I harvested Armenian cucumbers, basil, and parsley from the garden.

My husband recovered our dining table chair seats. He bought bulk foam from an upholstery supply shop as well as new vinyl that is almost identical to the vinyl that is on the backs of the chairs. He took the chairs apart, cut out the foam to be the right size, and stapled the new chair covers on the seams using an upholstery stapler and staples that I had bought years ago. The foam he used is thicker than what the chairs originally had (which was very thin), so our chairs are also more comfortable now.

He also recovered the seats on two office chairs in our library using black vinyl.

I baked cupcakes and made the icing to match my Desdemona roses. The roses are tiny now (from the heat), as you can see, but they are blooming in the heat when my other roses are not.

I read an e-book from the library using the Libby app: Little Beach Street Bakery.

What did you do to save money last week?

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149 Comments

  1. Recovering chairs can give them a whole new look and life! Well done to your husband, Brandy!! Your cupcakes look too pretty to eat!
    I chopped down my parsley and dehydrated the leaves for the third time this summer. Depending on the weather, I may get one more harvest from them. Here’s what that looks like so far for this summer’s parsley harvest: https://pin.it/2ZaWTc5. 2 Quart mason jars! I’m thinking that I don’t need to grow parsley next year because I have enough and that space in the garden can grow something else! I just took my basil out of the dehydrator and chopped it up. Only about 1/2 cup but look at the difference in color between my garden basil and GFS basil! I’m calling it a win, even for such a small amount!! https://pin.it/6b1YuBq

    An online friend near Cleveland told me that Meijers was having a Buy 7 items, get $7 off sale and blueberries (regular $3.49/pint) were $1/pint !! I scooted over to the store (it was last day of sale!) and bought 43 pints!! Spent $43, but saved $109.76!! I had everything I needed to can quarts of blueberry pie filling, so I got some done the same day- https://pin.it/1OSdptx. Then, another online friend in Akron sent me a recipe for a Blueberry Sour cream Pecan Bundt cake. I don’t have a Bundt pan and I had some plain yogurt I wanted to use up, so I improvised and made 2 cakes! The smaller one was gifted on Sunday to a dear widow who loves to cook and send food over for Hubs and I to sample! https://pin.it/52GfoS1. I shared info about blueberry sale using my FB and several friends, both local and regional, let me know that they were able to get blueberries Saturday as a result! With prices what they are, networking seems to be a good use of technology to save money and share info about available sales. We were also able to have Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes for breakfast Sunday morning! And today, Monday, I’m back to canning more pie filling! What was I thinking?? 😱 But we will sure enjoy it this winter!!

    I got the second baby quilt made and quilted for a baby shower this coming Saturday. I just need to bind it! All from my fabric stash, including a scrap of batting that was large enough! https://pin.it/1oNN4MX. https://pin.it/10QyPvL. Soft green Minkee for backing. So much easier on the budget to have materials and even ready-to-gift things at a moment’s notice without having to run to the store and overspend!
    I also had 2 more client quilts come in that I quilted this week: Lenni’s #273 & 274. She is picking them up tomorrow. https://pin.it/WKXtfWC and https://pin.it/1Gextsx. So that generates a little bit more to put into savings.

    Hubs and I were able to get gas in our van and car at Costco while we were running errands for $3.09/gallon where it was up to $3.49/gallon at other gas stations all around. We are very grateful for the free GasBuddy app on our phones that can locate the best prices for gas wherever you are and even tell you the distance and directions from where you currently are! Amazing!!

    I got the garlic a sweet friend gifted me all planted this week and with the intermittent rain we’ve been having a couple times a week, the garden has been exploding with more ripe tomatoes, both big and small. I have gifted several people bowls of my yellow pear tomatoes because there are more than we can eat!

    We earned another $10 in rewards cash back from our credit card that I deposited into our savings. Our interest on our other savings account that has a higher yield earned $15 this month in interest. Just six months ago, we would get about $4.50/month in interest from it! Still way better than the 16 cents/month we currently get on the savings account I deposit rewards cash back into!!

    We ordered 6 more windows for our house to replace more of the single pane windows. After we install those, we will only have 8 more to do to finish the 43 windows we have here! The price was more than it was 6 months ago, but still well under what HD was charging a couple years ago (and I can only imagine that the HD price has gone up too!) The windows will be ready to pick up Oct. 20. Have no idea what our weather will be like by then but we decided that if we have the windows here ready to go, whenever the weather and our aching old bones cooperate, we can get 2 done at a time!

    The air is starting to cool a little so we are trying to get everything done outside and in to be prepared for whatever kind of winter we have!

    Using your link, I bought an apron (I’ve literally never had one and you’ve convinced me of the error of my ways! 🤪) I will add a pocket to the front and use the entire apron as a pattern to make more. I feel like it was worth my investment!! We’ve been trying to go through your link every time we make an Amazon purchase. Hope it’s been credited to you!

    With everything else going on, it still doesn’t cost us anything to be kind and it may be more needed now than ever! Hope I can make that a priority. Saving money may require us to get more creative, but I think, Brandy, that you are inspiring and motivating each of us to do just that! Thanks for your dedication!

    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. OH good! Thanks!

          I think sometimes we need something a bit cheery and whimsical in our everyday life to make chores more pleasant.

    1. Where are you purchasing your windows through? We just started the process of trying to figure our costs and best places to go through. We live in Ohio if that helps any.

      1. HeatherKee- The place we get our windows is Exterior Building Supply. Their phone number is (614) 784-8330 and they are located at 3041 Silver Drive, Columbus, OH 43224. We buy the VinylMax Windows. For our custom sizes, we paid $278/window this time- up from about $234 each six months ago. But even 4 years ago, we were paying over $600/window and installing them ourselves. Hubs compared window specs on the 2 places and they were identical. This time it will be about 5 weeks before they are ready to pick up (rather than 7- 10 days) but as it has been each time with this company, you don’t even pay a deposit up front until you are picking up the windows!

        Hope this helps!

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

        1. I stopped at a yard sale on Saturday and picked up 5 brand new men’s shirts with tags still on them for .25 cents each! The shirts are quick dry moisture wicking material with original price tag retailing for $60.00 each! A steal of a deal. My son was thrilled I found them for him.☺️

  2. Most of my frugal accomplishments were windfall money! I received a $15 prepaid Visa card from my insurance company for having an in-home health assessment a couple of weeks ago. My husband found a restaurant GC in his wallet. We didn’t know if it was worth anything because he just stuffs things into his wallet and we hadn’t been to this place in about 3 years. We decided to go out to dinner and discovered the card was worth 50 bucks! Also, my husband, the oil well heir, got a royalty check for $139.93. It always pays to marry money, LOL.

    1. Maxine, I laughed and laughed at your comment about the oil money. My father left me some gas shares. He was one of 8 children, so those shares were divided many times over the years. I get a check every quarter that is from $15 to $40. We always joke that we’re never going to get rich, but we’re happy with every little bit.

        1. Ours used to be under $10, too. And then we had a couple of $2,000 years in the early 2000s, when Mike inherited from his mother. Now it is running about $250 a year. The original leases started about 100 years ago, when Mike’s great-great (or maybe 3 greats) uncle died without having married or children. The ranch, in Colorado, was sold, but the mineral rights were retained. Payouts didn’t even begin until the 1980s. Twenty years ago, there were more than 400 heirs. No idea how many now. Our payout is as “big” as it is because Mike was an only child and inherited 100% of his mother’s share. His cousins receive much less because they had siblings.

  3. I love recovering chairs — an inexpensive refresh and so satisfying!

    My frugal week:

    – I picked tomatoes, green onions, basil, and chives from my balcony garden
    – I turned leftover mac and cheese into mini mac and cheese muffins for school lunches and froze them.
    – took my kids to my sister’s condo pool, and brought dough and pizza fixings so I could make a freshly baked pizza for lunch at her place. Inexpensive fun!
    – I baked pita and made hummus (http://approachingfood.com/ultra-creamy-hummus/ )
    – I made Brandy’s black bean burgers using homemade breadcrumbs, buns I got on sale last week, and homegrown tomatoes. Sooo yummy!
    – made carrot muffins and some in mini form whicj I froze for school lunches and snacks. The recipe called for three eggs, but I used one egg and two flax eggs. Still yummy!
    – combined coupons and sales to get the best prices. My best deal was 6 boxes of cereal for free (sale + coupons + points), and a pear plus a box of 4 laughing cow cheese+breadstick snacks for 67 cents total after cashback.
    – I made chicken broth from a frozen carcass I had plus veggie peelings, then added the leftover alphabet pasta from my daughter’s letter recognition sensory bin, and some peas and celery from the freezer to make a tasty and nutritious soup.
    – redeemed air miles for $10 towards groceries
    – I made individual bacon, green onion, and cheese quiches, and served them with salad made from the last of my homegrown lettuce.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

  4. Gas was $2.98 gallon in University town!!!!! However, it was $3.59 two hours further south. The price variations are crazy. I roasted dandelion greens in a bit of olive oil and sea salt until crunchy and put them on my sandwich. Food is still high here though, despite gas prices coming down. I really just replaced NyQuil I used up during Covid, bought kitchen sponges, and bought a wet and wild eyebrow pencil for 99 cents. I am still sleeping a lot post Covid. I have managed to make it through work and sleep at night. Work is about all I have energy for at the moment.

      1. I agree Shawna that CA is too expensive and they keep trying to trick us into voting in more taxes. 💸We discuss retiring elsewhere eventually. No idea where though. Most of our family lives here, but we don’t know where our kids will settle as adults. We’ll see…

    1. Gas is (almost, a couple cents short) down to what it was before these price games here, about 2 euros/litre, which makes me think if it was really just a test to see how people would take it.

  5. Beautiful cupcakes!
    I haven’t recovered seats in many years, but I remember the satisfaction after doing so.

    I weeded my garden (we had a long heat wave) and I found about 2 weeks worth of vegetables hiding. That was a delightful surprise.

    I ordered 8 pieces from ThreadUp and created a mini capsule wardrobe. Thankfully I lost some weight for this to be a need. I’m adding 2 dresses and a pair of jeans I currently have and will call it a day on my fall/winter wardrobe.

    Hope everyone has a calm week!

    1. I found Thredup to be difficult to deal with. I have been using Poshmark and am very happy with it!

      I am able to ask for up close pictures, negotiate price and get far more details.

      For me, it was a much better shopping experience!

      Congratulations on the weight loss! I too made lockdown work for me, lol. Poshmark helped me restock my wardrobe with smaller sizes.

  6. We have had a good but busy week. Firstly we have had rain most days this week, it has filled the water butts but it will take a great deal more before the ground is rehydrated so I am still putting waste water on the trees. We will have to wait until next spring to see what survives. I spent some time watering the greenhouse, tidying and removing some leaves so the tomatoes and peppers can ripen. I have been picking tomatoes, melon, peppers, carrots and runner and french beens I will now leave these for seeds. The eating apples are nearly ripe but the cookers are really small.

    I made the Christmas puddings and cakes I also made a batch of baked beans and canned them. I also canned some beans. I have now run out of kilner jars. I have harvested and frozen tomatoes ready to dehydrate later.

    Hubby has not been well so I only went to Waitrose as I had some coupons for tea and chicken which were about to run out. Not thrift but I bought a Orchid to replace one that died. I think this costs less than bunches of flowers in the long run.I have managed to keep one alive for 16 years and it is still flowering.

    I sorted out the kilowatt hours of my appliances, trying to work out which is best to use for cooking different meals. I also looked at my shopping lists from 3 months ago to see what had risen in price the biggest rise was in the price of coffee £5.50 to £5.65.

    All laundry was dried outside, between the showers. I cooked all meals from scratch . My other daughter and sil came to lunch, we ate out of the freezer. I sent her home with Christmas puddings and dried tomatoes. I have read 2 library books on line. The cardigan is almost finished.

    .Please keep safe
    Chris

  7. USPS is temporarily increasing rates from October 2 until January 22 for some domestic package rates. The news release said this has been done in recent years to keep up with increased holiday shipping volume.
    For those wishing a unique and charming fictional viewpoint into Queen Elizabeth II and her life, I enjoyed “The Windsor Knot” by S J Bennett. A second book in the mystery series is out, but my library doesn’t have it. Based on the premise that although she is extremely intelligent, QEII’s actions are restricted so she needs to find ways for her staff to investigate a murder for her.

    1. Heidi, you’re a lifesaver!! My best friend’s bday is coming up and I’ve been at a total loss as to what to get her! She’s a lover of all things royal, so I’ll be looking for that book! Thank you for mentioning that!!

  8. Hello!

    A few things from last week:

    —I received 13% cash back at my local grocery store from Upside. I also earned cash back rewards from the store, and credit card points.

    —I found Colavita crushed tomatoes on clearance at Walmart for 25 cents, so I bought several. I also found clearance bags of candy for $2, including large bags of white chocolate Kit Kats, and Hershey’s kisses. I will use these throughout the year for various treat bags. I also found several nice toy items for $5 each that I will use for birthday parties and our church’s Angel Tree.

    —I made my own “carpet fresh” by mixing baking soda and essential oil. I used this on our basement carpet that was in need of a good cleaning. It smells fresh and clean!

    —I redeemed a voucher from Social Nature for a free tub of manuka honey worth $16.

    —My six year old was recruited for yet another university research study. He will earn $100.

    —I will be working as a standardized patient for a local medical college. Some weeks I will get to work 20 hours. I’m very happy about that. I work for a two other schools, but I only get a few hours here and there.

    —I fixed some outdoor pillows that were mildewed. The pillows are white with a rope like trim. I used bleach and water to spot treat, then put them in the sun. They look brand new!

    —Enjoyed a fun family event that our church hosted at a local museum. In years past, they have asked for cash donations at the door, but this year they didn’t. We also received several treats when we were leaving.

    Have a great week!

  9. Those cupcakes are so pretty! And great job on your husband recovering your chairs. I know that saved you so much.
    This week I finished making one Christmas present.
    We enjoyed tomatoes, chard, onions, lima beans, green beans, peppers, and some strawberries from the garden. I canned 4 pints of green beans and 3 half-pints carrots. My celery did not do well this year, but I pulled what I had, chopped it, and put it in the freezer. I also chopped and froze some peppers. A friend gifted me with a bag of zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers. I started a half gallon of refrigerator pickles, made a chocolate zucchini cake, and shredded zucchini to freeze.
    I baked two loaves of sandwich bread.
    Friends invited us to go Jeeping in the mountains. It was a very fun day that allowed us to see things we wouldn’t normally see. Another friend gifted me with a bag full of brand-new 1 and ½ yard cuts of quilting cotton from a relative who passed away. A wonderful addition to my fabric stash!

  10. I took out some peaches and blueberries I had frozen and made blueberries in a very light syrup, Blueberry Syrup, Blueberry Butter, and Peach Rum Jam. https://www.instagram.com/p/CiNkpFrr7JP/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
    ***I worked on a string quilt where I am using my dad’s shirts. I have 2 more blocks and I will sew it together and set it aside. I am trying to get 6 lap quilts, so I will do all the rest and if I have more fabric will go back and make them larger. This is what I have so far https://www.instagram.com/p/CiYTgDrJMiF/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
    ***From the garden:froze diced tomatoes, shredded zucchini, and okra. Dehydrated potato slices. And canned French fry cut potatoes. https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQkQqsJHNA/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= I had a cantaloupe appear in the garden and harvested it.
    ***I made chicken Spaghetti casserole for a neighbor. I doubled it and got three pans full. I froze the 3rd one before baking.
    ***Watered plants with rain barrel, and the canner water.
    ***composted 20# potato skins and all other vegetable ends. My compost is full of worms. My husband puts all the wood shavings in it.
    ***Husband found a shed to attach to the back of the garage. He was going to build one and bought the plans and supply list at Lowes was $700. He found the Rubbermaid one on clearance for $189 from $500 at Sams.
    ***Gas was $3.09. I don’t even use a tank a month, but keep it topped off. I think it is now below $3
    ***Went to an estate sale and I got about 14 pieces of fabric. Many were in tan to brown tones, which I do not have so are good pieces to add in quilts. I also got 9 packages of Aida cloth, 10 4oz acrylic paints, 3 quilt books, and a Christmas cross stitch sampler kit.
    ***I have a big walk in closet in my sewing room and I have Rubbermaid totes with different things. But I had so much added in front of them you couldn’t walk in, it was a open the door and stare at the pile closet. I took two mannequins, a huge bag of pillows I have to use the batting out of, and some holiday stuff to the attic.

  11. Oh! Those cupcakes are so pretty 💗

    *My husband has a raffle he’s in charge of for work and he needed some containers with lids to hold tickets. I asked Facebook friends and posted in my Buy Nothing Group for any coffee cans with lids and ended up with 12 within 2 hours!
    *Enjoyed a date out! Went to the movies to see Top Gun on $5 and free popcorn day.
    📍Grocery store: marked down hamburger
    📍Buy Nothing Group: new in package queen extra firm pillow, wooden shelves for my son’s birthday
    📍Facebook Marketplace: popcorn maker for $5 ($20 on Amazon), husband wanted a beard trimmer for his birthday and I found one new in box for $10, 7 free tomato cages

    Have a great week ⭐️

  12. Hello Brandy and everyone
    The last few days have been very sad and sombre due to the death of our beloved Queen. We will miss her very much but are thankful for her extraordinary life of service to us all.
    I’ve been feeling lacklustre but a few things have been achieved.
    I made three jars of strawberry jam.
    Inexpensive meals were blue cheese, courgette and onion pasties, vegetable fried rice with an omelette/ scramble with mushrooms and bacon lardons and lambs liver with onions.
    From the garden we picked pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, potatoes and runner beans. I froze beans and tomatoes.
    From gardening clients my husband received a large melon, pears, apples, damsons and a few plums.
    I bought three Christmas presents online using a 15% discount code.
    Stay safe everyone.

    1. Penny, I am sending my sincere condolences. Even though I am across the pond, I was greatly saddened to hear of her passing. She was truly a great woman…strong, modest, prudent in thought and action, loyal, and a great patriot. On another note…do you have a favorite recipe for pasties that you would share? I love beef and potato ones. Thanks.

      1. Hello Laura
        Thank you for those kind words, we know the Queen was admired around the world.
        There are lots of recipes for Cornish pasties, this one makes four large pasties.
        450g chuck steak,
        1 medium potato, peeled and cut into thin slices
        1 large onion, chopped small
        1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into thin slices
        450g shortcrust pastry – 275g plain flour, 150g lard, pinch of salt and pepper, cold water to mix or you could use ready made.
        1 egg.
        Heat the oven to 200c. Cut the beef up very small and mix with veggies. Season well.
        Make pastry, divide into 4 and roll each piece out on floured surface to 20cm in diameter.
        Place a quarter of the meat mixture in centre of each round, dampen edges with beaten egg, pull edges up to meet in the centre and seal thoroughly. Pinch edges to flute them, brush all over with beaten egg ,make two small steam holes and put on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 190c and cook for further 25 minutes.
        This recipe is from Delia Smith’s book Frugal Food.
        Enjoy!

        1. I have a lot of cookbooks by “the sainted Delia” – as a friend always calls her – still love to watch her old programs on Youtube.

  13. The cupcakes and roses are such a delicate pink. On my to do list is recovering two tall chairs that sit next to our island. I’m using the same fabric as what was used to reupholster our couch, and she didn’t charge me for the additional fabric. I prepped pawpaws, and got close to 4 more lbs of pulp. My husband gave me a dehydrator for my birthday, and I’ve dried cherry tomatoes so far. This one is much nicer than the cheap old one I’ve used for years. I bought another GF bread to try. Darn it if it’s not another fail, because I didn’t read the label at the store. Though it’s GF, it has vinegar, canola oil and corn in it, none of which I can have. The good news is someone nearby wanted it, as well as the Pamela’s pancake & baking mix I got after a recommendation, but then realized it has buttermilk in it, and had already put it in jars and cut up the bag. I’m very glad these will be used. They were both quite expensive. I used our potatoes mashed with mushroom gravy, and made fried sweet potato rounds another night. Stewed tomatoes were canned. Tomato sauce was canned for the first time another day. To use up some of the onions, I made maple onion jam, said to be good on burgers and other meats, grilled cheese, and on charcuterie boards. This was put in my gift cupboard. I blanched and froze lambs quarter and cowpeas. Squash with onions, garlic and tomatoes was made for dinner. My husband dug the sweet potatoes. We harvested more large ones than we ever have, with one weighing over 9# 11 oz. Following instructions from Stacy at OffGrid with Doug & Stacy, I prepped three tomatoes for growing next year. Swagbucks points were redeemed for a $25 gift card.
    Deer are grazing on the thornless blackberries we planted this spring, and are jumping the garden fence to graze on the sweet potato leaves. The blackberries have had all the leaves stripped from them, which can impact their developing root systems. They’ve also walked in our fall plantings, which is less than ideal. My husband is threatening to harvest one or more deer, if this keeps up. The latest planting of chard, carrots and winter greens are coming up. The late planting of potatoes are finally showing some progress, with two of them growing leaves. It has been an interesting gardening year, and I won’t mind when it’s behind us, so I can give my attention to some other things that have been neglected. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2022/09/plenty-of-pollinators.html

    1. My husband watches You Tube for car videos and Do it yourself stuff. He came across Doug and Stacy we watched a couple videos. Amazing how they live off the grid. I especially liked their water storage system. I’m going to try growing tomatoes this way as well.

      1. I’ve learned a number of things watching their videos, and especially enjoy Stacy. We also live off the grid, with our house powered by solar, and rainwater providing our home’s water. We heat with wood, and use propane for our hot water and stove. It’s a good life.

  14. Love the roses and cupcakes, Brandy! And that’s awesome about the chairs being recovered. I’m sure it was a huge savings! * $500 was added to our HSA by my husband’s company because he checked all the boxes this year, ie check up, colonscopy, met with a health coach, etc. * I did “baked” potatoes in the instant pot for supper. I added four extra small potatoes so I could make potato soup the next day. Both meals were delicious. Even with potato prices higher than in the past, it is still an inexpensive meal for us. * I decided on crocheting hats for our adult children and spouses. The girls hats will have pom poms, using the pom pom maker I bought with a birthday gift card from a friend last March. I’m going to fill each hat with an emergency blanket, light stick and some toe and hand warmers. I think it will be a thrifty and useful gift. So far I have finished four hats. Five more to go. * still enjoying reading books from the library and watch shows. Otherwise, I’m staying close to home. Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Your gift idea is too cool!
      My mom had given us crochet hats for the holidays and after opening them immediately told us she was done with crocheting. She’s kept her word 😝

  15. Beautiful cupcakes Brandy! 🌹

    This week I canned more pears. I made a pear-port compote for quick desserts and pear-almond jam. I still have another 10 pounds to can! 🫣 I also picked cannellini type beans that dried on the vine and shelled almost 2 pounds. This was a successful experiment this year of growing pole shelling beans vs. bush beans. I definitely got more from pole beans is much less space!! I also harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans and broccoli side shoots.

    I planted 144 fall/winter seeds in indoor trays. They’re beginning to germinate. Our “hot season “ on the coast is now through early -November. By the time they’re ready to transplant they shouldn’t bolt from the heat. That’s why I’ve only just recently started getting ripened tomatoes.

    I baked a German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting and made pizza and pizza sauce from scratch for a birthday. I didn’t have any sweet baking chocolate in my stash. I almost ran to the store for one item, but Googled a substitution instead. It was easy and successful! I used butter wrappers to grease the pan. I was quite exhausted by the end of that day. 😴 But, we saved a bundle.

    We filled up both cars at Costco. When I went late last week gas cost $4.95/gallon. When my husband went yesterday it went up to $5.15/gallon. Ugh! I stocked up on tomato products as they’re predicting higher prices soon. I still haven’t been able to buy sliced almonds there in over a year. We put back everything in the cart that wasn’t a need. So many temptations in there and Christmas decor and gifts are already displayed! 🎄

    I’m still exercising at home using our equipment and Les Mills on Demand. It’s significantly less than memberships to clubs that range from $50-$500/month in our area. It’s feeling tough at the moment so I started at 30 minutes two weeks ago and have now worked up to 45 minutes.

    I also cashed in credit card rewards. We charge everything purchased online since we’ve had several fraud issues in the past. We pay it off every month in full. I also noticed that my credit card offers rebates, too. But, you have to log into your account, then click the link to the store before shopping. Our debit card has this feature too, but I won’t use it online.

    Have a blessed and blessed week everyone! 🦋

  16. Reupholstering chairs is so satisfying! I did my kitchen table chairs, and they looked 100% better immediately. The cupcakes are lovely, as are the roses.

    This week I am using mostly food out of my freezer for meals.

    The peas with a long German name I can’t remember that I planted last weekend are sprouting. The pods are sweet and tender/crunchy when immature, and the flowers and pods are both a lovely shade of violet. They can mature and be used as mature peas, but I prefer the young pods.

    I did some hand sewing to fix a few things.

    I signed up for Azure Standard (it’s free) which has a drop point near my work. I looked carefully and chose only the things that I know offer me the best price.

    I picked grapes to make jelly. The recent spate of storms has played havoc with my grapes, which had just started getting ripe, but I got enough to get a few cups of juice. I’ll add frozen juice from the last harvest and will make as much jelly as I can.

    I picked more okra. The okra plants that were so badly eaten are starting to put on blossoms again.

    I bought another gift, this time using a discount open only to members of my credit union.

    I found my favorite soap on sale and bought several bars. It usually goes on sale twice a year, so I buy enough to last about six months.

    I cut up a chicken and left some meat on the backs and breast bone to use those pieces to make chicken broth for homemade dumplings. The other pieces were seasoned and cooked to make a few meals.

    I searched the yard and house until I found the dog’s expensive toy – again. She keeps forgetting where she left it.

    I borrowed a book and a series on DVD from the library. I’m enjoying both.

  17. Brandy, your cupcakes are beautiful! I love your staging for your photos! Reupholstering anything intimidates me, yet it is something I would love to learn to do. Most of my savings are in the food category right now. My sister and I canned bushels of peaches we got for $19.99 each (half the price). I canned up the apples languishing in the drawers, as well as almost 20 pounds of carrots. Made a pot of lentil soup (no meat this time) because I was craving it. I will be canning that up tomorrow. For the first time, I planted celery! It is going strong and I cannot believe it! Just to be able to walk out the door and pick some stalks is amazing. I also have celery in the freezer. It is so nice to be able to grab something canned from the shelves and have dinner or dessert ready in a jiffy. My daughter decided that she and her boyfriend were going to come to dinner with less than five hours notice. I had just canned apple slices so I dumped two of those jars in a casserole dish and put our special crumble topping on it. So nice the preparation work on the apples had already been done. Only shopping really good loss leaders and only if I need them. I look forward to this post every week and thank you for your dedication to this community.

      1. Hi Cheryl, it’s super simple. I dump a large bag of brown or green lentils into an 8 quart pot and add about 10 cups of water or beef broth, or a combo. If using plain water, add beef bouillon. Add a small can of tomato paste, onion powder, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring because as they cook the lentils get soft and thick. Just keep adding water or broth to your thickness preference. You may need to add more seasonings, bouillon and tomato paste if you add a lot more liquid. Sometimes I like it brothy, sometimes I like it thick. Sometimes I braise leftover beef chunks with onion powder, and add the water and lentils to it. You can add chopped carrots and onions, if you have them, but it’s not necessary. I love the flavor. I have made it with red lentils but don’t like it as much because it becomes more like porridge or split pea soup…very thick. Hope this helps. It’s perfect for those cool, rainy days or winter days. It is very filling and packs a lot of protein. Inexpensive as well. It cost me less than three dollars to make a huge pot from which I ate three servings, gave my daughter a quart to take home and canned ten pints for later. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!😋😋

        1. Thank you, Laura for explaining! I see lots of folks talking about eating lentils – and I love them – but had no clue how to cook them! I’ll try this soon!

        2. The one time I tasted lentils, they tasted like dirt to me. Do the spices and seasonings take that taste away? I’d love to incorporate them into our diet because they’re so healthy. Thanks!

          1. Debby, I think it depends on how they are fixed. I have had them plain and not really thrilled about the flavor. I think they take on the flavor of whatever they are cooked with.😊

          2. I thought so at first too. Then I slowly added the cooked lentils to cooked hamburger — starting with about 1/4cup cooked lentils to 1# of cooked hamburger. Gradually I worked up to a 50-50 split. I like this ratio and have kept it for some time. The family didn’t seem to notice the difference when I used it to make spaghetti sauce or taco ‘meat’ filling. But my grocery budget did! I haven’t been a big lentil soup person in the past but will try this recipe soon.

      2. Lentil soup is also really good with Indian spices. Curry is good in it. There are so many different recipes for lentil soup. My favorite is with Indian spices. But I like other lentil soups as well. Sometimes I will add mustard seeds, coriander powder, curry leaves, tomatoes; fresh or canned, some green chilis or one green chili, salt and pepper, and turmeric. Or if I am In a hurry I just use curry powder.

        1. I use the red lentils for a red curry soup– red lentils, carrot, red bell pepper. The lentils cook down to make a thick soup. Seasonings are curry, ginger and cinnamon. At the end of cooking, I usually add a can of coconut milk to the soup

  18. Hello Brandy,
    The cupcakes and roses are beautiful.
    I had been looking for a beeswax candle for months and couldn’t find one that I could afford. I finally decided to buy a block of beeswax at Hobby Lobby. I found a container I really liked at one of my favorite boutique stores for $6. This made a very large candle and should burn very clean. This will be used for winter power outages but I do have to say it looks nice enough to leave out as decor. It probably cost the same as a ready made store-bought candle but this way I got the beeswax I wanted and the container I wanted so customized if you will. I have 3 more wicks so if I ever find some used beeswax candles at the thrift store, I can make more for gifts. I was gifted 3 small zuchinni so I dried those to use in soups and stews this winter. I was given some apples that I will make into applesauce for the new baby niece in the family. The next one is not frugal at all but doable because we live frugally all the time…we took our son and his girlfriend out to a really nice lunch this weekend. This was the first time we have had time together to get to know her and she couldn’t be a nicer person. Such a blessing.
    I wanted everyone here to know that in past years, I never would have attempted to make my own candle but after reading everyone’s can-do attitudes, it gave me the confidence to go for it and it was a very enjoyable experience, turned out great and now I want to make more for gifts. Thanks to every one of you for being so positive and teaching me so much!!

    1. Kim – So glad to hear you enjoyed pouring beeswax candles. Yours sounds lovely! As a beekeeper, that is one of my favorite things. It is fun to look for interesting containers at thrift shops to make one-of-a-kind candles. I thought I was on to a great business idea when I read somewhere about someone doing just that albeit in rare antique vessels with the prices to match. 🙂 Still, something I could do maybe on a vintage scale and sell in my neighbor’s antique booth. Thanks for the reminder!

    2. Congratulations on your new candle making skills! I agree with you that it is a confidence builder to read about what other people are making and doing. This week has been especially good that way with Brandy’s family reupholstering and Pat’s family installing their own windows.

      1. Elizabeth H.- 51 years with big family and single income taught us that we could either feel deprived over not having things OR we could look at it as a challenge to see how we could DIY, recycle, repurpose or learn a new skill! We have had decades of fun trying new things and discovering talents/skills we might not have ever known we had if we had just had someone else do it for us!

        Here’s a peek at a wooden bench that Hubs just finished today. A dear friend gave us the iron framework. We spray painted it and Hubs bought some unplaned cedar from a small local lumber mill. He then planed it, cut it and routed it to fit the framework. Cost us about $20 for the cedar but I think it was worth it! https://pin.it/3jXu7gs. What do you think?

        Gardenpat in Ohio
        HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    3. Interesting! I started looking into beeswax recently, thinking I would like to start making candles again. Don’t know if I will~Lord knows I don’t need anymore on my “to do” list, lol! Great minds!
      Sidenote: years ago, I made candles and added dried flower petals to the wax. They were very pretty and I gave my mom one. It was all fun and games and girly candles until I was burning one of those candles one evening and I look over to see that the flame was now a “blaze”! I frantically called my mother and told her ominously, “DON’T. LIGHT. THAT. CANDLE!!!”. 😂 Needless to say, lesson learned.

    4. Kim, you might be able to find beeswax from a beekeeper. My cousin’s husband keeps bees and his honey is much in demand (he’s one first prize at state several years). He has a lot of beeswax and makes candles as a hobby. He gives me candles and the wax. My daughter’s friend’s family has bees and gives the beeswax away. It’s worth a try to see if you can source directly from a beekeeper. It has to be “cleaned” but my cousin’s husband told me how to and it wasn’t that difficult.

  19. Brandy: I’ll teach you to fry okra, if you will teach me to bake bread! 🤣 Your cupcakes made my mouth water!

    Need to know the ration of applesauce to oil for baking. Would like to try it.

    Picked my garden today and, surprisingly, still have a goodly amount of veggies! Cleaned out my asparagus bed also. Plan to enlarge it next year.

    Made two dozen cheese biscuits today! So fattening, but so delicious! Also plan to make some Dulce de Leche. It is the nectar of the gods! I keep putting it off, because it is so addictive!

    Been watching all the Queen coverage. What an exemplary life! I have English friends here who were privileged enough to meet her on several occasions and said she was wonderful. They don’t particularly care for Charles. Hope he rises to the occasion. Briton needs some positivity with all that they are facing.

    Plan to go looking for plant bargains this week. Hope I get lucky. Would like to find something to replace the oaks we took out.

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

    1. But I don’t like fried okra 😂

      Just use applesauce in the same amount as oil in the recipe.

  20. Happy Monday.

    I am pretty excited about a couple of frugal wins. I am curvy and have a unique bra size. I have paid between $50 and $90 for them at times since I can easily get neck and back pain if I buy cheaper brands. I ran across this TedTalk from a PHD in lingerie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrxJ-9_qXeM She explained the archaic sizing of bras. She made a great point: no other industry would survive if 80% of the people purchasing the product continued to buy the wrong size. On her website she listed this “sister sizes” chart: https://ibb.co/album/9brhdT. You read the chart diagonally with the matching colors. All those sizes are THE EXACT SAME CUP. The idea is to bring sister sizes in with you to try on because the fit might be better depending on maker. My frugal win is I was able to go on Poshmark consignment and order two, new with tag bras that were sister sizes. One I have to put the hook on the third row and one I set the hook on the second row. I saved $100. I never would have bought these bras because I would have only been looking for my exact bra. When I go to the department store. I will take my chart with me to peruse the sale rack first. The not so frugal fact was her insistence I need to change out the bras every year. That will be tough for me to do.

    I am doing a pantry challenge this month. I had about a cup of oats, dried cranberries, gifted honey that was getting old, and lots of walnut halves. My husband grows walnuts and we get a couple of boxes from the coop every fall. I took the oldest with everything else, used some walnut oil our coop gave as a freebie and made no bake breakfast granola balls with my food processor. I froze the balls and will take them to breakfast at work for two weeks. I was having a cliff bar which I get at Grocery Outlet for 1.00 each. That means I save $10.00. For lunch I have been eating cut up cukes with the .10c 16ounce Sabra hummus I also found at Grocery Outlet.

    Also I found pasta on sale at Grocery outlet for .99 lb. We are empty nesters. It is too many leftovers to cook a pound. I cut open the bags and used my food saver to make 8 ounce bags. This size works great for casseroles in my Airfryer and spaghetti in my Instapot.

    1. That is very interesting!

      I have to agree about not buying new bras every year. That is not an expense I could do when my other bras are still just fine. I have had brands wear out, but the ones I have now are fine.

    2. Brilliant sizing chart! Thank you so much for sharing that, Mary Ann! Can’t tell you how much I have despised bra shopping…

      On another note – there is no such thing as “honey getting old.” As long as the honey is JUST honey with NOTHING added to it, it is pretty much immortal. When it crystallizes, just loosen the lid and set the entire jar in a pan of water as deep as the honey, then warm it until the honey liquifies again. If it’s a large jar, this could take hours, but is quite safe.

  21. Those cupcakes are beautiful. But, I’m really impressed with the cucumbers.
    I worked two days and brought my breakfast and lunch both days. Monday was a holiday, so I did not work. I normally work Monday – Wednesday.
    I dehydrated onions a couple of more times this week. I now have an entire half gallon jar of dehydrated onions, and 4 more trays in the dehydrator.
    Dried 9 trays of basil. The basil jar is now full too. I made Italian seasoning mix. It is just 1 part each basil, oregano and parsley and 1/2 part thyme. That is what we like in our Italian dishes. I made a 12 ounce jar for each of my sons, and replenished my own jar. I also made a batch of cream of chicken soup mix. I mainly use this to “up the flavor” of my home made potato soups and other milk based soups.
    We dug all our yellow onions from the row garden. They are now dried and put away. We ended up with over two bushels.
    A friend gave us 7 bulbs of garlic. We may use some of it for planting.
    We picked tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, corn, chard, onions, peppers, zucchini, green beans and beets. Also picked herbs as needed.
    I ordered and received my quarterly $50 of OTC items from my Medicare Advantage Plan. This quarter I received 20 N-95 masks (just in case), Tylenol, anti-biotic ointment and a supplement that my DH takes.
    Made chicken noodle soup with the broth from our Costco chickens. Used corn from the freezer along with fresh onions from the garden and then carrots and celery. My DH wanted wider noodles with this soup, so I broke up some fettuccine noodles. I always keep the noodles separate from the soup since we don’t care for soggy pasta.
    I had a coupon for $8.00 off meat at Safeway. I went to get bacon for BLTs and BLT pasta. It was $14.97 for 3 pounds, but Safeway considers this meat rather than a deli purchase, so I paid $6.97 for 3 pounds of bacon.
    I cut DH’s hair.
    We gave tomatoes and zucchini to a couple of friends, and I brought some to work for fellow employees.
    Trying to go light with purchases, unless something we need, or a really good deal.
    I am really hoping for some rain. We have terribly smoky air. Can’t even see our foothills.
    Gardenpat – I really want to thank you for pointing me to those Almond Joy cookies. My DH loves them, and bragged about them to his coffee drinking buddies. Now I need to make a batch for him to take to share. 🙂

    1. Nancy in Eastern Washington- the Almond Joy cookies are my husband’s favorites too! He discovered the recipe on Pinterest and wanted to try making them. Only problem is that he can’t have chocolate because it makes his heart go into A-fib! So, for home we substituted butterscotch chips instead of the chocolate! Still a crowd pleaser!!
      So glad he liked them!!

      Gardenpat in Ohio
      HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

  22. So far this month I’ve spent $139 on groceries for our family of 10. I was trying not to spend much, but I felt like I needed to buy some seasonal things while they were available. The $139 included 40# onions, 70# potatoes, 20# apples, 80# pears, and 25# of sugar (to can the pears). Of course there were also a few random things in there too like sesame oil from the discount store and the soda my husband asks for.

    I haven’t bought any household items lately but I will need a few things soon.

    Today we started a re-panelling project. We bought most of what we needed this spring but we’re just now getting to it. My husband stopped to pick up just a couple things and the total was $55. It adds up quickly. But we saved by not buying a tool we needed and borrowed it from a friend instead.

    My husband received a tip at work and he set it aside to be able to take me out for my birthday this weekend. I’m looking forward to it!

  23. Hello All!
    This week I came across an amazing sale at Goodwill. Everything was $2.00 apart from furniture which was half off. I found 14 items of clothing, some of which were new with tags. Included in that was a Banana Republic sweater & a Ralph Lauren sweater which will become gifts for my daughter and son. I also found an Oreck vacuum that still had the parts wrapped in plastic, a tart warmer for my office and 2 vintage Pyrex baking dishes. I am giving my daughter the Oreck as she can use it in her apartment and also the vintage Pyrex because when I sent her a picture she sent back heart eyes with a “so cute” comment. The Pyrex is selling online for about $30 each piece and the vacuum for around $100. So I figure between those items and all the clothing, for $33 I ended up with about $500 worth of items.
    The toilet in our main bathroom started to leak and my husband was able to repair it for under $30.
    My son & daughter no longer live at home however they have bedrooms here. I went through each room and unplugged the lamps, radios, TV, etc. as I learned from this group about “vampire” electronics. I also unplugged our phone & laptop chargers from the outlet when not in use.
    I used 5 off 25 at Dollar General to replenish toilet paper and Tide.
    One of the practices I manage had a catered lunch of Indian food which I love! Saved the lunch I had packed for the next day and enjoyed the free lunch. The next day another office ordered me a chef’s salad which I brought home and hubby and I ate for dinner along with a refrigerator leftover clean out.
    Wishing everyone a frugal week and condolences to our UK friends on the loss of their Queen.

  24. I look forward to this posts and the comments every week. Thanks to everyone for sharing both the frugal ideas and the lovely attitudes.

    My best friend came to spend the day with me on Saturday, and I wanted to make her a meal. I took leftover beef and gravy, tomato soup, and mashed potatoes from the freezer, added home canned green beans, home grown potatoes, some iffy carrots from the vegetable drawer, and a jar of tomato juice and made a delicious soup. With a pone of cornbread and real butter, lunch was delicious. I get such satisfaction from using up things from the freezer. We sent her home with probably 15 pounds of meat from our freezer and four ears of frozen corn. She is such a blessing in my life so I was happy to share with her.

    My daughter and son-in-law treated us to a hot dog takeout dinner last week. It was $51 for the four of us!! I think that’s crazy for hot dogs and fries! They did send about 20 packs of ketchup with the hot dogs, and I squeezed those out into my ketchup bottle in the fridge. Lol Every little bit helps!!

    I mailed a birthday card to a dear friend of my daughter and a get well card to my aunt and uncle who have Covid. These were from my stash.

    I’ve been reading either my own books or books borrowed from the library.

  25. Lovely cupcakes Brandy ! I’m so glad your roses are still blooming they can be so cheerful in the home. I have been canning green beans for weeks! So far we have 82 pints. Also did 44 half pints for the older family members who don’t want more than that amount for their dinner. We will have probably one more picking I am going to pickle in half pints they are so yummy. A friend has Marion berries that they have extra so the next few days I am taking the grandkids to go and pick. Some fun memories while teaching them that the spiders won’t hurt you lol. afterwards we will make some yummy jam. We have been turning the electric hot water tank off at the breakers after showers to save on electricity. Saved warm up water to give plants a drink. Mom had COVID so my sister and I have been helping her with food, laundry and errands. My husband and I put in a wood stove at our house to help with winter heating bills. We will be gleaning wood to add to the cords bought for this purpose. Not only will it’s keep us warm but I can cook on it too when the power is out . Well that’s all I can think of. Have a great week 😊 Gaila in the NW

  26. Wanted to put this out there for everyone to ponder:
    “FYI I work in transportation. If the Rail companies strike next week like they are planning to, be prepared for the cost of goods to sky rocket. Over the road truck(OTR) capacity is already tight but if you take the 100,000 rail containers and now make them OTR it will drive shipping costs sky high. And Fuel will go up because all the oil that was shipped via pipeline is now done via rail. Keep an eye on this.”

    This was from another site I follow that is dedicated to Prepping. Normally I wouldn’t post something like this, but I have seen several mentions on other sites. Never hurts to know what might be coming our way.

    1. My dad works for the railroad (Norfolk Southern) and they are planning on striking next week. But he’s not really concerned. About 3 years ago, the union threatened to strike and when it came down to time for it to happen, the railroad met the demands and the strike never happened. Dad seems to think it will amount to the same thing this time. Fingers crossed that he is right for many, many reasons. Also, I feel like I should mention that not all employees want to strike (dad included) and think it’s ridiculous. If the pay raise demands are met, he will then make more than twice what my husband makes (hubby is a truck driver).

  27. I was thankful for Peacock showing the coverage of the Queen’s passing. It was lovely to hear the tributes and see the video clips. I grew up in England, and now live in CA.
    I made over 20 jars of grape jelly, with free grapes. It was a big push to get it done because I was leaving to visit our children. I also blanched and froze green beans, baked GF and regular treats, and picked collards before I left. I brought tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, jelly and marmalade and cookies to the kids. Also free compost and our old kitchen countertop, which our son had asked for. I mended a thrifted jacket of my daughters. She is building a work wardrobe on a small budget, and doing so well at it.
    I sold another couple items on eBay. I needed another bookcase and found one on FB marketplace for free that exactly matched my other bookcases. It needs some touch up paint, but it’s real wood and fits perfectly.

    I’m a member of Madewell rewards program and I received a $15 off $15 or more coupon. I found a Tshirt that I liked and I paid $1.60 out of pocket. This is a good brand and often pricier, so I was very pleased. I dislike shopping, so I’m always short of clothes.

  28. Your cupcakes are as lovely as the roses!
    *We’ve been eating up all of last year’s food in the freezer and completed this task by cooking the 19lb. turkey I got last Fall for 49 cents/lb. I froze much of it in 1 lb. packages so this will last us quite a while. Made bone broth from the carcass and froze that, as well. The dog and the cats got all the tiny bits I picked off the bones so they were happy, too.
    *Cut up old T-shirts for use as rags. Removed and saved buttons for future use.
    *Searched through my boys’ to-grow-into bin of thrifted clothes and found a few more things they can wear this Fall and Winter. Love shopping at home!
    *We joined a brand new homeschool co-op which had its first meeting last week. It is comprised of only 7 families (but many kids) so it should be easy to get to know those we do not know yet. The cost is only $20 for the year which I think is very reasonable for all that is planned. The route to the church where it is held takes us through the town where we typically do our grocery shopping and that which normally has the least expensive gas so we will take advantage of being in that area once per week. Combining errands is crucial when you live in a rural area.
    *Continuing on with my interior painting tasks with materials on-hand which we bought with a discount. So grateful I actually like doing this kind of work but the fact it has been saving us so much money is reason alone to do it ourselves.
    *Spent time swimming in the river with friends. Free and fun to get as many swims in as possible before the water gets too chilly.
    *My son’s snowboard goggles broke last year beyond repair. We discovered one of his pairs of dirt bike goggles will do just fine so no need to buy another pair. Substitution is another of our frugal tactics. 🙂
    *Sowed spinach seeds for a Fall/Winter crop. It does well here if covered and, I think, tastes a bit better than that grown in Spring.
    *Looking through some things I have not been using, I discovered a vintage tin that I know a dear friend would enjoy owning and would look lovely in her kitchen. Her birthday is this week so I will bake her some treats and put them in the tin. I think she will be pleased.
    *Listed a few things my youngest son has outgrown for sale on line. Every little bit helps. Also gave a few things to a younger friend of my boys. We have gratefully accepted so many hand-me-downs over the years and often know everyone who had them. It’s fun to think we are the 3rd or 4th family to use these items. My boys wear things out so we are often the last of the line. 🙂
    *As the daylight hours continue to shorten, I remember Benjamin Franklin’s sage advice “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I learned many years ago that the wealthy portion of that referred, in part, to the expense of candles. If one stayed up late one burned more candles and, thus, spent more money. The same could be said today of electricity. So, we begin to think more about turning in earlier, limiting the turning on of lights and, yes, using candles sparingly. Doing so helps us feel more a part of the natural rhythm of things and saves us money.
    *At long last, I finished “Lilac Girls.” Good thing no one else needed this copy at the library as I think I had it 5 weeks. I have read so much about WWII but this book had such a unique viewpoint from the 3 main characters. I know it was recommended here so thank you. I learned a lot.
    *Wishing everyone a lovely week!

    1. Mountain Mama Dawn, I always enjoy your comments, and the ideas you share. I also do my best to combine errands when I’m going to town, as we live rurally. Going to bed earlier is something I’ve been working on, to coincide with the seasons, but also because I’ve learned our bodies do their most healing/repairing between 10 & 2, more so when we’re sleeping.

  29. What a pretty color😍 Blush is my “signature” color~I LOVE it!
    I may have asked this before but is there a way to “like” (to acknowledge) a comment on here? I saw where you responded to my question about the colors and fabric types of the blouse on the last post Miss Brandy, and SO appreciate it, but don’t always like to keep commenting, in case you or others feel the need to acknowledge the comment. (I worked as a directory assistance telephone operator (where’s the dinosaur emoji? 😄) back in the day, and we were trained to acknowledge EVERYTHING a customer said. EVERYTHING! That has carried over with me to this day and I feel a certain amount of guilt when I don’t acknowledge each and every response/text etc., no matter how brief or seemingly inconsequential. I know it’s not the way of the world nowadays. Add to that, I am also very big into manners as well. Double whammy to my emotions when I feel I’m not livin’ up to those standards. #callmeoldfashioned 😂)

    1. I would really like to “like” your comment, TJ! 🙂 Good manners are so refreshing these days! And responses to any type of communication seems to be rare!

  30. How nice to get your dining room chairs all fixed up. You and your husband are always doing something creative. This week I got the smallest bit of food preservation done. It is a big improvement compared to other years since I had Covid. I didn’t rest after I was sick, helped someone pack to move a couple of weeks after I was too sick to get out of bed without help. I was dizzy but kept going. I am still dragging with fatigue two years later. So after not doing much food preservation for a while, I was pleased this week to freeze about 20 pounds of tomatoes, can a couple dozen pints of peaches, dehydrate a few freezer bags full of peaches and pears, and freeze a few little freezer cartons of cut up avocados that I got for $1 each. I made some of the peaches I considered to be of inferior quality but with a good strong flavor into juice. Then I used the peach juice to cover the gorgeous Cresthaven peaches I was given. I hope I didn’t ruin their wonderful flavor. I peeled the peaches first, so I could use the peach pulp from making juice. I froze the pulp to use as sauce on pancakes and waffles. I didn’t put any flavoring in it. The inferior peaches were hard to skin, and I ended up washing the peaches and peeling them with a peeler. It didn’t work to dip them in boiling water and slip the skins. The skins wouldn’t slip. They were from Fred Meyer. I checked to make sure they were a freestone peach, but I never thought about the peeling issue. I learn something every time I try something. I didn’t end up with as much product compared to how much I used to can/freeze/dehydrate when the kids were all home, but it felt good to make a little bit of homemade goodies for winter. Speaking of getting ready for winter, does anyone know of a farm to buy lentils, garbanzo beans, and other dried beans by the bag. With prices rising we are relying more and more on legumes and whole grains for high quality basic nutrition and splurging on fruit and vegetables to make our meals colorful and interesting and add great vitamins and minerals. For one meal when all the kids were home, I made red lentil dal and served it over cooked brown rice. I made a big vegetable salad and cooked some on sale corn-on-the-cob. I had some Olive Garden dressing I bought because one son especially likes it. Most of the rest of the family do not like any salad dressing on their salad. I bought two Instant Pots for our daughter when she was working so many hours. She cooks a legume in one, and a grain in the other one. It saves her a lot of time. I have been checking Goodwill for another one for myself. Our little lettuce and kale plants are still struggling along in their trough. I would like to start growing micro-greens. I could grow sprouts, also. I was pleased to find another 25% sale on athletic shoes at Fred Meyer (Kroger) today, so I called my daughter and checked sizes for our granddaughters. I took pictures of the shoes Freddies had in their sizes, and they told me which they wanted over the phone. They would have to drive about sixty-five miles to find good stores for shoe shopping, so this helped them save money. We will see them next weekend when we go to a wedding, so if the shoes don’t work out, we can return them soon. We are thankful for a little rain last night which rained down the smoke particles from a 86,000 acre forest fire. Some people are evidently struggling with where to go when they have to evacuate. The fairgrounds and the community college parking lot are supposedly available. My son came home from work to find a young man sitting on the stairs to his apartment with two small water bottles. The young man asked for water, so my son gave him a container of water and filled the bottles. The young man was riding a bicycle to where he said he had a job waiting. We feel blessed here.

    1. Elizabeth H.

      Regarding bulk purchases of lentils etc – I’ve purchased through Palouse Brand in the past (https://www.palousebrand.com/ ) and been quite happy with their quality. They have a pop-up that gives you a coupon for your first order if you sign for their emails as well as bulk rates and currently free shipping.

      1. Thank you for the information about Palouse Farm. I’ll check into that. I have heard that Washington grows legumes.

    2. The way that I buy bulk beans is through azurestandard.com. They have routes throughout much of the country. They have drop off points where you meet the truck. The shipping is very reasonable that way. I know that they also ship. (If you meet the truck, there is no flexibility. I met the truck today at 8:00. The stop for me is just 15 minutes away.). You could call them and see if they have a drop near you. In our area, the truck comes once a month.

  31. -We picked our Zestar apples. This tree had quite a few apples, our other three trees are pretty sparse this year. I canned 8 pints of applesauce. And started two 2 gallon jars of ACV.
    -I was just given 3 flats of tomatoes. Just starting to turn. What a blessing as mine did not set many, too much rain during bloom time. I canned 8 half pints and 1 pint of barbecue sauce; 9 half pints and 1 pint of sloppy joe sauce; 6 pints of tomato sauce; and 4 pints of chili.
    -Picked up my ordered 50# of pears. They need to ripen a bit. It will be busy next week!
    -I finished my third beaded cross stitch snowman ornament. I have one more to do this one is a sheep. These are kits I have had for several years and I am glad I got them completed.
    -I took down my summer decor and put up my fall decor. I keep decreasing what I have each year as it is a lot to store.
    -It is beginning to feel like fall here, cooler temps and lower humidity. We are about 2-3 weeks from a frost. Trees are just starting to turn. I made beef stew in the crock pot, it is one of those comfort meals that is perfect for cooler weather and stretches the meat.
    -Creative use for leftovers: After 2 meals of stew we had some gravy and a few chinks of meat, carrots and potatoes. I cut the chunks up smaller. Cooked some egg noodles, mixed the meat and gravy with it, threw in some cheese. Put rest of a package of tortilla chip bits on top and baked it. 2 nice servings for supper.
    -I did some mending.

    Have a great week!

  32. I smiled at the beautiful cupcakes that matched the rose! Well done ;). Nothing is as simple as it looks so I hope it wasn’t too hard to match the color! Last week, my husband replaced a blown circuit breaker, then we had hot water and a clothes dryer again. Yeah! Only the cost of the circuit breaker! Our air conditioning unit at the bedroom end of the house is still broken, we await parts. Living in Phoenix, many homes have two AC systems….right now, our high temps are down to only 105 during the day, so that end of the house is now 80, even with two sets of fans blowing cooler air down the hallway. While I am fine keeping the house warm during the day to save money, I love love love cooler temps for sleeping so normally keep the ac set at 75-76 for sleep. Electric rates drop after 7 so it doesn’t cost a lot. So sleeping at 80+ has been a challenge, but we still get to sleep…I hope parts arrive this week. Parts are covered under warranty but labor is not, so we expect $300 or so ;(. Otherwise, I continue to be very concerned about inflation and supply chain problems so have been deepening our pantry. I still hope to ferment my very first sauerkraut this week ;). Prayers and best wishes to those in Europe and the UK facing crazy prices and utility bills!

  33. Hello All,
    I can’t get over the delicate pink color for your frosting. Did you use a Wilton color or just a generic food coloring? I’m impressed with the vinyl project. We have 4 bar backed swivel stools that my 7 cats have destroyed. We are considering trying to recover them with a heavier canvas type material. I’ll have to google/you tube some ideas. I had just recently discovered you could buy rolls of that vinyl what a game changer. I’m deep in the shelftember challenge trying to eat down the pantry and freezer and only spend $25 a week on groceries. It’s really resetting my grocery spending. It also has motivated me to get back into the Garden since a pint of cherry tomatoes here on Guam is $6.50. I harvested bananas and mangoes this week. I made bread, yogurt, banana bread, and pumpkin cookies.

    1. I used some generic gel color. I don’t even know where I got it; I saw it in the drawer and don’t even remember buying it 😆 (maybe my mom gave it to me? I don’t know). It’s maybe 3 or 4 drops of red and a drop of yellow.

  34. Hi Brandy!
    I ordered some coats for gifts using your amazon links. I hope you get credit for them. I was tempted to buy an apron too. I love that rose apron that you have as a link! I love roses! Frugal things include thrifting and getting a beautiful blue dress with the tag still on it for 2 dollars! It was never worn! I also found a sweater jacket to wear over it for a $1.50! I was thrilled! Someone my size leaves clothes at a thrift shop I love. So we go there once in awhile. I seem to always find something really nice for so little expenditure! We have been doing lots of cooking at home. We turn off lights when not in use. We love to use the internet for entertainment and information. My husband bought me a Scofield study system red letter New King James Version Bible. I love it! I love that it refers me to other verses that pertain to the verse I am reading! Before, I would try to remember the other verses on my own and find them. This Bible is very helpful! My husband pickled spiced crab apples. Yum! I ate a jar of them yesterday. We might pick more this week and make crabapple jelly and crab apple butter. We used our own tomatoes and peppers this week in meals. We are using what we have on hand except that we did buy 2 5lb. packages of potatoes for 99 cents each. We also got two containers of cottage cheese for 99 cents each. Potatoes will be on the menu this week. My son just told me I should say that my husband made excellent enchiladas this week. He is requesting them again.

  35. This week has been consumed with harvesting the garden. Every year I have a crazy spring and I think, “There!! Done for another year.” Somehow I forget that mid August starts the harvesting and processing, which is even more work! We have purchased only milk because everything else is fresh produce and a protein from the freezer or eggs from our chickens. It makes for a very small grocery bill and I am setting aside the usual money budgeted for groceries to buy in bulk when the holiday specials on butter and the like start up. I want to get two turkeys this year.

    Took care of a bunch of medical appointments, like a dexa scan for bone density for me and a colonoscopy for the husband. Our deductible is paid so I want to get these out of the way this year. Our dentist informed people he is going to have to raise his prices, so we are going get our dental cleanings done this year, too, before the prices go up. Doesn’t seem frugal but it will save us money in the long run.
    Started making cards for Christmas. A friend is very accomplished so I am going to her house once a week and making cards with her. She is homebound, so she says she appreciates the company. She is in her 80s and her friends have died off one by one.
    Used the library for a new puzzle (brought one of our puzzles to leave at the exchange table) and several books. I jsut cannot get into audiobooks. My attention starts wandering to whatever else i am going. If I sit in my chair to listen, the voice lulls me to sleep. Plus I rather like the smell and texture of a nice hefty book.

  36. Not a lot going on here.I did save the pulp from making the hot sauce 2 times over the past couple weeks. I dehydrated some last week and finally got around today to crushing it in my food processor. Wow it made a half a pint of hot pepper sprinkles. I dehydrated more today but it’s not done yet will continue tomorrow should get a pint from this batch. Following Jessica’s Every Bit Counts on you tube she was the one who inspired me to try this. Still picking up movies and books from the library and resisting temptation to go to the thrift store though I did take books and clothes to donate to Goodwill. We have been having at least one meatless meal a week rice and bean burritos the past 2 weeks with cheese very good. I baked home made oatmeal raisin cookies yesterday. We’ve had off and on rain the past couple days so I’ve been line drying clothes in the basement and on clothing racks as much as I can and continuing to avoid using the dryer and keeping lights turned off when we aren’t in the room.

  37. ”To match the cupcakes with my roses”! I think that is my new motto – on the practical level as well as in more philosophical sense! Thank you Brandy! Last week I made my signature cold remedy (a medieval recipe using fresh ginger, red wine and honey) for the winter and the first batch of sauerkraut + the ”normal” stuff 🙂

    1. Would you mind sharing your cold remedy please but can the red wine be substituted with something? Than you from a little town in Alberta Canada

      1. Hi Debbie, as usual a medieval recipe isn’t so much about ingredients as it is about a method. I guess I’d use black currant juice in lieu of wine ( it’s rich in vitC), but I’d prefer it undiluted and unsweetened – such juice is sold over here or you could just puree black currants and put the mass through a mesh sieve. Anyway, I am not sure if the wine is there just for color… The method: Peel and chop ginger roots roughly. (I like to have them julienne style). Cover with red wine for 3 days and 3 nights. Drain and save the wine (it’s excellent with hot water and honey). Cover the ginger with honey, mix and let dissolve. Refridgerate covered. Mine keeps well into April. Take a couple of pieces and/or a spoonful of liquid when needed, preferably when you first think you might have caught a cold. A moderate amount of pieces give a nice kick in fruit cakes or plain bundt cakes. Greetings from a medieval aficionado!

  38. I’m impressed how well you matched that color to the rose, it’s perfect!
    * mostly I’ve been indoors do to the heatwave here in CA
    * been saving household water to put on plants, but some days it was too hot to venture out given heat and I don’t mix well. More so after I got covid.
    *combined a dr visit with picking up an free ship to store MS imprint leaf cookie cutters on clearance for $7 at Macys.
    * A friend is moving and downsizing, so was gifted a few items from her: A beautiful vintage 1930s clock will go on my mantel. Some hand painted porcelain drawer pulls. 13 gold chargers (she has at least the same amount she kept – we’ll share) to use w formal place settings. Some cutters from when she scraped booked. Three vintage copper pieces, a pan and two pitchers. A few trays and baskets, but my favorite item is her mother’s 1940’s vintage juice press. I’d been looking for something like it for about two weeks thinking I can’t bring myself to buy juice in plastic containers anymore. So, super excited to get this, plus love having an item that was her moms.

  39. Brandy,
    I bought a stove top popcorn popper a few weeks back, the stainless steel one that you had linked. It was on sale and is much higher quality than the aluminum one that I had previously. We love it! Thank you for your blog! It’s a gift!

  40. Hello from the Midwest!
    I don’t really have a lot to post because I was very unproductive last week. I was taking a med for my cough and I kept waking up at 2-3am and couldn’t go back to sleep. That left me staggering all day. I did manage to get my regular chores done so I’m not complaining too much. I feel much better and the coughing has considerably slowed. I also made dinner every night and put some extra meals into the freezer.

    As for my reading, I am finishing up the ones I listed last week and I’ll have some new ones next week. We’re watching season 5 of Father Brown. Love it!

    1. Dear Debby, I hear you! getting up and not able to go back to sleep is perhaps my ”worst case scenario”, I really need my sleep. But, I think you were not unproductive at all last week, I think you were comparing apples to oranges 😉 We do our best with the resources we have – and the resources are not the same every day. With coughing and too little sleep you did very well with your chores and meals in my opinion! I am happy to hear you are feeling better! Love, Miriam

  41. This week I went to a weekend course on forest gardening – very interesting! It was around 30 miles away, so not within my biking distance! But a friend was going too, and she gave me a lift. I offered to pay her something for the gas, but she wouldn´t hear of it. I gave her some bulbs from a hardneck garlic type, that is very good, but hard to find in the shops – ‘Estonian red’. I can really recommend this variety for cool climates. The bulbs and cloves are HUGE even under these conditions where other garlic varieties tend to produce small bulbs unless it is a very warm summer.
    A friend of mine gave me a book on dehydrating that she wasn´t using. It looks very interesting – rhubarb slices with honey and polkadot fruitleather looks good, and there are also recipies on drying meat and dishes like beef stew, that I might try out. My husband goes hiking in Sweden a couple of times a year, and he always buys dehydrated food to minimize weight. It is quite expensive, and I might try to make some myself next time.
    I mended a pair of shorts for my son.
    I called my doctor to get a referral to a physiotherapist, which means I will pay less.
    I made a nice beef stew with meat from the freezer – we bought 20 kg grassfed beef a while ago, and this meat will last us for long. I always make a lot more sauce than the recipe says for the same amount of beef (about double), so we get many more meals out of the same amount of meat. I made enough for four nice dinners of which two went into the freezer.
    I´ve collected a lot of seeds lately – for beans, lettuce, snow peas, tomatoes, snack pepper, welsh onions, dill, black salsify and some other perennial vegetables. I always try to collect more than I need myself, so I can swap seeds with others or give some as presents.

  42. Found a new use for my apron – protecting my clothes while sanding and doing remodeling work.

    In my house clean out/ renovation, I found a collection of gift cards in a drawer.

    Put together my new bed frame and headboard and managed to acquire more storage space beneath the bed. I gifted the old box springs and frame to charity. I still have a couple of cabinets that will go to charity once we dig far enough into the mess to move them.

    Hung the new (to me) laundry room cabinets. Despite having 3 different door styles, they don’t look too bad after a good scrub. I installed 3 new outlets with USB outlets in the bedroom and kitchen and reused the old ones in the laundry room.

    All my spending (shudder) for the renovations has been put on a card with airline miles (and paid off promptly). I used a free ticket to go home for Labor Day and have enough miles left for 2 + round trips anywhere in the world… and I still have 2 bathrooms, the loft, a bedroom, and a master closet to go!

    Saved by eating at home from the pantry and freezers and generally being too exhausted between work and renovations to do or go anywhere else .

    1. Jennifer – I am enjoying hearing about your frugal renovations since we are still in the throes of finishing the inside of the house we built ourselves. Sounds like you are making great progress! I had to laugh at myself when reading you wear an apron during your sanding and other dirty work. I think you must look a lot better than me! I wear one of two sets of coveralls I found under my porch after some of our subs were here during the construction (I asked if they wanted them back and they said no, can you believe?) I wear one set for painting tasks and one for anything else as I am almost guaranteed to get anything I am doing on me even if it is a short task. Keep thinking of all the money you’re saving and how your home will be so “you” when completed. Best wishes!

      1. I wonder when coveralls went out of style. I remember the men in my family all showing up in their blue/grey coveralls when a project needed doing. They’d make a mess on those and then come in for lunch in their clean street clothes. It makes sense! I have what I call my “cleaning uniforms” that I wear for doing the bathrooms and anything else that’s a dirty job! When I’m done, I put a pretty house dress on and fix my hair so I don’t scare anyone!!!

        1. 1 am terrible about wiping my hands off on my clothes and touching my face, so even with the apron, I end up with crap in my hair and on my face.

          I used to have coveralls. I burned them after having to crawl under the house – between the dirt, the soot (from a long past fire) ,and the carcasses of dead animals/insects/ etc I stripped out of them and burned them.

  43. As I mentioned late last week, I have been watching the news and religious ceremonies saying goodbye to our Queen Elizabeth II. I found the service this morning in Belfast particularly moving. (on YouTube, ITV News). I had never heard the Gaelic blessing and loved it very much.

    I now have my pantry restocked with lentils — 40 cans and I will start making my own lentil soup, lasagne, loaf, etc. It replaces meat for me. Two different friends have helped me stock up – the cans were on sale for $1 each
    reduced from $1.79. Yesterday I spent $58 and saved $29.00. I have a few other things to stock for the pantry.

    I am replacing one of the pots that was “disposed of” when I was in the hospital. I’m getting a stainless steel stockpot on sale for $39.99 reduced from $169.00. It is not as high quality as the Lagostina stockpot that was “recycled” but will enable me to sterilize cans again at the same time as I make jams or jellies.

    I am trapped in the bedroom with the air cleaner machine on because of the forest fire smoke from British Columbia. It is not as terrible as in Vancouver, B.C. but still bad enough. I hope it disappears soon so I can continue my sorting outside of my late friend’s papers and get on with my own things. My home is not “air tight” so
    the other rooms are not great without air filtering machines.

    1. I bought another six cans of those lentils and also added some more red kidney beans – they were all out of the black beans!
      Hope the smoke dissipates soon.

      1. Margie from T.O.
        Yes, several stores had the canned lentils on sale! Just wanted to mention that No Frills (at least in the west)
        has a ten pound bag of russet potatoes, carrots, or yellow onions, or beets for $4.49 each. Superstore has the same special but with a limit of 2 while No Frills has no limit. It is part of my revised budgetary plan to buy a bag of each. Soup and stew making here I come! Safeway in YYC also has some good specials this week. Mini carrots, peeled, for $1. And some of their meat specials are ok, too.

  44. It was another frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I found cleats in a box of hand-me-downs and shin guards from last year for the boys.
    Packed snacks and water bottles for the volleyball games my oldest daughter played in. While it would have been easy to get fast food on a late night, I brought the kids home, and fried some eggs to eat over leftover rice, as I have put off going to the store and we were low on groceries. It was filling and the kids were fed, so I’ll call that a win. Hoping to prep food for other late night practices this week; there’s no way I can spend $$$ on fast food frequently to feed all these hungry kids!
    I sold a few things on Mercari. Cash in, junk out!
    I picked out some clothes for younger daughter from a bag of hand-me-downs my sister passed to us.
    Church had a meal that I didn’t know about, free to all, so we stayed and ate there. What a treat not having to cook! I used what we had been planning to eat for another meal.
    I bought a Sam’s rotisserie chicken, which we got 2 meals from.
    I got some free college promotional items, but I gave them out to my students, as I have plenty of insulated cups already, and don’t need any fidget spinners. 🙂
    I’m researching a way to buy an additional $5k in I-bonds by overpaying my income taxes. Otherwise, the limit would be $10k per single or $20k per joint tax return, as I understand it. This pays way more than CDs would, although it’s less liquid. At least my emergency fund can earn some interest!
    I started a cash envelope saving for birthdays. I have two children with Dec birthdays and one with a Jan birthday, plus Christmas is right between them, so that is a very expensive time of year for us. Having some extra money will make it easier. Having extra money probably makes everything easier, right?
    Lots of simple meals at home, packed lunches, and free entertainment.
    Hope everyone is doing well!

    1. Leigh Ann, thank you for mentioning I-bonds. I will look into this. My biggest thank-you is for mentioning taxes, period. I had completely forgotten that quarterlies are due Sept. 15!

  45. My dil was in a nearby town and planning to go to the Walmart there, which is the only spot I’ve found selling 25# bags of flour. I asked her to pick me up 2 of them, which she very graciously did. That was a timely restock as we go through close to 5# of flour every 10 days or so since I make bread and goodies from scratch. Same dil made a trip to a grocery another day and asked if I needed anything. I requested the only item I knew I needed, a bag of onions. Not the cheapest price at that store but by the same token, a savings in gasoline and time for us, so I was grateful to accept her offer.

    We don’t have take out options in our area, especially come supper/dinner time, only for breakfast or lunch. I’ve been keeping my almost 3yr old grandson a lot more lately due to a family crisis and needed easy dinner options. I’ve spent the past two Mondays in the kitchen making as many meals ahead as I can for those days when I’ll have him. I keep about a week’s worth of meals in the fridge and then can reheat in oven or microwave as needed.

    I’ve been slowly using up items that I had gone through my cupboards and freezers and found. Things I kept skipping using, like kale (going into anything where a bit of green won’t be remiss), and odds and ends like the leavings in a bag of shredded wheat cereal (Ranger cookies got those). Biggest thing was discovering I had a sealed can of coffee that expired in September 2021. I was upset that I’d forgotten it but decided on a whim to open it and start using it. It’s great! My husband has insisted on our using k-cups which are pricey yes, but I’ve had a price point of 30c a cup and I’ve tried hard to be there or lower. However, coffee k-cups are up and my most recent upcoming order listed the cups at 40c each. I went online to check the current price of the same size can of coffee. 4c a cup at todays price. Informed hubby we’re making a switch as of now. I have two cans of regular and 1 decaf on my pantry shelves and I will be replacing with same brand in future. We’ll be saving nearly $60 a month at present price of k-cups.

    Due to the family crisis I’ve not done much shopping online or in hardscape stores so that’s a savings. I am using my pantry/freezer and cupboards to carry us through. Just as well, since we are using more gasoline in picking up grandson most days. Was glad to see it drop below $3 a gallon here.

    In a spare moment here this past week, I completed shelling out that five pound bag of pecans that I’ve had in my kitchen for months. I netted two quarts of nut meats from those pecans, minus enough to bake a pie. Sitting right there in the kitchen the whole while…

    There’s so much going on in our lives at present and I am really feeling the pressure of all the fear I’ve let build up over food and utilities and such over the last few months. I’ve found it necessary to remind myself that while I’m frugal by nature, I will NOT operate in fear. I will be a good steward of all that comes into my household but I will not fret over what might happen. Nine tenths of the things I worry over never happen…and it’s things like an accident that alters a whole group of lives that DO happen and which we must get through best as we can. My frugal ways will HELP but it won’t alter a thing except to relieve something that might have caused additional stress.

    Everyone, keep sharing. Your posts help so much in so many ways. Thanks to Margaret’s comment, I remembered that yesterday I had put bread crumbs to dry and I’d had to leave home before I could put them in a jar. I was reading her comment when that pinged in my brain and I went to the kitchen to put them up in my container right away. A small thing, but a savings that mightn’t have been a completed one if I hadn’t been reading here.

    1. I bought reusable k-cups so I could buy bulk coffee (so very much cheaper, as you say!) and still use the Keurig. They work great and have the added bonus of not going in the landfill.

    2. Hi Terri C from another Terri!
      If you husband just likes the convenience of the K cups, you can purchase a reusable one and fill it with your coffee!

    3. Terri C. I found your comment so helpful and encouraging. I have been trying to work through all of those extras that I bypass for convenience. (Actually tonight I threw together a quick soup with leftovers…many from that freezer. That was actually easier than a normal meal.) But I can relate to so much of what you said down to the kale and the pecans in their shells! I feel like I need to quit going out so much and concentrate on not wasting what we already have! Thank you. p.s. I agree with Brandy about what you said about fear too.

    4. My hubby uses k-cups and as much as I would like to not have the expense of them, I keep my mouth shut and leave it alone because he is disabled and it allows him the freedom and independence of being able to make himself a cup of coffee when he wants one. The alternative would be that he would have to depend on me to make his every cup of coffee, and he already hates that he has to depend on me for so many other things. I offset the expense by making my coffee with my French press (after my pour over broke. rip little pour over😢). Full disclosure (as they say) though…I am a bit of a coffee snob my darn self and so the coffee I drink could be less pricey, but it’s not and so I only (bulk) buy it when I can catch it on sale. But it’s still cheaper than k-cups. I have found, by accident, that I don’t mind using a less expensive coffee when I make my cold brew though, so I will usually use a ginormous can o’ store brand coffee for that.

  46. Your cupcakes are absolutely gorgeous!! I had a few frugal wins this week, but I did go a little overboard on a planned purchase. Some things I did frugally this week:

    – I wanted to read Dave Ramsey’s new book Baby Steps Millionaire and almost ordered a copy. I then remembered I had about a week left on my Scribd membership I canceled the renewal on. I was able to listen to the audio version through Scribd without spending more money.
    – I had two soaker hoses in the garden that ripped when pulling them out of the summer garden. I was able to order a 3/8″ hose repair kit and rejoined them back together in the middle. Good as new now!
    -I was also looking at buying some more soaker hoses for use in watering trees, but I think I found a YouTube video to make a tree soaker system using a 5 gallon bucket. Might be a cheaper alternative.
    – I had to go into the city for doctor appointments; both buildings are relatively close and both have valet. Normally, I would go park twice (once at each building), but I left my vehicle at one building and utilized their skybridge to access the other building. I was afraid I’d get lost, but I had plenty of time and saved $14 dollars by not moving to the new building. Turns out I didn’t get lost and I got a little exercise.
    – Resisted the urge to make a new recipe which would’ve required a trip to the store to purchase the ingredients. Instead I’m opting to make something from what I have on hand at home. Less food waste and less money spent.

  47. BJ’s had a $3 off coupon for the 25 pound bags of rice. I got 4. They came to 38¢ a pound. I told several friends and family and several of them did it too. Hubby and my FIL went upstate to go apple picking. They were $1.25 a pound which is less then half the price by our house. They got a little over 200 pounds. The dehydrator has been going. Not many are getting canned but that is OK. This weekend we will make apple sauce and can it. I have one can left from last year so we just made it. It has rained 3 days this week so I haven’t needed to water the garden. The temps have cooled off so the AC has been off and windows are open. Figs are finally ready. I have been picking a handful every other day. They are being enjoyed fresh. The garden is still giving us lots of lettuce, tomatoes, string beans, swiss chard, beets, carrots, peppers, celery, and eggplants. My second planting of yellow squash started giving me squash. The fall plants are popping through. My son took my car to work with him for an inspection. His boss told him it was on the house. I sent homemade cookies in the next day. I made challah bread and pizza this week, I love my bread machine. A friend and I dropped off a load of stuff to the local church thrift store. I got a cast iron pan for $4 and some Halloween decorations for my daughter’s house. I signed up for a few library classes. We used the free library Empire State park pass on a nice day.

  48. I love the cupcakes as well! Simple and sweet. Here are my frugal accomplishments for this past week:
    – I pulled out all the winter and fall clothing in my girls sizes and sorted it. We try on a few things every day to determine what will work for this next season. What doesn’t work or what they do not like is listed on FB Marketplace. I’ve sold several items already. Anything that doesn’t sell gets added to a bin for Once Upon A Child, a kids resale store that pays cash on the spot for kids items they select. I usually go twice a year.
    – After looking through everything I decided they had everything they needed with the exception of some dress shoes for my oldest.
    – I ordered one child’s Halloween costume, she wanted something very specific that I would not be able to find through resale. And purchased the other daughter’s costume from FB Marketplace. I went through my costumes and gave away the ones that were too small on Buy Nothing and not worth selling. I sold two others making $23 that I put towards the new ones.
    – I purchased great loss leaders at one store – .99/lb pork butt, .99 dozen eggs (limit 2) and .99/lb boneless chicken breast (limit 5 lbs). I have also been working the Ibotta offers and bonuses for very low cost groceries and some great school supplies to put up for future years.
    – It’s my birthday month and the free offers and coupons have been rolling in. I’ve used two so far on items I was already planning on purchasing.
    – Until the end of the year, each month has some added expenses. So I wrote up a three week meal plan for the rest of September from items on hand and did one big shopping trip for any items needed. I stopped at Aldi versus Walmart and compared prices when I got home. I found I saved 17% at Aldi, but I also recognize they don’t always have everything I need. I plan on only purchasing perishables and loss leaders during the next few weeks.
    -I’m currently on a free trial with Instacart and they sent me $20/$40 for my next two shops. I decided to go ahead and use them for Aldi pickup to avoid the tip etc and stock up on some items while spending the same budget I already had scheduled.
    – I check out books and DVDs from the library for my kids and myself. While there, I picked up a bag from the city’s department of Emergency Preparedness and in it was an windshield ice scraper, bandaids and small battery operated light.
    – From my Buy Nothing Group I have picked up a cute piece of fall decor that went with items I already had and a full bottle of Jet Dry. I love my group and try to use the rule of gifting one item for everyone I receive.

    1. Emily, I love that guideline for Buy Nothing. I joined our local group a couple years ago, and I thought it would be fun and interesting to keep track of all that I give and receive. In those two years, I have given away nearly 50 items, and I have received about a dozen. I am grateful for the forum to both pass on and be passed on to!

  49. Those cupcakes are beautiful! You do such lovely work, Brandy!
    My husband has been off camping for the last two weeks. He did a marvelous job to do it frugally and is more than ready to be back to his bed, he said! He packed snacks and meals for the first few days and then cooked once he got to his site. He had a senior pass to the National Park he went to, so it was free, he had bought the pass years ago. My husband left me a trail of notes with scripture and encouraging quotes housed in new canning jars all over the house. He is a great gift giver!
    My sister came into town for a few days and then my daughter came for the weekend and we ate all meals at home. We had a birthday celebration for my daughter, who is single, with some of my other kids and grandkids. I made a pork carnitas meal, with a 7 layer dip with all free ingredients except the pinto beans I had cooked up, lettuce, tomato and applesauce I had made for free. I found some cookie sheets and kitchen towels for a great price, potted up a jade plant from mine, some socks she needed and free kitchen utensils I had gotten. She was very happy. I had free kitchen towels that my sister took for another sister’s birthday next week.
    My neighbor left 4 more 5 gallon buckets of Black Arkansas apples(they are great keepers), some Red Delicious and Ginger Golds. I have made more sauce, leather and dried fruit. I am loving the jam recipes that don’t use pectin, the savings add up! Sugar is on sale, limit two bags, so I will get two more. I am wondering what may happen with the railroad situation and how that could impact the country. I am thankful to be stocked up and pray they can reach a solution!
    Have a blessed week ladies and keep the frugal ideas coming!

  50. We harvested a lot of concord and Niagara grapes from our vines. We shared some, eat them fresh and may try making some wine. We have grape jam from the wild grapes a few weeks ago. We also have had zucchini/squash in pretty much every meal, even chocolate zucchini cake. We also picked kale, tomatoes, herbs, peppers and beans. I make sourdough, kids don’t like the crust, so I cut it off and it goes into a bags in the freezer. Perfect bread crumbs.
    I am an early morning runner and ordered several safety items like pepper spray gel. I used some kohl’s cash from a watch to buy some sale tank tops and another Dutch oven to be able to bake 2 loaves of bread at once.
    We were given more hand me downs for kids, I sorted and gave more items to friends. Also found some Halloween costumes that I should be able to clean up.
    Went to a networking event. Ate some snacks and skipped out on dinner that night. I found some apples and apricots on clearance.
    I ordered the previous edition of a book for my class, it was $5 instead of $150.

  51. Hi Brandy,
    I used your French bread recipe yesterday! First time I have ever made bread without a bread machine ;). It worked fairly well, I believe my yeast (which I keep in the fridge) needed to sit out to warm up longer, so the bread rose but not as much as it should. Next time I will set the yeast out for an hour or two to make sure it is room temperature. Your instructions were excellent and answered all my questions so thank you for being so thorough.

    1. I pull my yeast from the fridge. The temperature in the room where you are rising the bread is important; if the room is col, I have noticed that my bread takes longer to rise. I would just let it rise longer.

    2. I keep my yeast in the fridge too.
      I used to joke that if I didn’t have a bread maker, then I would NOT make bread. Then I discovered a no knead recipe 😒. So, when my last breadmaker died, I had no excuse, lol (a girl can try😈/😇). I still use that recipe, but mix & knead it in the KitchenAid that my dear son gave me. #layyyyyyzeeee 😁 I have found that the weather seems to have an effect on how my loaves turn out ( https://m.jpost.com/in-jerusalem/in-the-grain-rain-and-bread-508087 ). Something I started doing a while back is starting the “warmer” function on our oven mid dough prep and then I turn it off right before I pop those babies inside the nice warm toasty oven to rise. I check to make sure that the oven hasn’t gotten TOO warm before I put them in, I just want it “cozier” than the air conditioned air in the room. Happy breadmaking all!

  52. Thrifty action this week: cleared out space of another cabinet to extend pantry. Reading Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark ( two life long friends in their 80s), and strategically buying ingredients/items for our family Oktoberfest.

  53. I hate to say it on repeat, but your photography talent is superb, Brandy.

    This has not been a frugal week for us at all, but thankful other thrifty ways save us money to afford extensive vet care for one of our cats. We’re in it for close to $900 now and still not a lot of solid answers. Hopefully they’ll come soon. I was able to be worked into an emergency slot before we traveled to visit my sister, and our petsitter is very good, a vet tech that is able to administer another cat’s insulin twice daily. This other cat is having a severe allergic reaction to something but we can’t ID what…vets are consulting with each other and I’ll get another call tomorrow following today’s third visit in as many weeks. DH will not go with me, but is hasty to comment on charges. I have to just get past that because it drives me bonkers.

    DH continues to work on the truck he inherited from his parents, getting it looking and running better. Still has a lot of miles left, he hopes, and it’s near 190,000 now. I have not been very productive outside of the kitchen, and have been really trying to not eat over the cat’s issues, but I am a stress eater.

    Homemade meals have included vegetable barley soup, a big vegan taco spread with seasoned cubed sweet potatoes, corn, spicy black beans, pico, vegan “cheese”, etc., allowing for ample leftovers speedily prepped, Impossible Burgers one night as a treat when we returned home from our trip, since they’re pricey, salad and baked potato.

    I continue to have problems with outdated shelf pricing at my local Meijer and I think I need to just drive to a different one, further away. The frustration I feel when 20-25% of the items are incorrectly priced drives me bonkers. I keep receiving emailed survey requests from them and every single time I list all of the items that rang up differently, from store brand sparkling water to tomato paste and sauce, to expensive Gardein vegan products, canned beans, etc. This time the manager emailed and said they would fix the shelf prices of a few of the items I listed, so I know they didn’t even read it. My Meijer does have the best produce section around of all of the stores, though. I did score the $1 blueberries in the buy 7 items in this sale, get them for $1 each. Now to make muffins and freeze many of them.

    Meeting friends for lunch at McAlister’s Deli and will put my take home container with my purse to remember, so I don’t have to get a plastic one when we dine tomorrow.

    I’m planning to sell my mom’s Bernina sewing machine. We have a more inexpensive Brother one and that is fine for the very limited sewing we do. I have just landed on being ok to sell hers.

  54. SO inspired by the blog. Your cupcakes are a work of art Brandy.

    This week we finished our landscaping project and planted the free hostess and daffodil bulbs.

    Salvaged the lumber from our old steps to pass forward to our BIL.

    Celebrated a full freezer and healthy meals.

  55. Did a much better job of meal planning using freezer food and farmer’s market buys.

    Exchanged house/pet sitting with a couple of neighbors. It’s great to have a supportive community.

    Saved seeds from some delicious tomatoes our neighbor gave us. Also saved seeds from a spaghetti squash that was tasty.

    Due to increased fees our water bill was just $5 lower BUT used 748 gallons less in the past 2 months. That included a small garden.

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