I harvested apricots, Swiss chard, blackberries, lettuce, parsley, and tomatoes from the garden. I rarely have lettuce and tomatoes ripe at the same time, but my some of my lettuce that I planted late in March had not bolted yet.

My husband and I continued to work on the pergola. It takes two of us to use the bead roller, which we used to indent the metal to make the keystones and the ridged pieces for the top of each section. It’s really difficult to turn; I can only turn a couple of pieces while my husband guides it before I need a break. We did a few pieces each day. (We could switch places, but I worry that I won’t keep the lines straight, so I do all the turning!)

I pulled summer clothing from stored clothing in my closet to use for my two youngest children.

My husband replaced two old, faulty light/fan switches, saving us the cost of an electrician doing it (probably $200). They are a type of wall remote that we had to order online and have been unable to find anywhere for several years.

The law requires my husband to have an office somewhere other than home, even though all of his agents have always worked from home. Knowing the market could change again like before, my husband had negotiated his lease to month-to-month before, and then, feeling like change was coming, we moved to a smaller office in October 2019, which proved to be a huge blessing. We are now able to have the option of a virtual office at his current location: a physical place for mail, to hang licenses, and receive checks via courier. This will cost us $100, which is a lot less than we have been paying for rent. So, my husband sold his office furniture to the next tenants renting his office, and he will have a virtual office at the same location. My husband only needs to bring a couple of things home (files, a shredder, a printer, etc.); we also brought home our framed pictures and one small table that wasn’t part of the sale that I wanted for the living room.

Queen of Sweden Rose

I collected shower warm-up water, water left in glasses at the end of the day, water from steaming vegetables, and rinse water from washing pans to water potted plants in the garden.

I opened the windows and doors in the mornings when it was below 78 degrees to cool the house. I was able to keep them open until 8 a.m. each day, saving $2 to $3 per day in electricity costs. I will continue to open the house in the mornings as long as I am able to do so. I love the smell of fresh air, the sound of the birds, and cooling my house without having to run the air conditioner.

Majorette Champagne Double Dwarf Hollyhock

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. This week has been busy but different than our typical routine. We have some dear friends a couple years older than us, who looked at their year’s supply of food storage that they have accumulated over the past 50 years as they raised their children and realized that they still were storing (but rotating) the same amount now with just the 2 of them as they had when they had 5 kids at home! I think this may be a common situation for many of us as we get older. It’s been this way for us, too.
    They are planning to sell their house in the next 6 months and are starting to downsize everything they have. With that in mind, she called me and asked if we might know anyone who would like a good portion of their wheat that they bought in pre-packed 5 gallon sealed containers that have never been opened! They wanted to give this away in exchange for some “muscle” needed to lift and remove them from the shelf they were on to clear that space and also to carry up other cases (with 6 #10 cans) of other food storage they wanted to keep from their basement to their garage. This would be a Win-Win situation where someone would get free food storage and they would have space made in their basement and garage without having to do the heavy carrying themselves. I called my son-in-law (whom lives on 13 acres and is trying to build their food storage for their family after moving to Ohio from California 2 years ago). He and our daughter were overjoyed! It was the answer to prayer for them and they were happy to go with us and do the lifting and rearranging for our friends! They not only were given 12 five gallon containers of wheat, but also #10 cans of potato flakes, pinto and black beans as well as several other things! They totally enjoyed showing us their aeroponic growing towers that our son-in-law had researched this past year. Our friends said that when they put the house up for sale, that they will sell these and our son-in-law will be the first one they call. Our friend also will be downsizing more things in the garage and has told us that they will be delighted to give our family all their canning jars and supplies, including her Presto pressure canner in exchange for our “muscle” in helping empty these out of their garage! What an incredible blessing!! Our daughter and son-in-law had really felt the importance of increasing their self-sufficiency in the past several months as they’ve realized that they live 30 minutes away from a city with grocery stores and there are times if they run out of something that it’s just not convenient to make a trip to the store. That’s why they were excited to get the big chest freezer last month at the estate auction and have been filling it with the 5 cent bananas and the 39 cent turkeys, etc! They feel like they are being led to amazing opportunities to reach their goals! So, while this wasn’t our frugal savings this week, I still count it as a savings for our extended family!
    We flew to Houston for a granddaughter’s graduation tomorrow. I made the reservations about 2 months ago so it was only about $125 each way for each of us. We felt like that was well worth it, especially compared to driving which would have taken us 2 days or more and would have included hotel stays and food for those nights too! We got a 3-1/2 hour direct flight and have had a wonderful time staying with our Houston kids!! They took us to DI (which is like Goodwill) and I found a brand new Oster bread maker with the manual for $10. A Foodsaver with the accessory port for jar/canister sealing for $5. And we topped it off with a big Samsonite bag to use as another free checkin bag for our flight home to hold our new treasures! Then we went to Costco Business, which is Costco but tailored for businesses that need equipment/ food in bigger bulk sizes! We found almonds there in 5 pound bags for $12!! We bought 3! We got a set of 5 heavy duty measuring cups that go up to 1 gallon size for $7 and 2 lanterns that are a gazillion lumens (maybe not but they are really bright!) that we will add to our emergency supplies for power outages! Good thing we bought that extra suitcase! These activities were more fun for us than any amusement park,etc! We laughed and had a great time!
    Soon we will be back home and already one of our daughters there has picked up some of the 80/20 ground beef for us for $1.99/pound!
    When we are back, my goal is to put the vintage quilt I quilted and bound last week – https://pin.it/6ORtSxo- up for sale on our website. Hopefully, someone will love it, but if not, we will put it into our gift cupboard for something in the future.

    So, we have discovered that wherever we go, we can always find bargains to expand our food savings and general savings around the house! And have some fun while we are doing it!

    Hope everyone is finding bright and beautiful things in their day to day that outshine the gloom and doom that can seem pervasive!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Pat – the link to your quilt has the dash at the end as part of the hyperlink so it doesn’t work as is. I had to remove the dash at the end in order to see the picture of that beautiful quilt!

  2. That’s so great about the lettuce and tomato salads! It’s so important to recognize simple blessings ☺️

    *I only received 1 can roast beef when I was pretty sure I had ordered 2 packs online from Walmart. Was for 3 different orders placed and totaled 8 cans missing so was kind of messy. Customer service was super nice and helpful and I received my refund of over $14 for just a few minutes of my time and effort.
    *enjoyed a free iced latte from a reward on my husband’s app
    *received $5 Kohls cash when made an Amazon return- didn’t need anything so used for 3 candy bars (which we also didn’t need 😂)
    *picked up free take and make craft kits from the library (suncatchers)
    *got a cart full from Goodwill Outlet for less than $20 (clothes, blanket, hand towels, bowls, books, etc)
    *was so surprised to find my dentist sent me a thank you card with a Starbucks card included for referring them
    *hosted a graduation party for our youngest 🎉 ways we made it frugal: hosted at our (small) home as an open house from 2-5, used clearance hamburger to make taco meat (we had nachos/taco salads), water bottles (were cheaper than plastic cups, ice, and drinks), gratefully accepted help (stepmom made cake, my mom and mil brought chips), went to produce stand day before for lettuce and fruit, borrowed a tent and chairs from family, made poster boards with pictures and cute sayings for decorations

    Grocery store: clearance chicken thighs, pork steaks, and pork tenderloin! Also applied $2 rewards off total. $1.00 marked down bags of garlic and green onions at produce stand! Will plant some and chopped and froze the rest.

    Buy Nothing Group: a cute new tin food set, 2 perfumes, some cute clothes for my daughters, diy lip balm kit, veggie and herb seeds

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  3. You and your husband are so financially savvy, Brandy! What a blessing that he negotiated a month-to-month lease.

    Reading about what you have harvested from your garden makes me hungry!

    Here is what we did to save money and to be less wasteful last week:
    1. We gladly ate all our meals at home or brought them with us to work.
    2. I joyfully hung all our laundry to dry on the clothesline.
    3. We ate leftovers and did not waste any food.
    4. I started composting kitchen scraps, thanks to your excellent advice in last week’s article, Brandy!
    5. We sat outside on the deck when the weather was cooler outside than inside and avoided turning on the A/C.
    6. We opened windows and left blinds shut in order to keep our house cool.
    7. I was blessed to read a free ebook and a book I had purchased second hand.
    8. We took our vitamins and got as much sleep as possible to maintain our health.
    9. I used rinse water from dish washing to water our flowers.

  4. I’m so impressed that you two have brilliantly continued to lower the cost for your business office needs. A lot of people would just say they needed an office and left the situation alone. But you two are always thinking.

    I adore hollyhocks and have a corner of my garden, that are fat with them. However, although I planted a “variety” pack, 99% of them are pink. It’s quite nice, but I really want multi color. I’m not sure what to other than rip them all out and start over and hope my next seed packet is truly a variety. It takes so long to get a mature garden that I hate starting over with my hollyhocks. Also, I have planted them a couple of times with no results. Sigh, what’s a gardener to do. It’s a long, long route to a perfect garden.

  5. I love the idea of a virtual office. It’s wonderful not to have to pay for and maintain a space that’s unnecessary.
    We received 6 lbs of organic lemons for free. I harvested collards, lettuce, spinach, kale and chives from the garden. We got a notice from our power company that we are using 37% less energy than last year overall.
    I asked for and received 4 tomato cages from Buy Nothing group. I gave away chives and a bag of megablocks.
    We get a premium membership to the Calm app for free through our health insurance. I signed up and downloaded some music and meditation tracks to play offline so that I have some when I’m travelling. This saved buying them.
    I watered from the rain barrels.
    Our health insurance offers telehealth visits at no charge. The online scheduling will only schedule in-person appointments. I used the online scheduling and then messaged my doctor saying what time the appointment was and that I’d like to do it remotely. It’s pretty awesome to see my own doctor for free! (Well, free to me…)

  6. Your photos are beautiful. This week— worked at my parents planting pole and bush beans, zucchini, winter squash, and pumpkins to go along with the tomatoes we planted 2 weeks ago. At my home we also have increased our plantings of veggies and potatoes to store for the year.

    I also purchased additional food for 50% off through the Flash Food app at our local Giant Foods store. Watched the coupon loss leaders and purchased ground turkey for $1.99 for more than a pound and a quarter of meat. Purchased several bags of avocados in the markdown section for under $8 and froze the avocado in shrink wrapped and froze to make 7 sets of guacamole for future dinners – such a savings since avocado are now 2 for $4 on special now. I also re-seeded the indoor AeroGardens with salad starts to harvest from in a few weeks.

    I hope everyone has a good week ahead.

  7. What lovely hollyhock blossoms! I saw a hummingbird a few days ago, a rare sight for me in any of the places I’ve lived in the Midwest. You mentioned birdsong: What do you have singing near you?
    My irises are very tall this year with several buds on each stem, perhaps because of the large bursts of rain we have had. On the other hand, the rhubarb is quite puny, so maybe that is a tradeoff. I made rhubarb muffins.
    I pulled out two poison ivy plants by putting plastic bags over them and yanking, then sprayed the spots with weed killer, (the only time I use that in my yard), then washed my hands for a long time with hot water and soap. I put two sticks with yellow tape marks at the spots, (of course one is right in the middle of the lilies), so I can see if they return. I also marked my tools with yellow stripes on the handles; enjoyed Anne’s story last week about all her tools now spray painted white so they don’t disappear in the dirt.
    I am better at identifying poison ivy since my neighbor pointed out one of the three leaves is shaped like a mitten, with a notch in it. I hadn’t heard that before, but it is true, at least in the variety that grows here.

    1. Mostly mockingbirdsare the ones that are singing,but the mourning doves coo and I occasionally hear the scratchy sounds of the hummingbirds. There are some other tiny birds as well that I have struggled to identify in my Audubon book.

      Two weeks ago, two male robins showed up in my garden. I have never seen robins here (though I saw them in other states). This was the quite a surprise to me. They have been in the garden each day.

      1. That is so interesting about the robins! My son and I love to watch for and identify birds, but the robin is so basic here in the PNW I fear we don’t appreciate them at all.

    2. When you wash your hands after dealing with poison ivy, always use dish soap and very cold water. Hot water makes your skin pores open so you are more likely to absorb the oil that way.

    3. All of my city is a bird sanctuary. We have quite a few birds that would be unusual to you. There are kookaburras, rainbow rainbow lorikeets, Indian minors ( an imported bird and quite a pest), crows, magpies, blue wrens, Major Mitchell cockatoos and sulphur crested cockatoos. Magpies are quite territorial and well know for swooping on people when they are nesting. Ours never do and we have been feeding them our leftover grains and some meats for 18 or so years. They have the most musical call. Other words come and go but these birds stay here most of the year.

  8. The flowers are both so pretty. We have been eating lots of salads here, with our garden lettuce. We have tomato blossoms, but won’t have tomatoes for a while. I’m trying to be better at succession planting the lettuce this year. Maybe if we’re lucky, it will coincide with early tomatoes. Last week, I gathered mint and oregano for the chickens. I harvested a mix of greens to dehydrate and use in various ways. I harvested more to make a glycerite for a sort of “multivitamin”, which was a new to me concept I read about. Many plants were watered with nettle tea. A potter friend asked me to shop sit a couple days this coming week. She keeps bees, and we’ll be bartering for honey for at least part of it. While in town to get sunflower seeds for the birds, I dropped off donations, picked up two library books, dropped off three ink cartridges for credit at Staples, and got groceries, which I was able to use a $6 rewards toward. I went to see my GD in a choral concert one evening, which was a joy. We were excited to see we have our first kiwis, after patiently waiting 12+ years. I washed the dogs with my dog soap. While weeding around a patch of lemon balm, I accidentally pulled up a piece with roots, so I transplanted it in another area to start some. I also gathered some, and began a quart jar of glycerite. My husband mentioned cooking with electric, to save on propane, now that we’re on solar. We got the toaster oven down from a high shelf and set it up. Peas, asparagus, kale and lettuce were harvested, along with various greens. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/05/gardening-days-of-may-our-first-kiwis.html

  9. Gorgeous photos as usual!
    We received quite a bit of food including turkey breasts, tilapia, veggies, crackers, coffee beans and much more from a son and DIL. They also brought a bag of craft items we can use when our granddaughter visits this summer. They are renting their condo out while traveling for most of the rest of the year and still need to empty another half of their freezer. I also attended a fundraiser by my service club and brought home some sunflowers from a centerpiece which cheerfully decorating our dining table.

    Other than the fundraiser we are cooking at home, borrowing books from the library and book club friends, really watching electricity and water use both for the environmental impact and the cost. We finally switched to a cash back credit card and received the first credit to our account.

  10. Hello Everyone,
    That champagne hollyhock is gorgeous! Was it grown from seed?

    Over the weekend, I transplanted most of my indoor starts into the veggie garden. I am experimenting with more vertical growing this year to maximize my garden bed space. Lots of varieties of pole beans were planted by seed. My second strawberry tower is up which should double my berries next year. Last year I doubled my blueberries and I have soooo many coming soon. : ) I was able to harvest Swiss chard, carrots, parsnips and the last of the turnip and oranges. My next project is to plant the potatoes that I grew from leftover tiny potatoes from last year’s harvest. So far, it looks like it’ll work! I bought three bareroot elderberry plants which we planted in the front yard. We are fairly exhausted from all the spring garden work!

    This week I will sow some perennial seeds indoors. We have been cleaning up our yard, pruning, edging, and replacing dead plants. Even the small plants add up $! These are all low-water varieties that attract pollinators. My hope is to have a batch ready for fall planting grown from seed. I saved the nursery pots to transplant them into as they grow larger.

    I’ve been baking bread, quick bread, and cookies and making all meals from scratch. Leftovers get eaten for lunch so that there isn’t waste. I was running low on fresh fruit. I used the tidbits to create a fruit salad (which barely lasted 24 hours, LOL).

    A few months ago I bought a 2T stainless steel coffee scoop to use in the powdered laundry detergent. It is making the box last so much longer and the clothes don’t smell perfumey. I hang dry what I can from a rack in the house when it’s cold and on an outside retractable line when it’s sunny and warmer. I also bought a plug-in hand vac on sale awhile ago. I plugged it into a small solar battery bank and used it to vacuum the inside of my car so the energy was free. I bought the plug-in variety because the cordless Dust Buster reviews report that the battery dies within 2-3 years and there is no replacement battery available. I didn’t want to put more broken junk into the landfill. In addition, I cleaned the windows and console myself. The ROI for the hand vac is one use for my area. Our outlet is not conveniently located to use our regular vacuum for the cars.

    I am amazed by the deals some of you all are able to find on groceries! I don’t even receive weekly coupons in the mail anymore, the store apps offer far fewer discounts, and there are purchase limits here. Gas is $6.49/gallon at the closest gas station to our home (gasp!). I filled up at Costco a few days ago for $5.75/gallon while running errands nearby. I can’t believe gas prices are still climbing! We are using the Prius Prime for short trips so that we run only on electricity.

    I’m really enjoying Hoopla through the library. I’ve been listening to audiobooks while gardening and doing housework. Right now, I’m in the middle of “The Diplomat’s Wife” by Pam Jenoff. It’s excellent! I’m also watching a Great Courses video lecture series on writing and I find it very interesting and helpful. It’s a great resource!

    We are trying to cut back where we can as prices climb for energy and food to compensate. I’m shopping for homeowner’s insurance right now. So far, no luck! We’re in a high risk fire area (due to several fires over the past few years) and some companies will not insure us, some quote rates that wouldn’t sufficiently allow us to rebuild, or charge an outrageous premium. I will see if I can find good coverage for a lower price, otherwise we’re stuck with what we’ve got, which has significantly increased in 10 years.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week!

    1. That was a good book.

      The hollyhock seeds are from Eden Brothers. You can order them online.

    2. Julie, we were fire red lined when we lived in Southern Cali in the foothills. We had to get fire coverage thru the California Fair Plan, I believe it was. It satisfied the mortgage company, but it wasn’t very good. I don’t know if that’s still available. We couldn’t even afford EQ insurance. And it was similar to the CFP in coverage. We used to figure that a devastating EQ or fire would leave us living in the car, no joke intended.

  11. I ordered covid tests after seeing them posted here last week.

    I used leftover hamburger buns from cheeseburgers last week for sloppy joe’s this week. I was able to cut enough green onions off my onions I have in water to use for bourbon chicken.

    I brought back some leftover cookies no one wanted from book club.

    I took a coworker several boxes, saving a trip to recycling center(she’s getting ready for a yardsale)

    I paused my audible subscription. I have several things to listen to as it is. (Seems like everything I download is 10+hours long)

    I ordered my coconut liners for my planters on Amazon. I saved gas and time looking for them(I can find the round ones all day long, I have the rectangle planters)

    I received a coupon for free can of Campbell’s soup for updating my profile.

    I’m kind of disheartened at the amount of money it’s going to cost to remove my teeth and fix issues from a bad dentist. ☹️ Implants are going to cost more than what I make in two years. (I’m sure we’ll figure it out. The teeth have to go. I’m just a bit nauseated by all the numbers). I’m also eliminating my useless dental insurance in November.

    I worked 2 extra hours last week.

    Our weather went from hot, to very cool. I had already put away the heaters so we made it through with layers.

    1. April, you might consider having dental implants done by an English-speaking dentist in Mexico. The town where my relatives go is Los Algodones, Mexico, which is near Yuma, AZ. They walk across the border and everything is within 1-3 blocks. I believe most Mexican border cities are dentistry tourism destinations so you can probably find one closer to where you live. You can do a search and get an idea of prices, reviews, etc. It is usually cheaper if you start each implant and then go back in a few months to have them finished. I know this sounds wild and crazy, but when you see the prices, you’ll understand why thousands of Americans travel to Mexico for this every year. Their websites should give you a lot of information and allay your fears.

      1. Maxine, I grew up thinking everyone had to go to Mexico to see a dentist. We lived in Southern Cali and had relatives in Southern New Mexico. It seemed like whenever we would go, someone was going to Juarez to see a dentist. I know Juarez is a war zone these days, but it’s interesting to see that people still go. My family never had any complaints with the guy they saw, but that was in the 70s!

      2. I actually did look at prices, and they really didn’t seem much cheaper after flights, passports, hotels, and missing work x 2 of us(wouldn’t go alone).

      1. I’m honestly not sure if I could go that route. The oral surgeon said when it’s time for my implants, it’ll have to be done at the hospital.

  12. I am on track with minimal spend for groceries and am enjoying being creative by shopping sales and mark downs and creating my meal plan according to what I buy.

    I am only buying sale items, mark downs and essentials (milk, bread etc). Spending approximately $45-$50 per week for my family and will try to keep this going for as long as I can.

    I made a butter chicken flavoured soup, using sweet potatoes I got for $1.80 per kilogram (1 kilogram = 2.205 pounds). I also added beans, lentils, chick peas, onion, carrot, peas, broccoli and chicken and made a large amount in two big pots. Lot’s went into the freezer.

    I filled my car with gas/petrol after five weeks, lined dried all washing despite near constant rain, did not need to water the garden, harvested fruit and vegetables, ate somewhat repetitive meals, buried all scraps in the garden, stayed local, went to the library, read library books and practised gratitude.

  13. Our town hosted the WV Strawberry Festival this week. Since the kids are grown, we don’t go to the carnival so that is a huge savings. We did watch the parades from just down the street from our house – I enjoyed that time with my daughter and seeing old friends and chatting with new ones. At times, my town really does remind me of a Hallmark movie with its quaint festivals, cute streets, and nice people. The temps were in the 90’s on Saturday, and people were getting overheated walking the 2 mile parade route. People watching the parade were offering cold water and their seats so the performers could cool off. Good people are all around us!

    I worked extra hours at work, ate my lunch at home, cooked supper at home except for one festival treat of a steak sandwich to support the 4-H kids and pizza one night for my daughter, SIL, and my niece and her family. I made tea and KoolAid to drink as I am not a huge fan of plain water.

    We are going to have to plow under my one row of peas that we planted as only about five seeds sprouted. We will plant something else there.

  14. Great solution to the physical office requirement. I wonder how many people would think of that.
    I don’t feel like we did anything too unusual or note-worthy this week as far as frugality is concerned but sometimes doing not much os the frugal choice. 🙂
    *I ordered the next round of COVID tests for us and for neighbors who do not use the internet. This saves us all a trip to the store to pick some up to have on hand.
    *Made a triple batch of laundry soap.
    *Continued my project of refurbishing old bee keeping equipment. Our bees are doing beautifully and we are expanding our apiary which could mean a LOT of financial investment but we are keeping that to a minimum. I am meeting up with a friend of my FIL this week. He used to be a commercial beekeeper and has offered me some of his equipment many times in the past. If so, this will be a tremendous blessing. Hope to have something good to report in that area next week.
    *Mowed and trimmed the yard for family members who very kindly pay us to do so. This little bit extra always helps and my boys are getting even more landscaping experience.
    *No grocery shopping this week. We feel pretty well stocked up at the moment between what we have and what is coming in the garden.
    *Sold eggs from our chickens and gratefully received some canned goods from a neighbor with whom we barter for various things. So grateful for people who still believe in barter and trade. It benefits everyone!
    *Harvesting lettuce and beet greens from the garden and looking forward to all the other delicious things to come later this season.
    *Mended a few items of clothing – a regular activity here.
    *I am still reading “Lark Rise to Candleford.” I’m not a slow reader 🙂 I am just savoring it! What a wonderful book. At times, I feel I am reading the English counterpart to Laura Ingalls Wilder. I find myself reading certain passages more than once as so many resonate with me. I particularly love the image of Old Queenie, the neighbor, who is out of doors as soon as her housework is done and, if anyone is looking for her, can find her sitting in the bee yard tatting lace. I can relate even if I would more likely be hand sewing. embroidering or just watching the bees themselves. I have also been known to read a book while watering the garden. Lace making would be a wonderful thing to try, though. I have seen it done and my eyes were spinning at the speed those hands moved.
    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  15. -Hosted a birthday party for our daughter. I made a taco bar, bean dip and fruit trays. I bought some sour cream and extra drinks but everything else was on hand. My in laws brought a cake. We were also invited to another birthday party. I grabbed some sand toys from our dollar store toy closet to save an extra trip to the store, which I probably would have bought some more unnecessary items.
    -We had some unexpected company. We cooked a ham I bought on sale at Easter, which was enough for leftovers. We did take them out for breakfast to a local diner.
    -I was gifted a few new skirts.
    -I made sourdough bread, banana rhubarb sourdough muffins, brownies, potato vegetable gratin with leftover ham, salmon with fresh asparagus from the garden. We’ve been getting enough self seeded lettuce and overwintered kale for a salad for the past few days. I was also given some morels, which I LOVE.
    -It’s been cold here. I took a chance and planted some tomatoes, transplanted beets, bok Choi and chard. I dug out wild roses and hosta and moved around some raspberry runners. Also found a few new asparagus plants popping up in the garden, so transplanted them. I dumped a bucket of semi finished compost into each hole for tomatoes. I think by the end of the week I will be able to plant the rest of the garden.
    -Biked to work 1x last week, despite the chilly damp weather. Continuing outdoor runs.

  16. Your garden produce never ceases to amaze me, but I know how hard you work for it. Glad your husband is able to have a virtual office now!

    My frugal week:

    – I baked brownies for dessert (http://approachingfood.com/bakery-style-skor-brownies/), but made a ganache topping instead of a fudge icing, to use cream I had in the fridge. I used one less egg than ideal, but they were still yummy!
    – I made another batch of sauerkraut. I love it and so does my baby! Sooooo easy (just google SouthernPlate and sauerkraut for a super-easy, super-basic recipe), and an easy way to get healthy probiotics and vegetables into my family. Now to try different fermentation recipes!
    – I planted more snap peas on my balcony, as only two seeds came up. But my nasturtiums, swiss chard, mixed flowers, and green onions are growing! And at my parents place, the snap peas, green beans, lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes are growing! Particularly the snap peas and green beans, which I’m really pleased about.
    – I cut open a tube of toothpaste and got another week’s worth out of it.
    – I took my two daughters and myself out for lunch at a local sushi place as a treat, and we all shared a bento box. The price was about $10 more than the last time i had a bento box, pre-pandemic.
    – I bought tomato and cilantro plants, four each for $5 total, and chose beefsteak tomatoes over cherry tomatoes, thinking that on my balcony garden, I can only have so many tomato blossoms, so I should try to get the biggest fruit per blossom possible.
    – I bought a cut glass crudite platter at the garage sale last week for $3 secondhand and it matches my existing cut glass and real crystal pieces perfectly, which thrilled me. It’s the small things!
    – my daugher’s new rain boots were a tad too big for her, so I just have her wear a pair of thick hand-knit socks over her regular socks — works a charm!
    – I sent a friend some brand new kids CDs we had. They were a hit, which makes me happy.
    – as usual, we took advantage of the public library, including the dial-a-story program, and the EarlyON kids programming for both outdoor and indoor programming. High quality programming, completely free. I love it!
    – I played free kid’s story podcasts on my phone using the Spotify free app.
    – I baked chocolate chip chocolate muffins as snacks
    – both kids are sick and my husband is out of the country for a week and I really wanted to order takeout. But I looked on my freezer and pantry, and threw together Swedish meatballs in gravy over pasta with a cucumber sesame salad. I did spend money on “treat” drinks like gingerale to encourage fluid consumption, but my sister picked them up for me from the Dollar store, so they were ok priced. Bonus, one of the treat drinks I got is Orange Crush, which I can turn into a slushy at home: http://approachingfood.com/easiest-ever-orange-crush-slushy/. A real treat on a hot day, or to entice a feverish kid to drink fluids, and way cheaper than a gas station one!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  17. I am weeks behind on participation and I have missed chiming in over the last several weeks.
    Brandy- I am
    So grateful to you for the turkey recipe!! I roasted a turkey from our freezer three weeks ago with your method and it was fantastic and so very easy. Thank you!!
    The last week has been quite costly for us so saving every penny that we can is more important than ever. We are going to have to replace our gutters, have had hvac issues and arrived home from vacation to a sick dog which meant a trip to the vet. I filed the insurance claim for
    Our vet visit immediately as we will receive 90% of the cost back as a refund. We used the same hvac company that installed the new hvac that we replaced two-ish months ago to the repair the second unit and that resulted in a savings. I made another large payment on the grading that is almost completed in our backyard and we only have another $400 to pay for this to be completed. The space is about an acre in size so quite large and we want to use it in the best way we can. Hooray for crossing this item off of our list. Once completed we will have more space to garden, play in the yard, and I want to grow more flowers for our yard and home.
    Since I was busy last week dealing with repairs and contractors our meals were not interesting. I made a large pot of Spaghetti and a large pot of chicken noodle soup and we ate leftovers all week long. I purchased 4 whole chickens for $1.19/lb which is the lowest price I have seen in quite some time. I made a large pot of red beans and rice this week with the same thought of leftovers in mind.
    We were gifted 15 pounds of onions, 8 lbs of tomatoes, several hands of fresh ginger, a bunch of bananas, and 6 pounds of mangoes from a colleague of my husbands.
    I have finally begun planting my
    garden! So far I have all of my
    Tomato seedlings in the ground…about 40 plants in all. I also planted two varieties of cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, and peppers of all kinds. Green, red and yellow bell, jalapeño, banana peppers, cubanelle peppers and poblanos. We are getting some much needed rain this week so I am rejoicing for a break in having to water the garden and I will hold off planting my seeds for a few more days.
    Gutters are scheduled to be installed this week which will mean that I will be able to order the soil we need and install the flower beds in the back of our house. I have a box of flower seeds that I can’t wait to plant.
    We are still working to empty boxes since our move in March. The remainder are boxes that contain items that will be sold or given away and we are setting a goal
    To host a yard sale in the next 30 days to purge the remaining items that we don’t need. Any funds we make can help fund the purchase of dirt and mulch that we still need.
    All the usual money saving efforts are still in full force…turning up the hvac, short showers, turning off lights, combining loads of laundry, cooking meals at home and eating all the leftovers.
    Blessings to all in the week ahead!

  18. Strawberries were on sale at $5.98 Can for two lb, a very good price for northern Alberta. I’ve held back 1/2 lb to eat fresh. The rest have been frozen. I’ll use them between now and July, when local ones become available.

    My next door neighbor had a yard sale. I haven’t been to one since summer of 2019, though I really enjoy them. I brought home a dish-washing rack and a plastic basin, both for free! Both items were on my shopping list.

    Quite a long time ago I signed up for a class action suit for pricing of some software. The company has settled for $400 million Can. My share of this is $63. I should see this by early summer.

    The pants (trousers) I ordered from Land’s End fit really nicely, had a good waistband, and the linen fabric is very comfortable for summer. I decided to order another pair. The website had the cotton chino pants I normally get, which they didn’t have when I was looking before. I’ve ordered one of each now as well as the pair that were delivered. I’ll wear shorts in the house when the weather is very hot. The pants were 40% off with free shipping.

    A pretty good cross-section of the frugal landscape, I thought.

  19. Hi Brandy, your Hollyhock photo took my breath away, really lovely, thank you for posting. I have spent the past few months filling our pantries so this last week only had minimal spending. One store had butter at $0.99/lb, so I bought the limit of 4 and into the freezer they went. Otherwise, just basics like bananas ;). I am very concerned about future shortages so am continually looking in cabinets to see what we use and make sure we have one extra…just in case. And as you said months ago, buying something now (with inflation) means I am paying less than I will next year. I try very hard to only buy items we always use…sometimes my husband changes his tastes and I don’t want to end up with items he won’t eat anymore.

  20. Your hollyhocks are so pretty! My Great-Aunt was known for her flowers – hollyhocks among them. Thanks for the reminder!

    I feel like we’re sending money everywhere lately! The twins had their 17th birthday and we were finally able to buy them the High School letter jackets they’ve been wanting. Stock of these has been scarce the last two years, so we purchased them before they would be gone again – we had saved and were waiting but it felt like a lot of money at once for jackets. They’re also starting their first real summer job – camp counselors in very rural Minnesota. They need hiking boots, outdoor/hiking /water sandals and a variety of other things that are adding up very quickly. Thankfully, Grandma and Grandpa were getting rid of their camping gear, so the kids negotiated cleaning out their Grandparent’s storage area and closets (senior apartments and Grandma and Grandpa can’t climb or bend the way they used to) for the camping gear. We also had to get new set of tires and have our garage door fixed.

    Actually frugal things lately included:
    * We were able to pick rhubarb from the garden this week and made rhubarb crisp! Such a treat! The strawberries are covered in flowers, so they should be next in a few short weeks.
    * First bouquets of the year were picked – dwarf iris, lilacs, bleeding heart and lily of the valley. The giant iris and peonies should be blooming soon for more! I am hoping to have flowers from my garden in my home all summer here.
    * Went through my closet and coordinated new outfits based on what I already have. I do need a couple of new underthings but I should be able to make due for quite a while with the top clothes I have. I was feeling bored with what I had and felt like I needed a few new things for work. Pleased to find I just needed a new view of things!
    * Our daughter finished her prom dress and wore it very happily! It started life as my mother-in-laws $15 thrifted mother-of-the-bride dress for my sister-in-law’s wedding during 2021. Daughter took it apart and made it into a two-piece dress with an added sparkles and lace. It turned out so pretty! Grandma gave advice and helped with trickier sewing.
    * We had recently bought our son a new suit and he wore that to prom with a cream colored shirt and fancy tie. No tuxedo needed.
    * My Mom and I planted the rest of the seedlings and the seeds this week in the garden. I’m hoping my Great-Aunt’s hollyhock seeds come up! We soaked them prior to planting but the seeds are old. We’ll see! We planted carrots, beets, bean, peas and winter squash. I had planted tomatoes, peppers, rosemary, basil, lettuce, cucumber, and zucchini earlier. The lettuce should be ready to pick next week and the peppers are starting to set fruit. I have snapdragons and four-o-clock seeds to plant still and then I’m done except for radishes in the fall.
    * We cleaned up the firepit and rearranged the woodpile to have the most seasoned wood ready for burning first. We’re looking forward to having bonfires most weekend if the weather cooperates.
    * Found out the library has a “take a puzzle, leave a puzzle” shelf. I now have somewhere to take our no longer needed puzzles! The church is having a rummage sale in June and sent 3 bags of items for the sale already. We have way too much stuff!
    * Framed my Grandmother’s painting of the farmstead my Mother grew up on. Loved the painting and it looks amazing with a frame. Took advantage of a very large framing discount to have this done professionally earlier this year and it makes me smile every time I see it on the wall.
    * Cooked most meals at home and took lunch to work. I did enjoy two meals at work during meetings.

    Thanks to everyone for all the inspiration!
    In Central Minnesota, USA

    1. Lea, I wish I could see the dress your daughter remade. She is talented!
      Also, the farmstead painting would be lovely to see. 🙂

  21. -My husband restrung my clothesline. It probably has been 10-15 years since we have done this. Hanging clothes out in the breeze saves money by not running the dryer and makes the clothes smell so good!
    -A friend took me out to lunch as payment for some mending that I did for her. I went to a restaurant that I haven’t been to for a long time and had one on my favorites-Desert Fire Pasta. There was so much sauce on the dish I asked for a to go container and I took this sauce home and had it over cooked spaghetti noodles. It was just as good the second time!
    -I bought 2 pieces (21 x 21 inches) vintage bark cloth in a summery pattern for $5. I also bought for $1 a very long white heavy muslin type fabric valance. It was doubled over so twice the fabric. I cut the bottom off at the seam to open it up. I made 2 pillows for my sofa with bark cloth and the muslin for the backing. The zippers I had in my stash (I got a whole bag of zippers at a garage sale 5 years ago and I am still working through them). The zippers are different colors but they match the colors in the pillows and they are not seen unless you are looking for it. I also had the poly fill and I made the pillow forms from more of the muslin and the fill. So for $6 I have 2 beautiful vintage pillows.
    -We are eating fresh asparagus from the garden.
    -I made some homemade doughnuts from a 1960’s apple recipe book. I still have lots of canned applesauce from last year. They turned out great and the recipe is a keeper. I have been trying different recipes trying to find one close to my mom’s.
    -This last weekend when my grandkids were here, I mixed up some tuna and mayo for my granddaughter to use as a dip for her GF crackers. There was some left so I cooked some pasta, added the tuna, little bit more mayo and some veggies. We had a supper with extra for my lunch the next day.
    -We smoked 4 pheasant brats, we ate 2 for supper. The next day I chopped the other 2 up and added it to the crockpot with the ham bone, ham drippings, leftover cooked butternut squash chopped up, chopped onion, and split peas. Turned out yummy, I made egg dumplings and dropped them in on the last hour of cooking. Perfect for the cool weekend in the 50’s.
    -Garage sale finds: I bought a man’s 2XL long sleep shirt in small buffalo plaid for $1. There should be enough flannel for 2 pair of PJ pants for my grandson’s. At Christmas I make the flannel pants and buy matching T-shirts for the grandkids. So fifty cents for the bottoms as I have the pattern, elastic, and thread. I also bought a cotton blue and white shower curtain for 50 cents. I will use this to back a couple of baby quilts or perhaps make a jumper or shirt for the grands. I also got a medium mesh strainer for 50 cents, a rolling pin for $1 (will donate my old one it was warped), a large ladle to use for canning for 50 cents, and a vintage wood spoon for 25 cents.
    -I canned 15 half pints and 2 pints of brandied cherries. I bought the cherries this fall (2 pkg organic for $10/each). I used half of one package making 2 cherry pies. And now canned the rest.
    -I also canned 5 quarts of French onion soup, 3 quarts of pickled asparagus, and 12 pints of baked beans.
    -I love being at home, gardening, canning, sewing, and just taking the time to see all the beauty around me. The most beautiful and important things are usually free. But as human’s we keep searching and spending thinking we can buy happiness! When it is right in front of us, we just need to stop and enjoy!

    Have a great week!

  22. Beautiful flowers!
    I picked up the Hyvee one day special, $.99 lb bone in chicken breast. I stopped on my way into work since the are usually out of specials by 5 pm. I just pack a cooler with a bunch of frozen bottles to keep it cold all day.
    Planted my little garden, hopefully we don’t get too cool overnight this week. I don’t have high hopes for it since the rabbits ate most of my plants last year.

    1. Sue—
      Not sure if this is possible for you or not, but we have a roll of bunny fence around our garden, held up with small T posts. It works WONDERFUL! Our yard is a bunny heaven, or so it seems, but the bunny fencing has done a great job at keeping them out. Once in a great while a baby will slip through the holes, but rarely. We bought our fencing in a roll at Lowe’s, and it wasn’t terribly expensive. It has been up probably ten years or maybe more, and is still working just like when we first put it up!

  23. Using my friends’ condo for a little getaway for first time in 28 months. I’m there now and so excited. Staying for 4 days. Today was lunch with college friend and thrift shopping. Tomorrow is Downton Abbey at movie theater plus farmers’ market where they will have fresh peaches for first time. My friends won’t accept any $ so I load them up on paper products before I leave each time. Hope to do it more often once I get shot #4. Covid home tests (8) came in just a few days this time. Got some $4.50 🎯 gift wrap for only 23 cents today at liquidation store. Asked for generic meds at pharmacy. Free with my insurance.

  24. Joining in from the Seattle area.

    I enjoy reading everyone’s comments every week, even if I don’t always comment. This covers several weeks.

    Continued to work my two part time jobs. Brought lunch every day. Discovered a park with a walking trail near one office, so now I have a place to explore on my break.

    Cooked at home except for one takeout meal a week. Am eating down the freezer. Finally finished up all the frozen zucchini from last year. Was happy to find a few more bags of frozen rhubarb. Made a big batch of asparagus soup using homemade chicken broth from a chicken carcass I had saved, one onion, one leek, and three pounds of asparagus I bought for $1.97 at our Kroger affiliate. Put a bunch in the freezer for future lunches. It is delicious.

    Celebrated my husband’s birthday frugally. Wrapped his several small gifts in colorful magazine pages and put them in a gift bag we already had. Cooked him a nice dinner using what we had on hand. Picked up ice cream for dessert.

    Every week, I bring my mom, who lives in assisted living, a bunch of flowers. Usually I buy them at Trader Joes, but this week I was in a different area so I ended up going to Safeway. Safeway has nice flowers but they are rather expensive. I found some pink gerber daisies for $7, but they looked kind of sparse on their own. All the greenery options for sale were also $7 per bunch, which is more than I wanted to spend. So I asked the man in the floral department if he would be willing to sell me $3 worth of greenery. He was happy to oblige, and I made my mom a beautiful bouquet for $10. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask!

    Repaired the neckline of a cardigan that had come apart and partially unravelled. It was a tricky fix, but I saved the sweater. Made a quick repair to a couple sheets for the acupuncture office where I work.

    Worked out at the gym and enjoyed the pool, hot tub, and sauna. Walked outside in nature. Worked out at home when time was short.

    Read books from the library. Watched streaming TV and DVDs we already own. Made water kefir and kombucha.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  25. The comments in the posts today were wonderful! So full of gratitude and positivity! Lots of ideas to try and such interesting stories about the “goings on” in everyone’s life.

    My comment for today is, “Praise Jesus, it’s raining!” My garden is so grateful as am I!

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

  26. Thank you to all who shared thoughts and ideas last week, when I mentioned my niece’s upcoming wedding! I’ve passed them on to the bride, and she wants to incorporate some of them. She let me know that her other aunt volunteered to create the table centerpieces as her gift to the couple, and my niece happily accepted. One less thing for me too think about! Hallelujah! And, my sister-in-law shared a photo of her first effort and it’s gorgeous.

    The mother of the bride and I have been scouring thrift stores and have found a number of very useful things; i.e., several tablecloths in perfect colors, including a beautiful lacy one. MotB (;-)) found a length of carpet in her garage, left over from when she re-carpeted her house, and it will be perfect for placing over the flagstones (but under the white runner) as the bride walks up the path toward the gazebo.

  27. This week I spent several hours searching for missing packages . 4 packages were stolen from my daughters front door. Compounding the problem , items delivered to her mail room were also missing. The secure system was obviously not secure. After searching through a couple hundred packages I found a pair of my ordered shoes ,unwrapped and sitting on the shelf. It appears people are searching the mailroom for items of their choosing and leaving the wrappings behind. This turns into a complicated issue in this crazy world. File a complaint and be labeled a trouble maker. Then your lease is not renewed. We will be having all future deliveries made to a pickup box or to my home. Amazon replaced our items. $200.00 recovered on the missing work items. The police won’t even file a report on these issues. I found several of her neighbors empty packages behind her apartment building. We are installing a ring camera on the doorbell. On to happier thoughts. While in downtown Atlanta ,I visited two upscale grocery dumpsters . I was blessed with many canned and jar items. They were incredibly messy with pasta sauce covering them. The water hose revealed many bottles of olive oil and condensed milk. These two items were on my buy list and I was delighted to add them to my pantry. I needed bleach at my daughters apartment to wash her white duvet that had mildewed. Totally my fault. I used a bottle of bathroom cleaner. It turned out fluffy and white. I’ve never understood her fascination with white. We missed our last vacation a couple weeks ago and lost our entire balance on the trip. After speaking to two CSR’s my third try was successful. This new rep immediately gave us full credit so we can rebook our trip. I had spent a week in the hospital with my father and travel was just not a priority. I have a vacation on hold and hope to have it finalized today. I spent three days searching and comparing options so not to increase the cost of our credit. I paid $5.00 to upgrade a free streaming platform. Sugar cookie can now watch a couple of newer movie theater release movies at home. I hope everyone is having a lovely week.

    1. Lillianna – I am so sorry to hear of the package theft, that is so frustrating! It was a constant issue in our old neighborhood. Our postman once told me a story that they sometimes had thieves following them. Once they would finish a block’s deliveries, the thieves would get out and steal everything right after. I have all of my packages sent to my work address or the secure hub. If it is an option, picking up at a package hub is safer than a porch. Again I’m so sorry, I know how frustrating that is!

    2. I haven’t had a problem with theft in my lobby with Amazon deliveries but I have had issues with Amazon drivers claiming to have delivered them and they were NOT! I was home the whole time… I now have items delivered to my local pharmacy which has a Post Office desk – I usually have a two week window on when to pick them up so much easier to organize. I have one outstanding order at the moment that has to be sent to my apt. but I’ll be tracking it and will be sure to work from home that day! Very frustrating!

      Very glad to hear that you got the trip issue sorted – hope your dad is doing better.

    3. Check out Blink before deciding on Ring. There is no monthly fees associated with them. ( last I knew). I have 5 around our large property and have had zero issues with them and no additional costs except the purchase. Hope this helps. Carol in Illinois

  28. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I love your hollyhocks! Such a pretty subtle colour.
    Over the years you have reported downsizing/ moving your husband’s office and the final destination of a virtual office sounds excellent. What a boon.
    I think teamwork is one of our best frugal tools and your post and many of the comments this week demonstrate it- husband’s, wives, families, friends, communities all helping each other and keeping costs down. In that vein a friend told us some of her seeds had failed and she wondered if we had a courgette plant to spare. My husband put together a box of plants for her- courgette, butternut squash, polar bear pumpkin and gherkin. Everyone in our neighbourhood will be growing gherkins this year! The germination rate has been phenomenal.
    We have had the right ratio of rain and sunshine so the gardens are leaping forward. We picked peas, broad beans, sage and Sweet William. We planted out climbing French beans, 2 types of lettuce, butternut squash, courgettes, pumpkins, sweetcorn, tomatoes and direct sowed radishes and Swiss Chard. In the greenhouse we put more tomatoes and cucumbers.
    We donated lots of homegrown plants to a local Church fundraiser.
    I have been drinking sage tea and ginger tea. I bought a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped it and froze small amounts. I can pull it out whenever I want it.
    We have eaten leftover ham all week with jacket pots and salad, in a stir fry with lots of veggies and in omelettes.
    As grocery prices are rising I have started bumping certain things off my shopping list to the next week’s list and so on, if I don’t miss them over time I will knock them off completely.
    I also need to challenge my assumptions about the cheapest place to shop. I popped into Sainsbury’s ( a higher end supermarket than Lidl etc ) and was struck by how hard they are trying to compete on price- I found several things I buy regularly which were cheaper than Lidl/ Morrisons. Several supermarkets are located together so it only costs my time to search out best prices.
    I used a £5 voucher when ordering SIL birthday present and also received free postage.
    I spent time giving houseplants some TLC. New houseplants are definitely not in my budget.
    We helped organise and clear up a surprise party for a friend. As our contribution to the food I cooked 10 kilos of onions to go with the burgers and sausages my husband cooked on the BBQ. We were given packs of bread rolls leftover at the end and were able to buy packs of uncooked burgers and sausages at cost price so now we have a good supply in the freezer. I was also given a bunch of tulips as a thank you.
    Stay safe everyone.

  29. I know I have not done as well as I could this last week. The local Christian bookshop had a sale and I spent some money there. Otherwise I am plodding on trying to do everything as inexpensively as possible. I am dreading filling the car as fuel is $8.80 a US gallon.

    Take care everyone.

  30. I love the picture of the Hollyhock,my favourite flower.
    The only things I have bought this week are milk, a new tea strainer and a pyrex roaster to replace one I broke. I cooked all meals from scratch.I have read library books,started knitting some wool stash wool into socks. None of these will match but who cares around the house. I am trying to put new elastic on hubby’s pyjamas.I have unpicked them but have run out of elastic. I’ve dried all washing on the line.
    We went into the local town by bus for the first time in 2 years, hubby is in the extremely vulnerable category. We used our old people bus passes giving us free travel. It feels peculiar to be out again.
    I saw a suggestion that if you use semi skimmed milk, buy full cream and dilute with water. I am going to try this.
    Our first strawberry in ripening and we are picking lettuce. We have had a storm and some rain this week which has filled the water butts. All the plants have grown with the rain, they never do as well with tap water. I mowed the lawns and used the grass cuttings as mulch.
    We are investigating resealing our windows the sealant has gone black over the years. I need to find someone to rebuild the back step, the blocks are loose, I am worried about hubby falling.
    I spent a wet day doing our years accounts, a job I hate but now its done.I managed to clear a lot of paper from the files. Now I have to do the shredding and the put all the shredded paper in the compost heap.
    Please keep safe everyone

  31. I cut my husband’s hair. He has been having me do it weekly to clean up the edges and shave his neck area.
    *I cut the muzzle and head of the 3.5 month old puppy. I need to shave his body with a long guard, but will have to have help holding him still.
    * I planted 9 squash plants, cucumbers and fertilized all the vegetable beds with a granular bone meal. Then the puppy keeps going to the beds to eat them so I won’t be able to do that again. I will use a liquid from now on until he is older.
    * I have iris’, daylilies. roses, gardenia, and hydrangea blooming now. I have a yellow and orange flower up front that has come back and is so pretty. I need to look up what it is. I have sunflower, coneflower, marigold, and zinnia I need to plant. I have planted perrinials or save seed from everything I plant so I am slowly adding to beds.
    *My daughter brought home a sack of strawberries. I cut them up and froze them on a tray, then put in the freezer.
    * Our neighborhood had a garage sale Saturday. I don’t have much but went through my books, jewelry. and clothes. I had everything for $1 and made $46. I was only out from 7-10 as people are usually done about 10.
    *My husband bought a leather motorcycle jacket for $40 and didn’t like it. I listed and sold it for $65.
    * I cleaned out 3 kitchen drawers, and cleaned the area rug in the family room yesterday. I have a lot of kitchen tools I forget about and organized the drawers and made a mental note of what I have. The carpet cleaner has been a good investment. I’ve loaned it out many times and usually get the container of cleaning solution left from the person.
    * I was able to use up two different pregrilled chicken meals I had made and frozen this week. My freezers are so full and I have been trying to use up things I’ve cooked and frozen. I froze 1/4 lb of cooked ground beef I snuck from the pan when I made a dish this week.
    *I finally used up a shampoo bottle I have been adding water to for months.

  32. The highlight of my week was a free ukulele lesson! My husband and I both took lessons and it was so much fun! We had a very talented teacher! So for early anniversary presents to each other we both got a ukulele. I got a concert ukulele and my husband got a tenor ukulele. We have been practicing since our lesson. I’ve been taking mine places with me. It is small and easy to take along. One day I played it while my husband was in the grocery store. I stayed out in the car and played. It was fun to see that people that heard it were enjoying it as well! I’d like to download GarageBand and record some songs. I need a newer version on my computer to do so. I want to record music as cheaply as possible. I’ve used GarageBand before so I like that program. But it was on an old computer that crashed. So I want to figure something out. There is a busker fair in a nearby town this coming weekend. I’d like to talk my husband into entertaining people together. I love listening to him sing and I enjoy singing. It might be fun to bring our ukuleles as well. He may only want to go as a spectator. But I might talk him into singing. It would be so much fun! We will see.
    I got a new to me dress from goodwill. It is a pretty red dress!
    We planted flowers that were a gift. They are beautiful pink geraniums!
    My husband attached his phone to the speaker in his truck while he was planting them and then we danced outside to the music together one evening. He played our first dance music which is “Dream” by the Pied Pipers. I loved it!
    My son and I were entertained by his dog.
    We sat out on the back porch and just enjoyed the outdoors.
    I am enjoying the windows being open, listening to the rain and the birds this morning.
    We cooked most meals at home.
    We ate asparagus from the garden and gifted some to my other son.

      1. Tina S.
        Thank-you! Your comment made me happy! I think it is neat that you make Kombucha and kefir. I’d love to learn to do that!

  33. It’s a rainy day here on the plains and it’s so tempting to nest in a cozy chair with a good book! The last 10 hrs. of rain means no watering expense for the lawns for a week. Yay!

    The color of your hollyhock is breathtaking! It looks peachy in the picture and I just stared at it for a while. Wow!

    My week was a combo of both saving and spending! We ate at home all last week, which is great. However, we went to a farmer’s market that was a bit of a drive. I read ahead to see who would be there. That helped me stay focused on what I really wanted, rather than spending all willy nilly. There was so much great stuff in the way of food and crafts! I got two pairs of pinking shears sharpened, which was my highlight lol! I couldn’t find anyone to do them. We bought a few snacks and had breakfast there. The only fresh vegetables were radishes and lettuce. The weather isn’t salad weather this week so I didn’t get any.
    In the end, we got some fresh tortillas and chips, dog treats thay my doggy went nuts for, my scissors sharpened, a jar of rsberry jam, and a picture I’ve been saving for. That was the main reason for the trip. It was a really nice morning, despite the cold temps.

    We also FINALLY got some stuff planted. I noticed that the nursery prices have gone up quite a bit, but we found what we wanted. We really cut back on the annual flowers in order to plant a few extra veggies. I’m using all my “flower” pots for patio lettuce! The clerk said they weren’t selling nearly as many annuals so I guess we weren’t the only ones. She said their heirloom tomatoes were selling as fast as they were stocked. We found one mixed in. Brandywine. No idea what they are so we’ll be surprised.

    I’ll let those be my lists ! Finished watching a 4 part series on PBS Masterpiece. Ridley Road. Taught me à bit of history, but also gave me nightmares. It was about the rise of the Nazi movement in London in 1962 and a group of Jews working to out some of their illegal activities. I also completed The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker. I won’t list my reading this week as it’s the same as last week when I suspended it for the special hold Dahlias!

    I wish you all a blessed week!

  34. Beautiful hollyhocks! Good thinking and timing, on the virtual office too. Thrifty actions this week: continuing salads from the garden this week, propogating several hydrangeas from cuttings, and took grandchildren to a church summer fun fest. Their parents had a date night and kids had fun, especially with the cake walk ( only cookies and cupcakes for kids-cake for adults).

  35. The picture of the hollyhock is my favorite today. Gorgeous colors.

    The biggest gift of frugalness last week was from my Buy Nothing Group. I received 18 bottles of Eucerin Lotion which is very welcome in my home. I also received 2 standing shoe racks that I plan to repurpose another way. I’m not sure what yet – but my mind is thinking of a few things. And then another poster was moving and just had things on her driveway to pick up for free because she needed them gone that day. My husband and I ran up the street and were able to get over 100 Kerr/Ball canning quart and pint jars. They need to be cleaned, but in great condition. We also received for free and entire metal outdoor seating set with a white metal rocking bench, 2 white metal chairs and 2 white metal side tables. We also received a copper hot plate and a copper pan plus scrapbooking supply sets. We were thrilled. A huge blessing for us and I thanked the woman several times.

    My husband extended some of our drip lines for me to have more room to plant a few more things in the garden. Everything seems to be growing so far – praying daily for it to grow well and give us food for the winter months.

    All meals and lunches were made at home, exercise at home as well. Cleaning also helps with exercise and the yard work. Reading lots of books at the library. Sitting outside at times to enjoy our large shade trees and using the time to write in my journal, read a book or just enjoy the view of the tree. I love to hear the birds sing – robins, starlings and doves. I can hear an owl hooting in the early evening hours. We missed the eclipse here because of nightly cloud cover. Our temps have been quite nice which is very unusual for this time of year. Usually we are in the 90s but it has stayed in the 60s and one day was a high of 48. I’m not complaining. The heat will come – this weekend is in the mid 80’s.

    I spent a bit more on groceries last week but found some great deals with clearance and Ibotta. Just tucked everything away in the pantry or shared with my kids.

    Have a great week everyone in your frugal journey.

  36. I helped in the kitchen for a funeral and was able to bring home leftover pinto beans and salsa.

    My garden plot is planted and so far, everything is growing. I planted seeds for radishes, kale, and cucumbers. I small tomato and pepper plants bought plants from Krogers for $2.39 each, more than half of what they cost at the nursery nearby. I reused my tomato cages, which I have had for 10 years or more. They are a bit bent but still do the job.

    I have knitting projects planned for the next few months. A friend cleaned out her yarn stash last summer and gave me several individual skeins of yarn, some of which is hand dyed. I found a beautiful diagonal scarf pattern and will use all the individual skeins (I have 10 of them) and make scarves to give as gifts.

    My friend is cleaning out her house (her husband recently died) and she gave me office supplies that I can use. I took the school supplies and will donate them this week.

    I went on two hikes last week and enjoyed being in the beautiful spring weather.

    I also started watching the series “The Chosen” and am now smitten with it!

  37. Gas was $4.14 gallon in college town to $4.49 two hours south of college town. I made lasagna with ingredients I had on hand. I also made chicken and rice with ingredients I had on hand. Bananas are 69 cents a lb now so I bought a smaller bunch. I also bought small tomatoes, cheese, and butter on sale for $1.99, if you can call that a sale price for butter, but I guess it is now. We ate up the last of the fresh spinach. I made baked beans from scratch and did an old timey cold bbq baked beans and onion sandwich, and ate that with canned turnip greens, at night. I think beans and greens will be my standard supper again, during the week, for the foreseeable future. Prices are too high and this is still affordable and I have a two years supply of beans, and a good six months supply of canned greens, which I will mix with fresh dandelion greens. It has rained a lot on Sunday and Monday, and I think my mulberry gathering days are probably over, but I did get a lot, enough for the year is frozen in my little top part of freezer above the fridg. I have a huge supply of various canned greens. I also thawed out a bologna pack I had frozen and will fry that up. I made ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch, peanut butter and crackers, and popcorn, for snacks. I made an egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast. I walked in my neighborhood. My son is going to pressure wash my house and mow my yard. I am trying to keep the air off as much as possible but it is so humid with all the rain this week.

    1. Cindy in the South, butter in Minnesota (and we are a dairy raising state) is regular $4.50ish. It is on sale this week for $3.48. At $1.99 it is worth buying and freezing if you can.

  38. The biggest savings came from my son and an extended family member who redid my roof. My son shopped for the best deal on materials and returned the unused portions for a refund. I did all the cleanup work so while the materials still cost money, there were no labor costs at all. I’m so thankful to have family members with the skills and willingness to do the work.

    I canned 10 pints of dandelion jelly.

    I harvested rhubarb and asparagus from the garden. This is the first year of asparagus for me. I’m working hard to expand the garden this year and have planted many seeds, potatoes, onions, etc.

  39. My rose bush I purchase has 2 blooms on it! Last week I hardened off my plants so I can plant them this week. The amount of work in our micro garden (4×4) for the amount of produce we get is not panning out. What IS worth it is the KNOWLEDGE my kids and I are learning so in the future we CAN grow vegetable and flowers if we had the land to produce more.

    Meijers has ground beef on sale for $1.99 a pound this week. We drove 15 miles there on Sunday to find out the pallet of sale meat did not arrive. The store was discounting the ground beef they did have by 50% to $3.49 a pound. I hope to be able to make it there later this week. Eyes wide open food is always shifting and changing. I was able to get pasta, brown rice, and eggs $2 a dozen.

    Our family has started playing disc golf. We purchased the frisbees with reward points so no OOP costs. Another family introduced us to geocaching (treasure hunt at local parks, libraries, other locations to find a hidden container) and my boys like it! This has no cost besides getting to the area and there are plenty of places near us.

  40. Brandy, the yard decor that you and your husband do together seems like a sweet, togetherness project.
    I am continuing to use up my fabric stash by making my 87 year old aunt a quilt. I also made myself a tiered skirt. An old pattern but funnily enough I read that tiered skirts are the big fashion thing this spring.
    I bought a pair of linen/cotton pants in a size 20 (I wear 10) and using my favorite cargo shorts as a guide cut the pants down to make a new pair of shorts. It worked perfectly and I loved the fabric/color. The pants were only $1 on the thrift store clearance rack.
    A neighbor gave me one of the tomato plants she grew from seed. Two primroses I had potted in the early Spring multiplied to four so I will be separating them today into four pots.
    We continue to make everything from scratch. I have a new batch of kimchi bubbling away and my husband made some really excellent rye crackers. Last night I did a large pizza – enough for a couple days.
    I needed a potato masher and found a like new Oxo masher for .50 at the thrift store. I looked it up and it would be 19.95 on Amazon.
    I have been picking some of the abundant wild fennel that grows everywhere here to put in soup, on omelettes, etc.
    We have been avidly birdwatching. Lately we have seen eagles, osprey, warblers, wood ducks, quail, mergansers, swallows, and others. A cute, fat quail has decided it likes to sit on our deck railing.
    Not frugal – I have to get a new crown on a tooth. One of my teeth got a crack in it. I read the reviews of dentists in town. This place got the highest reviews plus all the commenters praised their great prices. I think I am out of touch, not having had any dental problems for years because it came to $1,800! I just have to tell myself how lucky I am that I don’t have many dental issues.
    Being an absolute history nut, I am reading Mary Kay Penman’s third in a series about the Plantagenets called ‘The Reckoning’. Free library download.
    On our free Netflix I have been watching ‘Emily in Paris’ which is cute and funny. On the French theme I subscribe to a fun blog called ‘The Good Life in France’.
    Went on our first picnic of the season – a good substitute for going out to lunch. Guess that’s it. Have a great week everyone!

  41. Your salad looks delicious. I wish I could reach through my screen and eat it. 🙂
    I haven’t written for awhile. Have not done that much that is frugal. I took 6 weeks off work, beginning May 1, so no paycheck coming in.
    I spent two weeks at my mother’s house, well I guess my house now, going through 50 years’ worth of belongings. One of my sisters came for the second week. We went through all the furniture and checked with family members as to what people wanted. Most of it will go to some child or grandchild of my Mother’s. Also went through papers, letters, photographs, sewing supplies and fabrics, books, and all the other miscellany of life that one gathers over time. My mother loved candles – so many candles. I was exhausted when I got home – but got a good start. The house is about 180 miles from where I live – so I can’t just go over on the spur of the moment for an afternoon. I have a friend living in the house for now, and will keep an eye on it. Hope to have everything emptied out by August, and put the house up for sale this fall. That was the deadline I gave my sisters to pick up what they wanted – or it is going to an estate auction. Names were placed on furniture. Still need to go through china, silver and crystal. So much work….
    I did take food with me to eat while there. Made up a huge batch of taco meat and froze half when I got there. Had tacos, tostadas with refried beans, taco salad. Also bought a roasted chicken at Costco on the way there and had that. I only went out for dinner twice – one time being on the day before we left to come home to celebrate all the hard work we did. I was exhausted when I got home, so last week I slept a lot.
    I planted peas, lettuce and potatoes before going. The lettuce and peas are up, and a few of the potatoes. Since I’ve been home, the only thing I planted are carrots. The ground has just been too wet. While in my former hometown, I was able to get pepper and tomato plants. They were four-packs for $1.99. We hope to get most of the garden in this weekend.
    Deals have been – pork roast for 99¢ per pound, milk for $1.99 a gallon, boneless, skinless chicken breast for $2.18 a pound, and colored bell peppers in the ugly produce section 3 for 99¢.
    My DH turned 70 while I was gone, but both of my sons came up and celebrated with him. I was happy they did so.
    I made a batch of cauliflower soup, using frozen cauliflower from the garden, onions from the garden and chicken broth from the freezer. Also made potato corn chowder using corn and onions from our garden, and some of the $1.99 gallon of milk. Made two rhubarb crisps, with rhubarb just picked. That and chives, oregano and parsley are about the only things available in the garden right now. Made some savory muffins to go with the soup. Made a big batch of fried rice, using brown rice. I have been having that for breakfast, and the soup and muffins for lunch.
    I brought home boxes and bags of things to shred from my mom’s house. This included the tax return my father prepared from the year I was born – 1954. I am a CPA, so I may keep that as a memento, for a while at least.
    I am striving to get back on the frugal bandwagon this week.

  42. I feel like I don’t have much to update on this week. Our weather has been downright hot (upper 90s) so we have been running the air more than usual. Trying to conserve electricity in other ways – washing laundry on cold and hang-drying on racks, turning off the heated dry on our dishwasher, turning up the fridge & freezer temps slightly. Our temperatures have finally cooled down somewhat and are expecting rain today, so that is a blessing given our near-constant state of drought conditions here.

    We received a rebate check from our Costco membership. We will put that toward something for the house or some stock-up supplies, as well as membership renewal. I ordered more of the free Covid test kits from USPS. (Thank you to whoever posted the reminder about that last week!) We brought our lunches and snacks to work. I made a delicious Mediterranean-style tuna salad with chickpeas, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, and kalamata olives, and ate that for lunch several days in a wrap with homegrown lettuce. We cooked and ate most meals at home including green chile pork taco bowls (slow cooker), salmon with rice pilaf and green beans, hot dogs and chips, roast beef sandwiches, hamburgers and fries, pizza, and grilled chicken salads. I harvested the last of the romaine lettuce from my Aerogarden and replanted assorted herbs. I harvested several cherry tomatoes from my patio garden. Some of the larger tomatoes are finally getting ripe, and I am very much looking forward to those.

    We have enjoyed watching the birds on our feeder, including several woodpeckers.

  43. We had a heavier than usual week of work, errands and such. On the work side, it’s the season, isn’t it, if you can get outdoors. Like a previous reader said (Ryan), Yay! We got rain!! That was the big news this week. I bought 16 bags of mulch. I’m not nearly done with the two houses flower beds but I’m a lot closer than I was last fall! I spread mulch here at home. I need to do the house in town when I have spare time. Since money and time never coincide, I’m buying mulch now to spread later when things slow down. I bought a new Bougainvillea to replace mine that didn’t winter over and a hanging basket of a variety of Coleus. $20 for a whole lot of punch in the yard. I used what I had to create a pretty little potted flower bed next to our back doorsteps. I’m so pleased with how it has come out though I feel I need a little more variance in heights. My husband bought me an old desk, cheap manufactured turn of the century but I LOVE that stuff and it is at least all wood. I moved the tile topped table I was using as my desk to the back porch and now have a potting table. I am in the midst of trying to clean and pretty up the porches and patio. I rearranged furnishings and both porches look quite nice once more. I’ve used pockets of time to do all these things in my outdoors here at home. We had a birthday party for granddaughter here on Sunday. I purchased hot dogs and since we were coming in from church, I pan fried them after boiling (I find boiling first reduces the saltiness). They come out slightly crispy and brown as though they had been grilled without the overwhelming smokiness of the grill. It was convenient to do it in this way rather than fuss with a hot grill with small grandchildren running about. My daughter bought cupcakes, though I offered to make them. I purposely kept the menu simple and inexpensive. Ditto with the birthday gifts. I found a jump rope and sidewalk chalk at the dollar store. I hadn’t seen a jump rope in years. Now my grandson has asked me to buy him one for his birthday in two weeks. Granddaughter also got a tiny pair of gold hoop earrings, her initial request which my husband found on sale. He bought gold-filled as we feel sure she will likely lose them and definitely will outgrow them in the future. We had no savings where gas is concerned this week, using more than we’d typically use in three weeks in just one week’s time and all just in time for the gas prices to increase to $4.19/gallon. We had to do what we had to do. I determined we’d just combine errands with every trip we made out and so we got lots done with each trip. I had NO food waste this week which I always count as a bonus. Final frugal deal is that we’ve avoided convenience foods, eating what we have at home. I made up a bunch of entrees a few weeks ago and froze them and on these busy days we’ve had those or leftovers of other meals. Spend more on gas, spend less on food, right? I have so enjoyed the pictures here and the ‘word pictures’ and the amazing savings others have done. I love being part of this community!

  44. The flowers are very lovely. I love to see those tomatoes, too, but I can’t really tolerate them any more. I rarely eat any tomato product these days, but there are few things better than a sweet, ripe little tomato.

    This is spending/saving, actually.

    My good sheets are starting to wear out and I’m through with buying cheap sets to replace them. They just don’t last: they fade, shrink, get loose elastic, lose their smooth finish and start tiny tears too easily. So I ordered a clearance set from Lands End, which I was able to do because I’m one of the few to use lilac color in the bedroom, it seems. I paid less than half their price.

    I’m still working to make my yard a mostly edible landscape, so I ordered two more berry plants today. If I can get all of these plants and trees to produce, they will pay me back handsomely, so I am taking great care with them.

    Some volunteer New Guinea impatiens are filling my flower box on my front stoop. I had thought I would need to buy more flowers to fill it out, but they are doing it just fine themselves.

    I’m cooking in big batches even though I’m the only one eating. I serve several meals or portion it out and freeze it. Leftovers are cheaper than cooking every night, and easier, too.

    I bought a much needed skirt and dress, second-hand and on sale, at a fraction of their new prices, and these still had their tags. I checked the dress brand online – very similar dresses selling new go for almost 10 times what I paid for mine. That made me feel good.

  45. I just love that hollyhock! So pretty and cottage-y. Yay for those gorgeous tomatoes! I never thought about not having tomatoes & lettuce at the same time, but that makes sense with your heat. Normally I don’t try to keep lettuce going in the summer, but last year I underplanted some lettuce next to zucchini and yellow squash plants. The squash leaves grew so large that they shaded the lettuce, and it grew wonderfully. I hope it does as well this year.
    *My daughter graduated from high school last week. For her graduation gift, we decided to buy her a new laptop that she can use in college. She has been using the school-issued chromebook throughout high school, but had to turn it in. Several of her friends’ families took expensive vacations, and I was a bit worried that she would feel bad that we didn’t do that. She is thrilled with her new laptop, and I love that it’s a practical gift that she will be able to use for years to come.
    *I have a habit of forgetting to use discounts and coupons before they expire. I started a new list in my Notes app to keep better track of those deals. My birthday is coming up, so I’ve been receiving emails with freebies. I’ve been moving those to a “freebie” folder in my Inbox so they are easier to find. Hopefully keeping these organized will help me to remember to enjoy them! It already helped me last week to use some Kohl’s cash before it expired.
    *My favorite plant nursery sent me a $5 off $25 coupon via text. I used it when I purchased a few seedlings that I didn’t have already. I also got a nice self-watering pot which I filled with herb starts I grew from seed. Gave that as a gift to a friend who enjoys cooking. She always gives me a gift card at the end of the school year, and I didn’t want to just get her a gift card in return.
    *Went to a couple of yard sales. Spent $6 on books, sold for $15. I also found 2 very nice hoodies for my son.
    *The garden is doing great — we’ve harvested lettuce, snow peas, radishes, aspabroc (new to me this year), and strawberries. Last week I started a bunch of squash seeds in reused takeout cups, and they are HUGE now after all the rain and sunshine. I need to get them transplanted. I am the only one in the family who will eat the radishes. I like them enough now to eat with dip. My mom said they’re also good when cooked in stew, so I might try that.
    *We went to see the new Downton Abbey movie (and forced our kids to go with us, haha). We shared snacks and drinks. I debated sneaking some in, but that always makes me feel bad! So we enjoyed the popcorn and soda.
    *Using fuel rewards brought gas down to $4.09 per gallon. Yikes! Like everyone else, we try to combine trips as often as possible.

  46. From reading your blog for many years, I know you have to deal with water rationing. Have you ever had to deal with rolling black outs? I read an article recently that the US can expect them this summer and I am wondering how someone can prepare for something like that? Does it last for an hour? 15 minutes? 5 hours? Is it scheduled and so planned or do they just…go off? Not sure if you have experienced that or what your thoughts are on that, but I am wondering WWBD? (What would Brandy do?) 😉

    1. It’s good to have some sort of backup lighting. I have kerosene lanterns as well as some candles.

      A solar lamp, if charged, can work well too.

      When there are blackouts, the power just goes out. It can last a few minutes to a few hours.

      Everyone can help prevent them by using less power during the hottest part of the day. Setting your thermostat higher (78°) means pulling less power from the grid. Of course, everyone needs to work together to accomplish this. I saw a recent discussion about a/c temperatures locally and lots of people set it at 70° or even lower! This pulls a lot of power.

      We rarely have blackouts here. It happens on occasion and when it does, it usually seems to affect a different part of the valley. The electric company here has set up a ton of solar power and I honestly think Southern Nevada will not have rolling blackouts this summer like other places are predicting.

  47. The bright pink poppies and red poppies in your photos are beautiful. What is the name of the seeds you planted for the pink poppies and the red poppies? Are California poppies always yellow? From what company did you order your seeds? Are they perennials? Do they bloom all summer? I have never planted any and would love to start this year after seeing your photos.

    1. California poppies can also be red, white (rare) and orange. There was a place near where I lived in California where people would go to see the poppies every year. They were almost all orange.

      I have gotten poppy seeds from several places, including Wildseed Farms, Select Seeds, and Eden Brothers.

      There is a type of poppy that is perennial, but I don’t grow that one. I think that one prefers a cooler climate. Mine are annuals. There are several different types of poppies; you can even buy breadseed poppies.

      1. One of the prettiest displays of common orange California poppies I ever saw was edging them with white alyssum. A friend’s husband did this with two packages of seeds and they reseeded themselves and came back for many years.

  48. Brandy

    Your hollyhocks look beautiful –dwarf doubles are what I’ve been looking for.

    I spent $17 on a roast beef and saved $23. Frugal fail: all of my tomato plants died. I was keeping them inside until it warmed up.
    I still have no idea what their problem was. The squash plants survived. I am cooking the roast and frozen chicken thighs in the same oven.
    a friend gave me a bunch of lovely locally grown asparagus. The cleanup of the flowerbeds continues (but probably without me as I am ill — not covid). The book is almost done and ready to go to the printers. The layout is looking beautiful.

  49. I bet it was so exciting to have both lettuce and tomatoes together. Store bought lettuce just doesn’t compare to garden fresh lettuce…or anything fresh really. The Hollyhocks are just beautiful! I’m going to research the seeds as I would love to grow some in my garden. It is so whimsical and joyful.

    We have continued to pick fresh strawberries and lettuce/spinach/Tatsoi/Greens daily. The final Tatsoi and spinach leaves were harvested to let the centers keep rising to make seed to collect for continue plantings in the fall. Most days we are picking at least a pound of berries. They were planted as bare root plants last year and pinching off the buds last year has really increased the production this year. After they finish making berries, I will let the runners start so we can make more plants for next year. I sowed more seeds for another round of squash, nasturtium, chard, carrots, more heat tolerant lettuce and Calendula. I planted out snapdragons, celosia, statice and strawflowers I had started from seed. I took cuttings from some Dahlia tubers to make more plants of varieties I wanted more of. I collected rainwater in buckets and watering cans at collection points of the roof during our storms. I use that to water my seedlings under lights and indoors along with leftover water from indoor use.

    We opened our windows and turned off the ac every morning this past week. Saturday, we had a 20 degree drop in temperature after the storms moved through and didn’t have to run the ac at all yesterday or today, which saved about $5 a day in electric costs over the previous days we have been running in the afternoons.

    Our friend moving at the end of the month gave us a sealed twin sized Nectar mattress for my daughter, some decorative wall shelves, two 3-tier stacked planters, bubbles and notebooks for the children, a sealed quart of maple syrup, a new package of yeast and some cute colored glass hangings for the garden she purchased off Etsy for helping her.

    I cut off some leggings of my daughters that still fit but had holes at the knees and turned them into play shorts.

    We received a huge shock when we received a document from our mortgage lender that said our payments were going up by $498 a month!!! Due to Homeowner’s Insurance going up from $1685 to $5998. It was insane. We live in a tornado prone area and our insurance company said it was due to our area being reclassified and all the claims this past year, of which not one was from us. We quickly sat down and started researching different options. To say I had a mini panic would be an understatement. Thankfully within 24 hours we were able to switch to a much better company, with double the coverage and it was only $208 more than our original policy. We researched and were also able to switch over our van insurance to get a bundle discount and save another $300 per six months of coverage. So in the end we were much better off to switch but it made for a not so fun 24 hours. I’m sure it will really mess with our escrow account for a few months but hopefully we can get the first one refunded quickly and won’t have the added charges for long.
    My heart pains me for all the families affected this week by all the violence.

    1. Egads!!! I felt sick just reading about your homeowners insurance! KS had that F3 come through a couple of weeks ago and I know that there were plenty of claims. Now I’m worried! We surely couldn’t handle that kind of increase. Gah!

      1. Debby, it was such a huge shock! I live in Arkansas and we get tornados quite frequently in surrounding areas, ours hasn’t been directly hit since 2008 so I wasn’t prepared at all. We don’t have that kind of wiggle room in our budget either.

  50. I love that hollyhock, Brandy! When I was a little girl, I used to grow hollyhocks in the dog run of all places. Mine didn’t look that good. Instead they caught some kind of disease, but I still enjoyed growing them. I think the color on yours is exquisite.

    Since the weather has improved here, I was able to get out into the yard and garden for literally hours and hours this past week. SO many weeds!!! My husband has grown a small greenhouse full of starts, but it has been too wet to get them into the ground. Sadly, the tomatoes started looking terrible. They just needed to be planted in the ground and were leggy and sad. But, I got some of them planted a couple of weeks ago anyway–deeply–and they are just now starting to put on new growth and look a little better. They will grow roots along the stem I buried. When our neighbor came knocking on our door asking him if he had any to spare, he was actually embarrassed to give her some they looked so terrible. But, I handed them over gladly and told her to just throw them away if they didn’t work out for her. I am pretty sure she will get lots and lots of tomatoes, given time. It’s worth a try, anyway, if she wants to try, given the price of food right now. We were able to share a few pepper plants, extra flowers and onions with another friend.

    I picked another batch of garden lettuce and we have been mixing it with iceberg from the store and having salads daily. Rob started some iceberg lettuce seeds in the greenhouse and I will plant them out when they are bigger. He also got some melon seeds going in there. I dug up some potato plants that had started growing from discarded peelings in my compost heap and planted them in the garden. If I get potatoes, they will be truly free, as they were from scraps.

    I got 4 large trash cans of sawdust for free from a local business. They dump it in a pile, free for the taking. I cleaned out a flowerbed where I grow bulbs and spread it there.

    We enjoyed a picnic at the park with friends. There were about 14 kids there. Our kind of fun! My husband built a fire in one of those box-type BBQ grills there at the park and the kids roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. I took potato salad, coleslaw and a couple of odds and ends. Others brought the rest. We also visited our local park with the grandsons and nephew. We took several walks through the neighborhood. Our nephew has been playing badminton in the back yard with us, if we will, and just hitting the birdie up and down if we are busy.

    The library is fully up and running again and we have started using it more and more. Rob has been taking our nephew there and he’s been getting books to read at our house. Today he had a “how to draw” book and was using it to draw.

    I’ve been gathering food items from various stores and making food ahead and freezing it for my daughter’s graduation party that will happen on Saturday. I purposely shopped less over the past few weeks so I can spend more this week and still stay in budget for the month. Many family members have offered to bring food items, and I took them up on it, and was specific in what I wanted (fancy little finger foods). She wants a theme of “tea party” so I’ve been digging out my teacups, fancy dishes, etc. in preparation of the big event. It will be fun to use them. We have absolutely no idea of how many people will actually show up, so I’m cooking a lot:).

    Pictures are on my blog–http://beckyathome.com

  51. Beautiful photos here and on Instagram!
    I am on vacation in Nassau, Bahamas so not doing my usual frugal things.
    I froze turkey and chicken slices, milk and a cooked chicken pie and packed them in my checked luggage. I also brought rolls, snacks, (no fruit or vegetables can be brought in) and paper goods. My sister brought food too!
    My sister had a complimentary pass for an airport lounge at JFK which we weren’t going to use because of our early departure time. Then the flight was delayed, so we went to “Wingtips” and had scrambled eggs, potato patty and really good coffee. I didn’t eat the bagel I had taken but crammed it into my tote with a tube of cream cheese and ate it for breakfast here the next day.
    We didn’t rent a car. Even a couple taxi trips a day would be cheaper than a rental (although so far, we have mostly walked). I have taken the local bus (“jitney”) at $1.50 each way, saving a $40 taxi fare.
    I am swimming every day in the ocean (people here call it “the sea”) and in one of the pools right next to the condo. I also have used the little gym here—stationary bike, free weights (2# and 3#) and some machines that I replicate physical therapy exercises for my knees. I am very sedentary at home so I am loving this healthy lifestyle.
    I went to a farmer’s market that a lady in another condo here told me about so we have fresh vegetables, salad and an Eleutheran pineapple.
    One thing to think of for anyone traveling: pack your at-home Covid tests! I have 4 unused tests (with the next set already ordered) sitting at home. My BIL felt congested after our flight and wanted to make sure he didn’t have Covid. Tests here are $40 and at-home test swabs are $15 each. It’s worth it for the peace of mind, but it would have been handy to have our free at-home test kits with us.
    Wishing everyone a safe and healthy week.

  52. My oldest daughter’s family is visiting so we have been enjoying lots of family time. It’s so fun having all four of our grandchildren in one place! I planned meals so we have been eating at home. Everyone went to the zoo today, which is free (they request a donation). So that was fun for all. I stayed home and did my homework while it was quiet. My husband celebrated his 57th birthday on Tuesday. We had a little party here at home with our family and one of our favorite families. For his gift, I asked him what he wanted. He told me he really wanted a new pillow, so I said, “pick one out, buy it and it’ll be from me!” He is a great guy, but a little tricky to buy for…so this worked great for us. I also bought him a puzzle I thought he’d like (he did). Otherwise, we are trying our best to not waste food or gas, finding fun things to do at home. Still working on an afghan with donated yarn and reading library books. I really appreciate all the books recommended here. I hope everyone has a peaceful and frugal week. It’s been so sad to see the heartache around us, so I’m focusing as much as I can on making things as peaceful as I can in my own little sphere.

  53. My comment never appeared. I must’ve done something wrong. Hmph! Dumb ol computer!

    1. Nope, I’m the dingbat!!! I must’ve missed it. You can remove both my comments, Brandy! I’ll pay better attention in the future lol!

  54. Hi,
    The hollyhock is beautiful. I can hardly wait to see your new pergola. It sounds like it will be amazing.
    The last couple of weeks have been ordinary for the most part. I cut my husband’s hair, shopped sales, and cooked inexpensive vegetarian food at home. My son made bread and homemade pizza when he was here. I have been wanting to start gardening and sewing. I always talk things overr with God when I feel we need something. As it turned out we found that our geriatric rototiller was fixable. It turned out to be not as expensive as we had thought it might be. It took a while because the repair shop guys were sick with COVID for a while, and then they must have been backlogged because when my husband would call to ask if they had figured out what was wrong with the rototiller, they would name some guy and say he was “still tinkering with it.” Finally, they called and said it was fixed. We took the chainsaw in to them to be repaired. It is an ancient Stihl 45 that was used by a commercial logging operation 4-5 decades ago, but the timber company used saws hard for only 2-3 years and then replaced them, and we gave it only light use. The repairman said he would try to start the saw, and if it turned over, he would work on it, but if it wouldn’t he wouldn’t try to fix it. He was able to get it running, so he kept it, ostensibly to “tinker” with. I also got a call saying my sewing machine is repaired and ready to go, and the cost was much lower than I expected. With our tools in better shape, we will have fewer excuses for not getting to work..

    We decided to try raised bed gardening and are going to try something like this–> https://www.amazon.com/Mittleider-Gardening-Book/dp/B01MSTZHIU/ref=sr_1_1? crid=1T9EWOAE4QRR&keywords=mittleider+gardening+course+book&qid=1653614270&sprefix=mittle%2Caps%2C220&sr=8-1
    We found a YouTube video about how to build grow boxes from pallets, and we like this one —->>>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya7r420KQZs
    We decided to make the boxes as inexpensively as we can right now to see how it goes. We have been kind of looking for pallets. Today we were able to acquire some free pallets relatively close to home. I combined the trip with shopping for a few other items. I found a nice birthday card at Dollar Tree for 50 cents and bought a sewing item I need.
    I went yard sale-ing and thrift shopping last weekend with my daughter and granddaughters and found a metal, spring-type embroidery hoop and three short circular knitting needles for 25 cents each. I have looked and looked for an embroidery hoop, so I was especially thankful to get that. My granddaughter, age 12, bought herself a pair of capris that look like new. The other granddaughter was looking for books, but we didn’t find any she wanted. We had a really fun time. They have really gotten into buying used this spring. One of them used her collected birthday money to buy a used mountain bike from a college girl who appeared to be unloading her well-cared-for bike. It is even purple. She also bought herself a small table for $5 to refinish and resell. This is her first project. I think she has been watching videos. It will be interesting to see how this turns out, but I am proud of her thriftiness.

    Today on the way home from getting the pallets the transmission on the pickup heated up too much, and we had to wait until it cooled off. We parked overlooking the ocean once and next to a forest another time. It was nice to soak in the scenery and choose our favorite tree. Then we stopped at a small library and read for a while while it cooled again. A knitting group was meeting at the library, and they invited me to join them next week. I don’t know if I can, but it is interesting how things just work out sometimes. Now if we could figure out what’s wrong with the transmission that keeps shifting hard and overheating. . .
    I have enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. I always learn so much. Best wishes to everyone.

  55. We are now two weeks out from my husband’s retirement and counting down the workdays! We worry a bit with the stock market swinging so wildly but will tighten the belt a little more if needed. Our main expense that is extraordinary is gasoline to go out to clean/clear at his folks, who passed in January. We have been doing this for an average of three days every week since then. He’s been using a day of vacation nearly every week, and two days the past four weeks and we go out there in the morning, returning home around 9 p.m. as it’s an hour away. He is executor and the lawyer said to track the mileage of the trips and the cost/mile will be reimbursed, not gas, as that’s too difficult since we use the car for our own errands as well. His brother who lives in the same town as his folks did, has only come out to help a handful of times. The past two weeks we’ve hauled a few tons of different metals to the recycling yard for money for the estate account. I’ve brought our lunches and snacks of fruit out with us. Hopefully we’re nearing the end of this. We are taking Sunday and Monday off and working on our own house a bit.

    Earlier I’d posted that FEMA will pay up to $9,000 per person if the cause of death on death certificate is covid, and I just wanted to report back that it took a few months and some back-forth with paperwork that included requests that were reasonable (his brother had to sign an affidavit that he wouldn’t be applying for the funds as well), but the payment was received to cover most of the funeral costs. The tent wasn’t reimbursed (it was 20 degrees that day), and a few other small items, but the vast majority was and that was a huge help. We’re hoping the sale of their house will cover their debts.

    All but one dinner (Chipotle – and I discovered I could get the kids meal and that was a perfect option) was homemade: vegan winter lentil stew, red pepper coques, veg fried rice, southwest potato bowls, and Impossible Burgers with beans. I thought the package of those Impossible Burgers was expensive, but one of them at Bru Burger, a restaurant here, is about $14, so that’s more than the package and I rationalize it that we get three meals out of the one package ($11). Still not cheap but it is a speedy dinner option if we need it.

    Target had a $10 off $60 order and I already was going to purchase close to that, so added in kitty litter to top the mark and get the discount.

    Those hollyhocks – how gorgeous! I think I might have to try growing them next spring. My Thai Basil is still soldiering along and will be split into their own containers soon. I have terrible luck (or do a terrible job) when trying to harden small plants. So sometimes I have them linger too long in my windows.

    1. Hollyhocks are a biennial, so plant seeds directly in the garden this fall.

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