We came home from our trip to a warm refrigerator that had turned itself off. I was able to turn it back on without any problem, but the food in the refrigerator was lost (the food in the freezer was still cold). We cleaned out all the dust on the coils with an air compressor to help keep it running well. There were a few apples left that had not turned moldy like the other things in the fridge but that no longer tasted good. I buried them in the garden for the worms to eat.

At Smith’s (our Kroger grocery affiliate), I bought barbecue sauce on sale for $0.49 a bottle (in groups of 5; I bought 10), 18-count eggs for $0.97 (limit 5; I bought 5), and broccoli crowns at $0.99 a pound (I bought 2 large bags).

I bought a used vanity and stool off of Facebook marketplace for my 15-year-old daughter. She likes to do her makeup in her room instead of the bathroom, so I surprised her with this.

The top has some damage, so I suggested that we use a dresser scarf. None of my old ones are short enough, so I will teach her some embroidery stitches and have her make a new one with fabric and thread that I already have. I have several patterns from which she can choose on my Pinterest embroidery board, including links to some books of extensive patterns.

My husband found two new thermal Henley shirts to wear in winter for $9 each at Sam’s Club. He has found that with our mild winters here, this is the perfect weight for him to wear while working outside for warmth.

It’s still hot here, but the first coolings of fall (cool mornings) have arrived. I keep my air conditioner set at 79 degrees. In the mornings, it dropped down to 74, so I opened the windows until 8 a.m. each morning when it got up to 79 in the house. (The nights are about 84 here). This week we will finally start having regular highs right below 100 degrees.

I read one e-book from the library this week: Hidden Places.

I harvested mint from the garden twice.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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159 Comments

  1. I am sorry to hear you lost your fridge food, but glad the freezer food and fridge itself was saved!
    This week through couponing, sales and rebate items I got the following for free, plus made $5 for finishing an Ibotta bonus: mac n cheese, cottage cheese, marshmallows, crayons, yogurt, sports drink, bread, eggs, coffee drink, cocktail mixers, liners, snack bars, oatmeal, rice, and kids toothpaste. I also bought two 2 lb bags of shredded cheese for $3.99 each and 18 ct eggs for .99 as loss leaders from one store.
    I took the girls to the library and returned books and picked up our holds. The girls played games on the computer. I combined this trip with our gymnastics class as they are next door to each other.
    I inventoried all of their fall and winter clothing and shoes. It looks like the only thing I will need to add is a couple of long sleeve shirts for school. I had enough of everything to be able to pack pajamas, play clothes, school clothes, a lightweight jacket, hat and gloves to send with their Dad for his house.
    I sold two items this week making $70.
    It was my birthday this past weekend and I picked up a rather large offering of skin care supplies off of my buy nothing group, I was so excited! I divided it to share with my sister. I also picked up a small birthday cake and cupcakes from a party that was cancelled and saved myself from making one.
    On a not so frugal note, I have had an ant problem and have tried my best to combat them but I believe they have gone into the walls. While cleaning with a vacuum I placed my hand on the wall for support and my finger almost went through the sheetrock. So it looks like I also have a leak in the area which may be why the ants are congregating there. I called terminex and they came and treated. Next is the plumber scheduled to come. Praying that it won’t be too expensive. But I am grateful I have an emergency fund and have been selling items to save for Christmas.
    Because of the above I am planning a pantry challenge for the next two weeks and only plan on buying milk and produce. I should have enough of everything else to make this successful! I am also going to list a lot more for sale as I slacked off this past week.
    Thank you for continuing to post this series, it definitely keeps me motivated!

    1. I understand this went beyond just treating, but the Terro liquid baits for ants work amazingly well if you ever see more ants. I am glad you were brought to find the leak, though, before it was worse.

      1. I second the Terro! I use the gel. They also make granules in a shaker bag that you can sprinkle around the perimeter of your home. I even had a professional exterminator recommend them.

    2. I was going to post my frugal accomplishments for the week, but my biggest frugal win came from YOU! Emily is the aunt to my two fab kids and is my sister. She’s really resourceful! She sent us a ton of freebies that she’s earned. I packed cold drinks that she sent me and snacks for after school. These were things that I NEVER buy, so my kids were thrilled. We attended a high school volleyball game for $4 and my daughter and her friend had great snacks/drinks due to “Aunt Emmy”.

      We don’t send birthday gifts anymore as adults, but we do send cards. I was able to send her a thrifted card and two items to resale. She’s excellent at that too!

      I love everyone’s comments here. It is a sweet place on the internet- thank you Brandy.

  2. So sorry to hear about your fridge!! Any idea why it turned itself off? Hope it’s an easy fix! With YouTube videos, there seem to be lessons on fixing almost anything these days!!

    I went to the Produce market for the first time since July and found a 30 pound box of bananas for $5 and 2 seedless watermelons for $1 each! I also bought some beautiful green grapes from Kroger’s for 88 cents/pound!! We’ve been enjoying fresh fruit and veg with all of our meals as well as snacks! Other than that, we haven’t bought anything from the grocery store this week! We’ve eaten our meals using what we have here at the house all week!

    With some of the bananas, I made 2 loaves of Butterscotch Walnut Banana bread. I also made up a batch of Basic Cookie Mix from my Make A Mix books from the late ‘70’s! Using that mix, I’ll make a double batch of Banana Coconut Delight cookies! I’ll make up more batches this week to take when we go to “ Ding Dong Ditch” to friends and neighbors that might need a cheering up!! Any bananas left over will be frozen for later use in winter!!

    I made Quilt #184- a Super scrappy lap quilt that uses only a 3-patch block. I needed to use up some of my overflowing shoeboxes of fabric scraps I had cut into standard quilt piece sizes. My Amazon Kindle app on my iPad suggested a new, available for purchase, quilt book- Scrap Basket Bounty by an author whose other books I have on my bookshelves. They offered a free sample of the book to download to whet my appetite! I downloaded the sample, thinking it might show me photos in the sample, along with the Table of Contents. Imagine my surprise when, after the first few pages of basic information, it gave the pattern for one of their quilts- 3 patch block- in it’s entirety, including diagrams, measurements, cutting instructions and step by step directions to make it!! It used up 640 two inch squares and 320 two inch by three and a half inch rectangles. I’d like to say that it emptied my shoeboxes with those scraps but instead, it did reduce the volume of scraps a bit. I added a border to make it a nice size lap quilt and used an op shop soft sheet for the backing.
    Total OOP- $0!!!! Here’s a couple pictures: https://pin.it/4ZuINhZ and https://pin.it/218PtW6. It will go in my cabinet and wait for a need.

    I went to a bridal shower for a friend and gave her this scrap lap size quilt we made 2 years ago- https://pin.it/BvoiI0R and https://pin.it/1CQPD1e. I just felt like it was what I needed to give her. When she opened the gift bag and took out the quilt, she started crying. She said she had been hoping she would someday receive a “Pat Lewis” quilt, but that there was another special thing about it that she would tell me later. Later, when we had a private moment, she told me that 8 years ago, just before her Mum (a dear friend of mine) succumbed to cancer and this daughter was distraught, her Mum told her that when she was particularly missing her, that she would be near her in spirit. Her Mum told her to look for a butterfly and that was their special, private sign. I had no idea but felt drawn to this quilt out of several others I had. It has butterfly fabric all over it and it gave her the sense that her Mum was close in spirit and happy with her! I was overwhelmed and humbled.
    This is why I make “extra” quilts that have no particular recipient in mind when I make them. Sometimes, it’s final destination doesn’t become apparent for a while (even a couple years), but it will happen and when it does, it’s just at the right time!

    On Thursday and Friday, 5 more quilts came in from 3 returning clients for Lenni to get quilted up. My daughter is going to be here quilting all day on at least 2 of them. After she leaves, I will quilt another 1 or 2 by Tuesday afternoon. My daughter just got a tracking number last night from a friend in CA that is for a bed quilt she sewed that she wants us to quilt for her. So when these 6 are done, we will be up to 190 quilts that Lenni are longarm has quilted for our business since Aug 30, 2019!!

    I was able to cash in another $10 in CC rewards and added it to our savings account. I also added an extra $24.78 to my savings account to “round out” the balance to a more even $ amount! Silly, I know, but it makes me happy to see it even! 🥴 Anyone else do that?

    Hubs counted and discovered that the pavers we used for this patio project numbered over 2,000!! Since those bricks were all given to us (free), our only cost OOP was for the sand that we use under the bricks. We bought about 2,000 pounds and bought it 500 pounds at a time so our old van wouldn’t be overloaded! We paid less than $160 for the sand! So we figure that it was worth our time and labor to get this bricked area for entertaining! So, now that we have used up our paver bricks https://pin.it/1LaFFz3 and https://pin.it/70VT7WY, (the final few get set this morning), I saw 600 brand new paver bricks on Saturday for less than half price (total cost will be $150) and the seller will deliver them! Hubs went up to see them and was pleased! We have some other areas that would be easier to maintain if we bricked them. The space between chicken coop and raspberry bed is too narrow for lawn mower, under some of my berry barrels and the tiered bucket garden, under the half barrel raised beds Hubs put in the front of side yard. So we do have a plan for them. We realize we won’t get them all placed before weather changes, but we will have them available to use any time we get a good day!! Crazy??? Probably! But it is so nice to see the permanent changes happening!

    We are so grateful at this stage of our lives to be able to work (even if it takes us a day or two afterwards to rest and recover! Lol! ) We know it is a real blessing that many others don’t have. We are enjoying our golden years, come what may! While our expenditures and lifestyle may look modest and frugal, we feel like we are living so abundantly!!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. I am wondering if the door wasn’t completely closed when we left and it ran hard while we were gone. It has two doors on top and they don’t always get closed right away. Either that or the coils may have been too dusty. Normally we clean them every six months, but it had been two years (since we bought the fridge) and my husband had been putting it off. I hope it’s not more serious than that.

      1. That’s exactly what happened to us. Twice! I have found that when the refrigerator/freezer stops cooling I have been able to get it going again by unplugging it and then plugging it back in. It seems to reset itself. I don’t know how many other appliances would do the same but that is the first thing I try when anything is not working.

        1. It turned back on just fine, but I did consider unplugging it. Did you stop having that issue after that?

          1. I have not had problems since then but all family members have been reminded about closing the doors. I have a freezer on the bottom. The interesting thing to me was that it was the freezer drawer that was left partially open but it was the refrigerator section that stopped cooling. I suspect many things can be reset by unplugging, for example my printer has responded to that several times. For sure it’s worth a try.

            1. This fridge has a freezer on the bottom too, and I know if something is in the way, it won’t get closed properly.

              1. Ours came with an alarm that is very annoying when I am putting away groceries or cleaning it but it has saved the food more than once! I need to get one for our freezer now – everything got partially defrosted awhile ago and I had to cook up a lot of ground beef to save it!

      2. Brandy: did your husband have a pattern to make your Armillary/Equatorial Sundial? We have a friend who has metal/ machine shop that I feel certain could duplicate one! I love them and have always desired one! He is also going to make a base and arms for an old ship’s bell that I have from the early 1800’s. Very excited about it. Wish I had it when my children were little instead of having to bellow for them at Supper time! Sorry about your fridge! I think every Mama has experienced that at least once!

        Food prices are outrageous here in East TN! I can see beans and rice in our future! Take care.

    2. Thank you for this. I have downloaded the sample. Quilting is on my list of ‘ hobbies I want to learn’. Now I’m motivated! If anyone knows of an online ( preferably free) tutorial on quilting please let me know.

      1. Sheena- There are hundreds of YouTube videos teaching how to quilt. You might want to start with “Just Get it Done Quilts”. It’s a fun one from Canada.

        Good luck and welcome to quilting!! ❤️❤️

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      2. Sheena, I highly recommend Quilting with Claudia. Blocks I never imagined I could make, I easily could with her tutorials. She also has a monthly block quilt that in Nov will turn into a small quilt.

    3. Pat,

      I always keep my checking account at an even $ amount. Even if an auto pay comes out at ××.13, I transfer that extra 87 cents to savings. I don’t care if my savings account isn’t even.

      1. Jennifer Brown- We must be sisters!! 😉 The silly 8 cents in interest each month on our savings account plus the $10 CC rewards that go into our savings have me “evening” up our account to the nearest $100 a few times/month!! Seeing our account online makes it too easy to track!! 🥴🤪🤪

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Sarah- I go to San Filippo’s. They do a cash (although they also take cc)and carry to public on Tuesday- Saturday . 8 AM – 3 PM.

        They are located at 4561 East Fifth Avenue, Columbus 43219.

        You never know what you might find. Sometimes I have lots of produce, sometimes 1 thing. But I only live 10 minutes away in Olde Towne East so it’s worth checking. They are just south of the airport!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. Jules Owings- I’m a firm believer that it all adds up!! Glad to see I’m not the only one! Hope you’re staying dry and warm through this rainstorm we are getting ! We will get 1”- 3” of rain just today!! 😱

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      2. I round down every deposit and round up every check amount or debit. I don’t move money to savings but use it at end of month to pay any unexpected bills. You might think even small amounts won’t add up but one month this summer when we had an unexpected AC repair bill, we had enough to cover the cost of that bill from just that month’s rounding up and down! Most months it only nets us about $100 but that’s a lot of money to me even yet and as I said it’s handy for so many things, like stocking an empty space in the pantry or helping to pay a bill I hadn’t realized we’d need to play.

  3. I took apples, carrots, and purchased grapes, to take for my lunch to work. I have hamburgers to eat for two days, minus ketchup because I had a near miss last week, and I will do cheese and turkey sandwiches the other three days. I purchased dark salad greens because I dislike iceberg lettuce. I may make a tomato soup, from tomato paste, to go with my salad at night. We had terrible rains, and the ground is saturated. I may sell my backup car, used car prices are higher than I have ever seen them. I cut my hair myself. It is a simple blunt cut about an inch or two below the chin, so it is easy to cut. I have not been able to walk much because of the weather. My cell phone was not working at home but works fine at work, an hour away. Local cell phone tower must be down.

  4. It was a great, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    There were lots of good deals at the grocery store. I’m able to hit up several for the loss leaders. At the first stop (for .99 cheese, .33/# bananas, and .59 toothpaste), the kids noticed their gallon pails of chocolate ice cream were .99. Evidently the store got an unexpected shipment of these and was trying to clear them out. I couldn’t buy them then, but after our other grocery store loss leader trips, I went back and bought 2 for the freezer. I’d been planning to buy the $2.99 ice cream gallon pail at Kroger, and this was even cheaper. I’m so fortunate to have a lot of stores within 10-15 minutes of me.
    My sister gave me the cake that was leftover from my niece’s birthday party. They were just going to throw it away. I brought the rest of it home and (yay!) didn’t eat any of it myself. Delicious, but I don’t need the calories.
    I continue to pickup coins on the ground. Even pennies add up!
    We’ve cleaned using baking soda and vinegar, and hope to open the windows on Wednesday if the weather cools down.
    I made homemade granola bars, which the kids really enjoyed for breakfast and a snack.
    I’m still on track with my grocery budget, which is great news!
    Unfortunately, after going to so many grocery stores and buying so much food, we were exhausted, so I took the kids to Burger King. They like the $1 bacon cheeseburgers and $1.50, 10-count nuggets, plus I bought fries to share, so it came to between $2-$3/person, which isn’t too bad. I budget for eating out separately from the grocery budget.
    I cleaned the old van, which is a nice feeling.
    Hope it’s a great week!

  5. I am so sorry you lost food. It is frustrating but at least you found a use for the food. Recently I discovered some lamb chops had gone off when in the freezer. I am concerned about what else I might find.

    I am making plans for battery charged fans. It is going into summer here and it will be hot and humid. I want these fans to use when there are the inevitable power outages. When this happens I wish I knew how to switch the solar from supplying the grid and to use it at home. I am finding I am not coping with our humid weather anymore.

    I have been trying to use food from home. I am not buying anymore meat etc until I have figured out what is wrong with our freezer and fridge that is the back up one. The shelftember idea has shown me potential problems I need to address. That is good too.

  6. I did the usual this week for saving money. You know…paying bills on time, buying on sale.
    It seems to be getting harder and harder to find places to save.
    Prices are going up weekly.
    There have been few to no coupons in the last few weeks. The coupons I’ve seen help, but the prices with the coupons are the prices I paid without a coupon last year.
    It is getting a little scary.
    I have been continuing to purge things from my house. I am to the point now that what is left is nice and I must decide to keep, donate or sell.
    It is so freeing to get rid of things I no longer want or need.
    My garden is breathing its last. I had one leathery green bean this morning. I finally got an Armenian cucumber. Not a great one, but I got one. *smile*​
    I have watched some free movies.
    I’ve read a free book.
    I have sold 2 costumes this season. This is how I know it is really hard out there still. I usually sell between 20 and thirty costumes. I sold 5 last year and only 2, so far, this year.
    It is cooling down some here in TX. I am turning the air off for a few hours every day now.
    It is supposed to be 100 today, but a cold front is coming tomorrow and dropping it into the low 80s for the high and the high 50s for the lows for a few days. Autumn is coming. Thank heavens.
    Brandy, thank you for all you share with us. I would me in a real mess if I hadn’t stumbled across your site all those years ago.

  7. Used a coupon for $10 off oil change

    Signed up for Get Upside but it’s taking forever to process my receipt.

    Sold 2 items and made $13

    Put a stack of fast food napkins in the truck to use as Kleenex

    A local meat store had hamburger $2.99 pound(currently $4.57 a pound at Walmart here). Bought 30 pounds(gave 6 pounds to my mom)

    My mom sent over apple juice, powdered milk, almond milk, donuts, and TV dinners.

    Downloaded a free roblox item from Verizon (my 14yo was happy)

    Hubby got a dozen free tomatoes from someone he did a job for on Friday

    Rented Redbox twice, used .50 on one and $1.25 off on the other

    Finally got word on my financial hardship application for my emergency room visit in May. It was approved and a double bonus, my unexpected ER visit a couple weeks ago and emergency endoscopic procedure is also covered. Fingers crossed I can avoid any disasters for awhile.

    The 14yos dress from Shein arrived last Thursday and we were able to find shoes for her this weekend. Homecoming will come in right at $60, including the $10 ticket. Thankfully, it’s a pretty simple black dress, so she should get multiple uses out of it.

  8. Very sorry to hear you lost refrigerator food. I know that is a blow to your budget and not to mention having to clean it all out. You may want to check and see if your Kroger affiliate is doing the same thing as our Kroger stores. On the by 5 you can get five or more for that sale price. Sure makes it nicer if you don’t want to buyin lots of five to get the deal. So if you by 6 or 8 you can still get the sale price.

    1. Usually you have to buy five here. Sometimes it’s a combination of items to equal five. With a large family, I can use all five. I only have issues if there aren’t five on the shelf. Then I combine if there’s a combination of different products.

      1. We are in Atlanta and our Kroger stores have the same policy for their Mega sales – just buy a minimum for 5 participating items and any additional items will be at the sale prices as well. They instituted this change about 18 months ago. Today I bought 6 cartons of my husband’s favorite energy drink, 3 salmon pouches and 2 tuna pouches for a total of 11 items and received the sale price on everything.

        Kroger can be confusing because they also run digital coupon sales where you are limited to five items at the sale price. Our upcoming ad has Kroger 8oz. cheese for .99 and 1/2 gallons of milk for .88 – but there is a limit of five.

        Sorry to hear about your fridge. We have lost our freezer contents twice while on trips. The freezer was fine but the food was not!

        1. Yeah the digital coupon to get the sale price through me off on something today.

          I am seeing many limits on all the deals lately.

          1. Brandy don’t publish this if you think it’s better not to but…..I understand the limits. How many times have we heard of people literally cleaning out the store specials. If there are shortages and the store wants all of their customers to have a chance at them, then having limits makes sense. It also keeps the shelves from being empty. It’s a real feeling of fear and panic when it looks like you might not have enough food for your family, especially if you’re living from paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to stock up as much as some of us can. I think stores are definitely worried about shortages.

            1. It makes sense; I do understand limits, especially when there is a shortage of supplies. What has changed is that there are more limits than before. For those of us with large families, this can be harder. Right now, there are strawberries on sale, limit 2 pounds, at a local store. 2 pounds of strawberries gives each person only 3 strawberries each in my family, depending on size (possibly 4 if they are smaller, but still about the same amount). This is hard when I want to make something like strawberry shortcake for dessert. I need about 6 pounds in order to feed everyone (when all 11 of us are here). The rest can be bought at regular price, but that’s about 4 times as much money, and isn’t in my budget.

              I know a lot of these prices are also loss leaders, and most people don’t have the size family that I do. I just do the best that I can with the sales that are out there and try to keep some things on hand. Since we have an irregular income, it’s especially important to have a supply of things on hand for those months when we don’t have a sale.

    2. Angela, our Kroger stores are the same way, but I didn’t figure it out until last year! It’s nice to not have to worry about multiples of 5, as I usually buy 5 or more of the item.

  9. OK, Cindy…what’s a “near-miss” with a leftover hamburger? LOLOLOLOL

    Brandy, I’m sorry about your fridge. I’m even sorrier about the mess you came home to than I am about losing the food! (This is the kind of thing that happens to me). So glad you were able to salvage the contents of the freezer. This was my week–

    * I stopped by the liquidator that sells Costco returns and bought a pair of black dress pants–which I needed desperately–for $7.49. I don’t even need to take them up!

    * I  shop locally as much as possible, but I can no longer schlepp 40 lb. bags of dog food myself. I ordered from chewy dot com, set up autoship and saved $16 on my first order. This won’t be a $aving for future orders, but I’m saving my bad back.

    * I saved $8.60 with a coupon from Harbor Freight. They no longer do the 20% off anything coupons, but there happened to be one for the item I bought.

    * It rained! I turned off my lawn and garden watering system and might be able to leave it off for the rest of the season.

    * I canned 4 more pints of tomatoes. The garden is really slowing down with the cooler weather.

    * I got 80/20 ground beef “on special” for $2.99 lb.–the most I have ever paid. I only bought 6 lbs. because I’m still hoping to see a lower price to stock up. I put 3 lbs. in the freezer and made two meatloaves with the rest–one for dinner and one to freeze (raw). I ground up some leftover pork roast and added it to the mix. Don’t know if the added pork did it, but it was one of the best meatloaves I have ever made. I ate one of my freezer meals last week, so it was a goal to replace it with another meal.

    * I am redoing a garden bed that didn’t turn out the way I expected. I hired a kid to help and he never showed. OK, that part was frugal. I dug up two clematis and gave them to a friend. Frugal for her, not so much for me, LOL. I also dug up and moved a forsythia bush that I started last year from cuttings. Then I iced my back for the rest of the day, LOL. I have a rather large spirea that needs moving…I’m resting up for that one!

    Here’s hoping everyone here has a wonderful week!

    1. Maxine, oh I hear you on ordering from Chewy. We don’t have large bags of dog food but we order, perhaps, six boxes of cat litter at a time. We simply choose not to wrestle that from the grocery store any more. It’s plenty hard getting it from the front porch into the garage.

  10. Last week we were blessed to be able to save money multiple ways.

    * I read a free Kindle book.
    * I also finished reading a book that was given as a gift.
    * We were blessed to eat dill grown in a container outside.
    * I cooked all our meals at home and prepared lunches for my husband to take to work.
    * It was a joy to take walks for exercise and not pay for a gym membership. The bonus was fresh air and vitamin D!
    * We took vitamins and ran an immune-boosting essential oil blend at home to stay well.
    * I listened to a book for free on Librivox.
    * We did not purchase anything but necessities.

  11. Joining in from the Seattle area.

    Our fall has arrived too. I am enjoying the cooler temps (much cooler than Las Vegas!)

    Here are the money saving things I accomplished last week:
    – Started my new job at the acupunturist office. One of the perks of this job is that I will receive one free acupuncture session a month.
    – Looked up the laundry stain remover recipe from the Frugal Gazette, which uses powdered Cascade and Clorox 2. Found a small pack of Cascade at the dollar store. Mixed up a batch and got 90% of a tomato sauce stain out of a shirt of my mom’s that accidentally went through the dryer. At least the shirt is wearable now.
    – My mom’s caregiver passed on some clothes to us that she no longer wanted. I was able to use most of them. Will donate the rest.
    – Printed off free calendar pages I found online to draw up my mom’s caregiving schedule.
    – Bought six packages of a healthy keto snack I like. It was on sale for $3 off per bag at Costco. The expiration date is next year, but I doubt it will last that long.
    – Made a second batch of bone broth from bones I had frozen after the first batch. Turned out fine.
    – Started sewing a pair of pants I had cut out a couple weeks ago.
    – Hemmed two pairs of pants for a neighbor. He works at the sushi stand in the nearby grocery store, so he brought me sushi twice, which was very generous of him.
    – Cleared some clutter that had accumulated the last few weeks. Put away the fans we had used for summer. Put up a few fall decorations.
    – We had thunder and lightning one night, so I put meat that I had in the fridge into the freezer, in case we lost power. We didn’t end up losing power thankfully.
    – Did all the things I normally do: cooked at home, took my lunch with me when I was out, cooked from freezer and pantry and our farm share, read books from the library, took walks outside, and watched streaming TV and Youtube.

    Thanks to the person last week who shared a bunch of questions to ask about assisted living. That was very helpful.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  12. That sounds like a sweet surprise for your daughter, and one that will also use her creative spark sounds especially special. Lemon balm was gathered to finish filling a quart jar for glycerite (medicine). Dock stems were foraged, and the seeds will be used for future baking. I’m gathering hickory nuts each time I walk to the mailbox. Eggplant, yellow squash and noodle beans were canned. All the processing helped fill up another gallon bag with vegi bits, which means I’ll soon have to can broth. Figs and sweet peppers were dried, and some peppers were frozen. I saved seeds from our watermelon, after we enjoyed it, and harvested the last melon. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2021/09/the-last-sweet-days-of-summer.html

  13. Oh, I am sorry about the refrigerator problems!!! 🙁
    And I love how you are teaching your children to help create little ways to beautify an item that might not be “perfect.” The dresser scarf will be lovely, I am sure!

    For my frugal items:
    *I bought mulch at Lowes for just $1.00 a bag! This was because my wonderful hubby remembered that they give a discount for the bags that have gotten ripped. We bought all that they had available, which turned out to be five bags. Normally these would have been $3.00 a bag. We had a tarp with us, so it did not make a mess in our van.
    *We attended a recital that our daughter played in. Beautiful music, and we get to see all the other children as well. It really is amazing how they are improving. On a day to day basis it is sometimes hard to tell, but when we listen to someone else’s child play this month, and then again a couple of months later WE can really tell a difference!
    *I found a book for a Christmas present in a Free Little Library. The book is not brand new, but it is out of print and a real treasure, and I know the recipient will appreciate it!
    *I found notebooks on clearance at Walmart for .10 cents each, so bought twenty more to add to our school supplies shelf.
    *I found a old mission book at a thrift store to add to MY collection, for just .35 cents each. We read out loud every single night to our daughter, even though she IS 17! It is part of our evening routine, and I am convinced it has helped her to have an amazing vocabulary and she scored very well on her Reading section on the ACT exam last year. I am positive the credit goes to her being exposed to so many books as she grew up!
    *My husband and I changed out our dryer vent. We WERE going to clean it out, but it was not cleaning out very well, even with a shop vac and due to the potential fire hazard we decided to simply purchase a new section of pipe. This cost us around $20, which is much less than either having a professional come out to clean it OR having a house fire! I have much more peace of mind about it now!
    *I took some clothes to a resale shop that did not work for either my daughter or myself. This shop donates to charity the clothes they don’t want to take, and give us a bit of store credit for whatever they do keep to sell. We can use that store credit to purchase clothing that DOES fit us well!
    *I went hiking with my daughter when she came to me and said that she needed a hike. I am glad she is recognizing how a hike can help regulate our emotions. Good mental health, plus improving our physical health, all at the same time! I am super glad I took the time to go with her! We found many lovely treasures, and this week is turning into a week of solid rain, so I am glad we got out when we could!

    I have lots of pictures and more on my blog here: https://chickadeecove.blogspot.com/2021/09/frugal-friday-week-of-september-12-18.html

    I am looking forward to reading what everyone is up to! I have learned so much from this group!

    ~Susan M. In Chattanooga, Tennessee

  14. My best buy this week was 10 lb bags of beets, carrot and rutabaga for $3.97 each. I just finished making up a large pot of borscht and I have also boiled some beets to make pickled beets. Yesterday I took my aunt and Mum to the mountains to see the lovely golden larches-and a dusting of snow. Did not see any wildlife this time though. My aunt treated us out for lunch. DH will be going back to work next week so will be earning his normal PT salary again-which is a good thing as the EI supplement he is getting is about to end.

    1. Where do you buy rutabaga in bulk? It is 99 cents a pound at the grocery stores around here. I wanted to try making Cornish/UP Pasties. I still will. But I have an old extremely low cost cookbook from the 1970’s (It took me about two years on a waitlist to get a copy.) that, if I remember correctly, has so many rutabaga recipes because they were cheap. It was written by a Canadian woman, from Manitoba I believe.

      1. Holly, We live in the U.P., and I love pasties. I just told my hubby today that it’s been a long time since I had a pasty & I’m really hungry for one 🙂

  15. Ah, I love the cooler mornings after the summer heat!
    We made an appointment for the city water person to come look at our new rain barrels so that we can receive a rebate on the purchase of the barrels. I have already gathered the receipts. I have become a diligent saver of receipts, I have saved so much money over the years by being able to return something. This week I returned 2 shampoos that I was unhappy with, and milk that had spoiled before its expiry date.
    Work continues on the twin-to-queen quilt conversion, it’s at a stage where I know it will turn out. This saves me buying a new queen quilt.
    I sold 2 items through FB marketplace. This money is going towards my trip back east to help kids move.
    We made a new vegetable bed. Instead of doing a raised bed, which would have meant buying wood, we chose to simply pile soil and compost on the ground. It will hold water a bit better, and no wood to purchase. We widened the watering trenches around fruit trees that had grown, and spread compost under them.
    Have a blessed week!

  16. I am so sorry about your fridge! Our fridge did that last year and it was so discouraging to see all the food that was lost, particularly in the middle of a pandemic when we were trying to avoid going to the store.

    We’ve eaten meals at home and invited others over. I’ve been busy taking starts off of plants and I have some rooted for my daughter for when her house is ready in a few months. Per her request for plants without any thorns, I rooted some Purple Queen plants as well as some octopus agave babies (the edges of their arms are not serrated) and a few totem cacti that grew some small arms that I removed, allowed to callus, then planted. Totem cacti are expensive so I will be saving her a few hundred dollars with these plants. I do like their smooth, spine-free posts and they become hardscape of sorts among my fluffier plants like chocolate flower, Tombstone rose and Mexican oregano.

    I hope everyone has a good week and thank goodness for the cooler fall weather!

  17. >> went apple picking. the had a sale on picking johnathon’s so we did a bushel of those and another 1/2 bushel of cortlands. We have already made 2 batches of applesauce in the crockpot and I dehydrated a batch in the oven (although i want to do more – I dont think this saves me $$ – we looked into purchasing a dehydrator, but not yet.).
    >> cutting dahlia’s from the garden to enjoy inside.
    >> made some home popped popcorn with nutrional yeast, butter, and salt.
    >> making a batch of cowboy candy for the first time today — we had an abundance of jalepenos from 2 plants!
    >> went through summer clothes and fall clothes. ordered clothes using discount code and points saving about 45%
    >> went to our naturalist Doctor- I have a history of miscarriages and wanted her to test me – she gave a few suggestions and supplements. I’m 12 weeks this week and no signs of any issues. Had my OB appointment/ultrasound and all looks well. This is will be baby #6 if everything continues going well.
    >> went on a nature hike and we caught (and released) 16 frogs. Fun enjoyable morning with the fall crispness in the air!

  18. Brandy ..Thankful you caught it that you didn’t lose everything and it’s working.
    I got a rebate back from Rakuten and my cash back on my Amazon card. Both are going to pay extra on mortgage that we refinanced this past summer. I am glad you got to refinance.
    Things are dry, our pond is almost gone (was 8-9 ft deep now about 2-3 ft. the most). The garden is drawing to a close mostly. I did plant some for late fall/winter (using row cover) and am hand watering just where the seeds are planted. Probably about 3/4ths has sprouted. Another 2 weeks I should have some radishes if nothing else.
    I was suppose to have 2 follow up medical appts. The offices are not open now due to the increase of covid in that area. My family doctor had all the rest of testing done already that was the most important to get done.
    We are pretty much only watching the weather on tv now even though we don’t have cable. Will have to replace tv as it started acting up. Hubby sent pic to Son 1 (IT person) and he said it was dying and told us what he had just bought himself and were it was on sale at. We don’t think we will get as big as he did (he is into sports big time)but it was nice to know what to look for .
    Blessed Be everyone
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2021/09/16th-to-20th.html

    1. Sheena, I highly recommend Quilting with Claudia. Blocks I never imagined I could make, I easily could with her tutorials. She also has a monthly block quilt that in Nov will turn into a small quilt.

  19. Bummer about the fridge!! I’ve never had that happen to me, but that sounds like such a nightmare. Hopefully you had maybe eaten a lot of the food in there before your trip, at any rate?

    This was a fairly low-spend week for us. We didn’t have to buy any gas, and I made very limited trips driving anywhere. I had my husband pick up a few gallons of milk and some bananas on the way home (since the store is right by his work) instead of making a trip out to the next town over to get them myself.

    I took a very detailed inventory of everything in our food storage this weekend (we’ve been really working on building up our food storage this year), and I made note of where we had holes or things we needed more of. When I was checking prices, I noticed that Costco was running a sale on our favorite gluten-free flour blend (Namaste) for $10 off a six-pack of flour! We will definitely be taking advantage, especially because my husband’s celiac definitely makes it more challenging to build up a fully-stocked food storage pantry.

    Our Disney+ membership ran out, and rather than renewing (for now), we’re just watching DVDs from our own collection.

    I also am starting a part-time job today working as the senior copy editor for our small local paper, so I’m excited for the little bit of extra income that that will bring in!

    1. Nearly every streaming service has a free trial period. Britox, Acorn TV, AMC plus, Apple TV, Hallmark movies. And there are a lot more I can’t think of . We have tried them all, keeping only one of them, but it gave us the opportunity to catch up on stuff we read about but had never seen…

      1. Our library district here has a free offer for Acorn; it may be available through other libraries as well. You get a week-long pass and then you just ask for it again.

  20. Good Morning Everyone! Let me start off by saying how much I appreciate this site, hearing about everyone’s week and money saving ideas! It has been quite difficult and emotional for our family for the last several weeks and reading the blog has brought me some much needed happiness. We’ve had a few large expenses these last few weeks, including a repair for one car and new tires for the other. We are very fortunate that we had enough in our short term savings (we also have a long term savings that we never touch) to pay for this. We also had a broken pipe in our front yard. We were without water for two days while waiting for the plumber. Our neighbor graciously allowed us to draw water from his hose to tide us over. When the plumber came, we were relieved that the repair was much much less than we had anticipated. Because of the experience, we decided to go ahead and have the pipes replaced in our house. This is something that we had been planning for a very long time, but kept putting it off. Our house was a rental investment for the previous owners so they did the absolute minimum (at the most) to upkeep the house. My husband and I had planned last year, a list of repairs for our house that we wanted to complete before I retire. We were going to start the list in a few years, but decided to start on it now. We received a food box from our church. It has several pounds of fruit, vegetables, meat, pantry goods and dairy, including four pounds of butter and four bottles of vegetable oil. They had enough and offered extra boxes to share with others, so I took a box for our neighbor who has suddenly found herself a single parent of four kids, including a newborn. She was very grateful. We also went shopping for my parents. I was able to add a few things for our pantry and fridge. My parents also treated to snacks for my child to share at school with classmates for his birthday next month. Even though his birthday is next month, we are planning a little swim party at our pool. He wanted to invite two friends to swim. All it will cost is the entrance free for the friends ($1 each) and food, which will come out of our regular grocery budget. My son doesn’t like cake, so I will need to think of something else. I went to the local amazon hub to process a return. They were giving away free boxes of samples. I was able to get one for myself. Samples included a protein shake and a tube of face wash. I took my son to get his hair cut at my cousin’s new salon. She didn’t charge us (!), so we can an extra tip. Much to my surprise, there was a Goodwill store across the street. After the haircut, we ventured in. I have been trying to stay out of thrift stores because 1) we don’t really need anything and 2) I’m trying to declutter my house :). But this one had a good quality inventory. We were able to get my son a practically new pair of Vans for $9.99 and a skateboard (early birthday present for $14.99. We also tried on a pair of heelys that were in really good condition, but I didn’t like how fast he was able to go in them. I also bought a brand new 1000 piece puzzle for $4.99; I will save it to enjoy during our at home new years eve party for three! There were several other things that I wanted to get but really thought about them and put several of them back.

  21. * Got a free adult-sized bike from my local Buy Nothing Facebook group for my daughter, who has grown out of hers. It just needs a new inner tube.
    * Got some free books from the Buy Nothing group
    * Shopped my refrigerator before I made my shopping list and saved a lot of purchases.
    * Ate leftovers for dinner one dinner and many lunches.
    * Kids take free school lunch many days, when their allergens aren’t present.
    * Lost weight so I don’t have to buy bigger clothes.
    * Made treats for the kids instead of buying them.

  22. Hi Brandy,
    Sorry to hear about the fridge/food. My freezer door often springs open when the fridge door
    is being closed. I’ve had to send some things to compost.

    I had noticed that two stores have ten pound bags of beets, onions, carrots, rutabagas for $3.97 each.. Before I knew it, the lovely I had dropped off some to me. Not only kind but free and a great boost to my spirits as I’m just recovering from an illness. I’m going to roast a whole bunch of things this afternoon– carrots, potatoes, chicken, beets, and save electricity by doing them all at once.

    A friend picked up the Christmas cards I had made. I bought 25 for $1 each (usually $4.99 each). I’m disappointed in the quality. Usually the store involved does a great job. Not going to complain but will just use them anyway. I don’t want to inconvenience or endanger a friend since we are now in the middle of a covid surge.

    1. Hi I. and Anne – I saw those deals at No Frills but I just don’t have the room – if I had a freezer it would be ideal! I might buy the rutabaga as I can cook that down and package it up and have enough space. One year I bought the 10 pound bags of onions, chopped and froze them but boy was it a lot of work as the onions were smaller than usual!

    2. I read or saw on YouTube that running Vaseline along the gasket of the door that pops open will solve the problem. I was skeptical but it actually did work.

  23. I’m sorry that your refrigerator went out. How nice to find the vanity!

    We have been careful not to eat out as we had let that creep up on us. The expense of eating out and the savings of not is quite a bit. My husband is making a harp stand for my birthday. My harp is a smaller one and needs a stand to lift it about 6 inches to rest on my shoulder properly. The wood that he will use is wood that we have on hand. We cook beans a couple times a week at least. We also cook chicken and rarely use red meat which has gotten pretty expensive. We visited both sides of the family this week. It was enjoyable and free entertainment. I’d been taking my grandkids out every week for breakfast and dinner. This week I hope to make breakfast to bring for them and to have a. picnic dinner. Not sure what will be on the menu yet. They love picnics so it should be fun! I’m thinking about Christmas already. I have my grandchildren and great-nephews and great niece to think about for the holidays. I haven’t decided what I am going to do yet. But I love to get presents they like and still stay within a budget. I’m wanting to buy some harp music. It can add up. I decided to buy some Christmas music and hymns for now and wait until I’ve learned it to buy more. My husband bought a couple pairs of jeans from Walmart for 10 dollars a piece. Not bad. We have been careful about electricity usage. Turning off lights and turning up the air to a higher temp. to save money. We watched a movie online instead of going to the theater. I made popcorn. We made fruit smoothies at home.

  24. Just a quick note to tell you how beautiful I found the cement post with arrow, even the roman numerals are there! for your Canadian bloggers, I found I could sign up for free on a site called Kanopy, sponsored by the libraries (I am in B.C.) which provides 10 free a month of your choice from thousands of movies, documentaries, sagas, tv programs, etc etc. some wonderful choices from the Toronto Film Festival and more ….. having been gifted a new (slightly used) TV with a larger screen, this has been wonderful for me! hope this helps someone, ann lee s

    1. Thank you Ann, I didn’t know that was a thing – I’m in the Fraser Valley (BC) and sure enough there it was at my local library.

  25. First, I am trying to catch up and want to say Congratulations on your granddaughter (we had our first granddaughter on August 2nd; she joins our 1 year old grandson…what a blessing); she is absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to visit ours, and am very happy for you that you got to visit her and your daughter and son-in-law. Sounds like it was a wonderful trip all around, as was your houseboat adventure. I’m glad you were able to keep your refrigerator. My daughter lives in BC and they were evacuated from their home for weeks because of a massive wild fire. They were able to get some of the food out of the freezer, but after weeks of no power on the mountain, the appliances have to be scrapped due to the rotting food smell. Their insurance will cover the cost of new appliances, thank goodness.

    We spent over two weeks out east cleaning out my mother-in-law’s house (she is in a nursing home on hospice so won’t be going back). My in-laws saved EVERYTHING! So did their parents. We had to rent a 16 foot truck to bring it all home…I initially thought we were going to get by with a van…hahahaha. The other three siblings had already gone through it and everything else was left for us. We filled a dumpster, sent a huge truckload with the metal man, had a friend who helped us (thanks be to God) take a lot of stuff from the garage for his farm, but still a lot of good stuff to bring home (which now fills our two-car garage to the brim). We checked the price of a Uhaul. Choke! My husband thought of Penske and we called…less than half the price for a bigger truck and we also used our AAA discount. Even with gas for the 15 hour trip, it was far less than the initial rental of the Uhaul. Went to a moving company in the area to buy some heavy boxes and ended up with free ones because they were used and they give them away! Buying boxes is expensive. We had at least ten saws and numerous antique sleds that we were bringing back. I remembered reading somewhere to cover the blades (and sled runners) with pool noodles, so off we went to Walmart and bought a bunch on clearance, which hubby cut to fit. For less than $12 we were able to protect our fingers, and the other items from being cut or damaged. We ate at the house as much as possible (which meant a lot of peanut butter sandwiches because someone got rid of all the pots and pans), brought air mattresses and linens and slept there. No one has lived in the house for two years, or really cleaned it for eight since they were failing. It was very difficult for me to stay there (and I couldn’t even vacuum because it didn’t work), but I did it because it saved hotel bills. My BIL came by the third day and they ripped out the rotten carpet in the one bedroom and put in the window air conditioning (it was over 90 and extremely humid), thank goodness. Brought many treasures home and many to sell. I felt like American Pickers. Squeezed in a visit with our son who lives 7 hours from MIL’s; good timing since my husband threw out his back and the rest gave it a chance to heal. Now I am spending hours going through boxes, washing and cleaning, sorting to keep or sell. My husband brought home every single tool and nail. We were talking about it and he is going to make up tool boxes for each kid. And he has enough tool boxes for this! My FIL had been executor for many of his family member’s estates and so he acquired loads of tools (4 buckets of hammers, 8 buckets (the five gallon variety of buckets) of screwdrivers, etc.). If they are antique, we are going to sell them. I was searching for vintage fabrics and found a few, but my MIL was not much of a sewer. I did bring home lots of curtains that hung in the two upstairs bedrooms (many windows). The flowered ones are perfect for aprons for the girls for Christmas; the ties for them will be perfect for the straps. The ones that hung in my husband’s bedroom I washed as well, but they have that rubbery backing that didn’t do well in the wash after so many years. There is, however, enough fabric that I am going to make some really cool throw pillows for him. We have plenty to share and use for Christmas gifts as well. I don’t think we will need to buy anything for a very long time. I feel like it’s Christmas in a way and so many items I have wanted to add to our home but refused to pay for, we now have.

    While we were gone, my daughter picked tomatoes and put them on the counter (quite a few), then left on her own vacation. Walked into the house to the smell of rotting tomatoes. UGH! Almost all went into the garbage. However, I have hundreds out there and need to pick and get to processing them. Last week, we barely made it through the days as my BIL died unexpectedly and we had some other serious issues that have come in our life. Going through the boxes was something we could do and not think a lot. I did loads of canning before we left. I have jalapenos to can, along with the tomatoes and am so excited to see baby brussel sprouts growing. Picked the last of the beans. My daughter will dig the potatoes this week since I can’t dig right now and neither can hubby (strained knee going up and down the truck ramp so much). Love seeing my food stash grow, especially since I did stock up before prices started skyrocketing. I am quite content not having to buy most things we need at the store. I wonder sometimes if my fascination with how people lived through WWII on the homefront was meant to prepare me for what we may face with shortages. This blog gives me so many good ideas, but even more, it encourages me each day and has that sense of community that is needed when times like this hit. I feel like I know so many of you, and am grateful for this acquaintance. Brandy, I can imagine how busy you are having had the same size family. I want you to know how very much you are appreciated and how grateful we are for your blog. God bless you and yours.

  26. Sorry you lost food, it must be so annoying as you are so frugal. I’ve saved money the last week by buying Christmas presents early, the items I wanted where 20% of plus I had a coupon. Having a list is so useful, it helps when trying to keep track of what has been hidden away. Our food prices continue to rise so I’m being flexible with ingredients. I’m thankful I took out a 2 year energy policy, we have a year left so we will be safe from the rise in gas prices. Autumn is truly here, tonight we will be below 50 degrees for the first time. Time to bring out the warm fleeces and horticultural fleece for the salad crops.
    I needed some new table cloths, I couldn’t order the fabric I wanted so have used a duvet cover cut up, this saved me about £30 in fabric.

  27. Oh, how sad you out all your food 🙁
    – I am having my local kids over atleast once a month for lunch or supper and to play cards or Dominoes. Yesterday was our day and my son brought his girlfriend. I thawed what I thought was loin chops but it was chicken so I made a casserole with rice, cream of chicken and mushroom soup, seasonings and the chicken, then home canned green beans. I made an upside down banana cake to try. I used frozen bananas and saved the skins for the garden.I made corn dip to eat while we played cards
    – I harvested 2 sunflower heads and am letting them dry further while I use them as decor. I left 6 on the stalks in the garden for later. The seeds are white and I don’t know if that is the variety or they are not ready yet.
    – I harvest okra daily, 5 tomatoes, and cut all my basil to an inch.
    – I cleaned my closet and purged it. I had a cosmetic bag of jewelry from our move a year ago. It was all wadded up, so I untangled it all and hung on jewelry stands.
    – I did not do any shopping this week. My daughter took a 9 pack of toilet paper when she left yesterday. I am down to a case and two 9 packs, so I need to get some more. I give my others a pack when they come into town, usually with paper towels, and goodies.
    – I gathered change from everywhere in the house and car. I separated out the quarters and made a bag of the other change to give to my 5 year old grandson. His mama is good to cash it and put in his savings account at the bank. He loves to go deposit his money.
    – This morning we got a pending charge for $419 on our card. I called and they are sending a new card, so I will have to go through changing info on accounts I pay with it, but so glad noone will be able to continue to use it. We get notified every charge on our card. I can be inline and as soon as I swipe my husband gets a notification.
    – I seeded my garden with turnip, spinach, carrots, and bulb onion seed. Then we got torrential flooding. My bed did not have standing water, but I don’t know if it washed my seed away. Flooding like people were kayaking down the streets in some areas of town.
    – I watched a few episodes of Seaside Hotel and finiahed Virgin River.
    – Ok, I don’t mean this as bashing, I want to have an honoring spirit, but need to ask for prayer. We moved my MIL, who is 81 in with us last year. I have really struggled because I am trying to run our home, and feel I am banging my head against a wall. She has zero frugalness to her. She has always cooked and doesn’t want leftovers so throws perfectly good food away…whole hams, roasts, steak. I cook and she makes plates and throws it away. I bring in garden produce and she thinks it is not as good because it isn’t from the store and makes comments or won’t eat it. She washes dishes with water running for 10 minutes. They go into the dishwasher perfectly scrubbed. I try to get them washed so she doesn’t end up doing it, can’t let her cook for her burning things, and try to save food I can, and am doing everything I can to let things roll off my back and let it go. I would appreciate any constructive ideas, please absolutely no sympathy or bashing stories or comments. I want to honor this woman who has always treated me as a daughter. I am trying to loosen my idea of being frugal and do what I can and realize there will be areas I just have to let go during this season of life. I am struggling so! So, how do we live with someone who is not frugal, maybe you have a spouse or child that you have to be creative with?

    1. I think you need to tell her that you are in charge of the food, and not to throw anything away. She is living in your home and needs to eat your food, homegrown or leftovers.

      1. I think Holly’s husband needs to tell her this, not Holly. It is what she needs to hear, but from her son, not her daughter-in-law. It took me a long time to realize that hard news needs to come from the blood relative. It is much more readily accepted and usually without hard feelings.

        My MIL lived with us for 13 years. We loved each other dearly. We did not have those particular problems, but I can tell you it is never easy and really stretches the relationship. ((( Holly )))

        1. thank you. Sadly, my husband is telling me to let it roll off my back. I can intercept the food I cook and rescue it. Hubbie says stuff about some things, but wants me to just let some things go. I am trying! One thing we are trying to be understanding of is at 80 my SIL kicked her out and she had to move 300 miles away and give up severything she’s had. So, my heart is trying to be merciful

      2. I have been able to stop her throwing away things I have bought, but not from her plate. She seriously eats almost zero food. She gets my adult kids to take her to the store and she buys sacks of junk. I am talking bags of candy bars and cookies. She will buy pop tarts and danishes. So will eat that plus candy. She may eat a few bites of my dinner, but mostly not. I rearranged my pantry and made her a shelf for her junk. It is hard to see someone buy items and 5hrow them out because they are tired of them after a few days. The good part…she lived with SIL and neither cooked and both just ate chips, cookies, and considered fries supper. I tried to get them to make a soup and freeze portions, or other meals and they would not do it. Now she moved up here and I am getting more in her of real food than she has had in years.

        1. I could be wrong–but I think this is an age thing. I have seen it countless times. I have been blessed to receive food from the homes of elderly people who are moving or when someone has died on several occasions. Even if the person was diabetic (it seems like especially when the person was diabetic) there was ab abundance of candy and treats. I know that dessert is all my grandmother ever wanted to eat as well.

          The other common thing was chili powder–multiple containers of varying heat.

          Perhaps you can make her some treats that have vegetables baked in?

          And serve her bird-sized portions. Have her stay out of the kitchen and do something else for you while you take care of the food, such as wiping the table, if she wants to help, or maybe ask her to turn on some music or something else that owuld keep her occupied while you put the food away.

            1. Agree that it may be an age issue. Have had several classes in gerontology and taste changes as we grow older. There is also the issue of eating enough, remembering when to eat, and eating a variety of foods.

            2. My mom eats nothing but junk. She only has so much money to spend a month on food and it’s candy, chips, pastries, and soda.

            3. Taste buds change as people get older. Try seasoning her food more. Sugar they don’t lose so that might be why she is going for the sweets. There are ice creams that have higher protein in them. Good luck.

            4. Let her eat what she buys for herself and don’t try to change her because you can’t. Keep her out of your kitchen (nicely, of course), don’t let her throw away food and don’t expect her to eat it because you cooked it.

              I am 75 and sick to death of cooking, and I’ll bet she is, too. Also, it’s no fun to cook for yourself…although I still have my husband (and often my daughter) to feed. Also, people do eat less as they grow older. If I dine out and buy a senior or kids’ plate, I am doing good to eat HALF of it.

              We all have to pick our battles, and you already know your husband isn’t with you on this one. Let her do her thing, you do yours, and don’t let her near the leftovers. Don’t expect her to change at age 80 because it isn’t going to happen. Just put up with it and work around it.

          1. I agree that this is an aging thing. Their tastes often change and dementia (or just an aging mind) makes things even worse. My dad lived with us for ten years and it’s true you need to let a lot roll off, but it is hard. I dearly loved my father, but by the end my hair was falling out in clumps from the stress and worry. So all I can say, is bless you…especially with an in law, it must be hard. Try to not take anything personal. Let her eat what she wants…she’s in her 80s…don’t serve her much, she can always have more if she wants, but then she isn’t throwing things away you want to save. Freeze leftovers instead of putting in fridge if she is purging your fridge. Put things out of reach if you are worried about her tossing things from the cupboards. I had to put things out of reach for my dad because he choked on certain things but tried to eat them anyway. I never shamed him or anything…I just tucked somethings behind others and never said a word. It is hard if she is making comments…I’m sorry about that, but it sounds like you are doing such a good job being patient and honoring her. Hugs from me.

    2. I empathize with your situation, Bama Holly, and I love that your focus is on how to address the issue but still move forward while honouring your MIL. I have a close relative who is definitely less frugal than I am. For me, I have decided that as long as there is enough money, the relationship is more important than small savings here and there. I dislike waste not just because it’s a waste of money but also for environmental reasons, but I try to pick my battles, gently shape the behaviour while setting them up for success (behavioural modification follows an ABC model — antecedent, behaviour, consequence. I try to change the antecedent to avoid an unwanted behaviour, and to reinforce the behaviour that I want by providing positive consequences), and remind myself very often that for me, the relationship takes priority. But I’m lucky enough right now that I can make that decision. I hope you find a solution that works for your family!

      1. thank you, I am trying to choose those battles, too. I don’t always have peace as I am learning g to let things go and speak up in a gentle way when I can. I am certainly growing!

    3. Would it be possible to cook less food? She wont be able to throw away what isn’t there. ….well with our kids we had a rule that if you put it on your plate, you have to eat it. You’re allowed to have seconds, thirds, fourths, as much as you want, but dont pile it on your plate if you aren’t going to eat it. I dont think you could tell that to an elder though.

      1. This is an excellent idea! It’s hard for when you cook a ham, of course, but maybe you could put the ham slices into the freezer before she tosses them.

      2. I am only cooking a serving for each of us and then a serving for my husband for lunch. She just won’t eat. Problem comes in that if she didn’t get the piece of chicken I could eat it for lunch.. Most nights she won’t get any meat, the other nights she gets it and throws it away.. I told her I didn’t know it what to do because I cook and she doesn’t eat it, or I don’t cook enough for leftovers for lunch and she gets some.. She said ask her earlier that day if she is eating, but I portion meats per meal and freeze and can’t just thaw a different number that day. I tell you what, kids were a lot easier to raise.

    4. Please understand too that elderly people often have “sense” issues. That is, they see things grayer and yellower, which can make food look unappealing. Things can smell strange. And, the sense of taste goes odd. Food can suddenly taste sulfur-like, overly salty, metallic, or have other aftertastes. (My mom kept insisting she was being poisoned. Perhaps your MIL is blaming it on “Homegrown!” or “Leftovers!” instead of realizing that her tastebuds are the problem, not the foods. )
      There is no reason to have your MIL “helping” in your kitchen, is there? Why is she loading the dishwasher or tossing food? If she needs to feel useful, have her do household jobs that do not aggravate you, perhaps dusting? Honestly, two women in one kitchen rarely works!

    5. My grandmother lived with my cousin and her family for many years. She wanted to contribute something and not feel like a freeloader, so they worked out a deal that she would buy all of the paper products that the household used, like napkins, paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, and that she would be in charge of doing all the dishes, which was something she liked to do. She also provided occasional child minding for her great grand daughter. This helped everyone have clear boundaries.

      It’s very difficult to lose independence. It’s also hard to leave your home. She may be feeling a little bit lost or purposeless right now. Sometimes fear or anger come out sideways as being picky or critical or rebellious. I also think there’s always a little bit of a power struggle when two women share a kitchen. You are his wife, but she is his mother. It’s complicated. Is there any way to create a small separate food prep area for her, even just a microwave or toaster oven, maybe a cupboard with some of her favorite comfort foods or snacks that she can have without asking? This works well with my kids. Even having some frozen single serve entrees on hand for nights when she doesn’t like whatever is on the family menu can make her feel like she has more choices or control.

      Whatever you decide to do, discuss it with your husband first so that you present a united front with your mother in law getting a consistent message from both of you. And I agree, all difficult conversations or boundary setting should come from her son, not from a daughter in law.

      1. thanks, she has her junk food she buys, she doesn’t buy any real food, because she has no desire for real food. I made a shelf for her junk food in the pantry. She does the dishes because she actually loves to clean. She scrubs them perfectly clean 🙂 She wants to vacuum every day. My husband had to ban her because she is so thorough she takes an hour to do the foyer, den and kitchen and husband is working and has meetings. I banned her from moving because she put 2 cups of pine sol in a gallon of water to mop. Instead of saying she will decrease it, she says Holly won’t let me mop anymore because she doesn’t like the smell. On feeling lost she definitely feels lost and every time she can goes into how she was forced to move 300 miles and lose everything she has. My sister in law kicked her out last year. I love her, but the whole time she was living with SIL always told her she needed to let her decide how to decorate and stay off her about cleaning. She tells us how to do everything and thankfully my husband tells her to stop, we can do it. So, I get frustrated on one hand, then have empathy on the other that she has nothing but to clean and no hobbies, left friends and family, and is miserable.

        1. My mother cleans like this. I once asked her how much of a product she uses each time she cleans the shower. She replied, “The whole bottle.” I am with you on not being able to handle the strong smell of lots of products.

          She has hired a cleaning company though as she has gotten older and I think that has helped.

          I’m sure cleaning makes her feel useful. It’s a horrible thing to not feel useful.

          Can you ask her to clean certain things that you need done? Baseboards, dusting, wiping down doors, etc.? Dusting is quiet 🙂 Dusting is constantly needed here and everything needs to be thoroughly dusted every two days. It is impossible to keep that on top of it.

          Perhaps you could make up the bucket for her so there won’t be so much product wasted.

          Maybe you could have her do a fall cleaning of the inside of your kitchen cabinets and drawers? Wipe everything out? I know my kitchen could use this 🙂

          Is there something that she likes to watch on television? Maybe there would be a certain type of program that would interest her. Maybe there is a class she can attend; there are often senior classes and activities put on by the local rec center. Maybe she can learn a new hobby? I know my parents have started growing orchids indoors and have joined the local orchid club.

          1. Do you have a church nearby? My church is always looking for volunteers to keep it clean and do the gardens. They supply everything. She may even meet a future friend.

          2. She has found a group of ladies that play Doninoes every week. She LOVES to play cards and Dominoes, so it is really great for her.

            1. Oh that’s wonderful!

              I think you have received a lot of wonderful ideas in the comments! I hope they all work well!

        2. Sweet girl, you are doing your best to understand. That is so important. I thank you for what you are doing.
          I am 73. My body suddenly will not let me eat meat most days. I love it…it smells wonderful…I put it in my mouth and it comes right back out. I’m telling you this to point out that we change so much as we age and we don’t always understand what it is that causes it. It scares us and sometimes we just don’t know what to do about it.
          Honey…she is 80…let her eat what she wants without worrying too much.
          A lot of the problems are age related. Aging is wonderful and awful at the same time. I thank God that I wake up every day. Yet the loss of control is very hard to take.
          You don’t have the strength to do many things you used to. It is frustrating.
          If you can do all of the cooking. Ask her what she wants plated since you said you did single servings. If she only wants dessert…let her have it. If she doesn’t want meat…okay. I know you want her to eat well. I know you love her. You can’t “fix” this. The only thing you can do is find a way to make this acceptable to you.
          My heart is with you. You are in a very hard place.

          1. Becky: I really appreciate what you had to say. My mother passed away this year at age 98. The last 3 years she said, “If I want chocolate ice cream for desert at both lunch and dinner, you better well believe I am having chocolate ice cream for desert.” One of my sisters tried to remind her she shouldn’t eat that much ice cream (It was a small amount each time – like 1/2 cup). I told her, if you want ice cream, eat ice cream. She was really good about eating salads and soups though before the ice cream.
            And Bama Holly – Bless you for taking in your MIL. It is not easy, but you will have memories that no one else in the family will have. It makes up for so much.

        3. It sounds like she might be grieving on top of the usual things that come with aging. Rejection is painful! It hurts to be unwanted. Maybe she needs someone outside of the family to talk to, like a pastor or counselor? These are big disruptive changes for all of you. Frustration on your part sounds like a normal response! An outside perspective can sometimes help.

          Grieving is weird and there isn’t always a lot of logic behind it. I think she may also be testing you, not so much to see what she can get away with, but maybe to find the limit of your acceptance. Like, how safe is this situation for me? Especially if the last one ended badly.

          At the nursing home my kids work at, they run into all kinds of behavior and attitudes. They have had to practice good boundaries and learn not to take acting out behavior from the residents too personally. They also have to remember that things like lack of sleep or undiagnosed urinary tract infections or missed medication can really affect personality. People can be lovely one day and nasty the next, often without any warning.

          At the end of the day they are all adults and still in charge of their own diet, how they spend their time, and for managing their own feelings. You can offer alternatives, but don’t feel responsible for her choices, or like you have to fix or change anything. Decide what boundaries you need for this to work and then hold firm! I hear so much respect and love for her in your comments. That’s an amazing foundation to build on.

          1. thank you for your encouragement and wisdom. I have started getting the kids over once a month to play cards because she loves to play cards. They come more often. but most of those are for a quick meal or in and out, so I am being purposeful to have the monthly get together.

  28. Brandy, I was very amused at your mention of your husband’s reluctance to get to the chore of cleaning the refrigerator coils. I’m quite sure it is a “Y” chromosome thing. Right ladies? My own husband has been avoiding it for YEARS every time I bring it up. But today your story got me into gear and as soon as he walked in the house I announced we were cleaning the refrigerator coils.

    He repeated his mantra that “the coils were on the BOTTOM of this refrigerator”, to which I replied, “let’s pull it out and see.” We did, and he was to some extent correct. I remember refrigerators with coils all down the back and this one had a very small open area, about one tenth the size of the back of the fridge. We removed the cover but could not see any coils. However, there was thick dust everywhere which we painstakingly removed.

    Did we do any good? I like to think so. I will sleep just a tad better tonight. Thanks for getting us in motion.

    1. I clean the coils, change the filters in frig , furnace and water supply. Had to do it as a widow at age 31 and just never stopped. Still do get the comment from Hubby( 27 yrs together) that I don’t have to do everything on my own LOL. He does get “stuck” with cleaning the filter to the septic tank

  29. I still do grocery pick up every week from Walmart due to mobility issues and high covid rates in my area….today there were no substitutions but they were completely out of milk and cheese! Hoping its just a “we didn’t unload the truck in time” issue and not a real shortage. My husband said he would go to Aldi tonight to pick up what I couldn’t get. Hopefully, they have some, but if they don’t, we will be just fine. I miss going in the store, but I really have been able to save quite a bit of money by doing the online order/pick ups each week. I’ve been staying under budget. Meal planning always helps with that. Every week I get the ingredients for a special type of meal (other than our usuals of spaghetti, tacos, baked potatoes, burrito bowls). The ingredients are maybe a little more expensive or not something I generally store. This week I got the ingredients for chicken gnocchi soup. I don’t make my own gnocchi, nor do I keep it well stocked. This has worked well for us for variety. Mostly we eat the same simple meals every week, but having something a little different once a week makes it more interesting around here. And it is always much cheaper than take out.

    We’ve had a long steady rain here today and we are so grateful. The news said if we got a few inches a day for a month, we would still have drought conditions so every bit helps.

    Picked up a couple more library books I requested and have been reading every day. I really appreciate the recommendations you all share. I’ve liked everything I’ve got that you requested. Apparently being frugal isn’t the only way we are like-minded!

    I’ve got the declutter bug again, so I’m forging ahead there. I move so slowly, I’m seriously starting this to have the house in better shape by Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, I’m working daily on gifts I’m making for my children. I’m almost done with the first afghan.

    We found a new little ice cream shop on Main Street of the next town over. We’ve stopped by there a couple times this last month, to get out of the house and do something different. Hubby goes in and gets us each get a child size scoop and then drive some place and enjoy it in the car, visiting. It’s been a new fun way to have a “date.”

    I had some yarn to buy for a Christmas gift, so I looked at Joanns online. They didn’t have free shipping so I switched to curb side. Boy, have they streamlined that process! I clicked that I was ‘on my way’ on my phone, pulled into the stall and within one minute the worker was at my window!! I was sure to use a 40% off one item, as well. That wasn’t available with a shipped order. All in all, a good experience and will definitely do that as long as they offer it. Not going in Joanns anymore REALLY saves me money!!

    The gal who cuts my hair (a friend of my daughters) took my card and ran it without me seeing the transaction. When I got the receipt she only charged me $20 and didn’t allow me to add a tip. Her regular price is $60 and she always charges me $20 (she says I’m her other mother) but I usually am able to add a tip. I thought this was a very kind thing for her to do.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week. I enjoy all of your comments so very much!

    1. If you want a lot of yarn for $1 a skein, check out dollartree.com and have a box shipped to your local store. I’m a yarn-a-holic with way too much already in my closet but I looked through that section of their website and thought about the projects that are suddenly reasonable to make. I had enough self-control so there is no box full of yarn waiting for me at the store.

  30. Sorry to hear about the fridge issues…that is always a frustration and a hit to the budget. Hope you are able to recover quickly.
    We are in the last days of over a week of rain and humidity. I know there are parts of the country going through massive drought right now but we have had the opposite. This has saved us quite a bit because we have not had to water the garden or flowers for the majority of the summer.
    Our pepper plants continue to produce. They have been so amazing this year I can hardly believe it. We are harvesting about 20-30
    Green bell peppers every few days as well as endless banana peppers, cubanelles and a few jalapeños. I won’t be buying peppers for quite some time to come.
    Fall seeds that were planted in the garden have all germinated and I will have to do quite a bit of thinning this week as the rain comes to an end. I have quite a lot of planting space left however so thinned plants will be relocated to take full advantage of all the seeds sown and waste as little as possible.
    I’ll be using T Poles and garden twine we already have in hand to build a trellis for our peas.
    I will harvest a large bunch of basil this week and run it through our food processor and then into the freezer for use in recipes later in the year. I don’t have a dehydrator and the humidity is so high here that I have not had success with air drying herbs. I freeze spoonfuls on an ice cube tray then pop them out and store in freezer bags.
    We will get our first taste of fall temps this week and I cannot wait!!! Endless days of rain have brought temps down from the mid 90’s so our elec bill dropped over $50 from last month. I am looking forward to being able to turn off the AC and being able to work outdoors without so much heat.
    Our electric company sent a rep out to trim trees after I called last week. I was thrilled! The men that came out were so good to us and trimmed quite a bit from a tree close to our home. This will save us the work of
    Doing it ourselves and the cost of having to rent some equipment to do so.
    We elected to fix our lawnmower rather than purchasing a new one. $350 and six weeks later and we are still waiting for the parts to come in for the repair but still it is more economical than buying a new mower.
    I ran my gas tank until the fuel light came on and then stopped by Kroger to gas up. I used accumulated fuel points and saved $1/gallon of gas resulting in over $20 of savings.
    We have been eating mostly from our freezer and pantry. I say mostly as we bought milk and eggs, some cheese and a half of a ham. It is lovely to be able to produce meals, snacks, treats, veggies, breakfasts from what is in my home rather than having to go to the store continuously.
    Hope everyone enjoys the weekend ahead!

  31. Hi everyone,
    It’s been a while since I commented but reading all of your comments keeps me motivated! I had my parents visiting all month of August which was amazing. My dad and I were able to completely renovate my downstairs bathroom and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results! He is an electrician, so he also put a new installation in our garage! And repaired all sorts of small devices. This all saved us money, but working with my dad is the best feeling activity ever. He has this way of creating such a relaxed and jovial atmosphere and cracks perfect jokes at the hardest of moments. My heart was really build up and I learned So much.
    My mom took the kids to the forest everyday and plucked blueberries (ok, this is crazy but we still have lots of them in the forest now. I am not sure why) and mushrooms. When she came home she made pierogi’s with those while teaching my older son how to make them and letting the 2,5 yo play with the dough. They went like that for many days. She made 750 pierogi’s for my freezer!!! I couldn’t be more grateful. My parents are awesome! My hubby was travelling for work and this worked out well to have them here also for that.
    When my parents came back home, they found a broken fridge too!
    I managed to stock up my pantry and ordered some of the Christmas gifts ahead of time. I also bought some small things for the kids whenever I saw a sale on those. I am feeling that things may go any direction now. Here in Norway the price of electricity doubled. We use electricity for heating, cooking, driving. Everything. Usually we have low prices as we make most of our energy off water. This year’s droughts plus increased prices in Europe made our prices skyrocket. This has a huge impact on business as well so I expect prices of other things increase as well. We also see higher prices on petrol. And loans are supposed to get more expensive soon as well. Under those circumstances we have to be very/even more vigilant about our energy use.We also are thinking about possibilities of diversification of sources of energy (booking companies to come and give us offers on solar to name one. But also: establishing a fire pit in the garden, getting a gas stove etc).
    We have a diesel car and we are using it rarely but now we are going to combine more errands to make our drives efficient. This will make Tuesday a terribly busy day for me. But it also frees up Thursday(old errand day) when now I will do the sewing.
    This week we were given 3 bags of firewood from our dad in law. It is coming from their cabin in the mountains where we had to clear up some forest to build and there is plenty firewood. This will keep us warm for a while!
    We found an apple tree in the forest which turned out to be an abandoned cultivar rather than a wild apple. The apples were delicious and quite big. We picked a backpack full and ate many. At home I baked an apple pie, my husband squeezed some litres fresh apple juice (he also added carrots from the garden), and kids cooked a jar of fried apples for oatmeal. It was a great family activity.
    I missed a chance to congratulate you on becoming a grandmother, Brandy! Your post about that trip was wonderful!

    1. Kinga – I read the British papers online and it looks to be a difficult winter with the rising energy costs throughout Europe! You do so much to save – and what a wonderful forager your mom is! I love pierogis! I live in a Ukrainian/Polish neighbourhood here in Toronto so they are always available in the stores and of course, there are a couple of restaurants that serve them as well. For the winter I will usually buy a few bags with different fillings and mix and match for a quick meal – love them with fried onions and sour cream!

      I was walking in a conservation area down near the lake last week and came across an apple tree that was hidden back from the walking trails. I thought at first it would be a wild crab apple tree but they were actually quite large (looked like Macintosh) and the tree was loaded. They didn’t look quite ready as yet so didn’t try to pick any but may try to find it again later in the week!

      1. Hi Margie- Pierogies are the best freezer meal ever, in my opinion. I am so happy that you have them available!
        I also got really excited about your new tree! Wild cultivars tend to be insanely flavourful. I love gleaning
        especially because it reveals how well we are always provided for if we are willing to receive the gift. And if we don’t want it this time, some other creature will enjoy.
        Brandy- Yes, this was so kind of my mom! I enjoyed the time off from home and kids the most, I have to say. It was lovely to do something completely else (lay tiles) while being available for kids and seeing that they have the best time with grandma for a few hours every morning. It was my vacation.

  32. Last week was busy as usual but I feel like I accomplished several good things that helped to save money.

    *I got 5 18 pack eggs for 99c each from Kroger, naan bread for 75c, 2 discounted dairy free yogurts for 50c, free men’s razors, free lipstick, free candy (that I put away for Christmas), free deodorant (also put away for Christmas) for the girls and free men’s shampoo/conditioner. I went to Dollar Tree and found gnocchi for $1.

    *I used leftover deli ham, zucchini, cabbage and carrots to make a soup. I added the gnocchi from Dollar Tree. I used the last of the deli ham, green onion, zucchini and cabbage to make ham fried rice. I made a quiche again using leftover bits of veggies, made homemade pizza, and grilled cheese with canned soup. We had baked tacos with refried beans and shredded cheese. I made all my daughters lunches for school – using the ham fried rice, deli ham sandwiches, peanut butter and homemade raspberry jam. I included lots of fresh veggies from the garden all the meals – cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans.

    *We planned a weekend camping trip to a favorite place of ours in Idaho. We did Dutch Oven cooking for all the meals except lunch. All the snacks, fruits and veggies came from our home. We enjoyed campfires at night. People had left unused wood at the campsites and we were told we could use whatever was left. We also had someone bring over firewood they hadn’t used. We made s’mores at night using big marshmallows I’d found on clearance. We watched movies or played games at night as well. We enjoyed reading books and coloring the books I’d brought along for the girls and I to use.

    *I did buy a few things from the Kroger case lot sale but there wasn’t much that I wanted/needed. I bought scalloped potatoes for quick easy meal add on and a case of pinto beans. I used the points from Kroger purchases to lower the price on filling my car up with gas.

    Have a great week.

  33. Sorry to hear about your fridge, but glad that you were able to fix it. Great grocery deals too!

    My frugal week:
    – made soup using some canned veggies I wanted to rotate from my pantry (http://approachingfood.com/super-easy-alphabet-soup/)
    – made pizza using balcony grown basil. 
    – picked tomatoes from my garden 
    – saved morning glory seeds from my garden
    – got a free Kiwi box for my toddler, although I did pay for shipping. This will be an inexpensive additional birthday present. 
    – used a 75 percent off ubereats code to treat my parents to dinner 
    – baked chocolate chip muffins to gift to my parents amazing neighbours
    – baked mini cinnamon muffins and monster cookies to gift to a friend 
    – used the leftover cinnamon sugar mixture to make cinnamon toast on homemade bread
    – baked several loaves of soda bread
    – picked up free grocery items (tp and frozen fruit) from this week’s optimum loyalty app offers

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

  34. I haven’t had a garden for over 30 years, but we moved into a house with a southern facing backyard. My husband gave me two keyhole garden planters from Costco for my birthday last year. We put in leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps which decomposed. I planted them with seed that I got for Christmas two years ago. I randomly planted the seeds in the Spring. Much to my dismay, I have an abundance of zucchini, yellow squash, and cherry tomatoes. We also have a blackberry bush that produced a pint of berries to pick each day for several weeks now. I think I only planted one pumpkin, but it took off and has 7 pumpkins which are ready to pick. My oh my. I have to cook zucchini every day and put more in the freezer. I’ve made Tomato Zucchini Casserole, Zucchini Fritters, Frosted Zucchini Brownies, Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Stir fries with Zucchini and other vegetables and many loaves of Zucchini bread. These were all enjoyed by my family. I think I have zucchini fatigue :).

    1. Your zucchini dishes made me laugh! My dad was a really good cook and loved to try out exotic recipes on his 5 kids – remember this was when most meals were still the meat & veg variety. I got home from school and knew something was up. Asked my siblings what was for dinner and was told “Shrimp stuffed zucchini” – my reply – “what the heck is a zucchini”!!! They didn’t know either!
      PS – we were also one of the first families in our neighbourhood to eat yogurt – dad was a bit of a health nut as well!

  35. We are doing the usual things here – eating what we produce ourselves, trading and sharing with neighbors for things we don’t and staying busy with all that is to be done out here in the woods. We heat our home with wood so this time of year sees us staring to move wood around to be sure we have plenty dry for when it gets chilly. Our nights this week will go down to the 40s so we may have our first fire of the season – something we always look forward to with anticipation. My in-laws came over to help us with a project and my MIL, who is a wonderful cook, brought food of which there are always leftovers. I also had a somewhat successful trip to a favorite local thrift shop. I found a twin duvet and cover for $5 for my oldest son, a king duvet cover for our bed to have as an extra, a beautiful wool blanket that will be very cozy on the sofa and 16 cloth napkins with tags from Williams Sonoma. All of that cost me $12! All useful things which will serve us well. Hope everyone has a good week!

  36. We really have a feeling of fall in the air. In fact we were worried we might have a frost last week, so covered our most tender plants in the garden. Basil is especially sensitive. I love the cooler mornings and evenings. We even had rain!!!
    I worked 4 days last week, and took breakfast and lunch all four days. One day for lunch I had cherry tomatoes, a red bell pepper, cucumbers and kohlrabi from the garden. Had a slice of cheese with that for some protein.
    I picked basil, cilantro and tomatoes for a couple of co-workers.
    Made pesto chicken with using pesto made last week. Such an easy dinner. 3 ingredients.
    Picked cucumbers, onions, corn, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, peppers, zucchini and chard from the garden.
    Chopped cilantro, garlic and onions twice to get the salsa DH made the perfect flavor. then froze another 15 quarts.
    Made coleslaw, rhubarb crisp, ratatouille, cheesy garlic focaccia bread, corn on the cob, Italian sausage gnocchi soup with chard, and BLTs.
    Put 9 trays of parsley on to dry.
    Made 3 more quart jars of dill pickles, using cucumbers, dill, garlic and hot peppers from the garden.
    I got a raise. I didn’t get one at the beginning of the year, as I was planning to retire at the end of March. That didn’t happen, due to other people leaving, and my firm being short-handed (I have a real feeling of responsibility to my clients). I went in last week and reminded my boss that I did not get a raise like everyone else in the firm. Long story short, I got a nice raise and they made it retroactive. 🙂 Nice extra amount in my September 15th paycheck.
    I have a lot of tomatoes that need to be used. (2 five gallon buckets worth). We picked these when we thought we were going to get a frost. I think I will make some tomato basil soup and also some marinara sauce out of them. They can cook in the crockpot while I am at work, and the DH can keep an eye on them.
    There was probably more, but that’s all I have written on my calendar.
    Hope everyone has a fruitful and peaceful week.

  37. Last week I was asked about The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats and responded that I couldn’t recommend it because it hadn’t arrived yet. Now I have it, and I’m impressed! It is easy to understand with lots of drawings and seems very complete. It was published by Rodale Press, which publishes Organic Gardening the Prevention magazines.

  38. I finished sewing a dress that I had been working on for awhile. Today I gathered up some of my fabric scraps to start a quilt.
    I went to a garage sale that had a table full of sewing notions. You could fill a paper lunch sack with as many as would fit for $1.00. I was able to get seven spools of the good European type thread plus snaps, seam binding, lace, etc.

    We didn’t go on any vacation this summer but we did have some single vacation type days. Since we live on a island there are ferries running to other islands where there are cute tourist type towns. We did this three times this summer. If you walk on the ferry it is really cheap although we did have a lunch out each time.

    I think it was Mountain Mama Dawn who recommended the book, ” Once Upon a River”. My husband and I downloaded it from the library on our Kindle
    and we both loved it.

    I am watching Season 8 of Seaside Hotel on Amazon Prime. I just love it! I also just finished reading “The Kitchen Front” which I thought was sweet.

    Other than that just doing the usual of daily walks, cooking all food at home and anything thrifty I can think of.

  39. Hi Brandy, unbelievably great news that the fridge still works! Probably not the project you were hoping to accomplish when returning from a vacation;) I have been looking to buy canned pumpkin to make pies and breads this fall. No luck at the big grocery stores, even Walmart. Normally on sale I can find the 15 oz can for $0.99. Now all I see is $2.50 and none at that price are in stock! Today I looked at Sam’s club and they have a three pack of large 29 oz cans for $7…doing the math got me to $1.2 per 15 oz can equivalent. Yeah! So I did buy the three pack so at least I am set for this fall if that is all I can find. Crazy prices and crazy shortages. Apparently a blight on pumpkins along with worker shortages is causing a smaller supply this year. Otherwise, we ate in most meals and are just getting ready for better temperatures here in the Arizona desert 😉

  40. So sorry about the fridge – how frustrating – and no doubt a bit of a mess to clean up. We had a large side by side fridge/freezer in our church kitchen – and the doors were so heavy that everyone assumed they closed with just a slight push – NOPE! Had to tape a sign to each side asking people to actually PUSH the doors and to make sure that they were actually closed. With this past Summer’s renovations this unit has been replaced so won’t be an issue moving forward.

    It was a busy week at the office – went in 3 mornings and took my water bottle and a snack each day. It was also my birthday and I was treated to brunch one day and coffee & a treat another day and was gifted a few GC which I have already used for some extra groceries (from the fancy supermarket). Other than that I only spent about $15 on some fresh veg and a bit of dairy. I was able to donate some items from my pantry as one of the teenagers in my apt. building was doing a collection last week. She is a lovely girl and is always volunteering and doing this sort of thing so I was happy to help out – and with a well stocked pantry it didn’t cost me anything out of pocket.

    I managed some batch cooking on the weekend – bacon, chicken breasts, lamb shanks & a small meatloaf. It will be meals for the week, plus meals for the freezer. I wanted to get a few of the older items cooked and to make a bit of space in the freezer for some turkey breasts and thighs (our Thanksgiving is in October) so these items should be in stock soon – I hope. No empty shelves, just not always the variety you would expect and some specific items may not be available.

    The weather has cooled a bit so there have been some wonderful, long walks under clear blue skies with a lovely breeze – I have so much more energy. Now if it could just translate into enough energy to get some serious Fall cleaning done I would be very happy!

  41. Most things last week were the usual. We made all 20 meals at home (only eat 2 on Sunday), collected seeds from still flowering Nasturtiums, combined the errands to days where we had to drive to town anyhow.
    The savings/extra income for the week were.
    *Found a 5lb bag of blue cheese crumbles for 5.99 at Grocery Outlet. I promptly came home, removed a portion that could be used this week, put in refrigerator and then portioned and froze the rest.
    * Received 2 small Zelle payments from participating in McCormick Consumer Testing, they send you a spice and you use and then supply feedback.
    * I salvaged a clothing item one of my teen’s tried to ruin with a wad of super dried chewing gum from a last year’s gym bag 😑
    * I track my family’s financial net worth at the beginning of each month. I do this on paper and use a clear page protector to keep both the current month and one year ago, side by side. I have all our assets listed, then all our debts, then the difference in bold. This page protector goes just under my keyboard at the computer and is a visual reminder of our progress and also has many times prevented me from a frivolous purchase. This past week it served that purpose, gave me a moment to contemplate the purchase and in that time I thought of a free alternative to that purchase.

    I hope everyone has a healthy, happy week ahead and that money saving opportunities are abundant.

  42. I’m so glad the fridge is working so far. Last winter, we had a similar problem with one of our freezers. We emptied it out, saved what we could, and started it up with only things like butter and ice–things that wouldn’t ruin if it stopped again. It’s still working, and we determined the door had been left open, causing it to overwork itself until it just quit. I still don’t trust it fully, so keep my eye on it, but it’s working so far. It’s full of summer veggies, etc., so I’ll continue to watch it carefully.

    We are still getting tomatoes and some other items from the garden. I’ve been canning. I made the rest of the salsa I need for the year, tomato juice and more crushed tomatoes. I cooked a turkey, purchased last fall for a low price. Then, I made broth and canned it and canned a lot of the turkey meat. I need freezer space.

    We did our own outdoor school for my daughter and nephew. We pulled the camper down to the beach and did learning activities centered on the ocean/beach/marine animals. We’ve been gathering activities for weeks and it felt good to be able to do them all. One activity was sand candles–perfect for outside! My husband gathered old candles from friends and family, and only had to buy wicks, so it was very inexpensive, but super fun. Pictures and directions on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    Because that was the last camping trip we have planned for quite some time, I took the food we keep in the camper freezer out and we used it all week. There was chicken, beef, and some baked items in there.

    I spent my grocery money budget for the week on basic items such as spices, salt, ketchup, etc. to keep the pantry in good order. The turmeric I needed was purchased in bulk–actually Rob found it at Winco’s bulk section–so it was very much less money than buying it in a bottle. I like to buy my spices this way always, but occasionally had trouble finding them during the pandemic in bulk. A jar was between $5.50 and $7.50. Bulk was much, much less. I have ordered large bags from Azure Standard in the past, and will place an order one of these months for mustard seeds, and some other things I use in all my canning. Pickles and pasta sauces and salsas use a lot of spices, especially.

    Our washing machine has been dying a loud and noisy death. (bearings). My niece had one she used while in an apartment she no longer lives in and gave it to us. Yesterday, my husband put the “new” one in. It’s so much better! What a blessing she gave us, as it was only a matter of time before the old one gave up the ghost completely.

    1. I wanted to mention that there are alarms that you can put on freezers and fridges. You run a lead into the freezer and the alarm is on the outside. It wouldn’t have helped Brandy where she was out of town, but we finally put them on ours after our friend lost all of the items in her freezer. I had so much money in products in mine that it’s given me peace of mind.

  43. – I went to a meeting further north in the state with the regional head of my Avon group. It was an evening meeting, and I did not want to drive back to the Cities that late in the dark, so I stayed overnight in a hotel: I redeemed a free hotel night from a rewards program, at a hotel that also served free hot breakfast. Dinner (pizza and water) was served with the meeting. I brought lunch/snacks with me and spent some time hiking in a state park near that town before the meeting – free with a state park parking pass. As my door prize for the meeting, I chose a travel kit with toothbrush/paste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.
    – Received free to/from labels in the monthly mailing from the Disney Movie Club. I fulfilled the purchase commitment years ago, and respond (generally to decline) the featured selection on the website, but I choose to continue to get the paper mailings mainly for freebies like these – it pays to rifle through all those papers in the envelope, and I don’t know that I have ever in my life purchased to/from labels for gifts.
    – Thanks to someone’s posting here last week, I signed up for Verizon Up Rewards and redeemed for a $3 AMC Theatres gift card to apply to my AMC Stubs account.
    – Received the free 2022 wall calendar I had requested (by filling out the form) from my life insurance company.
    – Participated in both of my book groups (got both books from the library), one meeting via Zoom and one at a park. For those of you who like WWII books, one book was The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, which focused on Churchill and his family during the year of the blitz, 1940-41 (nonfiction).

  44. It’s been hot in SWFL. We have continued to save money by mowing the lawns at both houses. The sale of the second house is pending and an appraisal took place last Friday. We’re waiting for the appraisal to come back before we enter the last phase of the sale. I’m very excited to lighten my load financially, and with all this lawn care! Carrying the second house has become very heavy on my shoulders and I look forward to simplifying things in all aspects.

    I have started to look at grocery sale flyers again for weekly specials and bogos. I dont find that collecting Sunday coupon flyers is very worth my time anymore as there are few match ups, and coupons are of a shorter life span. However, I can see the value of shopping sales. I especially enjoy shopping discount items at Aldi. I often stop by when I drive by one of two that are in my typical driving pattern and see if they have meat or dairy marked down. When I do find these items marked down I try and purchase one or two extra. Similarly at Winn Dixie I found medium sized eggs on sale for .69 a dozen. I bought several of these as we often have breakfast, or breakfast for dinner. I have regular sized eggs which I’ve retained for recipes. I have also started to keep a mental index and photo index of prices on certain items from store to store. This helps me see fluctuations in price as well as the difference from store to store.

    We have also taken advantage of free trials for different streaming subscriptions. Earlier this year I let go of Netflix and Prime. We have enjoyed Peacock streaming services, youtube, free shows and films on the Roku channel, AND…..now a free month of Prime. I hope I remember to unsubscribe on time.

    Nothing too exciting here. But, maybe that’s ok. Hope you have a great week!

    1. Often you can cancel a subscription any time and you still get access to the end of the free trial. I always try and cancel as soon as I sign up. Then I don’t have to keep track any more. I don’t think that I’ve come across one that wouldn’t let me do this.

  45. We have several issues like yours Brandy and it is always a mad scramble to try and salvage and cook items, not a fun way to spend your first days post vacation.

    Most of our savings focus on the garden and groceries. We are picking tomatoes, peppers, a tiny cantaloupe and watermelon,kale, lettuce, basil, lemon verbena and spring onions. The tomatoes are mostly cherry and grape so they get shared with family and friends. I found nectarines for 25cents a pound and got 8 pounds. I also got reduced bananas for the same price. I came across little yogurts for a quarter a piece and added kale and purslane to make smoothies for my work lunches. My kale went to seed over the summer and I have literally about 50 plants that I have been able to share. Also my compost has been a great source of volunteer plants( green peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes). I am saving seeds with as much as I can, but know that my compost gave me about half the plants that I had this year.

    Blessings to each of you dear ladies, and to you Brandy for your hard work !

    My neighbors freezer died and she had me take 10 boxes of veggies which we shared and are using up. She was also getting rid of a carpet shampooer and let me have it. I shampooed two carpets and am donating it to a big church sale for their world hunger drive.

    I resumed making laundry detergent by steeping English ivy in hot water for several hours. It works well and we have an abundance of it. We have a well so the only expense is electricity for the washer. I line dry our clothes.

    We are going to bed early and that saves on lights at night. It feels good to be more attuned to daylight I find. The weather has been coolish so we haven’t run the AC all month!

  46. I took my 4 little boys to outdoor playgroup yesterday-as it is in a low income area( but all are welcome) they were giving out free bags of breakfast and lunch foods to each child so they easily fed the 4 boys for the day with some to spare. I was pretty impressed with all the things they included-either a juice box or Carnation instant breakfast box, fruit sauce pouch, raisins, nuts, beef jerky, little granola balls, corn nuts, nutrigrain bar, Ritz cheese cracker packs, tuna snacks, roast lentils. etc. Most of it was pretty healthy( perhaps a bit high in salt) and certainly would fill up a little one for most, if not all of the day. I think they were left from a summer program when kids do not receive the school meals-so we got the leftovers. I took 5 packs to help them clean them up. No food prep for me for the children today.

  47. Brandy, our refrigerator did the same thing over two years ago. We came home from vacation and everything was ruined. My husband cleaned the coils and it started working again and has given us no trouble since. I hope the same works for you.

  48. We bought a used car. I wasn’t planning to buy a used car. With the way demand and prices have gone up in the past year, I didn’t think it would be possible to find a decent used car at an affordable price, maybe not even for the next couple of years with all of the supply chain issues.

    We have a 2008 Aveo that we bought new when my husband was driving downtown every week to work on his masters degree, and we kept it to use for our kids driving lessons and as a car they could use while going to school, saving them having to buy their own. This worked really well for my oldest child, and then this Aveo started having weird issues like most old cars do. Finally, she bought her own car, and as my other two weren’t driving yet, fixing the Aveo was not a priority.

    Now they are all driving and relying on rides to work from me or my husband mostly because I don’t feel comfortable being stuck at home without wheels of my own in case of an emergency. It has been fine, but the kids are needing more independence, and it seems like every month we have to weigh the priorities and trying to fix that Aveo does not make it to the top of the list. Although it might be cheaper to fix it in the short term, it didn’t seem like the best investment for the long term.

    Anyway, last week on my walk, I saw a car for sale in my neighborhood that was in decent condition and affordable. I am grateful, my kids are thrilled, and we were able to help the seller out of the financial burden of a second car payment on a loan she had co-signed for a relative that had moved away and left her to deal with. Win-Win.

  49. Sorry about the lost food!
    Not many frugal accomplishments this past week but every bit helps:
    *used coupon for subs out on date night and picked up drinks at gas station since cheaper
    *moved menu around and added a leftover dinner night
    *packed water and snacks for all day tennis tournament my daughter was part of
    *made a pizza using leftover taco ingredients which was well received
    *bought Kleenex in bulk for a great price
    *reserved books I saw at Barnes and Noble at library instead of purchasing
    *was kindly gifted strawberries from a neighbor who overbought
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  50. Thrifty action of the week is buying apples on sale and making crockpot apple butter. Our family celebrates Oktoberfest the last weekend of Sept. to welcome autumn and give thanks for the beauty the season provides. So along with schnitzel, kraut, potatoes, making apple butter and a simple apple cake this week.

  51. Brandy, I’m sorry about your refrigerator! Having lost the contents of mine a few times in hurricanes, I know how expensive it can be to replace the food in it. We have three times over the years come home from vacation to find our well pump burned out – the points would get stuck and it wouldn’t shut off. It still makes me aggravated to think about it.

    I did nothing outstandingly frugal last week, but:

    I found some needed shoes on clearance. I wear my at-home shoes until they fall apart, and they are reaching that stage quite rapidly.

    Today is a daughter’s birthday, and her gift, which was bought weeks ago at 20% off with free shipping, is waiting to be taken to her house this evening. I had waited a long time for that sale.

    I made a homemade pot pie with gluten-free flour, and had a little of the dough left over. I put it in the freezer – I will top a small dish with it later.

    I line dried a lot of laundry.

    I paid bills through my bank.

    I entered some doctor visits to earn rewards on my husband’s insurance.

  52. Brandy, I am sorry to hear about your refrigerator loss of contents and having to clean it out when returning from vacation.
    This week I was blessed by abundance from my sister’s garden. We picked 6 five-gallon buckets of grapes and turning them into 69 quarts of juice. We also picked some tomatoes, red flame grapes, and four zucchini. She is going to let me glean her tomatoes in a couple of weeks and I hope to make ketchup with what I can pick.
    Have a great week everyone!

  53. I am helping clean out a friend’s grandmother’s house. I have been keeping all of my newspapers and boxes that come into the house for her to wrap dishes in. I spent 3 days there last week with her and some of her family. I go between packing and entertaining her 6 year old. He and I went on several walks to see the ducks and turtles at the local pond. It gets us out of the house and he is out of his mom’s hair for a while. I was treated to several meals while I was there helping. I was also offered lots of items after relatives went through everything. I took all of the Kcups for my son. There were some strange ones so they might get passed along to my sister if he doesn’t like them. I took several pairs of almost new sneakers and boots for my 2 daughters. They are all the same size. My youngest (who lives at home) kept a pair of sneakers, work boots and snow boots. The rest will go to my oldest. I kept a peeler, coffee grinder and 2 trivets. We cleaned out her fridge and freezer. I was given all of the red meat because we were the only ones that would eat it. I also received some appetizers and vegetables. With food costs going up, I was very grateful. The best item I received was a painting. It hung over her mantle. It looks wonderful on my living room wall. We had redone our living/dining room during Covid and hadn’t gotten any art for it yet. It looks beautiful. My friend was happy that I was keeping it so she could still see it. I dropped 16 bags of clothes to the church.
    We did Game Night at my friend’s house. We do it after dinner so that no one has to cook for everyone. We do just desserts/snacks. We had a great night and it cost me $0.
    I cashed out a $20 gift card for Amazon from Ibotta. It is going to be a Christmas present. I cashed out a $3 gift card to Panera. I stopped there one day and got myself a treat.
    With all the free food I received, I had to rearrange my freezer. I pulled out a container of pumpkin and a container of chicken stock. I made soup with the stock. My youngest made a batch of pumpkin muffins and dog treats with the pumpkin. She took some to her boyfriend’s firehouse. They are always happy to get home baked goods.
    My yearly eye check was last week. I was due for my new glasses. I picked ones that were fully covered by the insurance. I only had to pay the $25 copay for the eye exam. The glasses should be ready next week and my current glasses will become my backups.
    A friend called me in the middle of the week to see if I was free Friday night. She had extra tickets to a Chinese auction that was scheduled precovid. The date had been changed twice. Her sister was having minor surgery that day and her mom wanted to be with her sister. I happily went. I did offer to pay for her ticket ($85) but she refused. I won the 3rd door prize and had my friend’s daughter pick it out. She is moving in a few months out of state and needs stuff for her apartment. I did win a Starbucks basket too. Everyone was given a Swag bag too. It had 4 shirts, a hat, a hard cider, lots of snacks and several coupons for free items. I drove since I don’t drink and it was an open bar included.
    Cigna offers a health coach with our insurance. I recently signed up for one. I am trying to lose weight but I don’t want to pay for a program. My coach sent me a box with a portion plate, a tape measure, a heat gauge, a measuring cup and a large work booklet.
    Hubby saved us $42 by looking up tire prices. My daughter’s car had a flat so he ordered one and had it shipped to the store for installation.
    My sister came and picked up her dog. His birthday is this week. She has no kids so we had a little party for the dog. She made a cake for him and our dog loved it too. We kept half here and have been giving pieces to Charlotte all week. She brought cookies for the humans to eat including GF ones for my daughter. She brought me all of the hotel samples that she got and a box of chocolate for watching him. See why I need to lose weight.
    The fig tree is finally ripening. I picked 9 figs this week. It is only the second year so I am happy with any. Eggplants are going strong still as are peppers. Tomatoes and string beans are limping along. Carrots and beets should be ready soon.
    My BIL needed to borrow a tool from Hubby. Hubby came home with a dozen figs.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

  54. Hello friends! Fall has definitely arrived here in the PNW and I am not at all mad about it. The cooler temps feel so lovely, the leaves are beginning to turn, I get to sleep under blankets again!

    This past weekend a neighbor came over to can pears in my kitchen. They have a pear tree and had a literal ton of pears that needed to be preserved somehow. This is her first time doing any canning and she really dove in head first!! I was quite impressed. We put up 20 some cans of pears, and she gave me a few as a thank you for helping and letting us do it in my kitchen (which has more space than hers.) I also made homemade applesauce from apples I got at the local nursery. They cost $1.29 a pound which is the cheapest you will find locally for fresh, locally grown apples. It took all day but I am glad to have the applesauce canned and ready for all the upcoming baking! I use applesauce in place of eggs in most recipes so I will definitely go through it all.

    I picked green beans from my garden every other day, then blanched and froze them. It’s so funny, I planted these plants back in like May? And they just took their sweet time but now are giving me lots of green beans on a regular basis! One of my favorites so I am happy to be able to store as many as possible for the upcoming winter.

    I cancelled my produce box for the week as I still had plenty from last week and I didn’t want to waste anything.

    I am trying to find a new fridge/freezer as the freezer part of mine has died. It’s a long story but the one that was scheduled to be delivered earlier this month turned out to be a no go. So I am still using the fridge, and putting anything frozen in the chest freezer in the basement. (it is getting a wee bit full so I am trying to work my way through the random bits)

    I did all the usual things: dried my laundry on racks inside and out, cooked my meals at home, tended to the garden, ate what I had on hand. My dad was able to fix a wobbly toilet for me.

    Not frugal right now but good in the long run: the steps out my mudroom to the backyard were rotted out (constant rain for 9 months out of the year will do that to wooden steps). I hired my handyman (he’s really a professional wood worker) to build some new steps out the back. Not cheap up front, but in the long run better to not be breaking any bones falling down the stairs, or having someone else falling down them either.

    Can’t think of anything else at the moment. I did finish reading The Kitchen Front and it was a lovely read, thank you to whomever suggested it! I am now reading The Forest of Vanishing Stars which I think was also recommended here. (I go through a lot of books so keep those suggestions coming!). Thank you all for your ongoing kindness. In these uncertain times it is so nice to have a place to go where I can feel cozy and welcome.

  55. Oh, Brandy, I’m so sorry to hear about your fridge and the food loss. With what we could control, this was a fairly frugal week for us. Meals made at home included bean/corn/pepper/onion fajitas, large salads with marinated cannellini beans and various veg including a few of our own peppers and tomatoes, barley veg soup, black bean soup and cilantro lime rice with sweet potato matchsticks, pico and guac. Hung laundry outside on the line. Enjoyed a long-distance free zoom call with my sister to play games remotely (Yahtzee, Qwixx, etc.) and finished listening to The Day The World Came to Town about the planes headed to the US that were told to land in Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 and how that community came together to host everyone. Heartwarming.

    A frugal win was a number of years ago my husband bought an extra water filter set for the kitchen sink when it was clearanced out and the full setup was cheaper than buying the filters alone. The first unit finally bit the dust, and he was able to fix it for free with the extra unit. Double bonus that it was easy to find, even after years. 🙂

    The next night our dishwasher, original to the house and 34 years old (GE) stopped working. He wants us to buy a new one, I am hoping it’s fixable. I like the way this one is set up, the way dishes load, and it is sturdy and quiet enough. With new appliances that we’ve bought, they don’t seem to last long. He will try to fix it when we return from a long weekend trip, and I’ve been googling if others have run into this issue on this old version.

    I have been enjoying several of the books mentioned here – I appreciate everyone noting good ones. One series I especially LOVED on Prime was Home Fires, a BBC show about WWII on their homefront and what the women’s auxiliary did to support the war. It was wonderfully acted and I watched it last year, not knowing it was only two seasons I think … and was crushed to see it end. I’m not sure if the series is on DVD at libraries for those without Prime but I did love it. I was wishing my mother was still alive to enjoy it as she would have really liked it and I would have loved sharing it with her.

    1. Also, I would get a new dishwasher. I’ve had to replace and repair a few. The new ones use less water, are even quieter, and there are a lot of options on loading them.

  56. First, congratulations Brandy on your refinance. We bought our house near the top of the interest rates in the 80’s and refinanced when it later got close to the lowest so I know the possibilities that open up for your future. I am glad you had a wonderful vacation.

    The last few weeks have been a flurry of movement for us. We spent money replacing and getting rid of items that have no value now. The big savings is that we no longer store or clean them and we can reorganize the space to benefit us. We found a guy that was licensed and insured to haul off some furniture, washing machine, a grill we could no longer get parts for and other assorted items for a lot less than prices advertised on other sites. He asked if there was anything else before he left. We had found some smaller items which he took and said no charge. We gave him extra as he was very prompt in scheduling and removing everything in a careful, organized way, and the other items were not included in the original price. We will call him again soon. DH also talked to him before he left and they met at MIL’s home to remove junk. DH also had members of a church that store and distribute items for people whose homes have burned, etc. for the Salvation Army to remove the other useable furniture. This saved him money and time, and we are happy the furniture will be provided to needy people for free.

    The storage shelves for the pantry items have been bought. We will put them together. The larger, organized storage area will save money as it will be easy to identify spots that need refilling. We also got some food buckets to use right away.

    We also found a mattress/box spring combination with extra padded top for DS. It was on sale with additional manager markdown, 10 year guarantee, free delivery and was cheaper than buying them separately. We have sheets, a winter comforter, and curtains already. We bought extra painting supplies we needed to paint the room at a couple stores saving money buying it all at one.

    Our new heat pump stopped working a couple nights before and I called as it is still under warranty. It took them a while to find that a couple wires going through the concrete wall to heat pump touched and burned one out. It was fixed quickly with no charge.

    Farmer’s market finds for the last few weeks were:
    –bag of green apples plus 1/4 of a box given to me that had a few spots on some (2 qts. cooked and frozen and 1 qt. cooked for 2 meals)
    –red peppers and green Italian peppers (2 qts. cut and frozen)
    –2 dz. corn shucked and most silks removed (4 qts. frozen)
    –2 bags figs
    –4 pears given to me
    –1/2 bag Kennebec potatoes (we ate some)
    –tomatoes to eat

    I canned the beans we had frozen earlier to make more room in the freezer.

    I ordered several types of buttons from Wawax that cost less than JoAnne’s with shipping. I have had problems the last 4-5 years with buttons from JoAnne’s breaking right after I sew them on shirts for DH; a complete waste of money. These feel sturdier; I hope so. Sewed 2 on DS’s shorts.

    I found a closer recycling place saving gas and time. We took the handles and washer off the old canner and took that along with some steel rods from a game table and other miscellaneous metal and gave DS the money.

    I arranged some boxed goods by expiration date so they will be used first. I cleaned out a small organizer with drawers. One had a lot of expired items that weren’t needed the last couple years. Threw them away; more space.

    We used 2 $5 off $20 at Dollar General and stocked up on juices with no added sugar and lunch supplies for DH for work. We also purchased some of Kroger’s buy 5 get $1 off each one.

    We went to Chimney Rock Park in North Carolina for the weekend. I found a room for us about 30 miles away heading home for one third the price of comparable hotels there with a good cleaning protocol and including a hot breakfast. We got an AARP discount at the park and hotel. This was our first overnight trip away from home in several years. The park had changed since we were there as it is state owned now and there are a lot of flights of steps (some high) going up the mountain and no vertical trails leading up/down through the woods as before. We were able to go on all the trails we wanted to go. We were tired but refreshed after an afternoon outdoors enjoying nature, taking pictures, and meeting some nice people. The grandmother of one family was 89, and I was impressed by where all she walked that day. We took drinks and snacks. Due to quick planning and not having traveled for a while we bought some things at a store we could have brought from home.

    I discovered AARP is now open to everyone, not just 50 and above. We have used the discount for hotels, dining, outlet stores, and attractions/museums over the years. We all have slim feet so we visited the Nike Outlet for shoes every time we went to the beach and saved a lot.

    Have a wonderful week!

  57. I am sorry you lost so much food, Brandy. It’s hard to come home to that after a lovely vacation.

    I am really noticing increasing prices and more empty shelves so I am really glad to have full freezers and pantry to “shop” from! We have had an abundance of tomatoes from our garden so I have been preserving them in various ways for the winter. We are now really thinking to next year and expanding our garden and making it more productive.

    Weather predictions for our area indicate an early, cold and snowy winter so we are also trying to get in as much wood as we can for the fireplace. With heating costs rising we will be keeping the heating turned lower and using our fireplace and warm sweaters more.

    Car gas is very high in our area so I have been trying to drive very little and only go out when I have several stops to make. I can usually work it so that I am only out 2 or 3 days a week. I also get much more done when I stay home more so that’s also a win!

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