Lavender The Prudent Homemaker

I turned 3 pairs of torn jeans into shorts for the girls.

I collected alpine strawberry and nasturtium seeds from the garden. 

Lily Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I cut flowers from the garden to enjoy inside.

June Harvest The Prudent Homemaker

I picked apricots, figs, blackberries, apples,and alpine strawberries, and cut grapes from the garden.

I cut lettuce, lavender, and parsley from the garden.

We had company for dinner one night. I served white bean dip with pita bread, with grapes and sliced apples from the garden. I picked lettuce and we also had a green salad with sliced apples from the garden, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and balsamic orange vinaigrette

I purchased bug spray to spray the house myself, rather than hiring a company to do it with a year-long contract (something that is pretty normal for people here). The bugs are mostly a problem in the summer, and the spray was $15 plus tax. A month from a company is $35 to $50 plus, and you have to sign for a year, or a one-time fee of over $200. I’ll be spraying this week.

What did you do last week to save money?


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  1. Hi Brandy, Can I ask what type of spray you bought? I’ve considered doing this myself but haven’t researched what type to buy yet. Thanks!! Ashley

  2. Lowe’s here in the south had all their fruit trees and bushes 75% off. I bought 8 fruit trees (apple, plum, pear and peach) 4 grapevines for 100.00 🙂

  3. The fruit looks fantastic.

    I baked gingersnaps and biscotti, I was happy to use up the odds and ends in my cabinet this way. We have been having quesadillas with homemade refried beans once a week, I made a new batch of refried beans and froze four portions for the next month. I love how fast that dinner is and how awesome it tastes with the homemade beans, we will never be tempted by Chipotle again.

    I stayed within my 20% lower grocery budget for the week and am eying up a futher 10% knockdown. A thirty percent total lowering would be a huge accomplishment for me. We cancelled Netflix, after years of no cable because it was not worth it, we were offered a package that was worth it but never cancelled Netflix. So we did that, I had to push my husband to do it, but it is silly to keep Netflix when we have cable and Amazon Prime. We tried and tried to make do with an antenna but we are so close to the road that the trucks made reception awful. We priced out my iphone and can sell it for 200 dollars, which is happening once we make sure we can opt me out of the package. I am getting a little plain phone for emergencies. We are looking at other ways to cut our budget.

    My husband has been buying transformers available at our target and selling them for a profit on ebay to people who can’t find them/don’t know how to look for them. We have resolved to make buying anything new a last resort and to always always check ebay etc first.
    We got distressing ( challenging? I am not ready to call it a challenge yet, it’s still too depressing) news from our realtor and will Best Case Scenario AFTER we do all repairs and updates and cleaning and painting etc still only get exactly what we owe on our mortgage if we sell. And we have to move. I had really hoped with the improved market that we might make enough on the sale to cover what we owe and pay the fees and realtors percentage. Soooo we are kind of floundering. Is it better to pay as much as we can on the mortgage in the next 8 months so that we can pay the realtor and the fees out of that? Is it better to try and have a lot of cash? He said and he is right, that it is very difficult to sell a home in our town, so we have to make our house as appealing to the miniscule buyer pool as possible. Generally I have have a “can do will do see what I did! “outlook but I am pretty overwhelmed. We are plugging away since that’s our only choice anyhow. We listed our two year old portable a/c units on craigslist, we don’t need them now that our hvac is repaired. We took the children to the park instead of the bowling alley. We got our water bill and it was eight dollars lower, I was really pleased about that, we have no water shortage here but am trying to use less water to be kind to the enviroment. We were able to keep the air off all week.

  4. I baked a lot of bread. I also made a caramel pudding cake. It was all right.

    We turned on the AC this week as temperatures got into the 90’s. But I have it set on 80 so hopefully we’ll stay cool without spending too much money. I was determined to wait until July but everyone was hot so dh turned on the AC. I hope to turn it off in September.

    I made all dinners at home this week. I made lentil tacos, creamy chicken enchiladas, black bean sliders with homemade buns, turkey, and cheese pizza. We had a bunch of leftovers one night as well.

    I wasn’t planning on shopping again until Father’s Day weekend but I bought some potatoes for .20 per pound. I plan to make a lot of potato dishes this week. I increased our budget to $200. That is so much money and we got some great food for that money. I bought popcorn, bread flour, butter, milk, and apples. We are going through a lot more bread now that school’s out so I’m making twice as much bread as I was and need the flour to make it. I’m starting with soups this week for lunch instead of our normal pb&j. That should save us a lot of money.

    I was blessed yesterday at church. A lady from church is going on vacation and she gave us two bags of groceries from her fridge and freezer. We got a ham hock and a chicken breast. We are having ham and beans for lunch today. My dh had the chicken breast for lunch yesterday. We also got grapes. I feel so blessed as grapes are never in my price range. My kids were so excited! I also got lettuce, cucumbers, beets, lots of carrots, some apples, green cabbage, and purple cabbage. This will make so many meals for us. So thrilled!

    Still waiting to hear about jobs. Keeping my fingers crossed that something will come through soon.

  5. Those lilies are beautiful, Brandy. Right now we are enjoying lupines, columbines, and irises in our garden. In spite of the cold, everything is really flourishing in the flower garden, except for the roses. Our weekly accomplishments are:

    Harvested spinach, lettuce, herbs, asparagus, rhubarb and beets from the garden
    Planted 24 Chinese cabbages from seeds that we received as a free sample.
    Son Jamie, bought a video game at a garage sale for $1 that he knew was a rare one. He traded it at a game store for $80 store credit.
    Painted a bench with leftover trim paint from the shed.
    Re-used the screen door hardware from an old screen door on a new screen door.
    Bought mushrooms at the reduced-for-quick-sale rack and dried them in a pan in the car. Used no energy.
    Also car-dried herbs form our garden.
    Used the rinse water and water from the canner to water plants.
    Harvested and canned rhubarb.
    And as always, ate from the garden, hung laundry on the line, ate from the pantry, etc

  6. Beautiful photos, as always.

    This week:
    – I finished making the summer top I started last week. I had bought the fabric (a pretty seersucker stripe) very inexpensively at a thrift store last year. The top turned out really cute. I am so thankful to have a small sewing area in a corner of our living room.
    – I mended a sweater for my sister and a pocket on my husband’s shorts. I reattached a button to a pair of my pants.
    – I made a belt for myself out of a piece of webbing ($1.75) and two D rings (.85).
    – We have a vegetable share in a CSA that is a few miles away, and last week was the first week of local veggies. Part of the share includes U-pick greens and herbs (which I love). I picked some kale, collard greens, chard, sage and chives. I shared some chard with my sister because I had plenty. I also got two apples from the ‘free’ box.
    – I picked oregano, thyme, and peppermint from the herb garden at the community garden.
    – I bought three bags of compost and added it to my plot at the garden. I also planted beans (two seed packages worth). Something has been eating people’s bean shoots at the garden, so I planted a lot – hopefully some will survive. I got the seeds free earlier in the season with rewards credit from a local garden center.
    – I cooked at home, and brought lunch with me on Saturday when I was going to be out all day. Some things I made: herbed hamburgers, potato salad, black bean salad, waffles, paprika chicken, and collard green wraps.
    – Inspired by this website, I brought in greens from outside to put in two small cut glass vases from a thrift store. The arrangement was very simple, but I really enjoyed it. Even my husband commented on it.
    – It started to get hot here (high 80s – yes this is hot for our area), so I kept the condo blinds closed during the day, and let in cooler air at night and in the morning. We had a new ceiling fan installed a few months ago because our previous one was on its last legs. This new fan is more powerful and makes a big difference. We don’t have air conditioning (the majority of homes in this area don’t).
    – I found some great deals at the thrift store: an almost new duvet cover for $7, shorts for $3, five yards of knit fabric (in two colors) for $8, a bud vase for .70 and a vintage mason jar for .20.

    Hope everyone else had a good week!

  7. I cut flowers and parts of flowering shrubs for indoor arrangements.
    We had weekend long house guests and cooked meals from pantry items or if dined out, our guests paid for our dinners as a thank you.
    Picked sugar peas, chives and basil from the garden.
    Went to an antique/flea market with family for entertainment. I found the Ironstone soup terrain with the lid that I have been wanting for a steal! I told the vendor that I have been wanting one for 20 years, so that was the price she gave me ($20).
    I packed snacks and water for the antique/flea market.
    I composted toliet paper and paper towel card board tubes and shredded newspaper to add to the compost too. has a pretty market bag pattern for free. I need to replace some of my canvas bags. I will use fabric from my stash to make.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  8. My in-laws are visiting and we only had to buy some sweet potatoes and squash for dinners(my father-in-law is diabetic so he could not eat our usual potatoes – which we get free from my dad or rice), otherwise we ate out of our pantry and greenhouse/garden with fresh salads with herbs and scallions for every meal.

    We gleaned some rhubarb and raspberry plants and transplanted them into new beds – we are hoping they all survive so we will have a fabulous rhubarb and raspberry beds in the future!

    I figured out a way to add more blueberry and mulberry bushes to our property – it will involve a bit of work as we will have to remove a number of shrubs and some roses that have appeared in one area.

    Dried all our clothes on the line when possible and used cloth diapers for the baby.

    Used free tickets to take the in-laws to the botanical gardens here which are lovely but expensive to visit. Everyone enjoyed it and it was the first time my husband got to go as well.

    Fed scraps to the pigs and chickens.

    Used the library instead of buying books.

    Brought some items to the consignment store – I don’t have to spend very much on children’s clothes as my mother buys them many shirts and I am able to consign things and purchase pants with the money.

    I love reading about everyone’s frugal weeks – I always get so many ideas!

  9. When we were kids we used to cut off our pants that were worn for the summer too. We would then fringe the hem. The style at the time (70’s).
    We picked two bowls full of leaf lettuce along with a handful of radishes. I made up salads in jars for this coming week with some of the lettuce. The other bowl I made wilted leaf lettuce for my husband. Here are the rest of my accomplishments

  10. Hello! Beautiful flowers and arrangement. Frugal accomplishments include shopping the sales, which have been fantastic at our local grocer’s because they are having a grand opening. I have stocked up on several pantry items and will continue to do so as the sales will continue for a month. I also have not turned the air on until after lunch each day. We have window units so I only turn on the ones I need and if we are leaving the room for any length of time, it goes off. Two of the units have a “economy” mode that I use unless I am cooking. I do laundry early in the mornings to help with the heat produced by the dryer. I repurposed a dress into a skirt because I didn’t like the way the top of the dress fit, but I loved the print. That’s all I can think of for now. Have a blessed week!

  11. I need to turn a few pairs of jeans that got bleach spots on them into shorts for me. I stink at sewing though, so Brandy I wondered if you had a tutorial on how to do that?

    So, I’ve been working since last day off. I suffer from chronic back pain and just met with my pain management Dr, whom I’ve been seeing since March but is now leaving the area 🙁 I’ve had a total of 3 epidural injections on my back and they’ve helped some….now I might be looking at surgery :'(

    I’ve not been eating out as much. Since I work in a prison and cannot bring any outside food or drink in…I’m still addicted to my sodas. I missed one day of work due to my back pain. I’m trying to not buy anything that I DON’T need, which is a lot. I’m pretty set with about everything I need and/or want.

    My son earned straight A’s for the entire year. We do reward him for his stellar grades. He finished 5th grade and next year moves on to the Middle School. We attended his 5th Grade Farewell last Wednesday the 3rd. After the ceremony, there was a cookie and punch reception. It was nice…the kids sang songs. Of course, this momma cried. I have but one, a son. He’s my pride and joy. We watched him play 2 baseball games. He pitched on Friday and closed the game to win it for his team. He’s a pretty good pitcher and I LOVE watching him play.

  12. Last week:
    I saved $8 using coupons and items that we needed
    We made sugar cookies, rice crispy treats, apple/kiwi muffins to use up the fruit that was starting to go, banana pancakes, granola. I also made homemade laundry soap using soap slivers saved from the shower.
    I hung all laundry to dry. I did have to use the dryer for 15 minutes yesterday. I had to bring the laundry in due to rain and they weren’t quit dry yet.
    I continue to look for ways to reduce our energy costs. I found a light I can turn off first thing in the morning and a power strip that can be unplugged during the day.
    I watered the garden several times using rain water. I also water using a bucket so I can pour it directly into the soil so I use less water.
    Takes more time and effort but worth it to save water.
    I did NOT order out last week with co-workers
    My apple tree is officially growing baby apples! My blackberry vines are covered with little white flowers. Over the next two weeks we will have black raspberries and mulberries. Our strawbery patch also is covered in yellow flowers. I pray we have strawberries this year!
    I saved lots of blank on one side paper for scrap, lists, drawings, etc.
    I took my food all week to work with me, we ate all meals at home and cooked from scratch.
    We watched free shows on Amazon and youtube.
    My daughter and I went to some rummage sales. Purchased two pairs of capri pants, one I can wear to work, a purse for .50, a tshirt for my daughter, and 4 shirts for me, one for work this fall/winter and 3 for summer. I needed all of these purchases. My daughter also found a brand new Care Bear for .50. I also purchased a bag full of baby clothes for my grandbaby. All are in brand new condition. This will be given to my daughter in law at her baby shower this weekend.
    I grocery shopped at Aldi ands pent $60 of my budgeted $100.
    I continue to try to save water any way I can: navy showers for me, less bath water for my daughter, using rinse water, water left in
    glasses, etc dumped out in the garden.
    Made homemade weed killer for sidewalks and driveway.
    I sold an unused appliance. The money will be put into savings.

  13. I’ve been up to my usual frugal adventures, but the last few days have been extra frugal due to a few different neighbors who’ve been putting out free stuff in front of their houses. Not only am I finding great stuff for my home, but also some things that I can sell, both on Craigslist and at my local consignment shop.

    Free stuff for me and extra money?! Yes. please!

    Otherwise, I’ve been hanging laundry, cooking from scratch, listening to free Dave Ramsey podcasts on my hand-me-down phone, reading library books, encouraging my husband to follow along and walking many errands.

    I wrote a blog piece about all the frugal things I did just on Saturday here:

    Your garden produce looks delicious, great job!

  14. There are so many different pest companies in Las Vegas. If you have time to call around, you can find someone that doesn’t require a contract and will treat your house for cheaper than you can do it yourself. Plus, you won’t have to touch the nasty chemicals yourself or store them in your home. When we had roaches at our last rental, we were told by multiple companies (and the landlord) that the type of sprays/gels they use can only be purchased by professionals and we would be throwing money away by using the products available to consumers. Whatever you choose, I hope it works 🙂

    Just a couple of minutes of Googling turns up this company that does not require contracts and looks quite affordable (based on their website): and their promotions page:

  15. This week I used some of our bananas that I put in the freezer for banana chocolate chip muffins and banana butterscotch chip muffins. One of my grandsons will be visiting me once a week and so I’m teaching him to bake and cook some easy grab and go breakfast things ( he’ll take 1/2 of all we bake together home). Made all of our breakfast things to eat here at home! More strawberry almond granola.
    Paid down more of student loan- it will be paid off within 6 weeks! Then just 4 debts left – total less than $38k for all of them combined including the amount owed on house! Looks more like everything will be totally paid off before hubby retires in a few years! Yay!!
    With the coupon we were told about for hubby’s brand name Rx, it cut our OOP cost from $60/month down to $10/ month a few months ago , but now it changed and dropped down to a $5/month copay!!! What a blessing!!!
    Going grocery shopping less and less often- for only one or two items! Garden is producing now and we made beef with broccoli using broccoli from our garden! Cherry tree is covered with cherries that we will pick this week! Should be several gallons!
    Building our new tool shed using money we saved!
    All in all a great week!

  16. I am slightly envious of everyone’s great gardening harvests 😉
    I know that strawberries are in season now but cheapest I was able to find was $2.5 per pound. Needless to say, I got 1 pound only, just to taste!
    I have been checking your updates for the sewing projects that Winter has been working on recently. I sewed a skirt this week for my niece (I used one of my mini dresses for that). It came out really nice.
    Full list of my frugal accomplishments from last week is here:

    Have a great and productive week everyone

  17. Used water gathered from the downspouts for the blackberry bed. Both blossoms & green fruit are on the canes at present. I tipped the canes last fall, & the laterals have a lot more fruit on them this year. I am hopeful that I can freeze enough to make a small batch of jam.

    Made another batch of rhubarb/strawberry/red currant jam. Picked another small handful of ripe strawberries, a few at a time. Washed & cut them into pieces for the freezer, to use in jam.

    Watered the lawn for the first time this season. We have had the wettest May EVER since they began to keep records, & recorded something like 350% of normal for measurable precipitation. Although rain does not replace winter snowpack, it is nevertheless quite a blessing & has helped with the drought conditions.

    Now that the summer heat has arrived, I am trying to spend at least half an hour to an hour each morning outside weeding & doing garden chores. There is still a lot of work to “catch up” on from last year when I couldn’t do much due to having knee replacements.

    Filled out 2 more pine cone surveys.

    Made a broccoli soup out of some leftover broccoli. It didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, but fortunately, I like broccoli well enough that it wasn’t an issue!

    Completed thinning the fruit on our trees. Deadheaded the spent blooms on the iris & on the white lilacs.

    Picked chives & pea pods from the garden to use in a pasta salad.

  18. Your pictures of the flowers are beautiful. My lavender has grown so much this year and has many buds that have not opened yet.. I am excited to see it when it blooms. We bought these 2 plants last year at the Lavender festival in Sequim Wa, and they have really flourished. ( there is a wonderful website on the festivals here )
    Our new apple tree has several baby apples on it for the first year. It will be fun to see how many apples there will be this year. My small garden is planted, and growing. Not ready for any harvest yet. Last year’s harvest came about July through September for me and my kale and chard lasted all winter. I transplanted my chard, and used this container to plant more heirloom tomatoes. I also purchased 2 more large containers for 4 types of leaf lettuce for this summer. I joined a farm share that my friend has at her farm. I buy each week a box of fruit and veggies as well as eggs and goat cheese at a fraction of the price I pay in stores. This will last until October. between her farm share and my veggie garden, I should have quite a bit to can and freeze this year for winter supply while keeping my food budget on tract.
    It is getting very warm here in the Pacific NW. I had 2 quotes from 2 companies for central air conditioning, and decided not to pursue this because of the high cost .. between $3400 and $4200. This is not within our budget since I am not working now. So wee bought 2 portable units for the home, each costing about $350.00~ 1 for downstairs and 1 for upstairs. They work wonderfully and we can get relief from the heat. Here in the Puget sound the high temps do not last very long, and then we will have a cool down and rain so this works best for our climate. We are about 10 degrees higher than average normal for this time of year which is unusual for us. Sometimes we have cool rainy weather well into July. We joke around here saying that summer starts July 5th 🙂 Not true this year. If we lived in LV, we would surely have central air .
    We went to ur friends home for a pot luck BBQ recently and I made your humus bean dip using 2 cans of beans I had bought on sale a couple of months ago. It was a hit! Our friends enjoyed your recipe 🙂 and I served it with pita chips and fresh veggies.
    I’ve also made homemade laundry soap, that you post on your site…this is the 2nd time I’ve used this and it saves so much.
    Have a wonderful week Brandy.. I so enjoy reading your blogs.Thank you
    bless you~~
    Patty from the NW

  19. Dontcha love that?! Some years ago, I went to Lowe’s for paint. I exited thru’ the garden section. There were 3 of the saddest looking hydrangea plants I had ever seen. They were alive, but the mid summer heat was killing them. They were ONE DOLLAR EACH!! (from $19.99) Since I’d been desperately wanting hydrangeas, but did not have a spare $60 spring for 3 of them, I took them all. Nearly 10 years later, that bargain is still giving me the most beautiful flowers from lush, green plants. They are much happier on the north side of my home in the mostly shade. Now, if I could just find peonies for a buck each……

  20. Love all the fruit you are harvesting from your garden! My garden is going through a transformation due to our drought and mandatory water restrictions. My peach tree died a couple of years ago and I planted a new one earlier this spring; I didn’t expect any fruit this year, but there are two peaches on it! And I have some pomegranates forming on my tree. I posted about the garden here:

    As for frugal accomplishments, I did all the usual: air dried the laundry, cooked at home/from freezer, took lunches from home to the office, and stayed away from the shops!

  21. The garden had some bug set backs this last week, but so far it’s handling them okay. We’ve been getting a lot of rain and cooler temperatures this week, which being in Alaska, this was both a bane and a boon. The bane part was that the tomatoes aren’t doing much and are just kind of hanging out right now and the basil, I fear, is just plain done. I’m thinking when I redid my front planters, I didn’t put enough rocks in the bottom for additional drainage and the basil is just plain drowning. I actually picked down to one lowly plant yesterday and I’m going to try and dig up a pot today to transplant the last sickly looking plant and bring it inside. HOPEFULLY that won’t kill it.

    My other frugal accomplishments for the week can be found here…

  22. Andrea,

    That company is double what I just paid for spray. No one is going to be $15 or less for one time without a contract. I looked into a lot of companies last summer and tons of ads came to our house, plus lots of pest control salesmen, so I know that $35 to $50 a month is normal with a contract.

    The other thing is that companies won’t spray where you have a garden. I have a garden all over. Most companies spray the block walls, which is impossible here.

    The spray I bought is actually bought by local companies; the store told my parents that they can’t keep it in stock in the summer because the pest control companies come and buy all of it up as soon as it comes in. My parents weren’t sure I would be able to get any in summer, so I went right away.

    We had a friend here who was living in Vegas long enough to establish his pest control company here (he was already is other states). He was in several cities. He told us some interesting things.

    My parents use this spray and they have great success with it. I won’t have to store it for a long time; I’m spraying the outside of the house with it and then it will be gone. Since we have the same floor plan we need the same amount.

    I generally don’t spray; I don’t like having the chemicals here, but the bugs are really bad this year. Some years the scorpions and vinagaroons have kept the roaches away, but I haven’t seen those out yet. We haven’t sprayed for years, but it needs to be done.

  23. It’s made by Spectracide and it’s called Bug Stop. It was $4.97 at Walmart (though the shelf said it was $5.97). It comes in a white bottle with a black lid and a red label and has a spray handle on it. My parents live next door and they use this, and when I go to their house, there are no bugs on the patio or inside. It says it is good for 12 months, but my parents say they spray twice a year, when they start to see bugs again. They spray the base of the house, all the way around, and the patio.

  24. Love the beautiful produce pictures. They make me hungry! LOL We did cut-offs this week too! 🙂

    Got more seeds in containers and tomatoes transplanted; we’ve begun harvesting strawberries and the peas are forming pods. I found a way to make good use of the cabbages that needed to be thinned out and I’m excited to know now that we don’t have to let them form a head to get good use out of them. I blogged that and a bunch of other things here:

  25. Our biggest frugal accomplishment lately has been getting rid of the winter storm debris in our yard without breaking the bank. We gathered all the downed branches and trees, setting aside everything that could be used for firewood, and made a huge pile. Then the pile sat there for a few weeks while we tried to find the most affordable way to dispose of it.

    We thought about installing a trailer hitch on my husband’s car and either buying a trailer or renting a chipper. Both of those options approached $1000. We called a couple of tree service companies and they wanted at least $500 to chip it up. One lawn service company said a minimum of $400 to haul it away. Burning wasn’t an option and we don’t have space on our lot to let it decompose naturally. Just when I was getting frustrated, a friend offered to help out with his truck and trailer (and muscles)! We fed him lunch and gave him gas money and a promise to return the favor.

    Once again, patience paid off 🙂

  26. Lowes Hardware has a great product that comes in a canister that you spray around the outside of your house that kills and deters bugs including roaches. A neighbor at the end of our block a cpl. years back had her house completely infested with roaches and when she moved out, they migrated to all of our neighbors including us. Ugh! The spray really worked and the roaches went away very quickly. I have new next door neighbors now with young children and not the cleanest folks nice but not clean will take preventive measures this year with that spray. I can’t remember what it’s called but it was a 5 gallon size for $19 something.

  27. Beautiful flower arrangement! I sold unwanted items from my home on eBay, made brown rice and lentils in my rice cooker for the base of many meals, bought watermelons at Costco for $3.99 for a family party, kept the AC set to 78* (in Las Vegas), and picked tomatoes from my potted plant garden!

  28. I made banana gingersnap muffins out of bananas that needed to be used up and some gingersnap granola that a friend bought as a treat for her kids. They didn’t like the taste so she was going to throw it out. I said we’d try it, but my kids didn’t like the taste either. I saw a recipe for using up the last of a box of cereal in muffins that I hadn’t tried because we almost never have cereal. I used the granola in that recipe. Long story short, the banana muffins are great. We ate some for breakfast and the rest went into the freezer.

    We are continuing to save water here. Saving shower water, dish rinse water, fruit, veggie & lettuce rinse water to water the garden & outside plants. By being very careful, we have used a little over 1/2 of the reduced allotment for a 4 person family (we are a 6 people family.) I try to combine water intensive cooking tasks as well. Boiling a big pot of water for pasta dinner also means boiling a second meal of pasta for pasta salad, blanching the big bag of broccoli I found for $.99 and boiling the bag of grains I use for bread or for cereal.

    Made all the bread & pizza dough for the week.

    Started going through the school work completed last year. I keep a file folder in the cabinet for papers that were only used on one side so they can be used for scratch paper or lists. When I plan for the next school year I make lists & schedules and brainstorm, so I use plenty of paper.

    I resisted going to a curriculum sale 🙂 I found an interactive notebook online and was so tempted to buy it. Instead I printed out the sample pages and figured out how much I would need to change it to make it work for my family and then decided to use the same amount of time to make my own.

    We “pool-sat” for someone from husband’s work. For a week the kids could go & swim everyday as long as we checked the pool chemicals & fished the leaves out of the pool daily. After a few days some green stuff started to show on the steps, so one of the kids scrubbed it off with a brush. It was very fun for the kids. We also watered their garden and picked three zucchini when they ripened. I will send over some banana muffins as a thank you.

    One of the young moms in our ward is building a photography business. She charges $150 for a 1 hr photo session and $50 for a disc of approx 200 pictures, 30 of which she will crop/ photoshop. Many people in our ward think this is a bargain. She works with the YW in our ward so she offered to do senior pictures, free of charge for any YW who earn their YW medallion. So last week we finally had her senior pictures taken.

    I volunteered backstage at two performances to get a free ticket to a ballet my daughter is in.

    I volunteered all day at the same ballet school on photo day to get a significant discount on my daughter’s photos. We only paid for the group photo and we will take pictures of her in her performance costume on opening night.

    My teenage daughter had a training meeting in a new place so she didn’t want to drive alone. Two of the little kids & I went with her on an adventure. We found a branch of our library next door and went in to find some new movies. You can’t request movies through the library system so it doesn’t take long to go through all the movies at a little local branch.

    A few doors down was a Goodwill. Inside we found two very fancy nerf guns. One I have seen sold for $50 and the other for over $100. The $100 one had 6 brand new, in the package “D” size batteries taped to the outside. Both guns were under $5. The $100 one was jammed, but my husband took it apart and fixed the problem. Also at this Goodwill we found a Camelbak hydration pack for $18. My husband is the scoutmaster and has been looking for one of these before taking the scouts on their 50 mile backpacking trip in Yosemite this Summer. He had one previously, but a daughter took it to Girls Camp and the bladder inside disappeared. The bladder inside the new one is still sealed in its plastic so it has never been used. We have been looking for a way to replace the lost one. A new bladder to fit the old backpack costs $45-$75, so I have been saving up to get him one for Father’s Day from Amazon or at REI, but this is even better because with a brand new one I can wait until the REI annual sale and then we will have two which will come in handy when our son moves up to boy scouts next year. There was also a handsome gray & black suit vest that will look great with my husband’s black or gray dress pants. I have to replace a missing black button, but there is an extra button sewn to the tag inside. My husband often complains that all his church/ dress clothes are boring so this will be something fun & new for $2. I found three red t-shirts for my 12 year old daughter, under $2 each (one with hearts, one with dots and one solid red with two tiny buttons at the top and red single crochet around the neck & sleeves.) Her camp color is red and she requested that she have something red to wear each day at camp. She already has one red shirt & each girl gets a shirt in their color, so now she has 5 red shirts for camp. We also sorted through her socks and found 5 plain pairs (two white, two gray and one red.) She is embroidering red decorations (or white in the case of the red socks) using some floss from grandma’s stash.

    I repaired a tear in the pocket of my Summer-weight jacket (which is 3 seasons around here.) I removed the lining from the front pocket of a leather tote bag that I love. The cheap acetate lining of the pocket had begun to fray and there was no way to repair it so now I have a pocket that is not lined and only has 1/2 the velcro to close it. I saved the other 1/2 of the velcro, but I can’t decide if I should try to glue the velcro to the inside leather of the pocket and leave it, or make another fabric liner to fit the pocket. The leather is not nicely finished inside so I am not thrilled with that option.

    I cut 6 lbs of bananas into chunks and froze for future use in smoothies.

    There are 7 great freebies for the Summer at
    We signed up for a free online drawing class, free music lessons, the Discovery Education Streaming and the Clever Dragons & Always Ice Cream websites.


  29. Dh has a job interview Wednesday morning. If he gets the job, it would mean nearly doubling our income. Prayers very much appreciated! So excited!

  30. Still working towards obtaining work. While one income is ok right now, there is no reason that I can’t work so the extra income would go far as to paying off debt such as my student loans.

    We discussed finances this week and went over financial goals. Every time we do this, we get very motivated to do the best that we can. We agreed that we would eat out only once a week as much as possible.

    I have been working really hard to cook from the freezer and the cupboards as much as possible. They are looking so bare right now so it is getting tricky…however…when making the menu for the week I am searching our stock first and then looking at what ingredients I am missing and what is the best price to fill that need. I am working hard to keep our grocery budget to $50 per week. This seems like a lot considering we are only a family of two and compared to other family’s our budget is much higher. Doing the best I can though and I look at it as a process and trying to stick to a goal. Growing our own food is not an option currently but luckily I do have plenty of home-canned goodies to include in our meals.

    Received a rebate for the dogs yearly heart worm prevention medicine. It will go towards a bill.

    Went to goodwill on their half-price Saturday sale. Was able to find one pair of work pants for hubby, a dress that had a tare in it for me just shortened the hem and now I have an adorable tank top. Also found another dress for half price. In the summer I wear a lot of sun dresses so this will be a great addition to my collection. All three items were less than $9.

    Made a cover for our printer out of fabric I already had. Super proud of how it turned out and the material is a pretty yellow fabric so that is fun.

    Found projects to do at home a few days last week to pass the time instead of going shopping on several days. Had some errands to run so combined them all on one day to save on gas.

    Spent some time last week going over a lot of your website for inspiration. You have so many great suggestions in here. The one thing that I haven’t seen is any sort of crock-pot recipes. I utilize my crock-pot year round for several reasons. It doesn’t heat up the house as much as the oven or stove cooking, that is important being in southern Texas where the days are hot and muggy. It also is an easy way for me to prepare dinner. Sometimes hubby works late and this way dinner is done or mostly done and we can just enjoy each others company when he gets home. It is also less expensive than other cooking methods.

    Do you have any crock-pot recipes? Would love to see them.

  31. I am struck dumb by your flower arrangements. Spectacular!
    And I’m dying of envy when I see what you are harvesting from your garden.

    Here is what I did this week to save money:
    It rained most of the week, so I spent most of my time indoors. As a result, I finished a new quilted table runner and a matching pillow. Despite being housebound for most of the week, I managed to rip the seat out of two pairs of pants! The pajama pants were made from a thrifted vintage sheet and I have worn them for several years. The remaining fabric still in good condition will be repurposed into a quilt for the guest room. The jeans – not sure how I will be reusing them.

    I gathered plantain and more comfrey to infuse in grapeseed oil to make skin cream.

    I made hamburger soup from leftover spaghetti sauce.

    I braved the mountain passes to visit my youngest son and have the oil changed in our vehicle. We went to a local thrift shop and I bought [u]only[/u] a single cross stitch magazine for 50 cents. It has a very nice pattern that I might use in my bathroom. The purchase of only one item was a remarkable exercise in restraint. I really enjoyed this magazine and it had several very nice patterns. I let my son know that if he picked up the remaining magazines for somebody’s Christmas gift that somebody would really appreciate it!
    We were lucky enough to find the time to spend out in the bush. I came across a large patch of nettles and I harvested a large bag to take home with me. We also gathered an entire bag of elder flowers, which I dried for tea. We took a picnic and drinks with us and had an excellent day.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

  32. I made blueberry muffins to use up some before they spoiled. Happily was able to buy a pair of sandals on eBay for $20 (half the price at the discount shoe store near me) so I’m set with shoes that feel good for the summer. We continue to do all of our own yard work and watch in amazement the number of hired crews that come to the neighboring homes. Our dog’s leash broke and I bought the least expensive one I could find rather than replacing the cute but pricy one she had these 4+ years. A lovely surprise was to find that our property tax bill will be over $600 less than we anticipated!

    Late Saturday afternoon I realized I needed to see a doctor for what turned out to be a UTI. We went to the closest urgent care center although we had never been there and it turned out to cost the same copay as a doctor’s office visit rather than an ER visit. Excellent service and quick turnaround too so that helped a lot. Happily on the mend but not accomplishing much as the meds are making me tired.

  33. Great job! I will be honest, I’m just keeping my head afloat with entertaining the girls these days 🙁

    I did get some bread baked and some graham crackers made, but that’s about it. Maybe next week I’ll accomplish more! (but probably not!)

  34. Your dinner guests were spoiled with all your garden treats! It all sounds so good. Your post reminded me that I also have lavender I need to harvest, so I’ll be doing that this week. Unfortunately, for the first time ever I hired a pest company last week, as we saw signs of termites. We had treated it ourselves when we first saw signs a couple of years ago, but I’m afraid of all the damage they could do to our handbuilt house made from wood. They’re at least using nontoxic methods, but I sure wish I wasn’t having to do it at all. At least my frugal ways are helping us to afford it. Joining in here:

  35. I love the basket your lavender is in. Can you tell me where you got it and what kind of basket it is? I have not seen one like it.

    Our week has been the normal. Ate at home except for Friday night. Gave a load of out grown clothes to Salvation Army. I have dried all clothes on the line or racks. Used water from water barrels to water our plants. Got some eggs from our friend at church. She will not take money for the eggs. We know she could use a little extra money as she is a widow and is dealing with a mess right now of the estates of her late husband’s father and her husband. Her husband passed away suddenly just a couple of weeks after her father in law. So David and I went to Sam’s Club and got her a big bag of dog food for her 2 dogs. She took that and was almost in tears with the trade. Dog food for eggs.

    We got a free oil change in my car. It is part of our package for buying the car. Three years of free oil changes and tire rotation.

    The boys are out of school now. Summer is in full GO around here. That means pool passes, skate boards, and lots of kids here for lunch. The boys always have their friends here. It seems our house is a ‘hang out’ place. Don’t mind a bit. I know where the boys are and who their friends are. A pool pass is $25.00 for the summer. We live just a few blocks from a city pool, the pass is good for any city pool, but the boys like the pool in our neighborhood. They swim like little fishes so I don’t worry too much when they go swimming without me. They are 13 and 15 years old.

    Our garden is giving us tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers right now. We are so blessed with tomatoes right now. Just love them. Tonight will be a sandwich night, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches and potato salad with fruit tart.

  36. I was able to take rhubarb from my church.

    I was given two tomato plants as a thank you for a ride. I have never had tomatoes so we’ll see how this goes. Hopefully i can get them planted this weekend. I have a total of 5 plants.

    I was able to combine 2 store coupons for $20 off a $50 purchase as well as 2 manufactures coupons.

    We were given left overs from a family gathering.

    Our Walmart sells a certain brand for $1.98 a gallon so I have been able to purchase more fresh milk.

    I use powdered milk to make waffles and pancakes.

    A friend gave me a dozen eggs.

    My husband will be in a fishing tournament. I hope the entry fee gets at least paid back. Last year he made $20 and a fish. I am hoping for more so we can stain our fence.

    My mother-in-love came over last weekend and gave my boys and husband haircuts.

    I printed some free bible studies on-line.

    I downloaded a free app onto my tracphone. It is called “calm”. (It is also a website: It has meditations as well as great background music.

    I downloaded a couple of free books for my kindle.

  37. Happy Monday, friends. Brandy, your flowers and fruit look beautiful!!

    I want to sincerely thank you all for your suggestions and ideas, and most importantly, your prayers for my fiance and myself last week regarding his sudden unemployment and our situation of figuring out if we are staying in our house, moving, etc. He has applied for many, many jobs in the last week and a half and he’s had a couple of phone interviews. One is with a company 2.5 hours north of here. The interview went well and they are going to be scheduling in person interviews within the next week or so. He also has a phone interview tomorrow with a company that is located all over the US. During his training period he would be travelling 90% of the time but the catch with that job is that you do not know where they will assign you until after the training period is up. I do not like that part at all because you are expected to uproot your life and just go where they want you. No thanks. I did that for nearly a decade while married to the military. He has applied for other jobs that are more local but so far has not heard back from any of them. We are praying somewhere will call soon, even if it’s not a permanent position or his ideal job or whatever.

    In other news, I posted (and sold!!) some things on Instagram and Etsy, and used that money for bills and the few groceries we needed.

    We stayed home almost the entire week, minus a stop at some thrift stores for the fiance to find a sports coat to use for interviews. His other ones no longer fit. Found 2 that will work with a variety of pants and shirts and dropped those at the cleaners. Unplanned expense but necessary for the job hunt.

    Had lunch on Wednesday with our pastors. They’ve recently moved to this town and are planting a church here. They had us over for lunch and fellowship. We’ve only recently met since we’ve both moved to the area within the last year and we always have such a great time together. I think they are as sad as we are about the thought of us potentially having to move. 🙁

    Our blueberry bushes have green blueberries on them!! We had no idea what kind of bush they were when we moved in last fall — only that they looked dead so we were pleasantly surprised to see leaves pop out earlier this spring and then fruit show up within the last couple of weeks. I am looking forward to picking lots of blueberries soon.

    Our grape vines are out of control. When we came to view this house in September before signing the lease, the vines were loaded in grapes so we anticipate lots of those this fall if we are able to stay in this house. I haven’t been up the ridge or out to the back pasture to check on the apple trees but I am sure they are loaded with fruit. The trees are 100 year old heirloom varieties and I am anxious to taste one late this summer or early fall. The elk like to strip all the bottom branches clean so we will have to figure out how to pick the ones from the higher branches. Our pastors have apple and cherry trees that are looking great so maybe we can exchange some blueberries for cherries.

    That’s all I can think of for this week. I always enjoy reading the comments along with the weekly post. I love that we are all kindred spirits in this frugal lifestyle. Thanks again for your prayers.

  38. My big win this week: I am now officially half-finished with my Master degree. I got the maximum amount of credit for prior learning. Not only will this significantly decrease the amount of time I need to spend on my degree, it also represents a tremendous savings. I am deferring my tuition but expect to pay it back sooner or later; having to only pay back half of it is a considerable savings.

    Because I’m an off-campus student the library will mail books to me, and I can mail them back in the postage-paid envelopes they provide; this will mean no having to travel an hour to visit books from the campus library – another savings. I’ve ordered a few things already.

    I am entering my 3rd week without soda. The first few days were hard but now it’s not even a temptation. I was a 3 can a day girl (yep – it was diet, but still) so, at 50c/can (the sale price here – but sometimes we’d pay more), that’s a savings of, conservatively, $546 a year. That’s pretty darn impressive!

  39. My husband bought bug spray to spray inside our detached garage. We will be doing the same for inside our house also. Except for termite treatment (we live in TN) that we will hire out, I think we will be spraying for bugs ourselves from now on.

    When we lived in a small Kansas town, we hired a local man to spray the house for bugs, but he did not require a contract and his prices were quite affordable.

  40. Praying that the interview goes well and he is able to start soon! My husband had an interview last week (very much needed as his current job is quickly going downhill) and he found out Saturday, our anniversary(!), that he got the position. I understand very well the anxiety involved in the waiting.

  41. It was a nice week for grocery shopping:
    One day after work I stopped at Publix and got a sparkling iced tea and 2 bags of dog treats all free.

    Another day after work I had 1 mystery shopping assignment then on Saturday I did 2 more – all at grocery stories. I tried to spend close to what I will get reimbursed plus I will get a small shoppers fee. I was able to get things on sale that we needed.

    I completed a Pinecone survey.

    I worked in the garden. I was happy to find a watermelon growing from seeds we planted and a butternut squash from a volunteer from the compost. I picked ripe bananas! I tied up the grapevines – they are all to the top of the pergola now. I picked more blackberries. I pulled weeds.

    I signed up for my 401K plan at work. I’m 50 and this is the first time I’ve had a job and been in a position to take advantage of it. Time to get serious about getting in a better position for retirement!

    I considered very briefly signing up for Weight Watchers. Instead, I signed up for the free on the computer and downloaded the app for my phone. The app is wonderful – you can scan barcodes and input the calories into your diary! I continued exercising at home for free – doing yard work, riding the stationary bike, using the hand weights, and some old fashioned leg lifts and crunches.

    I made a small batch of applesauce with 4 too tart green apples and 3 over ripe pears. I served it for dinner along with gifted hash browns and a couple of the free eggs from Winn Dixie.

    Have a great week ladies!

  42. Awe…I think it’s sweet you cried. They grow so quickly. You obviously adore ur son!:)

  43. Oh, I also snagged some magazines and two gardening books from the library van. There was a large box of magazines, and a few books, that they were giving away. The magazines are craft and scrapbook magazines; the books are on organic vegetable gardening and gardening in drought conditions Neither one has been read much.

  44. Sorry for the news about your house. I hope you and your husband are able to make the decision that is best for you.

  45. Ask your friends and neighbors if they have a cherry picker you can use. It’s a long pole with a extenstion and a clipper on the end or just use a ball.. we did that one year with our neighbors at a birthday party. The kids had a great time throwing the ball up in the tree and knocking the apples down and gathering them up and putting them in buckets. Ended up being the highlight of the party, even had a adult holding a little boy up on their shoulders and throwing the ball.. such fun and lots of apples.

  46. I went to the thrift store Saturday and found two like new pairs of sketchers.. these are sort of designed like ballerina slippers but are shoes. I looked them up online value is $40 a pair, I got them one pair $2.99 the other pair $3.99. I also found cloth dinner napkins I had looked at last week 59 cents each these are thinner and not good for dinner napkins but will make a nice addition to my supply of hankies for cold season. I can’t use the paper kleenex type things no matter how lotioned up they are they tear my nose up plus the hankies can be used over and over again for many years to come. I need to keep looking for more to get a good supply built up but I used a few earlier this year and what a difference they made. My tomatoes are growing beautifully with large flowers on them will be canning them later this fall. Today we had leftovers for both lunch and dinner from the freezer.

  47. I didn’t get much done this week, I had only one day off with big plans but then my three year old ended up with a high fever that day so I spent the day cuddling my boy which was well worth it. I did make him Brandy’s Taco Soup to get him to eat something because it’s his favourite and I also have the ingredients on hand.
    I’ve been bringing lunch, coffee and snacks with me to work and I rode my bike to work 3 times last week. I shouldn’t have to go grocery shopping this week at all.
    We went to a restaurant for my niece’s college graduation celebration which was going to be a little extravagant for us but I didn’t order food for my toddler and ordered one of the least expensive things on the menu for us to share but then when the bill came my sister in law said she wanted to treat everyone. That was very generous of her and nice for us. We did give my niece some cash as a gift but at least we didn’t spend as much as I thought we were going to.
    I should be able to get a lot more spring mix and rhubarb this week from the garden and I can’t wait to start being able to harvest more!

  48. Tabbie,

    I just thought I would mention a blog with wonderful ideas and recipes for crock-pot cooking. It’s The Bluebirds are Nesting and Annabel is doing a series of crock-pot recipes and ways to use one.


  49. Thanks. It’s quite overwhelming. We are going to sell everything since an emptier house will show better and be easier to move out of, and we are going to look at any costs to see where we can squeeze them. We think we need thirty thousand dollars to get out of here and in somewhere else. We are a little afraid we might need forty and that is just impossible by April but we are going to do our best and hope for small miracles. We are making it a game to try and keep it fun for the children. They are too little to understand but I told them it is like giving up one marshmallow today so that next year we can have a hundred marshmallows..

  50. we make boric acid cookies, when we rented the people downstairs were filthy. 🙁 it worked very well. I used Heloise’s recipe. We have had occasional ones show up here because of all the construction on the main road. UGH. UGH. But we did the same thing UGH UGH. and it worked. Bleah I still watch for them just in case.

  51. I love your basket of lavender…what a lovely photo, Brandy!

    My daughter was witness to a traumatic accident this past weekend. She and her respite worker went to the public library on Sunday. As they were driving back to our house, a young lady, who was talking on her cell phone and not paying attention, ran out right in from of their truck. Our respite worker just could not stop in time and hit the young lady. My daughter was quite distraught after being a front seat witness to the accident, but she is doing better now. Police have confirmed that it was not our respite workers fault. There was no way she could not have stopped in time or avoided the accident. The young girl incurred a broken femur and had to be air lifted to Toronto for surgery. She is stable according to the news. Pretty lucky considering how bad it could have been. We’ve used this incident to reinforce that you must look both ways before crossing the street and walking around playing on an electronic device is not a good idea either.

    This week’s frugal accomplishments are as follow:
    *Harvested spinach twice this week. First time was enough to take one salad in my lunch this week. I might be able to get 2 salads out of the second harvest. Any flawed spinach leaves were fed to the Guinea pig, which she very much enjoyed! The spinach is already starting to go to seed. I will collect them once they are ready, to plant next year.

    *Somewhat of a frugal fail: We needed to buy more meat this week, so my grocery budget was a bit over my normal this time. I went to Costco and bought 2 big packages of ground beef, 1 big package of chicken breasts and a large package of pork loin because it was on sale. The ground beef made up a dozen “meal sized” portions. The pork loin was cut up and made into 4 small roasts (to use for pulled pork), and three packages of 2 pork loin steaks. I cut up most of the chicken breasts (minus three pieces I put aside to cook on the BBQ) and put them on skewers to make chicken souvlaki. My husband (who’s a cook) made up the souvlaki marinade, which we mixed with the chicken and left in the fridge for 24 hrs, before packaging up for the freezer. All the meat was repackaged with my food saver to ward off freezer burn.

    *Received two rolls of toilet paper as “free samples” while at Costco.

    *Peanut butter was on sale for $2.97/1kg jar (2.2lb = 1 kg), so I stocked up and bought 12 more jars. Potatoes were on sale for $0.97/10lb bag, so I bought 2. Bricks of cheese were on sale for $3.97, so I bought 4 more for the freezer.

    *My brother came to visit this past weekend. He is struggling financially as well, so again we shared some of our food stock with him. We gave him a jar of peanut butter, two jars of homemade jam, two large jars of home canned peaches, and a few other non-perishable pantry items to take back home. He was going to visit a friend after staying with us and couldn’t take any freezer items. He is planning to visit again next month and we plan to give him some meat and freezer items to take home then. My mom has helped my husband, daughter and I quite a bit financially, so I don’t mind paying it forward and sharing what we can with my brother.

    *I mixed up a double batch of lemon raspberry muffins using ingredients from my pantry and the raspberries I froze last summer. It made 24 muffins and 1 small loaf. I wrapped the muffins individually to put in the freezer. We will use these in lunches or as portable snacks over the next couple weeks. The loaf was also wrapped up and put in the freezer, to use later for when company comes or when I want to share a nice treat with everyone at work.

    *Watched several different shows and 2 movies on Netflix this week. I’m starting to use it more and I am enjoying “binge watching” TV shows that I never got into before. I’m thinking that if I can get used to watching Netflix, maybe we could work towards not having cable or satellite in the future.

    I enjoy reading all the comments, so thank you everyone for sharing. I learn so much from all of you! Have a wonderful week!!!

  52. Congratulations on getting that credit. I start grad school in 1 1/2 years. I’m so excited!

  53. Praying for his job interview to go very well! And praying for all of you! It sounds like you are doing so much to save!

  54. I made all meals at home, and only shopped for a little fresh vegetables and dairy products. For health reasons, I need to be on a low carb diet, which means cheap meals like beans, pasta, potatoes are all out. So I am shopping around for good prices on meats and poultry.
    Here are my accomplishments:
    Went to a charity resale shop and for $20, I purchased two beautiful baskets for harvesting my produce, a hand made quilt (signed by the maker), two sewing patterns to make clothing gifts for a baby shower, three vases, three heirloom napkins with beautiful cut out and embroidery work (for gifts – they were $1 each) and a beautiful porcelain coated yellow roasting pan with lid.
    Purchased my free eggs from my local park district farm museum. They are $4 a dozen, but very large and nutritious!
    My local garden club has a plant and bulb sale as a fundraiser. All the bulbs are donated by the village. They dig up the tulips every year since and plant fresh in the fall to make sure they get a heavy plating of tulips. The bulbs were 12 for $1 and I bought ten dozen. I also bought a perennial I really wanted that came from a club member’s garden for $5. I would have been $30 at my favorite local nursery
    I went to a friend’s house for dinner, and we cooked together. Salad and salmon from Costco
    Attended a wedding on Saturday and instead of rushing our for a new dress, I wore a favorite old standby. I call it my flamenco dress as the skirt moves beautifully when I walk, and the hem is about 3 inches long in the back. It was a fun wedding because the bride and groom are Indian-American. I loved seeing all the Indian ladies in their beautiful ethnic gowns.
    I worked diligently on finding a job since my current contract job ends at the end of the month. Pray for me. I am a single income and really need to work
    My brother and I met to discuss starting our own side business doing marketing and social media strategy for small businesses. It’s been a dream of ours and we are going to make it happen. I hope to generate some extra income this way, and we are focusing on helping small business market on the cheap.
    I signed up for a continuing education class at my local community college. It is on social media, and at the end, I will sit for a national certification exam. The business credential will help both my full time job search and my budding business with credibility since I am competing against much younger people.
    I bartered services with a career coach. I am making her some pretty forms to use with her clients, and she is giving me free services (she charges $125 per hour)

    I love doing this as an exercise. Really makes me focus and plan, and makes me feel good at what I do accomplish. Thank you all for the inspiration!

  55. Made turkey broth and then turkey vegetable noodle soup with the carcass and bits and pieces from cooking a turkey last week.
    Brought breakfast and lunch to work all week.
    Renewed books on CD from the library (I listen on my commute to work)
    Checked out books from the library
    Went to Value Village and was able to get 50 “bobbins” of embroidery floss in a bag for $2.99 and 2 wooden hoops for 99¢. Decided to try my hand at embroidery again. Haven’t done it since a child.
    Made bread on Saturday
    Did our second planting of corn on Saturday.
    Found a bag of avocados for $1.99. Had 8 avocados in it.
    Washed the sheets from all the guests we have had and hung them on the line. They are now ready to put on the bed again for the next round of guests in 2 weeks.

  56. Sandra, Hi I’m Heidi in Canada (there are 2 or 3 of us here named Heidi). I don’t post often, but do read faithfully. I am typing this and then praying right now (Tues, early afternoon) for your DH’s job interview tomorrow morning. Heidi

  57. I love the diversity of the group of readers/commenters to Brandy’s blog. So many readers at such different points in life sharing great ideas. I live on a 2,000 acre farm in rural MS ( I guess farm + rural might be redundant). My brother is the third generation to farm most of this land. I would not have a garden if you held a gun to my head. The only thing we do remotely akin to gardening is picking up pecans from the acre of pecan trees that my daddy planted in our front yard 50 years ago. They are delicious and can be cracked/cleaned at local co-op for minimal amount of money. After we pick up as many as our family wants, we invite others who do not have trees to come and gather for their families. I feel bad that apparently we didn’t invite enough people this past year because when we had Easter Egg Hunt you could not take a step without stepping on pecans. Probably more were left on ground than picked up, such a waste but it was all our fault. Before November I need to figure out a way to share them without having people tromp through our yard every single day. Any ideas on how I can share without it being a big old pain in my patootie???
    Because we live 15 miles from anything our main frugality is to combine errands when going into town. We never go for just one thing, the other morning my Mom and I left home early to try and beat the already miserable/humid MS summer heat. We were gone 4 hours and made about 11 stops for errands during that time. We also run errands for other family members while in town. My sister needed to stay home with a grand-child so at the grocery I picked up popsicles/washing detergent/Dr. Pepper for her. We never keep track of who buys what for whom, just assume that the money side evens out over time.
    Another frugal win last week was trip to pick up meds for my mom at drug-store 45 miles away. That is only store covered by her insurance so we had to go but we combined it with trip to local thrifts in that town and matinee at local theater. On the way I filled my nephew’s car with gas and saved 20 cents/gal using fuel points. Even though I have shopped at Kroger forever this is first time I’ve ever used fuel points but so many people on here raved about it I decided to give it a try. Have to say I really liked it. Stop by grocery on way home for perishables and 90 mile round trip spread out across several errands is not so bad.

  58. It took two years but I finally got my husband to agree to cancel Dish Network and use Netflix and Amazon Prime. Between that and watching shows on the internet for free the only thing we notice is $80 more per month in my bank account! 🙂

  59. I don’t really use my crockpot for cooking very often. I mostly use it for making yogurt. Most crockpot recipes call for a lot of meat, which would be too expensive for my budget, as for our family, I would need to double them. However, you could try my soup recipes in your crockpot.

    My niece uses her crockpot every day. She like the 365 days of crockpot cooking blog.

    If you look at my summer menu, you’ll see lots of cold foods. I am currently using my solar oven to cook beans (you could use your crockpot for that). Most of my summer cooking is done on the stovetop, and I turn on the exhaust fan to take the heat out of the kitchen–plus I have a ceiling fan above my kitchen sink.

  60. Tina in the NW – I used to live in Seattle and also had problems with bugs in the soil eating my new plants. I’m not sure where I learned this, but I found that planting marigolds along the perimeter of my beds or interplanted among the vegetables helped deter the bugs. Hope this helps.

  61. Thanks for the suggestion, SJ. I was actually thinking about picking up some marigolds, so I think I will definitely do that.

  62. I’m so glad you do this, Brandy! I felt like this week was a frugal fail because I spent a lot of money, but when I look back over the list I’ve been keeping of accomplishments, it makes me feel better. I missed last week so this is my list for two weeks:

    I really want a new swimsuit. Mine is six years old. I decided to make it last another year. Will a new swimsuit really contribute to my overall happiness? No.

    Cleaned out all my pantry cabinets so I know what I have. I live in an RV so my pantry is all spread out between multiple cabinets and it’s hard to keep up with. Meal planned for the week based on what I have available.

    Boyfriend offered to bring me food to celebrate being together for a year. I declined. 🙂 I cooked for us instead. It didn’t save me any money, but it did save him some.

    A friend volunteered to take photographs of the kids and I. I’ve been wanting to do them for several years, but photographers kept falling through. She did a great job! I’ll pay her about half what I would have paid a professional plus pay for prints.

    Made the best I can out of what I have. I fixed some windows in the RV that weren’t closing properly. Prettied up my yard, etc. Sometimes it feels like I have less and I know that I’m really very lucky and living here for another year will put me in a really good financial position. So I’m making everything as nice as I can and being grateful for it.

    Had a talk with the kids about saving money. If we want to have trips this summer and a big house next year we need to not eat out. We bought a picnic basket to carry food when we go to town, and the kids are completely on board.

    The kids have been picking apricots from our tree for snacks.

    We finally got out the sprouting jar I got as a gift several years ago and made sprouts. I’m hoping it will encourage the kids to eat some veggies. Added a few sprouts to my bean burrito tonight for nutrients.

    I went with my mom to Sam’s to buy some things I wanted for my yard and found Flonase for sale for a third less than what I usually pay. Yay! It’s expensive since they switched to OTC and insurance won’t cover anymore.

    Ate at home for almost all meals. Had one meal out with the kids and the boyfriend and used two free kids meal coupons, plus got one drink free for bringing my church bulletin.

  63. Love that you car-dried! I’ve heard of people using the car to get their bread to rise, too.

  64. Flower arrangement is so pretty!

    * we noticed some tomatoes beginning on our plants as wells as some our seeds have sprouted (yeah!)
    * my job situation feels very precarious right now (long story short is work is being moved out of state) so i’m being thoughtful in our purchases
    * went to a garage sale and found my daughter a couple pairs of socks for .25 each (new with tag) and great rubbermaid pitcher and some rubber boots in the next size up for my son, oh and some softballs to throw around the yard; daugher also found a pair of shorts and a scarf at the thrift
    * sold 2 items on the local garage sale site
    * I have started crocheting some dish cloths I hope to sell
    * using up some items from the freezer to make room for our zaycon order and the 25#’s of cherries we are getting soon. I also hope to get out and pick some strawberries to eat and freeze.

  65. Last week included the usual frugal items like cooking all our meals but one, using most electricity during low cost hours -live in Phoenix and the 100 degree days have started for the summer…found a crockpot cookbook at goodwill for 2.99 with some good looking recipes! Each month this year I am trying to find a $10 per month reduction in costs…I didn’t find anything in May but figured that was okay because I got a part time job ;). This month I saw a TV commercial for offering RX discounts. I will know for sure if Walgreens will honor it tomorrow but if they do-it will save me $14 off a month for my main prescription. Yeah!

    Brandy, thanks again for this blog, your photos and commentary really are interesting and keep me focused on being frugal and making a good home.

  66. Brandy,

    I live in Phoenix and am have started a very successful small garden this year. I think we probably have very similar climates. I have grown sweet corn, tomatoes, green peppers, purple basil, a blue berry bush, strawberries and lettuce. I found a dwarf blood orange tree at Home Depot that I am super excited about and so far is doing great in a large pot. The tomatoes did exceptionally well and the plants grew over 4 feet tall until…….something has started eating my tomatoes! My mom thinks based on a picture it is a rodent of some kind. I randomly saw a chipmunk in my yard the other day. Do you struggle with any of these critters and do you have any suggestions?


  67. Retirement is a question I ask all stay at home Moms. I am now 64 and I have next to nothing for retirement when I was 38 I had 350K saved. It was in an account that was linked to a joint account and long story short it is gone and so is the husband I shared the joint account with. Starting over at 40 has been hard. I had been saving since I was about 11 since my grandmother raised me and taught me this was extremely important. Now I have bad teeth and I can’t afford to get them fixed. Bottom line All Stay at home Moms need to save for themselves and watch it like a hawk. Life today is important but retirement sneaks up on all of us and it can be harsh to be old and broke.

  68. My best advice for losing weight (and I have lost over 100lbs) is to eat from a smaller plate. Use the side plate, not the dinner plate for eating your meals. You will get used to eating less without feeling like your plate is half empty. After a while, you won’t even realize that it is smaller portions. It’s also harder to put too much on your plate when there is less room.

  69. Dh’s interview went well. We should know something in two weeks or so. Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers. 🙂

  70. Jenna, like Brandy suggested, check for dental schools in your area.
    Friends and family have been using them for years during rough spells from anything cleaning to a root canal. They usually are free for the small stuff, or the cost for supplies to fix bigger issues. Heavily supervised so it isn’t shoddy work.

  71. Water lapping at a shoreline, birds singing: what could be a better background for a few minutes’ break from work? Thanks, Emilie, for the suggestion.

  72. Look for big green caterpillars on your tomatoes…tomato hornworms. They are masters of camouflage, so look closely. One can destroy a plant in a day or two. I’ve gardened for 30 years and never had rodents eat my tomato plants (only the fruit), though deer will sometimes eat them.

  73. Years ago I went to a retirement seminar and the person leading it said that only 1 in 5 women will be able to rely on their husbands to take care of them financially during retirement – that death, divorce, and illness will mean that for the vast majority of women, that’s just not an option. So yes, save for yourself; it’s so, so important to make sure you prepare yourself for your own retirement!

  74. My husband stopped yesterday at my “strawberry lady” because I had to attend a funeral with my sisters. He only got one quart of strawberries because they were $4.75 per quart. Home grown, fully ripe, freshly picked. They were/are WONDERFUL. Our first this year. We usually buy two quarts at a time, but he had just been to the hardware store and barely had enough with him to cover one quart! I’ll get more tomorrow when I’m out as I have to get cash from the bank, and it’s also my grocery shopping day. I think we only paid $4 a quart last year. We will pay what we have to pay for them, but we don’t like that price. We love strawberries, and these are far better than the berries shipped halfway across the country and picked before they are ripe.

  75. Ter, I totally agree about the diversity of commenters here. I learn so much, and I love having a glimpse into other people’s lives and how they do things.

    I’m trying to imagine…all the pecans you could ever want. Sounds wonderful. I’ve never even seen a pecan tree. 🙂

  76. I love your flowers Brandy and your photography as always.
    I was given some giant glass jars with lids. My husband built me a shelf for them as they are so nice and big and useful. This gives me more room to store dry goods.
    I made two big trays of lasagne and once cold I sliced them into serving sizes, wrapped and froze. It gave me 14 serves, 12 were frozen for emergency meals.
    I made stock in the crock pot plus baked apples with sultanas and walnuts. The crock pot makes these so nice!
    I put together a gift and I made everything in it myself plus a plant I grew. It was a good week and this one is half over as I am later to reply this week! Hope everyone is having a good week.

  77. I use my crock-pot all year round! I love that it is so easy to put everything in to cook and just forget about until dinner time. In the summer it is awesome for not heating up my kitchen! and, of course, saves on electricity costs. I use both of these sites for recipes.

    To save even more, I generally only use 1/2 the amount of meat that the recipes calls for.

  78. Sandra, Just checking in to hear how your DH’s interview went. I have written down on my prayer list (I’m a bit forgetful…) to keep praying!!! 🙂 Thanks for letting us know the general timeframe of the waiting.

  79. Meg, sounds like you are doing an awesome job.
    If it means anything swim suits will soon be going on sale – maybe you can get next years suit soon at a fraction of the price?

  80. ~ I stopped in the grocery store only to see what meat markdowns they had. Got 2 pkgs. of chicken legs and a pork roast for $8. Other than that only picked up milk.
    ~ Went to a church sale and got 15 patterns to list on Amazon, a deck and fence sprayer that we need to do some DIY projects, a couple of books and really neatly designed corn butterer that will definitely cut down on too much butter being used. Also 2 cute vintage jars and 2 vintage pillowcases. When I was checking out, they announced fill a box for $5 so the gentleman said just give me $5 and we’re good!
    ~ Went to the charity shop that twice a month marks the clearance clothing to 50¢ each. I found 3 pairs of dress pants for DH- 1 pair was Polo and another was Nautica. He is hard on clothes due to his job as an IT Specialist and he really needed new pants. I also bought a new infant girl outfit that I will give as a gift to a friend pregnant with her 4th girl. She thought she was done 5 years ago and now has to start over. I also bought some pieces that I will resell on FB Yard sale group page; I got a Minecraft T-shirt that looks brand new that I know I will have no problem selling. I got a beautiful apple green linen Talbots skirt that I need to shorten a bit and then I will be able to wear it for work.
    ~ Our painting project of my DS#2 has ended up using twice as much paint and primer than we thought. The walls had not been painted in a long time and the color we were painting over was harder to cover than it should have been. The walls seemed to absorb the paint. I am going to sell the extra dresser with matching mirror that is in his room that he doesn’t need and that will allow us to recoup the cost of the extra supplies. The color is a very bright orange ( U of Tennessee Orange) and DS is thrilled with it so it makes all the frustration worthwhile! I also framed several items for his walls and got all the frames for less than $25 at AC Moore due to finding a line of frames that were on clearance and using a 50% coupon on a poster frame for his street art piece he bought in NYC on his school art field trip.
    ~ Cleaning out DS’s room we now have a big pile of books to take to the used book store for credit.
    ~ I sold 3 items on Amazon.
    ~ I bought 9 bottles of OxiClean detergent for 99¢/ bottle thanks to a great sale at Rite Aid and $3 coupons that had been in the paper. I make my own powder detergent but DSs both work in a restaurant and their clothes get so dirty that I use the liquid detergent to spot clean the stains before going in the washer.
    ~ Harvested a handful of strawberries each day from my little raised bed strawberry garden.
    ~ Took my lunch to work each day.
    ~ Noticed that there is a huge sour cherry tree at the gas station that is at the entrance of our community. I’ve lived here 25 years and never noticed it before! It is covered with cherries so I am going to see about picking some cherries this week. No reason for them all to go to the birds!

  81. What a great idea. I occasionally have a problem with my bread rising. My DH still eats it. He just calls it “flat bread” 🙂 I find it way too dense. I will try raising it in the car though.

  82. I use mine to make veggie stock so I can leave it on while I go out and for beans for the same reason

  83. Oh, here in the mid-south this is how I’ve gotten my best plants- clearance at Lowe’s. However, the Fall has always been the best time for me. I have a huge butterfly bush that was a pitiful half-dead thing that I stuck in the ground one October many years ago. It provides so much enjoyment- watching the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

  84. Brandy, I made your chocolate pudding popsicles today but when I went to get them out of the molds, they wouldn’t come out. The handles came out leaving the pudding in the mold. What did I do wrong? (Incidentally, the kids scooped the frozen pudding out of the molds and ate it like ice cream but I want them to have the novelty of eating a homemade popsicle.)

  85. Jenna, if you were married for at least 10 years you are entitled to 1/2 of his SS when you reach retirement age.

  86. Thanks for sharing. I also wish I had saved something all along. As a stay at home mom, I had relied on having my now ex-husband’s pension. After the divorce, I went back to school and then scraped by as a single mom. This is the first time I have had a job that offered a 401K and had a bit extra to be able to put into it.

  87. Greetings!
    Love the picture of the lavender. Mine has just turned green and is filling out nicely. I’ve run my hands through it a couple of times and then rubbed my head to transfer the scent. The smell is so soothing!
    *I bought several packages of strawberries that were on sale. My rhubarb is starting to look good, so i added some to the strawberries and made jam. So tasty!
    *Made brown sugar then used it to make blueberry muffins with wild blueberries i gathered last Summer. It’s almost that time of year again!
    *I’m finally able to hang most loads of laundry outside to dry. It’s been a (nother) long Winter.
    *I’ve been keeping track of how much laundry soap i use. I never got the amount that was written on the bottle. I’m now using two tablespoons; that seems like the magic amount.
    *I’m sure there’s more, but i’m too tired to remember.
    Have a great week!

  88. Sandra, that would mean you took them out too early. If they are almost frozen but not quite that will happen. My children checked some popsicles yesterday and had the same thing happen. I just told them to wait until today to eat them and we had a different snack instead.

  89. Hi Mariana,

    Here in Southeastern CO we are weeks behind in our garden and any harvesting. We are getting unseasonably large amounts of rain – enough that we’ve replaced some of our garden twice and everyone is bemoaning the sorry state of their garden – especially their tomatoes. It is especially challenging in that we worry about hail all the time. Right now in strawberries are around $2.99 a pound – and mostly from Mexico. I envy their great garden news as well!

  90. I have been so busy this week I have just had the time to sit down and read the frugal accomplishments for the week! And Brandy you are to blame!! Lol My garden is producing great this year. I have picked vegetables all week. With my garden and a purchase from a local farmer I have canned 15 jars of pickles. 7 jars of strawberry jam. Dehydrated 2 gallons of squash chips. The pantry is getting full!! A round of sore throats caused us to buy ice cream this week. The only thing we really needed.

  91. Is it only true in Canada that you are entitled to half of your ex husbands pension when he retires? It’s only fair that his pension should support you in your retirement as well whether or not you are still together.

  92. Thanks Brandy. I think I will start making them at night and let them freeze overnight for our afternoon snack.

  93. I’ve also bought a couple of half dead basil plants for $.25 and nursed them back. Love deals like these!!

  94. You might try a tip that I got from Alton Brown. Put a large, but, shallow pan of boiling hot water in your oven but do not turn your oven on. I used a pan the approximate size of a cookie sheet and poured the water in the pan AFTER placing the empty pan in the oven. Place your dough inside the steamy oven and your dough should rise beautifully. Actually, I have only used this with my cinnamon rolls, but, I would think it would work for bread, too. 🙂

  95. Sorry, should have stated in the USA retirement is 1/2. I was married for 18 years and could get 1/2 of my ex’s, but I made more than he did. If he hadn’t remarried, 3 more times, he could get 1/2 of mine. It doesn’t come out of my check, but the systems. Call the local office of SS and ask away, they are very helpful.

  96. Kim, I can relate to the painting use. We decided to repaint our peeling and chipping wooden patio structure. I thought we could do the whole project in a weekend. We are now entering our third week of work. We can’t work much past eleven a.m. as it is too hot and scraping or painting over our heads tires out our senior arms. But this morning we just purchased our THIRD can of primer. Yikes! I don’t know how much paint we’ll end up using. It’s not that large a structure, but it is just sucking up the paint.

    My poor 72 year old husband keeps muttering, “Never again.” :p

  97. Anne, My 52 year old husband is also saying “Never again”! All the painting is done except for the vent needs 1 more coat. If I wasn’t so tired from painting I think I might do cartwheels down our street!

  98. It’s the same in Australia, if you divorce or if you’re a defacto couple that separates you’re each entitled to half of the other person’s Superannuation.

  99. Another bread rising method that has worked for me. I use an crock pot insert and place it on an old heating pad. Usually does a great job of keeping the temperature low and steady enough to raise bread dough.

  100. I was a part time student at a state school with a dental school. First you need to call and set up a screening appointment. Costs at this one were small. I could afford it when I was a student and had two kids. But it depends on what sort of work you need done–they are interested in teaching first of all. Your needs must be pretty ordinary needs, because the students need to learn to do simple fillings, etc. first. I did have a root canal there, which cost more and took a lot of time. The students do not have their speed up on procedures so you can expect to be in the chair for longer than usual. They also have to do one step at a time, and have it checked before continuing, so the instructor has to come over and look at it before they go to the next step. The time goes fast, but it will take extra time. The cost savings is very worth it, though. Also, they may or may not have labs in the summer. The one I went to just did labs during the fall and spring semesters. Just a few things to think about.

  101. I believe you can get it in the US as well, but I’m not certain of how long you had to have been married. You can make an appointment to go talk about it at Social Security Administration. They are quite helpful.

  102. Could you ask the more able-bodied people whom you invite to pick up pecans to pick up some extras for people who are unable to do them themselves? Like for every ten pounds they take hone, they pick a pound for you to give to someone else? Of course if they are elderly or not able to do extra, they could be exceptions tot he policy/ I know at times we did u-pick when our kids were small and they often ended up picking more enthusiastically than we wanted them to! We wouldn’t have minded giving back some picking in exchange for our share.

    I produced the first grandchild in our family while living temporarily in Mississippi–my Mom was more than happy to pick up pecans from the tree in front of our house to take home with her.

  103. One thing I’m happy to have accomplished this week was to go through my closet again and take a very large bag of clothing and another bag of several pair of shoes and I drove them to our rural migrant ministry. There was recently an article in the paper about the cities being well supplied with thrift shops but the really rural areas not having them available. The distance from my place is about the same to either, so I took them to the “country” this time. I have taken things here before but didn’t realize the need was so great. And many of the clothes I took this time were still in excellent condition, being things I tired of, and had too many of to start with. I get a lot of gifts from family and some things are not colors I wear or styles I like, so I wear them a few times when the giver is around, and then take them to someone who needs them more than I do. And I’ve already started a bag with fall and winter clothes to take there in the fall, when they will need them.

    And since my grand-daughter is now working full time at a thrift shop, I was very happy to hem and add a button to a pair of pants she bought for herself at the thrift! She overspends on clothes, and I will fix anything from the thrift for her. It’s not even always real money she’s spending, since they get a certain amount of credit if they exceed their sales target for the day. She has done well with that. She recently wore a second hand dress to a friend’s wedding—a great accomplishment for a young fashionista!!

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