We harvested tomatoes, grapes, Swiss chard, green onions, an Armenian cucumber, oregano, and basil from the garden.

I transplanted some zucchini starts that I started from seed outdoors in reused plastic garden pots into the garden. Hopefully, I will get some zucchini in October when it starts to cool down. I planted these in the area that now has sun, since we cut down the elderberry bushes. In October, I’ll plant some Swiss chard seeds behind the zucchini in the same planter.

I ordered a dress for my daughter for $10. It would have cost me more than that to make her one with the same type of fabric.

My husband and I combined outings for work for both of us with errands to save time and gas. I returned several items of clothing that I had ordered online that did not fit, dropping them off to mail back as part of our combined errands.

I was tempted to go to the store one night to buy some ingredients for dinner. I decided to make breakfast for dinner instead, which was quick and easy, and could be made with items we had on hand.

I found a charge from Amazon on my bank statement for a service that I did not purchase. I had downloaded the music app to my phone to listen to music that I had purchased from them a couple of months ago. I contacted them and the charge was reversed and the service ($9.99 a month!) was canceled. I deleted the app off my phone and will put the music on my phone another way.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. Brandy that salad looks like a bowl of summertime!!

    -Meals this week-grilled hamburgers, vinegar cucumbers, and sweet potato fries; spaghetti with meat sauce, vinegar cucumbers, kohlrabi and homemade ranch dip, and garlic toast; leftover chicken rice soup and grilled cheese sandwiches; hotdogs, homemade French fries and onion rings, and caprese salad; homemade mini pizzas and vinegar cucumbers; and hot chicken chunk gravy (a pint of canned chicken chunks and a pint of chicken broth thickened with cornstarch), mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and sour cream cucumbers.
    -Picking lots from the garden-zucchini, green beans, cabbage, kale, lettuce, cucumbers, basil, spearmint, cherry tomatoes, peas, eggplant, and some tomatoes. Tip-Where I cut the head of the cabbage off, if you leave the lower leaves planted it will start forming several small heads. I let these go, they can get about the size of a baseball and not packed as tight but works great chopped and frozen for soup and casseroles. A second harvest off the same plant!
    -Still canning green beans, 18 more pints. I have canned 66 pints so far. Also canned 8 pints of brown sugar carrots and 2 pints of peas. And canned 9 pints of shredded zucchini and dehydrated some as well. Dehydrated parsley as well. It is cooler this week and humidity down, so my two dehydrators are out on the deck working away so my kitchen doesn’t heat up.
    -Again let the water cool in the canners and used them to water flowers. Also used the water used to wash the garden produce to water plants. I am fortunate as we live in the country so we have our own well. Water only costs the electricity to pump it out of the well.
    -Used home canned applesauce-put in dehydrator to make fruit roll ups for the grandkids. Also made gelatin jigglers with juice and gelatin. Kids love these.
    -I had all 5 grandkids Wednesday-Sunday. Ages 3,5,6,8, and 9. Busy week and boy am I tired. Lots of meals cooked! Nice to have them all together, they live 8 hours apart and we take them every summer for cousin time at grandma and grandpa’s. Making special memories. We live out in the country on 5 acres so they have lots of room to play. Plus they love to help in the garden. We went to the public beach every day to swim and cool off-free entertainment.
    -The only groceries bought were graham crackers, Hershey bars, and marshmallows-$8.00. We made s’mores and hotdogs over a campfire one night.
    -I did spend $25 for 2# of coffee. It was for a fund raiser at church. I asked if I could pick it up in early December from the local coffee shop to use as Christmas gifts, that way it is fresh. They gave me a gift card. I usually buy a pound each for my daughter’s in laws as a gift along with some baked goods. So my first two Christmas are gifts taken care of.
    -Scored a beautiful hanging light fixture someone was getting rid of from their remodel. Hubby will replace the entry light with this new one. They originally paid $200 for it 5 years ago and would not take anything for it.
    -On to another week-I should be canning tomatoes this week!!

  2. Pressure canned 16 pints of beef chunks. https://pin.it/1mIIpwz. These will be great for beef stew, beef pot pie, chimichangas, BBQ beef, etc! This was from the beef on sale that I bought last week! Great to see it added to our shelves! Another 7 jars of pickle relish canned and I just picked about 8 more cucumbers from the garden today! I also picked and froze another quart of green beans from our garden!

    I also finished dehydrating and vacuum sealing more carrots and celery for my daughter-in-law and gave her my new Apple peeler/slicer/Spiralizer. She really loved it and I went ahead and ordered a new one (about $20) for myself (using Brandy’s Amazon link, even though it wasn’t something she had showing on this site. Hopefully it still gave her credit!) https://pin.it/5iqDw0P

    I planted some green beans for a fall crop in a half barrel that had a small grape vine. The first plant has come up and I look forward to the whole barrel being filled green beans! The fall peas I planted about 4 days ago have also begun to sprout! The seed packet, although never opened said it was packed for 2016 but I thought I’d “Use it Up” and if nothing came up, I would at least have decluttered an old seed packet from my garden shed! So this IS exciting! I still use the “Marivene” method of filling 1 bucket with weeds each day and then going on to do something else! My garden is looking SO clean and that never has happened in July/August before! Usually it looks like a bedraggled mess of weeds with an occasional veg poking out !

    At Lowe’s while Hubs was getting something, I looked in garden section and found a 1 gallon blueberry Bush clearanced to $6. It actually looked quite healthy so it is now planted in a half barrel next to my other blueberry Bush!

    Our temps have really mellowed here! We’ve had some wonderful rains, none were destructive of our gardens at all!
    Got out my book- “Gardening when it counts” by Steve Solomon to glean ideas for maximizing our yard space. I’ve also been watching some YouTube tutorials and videos on gardening in the fall as well as preservation of harvest and filling my pantry! So much to learn! What a wonderful time it is to have all this education at our fingertips!
    Used one of our freezer meals last night- South of the Border casserole . Such a convenience to have those available. Made Rice Krispies treats. My mini marshmallows were stale and wouldn’t melt down, but I discovered I had a tub of unopened marshmallow creme so I substituted that in the recipe! Still turned out tasty !

    I bought PB, laundry detergent on sale with digital Kroger coupons that allowed you 5 each. Excellent sale prices + ibotta . Today I noticed that in my Kroger clipped coupons, it showed that I had redeemed those coupons but that they were available again for 1 more day so we just picked up 5 more of each of those things that had renewed coupons. So that’s 10 big 75 Oz bottles of A&H detergent for $2.49 each! I can be happy with that! 😉 I also forum a 60 Oz jar of clover honey on clearance for $5, so that will go on my shelf. I’m not out of honey, but that is , to me, a very good price.

    Going to add some more beef marinades to my freezer and also chop up about 20 pounds of red Spanish onions to freeze! The convenience of having those ready to use in my freezer as well as those things I have canned or dried certainly does become such a blessing of extra time and money as I use them!
    Well, I better check for eggs and let chickens out. They are averaging about 5-6 eggs a day!

    I was able to find another 3 dozen pint mason jars on FB Marketplace for $3/dozen. They were being sold by an older lady who isn’t going to can any more. She lives out beyond the city where I am but it was a pleasant 35 minute drive and I was thrilled to see all the cornfields around looking so healthy and tall! I’ve noticed this all around central Ohio as I’ve traveled the last 2 weeks! This should be a very good harvest! The soybean fields in this area also look extremely healthy!

    I started and am ready to ship out this morning a table runner that I needed to get done for my SIL.. I was able to do the quilting on it in a matter of minutes using Lenni my longarm! Another nagging project done! Silly that I had put it off for a while! 🥴https://pin.it/1Aw7hpD, https://pin.it/4fBX8C1, https://pin.it/1MyLaq6.

    One of my daughters just finished a quilt top for her college bound daughter so she will be bringing it up for me to get quilted. I found a flat floral sheet in my stash that will be a beautiful backing and I have batting already that I will also donate for this quilt! https://pin.it/7mjtgJZ.
    We sold our 3 extra 55 gallon plastic barrels, so that gave us some extra money to put into our savings account! Added to another small sale brought in my goal of an extra $50 or more per week by either making something from materials on hand or selling something that we needed to declutter! Little bits really do add up!
    With all the heat we had been having, my Instant Pot has been getting a workout! I love the convenience as well as not having to “babysit” a pot on the stove or oven timer or even the long waiting time of the crockpot! Our grandmothers would be envious to see all the labor/time saving tools we have today! I have to remind myself at times to say a prayer of gratitude for living in such an amazing time as this!

    We are, as you probably are too, “hunkering down” in anticipation of some pretty challenging times ahead. But we refuse to panic or become fearful of everything and everyone as we sadly see some doing. This will still be a time of opportunity, if we look at it with a positive perspective. So we prepare a bit more purposefully and concentrate on our little sphere of influence by being kinder, more patient (not my easiest thing! 🥴) and listening to promptings to serve.
    Thank you, Brandy, for your commitment to serve/teach others!

    1. Gardenpat, I agree about the garden one blessing of being home so much is my garden is weeded and looking great. I am usually harvesting among the weeds!! Another blessing is a slower and simpler life! I am enjoying it and I don’t intend to return to the “rat race” of life.

      I have an attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer that can be either used as a peeler, corer and slicer OR it makes noodles from zucchini or any other vegetable. I got it last year at this time as a gift for my birthday and it has been an awesome addition to my kitchen. I don’t have a lot of extra tools and implements so I was skeptical but I gave my old peeler, corer, slicer to my daughter.

    2. Temps here have been sweltering…95 to 98 degrees and high humidity. This has made for a broken hvac which we hope to have replaced by mid month. I’m sure those temps sound cool to you Brandy…I can’t imagine 118 degrees.
      We put our order in for 1/8 of a cow this week which will yield at least 50 lbs of beef for our food storage. We pick it up Oct 15th.
      Canned another 6 pints of banana peppers, 2 quarts and 3 pints of pickled okra. Ordered a bushel of tomatoes, half bushel of
      Pink eyed peas and a case of corn from a local farmer. Tomatoes will be processed as diced tomatoes for soups and stews and the corn and peas will be frozen.
      Picked more green and red bell peppers from the garden and used some for fresh cooking during the week and froze another half gallon diced for quick cooking use. The garden continues to produce okra in abundance and we have our second planting of green beans and peas already in the ground. I am hoping they will produce before the fall garden gets planted about mid September.
      We enjoyed homemade meals of beef stroganoff, turkey fried rice and peas, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, pinto beans seasoned with fresh herbs and peppers from the garden. I made homemade bean burritos with the leftover beans, rice and some cheese and froze them for quick meals in the weeks to come.
      We enjoyed movies that we already own from home this weekend. I took advantage of some back to school sales to get my son ready for pre-k. Crayons, glue and paints seem to be used quickly by four year old boys.
      I have begun making plans for the seedlings for the fall garden. I hope to get my seed trays and planting stations set up this week and everything planted by the weekend.
      Enjoying zinnias and limelight hydrangeas from the garden for fresh flower bouquets in the house.
      Have a great week everyone!!

      1. Just imagine standing in front of the oven with the door open on your face and you’ll have it 🙂

        1. We have a joke here that if you want to know what a Texas summer breeze feels like, get a blow dryer, set it to high heat, and point it at your face. Haha! I’m sure it’s the same way there, feels like you’re inside a furnace.

    3. Gardenpat, your comments are always my favorite. So much positivity and love and creativity. I am interested in the Kroger coupon app you mentioned. I have not utilized any of these store “apps” as I usually shop at Aldi but the laundry detergent deal is amazing! Would you mind sharing more about the Kroger app? Is it worth the time? Do you check out all the deals yourself or do you follow a blog or website that provides information for the app?

      My time with my grandparents are some of my fondest memories. Your children and grandchildren are lucky to have you (and so are we)!

      1. Texas Jennifer- thank you for your kind words!
        I follow this blog: https://www.krogerkrazy.com/. to know what sales are good ones at Kroger’s including how to maximize that savings using coupons (both Kroger digital, free online printable coupons and print coupons in ad circulars), rebates like Ibotta and Kroger Cashback (which can both be used on the same purchase, thereby doubling your rebate!)
        I loaded the free Kroger app to my iPhone and iPad and sign in to it using my Kroger plus card so it keeps track of Kroger digital coupons that I “clip” and load on to my Kroger card.
        Hope that helps!

    4. Today i went on and used my trimmer on weeds for 1st time. Worked well!
      I was so happy i found 5 EUR on shop floor. Made me wonder… why I don’t want to sell anything for 5 or 10 eur – i have been keeping thinking its not worth the hassle. Yet…

  3. It’s good you caught the charge on your bank statement. I caught an overcharge at the grocery store last week on some local honey I had bought, which they fixed. It pays to be alert. I harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, tromboncino and zucchini squash, red noodle and pole beans, apples, lima beans, eggplant, carrots, beets, and lambs quarter, and foraged some mushrooms. I picked some blueberries, leaving the rest for the birds. I’m trying something new. Instead of drying stevia, I’m making an extract. It doesn’t taste as strong as store bought, but the price is right, and I can just use more drops. I also harvested oregano and lemon verbena, which are drying. Thank you, Brandy, for the energy and information you put into this site. Your blog, and all the comments are something I always look forward to. http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/08/even-bees-make-pots-frugal.html

    1. Laurie, what do you use your lemon verbena for ? I made tea with it once and it was awful tasting.

      1. Anita,

        Lemon verbena is my favorite herbal tea! I love it! I don’t even add sweetener. Funny how we all have different tastes. I’ve been wanting to get more plants for my garden.

        1. Brandy, I tried it again today and it was delicious. I got smart and followed a recipe for timing of the brewing and quantity of leaves to use instead of winging it and it made all the difference. My lemon verbena has grown a lot and it’s big enough to start drying the leaves.

      2. I use it for tea, but not by itself. An herbalist friend introduced me to two I like. The first is a mix of the lemon verbena with lemon balm and lemongrass. The other is mixed with roselle hibiscus and lemongrass. I sweeten them with honey or agave syrup. Both are good, but the second is especially nice to my taste. I hope you think so too. Where are you in NC?

  4. Brandy, breakfast for dinner is my go-to when I don’t feel like cooking. We had waffles and bacon Friday night. My family loves it because their usual breakfasts aren’t as good! (Who wants to make waffles at 7 a.m.?).

    These were last week’s frugal accomplishments–
    * I dropped and cracked the screen on my $50 refurbished Straight Talk phone. I replaced it with another refurbished phone, same model, for only $20! I hoped that getting the same phone would make for an easier learning curve…but I still couldn’t transfer my address book. 🙁

    * I got my first picking of green beans. We ate some for dinner and canned 3 pints. (I have a tiny garden, but the little harvests add up = 20 pints of beans last year). I am also picking yellow cherry tomatoes. My zukes are flowering, but not setting fruit.

    * This was stain removal week! I got a set-in dirt stain out of an almost-new white top, bacon grease out of another top, and red Crystal Lite out of a tablecloth. I pre-treated the spots with Dawn, washed the tablecloth and white top in hot water with bleach, and all of the stains came out!

    * I made a hanging dish towel with half of a new terrycloth dish towel and a scrap of fabric. I’m keeping this one, but planning to make more for gifts.

    *Stocking up–I got 6 quarts of shelf stable milk with a use-by date a year out, plus vitamins and a big jar of chopped garlic.

  5. That pasta salad looks so good!
    Our quarantine ended and I was able to get out and run errands. Walmart sent me a coupon code for $10 off my first pickup order of $50 or more, so I did that. I also bought some items at City Market (Kroger). They sent me coupons for a free roll of sausage and a package of sliced cheese.
    I purchased 60 ears of corn for $20. This was a fundraiser for the local food pantry. The corn was picked only a couple of hours before I purchased it. We ate some fresh, but I cut most of it off the cob and froze it – 12 very full quart bags. This should last us until this time next year.
    We harvested zucchini, tomatoes, chard, onion, and carrots from the garden, as well as a bunch of different herbs. I froze 4 packages of chard to eat this winter. I also canned 7 pints of stew meat. This makes more room in my freezer and really helps tenderize the meat and speed up meals.
    I purchased Levis on sale for $17. I lost some weight and only have a couple of pairs of pants that still fit me, so these will be nice for winter. They are a light tan color. I also purchased a couple of nice tops from the thrift store on a day when all clothing was half price.

  6. You are always such an inspiration!

    My husband was able to repair both our grill and our lawnmower this week. We did need to purchase a few parts, but it was much less expensive and more environmentally friendly than replacing them.

    I used a Thread Up credit to buy myself a sweater.

    I did a few free exercise videos on YouTube.

    My husband has been working from home 3 days a week, which saves quite a bit on gas. I have not really had a need to go anywhere, so we are also saving on my gas and car expenses.

    I reorganized my pantry using mostly containers we already had, and spent less than $3 for the ones I still needed. While I cleaned it I found a container of raisins and some peanuts that were slightly out of date but still fine. My children don’t like to eat either by themselves, but I put them in a large jar and mixed in just a few mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. My children have been snacking on that trail mix all day.

    We opened a college savings plan for our youngest daughter.

    We stocked up on a few office supplies while back to school prices are very low.

    I have decided to buy an InstaCart membership for grocery delivery. I did the math and realized that because we do a large bi-weekly shop for a big family, I save almost $75 by shopping at Aldi instead of buying the same things from our closer “fancy” grocery store, but our Aldi is 40 minutes away and the other grocery store is close enough to walk. The delivery membership is $100 for the year, which is expensive, but will pay for itself in less than two deliveries (or one month). I also am learning that I prefer the online ordering anyway because it is easy to stick to a budget and not get sucked in by impulse buys.

    1. I have been thinking that for some people, the cost of delivering groceries might end up being less than the cost of gas and a second car.

      1. Daughter 4 says is saves her over $30 a trip even with leaving a 20% tip as she only gets what is on the list and not the extras she would see on sale or just” OH I want to try that” stuff.
        On the down side she misses the sales that are not in the ad.

        1. I shop for Shipt, the fact that your daughter tips 20% is fantastic. The platform is similar to Instacart, but not exactly the same. Is it a 40 minute round trip? I have a few customers that live that far, it is not feasible to shop orders back to back when the delivery is that far from the store, and having a solid tip helps as you have to take a gap hour to have enough time to shop and deliver the next order.

    2. Stephanie, thanks for mentioning the InstaCart membership. I hadn’t heard of it. Going to check that out! Thanks!

  7. -Cat food was on sale at my local store at $21.88 (Cdn) for 8 kilos. Normally I buy two 1.6 kilo packs a month for $9 each. I now have six weeks extra for just $3.88. I’ll keep buying more at my normal rate so that I can keep that amount extra in the house.
    -I spent about $30 on extra meat, fish sticks and vegetables for the freezer. That included a boneless pork loin sirloin half, at $2.49 Cdn a lb, which I will cut into four sections, three for the freezer, one for using this month.
    -I bought various sizes of freezer bags so that I can store vegetables for the winter, and replaced plastic wrap and aluminum foil in larger quantities so I could pack things up. There are lots of fresh vegetables in the store at the moment, but very few frozen. I don’t know if this is just to push us towards more expensive fresh vegetables or if it is supply issue, but I am trying to buy vegetables that normally can’t be bought frozen here. This week I got small peppers, one bag for now, two for the winter. The provincial corn crop (normally a specialty) was wiped out by a massive hail storm, so individual corn cobs are priced at 98 cents each! Out of season asparagus is looking like a bargain.
    -Our province (Alberta) offers all seniors a low-interest deferral program on property taxes, so if you wish, taxes are not paid until you sell the house or stop using it as your primary residence. My application went in this week, for the current year, and the next 10 years, though you can stop at any time.
    -I have been worried about getting this in on time, because it is one of the few forms where you need to sign a printed copy, instead of using an electronic signature. I have trouble keeping a printer/copier working because the ink cartridges dry out quickly, are very expensive and have to be ordered online. I go to the library or village office to use their equipment, but both have been closed for many months. The village office has reopened though, and one of the staff had me send her the link for the form and printed it out for me. I went over to the office with my property tax bill, an envelope and a stamp, filled out the form, got it photocopied, and then took it to the post office to mail it in the mail box, without even having to go into the post office, which is a little cramped room with lots of people in it. (I pick up my mail there in off hours when there aren’t any people there.)
    -This will free up some extra cash to go towards maintenance work on the house, with a minimum amount of paperwork and no fees other than low interest calculated as simple interest rather than compound. My house is small and my taxes low, so it is not a huge amount of money, though our current government plans to change that, but it does make a difference.
    -We have had warm and sunny weather for a week for the first time all summer. It is too late for crops, which are very green from lots of rain, but are sitting a big, big puddle, and are not growing anything that can be harvested. It was pleasant to get outside and trim back some branches from my living room window and small front yard. I have room to wash windows, the person cutting my lawn had room to turn his lawn mower around in. One of my indoor cats can see all the neighbors’ outdoor cats to supervise their activities better, and the song birds have more room to get insects and caragana pods better while still being safe from the predator birds in the neighborhood. There is another week of this weather in the forecast, so I hope to be able to clear branches away from other windows as well.

    1. Hi Elizabeth

      That was really nice of the village office. I am not sure what “our current government plans to change…”. It is nice to have such lovely weather — I’m just hoping we don’t get smoke from B.C. or anywhere else. I didn’t realize that our corn crop was destroyed. Co-op has 5 ears of corn for $2.95 but just until August 5th. Ann

  8. -I’m helping my Mom clean and organize her storage area and garage, setting aside things that I can sell online for her. She found several new items that were packed away that she can give as Christmas gifts and gave me an apron and 2 potholders that she did not want to keep.
    -A friend went to a food distribution site and received more produce than her family could use. She gifted me a large bag of beautiful baking potatoes, a bag of onions (I just saw the recall, now I ‘m not sure if I should use them) and a bag of apples. She also gave me a pair of new earrings that she could not use.
    -Cooked and ate everything at home: patty melts, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, chili dogs, tuna salad, chef salad, calzones, fried potatoes and onions, hard boiled eggs. I made frozen peanut butter balls for dessert, “buckeyes” without the chocolate coating. Very refreshing and sweet on a hot day.
    -We just found out that the seller of our new home is leaving us 4 wall mounted TVs. That was such a wonderful surprise!!
    Have a great week everyone! Stay Safe!

  9. Brandy, You have mentioned before about watching “The Midwives”. I had never watched before. I started watching and have to pull myself from it. I totally love the music in this show. I really enjoy reading this site and the comments of other readers. 🤗

  10. Used the 7-11 app to get free drinks during the week. Also picked up the free Panera coffee when I was near one.

    Received a free bottle of shampoo from the Loreal consumer testing panel that I’m on. Also received free samples of a face serum and spray on deodorant.

    Won a $5 gift card to Dunkin Donuts playing their online sweepstakes game (no purchase necessary). I’ll save it for sometime when I’m out and hungry.

    Combined coupons on the Allset app to score free meals. A large order of onion rings one day, and a slice of deep dish pizza another. My referral code is THIZ23. This will get you $5 off your first order and you can combine it with other coupons on the app.

    Read here a suggestion to look for succulent leaves on the floor of Home Depot/Lowes. I did this and couldn’t believe how many there were! I just picked up one, but I’m excited to see what happens with it. Found one at Whole Foods as well.

    Made delicious gluten-free cupcakes to share with my roommate who is GF. I found the mix on a neighbor’s stoop, along with three little bottles of skin care. All unopened/brand new.

    Collected a lovely bouquet of wildflowers that grew in sidewalk cracks and other unoccupied green spaces.

    For one meal, I made a sheet pan of roasted veggies including cabbage, onion, and tomato I received all for free, plus tofu, and watermelon rind. I use watermelon rind like I’d use zucchini. I also picked up free school lunch.

    A free community refrigerator opened in my neighborhood. I’m so happy about this because I’m allergic to the apple slices, applesauce, apple juice etc that come in the free school lunches, but I don’t want to throw them out either. I took these to the refrigerator and traded them for a pint of cherry tomatoes, a zucchini, a jar of peanut butter, a can of pumpkin, and a small box of chocolates. Beautiful abundance!

    Spent no money out of pocket on anything other than subway fare to get to my tasting panels.

    Which leads me to a question about Ibotta–I used a code that someone posted here to sign up. But, I don’t seem to be getting any rewards. Is that because my receipts are zero-sum? I use points/coupons/gift cards/whatever on my purchases, so my final total is zero.

    1. Chelsea, that was me that posted about looking for plant/succulent leaves on the ground about plants in stores. I picked up a nice stem of portulaca and another of Coleus this past week and the coleus has already rooted. That will make five free plants for my porch in three weeks time. I’m so glad that you were able to take advantage of it.

    2. Chelsea, I recently read an article in the New York Times about the community refrigerators. That is such a fantastic idea. We have a few sidewalk “little free pantries” here in the Seattle area, but refrigerators would offer so many more options for both sharing and receiving.

  11. Hi Brandy:

    I rarely comment, but I have been reading and re-reading your posts. The situation of people hungry and homeless saddens me deeply lately. I asked my hubby if we could donate half of our food budget for this month to a wonderful food bank in our county and he agreed…so I have been researching and cooking in a way that will hopefully allow me to do this! I just need to be very mindful to eat correct portions and not gain weight with any increase in carbs. (Over the years, I have learned that I have a body type that does well with low carb and high protein). Any advice? I am only currently growing tomatoes and herbs, lemons and avocados and we have been harvesting those, and I am barely going anywhere so that is a huge savings overall. XO, Steph.

    1. Lots of tomato salads 🙂 We are trying to increase our vegetables in the garden as well to cut our carbs, as it is so helpful to weight loss!

      1. Thanks! I have been pricing out the least expensive sources of protein. Going to be eating more egg whites and cottage cheese for sure!

    2. I roast two sheet pans of veggies on the weekends and use them throughout the week. I often have those and eggs for breakfast. I love asparagus, mushrooms and onions, but this time of year most gardeners gladly share zucchini and squash, which also roast well.

    3. For a low carb meal I like to lightly steam broccoli and then add it to tomatoes, a small amount of chickpeas for protein, toss in a vinaigrette and then crumble a bit of Feta cheese over it – delicious!

  12. Beautiful post and pictures as always! Thanks you for your inspiration Brandy.

    *I picked onions, zucchini, tomatoes and green beans from my garden. I left the onions out in the garden to harden for a few weeks. I’m going to start digging up my potatoes this week and adding fertilizer to my pepper plants. Shredded and froze the zucchini. Canned 2 quarts of tomatoes and used the green beans in a salad. Found apples on clearance again and made applesauce. Made all meals at home using things from my pantry. My husband and I did a date night and used a free meal coupon.

    *Went to the library for reading materials, watched online shows for entertainment and played Jenga with my family. Exercised using online resources and my own hand weights. Spent time on my deck and glider rocker to enjoy my back yard. Picked gladiolas and zinnias from my flowerbeds and filled two glass vases with them for my home to enjoy. The gladiolas are such deep, vibrant colors.

    *I organized my downstairs freezer again and took another inventory. I went to Winco – it’s a few miles from my house but I hadn’t been in years. I found canned cut green beans at my price point and bought 24 for my storage. Ordered canned roast beef and canned ground beef from Lehman’s to add to my storage. I’m hoping case lots to be happening soon to replenish other canned goods. I wrote down the regular prices of the canned good items I’m looking to re-stock and will compare those to the case lot sale prices. I went to 4 different stores.

    *I loaded digital coupons on my grocery cards (just in case I find something in the clearance rack) and paper coupons for the same reason. I’ve been fortunate to use those for things I find in the clearance sections of grocery stores and can get a few items very cheaply.

    *I would like to pressure can but my canner is my mom’s old one. I’m concerned it needs a new rubber liner. I haven’t used it in 10# years and she bought it in the 1970s. I looked at getting a new one – but there are sold out everywhere. Of course, the higher priced ones are available 🙂
    I’m just nervous about using my old one without having it tested by my extension service – which isn’t open because of Covid.

    *Starting to look into starting a fall garden. Also been saving seeds from my current garden to reduce the cost for next summer. I’m worried about finding seeds. Also plan to buy more potting mix to store away for next year in case there’s a problem.

    *Wishing everyone a happy and frugal week!

    1. Call your Ace Hardware/True Value to see if they test pressure cookers. They also sell all of the parts. Replacing the rubber ring is easy! I use my late MIL’s pressure canner, circa 1948. Before that, I had one that was much older and bought at a yard sale in the 1970s for $7.50. Pressure cookers last a LONG time and the parts can be easily replaced.

      1. My first pressure canner belonged to my husband’s grandmother originally. We replaced the rubber ring and I used it for years. (I was glad to finally get a newer one since that old one weighed a ton.) I have a vivid memory of using that old pressure canner after Hurricane Alicia in Houston — we lost power for a week and I set up the Coleman stove on the tailgate of my husband’s truck and pressure canned as much meat from our freezer as I could.

      2. If your county has an extension office, they usually have a pressure gauge tester on site and will test pressure cookers free of charge. I would also try smaller, independent hardware stores.

    2. Amy, We also live in Utah. I don’t know where you are at. We are in Utah County. Mending Shed in Orem tests them for free. I was also worried about whether I needed to replace my gaskets. They tested it and it was fine. I inherited this pressure canner from my mother-in-law. I know the gaskets have never been replaced and she bought it lots of years ago. If you aren’t in Utah County, it may be that an appliance repair place close to you could do the testing.

  13. That bowl of pasta looks lovely! Little shells like that are on my “to buy” list. I took time this week to list what I have and what I need – I wanted a master list to refer to as I move forward with restocking.

    I dropped off the rent cheque and then paid all other bills online – I can even make my monthly donation to the church online now so that takes care of everything. I’ve added a bit of money to my emergency fund, topped up my transit card, bought some groceries and left more than enough in my checking account to cover more stock up items during this month.

    My major purchases for this past week included toiletries, paper towels, bleach and BREAD FLOUR! At last! I actually have a big basket in the fridge where I am now storing a good variety of flours – it’s too hot and humid to keep them out at the moment. I also found some good prices on frozen trout, salmon, cod and shrimp – and I collected about $5 worth of Loyalty Points on these items. I’m trying to move to more vegetarian and seafood related meals as opposed to so much red meat so I am pleased to have these on hand.

    The weather has finally cooled down a bit the past few days (with lots of rain) so I have cooked sausages, bacon, chicken and a big pot of chilli. I have portioned things up and there are meals for the rest of the week and a lot more for the freezer in case it turns extremely hot again.

    I did 4 loads of laundry and only put one load through the dryer.

    I picked up another load of books from the library – curb side and I’ve read 3 of them already!

    I went into the office 3 times last week but only for a few hours each day so I just wore the same outfit each time. I change as soon as I get home and hang things up to air so see no reason to add to the laundry pile.

    I checked out the Amazon link from your affiliate link Brandy and everything goes through to my account perfectly so I will place an order later this week.

    I hope everyone stays safe and well this week.

    1. Hooray! I am glad it linked over! I think it may substitute some items from items I recommend, so I don’t know how that will work, but I get credit for anything you purchase after adding it your cart after visiting through my links.

  14. My youngest won a contest on Instagram from a GF company. She was allowed to pick a product so she picked their chocolate pancake mix. She can’t wait to try it. She is back to working part time at an art studio that does kids lessons. She has gotten several tips so far. She was asked if she would be interested in tutoring math and reading to a 4th grader. They offered her $30 an hour. She said yes of course. She will do it in the afternoons after work 2 days a week.

    Cucumbers are going crazy. I have harvested 32 this week. I made 8 jars of dill pickles and I have enough to make another 8 right now. We have been enjoying them fresh. Salads have been almost every night with dinner because the lettuce and cherry tomatoes are going strong too. I have also picked some carrots, celery, beets, string beans, peppers, chives, rosemary, sage, pineapple sage, mint, cilantro, basil, and scallions. I have given away bags of sage, rosemary , and a few cucumbers to my daughter’s boyfriend’s family. My dehydrator has been busy.

    My aloe plant had more babies so I potted them up. I gave several to friends.

    The man I help wanted to go out to eat. We went for a late lunch. There were very few customers there. I brought my leftovers home.

    It was very hot for us last week. All laundry was dried outside. I couldn’t believe how fast it dried.

    I made iced tea out of tea bags. I used veggie washing water to water my pots. Leftover water in cups went into the dogs bowl. Leftovers were eaten for lunches.

    Don’t know if I have already said this but I have always wanted to see Hamilton. I have watched it on the Disney station that we get free with our phone service.

    We are having work done on the main beam in our house this week. It is sagging so it needs to be supported before we can do renovations on the house. We had to clear everything out of the way in the cellar. I have been going through boxes and crates listing items that we no longer use.

    We follow Dave Ramsey. We just started Baby Step 6. We made an extra payment to our mortgage. I am so excited. I can’t wait for it to be gone.

    Have a wonderful week everyone and stay healthy.

  15. That pasta salad looks delicious 😋

    My mom sent over apples, cantaloupe, pepperjack cheese, 2 canisters of pringles , toothpicks, snack cakes, cherries, and 2 sample drinks she received from picking up her Walmart order.

    I used a straw to pit the cherries since we don’t usually buy them much.

    Froze the cherries(nearly a gallon ziploc bag full) and made a small jar of bourbon cherries for hubby.

    I needed some small plastic storage containers to organize some supplies. Walmart was out when I picked up my grocery order, and then I realized, I had saved plastic ice cream buckets. I used 3 of them instead and they worked great.

    Canceled my Every Plate account after receiving the promotional order. It would have been way too pricey after the $20 off I received from a friend for such small portions. It was fun to try though.

    Repaired a pair of earrings for my mom.

    My mower was being a brat so hubby tinkered with it a few minutes and got it to work.

    We’ve had a few cool days, so I’ve been able to keep the house opened up longer. Summer is supposed to return by this weekend so the fun won’t last. 🙁

    We hadn’t received a school supply list yet and school starts here the 24th, so I called my daughter’s middle school, and all supplies are covered this year, saving us about $30.

  16. What a pretty salad! I make one that looks similar, and I add grilled tempeh to it for added protein. This week I found a second-hand table on FBMarketplace, which I arranged to have set outside for me (I paid via Venmo), since I’m physically distancing (not everyone here is). I really miss finding second-hand and thrift-store finds during the pandemic! I learned how to store avocados so they last (for a blog post), and I made a couple of masks for my grandson. I’m thinking it’s time to make Christmas gifts. Hope you have some gift ideas to share for Santa this year, Brandy!

  17. *Our family enjoyed a bike ride at a nearby park. Free fun and good exercise.
    *All meals were cooked at home except for Sunday when a friend treated us to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.
    *I harvested zucchini, jalapeños, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and the last of my green beans from the garden. I shredded the zucchini and froze it in portions for bread or other recipes at a later time. I made salsa with my garden ingredients. I used the jalapeños in white chicken chili as well as chopped and froze the remainder to be used in other dishes later. I canned bread and butter pickles. I am sad about my poor tomato harvest this year. The leaves and branches started dying and therefore I am not seeing the abundance I had hoped for. I will be working at improving the soil next year as I think this is what the problem is in the whole garden. I am hoping to harvest enough to can some stewed tomatoes for soups in the winter.
    *I received three large cucumbers from a friend to add to my garden harvest. I will be canning dill pickles this week.
    *I used some Kohl’s cash I received from a previous needed purchase to buy my son some pants for school. I paid very little out of pocket for two pairs and received another $5 because I chose store pickup. I will put this toward another piece of clothing for a child for school.
    *We bought a hose about a month ago and it had already broke at an end. We could not find the receipt, but my husband decided to call to see if they would take a return without a receipt. Because he used the store loyalty card they were able to look it up and give us our money back.
    *I checked out 5 books from the library.
    *We used a gift card given to us to put gas in our van.
    *We enjoyed a family day on Friday (my husbands day off) and took the kids to play putt-putt and swim in the pool at the campground resort my parents are a part of. It is free to us because they have put our names on the list. On the way home we stopped at Arby’s for their $1 floats. $4 for an entire day of fun- not bad at all!
    *We recently discovered there were some charges on our cellphone bills that we could opt out of. This month we are seeing the bill down $15 from previous months. I wish I had discovered this sooner!
    Have a wonderful week. 🙂

  18. I made dried red beans in crockpot, ramen noodles, and added fresh pepper, tomatoes, spinach, minced garlic and creole seasonings, along with leftover soft tacos, to make a soup. It sounds strange but it was actually delicious. I will be eating that for supper this week because I cook once a week during the summer. I sent all four of my kids first aid kits. I also bought for my three sons winter coats, knit hats, and gloves (my daughter is well stocked with winter things since she lives in a cold climate.) It does not usually get very cold where I live, but this year has been so unusual, I wanted my sons to be prepared. I gave the son who has sensory issues and won’t eat beans, a case of tuna. It should last him three months. I also sent some tuna to my oldest son, and gave a little to my youngest son also. I will give the youngest son dried beans, he is receptive to beans, and I am giving him a crockpot next week. It is a good thing because I have a years supply for him….lol.My daughter loves beans and I had sent her a years supply several months ago, when the pandemic first began. This week, I sent her several canned soups, canned green beans, green peas, carrots, crushed tomatoes, from Walmart on line. I think she is fairly well stocked. I have stocked up on soap, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent etc. and can take those to my two sons who live closer than the other two. I sent those items to my oldest son also. I have been spending a lot trying to get stocked up and making sure my kids are well stocked. The oldest has still not recovered fully from his health scare, but he is working 30 hours a week. I had concentrated on paying off my mortgage last year, and had let my food supplies, and other supplies, get much, much lower than normal. The pandemic certainly has made me stock up again! Whew!!!

  19. I started baking homemade bread again. We picked some salal berries to freeze (more vitamen c and antioxidants than blueberries or strawberries). I also picked a quart of blackberries which I froze.
    All over town there are boxes of free items set out. I guess because the local thrift stores are still closed and not accepting items. I did look in one box and found a dirt encrusted bowl and platter that I took home. I couldn’t wait to see what they looked like once they were washed. A beautiful old antique rose pattern emerged on both of them. No chips or cracks either. I felt like I scored.
    In town there is an office supply store that is really more like a general store. They buy up, by a bulk load, things that Costco doesn’t want or receives in return. I had been looking for a queen comforter for awhile. I found a gorgeous, never been used, one for $12.
    On the sad side my DIL’s mother and a favorite cousin of my husband’s both passed away on the same day. Neither was from Covid but difficult for family because of inability to have a memorial service (except for a couple close family members).
    I am doing more than usual craft projects and lots of quality time with my husband.

    1. I once bought a brand new set of Denby stoneware at Costco. It was a wedding present. In those days, they had Costco auctions. The only thing wrong with it was the cardboard box. I got it for about $100 and it would have been $2,000 not on sale. It was all the pieces my niece had on her wish list, all in one fell swoop.

      Elisa B. That is a great bargain for the queen comforter!

      Sorry to hear of the passings in your family. Ann

      1. Thank you, Ann.
        What a wonderful deal on the Denby. I found a few pieces at a garage sale once and I think Denby makes just the most gorgeous, well designed dishes.

  20. Husband has been in the hospital for three admissions in the month of July so not much in the way of food preservation could be done here so I have stocked in a different way. With my Sam’s membership, most items ship for free. I have been able to stock up on a lot of canned items, pastas, and whole wheat flour through their site and I did it in the comfort of a hospital chair 🙂 Desperate times call for desperate measures and I am determined to be better prepared this Fall/Winter than I was when the pandemic started.

    1. It sounds like you made a good use of your time sitting in that chair. I think that was very wise!

  21. I love breakfast for dinner. Good job on catching the incorrect charge and cancelling that subscription. Those things annoy me. Yesterday I followed up on a return that I had called about once and was told I would receive my $85 back. But next billing cycle it still wasn’t there. I called again and apparently the first agent had made all the appropriate notes, but had not actually done the refund! Just goes to show how we need to watch our statements!

    I made plum, pear, apple jam today, all with free fruit. A question for the jam makers here. I used my trusty plum jam recipe, and used the same proportions of fruit to sugar. I just substituted some of the plums for apples and pears. Is this OK? I know I’ve read one shouldn’t alter a jam recipe, but since the proportions are the same, and it’s all fruit, I hoped it was alright. I had looked up other recipes and plum/apple/pear jam seemed to be a legitimate thing. They just took longer than my trusty recipe does. The jam set up nicely, and all the jars sealed.

    I sewed all afternoon today, so I’m tired. I was able to find all the fabrics I needed in my own stash, which is good nowadays. So it’s a satisfying tired. I finished the bee banner and sent it to my daughter in law this week. It’s for her classroom. She was delighted. I had a few triangles left over and so made another smaller bee banner for my shop. It is super cute.

    I called the Subaru dealership and got approved for my battery to be replaced under warranty. I am very thankful for that. It hasn’t given up, but it’s corroded and I want to get the work done while it’s still in warranty.

    Our Costco membership end this month. I read that one can shop at Costco in the store, and at their gas station with Costco gift cards. Does anyone have any experience doing this? We were hoping to buy enough gift cards to last us 6-8 months and not renew our membership until then. We don’t buy a lot of food there, but it is the cheapest gas by far, and my husband commutes to work.
    Thanks to all of you. I love this community!

    1. Kara,

      The main thing about the jam is whether it set and yours did so no problem. You kept the amount of fruit the same as specified by your recipe. One thing I would never do is to double the amount of fruit for a recipe (even if all the other ingredients were doubled proportionately). I would still make 2 separate batches. I think that doubling is where you run into problems.

      You might also run into problems if the fruit you substitute is juicier — then you might end up boiling it down longer.
      It sounds like your jam is wonderful! Ann

    2. Kara,
      I only buy a Costco membership every few years, when I have one I stock up on $25 gift cards. After my membership expires I use 1 gift card each time I want to shop since you can pay the balance of your receipt with cash or credit card. Example, if your total order is $100, $25 would be with gift card and $75 with personal credit card. I have not used the gift cards at their gas station. Typically Groupon offers a Costco membership deal every couple years and if you haven’t been a member for 2 years you are eligible. Last time I bought the Groupon and got my membership, after all the offers and a gift card that came along with the Groupon, I only paid $5.00 for my membership. This deal used to be offered in August.

  22. It was a great, frugal week!
    I took apart my vacuum cleaner to clean it, hopefully it will work more efficiently now.
    I bought loss leaders and markdowns at the grocery store, as always.
    A friend and her son came over to play with my kids for a while, which was fun.
    I picked up a free couch. It didn’t quite fit in the back of the van with the seats down/removed, but I drove very slowly and made it home ok.
    I sold more kid clothes on Facebook marketplace.
    My aunt let the kids swim at her pool.
    We got more books and dvds from the library.
    I used a free sample of laundry detergent that came in the mail.
    Four dinners this week were less than $5.
    I premade lots of breakfast tacos for easier mornings once school starts again.

  23. I’ve been canning and freezing everything I can get my hands on from my garden and my sister’s farm. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. I’ve preserved beet pickles, dill pickles, peaches, strawberries, peach slices, blueberry pie filling and lots and lots of green beans.

    We spent a few days last week at a cabin at a lake. My sister invited us to go with her family. We had thought my husband would be resting a lot, having a hard time getting around, etc., when we first planned to go. Instead, he was easily able to get around, went fishing, boating, hiking, swimming, and rock collecting with the kids. It’s still a miracle to me that after 4 weeks post-surgery, he is so much better than he has been for literally years.

    I caught a fish and we ate it.

    We bought 25 pounds of sugar–just keep stocking as we go as we get low, and find items we need. We are not letting the pantry get low right now. We bought 10 more boxes of jar lids when my aunt found them for a good price and volunteered to pick them up for anyone in the family who wanted them. She got most of what we wanted.

    I’ve been working in the garden a lot. We ordered seeds for a fall garden, so I’ve been cleaning up every area that I can so I have room to plant more items.

  24. I ended up finding corn on the cob for .25 to .33 an ear, so ultimately bought 6 dozen and cut the corn off the ears and froze them. This should get us through until next corn season, although I may still get two more dozen at that price. I also bought green beans for .98 and blanched and froze four pounds of them. I also froze a batch of chicken thighs.

    My friend has an abundant garden and asked me if I wanted some basil. I happily replied and she cut an entire plant for me! It ended up making 12 tubs of pesto, with each tub having enough for two meals. She also gave me two cucumbers and three tomatoes.

    I finished making a baby afghan to donate from cotton yarn that a friend gave me from a knitted sweater that she didn’t like how it turned out. I’m also working on a baby sweater from yarn I found at a thrift store.

    I went for a bike ride on evening before twilight and also on a hike (I had to drive, but the wildflowers were spectacular and I didn’t want to miss them this year. We also went to a live concert on Saturday night, sponsored by a local arts council. The concert was in a church parking lot, advanced free reservations were required, and cars parked every other one so people could social distance. It was lovely to listen to live music!

    Thank you to everyone for your emotional support and inspiration.

    1. -We are harvesting raspberries, blueberries, beans, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and herbs from garden. We got a lemon from a potted Meyer lemon tree that we overwinter on our sun porch. Kroger had peaches on sale for 69c/lb so I stocked up on 30+ pounds. Waiting for them to ripen a bit before I can them. I also canned 7 quarts of green beans. I planted more kale, lettuce, carrots and beets.
      -Keeping food waste to a minimum. Hosted friends with a BBQ and made pasta salad with fresh veggies from the garden. We ended up with too many hot dog and hamburger buns, so extra went into the freezer. Also made a gluten free dessert. Enjoying free coffee from Panera. We have been enjoying date night again and have eaten a few too many meals out, but it had been so long without going out…
      -Continuing to exercise regularly to take off the extra baby weight so I can fit back into my pants before winter! Summer dresses are much more forgiving. I am also trying to be more diligent about water- wearing a mask most of the day has cut my water intake down to almost zero.
      -Repainted a dresser in my parents basement for our new baby. I bought some new knobs to jazz it up.
      -Bought some hydrangea plants from local market for 1/4 the price of the big box stores. I will cut down some ugly shrubs. I normally prefer to grow fruits and veggies but there are a few flowers I love

    2. That is an excellent price for corn! I was going to get a few ears at the store today but there were $3 for 4 ears! I am hitting the farmers market tomorrow hoping to find a better price.

  25. That salad looks so delicious.

    Here is how we saved last week-
    *A neighbor was getting rid of slightly used treated wood from an old dock-he offered it to my husband. After some dismantling he used the wood to put backing on steps that go down a hillside on our property. The value was around $70 and did not end up in a land fill.
    *My cucumbers plants aren’t doing so well so I am fertilizing and watching how much I water them.
    *Found my granddaughter a pair of toddler shoes. I went to 4 stores and there was nothing. (I wore my mask and dashed in and out) I found a reasonable priced-quality shoe on line but had to pay shipping unless it was at a higher price point so I ordered a gift card that I will give as an upcoming wedding gift. This saved me a $9 shipping fee.
    *Gifted some green bean-ate some for one meal and froze for another.
    *Harvested cherry tomatoes before the chipmunks had them for their dinner. (smile).
    *Temperatures dropped to low 50’s, closed all windows to keep the heat in.
    *Washed bedspreads and hung out to dry with all pillows etc.
    *Husband fixed exterior door frame that had rotted. He put in plastic wood and I painted the whole frame so it is protected.
    *I continue to create a daily “to do” list and my husband and I review what we will do and check things off. With staying at home to be safe I feel this has been good for our sense of accomplishment and creates a feeling of purpose.

    While during this pandemic we have many things to be thankful for. Last week our family talked about what those blessings were and we concluded that we have been healthy, we are so much closer as a family unit -even if we don’t all live in the same community we visit within our family bubble-text- and talk daily, our adult children continue to be employed however working differently, saving what we have and not making unnecessary purchases, exploring new hobbies such as fishing, biking, woodworking, and enjoying the natural world around us.
    Stay frugal and safe-

  26. Someone recommended the Darling Dahlia series and I read two from the library. They’re very light hearted and quick to read. I enjoyed the first two and reserved the next 3. Thank you.
    We made nut-pulp crackers and nut and coconut pulp cookies. All meals were made at home, and we ate lots of salads. I ordered some storage provisions from Azure Standard at good prices.
    We had to get ready last week for a supposed tropical storm/hurricane and my partner bought used panels for a large span of windows at Habitat for Humanity, drilled holes in them and put them up on our rental property. We moved potted banana plants against the house to protect them from the wind, and cleaned up the car port. In the end, we were thankful that there was nothing at all to the storm. Two big expenses coming up soon are having all our trees trimmed and getting hurricane safe Bahama shutters for our house.
    We continue to work on the house. I’m stripping door casings and painting crown molding. My stripper is old, but it still works although it separated badly. Painting will save us a lot, as will glazing windows ourselves. Our delightful renter next door moved out and we’re hoping for someone good to come along.
    Have a good week, everyone!

    1. I love Susan Wittig Albert. She has another mystery series based on her fictional stories of Beatrix Potter. They’re a fun read. I think they’d also be good chapter books to read to kids.

  27. Brandy, I would just like to give a shout-out to your entire site, which I love, but this week, particularly to your recipe for Swiss Chard Soup. I have a very similar recipe that uses zucchini in place of chard, and on Sunday, I did a bit of a mashup, and used both zucchini and chard in my soup. It blended up beautifully and tastes delicious. My batch made enough soup for me to have it every day as part of my lunch at work. I’ve got soup in a mason jar to warm up in the work microwave, then I take it to the picnic table outside and enjoy it with some crackers and cream cheese, and a fresh apple. With the great price we got on cream cheese (49 cents per 8oz brick), and my husband’s sale/coupon/rebate combos for the crackers (45 cents a box), and apples I found at .70/lb, this lunch is incredibly affordable and filling!

    Our garden is providing tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, chard, spinach, and herbs. Other things are growing too, just not quite ready yet. We have been making sure to use all our leftovers, and my husband has been getting shampoo for free with sales/coupons/rebates. We use it as shampoo, but also to refill the hand soap bottles in our bathrooms and kitchen. I’m reading a book from the library right now and using the free part of the Simple Habit app to do short meditations on my breaks at work.

    If anyone reading this has not tried the Swiss Chard Soup recipe, I encourage you to give it it a try – it’s so good! Thank you again, Brandy!

  28. Here’s how we saved money this week:

    * We went grocery shopping at Sam’s Club and Aldi- Sam’s to pick up several items for stocking up the pantry and freezer and Aldi for produce and a few other items. There’s still room in the budget for a purchase from Walmart (for more pantry restocking).

    * The weather was significantly cooler this week, so we were able to run the air conditioner much less than we were for most of July.

    * I rack-dried some clothes instead of using the dryer.

    * I made several meals at home this week- more pancakes (using some whole wheat flour, to help use it up), wheat bread, cheeseburger soup (used up some wrinkly potatoes and carrots!), spaghetti and meatballs (this is a treat meal, since it uses more meat than my usual recipes, but I made the meatballs using half turkey and half ground beef to reduce costs), egg salad (eggs have been cheaper here the last month than they were before the pandemic started!), and homemade pizza.

    * I prepped the meal plan for August last week, but I made a few adjustments to it to reduce costs and focus more on my cheaper recipes. One addition to this month’s plan is sweet potato chili, which my SO has been enjoying greatly these last several months. (I’ll make it for their lunches and the batch will last a whole week, and they’ve been perfectly happy eating it once a month!)

    * I prepped grapes that I had bought at Aldi. I saved the ones that were still good but a little soft and froze them to use in smoothies or as ice cubes. This is just one way I’ve been reducing food waste in these last few months.

    * I cleaned out our dishwasher to improve it’s cleaning performance, and I swapped out our dryer balls for the other ones we had not been using. I have noticed some fuzz leftover on a few items after washing them recently, so I hope making this change will address that issue.

    * I updated our Amazon wishlist with items that we would like to have and items we use around the house. We don’t need to order anything quite yet, but having them on the list means I can easily add them to my cart when I do need to make a purchase, and I can think about how much I need the items in the meantime.

    * I have been finding joy in the simple things lately- a clean kitchen ot bathroom, a nice rainstorm, an organized pantry.

    * We took out some of the cat toys we haven’t been using lately to bring some novelty to the cats’ playtime. Rotating toys and boxes/other environmental stuff can help keep a cat engaged and stave off boredom (and boredom for cats is synonymous with troublemaking!). I also used some catnip on some of their toys and boxes- the catnip in the toys has long since worn off, but dusting it wih a bit of new catnip makes it like-new for a while!

    I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!

  29. I never thought to put chard in a pasta salad, but that’s a great way to add colour, fibre, and nutrients!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made a raspberry smoothie (http://approachingfood.com/raspberry-dreams-smoothie/) using items in my fridge and freezer. It turned out so well that I wrote it down and made it several times for my daughter (as a snack) and myself (as a meal).
    – I put off an eyecare appointment for a year, as I only get a small amount of coverage from my husband’s insurance and I had a thorough checkup last year when I had insurance through both my workplace and my husband’s workplace. I’m young enough that my eye health shouldn’t degrade much over an extra year, and it’ll save me almost $150.
    – I got my free Sephora birthday gift (a mascara sample and a blush/lip colour sample).
    – I redeemed SB for $5 to my paypal account.
    – My daughter picked and ate snow peas, tomatoes, green beans, and red peppers from my parents’ garden.
    – I cut my hair, my husband’s hair, and my sister’s hair, saving at least $125 in total.
    – My husband and I ordered takeout for my parents anniversary, and we ordered the serves-4 meal, for 5 people. It ended up making 3 complete meals (two dinners and a lunch) for 5 people, with enough leftover for my lunch tomorrow. Pretty good value!
    -I made an apple crumble (http://approachingfood.com/harvest-apple-crumble/) instead of a cake to celebrate my parents’ anniversary. Quicker and healthier.
    – I made a loaf of sourdough bread, and a batch of sourdough pancakes. I’m still working on getting my sourdough starter to rise enough, but in the mean time, it’s pancakes every week!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  30. Brandy I am glad you were able to harvest lovely vegetables from your gardens to add to ingredients from your meals. Good pick up on the charge on your credit card for a service you had not subscribed to and it is always good to check our bank statements regularly to pick up on anomalies like that and we do the same 🙂 . Combining errands certainly saves a lot of expenses on fuel and we as we live in the country a long way away from most things combine many errands in one trip in the car to save on fuel expenses here too.

    Our savings added up to $44.10 last week.

    Service to others –
    – We last week deep cleaned the local RSL sub branch as volunteers.

    Earnings –
    – Earned $1500 from the sale of our 2 bottle trees in the back yard. They purchased them and removed them leaving us a nice couple of spots to plant our citrus trees in.

    Internet listings –
    – Listed 10 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Put in a monthly staples grocery order combining and using our RACQ Wish e-gift cards 5% off, weekly specials and $10 off Rewards $ saving $27.60 on usual prices.

    In the gardens –
    – Planted our potted Washington navel and Lisbon lemon fruit trees in the spot where the bottle trees were removed from in the yard. Hardly any hard digging as the soil was still so soft from where the bottle trees were removed from :).
    – With a grand total of $5.25 in parts we fixed a gutter downpipe rainwater pipe angle that was split and leaking water, repaired a split grey water hose with a joiner and put in a t-piece so we can now water 2 berry and fruit trees at the same time with water pumped from our grey water tank.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone and hope that you can see the grandchildren in person sooner than you think Annabel.


    1. I had never heard of bottle trees before, so I looked them up. How great that you were able to get so much for them!
      (I am familiar with bottle trees in the southern U.S. — which are a tree or stand on which people place colored bottles in their yards, supposedly to catch evil spirits — or just as yard decoration.)

  31. – Picked up a free pound of nectarines from my local coop. This was a member perk.
    – Wild blackberries are starting to ripen here in the Pacific NW. They are invasive and you can find them all over the place. Picked my first pint. So good!
    – It was hot here (for us at least). I have a cooling neck towel that I use every year. It’s great on a hot day, and keeps me much more comfortable.
    – Spilled yogurt all over the carpet. Borrowed a mini carpet cleaner from my work and was able to get it all out so it didn’t stain.
    – Visited my mom and picked up all the meat from a previous bulk order that I had stored in her freezer. That meant I had to clean out my small chest freezer (my least favorite task ever). But I did it and now everything is organized and fits inside. Yay!
    – Brought my mom some extra veggies from my CSA share. She shared a bag of onions with me that she had gotten for free. A food bank had received too many donated onions, so they were giving them away to people at her church.
    – Bought a couple work tops on clearance.
    – Trader Joe’s had soap nuts that you can use for clothes washing. Has anyone ever used these? I bought them because I was curious and wanted to try them out.
    – Bought three patterns at Joann’s for $1.99 a piece. I usually wait until they go on sale, because you save so much money that way.
    – Did all the things I normally do: exercised outside (park, walking laps around our condo), and using exercise videos at home. Watched DVDs and listened to CDs we already own. Watched streaming shows and YouTube videos. Read my favorite blogs. Brought my lunch to work. Cooked at home.

    Have a great week, everyone.

    1. Tina,
      Yes, I’ve used soap nuts regularly for several years for laundry. I’ve not yet tried but some use them to make household cleaners and shampoo. I hope you find that you like them.

  32. Living frugally in Portland, OR:

    It is so much fun to go out to my garden every morning and see what is ready to pick. We are up to our eyeballs in zucchini this year (I think I mixed up some of my cucumber and zucchini seeds – so sadly I only have one cucumber plant). I am not sick of it yet and I’ve given away a ton to neighbors as well. I’m making and freezing a ton of regular and chocolate zucchini bread for this winter. I chop it up and put it in my eggs in the morning and put it in our pizza for dinner. We’ve also grilled it with a little butter and garlic a few times as well. Crossing fingers our tomatoes are as fruitful this year!

    I’ve been picking blackberries around town at parks and empty lots. I mostly freeze them to make quick breads and compote for our waffles all winter long. There is something wonderful to me about eating blackberries with my waffles in the dead of winter. I will probably make a crisp as well (but I’ve been eating really healthy this summer so I’m trying not to ruin it!)

    My husband and I (and sometimes our kids) take a neighborhood walk every evening. I’ve been making our walking routes around community gardens so I can study them better – new ideas of how to grow things, etc. I’ve started taking pictures with my phone when I want to remember how something is done.

    There is usually a summer program in our city called Piano. Push. Play. where artists restore and decorate old pianos and then they put them in the parks to play. My youngest is a really talented piano player and looks forward to it every year. We thought it would be cancelled this year, but they’re doing a limited run of pianos for just a couple weeks in August, so once the pianos were announced in Instagram, we got on our bikes and found them. We’ve playing about half so far. It’s such a fun, no cost, Covid-safe summertime activity.

    I reviewed a wading pool I bought from Amazon and received a $20 gift card (I wasn’t sure about doing this, but we love the pool so I felt honest about giving it a good review).

    I discovered that I made a mistake on my state taxes that will save us ~$500 so I’m working on filing an amended return.

    We’ve been trying to figure out a more frugal way to stream television. We’ve decided to alternate every four or so months between Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. That way we will look forward to new shows on the various streaming companies rather than just have access to all of them, all of the time, which seems unnecessary and waste of money. We “cut the cord” to our cable in 2009 and we estimate we’ve saved around $13,000 as a result.

    We seem to really collect shoes in our home. The kids’ abuelos send them new pairs every few months, I find deals at thrift stores or as gifts from Buy Nothing neighbors, and I do buy my cross country-running son new running shoes every few months. I did a huge shoe inventory — put all of our shoes together. I took a few pairs that were completely worn out or didn’t fit anyone to the shoe recycling place. I repaired, cleaned and updated a few pairs with new laces. And I made some trades – since we all are very close in size right now. I found myself a new pair of running shoes in the pile and my husband claimed some brand new hiking shoes that my son will likely never wear because he is way too cool to wear hiking shoes. Since I had running shoes on my to-buy list, this will be a great savings!

    They’ve announced that our school district will go online until at least November (in reality, I believe we won’t be back to school until there is a vaccine, but maybe I’m wrong). We will save a ton of money on supplies, fees, clothing, lunches – but at a great sacrifice to all of us. I am working on making spaces in our home for concentrated learning, and I’m starting to collect curriculum and supplies to teach my oldest, who accesses SpEd and does not learn virtually at all. I’m trying to keep a good attitude so my kids will follow suit. I will likely need to quit my job in order to make this all happen – I just don’t see any other way. I’m thankful for all that I continue to learn on this blog to make our lives more frugal so that our lost income will not be as much as a stressor this coming year.

    1. Jen,

      Check out Peacock TV. It’s basically NBC for free as a streaming service. I just found out about it and you may want to add it in your rotation.

  33. Hi Brandy and everyone
    The pasta salad looks yummy!
    This week we picked runner beans, beetroot, carrots, spring onions, lettuce, rocket, chives, parsley, thyme, sage and oregano. I am trying to increase the amount of herbs we eat.
    We harvested the garlic and laid it to dry a bit. Usually my husband plaits the garlic and onions and we hang them up to save on storage space.
    I picked our first ever blueberries! Last autumn my husband bought me a bush as a present and although it wasn’t a big harvest it was lovely to eat them so fresh. There are a few berries still ripening.
    I picked cornflowers and zinnias for the house.
    My husband received more rhubarb from a client.
    I have frozen the end of a chunk of parmesan and will add it to a vegetable soup while it’s simmering for more flavour.
    I stretched leftovers to provide another meal.
    I bought some reduced yellow sticker meat for the freezer and stocked up on cheese which I froze too. I also bought extra quantity of bleach.
    I went to the pharmacy and bought citric acid, menthol crystals and magnesium sulphate paste which we use to ‘draw’ small thorns/ splinters from our fingers if we get them when working outdoors. Our grocery bill was a bit higher this week but I’m glad to have the opportunity to increase our stores and should have lower bills in the future.
    We went to an open air market and found plants at a good price so we bought chocolate mint, borage and a couple of salvias for late summer colour in the garden. We also bought 15 big pots( the type cut flowers are displayed in) for £2. During the last lockdown we repurposed so many pots in the garden we want to be prepared if it happens again.
    My husband sourced free panes of glass via a local online group and replaced some broken panes in our greenhouses and potting shed. Our neighbours also had a broken pane in their greenhouse so my husband put a new pane in for them.
    I have been saving greetings cards we’ve received and this week cut them up for scrap for shopping lists etc.
    We have a dead laptop which we want to dispose safely without anyone finding our personal data. We have a friend who runs a computer business and I approached him for information and he kindly said if I drop it off to him he can use it for spare parts and he will wipe the data for free. He is a person we can trust.
    Our telecoms provider is rolling out super fast fibre broadband in our area and they sent a new hub at no cost which my husband set up and they switched us over this week.
    I continue to declutter and recycle, repurpose, donate to charity, take things to the tip and sell odd bits on eBay. Some times I feel overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ but I’m trying to to stay upbeat and keep going!
    Thanks for such a great blog Brandy and stay safe everyone.

  34. We were given 2 boxes of coffee pods from my SIL, they were sent to her workplace & no one wanted them. My Mom gave us blueberries & I gave her zucchini in return. My husband was asked to help at a food giveaway by a friend of ours. At the end the leftovers were given to the volunteers and he came home with a bag of onions, a honeydew, a bag of apricots, a cabbage and a few oranges. All will be eaten except the onion which I chopped up & put in the freezer in 1 cup portions. My husband ordered parts & repaired my car, savings us an insurance claim as well as hundreds of dollars in labor at the body shop. I wanted to give our bedroom a “makeover” and I did it for free by switching out the curtains with ones I had in my linen closet, moving furniture, decluttering and swapping out pictures. But what I really wanted was a quilt for the bed, however, not in the budget. A family member owns a property that a renter had left and abandoned items in over a year ago and asked for help in cleaning out. There was a giant tote and when I opened it it contained what appeared to be a jumble of synthetic blankets. My family member said to get rid of it but I thought that I could wash the blankets and donate to the animal shelter. Well, imagine my surprise when under the blankets were quilts! Beautiful hand stitched quilts! My daughter and I spent a day washing and line drying and now I have a gorgeous quilt for our bed, my daughter has one, my family member who gave them to me has one and there are 2 still left! This proves to me my beliefs that: 1) you can get anything you want/need without paying full price if you are patient & 2) one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! I never blindly toss things out, it often pays to give things a 2nd look. Hope everyone has a safe, healthy, frugal week!

    1. I believe those quilts were your reward for caring enough to save those blankets for the animal shelter. I like that!

  35. The salad looks very good!
    If I haven’t said it before- I’ll say it now. You do beautiful photography work!

    This week –
    * Took advantage of several rainy days and baked. We made peanut butter wheat bread; buttermilk biscuits; cheddar biscuits; pancake muffins; “pop tarts”; simple sugar syrup; oatmeal pecan pie; banana chocolate chip pudding cake.

    * listed several items for sale and sold one. Used some of that to get a nice black skirt & black shoes for my daughter. She’s already gone through 2 sizes since February.

    *went to a park and enjoyed outdoor activity. Bought a $1 shake as a treat for my youngest

    * Cleaned and reorganized my refrigerator and pantry with the help of 2 of my children. Started on our storage room. Found several items for give away/sell

    * Was finally able to get a few canned tomato goods at reasonable prices. My tomatoes are not doing well.

    * After rain for most of the week, it cooled things way down so we can open windows.
    It’s been in the 50’s at night and 70’s during the day. Unheard of where we live. Thanks to the cooler weather my tomatoes are beginning to turn red.

    * Had a free date bike ride with my husband. Nice and cool for that too.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  36. I made zucchini bread pancakes instead of buying gas station pizza. On the menu also was cucumbers and onions in mayo based dressing, cucumbers,tomatoes and onions in Italian dressing. A meal of corn on the cob, zucchini spears (raw) and sliced tomatoes. I pulled chunked ham from freezer and had a 1 skillet meal of fried potatoes, onions and the ham. Tuna noodle casserole, creamy turkey enchiladas (Brandy’s recipe) and fried egg sandwiches .We have taken to looking in the frig to use leftovers before we cook something else, I made 123 pasta(one onion, 2 cups protein and 3 cups veggies with 1 lb pasta) a odds and ends casserole and a pot of soup (thinned out the casserole) I drive Hubby crazy at times as I am the only one he knows that thinks baked beans are a main dish…Mother’s side was from Boston. I grew up with Boston baked beans as the main dish while Daddy’ was from southern OH and northern West Virginia that only had beans as a soup …main dish.Hubby didn’t eat bean soup until he married me.

    I dehydrated zucchini given to me as I must be the only one in the state of Ohio that can’t grow it. I dehydrated basil, carrot tops and kale. I picked dried beans to shell for winter. This batch was small red bean and a few of the pinto’s. The dried been plants are blooming again since the heat dropped and we got rain.Joke has been might have to turn the furnace on since the morning temp dropped from high 70s to low 60s .I started harvesting the Yukon gold potatoes we grew in grow bags. So far I have enough to break even on cost and don’t have half of them harvested. I am still getting blackberries. I have tomatoes, last of onions, kale, and corn coming in this week on top of herbs and kale. I need to make noodles are we are down to the last meal of them. I have a few peaches left we bought from the Amish to deal with… I will make cobbler and what ever is left will go to make cordial as we are full of pie filling, jam, jelly, butter, just canned and frozen. I will have to make a trip to Sam’s club next month most likely for flour and sugar after I price Walmart. Last time Walmart was the cheapest for the 25 lb bags.

    Wilbur our 10 yr old American German boxer had to have a tumor removed from his eye (thankful it was found to be on the eye lid and not in the eye it’s self) down to his teeth (had 3 teeth pulled and he chowed down this morning ) We also got Heartgard (3 lg dogs here) and Frontline .We do year around treatment. The cheapest place to buy ended up being at the actual vet office. We saved $35.97 by buying there and then they filed a rebate for us of $100. Hubby signed for it to go straight to the vet so they took that amount off the bill. What we saved paid for the surgery.

    Blessed Be everyone.

  37. Hardly a money saver, but I discovered a frustration saver which might serve you too. I keep a very small detergent bottle on my kitchen counter and refill it from a huge one kept underneath. When that last bit still needs to come from the larger one, I have never liked waiting for it to drip down. The mouth openings of both bottles are the same size, so I put a chopstick in the small one and upended the larger one on it and left them in the sink. Some while later I found the mission neatly accomplished.

    1. The chopstick is a neat idea. I have a little rubber gadget I acquired somewhere years ago — one end goes in each bottle and it holds the bottle you are emptying upright. I use it to empty cooking oil bottles too.

    2. One of God’s
      thank you for the chopstick tip. I fill my small bottles (have 2 sinks so 2 small bottles ) from a larger bottle after I have already filled 1/3 of the small bottle with water. I just shake it up before I use the small bottle. But I hate standing there doing nothing waiting for the large bottle to empty LOL

  38. We just got back from a whirlwind long weekend to Vancouver-helping DD pack, move and clean her apt. This morning DH picked a bowl of Saskatoon berries from the backyard-nice to harvest something. Yesterday I applied for my last $2,000 govt benefit for Covid and will be back to work 3 days per week later this month so the timing was perfect. DH is just unpacking the car and I am doing a load of wash-otherwise I think a quiet day is in order-perhaps a bike ride. The really hot weather has ended and today will be a pleasant 24 C.

  39. We “weathered” the hurricane. In other words, we had no weather from it in our area at all. for which I’m thankful. Hot, sunny and humid as always. We have short days here in Florida (our current sunrise is 6:55 a.m. and sunset is 8:25 p.m.) but the humid nights that only drop down to about 75 at the coolest, with 99% humidity in the late night hours, means our a/c is running even in the night, and our usage is high even though we set our thermostat on 78 downstairs and 82 upstairs. I’m so glad I’m on budget billing, so I don’t get hit with huge bills in the summer. I also try not to use the oven or dryer, and we take short showers and run ceiling fans.

    I found a $1.50 coupon for a dental rinse my sister uses, so I gave it to her.

    Our pear tree lost a limb so I quickly picked up the pears on it that had been way up high on the tree, out of our reach, and brought them in before the squirrels and deer helped themselves.

    I’m picking okra every day now from my old watering trough planted in okra.

    I had not tried that cabbage trick, but I will now!

    I found a “$5 off on 2 bottles” coupon for shampoo I use, then found it on sale the next week. I ended up getting two bottles for the price of one. I rarely find usable coupons in my paper’s inserts, so this was a nice one to get.

    I hung a gifted rain gauge with exterior screws found in our catch all can of random screws and bolts.

    I bought another $25 gift card for $22 with Swagbucks.

    1. Some pressure canners that have a gauge can also use a weight. That way, I think you can skip testing it. The rubber rings for truly ancient pressure cookers are still sold. I imagine that is true for pressure canners too.
      I am waiting for a few days of no rain in a row to walk the stove mom was given at least a decade ago out of the garage and to clean it thoroughly. Friends have offered to move it up the ramp into the kitchen and I want them to have a window of time to fit the move into their schedule. If I have any energy, now that we will have old-fashioned electric burners instead of a glass top, I will be able to try canning.
      97-year-old mom almost ended up in hospice after two hospitalisations within two months. We even had a nurse navigator visit, socially distanced and outside, to discuss the services offered. But the next day, I told mom that if she’d just start drinking, eating, and moving more, they’d soon kick her off hospice. She proceeded to start drinking and eating without a lot of urging (although she has made it clear she thinks she has consumed more than enough Ensure and similar drinks) and she started doing leg lifts in her wheelchair out of the blue. I got the message, she is not ready for hospice. I told her, okay, but added that if she gets so sick again that she forgets how to swallow, she is going on hospice at least until she regains the weight she will lose while she cannot eat. I am not going through that experience without support again.
      She had OT on the front porch this week, socially distanced, to reduce the chances of getting ill. Last Thursday, knowing that mom had to go to the heart doctor today, I asked the PT to watch me while I tried to transfer mom between the wheelchair and the car. We had watched a number of Youtube videos earlier in the week in preparation. We were able to do the transfer. I WAS SO HAPPY. Mom had not been in her car since she broke her hip the first Sunday in February. We have been completely housebound except when she was hospitalised. But today we went to her doctor and then bought lunch at a drive-thru and ate it in one park overlooking a beach and then drove through another favorite park. It was so ordinary a day, and yet so delightful.
      Mom’s woundcare nurse went to her brother’s wedding today. And her mother, her sister, and a brother (that brother?) all have had Covid-19; the later two, quite recently. So, because I fear it might be circulating among her siblings’ friends, she doesn’t know it yet, but she is going to be treating mom’s heel and shin outdoors on the front porch tomorrow.
      PT will also be entirely outside this week too, if I can transfer mom onto and off the sofa without help. I promised mon we’ll try the sofa transfer right before the PT arrives so that, if I fail, he can help her off the sofa instead of us having to call the fire department for assistance.
      Mom got really, really weak during about 10 days of forced bedrest at the hospital in early June. But since her second hospital stay in early July, she has been getting stronger, very slowly, but definitely on the mend. I had read before she got the UTI in June that UTIs can really do a number on he thinking of older people. She was very confused until her second UTI in two months was treated. Since then, she has only had about an hour of confusion during which I had to help her (re)process the loss of her father that took place more than 75 years ago. I am grateful for whatever periods of clarity she has, and to have her back to her old self for almost all of the month has been a real blessing.

      1. Holly – you are doing an amazing job of looking after your mom. A friend of mine is doing the same for her 95 year old mom and her being able to stay at home makes such a difference to her g=overall health. Just make sure that you are taking care of yourself as well.
        PS – UTI’s are notorious for causing all sorts of issues for the elderly, especially a lot of mental confusion. If you notice her having this sort of issue again insist that they test for a UTI immediately.

      2. Holly you are such a blessing to your mother! Your post brought tears to my eyes. I hope you take some time for yourself. The burn out is real. I am so glad that you were able to enjoy just a normal day!!

  40. A hint one of my readers shared with me years ago came into play today as I read all of the readers’ comments here. Each time I came across a good tip, I wrote it down in my notebook. I categorize them in bold letters beside each, GARDEN, for instance so that I can keep a running sheet of tips for just that category. I had been considering trying to see if I could my hands on my grandmother’s pressure canner but felt it might be too old. After reading these tips I will try my best to see if it can be found!

    This week I’ve made a small pot of fig jam from some figs in my produce bag. I do not like figs…but I like that jam pretty well! I have used all I could from the produce bags, freezing some things and eating others. I still have a green onion, some cucumbers and tomatoes and two small acorn squash to use this week. I had to order celery and mustard seeds which were not to be had here in any store. It is my plan to make pickle relish from the cucumbers and to make salsa from most of the tomatoes. I can hot water bath can both of those.

    We had a bit of an upset this week with our retirement funds being incorrectly dispersed. It meant we lost 1000’s of dollars in taxes and other adjustments to our income, etc. It was not our mistake but the county dispersing the funds. We talked to the financial planner and he has corrected it all and will get our money sorted out. It was a revelation to me that we can get back the taxes paid out. As for the other adjustment, we don’t have that worry if we don’t have the income. Such a huge relief. It definitely pays to talk to others instead of just assuming it’s irreversible when a mistake is made like this. We are not financially savvy people though we do try to understand. Fortunately, we talked with someone who knew exactly how to correct the problem we were facing and get things squared away!

    My husband has been repairing his mower. He has learned from YouTube videos of professional mowers and it’s taught him many valuable tips on how to maintain our own machine. He mows about 3 acres here and about as much at our son’s home so this mower works hard, especially since we’ve had one of those summers with enough rain to mow twice a week most weeks.

    I found a recipe to use up a leftover in a creative way this weekend. I made sure to jot down the details. It calls for canned crescent rolls but I’ll use homemade biscuit dough as a substitute.

    I have harvested basil and 3 more tiny yellow pear tomatoes. The plants look healthy and have blooms so I keep hoping they are going to suddenly decide to get busy and produce well.

    1. My Amish neighbor is using her grandmother’s and said she was able to get parts for it. Had to search a bit for them. Said for old ones try places that sell to Amish in your area or on line.

  41. My big money-saving tip is to go to an international market for specialty ingredients. I needed cassava flour and arrowroot starch for a recipe (I’m gluten sensitive and use alternative flours). I was able to buy 5 lbs of cassava flour and 2 lbs of arrowroot starch for a total of $14. On Amazon, the same goods would have cost $35 or more, and I can’t get either in our regular grocery store. I was downtown anyway, so I was able to combine the international market with other errands, which allowed me to save a trip AND save money. The international market is a great way to save on all kinds of dry goods, produce, spices and specialty ingredients. I always recommend it to people who have special dietary restrictions and need hard-to-find and usually pricey items. Most bigger cities have international markets, Asian or Indian markets or Hispanic groceries that carry things like corn meal, alternative flours/starches, etc. at really great prices. If you’ve never tried it, it’s worth the trip. It’s also really fun for the kids to see all the interesting foods and labels. We have built meals around certain cultures based on trips to the market, and there are a lot of educational opportunities.

  42. The tropical storm blew through last night and this morning. 4 inches of rain means I don’t have to water the garden for a couple days. I mowed my lawn myself over the weekend and didn’t have to hire someone. My pastor and his son have been helping me out with the lawn this summer for free when they can. They truly have been “taking care of the widows” by offering to do it for me. I am getting very few tomatoes or green beans in my container garden, but learning what does and definitely doesn’t work. I am finally getting some itty, bitty butternut squash budding out. Hopefully I’ll get a few before the growing season ends.
    Not a whole lot in savings, my school is going back “in person” in a few weeks, so I’ve been concentrating on that. I have been purchasing some PPE type items for myself to help keep the germs away. (masks, gloves, personal hand sanitizer for me).
    I did find 2 dozen canning jars at Michaels, and a dozen at Publix, along with some wide mouth canning lids which have been impossible to find this year.
    I cooked a 2+ lb roast in the crockpot and froze 2 bags of sliced beef for later, plus have enough shredded for several sandwiches.
    I took inventory of stocked items to see what I needed. Found a large jar of peanut butter at the store today for BOGO. This store just takes 1/2 off if you buy one so got the large jar for under $4.

  43. Someone mentioned cheeseburger soup. That sounds like dinner tomorrow, yum! There have been so many hints today. Cutting cabbage to get more from it sounds like something I’d like to try. We have been busy harvesting veggies and Thai melons. I’m getting ready to be a learning coach for my grandkids. I love gardening and it is helping me lose weight, from exercise and eating the veggies vs highly caloric things like cheese that I love. There is nothing like a garden fresh tomato though or garden fresh anything for that matter. We have been turning off lights when not in use, cooking at home and using the internet for information and entertainment. I reread your article about losing weight Brandy. I also enjoyed your article about preparedness. I often read your articles on homeschooling and recipes. Your blog is my favorite!
    I was excited when I went to a local shoe store looking for a pair of shoes for fall because I found a pair for almost one fourth of the price I was going to pay for shoes that were less comfortable. I almost bought the first pair even though the price made me sick, then I looked at the sale rack and found the other pair! I was thrilled! I had just got rid of a pair of Keens bought on sale 9 years ago. I loved that pair of shoes. They lasted so long and I wore them almost daily.
    We have been enjoying beautiful weather lately. I love sitting on the back patio or in a chair by the garden after harvesting some veggies. Now it is time for me to look up a recipe for cheeseburger soup or maybe I will experiment on my own! I’m curious what other people put in their cheeseburger soup. I love soup! I am going to also have to try your Swiss Chard soup recipe, Brandy.

  44. My box of Honest Earth mashed potatoes from amazon.ca was on the doorstep last night. It was unlucky timing that I bought them just before you were able to link with amazon.ca, Brandy. Sorry! I notice that amazon.ca only has 1 box left. The box is actually heavy so I’m glad I received free shipping. It has 114 servings and all of the comments but 1 (a complaint about a sticky box) are positive 5 stars.

    Thanks to I for the information that the Saskatoons are ripe. I do not have any in my woods and I don’t pick in the park because it is against the bylaw. I had a great crop of chokecherries in my yard but it seems they were all knocked off the the rain, wind, etc we’ve had. My sour cherries are almost ripe — there are not a lot of them but enough for something nice. I also have some Nanking cherries if I get them before the squirrels do. My friend brought me over some beets from my garden plot which I haven’t even seen yet. My lung capacity is improving but not good enough to walk over there. The book progresses but slowly.

  45. Hello! Thank you for all your great ideas! This week has been a good one.

    *We have harvested Purple and green Chinese long beans, Roma/cherry/black Keon/ San Marzano tomatoes, tomatillos, tarragon, oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, bee balm, carrots, Chinese broccoli, zucchini, Japanese eggplant, and one butternut squash. Our garden is only two years old and we are complete newbies but love the learning and of course the eating from having a garden.
    *We continue collect eggs from our chickens…about 4-6 a day.
    *We have been cooking lots more from home and wasting less and shopping the sales.
    *I was able to trade some of my herbs for crookneck squash from my neighbor. The squash bugs are eating mine alive.
    *Using scrap materials hubby was able to make me a wooden herb drying rack for my pantry. It’s so handy and quite pretty despite being made from leftovers.
    *I donated a car load of things my family no longer needs/uses and have noticed having less makes us more organized and less likely to misplace/lose things which is helpful.
    * We needed back to school clothes for the kiddos (7 but only 5 in school), and found everything we needed either at a second hand shop or at Walmart on sale/clearance which was a huge blessing.
    *My mother in law made the kiddos masks for school out of her scrap fabric which saved me from buying new ones (I can’t see very well).
    *I was able to trade baked goods for free swim lessons for my little ones. This has saved me a ton of money this summer and has been such a treat to watch the kiddos learn to swim and be safe in the water.
    *We sold two bikes we weren’t using and used the money for food storage items we were low on. I am trying to get a year supply of everything we need. With the current atmosphere of things, hubby losing his job, and being a large family…I have been selling things we don’t need/use to build up our supply. I noticed when the stores were empty or rationing amounts on items that those that were prepared could stay home and be safe and were at peace. I would like that feeling/safety too.
    *We were gifted a big bag of flour that a neighbor didn’t need. I will use it to make bread and breakfast items this month.
    *Hubby was able To use an extra cattle panel we had to make a pea trellis for the extra seeds I have. So we will try to plant some more for the fall.

    This website and ideas from Brandy has saved my family budget countless times. I am always amazed at how much I can still cut and yet have a full Happy life. Thank you so much!!!

  46. Hi Everyone,
    I sure am getting some dinner ideas here,as I am in a meal planning stagnation these days. My accomplishments this week:
    – We picked more wild blueberries. I have never seen as many and so big and sweet ones, too! We picked 38litres (about 10 gallons)! I am freezing them and making jam. They freeze better than american blueberries, so they are great to use that way.
    -We picked mushrooms, wild cherries and wild raspberries in small amounts and incorporated them into weeks meals.
    -We ate salad, snap peas, kale and onions from the garden. We shared salad with friends and neighbours.
    -My parents in law took my older boy to the museum of forestry and on the way they stopped to see a water power station(pretty much all electricity in Norway is made of water, some is made of wind). This was such a great trip for my son! My inlaws were very much against the whole homeschooling thing, but they warmed up to it now and have planned several trips for this school year, mostly outdoors.
    -We are now done with our renovation project!! There is still lots of cleaning and organizing but the whole house has the extra isolation for upcoming winter. We did it extremely frugally. We reused what we had, picked materials from other people’s renovation leftovers, got discount thanks to the neighbour and did all the work ourselves with my dad’s help. Total is 20000nok (about 2000 dollars). I still can’t believe that!!!
    -I was more diligent about using the reusable diapers on my baby.

    1. That’s wonderful about your renovation, and it should save you money later!

      I love blueberries. That sounds perfect. Have you tried making blueberry syrup? You might like that over crepes.

      1. I have never even heard of blueberry syrup! What a delightful idea! I will wow my family with this, haha!

  47. I so enjoy reading the post and comments each week between other bits of work!
    -Our chickens are all laying, which means 20 eggs per day! I’ve frozen some whole, given some away, and canned pickled hard boiled eggs. When our pork arrives in a few weeks, I plan to make a bunch of breakfast burrito filling to have during the winter.
    -We started homeschool again. Maybe not necessarily frugal, but I’m thankful that it’s already part of our routine! And I’m very thankful for family culture. The world is so crazy right now, but I feel so blessed and content when I’m reading the Bible and praying and singing with my family
    -The garden is doing well. We have several cantaloupes almost ready, some small watermelons, lots of pumpkins. We’ve been harvesting lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peppers, cucumbers, and herbs. I planted beans, greens, and beats for a fall harvest. I’m hoping they’ll be able to grow long enough to produce. There’s an old saying that once you hear the fall insects begin to sing at night, the first frost is 6 weeks away. It seems to be true most years and if it’s true this year, the first frost will be about a month earlier than usual.
    -I was able to purchase 4 bushels of peaches. I’m so glad we put our order in early! The crop was very limited by a late frost and a week later all local peaches are sold out and ones in Winchester, VA (our closest large city) are going for $60/ bushel…we paid $20/bushel.
    -I’ve canned pickled eggs, pickled vegetables, hot peppers, peaches, peach jam and peach sauce (like applesauce to use in baking). I’ve also frozen celery and herbs as well as dehydrated squash, celery, peaches, and jalapenos.
    -A friend was in need of canning lids and they’re so hard to find! My husband stopped at a local hardware store and was able to find 6 boxes for her. They weren’t even marked up too much ($3.49/dozen for wide mouth).
    -I continue to work on sewing fall clothes for my children. Even being home all the time, there never seems to be enough time to do everything I’d like to do.

  48. Thank you for this beautiful website.

    I am continuing to work on getting us well positioned for the upcoming months/years.

    This week I was able to find vacuum cleaner bags on Facebook Market Place. Instead of having to pay $3.50 (Can) a bag, I was able to find a women selling 50 bags for .70 each. I have an 1950’s version of an Electrolux that my husband has kept running over the years and I was afraid that they would stop making the bags to fit the old machines. I am still tickled!

    I was also able to get a $40.00 discount on getting our vehicle rust proofed. I know there is a lot of debate about whether rust proofing is really effective but Ontario winters can be harsh and road crews still use a lot of salt.

    The Canadian government has a guaranteed income supplement for seniors with low incomes. We got word this week that we will be receiving and extra $129.00 per month because of the GIS. We are extremely grateful to have this little unexpected cushion. I plan to save every bit of it.

    Thank you again Brandy. Your work is so appreciated!

  49. I’m amazed that even though I consider myself to be well prepared, we are still being affected by covid. My son has had his duty station canceled. My daughter is unable to get her car tag. The dealer has disappeared. Sadly this will cost money to replace even though it was paid for. The child’s roommate has had to move home. Both her parents are sick with one unlikely to make it. These scenarios will certainly cost unplanned expenses. Now , happily Sugar cookie is safe and sound in her protective environment. We haven’t been out as much as I have felt exhausted quite frequently. But our dumpster diving is quite lucrative. I will continue as long as we can. When the economy crashed in 2008/2009 my world crashed . Our bank closed. Although I didn’t lose my money , what little I had left, I wasn’t prepared. The takeover bank immediately closed my line of credit. My career ended right there. Hindsight is so valuable. I’m quick to cut my loses and be prepared. Perhaps I’m over paranoid, but better safe than sorry. We haven’t bought groceries in 10 weeks and eat like a king. My loot these past 2 weeks. 16 (3 ) wick candles. 12 bottles Dr Teals body wash. 200 lbs dogfood. Fishtank, 2 contractor size garbage bags of clothes from store that filed bankruptcy. 1 bag of same household linens. extended paint roller and various bottles of products. Murphy’s oil soap was my favorite. More food than we can eat. I sent 200.00 from my grocery budget as a surprise to a needy cousin. I’ve really enjoyed having the little things that I normally wouldn’t buy. My allergy ridden dog can’t eat the dog food but I a farmer friend was delighted to receive it. Clothes were picked through. Some were gifted, some were kept and others donated. I have 4 brand new pairs of Levi Capris. The girls took fish tank and candles. Today we are making guacamole with the 30 avacodos we have. Wednesday is the best day to dive so off we go. I will continue to prowl, plan and save. The best part is that I’m laughing all the way to the bank with every dollar saved. Please be safe and well.

    1. I used to dumpster dive in college and then play Robin Hood with the loot. You might also try going at or before dawn — we found that the night crews would put out dairy at the end of their shifts. At about dawn between 430 and 6am. We routinely found milk and milk products. Some even had ice packed in the crates to keep it cold and fresh.

  50. Hi, I have cleaned out my pantry and found some spot that I need to get more food. My garden is doing good we have been eating tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and bell peppers. Freezing what we are not eating right away. Buying more canning jars and canning a lot fruit. Trying to get my sisters on board with buying more food to keep in storage in case we are on another lock down.
    Went to Lowe’s and found blueberries bushes for $5.00 so I brought 3 we had our driveway concrete last year and the men step on my bushes. So i was glad I could get more. Thanks for all you do and I like the new form.
    Thanks for all the comments I have learn a lot.

  51. Brandy, that salad looks gorgeous! I really enjoy your food photography.

    This week, we stuck buckets under every downspout in addition to our rain barrels for a couple of small periods of rain. The garden is thirsty! We’re still eating baby kale greens, herbs, and cucumbers, but waiting for most other things. I’m looking forward to planting more seeds for the fall garden. Time to get going probably!

    *I picked up some loose straw from the nearby stables to mulch our vegetable garden some more.

    *We ate at home, stocked up on ground beef for $1.99 and chicken breast for $1.67, which are rock bottom prices here in Boston. I made tortilla chips, prepared lots of chicken cutlets and marinara, and made waffles a couple of times. I couldn’t resist typing out my overnight waffle recipe for anyone who’d like it. 3 minutes to whisk together, add eggs in the morning and cook. Adapted from Marion Cunningham’s wonderful book – http://pleasant-lines.blogspot.com/2020/08/raised-waffles.html.

    *Sorted kids’ clothes and decluttered a bit. May I ask how you all find a happy medium for the amount of kids’ clothes? We have 3 small boys and are happily expecting another child, so we tend to just store clothes for the next child to use. We keep some extras of each thing to swap in case of rips, etc., as we’re not going to thrift stores yet. We have room to store them, but it’s easy to get disorganized if there’s just too much. May I ask how you find a balance?

    *saved seeds from Swiss chard, larkspur, oriental poppies, arugula, and some mystery flowers I just liked.

    Thank you all for the inspiration and good ideas. Have a wonderful week!

    1. I keep one 12-gallon clear tote per size. Since I have sons and daughters, I have one for each size for both sexes.

      1. Thanks so much, Brandy! That’s really helpful. I’ve got a tote per size too, so I’m breathing a sigh of relief that someone’s made it to adult children this way.

      2. The thriftiest person I ever knew used Brandy’s method, although she used copy paper boxes, which she got from the school where she taught. She also had boxes for shoes, although several sizes went in each box. She kept her own hand-me-downs plus whatever came her way for free in these boxes.

        Now, for anyone short of storage, I’ll tell you how she stored them (and other things)–she was a single adoptive mom of 6. She had her brother install pull-down steps to her crawl space. She and her sister (who lived with her in the early years) bought particle board and cut it into four 2×4 pieces. They carried it upstairs, one piece at a time, and reassembled it up there. She used deck screws to secure it to the joists. She could stand up only in the middle of the attic, so she started there and worked her way out to a point where she could no longer access her stuff. Then she stopped. She did the floor a little at a time, whenever she had the extra money for the particle board and a way to haul it. Best storage I’ve ever seen!

        1. I have all my boxes up on shelves at the top of my closet. We have no other place to put them. Just today we were reorganizing them again.

      3. Brandy, you certainly are getting us all motivated to be well prepared for any upcoming disruptions and financial difficulties.

        The garden is steady but not enough to can, so I am using it up daily and freezing things. We have tomatoes, cucumbers, squash,peppers, pears, some peaches and the herbs, mainly basil, and parsley. I am drying fruit, squash, and tomatoes. I am swapping my cukes and squash for a friend’s figs. I have found that growing just a little extra not only means I have plenty to share with those in need and family, but there is more to barter with! I am also fermenting cukes and making apple cider vinegar with scraps from a tree on an empty lot about to be bulldozed. I am starting fall lettuce and kale in flats and have sugar peas sprouting, and hoping to pull up the petering out summer stuff so I can amend the beds and get the fall seeds and plants in quickly. It is still slim pickings with seed availability in stores here, so working hard on seed saving for next spring.

        still have

        I am continuing to use the English ivy in place of laundry soap with good results. Doing all line drying.

        My son had a friend who repaired our mower and saved hauling it to the store. We called around to find the best deal on getting a hornets’s nest sprayed, saved $100 and it is a local, family business!

        Hoping everyone continues to prepare and yet enjoy each day as it comes!

  52. I’m happy because my YYC volunteer said he’d go to the farmers’ market for me tomorrow.
    I am buying a case of apricots — I don’t dare wait any longer because it is the end of the season for them.
    I’ll put most of the apricots in the freezer.

    The market has strawberries on sale — I didn’t get a full case but I’ll get some. I might make jam.

    I also am getting B.C. corn on the cob and some blueberries. I’m going to be busy!

  53. Sadly, our community garden was vandalized last night. And the hockey rink boards, too1
    A mean-spirited action.

    1. How disgusting! The bridge over the river I live next to gets freshly painted every year or so and within the month some idiot has made a mess. There is some great artwork done on the lower levels – where they are encouraged to do something but the rest is just a mess. I always think that if they catch people who vandalize they should sentence them to clean up the mess – it should be the same with your garden. They should be put to work, cleaning up everything and then being here next season to do all the hard work! Idiots!

      1. Hi Margie,
        Funny — great minds think alike. I was just sitting here thinking if I were a judge, I’d sentence these kids to
        weed, water, weed, haul loam, etc. for community service sentences.

        For our book, I asked a friend to go on our nature trail and take photos of the old quarry. All of the historic sandstone outcrops had been spray painted. One of them even had a surname sprayed on it (not too sharp because there is a fine). Fortunately, I could retouch the photos so that nothing showed but still…!

        My YYC volunteer just delivered apricots, blueberries, garden peas, corn, and strawberries (that were on sale). I only got half as many apricots as I intended but that’s okay because I’d rather have peaches. Somehow, they always seem to freeze better — apricots are either too ripe or not ripe enough. I was going to sit outside and slice the apricots and put them in jars but it clouded over and looked like rain. Now it’s sunny! LOL!

      1. I just learned that my garden plot survived. Yay! Apparently they trashed non-garden items in the garden but not the plants themselves. My gardener brought over some beets and peas. In return, I am giving her some apricots. I’m still not sure if my apricots will be sweet when they ripen. As mentioned, it is hard to get them just right for the freezer. Although our specialty Taber corn was wiped out, the B.C. corn I got instead from the farmers’ market is delicious. I went ahead and froze 7 jars of apricots in a light sugar syrup.Hopefully, the syrup will make them sweet enough. They look beautiful but just are a bit sour. I prefer to freeze peaches so next week I’ll get a case of them. And then a case of my favourite Italian prune plums (do not need to be put in syrup, can be washed, pitted, put into ziplock bags and are wonderful on cold winter days when stewed).

  54. So many comments this week! So nice to read the comments of so many other like-minded people. Thank you Brandy for all the hard work and time you have put into your blog.
    Like so many others, I am trying to add to my long term storage and pantry. I purchased coffee and TP on sale this past week.
    I made some more cloth masks for family members, including a requested plain black mask. One of my daughters wasn’t fond of all the cutesy fabrics I had used! We are all keeping a clean spare in our vehicles just in case we forget. Masks are mandatory in my area, so this saves driving back home or purchasing one if we forget.
    I made 2 birthday cards this week and walked and delivered to 2 of my friends to leave in their letter boxes.
    I finished sewing up 1 more Christmas gift for a family member.
    I was gifted some felt fabric in various colours from a co-worker; I think I will try to make some Christmas ornaments for my oldest daughter who purchased a tree last year but has very few ornaments. I will look on pinterest for ideas and patterns.
    I sold a few items on FB marketplace for a few dollars;
    I answered a few surveys on Swagbucks.
    My youngest daughter heard an advertisement for a DQ Blizzard – Coffee crisp flavoured (Canadian chocolate bar) . We chopped up the coffee crisp bar, added vanilla ice cream and some milk in the blender and enjoyed this treat on a hot evening!
    I cancelled my Netflix. I find we are all much too busy to watch tv. We may sign up again in the winter, but will save a few dollars in the meantime.
    Hung all laundry to dry, cooked at home everyday, staying home, using what we have.
    Thanks to all who contribute, have a lovely week ahead; stay safe.

  55. Hello Brandy,
    Thanks for another great post this week!! Beautiful photo of the salad.
    My washing machine needs repaired so I am hoping to get a repairman out to fix it as soon as possible. I want to get it fixed so I am not stuck without a washing machine if we have to go back into lock-down this fall/winter.
    I should have a good harvest of onions and potatoes this year and I plan to dehydrate both of them so I can use them all winter long. I plan to share with my adult children.
    My husband and I re-did our patio area removing some over-grown trees and a very large boxwood. This really opened up the area and we are now enjoying our patio more than ever. It is much more inviting and didn’t cost us anything but some time and effort. We re-planted the boxwood in another area of the yard and I hope it survives the move.
    I made an apple pie this week using a few of our apples off our tree and some from my parent’s tree- the mix of sweet and tart apples made a very delicious pie.
    Our raspberries are beginning to ripen now and I will freeze those and use them along with some wild blackberries I hope to pick soon to make smoothies this winter to help keep us healthy and well.
    I purchased a recipe book on dutch oven cooking from the thrift shop for .25 cents and it is full of good recipes I am looking forward to trying. I want to try cooking using my dutch oven on top of my wood stove this winter. If it works, it would save on using electricity for the kitchen stove and it would come in handy in a power outage. My husband is working from home but I am still working at my office. I figure he will be having a fire in the wood stove this winter to keep warm so I can make the most of that by using that same heat to cook our dinner. I will see how it goes and report back.
    Thanks to everyone for all the great tips.

    1. Kim, we use our woodstove for everything. Anything that doesn’t need an oven cooks on the stove. It heats the tea kettle and dries laundry. It sits next to an extra wide doorway, we added a closet pole to the top of the opening and keep a basket of hangers stashed under a table. That’s my winter clothes dryer. And I add essential oils to a steamer to help with humidity. The woodstove gives a lower heat similar to a crockpot, I figure about double the normal cooking time, unless I have a roaring fire going, then it’s the same as cooking on a regular stove. Hope this helps!

  56. I’ve noticed grocery prices increasing in Minnesota. I’m paying close attention to prices and I’m buying one or two extra of non-perishable foods each shopping trip (rice, beans etc.)

    I’m waiting for apartment complex maintenance to come look at my fridge for the 4th time. Water keeps accumulating under my veggie crisper bins. They come and work on s drain and it stays dry for a week and then the same problem happens again! This time the fridge is putting a layer of ice on the water in the pitcher and the freezer isn’t freezing as well.
    I told them they need to replace the darn thing. IF they do that I can start stocking up on meat, frozen veggies, frozen fruits etc.

    I’ll feel much better when my freezer is well stocked again.

  57. We have had 4 days of rain and the garden weeds have loved it! I will hit the garden hard today. With temps in the mid 60’s to low 70’s I am comfortable canning and gardening finally. My biggest frugal find was .69 lb peaches at Meijer (A Michigan based grocery chain)!! I called the produce department and ordered 2 cases to pick up Saturday. I am getting 58 pounds of peaches for 40.02!! I have never seen prices this low on peaches. I checked with the Amish and they want $38.00 per bushel. I basically got one bushel free for the price I am paying. I got 28 pints of pork loin from my 4 whole loins. I made a 4 hour round trip to the nearest Cannery and bought 6 cases of powdered milk. I had hoped to make an online order but it was out of stock. When I arrived at the cannery the milk inventory was very low. They weren’t sure when they would get more. It is interesting to me how some items are so well priced and plentiful while others can’t be found.
    My next item to stock is beans. I would like some small red beans, as we prefer smaller and firmer beans, but I am not sure I will find them in #50lbs. Time to call around.
    I was gifted patty pan squash and a giant leek. We will use them for dinner this week.
    I’m not sure what I have to learn with flooding, but while I was getting the dry milk our upstairs toilet overflowed and flooded my basement laundry room again. I have spent a full week washing all of our camping gear, blankets, coats, and clothing that got wet! I will now empty the entire room and thoroughly sanitize the floors and walls. I am hoping this is the last water incident for a long time.
    I also learned that August 1st signals the end of summer with retailers. I was trying to find chard seed and went to 3 stores before I found a small selection of remaining seed at our Tractor Supply. I also found a package of chamomile seed. I am hoping to try growing that next year.
    Thanks to all for the many canning/food recipes. I am trying several and it is nice to have some new foods in the rotation. Everyone stay well and enjoy the fruits of your frugality!!

    1. Deanna: You might already keep things off the floor in your basement; I’m writing with what I learned the hard way. Aside from things in tubs that should (but are not always) leakproof, I put everything that sits on the floor up on upside down milk crates. If the floor floods, the crates might get wet, but not the stuff. For things like tables and chairs, I set each leg inside a large plastic yogurt container or cup, presuming that the water won’t go over the top.
      Greatest sympathies! Dealing with water overflows is SO annoying!

      1. Thanks for the tip. I will try that for things directly on the floor. Most everything was on shelves or in cabinets. The water leaked through the ceiling and poured through the front of my fabric cabinet and also got the winter coats that we hang down there during the summer. All of my sleeping bags were on top of the cabinet so all 10 got soaked. My tote of gift bags was stacked in that area and the tote filled with water. So very little water actually made it to the floor!! Many stored winter blankets also got wet. It was just a lot of laundry. I literally washed my fabric stash. (which is thankfully modest!)
        I think after a full week of 14 hour washing I am finally caught up. Thank goodness for the clothes line as the big blankets would never dry in my dryer.
        On the positive side, I purged sleeping bags with broken zippers, and even mended a couple of small tears in one. I have wanted to reorganize this space for ages, and now it has my full attention. After I sanitize I will paint and I will be putting waterproof flooring over the concrete.

  58. Hi Wendy,
    When I had a canister style Electrolux, I would re use the bags. Please know that this is not recommended by the manufacturer, but I never had a problem 😉
    Carefully undo the bag at the bottom, empty it, fold the bag back up and staple closed.
    Ellie in ARDr

    1. Good tip on the vacuum bags. Are you the Ellie of “Ellie’s Friend in Canada,” or a different Ellie? Enquiring (nosy) minds want to know!

    2. Hi Ellie, thank you for that tip. I was wondering if I could do that but now with a supply of 50 bags… I am still so pleased. I just hate paying full price ( plus the GST ) on items I throw away!!

  59. 1. Got three 1/2 gallon boxes of organic soy milk. It is shelf stable & I will use it to cook with. It was free online thru Freecycle.
    2. Got a few pounds of good quality cat food & some small containers of wet cat food thru Freecycle.
    3. Used some sweet potatoes, bruised apples, & frozen cranberries to make a baked dish. It was quite good & used up produce w/ limited shelf life.
    4. I could not find my cooler that just seemed to disappear in the house. Lo & behold I saw a dirty cooler on the side of the road while driving home. I lugged it home & cleaned w/ soap & bleach. It cleaned up well (although a little beat up) & we used it to pack sandwiches & drinks when we went on a short trip.
    5. Complained about an order of iced green tea that tasted bitter from Dunkin Donuts. The company sent me a egift card for 5$. Next time I’ll order regular iced tea.

  60. We had the effects of a strong thunderstorm that dumped 2 inches of rain within 2 hours and then 2 days later a hurricane dumped another 5 inches of rain. Thankfully we only had minimal damage, one tree down on a shed and many small branches. However our garden is in a sad state. My zucchini were slowing down but now the vines are rotting. I only see a couple of little ones growing. I found three very large zucchini’s the size of baseball bats we missed. I don’t know that there is anything that can be done with them. I have about 18-20 butternut squash growing, I hope they will make it, the soil is very wet. Our lettuce bolted a while ago. We got a some carrots, several meals with string beans, broccoli never grew anything and peas didn’t do well. Turnips and some potatoes are still growing, so we will see how they turn out. We learned a big lesson we need to give the squash a lot more room. The butternut squash grew through the fence into one of the horse pastures and we had to cut them out. The horses started eating the leaves and leaving bit marks in the squash.

    I volunteer at a food pantry with my son and we make up a lot of the bags ahead of time they hand out to people. We had someone donate $800 worth of food from a local store. It was delivered to our home and my son and I had to put it all in our car and then unload it at the pantry. What a blessing this food will be to those in need. A local farmer came with corn he had just picked to donate and I was able to take some corn home for our family that was left over. We don’t go in the stores, I shop online and pick it up. Our state was very bad a while ago with covid. It is better but our numbers are creeping up, but we try to be very careful. Our food prices are quite high, there really aren’t much in the way of sales. We are trying to stock up on more canned goods.

    We have one car and that is in the shop for a bad leak, not sure what the cost to repair it will be. They had to tear out all the carpet and seats to out to dry it. My youngest son did some research online and found out that this model had issues with a leak, but the issue was fixed for free up until the end of 2016. The dealer told us we would have to pay for it since it was no longer under warranty. My husband was very upset because the car was made at the same plant that had the issue causing the leak. We bought it new in 2015 and were not told about this problem. We just need it fixed at this point, you can’t be driving it around with your feet in puddles of water. I pray the dealer in willing to work with us on the repair costs. Stay well!

    1. SK, my daughter brought a huge zucchini like that to me. I split it and scraped the seedy area out, and used it like any zucchini. It worked just fine. Good luck!

    2. We have huge zucchini, scoop out the seeds, stuff with ground meet (sausage, leftover taco or spaghetti meat, browned ground beef or turkey, etc.). Top with a little cheese and bread crumbs and roast until the cheese is golden. Delicious!

  61. Thanks Brandy and all commenters! I have been reading this blog for a bit now, but have not yet commented. I am absolutely amazed by what all you ladies & men do! Im a bit embarrassed by my spending habits and have learned a lot reading the posts. I would like to be a stay-at-home mom but having a hard time making the budget work (we just had our 3rd child). I would like to make it work, so I am appreciative of what you are all sharing on how you are saving! My savings for this week: -Made some peach-blueberry pies, peaches were 42cents/lb at a local orchard (grade 2 but still very good). -froze 15 lbs of beans at a self-pick orchard for $1/lb. I just have a question for some of you guys – how many cobs of corn for a lb of kernels? There’s a lot of sweet corn around here and normally can buy for 10 cents/cob in season. I’m trying to decide whether it is worth it for me to cut, blanch and freeze. Thanks in advance.

  62. Our library is doing express pickups, so I have ordered several books and picked them up. One of the books I got was “French Kids Eat Everything” that Brandy has mentioned. What a wonderful read it was! I throughly enjoyed it and my husband is currently reading it. We are planning on making several changes to our menus and dining area. It was very inspiring! I also enjoyed several magazines through subscriptions I earned through Recycle Bank. The one I really want is Martha Stewart Living, but I haven’t been able to find a free subscription for that. Our neighbor gifted us several child sized masks that she made. She makes them for all kids on our block. She makes them with fun patterns and wants the kids to wear them. I ordered a gift for my godson for his confirmation in our church. They were having a huge sale and I saved 40%. I was able to have it shipped to him. I followed up with a greeting card that my mom had bought a long time ago so I did not need to purchase one. We continued shopping for my parents for groceries and they are also purchasing our groceries as well. We have been keeping a close eye on mortgage rates. We contacted our broker and they are 0.5% lower than what we are paying now. She is crunching the numbers for us to see if it will be worth it for us to refi. I have been going into my office once per week. The garage next to our office had been having free parking the last five months due to the pandemic. They started charging last Monday. Instead of paying $20.00 per day to park there, I have been parking at the outdoor lot down the block for $7.00 per day. Public transit is now running again in our area, but I am holding off. My mom needed a new fire extinguisher and asked me to pick one up for her house and mine. I also did a big cleaning of the guest room that is now my office. I took an inventory of all the gifts I had bought over the last year. I have enough to cover my son’s birthday and Christmas and also enough for most of the other folks I exchange with. I also took an inventory of wrapping paper and ribbon and do not need anything else. Since we were at it, we also decided to do an inventory of the canned goods and cleaning supplies in the garage. We believe we are set for any food shortages that may come up or natural disasters. We are continuing to conserve water. This month we had a credit on our water bill and most of our other utilities. We are trying to pay extra each month. I anticipate going on a reduced work schedule (by choice) when my son returns to school. We also found out that our son will be getting a loner laptop from school as well as all school supplies needed. The district is also providing breakfasts and lunches to all students till the end of the year. Hope Everyone is having a good week!

    1. You must have a really low rate already!

      We generally find that it needs to be a full percentage point lower to make the refi financially worth the cost of the refi. I hope you can make it work for you!

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