I was too ill to finish up my post yesterday. I’m feeling a bit better today; I can at least sit in a chair for a short while. So, here we are, a bit late, but here!

I harvested tomatoes and basil from the garden. I ate tomatoes from the garden every single day.

I found a dress for myself at Ross for $17 and a set of heavier dumbells than the ones I have been using for $10. I am alternating and using both sets depending on the exercise. My mom has been looking for months for heavier ones for me at garage sales and hadn’t found any yet, so I was happy to find these. The dress needs some slight alterations at the shoulder seams, but I am confident that I can do that.

I placed a small order online, and made sure to reach the minimum amount for free shipping.

I filled up our vehicle gas at a place that was 50 cents cheaper per gallon than anywhere else.

I collected shower warm-up water and used it to water potted plants in the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?

Long in the making: I have put together an Amazon storefront with my favorite items! It includes a long list of World War II books! Click below to check it out!

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  1. Oh, Brandy, I sure hope you feel better soon. Miserable to be sick, especially in the summer. * I’ve spent a few hours a day going through every part of our main floor – every drawer, shelf, box and bin. I have two boxes and two bags for donation. It’s been good getting a good clean and organize in. Makes me love home even more! *Still spend time every day making Christmas gifts. I really enjoy making things for the people I love. Thinking about them while I’m working on their gifts brings me happiness. So win/win. * Stuck to the menu and grocery budget, which is always a victory. * I’ve been reading The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, the grand matron of Regency romance. It’s been a fun read. Love my library books. Oh! Speaking of library books, I got the monthly newsletter that is sent to the at-home patrons. They list new books available, as well as print book reviews sent in from patrons. On the front, one of the books reviewed was The Bloomsbury Girls. I read the review to see what the reader thought of it. It was a great review and I agreed completely. Then I noticed who wrote the review…ME! lolololol I read that book in January and sent in the review and totally forgot. What a fun surprise! I took a pic of the newsletter and texted it to my family telling them that I’m finally a published author. It really is the simple things that can perk us up, isn’t it? * Hope everyone has an excellent thrifty week.

  2. I’m sorry you’ve been ill! I hope you are much better soon. Thank you for the storefront.
    Things are getting busier in the garden. The turnips were bolting, so I harvested the last, tiny turnips. I pulled up two volunteer potato plants to make room for a couple of acorn squash plants. We ate the baby turnips and potatoes boiled with butter and salt and pepper. I harvested peas, lettuce, chard, basil, oregano, thyme, dill, onions, a little broccoli and garlic scapes. I pureed the scapes with olive oil and froze them in cubes to use for seasoning. I pulled the peas and planted more green beans.* I made a summer dress from some of the fabric I got at the rummage sale last week, using a pattern I already owned, and trimmed with some lace I purchased at the thrift store a couple of years ago. * I rounded up two bags full of items to donate to the local thrift store – one of clothes and one of books and miscellaneous items.*I baked two loaves of sandwich bread.* I had some canned tomatoes I purchased last year on sale that were past their ‘Best By’ date. I turned these into tomato soup concentrate and canned it. One of our favorite last-minute meals is grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, so I’m set for a while.* We attended two free concerts with friends, and packed picnic dinners to enjoy.

  3. So sorry you haven’t been feeling well! Just don’t overdo it as you begin to feel better!
    This week, we’ve alternated between having rain and having sweltering (for us) days in the 90’s! So we’ve been getting outside on our front porch roof by 6 AM to paint the trim above and below the seven 2nd floor windows. By the time we finished the first coat, it was 7:30 AM and the sun was beating on us! So in we came, only to repeat the same thing 2 days later for the second coat! https://pin.it/7pr8kpJ
    We are painting 20 of the windows and contracting with the painter to do the other 23 windows plus second and third floor soffits and porch ceiling. That saves us a bit of money but the price is still dear so we are being careful on any discretionary spending!

    I’ve harvested 2 cucumbers, 4 zucchini, my first 2 tomatoes and a dozen jalapeño peppers! My blackberries are slowly ripening. Everything is growing exponentially with the rains we’ve had! Fortunately for us, they have not been damaging rains, but rather the kind that give everything a good watering!

    And from our compost pile, volunteer pumpkin vines have emerged like Jack’s beanstalk! Here’s our first pumpkin start: https://pin.it/6KzNrbF.

    I finished a scrappy baby quilt top that I will quilt up and put in my gift cupboard. https://pin.it/kIqGZV0. Amazing what can be made with little scraps of this and that!

    An 87 year old client and friend of mine asked if I would quilt up a quilt top she made in a hurry for her 42 year old granddaughter who was just diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that has spread throughout her body. Her granddaughter lives on the West Coast so a quilt to warm her up during and after her chemo sessions was something she felt she could do. I told her I would start quilting immediately and that there would be no charge. She hadn’t anticipated that and started crying. 🥲 There are so many opportunities to be kind and I think that with all the harshness in the world right now that it seems unexpected and appreciated more than it might have been a few decades ago!

    Dave and I were talking about how the grocery ads seem to always show sales on soda, cookies, chips and other “empty” calorie items rather than the basic ingredients I like to keep stocked up on. We worried about peoples’ grocery budgets being used on these treats rather than the basics and being happy that they had saved so much! We were grateful for those opportunities we’ve had to build up/restock our pantry at wonderful prices through a variety of avenues! We wondered if that would continue. 
On Wednesday, when I had several things on my to-do list, my dear friend who works at a local grocery texted me a photo of a shopping trolley filled with Prego brand spaghetti sauce with clearance stickers that said 70 cents. 
She knows that, with all we DIY and use cheaper brand alternatives for our foods, we are snobs and prefer Miracle Whip brand salad dressing and Prego brand spaghetti sauce! Not enough to ever buy it when it isn’t on a good sale or clearance though. The “regular” price is now $2.79 at that grocery chain! So a $2 savings per jar (75% off)!!
I immediately grabbed car keys and shoes and went over. Dave stayed home and texted my daughters and DIL to get their requests. Only 3 of us needed any so we each got 16 jars. That little trip saved about $100 so I felt it had been worth my time.

    We also went to a discount grocery store on Saturday morning and got 2 cases (24 boxes of 6 bars) of NV Sweet and Salty Almond granola bars for $6/case (roughly 8 cents per bar) . Hubs likes to take one with him to church if he is going to have meeting that will keep him there for a few hours or when we are on a road trip somewhere. I also found a box of 20 lightly breaded stuffed chicken breasts for $13.50 (67 cents per breast) . I’ve bought a similar kind at ALDIs that are now $1.99 each but these were a “Premiere” variety stuffed with Brie, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, sliced apples and cranberries! Oh,my goodness! They are delicious! 

    Also this week, 2 different ladies at 2 separate times surprised me with a gift- a 16 Oz jar of honey from her bees and 16 Oz bottle of pure maple syrup! They were unexpected thank you gifts for service I had given them. Totally unexpected, but WOW!! What wonderful gifts to put into my pantry!!

    We’ve been blessed beyond measure and hopefully, are able to share our abundance with others around us!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

    1. The thought of you painting your house is exhausting me, thanks for the photo. And bless you for comping the quilting for your friend’s ill granddaughter.

    2. Oh my! Your painting project was at quite a height! Great buy on the spaghetti sauce also. Had to chuckle at your mention of being a brand “snob” with the salad dressing. We’re the same way with mayonnaise … we only buy Hellmann’s or nothing. Lol.

      1. Carolyn in Texas- At my daughter’s house, they are divided- her husband is a Hellman’s fan, while our daughter is a Miracle Whip girl! Her 5 year old daughter is also a MW fan, but she calls it “Amazing Whip”!!!! Lol!

        Gardenpat in Ohio

        1. I’m surprised they married each other!! LOL That is a pretty big divide to cross! LOL (Best Foods/Hellman’s here).

      1. Sarah@Sweet Simplicity Mom- Thank you! It’s definitely a work in progress! We’ve lived in it for 30 years and joke that maybe in another 30 years we will have finished all of the renovation projects! 🤪🤪

    3. I agree with you about grocery sales being for treat food more than basics. Still, that is somewhat summer-4th of July specific, I think, as junkier food is always on sale before summer holidays. We shall soon be entering the “back to school lunches foods” convenience sized packaging food sales– It is much more convenient to me to re-package foods smaller for myself.

      I shudder to see back-to-school supplies are already appearing in stores.

      Love the look of your house!

    4. Gardenpat can you point me in the right direction for vintage prints in fabric. I’m needing an online shop. I’m looking for vintage florals. Thank you so very much

  4. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been ill, and hope each day has you feeling better, until you’re back in the best of health. For a dinner last week, I pulled last year’s zucchini from the freezer, gathered herbs, and made Barbara Kingsolver’s Disappearing Zucchini Orzo. Having an abundance of bananas, I froze ten for future smoothies. The banana peels, along with aloe bits, were blended, and a number of fruit trees were fertilized with the mixture. I went through Swagbucks for an online household order, for 4% back, and used a 15% off code. Lettuce, oregano, basil, thyme, lambs quarter, chard, blueberries, a few blackberries, and the first four figs were harvested. While in town to buy groceries, I dropped off four boxes of donations. Savings at the grocery store were avocados .49 ea., pineapple 1.79, and dogfood $6 off. An $8 reward went towards my total, and I earned another $5 reward. Laundry was dried on the line. The last of the store bought onions were used, and I began using our recently harvested ones. We’re eating lots of salads, trying to use up all the harvested lettuce. Having heard here about the USPS rate hike for first class stamps, I went to the P.O. when passing by, and purchased two sheets of stamps. Many thanks to whomever mentioned it. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2023/07/summer-harvests.html

  5. Those tomatoes look sooooo good. I have picked about 4 cherry tomatoes. That is really early for us in Eastern Washington.
    This is for 2 weeks. felt I was too late to comment last week.
    From the garden: I picked a 5 pound cabbage. Made coleslaw with some and used some in chow mein. Picked snow peas three times. Some went in the chow mein and some in macaroni salad. Picked rhubarb and made rhubarb crisp. Picked broccoli, ate some, froze some. Picked rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano and parsley for herb bread.
    In the garden: Weeded a 4×8 bed of carrots – there are six rows in that bed. Full of weeds, but got it cleaned out. Weeded three rows of Swiss chard. Lots of weeds there too, but now it is done. DH weeded the corn.
    Work – I worked 5 days the last two weeks. Brought breakfast all 5 days and lunch four days. The other day I went to lunch with my sister and her granddaughter, who was visiting for a week.
    Shopping – Bought cherries twice. Once for $1.48 per pound and once for $1.27 per pound. Dried 4 trays of them, after pitting them, to use in chicken salad. On July 4th, the first Tuesday of the month, Fred Meyer, our local Kroger affiliate, has their private branded products for 10% off if you are a senior. So, I bought 12 pounds of 93/7 lean ground beef, 5 packages of Italian sausage and 2 packages of angel hair pasta each weighing in at 2 pounds. I guess this is shopping – I got the oil changed in my car. When we purchased the car we got the lifetime free oil changes. We keep cars around 200,000 miles or more, so with an oil change and car wash free every 5,000 miles, we felt it was worth it.
    Cooking – Made shrimp fajitas and ate on that for a while. Made the above referenced rhubarb crisp, herb bread, chow mein, coleslaw and pasta salad. The DH made BBQ chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. The second week he made spaghetti sauce. With the 12 pound of hamburger I bought, I made three pounds into meatballs for spaghetti and the rest I cooked loose and then froze 2 cups to a bag to make cooking easier. I did this the entire time I was raising my boys to make cooking easier when I got home from work. We rarely resorted to takeout.
    Family – My Son, DIL and GD came to our house on the Sunday before the 4th for a holiday BBQ. They both had to work on Monday and Wednesday, so decided a Sunday BBQ would work best. Gave them leftovers to take home. I went to their place last Saturday. I am trying to go down 2 Saturdays a month, to look after my granddaughter while they are doing other things.
    Hope everyone has a good and productive week.

  6. I hope you’re feeling better soon, Brandy! It’s hard to be ill, especially as a parent.

    My frugal week:
    – made banana nice cream (http://approachingfood.com/tropical-coconut-banana-nice-cream/) using bananas on sale for 45c/lb.
    – I redeemed loyalty points for $30 of groceries. Combined coupons, sales, price matching and rebates. My best deal was boxes of crackers for 67 cents, as well as family size chocolate bars for 45cents.
    – used up leftovers to make new meals.
    – packed snacks and drinks on long stroller walks.
    – I had signed up my eldest for the city-run summer camp, which is the most affordable summer camp around. It’s a long stroller walk with two kids, and twice a day (ends up being about 2 hours RT between drop off and pick up), but it’s doable! My eldest is really enjoying the camp…and I’m getting a LOT of exercise in!
    – fixed the toe of my shoes, preventatively (I put moleskin on the inside, to prevent it from wearing out, which I tend to do)
    – booked 3 sets of adult and kids tickets to the Royal Ontario Museum, using a time-limited promo code. That saved me over $300!
    – told people about the museum tickets and free museums passes from the Toronto Public Library
    – took advantage of the library free kids programming and also borrowed books and e-books.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

    1. It’s balsamic rosemary chicken, a crepe with feta cheese inside, and fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden. The tomatoes are called chocolate sprinkles.

  7. Oh Brandy, so good to know that you’re on the mend and I pray that you’ll feel much better really soon! We don’t have Ross in our area but the neighboring town has a Marshalls and that’s where I found a great price on a pair of Peloton 3 pound weights for $4.99. Was really surprised by their selection of fitness equipment.

    I continue to be so grateful to you all for this caring and helpful community and its welcoming environment!

    Frugal efforts this week:

    *Pleasantly surprised that grocery prices have not increased the past 30 days on basic items we buy (at our nearest large grocery store – Texas chain 20 miles away). Such a blessing!

    *Was overcharged $7 on recent grocery shopping trip and discovered it thanks to reviewing the receipt as I entered the prices in my Price Book. Received a store credit.

    *Cost compared toilet tissue confirming our current brand/source is the best buy for us. With all the “mega roll” and “bigger roll” marketing on packages, it can be confusing. Followed Amy Dacyczyn’s tip and compared by total square feet (not sheets, etc.)

    *Began prepping one of two cattle troughs to use for a container garden. I’m so glad we kept these when we moved from the country to town. Layers will be landscape fabric (to cover the drain), gravel, landscape fabric, and soil. If we can locate them, will also use Styrofoam packing peanuts and/or empty plastic water bottles as bottom filler. Less soil = less cost. Checking our stash for casters/wheels as well.

    *Transplanted two beefsteak tomato plants and a zucchini plant – all sprouted from seeds in our AeroGarden (gifted to us from youngest dear son). Planted the little plants in five gallon food grade buckets (in our area, Tractor Supply has the best price for these). I so enjoy the gardening process – the God-given miracle of seeing food bearing plants emerge from tiny seeds still amazes me!

    *Ran out of gifted AeroGarden little peat pods, and experimenting with DIY versions instead. First attempt is an empty tea bag. If that fails, will use a sponge cut to fit, and then a paper coffee filter. I’m in no hurry and enjoy the process of trying until I succeed.

    *Lemongrass and Sweet Spanish Onions are sprouting.

    *Repurposed bath water (no harsh toiletry products) for a few especially dry areas of lawn. A bit of a workout carrying pails from our upstairs bath … but it’s satisfying to know that water didn’t just go down the drain. And, I can’t complain about adding steps to my daily step goal.

    *Great buy on watermelons at $2.97 each (typical lowest price for us is $4.97). Bought two.

    *Free entertainment … viewed area Fourth of July fireworks from our back deck.

    *Used digital coupons (scanned while in store on app) and saved over $12 on groceries – all planned purchases of basic items we typically buy.

    *Made a small batch of homemade liquid laundry detergent for the two of us. Dissolved ¼ cup bar grated Zote in 1 cup warm water, ¼ cup washing soda, 1/8 cup Borax and 1 gallon warm water. Added lemon verbena essential oil.

    *Replaced dishwasher rinse aid (36 cents/ounce) with much more economical vinegar (3 cents/ounce). We use our dishwasher once a week and hand wash all others. Great results!

    *Made Oatmeal Muffins – a recipe that contains oil only and no butter and they turned out nicely. Added raisins (Aldi’s price on these is great in our area of Texas) and crushed pecans (from freezer – bought at deep discount earlier this year). Hubby really enjoyed these. Recipe: https://preppykitchen.com/oatmeal-muffins/

    *Large budgeted expense this week – planned installation of our concrete sidewalk and steps. Our old natural stone sidewalk and steps were charming but very uneven and unsafe. Project was too labor intensive for us to tackle as a DIY. All stones were saved and will be reused to border future planting beds.

    *Did all our typical frugal daily routine items (repeating these for anyone new who joins us here) … fewer/larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; ate from freezer/pantry except one restaurant meal.

    Wishing everyone a really fun and frugal week, full of blessings and joy!

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      Thanks for the detergent recipe! How much of it do you use per load? Also, your container garden sounds super. If it will be for growing food, you might want to reconsider the packing peanuts or plastic bottles as there are chemicals in both that will eventually leach into the soil/your plants. My neighbor uses troughs and fills the bottom of his with twigs and small branches first for the bottom layers. I think this is called hugelkultur? I don’t have direct experience with this, but boy, all of his plants are huge and healthy.
      Warm Regards, Rachel from Oregon

        1. Dawn …

          I so appreciate the link! What a fascinating planting method. I’m hoping to locate natural twigs and branches as partial trough filler. Hoping our small town’s composting/recycling center will be a great source. Many thanks!

          ~Carolyn in Texas

      1. I use the hugelkultur method when making new raised beds, and it’s exactly that — I first start with twigs and branches to help fill up the space, then old leaves, and finally compost/soil. So much cheaper than filling the whole thing with bagged soil, and the twigs and branches add good stuff to the soil as they break down!

        1. Natasha …

          Thank you! I’m looking forward to locating materials to try this method soon. We’re in triple digit temps right now and hopefully will be a bit cooler when I’m ready to plant. Appreciate your info!

          ~Carolyn in Texas

      2. Rachel …

        Thank you so much for the info … I hadn’t thought of that … the leeching from styrofoam and plastic bottles. I’m so glad you shared! Our son had mentioned using twigs and other small logs and branches. Now, I’m on the search for them. We live on a typical lot in a small town and don’t have access to downed trees. Will check our local composting center.

        I use 1/2 cup of the liquid laundry detergent for a large load. We don’t have extremely soiled laundry and it works well for us.

        Thank you again for the trough info!


  8. I hope you feel better soon!

    * We are on a spending fast as we have some traveling and a (hopefully!) home purchase in our future. We’ve cut out our weekly date night out, and instead are enjoying date nights at home with lovely drinks, board games, and time sitting outside.

    * I harvested kale, turnips, sugar snap peas, and lots of various herbs from the garden. Zucchini should be coming in starting next week, and my tomato plants are covered in greenies!

    * We went to a local Highland Festival to watch my son’s bagpipe teacher compete. We brought a picnic lunch so we didn’t have to spend anything on the overpriced and not too impressive festival food onsite.

    * No eating out at all this past week. I’ve had to get creative a few days, and force myself into the kitchen when I didn’t really want to cook on one day, but I did it and I’m glad!

    * As of this week I’ve been doing all of our laundry by hand for 1 year, using a wringer washer I purchased last summer. I dry outside in summer, and in front of our radiator in winter. It costs $10 a week ($5 a load to wash & dry) to use the laundry machines in our apartment complex, so this has been a major savings and the work of it has become second nature. It’s great for my biceps, too 🙂

    * A bunch of interlibrary loans I requested several months ago finally came in — all at once! So I’ll be soaking up free books for the next couple of weeks.

    * Students are moving out right now, which means they discard lots of goodies and I’m not ashamed to check the piles by the dumpsters. One of those goodies was a complete Jenair tea set with cups, infuser, and warmer from the late 1950s. I think I am going to keep it, but I found a couple of complete sets online for sale for $150+ so I am tempted to sell it instead. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do…

    * I made bread instead of buying the fancy seeded loaves I like. I also made jam from a glut of cherries, foraged some wild blackberries and salmon berries, and started a couple of small batches of mead for later enjoyment.

  9. My husband and I came home from our vacation , with Covid.We’ve been sick for a week ,doing a bit better today.Still fatigued. We lost our smell and taste so we saved money not eating,lol! I got Paxlovid for zero copay. Used a bunch of our free test kits all week.We’re negative today.

    Today was first day out and about doing errands, used a $20 gift certificate I received for my birthday.

    Will use another birthday gift certificate tomorrow to go on a movie darte with my husband. (Will see Mission Impossible.)

    Hope you feel better very soon! I know the fatigue is still hard..we are having to lay down in late morning and afternoon!

    1. Be careful to continue to take it easy! From what I have read, rushing back to “normal” increases one’s risk of developing Long Covid (as does the # of infections one has had). I always want to rush back to normal activities as soon as I feel better, but in this case it might lead to long-term consequences. Regardless, I hope you (and Brandy) both recover soon and completely!

    2. Oh my! I know that you really have to be careful as there are so many people who took the experimental gene therapy shots, that are now shedding the spike protein peptides, aka venom. I was feeling a bit down, but thanks to a friend who shared the information with me, https://rumble.com/v2ngvj2-live-8pm-et-premiere-watch-the-water-2-closing-chapter.html
      And this one…
      about how nicotine works to knock the venom off the aceteccoline receptors on the cells, I took 2 mg tablets a couple times a day for two days, and while I felt nauseous at first, plus had diarrhea for the day, I feel so much better now. A friend of mine had “long covid” with a loss of smell, and she recovered it overnight after a couple nicotine tablets.
      It is so sad that I have lost a number of friends and family members who have died suddenly, who were previously healthy before taking the shots. I am so glad that I was informed about the deadly effects of the shots and the tests, and wisely avoided them. I hope you are getting better.

  10. *A dear aunt passed away in February and her husband asked me to come and help him sort out her clothes. My husband and I made the 4 hour drive this week, eating a packed lunch on the way. I came home with many clothes which were divided between my sisters and I, and our 8 daughters. I received 2 lovely wool coats, several cashmere sweaters, and a variety of other things that were very needed. Our aunt had no children and my sisters and I were ‘her girls’. It was an emotional trip and task, but I’m thankful for her gifts to us and that I could help her husband.
    *We are eating berries, lettuce, kale and plums from the garden. Our apple tree seems to be doing well, apples are not ripe yet. I’ve scheduled with a friend to pick berries at a local park. Our grape vines have grapes for the first time, it’s so exciting to see!
    *I made 2 pillowcases from the edges of an old fitted sheet that had ripped down the middle. I then received 4 more pillowcases from Buy Nothing. Just in time because we have guests coming this weekend.
    *I sold 3 shallow garden pots that I had been given for free. Because they were shallow they required a lot of water and I don’t have it to spare.

    I hope you continue to feel better Brandy.

  11. I hope you get to feeling better, Brandy. I follow you on Instagram, and I always love your photos on there.

    I went on a weekend getaway with a friend. We stayed at an AirBNB, which was more than I was used to paying, but it was so cute! A special treat. We stayed in a small town, so we visited their small shops, where I spent very little money. We took a walk at a state park, spent hours chatting, and made cards, postcards, and bookmarks from discarded children’s books. We only ate two meals a day, since she was a later sleeper than me, so that saved some money.

    I managed to get another $25 Amazon gift card from Speedway to add to my Christmas fund. I’m up to $110 just in gift cards plus my Christmas Club.

    I have been working lots of extra hours – 7 extra hours last week, 6 OT hours already this week, and we are having a large festival in our town next week, so I could easily work 80 hours (I’m already scheduled for 71 hours).

    I have been stacking coupons at CVS to get good deals while buying items that give me the most Fetch points. It seems to be helping me get points much quicker. I am also not above snatching receipts out of the top garbage cans by the self checkout.

  12. Oh Brandy! I wish you a fast recovery to full health, my friend!

    This week I have some great successes to report
    1. We have been needing some new living room furniture. My mother-in-law gave us what we have and she bought it in 1993(literally) it is very worn. We went to a furniture store(something we have never done) and we’re surprised that we could pay up to $6.000.00 for just a Sofa and love seat. After weeks of looking a set of three peices that all recline (and one is a rocker) for $100. We bought them and my husband says they are 10 times more comfortable than our old set and promptly took a nap in a reclined position!!

    2. I found Dave’s Killer bread and hamburger bunsfor $1.49 a package, sourdough for the same, (regularly $6.49)

    3. Went on a date with my husband and we spent $0. We both got a free birthday reward from Jersey Mike’s and we enjoyed them together.

    4. I’ve had my 9 year old attending different free summer events at the library, also VBS, and some spending of time with family. (If anyone has ideas for keeping a 9 year old girl busy in the summer for cheap I’d sure LOVE to hear it)

    5. Shopped multiple stores-as always to get the best prices. Found coffee creamer for $.99, large container of cottage cheese for $1.50, romaine hearts $1.00 for 3 pack, cherries $.79/lb

    4. Found shoes at the thrift store for my daughter that were $2 after the 25% discount, a t-shirt for $1, a dress for $3.50

    5. My Kroger affiliate had a coupon for $10 off $75 and I used that to stock up on sale toilet paper and facial tissues. Won’t need to buy more until well into next year. My son picked it up for me on a grocery pickup since his work basically shares a parking lot with the grocery store so I didn’t even have to spend extra gas to go get it

    6. Harvested plums from our tree. I wish I knew more about these trees but it seems the pits in these plums are very big compared to the size of the plums.

    7. Walked for excercise (indoors mostly with Leslie Sansone)

    8. I had been given a gift card for Etsy almost 3 years ago and never found anything to buy on there. Well this week I discovered a portable DVD player on there that was the same amount as my gift card and negotiated with the seller on the shipping and also found a 15% off coupon. This is something that I will use a lot for excercising as I have a lot of excercise DVD’s. Can also use it on camping trips (it has a battery pack. ) it will be a lot of fun and cost me nothing.

    9. Price matched at Target. The online price was lower than in store so they matched it.

    10. Been using a lot of what is in my freezer. Also using leftovers creatively like we grilled some chicken and I’ve gotten 3 meals out of 1 pack of chicken so far. Diced it up and made some really good salads. Had grilled chicken sandwich one night too but cut the chicken nice and thin for that. Our sons birthday was this week. Instead of taking him out to eat I made his favorite meal at home saving us about $50. (His grandparents took him out to eat that night so he still got a meal out).

    There is more but I will stop there.

    1. Regarding keeping your 9 year old busy… our local humane society has a program where kids can sign up to read to the cats throughout the summer. My boys have enjoyed the opportunity, and it’s a win/win for the humane society and reading time for my boys (one of whom doesn’t love to read, but really loves animals!). It might be worth checking with your humane society to see if they do something similar, or suggest the program (or volunteer to get it started if you have time).

      My boys (10 and 7) have also had a blast filling water balloons and then bouncing on the trampoline to pop them. They are responsible for cleaning up the mess, and it gets them some good exercise and sunshine. We also have a few great parks that have river access for wading/swimming, which is far cheaper than the local pool for staying cool on hot days.

      Finally, we always designate one day (or more) in the summer to make solar ovens with pizza boxes (most pizza places are happy to donate a few), aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and any other materials they think would help. We do a little research on how and why they work, and the boys design their own ovens, with me to help cut the cardboard. Then they get an afternoon to make solar oven s’mores. If they’re really into it, I can use my digital meat thermometer to check the internal temp of the marshmallow to see just how hot it gets. It’s really a fun, and cheap, project.

  13. I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling well. After several weeks of having sharp pain in one knee, and then the other, I am able to do work indoors, and walk more easily to do errands. I am catching up on housework, so the house is starting to feel nicer to live in.

    I’ve bought a few groceries. There haven’t been any deals, but I have got some staples, like potatoes and a 1 litre bottle of canola oil. I ordered a 1 litre bottle of maple syrup direct from an organic Ontario farm. I still have a few things to buy on this month’s grocery list, including flour, brown sugar and green garbage bags. I have priced the flour and brown sugar, but that is as far as I have got. There is still another week of grocery shopping in my budget, so I should be able to get everything on my list. We should see flats of blueberries soon as well, which I would buy to freeze for winter.

    Now that I have the refund from the incorrect mobile phone order from Amazon, I have placed a phone order from Walmart, which I should have in a week. Though I did have to pay for shipping, which I didn’t have to do with Amazon, it will cost about $10 less. Fingers crossed that they have shipped an unlocked phone.

    I am trying to get my money’s worth out of Prime. I extended my profile, so that I receive movies and TV in more languages. I am watching a lot of Spanish-language shows. I turn the subtitles on, which helps me follow if I am very tired, but I don’t need them as much if I am rested. I spent the year I was 17 in Brazil, and learned a lot of Portuguese, so I can follow a lot of Spanish most of the time. I like to watch Danish shows, because I always feel like I am about to understand it fluently at any moment! I think it is good for my brain to be listening to different languages. At least I get to see really different shows. I’ve also subscribed to a couple of Prime channels for 99 cents each for two months, that have some shows I would like to watch. I’ll cancel them before I have to pay $12.99 a month each!

  14. Oh, I hope you feel better soon!
    Low key week. We didn’t do much in the way off entertainment. I think everyone needed to just decompress. We did splurge and let the youngest go to an event with the soccer team and a Scouting event he was excited about.
    Money saving is little things right now.
    My family is obsessed with sourdough. Made soft pretzel bites and some bread. I had to hide the extra pretzel bites from my teen.
    Got the free subway sandwich deal today. 1 for me, 1 for the sporty teen. He ended up eating both, because teen boys…
    Got more books from the library.
    Sold some items and netted $50, which is almost a tank of gas.
    Got pork loin buy 1 get 1 at Kroger so ended up being 1.50 a pound. Made bbq pulled pork in crock pot and have been enjoying this week.
    Made 4 jars of refrigerator pickles. Grew garlic and dill (our cukes died) so we were only out $5 for cukes at farmers market.
    Trying to be more intentional in composting the browns in our life. Papers, etc. A paper recycling co went out of business and I hate throwing it out.
    Did not shop prime day. I’m looking for athletic shorts for my kid but that’s it. I’m being patient that a good deal will show up, maybe just not on Amazon.
    I’m trying to do sprouts in a jar again, and I think it’s working! Using the seeds from the 4H fundraiser this spring. 🤞If it works I’ll definitely stock up more in the spring.
    School starts in 2 weeks. We invested in a good backpack to replace the 7-year-old one and asked my son what he needed. All he asked for was mechanical pencils so I did an add-on for my eventual Amazon order vs. go to the school supply aisle.
    I think that’s it. Have a blessed week.

  15. Glad you are feeling a bit better!

    On the frugal front:
    I planned meals around the left over food from the holiday weekend. We used milk past it’s prime to make waffles and mac-n-cheese and used left over veggies in stir fry and a sheet pan meal. In typing this, I just realized that we had a week of meatless dinners. I am very thankful that my family rarely complains about meals.

    I bought an egg cooker and paper towel holder at Goodwill for DD’s first apartment.

    I requested a price match on multiple items at the Target checkout.

    Over the last month, I shopped for used household items for DD’s first apartment. I also viewed items on Amazon, Target and Walmart websites to familiarize myself with prices. I placed items in the “save for later” carts. Any items I was unable to find at thrift stores were purchased online during Prime Days through the lowest priced retailer. On Amazon, I selected no rush shipping to receive credit for digital products.

    I registered for Get Healthy U TV for 79 cents for one year and will remove auto renew.

    We redeemed an Xfinity reward for free Peacock Premium.

    I gave my two pathos plants a healthy trim and placed the cuttings in water. I hope they will be ready to pot up before DD moves into her apartment in mid August.

    I bought a 10 pack of clearance lip masks and will save them for Advent calendars or Valentine’s Day.

    After a very hot July 4th weekend (98F), we had an unseasonably cool week (highs in mid 70sF and lows in the low 50sF). We turned off the AC, opened the windows, and used the opportunity to do some baking. HH did extra work in the garden and yard while the temperatures were so comfortable.

    HH harvested lettuce, green beans, pea pods and one last bunch of rhubarb. Even though it was very late to cut rhubarb, I risked it and used it to make jam. It turned out great.

    I received a refund for the cancelation of college dorm/apartment renter’s insurance for the months after the May move out. We submitted a new renter’s insurance policy to DD’s apartment management to avoid auto bill on a more expensive, lower coverage policy.

    Have a fun, frugal week!

    1. Though my boys are young, I’ve started collecting things for their “one day” kitchens. They’ve enjoyed getting fun colored measuring cups, spoons, Yoda spatulas (found at after Christmas sales), etc. in their stockings. We also look at thrift stores or Facebook marketplace for muffin tins, baking pans, etc. They genuinely enjoy getting the items, and using them now when we cook together, and I know it will save us in the long run, even though it’s stuff to store for now.

  16. I’m so sorry you’ve been ill. It’s miserable, and all the more so if your husband is away and you’re running the household yourself.

    I continued using water from showers, baths, and cleaning fruit/vegetables to water potted plants, herbs, and tomatoes. I harvested apricots, limes, and apples and made refrigerator jam from the apricots – a first for me, but it turned out well, according to the family members who tried it. I baked bread in the bread machine, using up ingredients I already had in the pantry.

    I found Rainier cherries for $1.99/lb, and bought several pounds. I pitted and froze them (eating quite a few in the process *ahem*).

    I picked roses, Dusty Miller, and various types of mint to enjoy indoors.

    I decorated for Independence Day using favorite items I already had. My eldest, my youngest, and my mother were here, and the four of us had a quiet 4th, enjoying hot dogs and iced tea in the garden while patriotic music played in the background.

    We are at the start of a heat wave and I’m looking on the bright side: I rarely have reason to run the dryer when clothing dries in minutes on the line. The warmth is bringing the birds to the feeders and the bird bath, and the gorgeous bright orange dragonflies (I think they’re called Flameskimmers) are out and about in abundance. All this makes for lots of free entertainment and photo ops.

    I only run the dishwasher when it’s full, and then on the quick cycle, which gets dishes perfectly clean. I’m also careful to run appliances only during “off” hours (after 9 p.m.). This has made a real difference.

    I bathed the dog outside in the warmth of the afternoon, rather than pay a groomer.

    I continued decluttering, and made several trips to thrift stores with donations.

    As always and like so many of us, I’m looking forward to ideas, suggestions, and especially the encouragement that’s always to be found here.

  17. Sorry to hear you weren’t feeling well but glad you are on the mend. 🙂
    *We visited my in-laws for the Independence Day holiday last week. Just before we left, my MIL texted me asking us to bring our chainsaws. When we got to their house, we found out why. A huge maple tree had been pulled up by the roots and fallen across their driveway, knocking down a power line and partially landing on the house next door (currently unoccupied.) They had had what sounded like a cyclone burst of wind that sucked up all the rain water from the road moments before the tree fell. We are so glad no one was hurt and the property damage was minimal. My husband and oldest son went up on the roof to remove debris and the rest of us picked up countless branches from the yard. My husband and boys returned a few days later with our log splitter and split about 3/4 cord of wood. My FIL said he didn’t need it so gave it to us. That will be a month or so of fuel for our wood stove in a coming winter. So, a day of visiting was productive as well as enjoyable and, as always when my MIL is involved, we had a wonderful meal.
    *One of my honey bee hives needed a new queen so I bought one from a fellow beekeeper and mentor who has wonderful bees. I am glad to get some of his bees genetics into my apiary. A worthy investment that will pay off in stronger hives going forward. While I was there, I asked him some questions about queen rearing – a beekeeping skill I have researched a lot but have yet to attempt. In so many areas of life, I have found people are more than happy to share their knowledge with you, especially if they sense you share their passion for a subject. There is always something to learn just for the price of asking. On the way home, I went through a town with gas priced at $2.94/gallon – the cheapest I have seen in a long while so I filled up.
    *Some dear friends visited from out-of-town and brought a big box of peaches from a farm local to their home. My parents had just brought us some from off the mountain a few days before so we have loads of peaches – a good problem to have. 🙂 We took our friends on two waterfall hikes – one is located right behind our church so we went right after the service (no extra trip.) We planned the second hike for the day they were headed home as it was in that direction for them, saving them gas and time. We hiked, played in the falls, and enjoyed a picnic lunch. So glad we have so much natural beauty to enjoy and share with others at no cost.
    * While in town, I picked up some 50% bakery items from a grocery store that is somewhat pricey, in general, but has a wonderful bakery and regularly marks down items to a great price. I got several loaves of sourdough, marble rye, challah, and a delicious cranberry nut bread that makes wonderful toast. I bake bread but it is so nice to have these things in the freezer as a back-up and for some variety.
    *We did paid landscaping work for a family member and a neighbor.
    *I was given 3 more baby blueberry bushes from a neighbor. It’s not the best time of the year to plant them but I needed to get them in place. My boys helped me make another hugelkultur-style bed with logs and branches from our woods and mulch from our free pile we got from a neighbor a year or two ago. No cost but some effort and they are doing well so far.
    *Harvesting from the garden daily and lunch is sometimes eaten right there straight off the vine. My husband’s grandfather used to keep a salt shaker in his garden and eat tomatoes still warm from the sun as he picked them. I think he was on to something. 🙂
    *Continuing with my framing antique family photos project. Got 2 more photos framed and hung using antique frames I have been given or collected over the years. These gallery walls outside our bedroom have become a real immersive experience and I love seeing all those faces and having them be a part of our daily lives.
    *My husband earns points through his work (clients and fellow co-workers leave feedback on his performance which translates to points in a reward program.) He is able to cash the points out for gift cards to various stores. He always choses a hardware store since that is most useful to us of all the choices. Last week, he used some of this credit to purchase materials to make a gantry crane – a device to hoist up heavy equipment. He will use it to work on our riding mower and other machines. It will certainly be easier and safer than me and the boys shoving a concrete block under the front tires of something while my husband holds up the front end. He got it all together in a couple of days. Maintaining our equipment and ensuring it is in good working order is one of our most frugal activities.
    *Hope everyone is enjoying the summer season!

  18. I think the best thing I did this week is make a scavenger hunt for my grand children. Basically we wrote hints for them to find the next hint until they found the toy that was hidden. They loved it! And it was fun to watch them have fun! I was also glad to go to Ladies Night at Church. I got to talk to lots of really nice ladies and pray with them. We went shopping at the grocery store and I was aghast at how much money we spent. I usually watch it very closely, but we bought some things we simply wanted. The plus side is; we had food we liked, so, we haven’t eaten out since. That saved us money, not eating out. We also did the usual things like turning off lights, using cloth napkins and hankies. I used basil that we grew in a dish. We went to the book store. But I curbed my desire to buy books. I plan on checking them out at the library.

  19. Brandy, I’m sorry you have been so ill. I hope you’ll be feeling better soon! Thanks for writing a post for us. We look forward to it, but we do understand when you just can’t do it.

    My husband has been ill for two weeks with diverticulitis. Fortunately, it’s finally improving (change in medication). We were supposed to leave on vacation this Friday, but now we’ve postponed it for two weeks. I changed all of our reservations. Fortunately, we were still in the free cancellation period. And in one case, we got an $85 refund because they had a cheaper room available.

    When Mike went to the doctor last week, he was charged a $35 co-pay. I checked his card and it should have been $5 for a PCP visit. He was so sick he didn’t notice. I had the charge reversed, saving 30 bucks.

    I have been harvesting lettuce that is starting to bolt. Never did head up, but we’ve been eating the outer leaves. I’m harvesting Swiss chard and freezing what we don’t eat fresh (which is most of it, LOL–this is one of my successes). I have 3 yellow butternut squash blossoms and tons of buds. My green beans are flowering, too. Other things…not so good.

    I finally redid my meals list and planned menus for the past two weeks. We eat so much better when I plan ahead.

    I returned some DW detergent tabs that didn’t dissolve to Costco. I sent back a Coach handbag (bought at the outlet) that I didn’t like. It was bigger than I expected, but the thing I disliked the most was the brass Coach logo. It was too “in your face” and looked cheesy. I had bought the bag for the quality, but I just hated the looks of it. I guess I just wasn’t meant for designer goods!

    I hope all of you have a good week and that something nice happens to you every day!

    1. I forgot the biggie: when I was changing the reservation at a LaQuinta (Wyndham property) I received a pop-up ad for the Wyndham CC. The offer was a $100 statement credit for spending $1,000 in 3 months (we’ll do that on our vacation the very first month) plus 45,000 Wyndham Rewards points, good for up to 6 free nights. (In reality, it depends on the property you choose. Maybe 6 nights for the cheapest places, but still several free nights anywhere).

      Also, I read “Coronation Year” from the library last week. I have a book coming on loan from another library and I’ve requested that my library purchase yet another book I’d like to read. I save soooooooo much money every year by using my public library!

    2. I’ve been thinking about you a lot the last few weeks, as I’ve dealt with my sore knees. I’ve followed much of the advice you passed on to me a few months ago from your visit to the Mayo Clinic for treating arthritis. I’m getting into a better rhythm to keep the pain in check, using some of these tips and my own experience. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the help you passed on.

      1. You are welcome! I’m doing well, too! Still hurts, especially in the morning, but I’m managing it so much better! Mayo Clinic also publishes a book on arthritis treatment. You might want to read this.

  20. I hope you continue to feel better, Brandy! This week has zipped by for me. The best frugal thing I did was go through my jewelry and pull small pieces I no longer use at all – nothing that I expected to really get much for, and shipped off to a gold purchasing company (it’s all insured for min $5,000 in transit), and got $650 for it. We were honestly thinking it’d be about $120 or so… some pieces were silver, broken, so this was a wonderful surprise. My husband was asking what else can we sell!?!

    I’m nervous because a tooth with a crown on it has started hurting today and thought, “please don’t let this be an issue that negates the deposit and more…” but I’m getting ahead of myself and at least we did receive that to offset an issue if one presents.

    Meals continue to be cooked at home – my meal listing for the full month instead of the week has been a major help. Made risotto puttanesca with roasted green beans and carrots, finished up tortilla soup with fresh pico and guac, tofu with noodles/stir fry, smoothie bowls, veggie samosas with other small bites, sweet and yellow potato hash with plant-based savory sausage crumbles, and cappellini aglio e olio, one of my husband’s favorite dishes and I zoomed us with the spices this time so leftovers were muted a bit with marinara sauce.

    Enjoying fiction books and cookbooks from the library and watching Ted Lasso on a three-month free deal of Apple+. Laundry has been drying outside, composting remains steady, and using dishwasher to use less water. We’re still in ‘severe drought’ and hoping for predicted thunderstorms on Wednesday to help a bit with the patio plant watering. Our gas/water bill is increasing by $40/month (we’re on budget plan), so I’m going to try to offset that increase by further cutting costs on some items. I did jump on a few amazon prime days deals (grandkid pajamas which alerted me in advance that they would be going on sale, did I want to be alerted? Yes! waited to buy for the sale).

    Looking forward to all of the comments again this week! Keeps me motivated to save!

  21. Feel better soon.

    I had a hectic week hosting a “bachelorette” party for my friend who is the matron of honor of a wedding. We are in are 50s, 60s, and 70s and do not drink alcohol so it was low key and focused on outdoor activities such as biking and paddleboarding. I had six women in my small cabin in Tahoe. One of the only two bathrooms is tiny, no room for a counter or storage. Since all my bath towels are the same color I made plan. I sewed hooks onto six different colors of wash clothes. I already have hooks on the bath towels. I found and “over the door” hanger for $5.00 . I hung each bath towels with a wash cloth and told the ladies to keep them together so we didn’t mix up towels. It worked beautifully. Before people would take the wet towels to the bedrooms and hang them on wood that would warp, etc. . . Now everything can dry without any mix up.

    It was not a frugal week, however. Since I had the time and some extra cash from a salary raise I decided to finally decorate one of the cabin’s “bedrooms” ( which is really a utility room that we had thrown two beds in. I sourced everything from thrift and consignment places. The bed has a trundle so I can take one down to make it a single room. I even found a few pieces for the living room including a sold brass lamp that I adore !!!! It has brass leaves . Finally, a plant I can’t kill. I also finally put up two signs my husband made out of bottle caps. They have lots of nostalgia because the ” melon” sign was when he and my son had a roadside stand of honeydews. The sign was dirty. I used a mr. clean sponge and white shoe polish. I used plate and picture easels to secure them above. Worth the money and the effort and a sustainable way to decorate.

    Everytime I went to the thrift store I brought two bags of donations. I am a firm believer in one in and one out policy.

    Here are the results: ( The last image is orientation is incorrect but I can’t fix it on the free version of imgbb) Still you get the idea.

  22. Glad you are feeling better Brandy! Beautiful photos as always!

    ***I worked four 12 hour shifts over the holiday weekend. Working the holiday earns me double time and a half pay rate. It took me two nights off to feel better physically. I’m almost 51 & the toll my nursing career has taken on my back over the years means I’m almost always in pain.

    So, I really didn’t do a whole lot on those 6 nights off. Except to go grocery shopping with my husband on Friday & play with our puppy.

    ** We had take out one night from Subway as they had BOGO foot longs code in app & I had a $2 off reward having used the app for previous purchases. It was too hot to cook. Two foot longs cost us $8.99. That was our only take-out during my nights off. Other than that we cooked at home. We made pizza, lasagna & pork & sauerkraut. Other nights leftovers were had.

    **binge-watched The Nanny on Max
    **read a free magazine thru Recycle-Bank.
    Nothing overly exciting. I lead a boring life.

    1. Hi Kelly fellow nurse here leading same ” vanilla ” life lol
      We work holidays and weekends, spend more time with coworkers than family
      I am sorry your back is paying the price

  23. So sorry, Brandy, that you´ve been ill! I hope you get better soon!
    I have a problem and I thought somebody from here might help. It has to do with teenagers´ stinky sneakers. Maybe it´s the climate here, during summer they wear sneakers a lot, sometimes it´s hot but sometimes it´s raining and the footwear does not get dried soon enough. They were in camps recently and… it seems I have to get rid of 2-3 pairs of sneakers which is not cheap. I washed them in washing machine but that did not help. Too sad. I bet if they had leather boots like old times, those would not get ruined so soon! It´s like the sneakers are made not to last long. But the price…

    1. May, my son used to put his in a plastic bag and then in the freezer for a couple days. He said it worked.

    2. I have done coffee grinds or baking soda. Leave them for a few days out in the sun if you can. My son used to play tennis and I don’t know what it did but his sneakers were horrible. Good luck.

    3. Hi May: I find that the sun will kill ‘stink’. I had a stinky puzzle box that had been wet for a while; nothing could get it right until 2 days of direct sunlight. Then my watershoes…OMG, ready to throw them overboard! A good dose of baking soda and 2 days of sunshine. They are being laundered today but no noticeable odor; just need to wash off the soda. Remove liners, if possible. Hope it works for you.

    4. May, I don’t know if this will work, but I would try a couple of things. I would try sprinkling baking soda in them frequently. (I’d do that going forward to see if that will take out the odor preventatively.). I’d figure out a shaker bottle that you can put the baking soda in. Another thing I would try is soaking them in white vinegar water. I would also try drying them outside. I hope that can save them.

    5. We’ve always put crumpled up newspaper in them and set out in the sun for a day or so. Works well for us! I guess the type of paper that newspaper is made of absorbs smells??

      Hope you find something that works – stinky, ruined sneakers are no fun.

    6. As a tiny tiny detail, look at how you set them to dry. Flat on the floor means water soaks down toward the sole, and then has to evaporate up and out. I set my shoes with the toes up against the wall so inside liquid theoretically runs down to the heel and maybe saves a few hours drying the toes. Pull the tongue and laces as far open as you can, and as Rita said, take out any liners. Maybe set the shoes upside down over a vent, even a cold air one, for circulation.

    7. I use a boot dryer. I bought mine at Aldi. You can also find them at Menard’s. I put the tennis shoes on to dry several cycles to make sure they are completely dry. I also set them out in the sun to freshen up.

    8. May, I have saved countless pairs of shoes, boots and even clothing by spraying them generously with an enzyme treatment. We had originally purchased it to rid ourselves of pet urine odors. Years ago, I had read about using it in such a way and decided to give it a try…it works beautifully! The trick is simply to clean as best you can, then spray/soak the inside of the shoes (or clothing) generously with the enzyme liquid and then allow it to completely air dry. Apparently, as it dries, the enzymes will eat away not just pet odors but most bacteria causing odors. It has worked very well for us and has become our staple treatment for such things. You can buy it on Amazon or Petco. It’s well priced at under ten dollars for 32 ounces. (We use the Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer with Enzymes in the spray bottle.). One important tip to remember is NOT to wash it out. Let it dry completely and rewash after that if you care to. Hope this helps, it’s saved countless shoes and workout/athletic shirts for us over the years.

    9. I second the recommendation for Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer. Another thing that we used a ton in the theater on stinky costumes and shoes that couldn’t be laundered and/or were infrequently dry cleaned was a vodka water solution (1 part vodka to 7 parts water in a spray bottle). It works on the same principle as vinegar but it doesn’t leave any smell behind, as vinegar tends to do. Just spray on and allow it to dry fully.

  24. I haven’t meal planned in a long while, cooking with what we harvest from our garden and what I find at the grocery outlet each week. You never know what they will have in stock. Shopping there has reduced our weekly grocery shop to between $10-$35.

    I secured my contract job permanently, meaning a permanent pay rise of almost 20% above my substantive position (which I will now relinquish). It will shortly increase to about 26%. I will also do more work from home, saving in commuting costs and time.

    The children and I attended a local event and they got food and participated in many indoor and outdoor activities, all free.

    We caught the train to go to a free childrens theatre show and each received a free drink on our way out. The children enjoy going on the train.

    I did two acts of kindness.

  25. Hi Brandy and everyone
    I’m sorry you have been ill, it’s good of you to post this week, sending love and good wishes for your recovery.
    The ability to alter clothes is such a skill, hope you are happy with the new dress when it’s done. I have also bought a new dress in a sale, it’s a winter weight which I
    need so hope it fits when it arrives.
    We picked gooseberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, carrots, peas, broad beans, spring onions, lettuce and dug potatoes. The house is full of flowers and we have shared the bounty with neighbours. We received some courgettes, ours are not quite ready yet.
    I made two banana and chocolate chip loaf cakes to use up overripe bananas.
    Bacon lardons are expensive now so I bought a cheaper pack of streaky bacon and divided it into three, chopped it and put them in the freezer for when I need to add extra flavour to a quiche etc.
    I redeemed a voucher for a free bakery item, a voucher for 40 per cent off cooking oil and stocked up on tea in a deal. I haven’t bought much meat the last three weeks, except bacon.
    We had young guests to stay and kept everyone amused for free, they loved picking soft fruit ( free labour!) and playing with the dogs, local playgrounds, the beach, a farm park, climbing a Celtic hillfort and playing Celts and Romans etc. Garden produce helped greatly to feed them.
    We had quite a lot of annuals in the greenhouses which didn’t get planted out, I bunged them all randomly in garden tubs and they’re giving colour now. We didn’t buy any plants at the nursery this year.
    I ordered heating oil at summer prices when the price dropped enough.
    My hairdresser raised prices so I researched others and found one closer to home and cheaper . I had a dry cut and fringe trim. I will halve the number of cuts and I can trim my own fringe in between. I’ve calculated this will save me £156 a year plus petrol saved.
    We have to cut down on meat and fish so I have been searching my cookbooks for ideas. Several old fashioned books have a chapter on ‘light suppers’ and these can be main meals padded out with veg etc. As yet I haven’t found anything totally new but I’m reminded of some dishes we like and can include again in meal planning.
    Stay safe everyone.

  26. Sorry to hear you are not feeling well Brandy and I hope you are better soon.

    Here is my weeks “frugality by proxy” in action.

    Firstly, in the UK we have “gift aid”. If you give something to charity, the charity can claim the tax back. This includes things you give to charity shops. However, the shop must be able to tie back the money raised to the tax payer. So, you register your name and address with the shop and they barcode the stuff that you give them. Some shops have an app and THEN YOU CAN SEE WHAT THEY SOLD YOUR STUFF FOR. It is very exciting.
    Next: I’m rural and our local charity shop isn’t a big professionally run one with this type of system in place. Prices here are lower and if stuff doesn’t sell, it ends up on the £1 rail. At this point, if it looks good, I buy it.

    Then, when I go to visit family in Edinburgh, I take it to the Salvation Army shop. My record for this charity shop “arbitraging” is buying something for £1 here and the Sally Ann selling it for £12 and getting £4 tax back, making it £16. Oh Yes! I was down at the weekend and unloaded swag including an Oasis leather bomber jacket and a pair of leather trousers on them. I am hoping to beat my personal best this week and I will let you know how it goes!
    The variety of prices in Edinburgh charity shops is really wide depending on location and this charity shop charges a lot less than some others, but I’m saving the planet here so that is my main motivation.

  27. We are moving house soon and I began packing up our books. We have so many! We moved four years ago and did a big declutter then so I am only finding a very few books to give away this time. We will be moving far away from a library so I am more inclined to hang onto things I might want to read again. We kept ALL our moving boxes and packing materials from our last move in our garage so all we had to buy this time is more tape. I found paper-backed tape at a better price than regular tape and it is much more pleasant to use.

    We had friends over for a meal rather than going out to a restaurant. It is much more convenient with young children, and we are able to better control the price of the meal. Even if we go for something really special and it costs as much for everyone as a restaurant meal would for two, I still prefer it as the cost is much more under our control. And hopefully our friends invite us over one day and the cost evens out!

    Despite being quite ill with one of those feels-like-flu colds, we stuck to our planned meals. We cancelled some outings so I guess we saved on transport costs there.

    I have been researching homeschool maths curriculum (for the UK – somewhat tricky to pick it out from all the US stuff). I am OK at maths myself but find it very dull so it is the one subject I am really not excited about teaching. I had thought of buying a boxed curriculum but so many are screen-based or single-use, or so full of bells and whistles and graphics you can’t see the numbers. Now I am wondering about buying or DIYing some maths facts flashcards and some maths manipulatives and trying to DIY for a year or two. It would save money and maybe I would find it more interesting if I were more involved.

    My grandmother is moving in with us after we move house, so I have been talking to my mother about the financial and logistical arrangements for that. Money is not an issue for her, so it’s mainly a question of how we can spend her money (my mother has POA) to make the process easier. It’s hard to figure it out and also hard to talk to my grandmother about it because she finds it all so tiring. Still, we are excited to have her move in with us. It will be so nice for her and my children (her great-grandchildren!) to have a closer relationship in her final years. (She’s 94 and has been living in a retirement flat alone except for a carer for 2 hrs a day.)

    1. Hello. We found that you don’t really need a curriculum in the early years. The kids need to learn to tell time, shapes etc and then really learn their math facts, how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. My husband makes math sheets with problems on then and sometimes he times them. It’s pretty simple. Then around 4th or 5th grade (in the US so 9 or 10 years old or so) then they start to use a curriculum. (We used Saxon. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty good.) p.s. Math isn’t really an exciting subject for most people. Some of my kids were naturally good at it and so they took off but the others had to muddle through. p.s. Good job on the homemade meal instead of eating out! We think homemade food tastes better anyway!

  28. Thanks to all for the reminders to see a dermatologist for skin checks. My husband had a spot behind his left ear that I was sure was a melanoma. He thought it was just a bite that he had been scratching. We were both wrong. He went to the doctor, had it biopsied and it was a renal cell carcinoma. No symptoms at all. The dermatologist said it was rare and sent him to a oncologist. After multiple CT scans and blood work, he has a large tumor on his left kidney which has spread to spots on his spleen, pancreas and both lungs. We have gotten the same opinions from our primary care physician and a urologist. Surgery is not an option as doctors feel the cancer will spread further. He starts chemo this week.
    The last two weeks have been a blur of doctor visits and planning for the worst and praying for the best. I am thankful we live in a city where we have excellent health care. I know with God all things are possible.

    1. Wow! Diana! I hope all goes well. How amazing that such a small thing led you to find out all that!

    2. Diana, you are sooo right about seeing a dermatologist with any questionable skin issues. I have have had three different places, on different parts of me, turn out to be Squamous Cell Carcinoma in the past two years. Each time my primary dr. did not think they were “anything to worry about”! But I was not convinced and went to my dermatologist.* I will be keeping both your husband and you in my prayers. All my best. Penny S.

      1. I also wanted to say how important it is to get skin checks. My lower arm had a strange growth that just appeared one day and in two weeks had about tripled in size!
        As soon as I got to the doctor appt., he removed it right then and there (I wasn’t prepared for that). He said it was very serious and needed immediate attention.
        I’m left with a big, ugly scar but I don’t care because I am cancer free.

    3. Sending prayers for good results from the chemo for your husband. That is shocking that was the first sign for the renal cancer.

    4. Diana,
      I’m sorry to hear this unexpected news about your husband’s health. It’s astounding that an itchy spot behind the ear was something so serious. Praying for the best outcome! 🙏🏼

    5. Thank you for sharing this information. Good reminder that one can never be too careful and any concern one has should be looked into. Prayers for you and your husband. 🙂

  29. The kids pieced together enough fireworks from leftover stuff they had. I still don’t think the teen shot off everything she took since she went with her friends family.

    Earned a few dollars back on Ibotta and Get Upside

    Ive been cleaning my house section by section since I still have classes to do. I’m being brutal because I want to go back to work and school in August with a lighter house. I worked on the kitchen the most this week. I threw away 7 Walmart bags of items, plus an electric skillet. I have a box of stuff to sell, and I had another Walmart bag of stuff to give away. I dumped out or in the case of I couldn’t open the jar, threw out stuff I had made and canned because it wasn’t being ate. I ended up finding some things…missing silverware, pasta, and the top to the coffee grinder. I’m working on my bedroom, the bathroom, and forcing the teen to go through her clothes this week. Next week, is the living room and back store room. I’m saving the basement for last(and after finals, lol)

    Stayed home aside from going to work out and a handful of errands.

    I’m down to three dvds on my Netflix queue. My plan is to have them finished by my August 15th bill so I can eliminate that.

    I’ll have two more credit cards paid off this month. If my plan goes right, all will be paid off by November and I plan on solely using my card that offers cash back and paying off each month.

    I got a letter from our car insurance provider…since the teen doesn’t have a permit, I’ll have to pay an additional $16 a month to exclude her. If she does get her permit, our insurance will go back to where it is now, and when she gets a driver’s license, it’ll go up $120. Ugh. (No luck on any good student discounts, she struggles and just getting her to pass is the goal)

    Used dog food bags for big trash. I’m continuing to use larger department store bags in my bathroom trash can.

  30. Brandy, I pray that you get feeling better. I have been reading library books. I enjoy reading so much. We are getting tomatoes, squash, zucchini from the garden. We grilled out last night for the family. I received a $50 gift card from my health insurance for completing a health survey. I had lunch with my two sisters, it was nice to catch up on what has been going on each of our life’s. My sister brought me some cucumbers and potatoes from her garden. They are so good. We have been walking twice a day, we live in the country so no traffic when we walk early and late.

  31. Hello, frugal friends from beautiful south west Virginia! Brandy, I am so sorry you aren’t feeling well and hope you recover quickly. If I lived closer I would gladly share some of the 4 gallons of chicken soup I was given by friends when I came home from the hospital. I froze most of it. Thank you for taking time to post this week, especially since you aren’t feeling well.
    In frugal things:
    *received another refund from my grand adventure in the hospital in February. I cashed this check for a roll of quarters and a little cash for our camping trip with the grandkids next week. The RV resort has an arcade so the quarters are needed for rainy day fun.
    *I sent away for a free nasal rinse bottle from Neil Med company. This product has paid for itself many times over saving me from expensive medications and doctor visits for sinus infections.
    *I used $2 Food Lion rewards to pay towards the sale chicken legs I needed for our camping trip next week. The rewards gave us 2 additional pounds of meat..
    *Kroger had 2 packs of sunscreen on clearance for $4 for the 2 bottles.
    *I also found Hawaiian rolls on clearance for $1.20/dozen. I bought 2 packages to make sandwiches when the grandkids are here.
    *Another marked down item was 1# mushroom for $2.10 plus a .60 coupon =$1.50/#.
    *I used coupons on the fruit saving a total of $3.50 in coupons which included a free package of sliced cheese.
    *We ate and shared lettuce, greens, green onions from the garden. Our tomatoes are beginning to ripen and we are anticipating the yumminess as we wait.
    I want to share a disturbing observation. Our local Walmart is remodeling. When we went to pick up a few groceries I realized they have reduced the food area by 30%! They have also widened the aisles. This has reduced the amount and selection of food available to purchase. The canned fruit aisle is now a 4’x5′ space. It once took up an entire aisle side. As my husband and I were talking about what we saw I realized our local Kroger had done the same thing when they remodeled last spring. While they widened and shortened the aisles for food and cleaning products, they increased the space selling beer and wine. I think this is interesting and concerning. Is this happening elsewhere? I am even more intent on shopping wisely and keeping a well stocked pantry. To this end I plan to plant a few fall vegetables. I am also freezing all greens and using stems from chard and kale in things like stir fry. I am evaluating everything before throwing it away. I am very thankful for all I learn from you all. Blessings to all our frugal community, and Brandy, rest up and get well soon!

    1. I’ve noticed this also. Products I’ve purchased before at the Walmart market by my house are no longer available after they remodeled. There’s definitely less variety and selection on everything (except the two aisles of alcohol, lol)

    2. Marley,
      The loss of food sale areas and widening of aisles is also happening in our Trader Joe’s. I haven’t seen an increase in alcohol space. Wondering what it means as well.

    3. Several of the Stop & Shops near me are doing or have done the same thing. Wider aisles, more room for beer section. Crazy times we live in.

    4. After clearing out products that weren’t selling, my grocery store has introduced hundreds of new house brand products. They are good quality, but not necessarily less expensive than name brands. The egg and pasta and pasta sauce sections are much smaller. A lot of things have moved around, so I am not sure what products might be missing entirely. I haven’t found the dried beans and lentils, I know that, though they’ve created a small “make soup from scratch” section, so you don’t have to hunt all over the store for the items you might need.

      I heard on a Tennessee-based YouTube channel that Costco had reorganized their shelving the way you are describing.

  32. Glad to hear that you are on the mend Brandy!
    Our gardens continue to provide a huge harvest for us. We have been enjoying the fresh veggies and sharing with some neighbors and family. Even after all of this we still have more that you can imagine. This is huge blessing. I will make a fresh spaghetti sauce with a bounty of tomatoes this weekend, putting away more green beans, sowing more seeds in our raised bed including lima beans, bok choy, herbs of all kinds, field peas, more squash, and trying to tame and tie up my pumpkin plants which are massive. I have never grown pumpkins before and I think that we will have quite enough for a lovely front porch display and homemade pumpkin puree to last us well unto winter.
    We are still trying to fill in bare spots in our sod so we pulled patches that had grown into our flower beds and placed them into the bare spots after tilling the ground. We have had daily afternoon rain showers for which I am so grateful. It is a blessing to not have to water the gardens and the yard after a long day of work and taking care of an elderly person with dementia and a very active little boy. At the end of the day, I often find myself with little to no energy and still a huge list of tasks for the next day. Grace. My grace is sufficient – that soothes my sometimes weary soul. I have brought in flowers from the garden to brighten our space and find my greatest comfort while working in the garden talking to God in the quiet, attending church and attending my bootcamp workouts.
    My husband picked up free reclaimed wood to cover the front of our island in which saved us over $500. We will have quite a bit leftover and are thinking through some projects to use up the rest of it.
    I roasted a chicken in a new to me way this week – inverted in a bundt pan. I wrapped foil around the middle, seasoned and roasted as normal. This was delicious and the meat just fell off the bones. The pan caught al the drippings for broth and my dogs gobbled up the crispy skin. I am trying to find new ways to love whole chickens since they are so much less expensive than purchasing just breast meat.
    I took advantage of a sale to purchase some ground chicken, chicken thighs and blsl chicken breasts – all B1G1 free.
    I sowed some seeds for marigolds from last years plants and have field pea seeds growing in my garden that I planted last year.
    I made 4 loaves of Zucchini bread – 2 went to our neighbors and 2 stayed here with us. I have many more zucchini to process and some will be grated and frozen while others will be sauteed. I made a lovely quinoa salad with tomatoes from our garden plus roasted zucchini, onion, peppers and basil.
    I made an enormous pot of Minestrone soup using dried kidney beans and tons of garden veggies. It was delicious and fed us for a number of days.
    I finally finished planting all of the dahlia bulbs that I purchased this year. God willing they will all come up and we will have fresh flowers for a number of years to come.
    Cheers to the week ahead friends!

    1. I have never thought of that verse of scripture that way. I always write a longer to do list than I can accomplish. I appreciate this. I will remember it.

      I, too, cook my chickens (and turkeys) covered with the breast down until the meat falls off the bones. I use an enamel pan with a lid when cooking chickens. When I cook a turkey, I use a giant enamel pan with foil over the top. It makes it so easy to pull the meat off the bones.

    2. Angie,
      I never thought of cooking a chicken like that . I’ll give it a try next time! 😊

  33. I hope you are on the mend and able to feel better this week.

    We went camping last week at our usual spot at Lava Hot Springs. We booked again for the next year. All meals were made by us – except one. I got sick one day and we picked up some Mexican food. We had plenty of food from home and lots of leftovers to eat. Camping food is the best food. We brought our tubes we had purchased so we didn’t pay for rental tubes. My husband and daughter had fun going down the river. We spent one day at the local pool – Wednesday is their Family Day Special pricing. We packed our own lunch and enjoyed the day watching the divers and doing some swimming.

    Coming home was spent cleaning and unpacking. I went to the store for a few essentials. But it’s been hot at home and I’ve been hibernating in my house. I have my A/C set at 74 and my family freezes. I admire those who can go higher – I cannot. But at least it’s not set at 68 like my neighbor down the street. I would do that myself if I lived alone. 🙂 But I keep the blinds closed and use fans in the main areas to help circulate the air. We also have an attic fan that seems to be working. And our backyard trees give plenty of shade to the house in the afternoon.

    I’ve picked lettuce, zucchini and yellow squash from the garden. Also a few strawberries that are straggling behind. I love the peanut plants I’ve got growing. I can smell peanuts when I am by the plants. My potatoes are tall and I continue to add grass clippings to the cardboard boxes I placed around each plant. The potatoes are underground. I’m just using the cardboard to contain the grass/dirt needed. I hope this experiment works. I saw the idea on YouTube…..

    I needed to buy more dog food. I have the hardest time getting my auto ship timing right on Chewy. I discovered I was down to almost empty bags for both dogs. I created a new auto ship, used a coupon code, received an e gift card on my next order and received free shipping. We like to keep an extra bag in case of emergencies.

    Continue to exercise by gardening, Walk at Home, cleaning. Still reading as many books as possible. Signed up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited for 3 months. I’ve already cancelled the subscription – but I’ll be reading a lot during the 3 months. I’m enjoying the earlier writings of Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series. Plucky character. I didn’t enjoy the last couple of books from this author. Still receiving free car wash/vacuum and dry from my kids work. We have so much construction going on around us that it is dusty! Everything outside gets covered in a thin layer of dust. My allergies have been going crazy and I have to keep the windows open. We have road and home construction going on all around us. All I hear is beeping and roaring engines all day.

    Made energy bites using dried cherries, hard boiled eggs, cooked up a roast to eat off of all week. Made mashed potatoes & gravy, quesidillas. Enjoyed a quiet 4th of July at home with our children. We put together a new puzzle. I framed it in a picture frame I had received for free and put it in our guest room. We made hamburgers/hot dogs that we already had in the freezer, potato salad and a pudding dessert. I bought a watermelon and buns. We enjoyed fireworks being set off in the neighborhood. We sat in the back yard and enjoyed our dinner under the shade trees. It was warm, but a very pleasant way to eat dinner. Plus no construction vehicles because of the holiday 🙂

    Have a great week.

    1. Hope you feel better! This week hubby got back to cooking dinners on the weekend that we use during the week. He buys meats that are marked down and saves us a lot of $$. We got the first 2 zucchini from the garden and I sliced and roasted one as a side dish with one of the meals—yum! Looks like lots more to come and possibly some spaghetti squash. Everything else seems to be growing well so I’m looking forward to lots of tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and cucumbers soon! Raspberries should also be ready. The peach tree (only planted 2 years ago) got a lot of peaches but they look too small to yield much. Maybe next year! I have been reading a lot, I let all my book subscriptions go for now and am working through some library books, advance copies through NetGalley (since I run a book club) and books I had in the house, which are all free. I watched a YouTube video about how to change the wheels on my lawnmower and it looks easy so I plan to try it. I changed the blade myself earlier in the year. I’m planning to dye my hair (the roots) with an at-home dye that cost $4 and then go get a $10 hair trim at Great Clips instead of the $170 dye and highlights I was getting previously. We have not had cable for months now and are saving $190 a month by only having internet. We did have a streaming plan for about $60 a month but no one was watching it so I didn’t renew. I can easily do so if there’s something someone wants to see that isn’t available to stream. We do have several of the streaming subscriptions—Paramount Plus, Peacock, the cheapest tier of Netflix, and Disney+ but we had those before when we had cable so it’s still a savings.

      1. Bea – mine were those reasons as well. Especially if it’s a special pet food that can’t be bought in stores and is prescription. Love our fur babies


  34. So sorry you’ve been ill, hope you feel better soon. Also, congratulations last week on your anniversary. I missed posting then. You photos are outstanding as usual, and that food looks salivating! * Don’t have any food savings as my stomach has been bothering me and can only do a few bites a day at the moment. * My application for help with my water bill was accepted, a savings of over $700, so that’s a relief. I’m hoping that means I’ll qualify on utilities bill too. Fingers crossed. * Rigged a window heat blocker out of large cushions with a quilt over them to block heat from my west facing bedroom. Worked pretty good in last heatwave and we are starting a new one. * Mostly resting due to complications from surgery, getting f/u tests this week. * Still shocked at some food prices, still can’t fathom the frozen dinners at grocery outlet had gone up by $2 in the last month and gas prices haven’t come down much. I paid $4.65g for gas at Costco.

  35. I hope you feel better soon, Brandy.

    I’ve picked more cucumbers and squash from the raised beds and had enough cucumbers last week to put up four jars of pickle relish. This is such a change from last year, when I got only two cucumbers and two squash not infested with worms, all summer.

    The okra is already starting to put on better than last year, too. I added better dirt and some compost to the raised bed soil this year, and it is obviously helping.

    I found a clearance scrap of cloth that just fit my little kitchen table when the edges were hemmed, so it became a new tablecloth.

    I repaired a chair leg that had come loose.

    I removed some decorative buttons from the waist of a pair of work slacks – they never showed anyway since my work shirts are tunics – and saved the buttons in the old button tin.

    I’m re-reading books I own and enjoy. I don’t like reading digital books, and while I do use the library, it involves a trip to get there.

    We’ve had a lot of rain, so I’ve gotten a lot of use out of the Lands End rain jacket I got this year from ThredUp.

    I found a nice Cuisinart salad spinner that works perfectly at a thrift store for about $4. I eat a lot of greens, so I’ve wanted one of these for a while.

    I’ve enjoyed watching movies that are free through my Roku.

    The weather has been so hot and humid, but I try to remember, it won’t last forever – just till October!

  36. I pray the illness is gone and doesn’t hit anyone else in the house, though it usually does.
    My to do list is usually about 35 things, I average 10 to get it done, a good day or several small jobs might make 15. If I am harvesting or canning I’m lucky with 5 besides the harvest and canning.
    I am canning, red raspberries, blackberries, turnips, golden beets, red beets, zucchini and applesauce. Cherries will be coming in probably this week or the week after. Mennonite store wasn’t exact on delivery date. I need to dehydrate the bolted lettuce (good in lettuce soup) and my herbs as even with the 1 inch of rain , the herbs are burning up.
    I pulled the seeds storage to start for plants and what I want to direct sow for fall/winter gardens (I use row cover late fall/ early winter here in Ohio) and made a list of what I need to reorder for next spring.
    I paid all the credit cards off, last 3 months has been on high side between Hubby’s accident at end of May (still waiting for truck finish being repaired) and ordering the metal garden beds since they were on sale so we could plant this fall/ winter as the old wooden ones are crumbling and the sides are rotting off the frames. Made the savings and checking accounts on the low side but no interested paid on anything AND we are going to have a full pantry with the blessing of Heaven, fresh veggies through the fall and winter.
    Electric bill came in at $104. We are averaging about $70 lower a month right now. Still no AC. Opened windows at night, and a couple fans. Charlotte, our dog has taken to sleeping in the basement with an old blanket for a bed. I put a lounge chair down there and told Hubby he could sleep there if he was to hot in the front room as he has to sleep sitting up some.
    We have had mostly veggie meals and I am trying to use what ever is left up before it goes bad.
    Prayers for peace
    Blessed Be

  37. We are going to Lava Hot Springs in two weeks! This is one of the places we intended to visit on the vacation we had to postpone. Also going to Bear Lake for raspberry milkshakes! Our final destination is Victor, ID, where our son and DIL live.

  38. I hope you are feeling better Brandy. It’s especially hard when everyone and everything depends on you. It’s nearly time for me to begin living on my retirement savings and I have been evaluating my spending. In the past it has been easy for me to be thoughtless about small purchases like fancy soaps and candles, but they do all add up. I am experimenting with all the ways I can save on the little things that give me pleasure and adding them to a pinterest board (https://www.pinterest.com.au/laurahart2193/luxe-for-less-or-even-free/). I especially love my supermarket’s “The odd bunch” initiative, where so called “ugly” fruits and vegetables are sold at quite a discount. Often the only fault is that they are too large or too small for the very strict standards the supermarkets enforce, and they used to be dumped. What an unconscionable waste!

  39. My youngest gave me a huge bag of hotel soaps and shampoos and lots of sample size products that she was given. She also surprised me at work one day with a Starbucks drink. She had a BOGO coupon and a gift card.
    We went to a BBQ at a friend’s house. She asked if I would make my chickpea salad. I also made dairy free cupcakes(hubby is dairy free). The cupcakes were gone in minutes. She sent us home with a ton of leftovers because they don’t like leftovers. We do.
    We have been dog sitting my sister’s dog for her while she is away. When she dropped him off she also gave me a container of guacamole and some tomatoes that would have been bad by the time she got back. She also gave me a container of ice cream and sprinkles as a thank you.
    I got 10 ears of corn for 20¢ each and chicken cutlets and cherries for $1.99 a pound. We are making brandied cherries with most of the cherries as Christmas presents.
    Hubby got home before me one day from work so he threw lots of leftovers together and made pork fried rice. It was delicious and there was enough for lunch the next day.
    Hubby and I went blueberry and peach picking about an hour away. I packed lots of water and lunch and snacks. Glad I did because the farms were selling water bottles for $3 each. We only got a dozen peaches for fresh eating but we got 10 pounds of blueberries. I froze 9 pounds to use all year. I made blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins already.
    A friend’s zucchini are going crazy so she gave me a large one and I gave her a bag of swiss chard.
    More parsley was dehydrated and added to a container. I made a batch of dairy free pesto for Hubby and froze most of it. We have been eating lots of fresh lettuce, swiss chard and raspberries from the garden. My daughter came over and picked a quart of raspberries to take home. Its a fight against the birds to see who gets the most berries.
    I hope you feel better. Being sick is never fun.

  40. I do hope you are feeling better. I’ve decided that questioning a doctor is ok and that trusting my intuition is also ok. I’ve spent several days in the hospital. Going to the ER saved my life. That’s after even getting a second opinion. Needless to say I’m going to double check and make sure that my application for financial help was actually submitted. I’m not taking any chances. Its been a rough day. Im hoping for peace. I’m in desperate need of it. My mom will pass very soon and the dynamics have turned ugly. I stopped by the Chattahoochee river today. I observed some crazy mushrooms. Some normal looking, but others were bizarre. The water running was peaceful. I took a photo of a odd growing tree. It looked like it had sat down and had a lap with two legs growing out from it. Even the tree found peace sitting by the river. I wish this location was closer to my home. I had items for the children in my neighborhood and dropped them off. I had some more beautiful cherries for them. I saved a pack for myself and maybe will get them in the freezer. Earlier last week l found 7 smaller spaghetti squash. Those really thrilled me. At 1.99 a lb here , those added up in value. I arrived home to find one baked for me. I used parmesan cheese on it and it was so good. Brought home salad today. I saved several dollars filling my car up with gas that was 50 cents cheaper. Im not sure why but was happy I went to that location. Puppy and I are going to lay in bed a few days. I need to rest. I hope everyone is feeling well and that all is well.

    1. “Even the tree found peace sitting by the river.” I love this. Bless you, Lillianna, and may you rest and recuperate.

    2. Lilliana – I am glad you got the help you needed. Your image of the tree sitting peacefully by the river really speaks to me. I have seen similar trees and am glad to know others notice such things. Thank you for sharing that lovely thought. 🙂

  41. Hi Everyone !

    This week we had a house guest and I’ve been cooking and baking and cleaning nonstop.I made daily bread or rolls since it’s so expensive to buy right now.

    My garden isn’t in full swing yet as it’s been overcast and chilly still. I was able to harvest frisée for several salads, carrots, potatoes, fennel for salad, and plums. Last week I canned a batch of plum jam and another of cherry. In addition I canned 12 pints of whole plums in light syrup. Our apricots should be ready next week. I’ve been battling some type of critter with teeth. First it ate all the outer leaves on my broccoli and cauliflower plants. Then it ate the golf ball sized heads completely off. I also saw a carrot bitten down to just below the surface. 🐰?? It’s a bit frustrating because I have had no broccoli or cauliflower this spring due to the nibblers, yet my entire vegetable garden is fenced. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It must be good stuff. LOL! 🥦

    I’ll be attending a conference virtually Thursday and Friday. This saved travel costs that would have taken me to the East Coast. Also, I bought the ticket over Memorial weekend and saved 50%.

    I hope you feel better Brandy! PS your crepe looks delicious.
    Have a wonderful week ! 🍒

      1. Didn’t think of that . 😱 Maybe we should set out some traps. Definitely don’t want to feed them and help them multiply.

  42. Brandy: sorry you’ve been “pookie” as my children used to say. Hope you’re on the mend. Your photo made my mouth water!

    Put up 6 quarts of Squash. Have tons of tomatoes, but they are slow to ripen due to the lack of sun. We get a day or two of sun, then several days of rain. This makes them not as flavorful and somewhat mushy. My beans are beginning to come in and my corn plants are about 9 ft tall now and ladened with ears! Have tons of cucumbers! Plan to fry some and make cucumber, tomato and onion vinaigrette.

    Ordered some tomato/plant clips from Amazon. They are wonderful! So easy to use and keep the plants from straying from their cages or falling on the ground. Have some expired Tum’s tablets. Plan to crush them up and spread around the base of the tomatoes. Good for blossom end rot.

    Peaches are $110 a bushel here. So no peaches to can. No meat bargains to be found. Cucumbers were 4 for $3.00! Thank goodness we have an abundance.

    Stomach virus appears to be spreading as well as COVID. So many family and friends have been sick or dying! Very sad and challenging week.

    Take care everyone! Onward, y’all, by all means!

  43. Oh Brandy, so good to know that you’re on the mend and I pray that you’ll feel much better really soon! We don’t have Ross in our area but the neighboring town has a Marshalls and that’s where I found a great price on a pair of Pelaton 3 pound weights for $4.99. Was really surprised by their selection of fitness equipment.

    I continue to be so grateful to you all for this caring and helpful community and its welcoming environment!

    Frugal efforts this week:

    *Pleasantly surprised that grocery prices have not increased the past 30 days on basic items we buy (at our nearest large grocery store – Texas chain 20 miles away). Such a blessing!

    *Was overcharged $7 on recent grocery shopping trip and discovered it thanks to reviewing the receipt as I entered the prices in my Price Book. Received a store credit.

    *Cost compared toilet tissue confirming our current brand/source is the best buy for us. With all the “mega roll” and “bigger roll” marketing on packages, it can be confusing. Followed Amy Dacyczyn’s tip and compared by total square feet (not sheets, etc.)

    *Began prepping one of two cattle troughs to use for a container garden. I’m so glad we kept these when we moved from the country to town. Layers will be landscape fabric (to cover the drain), gravel, landscape fabric, and soil. If we can locate them, will also use Styrofoam packing peanuts and/or empty plastic water bottles as bottom filler. Less soil = less cost. Checking our stash for casters/wheels as well.

    *Transplanted two beefsteak tomato plants and a zucchini plant – all sprouted from seeds in our AeroGarden (gifted to us from youngest dear son). Planted the little plants in five gallon food grade buckets (in our area, Tractor Supply has the best price for these). I so enjoy the gardening process – the God-given miracle of seeing food bearing plants emerge from tiny seeds still amazes me!

    *Ran out of gifted AeroGarden little peat pods, and experimenting with DIY versions instead. First attempt is an empty tea bag. If that fails, will use a sponge cut to fit, and then a paper coffee filter. I’m in no hurry and enjoy the process of trying until I succeed.

    *Lemongrass and Sweet Spanish Onions are sprouting.

    *Repurposed bath water (no harsh toiletry products) for a few especially dry areas of lawn. A bit of a workout carrying pails from our upstairs bath … but it’s satisfying to know that water didn’t just go down the drain. And, I can’t complain about adding steps to my daily step goal.

    *Great buy on watermelons at $2.97 each (typical lowest price for us is $4.97). Bought two.

    *Free entertainment … viewed area Fourth of July fireworks from our back deck.

    *Used digital coupons (scanned while in store on app) and saved over $12 on groceries – all planned purchases of basic items we typically buy.

    *Made a small batch of homemade liquid laundry detergent for the two of us. Dissolved ¼ cup bar grated Zote in 1 cup warm water, ¼ cup washing soda, 1/8 cup Borax and 1 gallon warm water. Added lemon verbena essential oil.

    *Replaced dishwasher rinse aid (36 cents/ounce) with much more economical vinegar (3 cents/ounce). We use our dishwasher once a week and hand wash all others. Great results!

    *Made Oatmeal Muffins – a recipe that contains oil only and no butter and they turned out nicely. Added raisins (Aldi’s price on these is great in our area of Texas) and crushed pecans (from freezer – bought at deep discount earlier this year). Hubby really enjoyed these. Recipe: https://preppykitchen.com/oatmeal-muffins/

    *Large budgeted expense this week – planned installation of our concrete sidewalk and steps. Existing natural stone sidewalk and steps were charming but very unlevel and unsafe. Project was too labor intensive for us to tackle as a DIY. All stones were saved and will be reused to border future planting beds.

    *Did all our typical frugal daily routine items (repeating these for anyone new who joins us here) … fewer/larger loads of laundry and line dried only; all leftovers refreshed for additional meals; lights/ceiling fans turned off in rooms we weren’t spending time in; central AC thermostats set at 80F degrees downstairs and 84/85F degrees upstairs during the day; kitchen sink warm up water used to water outdoor plants; dehumidifier water used to water outdoor nonfood producing plants; only turned indoor lights on during the day when absolutely necessary – we have lots of natural light; ate from freezer/pantry except one restaurant meal.

    Wishing everyone a really fun and frugal week, full of blessings and joy!

    1. If your grocery store has a bakery section, check to see if you can get 5g buckets for free. At mine, they get icing delivered in them and toss the buckets out. They’ve been happy to give them out free. You just need to wash them out.

      Thanks for the toilet tissue tip. I’ve had a difficult time lately comparing like for like packaging lately.

  44. Sorry to hear you’ve been ill , Brandy. When mom “goes down” the whole household pauses. Mind you, a learning experience for the older kids for stepping up and knowing how to keep the home going.
    *A hectic week (and more to come) of helping with summer care of grand-littles. As we get older, it seems to require more and more recovery time.
    *I pressure canned dry chickpeas. I love chickpeas in a salad or hummus, and the price in tins was outrageous when there was a cheaper alternative.
    *I bought blueberries direct from a farm for less than half the store price. Fresh eating! And the rest were canned for the pantry.
    * I bought plain white pillowcases in a large pack and am going to personalize them for the grandkids. My grandmother did that for us, and I remember enjoying my “own” pillowcase.
    *Off to do more babysitting! I hope you are fully recovered, Brandy.

  45. I so enjoy your posts, Brandy. I also get a lot of information from comments on the site. Thanks to you all. I harvested a huge head of romaine lettuce from the garden. I had purchased a head of romaine and cut off the bottom to compost, then I thought to put it in a bowl of water for a few day on the window sill. It began to put forth growth, so I planted it in the raised bed. Nice to enjoy a second head from my purchase. I love that you save warm up water from the shower. My shower is so far from any outside door that I knew it wouldn’t work for me. Then, I remembered reading a book about longevity and one of the suggestions is cold therapy. So, now I just get in the shower and turn it on. It is a shock of cold water until it gets warm. I don’t waste the water so that is a plus. Will see about the long life. 🙂

  46. Brandy, I join everyone in wishing you to get better soon. I saw your photo and the result was I’m starving! It looks so delicious.
    I saved about $0.75 cents per can on Scarpone’s lentils at co-op (on sale for 4 for $5). I bought 8 cans but couldn’t buy more due to lack of money.
    I bought ice cream for $4.99 but had a $4 coupon so it was just 99 cents. I just wish I had more left (LOL). I bought lean ground beef on sale from No Frills. It was cheaper than Safeway’s. I plan on baking meatloaf or hamburgers, then putting them in my freezer and relying on it for the rest of the month.

    It has been a stressful and very different past ten days. My former gardener was going to the landscaping supply store. I seized the chance to get some 10 mm Rundle rock chips so I can top up my scree garden on the boulevard and finally finish the rock garden dry stream in the back.
    I should have waited but my gardener did not charge me anything for delivery, and unloaded it all for me. I spent my grocery money on rocks – my new motto is “Let them eat rocks” (LOL). Our federal government is giving us a one-time food supplement payment but so far it hasn’t
    arrived. I was invited to go out to lunch tomorrow but declined. (saved money I didn’t have anyway).

    On July 1, I sat outside and celebrated the beauty of our country. It turns out that fritillary butterflies like Dahlias so I sat and watched the butterflies and took photos. It turns out I had 5 different species within an hour or so. Some had to be identified by an expert.
    My neighbours had a Stampede party that I wasn’t invited to (to my relief). I was listening to the laughter. Then a cow moose came along on the sidewalk, followed by two babies. They went up the driveway and ate the long grass in the border on my neighours’ yard. They were about 85 feet from me so I paused to take photos. I’m not keen about having them as a mother moose with young’uns can be dangerous — I was very relieved that they did not come up here. Well that was my week!

  47. I hope you’re feeling better, Brandy.

    I had a problem with my foot that I wanted to get checked out and make sure it wasn’t anything serious. I used an app provided by my insurance that lets me have telehealth appointments for free. The app was somewhat difficult and frustrating to use, but I got the answers I needed without spending any money.

    I used a coupon for a free pizza with a $10 order. I rarely get takeout, but this was actually a pretty good deal. My total was $16.50 and I ended up getting 8 meals from that one order. If I had bought frozen dinners as I often do when I’m too tired to cook, I would have spent more than that per meal.

    I have not bought groceries since the beginning of the month and I plan to wait as long as I can before buying anything else.

    I am doing the usual things, cooking most of my meals from what I have at home, reading free books from the library, using cloth handkerchiefs and napkins, cleaning with rags instead of paper towels, and trying to minimize use of electricity where possible.

  48. It’s been a great, frugal week in Houston, TX!
    I got the free Subway sandwiches x7 on Tuesday, for myself and each of the kids. I got there right when it started at 10:00, since the stores were limiting it to 50. I’d brought a cooler to put them in so that we could eat them for lunch later that day.
    I’ve never had Amazon Prime, so I didn’t buy any “deals” they advertised. I’m not sure their bargains are really bargains, despite all the hype.
    At Sam’s, I found refrigerated packs of chicken breasts and wings leftover from the rotisserie chickens, $4/4pack of cooked breasts and wings. I bought a couple of packages, which turned out to be a great value, as we got several meals. I actually prefer the dark meat, but I’m happy with the cheaper chicken, and it was delicious.
    I went to a clothing swap. I took 50 items, and found 18 for myself and the kids, which I consider a great success! Most of these were things we’ve outgrown, so I’m glad they could go to someone else.
    Loss leaders were $.45/half gallons milk with a week left on the date, bananas 3#/$1, mangoes 3/$1, avocados 3/$1, .79/# cherries, and .99/# peaches. It’s wonderful to get to enjoy the fresh fruit.
    Not sure where I saw this, but someone started their week cooking lots of carb-heavy, filling foods. I try to get the kids a lot of protein, especially when swim team is in season, but when they’re constantly hungry, it’s wonderful to have beans, rice, homemade bread, pasta salad, etc. to offer them. They love fruit, but it doesn’t do much to fill their bellies.
    We tried to go to the grand opening of a new ice cream place for free ice cream, but the line was terribly long (in triple digit heat), so we picked up store brand ice cream at Kroger instead.
    We enjoyed books from the library.
    We invited friends to swim with us at our neighborhood pool, and took snack to share that we made from basic pantry ingredients.
    I bought some propane tanks (one full, others empty) very inexpensively from someone moving.
    We bought the .25 crayons as loss leaders at Target, to use when Chickfila does their school supply drive with the free food coupons.
    I listed and sold a few things on Facebook Marketplace and Mercari: cash in, junk out!
    I returned some things to Goodwill for store credit that didn’t work for the kids.
    I have a basket ready for the consignment store that I plan to take tomorrow.
    Have a nice week, everyone!

    1. Great deal on the $4 chicken! I search for those when we visit Sam’s Club as well. Such a great buy and each breast is so large that hubby and I can share a breast and get 4 meals from each package. We usually buy two packs and repackage meal size portions in the freezer for future meals. An awesome deal in our area!

    2. Leigh Ann, I love the way you open each post with “a great, frugal week in Houston!”. Such a cheerful and positive way to greet the week!

  49. I decided to work this summer instead of taking the summer off. I thought I could replace some $ I had to use for unexpected expenses. That was not to be. A large filling fell out of one of my teeth. I think I may need a crown. Then the a/c unit in my condo needed an expensive repair. I had to replace 2 tires on my car last month. What will be next? In hindsight, it is good I am working so that I can pay for these needed items. My husband eats most anything so we can have meals with just a little meat. That saves $ on food. I had a few frugal victories.
    *July 13 was free French fries at McDonalds on their app. I got them & gave them to Hubby.
    *I found some large Walgreens plastic bags. I’m using them as trash can liners in the kitchen trash can.
    *When I was doing some trash picking, I found a pair of low quarter navy rubber rain boots. They look like Wellies. but without the tall upper part. I have been wanting a pair of these. They will be good for rain, slush, etc.
    *I also found a small blender container that will fit my Ninja blender (that I found also).
    *I found a large quantity of snack mix (pretzels, corn chips, etc.) that I donated to the homeless shelter. They were slightly out of date. I ate one sack & they were still crispy.
    *Found more clothes for donating. People throw away usable items. No wonder the landfills are filling up. I was not raised this way. I was the oldest. My clothes were handed down to the younger ones. My mother made clothes for us that never seemed to wear out.

  50. Good morning to all, it’s a rare thing these days that I get to read all of the comments here in any given week, but I always feel blessed by the collective wisdom when I do. What a generous gathering of hearts and minds this is… Thank you, Brandy, for your work on this even in the hard seasons of your life. I read of your illness and immediately thought about how cumulative stress impacts our immune systems and leaves us so vulnerable. I think that our bodies have a way of telling the truth even when we think we are “soldiering on” through the difficulties. I wish you healing and strength and peace as you find a new “normal” in this time.

  51. Brandy, I hope you are feeling better! I am late but here was my week.

    -We were gone on vacation the week over the 4th. We rented a cabin on Lake of the Woods at a resort with friends. Other than the cost of gas and the rental we spent little. We packed a picnic lunch for the trip up and back.
    -All food was packed with us. We split cooking 4 days for them and 4 for us. The last day was eat up the bits and bobs, although we ate those throughout the week. We did eat at the lodge the last night we were there, that is a tradition as I am packing and don’t want to cook.
    -Using everything up is second nature to me. I learned that this week. My friend kept wanting to throw bits of food out. I stopped her several times. She said it isn’t worth it to save it. I said oh yes it is. I saved the remainder of the pot of coffee and made iced coffee several days. I used leftover hash browns and 2 strips of bacon chopped and diced to eggs to make scrambled eggs. I put the remainder of a half pint of home canned BBQ sauce (about 1/4 cup) and a leftover brat chopped up to baked beans. I took the meat off off 2 grilled chicken breasts and made enough chicken salad for 2 sandwiches, which we had for lunch when the guys were fishing. I saved the extra pancakes she made 8 of them) and rewarmed in the microwave to go with eggs and sausage for breakfast. I saved the bacon grease from their bacon and used it to fry hash browns in.
    -We had 3 meals of walleye and each took home a couple of meals for later.
    -We went to the parade and fireworks in the closest town. Both events were free. We also went to the annual flea market. Only thing bought was 2 dozen homemade doughnuts. We ate some that day and had them for breakfast the next morning with coffee.
    -I saved the remainder of the spaghetti sauce and meatballs she made and froze it to take home. She didn’t want to haul it home and she was going to throw it away. It is enough for a meal for the two of us.
    -I read 2 library books while we were there. Just a nice relaxing week.

    Have a great week!

    1. Julie – Great job on rescuing and repurposing the bits of food! I’ve learned to do the same and my family doesn’t notice (I never point it out either).

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