with taco spice). My mum said that she actually preferred it to the ground beef taco filling that I grew up with!
    – I made a sourdough starter. My husband and parents love fresh bread but I wanted a change from the usual sandwich bread that I bake or the No-Knead Artisan Bread ( that I also make.
    – I made a three-bean salad, which gets better as it sits. I eat it as a side, as a meal served over lettuce, and even use the dressing as vinaigrette for green salads once the beans are eaten. No waste!
    – I made ice cream sandwiches from homemade cookies.
    – I gave my sister some organic lettuce that I had too much of, and she gave me three t-shirts that she no longer had a use for and that fit me perfectly.
    – I made chocolate beet banana loaf/snack cake, as there was a cooked beet in the fridge that needed to be used up. The pureed beet made it moist, and it was also vegan so no milk or eggs needed!
    – I redeemed SB for $5 to my paypal account.
    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. Do you have a recipe, please, for the lentils with taco spice? I have lentils I need to us. Thanks!

      1. Cindy, we make lentil tacos. Cook your lentils, then season with taco seasoning and salsa until they are spicy enough to your liking!

        1. Brandy’s comment is exactly what I do! A can of lentils (or a baggie of frozen pre-cooked lentils if I’ve batch-cooked a bag of lentils) and a solid tablespoon of homemade taco spice seasoning, heated through or simmered until as thick as you’d like. I’ve added in salsa sometimes as well, which I do like as I feel it adds a bit of tang, but just lentils and taco spice work well too. It’s SO easy! Plus, I’ve frozen leftovers and defrosted them later. Dinner is on the table in 10 minutes!

    2. Hi, I made the easy cook Bartha and by adding another can of diced tomatoes plus a can of drained chick peas we got two dinners and a lunch for the two of us. It was so delicious and will go into the regular rotation of meals. Chick peas were on sale so I picked up more. Most beans would work with this recipe and broccoli would be great!
      Thanks so much, Bonnie

  12. Beautiful flowers! I can’t grow anything. (There was a running joke in my family if you had a fish or a plant you needed to get rid of, to bring it to me, lol)

    My mom sent over neosporin, floss sticks, and a jar of mayonnaise

    When I picked up my grocery order, I received a sample bag from Walmart with a coconut water, coke energy drink, vitamin sample, packet of hidden valley ranch mix, and a laundry pod.

    Cut up and froze several peaches and a zucchini.

    Hubby came home with a $6 dozen donuts from Dunkin Donuts. It was a random assortment, and nearly stale, but they managed to finish them all off minus one, that I split between the two big dogs.

    Our neighbor sent over a bag of tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers.

    Hubby repurposed chicken he smoked last weekend into a dish(a little spicy for my taste) using random vegetables from the refrigerator and noodles.

    Used $7.50 in Petsmart points towards this week’s canned dog food.

    Returned library books on time to avoid fees.

    Sold one item on Marketplace, making $5

    Donated one stuffed box and 3 stuffed bags of books for our library systems fall book sale. Many of them came from there, so a great way to recycle them.

  13. I really like the new blog redesign. It’s clean and fresh! Like you, I am in stock up mode at the moment. I have gone through all of our toiletries and food supplies and know where I want to fill in when I can find the best prices. My husband has been out of work since March 18th and we don’t know if he will be back to work at the local university in September as they are only expecting 25-30% of students to be on campus. He might very well not work again in 2020 so we are getting prepared for this possibility by going over our budget and stocking up as we can. I was quite excited this past week to find someone had put out canning jars for free. I have already put some to good use canning peaches that I picked up for .67$/lb. My mom also picked up a large box of Canadian blueberries for me and I have frozen five cups of these to use for the winter. Lots of planning and sorting and stocking up at this end!

  14. I think the pictures are too large for the content. Your pictures are beautiful but seem to overwhelm your content. Just a thought.

    1. Christina, what device are you on? They’re rather small if you’re on a phone, and more than 50% of my readers are reading on a phone.

  15. Brandy, I don’t normally comment, but I need to tell you your site is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing all of your information and I love reading the comments. They are really helpful. God bless and be safe!

  16. I ended up buying a zinnia plant at the grocery store on Friday, after looking at your beautiful zinnia photos all week. Most of my seedlings did not make it this spring, so I felt like it was an investment. It was very inexpensive and looks lovely planted in my front flower bed.

    I discovered this morning that my pea plants are setting pea pods! Any time I discover a new vegetable producing in the garden I feel like I hit the lottery! It will be a few days before I can harvest but that’s okay. This past week I harvested the last of the blueberries, green beans and cherry tomatoes from the garden. I did a lot of weeding this week – cleaning out two areas of the yard – and did some cleaning out inside the house as well.

    Generous parishioners send my husband home with potatoes, cherries and two large loaves of banana bread. My cousin picked raspberries and froze 4 cups for me to pick up from her later this summer. I also received 6 ears of corn from work (we typically have a picnic with hot dogs, corn on the cob and potato salad as a gift from administration every year, this year they opted to give us 4 ears of corn and 4 hot dogs each or 6 ears of corn – I chose the 6 ears of corn). I will freeze the corn for later use in the year.

    Here’s the full summary on my blog:

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  17. How wonderful to be given all those apples. My husband harvested apples from several of our trees. I plan to can applesauce, as well as sliced apples. Zucchini and tromboncino squash were canned. We did our first picking of lima beans, which we planted heavier than normal, and ended up with 34 lbs. We were up late, but shelled all but the few that had already turned brown that night before bed. It ended up being around 18 or 19 lbs shelled. I typically freeze them, but plan to can most of them tomorrow, as that’s more than I can manage in the freezer. I found some good grocery deals: canned corn .38 and avocados .65 at Aldis, cherries 1.99/#, nectarines 1.49/# and a hunk of mozzarella on manager’s special 3.99, which I used to make caprese salad. I have a small piece left. Basil was harvested, and pesto made for dinner one night.

  18. I like the new format and as always look forward to the weekly posts. Do you really feel we are going into a recession and that banks are going to have difficulties? I value your opinion.

    1. I think we’re at the beginning of one, and it’s worldwide. Here’s some food for thought:

      Stock Market crash coming

      Big Banks Set Aside $28 Billion in Downturn Warning

      In the last recession, Las Vegas (which is technically the cities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and Henderson) had the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. and 1 in 7 houses went into foreclosure. Our unemployment numbers are now the highest in the nation save for Detroit. We’re much higher than last time (officially 17% then, but it was over 31% here in May).

      The numbers are already pointing to a recession worldwide now. If we don’t find a vaccine, a lot of businesses are going under. I’ve been reading worldwide headlines for companies laying off thousands of people. What jobs are they going to get now? Then there are the millions who have had their paychecks cut to try to keep them employed (1 in 8 in the U.S.) but for how long? They may get laid off too.

      A ton of people are going to have to quit their jobs (if they weren’t already laid off) to stay home with their children under the new school plans (many have 1-2 days of school and 3 days of school online; some have 5 days a week all online, like in Los Angeles and San Diego). Today a school nurse contacted me about homeschooling and is planning to quit her job! Los Angeles is the largest school district in the nation (495,255 students in 2020); that’s a lot of parents not able to go to work and not all will have a work from home option. Clark County School District (Las Vegas and surrounding cities) is the fourth largest and it’s 2 days at school and 3 days at home or all distance learning.

      I’m filling gaps in my pantry and toiletries right now. I’ve decided to spend more this month than planned; virus numbers are going up here and if there are limits or shortages I want to be prepared having bought things at the lowest price. I’ve gone more than a year without shopping before and I want to be prepared in case I have to do that again.

      1. I want you to know, Brandy, that I got very little sleep last night after reading the beginning of your posts! I watch very little television and am not on the computer much, so had not heard about the stock market and bank issues. I’m 77, live alone, have debts because in PA it’s very hard to live with no furnace or oil tank, plus the regular expenses. I do have a small garden, a half-share in a CSA so it’s not the food I worry about so much. My oil and electricity have gone way up, has other expenses. I’m to the point that I can’t cut back much more. I will not give up the internet as it’s my only communication with my daughter in AK and for blogs like yours so keep up the good work. I learn much from you and your readers.

      2. You have inspired me to do the same! I have been stocking up on food, but now I will be looking at toiletries and other necessities. Thank you!

      3. Brandy, I don’t know if you have any IRAs or mutual funds for retirement assets. My concern is with these. I know that their worth does fluctuate with the markets but fear a true crash. In 2008-2009 I lost half of my retirement fund because of that. By the time I retired it had just made it back up to that amount prior to the crash. I am blessed that I have a pension and don’t dip into the fund but don’t want to see it lost either. Any suggestions? I have a friend that basically cashed all his in that retired from same job. Not sure that is the best option either.

        1. I am not a financial advisor, so I can’t really advise you what to do here. I know they were down and went back up just recently, but that Forbes article says we’re in trouble. I know a couple of months ago Warren Buffet sold off most of his stocks like crazy and kept things like utility companies. There were a number of articles about it. There were articles wondering why prices were going up when they should be going down. Look at the chart on the Forbes article.

          1. I was just chatting about this topic with my husband in regards to my parents’ retirement and his recommendation was that if you are retiring in 20 years, index funds are good to hold on to, but that if you are retiring in the next couple of years, one would do best to have 75% of assets in cash and 25% in other, i.e. be very conservative. He’s not a financial advisor although he has an MBA but he’s always managed to get a higher than average return on our modest investments, so I thought I would pass it on, for what it’s worth. Again, not a financial advisor, so please do your own research. Oh, and I asked him about Buffet selling off stocks, and he mentioned that Buffet is selling off things like airlines. Which, given the impact of the pandemic, makes sense to me (admittedly a total financial layperson). I worry about people who will be impacted by a market crash, but I’m oh so thankful for Brandy, who has worked so hard to help others. Brandy, just through this website alone, you have made a huge impact on soooo many people. You’ll probably never know how many lives you have impacted, but you truly are a blessing. Thank you for all your hard work.

            1. Thanks for sharing all that.

              Airlines around the world are understandably having to lay off thousands of employees. Every week I read about a new one.

        2. I loss every single penny in my retirement accounts in 2009. I will never take a chance on repeating that destruction to my life. I’m sticking up, and yes, I’m fairly stable but I take ZERO risks now. At 56 I can’t take any loss. I’ll keep dumpster diving.

        3. Angela in Kentucky- Brandy is right! Your retirement funds- IRA, etc. are something that need to be tailored to your personal situation and any of us would be reckless to advise you on specific financial planning with those monies.
          For Hubs and I, we are retired and do not like much risk, so our investments are “defensive” according to our son-in-law, meaning they are lower interest but lower risk. Now would be a good time to sit down with your financial advisor or the institution that keeps your investments- bank, brokerage, etc. and ask them for an assessment.

          Good luck! It’s scary, but definitely a good thing to check on sooner than later!

      4. Brandy,
        Please share more about how you went a year without shopping in the past. Obviously from your stored provisions, but specifically how did you manage fruits and veggies? Did you have a lot of canned? Grains I can store, and I am vegetarian so do not worry about meats, but I do eat a lot of fruits and veggies and am trying to learn how to have as many of them as possible.
        Thank you!

        1. I had both canned and dried, as well as frozen. We had just started our garden, but I didn’t have any fruits yet (that takes a few years!) The garden provided a few vegetables. I’ve learned a lot since then and my gardening skills have improved, so the garden is much more productive this year, but there are always bad years. Last year the garden did not do well in many ways.

      5. I have been working from home as a nurse for an insurance company for 10 years. I work PT flexible hours,but they must be during business hours. I just resigned yesterday because we are doing online option through school and we must lock in for a full semester. Thankfully my husband can telecommute and he makes enough for us to live on one income.About 15-20% of our district is doing online. I know several mothers who have quit their jobs too. I am really glad I started using your bulk storage method 5 years ago. We didn’t worry about food when the shelves were often bare.

        1. I had a school nurse contact me about homeschooling earlier this week. She’s quitting too. Our district decided to go online-only on Tuesday.

      6. Thank you Brandy for the heads up on the recession. I believe you and have been ordering long term storage and stocking up on other basic staples since April. A lot of items have taken months to be fulfilled and sent to me. I make sure each month I order a case of something. I shop as most people here by buying more than one of a sale item if it is allowed. I do not empty the shelves tho as I don’t have much storage in a 50’s 850 sq ft home. However, I felt the prompting to find more space. So, I took the second very small bedroom and took out the queen bed we had for company and the other items. We bought strong standing shelves and put them in the back of the room. We sectioned that area off from the rest of the room by adding a rod and curtains. We put a twin bed in for the occasional stay of a grandkid and some storage shelf with baskets for toys. This room doesn’t have a closet so we have over the door hanger to use as needed. It all turned out perfect! I’m one of those ladies that have been following you and learning from you. Thank you so much for all the time and effort to teach us how to live a beautiful frugal life!
        Melody in OR

        1. Melody,
          I love your storage idea of sectioning off part of an existing room. I have been racking my brain for affordable ideas for building closets or buying second hand cabinets or furniture but not once did I consider your idea. Brilliant and cost effective!
          I have also been slowly stocking up and waiting months for products to arrive: cases of canned meat from Lehmans, freeze dried meals from Valley Food Storage, oats, rice, and flour from Honeyville. It’s been very hit or miss. I spend a few hours each week online hunting down things that are still in stock, and not finding a lot. When my husband drives across state for work he has better luck stopping at small town grocery stores in less populated areas. We live near a large city and many things are sold out on a regular basis.

          1. Thank you Stacey! It works great for me as I’m a very visual person with decorating and organization. It’s nice to have it all behind the curtain. Lol! We used 2 old TV armoires before that, that my husband put shelves in. However, my buckets were always stacked up next to them. This new system is so much easier to see all my stock and the buckets are now on the bottom shelves and such easier access to everything.

  19. Brandy I had to laugh at your “wonky” comment in your post. I say it all the time and my husband teases me. I tell him I guess I’ve watched too many British shows over the years!
    I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Thanks for your blog!

  20. Love your pictures – what a beautiful post! Maybe it’s the Safari I use, but the comments overlap on my view of your page. But I love the new format.

    *I shredded and froze so much zucchini! I did more today. It is the most prolific thing in my garden by far. It will be a bit of a challenge to use it all up over the winter months. I picked one grape tomato and one Roma tomato. I didn’t have to buy lettuce at the store because of what I had picked in our garden. Unfortunately, the lettuce I picked froze because of where it was placed in the refrigerator. I did pick enough green beans to blanch and freeze in just 1 quart size bag. But it is a start 🙂 I pulled out plants that were done in the garden and replanted more green bean seeds. I pull out every weed I see and we put our grass clipping in the garden for mulch.

    *We celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this past week. We did go out to eat but only spent $13.01. We spent the day at home watching Blue Bloods. Our kids had gone out for the day and it was nice to have time to ourselves in a quiet house. Except for our dogs – who decided that this was prime cuddling time for them.

    *I appreciate all the book suggestions from last week. I went to the library and checked out a few to try. Another suggestion of an author for you readers is Mignon Ballard’s Miss Dimple series. It’s set in WWII and is a clean read. I quite enjoyed getting to know the characters in the book.

    *I exercised using hand weights and Leslie Sansone Walk At Home. Gardening and weeding have also been good for exercise for me.

    *Our daughter announced that her and her darling husband are expecting their first child in January. This will be our first grandchild and we are very happy for them. I will spoil the dickens out of the new baby – in the most frugal and money saving ways possible. I believe true joy for young children can be found in splashing water, cardboard boxes and lots of love.

    * I hope you all have a truly wonderful and frugal week. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful ideas and inspiration.

    1. That could be Safari! I’m on Chrome. I don’t have any control over that and WordPress just updated, so I hope it’s working properly the next time for you!

      1. I went through Chrome on our home computer and it’s perfect. Gorgeous new website!!!! Great beautiful job <3

    2. I’ve had lettuce freeze in the past that way too. Rather than letting it be a complete loss, I either compost it or add it to the bag I keep in the freezer of veggie scraps. That way, when it’s full, I make veggie stock. At least we’re getting some of the nutrients that way!

  21. The new look to the site is fabulous Brandy! And your photos, as always, are beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with us.
    Our garden has been doing well and we harvested lettuce, green peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and our first tomatoes of the season. I picked oregano, parsley & basil from my pots on the deck to use fresh in recipes. Grocery shopping has been at a minimum as we are well stocked and eating from our freezer & pantry. I have been going through every closet, cupboard & drawer in the house to organize and declutter. Our town just announced a community wide yard sale in August so we are going to participate in the hopes of making a few dollars from all the stuff we are purging. The town has waived the usual yard sale fee for that day so we will save $5.00. This past Saturday I stopped at a few yard sales that were advertised in the next town over and did very well. For under $15.00 I purchased: a NWT wallet & a leather purse, a jacket for myself for fall, a Pfaltzgraff casserole dish, a Pyrex round bowl with lid, 4 NWT placemats and 15 books. When I checked the retail prices online I had saved over $200 without even checking the books. I was pleased to see that everyone out at the sales was masked and people were being very considerate. As a family we are going nowhere & doing nothing in the entertainment realm and I don’t think anyone feels deprived. My husband is playing the piano and doing some woodworking, my daughter has pulled out her paints, my son is fishing locally, I’m reading more and all 4 of us are making use of our bicycles. Life is at a slower pace and even though I detest the circumstances that brought us here, I am appreciating some of the outcomes.
    Hoping everyone stays healthy, safe & frugal!

  22. The site looks beautiful, Brandy! My sympathies with trying to iron out all of WordPress’s kinks, but we really appreciate all you do.

    *Harvested raspberries, Swiss chard, cucumbers, parsley, blueberries. Saved seeds from kale, sweet william, honesty, daisies, forget-me-nots, pinks.

    *Saved some bacon grease and used it in black bean soup with pieces of ham. It was delectable.

    *Went to the nearby beach a bunch of days last week with our pass. We usually bring home clam shells to put in the garden for calcium, and our wet bag of swim suits gets all sandy from my finds. However, this time my husband handed me a big 2 gallon bucket and joked that I could have my own beach toys too. I used it! I brought home a bucket of seaweed for the compost pile each time.

    *Sorted baby clothes and did some organizing. Always makes me amazed how I have exactly what I need, now that I can remember where I put it!

    Have a wonderful week!

  23. Wow! How gorgeous are those flowers? Are the blush pink/light white ones also zinnias? They looked like a different flower to me, and I’d love to know its name if they are!

    We’ve been cutting armloads of snapdragons to bring inside, which has been so lovely. We’re moving in a week and a half, so I’ve really been trying to bring in as much beauty from outside as I can so I can fully enjoy it before we leave!

    1. There are two tiny roses (the heat makes them small and I rescued these ones before the sun burned them, as it did the rest.) They are called Earth Angel, and they are a Kordes rose. In a cooler climate (and here in the spring and late fall) they are darker and larger and look like peonies. You can buy potted ones to be delivered in fall from Jackson & Perkins: Our temperatures here are 107-116, and it makes flowers much, much smaller and lighter when the bloom. They get about a day before the sun burns them brown and they open in a day, but n spring and fall here they are glorious!

    2. Also, snapdragons are a winter flower in our climate! I’ve never had armloads. Did you grow yours from seed? I would love to have that many!

      1. Thank you! They really do kind of look like a peony, or like a ranunculus, and now I’m scheming on getting some!

        We did grow our snapdragons from seed! We currently live in Cache Valley, Utah (though not for much longer), and we’ve been having snapdragons bloom for about a month now. The more you harvest them, the more they produce, and we’ve really gotten a TON! It’s been such a fun thing to enjoy, especially since we were able to enjoy them before our move.

  24. I have not commented often but have been a loyal reader for five years! My life is changing drastically, for the better! After working full time for the past 12 years, I am officially “retired” and getting to be a full time wife and mom (which has been my dream for years)! I was an assistant principal and I feel Gods timing at work… I could not imagine having to return to school under the current conditions. This spring was terrible; I’m glad to be done.
    -I found frozen turkeys for $.75 per pound and bought two. I may go back for another two tomorrow.
    -I have been collecting/purchasing clothes for my children in the next two sizes up as they seem to grow overnight and this practice allows me to get the exact items second hand at the lowest prices. A mom in my neighborhood was giving away an entire box of girls clothing for free and I got it. The clothes are two sizes too big for my daughter but I kept some “staple” items and passed the rest to my neighbor who has a daughter who can wear them now. I also got a large number of children books for free. A mom in my community started a special Facebook group when everything shut down in March that is dedicated to giving away kid clothing, books, toys, etc to other families in the neighborhood. I went through my own book collection and all my children’s toys and shared several dozen items on the page. It’s truly a wonderful concept and I’m thankful for this resource.
    -Our next door neighbors are building a pool and have received many large packages. My son asked for several of the large boxes and the boxes have produced HOURS of entertainment! The boxes are currently pirate ships 🥰 They were race cars yesterday. The boxes are so big, even I can sit in them lol.
    -I packed dry goods in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. I’ve been buying in bulk at rock bottom prices which saves money and allows me to build my food storage.
    -The Walmart near me is carrying #10 cans of vegetables for $2.50 (on sale). Regular price is $3.88. Walmart also had the Auguson Farms 48 hour emergency food kits in store. The selection of products has certainly changed in the past few months!
    -I am finding that the really good deals on food and hygiene items are not listed in sales fliers. I’m having to go into stores (which I hate) but the savings are significant. Frozen turkey for $.75/pound and ground beef for $1.68/pound and bananas for $.20/pound just to list a few examples. I wonder if stores do not want to list these deals out of fear of a mad rush?!? Anyone else experiencing this?

    I hope to share ideas and recipes and money saving tips over the coming months. Blessings to everyone.

  25. Gorgeous photos, as always. And I like your new website design. That is an amazing price on strawberries!

    Joining in from Seattle area in Washington state.

    Thanks for the suggestion last week to check out Kanopy at my library for the Great Courses. I checked into this, and it is possible to check out two series per month. They have quite a wide selection, so I will try that out in the future.

    It has finally warmed up here (it is hot today for us, 90F in my area). Had some nice walks outside this week in local parks. Also tried out Leslie Sansone Just Walk which several people recommended. I really liked the workout, and that will be a great option when the weather is not cooperative.

    I have two pairs of fabric sneakers that I wear regularly, and I had worn holes in all the toes. The shoes were still fine, but they no longer looked nice. So I bought a package of 100 assorted color flower appliques on Amazon for $11.
    I patched the holes in the toe area and sewed on the appliques to cover them up. I used the black applique on the black pair of sneakers, and the pink ones on the gray/pink pair. They turned out great! Now the shoes look presentable again. It was a pretty inexpensive fix, and I have 96 appliques left. 🙂

    Back in December, I had thrush, and my doctor prescribed a prescription mouth rinse. After I was done with the treatment, he suggested I use a special toothpaste (Biocidin) to make sure the problem did not return. I purchased some, and dubbed it the Very Expensive Toothpaste because it was about $30 for 3 ounces (ouch!). But I soon discovered that I only needed to use a little bit, and I only had to brush with it once a day (I just used regular toothpaste otherwise). Well, I was able to make that 3 ounces of that toothpaste last six months! So that is definitely a frugal win.

    Other frugalities:
    Used the Nextdoor app to give away a barbecue we were not using. The recipient was thrilled and picked it up that same afternoon.
    Was craving Korean roasted barley tea (boricha), which I love to drink iced in hot weather. Visited a local Asian grocery and bought a bag of roasted barley. Brewed some tea when I got home, and it was perfect on a hot day. It’s a big bag, so this will give me many more servings. It’s also delicious hot, and has no caffeine.
    Also found disposable gloves at the Asian grocery, which we needed for our office.
    Made ribs in the instant pot. Saved the bones and non-edible bits and put them back in the instant pot with turkey giblets from last Thanksgiving to make a batch of broth.
    Mixed up eyeglass cleaner (half rubbing alcohol, half water, and a drop of dishwashing detergent).
    Shared vegetables from my CSA with my mom. Met up with her and had a masked visit near a local park.
    Early on in the pandemic, I decided that Flowers were Not Optional for my mental health. Just looking at a bouquet made me feel so much better. I have found that Trader Joe’s has very nice flowers at good prices. And sometimes they last longer than a week. I just take out the spent flowers and my bouquet gets smaller and smaller. I also save the greenery to use from week to week. Soon our CSA will have flowers to cut and take home, but they aren’t ready yet.

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. Brandy, I love the look of the new site! It really is beautiful and feels like a browse through a library or something. Such gorgeous fonts,photos and of course the content is excellent and so helpful! Thank you for all you do to bring beauty and calm into our crazy world!

      * We had a mouse problem in our pantry so my husband took everything out, we wiped down the shelves and containers and throw out the really old items. It was unexpected but it sure has things feeling clean and more organized. I have been drying basil, parsley, bee balm and oregano to add to the pantry stash.

      * I found brand new books from goodwill to give as gifts to a virtual baby shower. I added homemade salves to the gift. I also found two pairs of shorts for my son’s birthday today.

      * Meat here is expensive, it has shot up since March. I found marked down sausage for $1.50/# versus $3-4 . Ground beef is running $5/#. I have been swapping produce for a dozen eggs and some organic peaches my friend would have thrown out. A neighbor told us to come get stuff that he was going to toss. I got 6 zucchini, 3 squash and tomatoes. I am going to make zucchini tater tots after seeing them on this site. I have been making bbq squash chips with my dehydrator.

      * I continue to amend my garden with coffee grounds, wood ash, and raw compost. I bought seeds today for the fall planting. They were out of a lot and said it is a slow process to get them due to the demand. I am trying to save my own and look at alternate seed sites. We got a huge rain of about a inch last night, that should help with our high temps of 95 for a week here.

      * Two of my jobs will end at the end of August and I am on the hunt for new jobs. With schools being virtual here in our county, folks are scrambling for help, so I hope with my homeschooling my seven kids through high school that I can find something.

      Grateful for this like minded group of ladies! I always come away so encouraged and blessed after seeing the posts and your post, Brandy!

    2. Brandy I have been enjoying your blog immensely over the last several months and find your posts and information inspiring through this stressful season.
      This is the second year we have planted a garden and we expanded it to almost five times the original size in order to produce and put away as much fresh food as possible. We now have 1000 sq ft plus and we have many vegetable plants growing in other areas of our yard as well.
      As the July heat has arrived many of our plants reached their full production capacity. Grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are still producing along with some beefsteaks and better boys…are other tomato plants are finished for the season. We ate pounds of fresh tomatoes and I put up over 20 qts of tomato sauce and 25 pints of homemade salsa. I may buy a bushel of tomatoes from the farmers market to our away more sauce and diced tomatoes but am waiting for the prices to go to $15 per bushel as that brings the price to about $0.60 per pound.
      I have harvested and pickled several pints of banana peppers and made spicy green tomato pickles from a large batch of green tomatoes that our plants produced early on in the spring. The abundance of fruit on each plant would not allow for natural ripening so we had to remove about a third from each plant. Nothing was wasted.
      Our green and red pepper plants continue to perform well and are producing beautifully. We have several gallons frozen and ready for use in recipes as needed. The flor of these home grown peppers is truly amazing.
      I purchased some pickling cucumbers from a local farmers as our yield has not been as abundant as we would have liked. These have been processed into sweet pickle relish and sweet pickles. I will be putting away another 25 pounds this weekend.
      I also purchased a half bushel of squash and okra from the same farmer and prepared it for the freezer. 7 large gallon bags of squash and 5 large gallons of okra. All bags would easily make two side dishes each with leftovers so we are set with those veggies.
      Bought 25 pounds of bruised freestone peaches and canned over 13 qts as soon as we brought them home.
      An additional 25 pounds of peaches will become fresh peach salsa today.
      I will be planting the first succession crop In Our garden for the summer this weekend…pink eyed peas, crowder peas, green beans, and ford hook Lima beans.
      I will be starting my seedlings for our fall garden as well in the next several weeks as we plan to grow collards, mustard greens, cabbage, broccoli, butternut squash, and a variety of other veggies.
      We are reusing jars and lids as often as we can. All meals are cooked at home. Bulk purchases being made to add to our storage and prepare for whatever may be ahead including grains, dried beans and meat for the freezer whenever we spot a good sale.
      Kroger had chicken for $0.88 cent per pound this week so we brought home 4 packages and I will likely pick up more this weekend.
      I don’t have a clothes line but grew up with one and am a bit jealous of those of you able to dry freshly laundered sheets on a clothes line…there is nothing like that wonderful freshness.
      Have a great week everyone! God bless!

  26. This is just a test message. I’d been having trouble reading the old new website. Some of the type was too faint for me.

    1. I’ve been wondering where you were! Hopefully this works better now. No grey type 🙂

      1. Thank you all. I hope to write more again, also. I just only have one computer that I do typing on and that is my work one as it has a special keyboard. It’s hard to type anything of length on the kindle.

  27. I love the new look Brandy. What an awesome price on strawberries, I don’t think I have ever seen strawberries that cheap.
    I have some nice tomatoes on the vine but none ripe yet. I harvested chives again and froze them. I cut my husband’s hair and made shorts from an a old pair of jeans.

  28. Hi Brandy,
    As everyone has already commented, a great new look to the website. Ah, the colors and format are great, very clean and crisp. I opened the blog this am and found some links didn’t work, so went away until tonight, and voila, links are working! I had a vision of you with your hair standing on end typing feverishly getting everything working properly ;). Hope it wasn’t too stressful!

    I am having cataract surgery next week so am working this week to get ahead on chores and cooking so my beloved husband won’t have too much to do. I have heard the recovery is short and easy so worse case I will have extra dinners in the freezer 😉

    I am indeed seeing many bloggers (those whose advice I value) commenting about the potential for a difficult fall and winter ahead, so have spent the past few weeks working on my pantry. I will look up the links you provided, thank you for your thoughts on this topic, I would rather be prepared than not.

    1. I didn’t get much sleep this weekend as I wanted to work on it when the website had the least amount of traffic, because once I started working on it, any comments would be lost. I had to wait to add the links on the homepage until it was live, which was frustrating, but once they had it up, I moved as fast as I could!

  29. The site looks great! I’ve been organizing (when not working) a lot these days, and it really is a frugal thing to do. Knowing exactly where to find something keeps me from purchasing duplicates. I’ve also been using zinnia bouquets as little gifts, and I’ve invited all the neighbors to pick zinnia from our garden. (Like you mentioned, they bloom better if you keep picking them!) I’ve also given a lot of thought to doing a better job with leftovers (which resulted in a post for my blog later this week). Thanks for the inspiration!

  30. This past month has been anything but frugal. My dad received an official cancer diagnosis on June 15th and died 2 weeks later on June 30th. My sister and I had been taking turns running him to doctor appointments. I have spent so much on gas and eating out. Any normalcy flew out the window as my family sort of went into survival mode.
    My husband needed a new suit for the funeral. We were able to go to Kohls and they had suits on sale for 70% off! We also found a great deal on a shirt and shoes. They had racks and racks of clothes on clearance. My daughter found a pair of Nike flip flops marked down to $2.10. I imagine this is due to covid. We were grateful anyway.
    We also had to put 4 new tires on my son’s car. We called around and got the best price with free rotation and a tire warranty.
    My sister had planned a vacation to South Carolina. My dads doctor told him he had 3 to 6 months to live. After talking to my dad about canceling the vacation and debating what they should do, they decided to go. Unfortunately, he died 2 days later. They basically had to turn right around and drive 14 hours back home. They were going to lose around $1,000 on hotel fees. The first person they spoke to about a refund said they could not help them so they asked for someone higher up. This person told them they would refund the money if they could provide certain documents. One of them being my dads death certificate and some other receipts. They actually refunded the money fairly quickly. I was glad they didnt lose all that money.
    I am so blessed to read here every week. I wait all week and then spend my Suday evening reading what everyone has been up to!

    1. Jenn, I’m sorry that your dad died.

      I’m glad your husband was able to buy a suit.

      I forgot to mention it in the post, so I’ll update it, but last week I ordered some dresses from ThredUp. I made sure to order something in my new size in black that would be appropriate for a funeral, just in case. Your comment reminded me.

    2. So sorry for your loss Jenn. Everything seems to be so much more stressful and difficult to deal with at the moment. Blessings for your family.

    3. I am so sorry about your Dad. How nice that you had some time with him even as you were driving to appointments. Any time together is time well spent!

    4. My deepest sympathy on losing your Dad
      Mine died March 2017 and I still feel it every day
      I also remembered each kindness, even the little things meant so much

  31. I love the new format! I love how the pictures and comments are much larger. Earlier today, my margins were non-existent on Safari, on a computer, but now, they are fine. So, it’s likely fixed now.

    We are adjusting to our new normal, post surgery, now. That means that since my husband needs to walk a lot, I have been walking a lot with him. Win-win, and absolutely free, most days! One day, we drove down to the coast and walked on a concrete trail at a state park, just for a change of scenery, and just because we could. It’s still an absolute miracle to me that 3 weeks ago, my husband could hardly hobble from the car to the house, and now regularly takes walks that are over 2 miles long! He also has physical therapy twice a week, and exercises to do at home 3/x a day. It’s keeping him busy.

    When we aren’t out walking, I am working in the garden. One day, I cleaned out old snow peas, broccoli that was done, and some other small areas. We added compost/manure and Rob got the tiny tiller working so the areas could be tilled. Then, I planted leaf lettuce, lettuce starts he grew in the greenhouse for head lettuce, more snow peas, and new slicing cucumbers. I picked enough beans for my first canner load of 7 quarts, and froze 3 baggies with the rest. I picked enough pickling cucumbers for 4 pints and got those canned as well. I’ve been picking and freezing raspberries and blueberries, Marion berries and a few strawberries.

    I spent some time looking over, and re-stocking my pantry last week, as well. I’ve ordered some bulk items from Azure Standard each month, so I’m doing great on spices and salt, and a few other bulk things, but still have a few items I’ve identified that I need to re-fill from various places. Around here, the best place for Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-1 flour is at Cash and Carry (They may have changed the name yet again…)but it’s the restaurant supply store that anyone can shop at. So I want another 25-lb bag of that flour from there. Most items we wanted were at the various stores we went to, but there are still a few things missing from the shelves. My husband, who was checking out the offerings at that store for me, mentioned that the same bag of boneless skinless chicken breast that were around $7 are now at least $10. So, prices seem to be rising around here. We have decided to re-fill things as they get low. We keep a pretty good stockpile, but last spring we let it get down a bit with the intention of filling it with our tax return. We did, but it became challenging as the Covid crisis struck. At this point, we don’t feel comfortable letting the stockpile dwindle. Instead, we will bulk it up a little more than normal, I think. All the canning and freezing I am doing will help a lot. I’ve also been much more aggressive about re-planting empty areas in the garden so the fresh food will go into the fall farther than some years.

    I made and took a meal to friends, mostly using some food I had on hand, plus a few items that were purchased, like a bunch of bananas.

    1. Awesome. That means the change I made works. Thank you for letting me know.

      1. You’re welcome. Did you change theme’s as well? Or just move everything around? I can only imagine how much time this took, either way. Looks great!

  32. I spent the early part of the week canning 12 pounds of carrots, 5 pints of salsa and two very large batches of stew to put up for the winter months. Then my ten year old daughter became very ill and we spent the next 4 days in the PICU at Children’s. It was a terrifying experience but the neurology team was able to pinpoint her health issue and now to work on finding a treatment that will work for her. Her recovery is going to be very long but I’m so thankful she will be alright and we can be back home. I was very thankful for the stew and some things I had premade in the freezer so my husband could easily feed the rest of the children while I was in the hospital with my daughter about 3 hours away without worry.

    My garden wasn’t watered for a few days, it was the last thing we thought about honestly during this time and I lost a few plants during the crazy heat we are having in the South but I came home to enough ripe tomatoes to can a another batch of salsa, some baby corn that I harvested due to plants falling over, green beans and a load of cucumbers dropped off from a dear friend. I had started soaking my seeds the night before we ended in the hospital so I came home to seeds starting to sprout and ready to be planted for a fall garden.

    I did redeem some free points on ThredUp for a few pieces of free clothing for the children that they will need come fall/winter. I redeemed my points in $10 increments but added them to ship with a bundle with offers free shipping currently, so all four pieces I ordered were completely free.

    I think the updates are amazing and love the picture sizes! They are fantastic for mobile viewing and are absolutely beautiful.

    1. I’m very sorry your daughter got so sick. I can see where the garden would be the least important thing, so it’s great you could save some of it, but even better that she will recover and they can help her.

  33. Lovely flowers. The site looks fine for me on Firefox.
    I found out that you can dilute Howard’s Furniture Cleaner a whole lot and still get excellent results.
    I found a cotton mask on the road, washed it in hot water, and left it in the sun for hours. This is the second one I’ve found so that’s been very frugal. Before, I was using a bandanna when I had to go to stores.
    It’s been hot here & I needed woven, sleeveless cotton sleeping tops. I found one at the thrift store for $2, which was more than I expected, but it’s very comfortable and it’s a good charity.
    We ate lentil loaf, re-fried bean collard wraps, soup, lots of salads, and nut-pulp date cookies.
    I ended up with a bunch of turmeric roots that were being discarded; I planted many in reused pots with my compost. I hope I can sell them when they sprout.
    With all the rain, our Moringa trees were getting too leggy so I cut them, then dehydrated and powdered the leaves to add protein to smoothies or soup or something else. I also dehydrated Holy Basil leaves for tea.
    The lentil loaf reminded me of favorite story: Diogenes was eating a bowl of lentils, and the scholar Aristippus asked him, “Why do you live in poverty? You are more intelligent, more well-informed and more scholarly than I. If you would only learn to flatter the king, you would not have to live on such poor food as lentils.” Diogenes replied “If only you would learn to live on lentils, you would not have to flatter the king.”
    Have a great week!

      1. Thanks, Momsav, but I’ll just be putting these on CraigsList locally. If you’re from my area, though, let me know!

  34. Brandy, are you going to categorize your blog posts in case we should want to just look at the Christmas ones, for example? Or will you list the blog entries by year and month as your old site did? I don’t know how that would be done, but it’s a big loss without this!

    1. They are still in categories. I have a few in categories by themselves, LOL, so I am going to work on fixing that. Look for the categories to be listed on the menu bar under the blog tab 🙂 I think that’s going to be SO much easier!

      1. I never found categories in your old/new site. I just waited until an interesting possibility showed up in the other suggested posts where we enter the comments. I knew about food, etc., from those categories at the top of the blog but never saw anything like a Christmas category.

        1. They were in the footer at the bottom of the page. They will be in the menu section soon.

          1. I looked for the menu bar under the blog tab but could not see it. I thought perhaps it was the white type that’s hard to see that someone mentioned, but I didn’t see a hint of white print. I noticed there was apparently writing underneath your picture, with an “If ” at the top and an “A” equal with your forehead showing on the edge. So I looked this up on the phone and saw the wording that was covered by your picture. But still no menu bar. The white words showed up nicely too. (I had been wondering how you expected a new reader to find the blog.)
            As I recall a margin showed up sometimes, when you were talking about a fix, but usually no left margin. And often on my iPad some of the pictures were sorta squished, making subjects wider than they are.
            I was rather disheartened the first day, Monday, when I saw all the changes, when I was seeking comfortable familiarity in a world that is already fraught with too many changes, along with reading about a possible banking crash. But the site is looking grand and all the good tips and camaraderie are still there. So looking forward to your insights on being prepared for what may happen.

            1. I decided to put the blog categories under the appropriate menus up top. So, Frugal Accomplishments is under Saving Money, and the Gardening posts are under the Garden, as they were before.

  35. Hi Brandy and everyone
    Your service and kindness to others is an example to us all Brandy. Thank you for your wonderful site, love the new look.
    Lots of garden activity this week. I cut lavender and bay leaves to dry. My husband dug the first early crop of potatoes and we picked broad beans, peas, lettuce, rocket, chives and plums. I picked roses, cornflowers and zinnia for the house. We gifted some plums to a friend and received yellow courgettes in return.
    We have several types of poppy in the garden and I am saving dried seed heads. One of the poppies is ‘Patty’s Plum’ which was quite expensive to buy so I will be pleased if I can grow some from seed. I need to look up if it will grow true from seed.
    We needed some more large paper potato sacks and my husband found a deal on the internet- a commercial potato grower had ordered sacks wth printing on and the printers made a mistake with the lettering so they were sold off cheaply.
    My husband planted out leeks, kale and cabbage grown from seed.
    My daughter cut my husband’s hair. I have been cutting my own fringe through lockdown.
    Both daughters have visited ( under new rules) and started decluttering their bedrooms. They said I could take anything I wanted to sell on ebay. I have sold a few things on eBay this week, it pleases me to receive a little money but more especially to get things out of the house.
    I stocked up this week on toothbrushes and rubbish bin bags.
    I have been looking for inexpensive long sleeve tops to wear in spring and autumn and found a lovely Boden top, new with tags in a charity shop. This is an expensive brand in the UK so I was happy to pay £7.50!
    Talking of birds Brandy, goldfinches have nested in the wisteria that grows over our arbour and it’s free entertainment to sit underneath and watch the parent birds go to and fro. Small things.
    Stay safe everyone.

  36. This week was rough symptoms wise as virus has set off other medical problems. I did some extreme sleeping. Sadly that meant some food went bad. No matter where it comes from , I felt bad. Each week we refine our dumpster diving skills. After keeping notes , we know trash truck pickup days and when some stores dispose of damaged non food goods. Food goes out everyday. I picked up a nice load of pet food. A fellow diver remined me to check on recalls. My cats will be happy. The small dog kibble will go to my favorite neighbor Jack Russell. His owners are out of town and I monitor him. He’s quite fond of me. Will have to check ingredients to see if my cocker spaniel might try some. Its expensive to try to change her diet. Shes been very itchy lately. This week was phenomenal. A entire shipping box of eggs. I pulled 12 cartons out unbroken. Took 3 bags flour from saran wrapped pallet. Seems if items are dropped??? And damaged, they toss it all. Not being opened and factory sealed, its apparent they didn’t check. A case of butter. Normal fruit and vegetables. A random box of condiments and jarred items. I’m incredibly practical so totally perplexed as to how items that are good are tossed out. The indifference is sad. Sugar cookie is watching Paula deen quarantine on YouTube and keeping track of things to make with our potential pickings. Kids spent a good bit of money having food delivered as I slept. I stopped that. It really adds up. Neighbor must have left country for summer, as usual. I see he left lawnmower out. I saw code man drive by ,so I cut grass. CS appears to be shut down and I need a cap for my new lawnmower. I can’t use mine. Neighbor must have remembered my inquiry. Even in quarantine, we take care of each other. My days and nights are mixed up. I love that emailing allows me to stay in touch with so many people. Hoping every day is better for each reader.

      1. Several years ago, my son worked in a Walmart deli. Every evening at midnight, he would have to take all the perfectly good food left in the dcli and bakery – all packaged in plastic containers – out to the dumpster. Once, he “rescued” some chicken, and he was told not to do that again or he would be disciplined. People found out the food was being dumped, and they began foraging, but Walmart installed cameras to make sure no one was able to retrieve the food. He was told it could not be taken to food banks or homeless shelters because it was not “fresh” and because of liability. Ridiculous rules!

        1. Some gleaning groups are able to pick up this food and give it those in need. Some grocery stores donate it to food banks. It depends on corporate policies and individual managers. I know a couple of people who run gleaning groups and they have changed what stores they pick up from as managers have changed. Sometimes a new manager decides they don’t want to give it away anymore and they want to trash it, so the groups have to find new stores willing to share.

        2. I was in Kroger one afternoon picking up produce and watched as the deli emptied the lunch trays of food into a garbage can. Many had not even been dipped from. I thought about the homeless folks who’d have likely been glad of the meal but state laws do apply unfortunately. Once upon a time we could donate goods to a food bank but they now ask for cash or gift card donations only.

          1. I work at a food bank and we wouldn’t dream of turning down gifted food. But when people “ask” what they should give, money is mentioned. The main reason is that food banks often have access to purchasing food for greatly reduced prices. In other words, their dollar goes further than yours.

            And we do get some ancient products give us, sometimes. 😀 And Brandy is absolutely right about stuff from stores, it depends very much on the current manager.

            1. I volunteer at a food pantry and the same thing. They purchase food from a co-op and it is much cheaper than purchasing food from a store. Not to mention the free USDA food we receive to hand out. Recently though we have not been able to order items we really need and the pantry hasn’t been getting food donations like it did before covid. I have had to purchase the food I need to make up the kids bags and the bags for larger families. The pantry I volunteer at is very small, but we are getting more people and new people from different parts of the county. I think we are only going to get busier in the coming months.

              1. Agreed. I also volunteer at a small food pantry, and we pick up from local grocery stores weekly. Most are happy to donate. A few weeks ago, we received an entire float of nondairy milk! Some weeks, things are slim. The produce varies greatly, and the pantry is only open on Wednesdays and Thursdays. There are many weekends when I pick up produce that I end up salvaging and bringing home, because it would go bad by mid-week. I’m grateful to be able to volunteer, and to make use of what would otherwise be waste.

    1. Lilliana, when part of a shipment arrives damaged, they may be required to dispose of the entire shipment in order to receive credit from the supplier or shipper.

    2. Lilliana, I love that you do this! We are a wasteful society and the bit you do is a blessing to many! Thanks for sharing with us, I love your courage!

    3. Glad to hear that you managed a bit of extra rest this week. Please take care – this crazy virus seems to have all sorts of twists and turns in it and people are having some very serious after effects. Your dumpster diving is exemplary but try not to overdo it until you are fully recovered.

  37. Thank you Brandy and you are so right to do organising at the moment and taking a note of items that need to be purchased and topped up on if they are low and planning ahead further on your budget 🙂 .Haircuts at home certainly saves a lot of money and I am glad you have had such wonderful harvests from your gardens.

    We have been doing similar here and going through all our pantries and supplies and topping up items we are low on as well as planning further ahead too. Recently we have also been saving much more to make our emergency fund larger too for further peace of mind and preserving more produce from our gardens too.

    Our savings added up to $196.93 last week.

    Finances and internet listings –
    – Earned about $27 from the sale of a homemade set of table placemats, drink coasters and napkin rings online.
    – Banked more money into our 3 month living expenses emergency fund bringing us to 98.4 % of the way there. We will achieve and exceed our goal next week :).
    – Listed 20 items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $33 on paying usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 3 prescription dry cat food for our cat off eBay saving $33 over buying it elsewhere.
    – Purchased a bulk bag of bread improver on eBay saving $100 over buying it in smaller packages in the local supermarkets. I will sell the portion that is over our requirements making our portion next to free for us.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a family sized blueberry pie from frozen blueberries I bought on half price special previously saving $30.93 over buying it in a bakery.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


  38. This week I finally could pick some peas, one pod with two peas. It is winter here and this is the time people garden in my part of the world. I grew seeds so my granddaughter could see where food comes from. We recently bought another car. It took a lot of convincing to buy a smaller car. Mum is impressed that our fuel bill has been less than $15 a week. I managed to buy some meat at a discount which is good we have two fridge freezers and I worry that we might now have enough.

    I love your new look.

  39. Love the site setup!
    The past week, I took my parents with me to grocery shop in the next county. We decided to drive to a produce stand and found wonder prices. We bought early apples, tomatoes, green beans, new potatoes, and homemade dish cloths for very low prices. On the way back my dad asked to go on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which was on the way. We broke to Mabry Mill and they had a nice time getting out and walking around with masks. They have been limited on where they go so this made for a great time. On the way back, we stopped at the grocery store. I got 13 packs of meat (chicken, pork , beef) for under 50 dollars. I put it in the freezer and shared some with my son and his family.
    On Saturday, we went to a couple of yard sales. We found a life jacket for our middle grandchild for 50 cents and a couple of books for 25/50 cents. Someone near us had a yard sale and offered free items that were left over. We got a fishing pole, a booster seat for the table, and a small bicycle for the grandkids.
    Our garden is not producing hardly anything this year. Everything we planted has almost died. We used some organic compost for this fist time and wonder if that is what killed the garden. Only a few sunflowers are growing. The green beans, peppers, pumpkins, and some tomatoes did not really grow or produce. This is a shock as we have never had this happen before. So, we have been visiting farmer’s markets. We went to three on Saturday. I was able to get plenty of corn to share and freeze.

    1. Stephanie, I live near Mabry Mil and am wondering where the produce stand is you went to. I would love to check it out if you do not mind sharing.

        1. I try to get their peaches every year. I love that place. The farmer is so nice. I have gotten tomatoes there to can as well in the past. I may drive out their soon. I will call first. Thanks!

      1. Heh. Hadn’t seen this when I posted my suggestion below. Sorry about that! Also not sure what I wrote that was auto-corrected to “extinguished”, I think it was just “getting”.

    2. Stephanie, if you still have some of that compost, you could put some in a small pot, put a scoop of soil from somewhere in your yard that didn’t get the compost in another small pot, and sow 3-4 peas in each. Then compare them after they’ve sprouted and grown a few inches to help identify if there’s an issue with the compost. Aminopyralids are making their way into horse and now even cow manure, then persisting up the food chain.
      Hopefully this wasn’t certified organic compost, but even then, the standards have been corrupted by big industry in some areas, so extinguished “dirt you can trust” is getting harder and harder.
      Good luck!

  40. That is wonderful about listening to the bird song. Lately, I have been noticing the birds singing more (other than the chorus to wake me up every morning), its really pretty to hear a solo artist.

    This week, accepted food from the in laws which made dinner and a lunch.
    Accepted a cucumber and zucchini from a friend’s garden.
    Made this zucchini casserole for dinner. It says it is a side dish, but it was quite filling on its own. It is also a great dish for those who might not like green veggies.
    Became debt free and the next day my car broke down and had to be towed. The irony 😊 Thankful for AAA, fingers crossed my emergency funds will cover.
    Using rhubarb from my garden, made 4 pints of this rhubarb bbq sauce. It makes a great basic bbq sauce (in case interested and want to add your own spices to it.) I do water bath can this at 10 minutes for pints and have not had an issue.
    Also made some rhubarb muffins. It is such an under used vegetable in my opinion. Every year I try to do the 3 plants that I have inherited justice for their perseverance.
    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. How do you know when the rhubarb is ready to harvest? My mom has a plant that is sorely under used and I like the sounds of the muffins and BBQ sauce. I’m still learning my way around the edible garden (I’ve had a flower garden for years), but work each year to make use of what we have.

  41. Once all the details are ironed out, I know your site will be amazing!
    It’s nice. I love all the pictures.

    * This past week I got bone-in chicken breast for $0.98 per lb. I got several packages and cut it up into fillets & tenders. I put the bones with some meat left on it, into my slow cooker and made broth. I was left with nearly 2 cups of meat too. I used part of that for my chicken & sausage jambalaya.

    * I also found eggs $0.68 for a dozen. They were so empty, I only got 2.

    * A friend from church gave us squash, corn-on-the-cob, and huge tomatoes.
    She has the yellow variety.

    *We have been having a lot of rain. We will see what happens with my garden.

    * We stuck close to home, except a quick trip to the library to pick up the books we requested. Altogether we probably had 30-35 books & audiobooks.

    *Our most exciting news was that my husband got a call to go back to work next week! We are looking forward to that. He will be moved to a different position, because they eliminated his.

    *Our children are almost done with summer school. I am going through our things preparing for next year. I have about 99% of the items needed. Mainly need notecards, pencils, glue, and 1 notebook.
    *Plus a way to get my speedy academic child occupied all morning. He is very academic and completes all subjects within 2 hours.
    (With good grades)
    I need him to have productive, educational pursuits for longer. We are required a certain number of hours. Also, he needs the discipline of it.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Congratulations on your DH’s “new” job! It’s great to have some good news amidst our shared worries and woes.

  42. Brandy, I love the feel of the new site! Well done.

    Most of my frugal things revolve around food, but I guess that’s fitting because eating and work are about all we have going on right now!

    My daughter did a free virtual Girl Scout camp.

    I read e-books I checked out from the library and watched British reality shows on YouTube.

    My pepper mill wasn’t working well anymore, and we were thinking about replacing it (it’s probably 8 or 9 years old). First I looked up how to maintain the style of mill that I have on YouTube, and found simple instructions. We cleaned it out and it’s working like a charm now.

    Since I’ve been home every weekend, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to my garden than in typical summers. I ordered fall garden seeds and planted carrots, leeks, parsnips, dill, and shallots (I’ll plant other things later in the summer). I picked rhubarb, salad greens, carrots, green onions, parsley, and the last handful of snow peas, and made our first salad of the summer made entirely from things we grew ourselves. I saved seeds from sugar pod peas and cilantro, and set aside garlic cloves from my harvest last month that I’ll plant in October. I’ll also be saving seeds from snow peas and onions very soon.

    I bought two big planters for the front of our house. Our neighbors saw that we had them and asked if we needed soil to fill them. They had extra and even brought it over to our house!

    The other day at work I looked out the window and saw that the apple tree was dropping apples all over the place. I’d forgotten we had one – I think usually there are people there who pick them, but they’re working at home right now. So I grabbed an empty box from my office and started picking. I made an apple rhubarb crisp with those apples and our garden rhubarb, and froze 18 cups of peeled and sliced apples for use later.

    I’ve been grocery shopping every other week, and typically at Winco. This week I went to Fred Meyer (our local Kroger affiliate) because I had coupons and a rebate that needed to be used (I saved $50 using these). While there I found clearance dinner rolls and naan bread, which I picked up and froze for future dinners (we’ll use the naan bread on homemade pizza night). I intended to buy some chicken and ground beef, but I looked at the prices and didn’t get any. I have some meat money saved (we used to buy half a pig every year but stopped because my husband doesn’t like pork that much), so next month when the freezer is a little emptier I’ll buy a bulk pack of meat from our local butcher.

    I hope that everyone has a great week and Brandy – thank you for all the wonderful information and example you provide!

  43. The site update looks lovely! Thanks for all you do to inspire others to be good stewards of their finances!

    It has been overcast here on the CA central coast. I’ve made soup twice this week for dinner and baked plum bread. 😆 The morning mist helped reduce some garden watering.

    Our four hens moved outside to their coop/run that my husband built. They are really loving their new space. I love to just watch them.

    Our governor announced that distance learning is the plan for fall term. I will not be able to return to work because of that (once gyms re-open), as well as the fact that gyms are high risk environments. I am building an online fitness coaching business offering personal training and small group training through Zoom. I feel really good about this change. Less running around and more time with my family while still being able to serve others.

    My garden produced green beans, yellow summer squash, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, Swiss chard, and green onion. I discovered some broccoli forming (I thought it was cabbage). LOL! I’d better label next time. I’m also realizing that I need to plant even more intensively if I want extra to can and freeze.

    I gave my son a haircut this week. I’m becoming more skilled with the clippers. He’s actually pleased with his haircuts now. We will only buy socks for back to school shopping. Their clothes are in good condition and fit.

    I’ve stocked up on soap, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer and paper goods. After re-openings were stopped, the toilet paper frenzy happened again. The shelves were nearly bare at Costco. I assumed people had a year supply still…guess not!

    My highlights this week were a 5 mile hike with my family, playing Disney Apples to Apples and virtual church service. With all the pandemic negatives, quality family time is a huge positive! Have a safe and blessed week everyone!

  44. Wow, this does look different! I like it.

    Like too many, we’ve been having days of heat advisories, and although it’s humid, we aren’t getting the usual pop-up showers in the afternoon, so plants are starting to get stressed. I have to water every day, now. I’m giving some of the vegetable plants until the end of July, then I will pull the failing ones out and start fall planting. Any food I can get without having to go buy it is a bonus for our grocery bill.

    I finally located and shopped at an Indian grocery store, and found a red and black pepper substitute and some other spices and flours, such as tapioca and arrowroot powders, much cheaper than my regular prices.

    I’m also trying to stock my pantry back up.

    I purchased another Christmas gift, this one being hard to find, so I grabbed it when I saw it. I have four people shopped for, at this point.

    I cut more thyme and stevia from my plants and they are drying.

    I discovered that an inexpensive plant I bought for our shady porch is a dividing plant, so that I can divide it and start filling more pots, and using some as gifts. We have a stack of pots in our shed, so I shouldn’t need to spend more money to make gifts out of them.

    I bought organic berries on sale and froze them for later.

    I froze three overripe bananas to use for banana bread later.

    Thanks for the lovely pictures and hard work on this site, Brandy!

  45. I am really concerned about food shortages, so I am trying to stock up with enough for my grown local children also. I always thought I was fairly well stocked but this pandemic has shown me glaring holes in my food and medicine supplies (I almost ran out of cream for itches such as poison ivy, and ran very low on vaseline.) I now have enough dried beans for both myself and one son, according to the LDS food storage calculator. I actually have a little bit more than that. All of my three grown sons eat a tremendous amount of canned tuna. It is truly their “go to” food. I have sent tuna to the one who lives three hours from me by Walmart. com, and I am trying to stock up enough at my house for the two who live within an hour and a half of me. They don’t like it in casserole, only as tuna salad. So, that means I also need to stock up on mayo and pickles, because that is how they like it. I contacted my grown daughter who lives thousands of miles away from me and asked her if she needed any dried beans (I had sent her a years supply based on the LDS food calculator) and she was fine. She also likes different food than my sons so I try to send her what will be eaten. I will say my food supply is a little lopsided, but that is ok. I try to stock only what will be eaten. One child loves green bean casserole so I am having to stock up on mushroom soup and dried onions, as well as green beans, at least enough to make it once a month. The three sons all like canned corn also, so I am stocking up on that. Also, boxed potatoes, in case there is a supply chain issue this winter of fresh potatoes. I prefer fresh, but, want to have favs on hand for the sons. I have had lots of conversations with the kids about shortages. Of course I have rounded out the canned vegetables with ones other than starches, such as canned tomato products, carrots, pumpkin, turnip greens, collards, etc.

  46. Hello Everyone. It lifts my spirits to read along every week hearing about the day to day in all of your lives.

    We are physically healthy here, but emotionally struggling. Our routines haven’t changed much, my husband still works from home, and we were already homeschooling, but I do miss people and the break of getting out once in awhile to the store or out for lunch with my husband every other week.

    My oldest daughter continues to work at the nursing home. They have been under quarantine for three weeks longer than our state, no visitors are allowed, and any residents who leave the building are self isolated for two weeks after they return. So far, so good at her location, others closer to the city have been overrun with corona virus. She has decided to defer her entrance to the nursing program because she doesn’t want to attend classes on campus this Fall. She will continue online at the local junior college finishing up required prerequisites and earning a two year degree in general studies by the end of next Spring. I think it’s a good decision, and she will have more time to save for nursing school.

    My son was a lifeguard and the health club shut down in March. They recently reopened under restrictions, but he has not gone back to work. He really misses work, his martial arts classes, and spending time outside our home with friends. It has been difficult for him. My other daughter doesn’t work yet, but she also gave up most of her activities outside our home. We have been able to continue her music lessons over Zoom, and signed her up for drivers education at a local school that will also meet over Zoom. At 15 and 17, I think a lot of this pandemic is very overwhelming and hard for them to process. And we wonder what opportunities will be available in the near future for them. In the meantime I try to keep them busy at home and we are working through getting some dual credit by studying for CLEP exams. Our local testing center should be opening up by appointment near the end of this month. At least it is something tangible to work towards and hopefully will help keep them focused and moving forward.

    I try to get out and walk most days. We have a circuit through our neighborhood that takes about half an hour. I try to wake up early to avoid the heat, and get some fresh air and sunshine and keep my hip moving. It does wonders for my state of mind, allows me to spend some one on one time with family members outside the house, and keeps me moving. I too have been enjoying the birdsong, the frogs, and recently the locusts, even the bright color of the flowers and the scent of the pine trees. I guess any kind of connection helps, even to nature. On rainy days, I make do with a recumbent exercise bike or a seated elliptical, sometimes exercise videos on YouTube. I have lost another 30 pounds and dropped three clothing sizes.

    I think recession is part of the normal economic cycle and in that way we should always be a little bit prepared for it so that we are not caught off guard. Having said that, this isn’t a normal market correction. This is a worldwide event that is forcing our economies and some of the businesses they are built upon to reshape and transform themselves. I believe we can and will adapt, but it may also be a bumpy ride, a time of turbulent transition that could take longer than we want it to. Like you, I am slowly filling the holes in my pantry and looking for creative ways to store more food and other essentials. Just in case my husband gets laid off, someone gets sick, or supply chains are disrupted. Maybe next year can be my no spend year? At any rate, I am grateful for this community, all of the kindness and helpful advice. Because of this blog, I am much more prepared for whatever comes our way. Thank you!

    1. I’m really impressed with your weight loss! Wow, good for you! Now I need to do the same thing. So far I have trouble being consistent with efforts. What else do you do in addition to exercise?

      1. Last year, I lost the first 30 pounds eating whatever I wanted but tracking it with the Lose It app. I tried this because I was almost completely bedridden from an injury that included soft tissue damage and my inactivity led to a huge loss of muscle in my back and hips, basically no core strength left at all, and my hips had shifted out of alignment. I could stand for short periods and walk a little bit, but sitting was impossible, stairs very difficult.
        I went to physical therapy briefly and they gave me a routine that I could do lying on my bed to rebuild the muscle that I needed to shift my hips back into proper alignment over time.
        So Lose It gave me something proactive to do while I was flat on my back for most of the day, trying to rebuild my damaged muscles, and it worked. I set my goal to lose 1.5 pounds each week, tracked everything I ate and stopped eating when I ran out of calories for the day. I also did my physical therapy exercises at least once a day sometimes twice a day if I felt stronger.
        After about four months I was able to walk very slowly and with great pain around the block.
        After six months I bought some good running shoes to stabilize my ankles and help with alignment and started walking one slow and painful lap around the track at the junior high school every other day.
        Long story short, a year later I can finally walk for up to an hour at a time, and sit through a meal at the table. I still do my physical therapy every day and added the elliptical and recumbent bike for days that I can’t get outside. The main thing to not end up flat on my back again is to keep moving and stay flexible .
        When I took a break from Lose It, my weight loss stopped, but I also didn’t gain weight. My activity increased a lot. This last thirty pounds has been due more to changes in diet because of the quarantine, like not eating out, eating less sugar, changing to home delivery of organic milk, and eating less because of stress. I also tried a form of intermittent fasting where I only eat within an eight hour window each day. I used to eat first thing in the morning and then several small meals every four hours through the day, now I might have my first meal at nine or ten in the morning and then eat whenever I feel hungry having my last meal at five or six, whatever is within the eight hour time limit. Doing that forces me to make better choices of higher quality food, more protein, more fiber, so I don’t feel hungry the rest of the day.
        I don’t know, I’m not an expert by any means and this is probably a lot more information than you were looking for. I was always a walker and very active as a young person and never carried extra weight. After I had kids, and ten years of hormonal craziness because of miscarriages while trying to have my kids, I seemed to gain at least thirty pounds with each pregnancy and then not be able to take it back off. My two youngest are only twenty months apart and my activity level slowed way down with two in the stroller at the same time, and my husband working at an office sixty hours each week. Now as I enter my fifties things seem to be changing again for me physically, and I need to try different things for maintaining health. At this point I am grateful to be moving as much as I do and really hope to lose more weight because it feels so much better and it’s easier to function sixty pounds lighter. Best of luck to you with your weight loss goals!

        1. Thank you, Stacey, for this and your original, inspiring post. What an uplifting story of determination and perseverance.

  47. Thank you Brandy for sharing your wisdom. I kept telling my brother it is going to get worse. I sent him the info you tagged… He was shocked he hadn’t seen anything on the news on tv.

    I have inventoried all the filters needed of the house, frigs and vacuum cleaners. Inventoried non food and medical. THEN inventoried food which I had just did a couple months ago but realized that I am now down 50 lbs of flour, 25 lbs of sugar , on my last bottle of honey (we know a bee keeper so that might not be an issue and our Amish neighbor does Maple Syrup) along with baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, cream of tartar and salt (have plenty of pepper). I will be listing it in order of what is NEEDED and we can’t go with out first.

    Things are burning up here. I was watering every 2 days and have went to every 2 1/2 to 3 just because of how low the water levels are getting. I don’t need my well to go dry and last year was a dry year also. I am going to plant a fall/ winter crop under a hoop house this year to try to keep fresh salad on the table and maybe some root veggies.

    We finally got rid of the old truck that we were not driving, wasn’t safe to drive any more but for some reason Hubby kept hanging on to it and since it was in both our names I couldn’t get rid of it without him agreeing. Today he called and had it towed away. He got “extra” because it had 4 extra winter tires and a cap on the back of it.

    Hubby, due to covid, has started to refuse to drive out of state. He hauls for the Amish and Mennonite that don’t drive in this area. Will cut into the earnings but keep both of us safer.

    We got peaches for half of the local stores prices as one of the Amish bought too much(this community buys bulk and then divides it up) so sold them to us. I thought we needed peaches… nope we have canned peaches, peach butter, jam , jelly and frozen peaches . So we decided peach nectar and peach syrup along with a pie, cobbler and crisp and fresh eating would work. I can always dehydrate them also.

    Be safe everyone… Blessed Be

    1. As a back up to your hoop house, you might consider getting seeds for sprouting. Since most of my gardening is in community gardens, I use sprouts in winter for salads and to top sandwiches. You can also sprout beans and lentils but I have not tried that…yet. The supplies are easy – I use a quart mason jar. I do have a special lid for sprouting now but went for years using a clean dish towel to cover the sprouting jar.

      1. Hi SJ,

        I have bought some seeds with growing sprouts in mind for winter green veggies. Nice to hear your experience! Ann

      2. Hi SJ,

        I have bought s0me seeds with growing sprouts in mind for winter green veggies. Nice to hear your experience! Ann

  48. The webpage looks amazing. I like hanging out here, it’s my moment of peace in the evening. It is so inspiring and I appreciate all you do to keep it updated.
    This week was very busy for us. We are in the middle of the huge renovation, making the home coasy for the winter ahead. Now most of the walls are covered with pine tree, which gives some extra isolation and the smell is wonderful.
    -The most expensive work is redoing the electricity and my dad who is an electrician is doing it all for us! I love how he gets my older boy to help him and how he encourages my husband in the hard work they are doing. My dad is my hero!
    -I keep on going out to the forest nearly every day with the kids. Few hours later we come home with blue, happy faces and a bucket full of blåbær (blueberries). I have never seen so many as this year! We now have lots of them frozen which will make for great winter treats.
    -We also picked buckets (and hats) full of wild cherries which grow everywhere in the forest, planted by the birds. I froze some and baked some cakes with the rest.
    -My husband went kayaking one evening after all the work and managed to fish a nice dinner for the next day 🙂 The cruise ships were stopped for a few months because of the Corona and lots of fish came deeper into the fjord, so we can catch lots of them now. We also have an abundance of oysters and shrimps!
    -We had salads from the garden everyday.
    -My husband picked a good portion of mushrooms which we fried in butter and ate on slices of bread for supper one day.
    -I am working on making a woolie doll for our dear friend who is turning six this Saturday. On internet they go as ‘Waldorf Dolls’, which is funny to me as they are just traditional type of doll. I had all of the supplies on hand, but couldn’t find my pattern. I nearly got one online for 13Euro(we have a few girls turn 6 and 7 in the family this year) but couldn’t bring myself to it and decided to just wing it. The same day I found a complete book of dollmaking with patterns in all sizes for 0,50 cents at a second hand store! This was such a score!
    -I cut my own fringe.
    -I finally learned to crochet. Didn’t save me any money yet, but I like to have a new skill.
    I have made a resolution that the next few weeks I will go all out on stacking up the pantry. Here in Norway people are not worried too much about the future. I am. But when I look at how God provides for us all the great gifts of nature it makes my heart fill with so much joy and peace.

    1. I love hearing how there are more fish! And how wonderful to be able to pick wild food! That is only an experience that I had read about; I have never done it.

      I have seen Waldorf dolls and patterns on Pinterest. They are beautiful dolls. Good luck making yours! I’m sure it will be beautiful!

  49. Not much going on here this week. I’ve done the usual for savings. I’m staying home. Paying bills on time. Cooking and not wasting food.
    The garden has slowed down a lot. The heat and humidity has been awful for us.
    I need to learn more about autumn gardens. I think we all need to be growing as much as possible.
    I have been feeling that we need to have an almost over abundance for this fall and winter. With what you said, Brandy, I know why I’ve been feeling this way. Thank you for being so honest with us.
    School is supposed to start in a few weeks. Both kids are afraid to go back and I am afraid also. How do you make these decisions? I want the best for the grandbabies, but what is the best? We are all in between a rock and a hard place right now.
    Brandy, I like the new set-up. Your pictures are fantastic. Thank you.

    1. Becky, make sure to read my post on fall gardening! You can find it under the garden tab or right now from the homepage.

    2. I have friends who are teachers. They recommended a website and two podcast episodes regarding kids going back to school. The website is called CIDRAP which stands for Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy: The podcasts are Part 1 and 2 on reopening schools: AND
      You can listen on Spotify or Apple podcasts or Google Play Music. I listened on my iphone through Apple podcasts with my earbuds in while I did housework. A very difficult problem…I had no idea of all the different scenarios that are possible.

      1. Thank you for sharing. I’m a teacher and am feeling very torn about going back. We will have kids two days in person and 3 days remotely. I want the kids to be able to socialize, but worry about the mental/emotional health impacts with all the restrictions being placed on schools. I’m feeling more and more called to figure out a way to work from home (I am our primary income, as my husband’s work in the paint industry is seasonal and somewhat slow right now). It is a difficult decision for all, but I do think that folks sometimes forget how much is weighing on teachers right now.

        1. My cousin is a teacher. We have been talking often about this. He doesn’t feel safe going back at all. He prefers a remote option.

          Our district just decided to go all online. They had a hybrid plan like yours but changed it. Once a school has an outbreak, they’ll have to change classes to all be online. I personally think the hybrid option is just delaying the inevitable.

        2. Allyson, my heart goes out to everyone in your profession. We’ve been squeezing funding for schools for *years*, and now we’re asking teachers to risk their very lives. It’s madness! As one podcaster said recently, she’s learned the hard way these last few months just how vital and under-appreciated teachers are. And she thinks we should pay them more. Much more. I agree!

  50. I love to check in with your blog and I have always felt encouraged. I learn a lot from your readers. I loved to read about other’s frugality and turning your home into a beautiful place. I also appreciate the sacrifice you have made in having a larger family with such darling little ones (and big ones). I hope they know how “cool” and with it their mom is. The one thing I have learned from you—of many things, is straightening up a drawer or focusing on cleaning a bit more during stressful times. I was an only daughter and my own mother died when I was 21—but I have been fortunate to have many who have given me great advice—even at the age of 61.

  51. I came in on this post via email link so had to go to the Home Page to see all the changes. You’ve always had such a beautiful site Brandy, but thank you for your dedication to updating it and making it ever more eye appealing. I agree with one commenter who said it is a place of peace.
    This week I’ve signed on to take a weekly produce bag from a friend of my son’s. He and his wife were missionaries in Africa but due to Corona were unable to return when their vacation here was up. They’ve rented a house and are growing produce and marketing their own locally grown foods as well as keeping goats and making soap. I was given a sample bag of produce and was duly impressed so signed on. John and I don’t need lots of produce but I figure I can probably can or freeze anything we don’t use each week. So far we’ve had some zucchini, green beans and spinach from the sample bag. The beans were so good and took me right back to childhood.
    I harvested a large Brandywine tomato and 2 green onions I’d grown from root ends. I’ll plant these again. The tomatoes keep blooming but then it gets hot and they do nothing much. I also have potatoes growing and keep adding dirt to the bag as they grow up. Grown from potato eyes these will be a bonus if I get one whole potato from it! I also harvested some basil and rosemary and lemon thyme. I actually used the lemon thyme in a peach cobbler. Not sure I’d do it twice as it had a slightly medicinal smell with the peaches but it was okay.
    I’ve been making lists of things to stock up. I’m not sure where they money will come from but I’m going to do my best to be well stocked in as many areas as I can both home goods and medicines and seeds and food.
    I’ve been getting a bouquet of flowers each week from my yard. It’s not easy. The zinnias are only just now coming into bloom since I was late planting. I planted more and they are coming on and should continue my bloom time which is long here. I gathered a few roses and zinnias and lantana this week. I don’t like the smell of lantana but I put rosemary in the bouquet too and that masked the aroma pretty well.
    The stems of coleus and moss rose that I picked up from under the hanging baskets at the discount grocery have roots. I’ll be planting those shortly. I have volunteer purple and white striped petunias that voluntarily grew in my planter. Not complaining over that!
    I’ve been on a major plan to avoid food waste and so far it’s going really really well. Things I never thought I might use end up in meals and taste good, so there’s that savings to add to our income.

    1. I love your fragment posts on your blog Terri! I’ve been vigilant about using all the leftovers and not having waste. My husbands salary will be cut 50% – he’s a pilot. Being inventive with leftovers has become my new weekly activity.

  52. It was another nice, frugal week!
    I bought markdowns at the grocery store. While the sales aren’t as good as they used to be, I’ve seen several great prices on unbranded (intended for restaurants?) bulk frozen food items. I stocked up on frozen broccoli florets and shredded cheese.
    The kids have spent hours playing with the Legos I’ve picked up at garage sales over the years.
    We’ve found new shows on the Roku. I don’t pay for any subscriptions like amazon, netflix, hulu, etc., so we are excited to find the free options.
    I’ve started to sort some of the hand-me-downs, but it is a huge job, and I’m very unorganized. It will be nice when it’s finished, and I can see what we have in what size.
    A friend texted me looking for toddler boy clothes, and I have a box ready to share with her.
    I got free, sturdy boxes from the liquor store, to use to help organize the clothes mentioned above. Usually I would get paper boxes from work, but I’m working from home, not using paper.
    I rearranged some furniture in the boys’ room to try to make it feel less crowded.
    I bought the part (power steering pump) the mechanic needed myself at the auto parts store. It saved a little money, and now the lifetime warranty is in my name. I’m curious to see how far we can get this Honda (120k miles) to go.
    I bought gas at the cheaper gas station.
    We got to swim at my aunt’s house. I packed a lunch and she bought a huge watermelon to share with us. Our neighborhood pool probably won’t reopen this summer.
    We did curbside pickup for more library books, which was wonderful. We love to read.
    Have a nice week, everyone!

  53. Last night we decided to have burgers on the grill. I sent my husband to the store for a bag of salad and sunchips. He came back after spending $96! But he found 6 packages of96/4 organic hamburger for $3.00/lb, marked down beef roasts for $2.99 and $4.99/lb, cranberry-raspberry juice for $2.00 a bottle, even the salad was marked down. He bought a few other things that we were also low on. Today we went to Costco as someone had written their store was out of dehydrated potatoes. We got 2 more boxes which is enough with the 2 we had for winter. We also bought a case of TP and PT and a box of pineapple chunks to insure we have plenty for winter. Tonight we will grill a chicken and have kohlrabi and tomatoes from the garden. Fairbanks tends to be hot and dry in the summer but we are having close to a perfect summer. Wonderful because we haven’t had all the fires of some years. Our gardens have been slower to produce, but it is wonderful to have truly fresh food. I’ve wanted pearled barley but our stores haven’t had any. We stopped at an animal food store and in their bulk goods, they had it! One more thing we don’t have to worry about this winter! Thankful that we have everything we need. God does provide!

  54. I can’t find the ‘printables’ (specifically the seed saving envelopes) in the new format, but other than that, it’s looking good Brandy.

  55. My insta pot has been busy! I made batches of black beans, pinto beans with a ham hock, white rice and brown rice. I froze most of it so that I have something to pull out to create meals quickly. While I have a lot of time to cook right now I want to plan ahead in the event that something causes me to need to get good food ready quickly.

    Went to a local farmer’s market that also has a bakery. They had milk $1.00 a 1/2 gallon – for whole organic milk. While there I bought a few things, including some tomatillos to make salsa and containers of Iceland organic yogurt – peach/cloudberry for $.50 each. It is very thick so I dilute it with fruit and milk. When I was checking out the woman offered me a box of 12 cartons of blackberries free! There were some with mold on them but most were okay. I went through them and froze them on a cookie sheet so I can either put them in smoothies or for baking. The ones that were bad I put in a plastic coffee can for the cousin’s chickens.

    Then the cousins came by with cucumbers, grey squash and one of those “door stop” zucchini. I am going to make the cukes into dill relish, the squash for fresh cooking and the zuke for baking. I grated it and used two cups in a cake – used up a 1/2 package of cream cheese I had from another recipe to make a cream cheese frosting. It was so good! I froze 3 1/2 cups shredded to use in the future. Gave the cousins the chicken scraps. Great timing!

    Froze eggs for future use. Doing an inventory as well – we’ll need sugar and vanilla for baking and canning. With the $160.00 per quarter I am restocking OTC meds, vitamins, first aid, etc. I bought another heating pad – now don’t have to move our heating pads from room to room. Since rubbing alcohol and peroxide aren’t in stock through that program I am going to have to source locally.

    Ordered some masks and face shields online. I think we are in for a long haul with the need for PPE and want to make sure we have what we need. I finally found the filters that I needed to replace in the face masks. A friend in Spain told me that when they went into lockdown he did some online research and used unused vacuum filters as filters for cloth masks! Once an engineer, always an engineer!

    I went to my primary care doctor for what I thought was my six month checkup. It turned out it was a month early for that per my insurance but I kept the appointment. I had some issues I was concerned about. He has ordered blood tests as there are indicators towards an autoimmune disease that my mother and her grandmother both had. If that is the case I know I’ll be in that much higher risk population so want to be prepared. My SO has asked if I am “freaking out” and I have to say after the initial shock I am not. The advances in care and the knowledge that have been gained (and my mother was part of the first medical trials at NIH that are now standard protocol), the fact that unlike my Mom (loved more than I could ever say, but she was a nurse and always sought the doctor’s solution) I know that exercise, diet, counseling, peer support and prayer all have an important role. So I am pondering how to go about exercising more – it is too hot from sunrise to sunset to walk (critters both four legged and reptilian are around in the dark), can’t do the swim programs that I love so need to think about how to get more exercise other than a lot of yard work and gardening. So am going to look for either a bike or treadmill (used!).

    And there is this group – from all over the world and all types of families, situations and so much thoughtful caring and support. Thank you all!

    And Brandy – you are amazing on so many levels. The beauty of your site is outstanding and provides so much joy to me. The thoroughness of your posts, the lovely recipes and the many helpful suggestions make this by far the best lifestyle blog I’ve found! And loooove the new site format!

      1. Laura – I know! I am going to check tomorrow to see if they have more. Have found that it lasts a long time past the expiration date if put in the back of the fridge. I can also freeze it but my freezers are chock full right now. It just tastes so good!

    1. I hope the tests don’t show you inherited whatever autoimmune disease is in your family, Mary.
      Because you know how much other factors can affect outcome, I’d highly recommend researching if What Doctors Don’t Tell You magazine had an article on alternative support.

      1. Cara – Thank you so much for the information. I took a weekly ‘class’ with my mother 30 years ago sponsored by her insurance. It was on OA and RA and how to deal with it. My mom, and I, learned so much about how stress, emotions, suppression of anger – our emotions, impacted RA. The other two big take aways for my mom were the need for exercise (she started aqua therapy with me taking her 2x a week) and diet. This all went okay until I went to work full time and my dad was a poop and didn’t take her regularly so her attendance just dwindled down to nothing. While I am still able to drive (she wasn’t) I will take myself and luckily my SO is very supportive.

        1. You might want to check out the free resources at if you haven’t already. They’ve helped me tremendously in managing my own auto-immune issues. Good luck!

  56. Hi, Brandy, this is my first time commenting. I have been following the discussion about stocking up to be ready for shortages in food and have a curious question. I get it about buying flour, beans, tuna, meats, veges to can and freeze but when I cook, I use a LOT of onion, garlic, tomatoes, etc and seasonings like crazy. How can one stock up on onions and not have them spoil? Should I not worry about an onion shortage? That almost sounds like a joke but I am serious….what would a pot of unseasoned beans be like? On another note, I made a really large pot of black bean refries today and then made BB burritos for the freezer…..mainly for my hubby’s lunches. It solves his “what’s for lunch” every time. I am cooking all meals a week at home but have always done that since retiring. I love this blog. Mary in Cincinnati

    1. Certain kinds of onions store very, very well. One kind we grow is called “Copra” and it will last from when we harvest it well into the following spring. It is a yellow onion. If there was a farmer/produce stand, etc. in your area, you might be able to talk to the grower and buy a local variety that stores well. You can also buy large bags from restaurant supply stores. When they are dried properly, and stored in a cool, dry area, they keep well. If you can’t get a kind that stores well, or when they start growing in the spring, you can chop them up and freeze the diced pieces. I just chop and put into a ziplock bag only about 1/2 inch thick and freeze it flat. Then I can break off a piece when I need it when it’s still frozen, or thaw more if needed. But, mostly, I just throw a frozen chunk into a soup or whatever.

      I get it! We use so, so many onions:)

    2. You can buy dried onions in bulk. I highly recommend it. I buy that and onion powder as well as fresh onions.

      For garlic, buy garlic powder or granules and/or chopped garlic in a container that is refrigerated after opening. I just bought some to be better stocked. It’s under $4 and lasts about a year in the fridge. It’s a huge container.

      I also grow green onions year-round in my garden. I plan to plant more in the fall from seed.

    3. You can buy dehydrated (dried) onions in the spice section of any grocery store, ditto garlic powder. But you can also buy big jars of chopped garlic that will keep in the refrigerator for over a year after opening. You might find the garlic in the produce department at the grocery store. Tomatoes? I’m assuming you mean fresh. But you can use canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste and sun-dried tomatoes for a lot of recipes. As for “seasonings like crazy,” including those dried onions and jars of chopped garlic, I highly recommend buying them at Costco (Sam’s? BJ’s?) or in bulk sections of grocery stores. I live in a low population area (northern Idaho) and I can get every kind of spices and herbs in bulk at Winco and Fred Meyer (Kroger). I know that Smith’s, which is also Kroger, has them in the stores I’ve visited (can’t speak for the entire chain). Bulk spices that you dip out of large jars and bag yourself currently are not being sold in my area due to Covid-19, but this can’t last forever. You can also buy these products online–just Google it. Of course, you can just stock up on this stuff at any store, but in my experience, buying in bulk (as little or as much as you want) literally costs pennies compared to dollars in the regular spice aisle. Check the ethnic foods aisle for spices used in Hispanic and Asian dishes. You will find many different seasonings–some as common as oregano and bay leaves–in cellophane packages (usually hanging on pegboard) for very low prices. If you are willing to substitute, you can probably find everything you use now.

      1. I like your ideas Maxine. I like to get a lot of my spices from ethnic stores and I’ve bought some large containers from Sams.

    4. mary mcmahon from Cincinnati! I am Mary Ellen McMahon and grew up in the Oakley section of Cincinnati but live in Pennsylvania now. Where do you live in the city?

        1. I used to live in North College Hill, and I live in N Kentucky now. I still drive up once a year to the eye doctor, because i love him so much. He’s in his mid-80’s. Then I go eat Graeter’s at Galbraith & Winton as a real treat!

  57. Hello my friends…
    I am worried and stressed. I worry about the “crash” that Brandy wrote about in this post. I have a dilemma. We are considering selling our house. Houses in my neighborhood are selling so fast and for so much. We could clear quite a bit in cash and then possible rent an apartment for a while and continue to save and add to our current savings and profits from our house. We would like to find a home we could pay cash for and have no mortgage. I worry about having a house that I have put such a large down payment on and paid extra on but still have a significant mortgage (our current house mortgage has a balance of $220k–would sell for $400K). Moving is not easy and there are no houses to buy reasonably right now. Help!
    What does everyone think?

    1. Lisa,

      My brother did this. He sold his condo for a good profit and rented an apartment for several years. When house prices came down, he bought. He lives in L.A. and house prices were/are crazy high (like a million dollars for an 1100 square foot place in need of major repairs). He waited it out until prices stopped dropping. Within just a few years, his house had appreciated $250,000 in price.

      If you’re willing to rent right now and can find a place to rent, it might be worth it to you to sell now (in summer, when homes sell best). I recommend calling real estate agents in your city and finding one that you like. If you’re in Las Vegas, my husband can help you 🙂

      1. We bought some land and built a little house, really just a metal building, with our own hands. We sold our big house and lived in apartments for quite awhile before we actually moved in. I’m glad that we did that because then my husband lost his job due to injury. We never could have afforded to stay in the big house or even the apartments without his job. I am happy with our decision.

          1. Hi Anne,
            It is nice to be able to grow veggies and have chickens! Sound like you are doing a good job preparing for things. I always enjoy reading your posts!

    2. Brandy knows more about real estate and has given you good advice if you are willing to wait it out. But what if prices don’t come down? None of us has a crystal ball. I’m not willing to risk my house. If you downsize, or leave the area where you live and move somewhere that the prices are lower (Midwest, South, etc.) you might do very well. It’s a great time to re-finance for lower interest rates. (A co-worker of my son’s locked in at under 3% last week).

      As for predictions of a huge recession, other sources say just the opposite. I honestly don’t know what to think, although I’m reasonably sure there isn’t going to be a boom anytime soon (I don’t think anyone is predicting that). I can tell you that our investments in the stock market were at all-time highs when the market tanked in March, and they have fully recovered. What will happen next? Don’t know. (A lot depends on who gets elected in November, and I won’t go any further on that train of thought). We are keeping more in cash than usual, but otherwise…that’s it. We could lose a lot, but at least we are debt-free, including our house, and we have a fixed income from Social Security and pensions. I have always stockpiled food and supplies and I will continue to do so.

      1. Maxine, while I agree that none of us has a crystal ball and we don’t know what will come, I know that thousands of people are becoming unemployed worldwide every week.

        I know that we’re well overdue for a recession.

        I know that Las Vegas had 333.5% unemployment in May, higher than the national average during the Great Depression. While some of those people got their jobs back, it was only half of them–and now the governor is talking about returning to phase 1. He already closed the bars down again after opening them. I’m sure this kind of talk is happening in many states, and I know it’s showing up in other countries in international news.

        I know in all my photography groups, many wedding photographers have lost ALL their business for the year. They have no work, or have lost 90% of it. Now think of all the other vendors involved in that. They’re moving dates to next year, but what if next year is just as bad? More and more people are choosing to elope or have a micro wedding.

        As a small business owner of two businesses, I know how this can go. Plus, it’s not just small business owners who are in trouble. People with steady jobs, like nurses, university professors, school administration people, etc. are getting laid off. My brother heads up the IT department for several major radio stations in L.A. There were 7 people in his department in March. The company laid off 5 of them within weeks of the shutdown starting. Not furloughed–laid off. They won’t be able to pay their mortgages when houses there are $750,000.

        Did you see the $28 billion that the banks are putting aside for a recession? That speaks volumes to me.

        We had 1 in 7 houses in foreclosure here when unemployment was 17%. Now it’s 33.5%. At the end of July, people can be evicted again, and the last extra $600 unemployment check goes out to everyone on Friday. In a matter of months, I expect to see foreclosures start happening.

        Houses are selling fast, but the numbers are down. In 2019, the number of houses sold in Las Vegas each month was two-thirds what it was in 2018. This year it’s been half of what it was in 2018. So, what’s for sale will go quickly right now if it’s priced right and is in good shape. In the last recession, houses here dropped in value by half, so yes, I would advise someone who might want to sell to sell now. We’ve already seen prices go down here, and not by a small amount, since last fall.

        A recession has already been officially declared in the U.S. The U.K. is just waiting for their official numbers as of last week.

        Here’s a quote from the BBC for thought: “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts huge falls in GDP for 2020 as a whole – an extraordinary fall of 5.9% for the US and 6.5% for the UK.

        In fact the IMF estimates the entire world economy will shrink by 3% this year, making it the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.” You can read the rest of that article here.

        So, I think we should be prepared as much as we can. This is something happening on a global scale.

        You’re in a great position, with your house paid off, a steady check, and food and other supplies. Most people, especially those who are younger, still have a mortgage, but many people are in trouble right now just putting food on the table and paying their bills. The lines to pick up food from mobile food banks around the country are several miles long.

        1. Thank you Brandy for your insight, and encouragement. You and those who comment continue to give me a lifeline during these times. Be well. Much grace to you and yours always.

        2. This is from Bloomberg Business. Another flashing light.
          “As U.S. stocks climb to their most expensive levels in two decades, the executives in charge of the companies benefiting the most are bailing out. Corporate insiders, whose buying correctly signaled the bottom in March, are now mostly sellers. Almost 1,000 corporate executives and officers have unloaded shares of their own companies this month, outpacing insider buyers by a ratio of 5-to-1. —David E. Rovella”

          Thankful for a garden and great neighbors!

        3. Brandy I am a nurse 30 plus years who is seeing unprecedented work drying up for nurses – myself included
          I am concerned and we are lucky to have my husband receiving social security, no mortgage but seeing prices rise and I did see hoarding in my area at the beginning of COVID

  58. I like this new set up except for 2 things. On the Home page the printing under the pictures is in white which doesn’t stand out and on some pictures is hard to read. The second thing may be just me, but I don’t like the huge pictures which I have to scroll down to see the whole thing. You see the flower, then the vase, then the fruit. The beauty is seeing how everything ties together and makes a lovely scene or still life. Just something to think about and maybe others could weigh in on this. Maybe I’m being too picky. 🙂

    1. I’m with Patricia on the white type, which in the printing industry is usually called a reverse (reverse of black). I have to search the pictures to find the type, although in time I’ll be able to just recognize the picture.

  59. Brandy, This is beautiful! You’ve done a fabulous job with your site! I love the new photograph of you, very nice!
    For savings, i was able to pick some lettuce, zucchini, sage, lavender flowers and green onions that flopped over in desperation. I made double chocolate zucchini bread and put most of it in the freezer. I also made two batches of zucchini brownies. One to eat and one to freeze. It won’t last long. Blueberries are coming in so i hope to add some of those to the freezer this week. I love blueberry season!
    I thawed our one small turkey and three chickens. The first day, i cut the meat off the bone, bagged it and set it back in the fridge. The second day i pressure canned everything. I ended up with seven pints total. The bones and parts went into two large pots where i boiled them. The meat was saved into bags and froze. This is the first time i’ve canned meat. I felt the thrill of accomplishment! As so many have mentioned, i also feel the pull to keep on top of food stores. I’ve been making lists and checking them twice! I may do more chicken. It’s a lot of work!
    Our local Ace has been in business for 100 years. They’re running a promotion for the month of July where you can enter your name once a day for a 100.00 gift certificate. The box is emptied every day so your odds are very good. My husband won last week! He was so excited! When he goes in now, he puts his boss’s name or mine.
    I found disinfectant spray at the Dollar Tree. I felt like i won the lottery! My son told me about finding it at his store so i gave it a shot. So happy i did!
    I had a nice ebay sale, the first in a long time! Very happy!
    I filled and watered down all lotion, dish soap and laundry liquid.
    I took a page from your book, Brandy, and cut some yellow and white yarrow to brighten up the kitchen. I also cut two stems of basil and put that in a cup of water to keep fresh til i need it. We’ve had a lot of rain that may be affecting the plant. It’s getting lots of dark spots.
    A friend gifted us some sandwich buns which my husband has been enjoying for lunch.
    And, i’m still exercising at home or walking the neighborhood, line drying in between rains, saving shower warm-up water and eating all meals at home and taking food to work.
    Even though i don’t comment as much as in the past, i still enjoy reading how everyone is doing and all the frugal practices. Wishing you all a healthy week!

  60. I love listening to birds too Brandy. I still remember watching birds as a child with my grandparents and watching as my grandpa fed a cardinal that landed on his shoulder. I imagine that your little one will remember listening to bird song with you.

    My family has busied themselves with things around the house. I haven’t got to visit my parents in a long time. They are worried about Covid -19 and I understand. I don’t want them to get sick either. I have got to see my son and his family. My other son lives with us. I worry that someone in the family will get sick. But we are being careful and I pray. God-willing we will stay healthy.

    Although I miss things like art festivals, museums, sitting in bookstores and libraries, and musical events, I have started appreciating simple things, like fireflies, driving through the woods and country roads on the way home from grocery shopping, watching the clouds, listening to the rain, slow dancing in the living room, and cooking and tasting a good home meal. I am trying to appreciate the things I do have… a home, a soft bed, family that loves me, food to cook, dishes to put the food on, water and soap, and peace in my home. Home is a good place and although I can’t visit people, I can talk to them and I have your blog Brandy. I share the worry about the economy and the state of things in the world. But I know there are so many good things and I know I am loved. I am glad I have my faith to rely on. I have been reading the Bible a lot lately and listening to my husband read it. It brings me peace.

    On the frugal side of things, we boiled chicken leg quarters and I made your Rosemary white bean soup. Then I baked the chicken with chili garlic paste. Yum! I made hard boiled eggs for snacks as well as veggies from the garden. I made indian food with potatoes and swiss chard from the garden as well as chickpeas from my pantry. My husband made omelets and bacon, BlTs, and yummy hamburgers this week. And one day we bought pizza from Caseys on special. I could have made it, but I got lazy that day. I borrowed library books, Used the internet. Turned off lights. Turned air conditioner a bit higher to save electricity instead a cool as we usually do. Our last electric bill was higher than we wanted.
    We had bought chicken leg quarters for 58 cents a lb. Onions for 39 cents a lb. I enjoyed Youtube and Pandora.

    Have a great week!

  61. Hi Brandy,
    I usually read your blog on my iPad … I do have to scroll to see the entire picture, but I love the font/size for the comments. The redesign looks very nice. I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into it.
    I don’t usually comment on my frugal efforts, but this week in the middle of a load of laundry my front loader “told” me that the pump was blocked. The door was locked and there was no way to override it because the water level was too high. At first glance my husband thought we should call a repair person. I wasn’t too keen on that, but knew I wouldn’t be able to get down on the floor; plus, our washer sits in a metal drain pan and the lip of the drain pan was partially blocking the cover to the pump. I went to the manufacturer’s website and discovered I needed the model #, which is on the inside of the locked door. I called the appliance store where we’d purchased the washer and they were able to give me the model number from their records. I then found a video with directions on how to access and clean out the pump. I was pretty sure I knew what was the problem … I had knitted myself some small, mini washcloths to use as reusable makeup removers instead of tissue. Last week, one went missing! The thought of paying a service person to clear the pump when I’d goofed in an effort to reduce waste was more than ironic. I showed my husband the video and he realized he could do it. Not only was the knitted makeup remover a problem but there were several plant tags that had escaped from an unemptied pocket or two. Thirty minutes later the washer was working once more. Lesson(s) learned. The model number is now written on the cover of the manual and I will be putting all small items in a lingerie bag! Unfortunately, the drain underneath the washer empties into the garage. An hour later I went out there and discovered a stream of water. Several boxes had gotten wet. We got the water mopped up and moved most things to dry. Today, I started going through the boxes that got damp. Big sigh! I needed to go through the boxes, but it wasn’t on my to-do list for this week.

  62. I would love for you to do a post (or series of posts) on how best to prepare for economic downturn or depression. I know that you have not lived through one just like the rest of us- but I also know you are very prepared for loss of income for a while given your husbands’ job so I know you would know how to be prepared more than anyone else I know. What ways do you see your preparations changing given societal loss-of-income? What things should we think to stock up on that is never on anyones’ radar so we don’t have the toilet paper madness of March happen in other areas? I am a gardener and canner and we have a large-ish family (6 children) so I use that garden and canning for winter foodstuffs… and I have seen a total lack of canning jar lids EVERYWHERE I go and when online, they are hiking the prices up super high. It would not be worth it to can if you must buy the lids at $15.00 per 12 lids. So that is just one example of something I didn’t anticipate. Is there anything that you anticipate needing? Given that the Great Depression was almost 10 years long- how long are you planning and preparing for a possibility of another downturn? Is your goal a year of supplies? Two years? Five years?

    Anyway- I would just love a post of this nature to help folks who already know they NEED to be preparing for a depression to help them when they have no idea what to anticipate. This whole cashless/ coin-shortage is throwing me for a loop too. :-/ It’s all very nerve-wracking. Thank you!

    1. Already planned 🙂 Look for one soon!

      We were just starting to climb out from the damage of the last recession recently; for us, it’s been a struggle since 2007, as we’ve taken a 75% cut in income since 2006.

      Thanks for the heads’up on canning lids.

        1. I wrote it last year and had the idea planned for a couple of years. I waited to post it last year as it looked like maybe things were going to be good after all, but now it needs to be said.

      1. Brandy, I hope you have applied for unemployment. I thought I recalled you writing that you did not qualify, but as you run a business (and I think your husband‘s real estate is his own too, correct?) you almost certainly qualify for PUA. To get that, you have to apply for regular unemployment and be rejected. Family members and friends in real estate have received PUA, so it’s well worth doing. However, it would be wise to apply immediately, because the cares act is expiring, with no plan yet in place for extension.

        1. We not unemployed. My husband is having sales right now. The number of home sales in the tri-city area, however, is down significantly. Thanks for thinking of us!

            1. I believe the deadline has passed. Also, when we looked into it before (and we looked into it extensively), we did not qualify. We researched it right when it became available as neither of us were able to work. I didn’t qualify with my business as I had not been in business for a full year yet. My husband did not qualify for another reason.

    2. I was in Walmart (San Bernardino, California) last week and found generic lids for under 2.00. Ball and Kerr lids were a bit more but still on shelves. I always check when I’m out shopping. I always add extras a little at a time.

      1. Katrina- I can a lot and have been doing it for over 40 years and enjoy it thoroughly! I belong to several groups online as well as local that are for canning and preserving safely.
        One thing that has come up often are the canning lids from Walmart that are generic rather than Ball, Kerr, Bernadin. People who have used them have found that the seals do not stay sealed very long (a week) after canning and they’ve lost massive amounts of food due to spoilage from those lids.
        Those lids are great for crafts, but not reliable enough for canning to risk losing your time, energy and cost of food!
        Sorry to put a damper on that.

        1. Gardenpat, I appreciate your insight on the quality of canning lids, and I basically agree with you. HOWEVER, I used 4 or 5 dozen Wal-Mart lids last year and didn’t have a single failure. Many were used on pint jars of veggies that were pressure canned. I may just have been lucky, but thought I should add this. Have not seen Bernardin lids in about 40 years, but just might be that they are no longer distributed in my part of the world.

          Now I am going to confess that I have reused lids and canned in jars with twist-off lids and I have had no issues whatsoever. (This seems to be very common practice in countries that do not have the USDA). I only reuse lids that are 100% undamaged (a tiny dimple in the middle of the lid from prying it off does not seem to affect viability). Because I don’t completely trust reused lids, I used them on things like applesauce that I could freeze if they failed.

          I commented back in March that if garden seeds were in short supply, canning lids would be, too. Too bad I didn’t take my own advice!

  63. Wow I know that I am saving a lot of money by my husband being the barber and stylist in our home for four people, but for eleven, yours would be about four times as much. I live in an area where a decent haircut for each of my boys would be $25, for my elbow length hair, a trim with the “long hair extra” charge would be over a hundred dollars. A friend of mine on Long Island paid $200, she has since handed over the shears to her husband to trim her hair. My husband cuts his own hair as well, so our savings would be over $1500 a year. So if you were paying market rates in a higher cost area, it would be $6000 a year your home barbering and stylist skills would be saving you. A couple friends of mine thought it was odd at first when I told them he cut my hair, and that I was being cheap having my boys get haircuts at home, but I get compliments on my hair and asked where I take my boys for their haircuts. So the quality is top notch, not wonky. I had two friends visit to grill on the deck early last month and both asked hubby to give them haircuts, and both were very happy with the results. So I would say that you are definitely smart to do your family’s haircuts at home.

  64. I love that you cut your husband’s hair! I cut my own hair for the first time recently using tutorials from Youtube, and it wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be. However, my mother has always cut my father’s hair. He likes to brag that the last time he used a barbershop was for his wedding haircut fifty one years ago!

  65. I agree with you 100%.
    I’m from an older generation, mid-60’s. Our house is paid off, but people don’t realize you still have your taxes to pay, insurance, repairs and utilities.
    We are on a fixed income, husband’s retirement isn’t enough so he had to start his own business. He is a consultant/instructor. Since COVID-19 his business has dropped 98%. We have had no income from it, what he made so far pays for federal taxes he has to prepay. His and all peoples retirement is tied to the stock market, if they realize this or not. So really our retirement payment isn’t secure. We are eligible for SS come next December, who knows if it will even be around. Things that people take for granted may not be there for them.
    We moved more out of the suburbs to be safer and away from the cities more. It became apparent to us we needed a home our children could move back into if need be, our SIL was “let go” along with 500 other employees, they lived in Brooklyn and the riots they were taking pictures of from their apartment windows. I can’t say more than to be prepared in all ways that one can. What you think doesn’t really happen they way you think. We have had to readjust to having daughter, son-in-law and grandson move in. We had just had son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter move out the same week as they had no place to live between a house sale and purchase. Talk about just food costs going up and being older we never realized the price of diapers.
    The banks aren’t secure and even if you think that your money is secure because it is insured by the government, think again if a Great Depression occurs again.
    Please ladies, Brady has pointed out some very good info to learn by, listen.

  66. Hello Everyone!
    Brandy your site is absolutely stunning. The pictures are just amazing. Thank you for all your hard work and creativity, I am truly thankful to come and visit here every week.
    I received 4 African Violet plants from my sister this week. I am having fun researching these pretty plants. I rounded up various pots and spray painted them all white using up a can that I already had.
    I was fortunate to be gifted a new silicone loaf pan and mat from my buy nothing group. I will fill up with some fun baking supplies closer to Christmas and gift to one of my daughters. I gifted a can of stain that to another member of the group.
    I redeemed some SB for a $10 Amazon gift card.
    My community set up a big free library in the park behind our house. I dropped off a bag full and picked up 3 more books for myself. Happy to have a free book exchange so close!
    My daughter cut my hair.
    We picked our first Strawberries from the garden! Also spinach, chives, lettuce and some catnip for kitty.
    Stay safe Frugal Friends and have a good week!

  67. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to comment! Life is moving quickly and I’m very busy preparing for whatever the future holds.
    -I picked green beans at a u-pick farm. They were $20 per “bushel” (two 6 gallon buckets) but I suspect it was actually more than a bushel because each one yielded 33 quarts of beans.
    -I ordered our peaches and pears…4 bushels of each. Apples will come much later for us.
    -One of our freezers died. My parents purchased it new before I was born (so before 1988). We were able to put the things in it into our other freezers, as well as take some to a family member’s home temporarily so we didn’t lose anything. We were bracing ourselves to shell out several hundred dollars to replace it, but freezers are one of those totally unavailable for who knows how long items right now! We began praying and searching and using the old Tightwad Gazette tactic of putting out the word that we were looking for a freezer (we have a hog and a half ordered for the end of August). A few days ago my grandmother found us a 5 year old freezer for $75. We are thrilled!
    -I’ve begun sewing for the winter. It feels strange to see ankle length fleece dresses when it’s 100 degrees outside, but I’m glad to get a jump on it.
    -I’m making lists upon lists of things we’ll need in the coming months. I know I’ll need to purchase things soon and will need to give extra time for shipping.
    -Usually by this time of the year, we’ve been able to put money back for Christmas but this year our income has been significantly less than our already below the poverty level normal amount. I’ve spoken with several family members in the same boat and we’ll be cutting several people from our to buy for list (and they will cut us from theirs as well) to try to be able to have a small Christmas for our children. I’ve also been working on handmade gifts for those I’m still going to give gifts to.
    -One problem I’m having… I have to do all of our shopping by myself now. My husband is asthmatic and can’t wear the masks without his blood oxygen level dropping dangerously and we don’t feel that masks are safe for our children. I’d like to be stocking up more, but I can only purchase so much by myself since I’m limited to one cart and so I find myself using more of our food storage instead of building it up. I could go more often, but that poses its own challenges since I can only go when my husband is home and we live 15 miles from the nearest store. I’m still thinking it over but it’s a problem I hadn’t anticipated.

    1. Sarah,

      Can you plant a fall garden? If you’re in a zone 6 or cooler, you can plant now! The warmer zones aren’t far behind. That would give you a chance to build up your storage and have more fresh food.

      The other thing you could do is take a cooler with you with reusable ice packs inside. You can go to multiple stores that way, or even go to the same store twice. Buy all your pantry items in the first cartload, then buy your fresh items in the second trip and put them in the cooler to drive home. My grandmother lived far from the stores and would always buy the low-cost sales items, taking a cooler with her. She bought ice cream at the last store.

      1. We have planted a fall garden already. I’m zone 6b so I need to have everything pretty much planted by the end of this month. I was commenting to my husband that it’s crazy how much faster the green beans came up this time than when I planted them for my summer garden in May!
        Your idea for shopping the same store twice in one trip is a good one. I think that’s what I’ll do (can’t believe I didn’t think of it, but thank you!). Especially once it begins to cool off it will be a viable option.

      2. Interesting that you mentioned zone 6 in relation to fall gardens. Earlier this week, I looked it up on the internet and found that I could plant anything by counting back the number of “days to maturity” from our expected frost date. I would like to give myself some leeway, since last year we had snow in September! (and then a very mild winter). I am planning to plant more beets and spinach when I pull up my beets, if it looks like I’ll be able to harvest by early October. Although I realize your growing season is way different than ours, I’m looking forward to your article. Any little piece of information interests me!

    2. Sarah, I am curious about where you purchase your peaches and pears from? Would you mind sharing where you get them from? I have never heard of purchasing ahead of time, rather than in a store. Thank you!

  68. Well, the ongoing stocking of the pantry continues.
    My YYC volunteer lives close and she was going to Walmart so she picked up the peanut free chocolate ice cream (not on sale but always good to have a treat once a month), a huge package of toilet paper (on sale from $18 to $11) plus more soup (on sale 4 for $8; usually $3 or more per can). A friend last fall accidentally bought one of these huge toilet paper packages (not on sale) for me but I insisted she not go to the store to return it — told her we might have an epidemic and it might come in useful to have it. Little did I know then! I just recently ran low on it so have replenished it for the pantry.

    She got a box of jar lids and rims for me. For things going in the freezer I can reuse the old lids and rims so will use those bought today for new batches of jam, etc. I have found a stash of mason jars in the basement so don’t need any jars. This is very lucky because when I was in the hospital 2 years ago most of my super mason jars were either recycled or thrown out or given to charity by someone who thought I didn’t need them and obviously who doesn’t make jams or jellies. I discovered Safeway has raised the price of its 1 kg bag of Saputo Mozzarrellissima shredded cheese from $12 to match Superstore’s much higher price. So sad! I also noticed that the two cans of ham I bought on sale are very much smaller than before. I bought one anyway so I can use it to make lasagna for the freezer. I will be keeping about 2 weeks of pantry food upstairs in case I physically can’t get downstairs due to illness. I baked a ham two days ago and will now cut it up and freeze individual meal packages of it in the freezer. I won’t have to use my oven for the next month during the hot weather.

    I have canned fruit, canned veggies, powdered milk, pasta, (I can’t eat rice due to allergies), a huge bag of sugar (will probably use some of this for jam making as I don’t eat sugar a lot — for that matter I don’t eat jam either but will make it to store it and enjoy it if I need it), flour, barley, dried lentils, dried split peas, canned lentils, canned baked beans, a tub of Crisco for when the weather cools ( only wanted a small block but my friend acquired a tub) and I might even get into baking mode, canned soup (not as much as I’d like since I encroached on the pantry supplies a couple of weeks ago but I will restock it), pasta sauce (about 20 bottles of it — since I can’t eat rice, I eat a lot of pasta — one jar lasts for about 5 or 6 days of pasta meals and after I make pasta with it I may freeze the pasta). About onions, they should store well if kept in a cool dark place. My mother always bought packages of frozen chopped onions — very convenient. I don’t have much freezer space above the fridge and am trying to eat down what I do have because
    I want to buy a case of apricots and a case of peaches, a box of blueberries, a case of Italian prune plums, and freeze them all. That I’ll do at the end of the month on the next payday. I have spent a lot extra stocking up on groceries for the pantry but almost always I’ve bought items on sale. I still need some soap as my inheritance of 40 bars from my brother has almost been used up. And I could use a backup container or two of laundry detergent and some backup shampoo. I want to stock up my freezer with beef liver to keep my iron levels high. I also want to stock a first aid kit for an emergency bag.

    I have been working on the unending book. We got a notice that instead of having 3 years from last Dec to finish it, now it has to be finished by Jan 2021 and we have to let the government know by the end of the month of August if we can do it within that time period. They haven’t explicitly said so but I interpret it as they are closing the program. People will be losing jobs. We will not have any problem using up our grant for layout and design by the end of next month. I know that history and culture are way down on the list of priorities but it makes me sad to see the end of the program, if that is what’s happening and for people who may be out of work.

    Brandy, I’m sure we are headed for a recession but I think even worse it will be a recession with inflation. It used to be economists didn’t think this could happen but it did in the 1980s. It was nicknamed stagflation. I fear that. I’ve never had a lot of money to invest but I just cannot cope with the stock market. The one thing I’d think twice about now would be buying a condo. If times get tough, fellow condo owners would start to default on their mortgages and condo fees and it would wreak havoc with a condo system. Just a thought. I’m the last person one should take financial advice from. The Canadian government has done a good job (in fact excellent) in keeping people from losing homes, jobs, income. when people lose those things, desperation sets in, crime goes up so do suicides. Oxford University is having great luck with its covid vaccine — the people who are in the trial have developed covid antibodies so fingers crossed. The earliest it would be available is December. In the meantime, fingers crossed and prayers…

    1. In 1980, my dad had a new job and they had just bought a house. Interest rates were 17%! It took him 3 weeks of working to pay the mortgage. He worked all day and then went back to work after dinner in order to keep his job (it was salaried, not hourly). We had moved into a new house in a new tract. Most of our neighbors lost their homes. My mom was an extreme couponer (no internet then; she figured it all out herself with shoeboxes full of coupons) in order to keep food on the table. My parents and my husband’s parents taught us well from that time and the years afterward.

      I read today that the situation that you are talking about might be just what ends up happening.

      1. Yes, my husband and I bought our first house in 1980. We locked in an interest rate of 13 1/4% and were “thrilled” to have that. Before we could close, interest rates had gone to 18%. I laughingly told my husband at that rate, we could have put it on a credit card since 18% was the going rate for those at the time. We refinanced when the interest rates moderated a bit. But boy that was some time… Like your mother, I had a shoe box full of coupons that I used as well. In contrast to that, about 5 years ago when we paid off our current house, I think the last interest rate was 3. 125.

        1. Yes I remember when interest was 18%. And the international price of oil plunged to then record lows.
          Every other person on my street lost his/her job and many had to sell their homes to avoid bankruptcy and houses weren’t selling either. Many retrained for new jobs but by the time they were retrained those jobs were then gone and they retrained again. Grim.

    2. Funny – laundry detergent and shampoo are top of my list at the moment as well. A friend mentioned giant packs of TP as well – is it the 60 roll pack?
      It sounds as though you are doing really well at restocking – and ensuring that it’s stuff that you will really use. I have lots of cans now but usually only buy tomato and mushroom canned soup as I use both in cooking and then make my own soups. Like you I have plenty of dried beans, split peas, lentils etc. and then what I stock up on are the tetra packs of broth (plus just stock cubes as well) so I can just add a few veg and change up the type of soup from week to week. If you have the jam it can always be used in muffins & tarts and even as a filling for a sponge cake – that sort of thing. I also use it to top yogurt and even on cheese (my dad always liked a sandwich of strong cheddar and strawberry jam)!
      I fear you may be right about the book grant program being shut down so I hope that you get it all finalized in time. We’ve been lucky in Canada with the way that the govt. has kept us all going but the money will have to come from somewhere so it’s inevitable that this sort of thing will happen. good luck with it.

      1. Hi Margie,

        Nice to hear from you! Yes it’s the equivalent of 60 rolls (I think 30 double rolls). Safeway had it on sale for about $12.but I couldn’t get there, of course. One of my volunteers said she was going to Walmar so I looked and it was the same price there. Their website said it was regularly $18 on sale for $12. I will get one smaller package for upstairs; the 60 package will go into longer term storage for the winter. I think it’s really funny that toilet paper goes on sale in the summer — go figure!

        Fortunately, I was wrong thinking the book grant program was being discontinued. I spoke with the govt and was told no they are just merging a new and an old program so have to have a uniform deadline date. We were asked. to write to them about concerns. We had asked last Feb. if we could use the total small grant for layout and design and submit a bill as soon as that is done and they accepted that. By the end of August, the layout and design should almost be finished. There may be some footnotes, the index etc, some photographs to receive from the McCord Museum, to be done but the body of the text will be laid out!

        In the fall and winter, I will start making my own yogourt — I hope I can do it this time without getting slimy yogourt. Anyway, if I get jelly made, I will top the yogourt with it. i’m going to try jam on sharp cheddar cheese — sounds interesting!

        I have cut my hair twice and it looked great. I did it again and well, oops!

        We have been extremely fortunate with our treatment by the government. It realized when people’s mortgages go into default on a wide scale, the economy collapses and when people have nothing to eat crime escalates. Your province is getting covid under control. We had it under control but once again are having outbreaks. So frustrating! Ann

      2. PS I’m thinking of a chocolate supply, some potato chiops (!), a ew cake mixes, some dehydrated mashed potatoes for the pantry. Alas, the box of potatoes I want (Honest Earth) is not sold in anada and would be prohibitively expensive here. I could really get into the well-stocked scenario.

    3. Ellie’s friend – I live in a condo, and I totally agree with you that a condo would not be a good place to be when times get tough. I would like very much to move, but that is not happening right now for various reasons.

      1. Hi Margie,

        Calgary usually has many, many festivals, many of which are free but alas they are cancelled due to covid!

      2. Hi Tina,
        Fingers crossed and prayers too that you are okay. It doesn’t pay to worry about it. With any luck, some of the covid vaccines will be available by December and slowly we’ll get back to normal. ann

  69. I love the new site! It’s easier to read the comments and the photos are even more spectacular. I love the photo of you, Brandy.
    I tried to comment earlier, but the spotty internet where I am staying kicked me out…
    Like many of you, I feel the need to get more food and necessities put away. We saw what happened in the spring and I think there could be more shortages for many reasons: Covid-19, labor shortages to harvest food, food production shutdowns, drought….
    Since most of my long term storage is in a storage unit, I called my local Bishop’s Storehouse to ask about keeping food in high temperatures. They said that the dried food has a shelf life of 30 years, but stored in high temperatures, the nutritious and flavor goes down to about 20 years. Items that have already been opened need to be consumed immediately.
    I’ve been wracking my brain as to where I could store more food temporarily and remembered that I have a metal closet in our new garage space that is also relatively cool. My goal this week is to go out and get regular and bread flour, some yeast, jasmine rice, and some soy sauce (I am out). I also want some extra chocolate
    I have been stocking up on blueberries for the freezer but am now in search of corn. My local Sprouts has a sale on walnuts and cashews and I am buying some for my freezer. My stash of nuts got contaminated when my freezer got unplugged.
    Living in temporary housing makes it tough to store food, but I know we will be happy to have it in the future.
    My garden plot hasn’t produced much but I did pull 9 fat cloves of garlic and am letting them cure.
    About ten years ago I was a blogger about food storage and being prepared. I did a two-month experiment on living on the food we had stored (I shopped at the store before we started out challenge). Turns out we were fine. A year later I tried the same experiment for three months, and we were fine. I missed fresh food and sometimes the meals were monotonous, but we didn’t go without. Perhaps experimenting for a month might be a good exercise to see if what you have on hand will work for you, and give you some money to fill those holes in the pantry. The biggest takeaway I had was to store what you eat–just because you have it stored doesn’t mean you will eat it.
    Wishing everyone peace

  70. Well the excessive heat, and no rain, plus the darling DEER that came through last night are collectively doing a number on my garden. Finally got a little rain today after over 2 weeks of 90-101 degree temps. I’ll do a fall planting of radish, lettuce and maybe kale in a few weeks. Thankfully I drive by a farmer’s market on the way to school, so I’ll be stopping there for fresh produce in the coming weeks. I found a decent deal on a few tops and facemasks at Old Navy. After 4 months of wearing casual clothes, going back to dressier clothes is going to be tough. lol. Yes, my school is going back full time in just a few weeks. I am busy decluttering and going through closets etc. Hopefully, I will have some better frugal successes to report in the next few weeks. Hang in there everyone!

  71. I love the new look! Did not keep track of savings this past week.

    I’m looking for crowd-pleasing snack ideas for teens (popcorn noted!) We’re moving next week to a neighborhood where my kids have lots of friends, so I’m sure there will be kids at our home often. Also planning to more intentionally stock my pantry. Up until now, we just kept an extra pack of things we liked. When the pandemic hit, we spent a small fortune on canned goods, meat, and other items. I need to be smarter about it this time around, and want to make sure I have products we actually use/need. Definitely need to brush up on Brandy’s posts!

    1. Also try homemade hummus/bean dip/ ranch dip made with Greek yogurt and carrots, whole wheat pita bread, etc. for dipping. Then everyone gets a serving of vegetables in the afternoon.

      1. Brandy, do you have a hummus recipe that you are willing to share? I have been dealing with dental work for a long while now, and am on a puree and liquid only diet. Hummus is delicious and filling, but it does have a lot of salt in the store bought brands. I have recently been trying to make my own starting with dried garbanzos. My Lebanese friends say you MUST use Ziyad tahini, but it is expensive. I am guessing that you might have a cheaper alternative??

          1. Thank you for responding! Also, I have just texted a friend for a recipe for you. I will message you when she gets back with me!

      2. We also serve celery sticks, raw or blanched green beans, and raw sugar snap pea pods with the bean-based dips (the latter two only when they’re available from the garden.)

    2. My son and his friends would eat anything. They loved when I made fresh bread and would eat a whole loaf with just butter or jelly. My daughter and her friends were more into fresh fruits and veggies such as grapes, strawberries, carrots and celery with ranch dressing. They all loved fresh cookies or muffins too. So few of my kids friend’s families bake so it was always a treat to them.

  72. Hi Brandy, I’ve been looking for clippers to cut my son’s hair and am wondering what you use? I would appreciate your advice.

    I love your new site. It’s bright and cheerful.

    Life has been much quieter here since COVID. I am enjoying the peace in a less scheduled life and learning that we don’t always have to be doing something.

    I hope you are all staying safe. Thank you for your site.

  73. It has been a crazy week, but I’m trying to keep it frugal. Our offer was accepted on a home this week. We are so excited to find our dream house. (Well, as close as we can get to our dream house without moving to the country!) I never would have though we could afford it, all our hard work and penny pinching over the years really has paid off. The last few years have been very hard and depressing for me, I was feeling stuck in a place I didn’t want to be. For everyone in hard times or in a place you don’t want to be, just keep plugging away and work hard. It may take a long time (years for me), but hard work and discipline really does pay off! Hang in there.
    Now, it’s time to double down on everything I have learned from this blog and all the wonderful readers who comment. Our goal is to pay off the house in 15 years, so every penny will count. My husband works in the aviation industry, and his job will be pretty unstable in the next year. It may end up being that every penny will count just to keep our house. Prayers, faith and hard work!
    Fugal accomplishments this week included keeping two 14 year old boys happy and busy without going out or spending any money. Turns out they still love going down to the beach. digging in the sand, playing with the driftwood. It has been such fun! They played some card games, drew cartoons, went hiking, watched movies from their childhood and played video games.
    I cooked everything from scratch this week, except some frozen pizzas on a night when I needed a break. Those boys can eat a lot! I made spaghetti, homemade meatballs, cookies, brownies, calzones, crescent roll sandwiches, grilled sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, breakfast biscuit sandwiches, can’t even remember the rest.
    Have a great week everyone. I’m so thankful for this blog and community!

    1. Your frugal accomplishments sound fun! I’m 50 and I still like going to the beach and playing in the sand! In fact, I love beaches!

  74. I had such a lovely money saving day today, that I felt completed to share. I’ve been an avid reader for years, but rarely contribute. I live in Brooklyn NY and yes the cost of living is high, but I maintain a VERY frugal budget (from reading this blog) that allows me to live happily and comfortably. Before Covid, I made about $2000 a month as a background actor, with my rent being $1200 for a bedroom in a small 2 bedroom apartment I share with two others. I am out of work, but receiving PUA.

    Today I picked up a free lunch at the elementary school up my street. The city offers three of these “to-go” meals each day for every resident. They are not well balanced, substantial or healthy, but usually have one or two items with some appeal. Today they also had disposable masks and feminine hygiene products, so I picked up one of each.

    I took the subway (which is very clean and not very busy), using my cash-back credit card to pay my fare, so at least I’ll get back a little money from this purchase. I pay this credit card off twice a month. I got off a stop early to get in some exercise walking through Soho, where I haven’t been since quarantine. It was interesting to see what was going on with each business.

    Then I attended a taste-testing panel that I occasionally do. Today we sampled 2 Jolly Ranchers, a tiny cup of collagen water, and a tiny cup of lentil soup. Not enough to fill up on, but a nice treat. They will direct deposit $20 into my bank account next week, in exchange for my opinion on these items.

    Next I picked up the free Panera iced coffee and took it to Union Square Park to enjoy with my school lunch. From the lunch I ate a chicken patty on a roll with ketchup and drank the chocolate milk. I saved the carrots and hummus for later. In the park I read the free daily newspaper. I cut out the Sudoku from this newspaper everyday to paste into a handmade puzzle book the I will give to my best friend for Christmas, as she loves puzzles and New York. Also for lunch, I picked up a free order of tater tots using coupon codes on a food ordering app.

    Finally, I picked up my free birthday gift from Sephora, no purchase necessary. I chose the mascara, blush, and primer kit. On my way home, I found two books in the free lending library, one of which will also be a Christmas gift. All in all, a beautiful frugal day in the city.

    1. Loved this post! Living in large city is very expensive as far as housing and general cost of living is concerned – but – there are often a lot of free things to do and one of the reasons that I am a city gal. Not as much to do this year as free concerts, street festivals etc. are all cancelled – but – so many people have got out to different parts of the city to walk and to window shop and just get to know the city a bit more. Your day sounded wonderful!

      1. Hi Margie,

        Calgary usually has many, many festivals, many of which are free but alas they are cancelled due to covid!

    2. What a lovely day! Thanks for sharing your frugal adventures! It’s inspiring!

  75. My biggest frugal win this week has been getting new home and auto insurance. Michigan has one of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. Having 19 year old male twins driving has been a huge hit to our budget. They work and commute to college so must drive. They pay to be on our policy; it costs us nearly 1,000 per month just to drive. With the changes in the auto insurance laws we are now paying 357.57 per month for all 4 of us! That includes an umbrella as well. We got an umbrella policy as now if you are at fault in an accident the other party can sue you for medical bills. In addition, by bundling home and auto our home insurance dropped by an additional 50.00 per year. With all the financial uncertainty this has been an amazing blessing. I already told my husband we will put the difference directly into savings as I see food prices increasing monthly here.
    I finally harvested some turnips, zucchini and yellow squash. I make a squash casserole with stuffing that my kids just love. We enjoyed it last night. They are already asking for more. I am now canning meats that are on sale as my freezers are full. I love canned meat as it allows me to portion out one pound per meal and it is so convenient. Just heat and go. We were given some steaks from my sister in law who decided she didn’t want them. My younger children don’t usually eat them as they prefer hamburger. They will be a nice treat.
    I am hoping to till the garden today and put in my first fall planting. My garden has not done as well as I would have liked. It has been so hot and dry that so many plants just refused to set fruit or thrive. Hopefully the weather from now to October will be kinder and I can get enough to can. I was gifted some yard long been plants from my mother in law who wanted bush beans. I will see how they do for me in my sandy garden soil.
    Everyone be well and thank you for sharing your frugal ways with me.

  76. Brandy, I am listening to birdsongs via Alexa as I go about my morning. My son left me is Echo Dot while he is in Basic Training and I simply said “Alexa, play birdsongs on repeat”….and it is! I am thrilled because I also miss the sound of birds when the doors and windows need to be closed (in Ohio right now, that’s more to keep the wet-blanket humidity out rather than the unreasonable that you have). I only mention this because I believe he only paid 30.00 for it and I know you often get Amazon credits from surveys, etc. As I’m making dinner I often tell it to play Sinatra.
    p.s. your new site is lovely!

  77. Thanks to everyone who includes where they live in their post, it lets me form a picture of how things are looking with the weather, gardening and with prices.
    Brandy, I would love to see a post about cooking with a solar oven. What foods don’t work as well, what changes do you make to your regular recipes and how do you figure cook times.
    Also, the link to your story isn’t working, I reread it every so often when circumstances make me feel like hyperventilating. It’s a wonderful reminder that I can cope with the latest series of disasters, catastrophes and calamities.
    Stay well!

    1. Candy in SW Washington, I purchased a solar oven years ago and use it quite often, mostly in the summer. Anything you cook in a crockpot you can cook in a solar oven. I’ve also baked brownies, cornbread and muffins. I find it’s best to use on a cloudless sunny day and I have to turn the oven to keep the sun directly on it. The only caution is to use oven mitts because the inside gets hot ! I use the metal black marbled oval roasting pan in it a lot but any dark cookware picks up the sun better. It’s a great investment.

  78. This week: I have discovered the Vons coupons that you load onto your card. I can get items for lower prices than ever before. I’m making it a habit to check regularly.

    I made crockpot chicken curry using the last of the garam masala. It was a tad too spicy for my 8 yo, but the rest of us loved it. I’ll just have to mix up my own garam masala next time, and make it not-spicy. We had it with rice and naan. I also made lentil curry (I guess it was Indian week) in the crockpot. So…lots of rice. This particular recipe made a HUGE batch. So after having it for dinner 2x and lunch 2x, I am going to freeze the rest for a later week.

    I found 18 oz blueberries on sale at Vons, so we ate them fresh and I used the rest in blueberry muffins, using oats and leftover coconut milk.

    For fun, took the 8 yo to the beach one morning, worked out at home, went for walks with the dog. We left the house 3x this week for dentist appts, so otherwise have been staying home.

    We have been planning ahead for fall. School will start distance learning. We have 2 kids and 2 parents working at home (currently), but only 3 rooms to work out of. It will be interesting.

    1. Perhaps folding screens will make a comeback 🙂 We can put up a folding screen behind our desks so people don’t see our beds in our zoom classes.

      1. I had to laugh at this, I’m currently working from home (since March, with no end in sight) and our Zoom staff meeting backgrounds have been so entertaining. Some people use the different fun backgrounds, mine are usually just where my laptop is on the kitchen bar with the laundry room door in the background (I do close it, I have to keep some sense of decorum!), sometimes you will see someone’s unmade bed or the pets make an appearance. It is certainly a unique experience!

  79. I purchased a table cloth on Amazon, and then…canceled the order because it really isn’t a need right now. I told all the neighbors to send their excess zucchinis to me. Eight have shown up on my doorstep 🙂

    Any recommendations to learn how to cut hair? My guess and check method only goes so far…

  80. My friend (and very occasional gardener) stopped by early this morning and dropped off some groceries. These were the 10 bars of Ivory Soap for $3.48 from Superstore, plus the tinned ham and pasta (about $1.27 per package with no eggs).
    With these items I’m almost finished stocking the pantry and may soon go back to just buying normal groceries.

    She also brought me some beets and fresh peas from “my” garden plot, This is the garden plot I spent $50 for and she has done all the work since I don’t have the lung capacity to walk there. (I’m short on lung capacity because I had pneumonia in April/May). Bless her!

    And what a kindness — since she is too busy with her business to help me, she asked one of her employees to come to my place. The young fellow has offered to help me for no money — he is here from Viet Nam and started school in an agricultural program. He wants experience in gardening and practice in speaking English. A finer fellow you couldn’t meet. he wants to bring his friend who is East Indian, too so they can help each other and visit while they work.
    I will find a way to thank them.

    As we had so much rain I didn’t want him to sink in the mud in the flower beds so I had him prune the dead branches (winter kill) off the Nanking Cherry as I don’t have the range of motion in my arm to do it. I finally will be able to get the last of the bedding out plants put in — every time I’ve thought about it the forecast has been for storms. My friend’s garden in south Calgary was demolished by this week’s hail. I got a bit of hail but nothing major. The peony flowers were shattered but they were almost finished blooming anyway. The first tall rose that bloomed is covered with rose hips which I will harvest!

    I protected my tomato plants with the styrofoam rose cones. My plants are loaded with tomatoes!

    Now other things are beginning to bloom. I’m really happy as it means I have that flowerbed well-staged. There is a Monarda about to bloom and some pink mallow, blue Canterbury bells. The wild asters have really taken off but I’ll leave them as the butterflies love them so much! I cannot believe how everything is thriving — next year I’ll be watering the flower beds a lot more!

    I heard the tornado pass overhead. Fortunately it did not touch down in Calgary. If you want to see a photo of the supercell storm go to the Washington Post. They say the cloud was higher than Mount Everest.

    1. WOW! Didn’t realize you’d had such crazy weather! Last Sunday was our turn – Tornado warnings for a few hours in the afternoon – I almost headed down to the basement of the building at one moment! Glad to hear that your garden wasn’t too badly damaged. And that’s wonderful that you will get some help in the garden while two newcomers will get some practice and a chance to visit with each other.

  81. Hi Margie,

    This is the first day in about 3 weeks when we had fine weather and no lightning storms. About a month ago, the north east part of the city had devastating damage. It is the 4th most expensive natural disaster in Canadian history — baseball sized hail tore off the house siding and smashed windows, wrecked roofs. then this past Friday, the SE got hammered. I was watching footage of the tornado clouds and it went right over my house, and I really did hear it.
    I am so relieved that my house and gardens were spared.

    I can’t eat it but Walmart is clearing out Baxter’s Lentil and smokey bacon (33% less sodium) for 50 cents a can (usually they sell for $3.50). It has ginger in it and I’m really allergic to ginger. great bargain for the pantry. The Walmart toilet paper seems to be over.

    I’m still struggling over the book but getting there slowly.

  82. Brandy, this: >>I hope these new changes will make it easier for me to love and serve those who are struggling to make ends meet. << brought happy tears to my eyes. There’s so much strife and division right now, seeing someone who shares their gifts so generously and inclusively was balm for the pain.

    1. I’m so happy to read this!

      Let us all be united in lifting one another up!

  83. We will close on our house in one month. I am excited to get a garden started and have my big pantry so I can work on food storage also. I used up my storage when we moved into a rental and built a house. It makes me feel naked to see so little in the pantry.

    My son gets married next weekend. His wife loves rice and we aren’t eating rice ( carbs) so I told her she could take the large container of rice. I still have a food bucket of rice for when the kids come over. My friend gave me a bag of cucumbers so I made cucumber, tomato, onion salad in Italian dressing.

    I am walking every morning with a friend. I am so glad to have her, because if I didn’t have to meet her I would have made so many excuses. I have lost 9 lbs. My jeans are starting to sag. I returned 2 pair of pants my mother in law bought me. I thought I might wear them to one of the wedding showers, but didn’t, and since I am losing weight will not wear them enough. I got a gift card to spend later.

    I have ben using my air fryer for pork loin chops and chicken breasts. I just sprinkle with different seasonings and they cook in 15 minutes and are still moist. We have squash, zucchini, and green beans from the garden every night. I have been cooking them in the oven with olive oil and they are so good.

    I made my 2nd quilt for my sons wedding. I ordered a pack of 5″ squares of reproduction 30’s fabric and then cut off white squares to make a checkerboard pattern. I bought a floral to back it and a black swiss dot for the binding. I quilted it on my machine and it was so hard to fit a queen size under the throat. I may look at machines later. I was so proud of my 2nd quilt I have made. You can see it here on Intagram

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