Patriotic Ribbon Medallion The Prudent HomemakerThe most frugal thing I did last week was also the most exciting to me!


Patriotic front door The Prudent Homemaker

First, a little background. I don’t spend a lot of time on the phone. I used to, but somewhere in between child 2 and 3 (when my oldest was 3) talking on the phone became rather difficult. 

I got rid of long distance 14 years ago (I only had it for less than a year), and I bought a 2000 minute calling card for $20. It took me years to use it (including a higher rate charge for an hour plus call to France at one point). It ran out a few years ago and I have stuck to making local calls only-the shorter, the better.

I don’t own a cell phone. I just have a home phone, without long distance, call waiting, or caller id. I’m usually home, so it’s pretty easy to get a hold of me. When our home phones finally needed to be replaced a couple of years ago, I went with the cheaper option and bought the ones without an answering machine. About the only time I missed calls was when I was out in the garden, and then I never thought to look at the machine after I came in.

Flags in Urn The Prudent Homemaker

This last week was very different, though.

I finally signed up for Skype.

I figured out time differences and was able to call and see friends in England, Japan, France, Oregon, and Denmark. I had loads of fun. My friend in England gave me a tour of her downstairs and showed me her garden. One of her daughters and my children had fun showing each other their Lego creations. My children played a few songs on the piano for them. It was as close to visiting and playing together as we could come and it was wonderful!

I met my friends’ children, saw a friend’s new twins, and listened to my friend, who lives in Hans Christian Anderson’s birthplace, sing a song written by Hans Christian Anderson to his children in Danish. Even more touching was hearing his children sing, “I Am a Child of God” in Danish.

It was wonderful to do all of this for free! 

I can see why so many grandparents love Skype! 

I also learned that you can make video calls through Facebook and Google Plus, but I haven’t tried either of those yet. Facebook is fairly simple, though. I never even knew that option existed there.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, Brandy, Skype has been around for a long time. It’s true–but I’ve never used it. Chances are, there is something that you could be doing to save money and enjoy life that you just haven’t thought of yet, or just haven’t started to try.

I do want to ask my European readers who know about the seed mailing regulations. My Danish friend and I were discussing the problem of fines for unapproved seeds, and we’re trying to figure out the approved seed list for the E.U. to see if I can send larkspur, Swiss chard, lettuce and green onion seeds there. If anyone has first-hand knowledge of what seeds I can send without causing the receiver to end up with a fine, I would love to know more (and see the list!)

I’d also love to know any secrets you may have for the least expensive way to mail a package to Europe from The United States.

I cut oregano, basil, rosemary, and green onions from the garden.

Canned Peaches The Prudent Homemaker

I picked peaches for fresh eating and canned 12 quarts of peaches from my tree.

I picked apples from my tree.

I made French bread.

I made peach and yogurt popsicles twice.

I made a rather large apple tart for the funeral (I tripled the recipe and cooked it in a half-shet pan). I left out the nuts in case of allergies, which also brought the cost down. There were so many desserts there that I took home enough for us to each have a piece the next day.

The humidity came in and I was able to collect 3 to 4 gallons of water a day from the drip off the air conditioner. I used this to water potted plants. 

I bought some items at Sam’s Club that I use, since they were on sale. I also got a free sample of Advil at Sam’s Club. 

I purchaed some fabric on sale for 50% off at Joann’s, plus used another 20%  off my total purchase coupon on top of that. I want to make two aprons and a dress with the fabric I bought. 

I took the children to the library. They turned in their reading logs for a free book that they could keep.

Cyrus went to Scout camp, having paid for it all himself by pulling weeds for neighbors.

We celebrated the Fourth of July very simply. Cyrus went on a 10K bicycle ride in the early morning with some others (he is working to earn his cycling merit badge).

We went swimming at a friend’s house.

Liberty sparkler The Prudent Homemaker 

We watched the fireworks from our house. Normally we go somewhere and there is a lot of traffic. This year, we had quite a show for an hour while many people lit off huge fireworks that we could easily see from our house. I bought sparklers for us.

I collected lettuce seeds from the garden.

What did you do to save money last week?








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  1. Skype is really nice- I have it but have only used it once. I always feel the need to look so perfect and I never do! I guess I miss out like that.
    I can’t believe how many peaches you have canned from your trees. Oh how I would love to be able to visit your garden!

    We are starting to get produce from our garden. Just a trickle but I’m getting excited! Here is a list of my frugal accomplishments:

  2. I baked peanut butter bars, and made broccoli cheese soup. We had unexpected company and I baked an eight portion chocolate cake, I had all the ingredients and it was very fast. You bake it in a loaf pan. We sold some books on ebay. We found a very sturdy coffee table for the family room, handmade and only forty dollars. It is the perfect height for the children to do puzzles on. We went to a friend’s house, I brought cheesecake bars and cooked some aging pineapple into a yummy pineapple upside downcake topping. It was excellent with the cheesecake. We picked quite a few tomatoes( I found blossom rot on one plant so I need to figure out what to do. We picked a lot of tomatoes early as we have had problems with splitting.
    We took the children shoe shopping and used a gift card for half of the cost. We listed more things on ebay and on Brandy’s advice started planning a fall garden. We went through our budget for June and saw that we cut our costs by seven hundred dollars! I am so proud of us!

  3. Hello! Nice to see you discovered Skype! It was funny to read because I live in Estonia – the country where Skype was invented 🙂 I mean, really.

    Nothing much frugal to report, though. But I enjoy reading from others!

  4. I discovered Skype when our first grandchild was born. It’s not as good as being there but it sure is better than nothing!

    I continue to build up and add to my pantry every week, here’s what I did last week …

    I’m also making a concentrated effort to learn to depend less on the grocery store, this is a new series I started a few weeks ago …

  5. The Skype sounds fantastic. As you say this is free and so enjoyable and like a visit. I can see it could be very educational too ie with children “visiting” each other in different countries etc.
    I also wonder what else is free that we are missing out on?
    We saved quite a bit. Every bit is going into our pantry and supplies. Also I have just started making Christmas presents. If I start now I can do it, I have learned this from other years. This is a big savings for us.
    Have a great week. Love

  6. You have motivated me to try Skype! Especially with both of my children on their own and my daughter just moved to another state, she won’t be able to visit as often.

    I had July 3 off from work (paid) and took the opportunity to sign up for quite a few mystery shopping assignments during last week. Three days I stopped on the way home from work and then July 3 I did 2 near the house and then July 4 I did 3 that were a few miles away so a total of 8 for the week! Lots of work but worth it for some side income. I did 2 restaurants, 5 grocery stores, and 1 retail store. I will get what I spent reimbursed plus small shopping fees (which I will put away in my holiday fund). At the grocery store and retail store I purchased a few things I needed for our July 5 BBQ and added to my food storage/pantry.

    On July 4 when I was doing the 3 mystery shopping assignments, I also stopped at DSW which is in the same shopping center and used a $10 coupon they emailed me. I bought a pair of comfy, professional black flats I can wear to work with trousers for $5.26 OOOP.

    I worked some overtime. I won’t know how much until I get my pay stub as our time clock doesn’t display the total time worked.

    I worked in the garden. I picked more bananas, a butternut squash, blackberries, 6 pounds of carrots and an eggplant. I pulled weeds. I watered using the rain barrels. I added shredded newspaper and fruit/veggie scraps to the compost and turned it. I picked one red beet – the lubbers got the rest and they never came back. I spent some time researching when/how I need to prune my raspberries and blackberries and added that to my gardening journal. I pruned the mysore and the blackberries.

    I got my Schoola order and I’m very happy with it. The 3 shirts I got were in like-new condition. I ordered 4 blouses/shirts I can wear for work for only $1.14 OOP with the referral credit from Money Saving Mom. I contacted them that I didn’t receive the 4th shirt and am still waiting to hear from them.

    I made a small batch of whole strawberries in vanilla syrup from Preserving by the Pint (Food in Jars newer book). I missed preserving any strawberries from the Florida strawberry season, but California strawberries were on sale for $1.29 a pound that I bought during one of my mystery shops. The small batch will be nice to try and then I’ll know if I want to make a lot next year during Florida’s strawberry season.

    I cashed in Kelloggs Family rewards for a $5 Lowe’s gift card.

    Have a great week ladies!

  7. Brandy, thank you for all you do. Did you know that with a teacher’s ID card (I have a HSLDA homeschool teacher card) you can get a teacher’s discount card at JoAnn’s Fabtic. The card is offered to homeschoolers and it is a 15% discount on purchases. This discount applies to all regular and sale items but not on purchases made with another coupon.

  8. My husband picked up some free speakers from Craigslist to hook up to the TV in the “girl cave” (it is actuallyas we call it. He seemed to think we needed surround sound out there 🙂
    We sold several more parts from a junked pop up camper and used the money for our stay at the airshow.
    We ate almost entirely from the freezer/pantry last week and only had to purchase milk.
    I discovered handful after handful of Japanese Beetle grubs in my pepper and cauliflower raised beds and fed them all to my chickens and ducks – gross but it cut back on the commercial feed they ate that day! I also saved all of the cobs and uneaten sweet corn we had at my inlaws home and gave that to them. Any scraps cuts down on my feed bill! I also have fed back any cracked eggs to them as well.
    I froze 5 dozen eggs (from my birds) for the winter when they aren’t laying as well.
    I used dowels and screw eyes in place of curtain rods for the bus for the time being. We will get rods eventually when we find a really good bargain.
    I used a sheet left from a bed size we no longer use for a privacy curtain in “the bus” (shuttle bus converted to an RV).
    I used some surprise points from Kmart to purchase a non stick frying pan for the bus
    My husband used up several more pieces of free wood to finish the shelves in the pantry cupboard of the bus.
    I picked enough pea pods to use in a stir fry + used a small new onion from the garden. I also started carrots and beets for the fall garden.
    I made banana bread from the really ripe ones I had thrown into the freezer last week when I just didn’t have the time to bake.
    I picked more mulberries – I think I finally have enough to do a batch of jam (mulberry/strawberry mixed)
    I picked up a sample size of paint to paint the antique window (free off Craigslist) I am going to use for a picture frame – One large opening will be family photos and the other opening will have the saying “Believe there is good in the world” with the letters that spell out “Be the Good” highlighted.

  9. I have to admit, Brandy, that I have never used Skype either. I’m sure it is easy to use, I just never had a need to use it. All of our friends and family live close enough to easily visit.

    A while back, I had asked about your health care in the U.S. and many explained how one illness could be a financial ruin for a family. Well, one day my husband told me that he went out and bought an ankle brace because he was having pain in his ankle. It made me mad and I told him that we are lucky to live in Canada where we have good health care, so he should get his butt to the Dr.’s and get it checked instead of self treating. So he did and told the Dr. what I said. The Dr. agreed with me and ordered x-rays and gave him a prescription to help with the inflammation. Then yesterday, we received a call from my SIL that my MIL was at the emerg and we should come. She had a cut on her toe which became severely infected, so she went to the hospital thinking they would give her antibiotics and send her home. She has diabetes and was told that she should have seen a Dr. earlier because now she has to have her toe amputated. Apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

    Anyways here is my frugal accomplishments of this week:
    *My husband worked extra time again this past week to cover while the kitchen manager (at the restaurant where he works) was in mourning. His 8 year old niece passed away from a brain tumour…very sad.

    *Received a bunch of free hugs from coworkers on “National hug a museum worker day”. Always a nice way to start your work day!

    *Learned how to make fire with flint rock and steel striker at work. I have requested a lesson on how to make the charred cloth we use with the flint and steel to catch the spark. It isn’t hard, but I learn best by being shown, which allows me the opportunity to ask questions at the same time. Hopefully someone can show me sometime this summer.

    *Finally pulled out some of the spent spinach from the garden and replaced it with carrot seeds and leaf lettuce seeds. In some areas, I planted around the bolted spinach that I left to harvest seeds from. It might take a while to dry out the seed heads, as we’ve had so much rain this year. In fact, I finished my gardening just in time before it started to rain again. I think I could count on one hand how many times we have actually had to water the gardens this year so far. We’d like some sunshine to go with this rain, please!

    *Attended a free concert in the evening on Canada Day, featuring an Eagles tribute band called “Hotel California”. I knew all the songs and enjoyed it immensely. We ate homemade pizza before going, and took snacks from home for the evening. My daughter received a free Frisbee, a reusable shopping bag, an iPod/cell phone holder with a zippered pocket for putting money or cards in, and a light up key chain at the event. I received $15 worth of credit for slot machines at certain gambling establishments in Ontario. I think I will give that to my MIL as she like to do that kind of thing and I don’t. After the concert, we watched the free fireworks display before heading home.

    *Bought another flat of strawberries, but they went up in price to $30 a flat. I made 4 pints and 1 half-pint of Strawberry Rhubarb jam (using no-sugar needed pectin and 1 cup of honey per batch). There wasn’t quite enough left to make another batch of just strawberry, so I mixed in a small amount of peaches to top up the fruit (again used no-sugar needed pectin with ½ cup of honey and ½ cup of maple syrup). It made 2 pints and 1 half-pint of strawberry peach jam. That’s all the strawberry jam I will make this year. Raspberry season is next!

    *I tried out my new tattler lids this round of jam making which I was quite pleased with. They were very easy to use. Tattler lids are a bit pricy to buy (I paid $10 for 12 complete lids at Canadian Tire, for those who live in Canada) but I like that they are reusable. I figure they were worth the initial investment if it means I don’t have to keep buying large quantities of canning lids every year.

    I will be busy this week visiting my MIL in the hospital while still trying to work. We’re hoping everything goes well. Hope everyone else has a wonderful week!

  10. We downszied our kitchen table and I wanted a nice table cloth for the 4th. Kohl’s had 60 % off their 4th of July items. The cloth I wanted was marked down to around $10. I had a kohl’s cash from purchasing clothing items that were on a really good sale for $10 and 15% off. I got the tablecloth and a new kitchen towel for less than $2.00. I was happy. I know your posts inspire me when my husband empties the dehumidifier and I think I should save the water only to remember we don’t live in the desert and my garden is waterlogged already. 🙂 We have had an abundance of rain. Wish I could send you some!!! I love the decorations on your door. Skyping is awesome. Have a wonderful day.

  11. I forgot, #1 those peaches look fantastic and I like the patriotic doors. Also, we donated things to Goodwill and got almost a 100 dollar tax write off, we are aiming for 1,000 dollars in deductions from Goodwill coupled with our tithing to help pad our tax return.

  12. I made a triple batch of your laundry detergent recipe because I’m having a baby sometime this month and we have a toddler and it suddenly dawned on me that I probably won’t be able to sit down and grate bar soap for a few months. I made a batch of breakfast sandwiches for the freezer, so I can grab breakfast quickly when I have my hands full with a newborn. I can’t think of too much else I’ve done frugally, as I’ve been trying to rest up as much as I can before the baby is born.

  13. Brandy,

    I would say the cheapest way to mail anything to Europe is if the recipient knew someone on a US military base and it could be sent to him/her via USPS. Otherwise, it’s very expensive, according to what I learned by Googling “least expensive way to mail something from US to Europe.”

    As we live in a different part of the world at any given time, we have unlocked iPhones, so we use FaceTime quite often. Skype is positively wonderful for us as missionaries. Just think of all the missionaries who lived overseas decades ago and didn’t get to speak to or even “hear from” their beloveds until a ship brought in a letter or parcel. We’re so blessed today! Skype’s free, but I do know many who have Magic Jack on their landlines. Dad does. Costs him $100 for four years of calling anywhere in the world. Marvelous.

    To save money this week (we’ve been on furlough since January here on the US mainland), I got to do all our laundry Saturday evening at a church’s evangelist’s quarters where we stayed. The pastor told us they had just installed the new washer/dryer stackable unit the previous weekend. Saved me from going to the laundromat ($2 per wash/25 cents per six minutes of drying). It was nice to “chill” in the evangelist’s quarters while I did my laundry. What a blessing.

    You know what I’ve noticed about all the posts people write on being frugal, their frugal tasks, their frugal accomplishments? Not a single complaint unless it’s related to a lesson they learned about frugality. Only gratitude and thanks. I just love that!

    We got both Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon naps this week. Delicious!

    I found some wonderful tops at thrift stores last week that will travel well in my luggage, plus a Wally Bag-brand garment bag identical to the one I’ve used for more than seven years: $1.99. Online, they’re $60+. Later this month we’re headed to Manila/Malaysia for a week, so I will be packing the “new” tops!

    With all the traveling, I was only able to prepare one meal in our Crock Pot last week in our RV, the Li’l Dutchgirl. My husband and I devoured our delicious home-cooked meal of cubed steaks which make their own gravy under a can of mushroom soup (no water), “baked” potatoes (in a Corelle bowl which rested atop the steaks in the Crock Pot) and a bright, crunchy salad filled with color– yellow bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, red onion slivers and tomatoes.

    I shared today on my blog, KelleyHighway.blogspot the birthday card I backstitched, and how I had selected a greeting card that cost $4, but then found a package of card stock for the same price. I bought the card stock instead and went home and made my own birthday card, costing four cents! To me, there’s nothing like handmade.

    I sewed a beautiful dress to go under a lovely, lacy piece I’d found on Guam at a Salvation Army last year ($2). My husband saw me trying on my new outfit for fitting and said, “Whoa. You look nice in that! Where did you get that?” I’ve had the lace overdress for more than a year and also have thrifted NEW Bandolina (Nine West brand) heels to wear with it in the perfect color, champagne, for a monochromatic look. I just need a clutch and my outfit’s ready for the cruise we were invited to (our first!) in October in celebration of our good friends’ Golden Anniversary. (My husband has stashed money away for this event for more than a year so paid cash for our tickets, plus we’ll fly to Los Angeles using air miles.) I still can’t believe I found this overdress at a thrift store! TWO DOLLARS! The dress I made under it was made for 1/2 price and even the thread and zipper were on sale as well. The interfacing I added to the neck facing was gleaned from two unopened packages of interfacing I bought for 50 cents at a thrift store, too.

    For the Golden Anniversary gift, I started making the couple a cross stitched Christmas tree ornament that I love to make for these occasions. I have everything I need for it: Aida, floss, ribbon to hang it from the tree. I can make it on the plane. Of course the gift will be boxed and wrapped beautifully and my own hand stitched card will accompany it. Hmm! Can’t wait to make the card too! No chance of anyone else giving them an anniversary gift just like mine, is there?

    My lifestyle of no refined sugars, no potatoes or rice, no processed foods, no flour foods of any kind, etc. is paying off. I feel wonderful and have lost 19 pounds without extra exercise or anything like that. Having the vocal cord polyp removed back in April was one of the best things that happened to me this year, with the lifestyle changes as a result. These changes will save untold dollars in doctor bills, I believe.

    Another way good habits save us money is by dental flossing. A molar crown fell off earlier this year and had to be recemented. The dentist put it in a different place from where it was previously and food now becomes trapped more often between it and the tooth next to it. Now I’m flossing (and brushing more!) after every single meal. Certainly this is going to benefit my dental health, physically and financially! I flossed before, but it’s a regular habit now, and I know my hygienist is going to give me a gold star!

    Hope these comments didn’t go overboard, Brandy! Lol! I had fun with them. A smile’s on my face and my heart feels full. God is so good! Everything I have He gave me, and I want to show Him a grateful heart.

    And by the way, I adore your “wreaths” hanging to greet folks on the front of your home. Kindly share if you’ve posted how you made them, and if you haven’t, tell us where you got those lovelies. Thirty-five years ago my husband proposed to me on July 4, and, though a little late, I decided from here on out, July 4 needs to be celebrated for that historical family fact as well! In a bigger way!

    Hugs and happy highways, Brandy!

    P.S. Your post needs a spell-check, dear. I tell you this not to be mean but because it’s a personal thing of mine when no one tells me about something on my blog post(s) that needs corrected.

  14. So glad you discovered Skype! While our daughter was in Korea (two years with the Air Force) it helped us stay close and share many things that can’t be shared in a letter, like tours of the house. You must live near all your family to not need long distance calling. I have never lived near my parents and could not have done without long distance, even with letters. You continue to be an inspiration to many. Thanks for your faith, optimism and enthusiasm.

  15. The garden has continued to keep me busy this past week. We did a lot more weeding. I began to attack the wild blackberry bushes that have invaded my berry rows. For now, I am just cutting them out. I’ve been working on things early in the morning or in the evenings because it’s been very warm (for us) around here lately.

    I’ve harvested raspberries and canned 8 pints. My kids love to eat them in a bowl, canned, even though it’s not recommended as a fruit that holds up well. I froze several quarts of boisenberries, and a few raspberries and strawberries. We went u-picking blueberries and froze 21 pints and ate a lot. I have to pick the berries early in the morning every few days. The heat is drying up the raspberries, especially, so I’m having to stay on top of it or they shrivel up and I lose them.

    We are eating lettuce like crazy. The heat is causing it to bolt. I’m on my 3rd planting already. It doesn’t stay good for very long and the chickens get the bitter leftovers. I’ve tried planting new, but it isn’t coming up well. I planted some more last night. My boc choi is bolting, but we’ve eaten a lot of it. I got a few snow peas yesterday and the first 2 yellow zucchini. There have been a very few tomatoes.

    We stayed home on the 4th. We usually go to a parade nearby, but felt that it would be too hot to enjoy it this year. Instead, we worked hard on the flowerbeds and got them in shape in the early morning. After that, we just did whatever we wanted. I made a berry tart and some potato salad and my husband barbequed. He got a few fireworks for the younger kids and they did those. Simple, but fun.

    I got a few items from JoAnn’s with my 20% off coupon. I got some of the patterns that were 5 for $7. I’ve been working with the kids, helping them with their sewing projects for the county fair. I hope to get a little sewing of my own done this week and some other household projects, since I will only work a very little.

    My husband and I went on a little date while the kids were in a dance class. We ate at Burgerville instead of a “real” restaurant. We like it and it cost less. Then we picked up a few groceries.

    The 15 year old daughter was invited to go square dancing with friends. It cost a dollar. She had a blast and wants to go again. It surprised me that there is a bunch of teens who get together to square dance, but they do!

  16. Using the “phone” on Facebook is amazing. We learned about it when my daughter studied abroad last year. It was amazing!

  17. I have not tried skype. We don’t have overseas friends or family, and the grandparents are not set up to use it, but it sounds like it is a wonderful solution for you! I’m so glad you gave it a try!

    I have a post I can share with my frugal accomplishments and some neat pictures from our visit to the Renaissance Festival. It is here if you would like to see!

    The garden is keeping me busy (in a good way!) these days, and we are enjoying summertime. We have made some new friends of late and that is nice, of course!

    I have noticed, though, that we have habits that are different from some people – taking along water/snacks when we go somewhere, the ways we spend our days, etc…that save us money because we’ve developed them as our automatic habits. I am grateful that we have ‘our ways’, because they are what allows me to stay home with our daughter while she is growing up! Thank you for all the inspiration you provide, too!

  18. We drive back and forth from our smallish college town to ‘the city’ (45 minutes) where we go to church and where our play therapist and doctors are for the kids. Earlier this year I bought a square rolling cooler. I bought it because it is a full sized cooler, but it fits into one of our van seats. We have a 14 passenger Ford van that has actual bucket seats…so it is sort of hard to get a cooler in and out. Anyway, long story short, that cooler has been used a BUNCH already this summer! This weekend the air conditioning went out at our rental house. The rental house is only about 10 minutes from our church…so we combined trips went to Saturday night service and then David was able to work on the air at the rental while the kids and I had a picnic supper in the van. Which is awesome because we had three foster children with us plus our five…and that would have been quite expensive, time consuming and frustrating to go through a drive through with that many kids! It only took my daughters and I about 20 minutes to prepare and pack our dinner for ten. LOL

  19. We were able to celebrate the 4th with a parade and picnic with friends, and by attending a free fireworks event that evening, where my husband played Taps during a veterans recognition ceremony.
    Both a pumpkin plant and a sprouted avocado seed came up volunteer in the compost, so we transplanted those to the garden area to see if they’ll prosper there.
    We are also planning our fall garden, especially since this year’s spring/summer garden has been a huge disappointment. Last year we added about 8 inches of rich, composted matter that we’d been tending for a couple of years into the garden. We didn’t have enough new compost built up for use this spring, so I’m being especially mindful to tend to it.
    While this doesn’t qualify as frugal initially to me, perhaps in the long run it will. My son is also working on his cycling merit badge (he just needs to change a bike tire), and to prepare for the 50 mile ride we contacted a friend who is a long-distance bike rider to see if he and his son were participating in a local upcoming ride (mainly to see if Tyler would be interested in going to keep Connor company). It ended up that an additional 7 friends created a mini bike riding club and went along, and one of them had a very expensive bicycle he let my husband use for the ride; the bicycles we have were certainly not purchased from top-notch cycling stores but rather the local Walmart. In training for the 50-mile ride my husband has discovered a new-found hobby – he came home from each outing thoroughly invigorated and renewed (and with a toned-up torso). After the ride, our friend then offered to sell his $5000 bike to my husband for $500 – 1/10th the value of the bicycle. Jack is one of the most generous and giving people we know; my husband once said everything Jack has he shares with others. He’s been blessed financially in a tremendous way, and offering his bicycle for such a small fraction of the cost is his way of helping my husband get an elite item that we’d never, ever attempt to buy on our own. We haven’t purchased it yet, but are selling some unused items we have so that we can do so (since I definitely do not think it qualifies as an emergency fund withdrawal, and honestly I had no idea bikes even cost a four-digit amount!). Raising the money has jump-started a needed decluttering frenzy, since we are already considering downsizing after our youngest goes away to college next year.

  20. Have you looked into magic jack? We use it and love it. You get local calls, long distance and voice mail for $35/year. But it is $99 (total so just under $20 a year) if you sign up for 5 years. We have used it for several years and love it. I think it is $60ish for the thing that plugs into your modem but that includes your first year of service. If you ever want to get a home phone again, that is the way to go.

  21. Hung laundry to dry inside to save $ & to help cool the house through evaporation, especially during the triple digit heat. Laundry requires heat to evaporate the water in the clothes, & that heat can come from the dryer, or from the hot air upstairs in the house. I can cool the upstairs area (3 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms) about 4-5 degrees by hanging a load of laundry in the doorways on hangers for an hour or so (they dry really fast). I do run a small fan on low to keep the air moving, but we do that whether the laundry is hanging up or not. It also increases the humidity enough to help prevent the Airwave feature of the NEST thermostat from coming on, since I prefer not to use that.

    Harvested red currants, white currants, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries & rhubarb. Picked the last of the white currants & the red currants for this year. We only had 2 cups of white currants & 7 cups of red currants, which is less than a third of what we picked last year. I think the triple digit heat during the last week of June did them in. In addition, the birds found the red currants, so next year I will net the bushes.

    Stewed some of the rhubarb with a handful of red currants or a couple of chopped strawberries (for deeper pink color), then strained it & froze the juice in Ice Tup containers without the sticks, to make large ice cubes, since my grandson is using our ice cube trays for post-surgical ice right now. When all the rhubarb juice was frozen, I popped them out & stored the cubes in a freezer zip bag. Used leftover strawberry yogurt mixed with plain yogurt to fill 9 Ice Tups with sticks, & put them back in the freezer.

    Used reclaimed water from the kitchen sink & the buckets under the downspouts on the berry beds. We had a small amount of overnight rain, which was a wonderful blessing, & I used the water from the downspouts on the blackberry bed.

    Continued to sew the web straps onto the patio swing to make it useable again. About half of the straps on the seat portion are sewn. I can only do this after the sun goes down at night, because during the day it is too hot to sew in the sun, & I try to stay inside during the heat of the day when it is over 100 degrees. I would like to have a covered patio for that reason, but it is not in the budget right now.

    Had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon who did the knee replacements I had last year. My hip was hurting & I needed to rule out the need for a hip replacement, which he did. The good news is that my hips are fine. The bad news is that my right sciatic nerve is irritated. I know that walking makes it feel better, but I was reluctant to increase my walking, because I was afraid I was grinding bone on bone in the hip. Now that I know that is not the case, I can walk more, which is probably the most frugal way for me to resolve the sciatica.

    Ate all meals at home.

    Watered in the early morning or late at night during the triple digit heat to help prevent evaporation of the water before it hit the ground.

    Used dried grass clippings to mulch in the garden beds to reduce evaporation, so they would need less water. Sent 2 large bags of clippings home with my youngest daughter to use in her community garden.

    Finished sewing the webbing straps onto the seat area of the patio swing. I have 3 of the 5 long straps sewn onto the back, & all the shorter crosspieces for the swing back are cut. Half of them are also prepped with the sewn triangle on each end. The cooler weather with intermittent rain on Saturday allowed me to make a lot of progress on this, but I have to be careful how much I do at once, or I irritate my right sciatic nerve.

    Completed a pine cone survey.

    Purchased 10 one-pound packages of ground beef from the bargain basket for $2 each. These went into the freezer. I also bought a honey/mustard pork loin from the bargain basket marked down steeply to $4, & that went into the crockpot for dinner that night.

  22. Skype’s pretty amazing. My grandchildren live over a thousand miles away and it helps me have some kind of contact with them. Your canned peaches are beautiful! Can’t wait for them to ripen in our area.

    For this week:

    Knitted a cowl from a free pattern on line.

    Bought two large heads of cabbage (about 8 lbs. each) from the bulk food store for 99 cents each and canned 8 pints from one. Will make sauerkraut from the other.

    Bought enough wool yarn for $3 from a yard sale to knit a shawl that I’ve wanted to knit for a while.

    Vacationed at home.

    Made an amazing coconut-lime cauliflower dish from our own cauliflowers.

    Harvested peas, strawberries, herbs and cauliflower from the garden.

    Used grey water to flush the toilets and to water the flowers.

    Did the usual hanging the clothes on the line, eating from the pantry and garden, etc.

  23. I chuckled when I read your comments about the phone. I’ve never been much of a talker on the phone either. I prefer to visit in person. I can see how Skype could be a good thing, especially with friends and family in foreign places. I’ve never used it, and didn’t know it was free, so thanks for sharing about it. After your last post, I checked on our peaches, and they still have a ways to go. I love the idea of peach and yogurt popsicles. Another good use besides canning for those less than perfect ones, though yours look gorgeous. Probably won’t use that idea this year, though. I think we only have a grand total of 6 or 7 peaches. A late frost did most of them in. You inspired me last week to dehydrate some carrots. I had gotten the dehydrator out, and was about to start cutting, when I went to look for directions, so I’d be cutting them the right width. I was surprised to find I had to blanche them first, which I didn’t remember doing with anything I had dried before. It was almost time to start dinner, and I had thought I could chop a dehydrator full. When I saw the bit about blanching, I decided it would need to wait for another day, so it’s on my list for this week. I hope you’ll share apron photos when you’re finished!

  24. Brandy how did you make the things for your front door. I have been looking all over pintrest and other sites. I can’t find out how to make those. They look simple.

  25. I canned 7 quarts of black beans and 5 quarts of white beans. I’m trying to get a three month supply canned. I want to have a three month supply of shelf stable products canned. My goal is to have it by the end of the summer.

    I made bread, lemon poppyseed muffins, and lemon cranberry granola.

    The biggest thing I’m working on now is a two year supply of food. I am going to set monthly goals and add two years worth of food to our current food storage. I hope I can do this as quickly as I would like. Now that I have a job I will have extra money for food storage and for getting out of debt.

  26. Laurie,

    I didn’t blanch mine first–but that could explain why mine are losing color! I’ll try that next time and see if it makes a difference. Mine taste just fine, however.

    I already had purchased dried, sliced carrots, so I grated mine and then dried them. I could have left them like that, but I decided to run them through the blender to powder them. They can be easily used to thicken sauces and soups this way, or just to make a soup. The great thing is that they take ups VERY little room like this.

  27. Welcome to the world of Skype! It is fantastic! I live far from all of my family and I have nieces and nephews who have only met me via Skype. When my husband was in Iraq, we used Skype all the time! It is fantastic! I also use google voice, which allows me to make free calls (from my cell phone) to my family’s cell phones and landlines, in Canada so if they aren’t at their computer to Skype I can still talk to them. I don’t know if google voice is free to European countries, but it might be worth looking into.

    We had an extremely frugal week! My husband is a youth pastor and this week was their camp. I went along as a chaperone (which I will get paid for doing). The camp provided all meals, so we saved money by not having to cook meals for 6 days. That also meant I didn’t do any grocery shopping for the week. Also with us being gone for 6 days, that is 6 days that our lights weren’t on and nobody was using the water in our house so I expect the utility bills to be a little less this month. I made sure to unplug everything that wasn’t essential before we left. We drove in the church bus, so we didn’t use our cars at all for the week, thus saving us gas. It’s amazing how much the savings add up once I start thinking about them.

    For July 4th we attended a BBQ at a friend’s house. I brought a huge watermelon that I bought for $3! We still have plenty left over and I know we won’t eat it all, so if anyone has ideas on how to use it, I would appreciate hearing them. I also made a trifle using ingredients I had on hand.

  28. These were SO easy.

    I used this huge ribbon that my mother-in-law gave to me (she let me have my pick of her sewing supplies a year before she died). Both edges of the ribbon are wired. I accordion folded the ribbon, ironing it each time to set the pleats. I checked the length when I though I had it long enough by making a circle with it by holding one end. It wasn’t long enough so I made more. I don’t know how long the spool was, but it took the entire spool for both, and I just got very lucky that I happened to have chosen a length that was half the spool. If I were to make these from something else I would cut the ribbon in half first next time. You do have some give in how big it is; it just depends on how close together you want the pleats to be spaced.

    I then sewed through one end of the ribbon. I sewed through it twice, close to each edge, and pulled it tight to make the circle. I sewed it by hand with a long thread.

    I then sewed the edges closed by hand on the backside.

    I sewed another ribbon in half for the hanger, and then sewed it inside the edge of of of the pleats (also by hand). The pleat is stitched closed just at that spot.

  29. I do have a home phone, but it’s local calls only. I did consider seriously getting rid of my home phone at one point and just going without a phone when things were beyond tight in 2011 and 2012. I just have a regular cordless phone at home. I have heard of Magic jack, but I read various reviews and never felt that it was for us.

  30. Michelle,

    Make watermelon sorbet with it! Go to my recipes under cook–recipes–desserts and then click on honeydew sorbet. Change it out to watermelon instead–so refreshing and it can stay in your freezer until you are ready to use it.

  31. What a great post….I had no idea that you did not have to have a long distance carrier. I currently have a phone company for my local calls and another for my long distance. BUT over time the long distance carrier has added a bunch of junk fees and sometimes the fees cost more than the calls we make. How much do the “calling cards” go for?

  32. I do not know if you can still buy calling cards! I bought mine at Sam’s Club over 10 years ago. I have looked recently and I don’t know if you can still buy them. I couldn’t find them anywhere! I imagine it is because so many people have a cell phone.

    Those fees kept going up on my phone bill, too, which is part of why I got rid of long distance in the first place.

    I don’t know if you could buy a cell phone and get prepaid minutes for cheaper now, instead of the calling card. I think that might be the current option. I know some of my readers do that and it doesn’t matter what area code they call. Hopefully those who do that can tell you which service they use and how much they pay, including any fees and taxes.

  33. Your best bet for shipping is via USPS. Unless you are a commercial shipper, carriers such as FedEx, UPS and DHL are much more expensive. All international shipping is now air mail. There is no longer any surface mail. You can ship up to 4lbs via First Class and it will be your least expensive option. Over 4 pounds requires a shipping upgrade to Priority Mail. Shipping costs to European countries varies but a 1 pound package sent to Denmark will be approximately $16.

    You can see exactly how much it will cost you by using the USPS.COM online label shipping process. If you purchase and print your label online, I believe you save about 10% over purchasing it at the post office. You can use regular paper and tape it to the box. You don’t need purchase special labels or paper. If you are sending a heavy box (over 4 pounds) that requires customs forms, you can print the customs forms at home, too, but you’ll need to pick up a free clear plastic customs form envelope at the post office.

    I hope that helps.

  34. I don’t know that you must blanch them first. While it may be for a better outcome, I’ve dehydrated carrots without blanching. We sliced them pretty thin, which may have made a difference. They (re)hydrate perfectly in soups and stews.

  35. Becky, did yours lose color? I dried mine in slices before without blanching and they never lost color. This time they did after I powdered them. I don’t know that I’ll blanch mine in the future, but I am curious about the color loss.

  36. That is so great about you being able to talk to your friends with Skype. I used to live in Europe and still have lots of friends there, and Skype has been a blessing for keeping in touch. I also have a friend in Greece who doesn’t have a computer, so I buy Skype credit to call her on her home phone. It works just like a calling card and $10 in credit goes a long way.

    As for mailing packages overseas, I have not found an inexpensive way to do it. I used to use the USPS flat rate Priority envelopes to send magazines to a friend in Holland, but the postage on this has risen significantly over the last few years (I think it’s $25 now, up from about $13 nine years ago). I usually keep packages small and light, which keeps the postage down. I send far fewer things now than I used to. Keep in mind if you do send gifts and the value is over a certain amount, the recipient may have to pay duty on them. I believe you can send books cheaply using Media Mail, but that’s the only thing I know of.

    Frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – Cleaned out my small chest freezer. There were some items in there from 2013 so I am working on using those up.
    – A friend gave me a small container of shea butter because she was allergic to it. I like to make creams and scrubs, so this will be useful to me.
    – Made hand cream from tallow that had been in the freezer. The process is to render the tallow and add a small amount of olive oil. This makes the best hand cream I have ever used, and it keeps for a long time and goes a long way. If you don’t like the smell of tallow, you can add essential oil (the tallow smell doesn’t bother me).
    – Made jerky, mayonnaise, kombucha, water kefir, Swiss chard soup (using up a bunch of other veggies in the process), bone broth, lentil salad, beet salad, and a bunch of other things. I made a kombucha starter kit (including a gallon jar I had) for a friend of mine, who was very happy to receive it. She insisted on paying me, which was nice of her but not necessary.
    – Attended a 4th of July barbecue with my husband and enjoyed seeing friends and fireworks.
    – Harvested a few tomatoes, onions and my first patty pan squash from the garden (very early). A friend harvested all her onions, and she didn’t want the green tops, so I took them home. Now I have eight quart bags of green onion tops in the freezer, which I use when making broth.
    – Heeded the advice from last week about stocking up, so I am working on adding to our food storage.
    – It continues to be hot for our area. Usually the summer months have very low electricity bills (we don’t have air conditioning). We have several fans running when we are here, and close up the house during the day and open it up in the morning and evening.
    – Bought a flat of blueberries a local blueberry farm and made blueberry jam. Froze a bunch of berries too.

    Hope everyone else had a good week.

  37. Yes, Skype is great and I use it often to speak with my family and friends back in Poland.
    Free – is the best part!

    I also send packages to Europe (Poland) often and we have a ‘special’ parcel service that ships independently (of post office or FedEx). It is quite cheap, for example for 40 pounds box I would pay around $28 (I actually sent a couple this past week). Try searching online for cheap parcel services to specific European countries.
    I had some frugal accomplishments last week as well – full list here: 🙂

    Thank you for keeping me focused on being frugal.

  38. Thanks, Brandy, for hosting this weekly forum that gives me an opportunity to learn from others and to share what I’ve learned. And isn’t Skype wonderful? We use it to stay in touch with our son when he is away at university.

    I used items I had on hand to make giant dice for my teenagers to play a game out on the deck. My daughter was particularly surprised and delighted.

    My husband pulled weeds in the front flower bed and I pulled weeds in the vegetable beds. I planted green beans to replace a failed first planting.

    I used rewards cash from my shopping loyalty card to purchase a new pair of shoes for my husband and a new shirt for myself for no cost out of pocket. The shirt will mix and match with what is already in my wardrobe to give me a couple of new outfits.

    I purchased a couple of perennials on clearance at the garden center and planted them in my front flower bed. These should provide future flowers for cutting to bring inside.

    I shared about my successes and failures, including a tutorial for the giant dice, at

  39. I wondered if you blanched them, Brandy, so thanks for answering that. I’ll be interested to see if Becky’s keep their color. I’ll have to see how I best like to use them. If powdered, I don’t think it would make much difference, but otherwise it might be nice to have orange bits in soups, etc. I’m quickly running out of pantry space, so something that takes up little room is a lovely thing. Forgot to say I’m joining in here:

  40. Kelley,

    First, thank you for the spell check comment. I hope I caught everything! I am a terrible typist and make all kinds of typos, though I am very good at spelling. I forgot to check the post when I finished it at 2 am this morning. My blog spell check quit working a while back so if I forget to reread the post there will definitely be mistakes!

    Second, I answered how to make the medallions in a comment below as a reply to Robert. They were VERY easy and fast!

  41. Thank you! One of my friends just moved back to France after living in Poland for a long time. He is the one I spoke to (in Poland) when I used up most of the rest of my calling card minutes. It was fun to visit with him this week.

  42. Thanks so much for the suggestion! I just made two batches and they are in the freezer right now. I will probably make one more batch; we still have a lot of watermelon left! I can’t wait to try the sorbet!

  43. I dont know if its frugal but freeing. I starting to decluttering the house.
    My daughter got a month of Martial Arts for free (saving 155)
    camping for free(in natiional forrest no water or electricity)
    eating leftovers
    hanging out laundry
    staying out of stores
    hubby’s uncle grill steaks for us with baked potatoes

  44. We picked blackberries for free through the gleaning club. I made two pies and the rest got frozen. Id like to make syrup with them later. Since we cut our cable and my son LOVES shark week, we found out they have the last three years on Hulu, so we’ve been watching those

    P.s. I have yet to try Skype.

  45. Regarding the phone, and things you might consider, we purchased an Ooma unit. The up-front cost for the unit was about $200, but each year, we pay only about $35 in FCC taxes. Our phone company charges about $35 per month, so it paid for itself quickly. We have had it for at least five years now. You can use the old phone number for a one-time fee, but we decided to take a new number (no charge). It works for local and for long distance, but there are fees for international calls, if I recall. Ooma is a VOIP (voice over internet protocol), so if your internet is down, your phone will not work. It has been a real money saver for us. 🙂

  46. My daughter’s 7th birthday was on July 4th and we had an inexpensive celebration for her. I decorated the house using things I already had (many of them handmade by me). We met family at a casual restaurant for lunch (everyone paid for their own meal) and then we went to a park that has a fantastic free “old fashioned” 4th of July celebration. There were free crafts for the kids and games for 50 cents. We rode the steam train using our year passes (which are very inexpensive). My mom bought the kids snow cones. Then we went back home for homemade gluten free chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. My daughter wore a new (red, white, and blue) dress that I sewed for her and my oldest son wore new shorts that I sewed for him (I made new pants for my toddler, but he refused to wear them, ha)!

    We all checked out several books from the library.

    I sorted through all of my seeds and decided on some things that I can plant right now (melons, pumpkins, basil, beans, summer and winter squash). I bought one tomato seedling. My son helped me start to prepare one of the empty garden beds for planting. I harvested basil and used some fresh in last night’s dinner and will dry some.

    A friend gave me a breadmaker we baked one loaf of cinnamon raisin bread and one loaf of gluten free cinnamon quick bread (the big advantage for the latter was not having to heat up the house baking it in the oven). The kids helped and they were thrilled with how they both turned out.

    I helped the kids tie dye some t-shirts using a kit that my daughter got for her birthday.

  47. I recently got OOMA. I LOVE it. You have to pay for their device, but then you only pay taxes month to month, and you can use the phones you already have. I think our monthly bill in Iowa is $3.43. It is unlimited everything. You can do a check to see what the taxes are in your area to see if it is worth it. (You can also transfer your phone number in some areas if that is a concern.)

  48. I dehydrate watermelon. It taste like candy when it’s done!! My elderly neighbor gave my kids some last year and that was on my list to do this summer. Three watermelons are already done with more coming from the garden.

  49. These regulations are for importing seeds (or ordering online) but I think they are good guidelines in general. As for gifts, they can be accepted usually without any fees, taxes or such when the value of the gift is less than 45 € (approx 48 USD)

  50. I used to use Skype several years ago to talk to my best friend for free. It was pretty neat. Last week:
    -I did not order lunch with my co-workers. They ordered lunch THREE TIMES last week! I ate the food I brought from home.
    -Scored some really good deals using coupons and matching with sales: 20 packs of Carl buddig lunch meat for $1.00 oop, 4 bottles of All laundry soap for.49 cents each, 2 bars of Ivory soap for free, 64 oz bottles of Old Orchard fruit juice for .50 cents each (purchased 4 bottles), 4 packages hot dogs for .33 each limit 4 ( I purchased 4).
    -What I needed but did not have coupons for I purchased at Aldi, mostly produce.
    -Received free coffee and donuts at work during a meeting
    -My cat requires special pet food from our Vet’s office, which is in the city my mother lives in (I am about 45 minutes away). I paid for the cat food over the phone and my mom brought it to our house when she visited, saving me gas and time.
    -Took my daughter to a birthday party for a co-workers daughter. There was a huge bouncy house and food. Free entertainment.
    -I signed up for “Plenti” to use at the Mobil gas station by our house. We don’t have the other locations for rewards points in our area. It was free and I can earn points when I get gas.
    -Used water from our small swimming pool ( blow up kind, no chemicals) to water plants outside.
    -Continue to use saved water (from rinsing, cups, etc) to water plants outside and inside. I have a bucket by the sink now for this purpose.
    -Put money into savings and money into a fund for my son and daughter in law for when they have the baby in about 5 weeks! This is a surprise present for them, which will be grately appreciated during her time off from work.
    -watched free shows using youtube and amazon. We still do not have cable and love it! My husband is a big fan of the reality show “Big Brother” which we watch using an antenae.
    -we still have not run our central air. We shut the windows and drapes during the day when it’s hot and so far our house has stayed pretty cool. We run fans when we are in the room only.
    -I didn’t bake anything last week, I d id not want to heat up the house. It’s difficult enough making dinner using the stove. My husband hates the crockpot and typically won’t use it.
    -printed coupons from at home. Our newspaper had no inserts due to the holidays.
    That’s all I can remember. Have a great week!

  51. Miriam,

    I specifically mentioned to him the seeds I sent to you. He said a friend of his got hit with a huge fine, so he wanted to make sure everything was approved. I am thinking to just send them to him like I sent them to you. I also want to send flower seeds so we need to make sure they are okay. The funny thing is I read they are native to Europe.

  52. I have to admit, I don’t Skype, but the only one I would really want to talk to on Skype would be my step-mom and I talk to her on the phone every day, so I’m not sure if it would be worth it. Talking to people in other countries though. That sounds so cool! I had a penpal for 20 years. Wish I’d gotten to talk to him on Skype before we lost touch.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  53. You can still buy phonecards at drugstores such as CVS and Walgreen’s. They keep them behind the register more often than not.

  54. Hi Brandi your “wreaths” on the door are beautiful, and I’m very excited that you joined the land of Skype. I love using it to talk to family members We had a very frugal week:

    -Most importantly, garden update! Everything is growing, growing, growing! I wish I could post a picture of my watermelon plant. It is doing FABULOUS! The peppers have a handful of flowers, and even some mysterious seeds have started sprouting -I think its okra- where I thought nothing would come up. The eggplants are growing like wildfire, and I even have some corn coming to fruition. We have been getting rain that has been an absolute blessing. I’ve been able to turn off my sprinklers and not water the garden for five days!
    – My husband went to a men’s get together and they barbecues in the park. After the barbecue was over they were going to throw away the leftovers. He saved about 30 sausages, 24 hamburger buns, 32 hotdog buns, bottles of ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish, and four types of sliced cheese! They were going to throw it all away! He knows that I ALWAYS accept food, and find a way to make it work. We were able to freeze or use most of it. There will be a lot of black bean burgers in our future. I’m proud of him for accepting all of this food.
    -Instead of throwing away my junk-mail I have been opening it and saving the paper to print/write on the backside and collecting the envelopes. I still have a ream of clean white paper for when school starts, but it is great to use to write grocery lists, print hubby’s boarding passes for work travel, etc. I was thinking that our ancestors would have NEVER throw away as much paper as we do. It makes me feel frugal, and environmentally conscious.
    -I am a member of a local gardening group on Facebook. Someone was giving away heirloom tomato plants, and I was able to pick it up for FREE!
    -Hubby picked up a side job helping a friend paint his house. He charged him a “friend rate” of $12/hr, but still made over $200 for a couple days work. I am so proud that he is starting to learn more frugal ways.
    -Our neighbor came over to help Brian fix our fence that was leaning after a bad rain. The fence was on our other neighbors side and they split the cost of materials with us. The neighbor that helped us fix the fence accepted payment in the form of a quart of homemade chicken noodle soup, and a loaf of fresh baked rosemary olive-oil bread!
    -I was successful in baking the rosemary olive oil bread for the first time ever. I’ve only tried to bake bread 3-4 times, and my attempt this weekend was successful! Hubby said it was amazing. I think I will be baking all of our bread from now on (once we use the tons of buns in the freezer)
    -We did our weekly frugal things: Hung all clothes to dry, washed and reused Ziploc bags, ate all meals at home, saved water to use on the plants, printed coupons online, etc.

  55. * We did not spend any money for the 4th. Conditions are so dry here that I was so nervous about the fire danger. We stayed home and kept and eye on things.

    * We’ve been having a long stretch of HOT days. We live in Seattle and don’t have air conditioning. We it gets really hot I put some ice on the back of my neck. Refreshing!

    * Kitchen remodel is coming along and we now have a sink and stove (yeah!). That will help make meal prep easier

    * got strawberries for .99/#

    * sold 2 pairs of my son’s outgrown sweatpants (he just keeps getting talller…LOL!)

    * my mom invited us out to dinner and paid and sent us home with the leftovers 🙂

  56. So bummed that sparklers are illegal here in New York. I have such fond memories of them as a child, and I hate not being able to get them for my own kids. We watched fireworks over the water from my dad’s backyard.

    My poor son discovered a patch of stinging nettles behind our garage. It’s never grown there in the past. Unfortunately, he discovered them by falling in them and running inside with a burning rash. :(:( I’m excited that it’s there, though. I’ll harvest and use them for many different things. I took care of the rash by making a plantain poultice picked from the backyard….worked like a charm!!!

    I harvested lavender, black raspberries, snap peas, garlic scapes, currants, mint, oregano and kale. Some of this was on my property and some was gleaned from my uncle’s property (he no longer picks many of the wild berries on his property because he has no use for them). I’m hang drying the lavender, oregano, and some of the mint. I dehydrated and ground up the kale into kale powder.

    I canned 10 pints of jam….half were cinnamon rhubarb, and half were black raspberry.

    We haven’t turned out central air on yet this year.

    More here:

  57. Hi Ashley,

    Sparklers are legal in New York. They passed a law this year to make the wooden stick ones legal ( not the metal stick ones.) My county also passed the law which is required if you want to buy them. Here is all of the info on the new law:

    Then you have to check to see if your country also passed the law. Super Walmart and many other places were selling them leading up to the 4th.

  58. Well, I worked Mon-Fri, only taking lunch with me on 2 days but the other 3 were free because I work in a prison.

    Hubby made a wild blackberry pie with the berries he foraged from the bushes in the back field across the street from our home. He just picked 12 more cups this afternoon with more to be picked tomorrow. I may learn how to make some jam from these berries.

    We watched free fireworks downtown at the lakefront on Saturday. Also was treated to dinner on Saturday by my brother-in-law’s girlfriend, even though it was HER birthday. Went to a local winery that has some delicious vino, although the bottle wasn’t free, it only cost us $11.50 for over an hour of chatting with friends 😀

    Hung clothes to dry in our basement, saving on electrical costs. Sold the dryer that I’d purchased when I had moved out back in April. I got a Washer and Dryer for $75..sold the washer for $65 a few weeks ago and the dryer for $50. Made out because my mother reimbursed me the $75 when I originally made the purchase in May. Sold the old sofa/couch she’d given us several years ago for $40. It’s pushing 20 years old and still in very good shape.

    Am getting $84 refund from the electric company (remainder of my security deposit I paid in April). Should also be getting about $60 back from the Water/Sewer company from the $100 security deposit I had to pay them in April. Already received the Security deposit refund from the gas company last week 😉

    Got lots of free magazines in the mail thanks to Recyclebank…People, Glamour, Entertainment Weekly, Self, Women’s Health, Health, Family name a few.

    Tonight, I go back on 3rd shift, which my preferred shift. Less people around for me to deal with. Sent my son off camping with my family(parents, nieces, brother and his wife)…I gave him some fun-money. Plus he’s off making cherished memories with his only cousins. 😀

  59. I went to Fred Meyer this morning, and they had strawberries (one pound container) on sale for 99 cents. This is the lowest price I have seen in our area.

  60. This week I’ve harvested another two red cabbages from our garden as well as some Jalapeño peppers and a really long cucumber! Tomatoes have set on but haven’t ripened yet!
    I made runzas with one of the cabbages and will make egg rolls with the other. We have been eating from our freezers so that we get foods rotated and so that we will have room for new meats/produce as the sales come.

    I thawed out a 4 lb package of boneless chicken breast and we grilled them. Then I cut them into strips and froze them in ziploc bags to use in recipes calling for grilled chicken strips or chunks. There’s something wonderful about that grilled outside on the grill flavor that we just love!

    Because of all of you, I washed and dried over a dozen ziploc bags that had previously held fruits, breads or veggies for re-use!

    Made another big batch of brown sugar for my baking! Baked muffins, cookies and strawberry almond granola.

    Paid off the final amount on our parents’ student loan! Finished our new tool shed – paid cash for all the materials and were able to use two heavy duty wire shelves (6 foot long) that I bought from Lowes on clearance for $2 each (regular price was over $25 each!) but had never used! They fit perfectly in the new shed and they aren’t just stacked in the workshop taking up space!!! Took the old tool shed apart and hauled it to the landfill ourselves- $20 charge to dump it rather than over $100 for it to be hauled away!

    Our electric bills keep going down since we aren’t running our a/c units.
    I cleaned out fridge and we had leftovers nights a couple times this week so that we weren’t wasting food.
    Every week I notice how many of our home-canned foods we are using and as we empty another jar, I am pleased to see that we are eating what we store and also, that I will have enough jars ready for each of the upcoming fruits/veggies to replenish our pantry!
    I made a large scrappy lap size quilt as a wedding present for two friends. Used only fabrics from my stash and the backing was a Goodwill sheet that was a complementary pattern that still had it’s 99 cent tag on it when I took it from my backing fabric tote.
    Started watching Monarch of the Glen on our Netflix. Looks like another series that is family friendly! Don’t miss cable at all and the $7.99/ month we pay for Netflix is worth it!
    Life is so good!!! Opportunities rather than obstacles abound if we change our perception!

  61. We really enjoyed the first few season of Monarch of the Glen. But it was in season 4 or 5, I believe, where they pretty much had gotten rid of all of the main characters, and the show deteriorated. But the first few seasons we really enjoyed!

  62. Will you be in Kuala Lumpur? I’ll tell you where the best-ever scarf/pashmina shop is – Hopefully these directions will make sense. Go to SOGO (a very large department store on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman). Walk one block past that to Jalan Dang Wangi. I’m not sure if you want to walk west or east but I will tell you that it’s the opposite direction from Jalan Raja Laut; Jalan Dang Wangi has a street market which is much busier at night but there are still a few stalls there during the day. It’s an Indian market. On Jalan Dang Wangi, not quite parallel with SOGO (which is also a very fun shop, and sometimes has great sales) there’s a shop front that has a small landing, with scarves hung up everywhere, and then stairs going down into a basement. You walk past the cash registers to go down into the basement. The last time I was there it had very worn red carpet. In the basement they have bins of pashminas for about $2 each. There are also bins of scarves for about $1 each. You have to dig through to find your treasures but there are always treasures to be found. Along Jalan TAR the pashminas are around $3 each so if you can’t find the shop it’s still the cheapest place in KL that I know of to buy them. (At the Petaling St market the vendors will start the prices around $40 each and you can generally get them down to about $10; at Jalan TAR the prices are set, but they are set much, much lower. Petaling is fun but for shopping, the Jalan TAR is better.) If you walk along Jalan TAR towards Merdeka Square you’ll come across some amazing fabric stores. The street also has a lot of shops that sell brooches. Inside Maja Junction there are some wonderful Indian bridal shops that sell some very nice things; and the supermarket on the basement floor is a great place to find groceries at a fairly reasonable price. There’s also a pharmacy there, which I know sounds like an odd thing to mention, but it sucks being sick overseas and not knowing where to go, and we’ve always found that pharmacy to be a good one.

    Keep in mind the prices and information are accurate as of last year. We haven’t gone to Malaysia this year but we go most years. If you want any hints on sightseeing feel free to ask; although as we travel with small children what we do will probably be much different to what you do! Keep in mind that most places don’t open until 10, although street food is available before then, and convenience shops are open earlier. Malaysia has the best fruit-filled buns. And you can’t go past kaya toast. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  63. WOW! That is an incredible find on the ground beef – here I was happy with my find of 5 pound of 95% marked down to $3.89 a pound which was a $1 less than the cheapy 75% stuff!!

  64. How do you do it?? I keep seeing people say they have dehydrated it but no one mentions how? Thank you!!

  65. I love your fourth of july decorations! I need to start decorating my house more for the holidays.

    This week I spend some of my grocery money adding to my stockpile thanks to your reminder last week (and my husbands constant reminder:x). I also have starting to calculate how long we could actually live off of our supplies to try and plan how much more we would need in just in case. I have also decided to start a permeant herb garden. I usually just grow herbs on the deck. Herbs were on sale $2.50 each.

    I cut up and froze scapes for soup this winter. I picked peas, lettuce, strawberries and radishes form the garden. I need to cut and freeze swiss chard this week. I also picked wild blackcaps. I am hoping to find enough wild ones to make some jam. We will see!

  66. I hope those who celebrate the 4th of July had an excellent day.
    This is how my frugal week shaped up:
    Sunday – installed an exterior sun blocking blind. We had record-breaking heat and this helped quite a bit. Went for a hike with my boy who was visiting from out of town before the heat became too oppressive
    Monday – In the morning, I cooked a salmon gifted to us from a friend who is an avid fisherman and chicken legs in the crock-pot for future meals this week. I harvested a couple of batches of lavender and then picked a few more saskatoons so that I could make a small batch of jelly. My boy and I went for coffee at the next town over. Got a pamphlet for a self-guided walking tour and learned a little more about this small town. Came home and made jelly in the cool of the evening.
    Tuesday – made a pair of sweatpants for the boy from fabric in my stash. Cleaned the house and hung two loads of laundry on the line. Watched [i]Tudor Farm[/i] on Youtube for free. A very interesting series, I recommend it. Not much else was accomplished and none of us slept well last night. There is nothing like a mosquito buzzing around your head all night to keep you from sleeping.
    Wednesday – Canada Day!
    Thursday – harvested more lavender. I now have little bundles drying all over the house. This not only makes my house smell good, but it will provide raw material for a few Christmas gifts. Dug out some left over quilt patches to use for another table runner.
    Friday – Nicose Salad for dinner. A chance to try a new recipe and to use up some leftovers from the fridge. We liked this dish and it will be added to our repertoire of meals.
    Saturday – Went for a drive to the next town over. Stopped at a rest stop and came across a large clump of bachelor buttons growing wild. It was also going to see so we collected a few dried seed heads for next year’s garden. If they germinate, we will have a lovely memento of our day together.
    Sunday – worked some more on the woodshed, which is almost done. We were able to reuse some wood left in the barn by the previous owner. This wood has probably been tucked away for years and it is better quality than what we have been buying.

  67. Our biggest savings was by not buying something that was a great deal. There was a pricing error on some third-party websites for Qantas tickets to the US for about $500 return, for flights later on this year. We ended up not getting them because flights are such a small part of the overall cost of a trip. I’m kind of bummed about it; but we were just there in March/April and we saved about $5000 by not going. (It was a pricing error but Qantas honoured the fare.)

    Not so frugal, but exciting – We broke down and bought a dishwasher. Years ago when we looked into it, the most water efficient dishwashers still used 40-50 litres per cycle. Now they use closer to 7 to 12. Aldi’s had one on sale, so we bought it. This week we’re turning the box into a cubby house.

    When we went on to the National Broadband Network last year, we got free unlimited phone calls bundled in with our internet. They’re free for local and long-distance with about 30,000 free minutes overseas to about a dozen different countries; you do have to pay for calls to mobiles and 1300 numbers. (The US doesn’t have 1300 numbers. Basically it’s an alternative to 1800; phone companies charge a very small amount for local calls, and some businesses have 1300 numbers which allow you to call them at the cost of a local phone call; with our VOIP we have to pay extra for 1300 calls.) Anyway, by bundling the two we save a bunch of money. My husband uses Skype to call his best friend in Israel; and we used Skype when we were in the US a couple of times to call our bank back in Australia. It’s a very handy service.

  68. I posted my frugal things this week here:

    A couple of highlights:
    * My daughter made birthday presents (jewelry) using things we already had on hand for her Grandmothers and several friends.
    * Got all the uniform bottoms (pants, skirts) my children need for school this fall from the school’s uniform swap! No shirts in their sizes, but that means I only have to buy a total of 4 shirts (for two children) this year! Whoot!

    Your door is beautiful, Brandy. I often wish I had a nice door to hang wreaths on and then I remind myself how much I like my stained glass windowed front door! I still miss wreaths but I’ll drool over yours for while instead. 😀


  69. Your peaches are so lovely! I must be doing something wrong when I can…I fill the jar up, but after processing, I only have half a pint of peaches. How densely do you pack them, Brandy?

    My husband and I went through our pantry and made a list of items that we need to stock up on. We are aiming for a 6 month shelf stable supply right now.

    My son’s best friend is turning 6 this weekend. We used two bars of white soap, food coloring, and cookie cutters to make her a set of bath crayons as a gift.

    My son’s birthday party is in 2 weeks. We are going to have a cookie decorating party– I’ll make the cookies and frosting, and the children will decorate the cookies with frosting and sprinkles that I have on hand. My son and I are going to make aprons for each child (there will be 5 in attendance) out of fabric that I already have.

    We went over our budget and found several more budget items to cut, saving us another $200/ month to go towards other debt.

    We watered our garden with rainwater from our rain barrel.

  70. We seemed to have more time at home this past week, without having any doctor appointments (all our annual ones seem to come in April and May) and without outside social engagements, too. We did meet friends for lunch one day locally. More importantly, the vegetable garden was weeded and replanted in the seeds that didn’t come up because of too much rain. Found exactly 2 small beet plants from the first go round. Re-planted swiss chard, beets, and Romaine, and hope they will do better. Have watered daily and husband re-seeded a patch of grass that died off from his car sitting in one spot for a couple months.

    I have spent some time the past couple weeks looking for another couple pair of capri pants for myself. Today my search paid off–I had to go to the bank to make a deposit for granddaughter and had noticed a 50% off one item coupon for Bon Ton in the newspaper. I had looked at another Bon Ton location earlier, but today I tried on more and actually found a pair I wanted. They were $58. (Isn’t that, in itself, just ridiculous?) They had been marked 40% off, and I had the 50% off one item coupons so I paid $18.10 which includes tax. I thought that was quite enough! That was 70% off the original price when I figured it out on the calculator. We buy very few clothes these days, but are planning on being away for about a week next month, and this will make it easier to go without doing laundry for that long. They are a neutral color and I have plenty to tops to pair them up with.

    I also got my appetite back after not being hungry last week—I’ve made a big black bean salad which we ate two nights already with meat on buns, and I also made cheesecake toppped brownies, and today, pretzel jello salad with fruit. (Using fruit in the cupboard instead of the recipe’s suggested strawberries, which had a very short season this year.) And the first sweet corn of the season is now ready per the farm’s ad in the paper, so I will probably pick some up this week—husband loves it, and could happily eat corn and nothing else. Since it was very warm today, he suggested the simple summer meal of corn and anything on a bun. He’s happy to eat sausages a few times a week if he can have corn with them. A man of simple tastes. He also enjoyed the jello salad—I only made half the recipe and he helped himself to a huge portion, and enjoyed it.

  71. We got Ooma way back soon after they first set up business. We liked their product (you can use your existing phones and transfer your existing phone number), but we hardly ever “phone” people using our home phone. My husband uses his iphone, and since I am home all day, I use my computer to Skype my family members in different states. For four years we have Skyped using the basic, free service to talk (and view) my mom and dad. It is great for grandparents who want to see and hear about how their grandkids are growing up. Our son talks to Grandma and Grandpa once a week; he reads to them, shows them what he is doing in (home) school, etc. On holidays, we speak to aunts and uncles. Otherwise, I e-mail. Skype is great!

  72. Happy Monday, fellow frugal friends. It has been some time since I commented. I think the last time I came through, I told of how the fiance had still not found a job (2 weeks after being laid off). Well, a lot has changed since then: we are no longer engaged, I have my house mostly packed up (will be done by Friday and loading up the rental truck Saturday), I am moving back to SC near my family.

    So, my frugals for the last week: picked up a lot of free boxes at the liquor store to help defray some moving costs, reused a bunch of boxes from my many moves that I always hang onto, used up some of the freezer and pantry contents, made flavored coffee of which I have a large variety instead of going out and buying regular flavored coffee when I ran out, continued to sell on Etsy, stayed home as much as possible though I’ve been running to town a lot more than I like due to having packed my whole kitchen etc and having to get take-out!

    Thanks again for the good thoughts and prayers a month or so ago when the unemployment thing first happened. I am so looking forward to my next chapter in life. Even though this was not what I expected to happen, I am so thankful for the promise that what God has in store for me is immeasurably greater than anything I could imagine!! Here’s to new beginnings, and closing old chapters. Have a great week, friends.

  73. I think I did pretty good this week:
    -I froze some herbs that I wasn’t going to be able to use up from the garden
    -I picked lettuce
    -I made handkerchiefs from an old shirt that was so stretched out it was garbage
    -We were given a very large box of wooden Thomas trains and tracks for our son from my husband’s friend whose son is older than ours
    -I was given two cases of juice boxes from my sister whose daughter didn’t like the flavour
    -I took my son to meet Captain America on the 4th at the zoo which was free for us (yes we were celebrating July 4th in Canada) and turned out to be such a fun day
    -I got cucumbers for $0.33 each and apples for $0.66/lb and pork loins for $1.50/lb (in Canadian prices)
    -I’ve put together my storage and 72-hour kit shopping lists and have been working on how much I will be spending and trying to get organized so I can get the best deals

    Thank you for the inspiration everyone

  74. For the past three years we have only had MagicJack as our home phone. It’s about $35 for a whole year and it has free Canada and US -wide long distance. I highly recommend it!!

  75. Darlene, your comment about the rain makes me laugh as I too have had this happen to me. After the water in my canning kettle cooled down, I poured it into the watering can to use on our gardens and potted plant. However, they are finally drying out after so much rain! It’s supposed to rain again tomorrow too, so I guess I’ll just keep the water there until we need it! Too funny!:D

  76. I didn’t see this and posted about MagicJack in response to someone else but I have to say here that I’ve had it for YEARS and absolutely love it!

  77. Brandy, your peaches are beautiful! This is the first year our tree has born peaches and it has about 30 on it! They are still small, but I’m looking forward to eating them! Our golden delicious apple tree has also produced it’s first fruits this year! There are more than 40! We also have 3 other apple trees and 2 kiefer pear trees that haven’t produced yet. Maybe next year!
    I picked kale, beets, zucchini, onions, cucumbers and our first mess of green beans from the garden.
    I’m anxious to dig some of the potatoes and see how they are doing under the ground! Also, I was determined to wait for a ripe tomato before I picked any green ones to fry. But today when I pulled some weeds from around a tomato plant, my hand brushed into a stem that had 5 tomatoes growing on it and it broke off! So we HAD to have fried green tomatoes for supper! Ssooooo delicious! We have cantaloupe planted this year for the first time and they are loaded with blooms! I counted 8 or 9 melons that are already fist sized.
    Wild blackberries are ripening now, so I’ll be busy picking them and making jelly. We can’t handle the seeds in jam, so I always make jelly with them.
    I so enjoy reading everyone’s frugal lists! Thank you for your wonderful site!

  78. Whoa, Mae! Thank you! We’ll be with about 100 others, so hopefully we gals can all go check out your directions! APPRECIATE IT!

    Happy highways, Mae!

  79. Try powdered lime and/or Epsom salts for blossom end rot. A Google search will help you with methods of application.

  80. Check out the Brickfields too. It’s supposed to have some of the best street shopping in KL. We always stay on Jalan Raja Laut and I have so much fun exploring the markets off Jalan TAR I never make it to the Brickfields, so you’ll have to go and report back to me! Of course if you’re with 100 others they may prefer the more high-end malls like the KLCCC (PETRONAS Towers) which are fun for window shopping but quite expensive. KL is a very safe city, and the train system is so easy to use. The closest train station to this section of Jalan TAR is the Sultan Ismael; it’s also very easily accessible via the Monorail (just get off when you see the Tune Hotel). There are buses that go straight to SOGO. Buses are by far the cheapest option but they aren’t always air conditioned. I love Kuala Lumpur. It’s such a terrific city.

  81. First, I’d suggest calling your phone company and asking about long distance. Our phone utility is about as far behind as you can get, but we finally got unlimited long distance this last year for only like 7.00 per month, which for me it’s worth it since calling a neighboring town is long distance here (if I call Anchorage I used to have to pay long distance charges). Just a suggestion :).

    Second, I have a prepaid cell through Tracfone. Unlike some, I do feel I need a cell because I’m not home a lot due to therapies and such with my son, so I got one in case of car trouble, etc (not mechanically inclined am I, so I wanted to be able to call my husband for help). I don’t use my cell that often, so I just refill it as needed (usually every three months I add a 60 minute time onto it, which also gives me 90 minutes on the cell phone as well). I have triple minutes built into my cell, so it’s pretty cost effective for me, usually costing me about 120.00 a year total, but they also have month to month plans, scheduled prepay plans, etc. It doesn’t matter what area code I dial, it’s just minutes. I’m not sure about international calling, though.

  82. I just realised I could’ve made these directions so much easier – From the front entrance of Sogo, cross the street and go down a side street until you’re on the next street over running parallel to Jalan TAR. Jalan Raja Laut is at the back of SOGO so as long as you walk away from the front of SOGO you’ll be fine finding the right street; and then it’s a matter of wandering the back alley until you find the right store, which is far from guaranteed, but the back alley is lots of fun with tons of different stalls selling everything under the sun.

  83. I’m sorry to hear about the breakdown in your relationship; I hope you are comforted through that difficulty, and I hope you will be able to look back one day with gratitude for roads not taken. All the best to you.

  84. Thanks, we had water in the basement yesterday and it has thrown off my plans. I’ll get on it today

  85. After reading your last post of your Sam’s Club list I was wondering if you’ve ever compared prices at Sam’s versus Costco. We have compared a few items and Costco is always cheaper, for example you’re paying .59/lb for your sugar, I pay .44/lb at Costco. My parents have a membership at both and have commented that not only are prices cheaper at Costco but the quality of food is unbelievably higher. I live about the same distance from both so I can make a choice based on price but I know some people only live close to one or the other. Costco’s membership is higher but when you sign up for Executive membership you get a percentage back as cash every year and if you don’t spend enough to receive back the cost of your membership they give you the difference (literally, in cash). Basically, you only buy the membership once and then it will be free.

  86. Could you share how you make the soap crayons. I have tons of little hotel soaps and think that would be A fun way to make Gifts for kids.

  87. We are trying to get back into the swing of things after vacation, but I did manage to sell a few things on a local Facebook page to make some money. I used the money that I made to finish a couple of house projects that I had been needing to do.

  88. those that have MagicJack…how do you fix it when you have no dialtone to your phone? Seems like it kicks out every once in awhile. Not sure how to fix it.

  89. I just went a couple of months ago to compare prices to decide if I wanted to switch to Costco. I live near both but really close to Costco. My mom has a Costco card. It really depends on what you buy. My mom and I went there and I compared prices on what I purchase. Sam’s Club has stopped carrying some items that were some of my determining factors in the past for choosing Sam’s over Costco (every two years I go compare the two again to see if I should switch). There are a few items that I have started having my mom pick up for me at Costco recently, and at first it looked like I might switch stores. But then as we went through a few more aisles, we saw that Costco didn’t carry several things that I bought at Sam’s and had a higher price for other items, plus they have a higher membership price (I pay $45 a year for Sam’s Club) Everyone who tells me they get a percentage back has smaller families than mine but spend a whole lot more at Costco every year than I do. So, in the end I have decided to keep the Sam’s card and just have my mom pick up some items at Costco for me. I didn’t see the sugar price difference, so thank you for that.

  90. Tabbie, all you need to do is grate a bar of white soap and add in 1-1.5 TBSP of warm water. Then mix with a fork (it will get pretty thick) and divide into however many crayons you want to make. Add in a few drops of food coloring to each and mix that in, then fill the cookie cutters with the soap mixture. I usually use nonstick cooking spray on the cookie cutters to make it easier to get them out. Let them harden overnight (or longer if they are still soft).

  91. I ship overseas with Ebay/Etsy. Using they sometimes do not offer all the possibilities (cheaper) available. A few times I paid more ($5 to $10) using the online postage option through USPS -granted it was a faster delivery. Now, I pack, weigh and look at and also call over to the post office and give them the weight & height, and see if it is cheaper to physically go. 4 times out of 10 it was cheaper to go to the post office.

  92. Gardenpat – thanks for the Runza comment. I have a head of cabbage left to use very soon, and have been eating slaw for a week. As much as I love slaw, I just can’t anymore and the Runza will work!

  93. Karen, when my husband bought his first mountain bike, we laughed that it cost more than our first new car, a Toyota bought in 1972! However, having the right bike is essential if someone is going to be riding long distances or riding single tracks on mountain bikes, as we did before an illness suddenly took away my ability to ride about four years ago. Before I was struck with RA, my husband and I rode mountain bikes on single tracks. At first, I couldn’t make it up all the hills he could, and I continued to have difficulties although I was strong back then. As soon as I got a bike right for me, I was able to climb that hill with no difficulty. I smile when I think that my youngest (and grown) daughter is enjoying that bike now. I send your husband good luck with his training.

  94. Beautiful wreaths!
    I had a pair of jeans where the belt loop tore away. My uncle mentioned he had the same problem. This prompted me to learn how to properly fix it. The first Youtube video used more items and a quilting foot. I decided to check out the second video and was glad I did.
    I was gifted 2 cases of seltzer as a thank you for fixing his jeans.
    Continue to pick what is ripe from my garden and use in diners. I see how I really failed in some areas – not planting enough or I failed to succession plant. Decided to start s garden notebook, since the noogin is not doing so well on its own. I have an abundance of zucchini, so I will make freezer soups and zucchini pickles since my cucumber plants succumbed to some bug this year.
    I wish/want to have a pair of Superga sneakers. I decided to make it a goal to save up enough Bing rewards (transfer to Amazon credits) and buy them a few months from now from Amazon. Amazon is one of the sites offering the cheapest price.
    Started cutting squares from my husbands old dress shirts to make a lap blanket. A lot of our non bedding blankets need replaced so I figured this was a good start.
    I was able to save enough bank points for a $25 GC to Lowes and received a bi-yearly check for doing secret shopper surveys for my bank. GC went for perennials and the check into savings.
    Hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  95. Needed 2 greeting cards: crafted them myself from materials on hand. I am not a crafty individual; however, with some trial and error, managed to make one that was quite cute and one that was passable. I doubt these people will keep the cards very long anyway.

    Used a gift card that had been given to me to purchase one gift. Pulled something out of my gift stash for another, and found a great deal (40% off and then 50% off that) for yet another gift. The store is approximately 2 miles away; walked both ways. Free exercise!

    Inspired by someone here who previously mentioned rice-and-chickpeas, I searched for recipes, modified one, and have now made it multiple times. Very inexpensive meal.

    Altered and mended clothing.

    Even though a (local) move may be coming this year, decided to continue adding food to the stockpile based on Brandy’s advice. Currently only purchase canned beans (no AC, very limited storage space), but began researching bulk, dried chickpeas, as I think we’ll go through them quickly enough not to waste.

    Modified grocery shopping plans to take advantage of 5 packages of 99 cent per 8 oz of Muenster cheese (store is discontinuing carrying the item; regular price is $3.79) and 2 loaves of bread (dark rye and rye) on the clearance table for $1.29 and $1.13.

    Decided not to purchase any new clothes for myself for 1 year, beginning July 1. Most of my clothing was purchased before 2008, with some as long ago as 2000, so I’ve been feeling a bit deprived as things wear out, etc. I think I can swing one more year. By making this a conscious decision, I instantly stopped feeling deprived (even I wasn’t expecting that).

    Regrowing green onions from grocery store-bought ones in a cup of water on a window sill that only gets about 1 hour of sunlight each day. They are growing well.

    Reading several blogs to stay motivated with frugality, including some that I found through people who post on this thread.

    Thank you Brandy and everyone for sharing your ideas!

  96. Unplug it and plug it back it in or shut off the entire power supply to the phone, magic jack and the modem and restart it up.

  97. I love the look of the ribbon festive door decorations, it’s so pretty!

    -made a menu plan
    -stopped at the grocery store on the way home from preschool
    -because we canceled falls preschool we only owe $40 as our registration fee went to pay for the rest
    -ate out using a groupon
    -finally caved in and bought an ac unit, choose free shipping-not cost effective but compared to a hotel priced around $100/night we are better off with an ac unit
    -sewed some baby pants with material I have
    -decided to stop going to bible study during the summer-for very personal reasons and just the need to stay home
    -I have instead been getting back into my daily bible study book that I was doing with my friend
    -decided after watching a video to homeschool our children, while I’m excited I’m also terrified, I have seen it not done right too often. one of the things that surprised me the most was my husband being on board with it, I was sure he was going to disagree
    -made almost all meals at home and packed lunches for after preschool
    -hung laundry to dry
    -cooking stove top only food-no oven! have been trying more Italian dishes as they really are easy to make
    -cleaned up my desk area to make it usable once again
    -walked to the school playground and played there for about 2 hours
    -made a cleaning chart to help spread the work load throughout the week, granted its been only 2 days, I’m doing great so far and hope I can keep it up til the birth of my 2nd child

  98. My frugal achievement of last week was finding your blog. By Tuesday last week, I was desperate for money saving advice. I called my big sis, and explained the situation. The only area I can cut corners on right now was groceries. I already run my ac at 85, to non stop complaints from 5 kids and my husband, lights are already off, homemade dish soap, laundry soap, etc. But, food was costing us to much. Thanks to my sister and her first advice of checking your blog, I bought pounds of beans and rice, a few pounds of ground beef, spent all day with the stove and crock pot going, but my freezer is stocked with cooked ground beef, and precooked beans! I haven’t managed to convince my hubby of a meatless dinner, however, I’ve been adding about 1/3 of the meat I normally would to dishes, and no-one is missing the extra meat. I followed your recipe for chili yesterday and it was a big hit (with the addition of about a third pound of ground beef to the whole pot)! Pulled some sour cream and onions out to top it with, and every one loved it, which is saying something, because it had tomatoes in it. I came up with a calendar for meals, two weeks at a time, so I know what I’m making each day ahead of time. Honestly, I spent about the same amount on groceries last week as I normally do. The difference is I bought for a month, instead of just a week. I’ll have to make a trip next week for milk and cheese, but including diapers and toddler formula, I’ll have saved about $500, which we need due to a change in our circumstances. So, I’m short. You are my frugal achievement of last week.

  99. Ashley, do you have a link to the recipe for the cinnamon rhubarb jam? That sound amazing and I might be able to glean some from my work.

  100. Wow! A ton of comments and only Tuesday. Your flag pinwheels are gorgeous.

    We picked lettuce 3 times last week. I followed your advice and planted lettuce every two weeks. the first are now going to seed, the second planting we are eating now, and I have a third planting in pots to transplant in about a week or so. We were at around 100 degrees all week last week. Last Sunday, June 28th was 105 and the hottest day in June since 1925. I know you get a lot of hot weather, but we rarely get that hot. The lettuce has not turned bitter though, just went to seed.

    Picked our last snow peas from the first planting. Very disappointed in the quantity. Again, it was just too hot. the second planting should be ready in a week or two.

    With sales and coupons, got 13 items from Bath & Body Works for around $35. These will be the basis for some Christmas presents for sisters and sisters-in-law.

    4th of July sale had ketchup for 24oz for 28¢ and mustard – 16 oz. for 69¢. Limit of 1, but I went two different days on my way home from work.

    Brought breakfast and lunch to work the 4 days I did work.

    Had Friday off, and worked in the garden from 6:30 am to 9:30 am pulling weeds and then again on Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30.

    Used a $3 off $30 purchase coupon at Grocery Outlet, and got great deals, including avocados, plums and nectarines.

    Purchased a basil bunch for $1.00 at the Farmer’s market on Saturday.

    With the weather so hot, some things are really bad in the garden, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, snow peas. Our strawberries are done, had to replant the carrots 3 times before they finally took. However, on the bright side, the corn, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, black beans, zucchini, cucumbers and basil are loving this weather. It is why we always plant a lot. Some years one thing grows great, and other years it is something else. This is the first year, however, that we have not had good luck with cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. we will pick our garlic as soon as we can. We may have to wait for the weekend, but I hope we can dig it one row at time after work this week. My husband is Italian, so we grow a lot of garlic. That also goes to siblings for gifts.

    Hope everyone has a great week. These posts are so motivating – I love them.

  101. Sorry to hear of the undoubtedly unhappy results of being no longer engaged, but best to know now than after being married first. People don’t always hold up well after set-backs. It sounds like you are doing ok–glad you will be near family, as they can be very helpful. Hope everything goes smoothly with the move.

  102. I love nicose salad but haven’t had it in years. Thanks for the idea to make it, especially during the summer months!

  103. I wish you the best during this transition. I know from experience it can be difficult. Things happen for a reason and turn out better in the long run 🙂

  104. Our milk co-op gives us a 14# log of cheese ever 6 months. We received ours and I shredded all but about a pound. My daughter bagged it in our food saver and we froze it. I also made 5 pans of beef and cheese enchiladas for the freezer so on the upcoming days I can, I have a quick meal for supper. I canned 25# of peaches and made ‘jamly’ ( too much pulp to be jelly, not enough to be jam) out of the juice and few peach slices that remained.

  105. Thank you, Linda, for your well wishes. She has had the surgery and it went well. Only lost the one toe. Our next challenge will be figuring out how she will go on the family Las Vagas trip in one month time.:p

  106. Linda P.,
    When my husband went on his first ride using Jack’s bike, I could tell there was something different, first by his exhiliration but the next day he wasn’t sore at all. It did take me awhile to absorb the fact that bicycles can come with that kind of price tag, but I do foresee us either buying Jack’s or something similar. To be honest, we are both in decent shape (we’re in our 50’s) but could certainly do things to get in better shape. The fun he had with this group of riders as well as the exercise has just about convinced me that this would be worth it in the long run.

  107. Has anyone tried turning off the breakers to certain parts of the house, like the hot water heater and electric stove, during the day and turning it back on an hour before needed at night? I just wondered if that would affect the ability of the stove and hot water heater to work by turning the breaker on and off so much…does anyone know? After reading Brandy’s comment last week, I bought 24 cans of tuna on sale for 75 cents a can. My electric bill last month was $45 in my all electric house but I have run the ac in the deep humid South this month some, but not a lot. I need to keep this bill below $100 for me to be able to pay my med bills. I went to a beach work conference that was paid for by work. I was in class all day but I could walk on the beach at night and that was my “vacation” for the year and I was grateful for that opportunity to see the beach.

  108. Was offered and accepted a full time position. All together I had roughly 11 interviews in 3 week and was called for 3 more interviews after accepting my position. I was starting to lose hope after so many months with no luck. Starting the job tomorrow and am beyond excited. This will mean so much for our goals financially.
    Found 3 pairs of work jeans for hubby at thrift store and one pair for me. Total was $14.50!
    Stayed in houston Saturday night after a barbeque with some friends. Found a hotel with free breakfast.
    Packed snacks for the drive there and back as well as iced tea and water to avoid spending money at gas stations.
    Made a pillow out of material I had and an old lumpy bed pillow. I hate our couch but can’t do much about it. The pillow adds a little bit of color and makes it more comfortable to sit on.
    That’s it for this week.

  109. Glad you found Brandy and her team! I think of the people who read and comment as a team of friends who found support out in the ether. Great frugal accomplishment!

  110. Brandy, Just wanted to share a link to a free printable 2015 Eiffel Tower calendar that I came across while looking for some free printables online… I know it’s um, July, so I’m not sure it’s too helpful?? But, I saw it and thought of you & Winter and figured I’d pass it on despite half of 2015 being over already! 🙂 (I have no affiliation with this person or their blog whatsoever, just stumbled on them — and I don’t pin…)

  111. This week we have been blessed with rain, although sometimes it only makes for more humidity..didn’t think that was possible, the roads were steaming one day. I think that is why so many of us southerners speak with such a drawn out accent(myself included)… It’s just too hot and sticky to get in a rush over anything.

    Regardless of the heat, this week I…
    — picked a bag full of cucumbers, another of tomatoes and a few zucchini I missed, in addition to chard,mint, rosemary, oregano, and basil. I enjoy the herbs in small vases and jars in addition to flowers and sometimes in lieu of.
    — enjoyed a lot of tomato and basil salad and BLT sandwiches with basil instead of lettuce and of course that southern staple… The tomato sandwich
    — I planted my tomatoes from seed this year and did not buy plants, so when it came time to plant them in the garden I did not plant them far apart from one another, I just KNEW that I would lose half of them. I didn’t and now I have a tomato jungle my kids call it.
    — my husband, father, and mother work shift work. I work part time. So in the summer we juggle my children and my sisters children so we can keep daycare costs to a minimum. We purchased skating passes for the summer( they already had roller blades) and signed them up for the kids bowl free programs.
    –my boys and nephews would play video games and watch netflix for hours is allowed( they are not), to help them stay sharp they are required to complete so many workbook pages and read for an allotted time each day. When they complete their individual goals( they only have two each) they are rewarded. My mother and I brought all four on a mini break on Tuesday and Wednesday. We left early in the a.m., our first stop was Povery Point National Momument, it’s a World Heritage Site. Then to Vicksburg, MS to the battlefield, they have a living history program where volunteers in costumes answer questions and they shoot a cannon. Both places were great mixes of information and adventure, perfect combination for four boys between 12 & 7. We had a picnic. It was a total of $16 for all 6 of us to visit both places, the boys also participated in the Jr. ranger program and received trading cards and a badge.
    — some family friends moved and could not take their freezer and gifted it to us. It is a medium sized chest freezer and we are very thankful to have been blessed with it.
    –picked more blueberries and also grabbed a few frozen packages of blueberries from the Dollar Tree, I will be making blueberry syrup and packaging it with homemade pancake mix and hot chocolate mix for Christmas gifts.
    — reserved the pavilion at a local park for an DH birthday. This will be our Fourth of July celebration also (everyone had to work the 4th). Some hotdogs and boudin on the grill, a chilled watermelon and volleyball.
    — will be cooking pinto and black beans tomorrow to use during the upcoming week along with a bag of leg quarters.
    — continue to streamline, downsize, and generally dejunk everything in the house.. Closets, drawers, cabinets..nowhere is

    Have a great week everyone!!

  112. Gardenpat, we make runzas too but they are called bierocks here. I’ve never used the red cabbage for egg rolls or bierocks, only green . I’ll have to keep that in mind. I grow both.

  113. Lori, best wishes on your move and return to family. I pray for safety on the road as you travel.

  114. Wow! We visit Poverty Point yesterday! We also went to the drive thru zoo in Delhi. Hoping to make it to Vicksburg before summer ends.

  115. I have been growing celery (so far celery leaves) from a grocery store celery stalk. I put it directly into the ground, and it is doing great. If I get only leaves, I will be happy, as I can dry those and use for celery powder or celery salt. I also cut off the bottoms of some very nice leeks from the grocery store. This is an expensive way to keep the harvest going for months and months!

  116. I buy pinto beans at Costco, but all other bulk bean purchases are made at Amazon which I find is less expensive than any of our local grocers. I never knew so many kinds of beans existed! 🙂

  117. Cindy,
    I had a situation where my very old stove would only work by turning it on and off at the breaker, which I did for about a year before breaking down and buying a new one. The person who installed the new one told me that turning the breaker on and off so much can wear it out and should be avoided because it is costly to repair. Hope this helps!

  118. Christine: I’ve been making blueberry syrup for the past two years. It’s easy and tastes out of this world! Our berries should start ripening this month; i’ll be out there picking and making more syrup. Good luck!

  119. Hi Brandy,

    Is it OK to re-use mylar bags? I bought some beans in mylar bags a while ago and thought I might reuse them to store my next purchase.


  120. Katrina, don’t just read the blog, read her website. Start at the beginning and just keep going. The nuggets you’ll glean will keep you on the road to success. Especially take the time to read “When Queens Pass By” Such a wonderful story! Welcome to the family!!

  121. Oh good!! And sorry, I was sitting there wondering — is it Winter or Elsa that loves Paris and the Eiffel Tower? But, I couldn’t remember. 🙁 I’m so glad it’s something you could use for someone in your family. 🙂

  122. Have you been to the Louisiana State cotton museum? It is so cool? It’s in an old gin, we also like the Panola hot sauce factory, the aviation museum in Monroe and the Biedenharn coke museum, when can you get a bottled coke for a nickel? Last time we went to the safari park, a giraffe tried to kiss one of my boys through the sunroof!! Where are you at Christa?

  123. Yes, definitely Mylar bags can be reused- that was one of the advantages that they had over #10 dry pack cans!

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