Roses from my garden

I read a lot of e-books from the library this past week. I forgot to put the ones I read the week before in the previous post, so here are the books I read over the last two weeks:

The Actor and The Housewife. I absolutely loved this book. I laughed a lot. I gave summaries of the book to my husband as I read it so he got to enjoy the story too. The reviews of this book are mixed; my husband’s comment was that it was a very realistic ending. It’s fairly long; this one took me almost 8 hours to read, while the others were under 4 each.

I read several books from Portia MacIntosh: Stuck on You; It’s Not You, It’s Them; The Plus One Pact; Will They, Won’t They?; My Great Ex-Scape; No Ex Before Marriage; Bad Bridesmaid; The Accidental Honeymoon; Truth or Date.

I also read The Persian Pickle Club (recommended by a reader last week) and The Jane Austen Society.

I cut lemon verbena from the garden to dry to make herbal teas. This harvest alone was about what I have gathered in one year in the past. The plant is supposed to grow taller but it has never grown very tall for me, so I was happy to have so much and so early in the season. I planted several plants this year so that I can harvest a lot more than I have in the past. It seems to be the least strong herb of all the ones I grow and I always need to use a large amount per cup, so having more is wonderful.

I picked tomatoes, a zucchini, a couple of blackberries, and basil from the garden.

I made a double batch of laundry soap.

I painted the baseboards and towel hangers in one of the children’s bathrooms that had become damaged over the years. The children wanted new pictures in there and the frames were getting damaged from the humidity. I changed out the picture frames with plastic frames that we used to have hanging in my husband’s office bathroom. The girls will choose new pictures for the frames.

I sold a mini fridge from my husband’s office for $50 in a local online Facebook group, The person who bought it was a friend and I sent her home with two cuttings from my sweet potato vine for her husband, who likes to garden. I also took several more cuttings from my two original plants and rooted them in water on my kitchen table. They have made a nice arrangement on my dining table while they root.

We used the money to buy groceries; I am limiting my shopping now as the housing market in the U.S. has come to a screeching halt (about 5 weeks ago) as interest rates rose; they were raised again last week another 0.75% and plans to raise them several more times have been announced. We got some things to see us through with what we have on hand: sour cream, lettuce, tortillas, milk, and spreadable margarine. I am focusing our meals on items from the pantry and freezers with additions from the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. After our family BBQ two weeks ago, I had “inherited” a case (6 boxes) of Triscuit crackers and also a case of Club crackers. I thought about using them and had an epiphany!
    A couple months back, our Krogers would put blocks of cheese on sale (limit 5) for $2.50/pound so I would buy 5 . They did it fairly often and I would buy 5 each time. They also had 1 pound boxes of butter for $1.99. So, I have a nice reserve of both stored up.

    I looked and cold pack Cheddar spread is currently $6.49/10 Oz. at the store.
    I remembered my Make Your Own Groceries book and found the DIY version of Cheddar spread. Even had a bottle of Liquid Smoke in my pantry that I used a little in to give in a “smoked/aged” taste. So I made a double batch of this recipe which would be just over 3 of those in the store . And . So instead of about $20, my OOP cost was about $5.75! This is why I buy on sale to keep a full pantry on hand!!

    A friend of my daughter’s who lives in CA often texts me with questions about methods of food preservation and she texted me this week that she had been able to buy a 50 pound bag of potatoes for $7! She wanted to know about freezing or dehydrating them. I gave her step by step instructions and she has sent me photos of her progress! Isn’t technology amazing! But it got me thinking….

    So, on Saturday, I planned my shopping. First, I went to Meijers and bought 2 flats (16 baskets total) of strawberries for 99 cents/basket. By the way, Meijers extended the sale to July 2nd. These were for dehydrating.

    It surprises me how much I still have to learn! I watched the YouTube video of RoseRed dehydrating strawberries, She was using an egg slicer to slice strawberries evenly for dehydrating. I have an egg slicer that I bought when a friend was having an online Pampered Chef party and I felt like I needed to buy something. 🥴 What a surprise!! ❤️❤️. I tried it: , and What a game changer!! Saved me so much time! And here is what I got from my 2 flats of strawberries (about 16 pounds) . 2 Half gallon jars of dehydrated strawberries!! So tasty!!

    I also bought their 16 Oz frozen vegetables at Buy 10 for $1 each and then get number 11 free! So they were 91 cents for each 1 pound package. First time in a while that I’ve seen that price for the 16 Oz packages- usually the bags are 12 Oz!

    Then I stopped at the Krogers on the way back home for half gallons on milk which were on sale for $1.29 each. I bought the 5 limit with the longest expiration dates.
    Then, still on my direct route home, I decided to go to my produce market that I haven’t been to in months. I had sticker shock on prices there too. But, they had 50 pound bags of potatoes for $10. So I now have 50 pounds of potatoes to preserve too!

    After I was home from my shopping expedition, a friend (that I had given chocolate mint and strawberry plants to) texted me to say that she was at Meijers (the exact location I had just left about an hour before!) and she saw that they had marked down, by 90%, their bare root cartons of seedless grapes, kiwi and pomegranates! Now I know that pomegranates are not something that like my cold winters and I’ve tried growing the “arctic kiwis” before and not been impressed, but the seedless grapes- black, red and green were only 69 cents per carton! And I’ve had experience with those and they LOVE our climate. She offered to pick up however many I wanted and she brought them before Church and I was able to put them in my car! No extra driving for either of us! I bought 10 but 8 are going up to our son-in-law on their 13 acres! They are excited to get those and start their own little vineyard since their kids all love grapes!! In these times, I heartily recommend “networking” with friends and family so many can benefit from one person’s discoveries!

    I also added (9) four pound boxes of canning/pickling salt to my storage. For the 9 box case it was just $14.67 (Amazon) or a bit over 40 cents a pound. I used more of this half gallon jars I got and vacuum sealed them. It gave me 7 half gallons.
    We have built 6 more of our tomato towers this past week and just have 6 more to go! I also harvested our parsley so it will give us another big crop! It will go into dehydrator!

    I was on assignment to visit a church congregation about an hour away on Sunday and in the foyer, someone had set 2 boxes of fresh zucchini with a sign that said “free”. Although I would have been happy to take it all, since I was visiting, I took 2 nice zucchini and will have orange coconut zucchini cake in the oven as a treat for Hubs and me and that I can take to other friends as a “Ding, Dong, Ditch” surprise.

    I finished quilting and binding Quilt #255- a UFO scrappy twin size quilt that I started over 7 years ago! Now it’s a twin size quilt all finished! and Ironically, we no longer have any twin size beds. 🥴 I have a new scrappy quilt I just need to iron and begin borders on.

    A week ago, our daughter and family borrowed our van and drove to Wisconsin where they looked at and bought a wonderful used APQS Lucy longarm quilting machine. They had reserved a one way enclosed trailer rental in Wisconsin to bring down to their home in Ohio, so now she has a machine in her home too. This will allow her to save gas cost on commuting back and forth (about 53 miles each way) to our house to use Lenni. It also allows us to expand our business and gives her the time to quilt up her own projects at whatever time of the day or night the notion strikes! Lol! They have no debt (not even cars or mortgage) and had a refund that came in that allowed them to pay for the machine, transportation to get it, overnight stay in hotel on the way, etc. She had done her research and got an excellent price and value. So now Lenni has a big sister- Lucy who has a 26” throat (Lenni has 22”), so she can quilt larger areas in a single pass! And if the business slows or stops because of the economy, it’s still a tool that we own outright that we can use just for personal quilts! So buying it was not banking on generating a certain amount of income from it in a certain amount of time.

    It’s been a great week! I hadn’t taken a look around in the grocery stores for a while, so it was quite a shock! I worry for those who only buy for the coming week. We are humbled that we’ve been blessed with an abundance in our larder and are trying to pay it forward to others in whatever small ways we can!
    Gas prices have been coming down. I hope that will be a trend. For all the loud voices I hear and see on media (I try to limit that), I’ve found that in-person encounters with those I don’t know have been kinder, more pleasant! More of a “We’re all in this together” feeling and that warms my heart! Perhaps that will be one of the outcomes of these more challenging times! I hope so! ❤️

    I hope you and everyone else can look past the cacophony of voices and the fear-producing headlines and find peace and hope within your lives.

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat,

      “I hope you and everyone else can look past the cacophony of voices and the fear-producing headlines and find peace and hope within your lives”

      Thank you for the beautiful sentiment. It’s a wonderful goal.

    2. Pat, you can ding-dong-ditch me any time! I like your version better than the year some local kids rearranged my Christmas reindeer into naughty poses ~ they didn’t even leave me any zucchini bread! (And I didn’t get any baby reindeer out of the deal either, darn it!) 😉

      1. Ava- I think that it can be a morale booster to get an unexpected surprise as simple as a batch of cookies or some zucchini cake, especially when you don’t know who the giver was! It can change your perspective about other people when you think that it’s possible that they were your secret benefactor! At least, that’s the way it’s been for me when I’ve been the recipient, so I hope that other recipients of my simple Ding-Dong-Ditch treats will have that same reaction!
        It’s nice to feel like someone cares and notices. Imo, that’s a little thing that can brighten someone’s day!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

    3. Wow Garden Pat I am inspired-you were truly blessed and resourceful this week in finding some great deals. Bravo.

    4. Gardenpat, THANK YOU for the tip on the canning salt! Much cheaper than Mrs Wages (which I will now be returning). Love the ding, dong, ditch idea! We need more of this in our world.🥰

  2. Hi Brandy, It is interesting to read your observations on the housing market. I remember that your husband is a relator, and your blogs from maybe 10 plus year ago now were about how when the housing market crashed then how difficult it was financially. I have also been watching the housing market here in SWFL and have noticed that people are putting homes on the market for a very full asking price when they have kitchens from the 80’s, mismatched floors, and no updates to be seen. Some of these homes had no garages or pools, and were asking for 300-500k. One home with serious mold issues which has been abandoned was bought at auction and is now listed at 225.

    I can’t imagine trying to purchase a home right now. I would also imagine that selling a home would leave one on the cusp of these high prices. I noticed that one home for 510k in my neighborhood brought their price down to 500k. I bought my home for 85k 10 years ago. So, you can just imagine my thoughts when I see the price of a home has gone up, but the value has really remained the same as the houses for sale have not had any significant improvements to majors or cosmetic upgrades to bathrooms or the kitchen, no landscaping updates etc.

    I know that the real estate market is not the focus of your blog. But, the volatility of the market will affect so many people on so many levels financially with ability to buy, sell, take out equity etc.

    This week I’m looking to make loaded baked potato soup. Last week was Chili.

    Have a great week.

    1. House prices for listed homes across the country have dropped 25 to 31% in the last month and are now sitting. There’s been a lot in the news about it.

      We’re seeing it here and following the numbers carefully.

      Prices are dropping faster than last time. Our last house was for sale just as things started coming down last time and it dropped $10,000 a month in value for 16 months before it sold.

      Yet now house prices are being reduced $50,000 in the last month and still no one is going to see them.

      It’s looking very bad, and the fallout is going to be huge.

      BBC had an article last week about how the Feds rising the interest rate in the U.S. affects the world. We raised rates so Britain and Switzerland raised rates too, because banks borrow from one another.

      The ripple affects will affect a lot of places in the world.

      1. I guess I don’t have a clue what goes through peoples minds, Brandy. Because whenever interest rates rise by a quarter per cent the housing market just reels backwards and I really don’t get it. If you need/want to buy a house at some point in time then you need/want to buy a house. Is a quarter per cent more going to hurt? It couldn’t hurt that much.

        As you have mentioned often there was a time when mortgage interests were 17% and people bought houses because they needed/wanted one back in those days. And people are screaming and clutching their hearts at 3 %. All of our homes were bought at around 8% mortgages. Except our last one that we were able to pay cash for 20 years ago.

        So I’m mystified at people who are looking at homes and are poised to go forward, seeing a quarter or half per cent raise and deciding not to buy at all. I guess it is the psychology that the mortgage cost more than it did yesterday, so all bets and plans are off.

        And yet, for months before this people have been rushing to buy badly over priced homes. I guess I’m glad I’m not in real estate.

        1. It just went up three quarters of a percent in the U.S., but it went up a lot more this year before that and actually stopped about five weeks ago (the recent raise was last week and more have been announced).

          The difference so far on the price of the average priced home in the U.S. from January to June, all from rising interest rates, is a difference of $600 more a month in payments.

          When interest rates were 17% in 1981, my parents bought a house. It took my father working three weeks just to pay the mortgage. Everything else had to come from that last week and a half. Most of the people in our neighborhood lost their homes.

          During the last recession, one in seven houses in Las Vegas was in foreclosure.

          So, no, interest rates are still historically low and not awful, but since house prices rose so much last year, it is very difficult. Average home prices are higher than average household income.

          Jerome Powell will raise rates again in an effort to curb inflation.

          However, this does not affect the rising prices of food and gas. Those are due to many other factors. So now we have higher food, gas, housing, and car loans.

          And because banks loan to one another, interest rates are affected worldwide. I just read yesterday about how rising rates in the U.S. will affect Qatar in the Middle East. Housing there is already more; a one-bedroom apartment there is about $650,000. Like Las Vegas, they also have an affordable housing shortage, and theirs is made worse by landlords wanting to rent places out for the World Cup, not wanting to renew regular leases so they can rent to those who are coming for the games.

          Obviously 2 to 3% interest rates aren’t sustainable long-term. We’re still under 8%, as you said, and that’s not horrible.

          But it’s enough to stop housing, especially on higher-priced homes, because it’s much more than a $600 a month difference.

          And the news is starting to report that it’s stopped. They’re also reporting where prices have dropped the most. The thing is, even there, it is slowing.

          I see articles say this will be a short recession, but I think it will be more than that. There are a lot of articles talking about stagflation. There are also articles talking about worldwide food shortages.

          Are we at the beginning of another Depression? Well, the west certainly is dry like the Dust Bowl years. But more than that is yet to be seen.

          First quarter GDP was down. It takes two quarters in a row to declare a recession. The second quarter numbers get announced on July 28th. I don’t know why they wait that long but that’s the date I read when we’ll find out.

          1. Thank you for your responses. I seem to remember 10-13 years ago when the last recession hit the US that while house prices seemed to nose dive, I dont recall prices for other items being so inflated. I lived in Vegas at the time, of course I was 24 and single. My mindset was very different then than it is now.

            I suppose, if home prices do ‘correct’ or drop …that this would be a good time to start purchasing if you wanted investments, or wanted to help a child secure a house for the future.

            We will all see how this plays out. In the meantime, as so many of us are, I will try to be prepared.

          2. Housing has started to turn and slow, in Florida, also. But we still have corporations moving their corporate headquarters here from NJ/NY and Chicago, bringing people with them that need housing.

            Our first home had an 18% mortgage in 1980 and we continued to buy and sell our homes, as we moved every 2-3 years in our early years. But I don’t remember ever encountering going up against a hedge fund/investment group, as our son recently did, in bidding, for a home for his family.

            1. Hi Nancy, I am in Fort Myers. I sold a second home this past October. It was an interesting experience. I had a few ‘blind’ offers with generically written paper work by an attorney for corporations. One corporation it was very obvious they put little effort into their offer as it stated things like please leave this and that appliance in place. I did not provide a refrigerator as I couldn’t order one for several months in the size the kitchen needed. So I ended up selling the home without one. In the offer they put that they would pay 10k over the highest offer I received, and they had already come in over asking price. The relator I hired did some research and it is a rental company known to never sell a home once purchased, to raise the rental price higher than the area, and they asked for a longer period of time for inspections and challenged all work done on the home and permits. After buying the home, they company was known to take the previous home owner to court and sue them. They 10k you would get upfront would evaporate and they would have money to continue to keep you in court.

              I also had several flippers, and contractors look at the home. They all tried to low ball me and gave negative feedback on the home. We had just done a full gut renovation on it. I ended up selling to someone locally who lives in the home. I’m so glad I didn’t go with the highest offer….

          3. I appreciate the information. My husband and I were young parents during the 1980s depression. We did not lose our home during that time. We did not have savings because we were fixing up our fixer upper house and had just had a baby and paid the hospital and doctor’s bills out of pocket. But we were able to live on very little because we had stocked up and had a wood stove. We had canned, frozen, and dehydrated enough food to last us through the winter. The year before my husband had built a block chimney on the outside of our house and installed a woodstove in the basement. He had two years worth of wood cut, split, and stacked in the backyard, so we were able to have the natural gas shut off. We had started a garden spot for the next year. My husband was self-employed, and I was at home with three tiny children. My husband had been working for a local LDS-owned business, but they cut him off and kept their church members working, one of whom my husband had trained. (Imagine a grown man with six children and no means of earning a living. My husband felt sorry for him.) But God helped my husband get small jobs, but they were nowhere near enough for us to live on in normal times. What helped us was that our basic necessities were stocked up, so that our only bills were for the phone which brought news of work and a little gasoline and the electric bill– other than the house payment. The house payment was the problem. The first month I was unable to make the payment, I called the bank, a locally owned bank, and asked to talk to a loan officer. I explained our situation. I’m sure the bank had many customers in my situation, and with two feet of snow on the ground and below zero temperatures, they probably didn’t really want to pay the bill to heat my house with me not in it, and for sure the house wouldn’t sell. The bank officer asked if I could pay anything, and I said I could pay part of it, so he said to pay whatever I could because it would make it look like I was conscientious when my payment record was looked at. So that is what I did. Every time we got a little money from a job, I paid a little more toward the payment. I didn’t save up for a month, and then pay it. I paid the money as soon as we got it, and that amounted to small amounts like $10 to $20 at a time. My husband worked like crazy to find other employment, and we finally moved 3000 miles to where he found work. When he first found out about the job, he traveled there and worked for a while to make sure the job and the living situation were going to work out. The children and I stayed in our home until he made sure things were going to work and found housing for us at the new location. Then he came home and we did a little more fixing to our house, put it on the market, sold and gave away almost everything we owned in one week’s time and moved. It looked like an incredibly bad time for us, but turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. For one thing, our house was too big, and we had too much stuff, and I was worked half to death keeping things up. My husband worked very long hours and hated his job. It was a physically demanding job that was beginning to take its toll on his body also. After we moved, my husband had plenty of work, but he worked long hours. I went and helped him on jobs after hours when the other workmen were gone. Then my husband found out he could borrow money from that state to attend university. The loan was enough that we could live, frugally, on it. He made it through school and was able to get a much more stable job with good benefits. We did not know about the wonderful student loan program. We believe God arranged to bless us through an odd series of events for us to move to that state. Oh, we finally sold the first home a year after we moved away. We made $5,000 after all our hard work. It was never in foreclosure. When my husband found work after being severely underemployed for five months, we were one payment behind on the mortgage. I did buy a few groceries during that five months, and we were able to buy a box of apples and a box of oranges for $5 each once. The oranges were being sold out of a pickup truck beside the road. Once when I was at the grocery store with my preschoolers, I saw some bananas for 10 cents per pound, but I couldn’t tell which bananas the sign referred to. It looked like some were speckled a little, so I thought possibly those were 10 cents a pound. I asked a worker nearby who happened to be the manager. He loaded my cart with bananas. At home they weighed 73 pounds. A lot of them were nice for just eating, and I made and froze banana bread and dehydrated the largest part of them. During part of the time my husband went out in the very early mornings and shoveled snow for businesses to earn a little extra money.

            1. Thanks for sharing your story, Elizabeth. I am inspired by your family’s resilience. 🙂

              1. I agree – thank you Elizabeth. I love your perspective that shows we can only connect the dots/see the path from a distance. There are always blessings even in the middle of hardship.

              2. Thank you. I should have mentioned that we did have a support system. We always felt we could talk our situation over with God and he cared about us. (Sometimes we recite Psalm 23 together in the dark after we go to bed.) When our church found out through a friend of ours that my husband was shoveling snow, they thought we must be in desperate straits, (we were), and I got a call from the Dorcas Society leader offering everything but work and money. I very graciously declined everything she offered. My husband borrowed enough money from his parents for the plane ticket to go investigate the job 3000 miles away, but we didn’t want them to know how bad off we were. My husband arrived at the airport in the new town with $20 in his pocket. The airport was miles from town. But the guy who hired him (on trial) was at the airport to meet him and took him to his house to stay while he worked there for two weeks. We had no connection with those people at all. There are good people everywhere. They were a little desperate to find someone who was as good as my husband was at his line of work. They had a really nasty job they needed done and had no one with the skills to do it right. I guess they figured if he could do a good job with that, he could do whatever they needed.

            2. Elizabeth, thank you for sharing this. It is sobering. Being without tracks with my early history with my family, small children and no money. I learned well to make every bit of food stretch. Reading your story takes me back and makes me realize how easy I have had it the last twelve years. I started to take it for granted, but with all that is going on now and all that Brandy and others have been saying, that “fear” is driving back all those lessons learned.

          4. Brandy we bought our home in 1981 also like your parents I took a balloon mortgage at the time for 5 years because interest rates in my location were 18 or 19 PLUS you had to have 20 or 30% down
            I emptied everything we had and it was a small cape cod 1200 square feet
            Your comprehensive analysis of all that this affects is awesome
            Thank you for sharing

            1. Of course!

              I didn’t know as a child how hard it was for my parents. My children didn’t know when they were little either.

              It’s when you are used to living with more and have to make big changes that it is harder. I think many people are having to make changes now. I have been reading articles on how people are handling everything now and it’s a lot.

          5. My husband is a mortgage loan officer for a large company and we’ve felt the hit to his income over the last few months. It has dropped precipitously and things don’t look good (and we did expect this to happen as rates rose). I’ve followed you for many years and always appreciate the inspiration you provide when belts need extra tightening (once again). He lost his job during the previous housing collapse when the company folded, along with many others…hoping we avoid that with this downturn.

            1. I think we’re in for some seriously reduced income for many years. It’s very concerning and I have been preparing as much as possible by stocking up more the first three months of the year and trying to make sure my children have all the clothes they will need for some time. I bought lots of underclothing this year as well as other clothing. Everyone should be well-prepared, save for some socks for two of the children that I still need to get.

              I remember not buying much clothing for myself, or much of anything, really, for a decade. I bought some clothes the last couple of years, finally, and that has been very helpful to have some new things after all that time. I am also so very, very grateful for the garden changes we made. They are helpful for food but the flowers are helpful to my soul.

              1. I agree about income declining for an extended time…that’s my worry too. We’ve been adding more to our longterm food storage as we’re able. I still need to get more in the way of undergarments/socks for two of the kids. I’m working on growing more food in our small space, and my husband has ordered two rain barrels to attach to the downspouts (we’re in Colorado where it’s often hot and dry, and it’s quite a challenge to garden here). I’m also driving for Door Dash to help alleviate his declining income. Doing what we can!

        1. You’re welcome. It is sobering indeed.

          Only the last couple of generations in the U.S. have paid a small percentage of their income towards their basic needs. It was very different before that, and I think it will be again.

          1. In addition to all that you’ve already said, and due to recent years of low interest rates, many people have purchased homes that were on an ARM or more house than they can actually afford (housing prices being over-inflated and finding creative financing). That interest increase will cause some very big ripples. If the market continues to slow down (not to mention the other factors of inflation), you will see empty houses again. When the construction costs started going crazy, I kept thinking people would build smaller homes. Nope! They just took out bigger loans. I look at our small home, with ALL of its equity, and chuckle when I think about cashing it out (Where would I go that is affordable? 😉 ) . The home values in our area have tripled and quadrupled in the last 5 years. That’s insane and not an honest market value, in my view. Or, at least, an unsteady market that can’t hold that type of inflation over time. I thought there would be another market correction already. I didn’t realize how much the dollar was being shored up, in debt. This realization has been empowering and, somewhat, terrifying. Praying to know how to waddle my way through what is coming. Thank you for the continued resources/ideas. Helps to keep myself in check and stretch into better habits.

            1. I was just reading the other day that they are very few ARM loans right now as compared to 2008. The problem I see this year is that the cost of everything has gone up and people simply won’t be able to make ends meet.

              1. Yes, that is definitely the bigger point. We do know people in financing, so my intention was to relay that people were already stretching, in their finances. All that to say, everyone is experiencing some impact, economically. It’s going to be a rough ride for most. I pray that we all can weather well and persevere in the face of it. We’re witnessing, in our locality, the slowdown in the housing market too. So I appreciate the added awareness that you’re communicating. That’s just the beginning, as you know. My husband is in hospitality, so our financial impact is also felt. I know it could come to abrupt halt, proved by Covid and 2008. People will stop travelling to make ends meet, and the cycle continues. I always want to “do more” to stall the impacts on my family but I’m also stopping to tell myself that “I’m doing my best with what I’ve got.” Blessing to everyone and we rise to the situations placed in front of us!

              2. Yes, inflation is affecting everyone. I’ve noticed more people on my fb feed posting items for sale, $10 or $15, and these are all middle class professionals (i.e. solid incomes) with family. It’s a definite increase in attempts to sell items, which to me indicates that those “small” amounts of money are more needed than before. Skills that you showcase on your blog, such as cutting costs and gardening, will be more important than ever and more people will need to learn them.

      2. I’m in a city with the highest median price on homes in the country (I think), and the house at the end of my street hasn’t sold. It’s easily been a month, it hit the market right when interest rates went up. Normally houses sell with multiple offers in a day or so. So, even in our low inventory market it’s slowed considerably.

  3. Thank you for your reading list, Brandy. I read two library books last week–A Girl from Yamhill–Beverly Cleary’s memoir–and the first of the Darling Dahlias series. Mrs. Cleary and I both grew up in Portland, although she was 30 years before me, but 99% of what she wrote hadn’t changed much. A real trip down Memory Lane. Over the weekend, I checked out two more Darling Dahlias and reserved two more (I like to read series in order).

    I went back to Winco and bought enough .99 strawberries for two batches of freezer jam, which I made Tuesday. I used pectin and sugar I bought last year. I got two dozen eggs at another store for .99 each with coupons. I have been harvesting the outer leaves of Buttercrunch lettuce for salads.

    I try to keep 7 frozen meals in the freezer. I mainly do this by cooking double. Mostly, we eat these meals when I don’t feel like cooking (to rotate), but they were a godsend when I was sick.

    I made an offer of $6 for a freezer-friendly cookbook listed for $10 on eBay and the seller took my offer. Every offer I have ever made has been accepted. I cooked double twice last week and froze three more meals (one made a LOT). I’m anxious to see how well they thaw and reheat.

    I did some heavy-duty stain removal and salvaged a newish pair of my daughter’s shorts that I was sure were done for. Stain removal, mending and simple alterations have saved me a fortune over the years.

    Not frugal for me but for my friend Heather–I shortened 3 pairs of bell bottoms for her. I also gave her a soaker hose we no longer need. “What goes around, comes around.”

    I set up drip irrigation lines in 6 planters.

    Brandy, last week I learned here that Powerade/Gatorade is available in powdered form. Thank you for this info. (I learn something new every week). My daughter becomes dehydrated easily and I try to keep hydration drinks on hand. This will be much more convenient!

    Also, I bought buttermilk for a recipe, and I never cook with buttermilk. Does anyone have any suggestions for using it up, other than pancakes and biscuits? Thanks in advance.

    1. I was just trying to use up the last of my buttermilk Saturday. There are many muffin recipes that call for buttermilk.

    2. (yes that is the correct spelling) has a basic buttermilk loaf recipe with about 10 different alternatives. I’ve used quite a few of them with great success. Soda bread also uses buttermilk. I have also soaked chicken pieces in buttermilk before breading and baking (or frying).

      1. I love buttermilk (sometimes called chess) pie! It’s a southern classic. Great with some lemon zest and fresh berries.

    3. Fried chicken. Soak the uncooked chicken in the buttermilk before adding the seasonings and final coating. So good!

    4. Maxine,
      My former SIL made a buttermilk pie. It was like a custard pie and quite good. Single crust. I’ve also seen some cake recipes that use buttermilk. Red velvet cake comes to mind. My mother’s original recipe called it Fire Engine Red Cake. The 2 ounces of red food coloring, though, is not cheap!

    5. I froze my leftover buttermilk in ice cube containers. Since most of the recipes I use only need a cup or less, I now always have buttermilk handy.

    6. I freeze excess buttermilk in 1/2 cup measures by putting it in snack-size zip top bags and lay them flat on cookie sheets. Once frozen I store the bags in a larger freezer-safe ziplock bag. When I want to make pancakes, biscuits, cake, etc., I just pull out the necessary amount and allow it to thaw before I use it in the recipe. This was especially helpful when I found half-gallons of buttermilk on clearance after the holidays last year.

    7. I loved reading Beverly Cleary’s memoirs! I am in my 40s and I grew up in SE Portland but now live in the neighborhood she grew up in and I just loved to read about what Portland was like during that era. In case you don’t know, she put out a second memoir called “My Own Two Feet” about her college and young adult years. It is mostly based in California and Washington, where she lived during that time, but I thought it was a great read as well!

      1. Thank you for mentioning the second memoir, which I didn’t know about. I will check my library. As a former Portland kid, I loved it when she mentioned specific things like Halsey Street, Sullivan’s Gulch (where my dad used to harvest the coal that fell off the trains during WW2), and “overtown.” My parents weren’t from Portland and we always called it “downtown,” but most of our friends referred to the city center as “overtown.” (Because you had to go “over” the river by bridge to get there). I hadn’t thought of “overtown” in decades and it reminded me of so many old friends and their parents. What she said about Grant High School is what we said about Grant 30 years later…and I’ll bet you said the same things after that!

        1. Yes about Grant, ha! My kids attend Grant and one transferred because he didn’t like the snobbery. So interesting about your dad harvesting coal off the trains. That must be where the freeway (and MAX lightrail) runs now. I have figured out where some of her homes were based on details in the book (not exactly, but within a block). Yes, I remember the “overtown” reference and being intrigued by it. And also how long it took to get downtown by streetcar, even from the inner neighborhoods. Now I just say, “across the river” or “other side of town”. Yes, the neighborhood and city has changed, but it still feels very quaint. I gave my kids a lot of freedom from a young age to explore on their own. It feels safe and neighbors still look after one another. I love that I can walk to lots of shops and restaurants and that so many people are on bikes. And we have streetcars once again!

    8. Use buttermilk for your mashed potatoes instead of regular milk – so decadent and delicious. Also, Irish soda bread.

    9. Pancakes! Waffles! I make a big batch and freeze them for quick breakfasts. Also, many cake recipes use it, my favorite chocolate one does, and along with everyone else, yes it freezes.

    10. I think this is the old recipe I used for years. I think it uses a quart of buttermilk. It makes a huge batch that can be kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. I kept a batch of batter in the frig and then dipped out enough batter for a batch of muffins, so I had fresh, hot muffins for breakfast. I quit making the recipe because it has shortening, quite a bit of sugar, and eggs, and we eat mostly vegan to lower cholesterol. I did throw out the egg yolks, dispensing with 200 mg of cholesterol in each one of those, and they turn out fine. Maybe add an extra white to make up for the lost volume and lightness. I suppose one could use applesauce instead of shortening, but it would change the consistency, and the sugar–well I have used xylitol and stevia for baking for someone with diabetes with pretty good luck. Maybe I’ll have to try that old recipe again. I could make some oat milk kind of thick in the blender and add a little lemon juice. I bought a nut milk bag through Amazon. I made oat milk once, and it turned out fine. The recipe called for rolled oats which I have on hand. I wanted a milk I could use for scalloped potatoes; soy milk made them turn out gray colored.

    11. Maxine, I use buttermilk in cornbread, in chocolate cake and banana cake. Also in biscuits. Not all the time, but I will choose a recipe to utilizes it when I have buttermilk to use up. The recipe for banana cake that uses buttermilk is in THE JOY OF COOKING cookbook.

  4. -I love seeing your flowers, ours are not blooming yet. The mulberries just started ripening. I picked over a gallon today, I will freeze them for wintertime baking treats. There are a lot of spots around town with mulberry trees, so I will try to stop every day and pick a bucket or 2. Used the rest from last year to make fruit oatmeal bars last week. Has anyone ever tried mulberry wine?
    -I also got some good deals at Kroger using digital coupons and ibotta. I had stopped using them for a while, but I’m trying to refocus to watch our grocery bill. We should have tomatoes ripening soon.
    -Took the kids to a free event at the library. They had popcorn and a show to kick off the summer reading program.
    -Continuing to run for free exercise. I did have to buy new pricey running shoes, but the last ones lasted for a long time. I’m hoping to run my first marathon this fall. Going on 1 1/2 years without a gym membership and still slowly losing weight.
    -My husband had a work party. Last minute, I found out we had to bring a dish to pass. I cut up some fruit on hand and was happy to avoid a last minute shopping trip.
    -We bought some used construction equipment off of FB marketplace, saving several thousand dollars. It was over an hour drive but totally worth it. Plus, now we can finish up some projects that have been on hold.
    -I passed down some kids clothes to someone at work. She gave me a few clothing items for myself.
    -Shopped around for new windows. Found someone local to price match a quote and will support the local shop, saving over $500.
    -Also, the new accountant we met with a few weeks ago will be a huge savings. Sometimes it is clipping the small coupons, sometimes it is focusing on the major life expenses.

    1. Susan, a cousin of mine made mulberry wine one year and I tried a sip. It wasn’t something I’d want very often, but it was interesting to try and not bad.

  5. I read “Where The Crawdads Sing” and really enjoyed it. I read it in a night as I am so busy its hard to find time to just sit and rea.

    1. I am using my phone to read the e-books, so I read while cooking now. It lets me get in more reading and I don’t have to hold the book open.

      1. If I read while cooking, the food would be even worse than it is! Good for you for being able to multitask.

  6. Oh gosh, the housing market. Good thing you’ve maximized your garden production! And uts so impressive how much you read, along with everything else!

    My frugal week:

    – I made Everything Bagels (, using what I had at home (substituted granulated garlic for dried garlic). So yummy!
    – I picked mulberries, service berries, lettuce, and the first snow pea from my parents garden, and cilantro, green onions, basil, swiss chard, and chives from my balcony garden. I planted more nasturtiums and swiss chard on my balcony.
    – I made basil mayo ( with some of the basil. So easy and so yummy!
    – I gave my sister some lettuce.
    – I took my daughters over to my sister’s condo pool for a swim on a hot day, and brought homemade dough, tomato sauce, grated cheese, basil, and veg pepperoni and made a fresh pizza in her condo for our lunch. A fun, no-cost outing!
    – I cancelled the swimming lessons I had signed my daughters up for, and decided to utilize the local pool instead. It will be a bit of a walk, but I’ll combine it with a picnic and an air-conditioned library visit for a full day out except for nap-time. One less expense this summer! (I’ve taught swimming before, so I’m confident in my ability to teach my kids water skills, especially since at this age, most of it is just exposure and learning water safety).
    – I baked a berry crumb cake using some of the mulberries and service berries that I picked, and gave some away. The recipe called for almonds but I left those out, plus I used yoghurt instead of sour cream. I froze the remainder of the berries I picked.
    – my mum brought back leftover food from a lunch at her office, the day I visited. Easy meal the next day for me and my kids!
    – I took my daughters to visit Riverdale Farm, a farm in the city. Free entrance, and my youngest was excited to see in person all the animals she’s seen in books. I packed drinks, so the only cost was gas (and ice cream, because it was a hot day).
    – I combined a sale and a coupon to get several large yoghurt drinks essentially 50 cents each, which makes for an easy snack for my eldest.
    – I redeemed points from to get $20 to my paypal account.
    – my mom came over for lunch, and I served black bean quesadillas, using homegrown cilantro, with a salad on the side (homegrown lettuce!).
    – I made freezer sandwiches for my daughters for the week, and used the crusts to make croutons.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else!

    1. Riverdale Farm is amazing place! My last visit there was in Summer 2019 and I took a friend who had lived in the city for years but had never been! She grew up on a dairy farm in Quebec so she had a great time chatting to all the farm workers about the animals! You are never too old!

  7. Your lemon verbena looks very happy, and the roses are lovely. My lemon verbena has never grown much, but it does seem to be doing well this summer. Last week, I spent time with a niece in Asheville. I stayed with her, we cooked at home one night, and had an inexpensive meal the next, took lots of beautiful hikes, including two to waterfalls, and did a little thrifting. So, other than the gas, it was an inexpensive getaway. Our cucumbers have started coming in bountifully. We’ve shared some with neighbors and a woman I worked for on Saturday. I harvested the first yellow squash and eggplant, and the first tromboncino should be ready soon. Two loads of laundry were dried on the line. I used diluted comfrey tea to feed lots of flowers and landscape plants. There were two store bought onions going bad, so I salvaged what I could, dehydrated it, and added it to the soup mix jar. My husband harvested our onions that were ready. They’re larger and nicer than previous harvests, which is nice. He planted two cover crops on currently unused areas of our two gardens. with buckwheat and phacelia, to build the soil. After our potatoes dried on the ground for several days, we placed them in our usual storage method, using pine straw and agricultural lime, and covering them up. My husband grilled, using our potatoes, and yellow squash, both with herbs, all from the garden. I also made salads using our carrot and the first tomato.

    1. I am still waiting for my cucumbers! I am going to sow more seeds this week.

      1. Sorry Margaret, I’m just now catching up, and saw this. In case you check back, I have just started doing the soup mix jar recently, having learned of it on A Working Pantry blog. This year, especially, I though it was a good way to use little bits of this and that without waste. I plan to add a handful to any appropriate soup, such as vegetable. So far, I’ve added tiny carrots, carrot greens, the last few pods of green peas, purslane, and the onions.

  8. I wondered whether your husband’s real-estate firm was affected by the interest rate hike!

    Our oldest daughter and her partner just bought a house from their friend, and barely squeaked in a lower interest rate before the sh** hit the fan. Youngest daughter and Husband are still looking for a place.

    Other than Safeway’s Saturday Sampler (a free item or two, if you shop Sat-Tues) — and you should take advantage of this — there wasn’t much in grocery savings. Or saving on gas, either. We are cutting back on both, and I am concentrating more on eating up the elk meat from the last animal the Brick harvested. Some turnip/kale/chard greens are close to cutting, and the green onions just have a few more weeks. We have much the same problem with rain as you do, Brandy — we got some yesterday, and it was the first real soaker since Memorial Day weekend. (Colorado, near the mountains – but close to Denver) Life goes on.

    1. It will affect everyone. The price of a mortgage payment went up an average of $600 a month in the U.S. just since January because of the previous rate hikes, and then they hiked them again this last week.

      Next month’s sales reports for the city will be interesting to read.

      Lower-priced houses are still selling, but they are harder to find.

      1. That increase is much more than my initial mortgage on my home just over 15 years ago! I kept it to what I could swing on a 3/2 detached home and remained thankful I could despite coworkers buying up every few years. Able to pay it off early. I can’t imagine that being just the increase!

        1. I also live in the Midwest. I bought my home for$99,000 in 2000 interest rate 3.125 30 years. I paid it off 15 months ago and so glad I did it early in my life. Our taxes are very high here so even a paid off house can still cost a lot yearly basis. I do not know how families make it across the US. But I suppose many couples are making more than $250-300.000 a year.

      2. I think the significance of an extra $600 a month is that if you make say….30-40k, which I really believe is what most people who are considered middle income make, that’s one week of pay (rough estimate) after taxes and benefits like health insurance are taken out. So when people say it’s only a quarter of a percent, or only 1%, when you figure out the monthly income and weekly income and what that really means it’s a more jarring amount. If you’re on the lower end of that pay scale let’s say you make more like $500 a week after taxes and insurance, the amount is even more significant to your monthly budget.

        A real estate agent made an ad/post recently Facebook saying, you will pay 17% on a car loan, but you wont pay 6% on a house that you could have bought at 5% a month ago. Go ahead and buy the house.

        I found the advertisement very financially glib because when you do the math, 1% on $300k is an extra $300 dollars on the monthly payment. It’s significant to so many people, especially when you factor in other things like consumer debt, student loan debt, and monthly reoccurring bills other than the mortgage payment. I really appreciate that my relator and broker were both very helpful in explaining the math and amortization to me when I bought my house almost 10 years ago. With inflation, I think what’s happening is that middle income earners are being priced out overall because all factors of their budget are going up – food, gas, insurance, housing.

        I completely get and agree with what you’re saying.

    2. I agree the Safeway/Albertsons ad was not good but just looked at the one coming out tomorrow and there were some good sales (I am in az)

  9. I found about two dozen lambs quarter seedlings growing wild in a garden bed where i didn’t want them. My husband built a smaller 3×3 garden bed and i transplanted them into one place. They grow quite tall for a plentiful harvest and are very nutritious and tasty.

    I also applied epsom Salt around the peppers, squash, beans and tomatoes and theu already look better. We were also surprised to find three nice Morrell mushrooms growing wild near the roots of an apple tree that died. I dried them to use this winter. I found very large lavender plants on clearance at Home Depot for $1.80 each, and bought six. They were s bit droopy and I think thats why they were reduced, but perked right up with a good watering. I will use the lavender in tea. My favorite this week was getting two boysenberry plants from Baker Creek seed that will give us more fruit. It is a vine, and once trellised should stretch out and expand nicely. While at a doctor’s appointment, came across a fundraiser selling very nice freezable ice packs with a velcro belt designed for the lower back, for $5.00. I bought one for my husband as part of his birthday gifts, which he can really use.

  10. Hubby purchased a $17 pork loin and I divided it into 7 meals.

    Kept hubby’s birthday kind of lowkey…celebrated by getting cupcakes from his favorite bakery and I made spaghetti for dinner (everything on hand).

    Since my son worked on his birthday, he paid for dinner Saturday night. We all had leftovers for Sunday night.

    We were going to see Jurassic Park at the theater, but we stayed home and watched the new Dr. Strange movie on Disney plus instead.

    The teen made sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and pancakes last week.

    I dehydrated 2 lbs of mushrooms. I need to do one more pound this week.

    I discovered since I stopped putting sugar in it, Im drinking less tea. A gallon lasts me 2 days instead of 1. (Don’t worry, I drink tons of water)

    I’m thankful the teen has decent health insurance…I have no out of pocket on her MRI, anti inflammatory meds, or her upcoming second round of physical therapy (wish I could say the same thing about mine)

    I thought the heat killed my oregano. I removed the dead pieces and discovered today there’s a couple healthy parts.

    Our book club meeting was right next to a Panera so I walked over and got a free drink and a free pastry for a snack. I love that we are all like minded on saving money and try to find books that are included in our Prime Reading

    I’m finally off work for the next 6 weeks so I plan to watch stuff on the DVR so we can get rid of our satellite.

    1. I read all these from the library but I think most of them are free on Kindle right now or through Audible!

  11. Someone use my referral code to buy gas on get upside which gave me an extra $.15 off per gallon. That made a total of .21 off per gallon. The code is Jessica338779 if you want to use it. It gets you and me an additional .15 off per gallon. The rewards made my gas $4.58/gal.

    The person ahead of me at the self check out at Walmart left their receipt in the printer. I took it and scanned it on Fetch Rewards. They had purchased a product that got me 500 points.

    I needed cash this week, so I used the ATM associated with our bank. This saved me on the fees.

    I got five plastic trays like they used to deliver bread to supermarkets for free. I plan to use them to store mason jars. Most of my jars have been gifted to me or were purchased secondhand, so I don’t have a lot of the boxes they came in. This makes the storage kind of haphazard. It makes me crazy, but I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money organizing them. I hope this solution works well.

    I got a free ice cream sandwich at work as an employee appreciation gift.

    We were able to get two more meals than I expected out of one of the meals I planned this week. That means I didn’t use the ingredients needed for another meal.

    I tried two new recipes this week that we’re both very frugal. They both used meat we already had in the freezer. Because of this, I was able to keep my grocery trip under budget this week.

    I substituted chicken thighs for chicken breasts in one of my recipes. I found the chicken thighs on sale for about $1.25 a pound cheaper than the chicken breasts.

    My in laws got a free sample of peppermint soap with a product they purchased. They didn’t want the soap (my father in law is very sensitive to fragrance), so they gave it to us. I typically try to use fragrance free also, but I won’t pass up a free bar of soap!

    Despite my best effort, I was not able to keep gas within the budget this month. I will use credit card cash back to make up the difference.

  12. I participate in a program through my electric company called “OhmHour.” Every week they choose an hour when I used a lot of electricity the previous week and challenge me to use less. However many watts less I use, I get back as points to buy gift cards and other things. So, this gives me “money” back and saves me money during peak usage.

    I went to a free Netflix comedy special taping for the tv personality Hasan Minjah. That made for a fun, free date night.

    I used Salon Apprentice to find a place to get my hair colored for free. It was a place I’ve been to before, so I knew they’d do a good job. I enjoyed free snacks, soda, and coffee while I was there and received full-sized, high-end shampoo and conditioner as a thank you for coming.

    I found a few Metrocards in the subway station that had a bit of money on them, so I saved about $8 in transit fare.

    My bff’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been cutting the Ken-Ken puzzles out of the free daily NYMetro Newspaper and gluing them into a small journal. I gave her the same gift last year and she loved it.

    I’m on public health insurance and I am so, so thankful that my prescriptions are 100% covered. Plus, Capsule delivers for free. The insurance also covers free PCR covid tests, and the library offers free take home tests. Also since I have this insurance, I get my cell phone service free and half price Amazon Prime.

    I received a gorgeous pink Calvin Klien tshirt free at the parade as part of a promo they were doing. In the mail, I received free for influencer work: a pole grabber, a grow light, suede loafers, full size Kiehl’s night cream, and a three tiered shower pole shelf. Free stoop finds were gift bags, a lighter, a blouse, a carabiner, and flower pots.

    On recommendation from another commenter, I read Forest Of Vanishing Stars and am currently loving The Kitchen Front (free from the library).

    Question: Has anyone ever had success asking a butcher for a free bone? I don’t have a grocery store I’m loyal to, nor a butcher I have rapport with, but I’m wondering if I simply went up to one at random, if they’d give me something free. I would use it to make stock.

    1. I think it will depend on the butcher. I had good luck with getting a butcher to slice things for me at one location but the other places all said no.

      This reminds me that I know the butcher at one local store. He used to be the produce manager and then moved to be the butcher. He always says hello when he sees me and asks about my family.

    2. There is a meat market, near me, that packages and sells meat bones. This is in middle Tennessee.

    3. It doesn’t hurt to ask. The worst he can say is “no”. Our store sells them, as Penny S. commented. Since covid the price has gone sky-high!

  13. Worked three days and brought lunch all three days.
    Planted a second panting of snow peas and pole beans. Our corn did not come up – three plants out of over 100 sown. We had terribly cold and rainy weather, and the seeds just rotted. I still have plenty of corn in the freezer from lost year, so should be ok. We replanted some, but it may be too late – depending on if we get an early frost. Replanted the bare spots where the dry beans did not grow properly. I just buy dry beans in bulk from Winco and plant them. It has worked for pinto, black and white beans. Our potatoes look great. We hilled the plants in order to have a larger harvest. Weeded the garlic and onions in the raised bed. Had to replant some of the carrots. It is just a weird garden year. We are hoping to get an adequate amount of produce from the gardens.
    We got two new pillows as a gift. I used the bag they came in for a garbage bag.
    I dried 4 trays of chives.
    We are finally having warm weather. I washed our comforter plus a couple of throw blankets and dried them on the line.
    I bought a chicken at Costco, then used the chicken for chicken quesadillas for dinner one night, and a double batch of chicken enchiladas. This will be enough for about 5 meals for the two of us.
    I also purchased 4 pounds of strawberries for 99¢ a pound, 4 pounds of sour cream for $1.27 per pound, 2 half gallons of milk for 99¢ each and 6 orange bell peppers at 3/$1.00.
    I used the frame from the chicken to make broth, utilizing lovage and chives from the garden. Will make chicken tortilla soup with the broth at the request of DH.
    My son came in for the weekend – he and his friends were playing Hoopfest in Spokane. We went downtown to watch a game. Luckily I have free monthly parking provided by my job. Otherwise parking would have been $30. Saw several people we know, so it was a fun couple of hours. The weather was nice and warm.
    Hope everyone has a great week.

  14. I’ve been reading “Forever Shunned: Amish Rebel” by Jonathan Fisher. The author grew up Amish but left when he was an adult. He gives a lot of insight into the culture.

  15. I’m always so excited to see this post go up every week, Brandy! Thanks so much for all of your work on this. I means so much to me, and a lot of others too. * Thank you to whomever recommended the Darling Dahlias books!! I’m just finishing the first one and absolutely love it. I put the next couple on hold and am looking forward to reading the whole series! I so appreciate all the recommendations here. I looked up The Actor and the Housewife, but it’s only available as an ebook at my library. Maybe someday!* I’ve been successful at keeping the grocery budget down, simply by buying less. It sad to see how little the budget buys, but I’m grateful we can still get the things we need. Fewer “treats” is better for our health anyway. Trying to look on the bright side! * I’ve been using my crockpot and instant pot frequently to avoid heating up the house. * We had company for dinner and I chose to serve burrito bowls. It worked really well. I made a big pot of rice and then put out bits and pieces I had, including a few leaves of lettuce from my very small garden, about a cup of leftover chicken from the freezer that I cut up small, a can of black beans, then some cheese and salsa. It fed six of us very frugally and everyone was happy! Oh! I wanted to mention I learned a new way of cooking corn on the cob that worked great. In the instant pot but a cup of water, add the tray then put the corn on the cob in. If you have a lot you can layer them, just crisscross the layers. Then put the lid on with the vent closed for 2 minutes. (ONLY 2 MINUTES). The trick is when it is done, use a wooden spoon and vent it immediately to relieve the pressure. It was perfect! And so much simpler and economical than boiling in a big pot of water.* I’m going to seriously start thinking of Christmas gifts. It always takes me a bit to work out my list, so I thought I’d better start. * Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I read e-books on my phone using the Libby app. Perhaps you can do the same!

  16. The first thing I do now when reading this blog is to open my Public Library account so that I can note or place a hold on many of the book recommendations!

    Sorry about the housing market slowing down in your area – apparently it is slowing a bit here as well – but it’s hard to see where as places seem to get snapped up in no time! Construction continues apace – in fact here is a recent quote: In Q1 2022, Toronto had 252 cranes working on construction projects, far outdistancing the second-place city in the crane index, Los Angeles, which had 51. Seattle was next with 37, Calgary had 31 and Washington, D.C. had 26. Toronto has led in crane count every year since 2015.Apr 22, 2022 – the skyline is full of them. I do know that other countries are saying that unemployment is rising but just last week they announced that there are over 1 million job openings in Canada that need to be filled now and there are tv ads all the time to get people to go in to the trades – and many of them are aimed at women!

    Weekly groceries have continued to be minimal – milk, some brioche buns, cream cheese and some fruit so I have added more supplies to my long term pantry. Caned corned beef was on sale, tuna on sale again, canned veg and beans still at a reasonable price so I have added more of those. This morning I picked up some more condiments, 2 boxes of crispbreads, canned pumpkin puree and another box of my expensive teabags. What I am doing now is making a mug of tea – save the teabag – do this twice – and then make a third cup with those leftover bags – at least it is helping a bit and with it being so hot and humid I’m drinking less tea and more water anyway. As others have mentioned, I mostly shop the loss leaders and in-store sales rather than looking for something specific. Having that separate envelope for the pantry purchases means that I can take advantage without cutting into the regular grocery fund (which I’m still trying to keep to about half the normal spend) and doing fairly well at it.

    No other purchases this past week – I am considering both a battery operated fan and a one burner butane stove as I think these would be wise items to have on hand. We haven’t heard of any rolling power outages – but – Summer storms can hit at any time and I’d like to be a bit more prepared.

    My one social gathering last week was to meet two friends from church and to go and see the Elvis Movie – one of those friends treated and what a treat it was! What an amazing movie – the best I’ve seen in years! Austen Butler deserves the Oscar and Tom Hanks’ performance is like nothing you’ve ever seen him in before – I highly recommend it! We went for a coffee and a snack afterwards so it was a lovely afternoon. I was supposed to meet two other friends for a drink and supper at a pub that evening but there was an “incident” on the subway which shut the one line down for nearly 45 minutes and I had to walk over two stations to finally get a train home so had to pass on the pub – money saved!

    Finally managed to get 4 loads of laundry done (the laundry room has been very busy lately) and only put two through dryer – but I managed to split the loads that needed dried over a half hour each so only really paid for one load – the rest were hung up to dry in the bathroom. That dryer rack I bought at BB&Beyond years ago has paid for itself many, many times over!

    It has been very hot and sticky over the past few days – well over 30F with a heat warning in effect for the city but a bit of a storm broke that last night and today it is barley 20C with a wonderful breeze so I have all the windows open to air out the place. It will be just a wee bit warmer tomorrow before temps start to climb again by Friday. I can stand the 30C+ if we get a break now and again but the humidity just saps my energy. I try to take advantage of days like today to catch up on housework – like changing sheets and getting out for a walk in between work from home hours on the computer. Meals this week will either be salads with vegetarian proteins or meals from the freezer that just need to be heated and some veg prepared – just want to keep it as simple as possible.

    I hope that all you gardeners get a good balance of sunshine and rain this week and that everyone continues to prepare – even in some small way – to try and stay one step ahead of rising prices. Take care.

  17. Love the roses! I have never tried growing lemon verbena but I love its scent in soaps and lotions. Last summer I planted some herbs in a container and they’re thriving this year — all grew back big and bushy. The problem is, I can’t remember what they are!
    Last week my in-laws left on Sunday (after a 2 1/2 week stay) and my whole family went our separate ways. My daughter left for Europe, my husband and son went to Cincinnati to enjoy a Reds game and some other activities, and I went to Florida for a girlfriend trip. I was ready to get away for a little while after having company for so long. Not especially frugal, but I saved where I could! I got the guys tickets for Reds game via Sam’s Club and saved over $100 vs. buying them direct. My husband just raved about the seats, and he couldn’t believe we could get them through Sam’s. For my own trip, I flew a budget airline and showed my CC both times to get a free drink on board. I Ubered to get to/from the airport to the resort instead of renting a car. During the trip, we walked almost everywhere, taking Uber to a restaurant only one time. We stopped at a CVS near the resort to buy some snacks and soda to avoid buying from the overpriced resort gift shop. One of the girls brought personalized refillable cold cups for each of us, so that we could use those on the beach. We filled with free ice from the resort and got free water at the pool bar.
    When the boys and I got back (my daughter is still on her trip) we ate from the freezer and pantry; my husband unearthed some steaks and made rice to go with it. He always makes the steak with teriyaki sauce, it’s delicious! My garden was glad to see me come home. I harvested garlic bulbs and several squash — zucchini, pattypan, yellow, and round. My son is excited for me to bake the first batch of zucchini muffins. There were lots of ground cherries waiting for me, too. This is my first year growing them. I want to be able to make jam, but I’m not sure I’ll have enough to make it…they don’t seem to make it into the house! I plan to make fried cabbage and bacon tomorrow from the cabbage left in the raised beds.
    Thanks to everyone who posts your weekly meals. I have been trying some of your ideas to mix things up a bit. We’ve been in a mealtime rut.

    1. Email me a picture and I will identify your herbs for you.

      brandy @ the prudent (remove spaces; I’m trying to avoid spam).

    2. See if you can get the Google App to access Google Lens, which lets you point at the item and tap the screen, and it will identify it for you. I’ve had good luck with it on identifying plants and bugs. My husband’s former caregiver told me about it.

  18. We went to a library yesterday and I got The Secret Life of Bees. I read it until the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t want to put it down. I got some more of her books to read. We went to a goodwill where we thought the prices were too high. So, I didn’t get anything. We went to another thrift shop where I bought a couple items for a total of 3 dollars. We got a few raspberries and a blackberry. My husband weeded around the kale. I hope to use some this week. Planning meals ahead of time so we will eat at home and not be tempted to go out. We are also eating from the pantry and garden for the most part. My husband wants to get more things done around the house so I hope to get some deep cleaning done while he works on projects. Not going anywhere will save money on gas. We continue to turn off lights when not in use. We turn the air conditioner to as high as bearable for our family. I wash full loads of laundry and dishes.

    1. My computer has died. So I am going to probably save for a new one. We need tires first. I am definitely eating at home as this will enable us to save. I like your idea of borrowing online. I think I will do that as well. I hope to save quickly as I was hoping to write and send things off. I will be looking for sales on both tires as well as a computer. Not sure how long it will take to save.

      1. Oops I meant borrow books online. I don’t even want to use a credit card for anything so if I want to buy something I will save for it.

      2. If it’s an Apple computer, get an appointment with the Apple repair person. I’m about to take my Mac in for a new battery and keyboard for only $250. It would have cost $750 at an ordinary computer. Even if you don’t have an Apple computer, maybe this info will help someone else.

    2. Hi Tammy! I read that book a few years ago and loved it. As soon I finished reading that book, I immediately researched for other books from this author. That was several years ago, and at that time I did read everything she wrote. Funny, just a couple of weeks ago I thought about the this author, and noted on my list of books read.
      Thank you for reminding me!

    3. Tammy, if you don’t care if the tires are branded (brand name showing) you may get some good tires at a local tire place owned by local people that could be one half or less than the brand name. We used a certain brand on my car for years until all the sudden the tires didn’t last and they were reporting problems with them on the news. I needed tires and went to a local place and showed him the tread design on the tires I had, and he had some unbranded ones that he said he used on his vehicles. The price for all four were less than what we had been paying for two. I sent a picture to my husband and he said to get them. Those tires lasted better than the other ones did when they had a good reputation. I had done the owner a favor by recommending an out of town doctor that I took my son to and saved him from having surgery. Every day kindness and local business relationships can work in many ways for the benefit of all.

      1. Linda, thanks for the recommendation! I appreciate it. I read your comment to my husband. It is looking like we need tires on my husband’s truck as well as my car.

    4. Read that books a number of years ago and loved it! I really enjoyed the movie as well. You might look for it at the library if you haven’t seen it yet. Good luck with your computer troubles! Always so frustrating. 😕

  19. First, I must thank those of you, Brandy and a number of others, who shared your thoughts and ideas when I asked. The bride and groom were grateful and incorporated a number of them! Thank you all, so very much!

    “Our” wedding came off beautifully. All the stress of the days leading up to it coalesced into an absolutely magical, enchanted moment. When my niece came floating up the garden path to the strains of “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” on the cello, and when her new husband took her hand with so much love in his eyes, all the work was worth it.

    One of the most budget-friendly decisions they made was to have a dry reception. This saved both money and aggravation, and as the property owner, I appreciated it! So did my homeowners insurance rep.

    Speaking of which, I do have some advice for anyone hosting an event of this nature: check with your homeowners insurance to be sure you’re covered. It was suggested to me and I did so – I was covered but they also offered an extremely inexpensive one-time “event” package that covered any injuries to guests, damage to property, and so forth. I had a delightful conversation with the representative, who said she had to ask me several questions. The first was, “Will there be animals?” I said the dogs were going to Grandma’s house, and she said not household pets, she meant horses, llamas, peacocks, doves, etc. I’d never thought of such a thing! She then asked if firearms, fireworks, or other explosives would be involved and I said there’d better not be! Then she asked if there would be “entertainment equipment”, and I had to ask what that even meant! It meant bouncy houses, inflatable movie screens, mechanical bulls, etc. By the time the conversation was over we were both laughing. I reported this to the bride and groom and the groom said, “Well…we were going to have her ride up the aisle on a llama firing her six-shooter – does this mean we can’t do that now?”

    They were very budget-conscious and were able to stay fairly true to that with the help of family and friends. My sister-in-law (the bride’s other aunt) did all the table arrangements as her gift (they were gorgeous: mason jars with twinkling fairy lights (solar) and silk flowers on the lids). I provided the venue of course, and vases, crystal, silver, table linens (many that I already had, several in the wedding colors that I found at thrift stores – such great deals – less than $20 total!). I froze large blocks of ice w/ sprigs of mint (from the garden) and kept my large party dispenser full of water with mint and lemon slices (also from the orchard).

    As I said, it all came together, and my heart is still glowing with how lovely it was. Again, thank you Brandy and quite a few fellow readers for your excellent ideas!

    In other frugal news, I harvested dozens of tomatoes, parsley, basil, small sweet limes, lemons, a few apples, and lots of mint. The tomatoes I didn’t eat warm off the vine, I blanched and froze for sauce.

    I continue to catch water from shower warmup and rinsing vegetables/fruit and using it for free flushes or on plants. The few times I actually take a bath, I use that water as well. I couldn’t have done this at my old house, as the primary bath was upstairs, but here in my “new” (two years now) home it’s quite easy, as the primary bed/bath has a sliding door into the back yard. I also continue to catch and use water from the AC unit to water plants, and I think of Brandy and this site every time I do it.

    1. The wedding sounds lovely – so glad it came off so well! And who knew about the homeowner’s insurance!

      1. Margie,

        Thank you – it was truly lovely. And yes, I never would have thought to call my insurance company – it was actually my mother who suggested it. They said that for a small event like this, I would have been fine with what I already had in place, but I felt that for $75, covering the rehearsal, the wedding, and the reception, it was worth purchasing. Happily, it wasn’t needed.

      1. Debby,

        It was really funny. 😀 We went on to envision my sister-in-law, the bride’s mom, on the mechanical bull… 😀 😀

  20. Prayers for this season, I know a bad market is hard on your family. I pray your garden will be prolific.
    ***I cut husband’s hair and our two dogs faces, to find their eyes.
    ***I harvested carrots and potatoes. I had two carrots the diameter of my hand and very large carrots. I chopped and froze them. My potatoes were small, we have had very hot temps and no rain so things are just baking. My tomatoes and squash are very stunted.
    ***I canned 7 pints green beans, and 3 quarts purple hull peas. We got 7 lbs shrimp at the fish market when we went to Florida for my son’s birthday. We also got 15 lbs of Conecuh bacon.
    ***We went to FL for my grandson’s birthday and brought him back for 3 weeks with us. My daughter is an RN and SIL does travel medical work so it saves daycare costs.
    ***I have a big farmhouse sink so I am putting a stock pot in it. I catch all water as it warms up, I rinse items, and scrape dishes during the day and put in the pot. At supper I load to dishwasher and take the water to water plants.
    ***I am still eating a lot of meals I cooled and froze.

  21. Brandy,
    I’ve read your blog for many years. The posts you made about the last housing market crash and how you made it have so greatly influenced me over the years. You are such an inspiration! What an incredible blessing you are to your husband and family! And to all of us that you have shared so much with! I always enjoy reading the nitty gritty of how people make it in rough times so those posts of yours are my favorite. It seems you are so thoughtful to bring beauty to so many areas of your life without spending money or only pennies! You are an inspiration to me! I always enjoy all of your photography!

    1. Renee I was thinking about how I came to this blog and I agree with everything you wrote about, Brandy and the community here has been amazing. I also like reading and learning about how people make it thru trying times
      Brandy’s year and story has never left my mind

      1. I am wondering how much of a repeat it will all be. We had just moved into this house when the market slowed last time in December of 2006. Recession wasn’t declared until 2008, but 2007 is when we started living on our food storage.

        So I am watching and trying to be very careful. The less I spend now, the longer my money will stretch. I know that from before. Teaching it to my teens is a bit more difficult; they were babies before and don’t remember. But the two oldest do and are well prepared; they are very frugal.

        1. Im scared of how much of a repeat another recession could be! We’re in a much better position, but I dont want to go through that again. Im glad Ive had lots of practice!

        2. I was trying to figure out how long I had been reading your posts Brandy. I (think) I remember reading when you were living on your food storage. Did you begin posting in 2007? 08? Later? I remember Ivory’s birth. Is she one of those teens now? I just know that I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog for MANY years and all of the wisdom and inspiration that you and your followers have posted over however many years! Thanks to you and them as I continue to learn new things every week.

            1. Congratulations on your anniversary and longevity! 14 years, and Ivory’s 10! Wow. I think I’ve followed you much of that time as I may have some earlier memories, but specifically remember her birth. It seems like you commented on another blog I was reading, I checked out your blog, and the rest is happy history 🙂

            2. If Ivory is 10, then I am another reader who has been with you that long. My boys would have been a newborn and a 1 year old then and I was using all available nap times to learn how to improve upon my frugal ways now that I had this new and wonderful role in life. Thanks for all the inspiration! I hope keeping up with this blog never becomes too much as I enjoy it so much. I know it is selfish of me to say with all you have going on but, if anyone can do it, you can. 🙂

              1. Thank you Dawn!

                There are changes I want to make that I have not had time to research and change yet on the website, and posts I want to do, but I do all that I can at this time in my life for now and am grateful to be able to do that much.

              2. Compared to you I am a newbie, though I have been following for about three years. Brandy, I second Mountain Mama Dawn’s comments. You are a real blessing to so many and, personally, this blog has gotten me through some hard times. I am so thankful you do everything you do!❤️

    1. Check out my menus under the recipes tag. I will be using those even more now.

  22. Thank you Brandy for sharing your recent reading list-I look forward to reading some of your recommendations. I know from previous posts that your primary family income is through real estate- so sorry to read the market has once again come to a screeching halt. I now understand even better what you have written about several times in the past- how your well planned garden, pantry and freezers are crucial in times of fluctuating income and increasing food prices.

    On the frugal front, I stocked up on oats and beans on sale this week, I was also fortunate to be able to purchase some discounted produce for my immediate family needs on Thursday. My best deal was an amazing 11 lbs of asparagus for $5-plenty for cooking, making soup and freezing. I am exploring some other options to try and find discounted produce a little closer to my home-so that my savings are not offset by the high gas costs to drive and pick up deals! For Canadian readers I know some people are able to buy discounted boxes of produce for $5 on the Flashfood App associated with Superstore, No Frills etc. Have not done it yet but I am expecting it to be a surprise box of surplus produce-given my DH and I like most any fruit and veg and it will only cost $5 I plan to give it a try.

    My other main and current way to save on groceries is by closely studying the food ads on Thursday-my closest store is No Frills which is willing to price match most other local grocery stores-this saves me needing to run between several grocery stores for the best price. For this I am very thankful.

    I continue to be amazed and inspired by how resourceful everyone is about growing and preserving food and stretching each dollar. To Brandy and all readers-thank you for your inspiration! Wishing everyone a good week.

  23. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m sorry to hear the housing market in the US has crashed, it’s very overheated in the UK currently( at least in our area) but we’re expecting it will slow as rising expenses are really biting now.
    We picked broccoli, lettuce, raspberries, carrots and peas and gratefully received rhubarb from a friend. I made two jars of pickled beetroot for the larder and brightened the house with more sweetpeas. Our homegrown produce is enabling us to keep the grocery bill lower.
    I used leftover chicken for a stir fry and padded it out with some leftover kidney beans too.
    I have been looking for another summer dress for some time and found a lovely new dress in the charity shop for £7.00. When I looked the brand up online their dresses retail for £75 plus. The site had a good clearance section so I will keep it in mind for the future. I really like wearing dresses but don’t want to pay over the top prices.
    A daughter helped me research and find an excellent deal for a mobile phone to replace my dinosaur phone which is slowly dying. Apps seem to be the way things are going and I felt I was being left out and not accessing some good deals. We downloaded the Lidl app and I hope to save money with it now as I do the bulk of my grocery shopping there.
    We declined another invitation to a social event with expensive ticket prices.
    We had a daughter’s dog to stay for five days while she went away and she gave us some nice foodie treats from M& S as a thank you.
    The mobile phone made it a more spendy week than usual but I’m satisfied we’ve got good value for our money.
    Stay safe everyone.

  24. I can’t wait for Monday to search for Brandy’s post. I gobble it up, then scroll down to find you! Always keep my notebook ready.

    How did you recommend your friend preserve potatoes? I have a bunch of russets, but heard they weren’t good to can….so I’ve been drying. What do you recommend? (,I also have red and golden.)

    1. Stacy in Texas- Not sure if you are directing the question about preserving potatoes to me, but if so, here’s basically what I told her.

      I am not a big fan of home canned potatoes. Just personal preference. So I told her about either dehydrating or freezing potatoes. The big key I found using either method is, once you peel each potato, to immediately keep it in a sink or bowl of cold or ice water so that it won’t turn brown. With every step, return them to the cold water while waiting for next step. If I want to have shredded potatoes for hash browns, I take my peeled potatoes out of cold water and put into pot of hot water to parboil (let boil for a couple minutes. Then drain and plunge back into cold/icy water. After a couple minutes, I then drain them and either put them on dehydrator trays to start drying or pack into freezer bags. Same idea whichever “shape” you’re wanting to preserve- shreds, cubes, slices.
      Here’s a link for freezer French fries you might like:

      Hope this helps. And if it wasn’t me you were asking, sorry if I butt in ! 🥴🥴

      Gardenpat in Ohio

  25. We took a uhaul load of free furniture to our son and family. It was much appreciated and we got to spend some time with our grandson and help them settle into their rental. I did some baking and took it with us, along with a lot of food for meals. The baking was so appreciated by the men especially, they could grab a piece in between moving furniture. We unplugged everything, including the modem, before we left. We house sat for friends near our kids, so no hotel costs.
    I sewed a crossback apron as a gift for a friend. The fabric was given to me through Buy Nothing.
    We picked the first cucumber from our garden. Salad for dinner tonight. The Lovelock lettuce still has not bolted, even though we’ve had temps in the 90’s and a couple 100’s. The bed does get some shade, but this is certainly the longest I’ve had lettuce last.

  26. Hope everyone is doing ok and hanging in there during these crazy times!
    My frugal accomplishments:
    *took advantage of free hotel breakfast and lunch at college orientation for our daughter; packed snacks for car and hotel
    *redeemed free pizza reward
    *3 more free candy bars when made an Amazon return for my mom at Kohl’s
    *paid an extra $100 towards mortgage principal
    *had brother in law over for birthday gift: the guys all watched Batman and we had nachos made here
    📍Grocery store: only picked up a few things: milk, bread, and 3 packages of bun length Ballpark hotdogs on clearance. I’m really trying to use what we have at home.
    📍Buy Nothing Group: 2 packages of sanitizing wipes, 3 new and beautiful handmade baby afghans
    📍Facebook Marketplace: $5 water fountain for our cats

    Hope everyone has a great week ☺️

  27. I am assuming your husband is still in real estate? I cut my husband’s hair, inventoried the pantry so I could use up more food from home rather than spending more money at the store. Still making my tortillas from scratch. We love to tour Forts and had the opportunity to tour Fort Casper. It’s one of our favorite things to do together. The gift shop had a series of books and I bought the first one to read called the covered wagon women. Enjoying it so far!

    1. Yes; he is still the broker and owner of a real estate company. He’s done this for 20+ years.

  28. Can I g season has begun! Yay!!
    I found strawberries for $0.99/lb this week and bought 32 pounds. I have never seen strawberries priced this low. I put away 17 pints of jam and froze four gallons of whole berries to use later.
    I found two whole chickens marked for $0.21/each! No surprise that I bought both and they are in my freezer. One is nearly 9 lbs and the other is 6 lbs.
    I planted two more rows of corn in the garden along with more sunflowers. We were blessed with rain this week and although it is making a mud pit out of my yard there is nothing like rain water for the garden!
    I harvested yellow squash, peppers, one cucumber, and some
    Tomatoes from the garden so far. We have lots more squash, cucumbers, peppers and zucchini growing so I am excited for the harvest to come. The corn that I planted has germinated and I have some marigold seeds that I saved from spent blooms to plant along the back wall of our garden.
    I used the last of the fresh strawberries to make two loaves of strawberry bread that my family is devouring.
    I have been making lots of crockpot meals lately to avoid beating the house as much as we can. We have enjoyed chicken and gravy, enchiladas, cube steak, rice, beans, salads, and several veggies. I am not making too many soups these days as the heat is high but we are stretching all meals and eating all leftovers.
    I used a merchandise credit for
    Target to purchase a birthday gift for my Son to give at birthday party.
    My aunt has decide that she wants to give her dining room furniture that she no longer uses to her great aunt. We researched shipping costs and quickly determined that was not In The budget. Instead we will install a hitch on our vehicle, rent a covered trailer and drive the furniture there ourselves. Even with high gas prices we will come out far ahead and have a few days to enjoy a road trip together. The hitch will be useful in the future so that we will have the option to rent a trailer to haul a tiller, soil or other items we purchase for the yard/garden.
    I continue to look for sales to stock our freezer and pantry as we are using them. Laundry loads are combined. Shades are drawn. Water from my canned is cooled and used to water potted plants. I purchased basic fertilizer to use on the garden as well as worm castings on sale.
    We are working hard but so enjoying our garden and home.
    Blessings to all!

    1. Angie, several years ago, we paid to have a pair of chairs shipped from California to Kansas. It was $500. I thought that was crazy high, but still cheaper than driving. They had belonged to my husband’s great grandma and he always loved them. They’ve been reupholstered countless times and the upholsterer always says the same thing. “Never give these beauties up. They sure don’t make em like this anymore!”. I was thrilled to see that the most recent upholstery was a great match to our decor.

    2. Angie, if you have a Tractor Supply Company store near you consider becoming a member. It’s free and one of the quarterly rewards is free trailer rental for a half or full day.

  29. Flew 2000 miles one way from Atlanta (which is a four hour drive from my house) to my daughter’s house out West and it is a 4000 miles round trip journey. The round trip plane ticket was nearly three times what I have been paying at $714 now. Still, I wanted to see grandchild and daughter is expecting another child, so I wanted to check on her. I bought daughter an $8 membership at Sam’s and groceries, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. for her birthday present and she was thrilled. I am a practical mom… lol. I cooked for daughter, her husband, and child while there, after I recovered from the shock of the grocery prices. Gas was over $5 there!!! Gas was $4.31 in college town here in the Deep South and $4.69 two hours south of college town when I got back from my trip. Gas was $4,39 on interstate in Georgia coming back from the Atlanta airport. I walked every day in my daughter’s neighborhood and just enjoyed their back deck. Other than grocery shopping for daughter’s family, I did not leave her neighborhood until time to catch my flight home. When I got back to home state, I picked up my dog from my youngest son, who was dog sitting for me and I spent the night at his house. He made me soup and grilled cheese and it was very appreciated after a long hard flight and drive. I drove to college town the next day, and went to SAMS there, on my $8 membership I purchased for me, and I cooked for middle son hamburger rice with onions and cheese with groceries I bought at SAMS. I already had hamburger and rice but I bought Vidalia onions and tomatoes from there, as well as paper towels, cheese, Gatorade, dog food, bread, mayonnaise, spinach, bananas, eggs, ice cream bars, and sandwich meat. I boiled eggs when I got home and made sliced egg and tomato sandwich with mayo. I made a sandwich for lunch at work with the turkey breast luncheon meat I got from SAM’S. I still am a bit jet lagged. So I visited two SAMS in two different states and that was actually fun! Prices are high everywhere I have found. They were a little bit higher out West tho.

    1. I think you have some of the lowest prices for gas and food of all my readers. Gas is almost $6 here.

      1. I don’t remember if I told you or not, but in early 2012 I bought my 912 sq ft “work house” for $25,000 (built in 1950, and it had the kitchen cabinets stolen out of it) during the Recession. It was in a very small town with no amenities and kind of a high crime rate. It was convenient for work. I had lost my previous job (same job I am doing now) in 2011 during the Recession, funds were cut, and I moved several hours south and found a comparable job. I purchased, last year, what will be a retirement house in college town, and it was more than three times the cost of the work house and it is only 720 sq ft., also built in 1950. But it is within a mile of a hospital, Aldi, Target, doctors, etc., so I suppose it will be good for me as I age. I can also pay for a hotel close by for the kids when they come visit. I figured that was cheaper than paying for a bigger house. Not sure if that was a smart thing to do, but I felt like I needed to be close to a hospital when older. I have seriously thought about moving to Mexico, but although I think I could get much cheaper medical and dental care there, I wanted to be closer to family as I age. Everything is a compromise in life I suppose. The housing costs here have tripled (well, at the moment) from what they were in 2012. I worry about job loss for folks. That was a big issue during the Great Recession, at least that caused me to have to move.

        1. I wanted to comment on your purchase of a smaller house with the idea of putting your occasional visitors up in a hotel. I think you are very smart. I’m often amazed at people who must have certain amenities in a newer choice of house, like a large dining room, because they do a once a year family feast. Years ago we had a fairly large dining room (and filled it on holidays), but now we live in 1100 square feet with no dining room at all.

          We still invited everyone we wanted on Thanksgiving and just stacked extra tables (borrowed from other rooms) onto the end of our dining table. It curved through the small living room. Believe me, people are so thrilled to get a dining invitation these days that they probably wouldn’t mind having to eat in a bedroom.

          1. We have had out-of-town houseguests for about 4 weeks so far this summer. Part of it is because we have a bigger house now. When we had a smaller house, family did not come to stay as often. I told my husband that I was ready to put out the No Vacancy sign (only half kidding). It has been a major expense for us this summer. I forewarned hubby that if his family descends upon our home for extended periods during my summer vacation again next year, I’m going out of town!

            1. Dianna, I am with you on this ! We live in a beautiful part of the UK, a holiday destination for many people. My husband’s extended family and our friends come to stay and we love to host them but this year it’s piled up and I feel I’m running an AirBnB, one lot of linen in the wash and the next lot on the bed. I jokingly told my husband I’ll be relieved when the holiday season is over……. and there was a grain of truth in there!

          2. I agree! My momma used to do the same thing when all of her brothers, her sister, and families came to our house! I have a large folding table (I do have a basement in the 720 sq ft house, so I have plenty of storage room for food storage and other stuff as well as a tornado shelter) for when I have too many family members to sit at my four seat kitchen table. I have plenty of chairs, so I just will get the folding table out of the basement and put it in the living room, also, I am getting a few trays so folks can just sit on the beds in the two bedrooms and eat. We are very casual and a thrifty bunch anyway, and nobody cares in my family. So, we will be eating off of good china (it was my mom’s and I use one of her china sets every day), on a folding table and chairs. a total mix of formal and casual but actually, just because I am thrifty and not gonna waste good china….lol. I have a large partially fenced back yard so kids can play back there. I also don’t have a tv or computer at the house so everyone will have to talk to each other if they are not staring at their phones….lol I have intentionally kept the living room empty of most furniture except for a couch, coffee table, and end tables (which also could be used for folks to eat off of) so that I could put a folding table up in the there if needed during the holidays. I also have a couple of my mom’s old table clothes to use and will just put one over one half of table the other one over the other half. I actually can put some up for the night because I have a sleeper sofa and one extra bedroom (two bedroom house) and some others can spend the night with other relatives within a 20 mile radius if they don’t want to do the hotel thing. My only “accommodation” to modern conveniences is that I will use paper towels when it is that many folks. I also don’t have a dishwasher and that is ok. I will wash the dishes after everyone goes to bed, wherever, for the night! Works for me! As children we couldn’t watch the TV anyway and had to play with each other. My uncles would be watching a football game and we had to go outside or go play a game.

            1. It is usually warm enough here that if the Thanksgiving meal is at lunchtime, everyone can eat outside.

              1. Yes, this! We’re in Arizona, and our Thanksgiving tradition for many years was to gather on the patio. It’s 40 feet long, and fully covered, and our weather is practically perfect in November. Before everyone grew up (or grew old), Thanksgiving at our house numbered 30-plus people, and we never broke the bank to make things happen. Out-of-towners traveled with air mattresses, and my kids and their kids simply slept in big puppy piles. Now, since my husband is progressing through Alzheimer’s Disease and can’t tolerate the stimulation, Thanksgiving has to be elsewhere. My daughter is taking the reins on this and has her own style (as it should be), but it’s still OUTSIDE! We have so many good memories of our family gatherings. Thanks to you and your commenters for reminding me of those lovely, busy days. 🙂

  30. We have just returned from a five-week camping vacation to Canada and five western US states. It was an expensive trip, given the price of gas, but we had a wonderful time. We cooked and ate all our meals at camp to keep costs down and used our Golden Age Passport to camp at Forest Service and BLM campgrounds for half price when possible in the US. We were able to camp 11 nights at free sites. While we were away we had friends staying in our home to take care of it and our garden. They get a free vacation in an area they love, and they don’t charge us anything, so it’s a good trade-off all around. They left us a cooked meal and some miscellaneous groceries – partial bags of frozen veggies and fruit and some won tons, an almost full package of brown sugar, a box of Bisquick, a bell pepper, cucumber and zucchini and some celery, an unopened bottle of flavored seltzer and three bottles of beer, plus two unopened bars of soap and a large package of toilet paper and a little maple syrup. Without my dogs here to patrol, something got into the garden and ate my green beans, so I replanted them and three squash lost to a late frost. I harvested lettuce, arugula, 20 large carrots, a beautiful cabbage, and a bunch of rhubarb. I also collected mint, oregano, and thyme and hung them to dry.

    1. Thank you so very much for the coupon for free summer treats.
      That was nice of you to take the time to share with us.
      Greatly Appreciated!!

      1. Kim, you are welcome. I hope everyone is able to get some. Times are tough, so we have to stick together and help each other out. They let me do 4 coupons per transaction. I went with a friend and we each got 4 boxes.

    2. Thank you Marybeth! I used the coupon at Jewel and got the strawberry cream ones…they are delicious, but $4.99 for four pops ($3.99 on sale)! Will use a few more coupons to try other flavors.

  31. Those flowers – just gorgeous!
    *My husband wins the frugal award again this week. The map DVD for our Highlander’s navigation system got stuck halfway ejected somehow which made the CD player inoperable. We listen to a lot of audiobooks on CD while driving so really wanted this to get resolved (not to mention one of the library’s collections was in the CD player.) My husband did what he does so well – researched on-line some possible solutions and the 3rd or 4th one (unhooking the battery) worked and we could at least get the navigation DVD out. It was damaged. He found one on the secondary market for $13 shipped (the dealer’s price….$300!) We popped it in and everything was back to normal.
    *Along the same lines of not-exciting-but-necessary frugal adventures was my foray into the world of Verizon in an attempt to lower my mobile phone bill. My husband’s phone is provided through his employer and I have always had the lowest plan anyone has as I just don’t use it that much. I got an email saying that my plan was going to increase by $6/month. So, following my frugal instincts, I called them up and attempted to change my plan to save money. I changed plans and felt very happy to have reduced an on-going bill. Then, I got this weird feeling that the plan I had just chosen may not be sufficient in very very mountainous, rural area because of the tower coverage. I was right and my phone was barely working. After more hours than I care to remember, I got things changed to a plan that works for me (turns out my former plan had expired and that was the real reason for the increase in price – they were moving me to the now-lowest priced plan, they just didn’t word it that way.) All is now well, though I wish I had those hours of my life back. 🙂 However, it was a good reminder that I have truly exhausted all the mobile phone options in my area and am on the most frugal plan available. I may pay more for my mobile phone than I might if I lived in a city but it is certainly a price I am willing to pay to live the only place I can imagine living and I just economize elsewhere. One less thing I have to think about. 🙂
    *My husband had purchased some blueberry starts for me for Mother’s Day that failed to grow. I returned them for a full refund.
    *We continue to eat from the garden, hen house, freezer and pantry. Only grocery purchases were a few useful things on a B1G1 free sale and one 99 cents/lb. whole chicken (limit was 1.)
    *Sold eggs. My youngest son does much of the work and gets half of the sales. He then saves half of what he makes. My oldest son does mowing work for a neighbor and also saves half of what he makes. Actually, both of them rarely spend any money but they like having some in their wallets just in case. 🙂
    *I had a few borage plants pop up in the garden path and replanted them in the beds. Love free plants!
    *I refurbished some more bee equipment saving about $50 versus replacing it with new. The bees are doing well and working with them is one of my many joys especially when my apprentice (son) helps me. While I have kept bees for 11 years, there is always something to learn. I have recently discovered 2 excellent beekeeping channels on YouTube and have fine-tuned some practices I have had uncertainty about in the past. I became discouraged with YT for a while as it became difficult for me to discern the quality channels from the junk and I don’t have a lot of time to watch anything anyway. But, when good channels can be found, the amount of free education available is amazing.
    *Mended clothes – a constant thing around here but allows me time to multi-task and watch some of the afore-mentioned beekeeping channels. Learn while you work! 🙂
    *Had a moment to walk into a thrift store today while in town (which I had not done in a few months) and walked out with nothing. I have always shopped almost exclusively at thrift shops but it is nice to sometimes realize you have all you need and it is not a wasted trip to come out empty handed. My wallet remained full!
    *We finished up the bridge my husband made across one of our creeks in the woods. He added bumpers to the sides to make riding dirt bikes across it safer and we added stone from our creeks to the bases for more support. It looks beautiful and was made entirely with materials on hand. My kind of project. He has offered to make another one across the creek in what I call my Secret Garden to join that path with another beyond our pond. I love having those kind of invitations to wander though I don’t need much encouragement. One of my favorite John Muir quotes is, “Those who wander are not lost.” 🙂
    *On the reading front (thank you, library!), I read “The Enchanted Barn” by Grace Livingston Hill. It was written in 1917 and follows the story of a family who have fallen on hard times after the death of the father and end up renting a barn in the country to live in for the summer. It is a delightful story and right up my alley. It appears Ms. Hill was a prolific writer as there were some 40 or so stories listed by her in the front. I will have to look up some others. I am now reading “A Country Calendar: and Other Wiritngs” by Flora Thompson (of lark Rise to Candleford fame.) It includes much biographical information on the author at the beginning which I very much enjoyed. I have read the entry for June and it is uncanny how she describes many things I experience every day even though she is writing reminiscences of 19th century England. I plan to keep it handy and read each month’s entry as it comes. I will also start another of her books “The Peverel Papers” which includes entries she made into a literary magazine she orchestrated during her time in the postal service during WWI. Fascinating stuff! I did purchase used copies of these last two books as my library system did not have them. They cost less than $10 each and I will keep them always so a worthy investment in my enjoyment and contentment.
    *Many thanks to all who contribute to this lovely space. Wishing you all a wonderful week!

  32. I wondered about how the real estate market in Las Vegas was doing. Here in BC (usually a “hot” market) both my stepmother and my niece put their homes up for sale, and in a month they have each decreased prices three times! In Canada a buyer must not only qualify for a mortgage in the usual bank-approved manner, but the govt makes you pass a “stress test” too in which you must STILL qualify once 2% is added onto your actual mortgage! This is supposed to decrease bankruptcies in case of an economic downturn. With the interest rising 3/4% in July, I thought that buyers caught in the stress test gap would be rushing to buy while they can, but that isn’t happening. At all.
    I’ve always planned out my main meals in advance with grocery fliers and then shopped. But I changed this to going to the three groceries in my area, picking up markdowns (usually unadvertised), and then figuring out our meals from that. I’m trying to keep my pantry full because I am worried about prices and availability this fall and winter.
    My mom and my grandmother canned two years worth each year, and I find myself doing the same now. As I was stirring up my strawberry jam, I realized I had turned into my long-deceased grandma: I can tell my gel points in jams with “how they feel” as I stir, and I don’t use pectin for jams. The thought made me smile.
    I used my beet and carrot thinnings in salads. I baked all our bread. I hung clothes to dry. I mended and stain-removed. All our meals were home cooked. Car trips were minimized. We are running fans instead of air-conditioning.
    And…I started my Christmas gift pile….

    1. The dropping prices three times thing is what is happening in the U.S. as well. It’s just starting, so lots of people and even real estate agents still think things are hot, like they just were, but the news is reporting otherwise across the country. I’ve read at least a dozen articles on it this past week alone. It’s happening.

      And because we saw it before, we know.

      We downsized our office as we saw it coming (we had to give two months’ notice or we would have done it sooner).

      I am feeling very, very cautious about the situation and I want to spend as little as possible.

      1. Brandy, I’m older than you and this has been the scariest and worst confluence of multiple events I have ever personally gone through. You are so wise to be cautious and careful. Virtual hugs to you!

        1. It’s going to get a lot worse I think. Did you see that NATO has troops in Ukraine? I just overheard it today but if that’s so then the war could get a lot bigger.

    2. I am grocery shopping exactly the same way as you Elle. It is really keeping costs down. I have even been walking to the grocery store near my work on my lunch break 1-2 times a week to look for markdowns on items that are almost at their expiry date.

    3. Elle W, my oldest daughter lives in Kelowna. She has been telling me about prices and housing up there. They put in raised beds and are doing as much as possible to keep their spending low.

  33. I started a batch of rose oil using rose petals from my garden.

    I groomed my dog. A few years ago I purchased a grooming table and good quality clippers. They have paid for themselves many times over.

    I harvested rhubarb and a few strawberries from my garden along with chives and rosemary. I sliced some of the rhubarb and froze it to use in the future.

    One morning I found some wild strawberries that were ripe – a tiny but delicious treat. They were added to that day’s breakfast.

    I picked some wildflowers growing alongside my driveway and brought them inside to enjoy.

    Every week my local grocery store selects some items to clear out. Sometimes it’s something near its best-by date but usually it’s an item that they no longer want to carry, they’ve overtocked, or the packaging has changed. It may be a seasonal item like ice melt or charcoal. The items get marked down 50-75 percent. Even at 50% off, not everything is a bargain, but often I get very good deals and have added to my pantry this way. I never take all of it so that others who need the savings can also benefit. Oddly, I often find the items are still there the following week. This past week I added canned chopped tomatoes, vegetable pasta, coffee, and hot sauce to my pantry. All are items I use.

    I inventoried the OTC medicines I like to have on hand and found we were short on two items. I ordered those and had them delivered so no one will need to run to the store next time they’re needed.

    I kept the house cool by opening the windows at night to let the cool air in and closing the windows in the morning before it started to heat up. I kept the curtains closed until the morning sun had passed.

    After having spent money on bagged compost this spring and being shocked at the cost, I’ve started composting everything I can – food scraps, lawn clippings, shredded paper (no plastic), twigs and branches from pruning, cardboard, coffee grounds, you get the picture. I’m determined not to have to buy compost next year. Mowing the lawn no longer seems so bad knowing those grass clippings are valuable.

    I repaired a garden spray nozzle that came apart.

    A local thrift shop had some brand new devotionals and bible study books mixed in with their used books. I selected six books, all priced at 50 cents each. Some I’ll keep and some I’ll give to other family members. At the same thrift shop I found a wooden drying rack for $3. I had just decided to buy one and there it was, waiting for me.

    1. Glad you found a drying rack so inexpensive. About 20 years ago our gas (think dryer Not car) had gone up extremely high. I came up with an indoor solution for drying our laundry. I bought a tension shower curtain rod and placed it above the tile surround of the shower in the middle above the tub. The tile keeps it from slipping down with the weight of the wet laundry. I just hang shirts on hangers use clothespins for other items that need to be hung up. I have a clothes line in the pack yard, but sometimes we get such high winds it just blows the clothes off the line. This has been a good indoor solution for winter and windy days and is not in the way.

  34. Hi Brandy,
    I found your real estate comments very interesting. Ten days ago, some friends listed their house in our neighborhood. No one is interested at all. Yet for the past two years, houses were selling in one to two days, or at least had viable offers. Our friends house is huge, 4400 sq feet, so the price is high. I had thought that if a price was so high, who would care what the interest rate was, but apparently the high interest rates are having an effect on the entire market. We lived through the downturn in 2006 here in Phoenix, I shudder to think we will go through that again. On the frugal front, I continue to fill out our pantry, bought extra reading glasses, corn starch, coffee beans, and over the counter meds. Eclectic group but as I find spots where we don’t have a backup jar/can, I add a bit each week. Not to be gloomy, but I am feeling like we need to be very prepared. Thank you for your blog, it is indeed a calm spot in a world of chaos these days. For some reason, I think of a photo you posted years ago of one of your sons, maybe he was one or two (Octavius maybe), in a jumper with little airplanes all over it. That memory/photo always makes me smile ;).

  35. Not a frugal week for us – we had terrible hurricane-like storm with trees down and powerlines. We were expected to be without power for 3 days. In 90+ degrees! It lasted 4 days and 4 nights. .. we bought a generator to be able to save fridge and the freezer.
    We helped our elderly neighbor – she was quoted over 4,000 for ONE tree that uprooted and fell over.
    We had 2 trees fall (one was rotted out) and neither hit the house thankfully. My husband has a chainsaw so we were able to take care of it ourselves.
    I made grits for breakfast and used broth instead of water – what a great depth of flavor!
    we made homemade ice cream – peach and raspberry.
    I harvested chives, lettuce, arugula, mint
    I have attempted some homemade mint extract. We shall see in a couple of weeks! It has turned a golden color so far.
    Was able to make an extra debt payment thanks to virtual assistant work .
    I LOVE the book selections that have been made recently! I have quite a few on hold and just finished Maisie Dobbs.
    Bought 2 pink rose bushes for urns so lovely against our yellow front door . Use Menards rebate to pay for them.

    1. Hi Faith…I will be very interested to see how your mint extract works out! I make pure vanilla extract and it is fabulous (and so easy to make)!

  36. After 2.5 years, my mom caught COVID. She had an eye doctor appointment on Wednesday and asked me to take her to the ER right after. She has a long-standing history of asthma and COPD, so we thought she was just having a flare since my family is the only people she sees, and none of us have it, as far as we know. Thankfully they thought she was at the end of it, and she did not require hospitalization. She did have to go back to the doctor today; she was still feeling poorly, and they didn’t call in her prednisone dose pack after the first visit, so this will not be frugal for her, but hoping she starts feeling better soon! She had her 80th birthday yesterday.

    Last Monday, my daughter wanted to take us out to dinner for Father’s Day, but we convinced her that we would rather stay home. We had a delicious dinner for much less and enjoyed visiting with each other.

    My husband found a box of prepaid Visa cards in the garbage. He checked them all, and one was unused! It had a balance of $100 on it! He also brought home 5 really nice kitchen chairs. My daughter is going to take them for additional seating when she has company.

    I combined a sale and multiple coupons to get 6 12-packs of soda and 2 24-packs of water for my son-in-law’s birthday party that my daughter is hosting for less than $25, plus I got over 5000 Fetch points!

    We have gathered a few strawberries from our backyard, and my husband pulled all his green onions. We will probably even get to freeze some. We dug some new potatoes and enjoyed those at a family dinner.

    I have made a list of potential meals so that I am making sure to use up what is in the fridge. My husband persists in shopping, but he finds great deals on clearance including yogurts, meats, and fruit, so I try to make sure it gets used.

    I bought my son and son-in-law their pajama pants for Christmas Eve. I will get them a plain tshirt to go with the pants, and that will be their pajamas, but they will get a lot more use of this than with pajamas. The pants were actually joggers and were on clearance for just $7. I got my daughter’s pajamas months ago for $5.

  37. Hello Brandy, the Lemon Verbena sprigs look gorgeous! This week, I completed a number of sewing projects, made some alterations on 2 dresses, turned 1 yoga pants into leggings, and fixed a pair of denim that I bought for $4.99. My sewing machine already paid for itself ;D. I purchased a new hair-cutting kit as the last one started making rather disconcerting noises and the blade started chopping hair at random.

    I like how graceful your posts are. I have read other frugal/ money-saving blogs but they have a tendency towards doing/ buying more without much/any mindfulness. I really appreciate this blog.

    1. Thank you Farhana!

      I think it’s good to save on deals, but only if we have the money to spend. Otherwise, it’s best to mend and make do.

  38. Another thing I forgot and about accidental frugal win – we bought a bird feeder a few weeks ago at a yard sale and have been really enjoying watching the birds on it. My husband went to Ace Hardware to buy birdseed. It was BOGO. He bought it and other things, and he didn’t look at the receipt until he got home. Both bags rang up as $0! They didn’t want him to bring it back, so we got both bags for nothing!

  39. The housing market situation sounds worrying. The signs here in Germany are the same.
    Last week, I didn’t manage to answer to replies to my comment: Thank you for your kind words, Brandy, and Maxine. Ellie in AR, thank you for the story about the feather beds in your mothers’ family which is like the story of both of my grandmothers. These days I think a lot of them and how they would prepare. When I was a child, their cellars were always well stocked of food, they mended their clothes, sewed, and knitted, made things from scratch, and stayed optimistic.
    I harvested gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries, lettuce, radish, snow peas, and zucchini from the garden. This year, I tested “Gold Rush” zucchini, a new-to-me yellow variety, and I’m amazed about the produce. I pickled and canned most of it.
    My parents celebrated my mom’s birthday at their house which is just a 40-minute drive away. The gifts for my mom were things I already had: Homemade jam, salsa, and a chili plant. Since February, I have cultivated some extra chili plants from seed to have a gift on hand for summer parties and birthdays. The fruits of this special variety change their color from violet to white, yellow, and orange to red, so it looks nice in a colored pot. At my parents, we also met some beloved relatives we haven’t seen for two years because of the pandemic. A few weeks before the day of the party, my son sorted a wave board (similar to a skateboard) of his stuff. I suggested him to bring it to the party, to play with one of the relatives, a seven-year-old boy who is very lively. He did, the relative was very interested in it, and my son taught him how to use it. At the end of the party, my son told him that he could keep the wave board. The little boys’ reaction was so sweet! He could hardly believe it, was all smiles, and gave my son big hugs. My parents gave us leftover meals, so one day less cooking for us.
    Wishing you all a great week.

  40. I love e books from the library, I read over a 100last year I saw a motto on a blog( I am sorry I cannot remember where) which is “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” I think that just about says how we live here.
    I used some coupons when buying my groceries, I also bought some yellow sticker items on meat and some .salads .
    I bought my next winter’s slippers using a 10% off voucher. The sole of my summer shoes have worn through luckily I bought another pair in last years sales. I bought some white socks form Primark, £1 a pair.
    I cooked all meals from scratch using small appliances and the gas hob.I dried all my laundry on the line.
    We have harvested peas ,broad beans ,lettuce , strawberries and potatoes this week and I am going to sow some extra carrots these will overwinter in the ground with a bit of protection. I have thinned the apples so as not to damage the tree.The weather has been dry so I am back to watering the garden.
    We are off to dd1 tomorrow for oldest grandsons birthday. Makes me feel old. The rest of the family will be there so it will be a lovely day.
    Have a god week

    1. That’s a very old saying and it was quite popular on both sides of the pond (and possibly further; Ozzies on the blog could say if it went further) during the Depression and the second World War.

      Primark always sounds so full of good deals!

  41. The car my husband ordered in February is finally arriving this week!(I’ll believe it when I see it!). The blessing of this is that it is a company car, so doesn’t cost us a dime! The money that we would have spent on a car can now stay in savings for whatever comes our way.

    We smoked a large brisket and have had several days of meals from it. Our dogs have eaten the waste mixed with their kibble. Very happy dogs!

    Still continue to harvest squash, cucumbers, peppers, and now the tomatoes are ripening. Noticed that the beans are starting to produce, so I will be busy! Still having to water as rain has been sporadic. Dread seeing the utility bill this month!

    Food prices here are shocking. Deals or just reasonable prices are few. I worry about our children.

    Needing to replace some insulated curtains. Need to start looking. Also, have been frustrated with prices in thrift stores of late. Really high! Wish I had sewing skills. All my girls sew, knit, crochet and tat. I made sure of that!

    Brandy: read this morning that the West was under attack by grasshoppers and “Mormon” crickets(what are these?). We have been overrun with frogs here. Given everything else, sounds like a movie or End Times! 🙆‍♀️

    Must wash the Newfies this week. Akin to washing two vintage Buicks! If you could smell them, you would be cheering me on!

    Blessings to all! Onward, ya’ll, by all means!(Ryan)

    1. They are crickets that converted 😂

      Seriously, though, they are a pest that are akin to locusts in number with the same kind of damage.

      1. Oh how I laughed about your converted comment ;). Well done! Years ago, my husband and I were on our motorcycle driving across the top of Nevada, I think highway 50. And we came to an area of the road that was brownish red and we saw what we thought were crickets…hundreds and then thousands of them on the road surface. Squashed and some not squashed. Yikes! We wanted to keep going but the road was getting covered with them and it was getting hard to maintain good road contact and getting slippery. He told me to stay very quiet and we went, very slowly, over the squashed Mormon crickets. Yikes! We made it past that area, and stopped in the next town to ask what in the world that was ;). Wow, that was an experience. The town folk we talked to said the same as you, they are very destructive. Funny how one of the most fearsome times of my life turned out to be a good memory, since we didn’t end up on the side of the road with squashed crickets 😉

    2. Cheryl, you must have read “At Home in Mitford.” Those books were wonderful. Father Tim’s secretary compared the stray dog to a Buick because of it’s size.

  42. Thank you so much for your frugal accomplishments posts.
    This week my girls and I started talking about ways to reduce our grocery budget as well as other categories in the budget.
    Menu planning is going to be my goal for this week. Also, making sure that I’m using the car as little as possible and when I do use the car, make sure I’m combining errands.
    This week already I cut a daughter’s hair, used food from my pantry to make meals, made bread, and started sewing projects with fabric I already had.
    Cleaning and organizing have kept me in good spirits and I’m finding that I really do enjoy doing projects at home.

  43. My big success this week was realizing I could flip over the pages of our family desk size calendar and use the blank ones as a new calendar!

    I also decided to use scrap yarn to crochet new dish cloths instead of buying some.

    I’m trying to regrow cut romaine lettuce stems in water–two days in and already there’s new growth!

    And after visiting family and using my sister’s hair clippers with an integrated vacuum to suck up the hair and LOVING how easy and clean it was, instead of buying new $60 clippers like hers when I got home I improvised. I grabbed my vacuum attachment and turned it on and used it to suck up the hair as I went. Took a little juggling, but I love the new solution.

    We are unemployed and in a “whatever we don’t spend now will help us be self-reliant a little longer” phase. My creative frugality is being stretched!

    1. Emily, I’ve let my Romaine ends sprout in water a bit and then planted them in the garden. They have done surprisingly well. Mine have generated a center stalk, so not like the typical Romaine head, but I’ve picked the leaves for salads. I’m letting them bloom and go to seed now. Before when I tried regrowing Romaine, I kept the ends in water for a while and they soon rotted. Planting them in soil has been successful. I’ve also got some caulflower growing from an end. I’ve tried celery and unfortunately it did not make it, but I’m going to keep trying. We’ll see if the cauliflower produces any heads as the experiment progresses! Good luck with yours!

      1. Keep trying with the celery! I have had good luck with it when putting the roots just at/above water level — not actually deep in the water. It regrows lots of leaves this way without becoming rotten.

        1. Dianna, I will! So, you just keep your celery end in the shallow water and don’t replant it? I have another end so I’m getting ready to try again. I think someone on this blog mentioned the Aussie YouTuber “Self Sufficient Me”. (Thank you, Brandy, or whoever it was) He did a video on replantings and his celery ends produced stalks along with the leaves. He was also able to get carrot seeds (not carrots) from those ends and I think small cauliflower heads also. I would love to be able to reproduce his results! He also does trench composting as has been discussed here, which I’ve also now begun doing as we have a small composter that is unable to use all of our food scraps at times. Great experiments to try!

          1. I kept it in just water, changing the water every few days when it looked cloudy. I eventually threw it out…I hate celery and rarely cook with it so it was just a nuisance to keep up with. You could definitely replant in soil after it starts to grow well. If you have any liquid plant food you could put that in the water as well. Love SelfSufficientMe! His videos are entertaining as well as educational.

  44. Brandy, thank you so much for all the work you do to post and share each week. Your photos are so lovely too.

    I have always been frugal, but keep learning everyday from all of you for new ideas. I learned a lot from parents who survived the depression living on a farm. Even when I was young and things were going good, my parents still lived very frugal. We even had to bring our paper lunch sacks back home each day, we had to be careful not to rip the bags so we could use them again when we were young.

    Like most of you I save by careful shopping etc. But I hadn’t see this tip, so I thought I’d share my frugal idea. Not that we buy a lot of cold cereal, but we do save the wax paper liners, rinse them out and let them dry. I cut them open so I have a flat piece of wax paper and use it to peel my potatoes on and any other cutting from vegetables or fruit, I then can just empty it into my compost container or use it to take out to compost pile. When canning, I have a 5 gal bucket I put next to the cutting board to put all the skins, seeds of the fruit or vegetables trimmings in. Makes it easier when canning. In a pinch you could substitute it for wax paper to wrap food in.

    1. I keep the cereal bags too. I usually make lots of burgers at one time to freeze. I put a piece in-between them so they don’t stick together. I also use them when we have leftover pizza and I put it in-between the slices in a large Tupperware I have. My mom uses them when she makes homemade shake n bake chicken.

    2. I use washed out cereal bags to repackage large packages of meat into smaller portions to freeze-like I cut up the 10lb bags of chicken quarters into legs and thighs or I slice up logs of ground beef into 1/2 lb portions. I’ll put each “meal sized” portion into a cereal bag and roll it up, then I put all the cereal bags into a gallon ziplock and seal. This way I can take out one meal portion to defrost in the fridge in the cereal bag and just throw it away afterwards, but my more expensive ziplocks can be washed and reused.

    3. We rarely buy cold cereal but, when I do (Typically crisped rice which I use in granola bar recipes), I save and reuse the waxed paper bags, too. Most often, I use them for freezing extra waffles or pancakes I have made. Putting them between layers keeps them from sticking. I remember my mother doing this so I guess it is a tip from way back! 🙂

    4. I will probably win the Slob of the Year award, but I don’t bother to wash cereal bags. At most, there might be a little powdery residue inside…but it’s FOOD and it isn’t going to spoil.

  45. My garden is struggling a bit, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and trying to take good care of it.

    I sprayed with Bt and neem since I had a borer in my squash plants and a cucumber. So far, I’ve seen no further damage and can’t spot eggs at this time.

    A sole is coming off my favorite loafers. I bought them used at least five or six years ago and the lining has since peeled out, so I’m trying to decide if I should replace or attempt to fix them. I’ve used Shoe Goo a few times, but find the soles come loose again before long. If I replace them, I will buy on clearance or buy used.

    I am drying oregano from my herb bed.

    I added more worm castings from my worm bucket to my raised bed.

    The water plant that I bought last year to help cover the surface of our ornamental pond and reduce algae is coming back to life after dying out to a tiny sprig during the winter. As it grows, I drop cuttings of it in the tiers of the fountain to spread there, to help keep algae down on them as well. It saves on having to use fish-safe algaecides.

    I loaned some of my husband’s tools to a son-in-law. He can borrow tools for his house and then he can help me with some repairs around my house. It’s a win-win.

    Instead of replacing my dog’s webbing collar, I scrubbed it well with a brush and soap, put it through a wash cycle and hung it in the sun to dry. It looks 100% better and she was happy to be “dressed” again.

    I continue to pack leftovers for lunch at work every day, dry clothes on a rack or the line most of the time, and reuse and repurpose items.

  46. Living frugally in Portland, OR:

    *We had an extremely wet and cold spring so my garden is really slow this year. But this week I picked raspberries to mix in yogurt and made raspberry milkshakes for the kids. I’ve also gotten a ton of lettuce and kale and peas, which have been great. I absolutely hate buying lettuce at the grocery store right now! I’ve been eating salads with homemade dressing for lunches and we use lettuce on our sandwiches and burgers of course.

    *I’ve made a goal not buy takeout or eat from a restaurant this summer. I am working very part time this summer and have the time to cook good meals, and the cost of restaurant food just eats into our savings goals so much. Instead, I put away a smaller amount for ice cream and made a list of places around town to try. This will help us (or mostly my kids) feel less deprived since they love eating out.

    *My sister texting me and said she had a bag of clothes from her closet for me to look through. I’m so excited because she has great taste and I hate clothes shopping – even when I get good deals. Last week I brought over a bunch of gently used picture books for her kids.

    *We canceled all of our streaming services for the summer, except Hulu (my youngest pays for this because he has his Spotify account connected to it). Summers are beautiful in Portland and not to be wasted inside watching tv.

    *I had many pages of paperwork to print out and I had my local library print it for free. It is a service they provide that I often forget to use. I live less than a mile from my library so I combined it with a walk and opportunity to check out some books.

    *I finally found my local tool library and signed up. I checked out a pole to help me change the lightbulbs in my stairway. So much better than buying it for use once every several years.

  47. Brandy I do appreciate your sharing your information on housing market. I recall the last “This is not a recession” which hit us hard in 2009 and I’ve been watching things this time around and thinking that we shall all be renewing our acquaintance with the hard-core saving methods we might have used in our most difficult financial years. Thank heavens we are aware and are all currently practicing hard. I personally have felt a hard and fast call to slow spending. I’ll stock up on things as we have money and sales that coincide but to run out just because something is on sale, is no longer an excuse for me to go pick things up. I’ve found that my intuition is truly my best guide and my intuition says to curb spending. To that end, I’m doing my very best to use all that I have foodwise and to consider how expensive a meal might be and am choosing a less expensive option, or a more ‘stretchable’ recipe that utilizes food better. I’m also working hard at reducing our electricity usage and considering what I might need to purchase in order to help prevent heat coming into the house in summer, or cold drafts in winter. I’ve identified two things in my home that I think will increase our savings. I have one bedroom, a guest room that I go into only briefly (my pantry is in the closet there) where I’ve not put a new blind. I bought 2inch faux wood plantation blinds for our windows over the course of two years, purchasing them one at a time a I could save for them. Somehow failed to get one in that room and I will start saving immediately to purchase that. The other thing is the need for heavier drapes in our living and dining room. I’ll need three panels for each window but I’ll do as I did last time and buy the recommended curtains from Amazon that Brandy bought. I choose the ‘buy used’ option which are simply returns and they are cheaper that way.
    Last week I had a day out when I spent quite a chunk of change. I went to Tractor supply to pick up mulch for the town house, got a roll of good quality weed mat, vegetable soil etc. Then on to Walmart to pick up a supply of various cleaning products I use. I haven’t purchased many of these items in two years or more and only use a very few things routinely but I stocked up once again on them since I had many outages. I also bought another 25-pound bag of flour there.
    My mother gifted me several produce items from a farmer’s market. I received peaches, squash, ripe and green tomatoes, corn.
    I cleaned out my fridge yesterday. I prepped all the produce in the fridge and made up a big pot of vegetable spaghetti sauce, used a head of broccoli to make both roasted broccoli and an apple and broccoli salad, froze bell peppers, cut other vegetables into pieces for a sausage veggie bake for tonight’s supper. Tonight I’ll use the peaches to make a small cobbler which will please my husband.
    Yesterday my daughter in law brought me five big cucumbers. I put up three jars of fridge dill pickles and one jar of refrigerator bread and butter slices. I cooked two chicken frames and picked over the bones which netted me skin and soft gristle for pet food, 1 1/4 cups meat bits to use in another dish and 3 quarts of broth. I made chicken fried rice using leftover rice.
    My biggest savings was with a diy project I’ll be working on, hopefully this week. We bought new chairs for our living room but kept the old perfectly good ottomans though they don’t match each other nor the new chairs. John had asked if I could cover them and I said I could if I found fabric. I’ve had no luck finding fabric so looked at slipcovers online. Good gravy those things are high! I was hoping for a navy cotton duck. $279 each! For slipcovers for ottomans! As I was moving from one department to another in my Walmart shopping last week I stumbled on the smaller, recently moved fabric section. They had a coarse navy cotton fabric, not cotton duck but fairly heavy. I bought nearly 4 yards at $7 a yard. $27 for two ottoman covers and a savings of $252…Yes! I can sew fairly well and have no issue with making those two slipcovers.
    I sincerely appreciate all of you for sharing your savings and things that you do. I can’t name how often I come across a handy tip that helps me in my home or with saving money or food.

    1. May I suggest having “painters drop cloth ” on hand. You can get them at any home improvement store. I purchased a fairly large one and made curtains for a sliding glass door, place mates and even pillow covers. I was able to stencil a striped pattern on it with the help of painters tape….like the old fashioned dish towels. They wear like iron! My daughter just bought a house and needed temporary curtains for her slider until the new one with enclosed blinds come in…..she bought two 6×8 drop clothes and hung them up with clips on het rod. Since she has a country look they fit perfectly and can use in another area when the door is replaced.

  48. Thrifty actions: Accepted neighbor’s items she is not taking with her on her move across country: garden shovels, plant pots, plants, birdseed, humming bird feeder, and a spray washer. Bok choy is thriving in the garden, so eating a lot of noodle and rice bowls. Thank you for your book list.

  49. I saved on gas by sitting in parking lots with the windows down between assingments. I sent my dad a fathers day present and paid for it using office depot rewards, and had it shipped to my parents house. I needed a birthday gift for a grandchild, so we ordered it from Target and had it delivered there. I also got a 5% discount and used my $.78 in rewards that were going to expire if I didnt use them. I made list after list after list about what we needed, where was the best price and such. I use the apps and put rewards on paypal when I can and then use the paypal to buy more items that we need. When I cant do paypal, I do walmart giftcards and use it at sams or walmart…….so when I do have to buy groceries, it isnt that much out of pocket. I downgraded our cable package, saving $14 a month. I cancelled discovery plus, which will save $5 and change a month. I do the credit card reward game..and I’m always scared of forgetting to pay and then owing a late fee. I write all the due dates on my desk calendar, and pay every few days. 5% gas for gas from this card 5% on groceries for that card and 1.5% off of everything else from that card…………it all adds up, and the extra money is nice, but it scares me. I applied for another card, got the $300 bonus and switched EVERYTHING to that card. I may not get as much back, but, now I only have to worry about the balance on one card. This move will definintely save me money if I accidently screwed up and missed a payment. Cant think of anything else new.

  50. I’m praying for you and your family. You have helped me so much and I appreciate it. Someone is gifting me their old computer. I’m very happy about it. I’m writing on my phone now. But soon I can use a computer.

  51. Brandy, the photos of your roses and lemon verbena are exquisite. Congratulations on your influencer position for your local nursery; I hope that it is going well. I am not on Instagram so have not been able to follow your progress there. Also congrats on all you and your husband have achieved in your gardens. The trellises, metal work, flowers and veggies are beautiful. I hope that the citrus trees you planted are all doing well. Citrus is expensive here – navel oranges & grapefruit are $1 each; lemons 2 for $1 and limes 3 for $1. They are a little less each if I buy at BJs or Costco but not a great cost difference. You have already harvested so much from your garden; I hope it continues to produce abundantly for you. I especially loved the photo of the platter of figs. A 12 oz pkg of figs is $7 here.

    I haven’t posted in a while, as life became super busy; but I’ve now read all your weekly posts and some of the comments. I look forward to catching up as I always learn something new!
    Our youngest grandson was born in February (first child for son #2 and dil) ; we now have 5 grandkids and son #1 and dil are expecting their 2nd child end of August. Nice to have babies in our lives as they bring so much hope and love around us. We also belatedly due to covid, celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, which was last year (we did have a lovely dinner out and a small celebration at home with some family members last year), by vacationing in Italy (south and north) for two weeks and visited son #3 and dil in Germany for several days. It was a fun trip, enjoyed excellent food, and visited the small southern town that Italians have voted as their favorite small town surrounded by crystal clear waters and enjoyed its beach. In the north, we stayed at our favorite small town outside Florence and went on hikes and dined at excellent trattorias and restaurants/wineries in surrounding small towns. We did spend a day in Florence but our goal this trip was to have fun, enjoy each other’s company and not do “touristy” things as we have visited all the excellent museums and gardens on prior visits. Our raised garden beds are doing fairly well thanks to one of my best friends who watered while we were away; planted eggplant, peppers, cukes, zucchini, cherry and grape tomatoes (all have lots of tomatoes but none are ripe yet) and early girl tomatoes. Have basil (Genovese & Thai), parsley, cilantro, comfrey, Greek oregano, parsley, rosemary, chocolate/lemon/peppermints. So far have only been able to harvest oregano, basil, and mints in large enough quantities to dehydrate; but picking all to cook with. I have lavender drying; coneflowers, asiatic and day (stella d’oro) lilies, marigolds and roses are in full bloom; hydrangeas beginning to bloom.

    A close friend who has lots of acreage on the mainland had asked me earlier in the year if we wanted to use a bit of their land to grow more veggies, and of course I said yes! She is the friend, a master gardener, with a huge garden but does not bake so in the past (her idea) we have traded baked goods (muffins, quick breads, cookies, the occasional cake) for her bountiful produce. I enjoy baking (I find it a stress reliever as I focus on the recipe and nothing else) so it has been a win-win for us both. We are continuing this arrangement this year. I have planted several varieties of beans and peppers, summer and butternut squash, and honeydew melon in a large bed she had available for my use in her garden. Water is relatively inexpensive here, and we do get frequent rain ( we average 65″ of rain a year and we had thunderstorms with lots of rain yesterday) but if it turns out that it’s a dry summer, I will also offer her some $$ towards their water bill. She is a 45 minute drive each way, but it will be nice to spend some mornings several days a week in the “country” tending the veggies and hanging out with her and then do my grocery & other shopping on the way home. We live at the beach, so when they drive to the beach, and choose to visit our beach, they also visit us and she can bring me some of the produce, leave their SUV at our house (difficult to find parking especially on weekends) walk the few minutes to the beach, and after “beaching” come back to our house and use our outside shower to wash the sand off and our first floor bathroom as our beach/boardwalk does not have rest rooms for public use. And we usually all enjoy a nice bbq too afterwards. So it should work out quite well.

    So far, we have not noticed a difference in real estate sales here; it has been a super hot market with houses selling well above asking prices both in our town and county as a whole; if it cools off, it may actually be good for us since our property taxes are based upon the value of homes in the town and county. We are due for a tax reassessment, so if the market does cool and prices go lower, our property taxes may not rise astronomically as we had been fearing, but they will increase nonetheless. It would also make housing more affordable for young families throughout the county but not in our town as the least expensive, fixer-upper, homes start in the six figures. You may have already read this, this is from a Morningstar analyst

  52. It’s been a great, frugal week in heavenly Houston!
    My daughter took a free ASL class at the library. The other kids and I ate a picnic lunch at the park next door, before heading into the cool AC of the library to check out a few books.
    Our swim team season is over, and dinner was provided at the end-of-season party. It was nice to not have to cook, and the food was good.
    I sold a few things on Facebook Marketplace.
    I returned some chips to Aldi that were stale when I opened them, before the expiration date. They were out of stock and I couldn’t get a replacement bag, but I put the credit toward my purchase.
    I picked up some free construction paper that someone was giving away.
    I gave away a Keurig on our neighborhood group that I wasn’t using, freeing some space in the cabinet. Although I had a reusable K-cup, it was just easier to make a pot of coffee to drink on throughout the day.
    I picked up some store loss leaders: $2/2#strawberries, $2/# ground beef, #2/# shredded cheese, $1 tortilla chips, and a few other things I can’t remember.
    While dropping things off at college town house, I ran in Ollie’s, a discount store. The cashier said they would mark down expired food, so the kids and I hunted for a few things, which they gave me 75% off. The spaghetti sauce and Gatorade mix were good buys; wish that I had picked up more.
    We used coupons to eat at Burger King for under $20.
    I’ve been buying gas at Sam’s, which is the cheapest.
    The kids took cookies to a neighbor who is alone.
    My family threw me a 40th birthday party, which was very nice. I never would have pictured my life the way it is, but I am blessed beyond measure with wonderful family and friends.

  53. At long last, the proofreading of the book is finished. I am just making the index. It is such a long book that
    the index is long, too. It will be about 8 weeks before the book is ready for delivery. We were delayed by two weeks
    at least because of a glitch that scrambled our footnotes. Had to fix them all. Such a pain but we’ve made it.

    I have a lot of butterflies in the yard, I go a lovely photo of a Red Admiral. So now I have Mourning Cloaks, White Admirals,
    Red Admirals, and lovely Swallowtails. There is a lovely nest with 4 baby robins in it. I have a hummingbird but was startled
    yesterday when it hovered right in front of me and I think it was wondering what in heavens name are you doing here.
    One day,, I saw the Red Admiral butterfly, hummingbird, and a moose wandering down the street at dusk — all within 2 hours.

    I am still smiling about Mormon crickets — “converted”.

    A friend was going to get a new lawnmower and we were going to share. Over the last month, nothing has materialized. I invited
    my window washer over and he weed whacked the jungle close to my front door. Now I just have to worry about the boulevard where the grass has gone to seed and I’m hoping it ripens before it gets cut. It is a difficult area to grow grass — hot and dry and visited by every dog in the world so the seed might be very hardy. I have penstemon in a scree bed there and it is thriving. My 22 Itoh peonies (bought for $2 each reduced from $80 each) are loaded with buds. I think the extreme heat we had last summer has stressed out many plants so this year lilacs, apples etc have really been
    blooming more so than ever. I was given 12 paintings from my cousin – very colourful Alberta landscapes. I will donate a few of them to my church for an online silent auction. A few I will give to a scholarship fund. And I’ll keep a couple. In addition, I’ve been given 5 of my great aunt’s paintings. She was truly gifted.

    I am trying not to spend any money on groceries unless I see an incredible bargain on something I need.

  54. I spent $33 on groceries this week, which included canned tomatoes and kidney beans. Shopping clearance items is working well (in addition to my usual minimum 50% off weekly sale items). I never know what I will find on clearance and I enjoy being creative with meal planning based on what I find at the grocery store and what I have on hand. I am also harvesting an abundance of fruit and vegetables.

    My children and I gratefully received a free dinner at a restaurant (I ordered steak, fries and salad with gravy and my children got spaghetti bolognese and then an ice-cream. We drank water).

    I was gifted two large cookies, which made for four serves. My children and I received sandwhiches and brioche bread rolls at a friends house for lunch (vegemite on some and ham and cheese on others). My friend gave me leftover vegemite sandwiches to take home, which we enjoyed for lunch the next day.

    I made a large batch of lentil stew, which has provided five meals this week. We finished it today.

    I put baked beans and cheese on wraps and grilled them (in the sandwich press).

    I baked chocolate and banana cupcakes and made ham, cheese and carrot pizzas (using english muffins as the pizza base) to take to a local fair. I also took water, apples and sultanas plus a lollipop for the children which was a nice treat. We went on opening day as they had 50% off adult admission and free for children under 14. We enjoyed the animal farm, fireworks, motorcross show, BMX show, pig races, horse races and my children received free pens, stickers, colouring in pencils, pencil sharpener and three colouring pages each. Total out of pocket cost was $6 for a day and night of fun.

    I have my second job interview tomorrow. I have applied for many jobs as my contract is ending in a few months. Applying takes many hours as I need to submit, for each job, a two page statement meeting the role description (sometimes three pages) and key competencies, a cover letter and resume. Then interviews are during work time so I need to take time off.

    I line dried all washing, went on bicycle rides, read a library book, minimised car and electricity use.

    Interest rates on home loans are going up and up and with huge increases to fuel/gas and groceries we are doing everything we can to be content, entertained, fed, schooled, clothed and housed for as little out of pocket cost as possible. This means being flexible, resilient, creative and changing and re-evaluating our goals. I am grateful for this sharing community that gives me inspiration and motivation on our journey to spend less and make do with what we have.

  55. Hello, frugal friends! Here in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains the weather has gone from super hot to beautifully perfect low humidity and in the mid 70’s. We have had the grandkids here for the past 5 days so it has been busy here. We return the grandkids today. Then I will give the garden and house the attention they need. 🙂
    On the frugal front:
    *I started the week with 6$ in loyalty money at Food Lion so I was able to get strawberries, bananas, lemons, a loaf of bread and 1/2 gallon of milk for $3.37 out of pocket.
    *I used my .20/gallon rewards to fill up on gas after my little trip to Charlottesville with the grandkids.
    *I used my 1$/gallon off reward to fill up my car before going to Charlottesville. I have a 2018 Honda Accord. I average 42-45 miles/gallon. It is not a hybrid, but is so good on the gas mileage. I took the grandkids to Monticello. I have a longtime friend (since 4th grade) who works there. She got our tickets for free and used her employee discount for ice cream treats and trinkets for the grandkids. We stayed at her house overnight, so no hotel or food expenses. I tried to treat her to ice cream or dinner but she and her husband were insistent they wanted to treat us. I could have done the trip in a day as it is only a 2.5 hour drive each way, but I thought I might be tired after a day of driving and exploring Monticello with 3 children. We had a great time and the kids learned a lot. At Monticello I bought seeds and plants using my friend’s employee discount. Even without her discount their plant prices were better than the big box store with my military discount. We both brought a picnic lunch. On our way home I stopped at my daughter’s to return the boys and my granddaughter and I stayed to swim a few hours at the pool at their apartment complex. Free fun.
    *I used my military discount at Lowes to buy heavy duty mulch paper plus they had seeds on sale for half price. I bought a few packets for next year.
    *I harvested turkey craw beans, lettuce, radishes and peas from the garden.
    *Hung laundry on the line.
    *I needed some orthodic slippers to wear around the house plus new sneakers. I used Rakuten to get cash back plus I received free shipping.
    *Ate from the pantry, garden and freezer.
    *Received free COVID tests (double order for some reason).
    *A neighbor gifted us with a loaf of homemade bread and cookies for watering her plants while they were out of town.
    *I stretched a box of generic mac and cheese by adding a cup of extra macaroni noodles to feed the grand kids one night for dinner. I have done this for years and years. No extra butter or milk needed.
    As someone else mentioned last week, watching the register as things are being rung up has become necessary. I have caught several discrepancies in the past month or two. One store would not honor the shelf price so I told them I was not going to buy the item. The other store honored the shelf price once I showed them the foto of the shelf price or the ad for their store. That is the other thing I have noticed. Grocery stores are not marking sale prices on things or changing the prices in the computer. Our Kroger has also changed their policy on using coupons. Up until last month I could use a coupon on reduced items or combine a paper coupon with an online coupon. Now they will not do that making it that much harder to find a bargain or even what I consider a reasonable price for an item. We are limited here for grocery stores so I am looking into prices at ethnic stores. I did find I can buy spices at the local health food store for less than the regular grocery stores on most spices as I can buy just how much I need and not waste my money buying a jar of some spice I only use once in a blue moon. I grow a lot of my herbs so that helps too.
    I have noticed we have not heard from our friends in South Africa and Scandinavia in a while. I hope they are well and safe.
    I wish my frugal friends a week full of blessings and good health. This community means a lot to me.

    1. The gardens at Monticello are one of the ones on my garden bucket list! How wonderful that you could go!

    2. I was just thinking the same thing about the women from Scandinavia and SA – hope all is well and they are just busy in their gardens!

    3. Marley in the Mountains – I always enjoy reading your posts, in particular, since I am in Appalachia, too (extreme NW NC.) It sounds as if you live near Roanoke(?) where I went to school. You don’t have to tell me, of course. 🙂 Enjoyed reading about your trip to C’ville. If my parents’ lives had taken a different turn, I would have grown up on a farm they owned near there (Palmyra) so have been to C’ville and Monticello many times. It is so inspiring on so many levels. Glad you were able to visit in an affordable way and enjoy seeing your long-time friend. Sending many blessings from my side of the mountain to yours!

      1. Mountain Mama Dawn, We must be neighbors! I live near Blacksburg. It was very country when we moved to our log home 12 years ago. Now it is getting so built up. Makes me sad. But I can still look out my back windows and see the farm behind us, not to mention to beautiful mountains. And no one can build behind us and block my view. That makes me happy. Are you near Fancy Gap? I love visiting Charlottesville. My friend and I go waaaayyyy back and we always laugh about our childhood adventures. She actually lives on the other side of the mountain from Monticello, just 7 minutes away. And like Brandy mentioned, the gardens are so interesting. I could not believe how reasonable their prices were on the plants in the gift shop. I am hoping to keep them alive in my garden so I can tell people where they came from. I am looking forward to going back and getting more. Monticello is a very interesting beautiful place to visit. I highly recommend it to anyone coming to Virginia. Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg are my 2 favorite places.

  56. The water department put out a notice that we need to reduce water usage. One of my older friends ( she is 76 and friends with MIL, but we have more in common so we go to garage sales and share gardening interests, as well as quilting/sewing) Anyway Ms Liz sent a text about it and said she was worried about keeping her garden alive. Because of hanging with all of this group and absorbing all your tips I told her to catch her shower warm up water in a bucket, save water used to rinse food, and cooking water from vegetables and use that to water plants. She was so happy I offered real tips.

  57. Target circle has a 20% off food offer. It apparently can be stacked with 10% off for military for 4th of July weekend.

  58. Feel blessed I got to tell my lifelong close friend I loved them one last time via phone. Last stages of colon cancer, she will pass in days, if not hours.

    After 2.5 years I decided to see family and go to my grandniece’s graduation. So of course though triple vaccinated I got covid. Had to get an infusion treatment at the hospital, which I’m grateful for, and a month later it’s still not completely gone. The fatigue is real. So real. I’m kicking myself for waiting to get the 4th booster. So, not a lot of frugal goings on except not going anywhere.

    *I did get gas because the state tax will increase on July 1. Paid $6.79g at the cheapest place.
    *Since losing taste w covid thought it would be a good time to kick start going on a diet. Low carb isn’t frugal, but I’ve lost 12 lbs. Eating lots of taco salad.
    *Checked out The Nimble Cook from the library as inspiration for its use what you have concept. For example it suggests juicing watermelon peak season and freezing. Use every bit: eat it, use white rind for gazpacho, and the green rind to pickle. Recipes are a bit fancy, but it’s inspiring.
    *Using the pick up option for groceries keeps me from impulse buying, even if it’s on sale, right now I don’t want to know, so spend less.
    *My big get though, was finding a Weber gas bbq at the curb for free. Close enough I could roll it home. I’ve always wanted one, but never could bring myself to spend that much. It looks barely used – even came with instruction manual. So I’m pretty excited.

    1. How exciting about the grill!

      I borrowed the e-book; thank you for the suggestion!

    2. Sending prayers your way, Maria. Good friends are one of life’s greatest blessings. Peace!

  59. Oh and I got free milk crates from my friends parents house. Her mom passed several years ago and I asked, what happened to all that food in the shed? We looked. All the canning and wine (they have a wine press in there too) were there, and gone bad. Tons of canning jars, the really big ones too. She said I could have it all! I will teach her to can though, but she has no space for those big jars. Tons more of milk cartons too. Will be great to store some jars in. Now, I need to clear space for them. The ones I got, I put in my trunk so I can pick up groceries without plastic bags.

    Got free plums from their tree too. Exceptionally good.

    If adding html code for line brakes (I’m trying here) doesn’t work, how are you getting paragraphs in comments?

    1. I usually just hit the arrow key on my phone keyboard if I’m replying on my phone.

  60. Brandy/Anyone: my cucumbers are bitter!! Never had this problem before. Looked it up and found it was due to high heat and stress. It also said that they could make you ill. Any use for them? Must I throw them all out? Have had a garden of some description since I was eight and always have had cucumbers with no problems. Just so frustrated!

    1. They are nasty and no good. The heat will do that. You will have to toss them.

      This happens to most cucumbers here except for Armenians. This is why Armenian cucumbers are recommended in our climate.

      I was delighted when I found out that they are also grown in the Middle East! I made friends last year with a gardener (through an international rose group) who lives in Qatar. He invited me to join his local gardening group, and I saw so many gardeners that also grow Armenian cucumbers. I noticed that they do not grow any other kinds of cucumbers there, either.

      I just planted seeds for more Armenian cucumbers in the garden yesterday. I will gladly take a fall crop as well and hopefully I will get enough to make pickles with them. I make two kinds of pickles and relish with them when I have lots.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply, Brandy. I am so upset, but will forge ahead. I have always planted Boston pickling cucumbers. We have never had the temperatures that we had for those two weeks in June. Guess that did them in. So, I guess I will try to order Armenian seeds and attempt to sneak some in before Fall arrives! Life’s fiery hoops!

  61. While in real life, I’m early to everything, it seems I’m always late to the party here!
    ~Last week I stopped at the grocery store and actually found a few markdowns! I got a tray of hamburger for $2.41/lb (it’s terrible that that’s cheap nowadays!), 4 lbs of BLSL chicken breasts for $1.99/lb (this used to be the highest I would ever pay!), 2 trays of boneless pork country style ribs for $2.49/lb, a whole turkey breast for $1.49/lb, yellow bell peppers for $0.25 each, 10 lbs of strawberries for $0.99/lb, 6 lbs of honeycrisp apples for $0.79/lb, naval oranges for $0.49/lb. I also picked up several loaves of bread marked down to $0.59/ loaf and lots of English muffins marked down to $0.49/ package.
    ~I used Insta cart credits to get a bottle of kids sunscreen, 2 bars of soap, q tips, aluminum foil, 80 trash bags, and a bottle of dish soap for only $5 out of pocket.
    ~I had a moms bible study last week at 10:30 in the morning. I knew we wouldn’t be home before lunch so I popped some popcorn and grabbed some leftover pizza out of the fridge. Saves having to buy food while we were out.
    ~Accepted a gallon of sweet cherries, some sprinkles, a floor quilting frame, and some notepads from my mom.
    ~Found tennis shoes for two daughters on clearance at Wal-Mart for $2/pair.
    ~Two children had dental appointments and we decided to enjoy an evening swimming at the lake afterward. It’s $2 per car for Maryland residents to get in. We brought snacks and water. I put dinner in the crockpot in the morning so we were able to come home and eat right away. Where we live, we are half an hour’s drive away from anything so it’s crucial to plan ahead and combine trips.
    ~Diesel fuel is still $5.89. Maryland is set to increase the tax on fuel soon. I think it will be a $0.07 per gallon increase. I’ve also heard rumors of there being a shortage of diesel engine oil (we just bought a 5 gallon bucket for our diesel van just in case), as well as a shortage of diesel exhaust fluid, which is necessary in newer big trucks. Of course, this will affect national supply chains and costs. But it will also affect so many individual families whose livelihood comes from the transportation industry (like us…my husband is a truck driver). I’m really hoping it’s all just rumor and doesn’t actually play out the way I’m thinking it will.
    ~I harvested lettuce, Chinese broccoli, green beans, parsley, basil, dill, and cilantro from the garden this week.

  62. I’ve been working in the garden a lot trying to keep on top of things. It’s been hot and humid so I’ve tried to get out there early in the morning if possible. My daughter spied 16 free tomato plants yesterday and so we snagged them. We asked the sweet lady if we could take them all. They were small compared to what we have in the ground but we have way fewer tomato plants this year than we usually do. I figured if they don’t ripen until September that’s okay we can still can and preserve them so we happily took them. (Usually, we have so many that we are overwhelmed with them.)

    We had to travel so we took our smallest car with the best gas mileage. I did buy a coffee at McDonald’s (ew!) but I wanted to stay awake. I should have planned better (and I did bring boiled eggs, cheese, and other snacks for the road.) My daughter bought us one fast food meal on the way and it was so expensive! $37 for two adults and two kids. It wasn’t that good either. On the way home I made sure to bring some coffee from my sister in my thermos and I didn’t know what to buy the kids for dinner to supplement the car food. I found some polish sausages and they were only two for $3 which seemed okay but then the lady gave them to us for free because she said she was about to throw them out. (I was disturbed at that store how little food their was.) Planning ahead does seem to be the most important part in traveling.

    1. We like to bring hardboiled eggs, pretzels, grapes, apples with an apple cutter, bread. I like cheese,crackers, and lunch meat as well but they are rather pricey so we don’t usually do those. Salted nuts, carrot sticks, and sandwiches are other good options.

      We don’t eat in the car; we stop for a few minutes to eat on paper plates and go to the bathroom as well. Parks are nice places to stop.

      1. That’s probably better to stop and eat while we are stopped anyway. All good options you mention. My sister gave us some fruit too and since we aren’t buying as much it was a big treat for us. I do try use our fruits and vegetables in muffins too. I actually made some applesauce muffins for the trip but I couldn’t find them! I need to organize our freezers. We also bring homemade cookies and bars. I try to make mine at least somewhat nutritious. I like to read in old books about what snacks they brought in the car on trips. Plastic or paper cups are handy to pass snacks out.

        Oh this isn’t me but my daughter bought 60 pounds of butter. She said it was $1.49 a pound. We haven’t seen that price for a long time so she stocked up!

        1. Cookies! I knew I was forgetting something! I usually bake cookies for the journey.

          I haven’t done muffins but that sounds good. I did a carrot cake in a 9 x 13 pan once; my pan has a lid.

    1. Thanks Margaret! I just ordered mine. I was getting low so this should come in handy!

  63. I just started book two I. The Darling Dahlia series. I love east, comforting books like this. My mind absorbs the serenity and that is surely needed right now. I got my first share from our community garden this week and dehydrated 10 tray s of herbs and 5 trays of peppers. I used the lettuce and tomatoes and some cucumbers in salad and made bread and butter pickles. I worked hours to save the water in my grandson’s above ground pool. My son had mowed and debris and dust got in and I was afraid I would have to drain and start over but sweeping, vacuuming and chemicals saved the day and water! I separated some agapanthus and planted and I am hoping to get starts from some herbs. My basil is not cooperating. I may give up on my cucumbers as the heat and my watering schedule do not seem to be working out. I continue to buy fresh eggs from my mailman and will try water glassing tomorrow. My daughter will be here in a few hours to work from my house for a few weeks. We have had her youngest son with us for a month. Such blessings!

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