Frugal Accomplishments

How We Saved Money the Third Week of June

I picked tomatoes, beans, blackberries, lemons, and apricots from the garden. I also cut basil and green onions from the garden.

I canned strawberry jam with the strawberries I had purchased the week before last.

I canned apricot vanilla jam with apricots from our trees.

I was tempted to purchase some summer annuals for the garden. Instead, I sowed some older seeds that I already have; hopefully, they all germinate! I sowed seeds in the garden for vincas, verbena, dahlias, and more cucumbers.

My husband has been needing a welding table. He attempted to buy one two months ago, only to have the seller increase the price after he said he would buy it. He then planned to make one, but found the steel company would only take orders for specific parts for pickup because of the virus, and they don’t list parts online. This week he found out that someone had given his brother a very large welding-type table; it was so heavy it took six men and a crane to lift it, and the crane on the back of the truck was bent while taking it off the truck. My husband went to get it. He needed a much smaller table, so he used a plasma cutter to cut the table apart into pieces. He will build himself a smaller welding table from it. Just the steel alone would have been about $500, so this is a huge savings.

I made a double batch of homemade laundry soap.

I used shower warm-up water to water my potted agaves.

I read an article about someone who had been on a retreat for the last few months (since mid-March) in a cabin and had missed the whole coronavirus lockdown. The article compared him to a modern-day Rip Van Winkle (a story of a man who sleeps 20 years and sleeps through the American Revolution). I had read the story of Rip Van Winkle in college in my American Literature class but didn’t remember details, so I pulled out my old textbook and reread the story.

Lemon Boy Tomato from my garden

Rather than having a meal out together as a date, my husband and I were able to have a quiet meal together Saturday morning (eggs with some sliced tomatoes from the garden on the side) while the children slept in. This saved both the cost of going out for the meal and the gas as well as the calories! Later that evening, after the children were in bed, we played several rounds of Sequence for the rest of our at-home date.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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154 Comments

  1. The big project this week was putting together the gazebo we ordered from Home Depot. It has a metal roof so we won’t have to take it down for winter every year and it won’t have the sun, rain and snow wear it out where it starts ripping! We had intended to DIY the new gazebo with mostly recycled materials. But, as we looked at our time frame and prioritized the projects we wanted to have completed before cold weather returns, we decided that sometimes, it is more “prudent” to save time on one needful project in order to move on to the next, also vital, project! The construction of this gazebo took us a couple hours on Tuesday and about 5 hours on Wednesday. https://pin.it/2rsV8fj. To DIY it could have taken up most of the summer! The other big summer project will be purchasing and DIY installing 10 new windows in our house- 5 in my sewing room and 5 in parlour/dining room to replace the old single pane windows (2 of them are just plexiglass! ?)with energy efficient windows that have screens to allow fresh air to come in and cool the house naturally. And when the winds blow, we won’t see the curtains moving even though the windows are closed! The energy savings and comfort that these will give us put them as a high priority! At the same time we install the windows, we will add super insulation to those exterior walls to boost the energy savings even more. So, for us, this was our solution to the time crunch. We have money saved to pay for both projects outright. We will pay for the windows with my MC though to get the extra rewards money to funnel right back into our savings account! As soon as the MC bill comes from that, we will pay it off in full so we don’t pay any interest!

    I finished quilting and binding the “I’m bored” flannel baby quilt! https://pin.it/1BI0nlz. No idea what I’ll be doing with it, but some of my flannel scraps have been used up!
    One of my 9 year old granddaughters had a sleepover here on Friday and wanted to learn how to use sewing machine. I found a great (free) Pinterest tutorial that even had free printable work sheets! I was impressed at the way the instruction was written and so we tried it! Here’s the link: https://pin.it/3Rkz4cS. At lunch time on Saturday, she had completed this quilt top! https://pin.it/2MdkcKV It is about 48” x 60” ! She picked the 9 fabrics out herself from my scraps (probably 40 minutes deciding!! ?) and sewed every stitch herself. Not as even as it could be, but her seam allowances are getting better as she goes! And she was SO pleased! We picked peas from my garden and I had her shuck them while I washed the lettuce and Swiss chard we picked! She loved doing it and I blanched and froze a quart size bag of peas! She gathered eggs and helped Grandpa feed the koi. And she helped make the lasagna for dinner! All in all, a busy visit! But, as she left, she wanted to know when she can do it again!!

    I have a client’s baby quilt finished that she will pick up on Wednesday. She picked out one of the free pantographs I found online that is only a single 8-1/2” x 11” page. So I needed to make 8 more copies of it and cut and tape them together to make the pantograph long enough to use for the complete width of the quilt in one pass. Because we charge .015 cents per square inch of quilt top and she provided batting along with her quilt backing, it only comes to $26.31! Not a lot, but I was able to have it quilted quickly. Even small streams of extra income can add up! https://pin.it/4NdiIrSi
    I also found, in my decluttering, 3 framed Christmas star quilt blocks that I had seam ripped off a lap quilt I made last year when I realized I had made it too long. I kept the blocks “just in case” I would think of a use for them. Saturday was that day! I put additional white borders around the outside of blocks and now have a table runner ready to quilt!! https://pin.it/6QLTckY

    My daughter-in-law sent over 3 big heads of celery that they won’t eat fast enough and I chopped it and dehydrated it into a single quart mason jar and vacuum sealed it. I will send it back to her so she can use it in cooking. In the meantime, it won’t take up much of her shelf space and it won’t go bad before she can use it! https://pin.it/imFv6tj
    Using over ripe bananas, I made a loaf of chocolate/chocolate chip banana bread and also a loaf of butterscotch banana bread. Hubs and son seemed “willing” to be active participants in the banana “Use it Up” project! Lol!
    I need to buy 4 lemons today so that I can can a double batch of orange marmalade. I have oranges already that I need to use up and I have all the other ingredients and canning supplies/equipment. We use the orange marmalade in my orange chicken. I ran out a couple months ago, so that recipe was taken off my list of potential dinners. I prefer to make meals only using what I have already in my pantry/freezer/garden. That way I know that the ingredients were all obtained at the best price- on sale or, better yet- FREE! I rarely shop for ingredients just to make a meal. I shop those ingredients we regularly use when they are on sale and later on, have them ready to make meals (if that makes sense)!

    A week ago, Barilla lasagna noodles were on sale (99 cents/16 Oz box) and also had an ibotta rebate for 5 of them which made the first five 74 cents each (instead of their regular $2.35) ! I figured up what a year’s supply of them would be and bought 11 boxes (even though 6 didn’t get the extra ibotta savings! ) If I bought them at regular price, 11 boxes would have cost me $25.85 but instead I spent $9.64 and saved $16.21! Plus, I don’t have to rush out and buy them when we’re “in the mood “ for lasagna!! And that’s how we keep our food budget in check!
    Looking forward to a cooler week! We are still using rain barrel water fo the garden and it rained overnight which refilled the 4 barrels up again! So- double win! No watering needed this morning PLUS rain barrels completely filled again!!
    I’m grateful for all the new ideas you and all of your commenters give me to help me be a wiser steward!
    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. I love your quilting pictures you post each week. I like to quilt and sew when time permits. Quilting costs for me are much higher! I can pay $0.30 square inch or $25 an hour.

      1. Michelle- It is Sojag brand. We found it on the Homedepot.com website. They don’t carry it in stock at their stores. Hope that helps!

      2. Camille- We are trying to build our business so, .015/square inch still gives us a profit, but hopefully brings in business! Different parts of the country charge different amounts too! We do ship anywhere in U.S.

    2. I’ve been looking for a gazebo with a metal roof. We would love one for our back yard. I’ve looked at Lowe’s several times, but theirs only had fabric covers which would quickly be destroyed by our New Mexico sun! I’ll have to take a look at Home Depot. We’ve also thought of building one, but that might be beyond our age and abilities!

      1. It is Sojag brand. We found it on the Homedepot.com website. They don’t carry it in stock at their stores. Hope that helps!

      2. Hi Michelle, we purchased our gazebo from Lowe’s a few years ago. It has a metal roof. It is similar to Gardenpats. Bummer that Lowe’s does not carry them currently. It took my husband and I around 8 hours to assemble ours. The roof was tough but so worth it. Not having to take a gazebo down before winter was well worth the cost. Hope you find something.

  2. What kind of beans are those? They look so pretty!
    It was a busy week after being away so long. I baked sandwich bread, made granola and yogurt, and cooked batches of black beans, navy beans, and brown rice in my instant pot and froze in portions for future meals.
    We enjoyed chard, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, mint, sage, basil, oregano, and thyme from the garden. I dried some of the herbs to use this winter. I weeded the garden beds and planted lima beans and replanted the green beans.
    Our garden beds are on drip irrigation, but some of the tubing holes have clogged and some plants do not get as much water as others. It’s very obvious, because the plants that don’t get as much water are much smaller. We don’t want to tear apart the system right now to fix these few spots, so every few days I water those plants with a watering can, using water from our rain barrels. I’m happy to say the smaller plants are now catching up to the others.
    I mended some clothing and used Rit dye to re-dye my husband’s black T-shirts and a pair of black shorts. Doing this every 6 months or so really extends the life of black clothing.
    I made a new batch of laundry soap.

    1. Asparagus yard-long and red noodle beans. The long ones are the kinds that perform best in our heat.

    2. The dying of black clothing is brilliant! I wear all black for work, and wash those clothes frequently. I’ll try dying them to prolong their life!

  3. What a wonderful blessing to have a welding table show up just when your husband needed one, even if it will take some modification to work for him. I don’t know if it’s possible to share more about the retreat story, but it sounds very much like something I would like to read. The sweet, simple photo of you and the tomato is lovely. I have begun picking (purple) green beans, but the yard long beans are not ready yet. Also harvesting zucchini, basil, rosemary and dill, and lots of chanterelles in our woods. I made mushroom gravy with some, sauteed and froze some, added a few to a pasta sauce, and need to figure out what to do with the current batch. I made sauerkraut with our red cabbage, this one with carrots and garlic. The green sauerkraut is ready and tasty. I mended the binding on a couple of rugs, and shortened a very large pillow case. I’ve been collecting calendula flowers for bodycare products, and coreopsis flowers for dyeing with. Many wishes for a good week. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/06/chanterelles-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. It was a very short article that I read sometime last week among many; the guy was spending some time in a cabin and came out and tweeted something about being gone in the woods by himself for the last couple of months and asking if he missed anything.

  4. My mom sent over a lot, including several cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, coffee filters, black pepper, pizza sauce, cans of pinto beans, scouring pads, spaghetti noodles, cereal, and tea bags.

    Sold a three items on Marketplace making $20

    Our local Hyvee gave away peaches. I got a bag of 20 for free. We ate on them a few days, then I sliced the remaining ones up and froze them.

    Our library opened back up for pickups and I picked up a stack on Friday. I read 2 over the weekend ?

    We watched a movie that’s been on our dvr for awhile Saturday night.

    Spent Father’s day at home. We had ham and corn on the cob, then I picked up a chocolate cake at the store. Hubby and the 13yo spent the afternoon playing video games together.

    I try to keep the air conditioning off as much as I can. Our house doesn’t get much of a breeze, but can be tolerable until the humidity starts to rise.

    Use $10 in petsmart rewards when I picked up dog food this week

  5. Readers, What do use your lemon balm for? I have lots of it!
    Our tub spout drips water very slowly. I catch the water with a bucket and use it to water plants. No wasting water until my husband has time to look into it further. We are hosting one or two people over at a time to play games. Also, I am taking the kids for a walk almost every day. Making sure the kids get some activity since the playgrounds are still closed and only one member per household is allowed to go shopping at a time.

    1. Renee,
      I used it for tea to aid in a calmer stomach/digestion. I will make a quart, let cool and have a small glass daily.

    2. I mix dried mint, chamomile and lemon balm for a tea that is very like Sleepytime. We drink it before bed and it’s very relaxing and tasty.

      1. I mix lemon balm, mint and sweet cicely for a very nice fresh tasting herbal tea. The herbs are all dried in the microwave, mixed together for later useage.

        It’s also good on salad, just chop it up and sprinkle with the greens.

    3. Renee,
      I’ve used lemon balm when I’ve roasted a chicken as an herb to stuff n the cavity. I’ve also cut “bouquets” and put them in the bathroom. Leaves a nice smell. And, of course, tea.

    4. I do everything that others do but I also make lip balm with it,. I infuse extra virgin olive oil with dried lemon balm, then use beeswax and vit e to make it onto a balm. Lemon balm contains eugenol that fights against the virus that gives us cold sores, shingles and chicken pox. I just enjoy the balm as I don’t get cold sores, but others use it to reduce the number of cold sores they get and reduce the length of time they last, if they do get one. Nothing is 100%. I only use fresh leaves with boiling water to make tea. Much tastier than dried. It has a mild natural mood enhancer, that is a lovely pick me up.

    5. I also harvest and dry it to use for balancing thyroid, via teas, or even chewing the dried leaf. It’s effective against both under and over-active thyroid pe James Duke’s “Green Pharmacy”, iirc. I would not use it if I was on medication for thyroid, to avoid over-medicating. Ymmv.

  6. Johannesburg (South Africa) has been experiencing extremely cold weather. Our houses do not have central heating or cooling here, and we rely on fans in summer and space heaters/fireplaces in winter. Our neighborhood gas suppliers are all out of stock of gas refills for heaters, and our firewood suppliers are out of stock too. I’m hoping to find firewood in the area our children do horse riding this week. I’ll be glad to get it free (my husband usually insists I buy even if I find free wood).

    I’ve been working inexpensive meals into my menus using food from our pantry, supplemented with some fresh food from the garden. I’m harvesting cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, green onions, lettuce, radish, parsley, celery, and leeks. I’ve managed to keep a potted basil plant growing through the cold, which I’m thrilled with! I love fresh basil!

    I continue to find ways to creatively use small amounts of food to avoid wasting. I used the last of June’s grocery budget to stock up on oats and tuna which were selling cheaply. We eat oats 3-5 times per week for breakfast and I bake with them, so we go through a lot! Two of our favorite inexpensive dinners use tuna so getting these cheaply was a win for me.

    I have been making a lot of clothes for our youngest (14 months) but took ill last week after an allergic reaction to medication, and I just didn’t have the energy to sew, and in the cold weather he was needing extra sweaters and coats. I simply took a few items from a box of clothing I set aside from my older son. They are slightly big but I just rolled up the sleeves. That way I didn’t feel I had to buy more even though I couldn’t sew or knit.

    For Fathers Day I helped the children make cards and write letters to their Dad. A while ago my husband helped someone with a computer problem and in return got a good price on a rotisserie attachment for our Weber (barbecue) which he had wanted for a long time. He set that aside for the children to give it to him as a Fathers Day gift. I bought two chickens to roast on it, made salad from the garden and dinner rolls to serve alongside, and tonight we used the left over chicken to make chicken mayonnaise toasted sandwiches for supper. There is still enough chicken for me to use in another meal later this week.

    I’m going to take time this week to go over our July budget. Our economy is tanking, jobs are being lost left and right, and food prices are up around 30% since Christmas. We are heading into hard times, the likes of which I don’t think we have seen before (the 2008 crash didn’t affect us much). I really want to steward our family through it with both wisdom and compassion. I think it will be a good opportunity to grow and focus on what is most important.

    1. Tracy – I look forward to your posts. It’s interesting and enlightening to hear how people are living and coping in different countries. It would be very frightening to me not to be able to have the means to heat my home considering how cold it gets where I live. We take so much for granted here. I wish you the best and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    2. Tracy – it sounds as though you are doing a wonderful job adapting and planning ahead for your family. It certainly puts things in perspective when you write about a 30% increase in the cost of food!
      I hope that you are able to get fuel soon so at least you won’t have to worry about that.

  7. Gardenpat you always seem to get so much done during each week – you are amazing. My stepmom is a quilter so I really appreciate all the work you do. And what fun for your granddaughter – her quilt is lovely and isn’t it amazing all that someone so young can learn to do.

    1. Margie from Toronto- I have days that I’m a b-ball of fire, and others, like today, where I chopped and dehydrated 3 more heads of celery and not a lot else. The day was hit and muggy and I was not energetic! Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll get more done!
      The time with my granddaughter was a treasure!

  8. The e-books I had on hold from the library have started to be available for me now, so I have had a couple of new books to read. I’m definitely enjoying that.

    The theme for meals this week has been soup, mostly made with turkey broth, pasta, turkey pieces that came from the carcass after I made the broth, and whatever vegetables were at hand. I also was experimenting with using Campbell’s mushroom soup as a pasta sauce, and had cooked some orzo. Before I drained the water off, I changed my mind and put half a can of soup into the water and orzo, along with some frozen peas, and warmed it up. It made a hearty version of canned mushroom soup. I will definitely try this with other canned cream soups. It was just really fast to make. It could be done with rice instead of orzo, which would be less expensive, though I find orzo holds the flavor better. I also found a single piece of haddock in a Ziplock bag in my freezer. I had put it there when the box of fish was almost empty, to save room in the fridge freezer. I think the serving size is two pieces, but I stir-fried some snow peas and enjoyed it for supper.

    My application for a Guaranteed Income Supplement has been in since early January, but no word heard. This is a pension supplement given to low-income seniors in Canada. It is assessed once a year after you turn 65, but the first year, it can be reassessed if your income drops, as mine did when I stop doing transcription work. I followed up to see where things were. I had been told that it would take 150 days to process, but now the processing time is 255 days. The person I talked to emailed the processing office while we spoke and requested that my application be done right away, so I should hear in 15 days. She also told me that the assessment for 2020 would take place in July regardless of the fact that this was waiting, and that I would receive the 2020 supplement beginning at the end of July. Well worth the effort of the call.

    1. I’m glad you were able to get through to talk to someone and I hope it all works out for you quickly!

      1. I’ve got my fingers crossed. Fortunately, this is a supplement to other pension income that covers my living costs. It is money I plan to save for larger expenses down the road. Still, better in my bank account than in theirs, I think.

        1. You should get a one time payment $300 grant if you are on OAS plus another $200 if you receive OAS AND GIS, so about July 6, you should receive an extra $500.00 — no application necessary. Search one-time-tax-free payment for seniors-Canada.ca. The gst rebate should come at the same time.

    2. Glad you were able to get through about the GIS – the revenue departments are backed up like crazy with all the CERB work – hope it all gets sorted for you as quickly as possible.
      I have used Mushroom soup as a pasta sauce before and if worked great – I kept it thicker and used half & half or milk rather than water – my niece and nephew used to love when I made “noodles” like that and yes, it was very fast & easy to do. I like it especially with tortellini.

  9. Our local Co-operative Extension was giving out excess food products. Items the farmers could not sell. 20# box per family. Daughter and her girlfriend had gotten it before. This time she told them she was picking up for two households and brought me a box as well. The giveaway was open to all, no income limits, etc. I really can afford to buy my own, but she meant well so I didn’t say anything. Each basket had 3# apples, 4# oranges, 5# potatoes, a large cabbage, 2# carrots, The oranges were in need of eating soon, so I gave 4 large ones to my grand-daughter to take home with her. They were excellent!! We have expanded our circle of “family” to both my sisters and a couple nieces because my sister has invited us for lunch and an afternoon of swimming the last couple weeks. Hadn’t seen my grand-daughter since March 4th. Her fiance -to -be taught at the university last year, part time, but is thinking of getting a second master’s to get teaching credentials for middle and high school. He has done some workshops with that age kids and really enjoyed them. He already has a masters in fine arts and is writing his third book. First one came out in Feb 20 and I’m not sure when the second will be out. He is primarily a writer but the checks aren’t too regular from that. It takes a long time to write and sell a book. We are still limiting our exposure to possible viruses but my daughter is suggesting that we will start buying our own groceries again in a couple weeks if the new case numbers continue to be low. She’s been getting everything for us for about three months now. The stores have increased their security and some other retail venues are opening. Schools will probably open in the fall but they are talking smaller classes and a three day in school schedule per week, with schools being open on Saturdays too, Details not worked out yet on this. Sports and swimming pools canceled for the summer, playgrounds closed, etc. We are still mandated to wear masks to get into any stores, and to remain 6 ft from other people.
    It has been pretty easy not to spend money. My daughter just buys what is on the list, so my grocery bills have gone down some. We only used $20 worth of gas in all of May, as we went almost no where. Restaurants can only sell take out food, although that may change this week. We have been to hamburger/hot dog stands but that is all, and only a couple times.
    My freezer is getting bare–there are no grocery store “sales” on much of anything. I bought bscb for $1.99 a lb, which is not a spectacular savings but we have to eat something. I’ve bought some ground beef and sausage. Beef round, sirloin tip, chuck roast is all $8.99 a lb which is way more than I want to pay–in fact, double my “stock up” price I’m very tired of pork. I need to look up some different recipes. Last night was a large salad with chopped leftover chicken on top. He ate it but continued to eat snacks all evening. We are out of salmon too, and not quite ready to brave going to Sam’s Club again. We’ll survive but may have to turn to tuna casserole–no favorite of his!!
    I have done some mending in the past week as well–a beach towel, a bath towel, and a couple other small clothing rips. Makes me feel like really sewing! Little time for that with my husband here 24/7! Today is his brother’s birthday so I dialed his number so he could talk to him. His brother and wife are both in assisted living. He asked my husband how old he is, and my husband couldn’t tell him his own age. I told him–he is 78 and his brother turned 87 today! They both laughed at themselves for not knowing their ages. They don’t talk too frequently because there is not much to say these days. “I went for a walk.” ” So did I.” Their whole family were big walkers.

  10. I woke up this morning to an email sent out last night at 11pm informing us that apricots were ready for harvest at our local community orchard. Harvest was only available from 6:30-8 am and then any left would go to the local food pantry. I read it at 6:45 am. So, I put on shoes and clothes and got there at a little past 7. There were quite a few families there! I collected 5 lbs (in hindsight I should have grabbed more bags… I only took one bucket that I could find in short notice. And I would have taken my kids! They are little but would have loved it! Next year for sure!) We’ll eat some, make purée to add to lemonade, freeze for smoothies and make some freezer jam, yum!
    A neighbor brought us a zucchini, yellow squash, and several beets. We have a lot of zucchini on our 2 plants but they keep rotting before they get big enough to pick. I realized it may be a pollination problem. We don’t have a lot of other flowers and tres in our yard, so no bees are coming to pollinate. I used an old paintbrush and have been hand pollinating them the past couple days, hopefully that’s the problem. We also get hot wind here (southern Utah) and we don’t have an irrigation system set up yet. I used some old milk jugs with tiny holes poked in the bottom to give a steady stream of water throughout the day. I set them next to the zucchini and cantaloupe that both like moist soil. We’ve been in our house since the end of January, so this is our first try at gardening in the desert. Our yard is all gravel, so we dug up a 4×6 patch (it took 3 weeks to get all the gravel out of that spot!) and put in actual soil and manure. We planted seeds we’ve had for 10 years and they all germinated! (Tomatoes, peppers, squash, basil, cantelope, and zucchini) we call it our “experimentation garden” and are learning as we go!

    1. Salvia plants have consistent flowers all summer, they do well in the heat and dry soil, and they are perennial. This year I put some in each of my vegetable beds and my pollination rate has gone way up!

      1. Hi Kara,

        That is a great tip — I am going to save some of the salvia seed, hopefully if there is any and next year I will plant it in my
        vegetable garden.

  11. That’s amazing about the welding table. Your produce looks wonderful. I can’t wait for local tomatoes to arrive at the farmer’s market!

    Most of my savings had to do with food this week. I cooked a pork roast in my instant pot and made pulled pork. I put the pork and cooking juices in a pyrex pan and refrigerated everything overnight. The next day, I took out the solidified fat and boiled it with some water to clarify it. I poured the water and fat into a jar and put it in the fridge. Once cooled, I took out the fat to use for cooking. We ate several meals from the pulled pork, and I froze the rest with the remaining cooking juices. I also saved the “blobby bits” of the cooked pork and put them in with some bones to make a batch of broth. I then made a big batch of asparagus soup using asparagus bought on sale for $1.77 a pound (Kroger), onions that needed to be used up, celery and a turnip. Most of the soup was frozen for future lunches.

    Continued the freezer cleanout, and canned some jam with freezer fruit. Found a large bag of cranberries that had been in the freezer for several years (it was still perfectly fine). Made a batch of cran raspberry jam (8 half pints), using bulk pectin, sugar, jars and lids I already had on hand. The next batch was cranberry salal, using some salal berries I had foraged a couple years ago. Salal is a native plant that was used extensively for food by native Americans in our area (Pacific Northwest). Now the plant is mainly used in floral arrangements. The jam turned out well and I ended up with 7 half pints.

    Got my hair cut, now that salons are open. It was a 45 minute drive to get there, because the main bridge to get there was damaged and is now closed. Since I was already in that area, I visited a park and walked along a Puget Sound beach. The weather was beautiful and it felt like a mini-vacation. When I got home, I made myself an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade), from tea and lemons I had on hand. Sat out on the patio and enjoyed the rest of the day.

    My front loader washing machine started smelling bad, so I ran a sanitizing cycle (2+ hours) with a bunch of whites. Solved the problem. I have to do this a couple times a year.

    For Christmas, my husband gave me a pair of over-ear headphones. The plastic headpiece broke, and I remembered that they had a two year warranty. So I looked this up online, submitted a warranty claim, and packed up the headphones to return to the company. I used USPS online to print out the postage, and handed the package to our postal carrier instead of driving to the post office.

    My mom gave me a big package of toilet paper she bought but didn’t like. My normal toilet paper stock was pretty full, so now I have to find a place to stash it. Anyway, I am happy to have it.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  12. So I was just reading your new post and got to the bottom where you show a few of your favorite things that will then link to Amazon to help out financially. I was stunned to see this white dress that definitely did not look like you. It was skin tight, only came to mid thigh and was pretty revealing at the top. My brain couldn’t take it in.

    I finally scrolled a bit further and beneath the picture it declared it was a slip. I burst out laughing. You can realize my mistake because it was the type and shape of dress that is worn by many women nowadays, mostly quite young. And because it looked absolutely nothing like the full length slips that I wore back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Ours had lace across the bosom and usually at the hem also.

    Well, it was my laugh for the day.

    1. Haha!

      It is the most comfortable slip! I like it so much more than my nylon slips! It’s super soft and it works just perfectly under that $16 white dress! I have a vintage white slip (full slip) that I like but this one is so soft I could just wear this as my slip going forward!

  13. I have had so many wants this spring but so far I’ve been very cautious with my purchases. I did buy a fern ($10) for the back porch and rescue purchased two marked down African violets that were severely overwatered. I brought them home and literally squeezed the excess water from the soil and then put them back in their pots. They appear to be doing very well now they have been deadheaded.
    I settled for DOing instead of spending and cleaned the front porch rails and storm door which made all the things look so much better. I’ll be doing the same to the back porch this next week. I have a gallon of outdoor paint to touch up with.
    I’ve also been determined to stay out of the grocery. I’m over my budget this month but really can go without much except dairy and produce next month so I plan to balance the budget with a lower spending month for July. I’m also determined to waste as little as possible and have salvaged some items that were going bad through no fault of ours. We just had a bad round of produce purchases for some reason. I’ve spent time this month also scanning ads and checking prices in various stores we’ve visited so I will have a better idea of who has best price. NOT always Aldi though theirs are good!
    My daughter gave her dad a gardenia bush for Father’s Day and I set it in the ground this morning. It then rained and ‘watered’ it with the best sort of water.
    I checked my little garden over and found I have potatoes coming up in a pot. So pleased over that. I have a bag as well that was planted at the same time but no sign thus far. I’m taking hope on that one though. We ate a handful of our first harvested tomatoes. I’m hoping they do well. There’s plenty of blooms on them.

    1. If you grow only a small amount of potatoes, you can put them in the ground one by one inside a stocking (tights?) thats old or has a hole. You know, the thin ones. One per one pair. All potatoes from that one grow inside the thing and you can pull them out together and easily!

      1. I will try the nylon trick. I had bought some Organic Yukon’s and forgot them in a closet. When I found them they were covered in eyes. I thought what the heck I will plant them. Low and behold they are growing like weeds. We had some old wire fence I made a cylinder out of with zip ties. I added a bag of Potting Soil to the native soil. Spaced the potatoes in it and started dumping stuff on top. I had read to keep covering them in straw. I used what I had around. A little straw, wood shavings, leaves etc.. They keep growing through and I keep covering them. They are about 4 feet tall. When they are done growing I will just cut the zip ties. More of an experiment at this point. Hopefully it will pan out.

  14. We have been dog sitting my sister’s dog for the last 3 weeks. She was helping her friend on her farm. When she came to pick up her dog she brought us 3 dozen chicken eggs, 1 dozen duck eggs, a jar of honey and a huge butchered chicken.
    An elderly friend gave us a 2 pound block of American cheese and a head of cabbage. He gets a box of free food every week. He hates the cheese and doesn’t know what to do with the cabbage. I will make coleslaw and give him some.
    The man I help wanted to get take out one day. We ordered heroes from the local pizzeria. One of the sandwiches was wrong. They let us keep the wrong one since we had to wait while they made it correctly. My son was very happy to take the sandwich to work the next day.
    Still no AC or heat. All laundry has been hung on the clothes line or drying racks.
    My son needed a new fitted sheet. So I ordered just a fitted sheet. The pillow case and top sheet are still fine.
    Made another batch of dog food.
    I got some great deals at the supermarket. So happy that the yellow stickers are back. I got 10 packs of a pound of Italian sausage for $1.49 each. I gave 3 to my in laws. Got 2 packs of a pound of ground beef for $2.04 each. Got 2 packs of chicken thighs for 89 cents a pound. The freezer is full again. While I was looking at meat, a younger lady with a baby was looking at meats too. She started saying how she can’t believe the price of meat. She hadn’t been food shopping in a month and she was completely out of meat. I showed her a package of the sausage that I had with the yellow stickers. She didn’t know that they mark down meat when it gets close to the sell by date. She got some of the chicken and sausage that I got.
    Hubby installed new speakers in his truck. He bought them on sale and used a gift card too.
    We painted the shed. We had new siding put on the house last year and finally did it so they match. The kids and I cleaned it on the Friday and then we all painted it on Saturday. It looks brand new.
    I garbage picked a BBQ last fall. Hubby fixed it(it cost about $8 ) and we scrubbed it clean. Sold it for $120. The new owner couldn’t believe we were giving it away for that price.
    My daughter’s bridal party threw her a bachelorette party on Zoom. Her maid of honor had her fiance pick up some special snacks and a bottle of wine. They then did an online escape room. They had a great time. So grateful that they are trying to still do things for her with covid .
    Started a new bottle of pump soap. It was giving too much so I put a rubber band on the pump and now it gives a smaller amount.
    Made several batches of iced tea with tea bags that we already had. Made a pot of coffee to make iced coffee too. Great on a hot day.
    Everyone have a wonderful week and stay healthy.

  15. Brandy,
    Good to hear you are getting produce from your garden.
    I made 6 pints of strawberry jam. Three of those I will share with family and will keep the other three.
    I mended a cuff on my adult son’s favorite sweatshirt.
    I helped my husband load and unload firewood we got from my parents who had a tree cut down. This will be for next winter’s use. I went on a walk and picked up a couple handfuls of small pine cones that were on the street. I use this for fire starters in the winter.
    My parents cleaned out their car port area and gave me a yard game for my grandson to play when he comes to visit. This will give him something ‘new’ to try.
    We washed our car ourselves and filled the tank with gas. My husband is working from home now so our gas expenses have gone down a lot which is good.
    My adult son had his hours and pay decreased by 20% with layoffs in the near future so we are praying he will be able to keep his job. If not, we have a plan B we are working out. Like others have already said, I believe we are going to be experiencing some very tough times. We are working hard to prepare and do what we can now. I appreciate everyone’s comments as I learn a lot and it helps to provide my family with a better quality of life.

  16. That’s great that you are getting those larger tomatoes. Home grown tomatoes are so much better than store bought. There is no comparison.

    I had a cheap food weekend — since Mother’s Day was in quarantine time, our grown kids came over for Father’s Day and combined both days, bringing or making us lunch, one kid on Saturday, one on Sunday, so we had plenty of free food. We ate leftovers from Saturday’s lunch that night. My husband has Sunday’s leftovers for lunch today.

    I did cook ahead a little this weekend, cooking a pot of stew in the pressure cooker. I cooled it and froze four pints of it for later meals, saving one meal’s worth out for tonight. This will be for those nights when I realize I won’t have time to cook the following night, or for the days I don’t have enough leftovers to pack for my lunch at work.

    I have been making a menu before going shopping, but with the lack of decent sales and still sometimes spotty selections, I’m having to decide while in the store what I will make with what I can find that is available and not overly expensive. I’m also doing more restocking of the pantry and refrigerator than I am shopping for a planned menu. I still try to think of a menu though, in case a meal takes an ingredient I don’t have and need to get.

    I finished a home sampling survey and earned $75 to purchase gift cards. I bought a $50 gift card to a grocery store I frequent, to help with those costs. I put $25 toward an Amazon gift card.

    We had a hot, rain-less weekend, so I washed and hung out seven loads of laundry.

    I was able to pick several summer squash and a bowlful of cherry tomatoes from my container garden.

    My boss brought breakfast biscuits and hashbrowns to work one morning, which I didn’t eat, as I always eat breakfast at home. One biscuit and one hashbrown was left that no one wanted, so I took them home to my husband, who had them for breakfast the next day. They had been in the refrigerator all day, so they were safe to eat.

    Our neighbor has agreed to pull up a couple of pesky stumps for us for free. He has the equipment to do it and actually enjoys doing that kind of thing. He’s retired and hates sitting around doing nothing.

    The toy doctor’s bag full of toy medical instruments that I found at a Goodwill and cleaned up was a hit with my younger grandkids when they came to visit. I keep a few cubbies of toys, mostly found in thrift stores or yard sales, for them to play with when they visit.

    I’m looking forward to others’ comments!

  17. I cut my husband’s hair. I baked 4 loaves of bread on the coolest day this week to avoid heating up the house too much. I biked to the library twice this week instead of driving. Got some hand-me-downs for my kids from my sister. She also gave me 2 5-gallon buckets of old oats from a neighbor which I will feed to my chickens. My husband is helping his brother (who lives out of state) to buy a van here (since they’re far cheaper here than where he lives). They had a big box of giant cookies sent to us as a thank you. I didn’t have to bake any dessert for Father’s Day! Yesterday my husband noticed the AC wasn’t blowing cold air. The fan wasn’t spinning. He did some research and decided it was either a bad capacitor or fan motor. First thing this morning he took the capacitor to his friend’s work, because he was pretty sure he had the right tool to test whether the part was broken or not. It was broken, and my husband then went to buy a replacement part for under $20. From his research it would’ve been twice as expensive to buy online, and at least $200 more to hire someone else to fix it. We saved a lot of time and money thanks to my handy husband!

  18. I sewed older seeds I already had rather than buy the plants I wanted.
    I used apples from my fridge that desperately needed using to make homemade apple sauce
    I watered down a quarter bottle of shampoo so it would last another week.
    I made an extra payment on our medical debt.
    I needed a few things from the grocery store. To keep from buying unnecessary items and wasting money I ordered online and picked it up. Saved at least $50! This store has really good mark downs lol
    I used a coupon to buy lunch for us for an at home family date. I spent $8.50.
    I made turkey kale soup for my work lunches this week.
    I have been off work for the last two weeks and was able to collect unemployment. I go back tomorrow.
    I potted the ends of 3 carrots that had some green growth. It makes a pretty potted plant for free. No new carrots will grow.
    My husband got us a new printer for free from his job. We haven’t had one for a year. I still had printer paper.
    I have been taking “navy showers”( only run the water to get wet and then rinse off) now that I have a garden to water.
    I’ve been using water from rinsing veggies, glasses, etc on my house plants and in the garden.
    I only used the dryer twice (due to a lot of lint on the dark clothing). I’ve used my outdoor lines and drying rack to dry clothes.
    I’ve been reading the books I’ve downloaded for free on my kindle. My library isnt open yet.
    I’ve been watching Wartime kitchen and garden for free on youtube.
    I was able to find my husband his father’s day gift for 50% cheaper online.
    The basil I planted in a container in the house has sprouted ?
    Have a great week!

  19. Hi, I didn’t post week. My granddaughter came, spend the weekend with us and we had her birthday celebration she is turn 4 at the end of the month. Congratulation on your daughter baptism. Paid off another credit card. Have a middle size loan out there and my mortgage I am trying to getting all the loans paid off before my husband starts disability.
    I harvest my potatoes and I hope to plants so more this week. Zucchini and cucumbers we getting some. A friend was getting her peaches from the peach truck and she pick mine also so I save on gas. Thanks for all you do Brandy and everyone comments I learn a lot from all of you.

  20. That’s some slip, LOL!
    * I made a long tablecloth for $0 to cover up one of those resin Parsons patio tables we all have. I pieced scraps leftover from curtains I made about 10 years ago and used a coordinating fabric for sashing to make it big enough. Luck was with me because I had EXACTLY enough fabric for the sashing (and not a millimeter more!). I also made my daughter a new mask from scraps and elastic I already had.
    * Forgot to mention last week: My daughter-in-law gave me about a year’s worth of tea! She is off tea for the moment, but her sisters didn’t get the word and sent huge amounts of fancy teas for her birthday. So…I was the lucky recipient!
    * I was given a tiny peony (probably will take at least two years to bloom) and some very tall yellow irises.
    * I have a low-cost, low benefit dental insurance policy. I break even if I have two dental hygiene appointments each year, which I do. Anything after that is gravy. I broke a tooth a couple of weeks ago and needed a crown. The insurance only paid $111, but I also got a $132 discount from the dentist for paying cash. If you are wondering how much a crown costs, it’s about $1,450 plus 2 hours in the chair. Avoid the old maids in popcorn!
    * We got home from visiting our son last Sunday night, and I was wiped out from the trip most of the week. Haven’t gone anywhere, haven’t done anything, haven’t bought anything. I managed to write out menus for the week and cook and eat all meals at home. Still waiting for the strawberries to get ripe, but I think I can pick a few today!

    1. Seriously, it is so soft! Before this one I liked vintage slips better but this one I could sleep in! It’s wonderful!

    2. Maxine: Sympathies on the tooth issues! Such a pain to have to deal with, no pun intended!
      For those without dental insurance, one way to stretch cleanings is to have them every 8 months instead of every six. That means two appointments one year, but only one the next, etc. Depending on one’s likelihood of having issues, it might be enough.

    3. just a tip incase if anyone has tooth or mouth issues…I had one mouth /gum pain over last week and it amazingly got better with a very salty warm mouthwash that i did gargle with every morning and sometime every night. I know cinnamon works well too… i used to use thieves essential oil but it seems saltwater also works.

  21. Your produce looks so inviting. We are still a good 6 weeks away from tomatoes, if not longer.
    I brought breakfast, lunch and all drinks to work on the 4 days I had to go to work.
    I do most of my mother’s running around – banking, shopping prescriptions, etc. I had to go to her bank one day last week. There is only one branch in my entire town. Anyway, it was right by a Trader Joe’s. I picked up a pot of basil for $4.00 from there. When I planted it, it ended up being 24 small plants. Can’t beat 17¢ per plant. It is now in one of my raised beds that I reserved for basil.
    Picked up a free pound of sausage that I had loaded on my Fred Meyer card. DH cooked it one day while I was at work. Made focaccia bread pizza on Friday. Used the free sausage, some homemade pizza sauce from my freezer, and veggies. It was yummy and fed us for three meals.
    Picked lettuce. Thinned a few beets. The beets were so tiny (smaller than a dime) that we just ate the greens. That’s the only part I like anyway.
    Made a batch of cauliflower soup, using cauliflower from our freezer and broth I had made from a Costco chicken and frozen.
    Had a 45 minute visit with my mom, sitting on a chair in front of her window and talking to her on the phone.
    For Father’s Day, my DH wanted to BBQ. I made a pasta salad with storage pasta ,broccoli, green onions and parsley from the garden. Used a small jar of marinated artichoke hearts as well as a few grape tomatoes and a few kalamata olives. Used the marinade for the base of the dressing and just added lime zest and the juice from a lime. It was very refreshing. Also made corn with thyme butter, using both corn from last years garden (frozen) and dried thyme from last years plant.
    My sister made me two masks from her fabric stash, and sent them with my son who came up for father’s day.
    I am hoping to get some weeding done this week, after work. Mainly the onions. Also to thin the carrots. I figured if I write it down I am making a commitment. Often I am tired when I get home from work, but I need to remember that the garden and “playing in the dirt” energizes me.
    Hope everyone has a good, healthy and happy week.

  22. I’d been using our 40-year-old reel lawn mower, which I loved but was a bit too much of a workout for me lately. I researched newer, lighter models of reel mowers, and the one I would have loved to have as a replacement was over $200. As luck would have it, a carpenter friend who was working on our fence mentioned that a relative of his was selling a reel mower that was only used once. It was the mower I’d chosen, and she sold it to me for $75. Since there’s no cost for gas or tune-ups, it’s quite the bargain!
    I also made a dozen burp cloths and a flannel baby blanket for my son and daughter-in-law’s (drive-by) baby shower this weekend. Which reminds me — I always love your gift ideas, Brandy!

  23. *My biggest savings this week was my husband and oldest son fixing our dishwasher.
    *My daughter made bread from a starter given by a friend.
    *Our local flour mill gave away 10# bags of flour; and we got one.
    *My tomato and pepper plants are just beginning to get blooms. Can’t wait until it’s time to pick!
    *I got my youngest son expensive hiking shoes, brand new, for $3. They are waterproof, and were very needed.

    Thanks Brandy for another great savings article.

  24. I love your at home dates. They sound like so much fun between you two!
    I’ve been in my garden too today -I go and weed till I get to hot then run inside. I tried to go out this morning but was attacked by mosquitoes. We have harvested lettuce and onions so far. We have had a lot of great salads.
    This week my purse string came out of it’s holder so I used super glue and fixed it. It’s been holding up very well. Then the husband put the grand boy’s sole back in his shoe with some more super glue.
    We were able to buy hamburger for $2.99 a pound for our grocery shopping deal of the week. It was a large bag for $27.00 but we needed to buy a lot anyway. Have a great week.

  25. I am harvesting and eating a lot of lettuce from the garden. Also some large zucchini. I slice the zucchini about 1 inch thick, drizzle with olive oil, grind Trader Joes lemon pepper on top, and grill it for a short time. My husband and I can eat a whole LARGE zucchini this way for one meal. I also sprinkle parmesan cheese on top if we have any little packets of it left over from buying a $10.99 huge pizza from Costco. I don’t buy Parmesan cheese.

    I planted more yard-long beans where others had not come up. Sluggo seems to have a new formulation that also kills pill bugs and other things. It is pricey, but most people use too much of it. It only takes about 4-5 tiny pellets per seedling. This way a jug of it lasts a long time. I learned this at the community garden where I volunteer.

    I sold another item on Facebook marketplace. It was bulky so I was really glad to see it go!

    I completed and mailed a special order “happy birthday” banner (or bunting as I would call it). It had a tight deadline so I was glad to complete it. I worked out cost-per-use and our own family’s happy birthday banner has cost less than 50 cents per use over the years. It is such a deep part of our family tradition. I often give one as a gift to a young couple getting married. It’s a nice change for them from some of the usual gifts, and I feel it’s not just an item, it’s the start of a tradition. I usually do colorful ones, but this customer specified balck/grey/white. I really like how itturned out. Here it is if anyone wants a peek! https://www.etsy.com/shop/FabricSpeaks

    We have a mostly-functional kitchen again, so I am unpacking and washing all kitchen ware (time consuming) and organizing my food again. I hope that will help me enjoy cooking again.

  26. I’m still in the extended stay hotel, so my housekeeping and gardening are really minimal right now.
    *I made meals trying to use the groceries we have on hand.
    *My husband’s birthday was Tuesday. Kids had us over to dinner and I brought a cake.
    *I should finish my latest sweater this week.
    *I cashed in points from my credit union. They have a new way of counting points and also an easier way to access them. I ended up getting $687 in my account.
    *I went on my first bike ride this week and it felt great! I was pleased with how well I could ride up a hill. My husband and I took lunches with us.
    *One of the guests staying where we are gave us a container of frog eye salad that she made. I painted her a small watercolor as a thank you.
    *A friend gave me two quart bags of cherries from her tree. They aren’t the best flavor, but I was thrilled to have them.
    *We are also going to use some reward points to pay for some of the items we need for our home renovation.
    *I hope to find some strawberries for a good price this week to make some jam.
    Have a wonderful week. Thank you everyone for your inspiration!

  27. The savings on the welding table are amazing! I’m so happy for you and your husband. I love when things like that happen. Congrats!
    *We went camping with our trailer last week. The campsite isn’t frugal but we love to go once a year as our family vacation. To keep it as frugal as possible, I planned all meals around food we already had on hand – we used our dutch oven multiple times a day to keep the oven off. We made chicken cordon bleu (I used diced chicken and diced ham instead of full chicken breasts and deli ham. The ham was saved in the freezer from Easter), chicken enchilada (I used canned chicken that was in our food storage), apple cinnamon roll bake, chocolate cherry pie, chicken italian ravioli (used breaded chicken from the free school lunches), mountain man breakfast (using more of my easter ham instead of buying sausage), mashed potatoes made from our food storage instant mashed potatoes (I added butter, sour cream and green onions. The onions came from my garden.) Used deli meat bought on sale several months ago and frozen to make sandwiches. The other choice was peanut butter & jam or honey). We went to a mexican restaurant one night that we love and used a gift card my husband had received as a rebate to cover the meal. We had tubes of our own that we used to float the river so we didn’t rent tubes. We also used our truck and then walked back and forth to not use the rental trucks. It was nice, because other people would stop and offer rides to us as we walked. So we’d hop in the back and ride up. We also had 2 solid days of hard rain. We had brought movies and crafts from home as well as plenty of books to read. All the snacks were from our pantry.

    *I was able to pick lettuce and pea pods from my garden!!! It’s so fun – my daughter keeps saying, “it’s like we’re farmers!” Thank you for the encouragement to plant. I just love my little carrots, lettuce, peas, tomato and onion plants. My daughter also loves to smell the basil plant and pulls leaves off to put in our meals. My cucumbers are growing tall on the trellis and the potato plants are growing big. We use our grass clippings in the garden to mulch around all the plants. I put big piles over the potato and onion plants. Don’t need to buy mulch.

    *We went to the library to stock up on books to read. My daughter is re-reading the Michael Vey series. My oldest daughter came into town for a wedding with her husband’s family. She stayed longer than he did because of his work. She came camping with us and enjoyed having a large choice of books to read from her 2 sisters during our two days of rain.

    *Needed some new sneakers. I need a certain type of style which is usually pricey. Darn foot issues! But I was able to purchase some New Balance on discount that should work for exercise and yard work. Free shipping!

    *Went to the store and bought discounted apples. Making crockpot applesauce which I will then can into my quart jars. My apple tree is only 1 year old and not producing yet. I’m hoping to can enough from the discount apples that I won’t be canning that in the fall when I’m doing peaches.

    *The weather was so much cooler last week that we were able to leave off the A/C and have the windows open and use ceiling fans.

    *Did all exercise at home or on my bike. Walked 10,000 steps each day which is a freaking miracle with my feet issues. But I’m determined to keep losing weight. I’ve been subbing more veggies into my meals and using that instead of bread. I do love my Dr. Pepper, but still manage to drink 80 oz of water a day. I have noticed that I get hungry and have to be careful with my hypoglycemia. I do need carbs, but try to reduce and not eliminate.

    *I did buy an extra patio umbrella so that we would have two on our back deck. I want to block the afternoon sun from our kitchen back door window. The door handle is super hot, plus the back deck is hot on the feet! I researched and watched prices. Found one at a good price. I also ordered a replacement umbrella for the other stand. My husband jimmy-rigged it to work. I love having shade there in the hot afternoon!

    *Diligently have been checking the meat markdowns at the store. I bought 2 roasts and 2.5 lbs of hamburger on the clearance rack. I bring those home and stick them in the freezer.

    *We had a lovely Father’s Day. The kids made breakfast and a cake for their dad and we used homemade cards. The gifts were mostly candy for dad but that is exactly what he wants for his closet stash.

    *We did do a date night out and paid cash for it. But the meals will feed us 3 times – huge portions! It was really nice to go out.

    Thanks for the wonderful community and support. It truly helps get through the week and keeps me motivated to be creative.

  28. I enjoy your blog so very much! I also enjoy reading all the comments! My husband is still furloughed from work, since March and I am also not working right now. It’s challenging, but we’ve always been frugal. Just more so nowadays. I’ve been babysitting my little granddaughters and our 3 year old has been begging to the park to swing. They are all closed here, so Pop-pa (grampa) made her one from a free swing placed at someone’s curbside in our area and installed it in one our trees on our property, Wee-Park as she calls it. I’ve been hanging most of our laundry in the garage where it gets quite warm and dries quickly. DH made two loaves of Banana-chocolate-butterscotch bread from the last of our overripe bananas. I’ve now cut his hair twice since the SIP. I think he likes the convenience as well as the savings. Likely to continue that forward. We’ve been hiking in our nearby State Parks using a pass that will be expended next year for an additional 3 months! We’ve also been eating from the freezer and pantry utilizing canned items each week so our back stock gets used. Leftovers get recreated into new entrees during the week which has been fun to search for inspiring ideas within budget communities. Mostly purchasing dairy and some fruit from the local market. Spent $61 so far this month. Make homemade Iced coffees “Starbucks Frappuccino” bottled style using instant dollar store coffee crystals. So delicious and very cheap! Wishing everyone here a blessed and peaceful week

  29. Garden is doing well. I am harvesting kolorabi, Lettuce, radishes, Green onions, and kale. Yummy salads! The tomatoes are blooming and setting tomatoes, the peppers as well. Peas just started blooming too! Someone gave me 2 ground cherry plants. My dad loves ground cherries. I usually buy him some at the farmers market, hopefully I will harvest some. My watermelon plants looks good that my granddaughter and I planted. I send her pictures each week, not blooming yet but fingers crossed we will get a couple. Harvested the last of the asparagus. Done for another year!

    Went to a u-pick strawberry and picked 8 ice cream buckets of organic strawberries. Best $100 spent. Nothing like fresh picked strawberries, so sweet and juicy. I made 3 batches of strawberry jam, 22 half pints. I also froze 18 packages, dehydrated 2 ice cream buckets (made a quart of dried berries), and 2 fresh strawberry pies.

    Trimmed my own bangs. I haven’t had a hair cut in 5 months. Think I will keep letting it grow. That saves $20 every 2 months. Long enough now to put it into a ponytail.

    Meals made were fried potatoes, eggs, and bacon; grilled pork steak, baked potatoes, and roasted asparagus; tamale pie-had twice plus froze a couple of servings; asparagus soup, grilled cheese, and homemade crackers; and country sausage and salad. Taking salads for lunches.

    I was able to get apricots for $0.89/lb. I got enough to make another batch of apricot jam-this time for myself. Made 8 half pints.

    Went to a local bee keeper and bought 10 quarts of honey. I bring my own jars and he sells it to me for $8 a quart. That will last me for about 8 months. I will buy 6 more quarts early in the fall.

    Otherwise a quiet week here-I am enjoying more time at home and in the garden. Life has slowed down! Have a great week.

  30. I finally went to get groceries today. I got eggs for 68 cents a dozen, strawberries for $1.25 lb and a nice size pineapple for $1.59 (great prices for my area). The store was well stocked on meat which was a surprise and the chicken prices were at a stock up price. I didn’t get any, but might go back. There are still no small freezers to be found local or online, so I only have my freezer with my fridge, not much space. I needed a few items of clothes so used a couple gift cards and took advantage of sales to get them. Also found a pair of slacks on the clearance rack for $9. My pastor and his son came over and mowed my lawn. I have trouble allowing people to help me out, but I am getting better at allowing them to be a blessing and not taking that away from them. (a dear friend reminded me of that many years ago). I made a big pot of “clear the freezer/fridge” soup with lots of veggies, some frozen rotisserie chicken and a small container of left over pasta sauce, it is Weight Watcher friendly with very few points. (BONUS!). It was cool most of last week so I opened the windows most mornings and it has rained the last few days so I haven’t needed to water the garden. I planted more green beans in some of the pots that nothing sprouted in and they are coming up fast. Harvested a little bit of lettuce, kale, and basil. Made some more jewelry items to add to my “store.” Keep up the good work everyone!

  31. Those beans are so pretty! I have never seen long ones like that. I love reading the comments just as much as the main post. So curious about the ways people are earning gift cards and making extra cash on the side. Years ago, I did Swagbucks and a few survey sites but stopped at some point. Do you have any posts that have referral links or lists of such opportunities?

    *I visited a new fruit/vegetable stand on Monday and we enjoyed the purchases all week. Put up 12 pints of strawberry jam. Also made 3 dozen jars of peach jelly from peelings. The house we’re moving into has a pool, and I know I”ll be feeding lots of kids who come over to swim with my kids. Figured PB&J sandwiches would be a regular snack for everyone.
    *One of the meals I made with the produce was kielbasa, cabbage, and potatoes. It made a LOT; I saved the rest of the meat and cabbage for a soup. Cut up the leftover potatoes and fried them in saved bacon grease for breakfast. My kids had no idea they were leftovers until I told them. I pointed it out to them so they would be more aware of saving/using leftovers. My daughter took it to heart and later made herself some savory vegetable pancakes with some peppers & onions that were languishing in the veggie drawer. She also made her own dumpling sauce for dipping. They were delicious! Both kids have been practicing their cooking skills a lot this week. I love to see them get creative and feel confident with their cooking! I did not have many adult skills when I left home, so have had a steep learning curve. It’s good to know that my kids will be able to take care of themselves.
    *Every Tuesday, The Fresh Market has a sale on bscb. I usually buy enough for 2-3 meals and freeze some of it. Last week they had whole salmon fillets for $5.99/lb. It’s excellent quality. We had it for a couple of meals. They’re offering it again tomorrow, and I plan to buy an extra fillet to freeze.
    *Harvested a bucket of worm castings from my compost bin. I love that the worms turn kitchen scraps and cardboard into amazing soil!
    *My sister in law doesn’t like pork, and she had a lot of it in her freezer from her CSA (and from her ex-husband who used to purchase it often.) She gave me several packages of pork chops, sausage, and a loin. I gave her some of the beef from the side we purchased. We called it the Meat Swap.
    *Have been making tea concentrate in reused spaghetti sauce jars. It saves so much room in my refrigerator, and the tea doesn’t spoil as quickly.
    *Started seeds in reused plastic bags. I’ve also purchased a few more seed packets from Baker Creek (love that they have free shipping.)
    *My kids love to play video games, and we regularly use the member discount from GameStop. It was time to renew my membership, and I had enough points saved to pay for it. Also got a $5 coupon through it, which helped to pay for my nephew’s birthday present.
    *Used my Torrid $10 birthday reward to get my daughter a new pair of shorts.
    *I read 4 books this week, including 2 that were already on my Kindle. If anyone else is an ebook reader, I am happy to loan out some of the books in my library! Last year I made a spreadsheet with the books I have because my friends wanted to share some of them. I can share it if you ask.
    *We got this year’s first ripe tomato. I’ve never had a ripe one before July 4, so it was quite exciting. All those nights of covering my plants to protect them from frost were worth it. Also got yellow squash, zucchini, snow peas, and lettuce from the garden.
    *My husband and I are rewatching Downton Abbey. It’s our favorite show, and we try to watch some of our favorites together during the summer.

    1. Dianna,
      Savory pancakes are one of our staple breakfasts. We use cassava flour for resistant starch/low carbs. They’re quick, delicious, and healthful.

      1. I’d love to know your recipe! My husband has to follow an AIP diet due to several autoimmune illnesses and I use cassava flour for him. I haven’t found a savory pancake recipe he really likes yet.

  32. Congratulations on the welding table, Brandy! That must have been so satisfying. And what a beautiful tomato! We just planted a vertical pallet garden to grow some cherry tomatoes on the hot, west facing driveway. I hope it works out! I’m eager to get some good out of all that heat and sunshine, though it sounds so funny to say that given how much heat and sunshine you have.

    We harvested lettuce, arugula, spinach, strawberries, rhubarb, and tasted the first raspberries this week. I’m so delighted that we finally seem to have hit our stride with growing salad greens. They never worked for us before, though lots of other crops have done well and we plant more complicated things without too much difficulty. Anyway, the salad was grown in soil blocks and then planted out under the tomatoes and other longer crops. I am intrigued and looking to see how densely we can plant for the rest of the season. I need to learn more about heat tolerant greens. Swiss chard for sure!

    For Father’s Day, I fixed up my husband’s office/our library. I fixed the mesh on the screen so bugs won’t come in, made new curtain tabs so the curtain could be pulled back more easily, and set a bowl of roses on a shelf at nose height. The boys and I made him chocolate chip cookies that we then cooked on the grill to keep the house cool – cooked a few and froze most of the dough. He was delighted.

    For a date, we sat on the porch and chatted while having popsicles together. It’s been busy recently, so it was nice to be in the same place once the kids were asleep.

    We made homemade granola, ate up the freezer, had practical snacks like popcorn and apples, brought up some rotated toys during the hot week last week so that old things felt new. We brought bikes down to my mom’s garden and rode on the pavement there and climbed trees, and then scored a trunk full of free wood that’s perfect to use as blocks! A fence company in our neighborhood always has a bin of free wood, sometimes rather worn, but today just gorgeous. I turned right around and picked up a bunch – the boys spent the afternoon building and scheming.

    I filled the house with flowers in as many vases as I could. Brandy, I so appreciate your inspiration to make things beautiful. Sometimes when I’m holding on for dear life to keep laundry and meals going, I slip on the beauty, but it makes a difference. I enjoy every bit of what I learn here and cherish your beautiful pictures. Thanks for the inspiration and wisdom!

    Wishing everyone a lovely week! Thanks for all your cheer and ideas.

  33. I love reading what everyone is doing! Your tomatoes look great Brandy! I have enjoyed harvesting from our garden this week. I’ve harvested and cooked Swiss Chard, Kale, beet greens, green onions,strawberries, asparagus, radishes and mustard greens and two little tiny tomatoes. My husband and I cooked this week. We made asparagus soup, cooked greens in olive oil with green onion, garlic and oregano, hamburgers, pickled radishes, Chorizo bacon with greens, fruit, eggs on toast, Moong dal, hard boiled eggs, Hot Indian style pickles from a can. We enjoyed mint yogurt from an Indian store. I liked it because it had no added sugar. Oh yes, I ate cottage cheese for some meals with a bit of fruit.
    We have been turning off lights as usual. Bought clothes from a thrift store for both my husband and myself. Used the internet for entertainment and information as well as communication. Gardened for exercise.

  34. I am so blessed to have two men across the street who seem to have adopted this “little old lady.” One rebuilt my last remaining fence section for an amazingly low price. The other took most of the old boards to use in their fire pit. Later he came around sharing excess food from a regular food handout place. I received a box with about a pound of pintos, 2 lbs. of baby carrots, 3 lbs. of onions, 4 lbs. of oranges, and 5 lbs. of potatoes. The next day my daughter came by and mowed my lawn so I shared from the food box. My hair has grown considerably over the last few months and I don’t own rollers and really don’t need straight hair. DD who’s preparing to move and getting rid of things is to bring me a set of electric curlers.

    In the meantime I worked a teeny bit on my church’s landscape and came home with plants that were excess there. I now have a small bed of violets along one part of my back wall. They’ll add to my long term plan of having all edible plants in my backyard. I also brought goldenrods, and a Maximillian sunflower to add to the native plants in my front yard. This year I’m giving the yard a lot more of the attention it needs and am seeing it begin to look like I would like it to.

    My dinner tonight comprised a bowl of bits of already boiled in jacket potatoes seasoned with a puck of caramelized onions which I had frozen in a muffin tin, then topped with the cheese of the week which happens to be Monterrey jack and barbecue sauce leftover from takeout pulled pork sandwiches which I get two for one after five on Tuesdays.

  35. I frequently see wreaths advertised on Instagram and really wanted one of them. I fell over when I saw the 200 dollar price. I settled for a $6.00 wreath from Goodwill that will go over my fireplace. My phone case cover is clear. I cut out a piece from a gift bag and placed it between the phone and case. I stocked up on quite a bit of meat from Kroger that was marked down. I’ve never seen meat marked down this low in this condition. I’m grateful but still shocked. I bought 3 lbs of bacon for 2.00 that definitely needed to be cooked immediately. This was all 1 day past it’s sell by date which never happens here. I picked up a few items for my mother and tossed them on her porch as we drove by. Father’s day was also my dad’s birthday and I was sad to not be able to visit. My daughter and two of her roommates have tested positive. We are once again under full quarantine at my house. I hate being banned from my parents but definitely necessary. Sugar cookie had had her two month summer vacation with family canceled. We will be taking advantage of free virus testing at Walgreen s. My infected daughter is completely symptom free. She rescued my instapot from the closet and finally has started using it. Her and the roommates love it and use it everyday. I’m happy to see her enjoy it. Hoping everyone is doing well. I mainly sleep. The virus recovery seems to have left me exhausted. Take care friends.

    1. Hope you feel up to doing some things this week! Perhaps you can read some good e-books from the library while you rest!

    2. Lilliana – so sorry to hear about your daughter and her roommates but hopefully they will remain symptom free and recover quickly. It will be a disappointment for Sugar Cookie to miss her usual vacation but it is probably safest for this summer for her and for you. Unfortunately one of the terrible effects of this virus is just how long it seems to take people to recover – it just knocks them off their feet. Please try to rest as much as possible to speed up your own recovery.

    3. Hang in there Lilliana…You will be on your feet and bustling soon…it took me about a little over a month after being symptom free n quarantine but it doesn’t have to be that way for everybody…Feed your body well with nutritious food( i craved fresh veggies n soups) n drink a boatload of water also steam inhalation a couple times a day and gargling with salt water helped me. Main thing is surround yourself with positivity. Sleep well if u can. -God Bless

  36. Hello Brandy and glad you got a lot of lovely produce picked from your gardens and your husband was able to pick up the parts for his welding table too so he can make it 🙂 . The gentleman who was on retreat was probably very blessed to have missed it all but probably wondered what the heck happened when he got home. Lovely you had a lovely date meal and games at home too 🙂 .

    Our savings added up to $256.45 last week 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the home –
    – Concentrated on washing all the new clothing, underwear and socks I had purchased at bargain prices as it arrived in the mail, replaced worn out clothing in my wardrobe and packaged the spares in vacuum seal bags in the storage room.

    Finances –
    – Used our $200 government electricity rebate and banked it along with another $72 that we were under on our electricity usage to replace chainsaws and clothing we purchased in advance due to impending shortages.

    Purchases –
    – Bought 15kg of popping corn from an online party supplies company saving $15.45 over buying it in smaller packages in the supermarkets.
    – By buying our e-gift cards for groceries and fuel from RACQ we saved 5% or $17.50 in total.
    – Purchased 2 new kaftan tops and a casual dress for $3 each saving $111 on usual retail costs.

    In the gardens –
    – Cut another .75 cubic metres of free firewood from our secret property saving us $112.50 over buying it in.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone 🙂 .

    Sewingcreations15.

  37. Hello Everyone! Our garden is keeping us provided with lettuce so I am taking salad for lunch everyday and having it at dinner most evenings. I picked basil to make pesto and froze some for future use and also made a lemon basil dressing to top the lettuce. For Father’s Day my son cooked strip steaks and my daughter made roasted potatoes. I made a chocolate layer cake from a box mix I had. I added milk chocolate chips and made a chocolate marshmallow frosting, covered it in sprinkles and it looked like a fancy bakery cake. For $30.00 (the cost of the 4 steaks, all other ingredients were on hand) we had a meal that would have been well over $100.00 at a restaurant. During this time I have realized that I do not miss eating out like I thought I would. We can replicate just about any food that we would order out and it’s just so much more economical to eat in. My SIL dropped off a bag of costume jewelry that my adult niece cleaned out. My daughter and I each chose a few pieces, my daughter put aside a few items to give to a friend and I passed the rest to my 5 year old niece to play dress up. A fun frugal way to accessorize. Wishing everyone a healthy frugal week ahead!

  38. -We have harvested snap peas, lemon thyme, collards, radishes, kale, rhubarb, and arugula from the garden.
    -I made strawberry rhubarb jam and regular strawberry. I canned 6 jars total.
    – I sold 2 items on Ebay and used the free listing to save fees.
    -I did 2 surveys from Pinecone
    – Scanned receipts into Fetch.
    -Made homemade sourdough bagels for the first time, topped with homemade jam. so yummy!
    – Hubby made slushies using lemon juice, ice, and popsicles. – our kids have never had a slushie!
    -Made “cheesy” popcorn using nutrional yeast for movie night – sometime we rent via amazon, but this week we watch Dennis the Menace for free with ads.
    -ordered 2 homestead/gardening books from library. – I have started a list of items to preserve from the garden (like salve from calendula flowers- which I simply bought because I thought were pretty only to find out it has many benefits.)
    I reused landscape bricks to another part of the yard,

  39. That is a beautiful tomato. It took me a minute to realize that is was a yellow tomato.
    We are just in a whirlwind around here, preparing for my husband’s upcoming surgery. We are working through our long list of things we want to get put in order before he is laid up for a bit.

    I have weeded the garden for several hours, on several occasions. My garden is so big that I know I will never, ever have every inch weeded at the same time, so I am just choosing an area and weeding as I get time. Some is better than none:). I fertilized several things to keep them growing.

    We trimmed some shrubs and filled the yard debris bin again. I love to do that each week–it breaks up the enormous amount of trimming I need to do. The previous owners really planted a lot of shrubs and bushes, and I’m sill trying to get them under control after being here for over 3 years.

    I am picking and preserving berries as they ripen. I have strawberries and raspberries growing right now.

    I was given a box of cherries and I canned and froze them. I got 11 pints of canned and 7 baggies of frozen.
    I put pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com
    There are also pictures of how my garden is growing, that I posted on Saturday.

    1. Working in the garden this morning, I am quite aware of the never-ending stream of work that I have made for myself! If it’s not weeding, it’s pruning. Always something to do in the garden and never enough time to do it!

      1. Brandy & Becky – I always chuckle when I hear people talk about getting back to a simpler and quieter life and growing all their own fruit & veg – it may be simpler but it’s not necessarily quieter. Even as a non gardener I know how much work it can be to keep things growing, to keep the garden in good shape and then to deal with all it produces. I have helped enough with the picking and the preserving to know how exhausting it can be. All you gardeners out there have my genuine admiration!

  40. I finished putting stinging nettle I dried into jars for tea. It still has a small sting at this stage, although I can do it with bare hands. A mother in town was looking for an acreage home for her dog, and I was happy to take him. I’ve been wanting a dog for a long time, and she was willing to give him free to a good home. He’s neutered and had his shots for this year, so it saves us a lot of money. We just have to budget for dog food and the odd vet expense. (We have porcupines, so fingers crossed he never runs into one of those!)

  41. Beth,

    I am so happy to hear that you have taken in a dog in need of a home. I am very much involved in animal rescue. Thank you! You made my day!

    1. Thank you Paula! The family who gave him up was very loving, they just didn’t have the yard space or time anymore.

  42. Brandy – another busy week for you and for so many others on this blog! So pleased that your husband was able to get the welding table for a much better price than anticipated and that your garden has provided you with so much this past week.

    It has been very hot and muggy here – nearly 100F with the humidity so I have been doing a lot of indoor “stuff” these past couple of days. A small storage unit that I’d ordered from Amazon arrived and this has allowed me to better organize my non-food cupboard (which is also my linen cupboard). By using this unit I freed up 2 shelves which I can use for bulkier items like kleenex and paper towels. The storage unit that I had been using was bulkier but less efficient so I moved that one next to a free standing cupboard where I have some food and baking items stored. I ended up putting almost all my baking utensils and supplies into this unit and that freed up more space both in the free standing cupboard and in my pantry. It has taken a fair bit of time to move things from one spot to another but it is worth it. Like is now stored with like and I have some empty space which I will make good use of in the future.
    I only spent $40 on food last week – milk, some veg, a BBQ chicken that was on special and a few sauces from the fancy grocery store that I like – Eataly at the Manulife Centre for those in Toronto. I made a chicken and chickpea curry for a couple of meals and then added more to the freezer. I roasted a small batch of tomatoes that really were pretty tasteless when raw and added them to the freezer – they will be fine added to pasta sauce later. Otherwise I ate from the freezer, chicken thighs, pulled pork and Canadian bacon with pancakes one night – not something I eat often but I just had a craving for pancakes! I had some leftover whipped cream to which I had added some mascarpone cheese and some lemon curd so I topped the pancakes with this mix and it was very tasty. With the heat I just settled for the BBQ chicken with tomatoes or cheese & crackers with an apple or some grapes for some meals.
    I went into the office one morning but went extra early so that I could meet up with a friend for a walk by the lake. I hadn’t seen her since lockdown so it was nice to catch up – while wearing masks and sitting at opposite ends of a bench! But it was hard not to hug each other….
    Toronto moves to stage 2 tomorrow so malls & hairdressers can open and restaurants can open but only on patios. I booked my haircut for July 2 – I’ll be the first customer of the day and I’ve been told to wash my hair at home, that I’ll have to have my temperature taken, sign a waiver and wear a mask – not a problem as I always wear one when I leave my home! They can open tomorrow but will wait until this Friday. I spoke with the owner about a week ago when I was walking by and I feel comfortable with going as she is being very strict about following all the rules and regs.
    A new pair of summer pjs and a rain jacket that I bought online about 3 weeks ago have arrived but I’m just leaving them “in quarantine” for a bit. I’ve been switching all my clothes from winter to summer and really I have enough for this year – especially if I get rid of the 12 pounds that I’ve gained during lockdown – so much as I’d like to support local shops there really isn’t much that I need at the moment. I have cleared out more things for give-aways so there is no point in adding more!
    I was up very early this morning so managed to get a few loads of laundry done in the communal laundry room without running into anyone. I hung up everything so I am now going to do some ironing before the next round of thunderstorms arrive – my mother would never let us iron when there was thunder and lightening about so better get it done now,
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  43. I continue to mostly just go to work and then go home. On the weekends, we have been traveling to my MIL’s home to declutter. She passed away in February and we have just recently begun the daunting task of emptying the home of some of the items she accumulated in it over the past 30 years. I have filled many bags with good clothing to donate. I was also able to gather some of her personal hygiene supplies like unopened boxes of denture adhesive and give them to a family that was in need.
    I paid off another debt – on to the next one !
    Thank you Brandy for continuing to host this site. Every week I read and learn something new, although I don’t post often.

  44. Our sweet potato vines are growing so fast in the wet weather that I have to keep cutting them back to give the other plants sun & space. I’ve been using the cuttings for greens in breakfast hashes, but I learned the hard way that no matter how long you stir-fry the stems (not the leaves and stalks), they’re too darn fibrous.
    We had a very hard rain the other day and the water was running into the carport. I dammed it with towels to direct it out but this week I’m re-laying the stepping stones along the side so they slope away from the house. I’m also digging a dry well of sorts and filling it with broken concrete pieces. I got the pieces from breaking up the middle strip of concrete in our driveway where it had heaved do to an oak’s roots. I put a heavy old pair of my partner’s old canvas shorts as a weed blocker and covered them with river stones I got from a demolition sale (for free, if I loaded them) abut 17 years ago. It was nice to find a use for the shorts and to use up some of those stones that I have stored in huge buckets along the other side of the house.

  45. Hello Frugal Friends,
    Money savers this week include making my own soap refill for several foaming hand soaps, lots of rain and no need to water, only went out 2 x this week, once for groceries and once for an outside father’s day visit. All meals were prepared at home, laundry hung up to dry.
    I had a baking day where I made banana bread, carrot muffins and a treat for my Dad for a fathers day gift, homemade Payday bars. He tasted these candy bars in the US last year and they became his favourite while there. They are not available in Canada so I looked up a “copycat” recipe.
    I cut my husbands hair with clippers and he declared that I now have a “black belt” in hair buzzing! Have been cutting his hair this way for many years.
    I was able to purchase sugar and butter on sale. 10 kg of sugar for $8.99 and 1 pound of butter for $3.99. I bought 2 of each. I was also able to finally buy popcorn; it has not been in stock for almost a month, 1 kg for $1.68. Prices have gone up on all grocery products and I am now trying to go 1 x per week and purchase the sale items. Our Covid numbers are very low, I wear a mask and the stores are keeping up with sanitizing and social distancing. I would prefer to grocery shop less often, but not buying the weekly sales has really increased my food budget.
    I made and sold several more Fathers Day cards and my husband made some rustic wood signs to sell, we sold 5 this past week.
    I was gifted a box of stationary and craft supplies from my buy nothing group.
    Thanks to Brandy and all of your readers who leave comments.

    1. I have very sensitive skin. I tried using Fels Naptha and just holding the bar irritates my skin so bad that it burns. I switched to making homemade soap over 15 years ago because my husband is very sensitive to fragrances and I am allergic to most laundry soaps (what happens is my clothes will make me itch, and I’ll scratch so bad in my sleep that I will wake up bleeding). When our laundry soap started adding fragrance back then, I switched to making my own.

      1. Does the Oil of Olay work well in the laundry soap? Several of my kids have bad allergies and I tried several alternatives, but after trying castile soap (which I love to use for other things) my towels stopped absorbing moisture well.

        1. I have been using it for about 15 years in my laundry soap and I like it! My husband has a thing about towels being absorbent, lol. He doesn’t like new towels that are “too fluffy” and prefers towels as they get a little older (less fuzz in the dryer). I don’t have any problems with towels not absorbing moisture, but if your soap was leaving a film, that would be a problem. Oil of Olay doesn’t leave a film (but I found that Dove does, and Ivory most definitely does! Yet the old soap recipes used Ivory soap flakes!)The other thing to look at is if you are using fabric softener. That will leave a coating on your towels and clothes for certain. I do not use fabric softener (neither dryer sheets nor liquid softener) and used the timed dry instead to not overdry my clothes. Overdrying in the dryer leads to static. I live ina very dry climate and yet don’t deal with static in our clothes.

          1. Thank you! I haven’t used fabric softener for 9 years and use timed dry. Static isn’t an issue but living deep in the South with the humidity not having a towel that helps to dry is very difficult, lol. Ours are well worn in and I love them but have found that the texture has changed since I have used castile soap in my laundry soap. I’m going to try the Oil of Olay. Thank you so much!

        2. Try just washing your towels without any soap in them for a time or two and they should start to absorb again. The fabric holds the detergent and the soap from people showering etc. and it affects the absorbency.

  46. Greetings!
    What a great story, and savings, about the welding table! I’d call it serendipity, such a lovely word! HUGE savings!! Love it!
    We’ve been busy doing the same things we do every week, i think.
    Saving shower and dehumidifier water. If we don’t use it to flush or wash dishes, i pour it in the water barrel. We’ve had enough rain this week to fill the barrel which is awesome!
    My little patch of garden is hanging in there. It can still be chilly at night and/or windy. I’ve been able to harvest kale and spinach leaves twice, now. So happy about that!
    We’ve spent very little on food, mostly milk and fresh vegetables and fruit. I have to have fruit just about every day.
    I’ve replanted green and yellow beans that didn’t come up. I’ve planted more lettuce seeds that were gifted to me. The spinach and kale i replanted last week is coming up and filling in bare spots in the flower/herb garden.
    I started chive vinegar. I’m steeping it in homemade apple vinegar.
    For Father’s day, i made a blueberry crumb cake from berries i picked two years ago. I lost them in the freezer but they taste fine. I have about four cups left of those. I also have about eight cups from last year. It won’t be long til i can go picking again!
    I’m still doing workouts at home, stretching, yoga. I walk six days a week with friends and our dogs. We’re the puppy parade around town. I decided to start walking by myself earlier in the morning before we walk dogs. I feel like i need to get my heart rate up. I’ve always been busy so this helps keep me energized, motivated, less depressed. I do about two miles, walking as fast as i can. It has really helped.
    All meals were made at home. Since i’ve started back to work this week, i’m finding that i need to remember how to think about dinner before i leave for the day. My husband has started helping more in the kitchen so that’s nice! Pizza Sat. is back!
    We continue to facetime with our daughter and her family. Our little grandson is a joy!
    That’s all i can pull up from memory. Have a wonderful week!

  47. Busy week here on top of the Amish neighbor going into labor.. VERY SLOW LABOR… Babe is in no hurry to come out… We took her to the ER as they was worried about breach.. nope, just slower than molasses she said. Hubby got a haul job at 7 pm last night, the other hauler blew his engine and the saw was in TN and needing picked up by 10 this morning, He and a couple Amish guys left at 1 am this morning. He texted me about an hour ago and said after his nap they were heading back. I spent the morning driving down to Son 2 and got my dog truck and gave him my car as his car has more wrong with it than he thought and our mechanic has decided since this was a hidden problem he would go over the car completely since Son 2 drives out of state at least once a month for work. We have 4 to 5 more appts this week. Meals are from out of the gardens or pantry. Plus a repair to the clothes washer and repair to our home phone line.

    I love the slip and dress enough I ordered both LOL.

    I gave our daughter 2 plastic grocery store bags of lettuce between us and our enough whose one daughter is to the point of trying to get me to take more lettuce because she is tried of eating it every day LOL.I have strawberries, lettuce, spinach, kale, green onions, radishes and almost all the herbs harvested. 2 sweet corn is coming up but 1 sweet corn and the popcorn didn’t .
    Blessed be everyone
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/06/busy-week-ahead.html

    1. I hope you love them as much as I do! They are seriously my new favorites! So soft and comfortable and yet lightweight for summer.

  48. my friend purchased a central air unit and gave me a window unit..it looks brand new..im so happy as its the size my bed room needed..i gave 2 of my old window units to a family friend..also found a bag of brand new little girl summer shoes,which i gave to him..his aunt belongs to a church so it will find a new home.she has 2 more units and was looking to give them away
    shopped the clearance section getting candy(to be doled out sparingly} and whole wheat bread for 99 cents

  49. Back when my husband and I made our own laundry detergent, we used grated Kirk’s fragrance-free coco castile soap – I am allergic to ALL fragrances and this didn’t bother me. We stopped making our own when we bought a new, HE front-loading washing machine and the warrantee is void if you don’t use HE detergent – I do fine with Tide Free and Clear. Also, we noticed that the homemade detergent faded darks and colors after awhile and the whites looked dingy. I’m glad your detergent works for you and your family,Brandy.

    1. I think you would find Brandy’s recipe for laundry soap using Oxy-clean would not leave your clothes looking dingy. After years of “thinking about it” I finally started making laundry soap using her recipe. I don’t like chemical fragrances either. It does an excellent job of cleaning clothes and I use only 2 tablespoons per load.

  50. I’ve been reading regularly though I’ve not posted in a few months. Thank you Brandy for this blog. I appreciate the kindness, compassion, love, genuineness I “hear” in each voice. Though I haven’t posted in quite some time, I do read it weekly and it is comforting to me and affirming. Because of what I’ve learned, I went into the “great pause” very well prepared. Here are a few highlights for the last few months:
    *We’ve had quite a few unexpected medical bills but have managed to pay all debt in full. For 2 bills, we were able to shave off 30% by paying in full (thank you Emergency Fund).
    *Our dishwasher broke down and though my DH had repaired it before, we decided that it really was time to go and not worth the ongoing expense. The day after we purchased it, we received an unexpected refund from a dental procedure and that paid for the dishwasher!
    *Received free strawberries and 36 eggs from a friend.
    *Picked wild blackberries with my children while taking a hike along a park trail—found enough berries for 3 batches of muffins…and they are so delicious!
    *Reorganized my pantries and did another inventory. I have transferred my needs to index cards that I can always keep with me and I’m working to pick up a few extra items each time, starting with things I’m lowest on. It was an incredible stressful experience at the beginning of lockdown to see empty shelves and to enter a store and feel the fear. All that is easing now but I do think we’ll see a return of this. I”m using this pause to restock and working to get as close to one year supplies as I can.
    *We received the Covid stimulus money—I’ve used some to stock up on food and put the rest back into our emergency fund
    *We have some uncertainty about my job in 2021 so are starting to “practice” living on 1/2 my salary (we think I may be furloughed 1/2 a month in 2021. This is another reason to build up my pantry now.
    *Obtained 6 free food storage buckets from Kroger bakery. They are messy to clean out but you can’t beat the price and are coming in handy as I stock up on oatmeal, rice, etc.
    *My husband adjusted our thermostat so that our AC doesn’t come on unless it gets really warm in the house (83 degrees). He also adjusted our attic fan to come on more frequently. We have caved and turned on the AC a couple of times in the late evening (it was just too warm for the kids to go to sleep—let alone the Mama). Both times, we kept the AC on for only an hour. I cannot remember a time we have gone till almost the end of June without turning on the air! I cope by taking mid-afternoon showers, turning on fans…and we’ve been lucky to have more mild temps than normal. It’s usually very humid here. These temps have been manageable.
    *Received around $35 from auto insurance refunds due to covid.
    *Saving on gas as schools/work all transitioned to remote.
    *Made a depression-era cake for dessert—it contains no eggs or milk…very delicious especially warm from the oven.
    *We are putting groceries and as much as we can on the credit card (we are able to pay it off each month). I’ve saving the points to use toward Christmas presents and should have enough to cover Christmas by end of the year.
    *My husband and I just finished a mid-year budget review. I’m thankful he is becoming more engaged on this. We seem to be on the same page with our budget now and this is a blessing.
    *My teen girls have really gotten into cooking these last few months and are experimenting with making breads. Sometimes the loafs turn out beautifully and sometimes not. I think it is a wonderful skill and I’m glad for them to practice.

  51. I seem to be spending more on everything lately. More on food, takeout, thrift store purchases, yard sale finds, used video games….and I have just said okay to get a dog and two kittens. Is anyone else feeling like they are having to pamper their kids more due to quarantine? I still stick to a budget and pay everything off, but I am way more lenient than pre-COVID times. I read about decision fatigue and how it effects spending habits so maybe that is why? Not trying to be depressing…just real. I am trying to get back on the frugal bandwagon, but it is tough.
    Here are some things that I have done lately that are somewhat frugal:
    1) Used credit card reward points to buy two computers. This brought our out of pocket costs down to $100.
    2) Ground up five older roasts lurking in the bottom of my chest freezer for hamburger meat. My dad is taking a young bull to the butchers next month, so I may be able to stretch it out until then.
    3) Listening to podcasts
    4) Found a place somewhat locally that makes cabinet doors. I can save $150 in shipping if I pick them up myself.
    5) Used a B1G1 coupon for Krisy Kreme doughnuts to take as a present to my nephew’s bday party. He loves doughnuts:)

  52. I ventured out a little this past weekend. Walgreens had given me all these digital coupons that were calling my name. They were coupons for like $5 off a $10 purchase……..so I get $10 worth of something that I need or something that has an offer for on ibotta, and that I have coupons for……and then I wind up either making money or earning points that is just the same as money. Walgreens is only about 3 miles away. One thing that I have been doing to save money these past 12 weeks is collecting unemployment. I am one of those people that you heard about on the news that Florida is paying to stay home. I was a little embarrassed to say what I’ve been doing but I think every single person on here would agree with me. I’m self-employed and I don’t earn $600 a week. I am really lucky to clear $150, before expenses. The government made me eligible for $600 a week plus $125 a week. It makes a lot more sense to collect it than to make deliveries after my husband gets home. I’ve been using that money to pay down debt. I paid off 2 credit cards. I’ve also put money aside in the emergency fund. This is for real emergencies….not just little things that a new gas grill that dh thinks we need to get. We can save for that, or figure out how to get it with points. We’ve been lucky, dh hadn’t been put out of work, but I have learned to always expect the unexpected. Still haven’t gotten my own computer yet…so that’s saving money! Granddaughter turns 1 today, so I placed an order thru shipt to be delivered. It saves me on shipping, and it saves me on tax. I have a free membership, so there is no delivery fee, and I had a credit, so I actually didn’t pay for the gifts! Meals were all made at home. DD just finished the last of the lentil taco meat. I’m back on the keto bandwagon for now. It saves lots of money not buying bread and fresh fruit each week. In fact I’ve only spent a few dollars out of my $75 weekly food budget. I’ve been putting $25 a week aside for my husband to go on a fishing trip with his brothers. That got canceled because of coronavirus. My son is getting married next June up in Ct. I will keep putting money aside to add to the vacation fund. Other than that, I did all the regular money-saving stuff I normally do.

  53. Hello everyone,
    My husband and I “are on holiday” at home, because of the virus we could not travel to Sweden. We got our money back from air BNB the same day as we cancelled, but we still do not have our money back from the KLM flying company, but I trust that it will come one day. Or a voucher, that’s okay too.
    So now we could stay in the house of my sister who lives in a small village at a lake nearby, so we did that for 5 days and took our little boat there to and the weather was beautiful so we had a great time. And we did not need to pay for the house. My sister has a big yacht on which they live mostly during the summer. We cooked on the skottelbraai (a big baking/frying pan on a gasflame for cooking outside). We visited my old, but very fit and clever, 94-year-old aunt and cooked diner for us 3 in her garden on the skottelbraai. She had a great time, because it was outside we could do this, in connection with the virus we kept our distance. We are in our second week now and the weather is still great, today we went to the beach. we had to bring our youngest son to his intership company (for 8 weeks) and that is near to the beach. On our way back we went to the thrift store and found a nice side table I wanted for some time for only 15,- euro’s and to brand new beach towels for only 1,50 per towel. We took our drinks and sandwiches from home, tomorrow we are going to boat some more (again taking our drinks and food from home.
    So it is a cheap holiday this year, maybe we can travel again next year, we’ll see.
    Stay healthy.
    Greeting from Tanja

    1. Your holiday sounds like it is very enjoyable, even if you can’t travel. I hope the rest of it is as much fun as it has been so far.

      1. Thank you Elizabeth, today is saturday and it has been al sunny days. So…yes it was a great holiday!
        Tanja

  54. Dear Brandy,

    I am one of your UK readers, I was wondering if your links work to the UK Amazon site? I love reading your blog and I need to order something from Amazon so I wanted to ask if I could link it; as a way to support you.

    PS If you like history shows the BBC has a new series called a house in time; it’s really interesting and tracks all the residents of a house through the ages. The one I just watched was about Bristol. Also I just planted out seed grown lettuce, hopefully it won’t bolt despite the hot weather here.

    Best wishes
    Effie from Cambridge

    1. I have not been able to figure that out yet! I really need to; there is a possibility to link to Canadian and UK sites. I don’t know how it affects my taxes yet nor do I understand how to do it. They say it is possible but there are no instructions that I can find.

  55. There are so many great money-saving ideas here! Brandy, it’s wonderful that your husband has the skill of welding. Welding was my dad’s career for many years. He finally gave it up due to health issues, but he built so many useful things through the years!
    How we saved a little money this week:
    -Stuck to our meal plan and used up all food, so no waste.
    -Used supplies we had on hand to run drip irrigation to the squash plants
    -Found clothing for my husband and daughter at a yard sale.
    -Used paint we had to start painting our porch.
    I have a tiny green chile pepper and some tiny tomatoes starting to grow in the garden. i always feel like the garden is being so slow at this time of year, and then suddenly I’m swimming in produce!
    Details of our week are on my blog http://thebudgetinggranny.com/savings-and-goals-journal-8/
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  56. Strawberry and vanilla apricot jam, yum! Your family really eats so very well!

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I glued an earring back together, as well as fixing my portable photobooth.
    – I picked a handful of rhubarb stalks from my balcony garden and made stewed rhubarb (http://approachingfood.com/stewed-rhubarb/). I can’t seem to get the rhubarb stalks to grow very big. Does anyone have any advice?
    – I picked basil from my balcony garden to make pizza margherita with, using my super-easy pizza dough recipe (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-pizza-dough-ever/)
    – I’ve been making lots of roast kale as an easy vegetable side dish, and added in some kohlrabi stalks/leaves as well. No waste!
    – My daughter made a hand-print painting for my father for Father’s Day, and I mixed up a batch of bannock mix for him, one of his favourite things that I used to bake for him as a child. Frugal, but meaningful.
    – I redeemed Air Miles for two containers of ice cream. I combined it with another offer to get more Air Miles back.
    – I baked several loaves of bread, and a batch of lemon poppyseed muffins. I used orange zest in the muffins, and added in some lentil puree that my daughter didn’t eat. Extra nutrition and no waste!
    – I redeemed a birthday reward at Mary Brown’s for a free chicken sandwich. My mom and daughter enjoyed it.
    – I made garlic scape oil (a version of the chive oil that someone posted about recently)
    – I made a homemade slushy using pop that had lost its fizz (http://approachingfood.com/easiest-ever-orange-crush-slushy/). It was EXACTLY like a corner store slushy, for a fraction of the cost.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. Margaret, Rhubarb requires a fair amount of fertilizer. Maybe that will make it grow bigger? In the house I’m in now I can’t seem to get rhubarb to grow at all and I’ve tried 3 times in different spots. It just doesn’t like this soil I guess.Might be something to do with the oak trees. Thank heavens I got free rhubarb last year and still have jam left from that batch.

      1. Thanks so much for the advice, Patsy! Any recommendations on what fertilizer to give the plant? It’s currently in a pot. Would compost tea work, do you think? My version of compost tea is actually just watered down blended table scraps, but when I do that, I do see growth with other plants. Do you know if rhubarb plants need a particular type of fertilizer? Thanks again!

        1. Rhubarb likes lots of well rotted manure. Not next to it’s stems, leave a gap. It is a hungry feeder. When I lived in the UK, we had huge rhubarb. A saying there is that when people are poor, all they have is cabbage and rhubarb, as they grow so huge. Every winter, pike it up around it, leaving a middle circle and it will be fine.

    2. How are you finding it being at home with the little one after having been back to work for a couple of months? I know that daycare is going to be an ongoing concern in Toronto with only 30% capacity allowed so it may be tricky – do you think you will stay at home for a bit and then try again in the Fall? Just wondered how you were managing if your husband is still working from home.

      1. Hi Margie! Thanks for asking! I have two more days left at work, and then I’ll officially be a stay-at-home mum 24-7. I’ll miss the intellectual stimulation that my work provided, but I will cherish being able to spend more time with my daughter as I know they grow up so soon. As my husband works very long hours from home, I actually plan to move to my parents place for 3-6 weeks this summer. I think it will be easier for my husband to work at his demanding job without an active toddler running around the same small space, and I won’t have to worry about keeping my daughter quiet enough for my husband to work yet while trying to keep her entertained and stimulated (and we’ll visit and he’ll visit and also skype/zoom/whatsapp). Plus, due to the covid-19 pandemic, the only people my daughter sees are myself and my husband, so I think it will be good for her to be around my parents and to be able to run around a whole house and play outside in the backyard whenever she wants (as opposed to only playing in the park near my condo, while I shoo her away from other kids and constantly wash her hands. Our neighbourhood is actually a covid hotspot right now). I’m very thankful that Toronto has moved to two-household bubbles, so that my daughter and I can move to my parents place. Plus, it will cheer up my parents no end to be able to make a summer of memories with my daughter; that also makes me happy, as one never knows what the future holds. And for me, it’s kind of like a no-cost vacation — now that’s frugal! 🙂 Hope you’re doing well too!

        1. That sounds like a wonderful plan and should work out well for all of you. Enjoy!

          PS – I am fine – thank you for asking. My area has one of the lowest numbers in the city and I have a beautiful park along the Humber river to walk in. I do go downtown once or twice a week (King & University area) and ride the subway but I wear a mask and gloves, carry sanitizer and only get on a train if there is plenty of space so I am being cautious at all times.

    3. Margaret

      Could you please share the recipe for your bannock mix? I’d love to make some mixes to have on hand. thanks Ann

  57. A couple of frugal updates. Mine are not fancy but I try to make baby steps.
    My son is working on his nature badge and needed to make an animal track. We walked to local park and scoured the grounds looking for one. Found a homemade recipe that was an alternative to plaster of paris. Saved me a store trip and since unneeded extra craft supplies.
    Got water bottles at aldi, the cost was half what it was at Kroger. We use them as back up on road trips.
    My girl scouts are doing a local ingredient food dish for their families. My daughter found a recipe that uses items from our garden. (Mint and peas, in all honesty we have those, onions and weeds we can harvest.)
    Carpooling to theater practice.
    Lots of leftovers.
    Have a blessed week everyone!

  58. The nasturtium seed I planted is doing well as are the Hakurei turnips. I planted my sweet pea seeds today (finally!) just before the rain.
    None of the Armenian seeds germinated — it’s my only failure. I cannot believe how much my $2 Itoh peonies have grown in the past week.
    They are a cross between a garden peony and a tree peony. Usually tree peonies are not hardy here but a few of my peonies are showing their tree peoniy genes and are growing really tall. They have the bulk of their leaves and then stems grow up really tall with buds at the end. So far I have about a hundred buds.

    I have been reorganizing a part of our book to make it flow better. I sent a sample chapter that has been laid out
    to our treasurer to read (there are still typos in it) but he said it was really interesting and thanked me for all the work.
    That really made me feel appreciated. I had sort of freaked out because our graphic designer had
    separated the text in such a way that it no longer flowed or made sense. I just sent her an email and she realized it right away
    and fixed it and it looks really nice.

    I have been worried about health issues since I am still so winded that I haven’t been able to walk to my garden plot.
    I realized suddenly today that I probably have an iron deficiency anemia. It has happened before but I had forgotten what it felt like.
    I will be fixing it quickly. It’s as a result of having an internal bleed due to the steroids they gave me while I had pneumonia.

    Superstore has soup on sale again and I am going to try to stock up. This is a usual time for soup to be reduced but the sales must almost be over.
    I hope everyone has a nice holiday on the 1st or the 4th.

    1. Just wondering if it is too cold for them there. I plant peas from October through January but I don’t plant cucumbers until March/April. I did have some trouble with germination myself this year with some planted in April, though; they rotted! That has never happened to me before. I planted new ones and some last week last came up within a few days; it was 42 degrees C here this last week. Nice and hot, and the cucumbers grow quickly then.

      1. Brandy,

        Next year I’ll start them inside and then transplant them. I’ll bet you’re absolutely right about it being too cold. I once had the most delicious hot cucumber soup — that would be a good use for some of your cucumber crop. So glad they up for you! Ann

        1. I like to make pickles and I love eating them cold! I hope mine hurry up and start producing soon! They are starting to put out male flowers.

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