I harvested basil, mint, lemon verbena, a watermelon, and a large zucchini from the garden. The watermelon is an open-pollinated type, so I saved the seeds to plant next year. I haven’t grown watermelon for a long time, and the seeds I planted earlier this year were quite old, but they still grew. My children loved the watermelon and were very excited about me growing some at home after they tasted this one. I have a few smaller ones still growing that I will harvest soon. This type has a thick rind, so I buried the rinds in the garden.

My worms came this week, so the rinds will provide food for them.

I made several meatless meals this week, including taco soup, pasta salad, bean burritos, and chili.

I baked biscuits, zucchini/pumpkin bread (I substituted pumpkin that I had cooked for the oil in the recipe), brownies, and cornbread.

My husband made steel two arches for the garden.

I took three of my teens to Walmart. They wanted to buy things with money they have earned from work and babysitting. I had just been there the week before and had bought my son a pair of shoes. My son decided to buy himself a pair of jeans. When he went to try them on, the girl who works at the dressing rooms told him she really liked his shoes, and asked him if his shoes were a specific name brand. He replied, “No. I bought them here, actually.” My daughters had just been talking about his new shoes earlier that day and how they looked like a name brand, so this was extra fun for everyone. My children like the inexpensive, cloth high-top tennis shoes.

I combined this trip with a trip to Winco. Even though both are close, every bit of gas savings helps.

Our Sunday church meetings were a two-hour conference. It was broadcast. We decided to stay home and watch online, which saved on gas.

I printed some free phonics worksheets that I found online for my kindergartner to do as part of his school. I am tailoring the worksheets I print to his specific needs.

I paid extra towards the principal on our mortgage payment. I scheduled a larger recurring monthly withdrawal from my checking to my savings account.

I started going through the children’s clothing to put aside items for a garage sale or donation.

We visited a nearby free corn maze for fun.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. I think I need a metal rose arbor… yours is impressive and gorgeous!

    I got my car oil changed and the mechanics found an issue with a wheel bearing. It’s scheduled to be fixed on Tuesday, 10/26, and they said the car was driveable but issues could develop if I put a lot of miles on it so I stayed home from Wednesday through today, Monday. It was pretty boring, to be honest, but I did some cleaning, gardening, and organizing. My daughter and two friends offered to take me anywhere I needed to be or to buy groceries but I needed nothing since my pantry and freezer are fully stocked and I have all the toiletries and cat food needed for the next 5-6 months. On the plus side, I spent very little money and used no gas at all. That’s really good since the low cost station where I spent $2.73 per gallon on 8/25 is now up to $3.10 exactly two months later, an increase of 13.5%. Other stations are at $3.20 or more.

    I thoroughly cleaned the refrigerator. I juiced lemons and made lemon zest, using both to make lemon scones. I also juiced and zested oranges that were well past their prime for eating but the juice and zest were fine. I’ll be using them to make cranberry orange bread or scones. I chopped and froze more peppers from my garden and ate all meals at home. I also created my shopping list for this week which will get me through November for perishables and for several more months for pantry items. I had planned to do the big stock up in December but redid my budget to do it now because I’m not confident how much will be available in December.

    I finished decorating for Halloween. My old house had 3 stories and 2 fireplaces and some of my decorations are large and geared toward the fireplace mantles and hearths. It’s interesting finding spots to put those pieces. The same thing happens at Christmas. However, I have NO regrets living in a smaller, single story home where fireplaces aren’t needed!

    Our weather has been wonderful the last few weeks and that’s reflected in my electric bill. It was posted online this morning and was $60 for 29 days. I used an average of 9.93 kWh per day for the billing period.

    I did a lot of weeding and put a couple pepper plants in the lawn waste bag. One of them had new blossoms but they probably won’t have time to mature before the first frost. I do have some new pepper plants in pots that I will bring inside the house on cold nights along with the tomato plants that I bought in September and which have multiple tomatoes on them now. I saved seeds from both my Autumn Bell and Cubanelle peppers since both are open-pollinated.

    I read/listened to three books, including The Kitchen Front. To be honest, I found the information on how people gardened and survived much more interesting than the interactions between most of the characters but still enjoyed the book. Then again, I generally prefer mysteries and conspiracy books when I read fiction.

    Finally, I mentioned several weeks ago that I work with Katie’s Krops, which provides funds for children who are between 7 and 16 years old to grow gardens to provide food to members of their community, food pantries, etc. A couple people mentioned that this might be a good thing for their children or grandchildren to do. They are now accepting applications for 2022 growers and you can find more information and a link to the application at The 2022 Katie’s Krops Grower Search is Officially Open! – Welcome to Katie’s Krops ! (katieskrops.com).

    1. I had to chuckle at your high price of gas!? It’s $4.15 a gallon at the cheapest place in town. Yikes. I’m all about saving gas, too!

      Beth in San Diego,CA

      1. Here in the Bay Area the average cost of regular (which we can’t use) is $4.55/gal. We are doing everything possible to save on our fuel budget to try to save enough for our little out of town trip for Thanksgiving.

        Amber in SJ

  2. What a busy and productive week! By the way, apparently watermelon rinds contain nutrition, and different compounds than the red/pink flesh. As well, one can make rind pickles. And wow, your husband is quite the welder!

    My frugal week:
    – I made Short-Cut pumpkin spice waffles (http://approachingfood.com/pumpkin-spice-waffles/) (rather like pumpkin pie in waffle form!) using a can of pumpkin pie filling given to me.
    – I baked vanilla wacky cake cupcakes. No egg or milk makes it quite frugal! My toddler enjoyed decorating them with candies…leftover from the gender reveal cake (http://approachingfood.com/how-to-make-a-gender-reveal-cake/) I baked 3 years ago! I mean…does candy go bad?
    – using my local trading app, I got rid of an item I hadn’t used in years in exchange for app currency, which I’ll use at a later date.
    – I took advantage of a promo to get three free custom photo cards from Walmart, which I used as thank you cards for my daughter’s baptism.
    – My daughter wore the same handmade dress and bonnet at her baptism that her older sister wore several years ago. I got several compliments on the dress, which tickled me pink, as I had sewn it without any pattern.
    – I took advantage of a promo to get a custom logo shirt with my blog logo, for $11 incl. shipping
    – I made lots of pasta salads, using pantry staples, including my fave macaroni salad (http://approachingfood.com/best-ever-macaroni-salad-and-eating-for-two/)
    – I found a sale on short-dated smarties and bought all 8 jumbo packages at 25 cents each.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

    1. I did suggest the pickles to the children but they didn’t want to try them.

      I should try sticking the white parts in a smoothie on the next one that I cut. Reading your comment gave me the idea.

  3. How exciting about the watermelon!
    Had 2 larger car repair bills this month so hoping to keep the next few weeks extra frugal!
    *stuck to menu plan and ate or froze leftovers
    *made iced tea and coffee at home
    *gratefully accepted leftovers from parents after a visit
    *took free library classes and read library books
    *took advantage of the beautiful weather by taking walks (free entertainment and exercise)
    *tried to cut down electrical use when able
    *added a few items to pantry for either emergency use and/or to help with grocery budget as costs are rising: canned chili with beans and 4 packages of Cajun 15 bean soup

    Hope everyone is happy and healthy!

  4. I finished quilting the second vintage quilt for a client this week and am pleased with the result. https://pin.it/7l8JJ9J. It was Quilt #196 on my machine! I’ve started another Scrap busting quilt to put into my gift cupboard using another free online pattern! Still no end in sight to my scraps but I’ve been finding more and more free online patterns that I’m going to be using to use them up and also add to my gift cupboard!

    I finished my salsa making which put 56 pints of salsa on my shelves for the winter. I have been continuing to dehydrate my kale and crushing it into green powder.

    We had an overwhelming experience on Thursday afternoon!! Our newest grandson, 2 weeks old, was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome as well as Hirschsprung Disease so he has been in the NICU at our Children’s Hospital since his birth. His mom and dad (our son) have 5 other children!
    We found out yesterday that their fridge was still not cooling enough- 50 degrees rather than 40. Repairmen have been out several times and “fixed” it but supposedly they should replace the fridge under it’s warranty. But they have been dragging their feet and the next repairman couldn’t come out for another week, even though they called for service 2 weeks ago! 😱
    Hubs and I just received a 10% off coupon from Home Depot, so we went over to the store to look at new fridges.

    What happened after that was nothing short of a miracle! We told the salesperson what we were looking for and what price point we wanted to stay under, if possible. We told her the situation that made it so vital . All of a sudden, she took us over to a GE brand with all the features that we had hoped for. It was the model from the past season and that specific floor model was going to be replaced next week with the new season’s model. So they had substantially reduced the price only for that specific floor model to make space for the new model coming in next week.

    She said we could buy this floor model without waiting for a different one to be ordered and then come in (which, at best, wouldn’t have been less than 2 weeks)!
    We checked out delivery and were anticipating that it would be several days in the future as well! We were bowled over when she was able to set the delivery up for the very next day!! That never happens!!
    Then we were able to use the coupon we got in the mail to take another 10% off!!
    The next afternoon, Friday, we called to see where we were in the queue for delivery and were confused because delivery department said they were coming from a different Home Depot store (we have several in our city). That concerned us because it was a specific fridge, not just a specific model. We called the manager and she checked and a mistake had been made. 🙁 But she promised to make it right and have it delivered within the hour! Hubs drove to our son’s house to be there to help install it. When it arrived, it was not the normal delivery truck, but one of the HD rental trucks from the store and the delivery people were the delivery manager from that particular store and the sales manager from that store! They did not want any more delay with that delivery! They were so kind!
    To say that this is remarkable or a tender miracle is an understatement! We are so grateful that because of careful budgeting, we are able to do this without causing a wrinkle in our budget and without dipping into savings since the Home Depot card won’t be due until Dec 18th!!
    We are so grateful!! We firmly believe that the majority of people in the world around us are kind and good-hearted!

    Our youngest son will hear today about a coding job at a well known bank here. He and 3 others were working with a company that places high functioning adults with autism into jobs that they are well equipped to do but might not interview well for in the hiring process. He fits the skill qualifications needed and has had the zoom meet and greet with bank representatives and the first of the 2 bank people has given green light. The second and final bank representative is due back today (they had been off on Friday) and supposedly, that approval is just a formality. This would be such a blessing since his hours cooking and selling food at the zoo are shortened as the fall/winter arrive. Not only that, but his hourly starting range would be almost double what he is currently making and he would have a 401K from day 1 and health insurance and other real benefits that he doesn’t get at the zoo (even though he’s been there over 3 years!) it would also be much closer to where he lives so not so much gas or wear and tear on his car! And a regular 40 hour week that are the same hours/days every week!! We are so hopeful! That would be one more step forward towards his becoming even more independent!

    We were able to redeem another $20 in rewards from our bank cc (that we pay off in full each month) and have it put directly into our savings account. Our son-in-law (who retired at 35) told us about an offer with our investment company where we would get a $100 bonus for opening a money market account with them with a starting deposit of just $50. We checked and they were offering us this same deal! I thought this year that we had already participated in most of the offers to open checking accounts . For 2021, that has totaled an extra $900 into our savings! It’s also given us an opportunity to try out new banks and compare features. Some we have had a definite NO to keeping because they didn’t work as well for our situation, but two of the others, we found that we do like and have continued to keep them open.
    Because of the fall temperatures that have come in, we have changed into our cool weather clothes- socks, sweaters/sweatshirts, sweatpants or jeans so we don’t need to turn furnaces on yet. At night, we are keeping warm under two quilts and also heating up (in the microwave) the rice bags (actually I used hard red wheat that we’ve had for years) and putting them under the quilts where our feet would be when we come to bed! I made the bags last year from cotton scraps and the hard red wheat (so, no OOP costs) and we were amazed at the difference that made!! When our feet are warm, we go to sleep quicker and are warm enough without turning on heater!! When winter sets in, Hubs wears a hoodie to bed to keep his head warm and I use one of the extra loom knitted yarn caps that were made for charity donations out of yarn leftovers! We may look silly, but it really keeps us warmer and keeps our heating bills lower!! And we laugh at how silly we must look to others if they saw us! And the laughter is the best frugal thing!!
    It’s been an exceptional week! We feel overwhelmingly blessed and hope that everyone else is finding and receiving things in their lives to give them joy, peace and prosperity in uncertain times.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Sorry about all the difficulties, Pat.
      w had a washing machine that needed the same in-warranty repair several times and the last time they decided just to pay us what we paid for the machine.
      I hope you or your son’s family will be able to get the in-warranty refrigerator company to pay for the refrigerator. It’s outrageous that they wanted you to wait that long. A snail mail letter ot the CEO has helped me in the past.

      Good luck!

    2. I hope your hand is doing better and that the doctors are able to resolve the bowel issue for your grandson. Are they planning to remove the section with the missing nerve cells? That diagnosis had to be such a shock for everyone. I’m also happy for you that you could bless them with a new, working refrigerator.

      1. Mari in SC- You are absolutely right about our grandson. When he turns 2 months old, that is the surgery they will perform.
        I actually went back to Urgent Care on Sunday afternoon (8 days after the original cut to my finger) because it was red and throbbing. The scar is going to be huge! 😳 The nurse practioner this time was surprised that they hadn’t put it in a finger splint and gave me antibiotics because it is infected with either staph or strep. I suspended my “snuggle” visits to my grandson until I have a good amount of antibiotics into my system.

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Garden Pat, I spent many years working with families of babies and toddlers with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Wishing your grandson improved health and it is wonderful that he has loving grandparents and extended family to cherish him and help with his development. All the best to the wee one and family.

      1. I- We feel so fortunate to live literally 2 minutes away from Children’s Hospital where are grandson is. They give Hubs and I (we are the 2 additional visitors allowed now besides Mom & Dad) access to visit 24/7 and even validate our parking every time so there’s no charge! We visit him separately, at different times than our son and DIL to maximize the snuggles that our little bub gets. And if I can’t sleep or am up way early, I can just drive over and hold him!
        Gives me a big dose of “happy” for the rest of the day!!

    4. Prayers and blessings for your new little grandson and family. Will they be able to perform surgery for the Hirschsprung’s?

      1. Alice McC- Yes! He will have surgery at 2 months. It’s amazing and wonderful to me to see all the scaled to baby size instruments and supplies they have! The little blood pressure cuff looks like a small bandaid when they put it on him! And the tiny tubes and wires- it is miraculous to us to be living at such a time in such a place!

    5. Congratulations Gardenpat on the birth of a new grandson. Prayers that he will soon be out of NICU. Good luck to your son on the new position that he has applied for. I’m so glad Home Depot was able to help with a new fridge for your new grandson’s family. HD truly is a great store – they also helped the animal rescue organization that I support and volunteer at this past summer when their fridge died. They need a fridge to keep medicines for the sick cats and dogs and HD came to their rescue — they donated a new fridge, also a display model, had an employee set it up and remove the nonworking fridge.

    6. Gardenpat this was so inspiring and I was a NICU nurse for over 10 years in my 30 plus nursing career..babies like your grandchild are our favorite, they are loved and cherished by the nurses
      Your refrigerator story made my day and I am rooting for your son to get this new job!

      1. Pam Wager McCormick- we could not wish for better, more caring nurses and staff at Children’s Hospital! They are truly angels!
        And Monday late afternoon, our son texted to say that he got the job!! Computer Aid, Incorporated- Autism2Work is the placement company that worked with him and starting Nov. 15th, he will work a 40 hour week – 8:30- 5:30 Monday- Friday! When we saw the text, Hubs and I laughed and cried at the same time! We were so thrilled!!

        Thanks for all the good wishes and asking how they are doing!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    7. Best wishes Pat to your son and grandson. The baby is fortunate to have been born into a caring family. Wish you you all well.

    8. Hi Pat, just wishing you the best for your grandson. I’ll bet he is amazing and beautiful:) My 16 year old daughter was born with Hirschprungs and had a section of her bowel removed at 4 days old. She then had a colostomy for 9 months and a pull thru after that. (no more colostomy) The blessing for us with Hirschprungs is that it alerted us to her chronic kidney disease at 2 weeks old. I wanted to see if the docs have checked kidneys and renal function for your grandson, as their can be links for some with Hirschprungs and kidney disease. Not saying this to scare you or add more to your families plate, just to give you information. If your family ever wanted someone to bounce things off of with this issue, please feel free to let me know.

    9. Congratulations on the birth of your new grandchild. I bet he is precious. Step one is to get him healthy and home. Step 2 is to love him and be prepared for the many blessing he will bring to your family. I speak from experience as I am the proud parent of 3 adult children with Down syndrome. Check out this website to learn more about Down syndrome. dsagc.com

    10. Garden pat, I always enjoy reading your comment. Congrats on your grandson. You are in for a treat. My youngest son is now one year old and has Down Syndrome. We are absolutely over the moon in love with him. He has seven other siblings so you can expect your other grandchildren to love him to pieces. We had to spend three weeks in NICU and it was so long and tiring but what a beautiful day when we got to bring our baby home. Many prayers for your sweet grandson tonight. And what a wonderful blessing that you live near and can visit. Our son was born during the height of covid so only me and my husband could visit, separately. Enjoy your snuggles!

  5. I’m so glad you were successful in growing zucchini this year. And watermelons are always fun! It’s wonderful seeing your garden structures come to life. Our fall garden is doing well, with the cabbage, collards and broccoli growing nicely. There are even little broccoli heads starting to form. The seeded fall beds with carrots, beets. and winter greens are starting to grow. I’m still harvesting eggplant, yellow squash, peppers, lettuce, hickory nuts, black haw and hawthorne fruits, roselle hibiscus and figs. Aldi’s had butternut squash for .79/#, less than the other 2 stores at .99/#, so I bought one. I haven’t bought them in years, and am not sure of a good price, as we usually grow them, but this year, we only got a few small ones. It’s my favorite winter squash, so I’ll be looking to buy more. I brought a pile of magazines to donate to the library’s free basket, and also donated a nice puzzle with a book theme. One of the branches in our county has puzzles, so they were happy to take it to pass on to them. All meals were cooked at home, except for Friday, when I thrifted and had lunch with a friend, then met my siblings for dinner, the first time we’ve all been together since Covid began. My husband planted garlic, and cut a large pile of wood. It still needs splitting, but this made room for more wood that someone wants to give him. We’ve surely been blessed with firewood the past couple of years. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/10/the-slow-turning-of-leaves-bonus-flowers.html

    1. Well, I’ve grown TWO so far this year. Haha. We’ll see how it goes as it continues to cool down.

  6. We are repurposing the old chicken coop, roughly 10′ x 6′, converting it into a greenhouse. The expense is fairly minimal as we have much of the supplies onhand and can do the work ourselves. For our first winter, we will be start with growing all kinds of greens through the winter and keep all our potted herbs growing through winter as well. I appreciate the cooking herbs, but am most grateful for the medicinal herbs that we have on hand. I am harvesting mullein leaves to make a tea that is good for respiratory issues.

    I accidentally spilled some olive oil on the counter and blotted it up with paper napkins. As i was about to put the napkins in the garbage can, it dawned on me that I could use them to polish the dining room and living room furniture.

    We are trying very hard to have zero kitchen waste. We bought sweet cream that turned out to be too sweet to use in coffee but was repurposed in smoothies, and also in French toast batter.

    I harvested a bushel basket of mojito mint which we use in limade or lemonade all year long, and hope to make jelly with it as well, as in pepper jelly.

    Last of all, I am in the process of researching which stores are offering significant savings this veterans day, as I use the opportunity for buying Christmas gifts, and other items we need.

  7. I’m very appreciative of this gentle, supportive community full of encouragement and positive ideas.

    I don’t want to be melodramatic and am keeping in mind the request to stay on topic so I’ll just say this outright: my husband passed away unexpectedly and I’m working through everything that goes with such a thing. (His death was not related to COVID and had to do with health issues we knew about; nonetheless it was unexpected and sad.) I know that people on this site will grieve with me and be generous in sharing sympathy, prayers, and kind thoughts. Following Brandy’s posts and reading all the comments has been a refuge and a solace for me during this time.

    I know at some point I will return to the frugal practices that we both enjoyed because they contributed to our enjoyment of our life together, and I’ll hope to resume posting here from time to time. Right now I have to focus on other things.

    The day before he passed, my husband walked through the kitchen for something, paused, and said, “Have I mentioned how nice it is that you keep the k-cup tree stocked with my favorite coffee?” (Don Francisco’s Blueberry, by the way.) I think I said, “You’ve mentioned it, yeah. That’s part of what makes it fun.” He said, “Well, I always appreciate it. Just so you know.” I responded with something offhand, like, “Easy-peasy! I like doing it!” And we went about our day. I don’t have the words for how deeply I cherish that quick little exchange, and others like it.

    Dear friends, with the understanding that I’m “preaching to the choir” here in this community, it’s on my heart to say: be imprudently, unfrugally, wildly lavish with loving comments and gestures of appreciation and enjoyment for things large and small. Spread them around with extravagant generosity, in your “outside voices”, without thought for cost. It’s so easy to do, and it means the world.

    1. Oh Ava!

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment!

      I’m so sorry about your husband.

      We will be here for you when you are ready to join us again.

    2. Ava, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m happy you have such a wonderful memory and that you stocked that coffee because you knew it brought him joy. I wish acceptance, contentment and peace for you

    3. Wishing you many wonderful memories and many wonderful people to support you, Ava!
      And I will do as you say to share my appreciation with others.

    4. What a lovely memory of a sweet exchange for you to have in the face of such sadness.
      Considering the circumstance of your post, I am awed by your graciousness and optimism (certainly no melodrama).
      I’m so sorry.

    5. Ava, Sending you blessings during this difficult time. You are so right that it is important to appreciate the small things in our families and our life.

    6. I am very sorry for your loss. I enjoyed reading your post, in particular, the coffee comments….how sweet. Thank you for the wise, often overlooked advice. Perhaps you will find a nice way to honor your husbands memory.

    7. Ava,
      I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine losing my husband. You are so right about loving comments and appreciation.


    8. Ava,
      I’m praying for you at this sad time! My husband passed away in his sleep 5 years ago at the age of 64, so I understand what you are going through. We were high school sweethearts and got to have 45 wonderful years together! Keep those precious memories close in your mind and don’t hesitate to let friends and family help you in any way they can! I was hesitant to ask for help, but when my water heater quit working some of the men from my church came and replaced it for me. When I tried to pay them for the labor one of them told me, “no, please don’t steal away my blessing from helping you!” 🙂 They were glad to help me with something that my husband would have done himself. And it was a blessing to them to get to do it. God bless you and be with you. I know I could physically feel people’s prayers for me. I hope you feel them from all of us here!

    9. Ava, I’m sorry to learn of your husband’s passing. I lost my husband almost 15 years ago and I’m still adjusting in some ways. May you have peace and comfort as you go forward.

    10. Ava, heartfelt hugs and prayers for you. What a sweet memory to have. Hold on and cherish each one that comes to mind.

    11. Ava,
      I am sorry for your loss. I agree with above comments–I cannot imagine losing my husband.

      And thank you for the reminder to use our outside voice to spread love!

    12. My sympathies to you, Ava. What a wonderful testimony to your husband. Thank you for sharing this little peek into your life together which sounds as if it is very blessed, indeed.
      Peace be with you at this time and always.

    13. I am so very truly sorry for the loss of your husband Ava. Thank you for sharing that sage wisdom with us all. I will be thinking of you in the coming days.

    14. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Ava, as you negotiate a different way of life. Just not easy.
      Thank you for the wonderful reminder that our words of love mean so much. It is what we cherish in memories. Those loving exchanges and special moments.
      Michigan Mary

    15. Oh Ava,
      Prayers you are covered in love and strength. You are so correct in giving, giving, giving in joy and love.

    16. Bless his heart for all the sweet compliments your dear husband has said to you over the years. He obviously was a kind and loving guy. So sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you and your family. God bless and may his love and care comfort you.

    17. Ava, I am sorry for the passing of your husband and wish you peace. I a, so glad that you mentioned the exchange you two had about the coffee stocking, what a nice memory.

    18. My deepest condolences to you Ava. Thank you for sharing about the k-cup tree conversation with your husband. It is these small, daily exchanges that truly show how much we care and love one another. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    19. Ava, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I will keep you in my prayers… Thank you for the reminder to express appreciation. How wonderful that you have that memory.


    20. Dear Ava,
      It is really hard to lose someone suddenly and unexpectedly. No good byes are necessary, though, when the two people know they are loved. Thank you for sharing your story with us – your mutual love shines through! May you find solace
      in your wonderful memories. Prayers for you and your husband! Ann

    21. Dear Ava I know there is nothing to say that will take your pain away BUT I do agree in coming here for solace. The sharing, the gentleness has always soothed the harshness of the world
      You are right as we read your words each of us will mourn for you- knowing the heartache and pain that will be part of your path no.
      Some will know exactly what your going thru and others will have experienced something similar- those who haven’t lost someone dear will still experience sadness for you because the readers hear really do care

    22. Ava hugs to you and yours and you are so right about loving comments we share between husbands and wives are precious 🙂 .

      We will keep you in our prayers.

    23. Ava: Sending you a very tight hug. I became a widow 5 years ago, this community unknowingly sustained during the months, years ahead. You all still do.
      Much love,

    24. Oh Ava! How terribly sad, but how wonderful that you were blessed with so many sweet and poignant moments in your time together. May they carry you during this hard time and may your husband’s memory be a blessing always. Sending you much love from the Holy Land x

      1. We have a heavy curtain hanging at bottom of stair case. No way to put a door there. Mother used to fill her empty dish soap bottles with hot water and wrap it in some way and put it in the bed for our feet.

    25. Ava- So very sorry about your husband’s passing but so happy that you have wonderful memories to reflect on and smile! Sending virtual hugs your way!!

    26. Ava, so sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. What a wonderful memory of kind words to hold close during the difficult days. You are in my thoughts.

    27. Ava, I am so sorry about your husband. Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory and for the welcome reminder.

    28. Thank you for the lovely reminder to be extravagant with kindness, which costs nothing! I am so sorry for your loss.

    29. Dear Ava,

      Many condolences. I hope that each time you see the K-cup tree, it will bring you a smile and heartwarming memory as you navigate the future. ((hugs))

    30. I am overwhelmed ~ shedding a few tears, in fact ~ by the kindness you’ve all expressed… thank you all, from my heart.

      1. Ava,
        Sending you prayers for comfort and peace. What a beautiful story of the love you and your husband share ❤️

    31. I often have a hard time in the touch/compliment department. Your note is a wonderful reminder to push out of my comfort zone and give those compliments and touches to my husband who is very giving in that area.
      And I shall pray for your comfort and peace and more memories to rise up and cherish in these days ahead.

    32. I am sorry to hear about your husband. It sounds like you had a beautiful marriage, full of good memories. Please be kind to yourself in the days to come and try to eat and rest as much as needed.

    33. Ava I am sorry for your loss. I lost my husband two years ago. It is a big adjustment and I am still getting used to being alone. The first time you do something that you used to do with him is hard. The first holidays are also hard but it does get easier with time. Being involved with church and volunteering has helped me get through it. I also went to Griefshare and that really helped being with people that know what you are going through. God bless you.

    34. Ava, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband! Thank you for the sweet reminder to share love.
      May you find solace in the sweet memories you have. You are loved.

    35. Dear Ava, thank you for your beautiful reminder. I’m so sorry you lost your husband. I’m holding you in my heart and prayers today.

      1. Reading the comments late—but prayers are always on time. Sending prayers for comfort and healing and help as you face a new and unwanted “normal” in your life. Hugs!
        -Susan M. In Chattanooga

  8. I made homemade dishwasher detergent. I made homemade laundry detergent. I took cuttings of my coleus plants before our two hard frosts(they are rooting already). I keep growing these until next year when I can plant them outside. I use Walgreens rewards to get some free curly hair conditioner. In addition, I got a free flu shot and received a coupon for $7 in rewards to be added next time I spent money at Walgreens, which I had the cashier ring up after my conditioner. I made homemade bread in the breadmaker, 2 country, 1 raisin. Installed a new front doorknob/lock due to the knob not unlocking the door. Kicked the door off the hinge pins using a front thrust kick. (14 years of martial arts paying off in a big way). Replaced front brakes/rotors on one of our cars. Took down the garden for the year(trimmed raspberries, removed tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini), moved the blueberry bushes to a different location in the yard. Saw a praying mantis in person for the first time. It was on one of the raspberry canes. I didn’t realize they were so big. Watched a few more episodes, with my teens, of Downton Abbey from the library. No spoilers please, we are still reeling from the events of season 3. We don’t subscribe to satellite tv. Cashed in Swagbucks, Ibotta money for Amazon gift cards. Bought 6 books, and some clothing for gifts for Christmas. Steve received his pay for being available for on-call during the entire year. He gave it all to me to add to our grocery budget. It’s basically an extra $500 month. I’ll use some to replace some pantry items and put the rest in savings.

    1. Laura, Several years ago, i saw a praying mantis, too. So interesting! I got as close as i dared to get a good look at it. It took up the fighting stance so i backed off. Truly amazing! Years before that, i ordered some pods? to put in the garden. They arrived mostly dead so i didn’t expect much. I’ve always wondered if this was a survivor.

    2. I bought a Praying mantis egg case for my granddaughter. It came with a little cage made of netting. We were watching every day to see if the babies hatched. One morning I got up and there were darks spots all over the wall. When I put my glasses on you guessed it baby Praying Mantis everywhere. It took us a good half an hour to collect them and relocate to our garden.

    3. oooh! praying mantis stories!
      When I was in elementary school, I brought a ‘funny cocoon’ to the classroom. we kept it in a dry aquarium with netting over it. Well, one day we arrived at school, and the cocoon had hatched. Hundreds of tiny praying mantis all over the classroom. Pandemonium!

      More recently, I found a white praying mantis on our flowers. Took pictures to show my youngest.

  9. We had a fantastic money-saving opportunity this week! My brother- and sister-in-law are moving their family overseas for a few years, and they had a car that they were about to send to the junkyard because it was incredibly dirty and had a broken window/tailgate/tail light, so no one would buy it. But it’s a 2012, and it seemed really great mechanically, and we thought it might be worth fixing. We asked if we could buy it from them and fix it up for our teenager to drive. They said no way to the money, but yes to us having it for our son. They gave it to us as a gift, and they were so happy to not have to junk it AND to be able to give their nephew some wheels. But they really felt it had no value at all, and they felt awful about it needing so many repairs. We took it to the shop, and just received an estimate. For $3,700 in repairs, maintenance work and detailing, we’re getting a $10,000 car with 4WD and many miles of life ahead of it. My son is thrilled, and so are my BIL/SIL. It was a win-win for sure. What a blessing, especially now that used cars are so hard to come by.

  10. Brandy awesome about the watermelon. We grew some this year and in Minnesota it is close with frost date to harvest. We got 8 melon from 4 plants and they were all awesome!! Enjoy!

    -My younger sister lives 2 hour from me. She was going to be in the area for work and called and ask me to have lunch with her in the nearest town. Well that would have been a 30 mile trip round trip plus the cost of lunch, easily $40 with gas and the meal. I suggested she stop at my house on the way home and I would make lunch. We had stuffed pepper soup using a quart of home canned spaghetti sauce, a pint of home canned diced tomatoes, a pound of ground beef, some rice, frozen chopped peppers from the garden, home canned beef broth, and some chopped onion from the garden. Put this in the crockpot to cook. When she got here, I also made a salad to go with it. I used the last tomato on the windowsill. No more garden tomatoes until next year!

    -Sent leftovers home with my sister and put 2 servings of soup left in the refrigerator. I took the rest about 3 cups worth and refrigerated it. It thickened up as it cooled and the rice absorbed the remaining juice. I added some chili pepper, corn, sliced black olives, and cheese. Put in a casserole dish and topped it with a cooked cornmeal mixture. Heated in the oven and it was a scrumptious tamale pie that made 3 more servings. 2 ate and one for the freezer. Hubby is gone hunting for the week so I can make all the foods I enjoy and he does not like.

    -$30 spent on groceries this week. Stocked up on pie crusts x 4, evaporated milk x 4, sweetened condensed milk x 2, quart of half and half, 1/2# cheddar cheese, cream cheese x 3, and gallon of milk for $20. All at Aldi’s. So much more economical there. The pie crusts were $1.55/package. The pillsbury brand is $2.99 at the local grocer. At the local grocer I bought 2# of split peas for $1/# and my creamer was on sale for $1 off so bought two. We will now be eating out of the freezer and the home canned goods and keeping groceries to a minimum through the winter.

    -I stopped at a grocery store on my way to my middle sisters, we were having my dad from the nursing home for the day and we were having a meal. I stopped to pick up some orange juice and biscuits, my contribution. I found some clearance meat, 3 packages of bacon for $3 each, a small boneless ham for $4 (will cut into slices for sandwiches), and a 1-1/4# beef roast for $5. I always check the meat, dairy, and produce areas for clearance items. Some places have them some do not. The roast had been marked $12. Crazy because a year ago the clearance price would have been the regular price.

    -Last week I bought 3 packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.66/#; I froze them. This week I pulled them from the freezer, thawed them, chunked them, and canned the chunks. I got 6 pints from this. I love having canned meat on my shelf for quick meals!

    -I am using up some Christmas fabric I have and I am making drawstring bags to use to “wrap gifts” with. I will ask my kids to return these to be reused every year. I also bought a large heavy flower sack type bag at an antique store for $5. It was long and narrow so I made it into 2 bags. It was all white, I appliquéd a Christmas picture from a panel I bought at a thrift store for $1. This panel had 3 pictures. I will make another bag from some muslin I have and appliqué the third picture to that. So for $6 I have 3 reusable bags!

    -With food prices rising I am ever so careful to use everything up and not throw away bad food. I just picture dollar bills in the garbage if food is thrown as this is certainly what I am doing! I make a game out of it. I chunked up the roast I bought earlier in the week and made 5 hour beef stew. My daughter and kids were here and we had it for supper. There were leftovers-enough for the two of use to have two more time. But there was more sauce left than meat and potatoes. I separated the meat and potatoes out. Then in one container I put in half the meat, and all the potatoes, carrots, and about 1/3 of the sauce. We had this as stew again with the leftover corn muffins. In the other container I put the meat and sauce. I heated this up with a small can of drained mushrooms and added sour cream at the end and served it over noodles for beef stroganoff. We got 3 meals from that roast and that makes me happy!

    Have a great week!!

    1. I just made Christmas drawstring bags too! I think it will save a good deal of money on wrapping paper in the long run.

    2. Julie- So many good meal ideas and reusing leftovers ideas here. Thank you! The stuffed pepper soup sounds especially yummy, even with leftover spaghetti sauce or portions of jarred sauce. Thanks again!

    3. My now in heaven Aunt Alice made me tons of draw string gift bags from holiday fabric I would buy at 75% off at WM. I would take a stack of gifts and she would make bags of the exact size needed. Everyone in my friend and family group knows to either give back or re-use Aunt Alice bags. When my nephew graduated from small high school she made every girl in his class a set of 3 (one yard of fabric) custom made shoe bags. Each set was a different fabric. I saw one of the students recently and she told me she was still using 11 years later.

  11. Mom sent over chips, cookies, bread, cheese, apple pies, almond milk, dry milk, cookies, and TV dinners

    I received a sample bag from Walmart when I picked up an order…it had an air wick plug in, electrolyte drink mix in, pop tart bites, and a keychain flash light

    Had a flat one morning, my husband came to my rescue. We got the tire patched for no charge and then I took my truck in for a rotation, also for free.

    At a local store, I used coupons for 5 lb potatoes for $1, and .59 for a loaf bread.

    I used 1.25 off redbox rentals x2

    A friend passed unexpectedly(car accident), so I got a sympathy card from my mom’s stash and included some cash for the family.

    Brought home some leftover snacks from my book club.

    Returned library books on time

    1. Ava,
      I’m so sorry! I am so glad you had that cheerful exchange. I can see how that would make a difference, having such a sweet memory. The most encouraging part is that it was not an “out-of-the-ordinary” exchange for you, meaning you have lots and lots of other kind, loving words to remember, too.

    2. April,
      I’m sorry about losing your friend in the accident. How hard. I’m glad you had things on hand to send a card–in times like that it’s so good to be able to just grab what you need from your stash (or your Mom’s anyway), rather than have to go hunt up a card at the store.

  12. Our natural gas, electric and water companies have all raised their rates. I pulled out our bills from last year at this time and even though we have used less of each utility this year, our bills are higher. We continue to work on lowering our bills and have gleaned many ideas from this wonderful site. I made a large pot of oatmeal and added chopped peaches from our freezer that we harvested from a miniature peach tree that we planted this year thanks to learning about fruit trees from your site Brandy. Then I divided the oatmeal into single serving containers to put in the refrigerator to be pulled out as needed. This saves on our natural gas bill and time in the morning because we can microwave the oatmeal. I found potatoes at a nearby store on sale two 5 lb bags for $4.00. That sale ended and another store is having them 8 lbs for 2.98 this week. I plan on picking some up when I go by there on an errand. I also used reward points to buy an 18 pack of eggs for 99 cents. These prices are for the northern Maryland, southern PA area. I harvested Swiss chard, green peppers, okra, basil, oregano and mint from our garden and made pesto and put in an ice cube tray to freeze. I borrowed books and a movie that we watched from our library.

  13. It was a great, frugal week in Houston!
    Unfortunately, I’m still running the AC (89 here today and very humid), but I did turn it off while we were gone on the scout camping trip this weekend.
    It only rained on us a couple of times on the Cub Scout campout. Luckily, I can take all the kids (not just scouts), and we have a tent that I bought quite a while back. This particular camp had a dining hall that provided meals, and it was so awesome to not have to cook! Other than ingredients for s’mores, I didn’t have to pay anything other than the meal fee for non-scouts, so it was cheap fun. Our Cub Scout troop is still boys-only, so I’m glad that my girls and I got to go on this adventure with my sons.
    The trusty old van made it for another trip.
    The kids are wearing things we already have for Halloween costumes.
    There are lots of new babies in the neighborhood, and I lucked out by signing up to bring a meal to two different families on the same night, same street. I’m really not able to accommodate unusual requests and allergies, so luckily these two families appear to be pretty easy-going. It does shock me when moms specify foods their toddler won’t eat, restaurants they want to receive meals from, etc. This is for meals a kind stranger is generously bringing them, delivered to their door, free of charge.
    I bought gas at the cheapest gas station I could find.
    We checked out books from the library.
    I sewed a button back on a pair of shorts.
    A friend gave me some stain remover she didn’t want. I don’t usually buy it (make my own), but this will be nice to have and I’m glad it’s not going to waste. I picked up some sale items for said friend when I went to a store that was out of the way for her.
    I bought foods from the markdown bin at Kroger, as well as loss leaders.
    I was so exhausted after the camping trip, but didn’t get fast food. There was no October budget money for it, anyway. Randall’s had their Campbell’s soups 3 cans/$1, so I grabbed a few cans and heated them up for dinner. Not as good as homemade, but fast and easy to get on the table.
    I put off mowing the grass another week, although I really need to do it now.
    I signed my 3 year old up for a time slot at a free church indoor playground, which will be fun while everyone else is at school.
    Have a great, frugal week, everyone!

  14. Well, first of all, I had an ad come across for some plaid Tieks. And I didn’t buy them, sigh. I wear Tieks, after buying every shoe I could find and they all would leave me bleeding on my ankles. They are so expensive, but leather so they last. I would love the plaid ones, but don’t need them, so I resisted 🙂
    ****We have had perfect weather of 68⁰ and low 70s. I opened all the doors and enjoyed the cross ventilation.
    ****I still have Zinnia and okra going string. I reseeded my garden for the 3rd time. I put more bricks around the perimeter holding down the netting. Something still had gotten in a hole and ate the 2nd planting. I tried to find starts, but all of found was cabbage, so instead of spacing a foot apart on things I made a trench with finger and seeded a row of mustard greens, beets, carrots, broccoli. I was scared nothing would come up, so it was like a hail Mary planting. I also planted in some containers, since I had seed and am just hoping for something.
    ****Husband bought 2 smart thermostats off a site that had open packages for a discount and installed them. We had to wait a year after building so our warranty was not voided. Now we can program it and control it when away.
    ****I started Christmas shopping. My kids put items on Amaz@n wish lists. Honestly, I usually just go down the lost and buy it rather than going around comparing prices. Having it shipped is nice and I hate to shop. We draw names and they only have to buy one present, but we still buy for everyone.
    ***We had neighborhood garage sales again this weekend. I got a small tree I will put in a vintage ice cream bucket. I got unopened tags and tissue from a box of trash at the road. I got 3 Christmas plates to use for gifting treats to neighbors, a tree Colorwheel for $4 that is selling for $79 and up, 4 floral foams, a puzzle for grandson, blank note cards, gray striped sheets, a Brita pitcher, 4 forelegs, and 2 metal plant stands.
    ****I deadheaded Zinnias and got a quart jar of seed. I already have plenty so I shared with a friend that is digging up 2 blackberry bushes for me.
    ****I am using a q-tip to get lipstick out of a tube. My MIL paid for the lipstick 3 years ago from the lady that did our makeup for a wedding.
    ****My car battery died. It was 6 years old so we got a good life out of it. Thankfully it was at home and I wasn’t stranded. We have MIL car, and she isn’t driving, but thinks she will, so I had it to use. We filled it up while prices were $3.09 and next day they jumped to $3.19. The car is used about once every 3 months, but I would rather have it filled with cheaper gas and available.
    **** I had thawed chicken in refrigerator and someone gave us $35 tickets to a BBQ and music event with Rodney Adkins. So, I put a little chicken broth and the chicken with taco seasoning in the crock pot and shredded it when we got home. Then, Sunday we had chicken tacos ready after church.
    ****Cut husband’s hair. I’ve been cutting it qtkeast once a month for 30 years, sometimes more often. But at once a month saving a $20 cut ( with tip) that is a $7200 savings! Then considering I cut the kids hair also, I have made a nice little savings. Wish I would have put that in an account!
    ****I had put broth in Ragu jars and froze. I guess I over filled and two shattered. I lost my good homemade broth and that makes me sick.
    ****Paid additional $500 on mortgage.
    ****I’ve had testing and a CT, and have a endoscopic scope scheduled next month. We have a Flex account for payments. But, when you know something isn’t right it is less expensive to pay copay and like me, $300 for the CT, and the scope will be $300, than to have major issues. I had a bowel rupture in 2017. I went to the walk in clinic and because I had pain and blood in urine he said I had a kidney stone. I hurt all night and ran fever so went to ER where my tummy was full of infection and I was septic. I was rushed to surgery and was cut 10- 12″ vertically and had resection of large intestines. I was in hospital 11 days and took months to fully recover. So, always listen to your body and don’t put off being seen. I had hurt for months and lived with it.

    1. Bama Holly did you put the broth in the jar hot and then put it in the freezer? It may have broke because of hot to cold. Bummer homemade broth is liquid gold to me!

      1. No, I actually had put it in the refrigerator overnight. I have been using them for leftover for years. I bought 4 freezer containers today and will use those for broths from now on.

        1. I have some thick plastic containers that take-out soup from the Chinese food restaurant came in once-upon-a-time that I use to freeze broth in. Tonight, I also used a thick yogurt container, as I only have 2 of the others and had more broth than that. I also went to plastic when I broke a few of my good canning jars at one point, years ago. I do use rectangular freezer cartons, old cottage cheese cartons or sour cream cartons and anything else I can get my hands on that’s thick for freezing all kinds of things. I use a sharpie to write the contents on the top and a date.

    2. Hi Bama Holly,

      I was just reading why one should not use Classico pasta sauce jars for canning purposes. It is because the glass is thinner than
      normal mason jars. Perhaps something like that accounts for ragu jars — not made for freezing.

  15. I love those pinkish-red flowers, Brandy. Are they tiny roses?
    Due to rainy weather we postponed the plant sale this weekend and will have it the Sunday after next. It was a bit frustrating but we certainly needed the rain and I used the time to transplant more volunteers into pots.

    One thing we do that we realize has drastically cut down on our food expenses is that we practice intermittent fasting, aiming to eat only between 12pm and 8 pm (preferably by 6pm). We have a salad and main course for lunch and then a snack later. This past week snacks were roasted asparagus, bolons, cauliflower “wings,” and a splurge on Siete spicy chips. We do this for our health and the savings are simply a bonus.

    After a year and 8 months, I finally used every smidgeon of my sample tube of Nuud deodorant and opened a new, larger one that i fully expect will last 2 years, easily. The tube and cap are compostable and I like not using plastic. It’s the best deodorant I’ve ever tried and I’ve tried almost every natural.non-toxic one there is.

    I found a really interesting plant/seed source and ordered some unusual perennials for our small food forest. The url is https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/
    They do have edibles, not strictly medicinals, despite the name. I ordered Chinese Yams, Chufa, Spinach Tree, and a different Holy Basil from the one I have.

    I hope everyone has a good week and thank you, Brandy!

    1. That’s interesting to hear about your fasting. We also fast for many hours eating two meals per day at 10:30am and 4:00pm for health reasons. Thanks for the information on the Nuud deodorant. I’ve tried making my own and my skin doesn’t do well with baking soda and substituting the baking soda for arrowroot doesn’t work either. I’ve had some success using a magnesium salts.

  16. I had a picnic with my grandchildren. They loved it and I saved a ton of money! My son and husband put speakers in my husband’s old truck themselves. My husband loves music and was incredibly happy! I am cooking at home ,even when I don’t feel like it. Watched a movie at home. Turning off lights. Opening windows for fresh air instead of running heat or air conditioner. Picked greens and a watermelon. Saving seed from my marigolds. Made my own homemade pizza, dough and everything. Even used our own basil and oregano! Yum! Sat on our back porch and talked and had dinner instead of going out to eat. Enjoyed the stars. The cooler weather has been great!

  17. Hi Brandy, in the south (I’m in NC) we make watermelon pickles from thick skin watermelon. They are a stable item in our pantry. Unfortunately I don’t have my Mom’s recipe and it’s been impossible to find thick skin watermelon in our world. Crazy cause TS watermelon was all I grew up with. Since you enjoy canning I’m sure you can fine a recipe on line if you’re interested. Watermelon pickles were always on the Holiday table growing up.

      1. Watermelon pickles are my favorite – Grandma always made them every summer and all 16 of us grandchildren have extremely find memories. They don’t taste like rind or watermelon. They’re just good!


      2. Have you considered Kool Ade pickles? They are made with watermelon rinds and take on the color of whatever Kool Ade packet you use. The pickles look kind of like gummies, Your children might want to help make those, too.

          1. Honestly, I do not know. But they look so pretty. I would imagine they taste like whatever flavor Koolade used. I thought it might be a way to get the kids to try watermelon pickles then switch over to traditional watermelon pickles at some point. Unfortunately, my children grew up before I could try the recipe. I may try it with the grandkids next year if we can get a decent watermelon. I do not usually suggest something I have not already tried, so forgive me this time.

  18. Hi Everyone! Love the metal work that you and your husband are doing! It is so impressive!

    To save money last week I cut my husband’s hair.

    Our toaster oven died. We used it daily for 15 years! I replaced it with a toaster out of our camp gear instead of buying a new one.

    I sewed a door draft stopper for our sun room door. We are in an older home in the Midwest and haven’t turned on the furnace yet. We hope to make it well into November before we do!

    We wanted to see a movie recommended by a friend but it wasn’t free anywhere. Amazon has a digital reward if you choose slower shipping which I choose most of the time. We were able to see the movie for free using digital rewards.

    I ordered a pair of gloves from Amazon and they didn’t fit. You can return them at Kohls here. I did that today and they gave me $5 in Kohls cash to use. I looked around their clearance section and found a $18 artist sketch pad that was marked down to $5.75. I ended up paying 80 cents with tax. I will use this as a Christmas gift for my son.

    As the temps drop I am looking into more ways to winterize my home. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear what works for you! I love this little community!

    1. Corey, with higher fuel prices, this is the year to weatherize. I’m sure you will get lots of good suggestions.

      Unfortunately, most of the things that really keep the heat in and the cold out are expensive. I have a suggestion I’ve read about on British blogs and actually know someone who did this. Many Brits install a curtain rod behind their front door and use a heavy curtain to separate the entry from the rest of the living area. I have a friend who owns a motel and her living room was open to the front desk. She found lined drapes at a thrift store and covered the area between the lobby and living room. She did this primarily for privacy, then noticed how much warmer her living room stayed, even though the outside door opened frequently. I can’t figure a way to separate my entry from the living room (the walls aren’t in the right places), but if I could, I would. The curtain doesn’t have to beautiful–if it’s cold enough, an old blanket will look fine!

      I grew up in a drafty old house with no insulation whatsoever. We kept rolled-up throw rugs or towels in front of the exterior doors. My mother also used a table knife to poke strips of thin plastic (think dry cleaner bags) into the cracks around the windows. We kept a piece of plywood in front of the fireplace (didn’t have glass doors) during cold weather. Unfortunately, we did not have extra blankets and therefore could only turn down the heat 5 deg. at night. I don’t think it ever occurred to my mom to shop for extra bedding at thrift stores. We did, however, sleep in socks and bathrobes over our pajamas for extra warmth. Incidentally, foam caps for outdoor faucets hadn’t yet been invented, so we wrapped the faucets with strips of old bath towels to keep them from freezing.

      If you don’t have a storm/screen door with glass panels, now would be the time to install one. Also, if you have drafty old windows, clear plastic installed over the windows really helps! We did this when we lived in a house with single pane aluminum windows.

      1. Maxine, Re. your tip of hanging curtains at entry doors: I watch “Escape To The Country” and have noticed that quite a few of the homes have curtain rods/curtains at the doorway. We live in the U.P. of Michigan where it gets quite cold, and have thought about putting curtains at our front doorway. It opens up right into the kitchen (from the north!).

      2. Maxine- thank you for all the suggestions! I think I will get to work on some heavy curtains to go over a few doors. I’m determined to get this drafty house warm. Replacing windows isn’t an option yet so until then we will make do.

      3. I forgot to mention, if anyone here is planning to buy a storm door, get a Larson, which is sold at Lowe’s. This advice is from a friend who is a handyman–Larsons are much faster and easier to install.

      4. I have a large comforter hanging over my doors summer and winter.
        I use copper pipe for curtain rods.
        I use the comforter to keep the heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.
        I am hoping to make quilts for my windows.

      5. Here’s one. Install foam draft excluders underneath switch plates and outlet covers. They are precut to fit, fast and easy to install, and they are CHEAP. You only need the foam thingies on exterior walls. You will find them with the weatherstripping in stores…weatherstripping, if you don’t have it or it needs replacing, is another suggestion.

        I have deliberately not mentioned things like new windows, more insulation, etc., because I assumed that if you could afford them, you’d already have them. However, don’t forget that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Many years ago, someone on a frugal forum posted that they did not have ceiling insulation. They started by laying batts over their baby’s room. It made an immediate difference. Every payday, they bought a few rolls of insulation and eventually laid batts all over the attic–one room at a time.

        You can apply the same idea to window coverings. For instance, we have pleated shades underneath curtains throughout our house. I think it really helps, although I wouldn’t spend the $$$ if I thought I might be replacing the windows anytime soon (they might not fit). There’s nothing that says you can’t do this one window at a time. Even plastic roller shades underneath curtains add an extra layer and create an air space. I, personally, have never had good luck with roller shades (they are either stuck up or down, LOL) and wouldn’t waste the money. However, if your curtains are unlined, you can make separate linings and stitch or pin them to the curtains just below the top hem or casing.

        My friend with the motel bought a wide pair of lined pinch-pleated drapes at a thrift store for her curtain. She took out the pleats in order to get the full width of the fabric (she had to go about 10-12 feet) for her curtain. I don’t remember what they used for a rod or how they supported it. If you had a fairly narrow space, under 6 ft. or so, a shower curtain rod might work well.

      6. We have a heavy curtain hanging at bottom of stair case. No way to put a door there. Mother used to fill her empty dish soap bottles with hot water and wrap it in some way and put it in the bed for our feet.

    2. Corey, as Maxine wrote, clear plastic over the windows really works! I was quite skeptical when I tried it, and felt kind of odd running a hair dryer over it, but it tightened up and kept all sorts of drafts out and was see-through. It also works without the hair drying part.
      Also, plastic foam pieces behind outlet covers block cold air coming in. That is quick to fix and fairly inexpensive. At my in-law’s very old home, a lot of cold drafts came in at floor level under the kitchen cupboards because the baseboards didn’t come up high enough from the floor, which was not visible but could certainly be felt. I used clear wide shipping tape and attempted to tape the openings shut; not sure if that helped.
      I have read of people making or lining curtains with mylar sun-reflector blankets, with sheets, with other blankets and cloth. Using such a curtain and a tension curtain/shower curtain rod can block off a stairway. Also, I have read of moving around cold places with a candle and watching the flame. If it flickers, a draft hit it.

    3. Corey,

      I’ll second Maxine’s tip about the screen door with storm insert panels. We’ve had these on several of our homes and it really makes a difference. Insulated curtains on every window possible make a big difference as well, both in cold and hot weather. (And if you’re like me and need a darker room to sleep, it can help with light blocking as well. 🙂 )

      Not a house tip per se, but keeping throws & blankets on each chair/couch has helped us – we don’t have to heat the entire room/house as much if everyone is tucked into a cozy spot with a blanket and warm socks. Especially handy as I tend to get chilled faster than my husband and son, so I can keep the heat a little lower vs them “melting”. LOL

    4. Hi Corey
      We are one of the British families with the heavy curtain behind the front door as mentioned in Maxine’s comment! Stuffed soft draught excluders are used at external doors. We close the curtains throughout the whole house as dusk falls, have several throws/ quilts to snuggle under in the sitting room, close all internal doors, layer up the beds with blankets etc, it’s an old house with fireplaces in the bedrooms so we have upholstered plyboard which fits neatly in the fireplaces and stops draughts coming down the chimneys, bedsocks are worn and slippers are worn all the time inside because once our feet get cold it’s difficult to warm them up and cold feet keep us awake. Go to bed early! A hot water bottle put in the bed half an hour before you get in takes the chill off. Hope some of this helps.

    5. Consider using a humidifier this winter. Proper humidity in the house will make it feel warmer and more comfortable.

    6. Keeping warm in the winter–Some of the worst drafts can come from around doors. I used to work in a hardware store, and it seems to me that purchasing a good door bottom and installing it to the bottom of the door (they are adjustable for the thickness of the crack usually) and installing some weather stripping around the sides and top of the door would be a relatively inexpensive solution. You might need to borrow or rent a drill from someone to drive screws into the door. There may be something available that could be attached with adhesive. This is the proper way to fix a drafty door situation, and this would probably be cheaper than buying draperies and rods even from a thrift store. (Cracks under doors are also a prime location for mice to get into the house.) The windows in old houses we have lived in were pieces of glass that stayed in place with caulking. We have replaced the caulking, another inexpensive solution which cut the drafts. One house had all of the windows in the house painted shut, not a good idea in case of a fire, and we wanted air circulation, especially in the summer. With the landlord’s permission we stripped the old paint off the windows with paint stripper. My husband pried the window casings off very carefully, so that he did not split any of the wood. Then he replaced the ropes that were attached to the windows’ pulleys, so that the windows were operable again. Then he replaced the casings just as carefully. After priming, painting, and caulking, those windows moved up and down in the nicest way of any windows we have ever had, including new vinyl, double pane windows. They were also draft-free. If it had been our house, we would have had storm windows built to go over those original windows during the winter. We also used Fiberglas tape to tape cracks in the plaster walls. (This kind of tape has a sticky back that can be stuck to the wall without being embedded in sheetrock mud, so the finished seam will not stick out from the wall as much, so the repair will not show.) After sticking the tape to the clean wall, my husband covered the tape with sheetrock mud and feathered the mud out on the rest of the wall until the filled area was not at all noticeable. He fixed all of he walls, so they looked the same. After the walls were primed and painted, my area of expertise, the crack repairs could not be seen at all. There is also another way to repair cracks with plaster, probably the proper way to fix them, but I have never done that. For the drafts we noticed around outlets and switches, we bought some insulation foam pieces, that came precut for this purpose, to insert behind the electrical switches and outlets, another inexpensive fix. These inexpensive products sealed off most of the drafts. Note: We sometimes buy paint that has been reduced in price because it was tinted a color that for some reason was not acceptable. The number of square feet a gallon of paint will cover is usually printed on the label on the can. To make sure I have enough paint for my project, I have measured the walls and figured out how many gallons I need this way. I just mention my painting as an extra, but I think it did help to seal up the house from being drafty by repairing the cracks in the plaster. And the house looked so nice after we got finished. Our landlord was so thrilled to have us as renters that he had a brand new, energy-efficient furnace installed in the basement. That worked so much better than the ancient, radiant, electric wall heaters. He also bought a new bathtub faucet that didn’t leak. Later he bought new carpet that my husband installed. I also stained the small back deck and steps with stain he furnished. I think he started being impressed when we hauled the huge pile of bark from firewood in the yard to the dump and resurrected the lawn and edged it. He had grown up in the house, and so it had some sentimental value to him. He listed it with a real estate agent the day we moved out. I really loved that little house. Another old house we lived in had never been plastered or sheetrocked. The walls were solid wood boards with layers of old wallpaper over it that was cracked and let air through. It was very uneven. I bought wallpaper (the landlady paid for it) that had no real pattern, just a textured look. I covered all the walls in that same paper. It looked fresh and clean and sealed things up from drafts, and the small all-over texture distracted from the uneven walls. After weather stripping and caulking doors and windows like I mentioned, that house wasn’t too bad in the winter. Before we did anything the curtains would blow out from the windows when the wind blew, it was so drafty. It would be nice to have thick curtains to cover windows at night and on especially cold days because of the heat transfer through glass, but I have never had them. It was very cold in the winter in both of these houses’ locations, but we were toasty. We also had quilts my mother-in-law made for us. These quilts had higher-loft batting and were tied, not quilted. She made quilts to give away to people, so people gave her scrap fabric. Some of the most durable quilts were made with scraps of double-knit fabric for the tops. Those wash up really nicely. I also always put flannel sheets on the beds in the winter, so the beds are not cold and clammy to crawl into. My grandmother had feather beds on the beds at her house. She also had round rocks and the odd brick or two sitting on her coal heating stove in the living room in the winter. Before we went to bed we got to pick out a hot rock to sleep with. Grandma would give us a piece of an old towel and then lay our rock in our hands, and then she would pin the towel up around the rock with diaper pins. We put that rock down by our feet in the bed. That old house had no heat at night, but we were never cold. Without a woodstove I would heat the rocks in the oven. To keep warm I have bought new wool socks at Goodwill for family to wear at night. Warm pajamas are nice, too. Just some ideas.

    7. Hi Corey,

      When I was in grad school in Utah (not much money!) and renting an older duplex, I had a rather large double hung window in the kitchen. I got a piece of solid styrofoam and cut it to fit the bottom half of the window. I covered the styrofoam with batting and then fabric and then pushed it into the window frame. That made a huge difference and still allowed light from the top half of the window.

    8. Hi Corey, I live in SWFL and have a friend with older windows and an East facing home. She used smart shield metallic insulation covering on her windows. It keeps light out which caused a great heat source on her East facing windows, and also helps seal the windows. You can order on Amazon, or buy at Lowes or Home Depot. There are probably other similar products of different name brands as well.

    9. Hi Corey.
      I made low cost thermal shades r value 6 with refletix its a double layer foil with a layer of bubble wrap in the middle.These I designed snug so when I roll them up the snug fit in my windows hold them up. My window sill depth is about 4″ I made diy interior storm windows with plexiglass/ I made a diy canopy bed that i covered in polar fleece bought on black Friday all 4 sides and the top. For a warm snug nest to sleep in. I sleep with a hot water bottle at my feet 9 months out of the year. I installed little computer fans in the doorways to help radiate warmth from the stove. I refuse to be cold or broke because of heat! I have not had the time but i would love to make some window fabric snakes real skinny one to go where the windows slide up and down. LLBean wicked good slippers booties they are spend$y but will last a bout a decade so it averages about $10 year for warm feet. If i think of anything else I will come back and post. if find the diy solar and energy savings groups fun for ideas

  19. Oh, your pictures of “Le Petite Prince” brought back memories for me. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I took four years of French in high school. One year at Christmas my sister gave me a copy of the book, in French, of course. Being a fickle teenage girl I had more interest in teenage boys at that stage of my life, but I did browse through it a few times. I never worked through it, though, I did carry it with me in my moves for a couple of decades.

    1. “Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. . . .” Too funny! I will use that!

      My copy was a birthday gift for my 22nd birthday when I was in France. I had already bought a copy, but I sold that one to another American friend who said he also wanted a copy.

  20. Hello Everyone!

    Your husband has done a marvelous job on the trellises! They look fabulous. Might be a good side hustle!!

    This week I baked two loaves of flaxseed bread for sandwiches. We baked a ham that had been in the freezer. Lots of meals from it! Tonight the last of our fresh garden green beans will be a side dish.I made a batch of whole grain pancakes and topped them with sautéed apples that were past their prime. 😋

    Our hens are molting. We’re not getting very many eggs at the moment. I suspect I’ll need to supplement bought eggs this winter. It’s our first year with hens. 🐔

    We’ve been having some rain. Hooray! So far, my husband’s repair job has kept water out of the garage. Now that the weather is shifting I’ve gotten back to some forgotten sewing projects. Two bolster pillows are done and I’m working on round pillows. I ran out of pillow stuffing and picked some up at Walmart on my way home from an appointment. It’s the least expensive option since the closest JoAnn is 40 minutes away.

    I am trying the iFIT app for home workouts. It’s a free trial. So far I like the workouts much better than the Peleton ones. I am hoping they’ll have a Black Friday special because I may choose to continue with it.

    Have a blessed and beautiful week everyone! ☺️

  21. I am very impressed you are growing watermelon. So delicious.
    I had a baking day and baked whole wheat sandwich bread, two loaves of French bread, and a big pan of chocolate chip bar cookies. I canned 11 half-pints of tomato sauce from tomatoes from my garden I have been storing in the freezer. I dried the tomato skins for tomato powder (and used some tomato powder I made earlier in the year to thicken my tomato sauce.) I dried apples for snacks. I’m trying to make room in my freezer for the quarter beef we’re getting at the end of November, so I cooked 4 pounds of ground beef and made a big batch of chili. I canned 5 quarts and 1 pint of chili. I also froze two packages of chard and 2 quarts of chopped onion. I made a big batch of granola. We cleaned out all the garden beds and spread the rest of the garden soil we purchased earlier in the month. I am still staying out of the grocery store. I listed some craft books on Amazon to sell – two of them have already sold. I cashed in reward points from Fetch for a GC and used it to purchase a Christmas gift.
    Some of you may remember that I ruined an almost-new pair of tan jeans a couple of weeks ago when I spilled black shoe polish on them. I tried everything to get the stain out and was about ready to give up when I decided to cover the stains. I cut out design elements from a brown floral print cotton, ironed on the pieces, then hand-sewed a blanket stitch around each element of the design, all down the front of both legs. It was a lot of work, but cost nothing, and I did the work while watching Youtube videos over a week’s time. The result looks like the fancy embroidered jeans I have seen for sale and will allow me to get much more wear out of these jeans, which fit me perfectly.

    1. Cindi,
      What a great idea for fixing the pants. My son was complaining about needing to throw out a pair of jeans with a hole seat. I’ll have to mention your idea. Seriously, a friend of mine repaired something with crocheted flowers that she dyed to match the garment. I think applique sounds easier. What talent you have.

  22. Brandy, congratulations on growing three watermelons! I made watermelon rind pickles once and it was a disaster. The recipe didn’t mention you needed to cut off the outer green part so my pickles were awful. Haven’t tried it again since. We do occasionally dehydrate some of the flesh. It shrinks down to nothing and tastes mouth-puckering sweet.

    *In my area, the empty spots on the store shelves are slowly expanding so the stockers are spreading the merchandise out to make it look full. I’m hoping it is worse here because we are out in the country and the last to receive supplies. It is making me nervous. I am paying closer attention to news stories and working to make sure my pantry is well-stocked for winter.

    *With the supply chain breaking down and things getting difficult to find, we all sat down and made a list of everything we plan to buy in the next six months. Each week, I check the sale papers and we try to get a few of the items such as air conditioner filters, lawnmower sparkplugs, car oil, bug repellant, lightbulbs, detergent, etc. China has announced they will not be shipping us fertilizer next spring because they need it. I went ahead and purchased a package for my garden. The cotton crop failed so I purchased myself three tee shirts on sale for $10, socks, and am looking for a couple of bath towels at a good price. Aluminum is going to be in short supply so I bought another roll of foil.

    *I picked up 5 of the Classico pasta sauce for $.97. The jars fit canning lids so they will be added to my canning stockpile.

    *I baked bone-in chicken breast purchased on sale and asked everyone to save any bones they had not bitten. They were put in a small crockpot with water overnight to make broth. Next, I cleaned out my refrigerator and made surprise chicken soup. It will be for dinner tonight along with clearance rack bread.

    *We are harvesting the last of the summer garden and are trying to get the winter garden out. This week we have harvested: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bitter melon, cabbage, lettuce, winter radishes, green beans, peppers, and one eggplant.

    *The biggest saving, of which I am thrilled, is the purchase of a new kitchen table at an online estate sale for $75!!!! At first, we were only going to get chairs (only two were safe to sit in) since we don’t have a way to get a table home. When our boys came home to visit, I shopped all of the sales for miles around and found a table with chairs. We used their vehicles to bring it home in pieces. It did cost me dinner out for them but it was cheaper than a moving van.


  23. *Someone last week (Gardenpat, I think) mentioned cutting a finger and having to weigh options as far as where to get it looked at. Well I was in the same boat this week with a daughter who got a deep puncture wound while riding her bike. My first impulse was to go to the ER since it was almost 9pm (yes, she was riding after dark… that won’t be happening again! LOL), but I took a moment to see if any urgent cares were open and luckily there was one still open. That was a huge savings, as anytime we’ve used the ER, we always end up with surprise bills (usually an out of network doctor or imaging) that are hundreds of dollars.

    *”Shopped” for cold weather clothes for the kids from bins of hand me downs I already owned. I say yes to hand me downs all the time, so I usually end up with a good selection. Whatever I don’t like/can’t use, we donate. Which brings me to the next point…

    *Donated a bunch of clothes. This wasn’t helpful in the short-term, but it will be at tax time, since I keep track of every item I donate, and the feature on TurboTax that calculates value is pretty generous. It’s more worthwhile for me to just donate things instead of trying to do a yard sale.

    *I made French toast casserole this week using a bag of bread ends I’d been saving for this very purpose. Most of my family don’t mind eating the “heels,” but usually I’ll toss them in a bag in the freezer and save them for French toast casserole, bread crumbs, croutons, etc.

    *Put up maybe half of my clothes outside on the clothesline and drying racks. It’s taking so long to dry right now with my clothesline being in the shade and temps only in the 70s that I can’t possibly hang everything (I do 1-3 loads/day). I’m determined to keep trying, though.

    *Fall sports are done, so I’ll be saving on gas. Until the next season starts anyway. 😂

    Those are the most significant things I can think of right now. Looking forward to hearing from everyone else, though

    1. Natasha- Yes, it was me with the finger accident on a Saturday so I went to Urgent Care. 8 days later, on Sunday my finger was red, throbbing and looking bad so I went back, knowing that I needed an antibiotic. In and out in less than an hour!

      Gardenpat in Ohio

      1. Sorry you had to make a second trip. But glad it was an easy time anyway! Hope that finger is well on its way to being healed now!

    2. My son (and only child) goes from football directly into basketball and then baseball now. He’s a senior this year. Football is over but he did injure his left knee (his pitching leg) during that final game. It wasn’t a serious injury rather a sprain. I’ll go to every basketball game I’m able based on my work schedule.

      However his sport is baseball. Has been offered a position on a community college team after he graduates. Can only do two years there but if he pitches well for the community college, he could get a scholarship to a 4 year school to complete his degree as he wants to become a teacher. We shall see. He also has excellent grades now as a senior.

      1. That’s great news, Kelly, that your son was able to get onto a community college team! Congrats to him for all the hard work, and congrats to you, too, mom for supporting him!

  24. Beautiful rose arch! What a wonderful project that has been. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    We were able to get by without any grocery shopping last week which is not unusual but more and more helpful as shelves are cleaned out and prices go up. Gas here went from $3.09 to $3.29 in one day so combining trips (which we do already) seems even more important.
    We cut down a tree at the end of our driveway that had grown into the path of travel. Growing up the tree was a significant (but not very productive) wild grape vine. I used the vine to make a wreath which I hung from the fence at the entrance to our property, Looks festive and it was free!
    Visited a local corn maze when my parents were with us. Some of the pumpkins and gourds were getting past their prime so the farm owners let us take a lot for free. This same farm did the same thing a few years ago. We saved those seeds and that is what we have used to grow our own pumpkins since then. We will be glad to have some more seed to save this year.
    My birthday is next week and we celebrated with my parents this past week. A wonderful meal at their house, walks in the woods, and good conversation made for special times with little stress or cost for anyone. My family and I take care of my parents yard and we did the last mowing of the year and blew their leaves off of the yard. Helped them and we enjoyed our time together.
    My children have been invited to a Trunk or Treat at a friend’s church and an Autumn Festival at another friend’s church this next weekend so they are looking forward to some fun. We won’t be passing out candy at the Trunk or Treat but I will prepare a little box of treats for each of the friends. I also have a few Fall/Halloween themed cookie cutters and will have fun with my boys making some sugar cookies later in the week, too. It is always fun to see their artistic talents come out with the decorating. I have always enjoyed dressing up for Halloween, as well, and often had birthday parties on Halloween as a child. I have plenty of costume items I have made and put together over the years but found something new (to me) for this year. For $3 at a thrift shop, I found what is essentially a black hooded long sweatshirt that has red on the front and 4 legs attached to each side – a black widow spider! I happen to love all animals, even spiders, so this will be a fun change. I am kind of surprised I have never dressed up as an insect or an arachnid before. Both of my children were honeybees when they were little, of course (as we are beekeepers.) Looking forward to the fun.
    Hope everyone enjoys their week!

  25. Not too many frugal accomplishments last week to report, but I also didn’t spend much, which might be the biggest accomplishment of all!

    We had additional kitchen cabinets built, which were NOT cheap, but give me much more space. Due to lack of cupboard space, I had things stuffed here, there and everywhere; it was crowded and inconvenient. Besides filling the new cabinet, I’ve also reconfigured and organized other cabinets in the kitchen and utility room. It is so much better!

    I finished putting the garden, patio and shed to bed for the winter. I had the opportunity to move a few plants and plant an ornamental kiwi vine and 15 more hyacinth bulbs. We are having beautiful fall color here in northern Idaho.

    I got an e-mail from chewy dot com offering a free $30 GC with a $60 purchase. I inventoried our pet supplies, placed an order and received the gift card by e-mail. I will either use it to buy gifts or give it to my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas.

    Brandy, please compliment your husband on such beautiful work! Congratulations on the watermelon!

  26. This week has been a good one for us.
    We celebrated our son’s sixth birthday this week. I usually throw quite a party for him but this year the theme for me was easy & low key. I still wanted him to have fun and enjoy but I wanted to keep it simple. He decided on a theme of pizza and pajamas. We used decorations we had on hand with the exception of some balloons. All of our family came over in their pjs and we enjoyed pizza and salad together. I bought a $20 sheet cake from Costco and everyone loved it. I made legos for the cake from candy melts we had on hand and a mold I found at michael’s for 40% off $4.99.
    My son had so much fun and it didn’t involve a bouncy house or 25 guests.
    My family had a craving for some Asian food this week so I made cashew chicken, Mongolian beef and jasmine rice for us. I found both of these recipes to be great use for veggie odds and ends as well as cheaper cuts of meat and pantry staples. As a bonus there were leftovers which meant I got a night off from cooking.
    I harvested more green peppers, mustard greens, bok choy, kale and some Collard greens from the garden. I have several flowers on my pumpkin and butternut squash plants and am hoping to have some pollination soon.
    I took advantage of sale and bought half gallons of milk for $0.70/each and bought five pounds of carrots for $0.59/lb. Our neighbor gifted us with half a dozen apples after they returned from their trip to apple orchards.
    We enjoyed a pork sirloin roast topped with the cranberry mostarda that I canned this past summer. I made twice baked potatoes using some frozen broccoli, cheese, and a bit of sour cream and butter. They were simple and tasty.
    We have had a few days that temps climbed to 80 and although I would suffer through it, members of my household aren’t as agreeable. So the hvac has been running for those days but I hear that a cold front is coming in and am looking forward to turning it off for the season.
    I did some seasonal cleaning including taking down, washing and rehanging all of my curtains, washing windows, and pulling out fall/winter clothing & sheets and washing those as well. We ran full
    Loads as we washed and dried and it is lovely to have this task off of my list.
    I hope that everyone enjoys a lovely productive week!

  27. Watermelon is so much fun to grow. I grew it years ago and only got a baby one but it was the sweetest one ever.
    My son’s job recently bought the abandoned building next to their shop. They allowed the employees to go in and take what they wanted. My son got 2 brand new pool cues, lots of spray paint, work gloves and respirator mask. He plans on going back to look some more. There is no power currently in the building so he put a good flashlight in his car to use next time. Cell phone flashlight don’t work that well.
    I was treated out to lunch from a friend for helping her out.
    I cannot believe that my eggplants and cherry tomatoes are still producing food. I pulled my string bean plants I picked enough beans for another meal. I am still dehydrating herbs. I have more then I need for the year so I will be gifting some for Christmas. I plan on making cute labels for them.
    I found more Christmas gifts on sale for my family for 50% and 75% off. I am more than half way done. I like to be done before Thanksgiving. I used to gift cards that I earned throughout the year to pay for 2 presents.
    We went for a walk at a local park. There was a booth handing out free poop bags and bag holders. There is a dog park at this park so it was a good location to do it. I refuse to buy poop bags but I will take free ones. They gave one to my daughter and me.
    The super market had Italian sausage marked down to $1.74 a pound. I took 4 packs. They also had bags of chocolate marked down to 54¢ a bag. I bought way too many.
    I haven’t used Venmo in a while. They sent me an offer to log in and I would get $10 free. So I did it. I found out I had $5 sitting in the account. I transferred it all to my bank account.
    Kellogg’s is getting rid of its rewards program. I ordered a $5 gift card and a pair of socks.
    All bills were paid online saving stamps.
    My daughter’s college had a “Practice Fire Prevention” event. She went with friends and received lots of goodies. She got a free t-shirt, safety glasses, a stress ball and a flashlight. She also was picked to help put out a small fire.
    My daughter and I were out running errands near lunch time. I have had a gift card and offered to treat. We had a nice time and brought home our leftovers. We only paid a tip.
    Hubby had his dental surgery. He was only allowed things to drink the first 3 days. I made him smoothies and milk shakes. I also added apple juice to apple sauce to make it drinkable. He had some squash soap several times. He was not allowed to use a straw. Now he is allowed mushed food which is easier. I made polenta with blended stewed veggies (using up that garden produce). I blended up minestrone soup. He has been eating lots of eggs. I am glad they are still 60¢ at Aldi. A few days after the surgery, Hubby received flowers from the oral surgeon. They are beautiful.
    I made GF blueberry muffins in silicone baking cups. It is a boxed mix so there is juice with the blueberries. I saved it for smoothies.
    Fetch and Ibotta are used every time I go shopping. I have enough points on both to cash out another gift card. I did 2 surveys on fast food receipts that my son brought home. He always uses a coupon when he buys it.
    Our ice machine froze solid again. I get tired of calling and waiting for a repair man so I defrosted it myself with a blow dryer.
    Paper bags were cut up and stored for when I cook fried foods. Cereal bags were cleaned and stored for when I make burgers. Ziploc bags were washed and will be reused. Laundry was washed on the cold cycle. Laundry is still being hung outside. If I need to I toss it in the dryer for 10 minutes when I bring it in. We only use cloth napkins and rags in our house. All water cups get poured into the dog’s water bowl every night. The heat is still off.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. I’m glad I am not the only person to save cereal bags to use for hamburgers (and other things). When I say that I reuse the cereal bags, I have had people give me a look like I just grew extra heads or come back with “Why would you want to do that?” or “Why not just use waxed paper?”. I just end up shaking my head.

  28. What a cool way to make use of that section of the yard. I imagine having an iced glass of mint tea in the early morning there.
    I found a PT job that is less than 1/3 of a drive than my current job. It’s in a relaxed environment with casual dress. All money saving pros. The staff seem like my kind of people. Part of my interview I explained I needed PT to care for my semi independent parents. My supervisor is in the same predicament and was very reassuring scheduling would never be an issue. So grateful about all these things.
    I found some free sewing patterns to make for me and if course gifts. I found a cool wooden rock/block tutorial to make using up scrap wood. These will also make cool gifts.
    I wanted split chicken breasts and haven’t been able to find them for a few months. I bought a whole chicken to butcher at home. Why I hadn’t thought of that sooner is beyond me. Chicken is our main meat (all is used).
    I broke a picture frame glass accidentally. I cut a piece of plastic from a salad green container to the size needed for replacement glass.
    Hope everyone has a calm week.

  29. I love all of the metal work your husband has done for the garden. He is talented.
    I’ve saved a lot of money by cleaning some free-to-me items. One was a high chair that was pretty gross. The white straps were all stained orange/brown, and there was a lot of food in all of the seams of the seat cover. I found that all the straps could be entirely removed, so I soaked them first in Oxi-clean (an improvement but not enough to make them not gross) and then in a mixture of white vinegar/baking soda/blue Dawn. That got them clean. There were still a few shadows of stains, so I sprayed them with hydrogen peroxide and hung them on the line in the sun. They are now sparkling white. I took the high chair outside and blasted it with the garden hose before I would even touch the seat cover. The seat cover also came off and was soaked in a bucket of water with Oxi-clean, then rinsed with the hose and hung on the line. The whole high chair looks like new. My grandson will be here next week to use it! The other item I cleaned was a free-to-me window fan, with 2 fans in one unit, they can be set to pull air in or push it out. We bought one and found this one for free. It was REALLY dirty. I opened it up and also removed the fan blades and the motors and scrubbed it all. Now this unit can be used in a kids/guest room in the summer.

    I sold a weed wacker that I’d picked up on the curb for free.

    We’ve had 11 inches of rain in the last 5 days. That’s as much as we had all of last winter. It was an amazing storm. We are saving money by not watering (and won’t have to for a while!). We also collected 500 gallons of water in our rain barrels so we can use that when we do have to water.

    I sold a set of cloth napkins on Etsy. It makes me happy to see cheerful napkins going out to someone, which will save them money over the year and also be good for the environment. I get a lot of joy from my assortment of cloth napkins, I know which ones are different friends and family’s favorites and I think of that person when I see “their” napkin in my drawer.

    Blessings to you all, I appreciate reading your comments and all of Brandy’s work in writing and photography.

  30. Brandy, the steel arches are beautiful and I’m sure your family enjoyed all the baking you did. Congratulations on being able to add more to your savings and also to your mortgage principal!

    I did a big shopping trip to BJs for DD at my local store as hers (she lives in another county) seems to be out of stock of many items – the store does receive shipments but quickly sells out. She especially wanted the super large pack of Bounty paper towels, Kleenex, Lysol wipes; I was able to buy 2 of each for her. BJs now has a limit of 2 for paper towels, facial tissue, and sanitizing products. Also purchased many other non-perishable items on her list. Prices have gone up on just about every item but I’m glad that all the items on her list were in stock. I did use BJs coupons on many of those items. Several days later I brought these items to her and also stopped at her local supermarket to pick up sale items and fresh produce for her & her family as she is due with her third child in less than 3 weeks.

    In the kitchen – baked 4 zucchini/apple breads (using both applesauce & fresh apples); banana/nut muffins with chopped walnuts; 2 lasagne; 2 trays of eggplant parm; 2 trays of chicken cutlets. Shared one of the breads with a friend who brought me several zucchinis & cukes from her garden. Also brought a bread, most of the muffins (DH ate 2), and 1 tray of the lasagna, eggplant parm and cutlets to DD.

    I know you are well aware of the many companies that have been stating that they will need to raise prices, here is an article from Bloomberg which adds to the list

  31. I have Azaleas planted randomly along the back side of my house. I’ve wanted to fill in some missing bushes for a long time. I found 4 marked down to $3.00 at my local grocery store. They are small but will grow in due time. This weeks great $2.00 deals at the Amazon warehouse were three containers of Hoosier Hill butter powder. My local grocer had canned tomatoes 3/1.00 . I bought 30. We also picked up tea, brownies ,cookie mixes and a couple cake mixes for 99 cents at Kroger sale. I’m honestly not sure how many we ended up with. My favorite finds in my favorite dumpster this week were 2 boxes of Hefty 38 ct trash bags and a large cracked bottle of Downy beads. I treated sugar cookie to a $5.00 meal of sushi. We stuck to only two outings this week and didn’t need to fill up the car. I purchased a ham for Thanksgiving. I was afraid if I waited ,we wouldn’t get one. Several bbq restaurants here have shut down because they can’t afford or get pork. I’m still pondering my new yearly budget. It looks like we can only save 50% versus the 60% in the past. Even with SS increase , it won’t help with higher costs. In this years chaotic life I never ordered over the counter supplies not even once. I must remember to collect any freebies available to us. The fall weather is beautiful here. We really enjoy having the windows open at night.

    1. Hi, Lillianna,
      You had a great deal with the Hoosier Hill butter powder! I found garbage bags on markdown for 3.50 and thought i got a good deal. You beat me, though! Amazing finds!

  32. Those metal structures your husband is building are amazing. My husband is very handy but even he cannot weld & make a metal obelisk. I am in awe!
    1. I continue to find recipes to use my numerous cans of commodity pork. I recently made a pork stroganoff that was very tasty. The canned pork does not look appetizing straight out the can but it can be added to recipes that taste (and look) good.
    2. I found some plastic litter boxes that I hosed off & will donate to the local Humane Society.
    3. I donated a box of girl’s toddler clothes (found curbside) to my church resale shop.
    4. I used Walgreens’ cash rewards to get a few items.
    5. Got my annual flu shot free at Walgreens. (I’ve never had the flu but my school requires the shot.)
    6. I’m teaching part time. I just pulled out my scrubs & my black Dansko clogs from last year & I am ready to go. No new wardrobe needed. I did have to buy a new watch as my old one would not keep accurate time.
    7. A generous faculty member gave me a Laptop she no longer needed. I did not have a laptop & I needed one for home & teaching use. That saved a good bit of $ I’ll wager.
    8. My husband located a car for us to purchase & leave in FL at the condo. The car is 25 years old but had only 47k miles on it. It’s a “land yacht” but was only 4K $. Used cars are expensive so I think he got us a good deal. (He is a mechanic & knows what to look for.) He calls the car a cremepuff.

  33. Hello Brandy and I have to say your husband is very talented in welding and sculpting with metal and he has done such a great job and you can see the look of concentration on his face as he is working 🙂 . That is wonderful you can now pay extra off your mortgage due to the economising you have made in the home and we too do this to cut down the time and interest on our mortgage too. Glad the children were able to go shopping and spend their earned money on things they needed. So lovely you were able to pick so many wonderful produce from your garden and sounds like the watermelon was really enjoyed by all.

    Last week we had a family counsel and decided that we would spend some extra money we had put aside to top up our pantry some more with groceries. Latest news here in Australia is that prices on groceries will go up at the end of this month and in the first quarter of 2022 by about 20 – 30%. This is due to the increased cost of raw materials such as metals to make cans, increased commodity prices, shipping issues and the list goes on. We are seeing increasingly that the supermarkets are fronting up items one deep on the shelves with nothing behind them. I have learned that those uneasy feelings we get are for a reason and usually mean taking action in the home 🙂 .

    In the kitchen –
    – We made 3 loaves of wholemeal white bread saving $10.47 over buying it locally.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch and also went through things and used up a lot of the little bits and pieces of frozen fruit we had in the freezer. We were able to make a family pie from frozen blueberries and strawberries we had in there that needed using and also another fruit pie made from more frozen strawberries, mulberries picked from our trees and strawberries for a friends birthday.

    In the gardens –
    – We are slowly building up our compost pile garden beds layer by layer as we have fruit and veg scraps to fill a layer.

    Purchases –
    – From Rivers on specials for $10 ea we purchased for DH 2 x dressing robes, 1 white cotton shirt, 3 flannelette shirts and 6 polar fleece shirts saving $479.88 on usual costs. DH is now decked out well and truly for the cold winters we get here so we won’t have to buy him any more clothing for some time.
    – From IGA on specials we purchased a 6.28 kg whole rump at $10 kg (cut free) and 4 dozen eggs for $2.50 ea saving $67.60 on usual costs. I will dehydrate some of those eggs for our pantry so we have stocks should we not be able to get eggs. We have been using the ones we dehydrated before and made a lot of biscuits and brownies with them so they are wonderful for baking.
    – From Coles we purchased 7 x tins of spam on sale for $3.30 ea and 2 x 32 pk of 3 ply toilet paper on specials saving $17.40 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone’s week ahead is good 🙂 .

  34. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’ve been having trouble posting so hope this doesn’t come through twice.
    Congratulations on paying extra on your mortgage and increasing your savings rate, that must feel satisfying. So good too that your children are earning money and buying some things for themselves, that sets them on a financially prudent path. Your husband’s metalworking skills are awesome!
    We picked apples, mint and tomatoes from the garden and I made eight jars of apple and mint jelly. A friend gave us a butternut squash.
    I received a bouquet of roses as a thank you for a favour.
    It was my husband’s birthday so I made a Dundee cake, his favourite. I had all ingredients needed in the larder.
    I used two bread crusts to make croutons.
    We used a £5 voucher for money off dog food, together with a 2% discount with a loyalty card.
    A daughter was visiting friends some distance away and delivered my parcel to them saving on postage.
    Every week I have been buying something off my Christmas list of food, stamps etc and
    making the most of early bird offers.
    Our electricity consumption for the last four months has been lower than the last two years and we continue to try and keep it down with small steps like putting the lids on saucepans, turning the oven off earlier and letting food continue to cook etc. The weather is still mild so we’re saving on heating.
    My husband knew I would like a Dryrobe ( or similar) for when I come out of the sea but they are expensive. He saw an unused one advertised on Facebook Marketplace, we rushed over there with cash, it fitted and we bought it at a significant reduction. It is my Christmas present, I used it this weekend after a chilly swim and I love it.
    I redeemed some points from a consumer research panel for £60 of book tokens which will buy Christmas presents.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Do people pre-heat their ovens? Or only for items with baked goods/yeast that need to start with a hot oven? Is that step crucial for things like casseroles or vegetables or roasts?

      1. I do NOT preheat my oven for casseroles, meats, etc. I figure they are going to cook anyway. I mean, I put it in a cold crock pot so why not a cold oven? On the other hand, I DO preheat when making baked goods such as cakes, pies, biscuits and bread. It really is necessary to get the proper rise (or in the case of pie the crust bakes best).

      2. I do it for baked goods as it is necessary – I also pre-heat for some “roasted” items but for a casserole type of food I’d just do it if I remembered – I don’t think it’s as critical.

      3. Personally, I only preheat when baking, or if following a timed recipe. But usually I ignore recipe times and just do my own thing; almost always works out! The exception (besides baking) might be if you need to sear something.

      4. Heidi, I only preheat for food that needs to go straight into a hot oven like Yorkshire puddings, cakes etc, no need for casseroles etc.

      5. Like the others, I preheat mostly for baking cakes, pies, cookie. When I do need to preheat I usually put a pan of stale crackers or chips or bread heels to crisp them up. The bread, once toasted, get run through the food processor to make crumbs. The time it takes to preheat the oven for whatever baked good I am making usually crisps up the stale chips or crackers, etc. Our oven has a convection option which is great for baking casseroles because it heats up super fast, but I do not use it for the baked goods.

  35. We have money goals for some dental and medical bills so we are doing extra things to reach them.
    Besides all the usual frugal things that we do here’s what we did this week:
    I brought my sewing machine up from the basement where it wasn’t being used. I went through my small fabric stash and picked some out for future sewing projects. I will be making some fabric napkins and I could really use a new apron.
    I spent $10 at the thrift store. I found a bed skirt, tablecloth, book, and a throw pillow. I noticed a rise in their prices since I was there a couple of months ago.
    We cooked all of our meals at home. Some of our meals this week were burgers, pork roast with scalloped potatoes, acorn and butternut squash, eggs and fried potatoes, hard boiled eggs, salads, and soup from the freezer.
    I made hamburger buns and a loaf of bread which used instant potato flakes as an ingredient. It was delicious! I made a cake from scratch for our desserts.
    I harvested parsley from our garden. I have found that it lasts well into the cooler weather. I will be harvesting more and drying it to use throughout the winter.
    Much cooler weather has come to Indiana and we have officially put the air conditioner to bed until next year and turned on the furnace in the mornings just enough to warm the house up a bit. All the storm windows are down in the windows.
    I organized my winter clothing and put away summer clothes. I put extra blankets on the bed and living room furniture.

  36. I love that you got a watermelon and another zucchini! Congrats on yummy food from your own yard.

    * We’re still sick but getting better. We’ve been blessed with many kindnesses and have been able to do a few things to save money.

    * The potatoes I picked from my garden are so good. I brought in the ones that had been nicked/damaged and made a big pot of mashed potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese and chives. Since it’s been hard to cook with the illness, we’ve been using the mashed potatoes as a side all week. We love them! The fresh taste of our garden potatoes are so good. Since we’ve stocked up on items (on sale) we’ve had chicken cordon bleu, meatballs as sides. We’ve also just had the mashed potatoes with homemade applesauce and green beans. I also keep going through my green tomatoes and bringing in the ripe ones. I’ve been able to can an additional 2 quarts so far.

    * A neighbor brought over taco salad for dinner. It came with 4#’s of cooked ground beef! We used 1# for the meal and I froze the other 3 lbs to use in future meals. With the taco salad she brought corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro. I froze 1 lb of the meat with the vegetables and beans. I will make up taco soup with it. Another neighbor brought over sweet pork tacos. It stretched into 3 other meals as we used the leftovers for sweet pork quesadillas. Another neighbor brought over smoked pork in two containers. We ate one container with BBQ sauce and baked potatoes. The other container I froze for a future meal. Another neighbor brought over Gatorade because we were out. Another neighbor brought over a loaf of hot out of the oven homemade foccacia (sp?) bread. It was pure heaven to eat that so nice and warm.

    * I got several free items grocery shopping because of Ibotta. I also kept our bill low but was able to stock up on soups for 99c. Like others have mentioned about the soup sale – I’ve been able to buy about 30 so far for our food storage. I was also able to buy Gatorade on sale which was needed because our stock was gone. I was able to get 6 Core bars for free through Cash Back and Ibotta. Kleenex was on sale for $1/box and I bought 4 to re-stock what we’ve used while we’ve been sick. I got 1/2 gallon milk for 88c as well. I bought 3. I got a free box of Klondike Reese’s Ice Cream Bars through Fetch. My husband was able to eat those bars and they felt quite nice on his throat.

    * I was able to gift soup to both my sons that I had frozen for meals for them. They are both single and appreciate an already made meal that can be made hot.

    * I picked up several books but only enjoyed one book by Rhys Bowen. I’ve been watching shows, reading and enjoying the fall leaves of the trees in my yard and my neighbors. We have been blessed with heavy rain storms again last week. It is so wonderful after our dry, dry summer! I was able to Face Time with our darling 9 month old granddaughter every day. I sing her songs and she wiggles and grins. We play peek a boo as well. It’s so fun to see her big happy smiles.

    * My daughter made her lunch every day for school. She was asked to babysit for a neighbor and earned $ that she tucked away in savings. Boy has the price for babysitting gone up! My daughter made $40 for 4 hours. My husband said he should pick it up for a part time job. Haha!

    * We hardly went anywhere last week – so that saved on gas money quite a bit. We went out for one drive on Sunday to admire some fall colors and Halloween decorations.

    Thank you for all the weekly inspiration! I look forward to everyone’s posts and comments. Thank you Brandy!

  37. We have several stores near us so I did a price comparison of fruit before purchasing it. Gramma cut the boys’ hair. My husband used a 10% off a $100 at O’Reilly Auto Parts when purchasing some necessary items for the vehicles. The kids picked a last few tomatoes from the garden. Using lemon balm from the garden I am making lemon balm tincture. From a friend, I found out about an online resource to purchase bulk herbs at whole sale price. Free shipping for orders over $200 so I found enough friends to order with me so we all get free shipping.

  38. I thought I didn’t have any frugal wins to share, but I had forgotten my favorite thing of the whole weekend! We went to the local Methodist parish thrift store, and they were having half off everything. My husband found a roaster, with all the parts, clean, and the instruction booklet, for only $20 – so $10! I had been wanting one for baking in the summer as we do not have central air, and turning on the oven is a punishable offense ;), so this was a happy find for me. I also found a copy of Cold Comfort Farm, which I think had been recommended on here, for only $1.

  39. That photo of your husband working on the new garden structures is a great shot! The structures are coming out beautifully. You will have much to be proud of when you’re done.

    On purchasing clothing at Walmart. I have found some very good clothing there as well. I am a plus size woman, and the options at stores that cater to plus size tend to be very high price. Walmart is able to offer plus size but at a price normative to their regular sized clothing. Similarly I work at a library and we have a high school and middle school near us. I recognize that a lot of our teen patrons wear clothes that are sold there. I think fashion is an interesting thing. I watched the documentary ‘The True Cost’ several years ago (may not be good to watch with younger children) and it really opened my eyes to clothing manufacturing in our country and where I want to invest my dollars to clothe myself and my son. Having worked for an MLM for a year, LuLaRoe, I also understand the manufacturing cost vs the cost to the distributor vs the cost to the seller vs the retail cost. Mark ups are real, and I’d like to not pay high full retail on clothing. I think it’s avoidable even if you do buy first hand.

    I sold and closed on my second home about two weeks ago. I feel a great wave of relief as I close up loose ends. I was able to finalize some bills and also repay two family members who had loaned me money to redo the kitchen on that home. It feels great to no longer be indebted to anyone. I was able to pay off all credit cards (which were taken out to finish remodeling the home), and am in the process of paying off an equity loan I took out on my primary home. I also emailed the new owner last week asking him to please transfer the electric and water into his name. I checked on Monday this week and they were still not changed, so I made dates for the end of this week to terminate service in my name and sent him a text explaining this and to please put these in his name so he wouldn’t have lapse in service. It will be another wave of relief to no longer pay utility bills for two homes. Although no one lived in the second home there are base fees for these services where I live, so even if you use no water you will still pay $20 a month, it’s similar for the electric. I’ve found that closing out small things like this are a process and I am slowly but surely making headway on all of these things. I’m glad that I sold when I did so that closing out these tasks will not come in the way or drag out into the larger holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    On the daily money spending front I find that I am spending money mostly on groceries and household items lately. My Costco for two weeks has had no toilet paper, and only one brand of paper towels, a name brand whereas I usually buy the Kirkland store brand. I went to Walmart to get specific items not sold at other stores and when there called Costco on the phone to ask about their inventory, it was the same as the weekend before. I decided to purchase toilet paper and paper towels at Walmart as they had them in stock. The price seemed to be an average price. It is making me consider if I need a Costco card anymore. I know if you have Costco cash cards you can still go in the store and purchase things. So I may buy a few for myself and use this for a year to skip the cost of membership. I mostly buy cat food and liter there. I also love the .10 to .15 cents in savings on gas at the Costco gas station. I guess I have something to think about there.

    Gas is about 3.25-3.50 here. We have a gas station chain called Wawa that is offering .15 cents off per gallon for the month of October if you use their app. They also offer a credit card where for the first month you receive .50 off per gallon. I think I will apply for the credit card in the next month or so and enjoy the savings for one month. Trying to be mindful of money and financial changes is a huge part of budgeting. I have some trepidation about rising food costs. I believe stocking up would be a prudent but perhaps not inexpensive thing in the near future.

  40. The beautiful garden structures remind me so much of my dad — he learned to weld and built quite a variety of things. It was super handy for him to weld, on our farm. Your husband is doing a great job.

    Our temperatures are running above normal, and the nights are especially warm and humid, but my air conditioner is off and it will stay off. I’m using fans and opening the upstairs windows. Since I work away from home and my husband has had to move to assisted living, I leave my downstairs windows closed and locked for safety.

    I prepped ahead several dishes for this week, since I get home late after visiting my husband after work. Last night I got home at 7:30, but a pre-cooked meal saved me from getting fast food.

    I’ve made watermelon rind pickles before – they just taste like sweet pickles to me. To me, raw watermelon “rind” – the white flesh only – tastes like cucumber.

    I received $75 worth of gift cards for my husband’s wellness visits, and I need to submit for two more.

    I had to label all of my husband’s clothes for the assisted living facility, but some of his clothes were black or navy, so the marker didn’t work. I dug around and found some old red crewel yarn and stitched his name into the black and navy clothing. I put it on the hems of the sleeves of the shirts, where it looks a bit sporty :).

  41. Joining in from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. As usual, it sounds like you’ve had a busy week, Brandy!
    * My second chemo treatment is in a few days. Since I was told I will lose all my hair, two of my daughters came on Saturday to give me a buzz cut. Having them there made it much less traumatic for me. I will save quite a bit on hair products, along with time each morning getting ready! We ate a store-bought lasagna instead of getting takeout, and one daughter brought a scone mix that we had for breakfast the next morning.
    * I’ve applied for several grants to help offset the cancer expenses that are not covered by insurance. My treatment center is a 77-mile round trip, so hopefully we’ll get some funds that we can use for gas expenses.
    * I am picking up a wig today from a shop near the treatment center. My insurance will cover one wig for me, so this will save.
    * Hubby and I walked (with masks) at the track at our rec center here. We went at an off-time and there was hardly anyone there. We can still walk for free without having to buy a membership.
    * My kids gave me a “cancer care package” filled with things like a soft blanket, nausea drops, a crossword puzzle book, a coloring book and colored pencils, etc.
    * I will need some “cold socks” and “cold gloves” to wear during the second part of my chemo, to help prevent neuro damage in hands and feet. These are pretty expensive on Amazon, but at the first treatment, the nurses directed me to a corner of donations that anyone can have for free. There was a set of each, with extra ice packs, so I was able to take these and won’t have to purchase them!
    * I dried all my clothes on racks in my home. They dry quickly in our climate.
    *We borrowed several videos from the library.
    * A friend of my hubby’s sent a loaf of asiago bread home, as well as two packages of steak seasoning.
    * We are going fewer places these days, other than treatments, so are trying to save gas where we can.
    Hope all of you have a great week!

    1. Peggy, I hope the chemo gets rid of the cancer for you.

      Thank you for sharing your ways of saving money with this expense, and thank you for your wonderful attitude about saving money on shampoo!

    2. Peggy, thanks for the chemo information. I start mine on November 9th; Monday I meet with a nurse for care and feeding instructions. A head start on what to expect and fewer surprises can only be a good thing.
      Your children will continue to be a blessing to you as you navigate this.
      Sending you prayers and hugs, no one ever had too many of either!

    3. Peggy: That was so nice of your daughters to come help with your hair. When I went through chemo, I went to the hairdresser and asked them to cut my hair to 1/2 inch. she didn’t want to do it. (I had long hair, to the middle of my back). I told her I didn’t want to wake up with hair all over my pillow or in my shower. so she finally understood. Another thing, is I also lost all the hair on my legs and under my arms. So no shaving for almost a year. I wore hats instead of a wig, as it was summer when I went through chemo, and I didn’t think I would be able to take it. Good luck with your treatments. You can do it!!!! I am 10 years out now, and I still say I have my own B.C. and A.C. (Before cancer and after cancer). Take care of yourself. We are cheering you on.

    4. Prayers for healing and a speedy recovery. I am inspired by your resilient and positive outlook. Blessings!

  42. We are still running our air conditioner here in north Texas. We had 1 weekend of nice cool temperatures (highs in the low 70s, lows upper 40s), but we are back up into the upper 80s/low 90s again. We are forecast to cool down at least for a few days, so I hope that comes soon. I really dislike the heat! I miss being able to have the windows open.

    I have shopped sales and stuck to bargains at local stores. Each week I watch the ads and run in for the loss leader items only. Like many of you, all the talk of supply chain issues and price increases have me keeping a close eye on my pantry and wanting to make sure we stay stocked up. Recent deals have included all purpose flour for .99 cents, 3/$1 Campbell’s canned soups (I like to keep these on hand for easy winter or sick day meals), pork butt roast for .69 cents/lb (bought the limit of 2 and froze one), and shredded cheese for .99 cents. I like to make slow cooker carnitas with the pork butt roasts, and each of those roasts are a week’s worth of meals for us. I visited my favorite grocery store in another town (HEB for those in Texas – there isn’t one in my city, the closest is about 25 miles away), and picked up some good deals. They carry a different variety and more local items than many of my local grocery stores, so it is always fun to visit. I stocked up on bread flour, yeast, and baking items while there. Also purchased several more shelf-stable items in advance for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. We already have our Christmas ham in stock in the freezer. We are hoping to get a smoked turkey at Costco this weekend, but may end up picking one up elsewhere (I have seen frozen ones at Aldi recently), if those are unavailable. I keep hearing that turkeys will be in short supply.

    Cooked most meals at home, and took all of our lunches and snacks to work with us. Made several loaves of bread (sourdough, banana bread, white rye) in my bread machine rather than purchasing storebought loaves. I did treat myself to a brand new bread machine for our anniversary, though! I have had a used Zojirushi I bought off Craigslist that I loved, but decided I wanted something to make a larger loaf with a more traditional shape, so I broke down and bought a brand new 2 lb Zojirushi. Not cheap, but it makes a beautiful loaf, cooks and kneads so evenly, and is the best bread machine bread I’ve ever tasted. We eat a lot of bread and doughs, and I prefer/need the convenience of the bread machine, so I think it is a good investment in the long run. Even with working full time back in my office, I am able to come home at lunchtime (I work very close to home), start a loaf in the machine, and have it ready when I get home from work, which is so nice. I put my older Zojirushi into storage rather than sell it, because it is a good machine, made in Japan, and I will keep it as a backup. (I do not trust new electronics to last very long!)

    On a frustrating note, we had a couple of appliances stop working. First, our dishwasher stopped working completely. It would not advance through a cycle, would only fill partially with water (and that was sporadic), and on the last use, we smelled a burning odor. We were offered a replacement of a new dishwasher rather than a repair, so that was nice. I worked from home to accommodate the replacement crew’s arrival. One of our vacuum cleaners also started having issues. It is a Dyson, and I will say, they have excellent customer service. I did a live chat and described the issue (the vacuum is a few years old) and with very few questions they offered to ship us a new one at no cost. Very happy that just a few minutes of my time was able to save us the expense of a repair or replacement. I would like to add, even if you purchase a secondhand Dyson, take the time to sign up and register it online – their customer service is second to none and they will often repair or replace items at no cost, even if you did not purchase it brand new.

    Recently one of our neighbors cleaned out a lot of wall decor and picture frames and set out with the trash. All in good condition. We kept a couple of the items, but we don’t need much and most were not our style. I did find a couple to take to my office. My husband took the rest to his office to give away. He has several coworkers who will appreciate it.

    Other random things: did my own manicures, hair color at home, watched Halloween movies on blu-ray and tv for entertainment. My husband attended a free airshow for fun with some friends (they paid for the parking pass as well). Took care of my annual medical visits for $0 copay.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. That is a great deal on the pork!

      I am not seeing pork sales here this year. Normally I stock up in fall.

  43. I will be stopping buying groceries for a while after this week.
    I will have a fully stocked pantry. Thanks to my friend “I”, here, I found that No Frills
    has a special on potatoes (5 pounds), carrots (2 lbs) and onions — 3 bags for $3. I hope to get 15 pounds
    of potatoes for $3.00. Co-op has lean ground beef on sale for $2.95 per pound (half price) so I’m stocking up on that. It also has my favourite canned beans on sale — 10 cans for $10 — I will buy 5 for $5 since I have quite a supply already.
    And I have finally run out of soap so am buying a package of 10 bars of Ivory for about $3.95. It is not a bargain at any price if one cannot afford something.
    I literally spent 3.5 hours on hold sorting out my telephone plans. And another 2 hours on hold sorting out my utilities bill. I think there has been so much covid that they are very short-staffed on the phones. As. a result, I am a bit behind on the book but hope to make up the time today.

    I bid at our church’s online silent auction. I started the bid on 15 items but in the end passed on all but one. I had hoped to buy a couple of Christmas presents. The one bid I won was for two hours of dog training. I bid on it for my friend who has a puppy who needs to learn to heel and to stay. The trainer will go to her house which will save my friend the money and bother of transportation to a pet store to learn. So I saved money by stepping out of the bidding and not buying anything.

    I am going to be trying to wash my winter boots — on gentle and in cold water in the washing machine.

    I am worried about Elizabeth M. as she has not posted for a while and I hope she is all right. Tammy, I know the pleasure that star gazing has given you — I have been watching the beautiful moon behind the tree branches.

    1. You have done well with your restocking Ann! I bought one of those bags of carrots at No Frills and yesterday (it was a cold, wet & miserable day here and I was working from home) so I made a big pot of carrot, red lentil & pumpkin (puree from a can) soup! I use Cumin, Coriander and Smoked Paprika to season it so it is a really lovely warming soup for the chilly weather.

      What a great idea for a gift with the puppy training! I’m sure it will be much appreciated.

      1. Hi Margie,

        Actually, the dog training item at the silent auction was not a gift for a friend but
        I did the bidding, she paid. The church was really happy with the price; my friend is really happy as the trainer has already come to get to know my friend’s dog before starting training. So the church auction cost me nothing. Another friend bought Christmas wood lawn decorations.

        I have carrots, red lentils and pumpkin puree so I’m going to try your soup. I may also make a hamburger soup since I have all the ingredients.

        It is supposed to snow here tomorrow — not just flurries but snow. I hope it all melts…I am rather broke because of all of the outlays for restocking the pantry. I did save $32 pr month because of talking to the phone company.

        The only thing I wish I’d topped off was pasta but I get mine at No Frills and will make this my last purchase. A friend picked up stamps for me. That bumped up the bill quite a bit but I’ll be ready to get my Christmas cards mailed. I bought a little “Grandmother’s puzzle book” from Lee Valley tools for about $3.95. I’ll use it for one of my great nieces plus something else. I’m thinking of buying Charles Spencer’s book The White Ship for a niece. Indigo has quite a few things on sale today.

  44. Brandy, I was recently reading a vintage homemaking magazine and they posted recipes for watermelon rinds. You peel off the green part and then cook the white portion of the rind. They said it tasted like a squash. I haven’t tried it myself because my husband refuses to buy a whole melon and insists on the pricey cut melon cubes instead. I go along with it, since he puts up with all my frugalities otherwise. Small compromises, smiles, but if I ever do buy another watermelon with rind on, I plan to give it a go.
    This past week I talked to my insurance company about paying our home insurance in monthly installments but two things happened. I realized I was essentially going to have to pay a full payment as a ‘charge’ , compared to what I’d save by doing it quarterly (which is $16/mo). Second I received a bill stating I’d need to pay two months up front. Well that equals the same as a quarterly payment. I decided to just go ahead and do it quarterly. It makes sense.
    My son and daughter in law celebrated their anniversary by going to North Georgia to a pub they used to go to when they lived in the area. I asked if they’d stop and get me apples at the produce stand on the highway. They brought in two bags, one of Cameo and one of Johnagold. We’ve eaten a few fresh. I made apple pies, apple butter, cooked the peels and cores to make juice (2 quarts off that) and the cooked scraps are now in my freezer. I plan to make jelly from the juice and will make vinegar with the scraps. I just need to get big jars for the vinegar. I did the cooked apple scraps vinegar last year and it’s done just fine, with no molding. I followed ThreeRiversHomestead method. You can find her on instagram or Youtube.
    I cooked a whole roast chicken over the weekend. I roasted it with apples, onions, carrots and potatoes and basted with apple cider. I used rosemary from my garden to season. It tasted just lovely. I made a chicken pot pie with some of the meat yesterday and have a whole breast in the fridge to use in another dish. The bones are in the freezer waiting to be used to make broth.
    The weather is slightly cooler, which means our AC shouldn’t be on for the next few days. I am grateful for the cooler air. I really enjoy cooking in the cooler months because the meals I make this time of year are simpler and are very budget friendly.

    1. I love Jonagolds. They were the apple that made me like apples! Growing up with just Red Delicious and Granny Smith, I wasn’t fond of apples. I have had many more kinds in the last two decades as the stores have had more variety and I like apples now!

      1. Brandy, just this year I picked Red Delicious (a few) when I was in the orchard. I dislike them from the store, but wanted to try them fresh off the tree. I was shocked at how good they were. I think the stores store them too long, or ? something makes them mealy and not delicious at all. If you’re ever back up in the Pacific NW in fall, stop at an orchard and pick a few apples!

  45. Well done on the watermelon, Brandy! Reading through the comments reminds me that so many are facing difficulties. Strength to each of you!

    In this past week I cooked several meals using vegetables from our garden and basic staples from the pantry. I accepted some sweet potato plants that came up in a friends garden and some broccoli starts he had extra of. He also gave me eggs from his hens. I asked my sister for some specific pumpkin seeds rather than buying them myself. I knew she had saved several last Halloween, more than she could use, so she was happy to share with me. I planted these using compost we made ourselves. I fertilised our other pumpkin and squash plants with liquid fertiliser from our worm bins. I bought a plum tree and a nectarine tree that were reduced by 40% as the nursery is closing. I went to this nursery while in the area to run another errand. The children have been snacking on peaches and mulberries from our own trees. I bought enough milk and yogurt to last the coming month on a good sale, as well as a case of butter, whole chickens and sausages all on sale. A friend gave me several overripe bananas which I used to make banana bread. I’ve been more diligent to hang up laundry on our wire rack indoors if the weather is bad rather than using the dryer. The cost of gas will go up sharply next month so we will focus on reducing mileage even more.

  46. I have not had a chance yet to read through the comments for this week. I so enjoy reading them every week. I submitted my retirement papers for December 1, but I will go part time at the job on January 1, so, hopefully, that will give me more time to help with a family member who has severe health issues. Since I have a month off, I made reservations to go see daughter’s family for December to fly round trip from Atlanta to Salt Lake for $258. I do have layovers but that is ok. One of the layovers will actually be routed through Las Vegas. I find this amusing because that is in the wrong direction…lol. I will be on the ACA insurance because the retirement insurance is too high, and I am still too young for Medicare. I took my free booster Covid vaccine. I made grits and eggs for breakfast, packed a sandwich, cut up carrots (which were 99 cents at the local grocery store) and the last of the apples for lunch, cooked dried red beans and had a salad for supper.

    1. Congratulations on your retirement! You have written before that you were deciding on such life plans. Wishing you and the family you take care of all the best for your new circumstances.

  47. I love your photo with Le Petit Prince.

    I have gotten several things we could use from our neighborhood Buy Nothing Facebook group, including garden seeds for next year, gourds to decorate the house, a cloak for my daughter’s Halloween costume, and a fluffy throw blanket to use for a Christmas gift. I collected twisted sticks that blew into our yard in a windstorm to decorate the house. I planned last week’s menu around what we already had in the house and saved a lot on groceries. I chose not to decorate for my son’s birthday party (no one noticed) and played games that used things we already had, so all we had to buy was the cake mix, frosting, and minimal favors. I used the library instead of buying books. I waited one extra day before taking my cat back to the vet for an ongoing problem and I believe it has resolved itself.

  48. Apologies if this post is a repeat…Brandy, wonderful photo of your husband working on the sculpture! Best photo of him I have ever seen. This past weekend, we took our first vacation in two years, three nights in and around Death Valley. We stayed in a Motel 6 just outside the park, which was better than usual, and room rates were about $70 a night, a pleasant price for the area. However, the food and gas prices were high! Gas at Furnace Creek was $6.70 a gallon, which wasn’t as high as I expected…given how prices usually are at that particular gas station. It was a lovely few days away in a place that looks different every time we go there. A perfect length of time away, when both the being away and the getting home lead to happiness 🙂 I worked on a 2022 revised budget, given the higher prices we are seeing. I have started my Social Security earlier than planned so that we can have the extra cash flow. We shall see if the government can actually start the payments on time given what a needlessly complex adventure it was to request the payments. And lastly, we have been talking about and planning for higher prices for the past six months on this blog. I am astonished to see it is only now that the news groups are mentioning higher prices and shortages. Thank you for this forum and the ability to expect prices were going higher so that we could stock our pantries as we could!

  49. We was gone for two weeks – went to a family wedding in southern California. It was in Manhattan Beach, so not inexpensive.
    My DH and I were married 46 years ago, and our honeymoon was driving from nothern central Washington to southern California, where he was stationed in the Marine Corps. We decided to “kind of” retrace our honeymoon, with the caveat that there was no sleeping in the car or camping. It was kind of a test to see how we did driving long distances, as I hope to be retiring soon, and we want to do some travelling.
    We took an ice chest and loaded it with drinks as well as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce and peppers from the garden. My DH likes salami and provolone cheese on his sandwiches, I’m more a turkey, ham and cheese girl, so that all went in the ice chest too. We learned long ago to put meats and cheeses in containers, not bags do water won’t get in. We bought a case of water at Costco, and took the whole thing. We also had red and green grapes and homemade salsa.
    We stayed at hotels that served breakfast, and stopped at rest areas for lunch from our cooler most days. If we ate lunch out, then we had dinner in our room out of the cooler. so, we never bought more than one meal out per day.
    We also took a small bin with paper plates, paper towels, some silverware and napkins. Masks. Hand sanitizer and wipes. A flashlight with extra batteries. I tried to think of everything we might need. I also took a blanket.
    The DH put jumper cables and a small tool box in the car, just in case.
    I took homemade salsa, and homegrown and dried oregano, parsley, basil and thyme for my SIL and BIL. It was their son getting married, and we stayed at their house one night. I wrapped all the jars in crocheted dishcloths so they wouldn’t bang against each other, then put them in a pretty box. It was also their Christmas present.
    Neither of us had to buy any new clothes for the wedding or rehearsal dinner.
    We took several nice walks along the beaches in California.
    We visited our old house in San Jose. We moved 35 years ago. The new owners added a second story, and really changed the yard. The basic structure of the house is the same but that is all. We met the grandson of one of our former neighbors while we were there.
    We drove over 600 miles the last day, as we were just anxious to get home. The trip was successful. We even used our navigation system and didn’t even get lost.
    Since being home, I got a chicken from Costco, as I was still tired, but made salad and mashed potatoes and gravy to go with it. Then took the bones from the chicken and made broth, and then chicken tortilla soup. Also made muffins to go with the soup. That was dinner one night and lunches at least twice for the week.
    I am back at work, but hope to continue with the frugal things this week.

  50. Well, it has been a crazy strange week. We had a truly horrible incident happen very close to our home. I’m very thankful that no one in my family was a part of it, but it has turned our little world upside down this week. It has impacted us in many ways. Because I have really not been able to concentrate, meals have been thrown together. I’m happy to have a fully stocked pantry and some convenience type foods in the freezer for times like these. Otherwise, it would have been costly takeout. With the police investigation going on and my lack of concentration, I was not able to work at my business as much as I usually do. This means less income. I have always planned for things like earthquakes, power outages, stores being closed… but I never really thought about other emergency situations. I never realized the emotional toll that an emergency can bring, and the impact it can have on all areas of life. I see how meal planning, food prepping and a stocked pantry can both save you money and keep life a bit normal.

    *On a lighter note, I was able to cut my grocery budget in half this week, I only bought fruits, vegetables, dairy, clearance breads, a few loss leaders.

    *My son and I got our Flu shots this week for free.

    *I was able to get milk on sale for 88 cents a half gallon.

    *I purchased several bags of dried beans at the Dollar Tree and NOTHING ELSE! I usually don’t use dried beans, but I want to learn how to use them. I will start with re-fried beans.

    *My Mom wanted to check out the At Home store, which is over an hour away from us. She paid me gas money to drive her. It was a needed getaway. It’s a huge store, and we spent several hours looking at all the home decor. I found several battery powered candle lanterns on clearance for $3.00 each. I think they are from summer, but I will add 2 to my Christmas decor and give one away as a gift.

    *Thanks to everyone for the advice on my husband’s broken windshields last week. Our deductible is $100 for each windshield replacement, but that doesn’t include the sensor reset. We are going to look for the $0 windshield deductible that was suggested! Many Thanks!

    1. If you have a crockpot, use that for your beans. Rinse them and cook them with water to be a litle more than double the amount of beans in the pot. Cook them on high for four hours.

      Never add salt until after cooking, or you will ruin the beans and they won’t get soft. I did that in college the first time I cooked beans and ruined the whole bag. A friend helped me sort it out.

      1. We find using the pressure cooker (not a new one, but a really good Italian one over 30 years old) on the gas stove cooks beans really quickly. We soak them for about 2 days, changing the water whenever it gets foamy (at least 3 times) then cook them. We do add salt and with the pressure cooker, it doesn’t affect the texture. I’ve read that soaking and using a pressure cooker gets rid of lectins in the beans and makes them more nutritious.

        Just a thought.

        1. I used to use an old pressure cooker for beans, and I loved cooking them that way, but the ring gave out. Then I used my solar oven, until it was damaged by one too many wind storms (of which we have a lot). Now I use the crockpot.

          1. Do you mean a rubber ring, Brandy? Ours perished, too, but we were able to buy a new one and it was worth it!

      2. I cook beans in a 70-year-old pressure cooker, but I don’t see why a newer one wouldn’t work, LOL. I recently replaced the rubber ring and pressure relief valve, which I bought at Ace Hardware.

        I find a quick soak works best. Put the dry beans in the pan, add water to about 3 inches above the beans, heat to boiling and cook for one minute. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and soak the beans for one hour. Pour off the water, add fresh water or broth, and cook the beans per directions (different varieties of beans have different cooking times). The beans are PERFECT and there are many fewer split skins.

        If you need to cook the beans slowly, for whatever reason, a Crock Pot works great. All day on Low is good. Brandy, do you soak your beans first when you cook in the CP? And Brandy is also right about not salting the beans until they are cooked.

  51. Not a thrifty week for me, but some good has come from my spending. My sister and I have been bumping heads for years about eldercare. When they moved west, they had expected mom to sell her house and follow her. She had been telling them “I will move only IF I have to” and as mom was at least 80 then, my sister assumed she’d have to move. But mom was telling me only “I am NOT moving” and after a decade of trying to get her to move to coastal San Diego County (and not the desert which she has never liked), I knew I’d have to move back east. So I did. And my sister has not been happy with me since. Her refusing to provide a single day of respite care in over 15 years and refusing to acknowledge mom needed ANY care at all until three years ago (when mom started needing lots of help with many of the activities of daily living after being clobbered by sepsis) pushed our relationship to the breaking point. Trying to educate her a bit on the stresses of eldercare (and actually thinking she’d enjoy most of the stories while she read it in the tub), I gifted her with a new book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series on caregiving that I had found uplifting. It went over like a lead balloon and she actually said the gift was rude. Sigh. I thought of Jacob and Esau and how Jacob sent gifts ahead of him to his brother to butter him up before they met again. And I decided to try again. Their anniversary was last week. I used Instacart to gift them flowers and dinner. Great plan. Except their house is hard to find and the beautiful flowers and food ended up on somebody else’s doorstep. Panic. Instacart came through with another delivery the next morning. The flowers were not quite so pretty but were exactly what I had ordered and were nice and fresh. The gift was a hit. Additionally, Instacart gifted me with $10 for the mixup. We started talking to each other like sisters again. They still have a teen to finish raising and because of Covid-19, her husband decided to retire a bit earlier than he had planned. He thought he’d join his daughter who sells houses easily to boost his income from a pension, social security, and some retirement savings. Some of the prospective buyers coming to him need places to live but with their finances would have a hard time finding any place to rent, much less a house to buy. He might be doing a public service trying to prevent homelessness, but it has not been profitable yet for him. With the inflation they’ve seen lately, they are worried. My sister said their long-planned long trip east next year might be on the chopping block. Her husband worries about the expenses of a long trip. I told them to sell their new-for-them almost-new large travel trailer and truck to get the funds and have their 15-year-old set up and break down a tent and raised airbed each day. I pointed out that when he is 16 he likely will be working so this coming summer is the year for them to take their dream trip. And my brother-in-law lost his oldest sister this year. None of us are getting any younger. She whined about the high cost of campsites. I pointed her to directories of cheap or free sites. We cannot do anything about the rising cost of fuel. I told her to get some poor friends who can teach her how to stretch her budget. She pointed out that they just moved to where they are now in the middle of a pandemic so finding new friends, poor or not, is hard. She fretted about the possibility of coming shortages and talked of packing some five-gallon buckets. She has been adding edibles to her new house’s landscaping but the yard is very small. I suggested sources of moderately priced pre-packed foods. But most of the sources are out of stock and Augason Farms is not taking new orders from individuals right now. Then I told her about deep pantries. What? I explained the concept briefly of making sure to keep multiples of the food she normally uses to prepare meals on hand, the advantages (eventually, rarely having to buy food that is not on sale), and sent a link to an article. I decided to go one step further and go shopping for her at Aldi. I ordered the pumpkin ice cream I had tried for the first time (but it was out-of-stock) and two cheddar cheese spreads, one of them horseradish and delicious. But then I added many of the pantry staples Aldi sells. She had shopped at Aldi a time or two when she lived in Michigan but the three nearest stores were out-of-the-way for her. I told her about the family relationship between the owners of Trader Joe (a store she loves) and Aldi. The courier left the receipt with the groceries from Aldi. My sister looked at the receipt and was very impressed with the prices and how much I had gotten for the money. Today she was busy clearing old stuff from her pantry and figuring out how to store more food in it. She ‘fessed up that in over 40 years of marriage (and as a mother of 5), she has only cooked dry beans once. The attempt was a fiasco and she didn’t try again. I pointed out that while beans can be inexpensive at 55 or 67 cents a can, a pound of dry beans at 80 cents to a dollar will cook up to be the equivalent of 5-7 cans. I am hoping that if she can shrink her food budget and keep more food on hand, they’ll feel comfortable taking their long road trip to visit family next summer.

  52. I love the photos of your husband making the trellis and also the other garden armatures.
    * I made 6 quarts of applesauce, using apples I had on hand.
    * After reading everyone’s comments last week, I stopped at my local Smith’s (Krogers) and bought 12 lb. of pasta for $.49 each.
    * Earlier this year, I found a cardigan sweater that was a wool/cashmere blend at a thrift store. I finally wore it and noticed it was missing a button. My button box had an almost identical button (gray), so I sewed it on.
    * Other than the pasta I bought, I didn’t need to grocery shop last week.
    * My friend gave me a hat pattern she designed (skull and crossbones). I will use it to make hats for the men in my family who like that look.
    * I borrowed “Cloud Cuckoo Land” from the library and read it.
    * We have discount theatre tickets to our local university productions. We have to arrive one hour before the show starts, stand in line, and can get the best tickets available. It’s fun for us. We went this week. I always pack a picnic dinner to eat between the box office trip and the show starting. We can usually find the lobby of the nearby law building open to eat our dinner. The building has a microwave too so we can heat our meal.
    Have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. That sounds like so much fun! I wonder if our local university offers a deal like this.

  53. Cool, rainy day here in Kansas and my knee injury is letting me know that it’s very unhappy about it!!

    I found some good deals last week and got my pantries all inventoried and reorganized.
    *Found 12 can cases of Veg-All at Sam’s for $3.81 ea. So instead of watching for sale canned veggies, I went for the blend.
    *The clearance section at my market had a plastic bin of discounted name brand reading glasses. It took a bit of hunting, but I found one. It was $4, reduced from $18.99. I love when a sale presents itself when I’m on the hunt for something!!
    *Got 30¢ per gallon off gas using points from the market. Filled it up.
    *Bought a large bottle of Lubriderm at the market for just $1.99 with a sale, digital, and paper coupon.
    *Listening to 2 books on tape from the library.
    *Watching Upstairs Downstairs season 5 from a loaner library.
    *Made red poppy pins for myself and friends using felt, buttons, and pinbacks I already had. Will give them out before Veteran’s Day. I remember getting the little wire ones from Vets at the market in 1970ish.
    *Made 2 pumpkin cheesecakes using leftover pumpkin from my muffins. The pumpkin, the crusts, and the blocks of cream cheese were all at least 2 months beyond “best by” date.
    *Had a fancy lunch date at Sam’s with my husband. Hot dogs and a soda!! Got a free dessert of 4 red grapes each from the sample lady!
    And all the regular stuff I don’t think about any more like hanging clothes to dry, combining errands, catching warm up water, etc. It was a good week!

    1. Rakuten will get you back some money, but it depends on where you shop and how much you spend. I would look on there to see if your favorite sites qualify. When I was overspending on new clothes as a coping mechanism early on in the pandemic, I would get back $25 – $50 per quarter. Not a huge amount. I finally stopped coping by shopping.

      But the biggest problem for me was you can not use ad blocker with those cash back sites. I prefer to have ad blocker installed so I no longer use Rakuten.

    2. I’ve been using Rakuten since 2012. It is legit. I have made a total of around $800, and I’m not much of a shopper. They send checks to you every 3 months or so. I think they still offer a gift card option as well. You may first want to look over the website and see if the stores you primarily purchase from are offered. They also periodically offer 2x or 3x the normal cash back, which if you strategize, can earn you more.

    3. Rakuten is the old Ebates. I’ve been using it for 10 years or so. No problems whatsoever. In fact, last quarter I forgot to cash my check, and I received an email last week that they noticed I hadn’t cashed the check and were adding it to this quarter’s amount. Completely legitimate company.

    4. Elizabeth, I have been using Rakuten for years — earned about $1500 cashback so far. It is legit, and great if you shop online often. I use the app on my phone as well as going through the website on my computer. I do not use the Chrome extension, though.

  54. Hello friends near and far. I hope this week finds you safe and sound. It has been pretty quiet here in our neck of the woods (Portland, OR) for which I am grateful. Fall is definitely my favorite season and I love watching the leaves out my front window change and turn the most beautiful colors. I work from home and try to stay home as much as possible (COVID precaution as I am immune compromised) so that in and of it self is a money saver.

    I had my monthly infusion this morning (crohn’s medication) and thanks to a copay assistance program it only costs me $5. Even with insurance this medication costs $2,000 every four weeks, so the copay assistance program is a life saver. If you or someone you know is on a biologic or any sort of highly specific medication I recommend looking into such programs. It is really the only way I can afford my medication. I had planned to stop and get a bagel on my way home as a treat but went straight home instead. My dad and his buddy were at my house installing my new (much smaller) fridge! Very exciting. The freezer on my previous fridge died months ago and I was finally able to find one that would fit. Very grateful to have a fridge AND freezer working in my kitchen again! Dad and his friend picked it up from Home Depot and installed it themselves, saving the hauling fees etc. I sent them both home with pickles I made recently. Oh! And my dad brought a bag of books that my mom had read and wanted to pass along. We definitely pass books back and forth, and around with anyone who wants them. She primarily reads thrillers so they are a nice treat occasionally and I don’t feel bad about passing them along. I get most of my reading material from the library but I read a lot, so it’s nice to have more than one source! (If you like psychological thrillers, this week I read Behind Her Eyes and The Silent Patient. Both were easy and quick reads).

    Haven’t done any grocery shopping this week. I am fairly well stocked and typically go to the store once a week to buy chicken (if needed) and produce. I don’t eat meat and my dad fishes so I have fresh caught fish in my freezer. Because I have Crohn’s disease I eat a fairly bland diet and I need to know exactly what I am eating. Cooking from scratch at home is not only economical but for me entirely necessary. I need to know exactly what I’m eating. I do buy some snack items and prepackaged things, but if possible I make it myself. Along those same lines, a friend of mine sent me a code for a free week of meals from Hello Fresh. I only had to pay the shipping. So for $9 I got 4 different meals which are intended to feed 2 people each. It will be delivered next week and I am curious to try it, though I certainly won’t be paying for a subscription. I figured a little over a dollar per meal was worth trying. Also, I keep a running list in my phone of grocery items that I need so that when the time comes I can get only exactly what I need at the store. My primary grocery store is Winco (I love it SO MUCH) but I buy any poultry and produce from a local chain called New Seasons. Farmers markets are winding down here for the winter due to weather, but I am pretty stocked for a while. Also, I made a big pot of veggie noodle soup and ate that for five days as I have no problem with leftovers. I don’t get bored with meals easily as long as I occasionally mix it up.

    Tomorrow morning I have a medical procedure and my dad will be my chauffer. I am being sedated so I am not allowed to drive and thus grateful that my dad has the flexibility to take me. I will be home by 9am and get to take a lovely nap! I took half the day off work so I only have to use 4 hours of PTO. I will be fine and fully operational for the second half of my work day so it works out just fine.

    It sounds silly but tomorrow I am looking forward to organizing my new, much smaller, fridge. And to putting some things in the freezer to make room in my chest freezer. Clearly, I am easily entertained.

    A dear friend is getting married this weekend and I had it in my head that the venue was 30 minutes away. Hah! It’s actually two hours away. Sigh. So I’m treating it like a mini-vacation for the day. I will wear cozy sweats for the drive, pack yummy snacks, and I have downloaded an audiobook. It should be a beautiful drive as all the leaves are changing so that will be a nice treat. I may swing by a Goodwill location south of here that has really good finds. ALSO, as a very special treat, on my way home from the wedding I plan to stop at the new In N Out. I grew up in Southern California so this is a nostalgic treat for me and the closest one currently to Portland is a little over an hour away. However, I will be driving right past it and that seems like a very good idea to me! Ok I’ll stop rambling friends (can you tell I live by myself and only talk to my dogs? hehe they are not very talkative). Sending you all love!

    1. Morgan, I’m going to second your comment about help paying for expensive meds. My mom had macular degeneration and received eye shots every six weeks, if I remember correctly. They cost more than her SS check! The opthalmology nurse gave us a couple of applications to apply for assistance. They were funds that people left in their wills/estates to help out others. Bless their hearts! The shots helped a lot and we never could’ve afforded them otherwise.

      I also grinned at your comment on In n Out Burger. This is such “a thing” among all of my friends and family that have left California. When we drive back to visit, we can’t wait to get to Kingman, AZ, which is the first one we hit on the I40!! I know we’re in lots of company cuz it’s not unusual to park a block away and wait in line for half an hour or more!! We joke about driving to Fort Worth for a Double Double road trip!!! We both grew up in the Valley eating those burgers.

    2. Huzzah for In-n-Out! As the late Anthony Bourdain once said, “Can’t wait to get to the In-n-Out right by LAX… #firstthingsfirst”.

      1. That’s so funny to read so much love for In & Out – we have one right by our home, and don’t understand the hype as neither of us like it. I think it must be a nostalgia ‘what you grew up with’ acquired taste (as most fast food probably is, honestly!) It is a fairly new thing here in Texas.

  55. Your husband is doing such beautiful work for your gardens. I know you are both working hard and it will be such a beautiful, peaceful place for your family.
    I haven’t had a chance yet to read all the comments, but I am so shocked at how much prices have increased just in the last two weeks. Everything I went to add to my cart for pickup was $.30-$1.10 more expensive since the last time I purchased just about 2 weeks ago. I researched gluten free flours and went back to the last purchase I made in August and it was $22.22 for the large package and today it is priced at $47.68!!! I searched for less expensive options as we go through a fair amount of gluten-free flour and found a brand I have not used before, but my sister purchases that was still more than I am used to paying but significantly less than the above mentioned. I like to purchase 20-25lbs at a time and so many bulk suppliers just don’t have it. I ordered the packages for $34 and if I can’t find another less expensive option will purchase a second next week. I have been adding to my list slowly of things I need to restock my pantry with and although I have added a great deal still have so many holes to keep plugging away at.
    This week we ate beans in four dinners in various ways and each night my children were so excited for dinner. It made me happy to see them so contented with simple meals. When I cook rice, once I bring it to a boil I cover and turn off all heat rather than simmer. It cooks up perfectly and saves me the propane to run my stove. I made all our meals at home.
    We were hit by terrible winds/storms and almost all my tomato plants were snapped or roots pulled from the ground and cages knocked over, so we spent an afternoon collecting green tomatoes from the plants that snapped and from the ground. We collected over 100 tomatoes I brought in to ripen. I still have 5 heavily loaded plants that survived and I re-staked them. My lettuce is growing nicely and I cut lettuce for two meals. I replanted some Asian greens that normally grow well in our autumn and into winter that were damaged. It may be too late for them to get well rooted but I figured it was worth a shot.
    My son cleaned out the chicken house and added the manure to a section of the garden to be worked in for next spring. We still have the chicken runs to clean and I collected rabbit manure to also add into a new garden bed along with the compost.
    Although we have been getting down into the 40s at night, we have yet to turn our heat on. In the next week we will be in the upper 30s and might have to bite the bullet then. We have started washing all the extra heavy blankets we add to the beds in the winter. Our electricity, despite trying hard is still rising slightly. We are part of Entergy that is also tied to all the storm damages in the south and I think overall the costs will continue to rise to cover the costs of repairing the grids. Our increase has been much smaller than many around us so I am still very thankful for that.
    My mother-in-law sends the children care packages every few months and this month she ordered 4 cases of fruit cups, 2-12 packs of dairy-free microwave popcorn, some gluten/dairy free cookies and Kind bars for them. It was very welcomed to the more fun packages of stuffed animals/small toys as this was much more practical and they were just as excited…maybe more so.
    I ordered two more seed packets from Baker Creek Seeds and for my free package of seeds they sent Pink Mizuna, which is one on my wish list to try. I was very excited about that.
    I hope everyone has a good week!

    1. I have been thinking about turning the heat off earlier when cooking rice. I will try your way next time.

      The price of potatoes is now $4 for a 10-pound bag. I used to pay $2 a bag, and even $1 at Thanksgiving. We would go through 50 pounds of potatoes a week.

      Now we are eating more rice. It’s a lot less expensive.

      We are also eating more lettuce. I hope this year’s crop is successful.

      1. My oven vent is through the rear right burner. If I am making rice when the oven is on, I use that burner to collect some of the heat.

      2. For years I’ve cooked pasta in a similar manner. I bring the water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook for 4 minutes. Then I turn the burner off and let it sit for 10 minutes. Cooks perfectly. This doesn’t work for angel hair pasta, but it does for the other pasta types.

      3. I let it soft boil about a minute, cover and then turn it off and it is ready in about the same amount of time. It works perfectly!
        Potatoes are higher here too. One of our smaller grocery stores has an upcoming sale where you can get 50lbs of potatoes for $19.99. I will be trying to get two bags and put them in my crawl space to keep them over the winter since I don’t have a root cellar. That will last us a while.

        1. That is a great price right now for potatoes. Our local farm raised the price to $25 for 50 pounds. I only got one sack. We will have to make it stretch this year.

  56. I love the glimpses of the new garden and all the interesting features you are adding!

    Around here, we are still eating a few veggies from the garden. We picked the green tomatoes from many of the bushes and put them in a large, flat box in the garage where they will hopefully ripen before they rot. We pulled up some of the garden and yard plants.

    I am having what is commonly known around here as a “cleaning fit.” I have one spare room, which I use for sewing, my grandson’s crib, one spare twin bed mattress pile (2, one on top of the other–no boxspring) that my nice can use when she stays over, ironing, a changing table, and storage. You can imagine how awful it looked after a summer spent on canning and the garden, and NOT on cleaning plus, it’s very crowded even when it’s organized. It’s looking great now and better yet, I can now sew again. I sorted all the baby clothes my husband has found at yard sales to give to the grandsons when they reach those sizes, organized the Christmas wrapping and gift bags that are in there, and sorted through the bags and bags of new-to-me clothing I was given a month ago. Some I passed on, some were put in my room and some were donated. I have more tops now than I had in my entire wardrobe before. What a blessing. I found several pairs of brand-new socks for my husband in a bin, which he sorely needed. Now that I can get in there, I’m hoping to sew a few Christmas gifts, using items that are now easy to get to.

    I cooked from dry beans. I find it interesting that I, also, made vegetarian taco soup. It must be the week for it! I used lots of home-canned tomatoes and black beans in mine. One daughter is a vegetarian, so I fed it to her when she visited and send a container home with her, as she is moving very soon. I also made split pea soup, Italian pesto vegetable-beef stew, and home-made refried beans. I soaked a lot of pinto beans and used them for the refried beans and also cooked several packages for the freezer to make meals faster on busy days.

    We got a 9c/lb pumpkin for our 15-month grandson to carve with help from my 17-year-old daughter. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. My 2 daughters who live together (one has 2 babies) and one friend are moving. Their landlord wanted the house back so he could renovate, then sell it. It was extremely difficult and expensive to find another rental, but they finally did. Seriously, the only way they can afford a house is for the 3 of them to split the cost and it still costs them more each month than I paid on a house payment in the past, when I had one. Therefore, I’ve been babysitting every day as they do errands and pack up and cooking extra for them some days. I’m glad I have so much food stored up–it makes that easy to do.

    My husband does quite a bit of my shopping for me. It saves me a bundle. I give him a list I made using the ads, and he sticks to it. I am more inclined to jump onto bargains as I see them, sometimes causing me to spend more than I want to. He is noticing empty spaces on shelves, and shelves with one row of product on them. In other areas, there is ample product. We are eating mainly from the pantry shelves and freezers and my home-canning/freezing, but are buying pantry staples to fill in spaces in my storage, loss leaders that we like and have the budgeted money for, dairy and produce. We have 1/4 beef on order, but will split it with my sister this time. In anticipation of having less beef than usual, I’ve been stretching the meat out doing things like using only 1/2 lb of burger in a recipe that calls for a whole pound, etc., making the whole pound up into patties (small and thin patties, I might say), and then saving them for meals more than once during the week….and so on.

    One sister doesn’t return bottles and cans, so we happily take all of hers. She puts all her glass recycle in there, as she doesn’t have that service at her house and we sort it out and recycle it, and return the cans and bottles that are returnable. We also pick up cans when we see them on our walks. My husband and autistic niece return them all to Bottle Drop, along with the ones we emptied. When you shop at certain stores, you get an option of Plus 20%, so I get more groceries that way. The dynamic duo also returns my niece’s family’s cans as well, as one of her life-skills she practices and put all of that onto their card for their family to use in the same way. We figured we got enough cans from our walks last week to buy a 1/2 gallon of milk, at least!

  57. Hi Jeannie,
    I have worried about the supply lines myself so I bought different stuff for Christmas gifts then what i would usually buy and spending a
    a bit more because of, Stuff that we would need and maybe hard to find- sneakers warm winter clothes and sheets. and I am considering getting a new cell phone as mine is getting decrepit.

  58. I love those steel arches; they look so nice! Those will be even more lovely with plants growing on them. Your son’s comment about the shoes made me smile. It’s wonderful when teens don’t insist on name brands and high price tags. My daughter (age 17) said something similar last week — she said she is getting a lot of compliments on her clothes, and she’s proud to say that her mom got it at a yard sale. She and a friend shopped at Goodwill together and had a blast. She came home with a funny Princess Leia mug that has two handles.

    I mentioned before that my family prefers storebought pasta sauce instead of homemade. We use 2 jars at a time (usually gives us some leftovers to freeze.) This week I tried something new — I used one jar of sauce, then added several fresh chopped tomatoes from the garden. It worked out really well; I don’t think my family had any idea and the flavor was great. Really glad that we can stretch the jarred sauce because it is getting to be so expensive.

    Our gas prices are staying around $3.20/gallon. I try to fill up on Wednesdays because we can use double fuel points to get $.30/gal off. My van takes almost 20 gallons so that savings adds up!

  59. Brandy, I know your plate is full now with getting the garden finished, but have you and your husband considered him making his welded garden ornaments as a side gig? I know you would have to charge a bit, but if yours were better looking and came in under the price at the local nursery you could probably bring in several hundred a month extra. Just a thought.

    1. These are much larger and more substantial than anything you can get from the nursery, and with the cost of materials constantly rising and the time it takes to make them, they would be pricey. This would be a bespoke item.

  60. It has been a busy and stressful month and we fell off the strict budget wagon! In another day it will be a new month and we will hop right back on the wagon again! I was feeling a bit discouraged so I thought this was the best place to come to get back in the groove. I have continued to pick up useful items from our local buy nothing group, including another trunk full of wood. We should have lots for this winter and some to start next season too. I have also been gifted a large can of creamed corn which will last us two meals and an unopened package of 500 muffin papers. As prices on everything rise, every little bit we get helps. I have also used several free product coupons including for a carton of milk, two boxes of Rice Krispie squares and a dozen packages of flavored rice.

    I hope everyone is having a restful weekend!

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